An Open Letter to Simon Joinson, Editor-in-Chief, DPR.

Started May 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
Paulo Matos
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Re: An Open Letter to Simon Joinson, Editor-in-Chief, DPR.
In reply to Simon Joinson, 3 weeks ago

Simon Joinson wrote:

We're well aware of the accusations of 'cheating' and vote manipulation and have spent quite some time looking into solutions. I hope to be able to talk about those within a couple of months.

But I will say a few things in response to specifics in your letter. For one thing you have no idea (nor could you) about the relative value of Challenges to our business in terms of attracting interest or generating clicks. I, on the other hand, do.

I really, really do want to fix challenges, but it is a large task that requires developer resources that we need, right now, to concentrate on our core business. Rebooting challenges, is, however, in the plan for 2013.

I would also add that we get a significant volume of complaints about challenges being 'ruined' by the constant accusations of cheating, and more significantly, by the unwelcoming and exclusionary atmosphere within this forum, and as created by hosts in their rules.

And this is the nub of the issue. If you impose rules that, for example, disallow hosts with a shorter than 2-year posting history you probably exclude 80% of our active users. If you don't allow new users to vote then challenges will remain an exclusive club for a small (very small) group of users.

For us to invest heavily in challenges they need to be more popular, and for you to get what you want, they need to be less popular.

We are working on a solution that will allow both to happen. To put better controls into the hands of hosts like yourself, to allow you to decide who can enter/vote and how the challenge winner is decided. We will, I promise, have something to show you this year.

We do care about challenges, but we cannot afford to police them (that is the job of the host), so we need to develop new tools to make that easier and more effective, and to allow the system to grow.

There's lots of work being done right now to cut down on cheating, but to be honest we'll never be able to eradicate it immediately (especially if you consider 'asking your friends to vote for you' to be cheating).

For now, keep reporting them to me, and I'll keep killing their accounts. It's all I can do.

Simon

Dear Simon,

Thank you for informing us of your plans to reboot challenges in 2013.
People around here should have received with great enthusiasm your firm statement about something to show them in that year.

Unfortunately I was away in the past 3 years precisely because of the several problems with the challenges and didn't see any of the announced changes. In fact, I only found out that many people previously excited about the challenges also abandoned them.

Can you please give us an update on DPR plans regarding the challenges?

Thank you in advance for your time.

Best regards,
Paulo

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