Not Logged In Log In   Sign Up   Points Leaders
Follow Us    7:40 PM

Message Forum - Read Message

Category: Suggest a GasBuddy improvement > Topics Add to favorite topics   Post new topicPost New Topic
Author Topic: Abolish Top Spotter and App Rewards Back to Topics
Retired-Coastie

Champion Author
Arkansas

Posts:1,825
Points:624,600
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Sep 22, 2013 10:28:39 PM

Top spotter and app rewards need to be abolished, then people would post prices on there own merits, not inflated egos. Abolish
REPLIES (newest first) Topic is locked
Profile Pic
Don
Moderator
Message Posted: Oct 10, 2013 12:22:59 PM

"I'm unable to go to the full site from my iPhone. When I try, the site loops me right back to the App. Crazy "

It sounds like you might be getting returned to the mobile website, instead. It is styled similarly to the actual mobile apps, but is not actually the mobile app.

On the mobile site, near the bottom of the display you should see a link tha says "View the full website". So you would go from m.arkansasgasprices.com to the full Arkansas state page.

"I'll also point out that we used to have the ability to zero out prices using the maps. That was taken away with one of the "prettier formatting" updates to the site. This site has become less functional as a result."

Well, no, that feature was primarily removed due the amount of abusive users who were clearing as many prices from the website as they could using the web maps.

Topic requested to be closed by OP.

-Don
Profile Pic
Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:17,413
Points:2,967,350
Joined:Sep 2006
Message Posted: Oct 10, 2013 10:58:26 AM

Personally I think the suggestion that people should go through all the gymnastics of brining up the full site on a mobile phone, resizing to the point where one could search, entering the search options, resizing to the point where one can find the station, clicking on the price, resizing to the point where one can enter a 0 and then entering that price is a bit stupid.

I'll also point out that we used to have the ability to zero out prices using the maps. That was taken away with one of the "prettier formatting" updates to the site. This site has become less functional as a result.

[Edited by: Scrapheap at 10/10/2013 11:00:12 AM EST]
Profile Pic
Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:1,825
Points:624,600
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Oct 10, 2013 10:01:28 AM

Your correct, I'm in my browser. After messing with it several times I was finally able to get the browser to the web page, a tiny type of a thing.
Profile Pic
Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,870
Points:3,643,840
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Oct 9, 2013 2:02:44 PM

The current iPhone app apparently doesn't have a link to the full website. Use your iPhone's browser and go to www.arkansasgasprices.com or www.gasbuddy.com. From there you can log in to access the mobile website or link to the full website.
Profile Pic
scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:97,397
Points:3,863,340
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Oct 9, 2013 10:50:09 AM

"I'm unable to go to the full site from my iPhone. When I try, the site loops me right back to the App. Crazy"

You should be able to get to the full site from any browser. Try typing in gasbuddy.com
Profile Pic
Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:1,825
Points:624,600
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Oct 9, 2013 9:09:33 AM

"You can't zero from any version of the app yet, maybe someday. Currently, you have to open a browser window with your iPhone and go to the main web site to zero out bogus price entries."

I'm unable to go to the full site from my iPhone. When I try, the site loops me right back to the App. Crazy
Profile Pic
scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:97,397
Points:3,863,340
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Oct 9, 2013 7:01:03 AM

Visitor prices don't show up unless you do a custom search.
Profile Pic
lisae2960
Champion Author Dayton

Posts:4,679
Points:1,055,215
Joined:Nov 2011
Message Posted: Oct 9, 2013 2:23:29 AM

Why is the anonymous "visitor" allowed to mispost prices? This occurs on a regular basis at 3 local stations...
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Oct 8, 2013 10:59:28 AM

"There is no such feature in the iPhone App."

You can't zero from any version of the app yet, maybe someday. Currently, you have to open a browser window with your iPhone and go to the main web site to zero out bogus price entries.

RG

[Edited by: RichWLIN at 10/8/2013 11:00:03 AM EST]
Profile Pic
Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:1,825
Points:624,600
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Oct 8, 2013 9:20:28 AM

"From other discussions, it appears that the means for easily zeroing out prices and reporting them as inaccurate has become more difficult and not available from all apps/price input locations."

There is no such feature in the iPhone App.

A couple of stations in Fort Smith, AR post their "Membership Card" prices on the sign instead of the "Cash Price", I've given up on reposting the correct cash price. You can't fix stupid.
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Oct 7, 2013 11:02:55 PM

"Apparently we are not only stuck with the awards, but we will more likely see new awards than to see the most problematic one/s eliminated."

This seems likely, but maybe they'll consider tweaking some of the awards to help improve accuracy.

Both of TxJeans' suggestions would be a vast improvement.

