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Rules for Background Checks

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polar    3474
polar

Introduction:
Since there continues to be a confusion about what is and isn't required for background checks, I have decided to make a defined set of guidelines outlining our expectations for background checks. A few things before getting into the details. First, this is not a universal guide. I can only tell you what will and will not get you banned on BACKPACK.TF. This does not apply to other sites. The cutoff in item values for which we expect traders to complete a background check is based on new SteamRep guidelines - 15 keys. For trades under 15 keys in value, we do not require that you complete a background check. Feel free to post any questions or concerns below. 
 
Our Expectations for Our Users: 
We expect all users to check the following on all trades 15 keys or greater in value - you must check (1) the SteamRep status, (2) the steam community profile of the user, (3) backpack.tf profiles. You should NOT trade with someone who is marked on SteamRep or banned on backpack.tf as a scammer, scammer alt or scammer fence or someone who is an "obvious scammer alt."

 

We characterize an obvious alt as someone having some or all of these qualities:

 

(1) a steam level of three or less

(2) private backpack or profile

(3) minimal inventory except for high value items

(4) new account with high value items

(5) low hours in the game they are trading items for (though this may not be visible now by default)

 

You also need to verify where the items have come from if trading with people with private backpacks. If you cannot verify the item's history, don't complete the trade. As always, if in doubt about where your items are coming from, ask for help here in the forums before making the trade. 

 

Occasionally a user who is buying high volumes of items from scammers to sell on will be banned as a scammer fence, and it is not acceptable to trade with these users. This will be identified in their ban reason, so read carefully.

 

Please note that gambling with scammers is treated as trading with scammers, that means you gamble at your own risk on sites that allow scammers to gamble as well. Gambling is also against the steam TOS so we don't recommend it - http://www.teamfortress.com/post.php?id=27111
 
Our Responsibility to the Community:
While we expect certain responsibilities from our users, we understand that we have certain responsibilities ourselves. Part of these responsibilities is to be transparent with our ban reasons. If a person is banned for scamming and is unsafe to trade with, we will mark it clearly in our ban reason. There are some people banned for other reasons such as spamming or rudeness, but it is still okay to trade with them. A second part of our responsibilities is that we will discourage scamming by banning people who trade with scammers. To this end, we will employ the following set of ban durations -
 
If a trader unknowingly fails to meet these expectations, bans will be issued as follows:
(1) First offense - 3 days to 1 week depending on the severity of the action
(2) Second offense - 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the severity of the action
(3) Third offense - permanent ban (may be appealed after 6 months)
 
If a trader knowingly fails to meet these expectations and is found to intentionally trade with scammers, the ban will instantly be a permanent one.

 

Unless their ban reason states otherwise (i.e. Scammer Fence etc), then users who are banned for trading with scammers are fine to trade with.

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Distinctively Vincent    294
Distinctively Vincent

So there'll be no punishment, guaranteed, if a user has pending report(s) on SteamRep but aren't marked or banned anywhere and are not an obvious alt? I've turned down trades with people before just because of pending reports, and I'd rather not do that if it's unnecessary.

yeah I have, too. I have reports that are "pending" that are well over a month old, that's a long time. I'm pretty sure creamy got banned from outpost for nothing more than pending reports? Might be wrong on that.

 

These are our personal guidelines for banning. We cannot guarantee that other sites will not take a harsher stance. If you don't have personal moral qualms on the matter and only care about not getting banned from bp.tf, feel free to turn a blind eye to pending reports. I wouldn't expect it to be fully consequence free though- if outpost bans you, you end up with a valid negative trust, or you end up with your own pending steamrep report as a result, it will still make trading harder for you.

 

To reiterate. These are our guidelines for how we'll handle banning regarding trades with scammers due to poor background checking. It is not a guide for how to do the bare minimum and expect to be consequence free across all trading sites. My personal recommendation would be to check all you can and use your personal judgement- every high value trade should be a trade you could justify if needed, where you can safely say you gave a reasonable background check and nothing you saw gave you concern about the user or the items you're trading for. I personally always take a look at pending steamrep reports for higher value trades to see if there's anything in them that worries me about who I'm trading with and would recommend others do the same.

