I owed it to the victim to understand his story. He lived through it. The least you can do is understand what he was put through... for more than two hours. -Ripard Teg, who never actually spoke to the victim, even when the victim tried to speak to him.
I've seen a lot of angry posting on forums this week. Other bloggers and podcasters have covered the issue. Cap Stable had Ripard Teg over for a chat to talk about Erotica 1 and the horrible things that happened to sohkar. They talked to Ripard, sohkar's champion, but they did not bother to reach out to sohkar and ask him how he felt, nor did they bother to talk to anyone involved in the dubious bonus room to gain context on what happened. How much CCP has been involved in the past, what CCP may or may not have been aware of, and what they have let slide thus far were also not part of the discussion.
I firmly believe that in the court of public opinion, even the worst of us deserve to be able to tell their side of the story. I certainly believe the victims in such cases should have their own voices heard, not just their causes championed by others who have never even talked to them. I personally believe that in dire cases where opinions and judgements must be passed on people, we owe it to ourselves to get the story from those involved, and not just from a 3rd party with an agenda, with his/her opinions and views already coloring what transpired.
For the history of the incident that lead up to this, I will refer you to my last posting on the matter. If you have not read that yet, you should because I don't plan to waste time here re-hashing the incident, and it will save you from listening to the first 45 minutes of the recording.
For Ripard Teg's take, you can read his blog posting on the matter. For further information on the agenda he's trying to push, I'll refer you to Eve Compared to D&D in the early 80's and A World Without Sin.
On with the Show
In the wake of Erotica 1's ban Friday morning, upon getting home from work I put out a call for anyone directly involved with Erotica 1, sohkar, and the bonus room to please help me contact them and invite them on the show. Several of E1's escrow agents stepped forward, but unfortunately no one knew how to contact him outside game. Even James 315 was at a loss. We started the show at Midnight Eve Time with the regular crew, and slowly added people involved with the issue as time went on and we were able to find them.
Ripard Teg was invited, but did not respond. During a skype conversation among podcasters during the show, he gave his reasons for declining to be interviewed by someone else. His stance makes sense. At this point he's won, and has nothing to gain by having to defend his assertions.
The entire recording is nearly 3 1/2 hours, so I will forgive those of you with little patience for such things if you do not listen to everything. I'll give a synopsis with times below so you might be able to skip around to the parts you would find most interesting.
You may DOWNLOAD the entire broadcast here.
Background of the issue with our standard crew of co-hosts: Bajran Bali, Charlie Firpol, Zeratha, Elijah Ghost, Doc Nielsen. We talked about the incident, tried to get the timeline together, and a lot of us had a lot to say about what happened.
Joined by Jaschar Verge, the the CEO of Dark Aether Operations. He tells us the story about how he heard the Bonus Room recording back when it was covered by James 315 in February on Minerbumping, and decided to take sohkar under his wing. sohkar was in his corp for nearly 3 weeks until being removed for his own protection. sohkar is free to rejoin whenever he thinks he'll be safe again in a player corp.
Once Jaschar tells his story, we get back to the time line, now we're at last week. Ripard's blog was brought up, and this bit of skype conversation was mentioned, pasted so that we can get a little more insight into Ripard's motives.
Interlude while we switched to TS3 to accommodate some of Erotica 1's Escrow Agents. CCP's HTFU song.
Joined by several of Erotica 1's escrow agents. I asked a lot of questions about their involvement in the bonus room, how the bonus room works, it's history, and some examples of other bonus rooms that have taken place. The losers, and the very few winners were discussed. One winner was actually paid out, others were not paid, but were then invited in on the con after where many made their money back.
Average time of a bonus room was 5 hours long. (!!) The longest was 12 hours. (!!!) sohkar's reaction in the bonus room, they claimed, was by far the worst they had ever seen. They state that maybe 1 in 15 bonus room players have actually gotten to the point of rage, most figure the scam out and simply quit.
To understand the bonus room, and it's history, this is a good section to listen to, but keep in mind the story is told by the people who were part of the con.
The discussion shifts from the bonus room, to Ripard Teg's crusade against not only the bonus room, but all forms of naughty behavior in Eve.
I read a statement from sohkar.
Westboro Baptist Church is brought up as an extreme example of how people can be some of the biggest dicks on the planet, but still be within the bounds of rules and law.
Back to Eve. Allegedly CCP has known about the bonus room since at least November. sohkar's bonus room was well publicized on Minerbumping.com a month ago, was not a secret. The victim says he was over it, and got on with his life. 1 month later, CCP suddenly "gives fucks" when Ripard Teg whips less than 500 people into a frenzy on a threadnought on Eve-O.