RG

Profile Pic
TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

Posts:7,443
Points:827,425
Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Oct 7, 2013 10:56:12 PM

Apparently we are not only stuck with the awards, but we will more likely see new awards than to see the most problematic one/s eliminated.

Apparently the incidence level of "false" prices varies significantly from one market to another.

From other discussions, it appears that the means for easily zeroing out prices and reporting them as inaccurate has become more difficult and not available from all apps/price input locations.

Suggestions -
1. The MSL tie in that has been promised.
2. A zero out and report button? For quick price corrective action.
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Oct 7, 2013 6:30:20 PM

Gas_Buddy ponders: "I just wonder how many of the complainers use the "report problem" versus just complain."

I've reported obvious price falsification numerous times, as have many others here, and while I agree that it may curtail an immediate issue most of the time, the next app gamer that comes along starts the falsification and reporting process all over again. This has been a constant problem for two years now.

Instead of defending the status quo and brown-nosing management by pointing a questioning finger and suggesting that others don't show due diligence, why don't you answer kwzh's question that I predicated my last post with and start offering suggestions about how best to repair the leak in the dike (without abolishing the app).

To continue the metaphor, by now we all realize that you don't think the dike is leaking on your end; but it obviously is elsewhere whether you care to believe this or not. This problem will not go away simply by trivializing or ignoring it.

I'm not sure why you devote lengthy paragraphs discussing the speed with which price posting is accomplished only to end up by saying essentially that it shouldn't be any faster than it already is. Again, you're defending the status quo.

kwzh asks: "So, can we maybe brainstorm a way to deal with that, other than by getting rid of the app awards (which promote both the good and the bad behavior)?"

RG
Profile Pic
Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,870
Points:3,643,840
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Oct 7, 2013 3:09:34 PM

RichWLIN:

"With regard to price cloning, this is accomplished so easily in the app that it is, in essence, another invitation to price falsification. All one has to do is to open the station to the submit prices page and tap each existing price to fill in the blanks posting all prices."

While I agree that quick-posting can lead to false price posting (does lead to false price posting), other prominent members (that is, long time members that have contributed intelligently and frequently to the Suggest a GasBuddy Improvement and Talk Back To Us threads - regardless of whether you agree with their views or not) think that price posting should be even quicker. CampKohler, I believe (and I'm not singling him out, just that I believe he posted the suggestion) suggested in another thread that the current posting method could/should be simplified so that you can essentially "one-button" post prices, one click and all the previous prices get repliicated; one of the concerns is to simply reduce the time it takes to post prices, time being that valuable (not said sarcastically, just a paraphrase of the posts). That's a significant philosophical difference, wanting to reduce (you'll never completely eliminate) false price posting - with the understanding that Gas Buddy Organization intends to continue with the app awards - and wanting to make price posting as effortless, as quick, as "non-time consuming" as possible.

While I have concerns with the app awards program, the moderators repeatedly and clearly indicated that they intend to continue the program. With that understanding, I would prefer to not make price posting any more simple or quicker than it is now. That might not solve the problem of false price posting, but it at least doesn't make false price posting even easier.

I wonder how many of the people that complain in the forums about false price posting and/or GB_Direct deliberate/intentional false price posting have actually used the Website Feedback or messaged the moderators versus simply complaining in the discussion. I realize the moderators don't necessarily read every discussion thread as frequently as some members would like, but they've repeatedly said how to report false posting. That system works; it may not be immediate, but the system works. I just wonder how many of the complainers use the "report problem" versus just complain.

Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Oct 7, 2013 11:14:45 AM

kwzh asks: "So, can we maybe brainstorm a way to deal with that, other than by getting rid of the app awards (which promote both the good and the bad behavior)?"

Setting aside the much needed MSL fix, one possible solution would be to modify or eliminate the "Perfectionist" award. This feature of the award program seems to stimulate the input of diesel prices at stations where it isn't offered. Elimination of this award, or perhaps, some reduction in value would tend to ameliorate the effect this is having on price accuracy.

With regard to price cloning, this is accomplished so easily in the app that it is, in essence, another invitation to price falsification. All one has to do is to open the station to the submit prices page and tap each existing price to fill in the blanks posting all prices.

Many stations don't display all prices on signage visible to passers by, so it is necessary to enter the station to view all of the current prices. Not every station prices grades in $.10 increments, so if someone enters prices as such obviously without seeing the real price, they have knowingly falsified GB data...period.

It also follows then that a member who enters all four grades of a previously posted set of false prices has indeed "cloned". Ergo, it isn't difficult to prove cloning at all.

