Two weeks ago now, I wrote a little post that I called "Turtles all the way down", which was an examination of a document I received from an EVE player claiming to be a "strategist for hire" for EVE's largest alliances, particularly in the 2006-2007 time-frame. However, the author also claimed to have performed this career right up into the EVE's "modern era", though many fewer specifics were given.
Hell, there weren't all that many specifics for EVE's earlier ages.
Whenever I write a blog post that states what I believe to be factual information, God help me if I'm wrong. I'll get dozens of people coming out of the woodwork to tell me so whether it's smart for them to do so or not. Most people enjoy being right more than they enjoy keeping things secret. If I give an opinion that's at all questionable, same deal: I'll get dozens of people telling me what a moron I am. Case in point: yesterday about this time, I wrote a thing in which I professed agreement with the concept that someone who does something dumb in EVE should be publicly shamed for it, hopefully with the goal that they wouldn't do it any more. There are now 30-odd public comments attached to that post telling me how dumb that is and how ashamed I should feel about believing it.
Yes, that was irony. ;-) Someone tell Alanis.
As I write this, not counting all you Google Reader people, that post yesterday has been read about 470 times. The "Turtles" post has been read almost 3000 times since I published it two weeks ago. I expected a lot of people to say "BS" to it, and I expected a lot of people to say "there's no substance here", and indeed, both of those things happened. I said myself that the first thing I asked the author for was more specifics. The post itself has 78 comments, far and away the most comments anything I've published has received.
But not a single person came out and said "This document is BS. The author wasn't involved with XXXX crashing, because that was all me, baby." Or anything even approaching that. You'd think, after 3000 people read this document, someone would have some kind of proof that this document is BS, if it were. Somebody always knows something.
I find that interesting.
Anyway, what's below is what is likely to be my final postscript on this story. It's the log of a conversation I had with the author of the document (his character name has been changed). I've done some editing here and there to remove things like "brb" and the like, but I haven't removed any misspellings, since those tend to be distinctive from writer to writer. I also removed two irrelevant sections of our discussion. This log probably isn't of interest to very many people, but if you were interested in the "Turtles" document, you'll probably be interested in this. And it includes a piece of data toward the end that you can put to direct work if you want to learn more about the author. There's also a few more specifics about things the author says he was involved in. You'll find in the log that I have permission to post this log.
Channel ID: -27034032
Channel Name: Private Chat (Private Chat)
Listener: Ripard Teg
Session started: 2011.12.18 20:20:12
[ 20:20:16 ] Ripard Teg > o/
[ 20:21:58 ] strategist > Hey
[ 20:22:39 ] strategist > Good to sit down with you =)
[ 20:22:52 ] Ripard Teg > Indeed. Interesting little document you sent me.
[ 20:23:24 ] strategist > I could protest its honesty until I go blue, but the opinion you've already made will be the one that sticks
[ 20:24:03 ] Ripard Teg > Not sure I have an opinion yet, honestly. Every time I feel like I've drilled down to bedrock in this game, someone convinces me that there's this whole other level underneath.
[ 20:24:40 ] Ripard Teg > I'm hampered by the fact that while I've heard some of the stories from EVE's first age (Xetic, et. al.), I wasn't there for any of it. I didn't start playing until 2007.
[ 20:24:57 ] strategist > Xetic, frankly, became a complete shell of idiots.
[ 20:25:26 ] strategist > It used to pride itself on having the highest member count in EVE history - still true today, they still hold the record
[ 20:25:48 ] strategist > but the majority of those almost 6k members were PVE runners and miners, living in the shadows of other alliances
[ 20:26:03 ] strategist > hell, pretty sure half of them weren't active come the time it finally collapsed
[ 20:26:08 ] Ripard Teg > ::nods:: Matches what I've heard, that they were an enormous paper tiger.
[ 20:26:21 ] strategist > Even a paper tiger is scary when you're drunk
[ 20:27:18 ] Ripard Teg > Paper tigers scare a lot of perfectly sober people, given the average EVE player's desire to lose ships. ;-)
[ 20:28:02 ] strategist > Hm, usually I'd agree, but then I saw Xetic
[ 20:28:34 ] strategist > Their killboards are long lost in the aether, but there was this one moment where a 200 strong Xetic fleet lost out to 23 people.
[ 20:28:48 ] strategist > This was before capital ships became the mainstay of any EVE engagement so
[ 20:29:03 ] strategist > There is a paper tiger, and a paper tiger that has been in a bath for a month
[ 20:29:12 ] strategist > =)
[ 20:29:33 ] Ripard Teg > Heh.
