Reporting Bogus Accounts; possible?

There doesn’t seem to be any way of reporting bogus accounts. Usually it doesn’t matter given that the presence or absence of accounts that follow you has no effective impact, but now that I’m climbing up to the more rarefied parts of the score count I’m seeing this one over and over again.

The account:

  • Uses a name that is a contentious political issue in one European country;
  • Has no languages being learnt;
  • Has somehow nonetheless reached level 15 overall;
  • Has had no progress for the last three months (and the activity from 3 months ago was “started learning” an extremely improbable grab bag of languages), and yet…
  • Is following 1,505 other users, mostly those in the higher levels.

NOBODY follows 1,505 other people. It’s like people who boast about having 2,000 Facebook “friends” or 5,000 Linked In “connections”, 3 of which they might recognise in the street.

My suspicion is that this was set up specifically to have the user name show up when someone looks at other profiles. You look at the top scoring person in your language and see “Followers: {political statement account name}”. You look at the second one; “Followers: {political statement account name}”. Over, and over, and over again. Which, I suspect, was the purpose of the account in the first place.

If someone from the region referred to in the account name sees it, they are likely to go ballistic. That’s also why I’m not mentioning the name here; it’s not about the issue itself, it’s about the fact that this account seems to exist only to advertise a particular political agenda and I doubt that any good can come of that.

Any suggestions from the admins?

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I know what user it is “catalonia_is_spain” right?. I actually support that political view, anyway I don’t think clozemaster is a place for politics. Admins could delete their account, or desactivate it.

“You may very well think that, but I could not possibly comment.”

(But yes, you’re right.)

I have no opinion one way or the other on that political view since I’m not from there, and it’s not my business. However I also feel that people shoving their views (uninvited) into other people’s faces in what SHOULD be a non-political forum is something that is IMHO best discouraged, especially in these times.

(I’m not referring to your comment since it’s germane to the issue. But nobody asked the user in question (who, more to the point, does not seem to be a genuine user at all) to plaster their view on this all over the place.)

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I’ve seen construyan la pared as well, which is ironically racist, but that user actually studies IIRC.

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I’m not sure I understand how this account is truly bogus (i.e whether its points accumulation can be regarded a priori as inappropriate). But I do understand how the username is deliberately provocative. Especially as many language pairings come with nationalistic baggage, one could imagine it happening again in future. And of course, there could also be usernames that are not political, but are obscenities or offensive in one or another language. There must be a way for Mike to deal with unacceptable names: insisting that the account holder change the name, or perhaps changing it for him/her, short of deleting the account (which is not likely what Clozemaster would hope to do). Of course, the challenge here would be defining what makes a name unacceptable… and I pity poor Mike who likely would have difficulty assessing how offensive some handles would be in a language far from English.

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Thanks for letting us know!

This is indeed the tricky part. What do you think if we added the option to block users such that they’d no longer show up in your followers list? They’d still show up in your leaderboards if they’re active, though we could perhaps show the username as a series of ??? or similar if they’ve been blocked.

We could also add the option to report issues like the topic suggests, but I’m not yet sure how we’d best handle any that fall short of being obviously/egregiously offensive/profane like @Romanophile mentioned.

Curious to hear what you think. Thanks again!

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The thought occurred to me that a user should not be allowed to follow other users before reaching a predefined level. That level could be quite high, in my opinion.

I also think it should be possible to reject unwanted followers, or to cut them off silently.

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It’s not about the points, though. The “recent activity” is now over 3 months old and has dropped off. However when I looked at it at the time my of posting I could see that they dabbled in about half a dozen totally different languages, though in only one case had they accumulated enough points to even get to level 1. OK, maybe, MAAAYBE they were playing “suck it and see” to try to find a language that they might like to learn. It’s not impossible. But there is another possible reason, which is to expose the leaderboards of those languages. As far as I know you can only see the leaderboards of languages that you’re actually doing.

Secondly, why do you follow someone? What are the possible motivations? The only time I’ve been tempted to is when I’ve come across someone who is clearly following a different learning pattern to mine. In fact, those people inspired me to change and emphasise repetition rather than expansion, which is working better for me, but I digress. You may also follow someone to inspire you to keep up with them… but that would only make sense if you were actually studying, which this person clearly is not.

And you certainly don’t take the time to go into over one and a half thousand profiles, and follow them. To what end? Why would you do all of the things above?

The only reason that makes any sense at all is that the languages were “started” to expose the leaderboards, then the person “followed” the top scorers on each board so that every time anyone else looked at the profile of someone in the top 10, there’s our friend’s name, right in the viewer’s face.

