Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, September 23, 2013

God's justice be done

I apologize in advance: this is a long one.  File it under geek philosophy, big time.

Between writing summit minutes, other CSM stuff, work, and my RL move, I haven't had a whole lot of time until today to keep up with last week's news, so it's time to catch up.  One of the "other CSM stuff" I have been keeping an eye on are the TOS changes, so I thought it would be interesting to look at the situation that most believe caused the TOS changes in the first place.  Here's the story out on TMDC.  Go read it, then I want to talk about it.

OK, the scammer in question was permanently banned from the game.  The key question: did CCP do the right thing?

Let's start with the basic basics for those who might not be familiar with them.  When you are selling something expensive in real life it is typical to work through an escrow service.  In its most simplistic sense, if I sell a house I give the escrow service the deed to my house and the buyer gives the escrow service the agreed-upon price for the house.  If the buyer agrees that the house is as advertised when the escrow began, the escrow service makes the trade: they get the deed, I get the money.  In EVE, these services are also available -- provided by players -- but are simply called "3rd party" services.

Three of the most-used 3rd party services are run by characters named Chribba, Darknesss, and Grendell.  In the article, these are referred to as the "C" name, the "D" name, and the "G" name.  So, in part zero, our hero manages to scam 24 billion using traditional methods (i.e., actual work).  In part one, though, he inserts a character name into EVE Wiki pages for the three recognized 3rd parties above, listing his own character as their alts.

In terms of ethics, in my opinion, this has already passed the line of "acceptable" EVE behavior to a level of being ethically wrong.  To put this in perspective, I could change one of my EVE guides to give new players false or misleading information to benefit myself.  I don't because that is ethically wrong.  This is the same thing.  There's a difference between listing yourself on a Wiki page listing EVE services, and modifying someone else's page to benefit yourself.  This action clearly crossed that line.

But is it a ban-worthy offense?  CCP seems to think so already at this point, but we'll get back to that presently.

At this level of behavior alone, our hero had scammed 150 billion ISK from six victims.  At that point, Chribba discovered the fakery on his wiki page, edited it, and locked it.  But apparently, Chribba did nothing else.  Had our hero stopped here, he would have been some 175 billion ISK the richer and he probably could have walked away.

This is probably a good time to point out that 175 billion ISK is more money than most EVE players will have in one place their entire career.  It's enough ISK to play EVE for 25 character-YEARS.

But it turns out EVE players are greedy.  Our hero proceeded to part two: create a false version of the "Shops and Services" page linked above, this time listing Chribba, Darkness, Grendell, and a fourth recognized 3rd party, Wirox Crotikus.  Only this time, he added his alt as a fifth option.  To this page, he added a little "locked" graphic and this text at the bottom, highlighted in white on blue:
Please note: Contact ISD Rex Apollyon if you have valid proof of handling super capitals in the past, Anyone without proof will not added to this list
This combination of factors created a false impression that all five services were endorsed by ISD, which is a volunteer player group endorsed by CCP.

That word "endorsed" is about to become important.  We'll get to that, too.

Now at this point, in my opinion, we're well past "wrong" in terms of ethical behavior in EVE Online.  Our hero has this to say on this point:
At this point I am sure I have a fair share of malcontents waiting to denounce my methods, but my intention was never to get banned. Push the limit of what is allowed by trying something no one had done before, yes, but not to lose my accounts in the process.
Speaking as one of the malcontents, I do indeed denounce his methods and it's for the reason above: it is ethically wrong to use a site intended for sharing of valid in-game information to display false information intended to mislead players.  That alone is ethically wrong.  Doing this simply to enrich yourself is even more wrong.  But again, the question here is whether it's ban-worthy, because people do things that are ethically wrong in EVE Online every single day and don't get banned for them.

The question becomes one of ethical behavior versus acceptable behavior.

In part two of the saga, our hero makes another 200 billion ISK, enough ISK to play EVE for an additional 28 character-years.  But this time, someone complains on the forums about his specific methods.  The jig is up and our hero is permanently banned from the game.

Before we examine part three of the saga, let's skip right past the legal shenanigans our hero trots out in his own defense.  EVE is not a court of law in any country in the world and EVE players have few or no legal rights to anything in the game.  As has been established many times both on this blog and elsewhere, nothing in the virtual world of EVE Online belongs to you.  You are just borrowing your ISK, ships, characters, corporations, and alliances.  Likewise, any claims of the application of ex post facto law are also groundless: EVE is not a court of law so these concepts do not apply.

The simple fact here is that EVE players are often smarter than EVE developers when it comes to unethical behavior in the game and CCP can declare such behavior ban-worthy at any point after the actions occur.  Your recourse if you disagree is to vote with your wallet and play another game.  If a large enough base of players all disagree at once, perhaps CCP will reconsider their positions and that's where we are with the TOS changes.  But even if those TOS changes are rolled back, that is not going to mean that our hero gets his accounts back.  That ain't gonna happen.

So let's consider: I think our hero's behavior was ethically wrong.  But again, EVE players do things that are ethically wrong every single day.  Was this ethically wrong in an acceptable way?  CCP can spin reasons out of the TOS for the ban and sure, I might agree with those reasons but I am results-driven.  Let's look at the results here.

And in my opinion, what was done here was unacceptable player behavior, for a relatively simple to understand reason: our hero took hold of something that was created by CCP and subverted it to his own ends.  If one player scams another player, that is destroying trust that exists in the virtual world and eroding a construct created by a player, not by CCP.  But when you cross the line and destroy trust and confidence in a structure that CCP has built, you've crossed the line and you deserve to get banned.  Had our hero subverted the EVE University wiki, for instance, I wouldn't have anything to say on the matter of it being ban-worthy.  Subverting the E-UNI wiki is ethically wrong, but is not ban-worthy.

