19 Replies Latest reply on Nov 2, 2016 11:21 AM by umillm6

    Advice for dealing with cheaters (Bunchball)

    umillm6 Jive SME

      Hello! We have used Bunchball in our community for four years. In May, we relaunched gamification to move the focus from on-boarding to being a good corporate citizen; all missions must meet at least one of these core principals:

      • Promoting a positive company culture by awarding points for cross-departmental collaboration and participation in company-wide programs
      • Rewarding learning activity in Milo (our learning platform)
      • Giving recognition for Neo contributions, which will include points and missions for creating valuable content, as decided by the community
      • Featuring missions and points for completing basic tasks on Neo as part of the onboarding process


      We have four badges that you can earn again and again:

      • Blogging: you have to blog X number of times and the blog be liked X number of times
      • Being followed: you are followed X number of times
      • Creating good content: your content is liked X number of times
      • Being helpful: marking responses helpful X number of times and answers correct X number of times

      We have been very transparent about the badges, excepting the number of times you need to complete an action.


      We have recently discovered that a handful of people are gaming the system for hundreds of points. We can easily prove the people cheating by following/unfollowing. The number of badges/points being earned for content being liked is suspicious, but we can't really prove that they are colluding.


      Have you seen this type of behavior in your communities, whether you use Bunchball or not? If so, what did you do? We are not sure how to proceed. Some ideas we've had:

      1. Turn off the liking badge altogether

      2. Turn the badge off and on randomly

      3. Upping the number of likes required to earn the badge

      4. Contacting the cheaters, telling them know that we are on to them, and removing the points earned (in one case 1,500)


      We would really appreciate any ideas or insights into thought processes when dealing with a very small group of people that are potentially ruining the game for everyone else.


      CC: Sanford Ross  and  Oliver Beirne

        • Re: Advice for dealing with cheaters (Bunchball)
          Dina Vekaria-Patel Jive SME

          Dan Thomas, do you use gamification on your Jive community? Any thoughts?

            • Re: Advice for dealing with cheaters (Bunchball)
              danthomas Beginner

              Hi there


              We use Jive's basic gamification but no bunchball for us


              That said we've tuned the points to mostly community recognised actions, i.e. points for someone liking something you do. We've turned off points for liking / following people as we did see some gaming there with a few people scoring thousands for following thousands. On our points if you delete / remove something you lose the points, e.g. if you delete a document, you lose the points you got for creating it, so in that sense you can't really game it.


              From an ECM standpoint if there was something you could turn off and on and accure more and more points, personally I'd probably just turn that reward off completely unless it's a reward that's crucial to behaviours like marking correct answers. For the people that do game it, does bunchball have something that can monitor points? You should be able to estimate average points per day for different levels of users and use that to flag any unnatural points progression early. You can even put an automatic penalty / notice reward in like -


              hey! Looks like you've scored 1,000 points today, are you sure you're being fair? [link to guidelines]


              For the worst people i'd call them so they can tell me why in person

              1 person found this helpful
                • Re: Advice for dealing with cheaters (Bunchball)
                  Toby Metcalf Advanced


                  I like your comment about marking answers correct.

                  I want to see answers marked correct as it bubbles solutions to the top of a discussion, but I too am concerned about gaming.

                  Regarding gamification, we are only using points, not Bunchball.

                  Have you seen issues with members making correct to gain points?

                  This is a bit off topic, but how do you encourage posters to take the action of marking the best answer to their question correct?

                  Best & thank you,


                  • Re: Advice for dealing with cheaters (Bunchball)
                    Natasha Brainerd Novice

                    That's really interesting that users can lose points for deleting a document that they created... Curtis Gross, do you know if this capability exists in the upcoming Nitro Studios (or even if it's possible with the current Nitro console)? Would also be interested in seeing if we are able to be notified of the top 20 users who have earned the most points per day, or something similar to identify individuals who try to game the system. 

                      • Re: Advice for dealing with cheaters (Bunchball)

                        It is possible to remove points for many actions.  There is usually a positive action 'marked correct' and a negative action 'un-marked correct.'   If you use these and set the cooldown time the same as well as the points the same, then a user will see that toggling a correct answer keeps their points even.    But, if you make the cooldown for negative actions a little faster... that will mean that if someone plays around a little with trying to game the system, they will start to lose points.

                  • Re: Advice for dealing with cheaters (Bunchball)
                    Oliver Beirne Advanced

                    Hi Maren


                    Have you had conversations with the people responsible? It could be they do not understand the purpose of gamification in the community as you have explained it above. I'd definitely recommend this as a first step.


