Problem with Outernet content voting?

So, I went to go vote on some content and I noticed that a user can vote more than once on a particular webpage. Is this supposed to be happening?

1 Like

Yes. And the same works for downvotes, so I think it’s pretty fair that way. Our conclusion was that whatever we do, persistent guys will always find a way to circumvent it, so why not let people go crazy both ways. Of course, this is not final by any means.

I was just making sure. It would be bad if users tried to take advantage of bugs. Of course, they could take advantage either way, as you stated.

Yeah. It’s an experiment, so to speak, to see if giving users free reign over such things actually works, or they need to be controlled with software. I’m hoping people eventually understand that upvoting and downvoting works the same way and use voting in a bit more effective way.

1 Like

I think this is a flawed assumption… if you make it too easy to abuse the system, someone eventually will. Ideally, every vote should be verified by CSRF token (as it is currently) plus an email confirmation. Or require each person to sign in with an account and record their votes to prevent duplicates. If there is no enforcement of “one person, one vote” then there is no democracy. If I submitted a porn site and upvoted it more than any other piece of content with a bot, would you add it to Outernet? If you say no, then I get to claim that Outernet censors popularity. If you say yes, then whoever has the most clever bot (or the most hardware) gets to decide what content Outernet serves.

As “fair” as you claim this voting scheme is, it is anything but.

Suggested elsewhere they look at

If I understood you correctly, you and I probably have very different views on what’s democratic. For me democracy is not when everyone plays by the same rules. It’s when a group of people can govern themselves effectively. In my opinion, anything else contradicts the notion of Outernet being a completely democratic platform. For instance, who can guarantee our rules are fine by everyone and what gives us the right to enforce them?

(Before anyone asks, yes, we do pick content that gets broadcast right now, but that’s a different matter, and that’s not how we really plan to work in future. It’s strictly due to current technological limitation of the whole broadcast process that we’re working to solve, and Whiteboard is just a tiny step in that direction.)

So using this as an example, let’s expand on my previous point. The real question is not what Outernet would do with it. The question is, what users need to do to counteract this (assuming they disagree), and whether Whiteboard provides them with tools to express their disagreement. Ideally, I would like to add those tools without introducing authentication and other controlling/restricting mechanisms.

Also, I’m still not 100% sure about the whole notion of votes to begin with. There’s nothing that says we must only have upvotes and downvotes. And there’s nothing that says we need to have votes at all. If some other form of interaction would facilitate effective democracy (the way I described it above), then I have no problem changing Whiteboard in that direction.

Which is an indirect way of saying that your an anarchist (in the real sense of the word) and I have no issues with that. However, in my opinion, anarchy only works when anonymity is not allowed, because true democracy requires accountability.

This is interesting. Could you expand on this a bit more please?

Many of the worst acts in humanity are perpetrated by masked mobs. When a person puts on a mask, they are literally becoming a different person for as long as they wear the mask. When you are a different person, you can do whatever you want without repercussions, because the masked person simply “goes away” when the mask comes off. Having your identity clearly linked to your actions prevents this from happening.

For examples of why anonymous discussion is dangerous, see any page of YouTube comments, or much of the so-called Gamergate movement, or the comments section of a controversial blog, or any white supremacist forum.

Personally, I think the only viable reason for anonymity is to protect against injustice, and there are certainly examples of this too. Any major government whistleblower obviously needs anonymity for some duration in order to complete their work. But even this is “false” anonymity, because the reporter will not treat the source as viable unless the identity is known and then (hopefully) protected by the reporter. So while the reporter might credit an “anonymous source”, in reality accountability is still preserved.

Do you disagree with this perspective?

I wouldn’t disagree completely under normal circumstances. What you are saying is based on how things usually works, though, is it not? For instance, what would happen in an environment where anonymity is a norm. You can’t tell that Mr. A is vote-spamming, but you can tell that someone is. Is that not enough information to take adequate action (provided that such an action can be taken at all)? For instance, you can, on Wikipedia, track down offenders and undo their work fairly easily without knowing who they are, and that’s what usually happens.

What “information” are we talking about? If my bot script uses Tor, there is no record of IP address or any other identifiable information to go by. Again, this just falls back to “the person with the cleverest bot wins”.

You won’t even entertain the thought of dealing with the situation without trying to identifying the bad guy? :smile:

EDIT: Btw, I’m not talking about what’s already in Whiteboard. I’m talking about developing features that would allow this without having to ID everyone.

How could possibly deal with the situation without identifying who is voting? I can’t think of a single technical solution that doesn’t involve a unique identification.

1 Like

You’re not considering other options. Nobody says voting is the only way to facilitate content selection. Even if we stick to voting, why do you believe identifying the bad guy solves anything? You can always forge identities, and as you say yourself, the smartest one wins, bot or non-bot. As someone else pointed out in a private convo, nothing prevents stands in the way of powerful organizations using their human firepower to overcome techological restrictions we may impose. Etc etc.

Want proof? Look at how sophisitcated authentication systems have gotten. To the point where they have become quite intrusive for the user. Not just online, but offline as well. And they’re still not 100% effective. Online, all you need is cheap cell phone with a pre-paid SIM card, you can forge identities all day long without any special technical knowledge. And, of course, you can forge as many identities you like if you have the right skills and enthusiasm.

Because of this, I’m considering alternatives that doesn’t involve any kind of authentication. Like, say, assuming that everyone is using Tor, and everyone either clicks all day, operates a bot, or is a Jehovah’s witness. I’m not saying that the current system is it, though. It may not even need to be completely anonymous. However, I don’t think relying on identity solves the problem either.

I haven’t seen any alternatives discussed, so I can only discuss the current implementation.

I’m sorry, but I’m don’t feel this is constructive at all.

Okay, but you are asking me to comment on something that isn’t part of the discussion and is only being alluded to by saying “I’m considering alternatives”. You give no details and then accuse me of not considering those alternatives. How am I suppose to provide an opinion on something I have no knowledge of?

Never said you need to consider my alternatives (which, as you point out yourself, don’t even exist yet).