But in this case, again in my opinion, our hero did something that is not all that different from modifying the EVE client, real money trading, hacking the EVE Online forums, or passing himself off as a CCP employee.  He took hold of something built by CCP and subverted it to his own ends, for nothing more than fiscal gain.  And he did it twice over, passing himself off as a member of the ISD and modifying the official EVE Online wiki.  That these actions are ethically wrong, I have no doubt.  But I also believe they were unacceptable behavior and CCP did the right thing here: this person should never be allowed to play EVE Online again.

Discuss.

95 comments:

  1. You sum it up in the end quite nice, when I do not even agree with the thrust factor as most important.

    It is simply 'hacking' CCP to gain advantages. Sabotaging CCP systems is against the TOS, the wiki is part of ccp systems, sabotaging them yields you a ban, no discussion needed.

    Even if the hero of this story would have done this for morally fine reasons, feeding to poor, defeating the goons, whatever, it is still sabotaging ccp systems and a ban still a necessary. If you do not ban this, than you are giving the message to DOS ccp servers, run as many bots as you like, hack their servers to manipulate their DBs and convince GMs to help your alliance to fight the goons. Its all the same kind of offence.

    And if look at it from a moral perspective it is in essence cheating. Scammers should be pissed, people who fail for something like this, would have failed to other scams as well, all those billions would have ended in different scamer hands, now the victims of hopefully learned their lesson and know how to write c, d and g.

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    1. What the hell is a "thrust factor?"
      Something captain Kirk might have said to Sulu in the alternate Star Trek movies?
      Or something a girl might brag about what her boyfriend has, I suppose.

      I know, I know; he meant something like "the thrust of your argument", but it wasn't modern and edgy enough.

      Delete
    2. It is not hacking or sabotage as the site is a Wiki, and therefore editing of an unlocked page was definitionally an authorized access of that page. Hacking being defined as unauthorized access. A wiki is a site intended to be freely edited by anyone. Perhaps CCP should store authoritative information on a webpage and not in a wiki page.

      As for impersonating CCP, please. Our hero implied ISD endorsement of a page, ISD being endorsed by CCP. Endorsement of an endorsement is hardly impersonation. ISD are also still players, privileged players, but still players. What would you do if an ISD member ran a scam?

      From what I can tell, your objection is based in the idea that rendering an out of game resources less useful harms the community. Yet scamming, this scam included, benefits the community. Scams entertain people, getting new players to sub through publicity like 'best scams in eve' articles, and keeping existing players entertained and subbed. Individuals lose, but the community gains. That said I do believe that there is a balancing point where the harm of a scam exceeds it's benefits. If Somer did decide to cash-out and destroy the EVE economy, this would be one example.

      Finally, yes, legal arguments do apply, because the law is the only viable proxy we have for a society's shared values. If you exclude arguments of law, then there is no way to argue points of morality other than an appeal to authority. And appeals to authority are weak bullshit.

      I have no problem with what the hero did, nor does it make it any worse that it was for personal gain. Your morals are not universal, and I have little but contempt for your and Jester's idiocentric moral outrage.

      Please won't someone think of the children.

      Delete
  2. I don't see the ISD trick reference as "passing himself off" but no less ban-able.
    Maybe OK if it was ISD ScammerGotcha.

    The forging the locked icon, totally crossing the line.

    That he thought both of these would be ok, rather human nature once you push boundaries and don't receive initial feedback.

    The big issue is what happened outside the EVE client, so outside the game.
    Does this mean in happened in real life, so subject to real law ?




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  3. Did he cross a line? Absolutely. Permaban? No way. 90 days max and make it clear that permabans will be hammered home for anyone who tries the same thing in the future.

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    1. Agreed. Most of his deceptions lie in a gray area; he himself believed he was within the rules of the TOS and EULA, and a lot of the difference is interpretations of certain words and phrases. The lines he crossed were pretty damn blurry.

      A 90-day ban, public announcement and the return of the supercaps to their original owners would ensure that nobody uses Evelopedia to scam people again. Jester says he's results driven; the results would be pretty much the same, minus enormous amounts of community backlash against CCP's heavy-handed enforcement of policies that were only clarified after the fact.

      Pushing the limits of what we're capable of is a fundamental part of Eve's culture. CCP should enforce the limits, yes, but they shouldn't do so in a way that frightens people away from them.

      Delete
  4. Agreed. That's about all I have to say on the matter.

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  5. Because you wrote

    '...this has already passed the line of "acceptable" EVE behavior to a level of being ethically wrong'

    Expect players who can't comprehend written English very well to scream about how you want to dumb down EvE. Also expect players who have a good grasp of English to take this out of context and shout from the roof tops that you want to dumb down EvE. Water off a ducks back I'm sure.

    One point that you sort of skip over and something that I think has potentially serious consequences - Pretending to be someone's alt is essentially pretending to be that person IRL. When you claim to be that person's alt, you are by definition, claiming to be the RL person. You are, if not stealing, certainly assuming their RL identity.

    Is this acceptable to you?

    Discuss. :-)

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  6. Meh, you can buy a new account in five minutes. No harm done.

    The only thing highlighted here was CCP demonstrating once again they have amazingly thin skin and a severe nasty streak when it comes to damage control and punishing anyone who outsmarts them or asks difficult questions.

    The only thing I would now be looking out for is those players who were particularly vocal against CCP in this discussion. It's amazing how these people suffer bans and like for very strange reasons when the dust settles down a bit and no-one is watching.

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    1. He impersonated CCP, which he deserves a ban for, when he created a copy of the official CCP endorsed third party and added his own alt to the list of supposedly endorsed third party services.

      Delete
    2. They're not CCP endorsed, though. I don't think CCP endorses any third parties, because that would be playing favourites. It's just a community-maintained list of "reliable" third parties.

      In fact, the page has a prominent warning posted in red: "None of these Shops or Services are endorsed by CCP so use at own risk. If a deal turns out to be a scam or fraud you will not be entitled to any reimbursement from CCP."

      Personally, I think this was par for the course for EVE. His only real offense was naming an ISD member, and he was not even implying he was that ISD member, just that an ISD member was responsible for maintaining the page. However, I don't really think that was bannable under the old rules.

