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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/royalhalo

Reporting trolls

Has anyone ever had success reporting trolls? There is a new one, or a permutation of the same one, who has "edited" well over 100 valid translations in an Italian to English article about Costa Rica in the last few hours by adding a period/full stop before (usually) or after the entry. He is also Friending higher level translators. I have reported this person and others, sent messages to Duolingo, sent messages to moderators, and nothing seems to work. I know other people have repeatedly reported as well. Are there any alternatives? Downvoting simply seems to be fuel for these people.

April 1, 2015

39 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AureliaUK

It sounds like the one I reported (twice). Either someone else has hit upon the same type of abuse independently, or he hasn't been dealt with, or he has been dealt with but has returned.

Dealing with abuse just doesn't seem to be any sort of priority with TPTB. It makes me wonder whether they have any genuine interest at all in the user experience. There are too many of those damned A/B tests and not enough dealing with known problems.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 448

I've reported him as well, and I downvote + revert the changes whenever I see them to make sure the original translators are getting credit, but I don't think there's anything else we can do. Making contact with him in any way is just fuel to the fire, and policing Immersion isn't a staff priority.

I think it's the same person as before, with a new account. Guessing they finally got their old account locked after months of vandalism and a number of reports, and then it took them a whole of 30 seconds to create a new one... Oh joy!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AureliaUK

Which is why IP addresses should be blocked where abuse has been gratuitous and persistent.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salihua

It isn't as easy as you think to block an IP address. Most of these actors are probably boys using public cafes, schools, libraries, and universities. They often have 'on demand' IP addresses assigned from a pool. They simply have to get up and move to another station.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AureliaUK

That's certainly possible but considering how extensive this vandalism is, it must be the work of hours rather than a few minutes, which makes me think it's some spotty 13-year old in his or her (more likely his) bedroom.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salihua

One of the worst actors is almost certainly Thai. Cafes are open 24 hrs and kids sit in there all day and night.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AureliaUK

He has a Vietnamese name, but that does't mean he's in SE Asia. He could be sitting at his laptop in Chicago for all we know.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 448

Definitely!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JusttheletterK

I don't think we can directly block his account for all users, his account is still active, but he changed names, in his settings and profiles, thinking people wouldn't recognize such a troll.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AureliaUK

It looks like the same one, though he has now switched from Spanish to Italian and is removing as well as adding punctuation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JusttheletterK

Yes, totally, also some other articles recently uploaded, he deleted half the numbers for say, a population translation. He is still on level 1 and yes, reporting simply doesn't work.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JusttheletterK

Also the article "Regno Unito" I literally spent half an hour correcting all the translations I just did.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Splushkin

It looks like his previous account was deleted, but he immediately recreated his old one. I did report him this morning. Unfortunately it is seen by some as an easy way to gain "imaginary" points to get to level 25, so they start to copy this behavior.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

DON'T revert them. Just downvote them. When you revert them, you protect them from further downvotes. If you don't revert them, then they can accumulate hundreds of downvotes from a single article.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 448

Given that all they do is vandalize and type gibberish, one set of downvotes should be more than enough to keep them firmly planted at tier 1. I'd rather make sure that those deserving of them get their upvotes as well. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Splushkin

I do not think they care about downvotes. Their goal seems to be to collect XPs.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AureliaUK

I think this as well. The reality is that someone seriously persistent could reach Level 25 without the slightest knowledge of the language concerned.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salihua

Actually they can also be collecting downvotes. It is the thrill of disturbing others and eliciting ANY reaction, but they prefer an aversive reaction signaling that they got you. Just think of a virus. It is just the fun of knocking something down and making sure that they have had "some effect" on the world.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/likes2hike

I want to but haven't downvoted this type of offender, because if they happen to check the "share credit" box, I wonder if that means the previous translator gets penalized as well?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

Downvotes don't cascade. This has been tested many times.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Splushkin

Thank you. There are people who actually upvote their edits. I think that it is important to make sure that they do not advance past tier 1. If they do get to higher levels they can start downvote legitimate translations, causing a lot of harm.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/happeelove

Language learning is more important to others than others. I hope they realize that and stop messing with serious learners.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Splushkin

I do not think that downvotes will affect previous translator but we can always run an experiment to find it out.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salihua

No need. I gave a bunch to a bad actor that would have cascaded down to Royal and I would have heard about it if they had!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/likes2hike

Salihua, it doesn't appear you are a higher tier than Royal so she wouldn't have received any of your downvotes anyway? Perhaps an experiment, as Splushkin suggests...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salihua

Ah, that's true. But I also did it to others when I was downvoting a stalker and they also didn't come back with complaints. BTW I am not in favor of downvoting bad actors. I was doing it as an experiment in itself. As I had predicted, it increased his behavior and he focused his attention on my translations. His account was taken down.

I also am not taking the silly periods off. Any attention is reinforcing for them. The only solution long term is a script that identifies their pattern and then blocks their account. That means they have to start at the beginning to collect downvotes, anger, etc. by opening a new account. The labor without reinforcement should be aversive. But it is not easy to write such a script.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gracie_A22

When you say report do you mean the 'report abuse' button? Sorry if this is a stupid question but I don't want to click it if it means something else :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/royalhalo

No, not a dumb question. As you're translating or editing, you'll see it right above the "Looks good" box.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gracie_A22

Thanks a lot! I have seemed to come across my first 'troll' and someone gave me a link to this discussion. They didn't even change the translations at all and are getting lots of credit for it! They've had about 100 or so upvotes in the last couple of hours which doesn't fail to frustrate me since I (and others) should get the credit.

After that good 'ol rant, WOW congrats on your languages :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/royalhalo

I know how you feel! I haven't seen any trolls in a while and thought they'd been dispatched. Always good to get those rants out.Thank you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gracie_A22

I was actually really worried that I sounded too whiny :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Splushkin

You can also send an e-mail to abuse@duolingo.com to report abuse


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/royalhalo

Which, as far as I can tell, is delivered into a black hole...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Splushkin

Good morning, I think that they are more likely to react if there is an actual verbal abuse, but it is still worth trying. What they really need is an Immersion moderator.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/royalhalo

Excellent idea!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Splushkin

I'm not sure what would be the volume of complaints.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ifphigenia

Not if the report is about serious obscenity or risks to children. I made a report once on those grounds and it was dealt with in minutes. ........ anything else goes into the black hole!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shoshinshadesu

Duolingo is getting not fair towards the actual learners. Every week I can see some people have less XP but they are far advanced than others just in one native (?) language. It is really disappointing that Duolingo is becoming the place with trolls and cheaters. We are here to learn but not to feel intimidated. Every day, I have my own plan how and what to learn but that "unhealthy" competition makes me feel ridiculed in my efforts. Anyways, all good things are coming to an end, so as Duolingo . I don't want have followers or some social activity around me, I just want to learn and place my goals for every single day. Correct me if I am wrong....all above is my own observation and opinion.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/W-Cephei

Hi Royal. I hope you are well. It's been a while... I'm writing to you here because I'm not being able to contact through other means. I wanted to tell you that I have an immersion-like website running and that if you are still interested in learning languages this way you can take a look at it. The website is: www.emeenki.com ... And it'd be great if you can get into the website's Discord channel: https://discord.gg/sThHyG9 it's a good way we have to communicate with each other. I'm trying to reunite the old Immersioners. Hope to see you there cheers!

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