Are some people cheating to get a high score?

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bmendez
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Are some people cheating to get a high score?

Post by bmendez » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:54 am

Q: Are some people cheating to get a high score?

A: We don't know for sure. Here is what we do know:

There are ways for volunteers to determine whether or not they are viewing a calibration movie. If they wanted to, they could ignore real movies and only concentrate on getting the calibration movies right. We are working to prevent anyone from knowing if they are seeing a real movie or a calibration movie because this can introduce biases into the search. But cheating this way accomplishes very little, in fact it's a complete waste of the person's time and our bandwidth. Since they are spending their time marking calibration frames they will never find a star dust track and their marks on real movies will just be noise to us. We don't really care if people wish to waste their own time, but we do care if they waste our precious bandwidth and server cpu time. If we catch anyone cheating in this way, their IP address will be banned from our servers.

Some people seem to be achieving high scores by being able to view many movies simultaneously. We do allow multiple logins with the same username and password. This accomodates teams of people and classrooms that wish to participate. Some people have used this to their advantage so that they can view more movies faster. So long as they are not cheating as described previously and are honestly searching for star dust we say more power to them.

endless
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Recognizing calibration movies

Post by endless » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:13 am

At this point, it's a peace of cake to recognize calibration movies.
On a decent TFT you can tell the difference on the resolution and there is clear "pixeling" effects on the calibration movies.
Hope that helps resolving this issue.

Greetings
Endless

anatolytt
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Post by anatolytt » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:19 am

Compression quality difference is not 100%. The main "security" issue is in the image url that can be easily viewed by anyone.
Dust in the wind... All they are is dust in the wind...

Uno
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Post by Uno » Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:07 am

hm...banning the IP is imho not the right way...

here in germany most peoples IP changes every time they dial in (at least every 24 hours, because of a disconnect after 24h), so this is not really a problem to change the ip...

if you detect that someone only views calibrationmovies, i think banning the account, or better, reset the scores (the score necessary for the top 100 may be sufficient, the %scores for sensitivity and so could stay, if they change their opinion and start to search )...

but i hope you are successful in securing the search, so nobody can cheat :)

mwhiz
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Post by mwhiz » Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:12 am

the movie id also gives away whether or not its a calibration movie.... given the number of people who have responded "i hope people aren't cheating," i don't think we really need to worry. good will overcome evil once again! :D
"The Earth is the cradle of mankind, but one cannot live in the cradle forever."
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uwehauck
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Will this affect the results

Post by uwehauck » Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:11 pm

What worries me more is, if the cheaters will influence the findings of the honest searchers.
Tell me, if i understand this right: If i scan through all the movies and really try to find tracks in the "real movies" I will add to the findings list and sometime if several agree with me, we found something, you will have a closer look at it.

So if someone only scans the calibration movies, he will NOT influence the real work we all try to do ?

This is important to me, as I don't like the idea of cheaters influencing the important findings of the rest of us.
Besides, to me the high score thing is of no real concern.
I would be proud of a certificate stating, i really found some unique piece of stardust, if I am on rank 1 or 3000 i really don't care.
If I find that unique piece of stardust: Man, that's a thing !

Greetings
Uwe
Live simple, so others simply can live.

sherder
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Re: Will this affect the results

Post by sherder » Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:20 pm

uwehauck wrote:What worries me more is, if the cheaters will influence the findings of the honest searchers.
Tell me, if i understand this right: If i scan through all the movies and really try to find tracks in the "real movies" I will add to the findings list and sometime if several agree with me, we found something, you will have a closer look at it.

So if someone only scans the calibration movies, he will NOT influence the real work we all try to do ?

This is important to me, as I don't like the idea of cheaters influencing the important findings of the rest of us.
Besides, to me the high score thing is of no real concern.
I would be proud of a certificate stating, i really found some unique piece of stardust, if I am on rank 1 or 3000 i really don't care.
If I find that unique piece of stardust: Man, that's a thing !

Greetings
Uwe
Bravo, Uwe! I am with you!

uwehauck
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Post by uwehauck » Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:55 pm

That's the one thing that is good about the other boinc projects. The computer software for the boinc projects does not cheat and you can only contribute your computing power. Here, the ethical person is needed.
So in a way, the most valuable certificate will be the one for finding real stardust. And this certificate can be earned by any honest participant may they be on position 1 or position 7000. That's what makes me smile and grin on all the unknown cheaters out there. They will never be part of a scientific discovery.