      Delete
  7. agree wholeheartedly, but that still doesn't mean this new rule is a valid fix

    the impersonating an ISD was more then enough this time around

    why they have to add a whole impersonation clause is mindbogglingly knee-jerking stupid

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  8. Thats going to be a hot topic i guess.

    And I agree with your opinion. He could have screwed with any other wiki out there to gain trust. But with the reference to an ISD representative he called for that ban to happen. Debating about how strong ISD is associated with CCP doesn't matter, it's an organization formed by CCP and for an outside viewer they are an extension to CCP.

    IMO he should have sticked with part zero. If he had the patience to build up his reputation as trust worthy 3rd Party on his own, he could have made that money without any trouble. Trying to deploy a new 3rd Party offer and scamming the first customer isn't good, but deciding to cut the path and going straight to impersonation ... well, he had it coming.

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  9. "But I also believe they were unacceptable behavior and CCP did the right thing here: this person should never be allowed to play EVE Online again." - Seriously? Never, ever, ever...?

    What he did was wrong. I agree... but... the idea that this is such a terrible thing, that he should be banned forever...?

    What if the guy's 17, and did this because it was exciting and seemed cool at the time? Are you saying that no matter how much older he gets over the years, or no matter how mature and responsible he becomes, he should be - forever and ever - stigmatised for these 'internet spaceships' shenanigans?

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    1. Yeah, it's called consequences. My experience tells me that he knew he had crossed the line. But even if not, if he thought he was only bending the rules, it's a lesson for life. Being lenient would give the wrong message.

      And stigmatised? Huh? He lost his account. So what? It's not as if there are no other games to play. And if he is as smart as he wants to appear, he can easily get around the ban and get a new account.

      Delete
  10. I have to give some love for a scammer who whines about being treated unfairly. This is the sort of self-contradictory nonsense that typifies the most ridiculous players of the game, and its silly perfection, culminating in a rage-quit of *all* gaming after the permaban, is a beautiful form of emergent gameplay.

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    1. That thought occurred to me also.
      The complete double standard of feeling they aren't being treated fairly.

      No doubt the other scammers are enjoying the tears of the dork who was dumb enough to get himself perma-banned.

      The idiot didn't know better than to cross the line with CCP? That's HIS problem. HTFU and go play something else is what they should be saying.

      Of course, they won't. They'll become carebears about the fact that their friend can't enjoy the game anymore.

      Delete
    2. I mean, sure, you could say that. However, he lost his account, not his in-game assets, which I'm sure he would have been fine with because they're fair game. If people were getting scammed out of accounts, then it would be equivalent.

      And it's hard to say he crossed the line when the line didn't even exist until a week ago.

      Delete
    3. You should read up. He crossed several lines. Only one of them was changed recently.

      Delete
  11. I believe the first offence was worthy of a temp ban but not a permanent one. The official wiki is deliberately linked with CCP so subverting it is wrong, but it's an idea many people should have and it's more the responsibility of editors to keep the Wiki clean.

    The second one became bannable because CCP go to lengths to try and maintain the credibility of the ISD. They're meant to be a point of contact for newbies and people you can go to for trust and help. ISD's abusing their own position is something CCP deals with harshly, so impersonating one to abuse their seeming connection with CCP (Which was deliberately what he was relying on) is bannable.

    I think all your talk of 'Doing it for his own gains' was distracting from the issue though and makes your argument seem weaker. Being a self-motivated dick is one of the freedoms EVE offers and doesn't really come into the argument of whether his actions are actually wrong. There are as many legitimate situations where you can try to scam your way to a hundred bajillion ISK as there are illegitimate

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  12. You liberally use the term "ethics" in your post. Ethical values are individual and yours are not superior to anyone else's. A group of people with shared values may form a covenant (e.g. church) or actually make them law that bind all. Until then, an EVE scammer can absolutely work under his own ethics, scamming and stealing from whoever he chooses.

    You rightly list the reasons why CCP can and did ban his account but ethics had nothing to do with it. CCP needs to protect its assets as a company and part of that is the reputation it has. That is a fine line - EVE must keep the reputation as the last bastion of MMORPG that is not infused with pink ponies. But the word sandbox implies the existence of a box, i.e. a containment where shenanigans may happen inside but not outside. Apparently, the current case went outside the sandbox and CCP had to drop the hammer.

    Kudos to the scammer in this case to go through the efforts of changing the wiki, setting up the accounts etc. A lot of work went into this and in doing so, he left the sandbox. Ethical? Sure, he was totally true to his ethics.

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    1. I think it was CCP's ethical standards Jester was alluding to... you know, the breach of which got him banned?

      Besides, "ethics" generally refers to being trustworthy. "Honor among thieves" references the fact that thieves may tend to treat each other ethically; i.e. don't break each others' trust.

      Our "hero" bartered CCP's trust and then used it dishonestly. Unethical from CCP's standpoint and worthy of a divorce from the (broken) relationship.

      Delete
  13. While I agree that manipulating an official source of information might be going too far, I cannot help but think it's CCP who is mostly at fault here. Who makes an "official" wiki and then lets anyone edit it? Who on the ISD team created the confirmed escrows article and then left it unlocked?

    If you leave your car in the middle of a street with doors wide open and engine running, the thief still breaks the law by taking it, but it's mostly your own fault it happened.

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    1. If I understand correctly, CCP did lock the official page, then the scammer created an exact copy with all the official CCP notes stating that it is an official page.

      Delete
  14. Your view to ignore the letter of the ToS is refreshingly realistic. CCP is a business. They will do what needs to be done to protect their business.

    There is a reason why virtually every ToS contains a clause that the company can exclude a player on its sole discretion. Because you can't state every possible offense beforehand. The more specific parts of the ToS are mainly there to give players an idea of what is (un)acceptable behavior (and a bit more safety for the company).

    In that light it's interesting that most companies will consider scamming and stuff to be against their interests, white EVE made it one of their unique selling propositions.