Some members drive along routes where there may be four or five stations in a couple of city blocks, and all too often they post all four grades with $.10 incremented prices. If each station doesn't display all prices on street signs, and some don't offer diesel and or each of the stations has different pricing structures, then it is patently obvious that this member has either purposely falsified prices, or has cloned an earlier falsification. Either condition is provable, and if the chronology of reporting events is known then the specific manner of falsification is also evident.

These price inaccuracy maladies seem to be a function of zealous perfectionist activity. Again, the place to start would be to discuss ways to limit or eliminate the incentive to behave this way, of course, without adversely limiting app revenue.

RG



[Edited by: RichWLIN at 10/7/2013 11:15:48 AM EST]
Profile Pic
TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

Posts:7,443
Points:827,425
Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Oct 7, 2013 7:32:33 AM

I am pretty sure the time spotted is on the Android -- and that I have used it. It is too bad there isn't a summary of features between the different apps and that they are not closer in functionality.

If they can't put in the time stamp with their device, that is a deficiency of the application and of Gasbuddy.com. If they don't know about timestamps that can be two fold - 1) not bothering to learn or use the features and 2) poor FAQs, registration info and communication of features/functionality/rules by GBO.
Profile Pic
Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,870
Points:3,643,840
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Oct 7, 2013 2:47:02 AM

TxJeans:
While you, me and others may post prices using the time spotted option, not everyone does and in the last it seemed as if many members (perhaps most) don't know about that capability. And, unless you're using the browser on your Mobil device to access the full website to post prices, you wouldn't have that capability on your mobile device. The iPhone app, for example, doesn't have "time spotted " capability. I don't know about other apps, but based on previous post rewarding wanting to post prices with as little inconvenience and to post multiple prices virtually immediately, I doubt most app users would use "time spotted" even if it were available, whereas I can see some posting when the trip's over.

It's not false posting if they don't have the time spotted option to use, or if they do t know about "time spotted" to begin with. Delayed posting may be, time wise inaccurate (by overwriting a more time accurate post) but unless it's deliberate, there's a difference between inaccurate and false.
Profile Pic
TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

Posts:7,443
Points:827,425
Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2013 10:49:50 PM

Gas_Buddy, when posting at the end of the destination, I always break my prices into groups of approximate time frames. I would never drive from say, my home straight down the expressway to my folks and post all prices as seen at the time of the most recent (last stop). For someone to drive a long distance and enter them in all hours later with an hours later time stamp is a type of false reporting.

And, yes, I have posted prices hours after seeing them, but have always back dated to the closest reasonable time of sighting.
Profile Pic
Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,870
Points:3,643,840
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2013 7:33:02 PM

scoutmaster:

"There should also be a 3 strikes and you are out. What I mean is post 3 bogus prices of any kind and you lose your posting priviledges for 90 days."

And if a member posts the three gas and/or diesel prices for the wrong station, perhaps mis-posting the prices on a favorites list, and no more posting on Gas Buddy for three months? Inadvertently misreading a price, posting it to the wrong gas station of the same brand, being fat fingered after three months and the member is gone for six more months?

It's one thing if posting the wrong price is intentional, but your post seems to imply that any errors will take you off the program, regardless of how many correct prices you post, regardless of how many correct prices you post daily. That seems pretty strong.

CampKohler:

"Excepting some extraordinary circumstance (say another person at the distant station phones a report to the member, the member phones the station and asks for the prices, or the member has access to a CIA photo satellite), it can be assumed that such widely spaced simultaneous reports are bogus."

No, it can't be "assumed". It can be "presumed", but not "assumed". Two entirely different things. Forgetting that members aren't supposed to be getting prices via phone for posting, and forgetting the inane CIA comment), it's entirely possible (not probable, possible) that a member is tracking prices along an interstate and posting prices at one time, after they stop. I know that I've posted gas prices for both the Harper's Ferry, WV area and downtown Washington, D.C., and for the Hagerstown, MD area and downtown Washington, D.C., both about 75 apart, after reaching one final destination. I'm not saying that most people do that but it's pretty much a straight drive. Sorry, but it may not be the norm that "distant price posting" takes place, but it's far from being "assumed bogus".

Profile Pic
CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

Posts:12,942
Points:2,054,380
Joined:May 2007
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2013 5:42:08 PM

SM: >> "I'm not so sure price cloning can be proven...."

One method that works (and I used it once) is to discover two or more reports from stations so widely spaced (say, a hundred miles), that it would not be possible for valid simultaneous reports to have been made. Excepting some extraordinary circumstance (say another person at the distant station phones a report to the member, the member phones the station and asks for the prices, or the member has access to a CIA photo satellite), it can be assumed that such widely spaced simultaneous reports are bogus. Admittedly, finding such a situation is rare.

