Re: Bots on RR?

#1
Hello,

I was wondering if anyone had noticed bot activity on RR?

I'm probably just paranoid, but I've noticed that whenever my story gets to a certain rating, around a 4.6 or so on average, or in the top 700 rated stories, a short-while later, I get a really low rating. Its happened nearly every time I've release a chapter and the average rating shot up. Other than the low rating, they never leave a comment, message, or review. I don't take it personally, of course. I ask for criticism in the synopsis of the story.

The low ratings were rather devastating at first because my story had so few ratings, but over time its been less of an issue. I'm certain the averages will eventually win out, allowing my story to move up, but I found the pattern a little too obvious to not ask about it. The chart of ratings for my story also makes it pretty obvious, with peaks on chapter release and then sudden sharp downturns. It would be fairly easy to setup a bot to push people out of the top 500 or so stories, with randomized low ratings. A lot of social media bots get around the filters on Reddit by down-voting all other content, rather than up-voting their own content. I could see this strategy working on RR.

I can only surmise people would want to do this to keep their own story high up, or push stories they don't like down.

Like I said, this could just be my paranoia talking. Its possible that at every chapter release one, and only one, new reader just hates my story. Has anyone noticed a similar pattern or a difficulty moving into the top 500 rated stories?

PS: This is not the account I submitted my story under. I've found, through experience, that pointing out bot activity is a surefire way to get targeted for more bot activity.

Re: Bots on RR?

#2
I thought it was known that some skulduggery is going on behind the scenes. It's a frequent complaint in author notes where they mention rating discrepancies that start when they reach a certain point and stop when they've been beaten down again, rinse repeat for as many times as they climb past that point. I'm not sure whether its bots or just zealous fans.

Maybe it's also a disgruntled reader. Some can take changes in the story rather personal. Personal enough to ding you with a review everytime they see your story in the update list. With the quasi anonymous voting set up, there's not much that can be done - just know you're not alone in noticing odd behavior. I'd say most people do see something and point it out.


Re: Bots on RR?

#3
A pattern is fairly obvious to spot and almost never a coincidence ^^

And in an era of the internet and bots, would you be surprised at all? I've seen some authors say the exact same thing on other sites then royal road too so I can only imagine its a common practice to keep the signed work on top. But then again, it's still a chance that it is just some readers that hate your work?

I don't have to worry about that at all, not like my novel is aiming for the stars Very Happy But must suck to be downvoted when you gain some traction  ^^

Re: Bots on RR?

#4
When I began posting I felt the same. Either there are some mean critics out there or the matrix has a glitch. Most I can say is keep your writing flowing as much as possible and encourage your followers or guest readers to post their comments. Make use of the Author notes, especially the pre-chapter one. I've had my fair share of 0.5 Star reviews from I don't know where but I continue to write. 
Tell your story... :)

Re: Bots on RR?

#7
Tomolone Wrote: Don't forget that the higher you climb, the more people will read it, but also the more people read it that would not normally read it if they had to search for it. These will dislike it more often, and thus you get more bad ratings. It's not always malice!


Dunno about you but it sure seems fishy to me.

myself and a couple friends on here noticed it as well, both of my 0.5s hit right as i was at 4.6-4.7 stars, second knocked me down to 3.7 stars. very similar experiences to my friend.

Re: Bots on RR?

#8
Perhaps it's just a weird coincidence, but I had the exactly same thing. Got to 4.5 4.6 stars early on, then the mass 0,5 reviews hit. I know my story isn't good enough yet to deserve the 4,5 in overall score, but 0,5?

The other weird experience I had was with reviewing a story in the past. This event, from the perspective of time, pretty much proved to me that people either use bots or dishonest mass-account-based practices for review upvotes and or story ratings.

Link

I was still naive and innocent back then (lul), so I felt the need to explain in-depth why I rated a story badly when I got mass-downvoted and thus the weirdly long review with rather poor section composition, heh. From the persepctive of time, however, I can tell that it most likely weren't readers who were so 'angry' with my review and I had gotten nervous for no reason. Ironically, this event caused me to stop reviewing stories at all since I thought; what is the point if I can't be honest when a story I stumble upon is objectively bad?

