Jestersage

KerbalX, plagiarization, and Downvoting

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A certain poster on KerbalX had once again plagiarized a craft. Unlike last time however, I no longer see a desire to downvote it and report it, seeing each downvote costs 5 points. I also do not know if I remove the downvote, whether those 5 points are refunded. Even if it's likely to be identified as "based on someone's craft", those points are gone.

I am also curious how effective the report system is. Even if the creator of KerbalX did confirm it's based on someone's craft, that blue banner is blue in color (so it doesn't serve as a warning) and at the bottom, out of sight of most people. It should be at the top, in bright red to catch people's attention.

So overall, I do not feel confident that KerbalX actually care about the plagiarization. Then in that case it's no different than Steam Workshop, which have far greater reach.

EDIT: Right -- solution suggestions

  1. While a downvote remove 5 points, rescind of the downvote should refund the points.
  2. Quote

    On a side note, if you down vote a craft and then undo it... the points do get refunded to you.  If the plagiarized craft is not yours, nothing stopping you from creating a "Plagiarized Craft" hangar to store such offenses, if you wish to volunteer to police such activity.

  3. If a craft is checked and confirmed to be likely plagerized, the banner should be in bright red, at the top. Color may be changed to accommodate color blinded
  4. (optional) If it's checked and confirmed to be likely plagerized, downvotes should not cost 5 points. May be 1, up to 3.
Edited by Jestersage
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I mean, it's an unofficial site ran by one guy basically.

Not exactly a lot he can do as far as moderating every entry.

I agree that ideally; copied designs should be flagged in a very obvious way or even outright removed if it can be proven.

Edited by Rocket In My Pocket
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11 minutes ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

I mean, it's an unofficial site ran by one guy basically.

Not exactly a lot he can do as far as moderating every entry.

I agree that ideally; copied designs should be flagged in a very obvious way or even outright removed if it can be proven.

I understand that. However, downvoting is not only heavily penalized, but unless the message was not explain otherwise, a downvote will always cost points with no refund.

The moderation is sufficient for now, for what it's worth. All he need to do is to fix point 1, with point 2 be next step, and point 3 is "nice to have"

Edited by Jestersage

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2 hours ago, Jestersage said:

A certain poster on KerbalX had once again plagiarized a craft. Unlike last time however, I no longer see a desire to downvote it and report it, seeing each downvote costs 5 points. I also do not know if I remove the downvote, whether those 5 points are refunded. Even if it's likely to be identified as "based on someone's craft", those points are gone.

I am also curious how effective the report system is. Even if the creator of KerbalX did confirm it's based on someone's craft, that blue banner is blue in color (so it doesn't serve as a warning) and at the bottom, out of sight of most people. It should be at the top, in bright red to catch people's attention.

So overall, I do not feel confident that KerbalX actually care about the plagiarization. Then in that case it's no different than Steam Workshop, which have far greater reach.

EDIT: Right -- solution suggestions

  1. While a downvote remove 5 points, rescind of the downvote should refund the points. If it does, it wasn't mentioned
  2. If a craft is checked and confirmed to be likely plagerized, the banner should be in bright red, at the top. Color may be changed to accommodate color blinded
  3. (optional) If it's checked and confirmed to be likely plagerized, downvotes should not cost 5 points. May be 1, up to 3.

I'd suggest you throw out all 3 suggested solutions and just do what I do...

1)  post a link to your craft in the comments.  Chances are you'll probably get more traffic to your original craft as a result, since the copied craft might be giving you some "posted this day/week/month" visibility that you might not otherwise get.  Not to mention, if I see a note like that posted on a craft I would click thru to the original and download/upvote it if I wanted it.

2)  Make yourself a "Hangar O' Shame" and add the craft to it so people know it's your craft.  I literally called my hangar "Hey! this is XLjedi's Design!" and it appears right there underneath the craft.  Not to mention you have a convenient place to store such craft, and in the hangar description you can tell people to take down the craft so they don't continue to embarass themselves. 

...and get off the whole downvote 1-3-5 point kick.  Not worth it, since people can sort users on KerbalX now by "Points per Craft" and there's no reason to knock yourself down over this sort of thing.   And as far as Steam Workshop goes...   I can tell you, it's even worse over there.  There is ZERO recourse against blatently plagiarized craft in the Steam workshop and frankly I think some of the issue with Steam is people don't even know what the little Steam button is and actually accidentally post-up other peoples stuff without even realizing what they did.  What makes Steam particularly crappy, is they have no way to personalize the craft page and/or thumbnail that appears with the craft...  So...  I rather hate it.

