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...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yuppie Nuremberg defense

Before I start wading headlong into the swamp -- and trust me, over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to bury you guys in "EVE player behaves badly" stories -- let's talk about a positive. But even the positive stories on this topic have to start with an EVE player behaving badly... in this case, several of them. The positive aspect here has to do with CCP's reaction. I'm going to be talking about CCP's reactions to this stuff quite a lot where I think it bears.

The absolutely brilliant comedy Thank You for Smoking -- and if you haven't yet seen this film, fix that -- has a funny phrase to talk about this: the "Yuppie Nuremberg defense." This is, to wit: "I know what I did was wrong, but I did it to pay the mortgage." As players of this game behave more and more badly, CCP's GMs and Community Team are going to have to make difficult moral choices that would give an ethics student pause. And no matter how they choose, they're likely to make someone mad. When an EVE player behaves badly, does their lack of a response to one of these situations drive off a customer? Or does their interference with the situation "interfere with the sandbox"?

These aren't easy choices and I don't envy the Community team the need to make them. Let's talk about one where they made a tough -- but, I think, the right -- choice.

Most of us know about Jita scams, but they continue because they work: no matter how old any given scam is, a player out there falls for it. Yesterday in Jita, a self-described new player fell for one of the standard market manipulation scams based on the Margin Trading skill. These scams are almost as old as dirt but again, they continue because they work. In this case, the new player fell for it to the tune of a billion ISK. Again, this happened yesterday.

Go ahead and laugh. Get it out of your system.(1)

The victim bemoaned his fate in Jita local and started warning others about the scammer. Predictably -- smelling blood in the water -- several of those present started trolling the victim into the ground. So the chat log I linked above is mixed with dozens of other scammers plying their trade punctuated by this guy being laughed at by a half-dozen actual people. "I'm a new player, asshole," he says to one of them. Seconds later, he receives "Welcome to eve, asshole" as a response. He himself is accused of being a scammer and making up the story, trying to play on the sympathy of the locals. Bounties get placed on him ("it's a reward for being a twat", he's told). It goes on in this vein for quite a while: "look at captain white knight here", "he thinks jita scams are real scams", plus general laughter at the victim.

Finally, the victim says "i am going to go blow my brains out in my garage. bye everyone". He's told "dont miss"(!) (sic). He disconnects.

I take a moment here to briefly remind you: this is the community that you are part of.

The victim tells the story of what happened next on Reddit:
Hey guys, so I am writing to you right now because the police literally just woke me up (4:30 am here) asking if I play an online game called EVE and that CCP games actually contacted INTERPOL (I live in Canada- that's x-country police work right there) who then contacted the RCMP who just dispatched two officers to my house because I said I "was going to blow my fucking brains out" in Local Chat at Jita because of a loss earlier. I imagine the follow up text (body disposal, cleanup) that another player and I were openly joking about made itself to the report however the officers were kind enough to only mention the fact I had said I want to end my own life in an online video game. The officers then asked me if I have a history of self-harm, and if I had any firearms in the house (no, to both) Lesson learned here? Watch what you fucking say in an online game! Even when you say something to somebody specifically, someone may take it out of context and get fucking INTERPOL involved. What kind of international suicide watch list did I unintentionally end up on?
That's the CCP Community team making a hard, necessary, and correct choice. CCP VesnaPrishla states:
This falls under general policies of most MMOs and if it even helps prevent suicide of one person out of 100, its worth it. We are sorry if you had a bad experience regarding this and we hope you will understand the reasoning behind it.
Far from being angry, the guy replies:
If anything, I should thank you guys... If it had actually been a real case... You would have saved my life.
CCP Falcon adds:
We take all cases of this nature extremely seriously, and contact the appropriate authorities whenever a case like this arises.

We would far rather wake someone at 4:30am and make sure that they are okay, than hear that someone had harmed themselves and we hadn't responded to either a cry for help, or a notification from a concerned member of the community that someone had expressed an interest in harming themselves.
And this is the correct choice. Moreover, it is the right one. The Yuppie Nuremberg defense is no defense at all when it comes to this kind of situation.

Now, thank Heaven this was not a real suicide threat and this player is OK. He was joking, CCP took it seriously, and that was the right choice. Another Redditor, a non CCP employee in a similar job, put it this way: "I'll gladly take 20 pissed of players that rage at me afterwards if it means I can save 1 dude's life." Yes. I'm glad the Community team is willing to be proactive in this situation even if some of those on Reddit bring up the specter of Big Brother. It's the right thing to do. So thank you to the CCP Community team for doing it!

But let's also not forget how this started. More to come.

(1) But you are a bad person.


  1. Great post. The problem is, CCP is admitting that they somehow have a responsibility to police these types of things. Let's say someone DOES commit suicide. A lawyer would then argue that CCP has some sort of liability for not policing what goes on in the game. The argument is somewhat far fetched of course but keep in mind in the US you can sue anyone for anything and the most likely result in a case of wrongful death is an out of court settlement for a substantial amount of money.

    As I said yesterday, CCP has got to clean this game up in an attempt to keep players. This potential liability is just another example of why Eve can't stay in its current state.

    1. CCP has a legal counsel, and everything they did was within their rights as the game operators as specified in the Terms of Service and EULA. Said legal documents also protect CCP from trivial suits such as the one you describe. CCP is not liable for any player's mental well being or policing their activities outside of the game.