[ 20:30:25 ] strategist > So yea, Poetic also has a copy - after your help, thanks so much for that BTW
[ 20:30:39 ] strategist > and he's like "Yea, more details."
[ 20:31:00 ] Ripard Teg > np And yeah, assuming I stipulate that everything in the document is true, two obvious questions spring to mind: are you quitting EVE, and if so, why?
[ 20:31:24 ] Ripard Teg > You said a lot in the doc without saying a whole lot, if you get my drift. ;-)
[ 20:31:31 ] strategist > No I am not, simply quitting the strategy game. Why, simple, business for my kind of strategist has become almost non-existant
[ 20:31:35 ] strategist > heh, the gift of the ramble
[ 20:31:51 ] strategist > I said a lot without any solid details. I'd make a good politician if I didn't hate politics.
[ 20:31:55 ] Ripard Teg > Eh, there's a difference between rambling and deliberately avoiding the juicy stuff. ;-)
[ 20:32:35 ] Ripard Teg > Simplest example: you say you were taking these enormous per month contracts... without saying what you were doing that was worth that kind of ISK.
[ 20:33:17 ] strategist > Example: giving RA pointers on how best to work with young goon in the first push through Bobbit
[ 20:33:57 ] strategist > current contract: working with certain directors of a large power holder in making plans and contingencies for the next year and a half
[ 20:34:12 ] Ripard Teg > See what I mean? You're saying stuff without saying anything.
[ 20:34:29 ] strategist > Because frankly I dont know what to say, if I'm honest
[ 20:35:07 ] Ripard Teg > Some of this stuff is five years ago, for alliances that don't exist any more. So I'd give specific specifics if you want the doc to be taken more seriously.
[ 20:35:20 ] strategist > I dont care how serious the doc is taken
[ 20:35:23 ] Ripard Teg > You hint a little bit when you use words like "infiltrate", but you don't come out and SAY anything.
[ 20:35:38 ] strategist > People can read it and count it as class A bullshit for all I care
[ 20:35:40 ] Ripard Teg > notsureifserious.jpg
[ 20:35:44 ] Ripard Teg > ;-)
[ 20:35:49 ] strategist > It's true
[ 20:36:26 ] strategist > I just wanted some well written general overview for the annuals of EVE's collective history. Like most of the writing you'll see, there is nothing stopping you from calling bullshit on it
[ 20:36:31 ] Ripard Teg > OK, let me try a different approach, then. You wrote this thing. Who is the target audience?
[ 20:36:48 ] strategist > I guess people interested in the underbelly.
[ 20:37:04 ] strategist > The kind of people who'd read these things in the first place
[ 20:37:24 ] Ripard Teg > I'm hugely interested in that, and I don't understand large swaths of this doc.
[ 20:37:41 ] Ripard Teg > A) Because I don't recognize some of the names, because I wasn't here for this part of EVE's history; and,
[ 20:38:09 ] Ripard Teg > B) Because you aren't specific enough about things. Let's take one para in particular.
[ 20:38:23 ] Ripard Teg > This is 2006-2007, I assume, from the doc's context:
[ 20:38:31 ] Ripard Teg > "Well, except for when I was being paid to infiltrate. You get quite an interesting mark on your balance sheets when the alliance you are infiltrating is paying you more than your actual bosses - but the loot you get..." (cont)
[ 20:38:42 ] Ripard Teg > "from collapsing such an alliance is worth it."
[ 20:39:05 ] Ripard Teg > I'd get very specific there. I collapsed alliance X. This is how I did it. This is how I profited from it.
[ 20:39:10 ] strategist > Was a general comment, I've infiltrated a few. LV was a big one, actually.
[ 20:39:36 ] strategist > I never directly collapsed an alliance, simply gave intel to the right people while flipping two paychecks
[ 20:39:49 ] Ripard Teg > Then you should say that: this is what I was paid to do, this is who paid me, this is what I did, this is how it turned out.
[ 20:40:09 ] Ripard Teg > Mittens gets mileage from this kind of crap because he joyfully gives specifics, but he's careful only to give specifics years after it'll do anyone any damn good.
[ 20:40:12 ] Ripard Teg > You should do the same.
[ 20:40:36 ] strategist > Oh Mittens how I love your media frenzies.
[ 20:40:49 ] strategist > He's nuked most of his ability to do anything he prides himself on, you know
[ 20:41:17 ] Ripard Teg > ::shrugs:: I'm giving you a neutral observer's perspective here. If you publish this thing, as is, there might be ten or twelve people in all of EVE that will understand it. They'll find it highly entertaining.