I address CCP directly. What have you opened up with this action of banning a player for out of game actions? I talk about some of the things people have done outside of game in relation to The FunkyBacon Show. The difference between us and the bonus room? We pay out at the end for what we say will, and most of the things people do are their own ideas. It is suggested at one point that someone should make a thread somewhere of the worst things people have done outside of Eve. Maybe it would make Ripard Teg pee his pants to learn some of the things that have happened outside of Eve that were in some way tied to the game.
Joined by an operator who was IN the bonus room with sohkar. The question is asked "Do you feel that based on Erotica 1's ban, you also deserve to be banned?" All Bonus Room escrow agents present declare unanimously that if Erotica 1 has been banned because of his involvement in the Bonus Room, then they ALL deserve to be banned, no question.
Erotica 1 was apparently located on another TS server at this point, people head off to fetch him.
Erotica 1 is finally located and joins us. I ask a lot of questions, some similar to the round done at 1:12. He confirms his ban, tells us bits about the bonus room his associates could not. Tells his side of the story.
Erotica 1 gives a story where he had been blackmailed outside of game by another player petitioned but was told by CCP GMs that they could do nothing with evidence supplied from outside the game.
Sohkar joins us. If you listen to no other part of this recording, listen to this part moving forward. As far as I'm concerned, the opinions of the person on the receiving end of this scam which was apparently the reason for CCP to step into the metagame, should count most, even over the voices of those who claim to be "defending" him.
Interesting things were said. Sohkar was never contacted by Ripard Teg who claimed to owe it to the victim to understand his story. Sohkar states that Ripard's coverage of his bonus room has done more harm to him than good in the game. He never petitioned Erotica 1, does not believe Erotica 1 should be banned, and comes out and says that he should technically be banned for the things he said himself while raging at E1 and his associates if the recording is considered legit evidence for TOS violations.
Sohkar rejects the claims that he was tortured. He got angry. He points out that after Ripard's blog post, he tried to reach out and talk to Ripard and sent him an eve-mail. Ripard has still not responded to him after several days. It's thought at this point that Ripard Teg doesn't care about the victim at all, and is simply trying to push his anti scamming agenda with inflamatory language and rhetoric, and trying to put out the worst examples he can with no regard to how this will affect even the victims involved.
Former CSM member and current podcaster Aleks joins us. CSM, and political implications are discussed.
Final thoughts from everyone involved.
Afterthoughts, and my CSM9 Campaign
As the days move on, my stance on this is becoming less and less about this specific case, but where I see this snowball headed as it continues to roll down hill. I've been asked a lot of questions about this in my campaign thread on Eve-O, as well as on twitter, reddit, and even Facebook.
Unless something else earth shattering happens, this will be the last time I address this specific incident on this blog. Voting for CSM starts next week, and I have a lot of ground to cover for my friends living in lowsec, many of whom probably don't give nearly as many fucks about this as they do about fixing lowsec.
I'll leave with you with a response I made on Eve-O to a question posed to me by current CSM member, Mynnna:
This keeps going back to E1 specifically, and that's one of the problems I have here Mynnna. My stance here has little do do with E1, and everything to do with the next step after this, and the next step after that. If this is where it stops, and the line is CLEARLY drawn here, that's CCPs prerogative. I'm not doing a "Free E1 campaign". He's banned, there's no reversal coming nor would I ask for one.
For 11 years CCP has not acted against any player when CCP logs have shown no wrong doing. That has now changed.
Let me toss you a loaded question. Let's say we're chatting in Eve, and I say "Hey Mynnna, my hands are getting tired. Let's pop over to my TS3 server and talk about this."
I'm in there with you, maybe a couple other people. I make a recording of it, and then put it up on soundcloud. People listen to it and are outraged at you for what transpired, I blog about it, a threadnought appears.
But here's the rub: You come out on the forums in the threadnought afterwards and claim you were framed. "That's not me," you say. Other people claiming to be on the server at the time say it WAS you. They were there. Eve logs show us chatting amicably, and me suggesting we move to TS3. CCP has no way to confirm that the TS3 conversation on soundcloud is the one that happened at that time. They can't confirm I didn't doctor the recording. But it sounds like you. You didn't think to record the session yourself, so you have nothing but your word that you didn't do whatever it is we say you did.
Now, you're part of Goonswarm, so I would imagine your friends would have your back in this, and the counter smear could get ugly and result in nothing more than a locked thread, some warnings are given and nothing more comes of it. Maybe I get DDOSed a few times, obviously by one of your fellows, but I can't prove who it was so nothing happens there either.
Suppose for a minute though that you don't have many friends in Eve. Everyone has already made up their mind that you're guilty. Your supporters in that threadnought are few and far between. What then?
THAT is where I'm afraid we're going here, and ANY steps taken in that general direction are what I'm opposed to. -DJ FunkyBacon