Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bio Shock: CCP Responds to the Controversy

It's the question that everyone in EVE has been asking.


Several days ago, the EVE community was stunned the revelation that CCP deleted my bio. There was nothing offensive or out of the ordinary about my bio. I had not changed it recently; it was the same bio I'd had for several months. Since my character profile is among the more widely-viewed profiles in EVE (given my status as a rock star), a lot of people were confused. So I went straight to the source, and filed a petition in response to GM The Doctor's notification about the bio deletion.

GM Pyro took up the matter and read me in. It all started a month ago, when the New Order was euphorically celebrating its one-year anniversary. It was a simpler time. The New Order was on top of the world, indulging in fast bumps, fast ganks, and fast permit fees. It was a time when anything seemed possible.

As part of the celebration, I wrote a post about the secret origins of the New Order. In that post, I unlocked secrets that had remained hidden for an entire year--secrets, some said, that should have stayed buried. The post highlighted screenshots of the exchange that took place between myself and GM Banana on the eve of the creation of the New Order and its blessed Code. MinerBumping readers were awed and amazed. What they saw there reinforced the idea that the New Order was propelled by destiny.

Fast-forward to a few weeks later. Some anonymous individual filed a petition, notifying CCP that a MinerBumping post contained screenshots of GM communications. Actually, MinerBumping has a history of being read by GMs and CCP employees, and it's not unlikely that they were already aware of the post. But because it was now the subject of a petition, they couldn't turn a blind eye. They investigated the matter.

This wasn't the first time that CCP had been asked to investigate a MinerBumping post, and it wouldn't be the last. When a GM accesses MinerBumping directly from their petition-reading website (i.e. when someone links the site in a petition and the GM clicks on it), it sometimes shows up in MinerBumping's blogger traffic referral stats. However, this was the first time CCP acted on one of those petitions.

As anyone who reads EVE-O is probably aware, CCP is very persnickety when it comes to the publication of GMs' responses to petitions. On EVE-O, they'll delete the quotes. Sometimes this makes it a bit tricky to know exactly what the policy is on something, because you can't use past GM decisions as precedent. Last year, carebears spent months petitioning about bumping. The petitions were rejected, but no one could quote the rejections, so the carebears just kept on petitioning until the GMs came out publicly with an official answer. (The carebears continued petitioning after that, of course.)

Though you won't read GM communications on EVE-O, you can occasionally read them on third-party sites. CCP doesn't typically take action to censor anything outside of their own websites. For example, there's nothing to stop you from reading the famous exchange between Remedial (the founder of Goonfleet) and GM Sunshine (who was complaining about spam in local). If you were so inclined, you could even read copious private logs of CCP and CSM7, because one of the CSM7 members leaked them. Nevertheless, publishing GMs' responses to petitions is theoretically against the EULA, regardless of where they're published.

My decision to post screenshots of the pre-New Order exchange with GM Banana was pretty straightforward. The exchange was a year old, and was of historical interest to the New Order and MinerBumping community. There was nothing confidential revealed in the conversation, and GM Banana didn't say anything that reflected poorly upon CCP. (Arguably, the thoroughness of his answers reflected well on the effort he put into the job.) Nor was there any issue with his words being used as precedent, since the bumping issue had become public and the GM team made an official ruling on it.

But after reviewing the matter, the GMs decided that it was a violation of the EULA for me to publish those screenshots, and I was given a warning. Now, as anyone who spends any time with me or my Agents knows, I have the utmost respect for the EULA. I would never do anything to break the rules; I have too much honour. As Father of the New Order and Saviour of Highsec, whenever I interact with other EVE players, I make certain to treat them properly, and I don't do anything that would come even close to a "gray area". My Agents are the same. Aside from a handful of warnings that I've gotten over the years for things outside the scope of this topic, I never run afoul of CCP.

So I'm not saying that it was acceptable for me to violate the EULA. What I'm saying is, when the Saviour of Highsec does it, that means that it is not a violation.

GM The Doctor probably realized that it wouldn't do him much good to simply give me a warning for publishing the GM communications. It's not as though there's more than one "secret origin" of the New Order. So he took it a step further. He retaliated by deleting my beloved bio. According to GM Pyro, the reason that my bio was deleted is that it contained a link to MinerBumping. This may come as a surprise to my readers, since MinerBumping is linked all over the place. It's probably the most frequently-linked website in bios across EVE. GM Pyro told me that once I deleted the screenshots of the GM communications, I would be cleared to link MinerBumping again.

