Opposing View: Eve University's 317b Donation

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This is all "He said, so she said, so he said to him" now.
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Kelduum is a whiny crybaby. The ISK was botted, therefore CCP took it, and I really, really, really doubt CCP is going to give it back - and frankly, they shouldn't. The policy of the Security Team has always been, when it comes to botting: Punishments are final, and the is the way it's going to be.Just because Kelduum happens to lead EVE-U doesn't make a tiny bit of difference, and what really pisses me off is that this is the first time I've heard from this high sec carebear member of the CSM on literally anything. It's obvious to me that Kelduum continues to have only the interests of himself at heart and not the EVE-O community.
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This sort of thing is a proverbial minefield...while I agree that CCP's way of communicating in this instance was improper, if you allow people to get away with this sort of thing it's a slippery slope, in an environment such as EVE allowing people to get away with this sort of thing means more people will start doing it.At the same time I agree fully with Kelduum that this is not a proper way of communicating with your customers. Anyone who's ever been told by their parents to do something 'because they say so' will understand that this kind of communication only serves to generate ill will. When faced with a perceived injustice, people want to know the justification for this injustice and giving them a canned response is very unlikely to make them see your point of view...
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Any large summs of isk donated to the uni is reported to CCP, standard procedure on the Uni side.
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It seems that you dont know the full picture, they did not say that the ISK was tainted till after the forum post was made. After one month of petitions the response was still its none of your business
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Did you not see the "Opposing View" bit in the title? Do you need "THIS IS AN OPINION PIECE" in large, flashing red letters? Do you need a picture drawn for you?
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This is the best analysis of this situation that I have read, well done. That said, the haters are still gonna hate.
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Actually that wasn't the way I was leaning at all. I couldn't care less which way they decide to go.I was speculating on the way their two choices would be perceived by the general populace of any game, given the media attention around this issue. I'm sure a lot of players have gone through Eve-U and they probably see it as a positive time in their gaming history. So it follows reason that a lot of players would find it to be a positive thing should EVE Security give the ISK back. Following that same reasoning a lot of players would be disappointed (not to the point of doing much about it, but still), if they didn't.And I think your TL;DR was almost as long as my post. You should brush up on your synopsis skills. Maybe there's a skillbook for that in EVE you can purchase.
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If Pinky is who I think he is, he's hardly a highseccer. However, I do agree the ISK should have been removed, even after the fact. In my opinion, the only issue with CCP's behaviour is that the didn't just come out and say right from the start "sorry, we made a mistake by not taking the ISK with the original ban, and now we're taking it". Instead, Sreegs has made it look like damage control.
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you're, you're an idiot, you're, you're.
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I spent a little time in e-uni. didn`t like it , too many rules and primadonna`s. I would like to make a couple of points tho. This guy ammasses 317 billion , still hangs around at e-uni , keeps his isk after a ban and is still pissed ? dafuq? Why not actually spend some on pvp or something intesting , the game will not mourn botter john.CCP could maybe have given a more tactfull response to kelduum,, but this isn`t needed. The isk was from a 3rd party and that 3rd party can`t be discussed (probably to do with data protection laws etc ).Kelduum in my eyes has abused his position to try and get special treatment, this is wrong.He then goes and washes his laundry in public shitposting like a teenage girl all over the forums.This is not the first time.... i link the gideon tyler incident thread http://www.eve-search.com/thre...Kelduum.... grow up.... stop forum warrioring when it doesn`t go your way, you`ll never win a pi****g contest with sreegs.