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sirploko    43
sirploko

Since we share a good portion of our userbase, I would like to add the criteria for trades that get you in trouble on Outpost as well:

 

I will only expand on trades with what we colloquially call scammers or scammer alts, other permabannable offenses like brokering for banned users, sharking, ban evasions and fake COs are (hopefully) easy to understand and known at this point.

 

Our rule regarding trades with scammers is rather short and concise on purpose, so it encompasses all possibilities:

 

"No trading with scammer alts. We do not encourage our users trading with scammers, and you should be careful to not trade with obvious alternate accounts of scammers. Please check the user's Steam profile and SteamRep status before trading with them."

 

A lot of people try to argue about the exact wording when they get banned, so let me clear up some common misconceptions. The rule does not exclude checking users Outpost profiles, to the contrary. This should be your first check to make, as you are submitting to Outposts rules when using it and therefore you should be aware of the Outpost status of your trading partners at all times.

 

We consider scammers (again, this is just a colloquial term, in lieu of a better one) to be:

 

  • Users that are marked on SR for any kind of offense, be it impersonation of an admin, quickswitching, fencing for scammers, etc.

 

  • Users that are banned on Outpost for scamming related offenses, these are mostly, but not limited to, giftwrap, Steam gift (games) and paypal scamming as well as friend impersonation and steam wallet scams (trade offers promising to pay x amount for your items). Sharking is not included in this list, as we consider it to be bad practice, but not scamming per se.

 

  • Users that are permabanned for trading with scammers repeatedly. Here we make a clear distinction. Usually, if the trade in question is not of very high value and includes a few items at most, then we will ban the user 2 weeks for the first offense. These users can be traded with. If they get caught again however, they will be permabanned and any trade with them can now considered to be a rule violation. This is a little bit of a grey area, since it depends on the case at hand. FOG (Fortress of Gamers) have been issuing SR tags for some users who traded with scammers repeatedly, so a person you know to be permabanned on OP for this, could be subject to a SR tag at any time.

 

  • Users that are banned on Outpost for having pending SR reports. When we ban users for this, we usually have seen sufficient evidence for fraudulent behaviour and ban them until the SR report is resolved in their favour, or if not, forever.

 

  • Users that are not banned yet on Outpost, but have pending SR reports that clearly indicate that something is wrong. That could mean they have half a dozen of reports for the same offense, or one particular one with overwhelming evidence. We can not always keep up with every user, so if you check somebody on SR that has pending reports, we urge you to take the 2 minutes it takes to evaluate the claims in said report.

 

  • Users whose Outpost profile says "Alt of X". In this case you need to follow the profile links until you get to the main account. If he is banned for anything that is not mentioned above, then you can trade with him. (Banned for private profile, NSFW avatar, sharking, brokering, etc.)

 

 

As for alts, we don't have a explicit set of numbers to identify an obvious scammer alt. We are trying to keep up with the profile spam of scammers, so if you check the persons Outpost profile, chances are he is already banned (that is of course only the case if he ever logged in to OP) for being an alt.

 

A few pointers to consider are detailed in the SR FAQ:

 

nis3g4.png

 

You should also check for the amount of paid games they own, the Steam level and overall playtime of games. Most scammer alts have less than 100 hours in TF2 and 3 to 5 games at most. Basically, if something seems fishy to you, it probably is better to avoid trading with them alltogether. It certainly helps to look up the item history on bp.tf as well, since quite a few scammers will show up just before the alt that is trying to sell it to you, which is another red flag.

 

Private profiles are worth mentioning on their own. We do have a rule that says:

 

"You are accountable for any trades you make with users that have a private profile. You should be taking as many measures as possible to prevent hijackers and scammers from profiting from their bad deeds, and private profiles are usually a red flag."

 

We do not allow private BPs or profiles on Outpost for this very reason and almost no legitimate trader will have a private profile. There might be a few exceptions for certain collectors or high profile users that just want to be left alone, but these people usually are not very active traders and will almost never be eager to quicksell high value items to you.

 

To sum it up:

 

The better the deal you are being offered, the more suspicious you should be.

