How to Manipulate Online Poll (and how to counter it)

Should Malaysia Government Recognize UEC?

I read an article posted at “pendidik2u.my” regarding “Perlukah Kerajaan Malaysia Mengiktiraf UEC?” (Should Malaysia Government Recognize UEC), which the article contains a online poll to ask Malaysian (or online visitor) whether should the government recognize it or no need.

SinChew reported that the poll result being used by Malaysian Media and stating more than 70% opinions is “no need”, which making me shock as such a online poll can be used as “evidence” or “facts” to prove a statement.

How to Manipulate Online Poll (and how to counter it)

Hence i do a simple search and find out that the poll is hardly being recognized as true result despite the result can be manipulate EASILY. To prove that the result can be manipulate, i will share out How to Manipulate Online Poll and hopefully some tips on how to counter it.

  1. View the website source codeBy viewing WordPress-based website source code, one can easily identify the developer using which plugins/themes, example of the “pendidik2u.my” source code as screenshot below (To view a website source code, simply go to the page and right click -> View Page Source / Inspect ElementLooking at the elements, always look for “wp-content” and “plugins” as that’s the default path for plugins, and for our case, we can easily spot and guess that the plugins “wp-polls” will be the poll plugin used by “pendidik2u.my”.
  2. So let’s google search “wp-polls” 🙂

    Well, quite obvious that we found the right plugin name, so let’s install the “wp-polls” at my testing website and check it out
  3. After install, within a minute you can create a simple 2 choices poll:
  4. This is the funny part, you can easily modify (or better known as manipulate) the poll result RIGHT after you created the poll (or any other time that you wish for it)

    Well, if you look carefully, you can edit the number of votes as well as total voters too.
  5. In short, the poll result from “pendidik2u.my” is unreliable and hardly for me to trust the results.
    Left: pendidik2u.my Right: dryenyoon.com

 

How to COUNTER abusive POLL

As developer, when we want a FAIR and CLEAN poll, we need to find way from visitor to ABUSING the polling and alter the results by any means. There’s no “BEST PRACTICE” or “UNBREAKABLE POLLING”, but we can do our best to avoid the common mistakes that shouldn’t be occur at first place.

  1. Limit by IP address

    This might not the best counter yet but at least this is the first layer to counter those HARDCORE fans that wanted to vote the person/object MULTIPLE times (like 24 hours continuous style?). However this can be counter if someone know how to write script that will automate the voting process by changing it’s IP address from time to time.

    Pros:
    Easily counter visitor that wish to vote more than once
    Cons:
    There could be multiple users sharing one IP address (few persons online from same house), where the first voter is eligible while the rest will be denied

  2. Limit by User

    This could be good practice but standing on “encouraging everyone to vote” might be contradict due to the process of voting is longer. Requesting a visitor to sign up for an account before can-vote might be throwing away voters.

    Pros:
    Consider second layer of protection as you can track better on the genuineness of the voter
    Cons:
    Slow down the process, which might make certain voters give up

  3. Verification code via SMS

    This could be third layer of protection as it’s mimicking how we do online banking transfer, where you will required to key in “transaction authorization code” which you received via SMS only. Same methodology applied to our email account where two-factor authentication enabled – login your email account required both password and one-time-used-only authentication code sent to your mobile phone via SMS

    Pros:
    Highly recommended for high-risk poll where each vote is counted and determine for bigger decision, such as Country’s Election
    Cons:
    High cost and complexity of usage will increase as there are still people out there didn’t know how to use it.

Despite there are many other methods out there, still i believe in people-accountability and the motive of the poll production. It’s ALL ABOUT PEOPLE.

 

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