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Real name only policy to prevent multiple accounts

It seems that there continue to be entries with fake names in the contest (i.e. "mint money"). I can only assume that some of these entries are from multiple accounts from the same person (in order to bypass the 3 entries / person contest limit). It is frustrating to know that this is likely happening to say the least...

Q, could you please enforce a real name policy on accounts?!

It would not be too difficult to make sure that the name you enter when creating the account can not be then changed later (unless for legitimate reasons via an email to support). This way those who continue to use a fake name that does not match their real name (if they are lucky enough to win) would be automatically disqualified. At a minimum (if this is not implemented) there must be a way to log name changes so that this can be reviewed internally. Otherwise, one could easily change their fake name to a real name if they saw themselves having a potentially winning chance and no one would know.

I understand the need to be anonymous too, so maybe you could also have an option for those who wish to remain anonymous to only have their first name and last initial displayed in the leaderboard instead?

Lastly, this person (below) was bold enough to not even use fake names for their (obviously) multiple accounts this month!

(Name and ranking)

Tomas Lundström 22
Tomas Lundström 25
Tomas Lundström 36
Tomas Lundström 37
Tomas Lundström 38
Tomas Lundström 39
Tomas Lundström 79
Tomas Lundström 114
Tomas Lundström 115
Tomas Lundström 121
Tomas Lundström 156
Tomas Lundström 199
Tomas Lundström 210
Tomas Lundström 300

Again, it should not be too difficult to red flag (internally) if the real name entered matches another existing account.

12 responses

I came to start a thread complaining about the exact same thing. You seemed to have beat me to the punch normally there is a person or two that seems to have made a second account, but this month the rule breakers are out in full force.

Yeah, there are quite a few still out there. BTW, congrats on your win! I'm hoping with all you power hitters now out of it I may finally have a chance at winning :)

(that is if one of the bogus multiple entries don't end up winning first!)

Best of luck I'll be rooting for you. I figure that between the 6 month and the 1 month contest you should be able to win at least one contest. The new contest adds an interesting spin because now with a longer time period a lot more algos will see drawback I'm thinking that if a person can get a solid algo into that contest it will do a better job of eliminating the competition that you face in the one month contest.

We do keep an eye out for dupe accounts. I tend to worry about it and police it more once a contest is under way, rather than before. Those particular entries are new, and weren't a part of the July contest. It will be resolved as August moves along.

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Thanks Dan for keeping a watchful eye on this, but I would think that you'd rather want to spend your time on more productive matters. To that end, wouldn't a real name policy prove helpful here to avoid having to constantly police this? Regardless, I am still concerned that if you are not currently logging name changes then any of the many dupes that are out there right now can easily change to a real name later on in the month and nobody will know if in fact they belonged to a single person.

Real-name policies are just as hard to police as anything else, unfortunately. There is simply no shortcut. This type of thing is only managed through constant application of effort. I've been building web communities since 1999 when I launched the first Q&A site for nytimes.com - the tech changes, but the humans are the same.

If someone is using the same name in more than one account, they generally just don't even know it's breaking the rule. The people who want to break the rule use fake names from the get-go. We use a lot more advanced techniques to identify those.

The hardest ones are when someone's "spouse" or "parent" also creates an account. It's very hard for me to distinguish a married couple who both like algos from someone who wants a 2nd account and uses their spouse's email to create it. But that's a small fraction of the de-dupe work that we do, so it's not that bad.

Thanks Dan, it sounds like then that you do have the means to identify folks using fake names and later changing them - this was my biggest concern. I can rest easier now knowing that.

Although I would agree with you that there is likely no silver bullet on these matters, adding some simple-to-implement automation goes a long way usually in making the task less burdensome - unless you're in that sort of thing :) Not allowing a name change after signing up I still think would alleviate most if not all of these fake name / dupe concerns.

I hear you on the problem with family members. I too was once responsible for "crowd control" of managing online contractors that wanted to earn extra income for their families by having multiple accounts (and hiring their kids no less!). As you said, its definitely a human problem at the end of the day.

And not to worry, I'm sure the rest of the community will join me in helping you keep the contest a fair and enjoyable endeavor for all. Otherwise, you run the risk of not attracting folks who might feel that it's a no-win situation.

There are just 2 accounts left with more than 3 entry.

Tomas Lundström 20
Tomas Lundström 167
Tomas Lundström 174
Tomas Lundström 180
Tomas Lundström 184
Tomas Lundström 676

Dane DiMartino 272
Dane DiMartino 512
Dane DiMartino 630
Dane DiMartino 663

Totally unrelated to fake names but then again maybe not. I've recently noticed that I am unable to make a new post to the quantopian community forum. The "submit" button remains inactive. This does not affect my response to other posts, as this message demonstrates. I've tried rebooting my computer, checking my security settings, and accessing quantopian from 3 different browsers. What I have NOT tried is to create a completely new login.

Anybody else facing this problem?

not everyone wants to give away their real name on public forums!

Understood. Perhaps allow for a displayed name of whatever your choosing AND a real first and last name (that would not be displayed publicly). That way we can preserve the fun of having clever handles but still preserve the integrity of the contest?

If Tomas Lundström 22 wins, Quantopian could tell Tomas Lundström 25 (or the account with the highest score among those with the same name and a different email address than #22) that his algorithm won. If they're different persons, both should write to correct this.

But now, if #22 has read this, he will make sure to write the right things from the right email addresses even if he's also #25.