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Author Topic: Armchair updaters Back to Topics
LowCountryAl

Rookie Author
South Carolina

Posts:55
Points:339,250
Joined:May 2013
Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 9:09:46 PM

Today, I found where a local GB member this morning has once again reloaded old prices and did not actually visit a station. (The station changed prices yesterday according to the manager.) Should I contact the member and gently scold him/her about the practice? Or do you advise leaving it alone?
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

Posts:23,523
Points:4,360,480
Joined:Jul 2001
Message Posted: Sep 20, 2013 12:35:00 AM

I keep seeing all these complaints about the system being polluted with bad data, but it's not something I've noticed myself to any significant degree, other than cash/credit confusion. I wonder if there's an objective way to measure how bad the problem is in different parts of the country.
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Martinfan
Champion Author Jackson

Posts:16,360
Points:3,366,715
Joined:Sep 2005
Message Posted: Sep 19, 2013 9:33:39 AM

Glad to hear that the issue has been resolved, LowCountryAl. I wish it was the same for my area. Just had another bad post yesterday that a member put a price for diesel fuel and the station does not offer diesel. Ugh, it didn't use to be this bad.
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LowCountryAl
Rookie Author South Carolina

Posts:55
Points:339,250
Joined:May 2013
Message Posted: Sep 19, 2013 8:10:37 AM

I want to let you all know my complaint has been satisfactorily resolved. I won't directly quote their personal reply, but I will say that moderators have readily available compliance tools for mobile devices. The "offender" is no longer reporting false prices (or any prices that I can find) in my area. For me, that is final verification that he/she was not visiting stations and that moderator action was appropriate.



[Edited by: LowCountryAl at 9/19/2013 8:15:32 AM EST]
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

Posts:23,523
Points:4,360,480
Joined:Jul 2001
Message Posted: Sep 18, 2013 5:35:10 PM

Zimcity, I get your point, but technically I'd say that as long as you can launch a browser from your mobile device, and you can check the MSL to confirm what the station sells, you do in fact have what you "need".
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ziyulu
Champion Author Austin

Posts:11,396
Points:2,290,850
Joined:Aug 2007
Message Posted: Sep 18, 2013 11:53:40 AM

What's funny is that I made an honest mistake before and someone else updated it with the wrong price that I posted.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:99,042
Points:3,940,390
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Sep 18, 2013 10:14:26 AM

As of now, neither is in place.
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Zimcity
Champion Author Twin Cities

Posts:71,197
Points:4,327,785
Joined:Aug 2001
Message Posted: Sep 18, 2013 9:18:44 AM

"If someone reports an inaccurate price, all the tools you need are available to you right now to update that price"

When did the check to be sure different grades exist at a station go into place?

When did the ability to 0 out prices from the app get added?

If ALL the tools we need are available, then I must have missed the two above.

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bytebug
Champion Author Orange County

Posts:29,498
Points:4,809,845
Joined:Oct 2001
Message Posted: Sep 18, 2013 8:07:03 AM

Sorry, but to state that accurate prices is a priority is just not believable any more. The last major update to the site was purely cosmetic, and made using the site more difficult for some of us due to the color choices. And features which would make the site more accurate, like handling of cash and credit pricing and verification that stations actually sell the grade of gasoline being reported, have long been promised, but that's all we have… promises.

How accurate do you think the site seems to some newcomer who notes a low price at a station, and after driving out of their way to get there, finds that the low price requires they get their car washed, or that the station doesn't even sell the grade of gasoline that was reported? How discouraging do you think it seems to find the accurate prices you post to be quickly overwritten by a different price that you later find to be a complete fabrication?

As noted, GasBuddy depends on the volunteer efforts of thousands of people, and unfortunately, the ones who have long posted accurately are being overrun by new members who are more interested in the slim prospects of winning some prize, or earning some bogus status in the apps! The accuracy of the information is nowhere near what it was just a few years ago.

Sorry, GasBuddy, but from someone who has been here from nearly the start, you've got to do better!
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Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:2,086
Points:700,550
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Sep 18, 2013 7:32:47 AM

After reading the Mods response; I wonder if they have the ability to look at the history of prices posted to a station? That would show the trend of bad price postings. Also big brother GB can or could look at the posting history of the reported violator, their history is already in the GB data banks. A quick comparison between a reported offence and the GB data on file should be enough to ban the offender.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:99,042
Points:3,940,390
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Sep 18, 2013 6:48:52 AM

"Whom is reporting this to us? Do they have a history of reporting everything that ever happens to us?"

CC, are you saying if a member who reports everything reports a bad price this is not looked into?

"As you may already know: all prices on GasBuddy are posted by volunteer spotters"

Is GB Direct considered a volunteer?
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CC
Moderator
Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 5:29:11 PM

Thanks for the discussion here, everyone.

False prices are extremely high priority for us. The accuracy of the information being reported to GasBuddy is what makes GasBuddy (by far) the most popular site/app of its kind. In fact, I would bet that more time is spent at GasBuddy HQ working on price accuracy than any other thing... except when it's International Talk Like A Pirate Day. That day is for talking like a pirate.