    2. Maybe in USA, but US laws don't apply there. As Icelandic company with their servers outside USA whoever made that claim would be out of luck. Now, what does apply there is the responsibility to check suspected medical/psychiatric/suicide/criminal victim's status and contacting appropriate authority. That applies to CCP (as I think Icelandic law follows other Nordic countries in this respect). I'll give an example:

      Man is on the ground, appearing unconscious. He looks like drunkard and probably is drunkard. Even so, everyone who sees him has responsibility by law to check if he is alright and contact authorities to get him safety - whether it is hospítal, home or other place is determined by them. If you are part of medical personnel or law enforcement, the demand is more strict and punishment for failing the duty is harsher.
      But scams inside a game? CCP is free from all responsibility.

    3. CCP does not have a responsibility to monitor and act on anything said in any channel. However, they have a duty to act on any information provided to them in the form of a petition. They confirmed that this matter was brought to their attention by another player who witnessed the exchange in Jita local and thought that it warranted official attention. Their actions afterward were both proper and commendable.

      Personally, I think that the reporting player(s) should get rewarded for confirmed and acted upon reports of such behaviour. Altruism has it's limits, but greed does not.

    4. At some point, CCP is going to have to step in and provide moral and ethical guidelines and even start taking disciplinary action when harassment crosses the line from "smack talk" to bullying and harassment.

      A sandbox is fine until people switch from stomping on each other's sandcastles to stomping on each other.

      CCP will at some point have to play the part of mother or father and step in to give the errant child a smack.

      This was covered a long time ago in a Blog Banter round titled "lines in the sand". My stance was quite clear: when what you do to other players in game counts as a crime in the real world (and yes, defamation, harassment, bullying and threats of physical violence all count as crimes in the real world), you have crossed the line into unacceptable behaviour.

      Stealing someone's virtual goods is part of the game. Hoisting them on a petard for the world to mock is not part of the game.

      Play the game, not the player.

    5. https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=1034909#post1034909

      CCP has already made it very clear where their lines are. You break the TOS of EVE any time you take an action or make a statement that threatens real life harm to anyone, including yourself.

      Anyway, on to my point:
      I don't think I've ever seen an ALOD where an experienced Titan pilot loses a Titan in a ridiculous way produce this kind of hand-wringing response. They've suffered an embarrassing loss, they've had that loss made public, and they've been roundly mocked. I think the key that makes everybody more comfortable with that scenario is that they're usually better sports about it.

      Hazing is always easier when the victim seems not to mind, isn't it.

    6. "My stance was quite clear: when what you do to other players in game counts as a crime in the real world (and yes, defamation, harassment, bullying and threats of physical violence all count as crimes in the real world), you have crossed the line into unacceptable behaviour."

      I don't see how you can justify this opinion. Blowing up people's vehicles is illegal in the real world, as is killing people. I can't think of many games that don't feature acts that would be illegal in real life. Don't you really mean that SOME actions that count as real world crimes are unacceptable?

    7. thanks, mara, for reminding me of that banter's name.

      "CCP has already made it very clear where their lines are. You break the TOS of EVE any time you take an action or make a statement that threatens real life harm to anyone, including yourself." ~Ruby Porto
      Ahhhhh...which subsection is that again? If that's actually in there it's cool to see where the line is and how ccp's policy is worded to fulfill their duty to the legal world.

      I doubt a titan pilot would be a better sport if cynos were allowed in jita local. I'm sure the massive hazing would test the resolve of the stoutest of hearts and the strongest of "do not post in local" dictums.

    8. "which subsection is that again?"
      EULA >> Conduct A5
      TOS >> 2.

      So it's not hazing because it occurs in a public forum with a larger audience than Jita local? Walk me through how that works...

    9. you either forgot your own point in the rush to repartee, or i didn't make myself clear. I'll go with the latter, giving you the benefit of the doubt (until you prove otherwise)

      you said: "I don't think I've ever seen an ALOD where an experienced Titan pilot loses a Titan in a ridiculous way produce this kind of hand-wringing response."
      I replied with: "I doubt a titan pilot would be a better sport if cynos were allowed in jita local."
      I have no idea if english is your primary language but whatever you said in response clearly needs to be said again by you in a different way.

      I agree with your extrapolation of the ToS to suicidal or homicidal expressions; I don't agree with your example used to imply null sec people are immune to being whiny little babies that literally cry when they lose a ship.
      I pointed out that if (a) titans could jump to jita (b) said ALOD happened in jita (c) said pilot actually engaged in local chatter, then they would be cracking under the hazing pressure just as much as the high sec carebears you mock.

      Actually, most high sec carebears don't whine, don't tear up. They tend to be mature adults who probably helped get Star Citizen to 40 million dollars ...you know, cuz they silently let their wallets do the walking and talking.

      It's the loud vocal whiny little shits who demand zero risk to themselves that make the news (and that includes both carebears AND griefers)

  2. I think you meant Margin Trading... There is no scam based on how far away you are able to change your orders. :)

  3. I would ask you what your thoughts are then, on real life threats? They're made far more frequently, with as little or more intent behind them.

    1. I wonder what kind of security CCP offers during their player meets? Public opinion sways towards the excitement in Eve when players lose billions of isk playing the game they way it was intended, e.g., recent null-titan conflict. CCP may find that things don't go their way when one player puts a knife or a bullet into another over a particularly mean scam or abuse. Good luck with that PR nightmare, CCP. Oh, and good luck paying your bills following the backlash.

    2. EVE secret service personnel are assigned to every major alliance CEO...riiiight. I think perhaps you're forgetting that a mmog is a brilliant place for anonymous players to wreak havoc, even to the point of being able to biomass characters once their bad reputation outweighs their utility.