[ 20:41:30 ] Ripard Teg > Then there will be 5000 people who say "Hm, interesting, if it's true." That's where I am.
[ 20:41:39 ] Ripard Teg > And then there will be 25,000 people who sniff and say "bullshit." ;-)
[ 20:42:04 ] Ripard Teg > And yes, I agree. But you say you're retiring.
[ 20:42:10 ] Ripard Teg > So where's the harm in doing the same? ;-)
[ 20:42:32 ] strategist > Honestly, that isn't my sticking point
[ 20:44:05 ] strategist > The sticking point is basically that after eight years of doing it, the majority of the details have slipped into the grey of my injured brain
[ 20:44:34 ] strategist > Can you sit there and honestly tell me you remember every call you made in 07 or 08? ;)
[ 20:45:18 ] strategist > I can name the big calls
[ 20:45:19 ] Ripard Teg > Every call? No. A call that netted me 50 billion ISK? I suspect I'd remember a few details. ;-)
[ 20:45:28 ] strategist > JV1V was one of mine
[ 20:45:40 ] strategist > (as an example)
[ 20:45:50 ] Ripard Teg > Elaborate. ;-)
[ 20:46:20 ] strategist > running out of LV space with two command ship BPOs and an exhumer BPO was also great fun 9along with countless others)
[ 20:46:43 ] Ripard Teg > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy1kofLY0RA
[ 20:46:47 ] Ripard Teg > ^-- You talking about that?
[ 20:47:07 ] strategist > No
[ 20:47:44 ] Ripard Teg > ::nods:: That's the only significant link on Google that references JV1V
[ 20:47:50 ] strategist > After that. Long story short, RA and co rapetrained JV1V and took out a titan while the POS was pregnant
[ 20:48:15 ] strategist > was a big deal at the time, as RA locked out the system entirely - the gate wouldnt allow anyone else to jump in due to population
[ 20:48:25 ] strategist > was word of CCP involvement etc
[ 20:48:51 ] strategist > trust me I'm suprised at the lack of detail as well, then again the LV directorship was very very good at hiding their own shit
[ 20:49:24 ] Ripard Teg > I'd tell some of the details that you do know/remember. LV is long dead. I don't think they're gonna care. ;-)
[ 20:50:36 ] strategist > Heh, the only details that matter are that they gave everything to me, down to the locations of their supercap production facilities and production plans. Word to RA, a quick plan on how to lock out the system...
[ 20:50:43 ] strategist > ...and well, the rest is history
[ 20:50:55 ] strategist > Was the start of the complete downfall of LV that one, they never really recovered
[ 20:50:59 ] Ripard Teg > No, the rest is forgotten. ;-)
[ 20:51:37 ] strategist > Well, they lost their main supercap production facilities
[ 20:51:45 ] Ripard Teg > http://eve-history.net/wiki/index.php/Lotka_Volterra
[ 20:52:02 ] Ripard Teg > ^-- this 300 word article is the only thing anyone like me knows about LV, other than "red pen".
[ 20:51:55 ] strategist > back when it was a big fucking deal to have so much as a single titan in your alliance
[ 20:53:46 ] strategist > oh god that fucking mail
[ 20:53:48 ] Ripard Teg > And there's a treasure trove of info about LV compared to Curse Alliance. CA is totally, completely forgotten.
[ 20:53:59 ] strategist > course it would be, it died in 05
[ 20:54:35 ] Ripard Teg > ::nods:: But that's where you begin your story.
[ 20:54:50 ] strategist > There is little to say of curse alliance
[ 20:55:01 ] Ripard Teg > ::grins:: You're missing my point.
[ 20:55:11 ] strategist > I'm aware of your point ;)
[ 20:55:18 ] strategist > If you start somewhere, you should establish where it is
[ 20:55:31 ] Ripard Teg > My point is that you're not providing any detail or context to go with your story, so the major reaction to it is going to be "eh".
[ 20:55:58 ] Ripard Teg > That's why it's going to come off sounding like BS to most people, and even the people inclined to believe it are going to be saying "Yes? And?"
[ 20:56:34 ] strategist > To be honest
[ 20:56:40 ] strategist > I don't mind the latter
[ 20:57:00 ] strategist > If I wanted to go out with a bang, I would take the entirety of Goon's 2012/2013 plan and release it publically
[ 20:57:34 ] strategist > I just wanted to get something on paper =)
[ 20:57:37 ] Ripard Teg > "And step one is murdering cops?! What's step two, the neutron bomb?!" "No, I think we can find a middle ground."