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Who's this "John"? I keep seeing people referring to him as "john" to protect his identity, but why? He was a botter. He used outside, unauthorized tools to profit ahead of the rest of us. That sort of identity doesn't need protecting; there's no "honor" in what he did. He was out to cheat the system. So who was it? And why do people want to protect a cheater?
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"punishments are final" doesn't necessarily mean that double jeopardy exists in the security team system
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Most of Kelduun's protest was against the stonewalling of the security team and the apparently low level of accountability and ability to escalate partitions, the ISK was part of it but it was not the majority, so get off your high horse.
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Uhh, most of Kelduun's protest was against the stonewalling of the security team and the apparently low level of accountability and ability to escalate partitions , the ISK was part of it but it was not the majority, so get off your high horse.
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In case you didn't notice, you don't make much sense in your OP post. Eve-Uni was "crying" about the ISK, yes, but he was also concerned about the apparent lack of oversight of the security team and lack of the ability to escalate partitions (the same security officer replied to every single one of his partitions).Plus, Sreegs is horrible at PR.
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I doubt that that is Pinky Feldman. He has a disqus account.
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I call it market pvp when you buy things out of the market to rise the selling price. To me station trading is just a process of buying stuff with buy orders and selling them in buy orders and getting little profit.
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If after a month the isk was still gone then that's the end of the matter. If the Isk wasn't removed but ccp said it should have been then a reminder email should have been sent to ccp. Spending or using the isk after being told its tainted is of course a no no. Wanting it back is ludicrous. Expecting CCP to get everything right first time every time is beyond reason.
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Good policy. Still, when CCP buttons up, you would assume they had a reason.
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I cop a lot of flak for my annoyance at CCP. However few care or understand why. It's basically what's described here in this article. I don't flat out disagree with the motives of CCP but the lack of transparency in process and the questionable ethical behavior to get to an outcome is not right.Not all of us have the platform of the CSM, EU or TMDC to air our grievances when they have been the subject of similar treatment.
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A lot of good points have been made already.I'd like to add that EVE and CCP are business ventures. Although we have rights as a customer and CCP (probably) love their community, it is still a business and therefore we cannot expect the same laws and rules to apply from real life situations.
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Do not question Insoc. Ignorance is strength.
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Actually, correcting an earlier mistake is either due to laziness or vindictiveness. In hindsight, I should have also included incompetent. Whatever the case may be, it is not good. Like I said in my post, I do not think the ISK should be kept. I clearly stated I think the botter should be banned and that the ISK should be taken away. It is the situation surrounding the ISK being taken away and how Sreegs interacts with customers that I have issue with.
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"Station trading" as most people understand it, is exactly as described in your linked e-uni article. That is: buying and selling the same thing in one station. Under this meaning, when you wrote that it takes "hundreds of billions to make money doing it", you were just wrong. Station trading scales nicely for any income. This is mentioned in the page you linked. The author claims to have started with 5 million isk.What you are calling station trading, and I am calling "market manipulation" (really a broad umbrella term; specifically it is "cornering a market"), is not described anywhere on e-uni I have found, other than being sketched on this page: http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/... . That article refers to it as "market cornering". Your description is quite good, better than what e-uni has at least. If market-cornering works in EVE at all (which I tend to doubt due, but then I have not tried it), it would indeed require a large amount of capital. So you're not wrong within your definition; we're just arguing about the definition of a phrase.Yes, it's a terminological quibble! Oh joy! Almost not worth doing, but I would hate for some newb to get the idea that station trading (in the generally-known sense) is impossible for him, when really it is among the easiest ways to make isk.I agree with you that CCP handled it poorly, but I feel it was probably just an innocent mistake. That is, I'd bet the person who should have removed the isk just screwed up and forgot. It is baffling I guess but human behavior is like that. I see baffling stuff every week in-game. Engaging in PVP in a 15 billion PVE shinyship!
