Batch Dropping and Face Punching

29 07 2008

From the horror of yesterday comes one light of hope and one bitter shrug of the shoulders.

After additional debugging work, we determined something interesting about the 7Seas issues. It seems that, when we checked the actual numbers of each request, we weren’t getting the should-be-impossible problem of items being dropped mid-batch. Instead, we’re getting entire batches dropped.

THAT we can do something about, and thank God for it. Ideally we’d like to stop batches from dropping entirely, but at the very least, we can code in a ‘second chance’ system. If my SL server realizes it’s got a gap, it’ll just re-request that specific range of requests. Of course, if the second chance flops, that’s it, the stuff’s gone and we gotta have 7Seas Sass replace them… but this should DRASTICALLY reduce the number of nondeliveries on the whole, until we can come up with a true fix.

You’ve got no idea what a relief this is to me. I hate. Hate. HATE things that are in “my domain” of control but don’t make any sense and I’ve no clue how to fix it. It’s probably my control freak underpinning… I don’t seek to control everything in my life, and I’m good at letting go when something’s out of my hands. But when you have a problem that IS in my hands and it’s not working properly, it’s OMGWTFBBQ time. For instance, the COH griefer. When we thought he was exploiting a bug a lot of other SGs got hit by, then it sucks, but what can you do? Let it slide. THEN I find out it’s a guy I knew and he used legit-if-stupid means of robbing us and that enraged me, because I could have done something.

So, when we thought the nondelivery problem was SL’s fault, well, what else can you do? I can’t make the Lindens fix things, so whatever, just deal with it as annoying as it is. But when I found out this was a problem in our camp… OMGWTFBBQ get on it figure it out fix it araaargh. …yeah. Needless to say. Glad we’ve got a proposed fix, which I’ll hopefully install tonight.

As for the other big hell, the griefer… that unfortunately we can do nothing about. After the initial ragewave passed, it fell into the ‘lax’ end of the spectrum since it’s out of our hands. But it’s certainly made me bitter. I’ve always kinda hated the internet because it encourages and rewards anonymous assholes. Sometimes this can be harnessed for good (Anon v. Scientology) but more often than not it’s used for pure evil. And because it’s not a “real” crime, because nobody can identify you, and because the businesses involved like griefer money just as much as our money, nothing can be done to stop it.

The long-standing joke is that once you invent a device that lets you punch someone in the face over the Internet, you’ll be a multimillionare overnight, and that stems directly from this frustration. If there were actual consequences, would someone be so blatantly callous online? Or would apathy override empathy now that you had a tool to anonymously punch someone in the face? There’s wonderous upside and hideous downside. All I know is I wish consequences would show up, in some form… something to bring people down to reality.

If the game is Truth Or Consequences, and Consequences is made of fail… maybe Truth is the answer. Strip away the mask of anonymous and he’ll be less likely to do things that lead back to his RL. Technically possible? Philosophically a good idea? I don’t know. Discuss.




17 responses

29 07 2008

You’ve already heard me wax relieved on the idea of any let-up in support issues, much less the potential for a near-cure. o_o
So, here’s a funny control-freak related quote from a conversation last night with my psychology-studying husband…
Him: You know, Freud was a bit of a control freak.
Jen: Don’t you have to be a control freak to become a psychologist anyway?
Him: No… and I don’t want to hear you talking like that again!! *glare*
Jen: *giggle*
As for the griefer, in this particular instance I guess the moral of the story is to lock down your bins to only people of a certain rank in the organization… and only apply that rank to folks you’ve known a long time. Manually distribute to other people, as justified.
As for griefing in GENERAL, I don’t know if stripping away anonymous would matter all that much. There are plenty of people in RL with no anonymity who are perfectly comfortable with bullying and general assholishness, directly inflicted on their victims no matter how innocent (or pathetic) said victims are.
I am sure the anonymous factor on the net is a contributing factor to griefer prevalence, but definitely not the only one. Possibly not even the major one. Who knows?
Also… this is going to sound ageist of me… but I believe that a higher percentage of people in a certain stage of their lives (read: middle school) tend to freely display the worst behaviors on that front. With maturity, later, they hopefully learn some ethical motivations or at least self-serving reasons to stop acting like a jerk. But meanwhile, they’re freely mixing out beyond their usual age group / school on the net, so it becomes that much more obvious.
What I mean is, I encounter a higher quantity of jerks who are apparently outside my age group on the net than I do in RL. That could just be a side-effect of running into more people from other age groups in _general_, but I seriously wonder.