      I hope Jester addresses that point about anonymity (and how CCP really sees our IPs but probably less statistics than we'd hope)

  4. You are really going to argue morality with eve players?
    Good luck with that.

    1. No, he's going to talk about morality. It's a blog. He's not arguing with anyone.. and really, your comment sort of makes his point.

  5. *scratches head* I really don't get the need for the margin trading skill in this game...I never have. I think it's just completely bonkers.
    on the other hand, 1 billion isk is just under 2 plex. that's $30 bucks. really? Epic Rage Quit is obvious.

    Let's do the math here: CCP are morons for having the skill in the first place; CCP are morons for being bleeding hearts about Jita chat over someone playing a game instead of actually working IRL for 3 measly hours at the most for that kind of cash.

    The legal question is a more interesting one, i think, philosophically.
    Actually, the more interesting question is how seriously is INTERPOL going to treat the little geeks over at CCP who cry wolf too many times?
    I'm naturally paranoid so my little gray cells are telling me it's all a set up to quell dissent when they remove margin trading (and obviously get alot of people pissed off cuz they initiated margin trades in anticipation of CCP removing the skill)

    1. CCP's reactions and how they are going to be forced to react will be a major part of this series, yeah. Watch for a post today or tomorrow that brings this up as a major issue.

    2. When I was aggressively pursuing a policy of "put out [region] buy orders, [aggregate,] sell," I found margin trading to be invaluable, because it meant I could have 80% of my net worth tied up in inventory and actually run with some fairly thin liquidity. I eventually got tired of it because of the aggregate step, but I can definitely see what it provides there.
      Similarly, on one of my characters, I sometimes put up a couple PLEX as a buy order, and I really don't want to have to tie up the money to buy the PLEX all the time, in case I need that money for something else and I haven't updated the buy. (This did bite me in the ass once, when that character had less of a bank account, because I had a buy for 3plex and only had cash for 2 and someone tried to sell me the third one.) So, there are uses for the margin trading skill even when you do intend all your buy orders to fill. Unfortunately, it also facilitates that scam. My only saving grace was that I didn't have enough money to be able to be taken in by scams until after I was already an old and informed player.

    3. Not everyone has the ability to work just over 4 hours (minimum wage is $7.25) to spend money on a video game. I started the game because it was "free" to play. I was out of work and waiting on the Veteran's Administration to approve my disability claim. Not every player shares your financial circumstances, or even your motivation for playing the game.

    4. INTERPOL policy is to act on any and all of reports of suicidal behaviour as serious, factual, and correct. Their response is to contact local authorities and refer the matter to them.

      I believe that they share in the general sentiment that 20 (or even 2000) pissed off people are well worth one saved life.

    5. Well 30$ is much in some countries.If that is nothing for you you asap think it is same for all players.
      He can also be new player that just invested his two buyed plex in market trading ,so you want to tell me adding 30$ is also nothing.That would be 60$ by simple math for video game.

  6. The ones that could cause someone to kill themselves are usually the first one suggesting it is such a terrible thing, and tut tut the whole situation.

    I think it is time CCP grew some balls and actually went hard after anyone who inflames these situations online. Clearly, CCP read the logs that were involved in this. They also were able to attach real-life names to the chars.

    How about CCP bans the perma-bans the accounts of the trolls you mentioned, plus grabs all the ISK, plus bans any other accounts using the same IP address, plus anything else they can do to the trolls. Then make it VERY public what they did and why. And state that ANYTHING close to this kind of behaviour in local or anything that CCP can log will be dealt with the same way. Oh, and how about CCP also states it is now starting to monitor other 3rd party forums for people proudly crowing about how they trolled someone out of the game.

    That would send a real clear message about how people have to treat each other civilly. Of course, CCP has to actually recognize that the game conditions they have created attract the type of people capable of such evil, and do something about it. That, I fear, CCP will not do.

    1. The US has cyber-bullying laws which criminalize behavior such as this. It would seem appropriate for CCP to take some type of action here.

    2. Agreed. I almost regret the need to add a ban for anyone threatening suicide, even as a joke. If we concede CCP has some potential liability in the case of self-harm connected to the game, they have some sort of interest in ensuring it doesn't happen to current players in good standing.

      That would be a prudent thing to do. I just hope CCP doesn't also shy away from doing *right*, per the OP.

    3. Came expecting a rant about how this is goons fault, and well, I am disappointed.

    4. it's Jita local chat. honestly, if this world were fair, ANYONE posting in a major trade hub should be permabanned. It's just 'rude' in the actual dictionary denotation, ipso facto.

      really. it's not like a major trading hub is going to be 'polite' company, nor anything anyone says is ever going to be seen by everyone there as 'inoffensive' and there's very compelling reasons for why doing so stirs just a teensy bit of 'embarrassment' in the poster's heart.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. and i'm with Hehulk on this demand for MOAR TINFOIL FROM DINSDALE

  7. International Journal of Internet Research Ethics

    that's a real actual journal. i'm not shitting you. TROLOLOLOLOL

    1. the articles were all about ethics of the researchers not the actual discussion of ingame ethics or lack thereof....which is even funnier

  8. What is ccp's rules for eve? perhaps you should start there and then post this drival. What ccp did was rightous, however consider the moron who made the self harm comment? Now consider the navy raven story last week that dude threatend people in RL? How did ccp respond to that. Your post is meaningless without looking at the whole. Treat eve as a place to have fun and is a game. Take it out of that context and you have no business playing it. For instance had that moron been serious about harming himself, how could he possibly think eve is a game for him? That would be like sending a sucidal screaming liberal to a rightwing gun range and leaving them alone for 10 min. Who's to blame? the person who knowingly went there? or the people who were there that took an assesment and said "good ridence"? People recovering from mental issues know full well the risks they take when they walk into a dangrous place, is it the fault of the bartender who serves them the drink? Is it the fault of the waitress who took the order? is it the fault of the owner for being open? is it the fault of the support group that he belonged too? is it the fault of the local government for having the establisment open? People have to accpet responsibilities for themselves at some point, don't they? Since when do the people who are chilling have to be responsible for others? What makes this post one of your worst is that you begin with behaving badly players, well let me enlighten you. Had that person a real problem he and he alone would have been responsible. He knowingly joined a game, he knowingly or willfully ignored the sandbox theme and ccps rules for eve. You can not come near eve without hearing about scams tbh.