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You hit the mark on this one, sadly for the guy involved who originally owned the 317b even he himself gave his code for his website to CCP that helped him do his market orders and generally was cooperative with CCP. So much more could be said about this issue and in my opinion he was harshly dealt with and for CCP to confiscate all his isk should allow for some kind of appeal process for the customer.
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The phrase "I've never heard of such a shocking injustice that I care so little about" has rarely felt more appropriate than now.
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Everyone dreams of winning the lottery. 317 billion is a sum that was probably widely celebrated among the EU membership, and over a couple of weeks it must have looked more and more legitimate. This is the only thing I see so far to fault CCP for; immediate removal of the ill-gotten ISK is much less painful before big-time plans were made.Stonewalling? That's what infosec departments are for; CCP is not supposed to share with us all the decisions in the chain, if only to keep from training us in how to perpetrate the next exploit. If the director of security was involved, I'm satisfied at least that their actions eventually ended at a we'd-do-it-again-only-faster sort of place.Petition denied, in the absence of more evidence.
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it seems that this short paragraph will get you banned and post removed from the euni website.CSM "is the money dirty ?"CCP "Dunno we`ll have a look"3 weeks later ...CCP "yes the money is dirty we`re taking it all".... it should have stopped here ...CSM "all of it`s dirty ? there`s none that we can keep ?"CCP "no"petition petition forum post.I mean really how did this guy get to csm ? and how will communication between ccp and the csm be after he called sreegs out and tried to undermine him?Will this approach give future csm`s any credibility?Shouldn`t people be setting a botting is bad mkay example ?Do we want a generation of eve players that emo when they don`t hear what they want to hear?way to go and lose any respect i had left lol
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However, that disciplinary action then spilled over into E-UNI when the assets were removed from them. Now I'm going to use an extreme example. I only use this example because there is no other way to do it. Say someone gives you a great sum of money. Far more than is reasonable to be normally given, but its someone you normally trust. You heard they were involved in something shady however and go to the police the make sure it isn't counterfeit or stolen, or something. They take it without a word. Now this in itself is weird because in that situation, normally they'd take a statement and look into it.But bam, just gone. Its a lot of money to lose, could make for a very comfortable life. They stonewall you at every turn and you don't know what's going on. That's essentially what happened, except not as extreme as its a game. In real life, they'd give you the reason, take statements, keep you involved in the investigation BECAUSE its a sensitive issue, not just for the shits and giggles of it, but because it has put you in a position of involvement. You ARE involved because you placed your hands on it, you could have just walked away but no, you are involved. It protects from corruption (which unfortunately, CCP has had a reputation of favoritism in the past amongst its various members. CONFIRMED events of it happening) and it lessens the blow of having to give it all away. It only really looks unreasonable from the outside because the people on the outside aren't the ones being impacted, but I guarantee you, if it happened to you? You'd wonder wtf just happened.
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Your statement just kind of comes off as petty. Just because some people show way too much bias and favoritism doesn't make it an argument for anything. Its kind of pathetic really. Corp reputation should NEVER enter into an argument, and I detest all the crybabies who bring corp into these things, on all sides.
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While Screegs did say that they won't ban you for cache scraping, he didn't say that they won't take your 317 B ISK for it.
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Is it really that out of line that they would take the isk they would have taken anyways save for an oversighttbh it was a bit silly to think that isk wouldn't be touched