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  15. The next logical question is thus: If Chribba himself decides to go evil and proceeds to scam billions if not trillions from trusting players, should CCP ban him since he is listed on a locked Evelopedia page as a trusted 3rd party?

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    1. Exactly my thought.

      Delete
    2. We know one thing for sure. Chribba would now be in violation of Eve TOS if he ever used any of his alts to perpetrate a scam.

      Delete
    3. Oh, what bullshit. There answer is no, of course, since Chribba did nothing what Chris Bailey did to get there.

      And I thought the "impersonate yourself" nonsense was done for. You can't, because you are yourself. Read up on CCP posts.

      Delete
    4. No, Chribba never claimed to be ISD verified.

      Delete
    5. He build up the reputation and could go evil without violating ToS as he is still playing himself. AFAIK he only had the page of his "known alts" locked.

      If Chribba decides to create a page with faked ISD trust mark he would get banned like anyone else.

      "should CCP ban him since he is listed on a locked Evelopedia page as a trusted 3rd party?" ... is he even listed there? The only list of 3rd party I could find was created from that "hero". He didn't list himself and the page is now only viewable through history.

      Delete
  16. Very well made points. Interfering with elements of the game created by the game makers as legitimate sources of information is a clear cut case of being in the wrong. If the game developers information structures cannot be trusted then its not too much of a leap in not trusting the developer or playing the game.

    How one could consider that the game developer would not take a dim view of this is frankly baffling. Trying to then defend your actions is bordering on being either an attention whore or a sociopath. The other other option is stupidity, regardless of the complexity of the scam.

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  17. A few points:

    1. We are to believe that every word typed by that goon is gospel, even though he makes his money lying?
    2. Why is anyone surprised by this kind of behaviour? He is a goon, and his comrades celebrate and exalt what he did. Sociopathic actions are expected within his circle.
    3. If CCP had the sense, they would wipe out ALL scamming in the game. It would improve the player experience, and improve player retention. For every one player that says "wow, me being able to steal and lie makes me want to fire up another account", how many players quit when their corp or alliance is wiped out? I have yet to see a person say "man, seeing my corp gutted for 50 billion in cash and assets was neat. I will buy another sub and work twice as hard to recoup that loss."

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    1. Point 3 is very well made. I'm sure CCP would do it if not for the goons.

      And probably WILL do it when they feel they can take the hit. Being the company that caters to generally scummy patrons has got to be wearing. Especially when those patrons proudly inhibit the growth of the game.

      Getting a decent marketing plan together and announcing "WE'RE CLEANING UP EVE!" during the launch of Star Citizen might be worth looking at for attracting replacements for the unethical scum that think creative dishonesty is an applaudable skill set.

      Delete
    2. You'd lose more than you'd gain. The OP claims that all Goons are sociopathic. Last I checked, Goons were pretty big (10,795 members big), so that's a big chunk of change you're leaving on the table by declaring this off limits.

      And that's ignoring the fact that every big scam gets headlines in Escapist or PC Gamer or wherever. It's a unique selling point of EVE.

      Where do you draw the line, anyway? Adding an extra zero to a contract? Investment scams? Lotteries? Charging more than the market price for a module? What's a scam, essentially?

      If you look long and hard at EVE, most of its mechanics are either a form of scamming or griefing. Nullsec wars are less about territory and more about griefing your enemy into getting sick of fighting.

      Delete
  18. The scammer in this case violated this https://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/EVElopedia_policies , its ban-worthy just for that.

    Pure and simple the guy didn't respect evelopedia guidelines, rules and policies

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  19. All I really have to say on this is I think the wording on the new TOS went to far and in an odd direction. In response to this scam wouldn't it be better to put some language in the TOS that just makes it clearer that the Evelopidia is off limits for scaming, and all other official websites. Instead of this confusion where it seems like you can get banned for impersonating yourself. (even though I know they said you can't)

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  20. I think ccp invited the metagame into the wiki when they allowed a page which listed the "legitimate" escrow services. After having invited the meta-game in they should not be surprised or punish a player for gaming it. A better answer from ccp would be to disallow all references to player organzations or activities from the wiki.

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    1. Nonsense. The meta game belongs in the sandbox. Evelopedia is outside of the sandbox. That's the line that was crossed. No ambiguity here. No invitation. Just a service you can trust if you want to bypass the dishonest assholes that stink up the sandbox, curtesy of CCP. If you're smart enough to find it there, outside of the sandbox, sanctioned by the makers of the game, you're smart enough to avoid a huge loss. Get the idea?

      CCP needs professional respect in order to do business. And they're making damn sure they are getting it.

      Delete
  21. To be clear then. The 1st wiki page he edited was maintained by CCP, and he was not authorized to edit the page?

    If he was not authorized to edit the page, but was able to edit it, then he should be penalized, but not banned.

    If he was authorized to edit the page, and he abused that authority for his own benefit, then the ban is appropriate.

    In the second case, the action of creating a false page using CCP trademark graphics, then he is phishing, and an outright ban would be warranted, if not legal repercussions.

    In my most humble opinion, a ban was too good for this guy. A civil suit for damages may even be appropriate.

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    1. A civil suit for damages? What damages? Who would be the plantiff? Certainly not the players he scammed. They lost nothing, as all virtual goods within the Eve universe are owned by CCP.

      Delete
  22. In English law, even if all the other aspects (precedent etc) point to a certain conclusion a judge is allowed to choose a different conclusion if it's in the public interest.

    An official wiki based on voluntary contributions from players (99% of which are being helpful and informative) is boned if people start using it to scam because no informed Eve player would continue to use it and uninformed Eve players would be parted from their isk by it.

    You may as well delete the wiki if you don't protest this behaviour.

    Clearly not in the public interest. So by all measures - common sense, the CCP can do whatever it likes TOS and by comparison to real world legal systems - this guy should be permabanned and people should not be permitted to use CCP's Evelopedia to set up scams.