  9. "Ethics is commonly defined as the philosophical study of morality. Morality in turn refers to the ideal code of conduct, or the doctrines or systems concerned with moral conduct." ~http://www.it.uu.se/grad/courses/etik07/Gustav.pdf

    So are "Carebears" following 'right' action? Are they all concerned with the utilitarian "happiness" of all involved?
    Bullshit! Carebears merely don't like to lose, ever, to a player directly so they'll fudge it by interfering with another's market share, industry/lab slots, asteroid fields, office rents, exploration sites, moon locations, planetary interaction, etc etc.

    How the HELL can anyone follow a code of conduct in game? I mean, if you've ever read the damned EULA/ToS (the latter is just an abridged version) you'll discover it hardly deals with the specific violations - probably in the incredibly naive view that by not listing the violations griefers won't find out.

    I mean, just take that as an example of CCP's bumbling foolishness: The devs actually think that it's difficult to figure out how to scam and grief in eve, by the very fact they don't list the violations in the EULA/ToS even after a decade of the same damned things being used consistently since launch to injure the happiness of unwitting fools.
    It's not hard at all...in fact, it's probably easier to figure out ways to grief than it is to be alert for all the myriad ways decades old veteran grief players have been abusing others in the sandbox.

    That's the problem with EVE, Jester. It's not that there's anything inherently 'wrong' with things people do to others (besides the obvious metagaming violations of someone's human rights, and hatemongering) it's just that CCP have not only never bothered to admit to themselves their code contains mechanics that make it childishly simple for anyone and their dog to grief play unsuspecting neophytes, but they also think that burying their heads in the sand by claiming they knew nothing.

    That is the more interesting question: Why are they willfully ignorant? Is it because griefers are notoriously the squeaky wheel and CCP has coddled to it's breast that which will bite the hand that feeds?

    1. From my understanding, it's not ignorance on CCP's part that allows scamming and griefing, but that it is actual intended gameplay mechanics. From my reading of the post I don't think the issue presented here is simple scamming or griefing, either. Rather, the question presented, is at what point does this 'style' of gameplay cross a line (if there is a line that has been crossed). It's an interesting ethical question and not one I think you'll find being bandied about on fansites of other games all that often.

    2. Given that nobody can settle on a consensus definition of "carebear," your first question is meaningless. Taking the most general definition, I don't think there's any reason to assume that a person is good or ethical or moral because they don't engage in ship PVP, not even if they do make that assumption, but especially if they do. If this discussion devolves into "PVPerz R BAD" or "PVEers R BAD" then it will get nowhere and solve nothing.

      The root problem with laying down laws and policies is that the tactics being used are psychological, and the more bright lines you draw, the easier it is for some people to lure other people across those lines without stepping on them themselves.

      The most classic example is pretty well illustrated by Mr. 44B ISK Raven. Anyone with any experience with real-world bullying knows that the goal is to trap the victim in a sense of powerlessness, which causes them to lash out frantically. That lashing is far more likely to cross any explicitly drawn rules of proper behavior than the carefully modulated and plausibly deniable bullying behavior, so the bully gets the double treat of power-tripping at someone else's expense, and then turning them in to the authorities for saying something like "I'm gonna kill you!" while knowing full well that it's a toothless threat.

      Leaving aside the question of whether something like bullying can happen in the context of the game itself (one ship blowing another ship up, for instance, or market PVP), the pattern of behavior carries over quite cleanly: One person gets one over on another player (which is always going to happen in a PVP game--that being the whole point), the other person feels helpless (as will also happen in a PVP game, especially if there's a tremendous gap in character or player skill). The helpless-feeling player then lashes out, and the in-game victor gets the additional meta-game victory of petitioning the loser for being abusive and getting them warned or banned.

      The thing is that this is a much bigger problem than EVE. I think that a lot of the problem could be alleviated if the game made clear that the odds of your being left to mind your own business in EVE were approximately the same as if you'd just wandered into a game of laser tag wearing a vest and a laser; or maybe, that if you step into a boxing ring, you shouldn't be too surprised when someone else comes out of a corner and does their level best to beat the stuffing out of you. You'd think EVE being a game would be enough by itself, but the precedent set by other MMOs makes that more ambiguous. But that seems like the successful way to frame it: EVE is not a playground where someone who knocks you down is a bully, it's a rugby field where someone who knocks you down is also playing the game, and you dust yourself off, get back up, and keep playing. That frame has less tolerance for sore losers, but it also requires gracious winners. It requires less thinking of oneself as a predator and other people as prey, and more thinking of oneself as another person on the field. If I had to address this issue, that would be how I did it.