[Edited by: CampKohler at 10/6/2013 5:45:01 PM EST]
Profile Pic
Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:1,825
Points:624,600
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2013 9:17:09 AM

TxJeans; I agree with #1 & #3, #2 has been suggested, again and again. I'm even guilty of it. The question then becomes why is GB so slow correct this error? Apparently they don't care.
Profile Pic
scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:97,397
Points:3,863,340
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2013 8:12:16 AM

I like your #1 & #2 TxJeans. I also think when someone registers they should be taken to the FAQ page and have to click/tap a box stating they have read and understand the FAQ's. Also, every member should receive an e-mail when there is a change to the FAQ's or posting standards.

There should also be a 3 strikes and you are out. What I mean is post 3 bogus prices of any kind and you lose your posting priviledges for 90 days. One more and you lose them for 6 months. One more and you are history.
Profile Pic
TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

Posts:7,443
Points:827,425
Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2013 4:05:48 AM

A better reporting mechanism would be the first step, and maybe updating the faqs and log-ins to indicate enforcement and that anyone caught abusing this site in the name of awards will be banned from all activity.

1 - registration - Notice to users that they agree to post prices responsibly and abusers chasing awards with fake prices will be banned.
2 - Better integration between the APP and the Website - with announcements and updates (currently, the moldy announcements area - What's New - is buried and unless one checks it each day, one will never know there is an announcement. Make new announcements pop up for APPS users on first sign in after posting and same for website. Or some other way of letting folks know something has changed.
3 - Better reporting means to report and correct aberrant pricing.
4 - I don't want to see the APP become the web-site, but maybe some good links out to the website might be appropriate.

Just some thoughts to get the brainstsorming started...
Profile Pic
kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

Posts:23,271
Points:4,286,530
Joined:Jul 2001
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2013 3:21:17 AM

So, can we maybe brainstorm a way to deal with that, other than by getting rid of the app awards (which promote both the good and the bad behavior)?
Profile Pic
lisae2960
Champion Author Dayton

Posts:4,679
Points:1,055,215
Joined:Nov 2011
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2013 2:03:38 PM

I joined because I saw it as service to the community, similar to "Consumer Reports" magazine... When the "Top Spotter" appeared is when I saw the largest growth in copying others' postings, as well as $0.10 increments, & diesel reports where none exist...
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2013 12:46:33 PM

"Have you sent a message identifying the poster and their bogus price data?"

Yes, I have and I received a message back from a moderator for yesterday's report.

Reporting people for these infractions is not only time consuming and tedious when it is necessary multiple times a week, but I would also liken this to applying a bandaid to skin cancer.

Even if everyone who observes this behavior were to report it, and every occurrence was summarily corrected by a moderator, it doesn't address the root cause. A new rash of offenders always seem to come along as more people download and use the app. The member that was reported this morning joined this June. A fix for the cause is what needs to be considered.

RG

[Edited by: RichWLIN at 10/5/2013 12:49:16 PM EST]
Profile Pic
Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:1,825
Points:624,600
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2013 9:36:22 AM

RichWLIN; Have you sent a message identifying the poster and their bogus price data? It really does work, I did after observing 5 sets of false prices in one area. It stop cold it.

I would be nice if there was a simpler "Report False Prices" feature on the site. I may have to suggest that one.
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2013 9:26:14 AM

Back to the subject of the app awards and, in particular, to the reasons for the OP in the first place... please.

Both yesterday and again today I have noticed members who are obviously driving by stations, observing regular (and in some cases diesel) prices on the signage and proceeding to simply fill in the other grades fabricating prices with $.10 increments.

This problem seems to be more prevalent than diesel price falsification, and, if I pay attention, I notice it almost every day along my local route of travel.

This kind of bogus price entry cannot be corrected by the simple MSL fix we've all been waiting for. This is a problem that seems to be driven by a member's zealous need to report as many prices as he/she can, and thus seems to be a function of the app awards that outwardly promote this activity.

I, for one, cannot disagree that most people who are using the app do so honestly and accurately as has been suggested here but only because I don't have the wherewithal to disprove this assertion. However, I can accurately state that the percentage of members who are conducting themselves this way is epidemic in my area of travel and this needs to be addressed in some way, even if it means removing or modifying some of the app awards.

At least one member here has stated that honest or accidental "fat thumb" errors are a part of the cause. This is undoubtedly true, but I've heard this mentioned here more times than I've actually seen it out on the road.

Earlier in this thread the idea of a poll to settle once and for all whether this is a regional or national problem has been suggested. If not a poll than further discussion here seems appropriate, that is, until one of the usual suspects anonymously calls for the topic to be locked.

One thing is certain, the problem has been here since the inception of the award program and isn't going away by itself.