If you can think of another motivation that explains all of the above I’m all ears, but that’s the only one that occurs to me. That’s why I say that it seems to be a bogus account; to me the only thing that makes sense of their actions is a crude version of what’s known as “turfing”.

I think that would be a really good idea, actually.

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I think if the account is bogus, or a robot is behind the accumulation of the points, then of course something should be done to it.

But regarding the political nature of the names, even though I disagree politically with the two mentioned, I think that’s up to the user. They should be given the freedom to use names as they please, unless of course it’s some bad and really offensive word. But stating one’s political viewpoint - all power to them.

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If they keep to their own profile, that’s fine. However to reiterate, this person is not. They’re plastering their name over OTHER profiles (the profiles of 1500 other people) by supposedly “following” them. That to my mind is a totally “bad faith” action because clearly they are not “following” them for any genuine reason related to language learning. They’re doing it to make their profile name (and the political message thereof) visible to anyone who looks at the other person’s profile. As I said I have no particular view on this specific issue but I would not want anyone deciding to “follow” me for the purpose of having THEIR OWN political view pop up on MY profile, and I don’t think that anyone should have to put up with that. At present, however, you have no choice in the matter. If this guy follows you, then there’s their name, embedded in my, your or whoever else’s profile.

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Can we all agree that the only fitting punishment for this specific user is to remove all possible language combinations for this user to study except learning Catalan from Spanish?

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Can we all agree that the only fitting punishment for this specific user is to remove all possible language combinations for this user to study except learning Catalan from Spanish?

The user is the symptom. Personally I don’t care that much about this specific user or their name. The problem still remains, however; you can have someone who has a user name that may be controversial, or may even be offensive to you personally. They can “follow” you for no other reason than to spread visibility of their user name, as I believe this person has… and at present there is not thing one that you can do about it. Their name is on your profile, period. The solution to this is the one that Mike suggested; give users an option to block “followers” so that the users have control over what (if any) names appear when someone looks at their profile.

If they want to publicise their name and cause by spending an hour or more a day scoring points and getting themselves on the leaderboard then good luck to them. (Though I don’t know how the Catalonians would feel in that case.) However what is happening here is that said person is spreading their message by sponging off the sweat of those at the top of the leaderboards.

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Most would just agree.

Yyyyyeah. Really, REALLY not interested in getting into that discussion. This thread has already weaved somewhat off course on a few occasions already, so perhaps we could keep to the point of people who set up accounts just to promote their own crusades via other people’s account profiles?

Frankly the whole “following” thing is a bit creepy anyway IMHO. If someone starts following you there is no way for them to signal WHY they are following you. Unless it’s someone that you know in real life, there may be a good reason for it, or it may just be some creepy stalker person; you have no way of knowing.

It seems to be some sort of “Well they do it on Dopey-Lingo, we need it here as well” feature. On that site it USED to make some sort of sense because following someone enabled you to communicate with them and vice versa, and chat with them about language learning. However they’ve long since removed that (along with a bunch of other features) so you can’t see anything other than your followers’ scores (or they yours). I still get notifications about new followers on my long-dormant account over there and cannot help but think “why??”. It’s exactly the same here. I can (sort of) understand using someone else as a pace setter, but that person will never know that that was the reason.

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I don’t mind the following, I was flattered the first time someone followed me, and even though I have 7 million points it makes me feel nice when someone applauds me advancing a level in a new language. True there isn’t a large social aspect to clozemaster, but I enjoy the following, especially as the board has gotten more active after the updates with the (very welcome) improvements that the team are making, so some of the people I am following now are more than just a name I see.

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A block button should be implemented, and if the guy, as this one we are talking about just don’t play and just follow random people (The guy reached 1.5k ppl( I wonder how much time does he need to make leaderboards page load.)) then, Mike could ban this user from clozemaster. Not because of their name but because they are not here for learning.

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Thanks for all the feedback! An option to block people that follow you has been added.

17%20AM

Followers you block will still show up on the leaderboard if they score enough points, but they won’t show up in on your profile anymore.

If you notice any issues or have any other feedback please let us know. Thanks again!

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Sounds like a good solution. I just noticed today that in the overall leaderboard i passed an account named “Free_Catalonia”, which is likely the counterpart, or antidote, to “Catalonia_is_Spain”. I can’t say which came first. However, neither account seems to be active as Lord knows there must be more effective places to campaign for their respective political causes than here.

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