      To an extent, though, the focus on the rage-quitters hides a much more insidious problem, which is: what about all the people who silently leave? Including two people I know socially who got into the game knowing full well that all kinds of shenanigans were possible, got through the tutorials, and who still just quietly stopped playing one day? If EVE isn't even getting the people who *want* to be Reavers, to borrow Ripard's metaphor, then its retention problem is much, much larger.

    3. You fail to justify your assertion that the EULA/ToS don't cover these violations because CCP thinks they are hard to figure out. This is not credible. The evidence is that CCP has long known of these possibilities and has allowed them. When and where has CCP claimed that they knew nothing?

    4. clear definition is a bad idea.

      a while back there was a new player, completed the tutorial and as directed by the NPC - headed to Arnon for the Sisters of Eve mission arc. In the one of the arc missions, and experienced player scanned down Mr Newbie - grabbed the mission objective and did "whatever". Now Mr Newbie petitions CCP, and wins the case. So Mr Pirate comes to the forums to ask for a concise definition of a what is a newbie. Very soon its a dogpile from the usual forum warriors insisting that CCP draw a line at the point a player crosses out from being a newbie. (therefore is eligible for the "content generation" treatment I assume). It is never defined and my opinion - never can be.

      1. firstly, not everybody learns at the same rate

      2. it can be all too easily imagined that there will be players who stopwatch newbies. "oh look player X has reached six months and two hours, he qualifies for content generation".

      thus, you will not see an exact "this is a bad thing under conditions of A, B & C" in the TOS or EULA. it will create more problems that it is intended to solve.

    5. "The root problem with laying down laws and policies is that the tactics being used are psychological, and the more bright lines you draw, the easier it is for some people to lure other people across those lines without stepping on them themselves." Dersen Lowery

      TYVM. that's very cool. Yes, it's very difficult for me to comprehend this concept, perhaps because i never took a psychology course and don't know the proper terminology.

  10. The Margin Trading 'feature' directly enables the scam by disallowing the trade after an offer to buy has been placed. This allows the buyer to make an offer in 'bad-faith'.

    In proper trading systems 'bad-faith offers' are not allowed.

    As to the behavior of those involved after the scam .. CCP needs to address the cyber-bullying behavior as vehemently as they do the suicide threat.

    1. The appropriate place to discuss the margin trading scam is this thread on the EVE Forums: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4302253#post4302253

      Note that I've bookmarked a specific suggestion which I think is the best, which happens to be at about the end of the thread's useful life.

      Read the rest of the thread, then comment.

    2. "Dont cancel the orders that cant cover a minimum quantity buy, "pause" them, meaning they are not showed in the market interface until the wallet has enough money to cover a minimum quantity buy again, then they are shown again
      This way no false information is displayed on the market and the legitimate traders dont lose any functionality at all"

      hmmmmm...i'd rather just get rid of the damned skill and place it next to the 'jukebox' in the trash bin of eve's history

  11. I play *because* getting ripped off is a possibility. What CSM candidate will represent my interests?

  12. I think the problem you are going to run into is that EVE players, consciously, or unconsciously, consider themselves in the online realm of New Eden to be Übermensch. Free from the normal constraints of right and wrong and creating their own moral system and values, an ethical system that is entirely self-legislated and rightness and wrongness of an act is really only determined by who has a big enough stick make other abide by it.

  13. These types of posts are *exactly* why I find EVE so fascinating. In no other game have I ever played did serious questions about ethics, legality, and responsibility come up. Ever.

    As a person who has had training as a suicide prevention counselor (thanks to the U.S. Military) and, unfortunately, needed the help of a suicide prevention counselor (again thanks to the U.S. Military) I absolutely agree that NO threat of suicide should be treated casually.

    Does this open up a potential legal quandry for CCP? Possibly.

    Is the question of why EVE seems to be a full on "sociopath simulator" interesting and possibly need to be addressed? Definitely!

    What is the line between acting in game while doing horrible things to real people through a virtual interaction, and *actually* being a bad person?

    If EVE were 'cleaned up' would it still hold the same appeal?

    All very interesting questions that I'm sure will be addressed in the way that Jester has shown he's good at. Throw a nugget out to the crowd and see what they come back with!

    1. lulz. seriously? you're talking about effing jita goddamned local. I doubt there's a game in existence that could 'clean up' their major hub of filth.

      And your idea that serious questions have never come up in other games you played perhaps ignores the infinite number of virtual rape complaints (griefing in otherwise 'safe' mmogs)...it's not very hard to imagine and i hardly think it fascinating.

      I doubt Jester will address your questions if at all. He tends to do that. It's called the beat of his own drum.

      And is there a line between acting in game while doing horrible things to real people through virtual interaction, and *actually* being a bad person? uhm...yeah, there's a line called the EULA (tos) that states harassment and hatemongering, and anything that violates RL laws. There's also the line that is crossed by petty little people who get to be the assholes they can't be in real life.

      No real quandry (sic) nor dilemma of any kind shape nor form.

      Is eve a "sociopath simulator"? i think any mmog is. It's not like the sun shines out civilization's collective RL butthole.

      It's all philosophical, really. Some yahoo rage quit in jita local and got the attention of some heroic CCP employees; Said n00b twink didn't have an ip anonymizer and CCP sent interpol (probably for the nth time this month) a suicide alert.

      the REAL question would be how often does interpol get contacted by mmog companies, and is it a legal duty to alert the authorities? If so, and i believe it happens alot and is a duty, then this hyperbole by the community about what is old news, literally, is pretty pathetic navel gazing, don't you think?