29 07 2008

If only karma worked by distributing actual face punches.

29 07 2008

The anonymity provided by the internet is useful in some situations, especially in situations where name-attached free speech is not allowed (see China, where all internet users are required to register with their real names on in-China fora).
You’ll always get a bunch of assholes, though. And the assholes will always find a way around whatever measures you choose to set up to keep them from being assholes. It eventually ends up being a huge hassle to the legit people, makes the assholes even -more- frustrating (because there’s fewer of them, sure, but the ones that get through are the most annoying and persistent kind), and you generally end up with fascist moderators on power trips.

29 07 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Time to talk out my ass on philosophoethicopolitical issues! Yay! This in no way represents the views of any of my respective employers, obviously.
Free speech only needs to be anonymous in places where there is no free speech, and therefore you’re breaking the law and trying to dodge the consequences through Anonymous’s mask. (I applaud this sort of outlawism, really, but that is the logical assessment of it.)
Outside of those locales, free speech can be performed without anonymity. At times it’s beneficial, particularly when there are PUBLIC backlash considerations (since your government allegedly can’t backlash on you over it; that’s the point of free speech). Your ethos may be watered down as a result of being anonymous, though. I’m not sure Rosa Parks would have had the same impact if she was Anonymous. Same goes for any other major figure who spoke their mind an enacted real change as a result.
There are definitely advantages, and I suppose doing away with Anonymous wouldn’t be feasible, possible, or desirable. But just as you can’t get away with harassment via Anonymous in real life without being investigated and arrested, why should this be any different online? There should be consequences that transcend Anonymous. Otherwise, free speech becomes a mockery, an anarchic state.

29 07 2008

Free speech only needs to be anonymous in places where there is no free speech, and therefore you’re breaking the law and trying to dodge the consequences through Anonymous’s mask.
This leads to a number of definitional problems. First, define “free speech”. Secondly, if a law is unjust, is it not in the best interests of the people to protest this law–and hence require anonymous speech to effectively protest without the difficulties of being arrested? Third, consider wikileaks: anonymous informants publish information about the transgressions of large institutions that could, if they were found out, ruin their lives–they’re whistleblowers, in effect. Consider also ‘anonymous tip’ lines for reporting crimes, where the informant would be in danger of life and limb should they be found out.
For speech to be truly free, the option for anonymity has to be feasible.
Rosa Parks’ protest may not have been as memorable without her name–but it did require thousands of anonymous black people to follow up on the protest in order for it to stick.
Free speech does not mean speech without consequences, mind you. If your speech is false (libel or slander) or injurious in some other fashion (“FIRE!” in a crowded theatre) then you will have to suffer the consequences, by all means. This is not mutually exclusive with anonymity, mind you–there are more than enough ways to associate a person with their anonymous comments under normal circumstances. What it requires is that the forum in which the activity takes place be administered by people who are intelligent and aware–which, apparently, CoH isn’t.

29 07 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

All valid points. Okay, so as I noted, anonymity can’t really be removed, nor should it be. The problem then becomes the last example, false speech. In the real world, you can usually pin false speech to someone, anonymous or not; it just takes a little legwork.
But online, it’s damn near impossible due to circumstances, and since no ‘real’ property was destroyed and no ‘real’ harm was done, jerks have free reign. Even with administrators who care (which NCsoft doesn’t because they’d rather put full blame on us) there are limits; see comment thread on my last post, where someone’s repeatedly griefing her, and she can’t do anything about it because Linden Lab(tm) can’t really do anything about it, either.
I think as the web develops we’re going to see more communities willing to give up the mask of Anonymous, in favor of harmony and consequences for breaking that harmony. In 100% anonymous communities like SL, where anybody can get an account any time with completely false information, harmony is impossible. Just another selling point for a potential SL competitor to use. (“You can feel safe running a business here, because anyone who breaks the trust we’ve required of them can never come back.”)