 

If you have any questions, please go ahead and ask here.

 

*Disclaimer:

 

I am not speaking officially on behalf of Outpost. The above statements are what I learned in my ~8 months of being a moderator there and can be subject to change at any time.

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polar    3474
polar

Making a few changes here.

 

In accordance with SR's change in policy mentioned here http://forums.backpack.tf/index.php?/topic/44460-ask-a-steamrep-admin/page-5?p=471411&do=findComment&comment=471411, we are changing a few rules under the category of "trading with scammers."

 

(1) We won't ban anyone for unknowingly trading with scammers on items under 15 keys in value.

(2) Originally we had different standards for checking low (<50 key items) and high (>50 key) value items. I have removed that distinction. The same rules apply to all items >15 keys in value.

(3) While we will continue to issue a permanent ban on ban #3, users may now appeal their ban after 6 months provided that they have had no trades with scammers in that duration. Screenshots of their complete trading history during their ban duration will need to be provided. This is particularly targeted at the high volume traders.

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Alice?    17
Alice?

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to reply to this thread, but I’ve a question: Are you allowed to trade with somebody who’s banned on TF2 Outpost or backpack.tf but not SteamRep?

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Woifi The Viking    1864
Woifi The Viking
7 hours ago, Mom’s Spaghetkey said:

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to reply to this thread, but I’ve a question: Are you allowed to trade with somebody who’s banned on TF2 Outpost or backpack.tf but not SteamRep?

 

Our Expectations for Our Users: 
We expect all users to check the following on all trades greater than 15 keys in value - you must check (1) the SteamRep status, (2) the steam community profile of the user, (3) backpack.tf profiles for bans marking them as a scammer or scammer alt. You should NOT trade with someone who is marked on SteamRep and someone who is an "obvious scammer alt." 

 

^Quoting the guide here. You should find the answer within these words, they are even underlined. Hope that helps.

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Alice?    17
Alice?
1 hour ago, Woifilicious said:

^Quoting the guide here. You should find the answer within these words, they are even underlined. Hope that helps.

I read that, but it does say “You should NOT trade with someone who is marked on SteamRep” afterwards, not mentioning other sites.

 

And what about sites such as TF2 Outpost?

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Woifi The Viking    1864
Woifi The Viking
9 minutes ago, Mom’s Spaghetkey said:

I read that, but it does say “You should NOT trade with someone who is marked on SteamRep” afterwards, not mentioning other sites.

 

And what about sites such as TF2 Outpost?

Why would we require you to check the backpack.tf profile of someone if it wouldn't matter? I guess I can reword that part. Edit: Updated, hope it's more clear now.

 

And well there is no word of outpost in there, so we don't care about outpost bans, that's a completely different trading site with their own rules.

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Alice?    17
Alice?
On 23/01/2018 at 1:25 PM, Woifilicious said:

Why would we require you to check the backpack.tf profile of someone if it wouldn't matter? I guess I can reword that part. Edit: Updated, hope it's more clear now.

 

And well there is no word of outpost in there, so we don't care about outpost bans, that's a completely different trading site with their own rules.

Thank you.

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Toad    14
Toad

Am I able to make suggestions here?

 

Polar, 

 

You had said that this rule is based on Steamrep guidelines. Steamrep has already trashed this rule(?) https://forums.steamrep.com/threads/policy-change-trades-with-scammer-policy-end-of-life.119528/

Notable reason why they canned it "The knock-on effect of this policy made honest traders fear being banned for everyday trading and mistakes. While we do want people to check SteamRep before trades, the reason should be to protect themselves from being defrauded and not to protect themselves from being banned by a trade community."

 

If this is true, should this rule should be done away with? I suspect you won't agree to this, so I have suggested an amendment below.

