NOTE: I'm going to apologize in advance. This blog post turned out to be a lot longer than I anticipated. It might rival some writings by James315 in length, so for the TLDR guys, I'm sorry. I've gone over this a couple of times, cut out some of the fat, but what remains I feel needs to be said in order to clear some of the confused air from my last posting, and clarify a couple of points that have come up since.
Grab yourself a light snack and a beer, we're going to be here for a bit.
The Bonus Room
I'll start with the incident in question: The Bonus Room. I'm not sure how many of you listened to the full 2 hours of the recording, but I'm guessing not many people made it all the way front to back. Well, it was bad... actually it was beyond bad.
the long con. Scams in Eve are usually fairly quick and dirty. Get in, get what you want, get out, and move on to the next mark. In this case, Sohkar was lured in with the old ISK doubling game. It started small, and his isk was doubled time and again to the point where he put a billion ISK into play. Erotica 1, smelling someone who is either A: not too bright, or B: entirely too trusting, went for the home run. He doubled the guy's ISK and then invited him along for the bonus round on his 3rd party TS3 server.
Now, the average Eve player of even middling intelligence probably would never have gotten to the billion ISK mark. I've played Sohkar's end of the ISK doubling game myself, with the knowledge that the scam works better if a few people are paid out and claim legitimacy in local. The most I've ever given someone to double is 10 million ISK. I'm happy to report that I've turned a small profit playing the game, but give an ISK doubler a billion? Surely you jest! Please feel free to respond in the comments if (before you heard anything about the bonus room) you would have given Erotica 1 a billion of your isk to double, assuming you have that much.
Even if you were to get to the billion point, the next part of this con should have sent warning alarms screaming all over your brain. In the Bonus Room, Sohkar was convinced to not only give over his full API key, he was required to contract ALL of his assets, NEX store clothing, ISK, liquidate LP, I mean the WORKS. Even if you are space rich and would have risked the billion, now I would like a show of hands of how many of you would trust ANYONE (outside of maybe immediate family) in Eve with every last shred of e-wealth you have in your name.
No, really, don't be shy, I'd honestly like to know.
As the great Sherlock Holmes used to say: "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." We have effectively eliminated a high degree of intelligence from the equation at this point, and possibly a middle degree of it as well. Common sense is also out the window. That leaves me with Stupid, or Drunk.
Some of you at this point will be fuming mad at my words. I'm victim bashing you might say (Someone on Failheap Challenge actually called me a cunt for this). Well, the sad truth of the matter is that up to this point in the con (Phase 1) I didn't feel even a shred of pity for Sohkar. There was positively nothing wrong with the con yet. Everything was perfectly allowable under the rule of law in Eve, and nothing that had happened in game at that point would ever be successfully petitioned against. This is also the point where the overwhelming majority of Eve's scammers would cut and run with their ill gotten gains, leaving a very angry Sohkar with the realization that everything, even the shirt off his back, has been stolen. Had Erotica 1 stopped here, a very large portion of Eve's community would give him a round of applause for a masterful heist.
Unfortunately, Erotica 1 did not stop at the end of Phase 1. He and his friends, already in possession of every last thing Sohkar owned in Eve, then proceeded to see how far they could push him until he snapped. I'll spare you the gory details, but it took quite a while (almost an hour and a half) before the wheels finally came off. This was where Erotica 1 and friends took a brilliant scam, and turned it into a sadistic game.
I like tears as much as the next guy, but this went way WAY too far. You've got the guys stuff, tell him he's been scammed, let him rage for a few minutes, maybe teach him a valuable lesson about not trusting strangers, and move on.
The last half hour or so of the recording involves Sohkar completely losing his shit. That part really made me sad. Here you had this guy that had been strung along for an hour and a half, who should have gone to bed quite some time before so he could get up in the morning and "Control Planes," finally come to the realization that he'd been scammed out of everything he owns in Eve. He swore gratuitously, threatened E1 and friends, and at some points I was fairly certain he was crying. His wife came on, first pleaded with the scammers to give her husband his stuff back, and then began to lose it herself.
Look, I don't care who you are in Eve, or on planet Earth. I don't think anyone deserves to be treated the way Erotica 1 and his friends treated Sohkar. It was entirely uncalled for. If Sohkar is mentally handicapped in some way (and I certainly hope not if he's really an air traffic controller) then what Erotica 1 and his friends did was nigh unforgivable.
Why CCP Can't Act?
