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Segment Leaderboard Integrity

Ian
Elbrus

I have seen several people raise concerns about integrity of Segment leaderboards, mostly due to the wrong Activity type (using an E-bike on a "ride" or a bike on a "run") or leaving Strava running at the end of an Activity and hence recording a subsequent car journey.

For what it's worth, here's my approach to trying to help maintain Segment integrity in my area.  In the last 5 years I have attempted about 6200 bike Segments, all within a few miles of where I live.  I use the excellent VeloViewer companion for Strava which allows me to get lists of all my Activities and Segment efforts.  It allows me to export data to a spreadsheet and so I can have a spreadsheet of all the Segments I have attempted, complete with my leaderboard position, best time, KOM time, etc.  Generally the Segment data is very good with very few suspect KOMs.  Roughly once per week I download the data to a spreadsheet and do a comparison with equivalent data from the week before, in particular looking for changes in KOM times.  This week, for example, it showed about 30 Segments had improved KOM times compared to last week.  About half of these looked genuine performances (small improvements, high heart rates, and credible max speed or power).  The other half were from 4 Activities that all looked suspicious - such as multiple KOMs with large improvements, no heart rate data and incredible sustained high speeds (e.g. 55 mph uphill).  Hence by flagging these Activities I have hopefully made a contribution to maintaining the integrity of the Segments in my area.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Jane
Moderator Moderator
Moderator

Hello @Ian 

Thanks for sharing that information.  Veloviewer has been around for quite a while and we know many Strava Athletes find it useful.  Here's an article on how to use the activity flag tool, so anyone reading your post can get more information on that if they need to.

Sounds like you have quite a few KOMs!  Thanks again for sharing these helpful tips.

 


Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

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10 REPLIES 10

Deimus85
Shkhara

I recently had an idea to help maintain the integrity of Strava Segments. If an athlete wants to contend for a position on a segment, their data for that ride must be public. By data I am referring to Heart Rate, Cadence, Speed, and Power. Is this a possibility? I have flagged numerous suspicious rides that have garnered top 10 and KOM segment efforts, but they continually are overturned when the athlete appeals the flag. If you want to be considered for a top effort, you should have no problem showing the rest of the community that it was a legit effort. Heart Rate and Power would be the very least should be public, that way there would be absolutely no question that an athlete actually rode their pedal bike and wasn’t assisted by a motor vehicle.

JBW-Florida
Elbrus

@Mladost13 

We had a similar situation down here in Tampa with an e-bike guy who rode regularly on paved trails in the wetlands (we have such things) and was garnering many regular bike local legend awards, and coming close to getting some KOM's. I was eyewitness to him doing it. I flagged his rides repeatedly, all to no avail.

I then opened up a support ticket. I detailed all the above including some "URL" examples of his rides, the local legend segments, his profile page address, etc., asking Strava to look into it. And expecting really nothing to come from my plea.

Shockingly, and within just two days, all his rides seemingly vanished. I couldn't find any trace of them on the segments in question, he was effectively erased from the leaderboards. Not only that, his profile page was set to private, and his name was changed to something whimsical. Naturally I was amazed how seriously the staff takes this issue. You may need to do something similar.

I had a similar experience with an eBike rider out here in Silicon Valley doing the same thing.  Like you, I flagged his ride every time he posted one until he properly began selecting eBike ride for ride type.  I also raised a ticket, which may or may not have been part of what solved the issue.  Regarding having to post your HR or Power data, I'd generally be for it, but there really are still some super strong riders who don't use either.  It seems like it would be a shame to punish them, but since there are so few, I'm kind of ambivalent about the issue.

Well that’s too much hassle just to bring down one rider’s records. Here I have the same situation but there are at least 10 ebike riders posing as analog mtb, so I will have to invest ten times the work and wait that it took to you to obtain the same result. The thing is that it is easy to differentiate an ebike time from an analog, so why is strava requiring all this hassle from us to flag and report something that is evident?

Mladost13
Mt. Kenya

The flag tool isn't useful at all, last year I flagged some people in a MTB segment for using e-bikes, obviously they have the KoM and some of the 10 best times in the segment and as of today, they still have their place in the MTB segment leaderboard despite using an Emtb and being flagged by me.

We are now in the era of IA, so why don't you use some metrics to discard suspicious times based on  specific data, so if you know a Tour de France athlete has an average speed of 15 mph on a road bike on a 15% grade uphill, how can someone riding an mtb can have a 16mph speed on a 20%  grade uphill? Also could consider previous user activities to determine the rules to discard suspicious activities’ times.

Jane
Moderator Moderator
Moderator

Hello @Ian 

Thanks for sharing that information.  Veloviewer has been around for quite a while and we know many Strava Athletes find it useful.  Here's an article on how to use the activity flag tool, so anyone reading your post can get more information on that if they need to.

Sounds like you have quite a few KOMs!  Thanks again for sharing these helpful tips.

 


Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

It seems that if an athlete's rides are flagged continuously for violating the same leaderboard guidelines, say 20 or more times, that Strava should step in and communicate directly with the athlete and/or prevent all of that athlete's rides from populating leaderboards until they correct the default sport type, or whatever else is the nature of the violations.

Hello Jane, I have the same concern about cheating people which are an growing problem with the success of ebike and speedelecs. I made several flags but most of the time the strava support team did not exclude the fake performance even when it was obvious that it was pure fake so I ask to take more serious the flagged segments for the survive of strava. Otherwise I think people will not pay the strava year fee anymore.

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