Mobile apps changed GasBuddy. There's no denying it. There are nearly 40 million MORE people using GasBuddy today than before we launched our first mobile app, just 3 years ago. Today, FAR more prices are being reported via a mobile device than the full website, and with the greater number of accurate prices inevitably comes a greater number of inaccurate prices.

Yes, we absolutely truly do rely on GasBuddy members to maintain and improve the accuracy of prices. We're a (perhaps surprisingly) small staff and, of course, we are not local to every area covered by GasBuddy. The biggest and best way to keep prices as accurate and up-to-date as possible is to accept updates from local members. Sure, measures are in place to keep as many obviously false prices off of GasBuddy as possible. But it's not like we can look over the shoulder of everyone reporting a price.

If someone reports an inaccurate price, all the tools you need are available to you right now to update that price. If someone reports inaccurate prices on a regular basis, please bring it to our attention. A member who posts the odd inaccurate price is probably not something to fret about. Everyone makes mistakes and we know that. All that needs to be done is a quick update.

When members are reported to us for reporting inaccurate prices on a regular basis, we take into consideration a number of factors:

- Whom is reporting this to us? Do they have a history of reporting everything that ever happens to us?

- Whom is being reported? Do they have a history of being reported to us? By whom? Is it always the same person reporting this? Multiple people? How many times has this come up?

- Does the member reported show obvious indications of abuse? Is their account linked with any other known problem accounts?

- Are they using the website or mobile apps? Do they appear to be cheating for points/awards?

- etc.

- etc.

We do not blindly ban members whenever someone tells us that they've reported a false price. If an account is very obviously, undoubtedly, unquestionably abusing GasBuddy, we will likely outright ban them. We've been running GasBuddy for quite a while now. A bad account usually sticks out quite easily. In most cases, though, we attempt to contact a member several times about potentially inaccurate posts before making the choice to keep their prices from being displayed. And in each of these cases we have to ask 'whom is reporting this to us? Do they have a history of reporting everything that ever happens to us?', etc.

Just so we're on the same page here, we ask that you do not attempt to contact members directly, to bring potentially inaccurate posts to their attention.

Generally, most people have a natural tendency to not respond (or respond politely) when prompted or requested to improve their postings by those who are not GasBuddy moderators, or site administrators.

As you may already know: all prices on GasBuddy are posted by volunteer spotters. Unfortunately, with the massive number of prices being reported across our 200+ websites and mobile apps for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry, prices posted outside of our guidelines do make their way to the price lists, occasionally. While we may not be able to prevent every discrepant listing, we do attempt to remove any information that is obviously wrong.

By having thousands of prices entered daily this is how the process of a "real-time" gas price information system works. Our goal is to get tens of millions of people posting gas prices. Once that happens, prices will rarely be out of date or inaccurate. I'd like to encourage you to post any gas prices that you spot which meet our guidelines. The more current prices there are posted in accordance to our guidelines, the more we'll all save at the pumps!

If you notice an inaccurate price on GasBuddy, please update it with the current price for everyone else in your area to see.

If you notice prices or station information being entered inaccurately by a poster on a regular basis, please contact us and let us know the username of the poster, the station details (station name, address, area, state/province) and approximate time posted, so we may bring it to their attention.

Thanks, as always, for your help.

[Edited by: CC at 9/17/2013 5:30:00 PM EST]
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ziyulu
Champion Author Austin

Posts:11,396
Points:2,290,850
Joined:Aug 2007
Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 11:23:25 AM

How do you know they were sitting on an armchair and not on their bed or sofa?
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Furball
Champion Author Orange County

Posts:2,443
Points:515,810
Joined:Sep 2003
Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 10:24:20 AM

Just adding my voice to a site that is becoming less and less relevant. In the time that I've been around, this site has changed from one being almost 100% accurate, to one that is accurate maybe two thirds of the time.

I was recently called out by the moderators for leaving messages on people's whiteboards attempting to alert people posting prices incorrectly, and to educate them that posting cash prices is currently the site norm. It is pointless to complain to the moderators about people posting incorrectly, as all you normally just get a form letter reply saying that is just how the site works, and accuracy depends on people (like me) correcting incorrect prices.

TPTB just don't care that the site isn't accurate any more, because they are still getting their ad click money. In the meantime, they actually encourage incorrect prices with the weekly cash give aways and bogus app awards.

Color me sad and discouraged.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:99,042
Points:3,940,390
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 8:46:49 AM

Keep reporting this to the moderators, LowCountyAl.

[Edited by: scoutmaster at 9/17/2013 8:47:07 AM EST]
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LowCountryAl
Rookie Author South Carolina

Posts:55
Points:339,250
Joined:May 2013
Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 8:34:49 AM

He did it again two hours ago! A local nearby Enmark lowered their price to $3.19 for 87 before opening at 5 am EDT (verified with the store manager). The suspect Gas Buddy member updated around 6 am and kept yesterday's prices!

I was out early for bagels and updated several locations at the pumps. My suspect updated the same not long after I did. Armchair updating is easy to do when someone else does the legwork!

