Thursday, September 11, 2014

As the Ban Hammer Swings

Yesterday started off fairly well for me with a trip to the local indoor playground filled with gigantic bouncy houses. My mission was to run my two young kids completely ragged in a day of intense activity, and as an added bonus, these bouncy houses are actually built strong enough for several adults to be banging around in them as well. I hate to say it, but it's more fun than Eve.

During a quick break in the action I had the ill sense to check my phone for a moment, and found several pings across multiple mediums regarding a ban wave. At first it looked like CCP had got around to banning the various agents involved with the Bonus Room incident a few months ago. Obviously, I didn't have time to look into much at that moment, so I shot off some quick messages to James315 and others promising further review upon my return, then I went back to playing with my kids.

Definitely more fun than Eve.

Upon my return home, the kids barely made it in the door before passing out on the floor Sims style. With OP success on that front, I managed to get them in their beds, kissed the wife goodbye, and then retired to the dungeon where the Eve happens. Here's what I've got so far:

Firstly, the CSM is not part of the GM team and are not consulted on bans. People are banned every day, it's not our business, nor part of our function to second guess any specific ban. There has been one recent instance of a GM allegedly referring someone to go talk to the CSM when they were unable to make a reimbursement for a bug that happened, but aside from that, we really don't have much to do with these guys.

After pouring through communications from over a dozen people, reading accounts of people claiming to be involved on various sites, and checking a couple of blogs, I've managed to piece together what seems to be a reasonable approximation of what went down yesterday.
  1. A number of people were banned for what appears to be RL harassment. Actual numbers are not known and are unlikely to be released.
  2. Some of those banned were involved in Erotica 1's bonus room.
  3. Some of those banned had nothing to do with Erotica 1's bonus room, and had never been heard of by known participants within that subset of the community.
  4. Some of those involved neck deep in Erotica 1's bonus room were not banned.
Based on the accounts I've read thus far, it would appear unlikely that all the people banned for harassment yesterday were involved in any singular incident together. With that reasonable assumption, this ban wave has more of a sting feel to it, and likely one that was cooking for a bit before the trigger was pulled. The only words from CCP on the matter thus far have come from CCP Falcon, first around the time that the bans actually hit:

Hello everyone,

We would like to remind the EVE community of our stance regarding the usage of EVE Online and assets, characters and items from within the game environment as leverage for the purpose of real life harassment.

As outlined in our previous announcement, this type of behavior lies in clear breach of our End User License Agreement, and as such we have a zero tolerance approach when dealing with these cases.

Our stance regarding this type of behavior has not changed since the last announcement, and any individuals who are found to be engaging in such behavior will be met with disciplinary action against their game accounts in accordance with our Terms of Service.

- F (source)
Before I go any further here, I need to make one thing very plain. I'm looking on the claims of innocence/ignorance of the people hit in this ban wave as dubious at best. A statement such as "I'm not sure what I did wrong" can easily be translated to mean "I've probably done 5 or 6 things that would fall under this in the last 6 months, and I'm not sure which one this is for." Each and every one of these people has done something at this point to get banned, though the manner in which they were caught may be in question. That CCP will not give any examples in this case of what constitutes bannable harassment behavior is also unfortunate, however.

A reply from CCP Falcon came in response to requests for a clear line to be drawn:

It isn't our job to dictate to people how to maintain a base standard of human decency toward one another, and we're not going to do so.

The bottom line is that it's down to members of the community to know where the line crosses from common decency to harassment. We will not draw a line in the sand so that people can skirt on the edge of it and bend the rules as much as possible.

This isn't a debate about what constitutes "harassment". If you're not familiar with the word, find the definition in a dictionary and that will satisfy your question.

What we will do, is continue to use best judgement on a case by case basis to ensure that real life harassment is kept out of the game, and ensure that those who choose to involve themselves in such activities are no longer permitted to be part of our community.

Cut and dried, that's all we have to say on the matter.

(source)
In this response, CCP and I are going to be in stark disagreement. When I look up harassment in the Oxford dictionary I get "Aggressive pressure or intimidation". Dictionary.com gives me a bit more to work with on this: "the act or an instance of harassing, or disturbing, pestering, or troubling repeatedly; persecution:" Following the link for "harassing"then brings us to the definition of harass, which is:
  1. to disturb persistently; torment, as with troubles or cares; bother continually; pester; persecute.
  2. to trouble by repeated attacks, incursions, etc., as in war or hostilities; harry; raid. 
In short, my question is not satisfied. The problem here is that we're talking about the Eve community. Harassment as defined in multiple dictionaries is an extremely common daily occurrence in Eve, and classing the majority of it as harassment in terms of the EULA or TOS would be laughable. Local smack talk, is, by definition, harassment. Blowing up someone's ship repeatedly is harassment. Bumping AFK miners out of belts could be considered harassment. Sending angry rage letters to people who blow up your ship is certainly harassing behavior, even if the result is that it makes them happy for your tears.
 
If every instance of dictionary defined harassment that happened in Eve were to be petitioned, the GMs would likely have time for nothing else. Since we can all reasonably agree that the dictionary is not what defines EULA/TOS breaking harassment in Eve, a more informed definition from CCP is needed to clear up confusion in a game that advertises for potential new players to "Be the Villain," and where scamming/deception are not only common place, but encouraged. To save a couple thousand words, allow me to use my wicked paint skills to illustrate the issue as I see it in simple terms: 
 

The Line

 
Here is a simplistic illustration of the status quo as it seems to hold right now. We have a few very clear examples of unacceptable behavior that one can reasonably assume will result in a lengthy vacation from Eve. We have a line that shant be crossed, but the placement of it is somewhat in debate, and it tends to make a move to the left from time to time, meaning that something that may not be enforced today, could be enforced if it happens next week, or next month, or next year. Something one GM may let slide could be met with a very harsh response by another member of the staff. 
 
The annals of Eve history are littered with cases where one member of the GM staff has not seen a problem where another might. I won't bore you with a comprehensive list, but I can give at least one example of a debate going on right now where CCP seems to be a bit inconsistent on what is/is not considered to be an exploit in the game (you get banned for those too BTW).
 