On a side note, if you down vote a craft and then undo it... the points do get refunded to you.  If the plagiarized craft is not yours, nothing stopping you from creating a "Plagiarized Craft" hangar to store such offenses, if you wish to volunteer to police such activity.

Edited by XLjedi
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Tagging @katateochi (KerbalX site admin). 

You're not the first person to have voiced concerns about unoriginality and whatnot on KerbalX.  Unfortunately, Katateochi is only one kerbal, and he does enough amazing work just keeping the site running that to expect them to moderate everything would be unfair. 

One potential solution to this which I see (I forget if I've mentioned it before or not) would be to have a sort of auto-moderator that prevents this sort of thing. Here's my sort of brain-dump on the issue.

Things that KerbalX already knows, which can determine whether a craft is identical to another: Mass, Part Count, Cost, Part composition, image links, dimensions, game version

Whatever filter is (theoretically) put into place would need to be accurate enough to permit craft which are similar by coincidence (I'm sure there are unique planes with identical part counts out there; there's just so many craft out there), but still nab craft which are exact copies. Additionally, the filter should be optimized as to not take up too much server space on upload (it gets exponentially more difficult to check against every craft as more craft are uploaded, and server specs are expensive). Therefore, this filter should be as specific as possible (at least in the early part of the filter) while relying on as little information as possible.

 

Given this, I think a good trial filter would look something like this:

stage 1. Select all craft within 200 funds price (this should narrow things from  ~30k craft to 300, by rough estimation) (30k comparisons)

stage 2. Select all craft within 1 part count (this should narrow things to maybe 2 dozen craft) (300 comparisons)

stage 3. Select all craft within 1m in all dimensions (this should narrow things to no more than 3 craft) (50 comparisons)

stage 4: compare part counts. Assume any craft with a deviation of less than 1 part is plagiarized and flag it (~200 comparisons) (most expensive comparison per craft)

This still works out to approximately one comparison per craft in the database. This could be optimized by creating a database of prices, which saves individual computation time at the cost of server space and time in compiling/updating this database.

As with all auto-moderation techniques, this would be easy to fool (adding some parts somewhere, or changing fuel loads, etc). It would really only cut down on the no-effort copies, but do nothing against anyone intentionally 'reposting' craft with slight modifications.

 

 

But in conclusion, it's unfair to accuse Katateochi of not caring about KerbalX. They're the only reason we're sharing craft alongside pictures and descriptions on such an awesome platform. There's only so much one person can do.

Edited by Servo
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@Servo With those filters, what if you just posted a variant of your craft with an extra part such as a more powerful engine on a plane, or an extra fuel tank? Still,  i think that is a good idea if implemented correctly.

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As someone that has personally communicated with @katateochi on a number of issues regarding the KerbalX site (to include not just the occasional plagiarized craft, but also website issues, growth, etc), I would just like to point out that he is very approachable with suggestions to improve a user's experience on the site, and he genuinely cares about such things.  If he does not implement a valid feature request, he usually has a good reason; such as website server loads, coding limitations, real-life priorities that may take precedence over site management, etc.

By no means am I discounting the merits of this thread.  It's insulting to have someone claim another player's creativeness and ingenuity as their own.  I've been copied multiple times in the past, and as someone that takes pride in their creations, I completely sympathize with the situation.  However, I generally try to temper my frustration with the idea that for all I know, the user re-posting a plagiarized craft is a 10 year old kid somewhere that either doesn't know any better, or isn't mature enough to care. :rolleyes:

In the end, people will be people.  Moving the "Copied" banner to the top and/or making the color more obvious are reasonable IMO, but in the mean time I think @XLjedi's technique is probably the best mitigation. As long as we don't start a trend of flame wars on KerbalX of users throwing each other's craft into insultingly-named hangers just out of spite (like "Hanger of crappy designs by a crappy designer"). :)

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2 hours ago, Raptor9 said:

[snip] ...throwing each other's craft into insultingly-named hangers just out of spite (like "Hanger of crappy designs by a crappy designer"). :)

OH!  Good idea!  ...mind if I use that?  :D

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Hey guys,

So getting right to it. Here's what I'm going to to.  