Here's the rub though: Regardless of what you or I think should be done about this, there isn't a damn thing CCP can do here without getting into some VERY muddy water. I know some people are calling bullshit on this, so I'm going to have to explain in some detail here what the implications are.
As I mentioned earlier, everything up through Phase 1 of this con was Grade A acceptable under current Eve scamming establishment. From Phase 2 onward, Eve ceased to be the medium of play for this "game". Did it happen on Eve Voice? An in game chat channel? At fanfest? On the official Eve Forums? On any server maintained by CCP? I'm afraid not. It happened on Teamspeak, and we can split hairs all day about "But they were clearly in game at the time" but it doesn't matter. The logs don't show a damn thing. Unless Erotica 1 or one of his buddies went onto Eve-O after they were done recording and splashed the link around bragging about what they did there is NOTHING, not one damn thing, that CCP can or should do about this....
I hate to be cliché here, but this is a can of worms CCP would do well to stay out of. But let me play the devil's advocate. Let's say that the people on the internet screaming for blood get their wish, and CCP comes down on those involved hard, and I mean HARD. Bans are thrown out... PERMA bans! Asset siezures! Sohkar gets all his stuff back! All based off of a TS3 recording someone put up on the internet.
Think about that for a minute... Still don't see a flaw?
Well, CCP would be in the business of not only policing their game and their own servers, but every form of communication related to them. Say something offensive and harassing to another player on Failheap Challenge? Enjoy your vacation from Eve! I could be on Gal Mil TS tomorrow in fleet, and the FC could call me out offensively for doing something stupid, like jumping a gate early. Now I'm pissed and I have the recording. Let me just file this petition because I was obviously harassed and called nasty names. I talked about posting porn out of game in 3rd party comms. Peace out bro.
This interview I did with Tyrant Scorn for Legacy of a Capsuleer was originally over 2 hours before he cut it down. I'd challenge any of you to find all the cuts and splices in there, but don't bother because you won't. Hell, that recording is even how I remember that interview going at this point.
Right now, everything you can get petitioned against in eve has some sort of server log to back up the evidence. If we were to go down this road, your only defense against something like this would be to record all of your TS3, mumble, etc. conversations, and who wants to waste hard drive space on that? If someone who knows what they're doing really has it out for you, they could take bits of things you said yesterday, last week, and 2 months ago, slap it together in a perfectly plausible recording, and petition your ass right out the door. All they really need is you saying the name of a dev like Mintchip, and then talking some shit about someone else. You could deny it of course, but suppose they had a bunch of other people who also don't like you to back them up? Game over man, game over.
Can you begin to see why this precedent would be an incredibly bad thing for any of us in Eve? Never mind for a minute the additional strain it would put on CCPs GM staff who already have a back log of IN GAME petitions as it is. Now they would have to not only have to determine if harassment occurred, but they would also have to determine if the evidence is legit. Who the hell wants THAT on their plate? I'm thinking the answer is 'no one.'
Oh, and that thing about Cyber Bullying
This one came up on Twitter. I have made assertions in the past about Cyber Bullying and how it relates strictly to children, and does not carry over into the law of adult life between grown men. Many states in the USA have actual Cyber Bully laws on the books. They are important laws because they protect children, and you will never hear or read an utterance from me against them. Ever.
If a kid is picked on at school, in their neighborhood, online, or anyplace, I feel horrible. Adults that get involved with it are the lowest of the low. If there's something I can do to stop it, or make things better, you're damn right I will!
There comes a point though, where it's not my job to protect and stand up for you anymore. That point is when you become a grown man (or woman). At that point, you should have the ability to stick up for yourself if someone is picking on you, making fun of you, ridiculing you, whatever. One would hope that as responsible adults we'd behave like decent human beings to each other, but this is the internet.
There comes a point in your life where you have to take responsibility for yourself, and your own well being. Someone may get mad at you and say some vulgar things. If they break the law, or put you in danger, you call the police.
I will never defend the actions of a guy like Erotica 1. Never. If he breaks the law and I bear witness to it, I will happily testify in court against him, no hesitation. If someone's life or limb is in danger because of something someone did to them on the internet, let's call the authorities and get them involved. If an Eve player is harassed by someone in game, go right ahead and ban that mofo.
But grown men who believe other grown men deserve the same protections afforded to 12 year old school boys need to have their heads examined. Grow up, grow a spine, stick up for yourself, and stop trying to make it the responsibility of others to stick up for you.
While I'll never defend a guy like Erotica 1 and his friends, don't expect me to come to your rescue if you get yourself caught up in his con either.
In the eternal words of CCP Guard: "Harden the fuck up"