In this sense, CCP can't tell us where the line is, because in reality, CCP doesn't seem know exactly where it is themselves.
 
 
 
CCP Falcon also has a point in that a super firm line cannot be drawn, otherwise (this is Eve afterall) people will absolutely step right up to that line and poke it and prod it and see how close they can come to it without crossing it. CCP Falcon is absolutely right, this would be a very bad idea.
 
But I think Falcon is missing the point here. What people are looking for is not a hard and fast line with a concrete definition. What would be awfully nice is a second green line with acknowledgement that if you stay reasonably within it's bounds, you're pretty safe from a banning. Obviously taking things to an extreme out of hand status would put one in the danger zone, or straight into the red.

As an example, this wave of bannings has once again brought up the question of certain aspects of the bonus room that have been a part of Eve for years. The age old tradition of pointing someone's pod and inviting them onto your voice comms to sing for the chance of not getting podded is something that has repeatedly come up. The operators of the bonus room had people sing as part of their scheme to get their stuff back, and the bonus room is not ok. Are we also saying that a practice with some similarities, though largely viewed by the community as ok, is to the right or left of the green line?

Certain corporations can have very odd, and sometimes uncomfortable conversations with potential new recruits on outside voice comms. This may also include singing, or otherwise (mostly benign) hazing. Green?

Someone told me a story once of how they wanted to join a prominent null sec alliance, and in order to be allowed in this person was required to meet with a representative while at fanfest. Part of the process included this person being asked to eat the testicles of some locally domesticated animal (apparently considered a delicacy in Iceland). Depending on one's views of sheep, this might be viewed even as sexual harassment in certain cultures. No actual assets were on the line here, but is this considered to be somewhere in the green zone? Furthermore, how the hell could CCP even verify it took place???

CCP and the META


That brings me to the next point of contention here. It is entirely unclear how far into the meta CCP is willing to dive to collect and accept evidence of out of game harassment. Without the specific incidents in question, none of us will have any idea what the answer to this question is. CCP is not likely to tell us anything, so the only people who can reasonably provide specifics are the ones who were banned, and they all seem to be feigning complete ignorance. I predict we'll be getting no help on this from either party.

In the past, CCP has generally stayed out of the meta. In the case of Erotica 1, he posted links to his handiwork on the official Eve Forums. There was an actual CCP log showing his involvement in the matter, penned by his own hand so to speak. With that in mind, we can also assume that any form of communication within Eve is also part of CCP's logs. Eve-Mails and chat channels in game for example, regardless of how private you think they are, I guarantee can be read and monitored by CCP if they have a mind to. If these people shared links to their work in game, or talked about it in game with their fellows in this manner, it is possible CCP never had to go digging in the meta, and were just handed evidence of ill behavior by the people involved themselves.

At this time, CCP has been extremely silent on methods used, and exact ways and means of how these people were caught would be an unreasonable request to make. However, I think what people want to be sure of here is that actual CCP generated logs were used to determine guilt or innocence, and yes, someone saying in game or on official forums "Hey guys look what I did! *link*" absolutely counts. CCP does not need to disclose how people were caught, merely that the logs showed something.

An Inconsistent Conclusion


In short, the issue I'm having at the present time has little to do with bad people who did bad things getting banned from a game. It is doubtful that the contributions these people made to the community that drew CCP's attentions to them will be missed by the vast majority of the players, especially where RL harassment is concerned. What I do have an issue with is a very ambiguous line in the sand that seems to continually move based on who happens to be on shift at the time something goes down, or who in the community is pissed enough to start a threadnaught over it.

Either intentionally bumping a titan that is inside a POS shield out of a POS shield is an exploit, or it's not. The methods of doing it shouldn't matter, and lines of communication should be in place to ensure a consistent message on this back to the community rather than enforcement be at the whims of whatever GM happens to get their hands on it.

The same can be said for harassment. Either something is harassment, or it's not, or it COULD be if taken out of hand. We have (sort of) some clear examples of things that are not ok to do. We do not have clear examples of things that are generally considered ok to do, and this leaves huge question marks in the air. Are singing ransoms ok? We know they used to be, but going forward we don't know. If I invite someone in game to join me on team speak and they come back later and say I harassed them, how far is CCP willing to go to get to the bottom of it if in game logs show nothing but my link to the voice comms server? We don't know.

What we don't have is a reasonably clear definition of what actually constitutes harassment in terms of Eve. Things that are entirely unacceptable in a game like World of Warcraft for example, happen inside Eve with impunity, and are an accepted part of the norm. There is nothing "decent" about a bad guy, and if being a bad guy is to be an acceptable profession within Eve, rules and boundaries need to be made clear to give people a gauge on what is acceptable, and what is clearly over the line. These lines are important not only for those people living the life of a villain, but also for those tasked with enforcing the rule of law, such as it exists within our game.

While CCP Falcon is right to not want to draw that fine line in the sand for people to dance around, when something is determined to be over that line, consistency in enforcement and clarity of communication is equally important.

67 comments:

  1. Doing what other people find extremely offensive is a grey area that can be abused by people to inflict political correctness against someone who says something they do not agree with. That criteria needs to be closely monitored. What may extremely offend one person may not make another person flinch.

    In today's social and political climate there are al lot of very overly sensitive people out there. Obviously poor taste Nazi references could be extremely offensive, and rightly so. But calling someone a cunt, IMO, is not.

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  2. A man came to my house and said the delivery was one that had to be signed for so mom signed it and inside was a pair of bolt cutters and a single red rose and a URL. I loaded up the URL and it was

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    1. A z killboard link from a kill in some lowsec belt from months ago. On further inspection there was a note that said is baby happy? Now the question for me is this harassment? How did he get my address? Could I report this at all said?

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Hell yeah you can report it. That's super creepy. Like I'd be sitting up all night with a shotgun waiting for the bastard creepy

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    4. This sounds like the start of a horror story! What is mean by baby lol? Not doubting your story but seems far stretched a little. But then it got me thinking that some people do take their little spaceship toys very seriously so it wouldn't surprise me what lengths some players would go to for revenge and to intimidate that bad man who killed their toy spaceship pixel. Lol.

      ~cane

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    5. If that story is true (I have my doubts) you should probably skip the report to CCP, and file a report with your local police department...