At this point, I filed another response, officially requesting permission to publish the GM communications, based on the same reasoning I described earlier. This request became the subject of intense debate at the highest levels. Unfortunately, GM Pyro had to inform me that after consultation with multiple senior GMs, the request was denied.

This put everyone's favorite blog into a precarious position. Though only one post out of several hundred contained an alleged EULA violation, the whole website was suspect. The fact that I had a link to MinerBumping in my bio got the entire bio deleted, not just the link. If I deleted the screenshots, all would be well. If I didn't, MinerBumping would become a rogue website, and I could be permabanned for linking it again.

Though I'm not convinced that I actually broke the rules, and though I am convinced that CCP made the wrong decision, I decided to restore MinerBumping's squeaky-clean EULA status by removing the screenshots in question. Since this issue arose only after the "secret origins" post had been up for a couple weeks, most everyone who was going to read the post has already read it anyway. For those who didn't read the post, you have even more reason to envy those who have been reading MinerBumping longer than you.

Am I thrilled by this development? Of course not. Each MinerBumping post is a precious child, not unlike a highsec miner, and I hate to delete anything. I intend to reopen this matter again, once tempers have cooled a little, and am confident that CCP will eventually see reason. At the end of the day, the decision I made was based upon my principles for founding the New Order. I am not driven by pride, or ego, or the desire for fame or fortune. The New Order exists to help people. It's my belief that by restoring MinerBumping's status, I will be able to reach and help more highsec miners than I would if I were placed under additional restrictions or permabanned.

Then there's the matter of the anonymous individual who filed the petition in the first place. Years ago, CCP t20 was caught spawning tech II BPOs and giving them to members of the Band of Brothers alliance in exchange for promoting his alt to command of BoB's capital fleet. CCP t20's alt was known by BoB leadership to be a member of CCP, because he registered for the BoB forums with his CCP e-mail. They were completely aware of the cheating. Nearly all of them kept this secret, but one anonymous whistle-blower reported him. CCP t20 wasn't punished (then), but his alt was removed from BoB. CCP t20 went to EVE-O and complained about this and made his own version of an old World War II-era "somebody talked!" poster. CCP t20 then used the resources at his disposal to attempt to identify the whistle-blower so that he could retaliate, but he failed.

I'm not going to do that today. I don't engage in witch-hunts or perpetrate petty acts of vengeance. Instead, I would like to ask that the petitioner come forward of his or her own free will and apologize, and pay me the 30 million isk Red Pen fee that he or she now owes. I don't want anyone to have to live with the guilt that they no doubt feel.

Finally, my bio. It was destroyed in a terrible, senseless attack. People of highsec, I share your grief. But this isn't the old highsec. We belong to the New Order. When we are unjustly persecuted, we don't give up. We overcome. We prevail. We rebuild. In due time, my bio will be rebuilt, bigger and more beautiful than ever before, so that future generations will be able to look at it and say, "Yes. He made a brand new bio after they deleted the old one."

Thank you.

44 comments:

  1. tldr : james cries to ccp

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    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous low information, small attention span poster.

      Wrong!!

      - Guybertini

      Delete
    2. tldr : a butthurt individual cried about MinerBumping, because he is unable to oppose the New Order in-game.

      Delete
  2. I sincerely hope that nobody posts screenshots of GM communications to imgur.

    Remember folks, people need pictures, and people who need pictures are the luckiest people in the world.

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    Replies
    1. National union of mineworkersJuly 23, 2013 at 9:59 PM

      Fawn thanks for the advice. But has a miner I may not agree with all that the NO does, but do believe that CCP got it wrong to ban James Bio for publishing an item that's over 1 year old.

      Delete
  3. The "Bio Shock" title is brilliant!

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  4. Small steps seems to make big ripples

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  5. The way CCP treated you was disgusting. I just want to rehost the screenshots somewhere and provide in-game links to them in exciting and unexpected ways. Maybe I'll stick them on imgur and make a trial character whose name is the imgur-generated filename, and gank a bunch of miners. Any other suggestions?

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  6. CCP appeared out of nowhere and ruined James' otherwise pleasant day in a terrible and senseless attack? Dreadful!... yet oddly familiar.

    Was he AFK when it happened?

    Ahh well... that's what happens when the agents of CCP catch you breaking the only code that actually matters.

    Remember! You don't have to be a CCP employee to serve the EULA!