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  23. With no court of law being the norm, you can't also use any sort of trespass or breaking and entering rule to defend the fact that if the wiki is to NOT be edited by anyone other than direct ccp staff, then well, no one should be allowed to.

    Since CCP "allowed" it by their own lack of security, it is technically their own fault.

    Remember, those kind of transgressions are encouraged and nourished in this game.

    CCP allows for people to learn how to do it, they can't get too mad over the fact they learned.

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    1. "...transgressions are encouraged and nourished in this game."

      That's it exactly.

      OUTSIDE of the game in the real world, they get spanked. And that's what happened here. CCP made an example of someone who was too stupid or too daring to realize that Evelopedia is meta to the meta game. It is a warning to others and I'm amazed that anyone is surprised.

      Unless, of course, you're a carebear. Then you're probably surprised. lol. HTFU.

      Delete
    2. "Since CCP "allowed" it by their own lack of security, it is technically their own fault."

      This is a popular argument in hacker legal defenses, it universally fails. You don't get to do something just because it's profitable, you have to follow the rules as well.

      Delete
  24. Personally I wouldn't ban him. I might publicly out him, change the TOS and make damn sure that everyone knows editing the wiki is now off limits for scamming purposes but first I would give him a pat on the back for being clever.

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  25. CCP went way too far. This guy provided some extreme content, and should not be judged that harshly. Worst case, he should be banned for a month and keep 100 billion ISK. The idiots that lost their ships can have them returned, but should suffer 30 days of shame-- perhaps their ships should be named "Dumb Scam Victim" for 30 days.

    It should be extremely difficult to cross the line and earn a ban. If you can't easily enforce it, don't make the rule. Modifying an unlocked web page and altering it to suggest that you are "certified" is a great metagame con. The losers that did not verify the information should not have their stupidity rewarded. If he hacked the admin password on the server to gain access to modify the page, that would cross the line.

    Claiming to be someone you are not should be supported, not banned. Provide a method to validate if someone is CCP or ISD. If they make a claim and the victim does not validate it, who has the problem? If I claim to be Jester's alt, don't just believe me. Convo Jester to confirm it, or don't do the deal !

    I have been playing for nine months now, and I am starting to see what the bittervets claim is a march towards an easier, softer, themepark style. I lose almost everything I start, and that makes it so much sweeter when it finally comes together. Don't disable this dark, harsh universe !

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    1. You're pretty clueless. Or at least willfully missing the point. This is about abusing trust that players put in CCP.

      If CCP has an official wiki, then that wiki can be trusted (allowing for honest mistakes). End of story.

      They've just announced where the meta game ends. Quit squirming.

      Delete
    2. There was talk on the blogosphere some time back about lines in the sand.

      Modifying a website in this way is creeping very close to stuff that is illegal in the real world: apart from unauthorised access (ie: violating the EVElopedia rules that authorise your access) there was intent to defraud, in the real world. EVElopedia is no more a part of the game than Jabber or my computer are.

      Delete
  26. I disagree. At no point did he explicitly claim to be vouched for by ISD or CCP. Imply it, certainly, through clever legalspeak, but never once did he actually say "ISD recognizes my alt as a trusted character."

    Nor at any point did he impersonate either CCP or ISD. Adding a .bmp of a lock in a corner of your wiki page is not impersonation. If anyone had tried to edit the page, they would have been able to.

    What he did was clever and underhanded, and allowed gullible people to deceive themselves, and should not be banned. If CCP wants to change the rules vis-a-vis the wiki after the fact, fine, but banning the man is one of two reasons i've unsubbed all my accounts, and i will not resub unless the ban is rescinded.

    The other reason is that CCP has changed the TOS (and it was a change, not a 'clarification') to make it illegal for me to claim to be Chribba's alt in-game. That is bullshit, and even worse than Bailey's ban. That claim can be easily verified (or refuted, in this case) by asking Chribba. Only the stupidest of stupids will ever fall for this, and EVE used to be all about smart people exploiting the stupid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I'm sure the game will suffer for want of your presence.

      But seriously, the permaban was for the people who may be interested in playing the game but don't yet. CCP doesn't need a reputation for allowing players to spit on the primary relationship with their customers.

      "You can't trust our official help system" is the message they are trying to avoid.

      You guys who don't understand need to get out of the sandbox for a while and recalibrate your lives.

      Delete
    2. So it is okay to claim that ISD vetted the page you wrote claiming your alt is a trusted third party, because you are not claiming to be an ISD member? Is that what you are saying?

      Delete
    3. Yeah, and CCP just made an example of him, clarifying that they don't care how clever you think your legalspeak is.

      Delete
    4. "I disagree. At no point did he explicitly claim to be vouched for by ISD or CCP. Imply it, certainly, through clever legalspeak"

      This is in violation of both the Evelopedia TOS and the EVE TOS. Ban.

      Delete
  27. My problem isn't so much with impersonation CCP/GMs/ISD being bannable, that obviously should get you banned. The problem I have is that CCP feel that claiming to be an alt of another player with the intent to steal/scam/kill people is a ban worthy offense.

    Given you arent impersonating CCP etc, it should be fine id think, after all players themselves are, or should be, fair game. But If I recall correctly someone got banned for claiming to be an alt in order to enter corporations and awox freighters. Thats one of the big issues of the TOS changes, its effectively protecting players from eachother, and not just preventing them from immitating CCP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, but they're trying to clean the game up aren't they? They've pretty much plateaued with the stab-you-in-the-back crowd. They're probably now looking at the larger potential player base.

      The ones who want to build something (in a virtual galaxy) and who DON'T believe dishonest scumbags are a necessary part of enjoying a complex, time and energy consuming space game.

      The "EvE is cool because so many players are eager to lie to you and take advantage of your inexperience to ruin your enjoyment" meme may not be playing so well for CCP nowadays. They're looking to grow.

      Delete
    2. But you lose your core. The people who don't want to backstab you are all in highsec, creating zero content for anyone apart from highsec gankers (who, again, want to stab you in the back).

