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Garbage In - Garbage Out

Garbage In – Garbage Out

It all started with this sentence:

You may not impersonate or falsely present yourself to be a representative of another player, group of players, character or NPC entity.

And addition to the Terms of Service (TOS) that Eve Players accept when they sign into the game.  It also makes illegal some of the most controversal and intriguing gameplay that Eve has been well known for.

Naturally, Eve Players were a tad… upset.

If you don’t know why, I think Ali Aras of the CSMs put it elequently when she stated:

If I, Ali Aras, member of Valkyries of Night and Of Sound Mind, represent myself as a CFC rental agent (a title I do not hold in a coalition I am not a member of), is this a violation of the TOS as changed and impersonation policies as historically implemented?

The problem was that the TOS was so broad, literally anything could be counted as misrepresentation.. even potentially a player playing himself.

The vocal discussions reached the Blogosphere and Twitter in record time (I’m glad someone reads those things..).  A threadnaught was started, locked, then started again.  With some interesting commentary by some GMs.

GM Grimmi starts off the slugfest, with this informative post:

Greetings,

Impersonation has been prohibited for a long time. 

The EULA clearly states that:

“No player may use the character name of another player to impersonate or falsely represent his or her identity”

A similar clause has been in the EVE Online Naming Policy for a good while:

“c. No player may use the character name of another player to falsely represent his or her identity. Player created corporation and alliance names also fall under this policy, as do names of any other in-game entities.”

The TOS update is therefore nothing new, merely a clarification of what has been policy for ages. 

Recruitment scams using your own corp/alliance are fine, claiming to be working on behalf of players/groups of players you’re not affiliated with is considered impersonation and a violation of our policies.

The problem with that is in game impersonation HAS NOT been treated as illegal.. ever.  Goonswarm scams are legendary.  Jita scams fill local chat every second.  Guided Hand Social Club.. illegal according to the “revised” TOS.  And according to GM Grimmi, they were revised to make this more “clear”.  Apparently where GM Grimmi is from “clear” is a very subjective term.

CCP Guard then came to try and put a little water on what he understood to be a potential BURN JITA event, with the following statement:

Hey everyone. It’s evening here in Reykjavík, our senior staff are presumably at home with their families and it may take until tomorrow to get this all cleared up in an official manner.

I can assure you that this is intended in the best way, as clarification of policy that’s been in effect for a long time so I hope we have your patience until office hours tomorrow. Nothing bad will happen in the meantime.

If it turns out that this change to the wording is actually too far reaching, goes against its intended purpose, or is somehow confusing things rather than clarifying them, that will be taken care of…trust me. If it turns out to make sense despite the worries you guys have, proper explanations will be provided.

I want to give the people responsible for drafting the policy a chance to read your posts and address the matter. Agreed?

Okay, everyone calms down for a little bit.  We all like CCP Guard, we trust CCP Guard cuz we see him at events, he’s rather crazy, and we know he’s a fun guy.  And he isn’t likely to stab us in the back.

Then GM Grimmi decides again to help out in with a new thread, to clarify the clarification:

Greetings pilots,

We would like to address your concerns regarding the update to article 8 of our TOS that was published yesterday. Some basic information on how we deal with issues that come up regarding impersonation is therefore appropriate.

All cases are investigated individually on a case by case basis. If there are complications or difficulties in reaching a solution cases are moved to senior game masters, which happens a lot with the impersonation issues that are reported to us. There are no magic catch-all rules and policies to cover every eventuality so they must interpret the rules we have in place and apply them to the issue at hand in order to keep the peace. For all practical purposes there has been no change in how impersonation issues will be handled compared to the last few years. The TOS update reflects the way reported cases of impersonation have been handled by Customer Support for a long time. The rules applied have been buried in our naming policy and EULA but have now been placed in plain view in order to better help players to make decisions on how they interact with one another.

As cases are investigated GMs look at the information that is available, one of the important considerations being the intent behind a player’s actions. Benevolent roleplaying of NPC entities may not be considered to warrant action in regards to impersonation while malicious activity employing such trickery will not be tolerated. 

One concern is that we have pretty much banned all scams in EVE. Clearly, this is not the case.

Thank you and fly safe.

Clarified?  Nope.  Again, where GM Grimmi is from, “clear” and “clarification” seem to be VERY subjective terms.  Nevertheless, he tries yet a third time to clarify the clarification, of the clarification:

We cannot go into specifics as each report is different and this will just end up leading into a circular argument of “ifs” and “buts”. We will say that impersonation cases are handled on a case by case basis by experienced GMs and there is no change in how such cases will be handled from now from how they were handled a year ago.

Yeah.  Maybe he isn’t an English speaker because this doesn’t tell us anything that helps us trust the reasoning for the change to the TOS.  At this point, multiple CSMs are now voicing the concerns of the multitude of players upset that a core gameplay factor has changed.  CCP Falcon tried earlier to calm the people, but that didn’t go as well as he had hoped.  Finally another GM, GM Karidor, stepped up and gave us a quick update:

Just popping into here quickly to ask some patience in this matter and to please hold your horses, at least until tomorrow. We are currently in the process of writing something up that will (hopefully) give you some better insight regarding this ToS change and clear up some misunderstandings. I hope to have this done until tomorrow around noon (GMT), but will update here should there be any further delay.

Considering all the success that GM Grimmi has had in “clarifying” issues.. it might be a good idea to let him sit this one out.  Plus, I really wouldn’t want to be the guy who has to tell Hilmar, “Hey, um, we made a change to the Terms of Service.. and um, it was, uh, no big deal really.. but the players, they sorta “misunderstood” what we wrote and now the playerbase and the CSM are demanding answers, and are threatening to Burn Jita again because they want to know why we kinda, sorta, made scamming illegal in Eve Online.. by accident.”

For additional commentary:

The Mittani

Poetic Discourse has a couple: Here and here.

And I will add more when I see them.

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