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Author Topic: Faked Sign Ups  (Read 5083 times)

onyx_goddess

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Faked Sign Ups
« on: June 14, 2003, 03:39:03 pm »

I did a search for this topic, so if it's already been answered, just point me at that thread..

My question is about verifying that people who sign up are legitimate.  Specifically, it would be pretty easy to write a program that signed up once a day with a name and address selected randomly from a yellow pages directory.  I haven't signed up yet, but looking over the form to sign up it looks pretty simple.  Is there any verification, like a letter sent to my house asking me to verify, or an email like that?

I know we'd like to be optimistic, but have to be people who would get a big kick out of tricking us into thinking we had 20,000 when it was really only 8000 or so.
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Jack Harrison

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2003, 09:39:26 pm »

What possible long term motivation might the organizers of this effort have for duping us about the numbers? Where's the payoff? Would it be in seeing their own efforts fail? Would it be in having their names and reputations tarnished?

You wouldn't want to mess with a bunch of people who pretty much think that they can do things better than the government can to begin with.

Lets suppose you're right and there are only 8000 of us that move to the chosen state. That state will, to begin with, be more freedom oriented than the one in which I live now, or it wouldn't have been selected in the first place. Add 8000 people vocifierous enough to pull up their lives and move for their passion - those 8000 will make a heck of a difference.

I'm fine with 8000.

« Last Edit: June 14, 2003, 09:40:20 pm by Jack Harrison »
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onyx_goddess

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2003, 02:03:16 pm »

What possible long term motivation might the organizers of this effort have for duping us about the numbers? Where's the payoff? Would it be in seeing their own efforts fail? Would it be in having their names and reputations tarnished?

You misunderstood that part of my point at least.  I'm saying that if some 18 year old in college wanted to do something funny, he could very very easily set up a program that once a day signed up for the FSP.  (Or 10 times a day for that matter).  It would be the 18 year old who would be having the fun, and yes, they would have fun knowing that they were duping 8000 people into thinking they were really 20,000.
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anarchicluv

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2003, 06:18:08 pm »

You misunderstood that part of my point at least.  I'm saying that if some 18 year old in college wanted to do something funny, he could very very easily set up a program that once a day signed up for the FSP.  (Or 10 times a day for that matter).  It would be the 18 year old who would be having the fun, and yes, they would have fun knowing that they were duping 8000 people into thinking they were really 20,000.

I understand your point.  I would also like to know what the FSP intends to do to prevent something like this from happening.  I know some sites out there prevent this from happening by adding a word (as an image) to the bottom of the sign-up form that cannot be read by bot programs that must be typed into a field in order to finalize sign-up (sorry if this sounds confusing, maybe someone out there with more knowledge can explain this better).

Jeremy
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Jack Harrison

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2003, 06:37:15 pm »

Quote
You misunderstood that part of my point at least.  I'm saying that if some 18 year old in college wanted to do something funny, he could very very easily set up a program that once a day signed up for the FSP.  (Or 10 times a day for that matter).  It would be the 18 year old who would be having the fun, and yes, they would have fun knowing that they were duping 8000 people into thinking they were really 20,000.

I sure did misunderstand! HA! What a good question! I think my reality would be unaffected by something like that nonetheless. I would have moved from my current home state by now had I not known about the FSP. I was about to seriously seek out a home in a state more in line with my kind of thinking than Maryland when I learned about FSP. I decided to hold off until the state was chosen so I could quickly move there.

I'd guess there are others like me who will move to the state no matter what. To be a part of something with so much potential is too great a chance to miss, whether the numbers add up or not.
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craft_6

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2003, 07:28:14 pm »

I'd guess there are others like me who will move to the state no matter what. To be a part of something with so much potential is too great a chance to miss, whether the numbers add up or not.

I agree completely.  20,000 is of course the goal, but even 5,000 liberty activists in any of these states would be 10 or 20 times more than they have now, and the state selected will already be one of the most free.

Whether or not 20,000 people officially sign up, I suspect that the number of liberty-loving people who move to the Free State in the ten years following the vote will be far greater than 20,000.
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cathleeninsc

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2003, 08:21:33 am »

I had not pressed my husband on this point, but was very pleased yesterday to get confirmation from him that we don't need 20,000 to make this move for liberty. When our financial situation is right, we will make the move.