      The people creating content do so because they want to ruin someone's day. Take away all of those, and you've just got highsec across the universe, because no one's dishonest enough to start a war to destroy an alliance they were once allied with.

      Delete
    3. What a narrow and tragic view of this game. Creating Content means destroying someone else's? Maybe it should Sacrificing Content?!

      - Miners, generate the minerals which are used "Create" items through manufacture.
      - Missioners, consume munitions, drones and the sometimes a ship which they purchase from another player. Both salvage and tech1 multi meta modules can be placed into circulation for another player to utilize. (maybe you prefer there only be tech1 meta 0).
      - Traders, actually make the market just that bit more challenging.

      Let me point you to Frog Freight. A success business in this game and contra to your view does so in ships without any weapons!

      And finally, allow me to point to the Big Blue Donut which would have continued outside of high-sec if CCP did not shake up the moon mining. A change to industry has generated more content that any gun boat change in the history of the game.

      According to CCP: Harvest -> manufacture -> destroy

      Are you sure are you talking about the correct game?

      Delete
  28. I overall agree with your overall assessment, but I think your argument is sorely incomplete. You claim that it's ok for scams to occur using player created 'trust' rather than 'CCP' created trust. Why is CCP responsible for creating trust between players? This should have stood out like a red flag. A CCP 'endorsed' wiki should cover game mechanics, not player reputations.

    This guy flagrantly crossed lines. However, CCP needs to brighten up and either get themselves a fully moderated wiki or expect people to abuse it. A permaban was appropriate only if they also replaced whatever idiot was managing the wiki.

    ~Alskari

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Might as well say people need to brighten up and expect CCP to permaban players who abuse the official wiki. Just as valid. Also, now people know not to, don't they? AND they have a wiki that can be trusted. Job well done, CCP.

      Delete
    2. "Why is CCP responsible for creating trust between players?"

      They have my credit card number for one...

      Delete
  29. Please do not subvert the Eve University wiki.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Many games and sports function because they relax the rules of what is 'ethical', which they can do because they also provide safeguards. In EVE, players can shoot at each other with impunity and scam each other, because it is intended gameplay and it's only pixels. In boxing, I can hit somebody repeatedly into the head without being charged with assault, because that is the point of the sport and there are protective gear and rules.

    But just because the ethic rules are relaxed, doesn't mean they are completely gone. Lines have to be drawn, and by nature they will be arbitrary, and possibly even fuzzy. Any action outside of the game client is in danger of crossing the lines - push them at your own risk.

    Just like if I step out of the boxing ring, it doesn't matter if I still wear gloves and don't hit under the belt: punching somebody into the head is assault again.

    ReplyDelete
  31. This article is about favoritism by CCP. The only thing the scammer did wrong was to involve the name of a player (Chribba) that CCP likes... in a very public way. Note to scammers: CCP plays favorites and they get mad when you are mean to their friends (or do something that might damage their friends' reputation). Thousands of people get scammed everyday, occasionally for more ISK than described in this article. This has been going on for 10 years!! CCP doesnt care as long as scammers dont mess with their friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RUMadd? You sound mad. What's wrong? Sounding remarkably like a care bear here, buddy. HTFU.

      Besides, it's not messing with their friends. It's messing with THEM, you blind ignoramus.

      Delete
    2. ISD =/= Chribba. You tried.

      Delete
  32. I agree with the conclusion you have come to, but the words you use were a hang-up while trying to get through the article. Once I realized that the unethical and unacceptable were not being used interchangeably, it was easier to understand your opinion.

    My opinion is that the TOS and other documentation should reflect unethical behavior in the client is acceptable, and probably acceptable on 3rd party sites, but not on the OFFICIAL CCP WIKI, FORUMS and other media. The biggest issue was subverting the OFFICIAL out-of-game documentation (since we have so very little, the WIKI and FORUMS are about as OFFICIAL as we can get). Those require a higher level of ethics/truth/facts than is required for, say, Uni-wiki (although they should police their own pages), or even Dotlan or Chribba's site collection.

    My biggest issue with the TOS change is that in-game behavior is being restricted unnecessarily. It restricts RP (not that I'm a big RP fan), especially in regards to FW, and probably other realms. And it restricts in-game scamming unnecessarily, in that there is no reason to break scams or anything else using IN-GAME mechanics only.

    If they want to say putting verifiably false information on the WIKI and FORUMS is disallowed, and impersonating CCP/GM/ISD in-game and on WIKI/FORUMS is disallowed, that's fine. Impersonating non-player entities (i.e., Caldari Militia, whether you are a member or not) in-game or on 3rd party sites should be unrestricted (at least, there is no reason I can think of to ban them; scamming someone in the name of CONCORD exposes the scamee's stupidity, nothing more), but I'm OK with it being restricted to RP-only, or banned on OFFICIAL media.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, "unethical" and "unacceptable" ARE different words. It's not such a big surprise that they mean different things then, is it?

      Delete
    2. This argument doesn't appear to be made in good faith. I have seen nothing to suggest that common scamming and ingame misrepresentation have been affected at all. Just don't pretend ISD/GM/CCP has your back. The end.

      Delete
  33. Do you have any knowledge on what they actually ban? I mean if they just block the email address and credit card number or whatever that's easy to get around, or use your mrs or parents/siblings details and just set up a standing order for the sub to their account every month?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Jester,

    Do forgive me but did you just try to make a distinction between acceptable unethical behavior and unacceptable unethical behavior? Distinctions are usually meant to illuminate, not further muddle. In this particular case your distinction undercuts the term “ethical.” In the standard meaning of the term, it’s not acceptable to act unethically. Accordingly, pointing out acceptable varieties of unethical behavior seems to do little work beyond claiming the moral high ground. Kudos on your E-Bushido.

    It might prove helpful to remove “ethical behavior” from the conversation and ask the question I suspect you are trying to get at directly. Did Chris Baily cheat? If the answer is yes, ban him. If the answer is no, don’t.