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  3. Great points Bacon. I tried to say it myself, but you did far better of a job. http://invadingyourhole.blogspot.com/2014/09/rant-i-think-my-eve-is-being-destroyed.html

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  4. "We will not draw a line in the sand so that people can skirt on the edge of it and bend the rules as much as possible."

    I really like this policy. If they draw hard lines then sure enough the assholes will soon figure out exactly where the line is and stop just short of it. And the rules lawyers will have a field day. A policy like this is perfect, it makes the asses think twice and gives CCP the flexibility they need to judge each incident fairly and objectively.

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    1. " If they draw hard lines then sure enough the assholes will soon figure out exactly where the line is and stop just short of it."

      You and Falcon seem to think that if you repeat this tired trope often enough, that it will magically become a reasonable position. Yes, that is exactly what the assholes want; a line that they can stop just short of--and they deserve exactly that, given the way in which EVE has been sold to people. It is highly unreasonable for CCP to promote EVE as a game where you can be a villain, but not give people playing as a villain a line to stop just short of. Now, in a completely different game that was all sunshine and light, a "just stay way the hell away from the line, don't go near it" policy would actually make sense. In the same way as the advice goes "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have", CCP is clearly enforcing rules in the style of the game they want to have, not the game they actually have. Which is fine...there's nothing wrong with them Themeparking EVE. I only differ in that they aren't being upfront about it.

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    2. @Rammstein

      What you don't consider is that if you push CCP to actually draw a line, then in order to avoid this "right up to the edge" behavior they will be forced to make that line so far on the safe side of where it reasonably should be that it will probably remove any chance anyone has of "playing the villain."

      Not having a line that players can walk right up to means that CCP can apply discretion and judgment in each case, considering all the factors and circumstances which color the individual situation. Drawing a hard line ties their hands, and more then likely will end up much more strict than any of us would like to see.

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    3. @Anonymous: No, I did consider that, and have made a reasoned conclusion with 2 parts. First, they will not be "forced" to make that line that far, they will have a real choice where to draw the line. Secondly, if they do choose the draw that line there, then that's an undesirable consequence, but one has to consider all alternatives, not just look at an undesirable consequence and do something else blindly. If the medicine is more deadly than the disease, then one should not take the medicine, even if one is sick. Your argument currently consists of pointing out "you are sick, this is the medicine". However, in this case, the medicine, of having CCP enforce unclear rules in a secret way, is worse than the disease; and I reject it. If this ends up with CCP removing all 'villainy' from the game, I would be unhappy about it, but I would prefer it to the current situation where villainy is kinda allowed but could possibly get you banned, depending on secret interpretations of vague rules.

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  5. I wish everyone in forums, Reddit, etc exercised the same sort of level-headedness as FunkyBacon. I've never expected perfect agreement, and he can disagree with lots. But he's reasonable and tries his best to remain neutral when discussing important community matters. All of this mess this week and my ban could have been entirely avoided early on by CCP. I've had suggestions after my ban that the office staff supported a lot of it, but the company itself took a stance for PR reasons. This was all public, and I publicly asked last November for CCP to provide clarifications on this line and bonus rounds. But no, CCP prefers these huge dramas for some reason. Somer is similar.... could have been handled a year ago or earlier without huge debate. Meanwhile, players proven to be doxxing with in game logs don't even get temp bans. I know a number of the people banned. And while skeptics may say they have no reason to trust me, I'll reitterate that they are some of the most caring, empathetic human beings I know. But in Eve, they enjoy ganking, scamming, and stealing because it's a fictional world. Yeah, people get temporarily hurt over pixels. They get over it. It's a game and they realize it, an amazing game. Something like 200 bonus rounds and we had 5 tops remotely close to Sohkar. All were taken care of during and after on the side, and you know what? The logs show that too. The rest were either thrilled for the experience or sucked it up and moved on regardless, without rage or resentment, but simply:

    gf

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    1. You took it out of the game. You took it too far. Not everyone would be able to go through with putting someone in the bonus room. Because not everyone is able to feel no sympathy for another human being and torment them. Some of us have souls.

      99% of eve are glad that you are gone. That fact alone is enough justification for a ban. Everyone wants you out and ccp listened. Bye. You are not missed.

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    2. I'd certainly argue with that 99%. I personally have no sympathy for someone unable to disconnect from teamspeak and it certainly has absolutely nothing to do with having a soul. If the "vicitms" wanted to leave, they could at any time. If they didn't want to sing, they didn't have to. Nobody was forced to do anything, so calling it harassment is fundamentally undermining what harassment really means.

      Basically a bunch of wow players who want to mine and mission in highsec without interacting with anyone wanted him gone and CCP listened. On the day E1 was banned, a large part of what made EVE what it is died.

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    3. "On the day E1 was banned, a large part of what made EVE what it is died."

      If that statement were true it would be better if the servers were turned off.

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    4. "If that statement were true it would be better if the servers were turned off."
      If you had half a clue what EVE was about, you'd know it's true. Freedom to play as you want, to gank and scam and laugh all the while are exactly what made EVE what is is. People too weak to hit a disconnect button on teamspeak shouldn't be dictating changes to that. The fact that they are is taking the core of what made eve unique and chucking it away.

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    5. I seldom agree with Mr Kells views on EVE, but this is absolutely spot on

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    6. You're still around? Get the fuck gone. You're a scuzzy, manipulative, self-serving piece of shit with no credibility and no place in this discussion.

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    7. "You're still around? Get the fuck gone. You're a scuzzy, manipulative, self-serving piece of shit with no credibility and no place in this discussion."
      Says an anonymous poster who clearly doesn't understand that EVE is a game and spews profanities like they are going out of fashion. I don't think anyone even remotely cares what you have to say buddy.

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    8. E1, you not only took it out of game and into real life, but you then recorded it, posted those recordings, and then had the audacity/stupidity to claim responsibility for those recordings in CCP-owned and moderated communication channels. As despicable as your actions were, CCP could not have touched you without that last step. You quite literally gave CCP the proverbial rope with which you were hung, and have no one but yourself to blame for what happened. You screwed up, now take the consequences like a man, and knock it off with the false sense of injustice you wear everywhere you show your face.

