Friday, February 15, 2013

Who Watches The Teachers

Note:  To all of you coming to this post expecting nice juicy pieces of anti-Eve University gossip, you'll have to leave disappointed.  I am leaving the body of what I wrote this morning up so 1) everyone will know what was originally referred to and 2) as a reminder why I usually never write a post like this without thinking about and researching it for at least a day.  I'm not good at it.  Skip down to the update (beginning at the embedded tweet) to find something that is accurate.  And an apology to Kelduum and Eve University.

Over the past few days people have contacted me telling me how much they liked the article on Kelduum's post on the controversy surrounding botted ISK that Eve University received and then had seized by CCP.  I just found out within the last hour that I failed to cover the story adequately.  The situation is much worse than I suspected.

Here is the passage I failed to check:
"He then proceeded to liquidate his assets, and talked to one of the E-UNI directors, Estating that: 'If [CCP] convey a message that they want to punish success and disregard earnest amount of efforts a player put in this game, then I guess EVE is not the game for me... Sorry I won't be completing the articles I promised or update the wiki, I had great things planned out and many unfinished projects EvE-related, but I'm not motivated to finish them anymore. It's been very fun, good times flying with all you guys. E-UNI is great and has been great help for me... I loved the game, my chars are around 30M sp so it was a hard decision to make, but it has been made.'" [emphasis mine]
I mention the passage because of something shocking I saw while surfing the Evelopedia.  I ran into the page on 3rd party tools and started clicking on links to see what applications were available.  Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link to Jitatronic and saw the conclusion to this article...
"Currently, my knowledge of the game has grown such that I can start my bot with disabled graphics (thanks to some DirectX hooks), while running it in a fairly restrictive environment. The client’s memory footprint is 180 MB and consumes about 5% CPU while running. For all this boasting, I should note that this client is greatly modified and must be edited after each official patch CCP releases in order to work."
That's right, the Evelopedia is linking to an application that uses bots to run.  Because the Evelopedia is on the official site everyone will think that CCP approves of using this application.  Now, the Evelopedia allows players to make edits and contributions.  So who contributed this page?  Eve University.

I went over to the Eve University wiki and found the same wiki entry posted there.  I'm pretty sure that curious innocent Eve University students will read the article and figure using the site is okay since no one at Eve University would post something that goes against the EULA.  I'm imagining that the ever-helpful "John" had some part in creating the page although I haven't had a chance to ask around.  I literally discovered this 30 minutes ago.

I'm currently on the train about to disembark so I have not had the opportunity to look at the other entries to see if any other questionable sites that break the EULA are listed.  I may have more to report next week.

UPDATE: 9 hours later...

This post is why I should never attempt to write something serious in 30 minutes.  Unless "John" is Neville Smit (yeah, right) the link to Jitonomic (I got Jitanomic from the wiki pages) was not posted by the mysterious botter.  The link was also posted on 7 December 2010.  All I needed to do was click on the history of the page in question on the Eve University web site and I would have seen who had updated the entry.  And in Neville's defense I don't believe he knew about the botting connection when he posted the site as the blog entries at the link did not appear until December 2011.

The one thing that is accurate is that Jitonomic does use bots to gather its market data.  That information comes straight from the site.

To Kelduum Revaan and Eve University I owe a big apology.  They were the victim of a botter/hacker who didn't disclose his nature until long after the link was posted.  I'm still a bit upset about people being directed to that site because people will think that someone at Eve University believes botting is acceptable.  I'm example #1 and I apologize for not checking the story more carefully and for any additional harm this has caused in this whole affair.

UPDATE 2:  Neville Smit is still playing the game.  He is not "John".

UPDATE - Sunday 17 February 13:  While I appreciate the discussion in the comments of this post I'm going to drop out and concentrate on more important things.  But don't let anyone think that I do not consider the mistake I made in the post as unimportant.  Based on recent events I made an assumption, added 2 + 2 and came up with 5.  Since the facts were easily checked and I failed to do so I've apologized.  Quite frankly, I did not live up to my own standards in this matter.

But another big security issue is raging amongst the community now: how developers of market-related web sites and applications interact with game data.  That is vastly more important than the procedures CCP and Eve University take in ensuring their wiki links are up-to-date.  So I will move on to other things.  But I will make sure to do my research the next time I write.