 

It seems rather excessive that the first infraction is an outright ban, not even a chance for an appeal. We are all prone to mistakes, especially high volume traders who aren't bots. As Steamrep suggests, this makes good traders scared of being penalized heavily for a single mistake. I strongly feel the first offense should be a warning at least (if it was something small, mind you). My suggested amendment is:

 

(1) First offense - Warning to 3 day ban depending on severity of the action

(2) Second offense - 3 days to 1 week depending on the severity of the action
(3) Third offense - 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the severity of the action
(4) Fourth offense - permanent ban (may be appealed after 6 months)

 

At the very least, if this amendment isn't accepted, the first offense should be appealable. By appealable, not just "I didn't do it, here's evidence" but also "Holy crap, I messed up, here is what I can do so this doesn't happen again" - Ie if the appealee admits wrongdoing, recognizes why it's wrong, and steps he/she will implement so it won't happen again, an accepted appeal should be in order. 

 

Frankly, I'm trying to be modest in this amendment. If it was up to me, I would probably lax the penalties by quite a bit more - I'm not a mod here though!

 

As a side note, I'm wondering about people who have unknowningly traded with a scammer, were reprimanded, and offered to give back the scammed item (assuming it was scammed) to the rightful owner? Should there be a special case for this?

 

*I've made some edits to this post.

 

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Alice?    17
Alice?
5 minutes ago, Toad said:

Am I able to make suggestions here?

 

It seems rather excessive that the first infraction is an outright ban. We all mistakes, especially high volume traders who aren't bots. I strongly feel the first offense should be a warning at least (if it was something small, mind you). My suggested amendment is:

 

(1) First offense - Warning to 3 day ban depending on severity of the action

(2) Second offense - 3 days to 1 week depending on the severity of the action
(3) Third offense - 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the severity of the action
(4) Fourth offense - permanent ban (may be appealed after 6 months)

 

As a side note, I'm wondering about people who have unknowningly traded with a scammer, were reprimanded, and offered to give back the scammed item (assuming it was scammed) to the rightful owner? Should there be a special case for this?

I concur. Getting banned for accidentally trading with a scammer once is a bit excessive.

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Teeny Tiny Cat    2381
Teeny Tiny Cat
9 hours ago, Toad said:

Snip

 

Steamrep stopped marking for this because the knock-on effect it had was different. A steamrep mark is quite different from a site ban, and it was causing a somewhat domino-like cascade of bans. Here, a ban for trading with scammers does not prohibit anyone from trading with you, so the effect is nowhere close to the same.

 

Temporary bans are warnings. 2 warnings is enough before a perm ban, it's more chances than other sites will give you that's for sure.

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Toad    14
Toad
5 hours ago, Teeny Tiny Cat said:

 

Steamrep stopped marking for this because the knock-on effect it had was different. A steamrep mark is quite different from a site ban, and it was causing a somewhat domino-like cascade of bans. Here, a ban for trading with scammers does not prohibit anyone from trading with you, so the effect is nowhere close to the same.

 

Temporary bans are warnings. 2 warnings is enough before a perm ban, it's more chances than other sites will give you that's for sure.

 

Ok, that makes sense, however, this rule is still being justified using an out of date Steamrep rule. The reasoning Steamrep used can also still be applied here, specifically, having normal honest traders banned for making a single mistake, at least from this site. Warnings are not temporary bans, temporary bans are temporary bans, and I believe temporary bans are far too strict as a first penalty for this rule.

 

Consider another point,

A user completes 1000+ trades on here, he makes sure to check every trade but one day, he forgets one and is given a temporary ban. Even though he made a single mistake, despite all of his other trades, he still is given a temporary ban. No chance for appeal. This user makes sure to clean up his act, several months/year later though, it happens again, he's given a second offense penalty. Despite completing thousands of more trades and checking each one, his previous offense still holds up. There is no penalty decaying, and still no chance of appeal.

 

By this logic and assuming we are all privy to mistakes, eventually, most heavy non-bot traders will eventually be banned.

 

With all of these points from this post and my other one, I'm having a difficult time understanding how this even is remotely fair. There has to be more leniency for this rule - a decay factor, appeals, lesser penalties, something. Giving out bans for rare mistakes, especially for first time offenses, and with with no decay factor or chance to appeal, is not in any way healthy for this site. 

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Teeny Tiny Cat    2381
Teeny Tiny Cat
1 hour ago, Toad said:

Snip

 

You may believe it's too strict but we don't. That's really all there is to it. It's not difficult to do background checks, many traders have thousands of trades with 0 bans on their accounts. Any ban can be appealed, even perm, no idea where you're getting that notion from.

