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.
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).
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.
@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.
I really like suggestion 7. That being said, it's hard to believe we're still dealing with this car drive issue years after the programmers supposedly made improvements to the auto flag process. Random thought: I worry about your suggestion 5... I fear it can be abused by people making false claims to kick out of Strava rivals and personal enemies.
STRAVA | User Community
R.e. Cars - I'm seeing activities as recent as this month being allowed so it's clearly not fixed, or if it is, it's incredibly passive and trusting of the user.
Point 5 - I feel you'd have to set the bar quite high before actually suspending an account. And by suspending, I think i meant more stop them from contributing to Leaderboards, rather than actually block their account.
I tried to make these interlink with each other, so in your example, someone wrongly flags a user, then they get their flagging capabilities removed, and maybe even suspended themselves if it's malicious.