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  • Your ideas are needed!

    We created online voting for the Global Innovation Award to get the community involved in seeing the kids’ innovative ideas. This brought millions of viewers who may not have known about FLL to the website to see what these amazing kids can do.

    Since some over-zealous followers of our teams, not knowing about Gracious Professionalism or Coopertition may have tried to use automated voting, does anyone out there have ideas about how we can create awareness without opening the doors to what has been perceived as unfair voting? (We assure you, we’ve corrected the problems when they arise!)

    We’d like to come up with a way to share, celebrate and reward the hard work of teams. Let us know if you have ideas on how to do this.

  • #2
    Re: Your ideas are needed!

    Originally posted by FLLadmin View Post
    We created online voting for the Global Innovation Award to get the community involved in seeing the kids’ innovative ideas. This brought millions of viewers who may not have known about FLL to the website to see what these amazing kids can do.

    Since some over-zealous followers of our teams, not knowing about Gracious Professionalism or Coopertition may have tried to use automated voting, does anyone out there have ideas about how we can create awareness without opening the doors to what has been perceived as unfair voting? (We assure you, we’ve corrected the problems when they arise!)

    We’d like to come up with a way to share, celebrate and reward the hard work of teams. Let us know if you have ideas on how to do this.
    The goal of fostering awareness of FLL is terrific! Whether the "millions of viewers" are real individual people, or multiple page hits from a small crowd of enthusiastic voters, is open to debate.

    It's hard to come up with an internet-based voting scheme that can't be defeated by an inventive mind. Perhaps the best you can do is to make voting difficult enough that multiple-voting isn't worth the effort.

    - Vote by registered users only.
    - Registration requires human-mind interaction (typing in the text from a scrambled image, etc.)
    - One vote per user.
    - Require enabled cookies (I know, easily defeated) to enforce one-time-only participation, as is done with many online survey tools.
    FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

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    • #3
      Re: Your ideas are needed!

      I know very little about online robo-polling, so my idea may be useless. But maybe you could require each voter to select their top 10 ideas, and rank them from one to ten, using a drop down menu (no typing of numbers allowed). Any ballot with less than 10 ideas selected and ranked will not count.

      Linda

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      • #4
        Re: Your ideas are needed!

        I've only looked at a few pages, but it looks like the CAPTCHA is so simple it can easily be defeated for some challenge types, such as the simple math problems or things like "Enter 'foo'". A quick examination of the HTML source shows that the CAPTCHA information could be pulled out and solved with a quick pattern match using a scripting language like perl or python. If the program determines that it is one of the "easy" challenges, then it could solve it with little or no effort, and if it gets a harder one, like ASCII art, then it just requests another page (which is probably also slowing down the server). I could probably write a program to do that in half an hour, and I am not a great programmer.

        The thing is, the bots are probably not coming from too many different IP addresses, and if that's what they are doing it should be easy to detect in the http access logs and filter out of the voting logs.

        I'd suggest using a harder CAPTCHA. Or enforce login via a social media plugin using Facebook / Twitter / Google / etc., though that would probably make a lot of people unhappy.
        Twitter --- Facebook

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        • #5
          Re: Your ideas are needed!

          I would change things on several levels:

          To find robo-voters (I beleive all votes that are of the order of magnitude of 100,000 and higher are robo-votes), analyze the voting rate during a 24 hours period. If there is a steady and more-or-less fixed growth rate all round the clock, this can only be robo-voting.

          For next year's voting mechanism, use a REAL captcha, such as http://www.captcha.net/. The weakness of the currently implemented mechanism is well described by BakingSodaVolcano below.
          Next, for who may vote, use a registration mechanism, or rely on one of the social media plugins, as BakingSodaVolcano suggested.

          Next layer to look at is the voting rules. It makes no sense to allow multiple voting by the same person for the same innovation. This does not serve the goal set by FLLadmin 'get the community involved in seeing the kids’ innovative ideas'. The technical changes suggested above can be easily leveraged to enforce 'one vote per person for an innovation'.

          The third layer to look at is why use voting at all. Does voting achieve the goal of 'get the community involved in seeing the kids’ innovative ideas'? My team used only legitimate voting, and did a significant effort to get as many family members, school mates, etc vote for the team. Did any of these actually read the description of the innovation? I doubt.
          There are better ways to get community involved. For example, encourage commenting instead of voting. Encourage teams to put a Global Innovation' banner on their web sites, where the banner is actually a spinner that promotes a random entry.

          Yosi Karl, mentor for team 'Lego Panda' 261
          Yosi K. Karl
          Mentor for the 'Lego Panda' Fll team #261, Modiin, Israel

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          • #6
            Re: Your ideas are needed!

            Originally posted by YosiKarl View Post
            The third layer to look at is why use voting at all.
            We were looking at the rules last night, and it appears that this was the winner. I like it!

            From the FAQ:
            Is it a popularity contest? Not at all! In the past, we allowed online voting to encourage people to see the innovative ideas teams created. This year, we will ask teams to use their social networks to encourage people to visit the Global Innovation Award website to participate in a very special humanitarian initiative. Details to come! - See more at: http://fllinnovationaward.firstlegol....gwOWmqIz.dpuf

            Deadline is Feb. 18, though they will go public on Jan. 17.
            Twitter --- Facebook

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            • #7
              Re: Your ideas are needed!

              Film a competition and explain it on tv or film a team at school working and have them say their definition of gracious professionalism and ask the coach(es) and mentor(s) if they agree and if not give a reason why they don't.
              Last edited by jimmynewman; 01-26-2014, 04:58 PM.
              James Jimmy Kalan Newman/Kane

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              • #8
                Re: Your ideas are needed!

                I think it is horrible for team fans to use automated voting. I would require users to leave a comment about why they liked the idea and that way you could see if all the comments were the same. You can rest assured that our team will never engage is such lowly scandals.
                The Legosauruses
                FLL Team #9647

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