    2. In what way, shape or form is this philosophical? CCP were contacted about an apparent risk to someone's life. CCP contacted appropriate authorities who took action necessary to try and prevent the risk from becoming a reality.
      None of this is philosophical it is fact. Please, understand the words you are using before posting more of this drivel.

    3. Philosophical.
      google dictionary "having or showing a calm attitude toward disappointments or difficulties."
      cambridge dictionary "If you are philosophical in your reaction to something that is not satisfactory, you accept it calmly and without anger, understanding that failure and disappointment are a part of life."

      sit down in front, dramaqueen

  14. I think a lot of the problem comes from plex. Before plex became a thing you had to do quite a bit more to turn cash into isk, and it outright violated the EULA for the most part. So most new players didn't have billions of isk.

    If they got scammed it wasn't for much, and if they got ganked it took less than an hour(or a day, but a much smaller amount of time) to replace what they lost for the most part.

    Now so many use plex to jumpstart and have access to way more isk before they have had a chance to learn the environment of eve and what to expect. And so they are naturally relieved it and then pissed when they lose hundreds of dollars instead of 1 hour or a days worth of game play.

    1. *whisper* GTC

      oh wait, ur new here. HAI! "gtc" = "game time code" which was pretty much exactly what plex is except no ability to fool n00bs into hauling plex around in shuttles.

      Your point again is...? oh right, RMT (aka "real money trading") was the old way...yeah, actually, i'll bet the new easy plex system at least has the clueless n00bs being protected from RL scams to their CC and game accounts...since you know the clueless would have turned to RMTs before plex, since the GTC system was a bit mmmmm convoluted.

      Actually, i'm sure there's still RMT going on, but at least clueless n00bs are better off now with the path of least resistance being plex instead of rmt.

  15. You've made this argument before. You feel that CCP Games should be developing EVE with an eye towards making it more palatable for the masses.

    EVE's game design would have to drastically change before that happened, never mind about the "tough love" of the community. The masses love solo play and PvE, and EVE is terrible at both those things.

    1. Dear Vinegar Tits,

      There is a huge difference between "tough love" and "public shaming and humiliation."

      Would you agree that in a real world situation there is a difference between your friends laughing about your choice of clothes, versus your friends chaining you naked to a light post on the Champs-Élysées at peak hour?

    2. At least in the latter scenario, they are no longer laughing about my clothing.

    3. "tough love"? ahhh...now where have i heard that before. oh right, market venture capitalists talking about how it takes a few cracked eggs to make an omelette. Let's see now, after decades of hypocritically destroying protective tariffs and driving farmers off their fields (and/or forcing luxury items to be planted) and IMF allowing capital flight, instilling government debt to wipe out social spending....nah, that's got nothing to do with the glorious omelette.
      Having a system that protects the veteran with their advantages over n00bs in a game that is highly counter-intuitive, and then demanding n00bs HTFU isn't "tough love"...it's hypocritical.

      *shrug* I think the real point should be why people who throw money at this game (obvious $$$ for PLEX player in this instance) should be coddled. I think turning this epic farce about interpol and suicidal tendencies into some kind of metaphor is going to fail at being applied to the game in general, and it's players.

      Seen in that light, Poetic, this whole "palatable" idea smacks of pay to win games.

      I agree with Mara Rinn on this context being "public shaming and humiliation" to the point of internet harassment being alot different than "tough love"
      I don't agree with Mara Rinn on her second paragraph, because the point is lost...and it was a good point too. Poetic Stanziel's argument that "The masses love solo play and PvE, and EVE is terrible at both those things." is a fascinating insight.
      Do the Masses really love solo play (aka pve)? Why do they play in a mmog then? I don't think eve is terrible at both of those things, since that would mean that WoW is best at those two things and eve should emulate it?

  16. But let's also not forget how this started

    You mean, a fool and his money? Hey, I also fell for a margin scam when I was young. It happens because the mechanic is named for a real-world thing, and acts like that real-world thing except when pushed to a limit. This is poor game design. I'd be all for changing it; if you import a real-world thing it should not act like the real world thing most of them time then go wildly different in a few circumstances.

    That said, that the thing escalated was a product of rude behavior on both sides. Sure, the peanut gallery in Jita is rude and abusive. Anonymity and free speech equals nasty. But on the other hand, it is also rude to spout out a suicide threat and quit. Not only was this an attempt at emotional manipulation just as childish as "don't miss". This particular retort wasted the time of CCP, of Interpol, and of the RCMP. (Not to mention the guy's own time. Karma.) I expect the guy didn't mean for that to happen. But then, neither did the guy who told him not to miss.

    1. And that girl shouldn't have worn that skirt if she didn't want to be raped.

      "it is also rude to spout out a suicide threat and quit"? What kind of messed up reasoning goes into that kind of statement?

      Victim blaming at its finest, Von Keigai

    2. Rape? You're comparing stuff to rape? Come on. Stop blowing shit out of proportion in an attempt to make a point.

    3. I'm with Mara on this one, solidly. I don't agree that it was "rude" on both sides. The 'victim' in this case rage quit...i personally don't find rage quits to be rude, more like rated on a boring to epic scale. Do i find trolling Jita local to be rude, ipso facto? I think anyone engaging in normal conversation in Jita local to be highly inappropriate regardless of content...it's just a really silly idea, so "rude" pretty much applies in it's dictionary denonation of not polite; offensive or embarrassing. (i don't think Jita local is POLITE company, and anything said there is most likely going to be taken in the most offensive way possible, AND it's kinda embarrassing to post in local in the first place regardless)
      The mere fact that Jester is navel gazing doesn't raise this drama out of ZZZ rating for me.

