Gaming the System: Becoming the Top Option

Currently it’s possible to amend option titles. This could be taken advantage of, e,g, the following scenario.

  1. A question is asked (e.g. Who is the best Doctor?).
  2. An option becomes the favourite (inevitably Tom Baker if this
    site’s demographic is representative of the whole population).
  3. I then go to the Tom Baker entry and change the name/content to John Bevan, winning the virtual admiration of the internet.

I suspect others would notice and correct it, but I can see some companies seeing this as an easy way to promote their products if safe guards are not put in place. If they’re in niche areas, such changes are more likely to go unnoticed.

Perhaps locking down a title after a certain amount of time, restricting who can edit such information, or requiring approval for edits to options which have received votes may be required?

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Some things that safeguard against this:

  • You can see the edit history, so this kinda thing will be recorded forever, and disciplinary action will eventually be dispensed
  • We could grab all title edit requests and filter them by how much the title changes if we find this to be a problem and want to find instances of it.
  • If an option has reasons on it, it would be harder to change all the content to something new
  • Since we record all this, would a professional company try this we could always internet shame them :slight_smile:

To make the process a bit easier, we could require approval for title edits that are drastically different from the original title.


I think I’m generally in favor of requiring approval (whether from moderators, or other contributors) after some number of votes.

Not requiring approval for small changes would make things a lot smoother, but I think we need to be careful not to relax the requirements too much, since even minor changes could potentially be used surreptitiously to discourage people from voting for an option. Even just removing all capitalization and punctuation could dramatically damage people’s perception of an option’s legitimacy.

On the other hand, if in the notifications for edits, we make title changes really clear, any major change late in an option’s life would probably get enough eyes on it to get it reverted quickly (or alternatively, get attention for edits that need approval).