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Drawing attention to a specific user and their detrimental behaviour
#31
What would happen then? The user uses another account. Or multiple accounts.
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#32
Considering the amount of solves this guy's account has, it would take him at least months to cause as much damage as he has already caused. And it would serve as a good warning to him that he shouldn't be doing what he has been doing for years.
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#33
Hello, I would like to add my own views on what has been said previously.

As would any setter that I know, I easily recognize the user Niverio is refering to, and their behaviour that, as for any setter that I know, bothers me very much.
It bothers me because of the combination of the following facts (although any of these points taken separately would be fine to me) :
- the user gives very low ratings to almost every single puzzle they "solve" (mostly 2/5 - not very nice, but occasionnally 1/5 or 3/5, to my knowledge)
- this rating is almost always completely inconsistent with all the other users appreciations
- the solving times and timing of entries suggests/proves that on many occasions the puzzle has not been actually solved by the user (rather solved by computer/found solution code in a public solve)
- the user only exceptionnally gives any feedback at all on the puzzle and most particularly on why they rated it poorly

Given these elements, I consider this behaviour bitter and hateful, and the beauty ratings they give chaotic and meaningless. Considering the humongous amount of puzzles that are affected by this user behaviour, I consider this a serious problem and I am surprised that the moderation team won't take actions. I'd like to add that I don't know if (as it's been suggested) this user alone could have affected the types and difficulty of puzzles posted in the puzzle portal. However it's been a matter of concern and discussions among the setting community for such a long time that it is mind-blowing to me that a single user could have such a negative effect on the community (to the point their username even became a neologism to indicate that a rating has been ruined).

Logic puzzle hand-crafting is to me a form of art and expression that I very much respect and look up to, which is why it is always sad for me and many other puzzlers to see a puzzle rating drop significantly for no good reason, and with no explanation. One could argue that the ratings are not such a big deal, but eventually their purpose is helping solvers to choose what puzzle to solve and setters to know how well their puzzle is received by the community, and in this context a drop of 5% in a rating is significative. I think we'll all agree that if we are to use this system of ratings, then it is not desirable to have to check everytime what the rating truly means according to wether it's been solved by a particular abusive user who affects so many puzzles that is becomes a global issue on the website.

For all these reasons I think it would be beneficial for the website and its users, to remove the possibility for this particular user to affect the displayed rating of puzzles. It is however perfectly fine for me is they want to solve as many puzzles as they can, using all possible assistance, as it doesn't affect the experience of the other users of this website.

To finish I'd like to say that I don't like either the proposition of removing exactly 1 or 2 of the extremes ratings as it is arbitrary and would probably create more problems than it would solve. However I think that if the website is ready to open the debate about what rating system would be the best, it would be interesting to consider the ranking by median, that is used in particular in majority judgement:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majority_judgment
It's considered by many as the least flawed and most representative and democratic voting system, and has, among others, the advantage of being resilient to extreme votes that don't affect the global appreciation as long as they're isolated. I'd be happy to discuss further why and how I feel it would be interesting to implement, if anyone is interested.


Regards,
Samish
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#34
Let me try to understand the situation when looking at the accused person:
1. There is someone who solves lots of puzzles.
2. He is rating all those puzzles.
(Maybe 3. He usually rates puzzles lower than the average rating of the puzzle.)
(Maybe 4. The given ratings are randomly chosen.)
(Maybe 5. The given ratings are not randomly chosen, but biased on some parameters. Like 'solveability', 'niceness', 'puzzle type', 'publishing frequency', 'solution availability', 'current rating of the puzzle', 'time of the day', 'mood', ...)

Some consequences of those points:
1. Lots of puzzles get one solver more.
2. Lots of puzzles are getting the actual rating value faster. (Which is good, as the average amount of solvers per puzzle seems to have declined.)
(Maybe 3. The skewed distribution of ratings gets pushed a bit in the right direction, making rating differences bigger, and thus making ratings better comparable, and thus the rating system more useful.)
(Maybe 4. Some puzzles will get lucky, some puzzles will get unlucky.)
(Maybe 5. The puzzles are rated as they are meant to be rated.)

Some mathematics:
6. When someone gives a rating which is lower than the current average rating, then the average rating goes down.
7. When a puzzle has a rating of more than 75%, any person that is not giving 5 stars is lowering the rating.
8. To achieve a rating of 90%, most people need to give 5 stars.
9. If all people are only using 4 and 5 stars to rate puzzles, then there are only 26 different possible ratings (75% to 100%).
10. If all people are using all 1 to 5 stars to rate puzzles, then there are 101 different possible ratings (0% to 100%).
11. The impact of a given rating is bigger when using 1-5 stars than when using only 4 and 5 stars.
12. It's easier to distinguish values on a scale that has lots of different values than on a scale that has only a few values. (E.g. if puzzle A has 100 top-votes and 0 bottom-votes, and puzzle B has 99 top-votes and 1 bottom-vote, then when only using 4-5 stars both have 100%, but when using 1-5 stars puzzle A has 100% and puzzle B has 99%.)