RG
Profile Pic
TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

Posts:7,443
Points:827,425
Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Oct 2, 2013 11:00:14 PM

"CK asked me a question I do not know the answer to: the Topic thread count is 54 yet only we can only count 50 posts. I haven't started an ignore list. Any ideas from my more seasoned thread masters?"

The 55 posts - the 46 posts that CK sees = the number of posts in that thread minus 1 person who is probably on mutual ignore with CK.

I see the full number of posts 55 posts. (based on the particular thread I believe you are discussing which is not the same as this one based on your discussion with CK).

If you can't see some posts, possibly you are also on a forced ignore?



[Edited by: TxJeans at 10/2/2013 11:02:36 PM EST]
Profile Pic
Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,870
Points:3,643,840
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Oct 2, 2013 10:30:52 PM

"CK asked me a question I do not know the answer to: the Topic thread count is 54 yet only we can only count 50 posts. I haven't started an ignore list. Any ideas from my more seasoned thread masters?"

While I'm not a seasoned thread master, counting the post the asked the above question, there were 54 message postss including the original post. There have (since the above question was asked) two more posts, and the list indicates that there are 56 posts. That means the list number matches the number of posts available for viewing.

That said (and only heaven knows why I counted other than to answer the question asked in the post), are people really going through the discussion threads to ensure (or simply "to see") that the post number (on the topic list) matches the number of actual message posts? Is it that much of an issue? I'm asking only because I never thought of that as being a problem or an issue (and, in fact, seems to be one).

Does the above answer your question?

[Edited by: Gas_Buddy at 10/2/2013 10:34:41 PM EST]
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Oct 2, 2013 3:08:14 PM

The problem with leaving comments is that they are erased by default when the next member posts prices. The comment section is essentially useless.

RG
Profile Pic
lisae2960
Champion Author Dayton

Posts:4,679
Points:1,055,215
Joined:Nov 2011
Message Posted: Oct 2, 2013 3:05:10 PM

There has been a large increase in “game player” reporting in my area since the introduction of the Rewards and“Top Spotter” on the Gas Buddy APP. I believe/have observed folks (mostly new) are filling in diesel where none exists, not only for the “perfectionist” reward, but also to be “Top Spotter” for filling in more grades, more often, and earliest.
One solution for ridding our communities of erroneous diesel prices could be as follows: under “Features”, it clearly show which fuel types are available at each station; I suggest that if there is no diesel or premium, their fields be grayed out/not available to report. As for the rash of $0.10 increments, where none exists, it’d be trickier, maybe a “false report button” where after so many reports by different people, a spotter is suspended… I try leaving comments under "Notes", but it gets tiring doing it daily for multiple stations...
Profile Pic
Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:1,825
Points:624,600
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Oct 2, 2013 9:09:26 AM

CK asked me a question I do not know the answer to: the Topic thread count is 54 yet only we can only count 50 posts. I haven't started an ignore list. Any ideas from my more seasoned thread masters?
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Oct 1, 2013 11:58:09 PM

GasBuddy said: "What would help would be a simpler/quicker way to report false price posting..."

I agree and started this thread to discuss this in January of 2012. Another suggestion that went off on tangents and that was ultimately ignored.

RG


[Edited by: RichWLIN at 10/2/2013 12:01:18 AM EST]
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Oct 1, 2013 11:48:08 PM

I'm less concerned with "fat thumb" errors than with the obvious bogus "perfectionist" posting and cloning that is taking place at stations that I report regularly.

For instance: I routinely report a Marathon station where I stop and see all prices on the pumps. Only regular and diesel appear on the signage. Yesterday, prices were as follows: $3.25, $3.49, $3.69 and $3.91 for diesel. Today when I was there, the price of regular had changed from yesterday to $3.19, while mid, premium and diesel had remained the same.

Sometime between yesterday and today, a member came along and posted $3.19, $3.29, $3.39 and $3.91; it is clear that the mid and premium prices were falsely entered in $.10 increments and that the price poster saw only the other prices on the road sign. Now, I can't say whether the most recent member is the originator or a cloner, but in any case the prices are not true and the member or members have reported all four prices without entering the station and actually seeing them.

There are no other Marathon stations in close proximity, and the nearest don't price in $.10 increments either. Of the two different brand stations nearby, only one prices grades this way and it doesn't offer diesel.

It stands to reason that these folks are likely chasing points or awards with little regard for accurate prices across the board. I see this type of activity in my area frequently, and at times daily.

This cannot be written off as a "fat thumbing" or any other honest mistake.

RG

[Edited by: RichWLIN at 10/1/2013 11:51:34 PM EST]
Profile Pic
Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,870
Points:3,643,840
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Oct 1, 2013 3:38:48 PM

"
If the MSL were connected to the App so that a person could only enter grades available at said station that only carries say three grades of gasoline and no diesel, would reporting all three grades then become a Perfectionist score?"