      There's NOT going to be any long memory of this since CCP may know our IP addresses but what good is that in a world of anonymizers?
      So who cares, really? Just another lulz scam of some rich little n00b twink. zzz. Check eve-kill it happens hourly as ganks instead of scams. NEXT

      Is it somehow all our faults? nah, that's the "because everyone is to blame, noone's guilty" fallacy. You must always view things of a ethical nature in the light of the Golden Rule, which states any standard you apply to others you MUST apply to yourself.
      In this case, if we apply the golden standard to the rich little twink we find that if i was blowing $$$ for plex to purchase shiny things (whether lost do to a suicide gank or scam it makes little difference beyond mechanics)

      Are the mechanics to be deplored? Is margin trading one of the things, like Jukebox and that cool 3d radar in the lower right, that should likewise be deleted from eve? I totally think so, but that doesn't validate your argument, Von Keigai.

    4. Mara, my "messed up reasoning" is right there in the remainder of the para, right after my statement that you quoted. To be specific:
      (1) a false suicide threat is an attempt at emotional manipulation, which is rude. (Indeed, a true one usually is too. But this one is self-admitted to be a lie.)
      (2) lying that induces other people to waste time and/or emotional energy is rude.

      Do you disagree with the reasons above? In other words, do you advocate lying? Or are you, like me, "messed up"?

      And yes, I do blame your victim there for his actions. Just because you are a victim does not give you carte blanche to act like a dick. "Blaming the victim", yup. I blame him for what he's responsible for.

    5. "And that girl shouldn't have worn that skirt if she didn't want to be raped."

      EVE is an intentional society that explicitly allows scamming and requires an overt action to opt-in to it.

      Are you saying that wearing a skirt is opting into a society that explicitly allows rape?

      Because that's the claim required to make the two situations even remotely similar, as you imply.

      ""it is also rude to spout out a suicide threat and quit"? What kind of messed up reasoning goes into that kind of statement?"

      1) Suicide Threats are triggering for some people.
      2) Fake Suicide Threats cost time and money (in this case, CCP's GMs, INTERPOL Agents, and RCMP Officers) that would be better spent elsewhere
      3) Fake Suicide Threats are an attempt to take an issue outside the boundaries of the game world, equivalent to knocking the board over in Chess.

      The "Victim" was the first to take the conversation outside the boundaries of what's allowed in the game that he signed up for. Flipping the board is generally considered rude.

      (I'm not defending the indefensible people who followed up by encouraging the presumed suicidal person.)

    6. this has to be said... CANS I HAS HIS STUFF?

  17. Come on: all these actions take place in a mere game, in an imaginary world with no consequences. The victims and their supporters are often as guilty as their antagonists of blowing things out of proportion: getting abusive, bringing real life into it, and so on.

    To play a game is tacitly to accept its rules - all of them. Imagine playing a game of chess, constructing a beautifully aesthetic pawn structure then crying bloody murder because your opponent had other ideas and grabbed your free knight? Yet how often we see players picking a subset of the rules that pleases them and reviling other players for having chosen another subset, or indeed not for restricting themselves at all.

    Conflict is the essence of this game and it is incumbent on the players to accept that, to expect it, and to maintain their standards of behaviour whether they be the winner or the loser.

    The nature of EVE, as a villain's paradise, is well known and easily discoverable by any new player on the first day of play, IF, and it's a big IF, that player engages the community, asks about the game, reads about it. I don't mean reading screeds and screeds before undocking either: one can encounter this information almost immediately.

    I have lost innumerable ships, be it in FW or W-space, yet as a newbie I was never scammed or suicide ganked. I engaged the community and protected myself. I agree that the jackal-like behaviour towards victims is an ugly part of human nature but please note: it is a separate issue, and not specific to EVE. You can even see similar drivel on the PvP forums of LOTRO (!!) which is about as far from EVE as you can imagine. Prevention is better than cure.

    If there is a problem (and I depart from the usual standpoint of my gankfriends in believing that yes, there is), it's the terribly deficient new player experience, and tutorials. Whatever happened to Ali Aras' wonderful ideas? (Asked not rhetorically but innocently: I just don't know.)

    I realise it's a lot of work to expand the new player experience, and it is expected that fellow players help newbies to come to grips with things, but in practice this doesn't always happen. Some newbies stay in NPC corps forever, afraid to leave because they can't return, get spoonfed uninformed nonsense, and end up mining and running missions. Others simply ignore other players around them and try to make it as lone wolves - for those players I have no sympathy at all, you just cannot ignore the world around you in this game. Sorry.

    I'm sorry if this 'rant' is a bit too long for a comment Jester, it's your blog not mine, and although we sit on opposite sides of the fence on this matter I suspect we're not that far apart, really: I think we both care a lot about the game and its future. I'll be interested to read your suggested antidotes.

    1. This may be a "mere game" but there are consequences. In this example someone has spent a large sum of real money to buy assets in a game and not only had those assets taken from them, but had their grievance aired in a very public forum.

      Can you show me an example in LOTRO where someone was scammed for a thousand dollars worth of in game assets, and then publicly mocked? There's a difference between heated arguments about which skill set, equipment or tactics are "valid", where one or more parties resort to name-calling, and engaging in a scam for the purpose of harvesting tears to be published for the pleasure of further harming the person.

      There's a line or two that have been crossed in this example: the first is playing for the tears rather than the activity. That crossing from stomping sandcastles to stomping people. The other line is taking the activity from inside the game and turning it into a public flaying.

