Cheating the Steam Workshop?

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Essence, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    How the hell does Blind Piper have 2 mods rated "more popular" than Compleat Essential despite having, in one case, about 5% as many subscribers? Is there some way to game the system with a bot or some such?

    Not that I'm really that upset about it, but it seems kind of shady.
  2. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    Higher download count, perhaps?

    Either way, why do you even care? Steam can't even keep track of achievement progress, so why do you think something like that will work correctly.
    Vitellozzo likes this.
  3. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    What can we do to fix this? I would gladly participate with a protest vote against the cheater and for yourself. CES, FAXPAX, RR and ID are the most popular by several orders of magnitude. Any evidence to the contrary is fictitious.
  4. Catbread

    Catbread Member

    I noticed that too, while I was checking to see where I was on the top rated all time list out for a stroll.
    It's definitely odd. What would be the point of screwing up one's workshop stats, though?
    Also, is it hurting anyone, maybe by pushing legit good mods off the front page? (Not that his mods aren't good. I'm playing without mods at the moment, so I wouldn't know.)

    Maybe he just got all his online friends to upvote his stuff, or something.
  5. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    Whoooooaaaa there. We have no evidence of any kind that he or anybody cheated the system here, so hold off on the accusations.
    Some people were discussing this a few days ago in IRC, and that was during the Summer Sale as well.

    I personally checked and saw numbers go wonky multiple times during the day (with crafter's helpers mod rating going up as well and down constantly, entire voting numbers disappear and appear elsewhere.)

    I would wait until the Summer Sale is off before seeing if these are the "permanent" stats, first of all.

    Secondly, the only way I could see someone able to game the system is register thousands of Steam accounts, with thousands of different emails, for the sole purpose of bumping a mod on a workshop of a small game nobody (in terms of raw number comparison) cares about. That would be kind of silly.
    The mods are not linked anywhere google indexes either.

    So like I said, let's wait until the sale is finished and the numbers go back to normal.
  6. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Ah, so it might just be Steam being Steam. OK. I'll wait and see...
  7. I'm unsure how the system works myself, I'm rather surprised at the popularity of my mod, which I made out of boredom because I was annoyed that I knew I had seen a leather cap somewhere in one of the floors above me and couldn't find the thing to make some tinkerer's goggles (nearly 700 subscribers). However when looking at the Top Rated All Time portion of the Workshop it does seem odd that both Lunar Heritage and Usurper have more votes in their rating than they do subscribers. There are about 1200 subscribers for Usurper, and it has 2000 ratings and there are about 700 subscribers for Lunar Heritage and about 1200 ratings. Gunz and No Bulletz also has more ratings than subscribers.

    Of course it could just be a byproduct of the Steam Community badge, where one of the activities you're supposed to complete is rating a mod. Still seems a bit odd that more people would rate a mod than actually use it. Maybe they're tallying multiple votes from the same accounts or something? Perhaps the Steam Workshop system could benefit from something similar to that which they employ on the Nexus mod websites, where you have to both have downloaded the mod and then wait some time before you could rate it. Looking briefly at the top rated mods for other games, the only games where the top rated all time mods have more ratings than subscribers are DoD and Naval War: Arctic Circle.
  8. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Why not have a system here to offer the clarity of what mods new users will want? Countless times I have told people they would love to grab CES, FAXPAX, RR and ID. I would almost go so far as to say they are part of the base game for most of us. But there is no clear way to rate such things yet. Perhaps we should think about fixing this since Steam can only be relied upon to confound us.
  9. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    Well technically that could be achieved by mod collections over there, you can download a person's collection (picked mods). As for here, I don't really know.
  10. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Would this not be equally susceptible to abuse and errors as the Steam subscriptions?

    I think the only way to make things fair and reliable is to take it out of the hands of Steam and make it here. I may well make a thread of what I suggest for new players to use. It would not be every major mod in existence, but it would be the big four and a good review of why those four are so nice.
  11. FaxCelestis

    FaxCelestis Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Actually, popularity may not be based on subscriptions but instead on favorites.
  12. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    Negative, Essence's mods have more favorites.

    Also, taking a look at the top mods right now, upvotes don't appear to be what ranks them either. For example, Death by a Thousand Taunts has a bit less upvotes than the "Cheat" mod yet the Cheat mod is behind it.

    I'm thinking, if the numbers are the real numbers, which I'm doubtful right now, that there's some complex ranking system that isn't just one number. There might be a diminishing return too if a mod has been at the top for a long while.

    edit: also, taking a look at Skyrim mods (which I cannot see upvotes/downvotes as I don't have admin there), the "Hermit Tree House", top three mod, has like half the favorites, subscribers as "Midas Magic"
  13. Kel~

    Kel~ Member

    I'm taking a guess that it rates it on some sort of popularity-by-time factor. Perhaps it ranks them on which has the most *something* each day, or week, or something. My 'Blink Mage' mod currently appears at the top, but it doesn't have an awful lot to its name in terms of anything.
    Perhaps (unlikely) there's a biasing element so that more recently released, less popular mods are pushed higher up so they get more views.
  14. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    This is what I'm thinking, honestly. That and the numbers being really wonky with the summer sale, too.
  15. Jellp

    Jellp Member

    My mod (gunz&No Bulletz), seems to have double the ratings and half the subscribers. I do not cheat the system. I think Steam is trolling. =|
    Talow, Daynab and OmniaNigrum like this.
  16. nivomi

    nivomi Member

    My guess (and it's just that, a guess) is that the Steam Workshop implements some sort of decay system. Say Tom wants to try out Compleat Essential Skills. He hits the Subscribe button, and this adds one arbitrary popularity point. Say Tom really enjoys it, and adds it to his favorites. This adds 5 arbitrary popularity points. My guess is that (for the purposes of keeping the Popular Content page "fresh" or what have you), over time Tom's 6 points decay. After a month, his 6 points have become 3.4 points. However, Generic New Mod has gotten 5000 Popularity points over a short period of time, meaning there's less point decay.

    Another possibility is that different users have different point-values depending on certain factors (account age, amount of TF2 hats owned, etc.) that results in Tom's vote being worth 10 points, while Larry's vote is worth 30.

    This is all, of course, a bunch of theories with no real supporting evidence. An equally reasonable guess is that Steam's servers are crazy, or that it's all a government conspiracy to keep those delicious digglebucks out of the hands of modders.
  17. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    I doubt it; that makes sense for Most Popular This Week, but for Most Popular of All Time, it really doesn't. And I'm fairly positive that the only metric for Most Popular of all Time is the 'ratings', as in the actual number of stars you get. It's the only thing that seems to be consistent in it's declining across the MPoAT rankings.
    OmniNegro likes this.
  18. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    I and another who shall not be named would love for Steam to be sued over this sort of unclear discrimination of mods. Sure they never guaranteed it would be fair, but this is sometimes pretty damned obvious that they are rigging the "Popularity" of some mods at times.

    Steam aims to be a distribution method that is fair and reasonable. They are absolutely not fair or reasonable. I would sooner have this guy's hairstyle and believe Steam was made by the same 'friggen aliens that made the pyramids than believe Steam was not blatantly rigging their messed up popularity system.
    (Credit to someone other than me for the image.)
    Talow and SkyMuffin like this.
  19. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    It's silly to suggest they are rigging the system more than it just being broken while there's a lot of server load.
  20. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    When is there not a lot of server load?