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    9. (If people don't believe I've been playing EVE for as long as I say - please feel free to message me ingame under my current main St'oto. Also make sure you read his/my bio thoroughly!)

      @Lucas - WOW! So your saying that because I agree with the majority of people who are glad Erotica1 got banned, I'm a "highsec/mission running/mining carebear?" <---ROFLMAO! I've been playing EVE since I was 13 years old. I'm now 24. All of those years has been spent in EVE doing nothing but PVPing or making money so I can PVP! The only "mining skills" I have are extremely basic. I'm talking haulers/basic miners. I have around 80mil SP (would have ALOT more if it wasn't for the fact that my current main isn't my original character nor have I played/stayed subbed for that entire time) and 99.9% of it is ROCK SOLID PVP.

      Erotica took a mechanic/principle of EVE, shit all over it, cast it aside, and then got onto TeamSpeak too continue his "style" of play. He went from scamming to trying too completely break a person's fucking psyche! For no other purpose then for sheer gratification! (Don't any of u dare say it was for ISK/anything else relating to the game. It was for sheer....SICK....fucking pleasure!)

      He deserved his ban! Isk scamming, suicide ganking/whatever is fine. So is all the rest including "song ransoming." What isn't "fine" is what he did. He took everything out of game and continued to prey upon people! Taking advantage of every exploit he could find, including real world issues such as speech impediments, etc. Then abusing those advantages as much as fucking possible! - He did exactly what he was charged with. HARASSING or hell....borderline torturing his "clients." Again for no express purpose then sick gratification. And I'm not talking about good EVE gratification that goes with "being a bad guy." I'm talking socioopathic behavior that ANY RESPONSIBLE/DECENT/Caring human being knows is fucking crossing the line!

      But you know what's HILARIOUS from this entire ordeal?!? The fact that you, him, and people like you/him are ACTUALLY crying about it! (And no I'm not including the OP of this blog post in that label.) The people who are banned are CRYING because they got "rekt" by CCP because of their inhuman, psychotic, and sociopathic behavior and they have no idea why that behavior got them banned in the first place. When it's so fucking obvious it's SLAPPING THEM IN THE FACE!

      PS: So ya... after reading this entire blog post, I am a bit confused with the OP at his request for a clearer line. CCP banned erotica and his ilk, along with others, because of stuff like the bonus round. What the OP seems to think is in "error" is that they turned this into a ban wave instead of a simple case on case banning. They banned everyone that they had investigations on that followed similar "guidelines" to what Erotica1 did. So they banned people with similar cases to his that were from individuals who weren't in the public eye....

      But again...his behavior is exactly why he was banned. EVE's core principles aren't in danger, the line has always been established, etc. It's that CCP just decided to ban the fuckers in a wave instead of slowly on an individual basis! They got what they needed, and ejected them from the game all at once!

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  6. Zeeth reporting in. I better stop linking the gifs I do in local lest I get banned.

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  7. I don't know why this is so hard for people to understand, save except for perhaps Eve's previously lax policies towards particularly loathsome styles of game play (if they can be called that at all). Here's a simple two part test to determine whether you should do something in Eve or not -

    1) Is the action I am about to take or am partaking in likely to result in me being banned even if the exact action is not specifically mentioned in the EULA? What precedents exist for me to base my opinion on?

    2) Is the action I am about to take or am partaking in considered loathsome, detestable, or generally asshole-ish by a plurality of the community?

    If the answer to either of those questions is yes, DON'T DO IT unless you want to get banned. Especially don't do it then complain when you get banned. If you cannot perceive a meaningful difference between the sort of "be the villain" piracy that, let's say, Rixx Javix and his crew are involved in and the deliberate griefing and milking for tears ganking that CODE is involved in I don't know what to tell you. CCP is dead on here and they're doing the right thing. The fact that some Eve players can't wrap their heads around the ideas one might find a book titled "Basic Ethics and Morality for 12 Year Olds" is not CCPs problem. It's the players.

    To my knowledge no MMO has ever failed because it banned too many assholes. No Dev has ever come along after the fact and said "Yeah, that was our bad, we really should have let more of the people pushing the boundaries of what's morally acceptable in a video game setting keep pushing those boundaries. If I had it to do over again, I'd do more to empower the griefers." Maybe Eve will be the first case, but I wouldn't bet on it.

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    1. U wot? Why it asshole to call a pirate out for his gameplay is that wot u mean? Is rixx and his gang in the things camp were u have to think if it is to be thought as a bad thing to do? I think people who sit in markets are bad. Yeah let us ban them cos they Harris us buy selling not any different to rixx and other pirates and grinders it is the same for them as you. = Sean1996

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    2. Well, I'm fairly certain that being what most of the community would consider an asshole, or ass hat for that matter, has not been an offense the ban hammer has been used on to date.

      Here's an example to help you though. #2 of Eve's ToS states: "You may not use any abusive, defamatory, ethnically or racially offensive, harassing, harmful, hateful, obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, threatening or vulgar language." By definition, simply saying "shit" in local could be considered a violation. Certainly calling someone a fucktard would cross that line. If I play Eve for 5 hours, I'm almost guaranteed to see 5 breaches of that rule, hardly any of those people get the hammer, so where's the line?

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    3. The line has never been, and will never be, the hard and fast rule you want. To use your example, shit is as banned in WoW, Aion, Rift, etc... ad nauseum in the same parts of the same EULAs. No one gets banned for saying shit in those games either. Because what you're reading is a principle about offensive, sexually explicit, harmful etc... language not a hard and fast rule. The Devs and the community create a community standard. In Eve's community standards, Holy Shit is not offensive. "Holy shit you fucking retard go kill yourself and the rest of your family!" probably is.

      To paraphrase a famous supreme court decision, I don't have to be able to define it to know it when I see it. And neither does anyone as smart as you are. No one's going to get banned for saying shit. Everyone knows that. Not one's even going to get banned for saying eat shit and die. But there's a line that gets crossed when the words and actions of another player start to get painful and personal. You, FunkyBacon, can clearly tell where that line is because you clearly state in those post you have no sympathy for those banned. So can most other players and so definitely can those people yelling so loudly about how unfair or ambiguous these bans are. They aren't at all. They violate a core principle of being part a good MMO community : don't shit where you eat.