29 07 2008

But online, it’s damn near impossible due to circumstances, and since no ‘real’ property was destroyed and no ‘real’ harm was done, jerks have free reign. Even with administrators who care (which NCsoft doesn’t because they’d rather put full blame on us) there are limits; see comment thread on my last post, where someone’s repeatedly griefing her, and she can’t do anything about it because Linden Lab(tm) can’t really do anything about it, either.
They -can- do plenty about it, but they choose not to. ‘Stealing’ virtual resources is fraud, and has been prosecuted as such; it’s mostly because the terms and conditions are not written properly to cover these events, and because the investigation takes time and money that the company would rather not spend, that they’re not followed up on. It’s difficult, yes, but not impossible to trace the people behind most of these scams.

29 07 2008

D’oh, hit the wrong button.
As for the second bit, about “feeling safe” about running the business–the measures that they take will only hinder the honest people. Criminals will have no compunction about stealing someone else’s identity to register a fake profile.
What is needed is a set of terms and conditions that make it clear that any unauthorized transfers are fraud, a linking of the virtual currency to the real currency in a manner that plainly allows for a real dollar amount to be set to damages, and proper enforcement of the terms and conditions, with an actual investigative branch assigned by the company to trace and prosecute fraudulent transactions.

29 07 2008

The problem is, they absolutely, positively, will not do this, because a failure to recover or replace the ‘virtual goods’ opens THEM up to liability for fraud, plus in European countries players would then become liable for the VAT whenever they craft Inventions (in theory, but that strikes me as being exactly what VAT is about.) It’s probably better for everybody involved to just try to pretend this stuff has no value.
– TH

29 07 2008

Which is a failure in the drafting of the terms and conditions (put in a ‘sole discretion in replacing lost or stolen goods’ clause) and a failure to clarify legal issues, respectively.
I think that one could treat virtual goods as investments, similar to the stock market, for that purpose–thus you eliminate the VAT deal, and simply call it ‘securities fraud’ when someone steals your stuff. ;-p
None of these problems are insurmountable–but most companies don’t -want- to deal with them, because there’s so little precedent and it’s easier just to pretend the problem doesn’t exist and allow for some minor attrition.

29 07 2008

‘which NCsoft doesn’t because they’d rather put full blame on us’
Unfortunately, in this case, full blame rests on us.
Sad but true.
Systems are in place inside the game to prevent this behaviour. They were not made use of. No bugs or problems in the code were exploited to remove the items from the Foxtrot base. The individual was invited to the SG and by extension was granted access to SG storage, because permissions weren’t set up so that he didn’t.
He was an asshole, but he operated within the rules we had set for the supergroup. We could have used different rules, and will do so in future. Meaning no ToS breach, and NCSoft is within their rights to not intervene in what amounts to a player dispute. Nothing we can do about it this point except make sure the rules are set properly in future.
If it makes you feel better, he left the Damage/Range HamiOs.

30 07 2008

That’s something that’s been puzzling me. How *did* CharIy get invited?

30 07 2008

Sounds like the dude invited his own alt.
Seems like a lot of trouble to go to when you’re just planning on robbing the group, but I guess he wanted his original alt to be able to stick around and snicker?…

30 07 2008

Remember Issues?
Probably not; I barely did… But he was a member even if he never actually played, and he did have FoF status, which was enough to invite others. Including his own dual-boxed alts, which then emptied the bins.

30 07 2008

It was Issues? Way I heard it it was Doctor Mick Shanks/Geri, who, so far as I’m aware, didn’t have FoF rank.
I had been wondering when lowest rank got invite permissions.

30 07 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

It was Doctor Mick Shanks / Geri / @VileTerror / @ArchVileTerror. He’s known around the COH boards.
I’m guessing the lower rank got invite because during COV’s launch we were finding it a pain to relog characters just to invite people into the group.

30 07 2008

I am almost entirely certain that you needed to have to be a 25er or above to invite to the SG for much of it’s existence. Could be wrong.
And Shad informs me that Issues was another of his alts, so.
The invite thing wasn’t particularly the issue, anyway. Just idle curiosity.

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