Cathleen in SC
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2003, 11:09:26 am »

There are several things we're doing and will do to try to ensure the integrity of the membership database.  First, I frequently go through and delete duplicate signups (almost always unintentional, I'm sure).  Also, any signup that looks suspicious I check to make sure that city, state, and zip are valid.  The ballots for the state vote will be going out to mailing addresses, so you need to have a valid one to get a ballot.  Those who don't return a ballot will be removed from the membership rolls, so that will purge those who are either fake signups or people who are simply lazy or uninterested or disappeared.  Finally, over 90% of those who sign up ask to be added to the email announcements list, so they get regular emails from us.  They would certainly complain if they didn't mean to sign up.  In fact, we did have one case in which 3 people were signed up without their knowledge, apparently by a friend playing a joke, and they asked to be removed from the rolls, and we did so.
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onyx_goddess

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2003, 11:51:03 am »

Jason, I know this is more work, but I'd like to suggest you add something reasonably simple to avoid accidental sign-ups as well as malicious ones.

Have the sign-up require an email, then email an "are you sure?" message with a confirmation key that they go back, and enter on the web.  That way, the sign-up was sure to be linked to a valid email that required an actual person to confirm it.  Maybe I'm the only one that sees this as a problem, but as someone who has done quite a bit of automated web-form stuff, for some reason I keep thinking this sign-up process is just a little too "naive".
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2003, 12:03:37 pm »

Well, the only problem there is that if we required an email address, we'd keep out those few people who have web access but don't have email addresses or never want to give them out.  If someone doesn't give a street address, but does give an email, we email them and ask for the street address.  If they don't give a street address or email, they're just deleted, as there will never be any way to get in touch with them.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

onyx_goddess

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2003, 12:32:19 pm »

Well, this discussion can go one of two directions.

1) We're not interested in implementing any change to the sign-up process.
2) Interested, but not immediately obvious how to make it feasible.

It looks like it's #1, so I'll drop it.  Really, it's not that likely that there's anyone who has any desire to maliciously inflate our expectations, so I'm making a big deal out of nothing.
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anarchicluv

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2003, 12:44:27 pm »

Just to illustrate an example of a security feature I suggested in my earlier post:
 
Go to: https://secure.overture.com/s/dtc/center/

Notice that in order to logon, the user must enter a username, password, and a security code.  The security code is shown as a 4 digit alphanumeric image that has been camouflaged.  The user must type this randomly generated security code into the correct field in order for the logon to proceed.  This is so that bot (automated script) programs cannot read the word and attempt invalid logons.  

We could use something similar to this at the bottom of the signup page.  I'm not sure what it would take to program something like this, but I do have a few connections if it's something the FSP decides to do.

Jeremy
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anarchicluv

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2003, 12:50:32 pm »

There are several things we're doing and will do to try to ensure the integrity of the membership database.  First, I frequently go through and delete duplicate signups (almost always unintentional, I'm sure).  Also, any signup that looks suspicious I check to make sure that city, state, and zip are valid.  The ballots for the state vote will be going out to mailing addresses, so you need to have a valid one to get a ballot.  Those who don't return a ballot will be removed from the membership rolls, so that will purge those who are either fake signups or people who are simply lazy or uninterested or disappeared.  Finally, over 90% of those who sign up ask to be added to the email announcements list, so they get regular emails from us.  They would certainly complain if they didn't mean to sign up.  In fact, we did have one case in which 3 people were signed up without their knowledge, apparently by a friend playing a joke, and they asked to be removed from the rolls, and we did so.

You make a good point here.  My concern isn't so much about the first 5,000 as it is about the last 15,000.  The ballot process should weed out any malicious or fraudulent sign-ups, but we have no similar process to weed out fraudulent sing-ups entered after the vote has taken place.

Jeremy
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If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood.
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onyx_goddess

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2003, 01:11:53 pm »

Misterbeanz,

For the record, it's quite easy to generate an image on the fly like that.  I've done it in java, and I'm sure it's easy to do in most reasonable languages...
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mtPete

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Re:Faked Sign Ups
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2003, 10:06:00 pm »

As a note it is almost standard operating procedure for most email mailing lists to get an email conformation. This means 1) many people seem to see the necessity & 2) there is a lot of exhisting code to do this already (ie, easy to impliment).
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