In the short term:
The banner that says a craft is based on another craft will become more prominent (top of page, alert style colours)
How about this:

Spoiler

7pm4YTw.png?1

Catch up on the backlog of repost reports. 
I'll try to get that done in the next 24 hours.

Longer term:
I need help! Time is something that im struggling to find enough of lately, RL has become somewhat tricky this last year.  So I need help moderating the site. I've already built the facility to elevate someone to moderator status and have a sort-of "admin" panel which lists all reported content and enables a moderator to take various actions.  

The reports admin panel is pretty simple and it was adequate to start with, but it is now in need of an overhaul to meet the new demands.
The main issue with it is if a moderator removes someone's craft, that's it, the craft is gone and there's no going back (short of extracting it from a backup, and that's fiddly as backups are intended to restore the whole database, not just single entries). 
The other problem is that when a craft is reported, the info about the report is stored on the craft object. That means that when the craft gets deleted then all info about the report is deleted too.  Having a history of resolved reports would be useful.
There's also currently no way to have a discussion with either the person who reported the craft or whoever posted it (aside from emailing them, and that doesn't always get a reply).

So two fold; I need some people to volunteer to become KerbalX moderators!  Ideally I'd like a group of around 5 including me (and it would be super great if one of those was also a forum moderator).  
And I need to re-write the report system.  Shouldn't be too much work, but I gotta find the time.

 

23 hours ago, Jestersage said:

So overall, I do not feel confident that KerbalX actually care about the plagiarization

I'm really sorry that you've felt that. It quite the opposite, I really do care about it.  I regard my role as a curator of your work, and preventing plagiarization is something I do take seriously.
I am just struggling to cope with RL atm and keeping up with maintenance.  This last couple weeks it's been a choice between dealing with moderation or putting my time into updating the KerbalX mods for 1.5....(which I've not even had a chance to play yet!)

 

One the subject of an automated system. There is already one in place and it catches quite a lot of the direct copies.  The problem with automated checking is it's either a very intensive operation (and craft upload is already server intense) or it's not very accurate.  

The system I have at the moment works by generating a 'signature' for each craft.  The signature is generated by taking the parts in a craft and the craft's size and generating a SHA256 hash from that info.  As a craft is uploaded it's signature is generated (and stored with the craft) and then a single (fast) DB query can be made to see if any other craft have the same signature.  If it does match another craft it warns the uploading user that their craft may be a repost and reminds them off the rules.  If they continue to publish the craft, it flags it for moderation.  
That works well for direct copies and handles a direct copies that have been re-saved in KSP (which changes all the unique part IDs in a craft file, making direct file-file comparisons meaningless). But it doesn't pick up on craft that have been modified. Having a system like @Servo suggests will probably have more positive hits (but also more chance for false positives), but my main concern is how intense an operation it would be.  I will do some experiments and see what I can do. If I can do it as a single DB select, without having to do any iteration over a set of craft then it's possible to do it without adding to an already slow process.

21 hours ago, Bottle Rocketeer 500 said:

With those filters, what if you just posted a variant of your craft with an extra part such as a more powerful engine on a plane, or an extra fuel tank?

That's easy to deal with. The current system already ignores your own craft when checking for matching signatures. 

 

I think the best tool in this fight is you guys and general community vigilance in reporting.  It just needs faster response on the moderator side. In the past I've been able to handle all the reports (as the rate of reported content was pretty low). But this last year has seen a spike in reposting and that's coincided with a major life shift for me that's left me with much less time.  So that's where having a team of moderators would really help.  

 

 

On 11/13/2018 at 7:44 PM, Jestersage said:

If it's checked and confirmed to be likely plagerized, downvotes should not cost 5 points. May be 1, up to 3.

If you downvote a craft and the craft gets deleted, you get your points back.  So yes, it would make sense that if a craft you've downvoted gets flagged, then you should get the points back too.  


TL:DR:
- Sorry for moderation being slow recently! 
- I need people to volunteer to help moderate the site.
- Improvements in the pipe to make the moderation system better
- repost banner on craft will become more prominent.

 

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@katateochi sounds painful...  over an issue that's probably not that big of an issue.  I'd be more concerned over policing inappropriate content and spammers.  Which, you seem to have done a pretty good job of, since I don't think I've ever come across any.