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Toad    14
Toad
50 minutes ago, Teeny Tiny Cat said:

You may believe it's too strict but we don't. That's really all there is to it. It's not difficult to do background checks, many traders have thousands of trades with 0 bans on their accounts. Any ban can be appealed, even perm, no idea where you're getting that notion from.

I don't want to derail this conversation by talking about my account on here, but all I will say is that it seems like appeals are only accepted if a mistake was made by the mod, perhaps it varies by mod, I don't know.

 

Back to the point at hand, I'm a bit frustrated because it seems like you're just hand waving at my points and not addressing them directly. The mods can think whatever they want, it doesn't mean they're right, though, nor does it mean users are right, either. So, at the very least, can you please address my concerns? I know I'm not that crazy and some of my points are at least somewhat valid. 

 

I wonder, when you reference how many accounts don't have a ban, how many of those accounts are bots? From my experience in the trading community, I've come across quite a few honest traders given bans by this rule.

 

 

 

 

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Teeny Tiny Cat    2381
Teeny Tiny Cat
42 minutes ago, Toad said:

Back to the point at hand, I'm a bit frustrated because it seems like you're just hand waving at my points and not addressing them directly.

 

Your points, from what I can tell:

 

Steamrep got rid of this rule for X reason, why don't you?

 

Whatever reasoning steamrep gave for removing the rule, the real problem with it was that marking an account for trading with scammers was indistinguishable in the rules from a mark for scamming, so it resulted in a domino effect where marks spread like wildfire. This is not a problem with backpack.tf bans since we don't prohibit people from trading with people banned for trading with scammers, so those bans end with the user.

 

- A ban for first offence is excessive

 

As I already mentioned, a temporary ban is a warning. It is intended to make the user in question aware that they have broken a rule and what the result will be if they continue to break it the same way. When we apply shorter bans, what happens is that often people don't even notice the warning and thus don't learn anything that allows them to follow the rules in future. Not only that, but we give a second temporary warning ban before we even move towards permanent. We also allow perm banned users to appeal after 6 months provided they demonstrate they have ceased the behaviour that got them banned. We are much more lenient than many sites.

 

First offence should be easily appealable

 

While I understand why you would request this, there needs to be some form of consequence for breaking the rules, and if it's as easy as simply making an appeal and getting instantly unbanned then people learn nothing and are even more likely to repeat the behaviour. Serving a short ban makes people aware that we are serious about this rule and that they need to be more careful about who they trade with. It also allows people some time to learn more about how to do a proper background check so that they can properly follow the rules in future.

 

- Should people who trade with scammers to get items to return to victims be banned

 

This is a fairly silly hypothetical which basically never happens, but for the sake of argument I would still encourage people not to get involved with scammers in any way. Not only do you put your own account at risk when you do so, but you help them offload scammed items regardless of where you plan to return the item to.

 

Should high volume traders get more leniency than low?

 

No. Simply put. Just no. I don't care if you made 5 trades or 5000, it's your responsibility to follow the rules of this site if you wish to use it. I know high volume traders, some of them mods of this site, who make thousands of trades which they check manually. It's perfectly possible if you have any commitment at all to following the rules and avoiding scammers.

 

- Do the rules favour bots?

 

No. If anything, they disadvantage bots, since we also ban for trades with obvious scammer alts and bots are not able to determine what that is - it requires human judgement. This is why I recommend all bot owners require manual check on any trade above 15 keys in value.

 

Hope that answered most of your question.

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KeysMate    4
KeysMate

If I may weigh in...

 

- If Steamrep really cared about signaling people that trade with scammers, why not just come up with a different kind of mark then? After all there already exists a "caution" one so why not add one more? Maybe it is that they realized that unlike scamming, the simple act of trading with a scammer doesn't necessarily make a trader untrustworthy or disreputable. Or maybe it was just too much work, because if scammers can find ways to scam items out of people surely they can find ways to sell them to others.