I would think not. The intent of "perfectionist" as I see it is that a member should be making an effort to identify stations that have all Gas Buddy listed prices (three grades of gasoline and diesel) in the manner of a scavenger hunt. By saying you shouldn't need to find a station that also sells diesel would be similar to saying you get "perfectionist" by posting Costco or BJ prices, stations that sell only regular and premium. It diminishes the intent of "perfection".

"It could be, if the code were changed. That would run up the app score quickly, and once topped out the need/desire to post bogus prices would be diminished." In theory that makes sense, people will stop posting false prices because they "won the award" or maxed out their posts. However we have members who say that in their area others consistently post a multitude of false prices and it doesn't seem the pricing is all for "app awards"; if you're only getting points for five posts in order to maximize your gas card drawing chances, excess false price posting makes little sense.

If there is false price posting (and there's not for my areas of posting, not that I've noticed), I doubt that maxing out on some of the awards will do much to discourage the false posting. What would help would be a simpler/quicker way to report false price posting, perhaps a button adjacent to each and every price line, click it and it opens a "False price notification" to the moderators with a comment box to enter information. This would automatically indicate to the moderators the member posting the false price (which could be an honest error), the price and date of the post, and the member making the complaint. The attached comment box could indicate "station doesn't sell diesel", etc.

Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Oct 1, 2013 11:23:25 AM

I'm not sure that the developer intends for app activity to diminish rapidly. The income from the app must be substantial or the comments by the moderator below wouldn't make much sense.
Profile Pic
Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:1,825
Points:624,600
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Oct 1, 2013 9:09:57 AM

If the MSL were connected to the App so that a person could only enter grades available at said station that only carries say three grades of gasoline and no diesel, would reporting all three grades then become a Perfectionist score? It could be, if the code were changed. That would run up the app score quickly, and once topped out the need/desire to post bogus prices would be diminished.
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Sep 30, 2013 7:23:30 PM

I noticed more 'perfectionist" activity this weekend, but chose to correct and ignore rather than to report each one to a modertor. At least twice I noticed all 4 grades entered with $.10 increments, and this has never been the pricing practice of either station. Had I been stationary long enough, I may have gone ahead and reported this but I had to keep moving to stay on schedule.

On the one hand, we hear of moderators with a great deal on their plates running down numerous claims of false reporting and other complaints. I have personally noticed many new members posting prices they did not and could not have observed, so I tend to feel their pain. In many cases, false reporting activity is evident and undeniable.

Still on the other hand, at least one moderator suggested in this thread that "the majority of new people who are posting because of the awards are posting good prices".

It doesn't seem logical to assume that we can have it both ways.

RG
Profile Pic
Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,870
Points:3,643,840
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Sep 26, 2013 1:45:24 PM

RichWLIN:

Not that your poll suggestion wasn't relevant to this thread, it's in fact a good idea. Just that because of the nature of the question and the inherent back-and-forth it would develop, I just feel it deserves it's own thread and the discussion not be fettered with side issues and/or peripheral comments about Top Spotter and/or =the app awards Your poll question simply, if not in the link you attached (I've read it) is worthy of and deserves a stand-alone discussion.
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Sep 26, 2013 10:53:08 AM

Gas_Buddy said: “the wording of the suggested poll (in his most recent post) is overly ambiguous…”

Agreed, a wide interpretation of the word “false” probably makes the question indistinct. A discussion of the rewording is taking place elsewhere.

I would disagree though that discussion of this particular poll is outside the scope of the OP. There are those who have complained of false and or inaccurate price posting for some time now, and this is the impetus for the suggestion made by RC. Still others allow as how they don’t notice much, if any, inaccuracy of prices, while some see this perhaps as a regional or demographic issue.

“It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

A national poll asking for observations of this issue would, at the very least, shed light on the validity of RC’s suggestion. I see no reason not to ask the question other than there may be some who would prefer not to have the results made public.

RG
Profile Pic
Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:1,825
Points:624,600
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Sep 26, 2013 10:20:15 AM

scoutmaster you missed the point...

"This full topic heading reads "Abolish Top Spotter and App Rewards" not "Prevent posting prices for nonexistent product in mobile apps". TB didn't comment in that topic although he did refer to it."

I referred to "Prevent posting prices for nonexistent product in mobile apps", just as TB did in that the word PREVENT does not make the suggestion negative.

And the mod had nothing to say about the problem at hand, nor a solution to said problem, but focused the post at me the member.
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Sep 25, 2013 11:44:45 PM

The original post questions the merit of prices entered by award gamers. There has already been some discussion as to whether or not the falsifying prices is or isn't negligible, and or if it is as widespread as it seems.