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    Replies
    1. Are you claiming that the Code has no effect on compliant miners, agents and rebels? That sounds a bit out of reality.

      Delete
  7. That must be the flimsiest excuses ever. Did you ask why the entire bio was removed instead of only the link to a non CCP controlled website?

    Did you ask why GM Responses were still handled under the 'do not ask, do not tell' policy which has slowed down the accountability and precedent that could lead to a decrease in repeat petitions being filed? Did you ask if anyone else's bio containing the link to minerbumping.com was also removed?

    There's many questions whose answers would sadly be covered by the 'do no ask, do not tell' policy and that's a shame. While CCP wants to be good at communicating with the player and fan base, it's far too easy to get three different opinions depending on the department you speak to.

    It would make them look bad for a week if they discovered in a public arena such as Eve-O forums, that a similar set of circumstances led to widely different petition outcomes. Easiest of all would be to set a line under the past and say - This is how we are going to treat petitions of this nature under these circumstances after a rigorous examination of the events leading up to it.

    I know of several people who had a different response to ship loss during the same incident on all sides. I do now wonder if it was a case of being handled by separate GM's.

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    1. Their Game, their rules if you've been playing Eve long enough you'd know just to deal with it or just quit. The choice is yours

      Delete
    2. Anon 5:18, discussing a topic has nothing to do with "dealing with it" or "quitting". Beggin for changes in the game that go against the fundamentals of EVE, petitioning for matters already stated as legal or being upset over a videogame, yes. But argumenting about CCP is something informed players do.

      Delete
    3. And the point of this entire post again was what? why he lost his bio because he has a linked website which hosted a convo with a GM that could be misconstrued as CCP's official endorsement of player harassment, something which in all EULA of any other game could have the violating players banned.

      He's complaining of why CCP lightly slapped his hand and forcibly violated the sanctity of his bio (which is hosted in CCP servers thus CCP property). All because CCP wants to avoid a potential PR fiasco (we all know how well that went when a "drunk" mittani blabbered out his exploits in evefest).

      He's complaining of lack of GM consistency in rules enforcement while taking advantage of the same inconsistency to run his little roleplay extortion empire so I yes, I guess he has to deal with it or quit.

      Delete
    4. Anon 3:12 you're completely wrong. CCP already said publicly that Miner Bumping is not harrassing. Y

      You can't publish GM conversations and that's it, the content of the conversation wasn't a problem. EVE is a game where piracy and scamming are advertised on the website as features, did you know?

      So, did you miss the public CCP statement that declared Miner Bumping perfectly acceptable? Search on Google.

      Delete
  8. "So I'm not saying that it was acceptable for me to violate the EULA. What I'm saying is, when the Saviour of Highsec does it, that means that it is not a violation."

    Where does it exempt "Saviour of Highsec" from EULA clauses?

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    Replies
    1. You'll find that exemption here: http://www.minerbumping.com/2013/07/bio-shock-ccp-responds-to-controversy.html

      Delete
  9. I have probably linked this site at least a hundred times just in the eve-o forums myself. Does that make me a criminal because of one post that someone doesn't like? I have only received one warning personally, and that was related to some butt hurt Goblin- nothing of importance.

    What's funny about this whole situation is that CCP could just pay attention to Karan local or Fountain space and see the absolutely lewd and disgusting NSFW pornography, Nazi symbols, and worse in local chat. Who would post just things? TEST of course.

    Those kinds of sick individuals need to be the ones investigated for actual EULA violations- not the Saviour of Highsec for posting something on a third party site.

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    Replies
    1. Screw you Erotica, your just butt hurt that you can't play with use nerds in null

      Delete
    2. ^ Anyone able to translate that?

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    3. Ooh, look at that. A criminal calling other people criminals. How lovely. Your tears are so refreshing, Erotica.

      -Sam IAm

      Delete
  10. It appears that CCP is determined to become the next Barbra Streisand:

    http://imgur.com/a/smKMd#0

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    Replies
    1. I guess that means they have to delete anyone’s bio with an imgur link. That should keep the GMs busy.

      Delete
  11. Having had my own bio deleted some time back I'm now asking CCP to let me know if my new, updated bio violates the EULA in any way.

    I would strongly urge anybody who has any doubts about the legitimacy of their bio, or feels that they could potentially be subject to a bio attack, to ask CCP for a ruling on their bio, and then put "CCP Approved Bio" somewhere on their bio.