 

- Concerning first offences, this reasoning makes sense only if people are actually made aware of the rules beforehand. They shouldn't discover those rules with their first ban which is what happens most of the time. The fact that they are hidden away in this forum post is a problem. How simple would it be to make them harder to miss by displaying some kind of warning or link to them on the main page for instance, or by making some kind of pop-up tutorial about the dangers and pitfalls of trading appear upon first signing up to the site? Not only would this dramatically reduce the number of first offenses occurring but it would also help prevent countless people from being scammed in the first place because in the vast majority of cases scams are only made possible by a lack of education as to what to look out for. Websites with a huge online presence such as this one or scrap.tf have the power to make an unprecedented impact on the general safety of trading at virtually no cost to them in this way.

 

- Yes if there's anything that can be done about it, why not return items to the victims? This is actually a point I made in my appeal which I am going to repeat here. A creative way to differentiate between users that knowingly, willingly and repeatedly trade with scammers and those who simply made an honest mistake would be to give them a simple choice: either return  the item to the victim it was stolen from (if the item wasn't stolen or if the victim can't be tracked down instead giving it away in some kind of raffle), or choose the usual penalty of the ban. Most low tier traders or first offenses will probably go with the ban but traders like me would be happy to make up for their mistake in a productive way. It still accomplishes the goal of reminding forgetful people of the rules as no one likes money but it wouldn't hurt the economy like getting people systematically banned does, and of course it would make the people who receive the donations very happy. Not saying this would be easy to put in place or that there wouldn't be some issues to be worked out but maybe there's something worth looking into here. What this community needs isn't more distrust and more division but instead more understanding and more compassion.

 

- That something is technically possible doesn't mean it's easy to do. Simply put, mistakes happen. Humans aren't good at multi-tasking and easily fall prey to misdirection. That's how magic, scamming and politics can work. I speak from experience in saying that no matter how committed one is to respecting the rules, there's always a very small chance that the hazards of existence or the circumstances of life will lead one to forget about something important. And the fact that this chance increases with the number of occurrences is just basic math. If we take the example of cooking for example, it's undeniable that people care very much about not cutting or burning themselves in the process because of how painful it is, yet if they do it long enough it's inevitable that it will happen again and again, as any professional cook can testify. In this case it's even more difficult for the brain to make the association between actions and consequences because the pain isn't instantaneous. It should also be mentioned that some people are more forgetful than others, which doesn't make them evil or reprehensible. Forgetfulness shouldn't be judged so harshly, especially when no one gets hurt as a result. To do so is counter-productive and achieves nothing.

 

- About bots, that is a good point I hadn't considered. I'm still of the opinion that it favors bots because every time I saw someone get  banned for trading with someone it was with a marked account and bots do prevent that without fail. So it isn't as unfair of an advantage as I thought but how could you claim it a disadvantage? After all it does take most of the risk away, so that even if the user forgets to do the background check himself, the odds that it will be fatal are drastically lower.

 

In any case, thanks for taking the time to address these questions and I hope some kind of dialogue can ensue.

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Teeny Tiny Cat    2381
Teeny Tiny Cat

I explained my position very clearly and I'm not going to keep repeating it.

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KeysMate    4
KeysMate

Not asking you to repeat it, simply to question it.

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Toad    14
Toad

Thanks cat for answering my concerns, I've rebutted them as I find a lot of your points to be questionable. 

 

 

Quote

 

Steamrep got rid of this rule for X reason, why don't you?

Whatever reasoning steamrep gave for removing the rule, the real problem with it was that marking an account for trading with scammers was indistinguishable in the rules from a mark for scamming, so it resulted in a domino effect where marks spread like wildfire. This is not a problem with backpack.tf bans since we don't prohibit people from trading with people banned for trading with scammers, so those bans end with the user."

 

 

I'm not disagreeing with this. However, this background check rule is still in part being justified by the defunct Steamrep rule. Nonetheless, Steamrep's reasoning for getting rid of it, specifically, having honest traders getting banned can be applied here to an extent - I've given my reasoning for this above.

