How to avoid malicious people on a community project

Hi.

We are planning to create a project to show some interesting points on a map. These points will be added by registered users, which will be able also to denounce points created by other users.

This project will work if people of good. What we are concerned is about malicious people. How can we avoid them or make the community self-regulate itself? Which are the proper strategies for that kind of projects?

Thank you.
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gplanaAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You cannot prevent a person from registering (if I read the above correctly).

So you need to collect Name, email address and possibly address. For the benefit and safety of all users, they should be able to post with a forum name which is not their real name or email address.

Have a Captcha to ensure robots are not signing up.

Email address should be verified and a verification email sent out to be activated so the person can join the forum. No verification - no join. That is very common.

Beyond that, and depending on the size of your group, 5 or so founding members should be forum / site moderators who can suspend people misbehaving.

You have to moderate yourselves as that is about the only way to assess the value of contributions and people's behaviour.

... Thinkpads_User
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aadihCommented:
Can't be avoided unless blocking all people, which defeats the purpose.  :-(
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gplanaAuthor Commented:
thinkpads_user thanks for your comments. Yes, what you said is very common on forums. However our project is not about a Forum, but to manage geolocalized data.

My question is about what strategies should be done to make users auto-regulate theyselves, just wikipedia does with documents, but with points on map in my case.
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COBOLdinosaurCommented:
As Thinkpads_User suggests, You must rely on moderation.  There is no way to pre-determine how people will behave; so no matter what you do you will get some members who are undesirable.  You will also attract spammers, scammers, and vandals.

You will need strict membership requirements, and a clear easily accessible set of rules, A mechanism to report violations, punish infractions, and a banning strategy that makes duplicate accounts easy to detect will need to be available so site admoinistrators can protect your regular members from abusive behavior.


Cd&
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aadihCommented:
Strategy: A balance between open access and strictest rules is the key. Since a complete protection is impossible, some tolerance of risks must be accepted.
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gplanaAuthor Commented:
Thanks, but how can I detect duplicate accounts?
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COBOLdinosaurCommented:
The most common method is to record IP addresses and keep them in the user database.  It is not foolproof, but if two users have the same IP address then it needs investigation.  

In the end, it is impossible to provide a hassle free environment on the internet.  If you are exposing a site publicly then you will be subjected to idiots, malcontents and nuts, on a daily basis so you need strict registration and verification policy to insure you know who is actually becoming a member of the community.

Cd&
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gplanaAuthor Commented:
Your comments are helping me alot.

However what I'm currently finding is something like a formula to know the prestige of a user. I mean if a user is adding a lot of points that are denounced then prestige goes down. If a user makes a lot of denounces that becomes false the prestige goes down. If a user adds lots of points that are not denounced its prestige goes up. If a user makes denounces that becomes true its prestige goes up, etc...

Is there a formula or something like this ? I think this could be similar that google page rank formula...
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aadihCommented:
Re: Denouncements and Prestige

Caution: Popularity means not non-malicious. :-(
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COBOLdinosaurCommented:
That kind of math all comes down to weighting.  The more important factors have a higher value than less important items.  

It really needs to be custom.  You know is is important, not important, so you assign positive or negative values for given activities and every time a user does somthing you simply recalculate the reputation.

What you use, how you apply the rating, and other details are really a very minor piece that can be developed after the site design is completed; it is not something you would build around.

Cd&
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aadihCommented:
As Cd& has stated it all comes down to your judgment.  Build, play around (experiment), learn, tweak parameters, measure, assess, modify... and so on.
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gplanaAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your advices. I haven't get the formula but your advices are very useful.
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aadihCommented:
That is because there is no formulae.  :-(
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