Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Computer questions/solutions, technology news, science topics.
User avatar
Jlabute
Guru
Posts: 6649
Joined: Jan 18th, 2009, 1:08 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by Jlabute »

Anonymous voting filtered by MAC address could still allow the same person to vote from multiple devices (phone, tablet, a few computers)
Galileo - In the sciences, the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason from an individual man.
User avatar
GordonH
Сварливий старий мерзотник
Posts: 38642
Joined: Oct 4th, 2008, 7:21 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by GordonH »

Currently anyone can vote multiple times just by clearing off browser history.
I don't give a damn whether people/posters like me or dislike me, I'm not on earth to win any popularity contests.
Troy
Site Technical Administrator
Posts: 1337
Joined: Jan 28th, 2004, 4:45 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by Troy »

Too many questions and suggestions there, and I have way too much work to do even without this poll drama. What would you consider valid?
User avatar
WeatherWoman
Wicked Witch of the West Coast
Posts: 35422
Joined: Jul 30th, 2009, 8:25 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by WeatherWoman »

Just get rid of the polls. No more worries about the bots or false information. Less work for you. :biggrin:
"It takes a village to raise a fool." ~ Dan Mangan
kelownman
Generalissimo Postalot
Posts: 836
Joined: Feb 11th, 2016, 11:24 am

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by kelownman »

Troy wrote: Aug 24th, 2021, 3:05 pm Too many questions and suggestions there, and I have way too much work to do even without this poll drama. What would you consider valid?
A valid poll result means, at least to me, one vote per person.

Knowing that the poll results can easily be manipulated by someone who can vote multiple times makes the poll totally irrelevant. That begs the question, why would Castanet want to have such a result from one of their polls? Or does it mean Castanet doesn't really care that their polls are easily manipulated by users who want a certain outcome?
BC Landlord
Guru
Posts: 8296
Joined: Jul 15th, 2019, 2:18 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by BC Landlord »

Troy wrote: Aug 24th, 2021, 2:09 pm I'm the one who discovered what was going on. They weren't legit votes because they didn't even bother going to the poll page itself prior to voting. They just went directly to the vote-processing script.
That explains, .. thanks!
Posters who once get on my ignore list do not get off it easily. They would have to demonstrably improve their behavior.
Current # of posters on the list: 5
Newest Addition: _______________
User avatar
GordonH
Сварливий старий мерзотник
Posts: 38642
Joined: Oct 4th, 2008, 7:21 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by GordonH »

The only poll I pay any attention to is the ballot box.
I don't give a damn whether people/posters like me or dislike me, I'm not on earth to win any popularity contests.
TylerM4
Lord of the Board
Posts: 4295
Joined: Feb 27th, 2014, 3:22 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by TylerM4 »

Truly enforcing "One vote per person" is incredibly hard to do. Government/Elections Canada is one of the few with the ability to do it. And when something like that is put in place, your response rate goes WAY down as it becomes a chore to prove your identity just to vote.

The best that most sites can do is to make it such that those who choose to manipulate the vote aren't able to do it in a way that significantly changes the outcome. For example: Technologies that prevent bots from submitting 100's of votes per hour/minute AKA the solution that Castanet appears to be pursuing.
Troy
Site Technical Administrator
Posts: 1337
Joined: Jan 28th, 2004, 4:45 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by Troy »

kelownman wrote: Aug 24th, 2021, 3:13 pm A valid poll result means, at least to me, one vote per person.

Knowing that the poll results can easily be manipulated by someone who can vote multiple times makes the poll totally irrelevant. That begs the question, why would Castanet want to have such a result from one of their polls? Or does it mean Castanet doesn't really care that their polls are easily manipulated by users who want a certain outcome?
Of course we care. If we didn't care then nobody here in my office would be talking about it and I wouldn't be spending all of today working on this (and many more hours in the future), along with replying to multiple emails, replying to everyone here in the forums, talking with my boss about it, and so on. Not to mention quite a few hours of my own time on this last night.