                    However there a couple of steps you can take:

                    • Cap the number of times a badge can be earned in a day. If this hasn't been enabled then I'd recommend this for all missions anyway to ensure they don't become devalued through over-achievement.
                    • Check out this thread: Can we suspend Bunchball users or remove points? You can set a system property that excludes User IDs from Nitro so they don't receive any recognition from Nitro.


                    There may be also a wider point that they are breaking Neo's rules of the road and so it could lead to disabling users' accounts if they are continually mis-using the platform. In any event the system property route is a good option to explore and a Jive tech/someone from Pearson tech should be able to help with that.


                    Let me know if you have any questions .

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • Re: Advice for dealing with cheaters (Bunchball)
                      Stephanie Standring Expert

                      Hi Maren,


                      We are actually in a very similar situation as you. We have had our community missions available for over a year now and have had to make small adjustments along the way due to people point farming (as we have come to call it). At the beginning of this year we had a lot of incidents of people farming for points by creating content that didn't say anything, and some were even more obvious and wrote "Only posting this so I can get points". It was pretty bad in some cases. In one situation we had one person that followed thousand of people and had earned like 20K points. Once we saw this we knew we had to change the way following points were rewarded. We instantly put a daily limit on following and reduced the points awarded. When we continued to see people abusing points for following we eventually turned it off. Then we started to see a similar situation with marking helpful. We had to make corrections to that and are still working through how we want to reward for that action.


                      When we came across those situations we addressed with the associate and their manager, and explained how doing that hurts the community and can do damage to one's brand or image. We would also remove the points that were farmed. That has seemed to work for us as they don't appear to be repeating the behavior at least from what we can tell.


                      We are currently going through a review of the gamification missions, and points that can be earned through actions taken in the community. We are setting daily limits to a lot of them and are increasing the count of the actions before the points can be earned. For example must tag 5 things in order to earn 1 pt. We are also moving away from earning points with passive actions and rewarding more for contributions. We were seeing where someone popular in the company would have A LOT of points, but only logged in 2-3 times in the past 4 months. They were passively getting points because people were following them, and their one blog they posted received a lot of likes and comments. Didn't seem right to those that are in there every day and have more participation than the popular kid. 


                      I have asked this question to Bunchball before, about what can be done to track or stop point farming, and haven't received much of a reply. They response I continually get is that this isn't common in communities and we shouldn't worry about it. As you and I know it is something that happens, and I wish there was more of a way to track it in the gamification console. I know that in the gamification plan there needs to be controls to prevent point farming or gaming of the system, but it would still be helpful to have reporting available to assist, so we can make the necessary corrections. 


                      I also posted this idea: , so we can add another item to the drop down for gamification abuse. We wanted a way for other community members to call out when someone is gaming points and since point farming is abuse of the gamification system wanted that update. Looks like it was archived since it didn't get very many votes.


                      I am not sure if what I have posted helps you, but your post gave me some comfort knowing that we are not the only community facing this issue. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Thanks!

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • Re: Advice for dealing with cheaters (Bunchball)
                        umillm6 Jive SME

                        Thank you all for the comments and advice!


                        We looked into getting more proof for the people we suspected of over-liking, but that didn't work. Then, in a team meeting, Yen Cheong made the great point that sometimes people just like everything, that is how they contribute to the community. This isn't a rampant problem, so perhaps that is how they think it best to contribute to the community. We are going to leave the like badge alone for now, but keep an eye on it. Overall, we think the mission is driving the behavior we want to see, which is good. If we continue to see unwanted behavior, we may look at changing the game by reducing points and opportunities to complete the mission, as some of you have done.


                        The following each other over and over again, however, we must address. We are sending an email and we are also reducing their points. We have definite proof of the cheating here.


                        If you guys make any other changes to your gamification model to try and curb unwanted behavior, do let us know. Thank you, again, for your insights!

                        • Re: Advice for dealing with cheaters (Bunchball)
                          christopher.wilson@windstream.com Intermediate

                          I'm curious if any of you have encountered this ruse: Users swapping questions back and forth privately, each taking turns marking the others' answers as "correct."


                          I'm legitimately stuck on this one. It was easy in the beginning, because the discussions were always titled "Points!" or something like that. That's easy enough to bust up, as it's a naked points grab.


                          Now, people have gotten smarter and started making the questions bare-minimum work-related:


                          • "Did you know Frank is leaving at Noon today?"
                          • "No, I didn't. Thanks!" Correct Answer.


                          I obviously don't want to turn points off for Correct Answers. Also, I don't like making it obvious that I have visibility to what is presumably "private" content. Ugggghhhhh.