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Flagging - a review


I've been flagging a lot of activities lately, and finding the entire process very difficult due to only being allowed to flag 10 activities under a 24 hour period (starting from when the last flag was raised). This is the most problematic on Walking segments, with users either accidentally logging activities that should be runs/bike, forgetting to turn off when they get in the car, or worse just doing it deliberately, but the volume of people doing it is very high - over COVID this became very problematic as most of the data I see of people abusing leader boards stems from 2020-2021.

Can we review this process as the segment leaderboards are frequently abused and the limit to the flag feature does not allow easy community validation, which Strava insists is the only way to manage these Segment Leaderboards. 

Some suggestions below

1. Flag Limit

- Increase the number of flags available

- Alternatively, stagger the number of flags permissible relative to previous flagging results. e.g. if I flag 100 activities and they're upheld with 90% success, I should get more on a daily basis. Conversely, if I'm abusing the system, then I'm just banned for 30 days from flagging

- Change the time period on flagging. Either reduce it from 24 hrs to 20 hrs (so if I flag activities at 7-715am, I then don't have to wait until 715am to flag again, which over time keeps pushing it back), or alternatively set it to just a daily basis so time becomes irrelevant.

2. Auto-flag

With walking segments in mind here, it should be easy enough to implement a flat limit on speed i.e. if you're faster than 6 min/kms then you're clearly not walking. I'm aware of race-walking (see next post) but realistically most people aren't this.

If you are auto-flagged, the only way to get out of this is to snip the activity and/or change the activity (or discard), but then it must go through the auto-flag process again (e.g. a "Walk" that someone has done in the car, they change to bike but then it should still flag as it's too quick).

3. Athletes

Any actual athlete should be able to have this on their profile, allowing them to break any auto-flag limits as they realistically can break them.

4. Remove all activities that clearly are too quick

Having worked with databases, it shouldn't be too difficult to auto-flag/remove any activity where the user has clearly not completed it relative to the activity.

5. Temporarily suspend accounts with multiple flags

Clearly users with multiple flags are abusing the system and therefore shouldn't be allowed to contribute to leaderboards. Only once they discard/fix all activities they should be allowed back. (To be clear I'm saying once you get e.g. 10 flags, then you have to fix them all, I'm not saying that any flag gets you banned)

6. review the process of reporting athletes

I've done this twice for users who frequently abuse the system. One had their activities wiped and has since uploaded their activities properly. The other has had no action against them, despite huge amounts of evidence against them, including, and not limited to, CR, Top 10s, and recent activities.

In line with suggestion 5, once a particular threshold is reached, an athlete should be punished relative to the crime. Some genuinely are clueless with how to use Strava, some are lazy, some are just cheats.

7. When recording activities on Strava directly, have a prompt that asks users what they're doing, rather than relying on them to manually change it. 

I think a lot of users genuinely forget to change this so a prompt seems most useful instead. Just a simple, "what activity are you doing today". Otherwise it's too easy to record an activity straight away without thinking.

Appreciate this won't work with e.g. Garmin syncing to Strava, but it will still help.

8. Allow flagging on the App

I think one of the bigger issues is this, and it makes it so much harder to flag an activity for the entire community. Only a small percentage of users realistically log in to the desktop site and flag.

I appreciate why, as it was horribly abused most likely. However, if you limited everyone to say 3 app flags a day, i think it would make a positive contribution overall as more people could flag on the fly. If you also implemented point 1, you can ban people who flag out of spite.




You should go ahead and flag that guy who was drafting behind a car or motorcycle. It's clearly aginst Strava's rules. Read this help article:
That guy should either make his rides private or categorize them as "workout" activity type.

JBW-Florida (he/him)
STRAVA | User Community



Maybe off-thread a bit (but related): How do people feel about bike rides which are done while drafting a car or motorcycle? On one of my regular local rides, there is a guy who holds nearly ALL the KOMs for the route, from one single ride. On that ride he states outright that he did the entire ride while drafting behind a motorcycle, and even includes a photo and two videos of him doing so!! So of COURSE he has all the KOMs! Not even pro racers can match those speeds, maintained for the entire ride!
IMO this is basically cheating. But I haven't flagged the ride because, well, there is no rule against drafting. 
But this is just BOGUS, and shouldn't be permitted, in my opinion. 

That`s clearly BS. Drafting behind a vehicle can be super fun, but it shouldn`t count for the leaderboard.

It doesn't count if he obeys the rules.  Here is a quote from a help desk article:

Guidelines for motor-paced rides:

Motor-pacing, or drafting behind a motorized vehicle, is considered motor assistance and conflicts with the fairness and integrity of segment leaderboards. When uploading data from a motor-paced ride, please use the "Only You" or "Followers" privacy control on the activity edit screen. 

JBW-Florida (he/him)
STRAVA | User Community



I HATE that so many KOMs on Strava are obviously done on eBikes or in cars, with speeds of 50, 60, 80mph, etc.
I saw two today with max speeds of 93mph and 111mph (🙄), and came across a user with a bunch of KOMs and Top-10 segments who states in his own description that he rides an eBike!! Strava should catch these automatically and delete them.
I don't have time or desire to sit around playing Bad Cop and flag every obviously BOGUS KOM and car/eBike ride I see. This is just stoopid.
I'm not a "KOM-chaser" or obsessed with stats, but this is just annoying, invalidates the entire KOM and segment stat system, and turns people off. This has been a Strava problem for *years* now, and it seems pretty clear that they have NO interest whatsoever in implementing an easy software fix. Grrrrrr.

Pico de Orizaba

Two examples of clear car activities done in the last 7 days. Any half-decent auto-flagging shuld have picked these up:

  1. - Reached 103 km/h in a 3% slope
  2. - Reached 89 km/h in a 3% slope



I agree with your points - it's quite frustrating that more hasn't been done to improve auto-flagging of obvious vehicle use on bike segments.  I think I'm fortunate in that my area generally has quite "clean" bike leaderboards, although there are a small number of people who seem to like to use Strava to record their car journeys 🤦‍♂️.

The partial auto-flagging (that is, auto-excluding individual Segments that are "infeasible") is helpful but could do with improvement.  For example, I saw a recent Activity with extended periods of bike speeds of over 60 mph (including uphill) and Segments in these zones were rightfully excluded.  However, there were other Segments at about 45 mph uphill in the same Activity that were rewarded with KOMs.  Looking at the analysis of the Activity shows that at no time did the speed drop below 10 mph, so there was no possibility to have transitioned between bike and car.  Hence if such Activity has obvious vehicle use, and no minimum speed to allow a transition, then ALL Segments on the Activity should be excluded, not just the 60 mph ones.  

I have some sympathy for someone doing a 100 mile ride, having a 5 min transition, then a short period at 50 mph in a car.  Such behaviour should be straightforward to spot and "auto-crop". 


@Dobby1990 - I totally agree with your ideas.  I posted an idea a while back with much of the same suggestions.  Please consider checking it out and adding your comments and kudos to that thread. 

Modify Activity Flagging Process - Strava Community Hub

Added my Kudos and comment, think i did see yours a while ago actually

Disappointing that Strava hides behind the "it's community moderated" excuse whilst simultaneously tying our hands behind our back