Edited by XLjedi

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34 minutes ago, katateochi said:

The banner that says a craft is based on another craft will become more prominent (top of page, alert style colours)
How about this: 

  Reveal hidden contents

7pm4YTw.png?1

 

That looks clear enough. If you can make the banner clickable and link to the original craft, even better - that will serve to redirect viewing/download traffic to the original craft, which will further discourage the reposting.

 

36 minutes ago, katateochi said:

The main issue with it is if a moderator removes someone's craft, that's it, the craft is gone and there's no going back (short of extracting it from a backup, and that's fiddly as backups are intended to restore the whole database, not just single entries). 
The other problem is that when a craft is reported, the info about the report is stored on the craft object. That means that when the craft gets deleted then all info about the report is deleted too.  Having a history of resolved reports would be useful.

How about copying/moving those craft objects to a separate table, one that only exists to keep a record of removed/reported craft? That would seem to solve both issues - a hasty/accidental moderator click is not fatal anymore, and it keeps the report history. Additionally, that way you can also check if there's a repeat offender involved - the delete step could check that second table to see if there's more objects from that same user.

 

41 minutes ago, katateochi said:

The system I have at the moment works by generating a 'signature' for each craft.  

(...)

Having a system like @Servo suggests will probably have more positive hits (but also more chance for false positives), but my main concern is how intense an operation it would be.  I will do some experiments and see what I can do. If I can do it as a single DB select, without having to do any iteration over a set of craft then it's possible to do it without adding to an already slow process.

How about separating the two? Keep the lightweight hashing system you use now for the automated upload-time check, and only invoke a more thorough test when someone submits a report. Doing the heavier test only on reports would make a huge difference in processing load, since you need only compare the two craft and nothing else. It would require the report to offer a way to unambiguously identify the craft in question though - some type of user/crafts from user pick list.

 

47 minutes ago, katateochi said:

So that's where having a team of moderators would really help.

My time is not in abundance either, but I tend to be on KerbalX at least a few moments every day, so until you get better offers, I'm willing to help out. We need at least one more though, cause it could be my craft being reported and then it would not be ok for me to do the moderation.

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@katateochi, I hear ya on the real-life commitments piece.  If my real-life job wasn't so busy with no set schedule (I'm typing this as I'm getting ready for work), I would volunteer as a moderator.  But I'm afraid my time that was available to serve such duties would be too inconsistent to be viable.  Personally I think you're doing a great job managing the site, and I would say the banner example you displayed is just fine for the purpose it serves.

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1 hour ago, katateochi said:

Having a system like @Servo suggests will probably have more positive hits (but also more chance for false positives), but my main concern is how intense an operation it would be.  I will do some experiments and see what I can do. 

One thought, it may be OK for this to be slow, since it doesn't necessarily need to be synchronous.

  1. Click Upload
  2. The quick hash check runs
  3. Upload page says "Success!"
  4. The slow checks kick off in a background process and auto-report the craft minutes or hours later as needed

Having #4 happen asynchronously has the potential to confuse users, but it should only affect a very small proportion of uploads, so that's probably OK. Unless the overall load on the server becomes too great, of course.

1 hour ago, katateochi said:

a major life shift for me that's left me with much less time.

I hope it's a good shift!

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I am just typing this quickly in the mean time to say that is quite a lot. That warning thing is actually more than enough.

And I understand about busyiness -- I am actually typing this at work. My apologies for laying on this hard.

Now that I have some time to mull over, we also need to be not overly zealous. While some poster may disagree, I think one who actually attribute the craft should get a pass -- in fact, AeroGav had known to have improved/resolved a lot of SSTO issues of interesting designs.

Plus, rocket designs are limited. For example, many Soyuz clone involves "a Pomengenade half-wrapped by a fairing" Yet I know they are not copies.

Edited by Jestersage
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I've updated the banner, so it's more noticable now and in the case of the particular user who'd reposted a bunch of craft, that's earned them a locked account.  

I do still plan to overhaul the report system, but that will take a little while (hopefully not too long though!).  And I am still keen to get some of you guys to pick up the staff of +1 moderation and become KerbalX moderators! So if you think you'd be interested then send me a PM.  But also just carry on doing as you do and reporting craft and I'll do my best to keep up! @Jestersage your reports have been the most useful because of all the extra info you include about the differences, so thankyou for doing that!

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