This is going to be a long post, so well, bulk up! XD
Before reading- Dont take the tone as sarcasm, I am trying to introduce my PoV in a as comical and entertaining way as possible
We give the laddus to the top contributor but not in terms of the number of votes, some hidden criteria (might be subjective criteria)
Firstly, it should be made clear that you people are suffering from such mal-practicers BECAUSE of poor moderation. Poor moderation of forums is the root cause of 85% of the issues here. Making changes here and there may change something, but till the time moderation here is poor, new issues will keep cropping up.
Now, proving my point-
We give the laddus to the top contributor but not in terms of the number of votes, some hidden criteria (might be subjective criteria)
To what effect? The hidden criteria will give a bigger burden and controversy on you than votes. What will you judge a guy on? Potential Candidates and Their failures-
- His number of answers this month- You will have to verify that the answers he posted are genuine and not 1-liners. And seriously, will you be going through all the answers of people made that month? And if no, then will it be fair? And let me complicate things, how will you decide in case of-a user giving high quality, excellent answer or tutorials but, of course, in lower number as it takes time , V/S another user giving 100 answers which are just average (or perhaps a bit below average), but nevertheless he is active.
- His number of questions- You cannot make judgement on it alone. Point 1 and Point 2 complement each other and its either both in or both out. Many users who help rarely ask a question, not to mention when someone sees that the one asking more questions got laddus, he will spam the forums with all sort of trivial stuff.
- His general contribution- i.e. Statistics of answers, questions, votes, upvotes etc. - Again, you need to go thorugh that of EVERY person on forum to decide. Isnt it easier to just check in forums twice a day and make sure everyone is following the rules?
If you make a “hidden” criteria, then it NEEDS to be automated, else you will have to do 10x efforts verify things manually. And if its automated AND hidden, theres always a big scope of mistake. Example - You set it to depend on “Number of Answers” - Well, some user might be posting lots of 1 liners which arent useful. And if you put a “Restriction” that answer must be more than “X” words, again unfair. Some people write real concise and neat answers, sometimes genuine queries are also resolved in 2 lines. Failure is because “ALL one liners are NOT bad”
I really cannot think of anything where “hidden criteria” will save your efforts than moderating the forums.
Next, did I even went on to the hidden v/s public debate?
If you keep it hidden-
The malpracticers are still there. They will feel “I will do something to place on list.” There might be 1 guy who is making sure his name is on “last answered” of all questions on front page to make impression that he is active helper. Another making all sort of useless questions. And it doesnt actually solve the issue of people making multiple accounts to gain karma. Because, no matter WHAT criteria you choose, in the end its discuss. Contribution here, 90% of time is, solving other persons doubts. There WILL be questions, there WILL be answers, and your criteria cannot be ignorant/independent of that. You cannot rule out that your criteria will be infallible/always-right.
If you make it public-
Whats the use of changing criteria then?
"Oh! This time users asking most question are getting laddus? Let me copy paste some thousands of questions from stackoverflow to here or invent some on the spot. Or rather, lets goto hard section of practice and then ask “How to solve problem X” "
“Oh! This time users with maximum answers are getting laddus? Time for 1 liners :)”
“1 liners not considered? Thats where I can put my essay-writing skills to use. (Read: using unnecessary words to come near word limit)”
Again, wont solve fake account thing.
And wait! I didnt mention the controversy part yet.
"User X clearly has less contribution. He keeps spamming useless answers here and there and look! He got laddus! This is clearly unfair, and I dont know on what criteria admins decide but I dont think that user X should have
*Insert mud throwing here*
*Insert RIP codechef discuss comment here*
*Insert admins are unfair remark here*"
What I mean to say (in a well, comical way. Dont take the tone as sarcasm, I am trying to introduce my PoV in a as comical and entertaining way as possible ) this will potentially increase mud throwing threads here and there, malpracticers will make sure to use their “Freedom of Speech” to the fullest. And by hook or crook, you know…
It might cause a bit of unrest among the users, who want to farm laddus and do so with genuine contribution.
This brings me to the second argument.
Why keep laddus as prize if its so much trouble-
Because, accept it or not, discuss wont be as lively as it is without laddus. Given the present audience, I must say some things.
Codechef does NOT give out test cases because of its aim of self development. The users need to figure out on their own. But when they are unable to do so, then they have no option to ask here at discuss. This is a LOT dependent on people actually wanting to help others. You cant merely depend on people helping out of goodwill, becuase they dont have any obligation to help.
Debugging code, finding failing test cases, it takes time. It takes me sometimes more than an hour to see where the code failed. Not to mention, some times the askers dont bother saying a simple thank you as well. They just leave the question as it is.
Now, there are 3 type of people. People who contribute for their own reasons, be it for self-satisfaction, learning something, improving knowledge, or for reputation. People who contribute solely for laddus. People try to get laddus via malpractice.
Personally speaking, questions which increase your knowledge are rare. Like, perhaps 1 in 30. I primarily contribute for reputation (which I am realizing isnt worth it, cause no one cares).
A good portion of users contribute for laddus. And let me make it immediately clear, it is NOT bad if you are contributing just for laddus, and not with any emotion of helping others. Sorry, but this is a real world. Take it this way, you are a customer, you go to a shop to buy something, and shopkeeper expects you to pay him something in return. You wont go on calling the the shopkeeper “dying for money” just because he asked you his rights. Similarly, you cant throw mud on these people who contribute with laddus in mind. There are customers, they are serving them, and codechef is giving them the expected pay.