Some psychology:
13. Some people always blindly give 5 stars, just because.
14. Some people always blindly give 1 star, just because.
15. Some people vary their ratings between 4 and 5 stars, depending on how they liked the puzzle.
16. Some people vary their ratings between 1 and 5 stars, depending on how they liked the puzzle.
17. For some people, a 4-star rated puzzle is bad.
18. For some people, a 4-star rated puzzle is good.

Putting it together:
If puzzles have a rating of 90% or more, only a few people are giving bad ratings.
Chances are, that most of the people are always giving 5 stars, no matter what.
Which in return means, there are only a few people who regularly also give less than 5 stars.
If there is one such person who is regularly also giving less than 5 stars, and who is also solving a lot of puzzles, and if you are a puzzle author that is publishing a lot of puzzles, then chances are, that this same person solves many of your puzzles. And then obviously this one person is usually the one that gives lower-than-average ratings.
If you "catch" someone giving you a low rating, it feels bad. But in this very situation, he is doing the right thing and you are not: He uses the rating system in a way that he thinks is correct. You are focusing on one bad vote instead of looking at the overall average. Tastes are different. Perceptions are different. People are different. You don't have to please everyone. Yes, the rating system is broken: it should be anonymous, so nobody gets himself into this psychological problem of being able to connect votes with users. But here we are. I know it's hard to not constantly look at those ratings.

Maybe something to think about: Imagine there is a political election going on. You are the person who has to count ALL those millions of votes. Imagine your emotions after the first opened vote: Either your are totally happy because the right person is winning, or you are completely devastated because it's the (in your opinion) wrong person. The second vote might or might not change everything. So might the third vote, and so on. Chances are, that at the beginning you will see a lot of ups and downs. A lot of "good" votes that correlate with your opinion. A lot of "bad" votes that anti-correlate with your opinion. Sometimes the "good" ones are winning, sometimes the "bad" ones are winning. At the end, there will be just an average, and one single vote won't count much.

Now, imagine you do the same thing, but you can also read the names of the voters. At the beginning, you might be angrily thinking something like: "Damn, this person again, always voting for the wrong ones.". But at the end, you might be cheerfully thinking something like: "Haha, this person again, always voting for the wrong ones.".

In both scenarios, looking at it in the beginning gives you pain. Just avoid it. The difference is, in the second scenario you also develop some connection to the first people that voted.
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#35
Oh, and an actual suggestion to solve the problem: Would it help if the website would not display the names of the solvers until the puzzle has been released for a full month or so?
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#36
It is just mind boggling to me that everyone is still fixated on the rating aspect when the entire point of the post was this guy cheating his solves. Nobody is just upset because he rates puzzles lower, there are many people who use the rating spectrum as its meant to be used, and nobody complains about those people, as its their right to do so.

I just don't understand the old folks from LMD actively defending the cheater purely through an irrelevant "side subject".

Especially when most of the veteran users here are against publishing of puzzle links / solution videos since they want every solver to solve their puzzle legitimately, yet take no action to actually ban the person who does cheat. And they are doing it so blatantly that everyone knows who this person is. If they were just someone who downrated puzzles, this thread wouldn't have 34 replies and 4k+ views.
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#37
The mind boggling aspect for me is that people actually bother to focus this much on other people's solving times and rating behaviour, when I barely have the time these days to actualy solve some puzzles. To each their own, I guess. 

Anyway, here's my two cents on the matter: 
You say that the "entire point" of this thread was that the person was cheating.... No, it wasn't. Please take a look at your original post.
 
Niverio schrieb:The main problem is that this solver DOES NOT solve the puzzles legitimately. [....] 
This alone would also not be a problem in itself. If a user of the portal wants to cheat both themselves and other users by just entering solution codes from other sources (which are commonly available with the resurgance of so many amazing youtube and twitch channels and their videos/vods, plus solver softwares available) and boost their stats that way, that is also their own problem.
What causes me to open a forum account just to make this post, is the combination of the two actions I described above. This user does not solve the puzzles in a legitimate way, but also rates these puzzles in extreme ways, and in almost all cases, extremely negatively.

That's your own words, explaining the point of your complaint. So please get off that imaginary moral high ground, where you think you get to question the integrity of the veteran users for not taking action against cheating. As you said yourself, a cheater doesn't cause any problem, they just rob themselves of the gratification of having solved the puzzle with logic. 