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    4. "To paraphrase a famous supreme court decision, I don't have to be able to define it to know it when I see it"

      That quote doesn't actually come from the majority opinion in that case's ruling, so it's somewhat misleading to say it comes from "the decision"

      "You, FunkyBacon, can clearly tell where that line is because you clearly state in those post you have no sympathy for those banned."

      How could we have sympathy? We don't know who they are or why they were banned. You and your ilk are eager to condemn them without knowing any of the facts; and that's the "good MMO community" we have here.

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  8. Neat article. Haven't played eve online for over two years now full time but I have accounts that I dip in to see the landscape every so often to check upon it.

    Not a lot really changes in the makeup. One thing I find is it is that all the players have the same tools. If you think each player is given a lightsaver and they choose to be good or bad then which side they choose is not a sin. The game designers know they will have these different lines to police but one thing is eve will be a puller because it isn't sugared for the cotton wool audience who cry and refused the option of the lightsaver.

    -wil

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  9. If we could just get one thing out of the CSM Funky, it would be a explanation why zero warning permabans are considered appropriate rather than temp bans with clear explanations of what was considered bannable.

    The latter would indicate that CCP actually have an interest in correcting behaviour. The status quo looks very much like a personal crusade.

    Thank you for your as always measured response.

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    1. Clara, I agree with your comment, obviously a permaban with no real explanation of why or correspondence of any kind is a little silly. While they reserve this right specifically in the TOS/EULA, it should not be used except when truly necessary. A temporary, at least while being discussed, ban should be applied, along with correspondence from CCP. During that period, you should be able to "appeal" the decision and provide your evidence to your innocence. If you are proven guilty, your ban stands. (Even if still only temporary, at their discretion)

      Obviously for egregious cases, a no warning permaban could still simply be dished out cold.

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  10. "Don't cross The Line" isn't the message. When Falcon is talking about dictionary definitions and case-by-case decisions, he's telling you not to get anywhere near The Line. In fact, what's he actually saying is: if your 'gameplay style' in any way involves knowing where that line is, GTFO.

    That's the message, and it's right.

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    1. He's also telling you that behaviour that has been tolerated for years can and will result in zero warning permabans, while clear EULA-violating behaviour goes on all the time and is either ignored or results in a graduated response of warnings and temp bans. He is also saying that you don't need to engage in the behaviour yourself to get a zero warning permaban, you simply need to be associated with people who do.

      So this is how the sandbox dies: with thunderous applause.

      Delete
    2. Tell me more about how people got banned for doing nothing wrong.

      Delete
  11. "Obviously, I didn't have time to look into much at that moment, so I shot off some quick messages to James315 and others promising further review upon my return, then I went back to playing with my kids"
    im sorry when did reviewing bans become your job?
    "Firstly, the CSM is not part of the GM team and are not consulted on bans. People are banned every day, it's not our business, nor part of our function to second guess any specific ban. "
    oh i guess you should stfu then? article over? nope you keep spewing bullshit about bans that may not have even happened/we know 0 details about? ok then....
    look, friend, if you as a grown human cant figure out what might get you kicked out of CCP's private club... then tough nuts. as CCP falcon said (and you...like half agree with? its hard to tell because your article is so incredibly contradictory) its not their job to tell you how to behave. its simply their job to kick you the fuck out when they dont like you.
    this isnt a govt. this is a game that is privately owned. they can kick you out for simply being annoying. so stop clamoring on about what you feel is owed to the player base or that you have "rights" as a player. you have the right to stop spending money on a voluntary product. thats about it.
    so yes, shock of mother fucking shocks, breaking the EULA gets you banned. if thats real life threats, RPing a hate group, doxxing, or just being someone CCP doesnt like... its all fair... because its their world. dont like it? stop playing. the ONLY people who give even the slightest shit about this stuff are those looking to be assholes. guess what? easiest way to not get banned: remember its a fucking video game.
    tldr: grow the fuck up.

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    1. The real point of the article is not to use his CSM position to find out any information for us, because he couldn't anyway as the CSM is under an NDA.
      The point of this article is that he was, and is, a blogger that writes about Eve Online and events in Eve. Clearly, people have been asking questions about it, and, as a news reporter/blogger/"trusted" community source, he felt he ought to write an article about it. Obviously it worked, since you read it, and even took the time to comment.

      Delete
  12. The problem with a "green line" is that some creative player might still find a way to violate the spirit of the green line while adhering to the letter. As people are fond to say: "This is EVE after all". As a game developer with limited resources, best not to open that can of worms in the first place.

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  13. At this point in time EVE is about as fun as being stabbed in the face to be fair, so pretty much anything beats it for fun. Since I've already paid for fanfest, I'll be going (and eclipse brah!) but it might mark the end if improvements are not being made by then,

    My main issue with all of this is that they specifically state that out of game services are not covered by their rules, then they go ahead and enforce them anyway. Why not stick to what they say and report it to the police? Because the police would laugh in your face if you reported that someone was making you sing for in game items are you were too dumb to hit the "disconnect" button. CCP have decided to take external matters into their own hands and it's exploding all over, not really a surprise.

    As for the hard and fast rules being rules lawyered, that's literally the dumbest things I've ever heard. Someone that is going to do that will already do that. hey will poke and prod at the line and figure out what they can and can't do to upset someone while staying within the rules. A ban is pretty much irrelevant, since it would take anyone with half a brain seconds, actually seconds to make themselves appear as a completely different player bypassing any bans, since credit cards aren't a requirement to play.

    The only people getting hurt by the fuzzy rules are people who legitimately do not want to break them. They have no idea where the line is so have to err on the side of caution, pretty much eliminating whole bands of previously accepted gameplay.

    People need to learn to deal with this themselves, and if they think there out of game harassment occurring, the police can deal with it. If it's not serious enough to call the police, then clearly it's not serious harassment, so disconnect from TS and be done with it.

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    1. I don't play for fun. I play for self gratification of my miserable existence. The more people I bring down with me the better. Take your fun to world of play craft brah.

