Sunday, September 15, 2013

Impersonation

There's a tempest in a teacup over the changes to TOS that CCP is attempting to ram past the players.  I have not read the various threadnaughts and such.  I have read a few opinions on it, and mostly share that of Poetic Stanziel and, I expect, many other sane voices.

Which is: EVE is a dark place.  Lying is a part of that.  Scamming is a part of that.  Impersonation is a part of that.  Now, scamming is not a part of my personal game.  I have never done it and never will, because I have few enough friends, and I am too nice.  Still, part of the attraction of EVE is just surviving in a tough place.  The question of trust is very interesting to me, and its solutions.  If you take away scams you take away the need for trust.  I am all for in-game player entities solving the problem (as Chribba does, and Taggart, and many other trusted groups).  I am also for that solution not being 100% perfect.  I am totally against CCP trying to solve it via the rules.

Now, that is just about directly in-game stuff.  What about out of game resources?  I think it is perfectly fine for people to attempt scams via setting up deceptive websites and other out of game resources.  But I do think that CCP has a point, narrowly, in that their EVE wiki should not be a domain for scammers to (ab)use.  But this is easily solved without breaking scamming: make the TOS include that impersonation or other spreading of untruth of concern on the wiki is forbidden.  And if this turns out to be unworkable, then (as Poetic suggests), disallow corp and/or personal pages on the wiki.

In other words, what we have here is a mosquito bite, and CCP is currently trying to solve it with a .44 magnum.  I'd suggest using mosquito netting.

What makes this funniest to me is that within EVE, we have a 100% perfect "read" on who someone is.  That is their name and their corp history, both available with literally a click or two.  So EVE players are already in a kumbaya sandbox, in a sense, compared to people in real life.  In real life, scammers can easily take the exact, literal name of a trust figure.  You can't do that in EVE.  In real life, someone can say they are a member of a trusted corporation by its exact, literal name.  You can't do that in EVE.

Of course, in EVE you can have odd characters in your name, which make it rather hard to distinguish from a real player name.  I.e., there is a (real) James 315, savior of highsec, and there are many imitators including James 3I5, with a very similar portrait, copied bio and whatnot.  (Personally I don't think that looking for similar looking letters is too much to ask.  But if this is really deemed a problem, then CCP can always program more complex substitutions into their already-existing check for character name collisions.  I.e., a name identical to another if you sub "I" for "1" is deemed not allowed.

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