    I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised by your befuddled examination of “acceptable unethical behavior/unacceptable unethical behavior” since it of falls out of Eve’s TOS which appears to by trying to accomplish at least two tasks at the same time:

    Task 1) Don’t Cheat
    “You will not attempt to decipher, hack into or interfere with any transmissions to or from the EVE Online servers, nor will you try to create or use any third party add-ons, extras or tools for the game.

    Task 2) Be Civil
    “You may not use any abusive, defamatory, ethnically or racially offensive, harassing, harmful, hateful, obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, threatening or vulgar language. (Alternate spelling or partial masking of such words will be reprimanded in the same manner as the actual use of such words.)”

    I read the latest TOS change, “You may not impersonate or present yourself to be a representative of CCP or an EVE Online volunteer. You may not impersonate or falsely present yourself to be a representative of another player, group of players, character or NPC entity” as a Don’t Cheat imperative. You appear to read out a vigorous dose of Be Civil.

    DireNecessity

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    Replies
    1. I felt it was clear that the terms "acceptable" and "unacceptable" in this context were specifically referring to the TOS while "ethical" and "unethical" were referring to Jester's personal opinion.

      Delete
    2. Seems simple enough to me. CCP allows unethical behavior in the Eve sandbox. That unethical behavior is acceptable.

      Eve finds unethical behavior OUTSIDE of the sandbox to be acceptable.

      I though that was supposed to be the great selling point of Eve anyway—that unethical behavior is acceptable inside of it unlike other games.

      Delete
    3. Jester’s post wriggles back and forth between hedging “In My Opinions” and making flat out Ethical Claims: to wit, “I do indeed denounce his methods and it's for the reason above: it is ethically wrong to use a site intended for sharing of valid in-game information to display false information intended to mislead players. That alone is ethically wrong. Doing this simply to enrich yourself is even more wrong.”

      “Ethical” is, of course, a moral term and I often find it puzzling when people unreflectively draw moral language into a discussion about games which is almost entirely a rules based pastime. Let me sidle into anology:

      DireNecessity Plays Unethical Chess
      Following a carefully played strategic opening with no chess pieces taken, Dire’s opponent glides into the midgame by withdrawing his White Bishop from the battle, leaving it both out of useful position and unprotected from attack by Dire’s Black Knight. Seizing the opportunity, DireNecessity takes the Bishop. In response Dire’s opponent leaps from his chair, points accusingly at her and screams, “You God hating psychopath! Not only was my Bishop no threat to you, he was a devout man of the cloth. What will the flock do now?” Baffled, DireNecessity replies, “We are playing chess. My move is legal according to the rules of the game we are playing. My status as a God hating psychopath, though interesting, has no bearing on the game we currently play.”

      Jester, of course, is neither as unreflective or nor as clueless as our screaming chess player. Nonetheless, drawing moral language into a discussion about whether CCP made the correct decision vis-à-vis Chris Baily is about as helpful as our misguided chess player’s pointed accusations. As chess developed over the centuries, I don’t suspect many practitioners asked whether Castling was an immoral rule. Scamming in Eve Online deserves similar treatment. Chris Baily’s moral status is inconsequential. The question to be answered by CCP is whether what he did is and or should be against the rules. Ultimately, CCP will decide that question as they see fit. I suppose CCP could make that decision based on moral principle but I suspect they’ll make their decision based on the kind of game they wish to market and the player base they hope to extract monthly income from.

      Jester’s examination of Ethical Eve provides interesting blog post content, gives him the chance to get clearer about his own thoughts on the matter and provides space to call Chris Baily a total asshat. Still, “acceptable, unethical behavior” tortures the English language something awful and isn’t terribly germane to the question at hand.

      DireNecessity

      Delete
    4. Your example doesn't apply. Taking a bishop with a knight is entirely "within the sandbox" of chess.

      Delete
    5. i don't care if it doesn't apply, my brain is still whirling with the imaginative prose. well done, sir! lol Might even be so wacky as to avoid the rubric of 'illogical fallacy'

      Delete
  35. Now if only the EVE wiki were actually useful...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha. I spent quite a few weeks in Evelopedia as I was gearing up to buy the game. It gave me an idea of what I was getting into.

      Delete
  36. Ban the sucker. Will this have a chilling effect? It is to be hoped!

    Let me second what Alain Colcer said up there. Go read the EVElopedia policies page. You will note, among other things:

    Edits or new pages that are created that do not conform to a specific policy... may also lead to the page being deleted or, for the worst offenses, it may lead to the poster being banned or blocked.

    (my emph.) So banning is on the table for the "worst offenses". Which, I think it is pretty plain, suborning the trust of the Evelopedia for massive in-game gain is.

    And:

    Impersonating another EVElopedia user, moderator, volunteer, administrator or CCP employee is strictly prohibited.
    You are expressly forbidden from impersonating anyone else, including those named above, on the EVElopedia, forum or in the game, even in jest. This may be grounds for permanent loss of your EVElopedia editing privileges and possibly your EVE Online account as well.


    (my emph.) This section makes plain (as the first bit implies but does not say explicitly) that account banning is a possible consequence for wrong action.

    The scammer appears to be quite the rules-lawyer. So he should have been able to figure it out. Just defacing the first page was probably enough to be banned, but he probably could have slid out of that. The second page goes way over the line, including not just subverting the wiki generally but specifically breaking the impersonation clause.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Jester, I find your emphasis on the money the scammer made to be very offputting.

    The scammer was not doing it for money, at least not as such. He was doing it because scamming is fun for some people; because it makes them feel superior to their dupes specifically and to everyone else generally (who are not getting multi billion scams done). The scammer pretty much says as much. He wanted to go down in EVE history, and that requires big ISK losses by somebody. But it is not about the ISK per se, nor greed; the ISK are simply the measure by which we determine the size of the scam. Rather, the motive is the desire for fame.