I wonder why the moderator didn't just close this thread, having had the last word as they usually do? He must have wanted the discussion to continue.

RG



[Edited by: RichWLIN at 9/25/2013 11:46:17 PM EST]
Profile Pic
Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,870
Points:3,643,840
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Sep 25, 2013 11:01:58 PM

I think RichWLIN's second most recent post is both observant and insightful; I think, however, the wording of the suggested poll (in his most recent post) is overly ambiguous, at least as written. The suggested wording of such a poll could be done in separate thread, not distracting from the original post of this thread, and allowing for discussion of better (in my opinion) wording.



[Edited by: Gas_Buddy at 9/25/2013 11:03:06 PM EST]
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Sep 25, 2013 5:50:57 PM

One way to find out what others observe throughout the U.S. and Canada would be to poll the readership.

I offered the following poll to the Suggest an Opinion Poll forum but it hasn't gained much traction and may not since, in hindsight, it could ultimately provide negative PR and cast doubt on the veracity of the volunteer price entry concept.

Do you notice false price posting on GasBuddy in your area of travel?

• Yes, frequently
• Yes, but infrequently
• No, never

I suspect that the results provided by the readership would slant heavily toward noticing falsified prices, while those who claim to never observe a problem are in a small minority.

RG

[Edited by: RichWLIN at 9/25/2013 5:52:21 PM EST]
Profile Pic
RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

Posts:7,572
Points:1,250,580
Joined:Jun 2011
Message Posted: Sep 25, 2013 5:25:22 PM

I probably should have added some of the following comments to my post this morning, but it was already wordy:

Up until recently, I doubted anyone who said they don't see many obviously falsified prices, or would have suggested that they don't get out much. However, I have been traveling back and forth between home and several smaller counties in south central Indiana for a couple of months now, and I have noticed that price entering practices are different down there.

Seldom are all grades indicated and the norm seems to be to post just the prices shown on the signs leaving all others blank. Incidentally, prices don't spike and correct nearly as much in some parts of southern Indiana and this contributes, I think, to the overall stability and accuracy of prices seen on GB.

And, I have also noticed similar reporting practices when visiting other less populated areas in the five or six states where I routinely travel.

In short, there seem to be less "perfectionist" reporting activity in some areas resulting in an inherent price honesty not found in the majority of areas where I frequently travel.

Suggesting that the Perfectionist Award be revised falls well short of abolishing the awards altogether, and even though it is a solution that goes to the root of the problem, it apparently rankled the Jedi and the moderator as well who would discourage ideas that "take things away from our users."

I'm sure that there are areas that don't have inaccuracy issues with the same frequency as others. However, given the numerous and widespread reports of false price posts over the last two years, and my own observations while reporting daily during the same period, I still can't buy into the insinuation of app user price accuracy provided in the moderator's response below; although, it would have had more credibility if half of the reply hadn't been spent chastising the OP for the negative wording of his suggestions.

RG
Profile Pic
scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:97,397
Points:3,863,340
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Sep 25, 2013 4:15:54 PM

I'm not so sure price cloning can be proven unless on purposely posts incorrect prices in an attempt to catch the suspected cloner.
Profile Pic
Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,870
Points:3,643,840
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Sep 25, 2013 3:39:50 PM

Scrapheap raises the interesting idea of "auto-populating" prices but, to me, while it can be done it takes away the "member" part of Gas Buddy price posting. OPIS, if I understand correctly, provides pricing information based on compilation, among other way, of credit card transactions; this of course doesn't take into consideration price information if there's a different cash price or if the station is "cash only". So it can be done. But, is what everyone wants is that Gas Buddy auto-populates the prices? If that's the cash, then why do members need to submit prices? To provide "real time" accuracy? If the issue is massive false price posting (and I don't believe that's the case but I'll talk off-line about it if anyone wants), then that would defeat auto-populating. Again, it's an interesting idea Scrapheap raised but it would go against Gas Buddy's "member participation" program.

Not for discussion here but as a side note, if "auto-populating" is desired (and not member price posting), Motor Trend, AOL Auto, MSN Auto, and multiple other sites provide such information. I, for one, find that the accuracy of Gas Buddy members postings and GB Direct posting, has been almost always accurate ("fat fingers" and delayed price posting - non-use of "time spotted" - notwithstanding, but I have a pretty good idea of the accuracy of gas stations in both the major areas I report gas prices for). And I understand that in some areas there's apparent massive false price posting; just that I don't see it around me.

I would rather have the real time member price posting than Gas Buddy changing to auto-populating, but I'm open to an amplification of Scrapheap's suggestion. I just don't see a viable combination of the two being workable without taking away from the member obligation/member responsibility/member input.