Maybe this would be the best way to prevent cheating. Make the certificates depend on real findings, not on the number of calibration movies recognized right.
Just a humble opinion from a german starduster.
Live simple, so others simply can live.

bmendez
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Re: Will this affect the results

Post by bmendez » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:18 pm

uwehauck wrote: So if someone only scans the calibration movies, he will NOT influence the real work we all try to do ?
That is correct. They would not affect the real work except for slowing down the servers.

-Bryan
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- RUSH

annaz
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Post by annaz » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:36 pm

1. We are changing the VM so it no longer shows the type of movie nor will the URL allow the user to know if it's real or calibration movie.

2. We are going to weed out cheaters and thus, will influence very little or none at all on the findings of other users. We took a look at the database on Friday and so far, people are being very honest with the project.

Sharqua
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Post by Sharqua » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:42 pm

annaz wrote:2. We are going to weed out cheaters and thus, will influence very little or none at all on the findings of other users. We took a look at the database on Friday and so far, people are being very honest with the project.
That is very encouraging to hear :) :)

-Shar

uwehauck
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Post by uwehauck » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:48 pm

annaz: Very good to hear. Would be to sad if the cheaters would disturb serious research.

And :D I already have 4-5 movies with more than 10 other stardusters who seem to have found the same potential track in the movie.
Looking forward to hear from the first real findings....

Happy dusting henceforth.

Uwe from germany

May the focus be with you !
Live simple, so others simply can live.

jorn
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Stop bugging

Post by jorn » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:55 pm

I found it quite amusing reading about cheating and how people get so high up the ranking list.

When stardust got online with real data, I to was online and searching for some stardust, but as we all experienced, the servers where pretty much run down into the ground, by the volume of users looking at gel images.

So my personal user experience was that the images where loading to slow. So the trick was use more browsers and let them each cache a movie, so I could use my time looking for stardust instead of wasting my time waiting for the movie to get downloaded.

I to was on the top ranking place at the beginning, and the board started to talk about cheating – I just got so lucky that I never received my auth. email from the board and had to wait for someone to resend it, so the people on the stardust search figured it out quite by themselves before I could post it online – But the bottom line here is – I just used my mind to solve a problem.

I don’t think all your stardusters should think about, or waist your time thinking about people cheating – Look at it this way.

1.
A movie will properly not just be shown to one user only one time ( that’s just bad science), so if he is cheating he will NOT find the trace, and somebody else will.

2.
The user has a Specificity and Sensitivity rating, and some good statistic math can rule out the cheaters.

3.
If someone finds a trace some 100 others will get that movie, to make a verification of that trace, and lets say 10% on the stardust search are cheating and just go “no trace” on your trace movie 90% will properly find it, if it’s a good trace.

It’s ALL about finding the REAL and NOT the FAKE traces, so to all the people on the stardust search just think to your self :

“I’m using my idle time fun and helping science, and all those out there cheating – well first of all they must have Lots of idle time – therefore a pretty idle life – and yet getting nothing for the idle time spend on cheating”

On thing I have found out about cheaters and those talking about cheaters.

“Those how cheat find it amusing to read about the others bugging about cheaters”

And

“Those how bug about cheaters have more fun bugging about cheaters then actually doing what the cheaters are cheating in”

So stop bugging about cheating and use your time searching ;)

PS: Regarding the language and the spelling, I’m not native English speaking, so if you start to flame me about that, you REALY did NOT get the message.

It's nice for a change to do "Dusting" that is fun ;)

guesswest
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Post by guesswest » Sat Aug 05, 2006 7:45 pm

I'm baffled by this. Am I correct in the belief that there's no prize/incentive whatsoever offered to the person with the highest score?

Sharqua
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Post by Sharqua » Sat Aug 05, 2006 8:22 pm

guesswest wrote:I'm baffled by this. Am I correct in the belief that there's no prize/incentive whatsoever offered to the person with the highest score?
You are absolutely correct. That's actually why I'm more interested in my accuracy than in my raw score. Accuracy means more for me.

-Shar

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