      Delete
    2. My deepest sympathies that some of these players are lacking in human decency and have a hard time figuring out when they're being too much of a bullying asshole.

      Also sorry that your previously accepted gameplay is now considered too noxious to tolerate any more. Pls adapt or die.

      Delete
    3. So bring on World of EVEcraft then? All because a handful of people cry when someone says "sing and I'll give you your isk back"? You clearly have no clue what bullying is if you think that any of the bonus room material qualifies.

      Delete
    4. I am propably considered a carebear at this time as a player and that is because I am new but one of the things that interested me enough to decide to play was the idea that you did not heve to be politically correct to play that other play styles were encouraged and it was ok to act out ther role of an asshole villian if someone chose and if somone wanted to be the vigilante charecter or corp to go after the ah villian that you could deal with it in game. I think this is a slippery slope that could result in different game. I would not do the things that seemed to be done to people but I would also not allow myself to be harassed beyond what I felt was role playing appopriate over any virtual space stuff I on. If someone is not showing up in someones life outside of game personally or carrying into their non game emails and internet presence in a way that would couse them a loss of reputation or fear of actual damagge then I am not sure it should be policed by the game. There are plenty of politcally correct enviroments to game in allover the MMO landscape.

      Delete
  14. Just because you play a villain in the game doesn't put you anywhere near THAT line. You can scam the people as much as you like. You can gank, bump, wardec them, collect protection money for not wardecing them. Intercept their transports or syphon their moon goo. There are many ways to be the villain in this game.
    If you need to go beyond this in game activities to get your excitement, you are maybe in the wrong place to find that excitement.
    Why does anyone gets a scam victim in coms and let him do stupid things? To amuse them self of the embarrassing behaviour of said victim. IMO this kind of entertainment has nothing to do with villain game play and it is not part of the entrainment I'm paying for. If you like seeing people doing embarrassing things, look in the internet. There are many poor souls doing videos with it, just don't try to force someone to that with eve related stuff as pressure.
    Go into a casino, play lets say a game of black jack. Now you lost all the money you had for this evening and you should go home. But instead of sending you home the croupier offers you to make a striptease to get you money back. Would you expect that from a professional casino? Would you ever visit it again? I wouldn't. It isn't part of the game and if I lost my stuff it is so.
    We play a game of internet space ships. Not a game of “get others to embarrassing them selves”.

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    1. A lot of what goes on in scamming and ganking an the like is tear collection. It's not being done for the things they gain, it's being done to upset the other party and ruin their day. That's always been accepted, and CCP even made their very own HTFU video telling people to deal with it. That is EVE.

      Singing bounties and such have been a thing for a long time, and all this bonus rooms stuff is just an extension of that. And it's not harassment, it's not bullying. If you think it is, you've never seen real bullying before. These people are invited to the teamspeak server, they join of their own accord, and they are then asked to perform silly tasks with the overhanging promise of getting their scammed stuff back. At any point throughout this the "victim" is in full control. Nobody is forcing them to join, nobody is forcing them to stay, nobody is forcing them to perform the silly task.

      Think about your casino example. You wouldn't actually perform the striptease, would you? You would say "there's no way I'm doing that!" then you'd cut your losses and leave, never to return. The "victims" have exactly the same option. They can accept they've been scammed and leave. If you stuck around and performed the striptease, then he asked you to do something else, then something else, then another thing after that, it would be entirely your fault if you choose to keep jumping through the hoops.

      All they victims need to do is hit that little button marked "disconnect" and block the scammers. If after that, the scammer repeatedly returns on alts, then and only then is it harassment.

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    2. I think you have a narrow-minded view of what bullying can consist of. Hint: It's not just flushing nerds' heads in toilets.

      Clearly CCP and the majority of Eve players think there are limits on how far you can go in ruining another person's day. The marks for these kinds of scams are typically ignorant, vulnerable, and yes, maybe lacking in some common sense. That does not excuse the extent to which some players take advantage of them, as if "Well they decided to stay on TS" excuses you for being a total shitbag.

      Even in physical contact sports, players can be fouled for going too far. That you and others still compare this to miner bumping or singing ransoms shows how far off the fucking mark you really are. You're probably never going to "get it". So please take the door behind you if you think Eve is now dying.

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    3. You know who else can end the TS session? The scammers.

      I know, I know, it's going to be really fucking hard to exercise some self-restraint and judgment. God forbid you just claim "OP success" after stealing all their shit instead of stringing them along with false hope for three hours afterwards and upload their breakdown for everybody to laugh at.

      I mean, there's so many gray areas between those two scenarios! How could I possibly know which one is excessive and might get me banned? Ugh, having a moral compass is so hard these days.

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    4. Of course they could, but why should they? If I bump a miner and he gets irate and starts shrieking at me in local, should I stop? At some point it has to come down to the guy who can't understand that EVE is a game and feels the need to scream swear and throw death threats around.

      It's really simple. If you don't how someone is talking to you, block them. If they circumvent that block, then it's harassment. Why can't people take a little responsibility for their own reactions? Why does it have to be the responsibility of the other party to determine when YOU have had enough? YOU are in control of that, YOU know when you've had enough and YOU should stop it. It shouldn't be up to the ganker/bumper/scammer to determine when someone has had enough, and if it was it's opening the door to people just screaming to get out being bumped/ganked/scammed.

      But really, if you cannot use a disconnect or block button, you should be banned from the internet.

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    5. "I think you have a narrow-minded view of what bullying can consist of. Hint: It's not just flushing nerds' heads in toilets."
      I'm fully aware that it's more than that, but asking - not forcing - someone to sing is not bullying.

      "Clearly CCP and the majority of Eve players think there are limits on how far you can go in ruining another person's day."
      Please show me this majority of EVE players. On both sides, there's a minority, with the majority not caring either way. And considering on the "ban them" side of the argument several players were stating the reason of "another ganker banned, yes!", I don't think the line of thought there was about the behaviour.

      Funnily enough, the biggest argument is that in the E1 case, the victim was on the "no banning" side of the argument. When even the victim is on the side of the accused, you have to wonder about the movies behind the argument.

