Make Spammers go away! The rest of STO is great!
I posted this in another thread as a response, but it occurs to me that many of the points I make are valid discussion points by themselves. Please! If any of you who read this have suggestions for the Cryptic STO crew for these issues, make mention of them here! I want to start a kind of petition or grass roots movement to help alleviate or completely eliminate the Spammer Hoardes.
Every day, I log into my account and play a little, and enjoy what I play. I love this game to pieces... What I don't love is the idiots intent on trying to ruin the in-game economy and to annoy the hell out of people who just want to play the game. I speak, of course, of those morons spamming the messages that read something like, "100K=$15 ! Powerleveling 1-10!" and other such nonsense, all advertising for the same site, which currently escapes me, since I delete the messages from my account mailbox as soon as I get them. The idiots who keep spamming these messages in-game are unwanted.
I agree that there needs to be some kind of policing of the general populace of the game, looking for people who aren't playing the game and tossing them offline, temporarily or permanently.
I understand there was some law passed some time ago that declares online in-game money as a form of digital property, and allows for it to be sold for real money. Since the Internet doesn't have any particular jurisdiction, they go by everybody's laws, and because of this newish law, people who just want to play their game (whether it be WoW, ****, STO, CO, CoH, etc) have to put up with these idiot spammers.
What's even worse is that some people take them up on this offer, which encourages them, which makes it worse! *Fvadt ataehkh uvhae hnoiyikar!* (rough translation from Romulan - Damn filthy cheating weasels!) (yeah, I'm a geek, but I've got a lot of time on my hands, so what else do I do but study facets of what I like?)
And to address that these spammers may be playing the game the way they want to...? They are not playing the game. They are offering a service to other players, to either give players a large boost in in-game cash, to powerlevel them, or both. But they are doing this for a profit to themselves. Since a monthly subscription costs $15 (roughly), and that's what they keep asking for as their price, all they need do is sell twice a month, and they make their money back and then some. If they stopped after this small profit, that might be one thing... but they're doing it to make as much money as possible. What I and the majority of players may feel about this is that it's exploiting a legitimately run source of fun that is someone else's intellectual property for their own benefit. In a sense, if the minimum of two people per month, per spammer buy in to this disgrace, that steals money from Cryptic. Normal players have to go to their own efforts, sometimes great lengths, sometimes just a little harmless grinding, to get the kind of in-game money these services offer. It takes time, and time equals money for Cryptic. The same goes for leveling up, power-leveling or otherwise. When a non-Cryptic entity offers a service which reduces the amount of time any player may use the game to get the in-game benefits of higher level and/or large amounts of wealth, that is directly taking subscriptions from the pocket of Cryptic. They never see a dime of the $15 fees these jokers are charging, because it's not a service offered by them.
It would be different if such a service were directly offered by Cryptic, but if it were, it would most certainly be for more than $15 to get power-leveled more than 10 levels, or to get 100K in-game money. But this isn't offered, so the game is hemorrhaging money as long as these weasels remain in operation.
Bottom line; they are an annoying presence to the people who just want to play the game, and they can cause a loss of month-to-month subscriptions when players have gotten the levels they want and done what they want to in the game with their higher levels and stop playing, as many people do with MMORPGs. Not everyone picks a game and sticks with it.
Proposed solution: Create a moderator Task-Force or a Watchdog Protocol for the game (or both) to monitor the Private Message system in STO for users with random letters for names sending out copious amounts of messages of the exact same size (not reading the messages, but monitoring who sent them, and how many were sent, so privacy is still maintained for normal messages from normal people), as well as monitoring in-game chat-logs for similar advertisements. As soon as offenders are identified, ban-hammer their butts out of the game. In addition to this, monitoring of large transactions and tallied amount of transactions in a given day. Once it's established that a user is giving out copious amounts of in-game money to many people without receiving anything in return in-game, these users receive the Ban-Hammer, and the users who received these transactions either receive the same ban-hammer, or some other form of punishment for using these services.
As a work-around for players who are legitimately giving these large sums away to other users (a birthday present, the donator is leaving the game and wants to give someone their assets, etc); send a message to in-game moderators or the STO Customer Service group that alerts them of this impending large transaction, so that when it is flagged, it can be ignored (whether it's a Task-Force or a Watchdog program), and the users involved don't get punished for just being nice to each other.
It may only make a small dent in the amount of spammers (because these hnoiyikar are persistent, if nothing else), but that makes room for at least a few players who actually want to play the game.
Simple heuristics could cut back the majority of the spam. A blacklist alone would be a great aid. Reported spam messages (both mail and chat) can be compared to find similarities with statistically improbable recursion - this could be used to automatically improve the blacklist and flag accounts/IP addresses for review (and then banning). The real trick to getting rid of them entirely is to make it more expensive for the spammers to operate (most operate where legal repercussions are virtually impossible), which means staying ahead of them with regards to account creation, proxy use, etc. Rapid response with an iron fist is the only effective solution.
See this thread from Stormshade on the spammer issue. I like the "Ferengi Smuggler" label me gave them.
As long as I see the spammers, I'll keep right-clicking their names and using the "Report Spam" option. Not only does it set them as ignored for me, it also flags the name for the GMs.
there are just so many of them i could sit and click all day and still they keep coming. it like the whole chinese nation is in on the racket. it hard to have the chat window open anymore and each time i ck my email there are more spmmer emailing me. i think they should open the spammer to war when they send u a tell u can see there loc and hunt them down and kill them and get a prize
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