 

Quote

 

- A ban for first offence is excessive

As I already mentioned, a temporary ban is a warning. It is intended to make the user in question aware that they have broken a rule and what the result will be if they continue to break it the same way. When we apply shorter bans, what happens is that often people don't even notice the warning and thus don't learn anything that allows them to follow the rules in future. Not only that, but we give a second temporary warning ban before we even move towards permanent. We also allow perm banned users to appeal after 6 months provided they demonstrate they have ceased the behaviour that got them banned. We are much more lenient than many sites.

 

  • A temporary ban is a temporary ban. A warning, in any gaming circles, forums, internet thing, is almost always verbal. 
  • What do you mean people don't notice the warning? There is a notification system enabled that doesn't disappear until you read it - if people aren't noticing it, maybe a more noticeable notification system is due.
  • I agree that a good feature is that you can eventually appeal a perma. ban, and frankly, that should be bare minimum for any reasonable site. Lenient though? It isn't lenient if you toss bans out like candy for a mistake.
Quote

 

First offence should be easily appealable

While I understand why you would request this, there needs to be some form of consequence for breaking the rules, and if it's as easy as simply making an appeal and getting instantly unbanned then people learn nothing and are even more likely to repeat the behaviour. Serving a short ban makes people aware that we are serious about this rule and that they need to be more careful about who they trade with. It also allows people some time to learn more about how to do a proper background check so that they can properly follow the rules in future.

 

  • Is "we'll accept your appeal, but if you do it again, you get a ban" not a form of consequence?
  • Serving a short term ban for a mistake makes the trading community dislike the rule/staff more and gives backpack.tf a bad rep in the community. It gives little reason for people to do "proper background checks" because if they were already doing it, what then? Again, mistakes happen and there is no net for this.
Quote

 

Should high volume traders get more leniency than low?

No. Simply put. Just no. I don't care if you made 5 trades or 5000, it's your responsibility to follow the rules of this site if you wish to use it. I know high volume traders, some of them mods of this site, who make thousands of trades which they check manually. It's perfectly possible if you have any commitment at all to following the rules and avoiding scammers.

 

It's also perfectly possible to commit to follow the rules, avoid scammers, and end up trading with them by mistake. 

 

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- Do the rules favour bots?

No. If anything, they disadvantage bots, since we also ban for trades with obvious scammer alts and bots are not able to determine what that is - it requires human judgement. This is why I recommend all bot owners require manual check on any trade above 15 keys in value.

 

Most bots now run a decent background check and are able to weed out marked scammers, this is a huge advantage right off the bat. As for "obvious" scammer alts, I've yet to see any of the big trading bots be banned for doing this - plenty of instant-accept high value trade bots running 24/7 on here for years with no problem, so clearly no one is reporting them, or they somehow avoid these "obvious" scammer alts, or scammer alts aren't trading with them, which is unlikely.

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Woifi The Viking    1864
Woifi The Viking

The first ban might be for making a mistake, or simple neglecting the rules. But you usually read the rules before using a service. 

 

But after that another trade with a scammer shouldn't really happen if you are doing a simple background check before each trade above 15 keys. It takes a few seconds to do that and as upside you are not only not breaking the rules, but also you are not supporting scammers? Isn't that great? Two birds with one stone basically. If that isn't enough motivation to take your time before each trade then I don't know either.

Just make sure to read this rules carefully and you should be good. If you are unsure you are always free to ask for help in the discord.

 

 

And yes bots have been banned before already, for example the bot with the most expensive inventory, there was also a big forum thread about it.

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KeysMate    4
KeysMate
On 6/12/2018 at 12:58 AM, Woifi The Viking said:

The first ban might be for making a mistake, or simple neglecting the rules. But you usually read the rules before using a service. 

 

  • If those rules are presented to them in a clear and concise way as well as impossible to miss, then yes most people will read them. But if it's one of those user agreement walls of text or if it needs to be tracked down they usually won't bother and how could we blame them. Don't you find it ironic that even though I am banned on the site I am able to post on this forum, yet this forum is the only place where you can find a detailed account of the rules I have been banned for breaking?
  • I made this point in my previous post and apparently it was ignored but I feel as if it's the most important one so I'm going to repeat it: making important information like what to look out for more accessible to all would help prevent countless scams and as I've stated before it's well within your power to do something of this nature. It would be a great investment for you because it would mean a lot less work down the road dealing with scammers, not to mention all the positive effects on the economy a drop in scams would have. So if you care about fighting scamming as much as you say you do, there's an easy way to prove it.