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    6. This has less to do with self-control and responsibility and more to do that they have been found to be unsavory player types that are no longer wanted in a damn video game. Any calls for PRINCIPLES and CONSISTENCY IN THE RULES is self-important chest-thumping. If CCP thinks that you are no longer welcome in their house, then you just have to deal with that. They have been extremely lax on most controversial behavior in this game. So if they are meting out punishments, maybe it's time for you to check yourself.

      I think the forums and Reddit show most people are not going to miss these players. Anybody who has not spoken up seemingly doesn't care enough. So yes, that leaves the players who support and condone this kind of behavior in a minority.

      "Asking somebody to sing is not bullying" is correct. Asking them to do so while you have them by the balls, and then string them along with various other humiliations over the course of a couple of hours, certainly is. You and others continually lop off the rest of what happened there, leaving it just at the "What's wrong with singing" part. You handwave all those other bits or don't even acknowledge them, I assume because you realize it paints a pretty disgusting scene when you paint the full picture. The kind of abuse that went on in the Bonus Room recording was more than the sum of its individual parts.

      These assholes have been pretty quick to tell others to get over it, it's a game, just walk away from the computer. And funnily enough, some of them are now being asked to do just that, because they apparently can't restrain themselves.

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    7. "Any calls for PRINCIPLES and CONSISTENCY IN THE RULES is self-important chest-thumping."
      Wrong. It's perfectly reasonable to call for consistency in the rules. If CCP want to try to just make shit up as they go, they'll rapidly find themselves in the shit. Hell, maybe that has something to do with them laying off half their staff and the decline in subs this year.

      "If CCP thinks that you are no longer welcome in their house, then you just have to deal with that"
      Wrong again. As a consumer I have the right to voice my opinion on the matter. Even if I stopped being a consumer, my freedom of speech allows me to continue to to voice that opinion.

      "I think the forums and Reddit show most people are not going to miss these players. Anybody who has not spoken up seemingly doesn't care enough. So yes, that leaves the players who support and condone this kind of behavior in a minority."
      I disagree. Chribba posted up the stats during the E1 thing, and unique posters were pretty evenly split. What you are misunderstanding is how incredibly vocal the anti-scammer group are. And if you want to see reprehensible behaviour you need look no further than that crowd. Supposedly it's not OK to ask someone to sing, but it's perfectly OK to tell people who run the scams that they should kill themselves. So get off your high horse.

      "Asking them to do so while you have them by the balls, and then string them along with various other humiliations over the course of a couple of hours, certainly is."
      How did they have them by the balls? Because they'd scammed them? That is total and utter horseshit and you know it. NONE of the bonus room would happen if the subject wasn't a willing participant. They held no leverage beyond the fact that they offered up isk. If I asked you to do the same, offering you billions without actually scamming you in the first place it would be EXACTLY the same situation. And no, I found absolutely none of it disgusting beyond how the so called victims react when they don't get their own way.

      And please note mate: the biggest case of this type, the VICTIM is on the opposite side to you. At the end of the day, people like you don;t like scammer and gankers and want EVE wrenched into being a themepark MMO, so you throw around this bull like it means a damn thing.

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  15. How hard is not to be an asshole? I mean, all the semantic crap and spins aside, I think we all know in our 'hearts' what constitutes an asshole of a person when one acts as one. The hard part is to figure out the asshole when one tries really hard to hide his true self, but those that are right there in the open, for all of us to see and acknowledge all his douchery, there really shouldn't be a problem to speak up: Hey, you're really just an asshole!
    So don't ramble about the red, grey or invisible areas and lines of human behaviour - either you're about to or are a dick to someone, or you're not. Plain and simple, and since we're all together in this beautiful sandbox we love and hate so much, lets all be honest about ourselves and our intentions - either you're playing Eve to enjoy it, or to ruin it for someone else. And if you're one of those that just love to see the world burn, or you enjoy only when someone else is miserable - fuck you.

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  16. Shoot the character, not the player.
    Harass the character, not the player.
    Steal from the character, not the player.
    Bump the character, not the player.
    etc etc etc.

    This isn't rocket science

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    1. When you steal a plex from a character, you've stolen a plex from the player
      When you bump a character to stop him playing you've stopped the player from playing.

      The bonus rooms are always done in character, so surely those are also against the character too. And what about if you go after a character and his alts? Surely that is definitely against the player, not the character.

      The issue comes in when people are unable to separate their emotions from a video game. Someone gets scammed and trolled, that's the game. The explode into tears and suddenly it's harassment. It's lunacy.

      Delete
    2. It's a shame the people running Bonus Rooms don't understand the rules of the Regular Room. The rules on how CCP runs the Regular Room are pretty clear in the T.O.S. The people involved in the Bonus Rooms could have stopped at any point. CCP isn't to blame for these people losing their in game relationships, modules, isk and time spent on skills because of their own actions.

      Delete
    3. Correct, the rules are pretty clear in the T.O.S.

      "We are not responsible for actions taken by our subscribers that occur outside the jurisdiction of our game servers or web site."

      It's just a shame CCP feel no need to enforce the T.O.S.

      Delete
    4. Hey Lucas.

      "Characters" don't play this game.

      People do.

      Delete
    5. Therefore, if you bump someone, you are stopping the player, not the character, and thus should be banned as it is out of game harassment? Is that the point you are trying to make there?

      Delete
    6. @Lucas Kell
      When you steal a PLEX from a character, you've taken an in-game asset using in-game mechanics. Therefore it is in character.

      When you bump a character, you have interfered in in-game activities using in-game mechanics. Therefore it is in character.

      When you bring someone into a bonus room, you have now engaged in out-of-game communications, and so have now stepped beyond characters into the realm of real people, regardless of however you try to play it or disguise it.

      I won't presume that you are too stupid to see the distinction, so I can only assume that you are being intentionally obtuse in order to try to justify this sort of behavior. CCP has made it clear that that doesn't work, so I'd recommend against trying it further.