Someone helping you purely out of his goodwill, or some non-monetary reasons is GOOD, but know that the person is not OBLIGED to do that. Just because one shopkeeper decides to give you your item for free doesnt mean you go on shouting at every other shopkeeper who asks you money. Simple as that.
Also, if you feel that people asking for upvotes is bad, it means that somewhere or other, howsoever small, there is a portion of your mind thinking of/in terms of laddus.
The problem is, people who MALPRACTICE, DONT CONTRIBUTE AT ALL, and come in top 5 list. THEY are the problem.
Removing laddus will make the second section of people immediately go down. You may argue that its how opensource and other websites work. Yes, but people get something in return there. I can star my github profile and use it for placements, showing the projects I am involved in. Stackoverflow also maintains profiles to a good extent, one can use it to show off or get connections or anything. Not saying it will directly get you a job, but it can give a good first impression. Codechef doesnt have any of this. Will they be willing to implement something, such that codechef discuss profile is useful as far as these gains are concerned? Assuming that it isn’t already on their plan list, the only thing this will help them in is removing laddus. I don’t think the effort needed is “less” than proper moderation (although, I will be really happy if this is implemented).
(My argument above is strictly based of efforts needed in implementing the changes.)
You cannot solely rely on people who are contributing out of their goodwill. Eventually, one time or other they will get busy themselves and will have to be inactive here. Whether one likes it or not, to some extent, the second category of people keep discuss live. (Again, that doesnt mean that they have the right to go on shouting and demanding upvotes for any useless answer they say. Its a different debate, hence not taking it any further)
Further, the 300 laddu prize isnt something that great either. Its 300, not 3000. The only reason 70% of malpracticers do ill practices to gain laddus is because “grass always appears greener on other side.” I personally never cashed out laddus, and am not even planning on doing so. 1 month contribution = water bottle, 3 month gives you a shirt (your size is 90% time out of stock), 4 months gives you a pen.
AND BEFORE ALL THOSE DIE-HARD PARKER PEN LOVERS pounce on me saying “Its a parker pen you idiot” Let me say that-
Friend: Hey! You have been superstar of discuss since 4 months. Did you get something?
Guy: Yeah! After 4 months of hard work I was finally able to afford getting a parker pen from codechef!!
Friend: ....Cant you buy a parker pen for less than 150 from black market next door? (LOL! XD)
Guy: ITS FRUIT OF MY CONTRIBUTION FOR 4 MONTHS.
Friend: ....."Swag" bro....
BTW, dont think it as “Codechef goodies are shit”. They are awesome, but the good ones like drones etc will take more than 300 laddus a month to become affordable in a reasonable span of time. (Kindle seems good tho :D) They are costly af.
Okay…damn I forgot what I was to type next! XD
Anyways, let me continue with solution aspect, I will edit the post if I recall that.
Dedicated moderator is needed. You people KNOW the solution but…I dont know…why are you people making it seem to me that you are eluding/trying-to-dodge that idea?
You guys have rules, you need a moderator to enforce it.
Same question is being repeatedly asked, again and again and again, and it has same answer being psoted, again and again and again (eg- “The Lead Game” . More than 10-15 questions had same answer by me “Please read table 2 in statement carefully”). You need a guy to delete those questions (and hence revert the karma gain which happened via it) to avoid unfair means. Sorry, but if that question was already on forums, AND easily searchable, then you dont deserve any karma for asking that. Also, the answerer doesnt deserve any karma as well, because who knows even he might have just copy pasted the previous answer. In case genuine efforts were put in, then I am sorry, but you should have searched the forums as well and asked the thread opener to search the forums. Like it or not, duplicate questions and answers dont deserve any credit.
I know, initially people will cry here and there, this and that, but ITS A RULE to not to ask duplicate question, especially if your exact question is on front page of the forum. Rule is a rule, and must be enforced with iron hands. Its my ideology, “Keep things under your fist (i.e. under your control), dont let it slip by. Deal with violations immediately, with iron hand.”
In WORST case, you people will end up making an exception. A simple sorry and awarding equivalent karma points and we are done with!! And thats the WORST case.
Thats the beauty of a human doing it, instead of an automated system. No one can deceive a guy with sharp perception, every one can deceive a machine with even smartest algorithm.
And that reminds me of what I wanted to say.
You seriously need a moderator to stop all this mud throwing in forums. Personal insults arent allowed. Then why let it slip by?
Is respect of any member not worth anything? Thats what I am seriously thinking now. Keeping all outside issues out of this, and stating my argument-
Had it happened in some gaming site, the moderator would have deleted the thread, issued a private mail clearly warning the user, and if the activity was repeated, use penalty and banning. I am not seeing even that much moderation here.
Its justified if some user doesnt want to comment because he doesnt want to get involved in, but you are ADMIN, not a mere average user. It is your RESPONSIBILITY, to make sure discuss is free from all this sort of activity. And for that, you cannot be a mere spectator of this activity, you have to actively indulge in taking actions. I am sorry, and it hurts me to say this, but if some user is making thread that there that there is a lot of mud throwing going on discuss, then somewhere or other it is a failure on your part as well. You were entrusted with responsibility to moderate it…Please try harder .I wont continue this any further, it hurts me more saying this.
I will just end this topic here saying that, if atleast this mud throwing isnt stopped, you will lose out on people contributing on forums looking out of goodwill or respect. You people need to start DOING what you say, ENFORCING the rules, whether it be googleable questions being asked, people happily making 10 accounts or anything. Without poor moderation you people will be back to square one , sooner or later.