Editor's Note: What follows is strictly the opinion of the contributor regarding the events of the EVE University Botting ISK Issue and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the site, The Mittani, or the other staff of TMC.

317 billion isk. Assuming you can get that many plex, that is almost 53 years of EVE for one account. Alternatively, that's around $8,000 of isk in the RMT market. You could see it as three titans with pilot characters, enough to set you up as the next medium-sized ninja-PVP corp/alliance. It's also enough to seed a coalition-level deployment station. That amount, however you want to refer to it, is at the center of the debate pitting highsec darlings, EVE University, and CCP’s security crew, sometimes maligned but generally applauded for deterring those who can’t handle drawing inside the exceedingly broad lines that define the EVE sandbox.

So, what happened? Kelduum Revaan, leader of Eve University, has a long version available for your perusal which includes the petitions he filed to try to figure out what was going on. However, I assume you are reading this because you want a third party view of events. Fair warning: digging into this does not find anyone completely in the right.

First off, let’s talk about where the 317 billion isk came from: station trading. For the uninitiated, station trading is often seen by the general player population as those annoying +1/-1 traders. The bigger the hub, the more isk you need to play do station trading. In a place like Jita, you need hundreds of billions to make money doing it. As a profession, it's pretty straightforward: corner a market, hedge your bet, maintain control, profit.  

Need an example? Let’s say you want to control the market for battleship railguns in a system or region. First, you identify the comparables. 425s and 350s, basically. You'll probably focus on tech 2 and some named modules as users of modules are less likely to look for a better price than T2 manufacturers (the primary purchaser of tech 1 tier 1). Next, you need to make sure there aren’t any railguns at a competitive price in the nearby systems. This is easily done by buying up all the nearby stragglers, often at prices below the market hub you are trying to control. Then you buy out the stock in the hub, turn around, and resell all of it at a higher price. If small lots of the guns are placed on a sell order at a lower price, you can buy them out; if bigger players show up for a piece of the action, you begin running the -1 game until you get back to the original purchase price. At this point, you can decide to drive them under your original purchase price, then buy them out, or just leave the market and let it stabilize, slowly moving the remaining stock you hold. Either way, you end up making a fairly large chunk of isk doing this repeatedly. The more isolated the market hub, the more of a killing you can make. Some people do this in null alliance hubs. I suggest doing it to an enemy’s hub, not your own alliance’s, as it will piss people off and potentially get you booted from an alliance.

So, how do you quickly rake in the isk to the point where you are sitting on a 317 billion isk pile? Judging by the number of skill points of the characters owned by the person in question, he acquired this pile of isk in roughly two years of playing. While this is legitimately possible, it is on the upper end of possible. The making of vast sums like thise often involve some kind of low-level exploit - plausible deniability in the sandbox that is EVE is a good thing.  

WHAT DID HE DO?

In the case in question, an in-game browser and custom written website was used, potentially with some automated value-change macros. Now, while a person has to be sitting there in front of his computer, clicking and mashing macro keys to do this, there is still a level of automation in this process. While most people view “botting” as this clear cut thing, where people are either playing the game or having these mythically complex AI systems running their game on alts for them, CCP does not word the EULA that way.

Title 6 (Conduct), Section A (Specifically Restricted Conduct), Point 3:

“You may not use your own or any third-party software, macros or other stored rapid keystrokes or other patterns of play that facilitate acquisition of items, currency, objects, character attributes, rank or status at an accelerated rate when compared with ordinary Game play.”

So, while players can use a mouse/keyboard that has macros which allow you to quickly activate modules (such as having it “press” alt F1-F8 with a single button press), you can’t gain assets with the use of automated or third party software faster than someone who was otherwise less lazy/intoxicated than you.

Taking Kelduum’s account at its word (he seems to be honestly explaining the situation) we can compare what was done to the “botting clause.” While the gamer in question didn’t do anything that is commonly referred to as “botting,” he did gain assets/isk at an accelerated rate when compared with ordinary game play by the use of his own software (his website), and likely some value modifying macros or stored rapid keystrokes. He was, by Kelduum’s words, making a price change every few seconds for 10-20 minutes at a time.  Clearly an accelerated rate when compared to ordinary game play.

An additional thing to consider is the server impact of making a large quantity of changes quickly. Title 6, Section A, Point 1 of the EULA is particularly unclear on this, probably to allow GMs to use their discretion, which of course allows them the ability to nail people for doing any number of metagaming things.  

"You may not take any action that imposes an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on the System."

A classic example from years ago was a method to quickly kill a server that was under stress to escape a bad fleet fight. Everyone in a fleet would begin jettisoning cans, dumping drones, and carriers would drop shuttles as quickly as they could to drive the server to its knees with all the additional in space objects to track. That’s a big no-no, in case you were wondering. However, this clause has been used in other cases to penalize players for behavior that GMs did not approve of. While making a ton of large market transaction changes may be barely a blip on the server load, it could be conceivably construed as causing “an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on the System.”