Also, see the lack of interest in the rest of the reviews? See the weirdly high rating of the story? Trust me just take a look at any of the chapters and you'll see how terrible the writing is not only in terms of grammar, but overall sense of the story too.

I've seen infinitely better stories on this site with below 4.0 ratings, so it blows my mind how can this one be rated the way it is. If anyone can find an explanation that doesn't involve bots, I'd like to see it.

Re: Bots on RR?

#11

Thedude3445 Wrote: It's probably not bots, but it's definitely brigading. People rating .5 stars because you passed their favorite story all the time on the rankings. Not really anything that can be addressed, but it's pretty rude.


Definitely sucks. Even had a 0.5 review when I refused somebody a copy of an Amazon published book. But the "brigading" and the sudden deluge of 0.5 (could be from other authors /  it's money for a few who have their world centered around their donation donations) do need a solution. And those irritating, thinly disguised advert posts from people / bots who refer their assignment or whatever sites (invariably new RRL enrollees with a single advertising post). Getting tired of blocking such poser posters.

Re: Bots on RR?

#12
I don't think it's bots, just people feeling sore about something. When I made Trending for a short bit, I got my first few 0.5 star ratings. When I called out about it in a chapter (saying I love you haters lol), one of the ratings changed from 0.5 to 1. 😂 I know it was a change because all the other rating amounts stayed the same. Pretty sure a bot can't do this/wouldn't be sophisticated enough to do so lol. In short, the more you release and climb up, the more people try to push you down. It's unfortunate, but life's never been fair that way. We get thicker skin while laughing at the immaturity. I guess the only good out of this is that bad ratings push you up on the Trending list (nice one RR!). However, for the senior stories or those that dropped out (like me), it's no longer any good.

Re: Bots on RR?

#13

Chryiss Wrote: I don't think it's bots, just people feeling sore about something. When I made Trending for a short bit, I got my first few 0.5 star ratings. When I called out about it in a chapter (saying I love you haters lol), one of the ratings changed from 0.5 to 1. 😂 I know it was a change because all the other rating amounts stayed the same. Pretty sure a bot can't do this/wouldn't be sophisticated enough to do so lol. In short, the more you release and climb up, the more people try to push you down. It's unfortunate, but life's never been fair that way. We get thicker skin while laughing at the immaturity. I guess the only good out of this is that bad ratings push you up on the Trending list (nice one RR!). However, for the senior stories or those that dropped out (like me), it's no longer any good.


You're right. I just wish there's an option for no ratings / no comments for posted stories. One can see anyway if people are reading it. If readers want to communicate, there's that PM button.

Re: Bots on RR?

#14
I hate to say this but some Royal Road writers (and fans of certain fictions) can be really territorial with their ranking.  They will make dozens of fake users and if a story pushes them out of "their spot", they will blast the story with 0.5-star ratings so that their story will stay higher on the list.

Re: Bots on RR?

#15
While I understand the points made, there isn't a whole lot that can be done to address this. 

Removing anonymous ratings would only make things worse if anything. People who want to grind you down will grind you down either way, but the requirement for a review would reduce the 5 star counterweight, so any bad ratings that are malicious would matter even more.

We have ways to find it if someone makes dozens of fake users, so that's not really an issue - we have and will ban users doing this. The method used to deal with this is especially sensitive towards low ratings, so we would notice pretty quickly. The opposite is more common - an author making accounts to up vote their work. And then consequently getting banned.

Disabling ratings wouldn't do you any good other than not qualifying at all to appear in the best rated list, trending list, homepage top reviews list, or any search sorted by popularity (since your story would essentially be 0 rating, thus at the very bottom of the rating list). 

Sure, you'd still appear in the "most viewed" sections, but you would kinda need views to appear in those in the first place...