Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kelduum, "John" and the Aftermath.

Before you read this posting, make sure you catch up with my last one or you might lose some context or not really know what's going on.

As I said yesterday, there is some precedence for CCP to break silence on a ban if enough fuss is kicked up, and the result is usually like someone getting run over by a bus.

I hate to reuse an image, but... BEEP BEEP.

CCP Sreegs has broken the silence on "John's" ban and isk removal, and the results were predictable. "John's" spotless record has been dumped in an industrial waste container, Kelduum looks like an abject fool for sticking up for the guy, and I'll be damned if some of this doesn't rub off on Eve Uni as well by association.

"There are a number of things wrong with the assertions being made in other forums, which is a topic I'm sure the author of these posts is familiar with because we discussed them prior to his rather selective reporting of the incident. Here's the facts as we need be concerned from an eve perspective:

1) John was botting. That is not even close to in dispute.
2) We committed an error in not removing the isk before it got to EVE-U. However we did rectify this problem and our logs show that it was discussed and approved prior to either them receiving the isk or petitioning. We apologized to EVE-U however the petition was escalated as high as it could be and the decision remained. We cannot typically share this information with them as it's really none of their business.
3) The only authority higher than the Director of Security for these complaints is the Executive Producer and then the CEO. This is a higher level of escalation than the Customer Service arm and IA automatically looks at our work. I'm not sure why we feel we should be able to escalate higher than the highest reasonable authority but the fact is that this team operates with significant oversight. We believe the issue here to be more that this particular CSM feels he isn't in the loop, something which is quite frankly the only proper way to do business in a unit that handles secrets.

Frankly we're a bit disturbed by the allegations made here given that the person in question waited until they exhausted every resource possible prior to posting this then lamented the lack of an escalation path. Not getting the answer you like isn't a lack of an escalation path and never will be."
- CCP Sreegs

The worst part is, looks like Kelduum already had his answer, he just wasn't happy with it, and was angry he couldn't go over Team Security's head. I suspect, even if he could have, he'd have gotten the same answer all the way up to John Lander and Hilmar. "Your friend was botting, yes we're sure, our bad for not taking the ISK sooner."

It's human nature to seek another opinion when someone doesn't agree with you, almost everyone wants approval. Sometimes you're just wrong though, and no amount of pandering to anyone who will listen will change that. In this case, it's expected some people will take Kelduum's side on this matter, there are enough bitter vet "CCP can do nothing right" attitudes to go around.

I know this much though; to even get noticed by Team Security, you've got to be doing something pretty suspect, and the bans aren't handed out automaticaly by the bot detector. A human being looks at it and makes the decision once the flag is raised. Sometimes the bot is let run for a while while CCP collects data on how it works, so they can help improve their detection system, or see who his cohorts are and where the money goes. The old "I didn't know I was doing anything wrong" line can easily be translated to "I'm not sure exactly which part of my botting process tripped the bot detector's sensors." You're never going to get an answer to that.

Let's say that CCP Spam bot detector looks for local spam in jita with a uniform posting pattern. Same message, posted exactly x seconds apart for a minimum of 100 times. I get caught spam botting and get my ban and ask CCP, "What was I doing wrong?" They tell me how they caught me. Cool! My ban is up and I fix my bot, he will now post every 10-15 seconds at random, and only do it 98 times before taking a "bathroom break" for a few minutes and then start again. For good measure, I'll even alternate spam messages to 3 or 4 different types so they're not all exactly the same. FIXED!

Lastly, there IS another authority over Team Security, they watch over every dev's actions in game. It's Internal Affairs (lovingly referred to as IA) the unit within CCP that was created in the aftermath of T20 handing out T2 BPOs to his friends. It's their job to police the police so to speak. Dev accounts, dev player accounts, in game actions, all of it is subject to the review of these guys. They don't talk much, but they're there, watching, and there isn't a single person working at CCP who wants to be on IA's radar. If you're one of those people who thinks Sreegs and his friends are a bunch of thugs... well, these guys are ninjas.


  1. How many people are in the Security department?

    According to the Wiki, Internal Affairs is part of the Security department.

    What do you know of Internal Affairs that you can assume anything about them? For all we know, Sreegs is both Team Security and Internal Affairs.

    As far as I am aware, there are only three (maybe four) guys in the Security department of CCP.

    1. I have had dealings with IA before, both directly as part of my involvement with the 2011 CCP Xmas caravan event, and indirectly when dealing with Devs officially as part of my work with Eve Radio, as both PR and IA have to sign off on any dev requests we make.

      All in game related actions by devs, GMs, and dev player accounts (Team Security is included in this), is subject to monitoring and review by IA. I can't tell you who is part of IA, or what other duties they may have if any, because that information is not available to me. It seems logical that they would be part of the security department, but they have a different job from the guys catching botters. Quite honestly, numbers and methods are not really our business or concern. Doesn't matter if it's one guy or 10, they have a job to do, and to my knowledge, it gets done.

      If CCP was in the business of banning people arbitrarily just because they didn't like them, or what they had to say, you and Jester would be screwed.

    2. "If CCP was in the business of banning people arbitrarily just because they didn't like them, or what they had to say, you and Jester would be screwed."

