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Is there any chance that a set of rules could be implemented to prevent abuse of the endorsement system?

It seems that currently, anyone can endorse anyone and there is no restriction.

I can provide an example of what appears to be abuse of the system, however, I am against naming in public so please PM me (Dani/Deceptikon you're the only guys I know reputibly)

I would like to propose that only active contributors can endorse and that this should have a minimum threshold. You should also only be able to endorse if you have a minimum amount of reputation. This should stop at least difficult enough to abuse that it isn't worthwhile.

Unfortunately, as it stands, the endorsement system doesn't appear to be trustworthy.

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Last Post by Reverend Jim
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How would you define "active contributors"? Anyone can make large numbers of posts. They don't have to be quality posts. Would that person be an active contributor? Should he/she be allowed to award endorsements even though nothing of value has been contributed? It's difficult to devise a system that is both automated and fair. Basing it on reputation points, however, might be easier to automate.

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That's why I suggested using the rep is there as an additional clause. Certainly you can have a high amount of activity just by creating a large number of posts, but unless that's spam, it can't easily be done quickly.
Also those that do come through as spam are pro-actively and re-actively dealt with, reducing the effect even more.

I agree it is difficult to create a system that is automated and fair but I don't think that's a reason to just let it fly as it is. I would rather it be too difficult than too easy. If anything a system that makes it difficult to endorse would make the endorsements more worthwhile?

An additional suggestion for automation would be to only allow endorsements in the field where you make majority postings and get majority rep. For me, that would be C# and at a push C++. I personally don't see why I should be able to endorse someone as an expert when I myself know next to nothing about the subject.
I can see arguments against this, but I think if we get some ideas on the the table we can go somewhere with it.

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Is there any chance that a set of rules could be implemented to prevent abuse of the endorsement system?

Given that you can only endorse once per account per favorite forum, it's pretty tedious to abuse the system. You could certainly call all of your friends who have an account and ask them to endorse you, but does that really buy you anything?

The metrics are intended to be viewed as a whole, with endorsements added most recently to provide a view on how people see you as a valued poster in your favorite forums.

  • Account Age: Has this member been around long enough for others to get a good taste of their expertise?
  • Post Count: Are subsequent quality metrics statistically significant?
  • Contributions: Does this member ask more questions (starting discussions) or answer more (reply to discussions, post tutorials, post code snippets, etc...).
  • Favorite Places To Post: Does this member have a broad range of skills and/or interests?
  • Activity Points: How does this member spend their time? Ideally you'd want to see a member posting in articles. Note that moderators tend to have relatively high PM counts due to how the moderation system works (you get a PM automatically when we do just about anything).
  • Up Votes & Unique Members who have voted: How many individual posts have been voted positively and are there a lot of unique voters? This suggests that a lot of people appreciate this member's posts. If the number of unique voters is small relative to the number of votes, it may suggest that this member only has a small circle of friends who vote them up without question.
  • Down Votes & Unique Members who have voted: How many individual posts have been voted negatively and are there a lot of unique voters? This suggests that a lot of people dislike this member's posts. If the number of unique voters is small relative to the number of votes, it may suggest harrassment or a blacklisting attempt by a small circle of haters.
  • Posts Currently Positive: How many posts with votes are currently positive? Large numbers suggest that the community on average agrees with this member's posts.
  • Posts Currently Negative: How many posts with votes are currently negative? Large numbers suggest that the community on average disagrees with this member's posts.
  • Post Quality Score: All voting activity boiled down into a percentage for easy checking.
  • Reputation Points: Do others feel strongly enough about this member's posts to apply reputation points?
  • Reputation Comments: Find out what others are saying about this member in their reputation.
  • Skill Endorsements: Do people think this member is skilled in their favorite forums?

Ultimately it's all subjective, but even subjective metrics can add up over time into an accurate view of a member's trustworthiness at answering questions about certain topics. How exactly were you thinking that endorsements could be abused?

I can provide an example of what appears to be abuse of the system, however, I am against naming in public

Feel free to send me a PM with the example.

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It's more to do with the list that appears at the bottom of the specialist page. This could give an inaccurate impression to newcomers.

If anything, the endorsement system is largely redundant due to the Posts Positive, Posts Negative and Post Quality metrics. But the concern is that if you're going to flaunt it (display the highest endorsed members and single them out) then it may as well represent something that is difficult to abuse :)

I'll PM you shortly.

PS. I don't know if I'm coming across overly aggressive or something but that isn't my intention. I'm not slating the fact that this is done, but raising concerns over how it could be abused and turned into meaningless database padding. I just want everything to be as good as it could be ;)

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but unless that's spam, it can't easily be done quickly

Perhaps not quickly but it has been done without spamming. It just takes persistance.

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Speaking of rep and such, I have changed my mind about anonymous voting. I think that if someone wants to downvote another member, anonymous voting should not be allowed. It's not that I am overly concerned about my points, etc, but when I get downvoted for comments such as those I made here then I think we have gone too far in one extreme. This certainly is not in the same league as when one member went gonzo over lastmitch but I think if someone has a problem with a post, they should have the decency to attach a comment with explanation, and a name to go with it.

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but I think if someone has a problem with a post, they should have the decency to attach a comment with explanation, and a name to go with it.

That is why only non-anonymous votes that include a comment affect reputation.

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