[ 20:57:52 ] Ripard Teg > ::coughs:: Sorry. Die Hard 2. I enjoy quoting old movies. ;-)
[ 20:57:54 ] strategist > Yea, the fuel-air bomb.
[ 20:58:03 ] strategist > I am aware of the movie and I love it so.
[ 20:58:50 ] Ripard Teg > Point to this quote is that I think you can find some juicy details that are between "eh" and "Goon's 2012/2013 plan" that will make your story pop more and make it less likely to be dismissed.
[ 20:59:01 ] Ripard Teg > Some kind of middle ground. ;-)
[ 20:59:32 ] Ripard Teg > You can say "I don't care if it's dismissed"... but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't believe it if you did. ;-)
[ 21:00:06 ] strategist > If I cared about fame, I wouldn't have gone to extreme measured to hide for so many years ;)
[ 21:00:20 ] Ripard Teg > There's a difference between fame and recognition.
[ 21:09:10 ] strategist > The issue with recognition is that, like many things, it can cause problems
[ 21:10:23 ] Ripard Teg > Maybe, but I think the chances are pretty freakin' slim, if you're buried behind the number of alts you say you are. Even if you said "I did X", who's going to have records of alts that were in corps four years ago?
[ 21:10:49 ] Ripard Teg > But hey, I've made my point. Where you take it is up to you.
[ 21:11:02 ] strategist > I understand your point, and it just makes me love you more
[ 21:11:14 ] Ripard Teg > LOL Well, doesn't mean we're engaged or anything. ;-)
[ 21:11:20 ] strategist > Hah
Later, after a discussion about how to publish the document...
[ 21:17:12 ] strategist > I have an idea
[ 21:18:30 ] strategist > I find it a lot easier to talk about events when asked things. That's another issue I have. I can plan, happily, but I need prompts for discussion as I tend to be a reserved person.
[ 21:20:44 ] strategist > May I ask a favour, or pay for it
[ 21:21:14 ] Ripard Teg > Ask away.
[ 21:23:25 ] strategist > I'm willing to answer most questions I'm asked, all they have to be is sent to the right person.
[ 21:24:50 ] strategist > If I ask a favour I intend on repaying, any chance you can publish it as is, and send it to white rose? Any comments you wish to make about it are your own, my only request is you make it clear that i'm willing to answer...
[ 21:25:06 ] strategist > ...most if not all questions sent via evemail to ThatShyGirl
[ 21:25:19 ] strategist > (Another alt of mine =) )
[ 21:25:34 ] Ripard Teg > I gathered. ;-)
[ 21:25:42 ] strategist > only one of my reprocess alts are still alive and thats only cus it's still being used
[ 21:25:52 ] strategist > so I'm throwing market and production alts xD
[ 21:26:01 ] Ripard Teg > And sure, sounds like an interesting compromise.
[ 21:26:09 ] strategist > I'm just
[ 21:26:31 ] strategist > For someone great with strategy, I'm terrible at description, y'know?
[ 21:26:49 ] Ripard Teg > Heh.
[ 21:27:05 ] strategist > I know. Built a house on sand etc
[ 21:27:42 ] strategist > I'm sorry to ask this, and if there is anything I can do
[ 21:28:29 ] Ripard Teg > Give me 10 billion ISK and a puppy. You've got trillions. You won't miss it. :-P
[ 21:28:57 ] strategist > I would definitely miss the puppy. It's my puppy =(
[ 21:29:11 ] Ripard Teg > See? You don't care about 10 billion ISK. ;-)
[ 22:00:19 ] Ripard Teg > With regard to your doc, you want to send me an edited copy, or do you want me to edit it?
[ 22:09:15 ] strategist > The dropbox link I originally provided already has the edits you sent to me
[ 22:09:24 ] strategist > i can send it agian if you want?
[ 22:09:31 ] Ripard Teg > Yeah, please do.
[ 22:09:37 ] Ripard Teg > Didn't save the link, just the doc.
[ 22:09:46 ] strategist > http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21467805/Recordings/The_Story_of_the_Master_Strategist.rtf
[ 22:10:04 ] strategist > Thankfully this should be the last time I call upon the blogging community in any form
[ 22:10:07 ] strategist > I hate being a burden
[ 22:12:15 ] Ripard Teg > And do you mind if I cut and paste the key portions from this convo into the post?
[ 22:12:42 ] strategist > Course not, though I respectfully request you replace XXXX with ThatShyGirl where applicable
And for the record, nope, I never did get that 10 billion ISK. Well, not so far, anyway... ;-)