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    7. Unfortunately I think people on both sides of this debate do not get this for whatever reason I would not go as far as questioning ther intelligence. But those that think bonus room is OK do not get their actions went to far and those who think that getting bumped, scammed or whatever activity they do not like in game should be banned jas harassment. The CCP stand seems clear to me that they are not against in game harassment but rether taking it into our of game or peoples real life. As long as CCP stays this course then EVE is safe. The second the loud majority who do not like in game harassment start to be heard then EVE might as well be World of Space. And I am writing as someone who does not use the in game mechanics to harass people because I do not like playing villians ingames but I think they need to be there. I have mined in Hi Sec and been bumped by redical folowers of James 3 15 but I laughed began to mine and put a contibution to the bounty on the player who bumped me..

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  17. I've posted this same response on the EV-O forums.

    I'm going to try and define the difference between role playing a criminal in EVE Online and being a real life bully.

    How do we define common decency? Common decency is an expectation to adhere to social convention. As an example, if in a public place you encounter another person crying, you could treat that person in one of three basic ways:

    1) Ask them what's wrong and try to help them
    2) Ignore them and walk on
    3) Laugh at them, grab your phone and record them in their emotional state

    It's pretty clear to all of us that only the first two options are acceptable. The first is obviously the 'nice' thing to do, but no one would cast judgement on somebody who simply didn't want any drama. The third, by any standard is obviously just cruel and unnecessary.

    In EVE, many of our actions cause upset for other players. Sometimes we beat them in a duel, or we gank their hauler or maybe they get scammed. Many players in those situations would dust themselves off and carry on playing, a little wiser (and poorer). Some, however, would fly off the handle, screaming, cursing and ultimately making a spectacle of themselves. To any EVE player, anyone reacting like the latter would be told to calm down and HTFU. It is after all, the nature of EVE.

    So, where is the line? When is it acceptable to tell a player to HTFU and when are we expected to leave them be, or better yet, help them?

    I believe that if my actions would result in another player being upset that I need to ask myself the following question:

    ***What does my _in_game_character_ stand to gain as a result of my actions?***

    Consider the following:

    While playing my character Hiasa Kite, I encounter another character called Stupid Noob. I convince Stupid Noob to contract to me all his stuff with the promise that I will triple his wealth afterward (a clever lie). To facilitate the scam, I invite him to join me on a TeamSpeak server. This will allow us to communicate faster and more clearly. As Stupid Noob is handing his stuff over, I ask Stupid Noob to sing songs for me and we have a good laugh. Even Stupid Noob, despite being the victim of a scam is in high spirits because he isn't aware of the nature of his situation. He even laughs with us, fully aware of how tone deaf he is.

    Once the penny drops for Stupid Noob (and the player controlling him) that he's been scammed, he's obviously going to be upset; this shouldn't surprise anyone. At this point, I need to ask myself the question that defineds the difference between playing EVE and being a bully.

    Can I justify my actions? What has Hiasa Kite gained from this event? Of course, Hiasa is now considerably wealthier. My actions as a real life person are justified by the benefits to my in-game character.

    But what happens after the scam? My mark has figured me out or maybe I've successfully robbed him of all his virtual-wordly possessions. At this point, the character Hiasa Kite has already gained everything he can from Stupid Noob. Hiasa's sole interest in Stupid was Stupid's space pixels, which Hiasa now owns. At this point, Hiasa has no reason whatsoever to continue the conversation with Stupid.

    I can no longer justify remaining on TeamSpeak with the scam victim because Hiasa Kite would consider staying a waste of his time. Without any in-game justification for my actions, it stands to reason my only reason to stay and record Stupid Noob's tantrum is for MY personal amusement. At this point, I am no longer role playing Hiasa Kite, the hardened space criminal in EVE Online. At this point, I'm just a real life asshole.

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    1. Good point, which is exactly how bonus rounds ended too. Thanks for making E1's point for him while trying to do the opposite.

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    2. Any argument around "common sense" is immediately doomed due to difference in societal norms. Demonstrably so or we wouldn't be here.

      Acceptable in & out of game voice comms is very different if you come from WoW vs CoD.

      CCP's handling of this is shockingly and obviously poor as anyone who has raised a child or trained a dog can see -- you cannot change behaviour unless you say exactly what has been wrong, and do it after the fact ASAP.

      And like raising a child you cannot prescribe all behaviour, but you must explain what has been done wrong so they can learn.

      This is so obvious I can only assume CCP perceive a legal liability threat somewhere preventing them from handling this much better.

      Delete
    3. The last time I checked, the age restrictions on EVE meant that there shouldn't be children playing the game.

      It's about time we stopped treating players as if they were.

      Delete
  18. I'm with CCP on this one (system for banning for harassment, not their ambiguous response to POS bumping)

    The scope of a motivated human's cruelty is exceptionally broad, and 'catch all' systems when you're dealing with large numbers of people don't work efficiently.
    Odds are that if a case reaches CCP directly or catches the public eys then it's worthy of investigation and dealing with it within the context of the actual events rather than trying to haphazardly cookie-cutter

    Also, If someone wants to be so ruthless as to have no sympathy for those people "too stupid" who are the victims of harassment (if it is that)
    Then why expect any sympathy for being so stupid as to put yourself at risk of a ban.

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  19. Pestilen Ratte here. I also agree with CCP Falcon, though I see the points the author is making.

    In the end, I find Falcon to be very wise, and humble. A law that cannot be enforced is a bad law, or no law at all. It brings the law into disrepute, and breeds contempt for all law.

    In this context, CCP should not try to do more than they can do. As Falcon points out, it is not their business to preach standards of basic decency. Why? Not because CCP have no regard for decency, but rather because they are simply not competent to enforce basic standards of decency throughout the interwebs. Curiously, none of us are, and that includes judges, governments, secret police and priests.

    It is the axiomatic nature of decency that we choose to treat each other with compassion and respect. Or we don't. Without this free will, life and philosophy would not exist, our sentience would be that of dumb rocks. Good, decent, dumb rocks.

    The best we can hope for, in life and in Eve, is that the good outshines the bad, and that we collectively bring some joy into being by our choices. CCP can't enforce that, all they can do is try to show leadership.

    This is what Flacon is doing, when noting that CCP will assess each case on its individual merits, and refrain from preaching broad policy. He is offering leadership, and we all hope it is good leadership, and decent.

    But it might not be, and that is life. In war, men die.

    We ought never fear evil so much that we give up reason and freedoms to fight it.

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