The thing that prompted you to start this topic was the effect this person's rating behaviour has, and I'd like to ssume that it was actually their negative posts and ratings that made you look into that person's activities and take notice of their solving times. Or do you check everyone' else's solving times? Would you even notice someone else "cheating" if they only gave extremely positive ratings to push their own puzzles?  


I haven't been solving enough puzzles lately to know which poster you are talking about, and frankly I don't want to know who it is. If what you say is true, I definitely do not condone their behaviour, but I still wouldn't recommend banning them. As others have already mentioned above, a ban doesn't solve anything when the person could easily create a bunch of more fake accounts and come back to bother us again, .. and maybe even more so than before. Don't feed a troll.... they'll come back wanting more. The most effective way to deal with it is by not bothering.... by not giving the troll the attention they seek. You can actively choose which aspects of the site you focus on.  

The only other way I think this type of situation could be effectively and permanently dealt with is to either get rid of the beauty rating altogether, or to restrict voting and commenting rights to a pre-defined group of people. (for example paying site members, or long time visitors, or people that have solved a certain number of puzzles, etc) 

However, I'm getting tired of this. Every few months someone drops in to complain the rating system itself or a person mis-using it. Your complaint has been heard, it just wasn't handled the way you suggested. No offense, but if you don't like it, then feel free to create your own puzzle website that you can run as you deem fit.
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#38
Since you prefer not to focus on the rating issue, let's focus instead on your usage of the word "cheating".

Any portal user is free to use whatever help to solve puzzles: computer programs, team solving, guessing, etc. This is entirely allowed and not considered cheating.
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#39
Thank you for clarifying it directly, uvo. I dont know why this person does what they do, but if the website has no rules against what they do, they are free to do whatever they wish to do so. It is my bad as I thought the written rules implied as such.

Regarding @Joe, I linked the two subjects together in my initial post since they are intertwined in how this user affects some members of the community. It is not a "moral high ground" to question the old users "integrity" by any means, I dont think what you meant with the word is the same as the meaning I know of the word. About your questioning of how we know the solver's solve times, its not that we personally track this user, the website has the option to send you an email whenever a puzzle gets solved, and it does become surprising and noticeable if a relatively hard puzzle you publish gets a solve extremely quickly, and this becomes a theme. Maybe the email option should hide the solver name. Otherwise, I doubt anyone is refreshing their profile page every 5 minutes to check solves.

P.S. What I wish would stop is the argument "If you dont like it, create your own puzzle website and leave." I cannot believe how many times I read this throughout the forums. Even though I haven't been around for too long of a time here, I have read enough to know some very basic things, like how the portal was very different 3.5+ years ago, it was a lot more "puzzle" oriented than Sudoku, and then Cracking the Cryptic happened, and the user / puzzle(well, sudoku) count skyrocketed significantly. But this change also prompted the veteran users to stop posting puzzles onto the portal. I do not know if these people just set and publish somewhere else. But it seems a big shame to me that the two groups couldn't coexist together. Especially starting from mid 2022 onwards, there is a bigger interest among setters that have found their puzzling home here to set pencil puzzles or puzzle hybrids, myself included. I really wish most of the veteran puzzle setters / solvers were still active (I say most since some of them still are) so that we could learn from them and their feedback, as they are usually a lot more knowledgeable in these areas than the new setters are. (Of course I do not know their absence reason, it might not be related to the portal changing at all). And I wish that the old vs new mindset was more compatible/compromisable, so that any small disagreement doesnt lead to "if you dont like it, then leave."
Peace.
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#40
@niverio: I think you miss some crucial points:

The site was never intended for publishing puzzles in the web. There was a group of puzzlers, knowing each other IRL, who created this site to challenge each other with puzzles. Berni has done a great job to implement it (and also some other great features like the contest engine), unfortunately he left the community some years ago. Since it was available for everyone in the WWW the community has grown. When first users joined us, who don't speak German, we started to translate the rules to English on request and people from all over the world joined the community.

At some point another, very large group of users joined us, for whatever reason. They have changed everything here, the netiquette, the main language, the puzzle types and much more. There were many discussions how to deal with it, and we decided just to let it happen.

But the new group also brought some trolls to the community - if you really call this trolling. Now they complain that we don't react enough on them. I don't care about these "trolls". There are many negative things, which came with the new group, which are much more important to me. And I think many old users think similar. If you paid for the membership, you could ask for such services. But it's a small group running this site in their free time. I absolutely don't like that some people have to spend their free time in moderating the comments. It's better to disable the comments at all. Same with the ratings.

You should realize that a small group of users pays for the site (via their LM membership fee) and a large group uses it for free. And the large group caused many problems, which led to a large amount of work for those, who pay for it. This is exactly what is going wrong and nothing else.
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