TL;DR - Because of the wording of the EULA, it is my opinion that what was being done to collect the 317 billion isk was, indeed, a violation of the EULA.  

HOWEVER...

CCP penalized the person in question with a 14 day ban. The penalty did not include the removal of the assets and isk gained from this activity (according to Sreegs, this was an oversight). When the player returned after the ban, he still had access to these assets and isk. I’m sure there were some harsh words traded at that point, from Kelduum’s account, as the player proceeded to basically rage quit EVE after being told what he was doing to make isk was a violation of the EULA.

The player liquidated his assets, then traded the isk to EVE University, before proceeding to biomass his characters and cancel his accounts. At this point, a calm, level-headed customer service representative would shrug his shoulders at this reaction, regardless of any words exchanged preceding the final act. The original penalty had been fair and even-handed, a slap on the wrist followed by a warning not to do it again.  The response was extreme, even if it was not verbally extreme.  

IT SHOULD HAVE ENDED THERE.

But, it appears someone in the CCP ranks decided to take it further, potentially in a vindictive way. In a “NO SOUP FOR YOU” move, the isk that was donated to EVE University by the player on his way out was removed. GMs then proceeded to stonewall requests for information and resorted to canned responses with warnings that nothing they said could be shown to others or published to be viewed by the general playerbase.

As far as I can tell, Kelduum acted rationally by requesting confirmation that he could use the isk that was donated, then asking for clarification on why it was removed. His public vetting of the events through his forum post also seemed the next reasonable course of action, though it is very clearly poking someone in CCP who was not in a forgiving mood by that point, and as such not the "safest" course of action.

It can look and read (with only a slight spin) that EVE University had the isk removed as a punishment for being complicit in the actions of their former member on his way out. Removing isk after the fact only compounded a mistake with the feeling of misplaced punishment -especially in light of previous stonewalling.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?

Will CCP break under public pressure? Will CCP stick with the decisions that were made, even though they seem to be suspect due to the after-the-fact seizure of isk? The customer service history of CCP has seen both happen at almost an even ratio when CCP has been put under public pressure for decisions of this nature. It is difficult to predict what will come as a result of these events.

TL;DR - The player deserved the ban, but communication with EVE University in regards to the isk was terrible. Worst case, they should have left the isk and left it alone, even if it was an accident that it wasn't included in the original punishment. Best case, they should have communicated better about what was happening, and not gone "this is the way it is, too bad" to head off a shit storm. CCP's communication on issues like this over the years has been getting better, but going from horrible to bad still leaves you with bad communication.

 

Update: Destructoid reached out to CCP for comment on the issue, and the company had this to say: 

There’s not a time where we happily remove ISK from players--unless they’ve done something wrong and then it’s more of a duty as strengthened by policy. There is recourse and escalation in the event of a false positive. The security team works jointly with many departments including Legal and Internal Affairs to make sure they “get things right” and continuously evaluates their processes. In terms of “accountability”, the security team is ultimately beholden to the Executive Producer, our legal department and then of course to our CEO.

For us, it’s a best practice not to discuss specific security investigations and actions with third parties.  Even though CCP is probably one of the most open and communicative companies in all the gaming industry, we simply have to keep some areas of our company a bit secret in order to be effective. Botters and RMTers will take any shred of methodology they can learn from us and alter their ways to avoid detection. For the health of EVE and the benefit of our EULA-abiding players, it’s actually best we aren’t as transparent as some people might wish in terms of tactics and strategies.

 

[name_1]
Bagehi began playing Eve in 2003 briefly, then returned in 2006. He has been part of IAC, NC, SoCo, and HBC during that time. He has a thing for history, but mostly spends his time IRL in a corner office, staring at financial reports, like a MMD.