      What happens in game is only "consequence free" when it stays in the game. Once things start getting published outside the game to a general audience, you're no longer simply harming the other player's happiness, you're degrading the perception of the game in the public eye. You're harming everyone.

      We should be warning new players about EVE being a harsh, cruel world with consequences for complacency. We shouldn't need to warn new players about the risk of being publicly shamed and humiliated to the point where even seeing the EVE Online logo instills a sense of dread.

      Sure, the jackal-like behaviour is part of human nature, and we celebrate it to some degree: scamming, ganking and betrayal are part and parcel of the game play. This is all fine and dandy when it stays inside the game. When people outside the game see that "EVE Players" enjoy public shaming, that harms me too.

      It's to the point now where people at my office are asking me whether I participate in this kind of behaviour: these are people who have had to deal with sexual harassment, bullying, acrimonious divorces, businesses failing due to business partners embezzling funds: and they find this behaviour horrific.

      The more people try to reassure themselves that their predatory behaviour is "justified" because this is "just a game" and their prey should just "HTFU", the worse the public perception is going to be, and the fewer players will ever find the game interesting.

      Suicide ganking a whale should be all the fun you need. Harvest the tears and laugh about it, then move on. If you only find enjoyment in tears when you can magnify those tears by continuing to torture that whale, you have stopped playing EVE Online and have shifted into emotional torture. When you only find enjoyment by harvesting tears to jangle about in public, you have stopped playing EVE Online and have shifted into psychopathic sadism.

      If CCP doesn't institute measures to nip it in the bud, this bullying is going to end up costing someone some gaol time, and possibly a few people their lives.

    2. nah, i wouldn't go so far as to speculate silly dramatic scenarios of CCP going out with a bang bang bang...it's more likely that the 300,000 battle caused more carebears to turn away from trying out the game than it attracted the trigger happy mob that will burn out on the learning curve of eve and you'll have Jester trying to madly speculate on why the influx of n00bs has dried out to 'normal' levels.

      Bullying and hazing is a horrible thing, but do you think that the peer pressure in RL that covers up alot of stuff, including rape in real life (along with racism, and many forms of bigotry) is going to lessen just because we sit around chatting about it on a blog? hell no, and neither will online bullying and hazing that does cost little white girls their lives cuz the media love that shit.

      So CCP called interpol as was their legal obligation. Was anyone banned over this? highly doubt it. Did anyone quit the game because of this incident that wasn't directly involved? most likely not directly, although i'm sure the systematic issues eveonline has because CCP doesn't give a damn is strangling many n00bs in the cradle (and throwing them off cliffs)

      Just look at the ability to force duel popups in starter/career agent systems; look at the constant aggro traps in those systems and the suspicious way those griefers never let their api data get onto the killboards...they know as well as you and I that CCP don't track that data, don't care, don't even think or talk about how rampant n00b baiting is.

      That effing lawyer can take his $1600 and shove it far up his overused rectum as far as i'm concerned compared to the plight of n00bs and the idiotic duel popup that's enabled by default - and works in starter/career systems, FFS.

  18. Even if the guy in question would have committed suicide for real... So what. Let me quote Vincent from Michael Mann's "Collateral" movie: "Max, six billion people on the planet, you're getting bent out of shape cause of one fat guy." Nobody cares, but CCP, because that would get them bad press and hurt their reputation.

    1. Even the most rabid Zero Population Growther wouldn't suggest that suicide is a great way of reducing the population.

      You need to seek professional help.

    2. "..any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind..."

      Some of us would care and be slightly concerned about the community we had decided to be part of. Prob why I donate so much to the Angel Project.

    3. You, my internet badass, might just be a terrible person. I'm not surprised at all that you play EVE Online.

    4. "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic." ~Anonymous Russian Dude.

      oh wait.

    5. Sociopath is sociopathic.
      And I fear this one ain´t highly functional either.

  19. I told you by evemail margin trading scams are dangerous Ripard Teg.

    a Freelancer

  20. It seems what we are seeing with Eve over the last decade is basically an online version of Lord of the Flies.

    1. i hated that book. come on, secretly everyone loved the fact that fool with the conch got ganked. It wasn't some heroic bearer of moral standards, it was an idiotic prop with no understanding. Ugh.

  21. Did you really just say this in a blog post with the word Nuremberg and all the weight of history that word caries in the title:

    "I take a moment here to briefly remind you: this is the community that you are part of."

    You really just went there and made broad generalizations about a group of people and then projected those generalizations onto individual readers?

    I'm sure I don't have to explain to you where you went wrong with that, or at least I hope I don't.

    1. I'm okay with cheaping the weight of history by attaching "yuppie" to it in the sense of "new age bullshit"

  22. It's good to see that CCP are doing the right thing here and putting looking after the lives of players above everything else. I wish I could be at all confident that games companies in general had such a robust approach to these things.

  23. The community team really did the right thing. Would be an interesting experiment whether the contributors to the local chat would feel anything if they had learned that guy killed him self after talking with them. I surely hope they would, but I'm not that sure about it. The Death of Vile Rat showed that the community cares about the live of others... but to what extend?

    Fixing Margintrading: Skill works as currently with just the change that the "minimum stack size" has to be placed. No empty wallet scam and all benefits for honest traders keep working.

    1. I'm not convinced that the death of Vile Rat shows that the community cares. I think it shows that the community is capable of mourning highly influential and respected figures/celebrities, but, just like in real life, that does not necessarily extend to the common folk. I remember in college, in a two month span, were two student suicides. One was a person who was a wallflower in the community, and life went on. The next month, a pretty big figure in campus life went, and there was much mourning.


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