As for the moderator responding, regardless of whether there's agreement, disagreement, or indifference to the moderator's

RichWLIN raised the very legitimate concern of "I've often wondered exactly how much of the price reporting from the app is incorrect vs. how much is accomplished by people entering correct prices?"

As I said, I don't see significant incorrect price posting, though I obviously can't differentiate between website (home or work computer, enroute table or laptop posting) versus mobile app posting. While I think that the majority of incorrect price posting is fat fingered (I can only speak for my two distinct driving areas - the Washington DC metro area and the northern Florida/southern Georgia area), what is a concern to me is that (probably) a large number of members post prices noticeably after viewing prices (such as during a commute, etc.) but don't update the "time spotted" option, meaning that the price posted was accurate based on the time spotted but not accurate based on the time posted because of a price change between the two times.

RichWLIN uses an interesting word when he says "I encounter more obvious cloning of prices than I do bogus diesel prices..." Several of the stations I pass daily have Gas Buddy prices for three gasoline grades plus diesel. Some of the price posting are for stations that only indicate (from street/driving level) regular and premium, or regular, mid-grade and premium, or (in one case) regular, mid-grade and diesel, all in the same color numerals and same color background - meaning you have to read the word "diesel" to know it's not "premium" (though the premium happens to currently be the same as diesel at that station). It's hard to believe that everyone is confirming all four prices, though when I've actually checked they do seem to be accurate; there almost has to be some cloning. But I'll couch that; they get the sign price posts correct, and the incremental octane increase hasn't changed in a while, meaning that mid-grade and/or premium, may be presumed. To use RichWLIN's word, cloned. But, again, from infrequent checking of various stations, it appears the incremental increasing is accurate. Maybe, and not said sarcastically, we have people who pay attention to changes and "clone" based on periodic confirmation.

As for RichWLIN's comment "once every week or so, someone will drive through and add diesel to each of the five stations along my route even though only three of the stations offer it.", if the non-diesel stations have the same other prices as the diesel stations, it could be (not saying it is) a simple false remembrance. That's not justifying the inaccurate posts, just that stations could have been confused. But that's obviously for isolated posting, not for regular inaccuracy.
RichWLIN wrote: "Sometimes I can't enter prices on the road and it may be an hour before I become stationary. Price fluctuations sometimes occur in this period of time, and even though I may have personally observed all prices at a station, it isn't out of the norm for prices to drop a penny or two in an hour, or jump $.25-.40 during a spike episode." That's the same problem that most of us have. I try to be conscientious about using the time spotting option, using either my computer or cell phone's browser option to access the website, but I'm sure that I've made several late posts that were (as described by RichWLIN) inaccurate. The best we can do is try to do the best we can do. And hope that the cloner won't be the next poster and repeat my inadvertent late and now-erroneous post. I just don't see how you can eliminate the cloner.

RichWLIN wrote "It's a job just trying to keep prices current and accurate along this short but well traveled route, and in doing so prices are routinely inaccurate anyway." I find the well traveled routes I use to be almost always accurate; but I do find the lesser traveled routes, the side roads, to be either dated (when viewed on line) or behind the times if/when I do update for those stations. And, granted, I don't always post for every station I pay attention to. His question of "...I wonder just how widespread it really is?" is an interesting question. I don't think it's widespread, at least not where I drive, but it's still an interesting question.

As for the post: "I got a nose rubbing, for using negative topic headings. If the Ass had read my posts carefully he'd seen that they were for improvements, sometimes less is more. Additionally topic heading was meant to get others to chime in."

While I might have worded the post differently than the moderators, I don't see it as "nose rubbing" or attacking the member. I do see it as reining in the discussion, or trying to, and using one member's posts as an example, that doesn't justify calling the moderator an "Ass". Whether we agree with each other or not, there should be a sense of decorum and civility. And name-calling the moderators doesn't add to the discussion. But that's just my opinion.

Compliments to Scrapheap and RichWLIN for their posts I referenced and apologies for the lengthy response.
Profile Pic
MARIOWERX
Champion Author Vancouver

Posts:18,665
Points:2,251,840
Joined:Oct 2008
Message Posted: Sep 25, 2013 3:12:17 PM

I saw when it was created and it just seems to be a trend of criticism you are following not a stupid assertion.
Profile Pic
scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:97,397
Points:3,863,340
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Sep 25, 2013 11:10:38 AM

No one individual was attacked. That is verboten. The idea was attacked. That is legal.

This full topic heading reads "Abolish Top Spotter and App Rewards" not "Prevent posting prices for nonexistent product in mobile apps". TB didn't comment in that topic although he did refer to it.

And I just made four(4) edits in about five(5) minutes.



[Edited by: scoutmaster at 9/25/2013 11:13:45 AM EST]
Topic is locked Back to Topics