    Note that there is nothing wrong with either greed or the desire for fame. What is wrong is taking ethical shortcuts; or in the case of those without ethics as the scammer appears to be, breaking the rules to achieve your ends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. eh?
      oh right, so everything is supposed to be fair and square, eh?
      honorable olo duels and all that, eh what?

      *urge to kill small furry animal rising*

      Delete
  38. If he unlawfulled edited an offical webpage from CCP that would be considered HACKING in a lot of country's around the world.
    A ban is justified even in courts... .
    He even gets off lightly since CCP could sue for damages!
    Though i realy don't see even why they hadd to change the TOS bacause of that guy.
    It would have been possible to ban him under the old TOS.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Sociopaths always love to be rules lawyers when screwing over others. Instead of asking the easier, better question: Is this right? Obviously because they aren't concerned with that in the first place. I have no pity nor mercy for someone who gets punished for doing something wrong just because the rule wasn't there yet. If you chose to do good instead of bad in the first place it would have never been a problem.

    In all fairness, however, CCP asks for this. They created a game with minimal 'wrong' actions and nursed and celebrated both mega-scams and the meta-game. This time, they were a partial victim in the scam(their trustworthiness in official channels) and it wasn't the first. They haven't like it any time it has happened to them, but they still haven't learned---You can't have the Devil on your doorstep, open your door, and expect the Devil to stay outside your house just cause you said so.

    ReplyDelete
  40. The real question is not over the ban of a single player. It's over the changes to the TOS that affect *everyone*. Had the same scam first been perpetrated on the E-Uni wiki (which is a wholly player-run entity), would CCP have reacted in the same way? The changes to the TOS now cover that case as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The consequences SHOULD affect everyone. It is CCP's way of telling the player base "you abused our trust, now HTFU and live with the result". If you want to mad at someone, rage at the scammers that brought this on.

      Delete
  41. Jester, stop saying "in my opinion". We're old enough to read a sentence and comprehend it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. I've edited the piece a bit to tone it down. It's just that my EVE mail turns into a river of flame sometimes if I push a position too hard and I didn't want to do that here...

      Delete
  42. I think CCP made the right move banning him, but they've over reacted a bit in the TOS which are confusing enough as it is. CCP has to protect the wiki and the ISD or their value goes away. Faking the lock icon is beyond the pale. You should NOT need to check that a lock icon is real on the official wiki. Faking a message by the ISD is like wise a step beyond what any sane person should expect to get away with. The irony is that the scammer didn't really need to go to all this effort people in Eve are easy enough to scam as it is....

    ReplyDelete
  43. If the community vastly outnumbers CCP employees and is therefore, taken as a whole, better at thinking of loopholes, then it may also be better at thinking of good fixes. Perhaps CCP could swallow their pride and ask the community how to deal with the problem in a way that minimizes damage and doesn't delete playstyles? This need not be a lazy option, they can draft their own solutions and ask their players for input. This would simply be admitting the reality that tens of thousands of heads are better than a dozen, and might go some way to avoiding future embarrassments like these ToS changes.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Wikis have a history tab for a reason. If people are dumb enough to trust their multi-billion isk assets to a website anyone can edit they deserve to get scammed.

    But what bothers me the most isn't that he got banned for it. It's that CCP did a "Blizzard Nerf" and went completely overboard with the changes. Hell, GM Karidor even stated that you aren't allowed to "impersonate" yourself.
    This was later refuted by GM Grimmi, but she tries to make it sound like it was us players misunderstanding when it is in fact the GMs themselves that seem to have no clue about the very rules they are employed to uphold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This. This is the main point, and is one that you're not really addressing in this post, Jester. The problem is not one scammer; the problem is the incompetence of CCP GMs.

      Delete
  45. The guy set out to push the limits and find out exactly where the line was between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. I think he clearly succeeded; the only problem is that he is rather naive in not anticipating the risk of a ban. (What did he think existed beyond the acceptable limits?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh, i'm pretty sure the 'official story' he put out was pretty heavily spindoctored. Just like the Guiding Hand Social Club's infamous account of how they were "hired" to scam Ubiqua Seraph.

      I name it what others in the past have named such putrid self serving tripe: Chutzpah. They fully knew they were solely in for the cash with no cute loophole; There were no mysterious patrons nor mysterious wonderings about bans.
      In both cases there was no buffer between the act and the intent.

      In reality, it's called Actus Reas and Mens Rea. Your average scum sucking pig thinks by a few deft dulcet tones he can fool his audience into believing he couldn't possibly have a guilty mind because it was SOMEONE ELSE'S guilty mind that seduced/manipulated/hired him into acting for.

      so yeah. pffft.

      Delete
    2. .........and just how many accounts are funded purely by PLEX?

      Delete
  46. I find it intriguing that Jester avoided mentioning the word "metagaming"...He's been an advocate of such in the past; Is he in conflict of interest here by avoiding acknowledging that this heinous act is merely a very artful metagame?
    Now, i'm not saying i feel this behavior is 'acceptable' since i feel any 'metagaming' of any sort is heinous (that includes spying and theft)
    Thankfully, i'm not in charge of anything. lol. Besides, making a law you cannot enforce is the first mistake in leadership.

    Let's look at it my way: If i consider even spying to be a heinous bannable offense, and theft right along with it, this sort of naive (and probably gullible) rose colored view of the eve world casts a rather jaundiced eye on CCP's idiotic and completely hypocritical stance when it comes to leaving enormous $%%&^ loopholes where spies and thieves can run amok.

    Personally, CCP should be ashamed of themselves for acting high and mighty just because some incredibly devious little shit imagined a scam CCP's gerbil brains couldn't possibly foresee (obviously)
    If i have any advice for CCP it would be to seek the services of little shits like this scammer just like real corporations hire real hackers to think up ways to secure their systems.
    Of course, if i would even be listened to - HAHA pffft - the corollary to that is said scammers turned security advisors would most likely point out CCP encourages unethical (and daresay "unacceptable") behavior by their very game mechanics -- almost like a case of "do what i say (tos) not what i do (mechanics)"

    ReplyDelete

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