Pirates Of The Burning Sea: PotBS: Squashing the Spammers

| 17 Feb 2008 13:37

Isildur, community relations developer at the official PotBS site has posted a blog about spammers. In it, he states that developers are aware of the problem and are trying to deal with it:

While I knew that we'd be facing trouble from goldfarmers and goldselling spammers from the moment we launched, some part of me was still surprised at the volume and aggressiveness of the spammers. Our GM staff is keeping up with them, but every minute they spend dealing with spammers is a minute longer someone with a legitimate problem is waiting in the queue.

The thing about spammers is that they're adaptive. You shut down their access at one point, and they pop up again somewhere else, whack-a-mole style. This means you have two options for dealing with them: you write systems that adapt along with them, or you involve humans in the process. We're going to be doing some of each.

I want to point out, by the way, that I'm not going to talk in any detail about system approaches to dealing with spammers, for a very simple reason: if I tell you what steps we're taking, I'm also telling the spammers, and giving them a head-start on adapting to our plans before they're fully underway. I don't believe obfuscation can actually stop spammers, but it can give us a little more time, during which we can firm up our defenses.

That leaves involving humans in the process. That's essentially what we've been doing all along, with our GMs tirelessly banning spam accounts as quickly as the spammers create them. However, this is ultimately a losing battle: We add more GMs, they respond with even more spammers. We have to streamline the process if they're ever going to get ahead.

On your end, we're adding the ability to report spammers with a single command. Right now, you've got to use the support ticket system, which involves leaving the game. When we make it hard for you to report spammers, we discourage you from reporting them, and your reports are the final line of defense. We don't want to discourage you.

On our end, we're revising the process by which GMs are notified of a particular spammer, so that they can quickly look up the spammer's activities, confirm they're spamming, and remove the account with a single click. If you think the process on your end to report a spammer is cumbersome, you should see what the poor GMs have to go through.

The goal is both to get the spammers out of the game as quickly as possible, and also to clear out the clogged support system so the GMs can spend time helping players.

Naturally, there are back-end, systematic changes we're making in a number of places, including our logging system and our chat system, to try and catch the spam before you even see it, and handle the spammers before they have a chance to annoy even one player. That's the stuff I'm not going to talk about further.

At the end of the day, your feedback and diligence in reporting problems was, and continues to be, the keystone of our efforts to fight spammers and gold sellers. You've got our thanks, and our continued commitment to support and protect our customers to the best of our ability.

Check it out and add your comments at the link above.

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Thanks for reposting this here on Warcry Kaila, gold sellers really are a plague, even more so since John Smedley (pres. of SOE) told us all how they do those chargebacks, costing them millions of dollars a month in fines to the credit card companies.

PotBS: Squashing the Spammers

Isildur, community relations developer at the official PotBS site has posted a blog about spammers. In it, he states that developers are aware of the problem and are trying to deal with it:

While I knew that we'd be facing trouble from goldfarmers and goldselling spammers from the moment we launched, some part of me was still surprised at the volume and aggressiveness of the spammers. Our GM staff is keeping up with them, but every minute they spend dealing with spammers is a minute longer someone with a legitimate problem is waiting in the queue.

The thing about spammers is that they're adaptive. You shut down their access at one point, and they pop up again somewhere else, whack-a-mole style. This means you have two options for dealing with them: you write systems that adapt along with them, or you involve humans in the process. We're going to be doing some of each.

I want to point out, by the way, that I'm not going to talk in any detail about system approaches to dealing with spammers, for a very simple reason: if I tell you what steps we're taking, I'm also telling the spammers, and giving them a head-start on adapting to our plans before they're fully underway. I don't believe obfuscation can actually stop spammers, but it can give us a little more time, during which we can firm up our defenses.

That leaves involving humans in the process. That's essentially what we've been doing all along, with our GMs tirelessly banning spam accounts as quickly as the spammers create them. However, this is ultimately a losing battle: We add more GMs, they respond with even more spammers. We have to streamline the process if they're ever going to get ahead.

On your end, we're adding the ability to report spammers with a single command. Right now, you've got to use the support ticket system, which involves leaving the game. When we make it hard for you to report spammers, we discourage you from reporting them, and your reports are the final line of defense. We don't want to discourage you.

On our end, we're revising the process by which GMs are notified of a particular spammer, so that they can quickly look up the spammer's activities, confirm they're spamming, and remove the account with a single click. If you think the process on your end to report a spammer is cumbersome, you should see what the poor GMs have to go through.

The goal is both to get the spammers out of the game as quickly as possible, and also to clear out the clogged support system so the GMs can spend time helping players.

Naturally, there are back-end, systematic changes we're making in a number of places, including our logging system and our chat system, to try and catch the spam before you even see it, and handle the spammers before they have a chance to annoy even one player. That's the stuff I'm not going to talk about further.

At the end of the day, your feedback and diligence in reporting problems was, and continues to be, the keystone of our efforts to fight spammers and gold sellers. You've got our thanks, and our continued commitment to support and protect our customers to the best of our ability.

Check it out and add your comments at the link above.

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