      I almost wet myself laughing at this.

    3. Not entirely true. Poetic and Jester are far far too well knows for CCP be 'get away' with something like that.

      That said, I highly doubt this is a case of that.

    4. I don't think it's EVER a case of that. But if things were as cowboy over there as they would like to imply, I'm sure something could be convincingly manufactured to snuff a few people.

    5. Because CCP never bans people who say things they do not like right? ;)

    6. As soon as I posted that I thought of you. Didn't they get you for saying stuff on Eve-O or something though? It wasn't off site was it? I apologize, but I can't remember the hairy details, I just remember all the "Free Helicity" stuff everywhere.

  2. LOL - Fucking Poetic owned with honesty.

    1. Not sure how I was being dishonest, but ok. :) If you're referring to poetic's version of how IA works, I would still assert that he doesn't fully understand IAs role, and to suggest that its some guy smiling up at Sreegs, ready to jump and get him a cup or shine his shoes is absurd.

      And as to additional oversight, while Sreegs bosses may not review every decision his team makes (and there's really no need in the vast majority of them) when shit is kicked up like it was in this case, and it DOES happen from time to time, you can't tell me the executives aren't looking into what's going on, and you can't tell me that Sreegs doesn't have regular meetings with his bosses where he has to report on what he and his team have been up to. There Is oversight, it's just not to the level poetic wants, or is going to get.

      If you were wrongly accused of something, then it's on you to kick up some dirt and draw attention to yourself. Unfortunately, what happened with Kelduum and John is by and large the result, and because of all the people that protest innocence and then turn out to be guilty as shit, you've got a big battle ahead of you.

  3. Quote: "I know this much though; to even get noticed by Team Security, you've got to be doing something pretty suspect, and the bans aren't handed out automaticaly by the bot detector. A human being looks at it and makes the decision once the flag is raised."

    Any yet we still have people falsely accused of illicit activity and their accounts improperly hit with the ban hammer (see: Psycho Groupie this past December). There's ample evidence that CCP Security's performance is flawed. I agree with you: Kelduum's overall premise is wrong, and his behavior objectionable. But he does raise a disturbing point: if there's no appeals process from Security's decisions, and if Security sometimes gets it wrong, then there exists the very real possibility that some players have been screwed by them.

    1. I assume you're talking about the example that Poetic made about the PLEX guy that got nailed for RMT. I'm fairly certain that the character in question WAS involved in RMT, even if it wasn't his character at the time. That's not a false positive, it's a definite positive without the foresight to have a process in place to make sure you got the right PLAYER.

      There is an appeal process in T.S.. You petition your innocence, they confirm that there was cheating, and repeat that you were given a ban for X days, or whatever else happened. In that particular RMT case, the logs did show the RMT transfers. I can't say anything about the character transfer bit, I don't know what they were thinking or the reasoning they were using, if any.

      We have evidence of 1 time T.S. dropped the ball. It was recently brought to my attention that 2 other guys got bans reversed, but it's my understanding that those instances were both settled within T.S. without the need for outside help.

      So we have 1 known instance where the system failed... out of tens of thousands, and even that one was eventually rectified. Might be time to call in the UN for some oversight hmm?

    2. There are actually separate events at play with the Psycho Groupie instance. There is the event of Security detecting the RMT activity on one or more of the characters that Psycho Groupie later acquired (which is a true positive), and then there is the event where the player behind Psycho Groupie was punished with a ban of *all* of his *accounts* (not merely those RMT characters) by Security (which is most definitely a *false* positive identification of a player involved in RMT). As I specifically said "people falsely accused of illicit activity", and not "characters", it should be obvious I am referring to the second event from above.

      Actually, it sounds like there are three public instances where the security team had false positive events which were rectified. Given the security team's penchant for extreme secrecy, one could reasonably speculate that there are more *non-public* instances of false positive events which were rectified. And you are correct -- compared to the (presumed) number of true positive events, they are most likely a tiny percentage. But here's the kicker: Sreegs says there is no appeals process. So given that Security makes false accusations against people (not characters), and given that Security's decisions are not subject to appeal (as stated by the head of Security), it should be a forgone conclusion that there exists a non-zero number of players who have been screwed by Security. So should we just ignore those players, saying "tough, HTFU"?

    3. Well there is an appeals process, it just doesn't go beyond team security. You petition, they take a second look, and usually just repeat that you got what you had coming to you.

      One would hope that a process has been put in place so that a guy like Psycho Groupie does not get nailed again for something on a character he purchased... maybe an Audit should be done on characters at the point a transfer is initiated. Since the seller is the one paying the $25 or whatever it is now, their money is the only actual "money" at risk. ISK paid could certainly be refunded back if it turns out the original owner was naughty.

      As for the other 2, from what I've seen thus far (and I might not have ALL the info at this point) it would apear that processes within team security rectified those situations without the need for things to go outside that team.

      I know of one other instance where CCP PrismX intervened on behalf of a "friend" of a guy who was hit for RMT, but when he tried to help the guy, turned out his friend had received somewhere in the vicinity of 10 billion ISK from known and banned RMT sellers. (reference is the 2nd link in this article).