A CCP GM stirred up a hornets' nest when he retracted the mercenary alliance Violent Intent's wardec against Fatal Ascension. The wardec occurred when the target of the original wardec, Militant Industries, joined Fatal Ascension. After much anger, CCP responded publicly on the forums.
I'm the GM tasked with investigating what happened surrounding this war's cancellation. After reading this thread in full, I wanted to offer the explanation you requested.
First, I'd like to present a time-line of the events which took place to give everyone a clearer picture of what happened.
2010.11.02 01:08 – The Violent Intent alliance declares war on the Militant Industries corporation.
2010.11.07 20:30 - Militant Industries joins the Fatal Ascension alliance, thus the war with Violent Intent is instantly moved over to the alliance level.
2010.11.08 00:07 - A petition is filed by a member Fatal Ascension expressing confusion as to why the war notification stated that the war would begin immediately but was not preceded by the standard 24 hour grace period. He suspected that an exploit had been at play.
2010.11.12 11:55 - A senior GM investigates and the war is canceled as a result of this investigation. (Read more on this below.)
2010.11.14 05:26 - A representative of Violent Intent files a petition asking why the war was canceled.
2010.11.15 22:03 - We reopen the investigation and respond to Violent Intent's petition.
When wars between two alliances are viewed in our current logging system, the start date for the war will be listed as the date and time when the war originally started. In this case the start time for the war between Violent Intent and Fatal Ascension was listed as being 2010.11.02 01:08, which is when the war between Violent Intent and Militant Industries started. As can be seen in the above timeline, the war did not involve the Fatal Ascension alliance until 2010.11.07 20:30 when Militant Industries joined the alliance.
Therefore, the initial petition was originally investigated by a game master from the angle that the war notification had not been sent out on time. This decision was based on what he could see from the notification quoted in the petition and had also seen on our end in our server logs, that the notification had been sent out five days after the purposed start date of the war. An internal note was placed on the petition and it was escalated to more experienced GMs for review.
A senior GM reviewed the case based on the previous GM's investigation and came to the conclusion that a bug had indeed caused the war notification to be delayed by five days. The detail that the war originated with the Militant Intent corporation was missed, likely as a result of the preconceived notion that a bug of some sort was involved. An internal defect about the "bug" was submitted into our issue tracking system to have the bug investigated and fixed for good. The war was canceled and a refund for the war bill was issued. An offer was made to Fatal Ascension in the petition that all losses incurred as a result of the "bugged" war would be reimbursed should players who incurred such losses file a petition. Compounding the issue, the cancellation of the war was not communicated to the leadership of the Violent Intent alliance as it should have been. Our policies dictate that this should be done when actions are taken which affect more than one player entity, a war being canceled would under such certainly fall a situation.
There are no indications that the petition filed by Fatal Ascension was created with malicious intent. A series of mistakes and assumptions led to the war being canceled. These mistakes were ours and we accept full responsibility and humbly apologize for them.
We have taken measures internally to ensure that all current and future GMs are familiar with in-game war mechanics as well as the policy listed above and we hope that these mistakes will not repeat themselves.
I'd like to address the matter of the reimbursement offer which was made to both sides which has been discussed quite a bit within this thread. As was mentioned above, Fatal Ascension was offered reimbursement for any ships which had been lost as a result of the war on the basis that the war notification had indeed been bugged. During our investigation into the whole ordeal on the 15th of November when Violent Intent's petition was being handled, an offer to reimburse the losses they had incurred was extended on the basis that Fatal Ascension had already received such an offer in the past and that their reimbursement claims had most likely already been granted at that point in time.
Removing ships which have already been reimbursed is something we wish to avoid as much as possible. This offer was made with the intention of compensating everyone involved and it was made before we had taken an in-depth look into the actual losses that were incurred throughout the duration of the war. After further consideration we decided instead that it would be best to redact the reimbursement offers that had been made to both sides on the grounds that it was the most reasonable way to be fair to everyone involved. All petitions submitted by members of corporations within Fatal Ascension after the war had been canceled were reviewed and no reimbursement had been granted.
I'd like to extend my most sincere apologies on behalf of the whole GM team for these mistakes on our part and I hope that the measures we've taken and are planning to take in response to this will prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future.
Senior GM Lelouch
EVE Online Customer Support
I am going to guess this is one GM mistake that will never happen again.