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Elastic — the company behind Elasticsearch and Kibana — is running an annual competition to reward contributions like pull requests, blog posts, talks, etc. Once we started giving away MacBooks, we got a massive influx of fraud. This talk tells the tongue-in-cheek story of how people cheated and also how we caught them:

  • Observability: Find the bots and trace everyone’s actions to figure out what is a coincidence and what is not.
  • Analytics: See how people are trying to exploit the system through fake accounts, shady content, or bending the rules.

While we initially hadn’t planned for this scenario, having the power of search available across observability and analytics data let us do many interesting correlations to get a complete picture of the monster we had created.