    This is sure to save our GMs a significant amount of time and will avoid the potential for frivolous bio petitions about your bio being submitted in the future.

    As a community of responsible, EULA abiding Eve players, I feel it is incumbent on us to educate others about bio hazards and to do everything we can to minimize the possibility of a bio threat being used as an intimidation tactic by rebel miners and other ne'er-do-wells.

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    Replies
    1. I absolutely agree, we must educate all EVE players of the potential dangers resulting from biological warfare.

      Delete
    2. This is so funny, you replied to your own alt?

      Delete
    3. Anon, if I only knew who you were I would totally shower you with ISK right now, thank you for the compliment!!

      Delete
    4. Accusing characters you disagree with of being one another's ALT is a true sign of intelligence.

      Delete
  12. Where does it end?
    If this website links to another website that displays a GMresponse is this website in violation?
    If this website links to a site that links to a site that displays, what then?
    Surely google is a dead cert for a perma-ban because of all the "bad" things they link to.

    It becomes absurd when you think about it with any degree of common sense, and then that reflects badly on CCP. I think CCP needs a CLEAR LOGICAL BASED IN SENSE policy that they follow internally, and also communicate to us the players.
    CCP are allowed to state and discuss GM responses on the official forums, but a player doing so or engaging in debate is violating the ELUA. Yet the ( forbidden ) cannon of past GM responses is all that players have to act as a guide where the rules are open to interpretation. Clear policy would let the players know where they stand, and reduce Gm workload but CCP prefers the ostrich approach "sssshhhhh" presumably because they can look for new monacles down those head in the sand holes.
    CCP, gotta love them for all the cool stuff they give us to play with in the amazing unequalled sandbox that is Eve, but I wish they weren't such retarded morons some of the time. It's like they have a stupidity quota they have to fill, and every time you think ok, they've finally settled down and got serious they bring out another whopper of a self inflicted both barrels into the same foot at point blank and chaos ensues again.

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  13. James got punched in the face

    Thumbs up CCP

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    Replies
    1. If that were true, CCP would be forced to ban themselves, since punching someone in the face violates the EULA. Since this has not occurred, your statement is clearly false.

      Delete
    2. You're an idiot

      Delete
    3. Anon 9:26, gratuitous insults are not very classy, but I at least hope you were directing it to Anon 7:21, the one who deserved it. Yes, it must be so.

      Delete
    4. It was directed to EULA Tutor obviously, but it might apply to you too, for failing to read that...

      Delete
    5. It wasn't obvious for two reasons:

      1) you didn't specify who you were talking to.

      2) the comment who showed idiocy was the first one.

      Delete
    6. You're an idiot, too

      Delete
    7. I'm glad to see that once again, being rude and being wrong go often together. It makes it easy to spot ignorance!

      Delete
  14. My Code-compliant miner alts will continue to link to MinerBumping.

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    Replies
    1. The New Order is doing a lot, but it couldn't achieve much without good, compliant miners like you.

      Can you imagine an High Sec were miners are a talking community that accepts the risky nature of EVE, enjoying with a mature attitude the fact that a sandbox is by nature shared with other players?

      I can.

      Delete
    2. I can only guess you meant MMO sandbox, as opposed to just sandbox =P
      Also, there are a fair few people who play MMO's by themselves, or just with a handful of friends, and practically never communicate with others.
      As you said, it's a sandbox. You can do what you like. If you wanna accept the code and pay the fee, you can. If you wanna vomit on said code, you can. If you wanna join corps or make your own and get hugely involved with others you can.
      If you wanna be a simple little highsec pirate farmer, or miner or whatever else you wanna be, you can.
      And also, these people can kill you all they like xD

      Delete
  15. "So I'm not saying that it was acceptable for me to violate the EULA. What I'm saying is, when the Saviour of Highsec does it, that means that it is not a violation."

    So it's true! You're the ghost of Richard Nixon!

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  16. "So I'm not saying that it was acceptable for me to violate the EULA. What I'm saying is, when the Saviour of Highsec does it, that means that it is not a violation."

    Thus it is revealed that James 315 is not the savior of hi-sec as but a mere pretender! Zounds! for if his claims of being a Savior were true, then no mere warning would deter him from his supposed noble cause. Yet here he is bowing down to a demands of a mere GM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By all means give us more tears.

      Delete
  17. Seriously James, you sound like a fucking Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness.

    Get over your self

    ReplyDelete

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