I'll next post an update after hearing from GB on this matter. Frankly, I fear it will be a letter that they can't be the GB police and that GB will rely on those of us who are honest to cover those less so.
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LowCountryAl
Rookie Author South Carolina

Posts:55
Points:339,250
Joined:May 2013
Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 6:13:39 AM

ziyulu, I am 100% positive. This person has done it before. I pass several stations daily and note price changes at one or two in particular. The latest incident verified that he or she simply updated data that was two days old. When prices are changing rapidly like they have recently, it's easy to spot such abusers.

[Edited by: LowCountryAl at 9/17/2013 6:14:39 AM EST]
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bytebug
Champion Author Orange County

Posts:29,498
Points:4,809,845
Joined:Oct 2001
Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 4:22:00 AM

>> Better to let the Mods do their job (maybe)

Their job seems to be to shoot back form letter replies stating that the way the site works is by people like me fixing the problems created by the others by entering correct prices.
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Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:2,086
Points:700,550
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 3:41:53 AM

Better to let the Mods do their job (maybe), by sending a detailed email to them from the help tab. I just did it for a character in Fort Smith.
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bytebug
Champion Author Orange County

Posts:29,498
Points:4,809,845
Joined:Oct 2001
Message Posted: Sep 17, 2013 3:11:23 AM

Unfortunately, "Armchair Updaters" are far too common these days. I've seen the same old price copied by multiple people throughout a day until I actually have time to drive by the station and verify the correct price.

[Edited by: bytebug at 9/17/2013 3:12:51 AM EST]
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ziyulu
Champion Author Austin

Posts:11,396
Points:2,290,850
Joined:Aug 2007
Message Posted: Sep 16, 2013 6:23:24 PM

Be careful. You are not certain he is an armchair updater, right?
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LowCountryAl
Rookie Author South Carolina

Posts:55
Points:339,250
Joined:May 2013
Message Posted: Sep 16, 2013 12:55:35 PM

Sorry not to have responded sooner. I have just nailed an offender here in Bluffton, SC and will be forwarding screen captures and other information to moderators shortly. This morning's post is proof positive that a certain poster did not actually visit Nickel Pumpers.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:99,042
Points:3,940,390
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Message Posted: Jul 30, 2013 7:01:05 AM

When reporting bad prices to the mods, the more info the better but the station ID is not needed. Just copy the info from the bad price post and PM that to the mods and explain what you did. Here is typically what I send to them

Subject: (member handle)

(member handle) posted a mid-grade price for the station below. This station doesn't carry mid-grade. I deleted this price.Sam's Club
289 Mt Nebo Pointe Dr near Mt Nebo Rd
Ohio Twp
(member handle)
4 hours ago
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:12,982
Points:2,301,275
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Message Posted: Jul 30, 2013 12:27:44 AM

Yes indeed, report any false price posting to the Mods and then delete the bad price or overwrite it if you know the correct price. It is a rare day that I do not make such a report, most often for a diesel price at a station that does not sell diesel. It is nice to include the station ID number but if you do not want to take the time to look it up, the station name and address will do. Be sure to include the offending member’s nic and the time of the post.

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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

Posts:308,117
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Message Posted: Jul 29, 2013 4:44:01 PM

The station ID from the MSL probably makes it easiest for the mods to deal with it. They can look it up but that adds time and might get it set aside. You also need to provide the time of the bad post and the ID of the poster.

I remember an old thread about this and one of the mods advised to never scold another member about anything.

At least the 10 most important things about this site are making sure the prices are accurate. That's why everyone responding so far has suggested making a report to the mods.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:99,042
Points:3,940,390
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Message Posted: Jul 28, 2013 9:49:03 AM

You are correct, not as complete, but enough information to report to the moderators. I've been doing this for years and the moderators seem to be happy with it. After all, it's about a price being reported incorrectly not the station info.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

Posts:13,357
Points:2,126,240
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Message Posted: Jul 28, 2013 9:32:55 AM

Bel Air
3200 Arena Blvd & Duckhorn Dr
Sacramento

Not quite as complete. Plus, in the MSL, you can search by street without any reference to the area or brand.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:99,042
Points:3,940,390
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Message Posted: Jul 28, 2013 8:01:17 AM

There is no need to go to the MSL, CampKohler. The necessary info can be copied from the price board.

[Edited by: scoutmaster at 7/28/2013 8:05:16 AM EST]
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

Posts:13,357
Points:2,126,240
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Message Posted: Jul 28, 2013 2:28:30 AM

Also include in your PM the station data that GB needs. You may obtain this from the MSL Station List page by copying and pasting. For example:

Chevron
25651 N CA-99
Cross: E Collier Rd
Acampo , CA 95220-9235
ID: 1516

They will then copy and paste it into their PM to the member.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:99,042
Points:3,940,390
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 10:12:57 PM

Contact the moderators and give them all the details you know. Do this each and every time you see a bad price.
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:17,609
Points:3,039,715
Joined:Sep 2006
Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 9:45:09 PM

Report it to the moderators. Might as well start the paper trail of abuse now.
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