One vote per person, as explained by others on here, is very difficult if you really think about it. Our main efforts so far are to minimize/eliminate the programmatic voting and we'll also build upon that.
User avatar
Babba_not_Gump
Walks on Forum Water
Posts: 12947
Joined: Jul 16th, 2019, 2:38 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by Babba_not_Gump »

WeatherWoman wrote: Aug 24th, 2021, 1:52 pm So surprised no one is talking about this.
I spotted a strange twist in poll results the other day.
I believe it was this one,
August 18, 2021 - 24349 votes
Should masks be required on school children in September?

Yes: 7800
No: 15935
Unsure: 614

When I first saw the poll, the "yes" votes were well in the lead, and then it ended up like this?

How about only allowing logged in members to vote? Would that be easier to control?

Btw, I like "almost" honest polls.
I'm posting this from Traditional lands of the British Empire & the current Lands of The Dominion of Canada.
I also give thanks for this ethos richness bestowed on us via British Colonialism.

#StandUpToJewishHate
BC Landlord
Guru
Posts: 8296
Joined: Jul 15th, 2019, 2:18 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by BC Landlord »

Troy wrote: Aug 24th, 2021, 3:05 pm Too many questions and suggestions there, and I have way too much work to do even without this poll drama. What would you consider valid?
Just to add to the suspense ... In "who is online" section (as depicted below), there are users in faded pink, often with [Bot] or [Crawler] remark beside their user names. Are these the type of culprits you are talking about? If so, can't they be blocked somehow? It says they are "registered".

Who Is Online.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Posters who once get on my ignore list do not get off it easily. They would have to demonstrably improve their behavior.
Current # of posters on the list: 5
Newest Addition: _______________
User avatar
spooker
Guru
Posts: 7777
Joined: May 12th, 2009, 5:18 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by spooker »

BC Landlord wrote: Aug 24th, 2021, 8:35 pm
Troy wrote: Aug 24th, 2021, 3:05 pm Too many questions and suggestions there, and I have way too much work to do even without this poll drama. What would you consider valid?
Just to add to the suspense ... In "who is online" section (as depicted below), there are users in faded pink, often with [Bot] or [Crawler] remark beside their user names. Are these the type of culprits you are talking about? If so, can't they be blocked somehow? It says they are "registered".
The forum system and the poll system are not part of the same backend ... so, no, those accounts that are marked as a crawler or bot are not part of the cohort that compromised the polls
--
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”
― Ernest Hemingway
TylerM4
Lord of the Board
Posts: 4295
Joined: Feb 27th, 2014, 3:22 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by TylerM4 »

Jlabute wrote: Aug 24th, 2021, 3:01 pm Anonymous voting filtered by MAC address could still allow the same person to vote from multiple devices (phone, tablet, a few computers)
Yes, and there are a few other reasons why it wouldn't work either:
- it simply isn't possible. Castanet has no way of identifying the MAC of the computer connecting.
- MAC address spoofing is easily done. It's a feature included in basic $50 switches these days. Much easier to spoof the old MAC than to register a new MAC with your ISP.
- Unique MACs are assigned to every network device in a computer. The WiFi adapter has a different MAC from the ethernet adapter. You wouldn't even need to switch devices to vote twice, simply switch from wired to wireless. Even wired directly into a laptop vs into a laptop's docking station will result in a different MAC used.
User avatar
Jlabute
Guru
Posts: 6649
Joined: Jan 18th, 2009, 1:08 pm

Re: Bots messing with Castanets Polls.

Post by Jlabute »

:up:
Oh yes, you are absolutely correct. I was just thinking along the theoretical lines of IF the MAC address was available, it still would not work. It is not technically feasible either as you said.

Until one day in the far future if individual identity is ever tied to a single un-spoofable, secure ubiquitous electronic address from birth, somehow.
Galileo - In the sciences, the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason from an individual man.

Return to “Computers, Science, Technology”