34 comments:

  1. I love how this is just blowing back on Keldumm. It's tiring seeing all the irrational CCP haters spouting off, so it's nice to see it backfire.

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  2. Lovely twist at the end, after we thought we know the story.. :D

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  3. tl;dr
    And what is your point?

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  4. http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/w/index.php?title=3rd_Party_Tools&diff=18177&oldid=18175

    Looks like that was added back in 2010, possibly when Jitanomic there was different?

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  5. AND.... Kelduum has updated the wiki to remove it about 10 mins ago (his comment: 'Removed Jitanomic as it appears to have links to botting').

    Interesting to see who originally added it... now I finally know who 'John' was!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That wasn't John, and the post about botting was about a year after the link was posted on the UniWiki.

      That said, anyone with an E-UNI forum account can edit the wiki, not just E-UNI members/alumni.

      Delete
    2. he's activated the T2 DCU (damage control unit) lol

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    3. Based on the wiki page history it would appear Neville Smit added the link.

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    4. Neville Smit did biomass

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  6. I wonder how much botting Kelduum does....

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  7. I am the person that added the link on the EVE University wiki to Jitanomic, way back in 2010. At that time, there was no mention of botting on their site, and it looked like an interesting and helpful tool for EVE players. I hate botting in any form and would never have added the link if I thought it was in any way a violation of the CCP EULA. Your assertion that this proves that the UNI is now a supporter of botting is spurious, at best. Shame on you. By the way, I'm not "John" and am still very active in EVE.

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  8. I just read your update to your post, and as far as I'm concerned, you have set the record straight. Thank you for your addendum, and providing an accurate picture.

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  9. Once I got out of work I started researching more and published the update as fast as I could. If I had just clicked the history and seen that you had posted the link this post would have had a completely different tone, if I didn't just delete it.

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  10. Perhaps another interesting point is that ccp just copied entire sections of the eve uni wiki to try and jump start their own.

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  11. I knew Jitonomic was a bot program, and I put it on everyone's wiki, so botting would spread. All hail the bot swarm.

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    Replies
    1. I used a bot to translate Jitonomic to 28 different languages, and link it worldwide from every gaming site. All hail the bot swarm.

      Delete
  12. Quick meta side-note: Don't blame yourself too much for "not checking the story more carefully", because you'd never have all the details. You wrote based on the best information you had at the moment, which seemed conclusive. But more importantly: you're not afraid of updating your post with 'mea culpa's when contradicting information becomes available.

    That's integrity.

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  13. If you really want to figure out who john is then 5 minutes on eve who will tell you

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, I can't figure it out using Eve Who. Could you please give me the answer? Thanks.

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  14. http://forum.eveuniversity.org/viewtopic.php?p=446475#p446475

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    Replies
    1. And John started with his trading ventures when?

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    2. The character you linked to biomassed 17 March 2012. According to Kelduum, "John" biomassed in 2013. Unless you are saying that Kedluum lied about the timeline by 9 months then this is not "John"

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    3. Then I am wrong.

      Delete
  15. http://forum.eveuniversity.org/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=42274&p=510942#p510942

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    1. Based on my research on Eve Who that is the pilot that comes closest to the profile that Kelduum describes in his post. However, the pilot doesn't exactly fit Kelduum's description of "John".

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    2. and if eve who research wasn't enough. A simple search through the uni forums would of got you this as well,

      http://gyazo.com/b4002b97b653b95a136c7d0493981105

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    3. and then eve who of the alt corp has another biomassed alt

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  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  17. Please note that the fact that many idiots seems gung-ho on finding out the real identity of "John" is the main reason why CCP does not publicly release information regarding specific player investigations nor communications between CCP and specific players.

    Compromising a player's identity/privacy is not "transparency" and it is certainly not in the game's (or player's) best interest.

    Does anyone really want to be publicly identified as someone who was caught and banned as a cheater? Esp. if this information might be leaked/linked to your RL identity?

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    Replies
    1. Agreed.

      Could you imagine the chaos if the RL identity of the "victim" in last year's "Mittani at FanFest" scandal had been made public? Rumors spread like wildfire on the Internet, and the poor guy would have probably ended up being flagged in RL as a suicide risk, which causes all sorts of serious problems.

      And, to be honest, if I knew that someone cheats at games, I'd probably not hire him/her as an employee, contractor, or consultant. Such a person would have demonstrated a lack of ethics, which is inappropriate for investing any trust in a professional capacity.

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