 

On 6/12/2018 at 12:58 AM, Woifi The Viking said:

But after that another trade with a scammer shouldn't really happen if you are doing a simple background check before each trade above 15 keys. It takes a few seconds to do that and as upside you are not only not breaking the rules, but also you are not supporting scammers? Isn't that great? Two birds with one stone basically. If that isn't enough motivation to take your time before each trade then I don't know either.

Just make sure to read this rules carefully and you should be good. If you are unsure you are always free to ask for help in the discord.

 

  • Why is it so hard for you to accept that mistakes do happen? I don't know, maybe it is easier for you to keep these rules in mind at all times, since after all you're the one enforcing them and dealing with scammers on a daily basis, so I imagine it must be impossible for you to not think about it... But for us "normal traders", scamming isn't constantly on our minds because it's just not such a big part of our reality, just something we see from afar and generally try to stay away from. But that also means it more easily sneaks up on us. Whenever I receive an offer or an add, my first thought usually isn't "this person is a potential scammer, guilty until proven innocent, I must investigate right away" but rather about the trade itself and whether or not it seems worthwhile. Although I suppose after all the trauma I've been through that's not the case any more and I can no longer look at a stranger on steam without a strange fear creeping in the back of my mind, even though I've never been scammed.
  • Indeed once you know what to look out for, it's easy to avoid scams because these things jump at you and are usually very obvious. But a scammer that just wants to trade with you will usually appear very much the same way as anybody else and so it takes a mental exercise to think about researching their background anyways. And I'm not saying this slight intellectual effort can't be internalized and made automatic through repetition, simply that it's not as seamless of a process as you make it out to be. The same way that making a commitment to quit smoking won't be enough if you don't have the right mental infrastructure in place to back that up. No one can function at 100% every hour of every day, there's always times when we're more vulnerable.
  • So yes, I fully agree that the right steps should be taken to prevent people from trading with scammers, but you do have to look at the cost of the measures you put in place. I am of the opinion that right now, the cost by far outweighs the benefits. Because let's face it, there are still just as many scammers as ever and they have no problem selling their stolen goods thanks to an ever growing population of disgruntled permabanned users looking to offset the opportunity cost of not being able to use the best tf2 trading site. Meanwhile, otherwise honest traders are being severely punished for harmless mistakes which in turn has negative effects on the economy and the community as it means less trades happening overall, people quitting etc. So all these rules really accomplish is keeping your hands clean by making stolen items transit through more different pairs of hands before they end back on your site. No doubt could the same goal be achieved with more forgiving measures by focusing more on people who actively front items for scammers, thereby not alienating honest traders who could otherwise be a valuable part of the community. If you don't start looking for a more balanced way to deal with this issue it's only going to get worse.

 

On 6/12/2018 at 12:58 AM, Woifi The Viking said:

And yes bots have been banned before already, for example the bot with the most expensive inventory, there was also a big forum thread about it.

 

  • I don't doubt that has happened but if in this case you're referring to what happened with that alexbot or something a while ago, that's not how I remember it. What happened is someone found a way to exploit the particular software he was using to steal all of his items which then made all of his classifieds broken and since they were probably getting reported by many people the account was temporary banned to solve the problem. But then the guy tried to sell what he had left through another account and even though he hadn't done anything wrong in the first place that was considered ban evasion and so he was permabanned. So let me know if I'm getting some of the facts wrong but to me that just looks like another case of a victim being punished for the crimes of their aggressor. Not so different from people who mistakenly trade with a scammer because it's not like the scammer cares whether they get banned as a result or warns them that they might. Yet since unlike in a regular scam the user hasn't lost everything, somehow that makes it a crime in your eyes. I'd argue that in this case, it's the intent only that makes the crime.

 

In conclusion while I'm not claiming to know everything and have all the right answers, the fact is neither do you and as I've learned there is value to be found in entertaining different perspectives, thoughts and opinions from one's own. Just as I'm sure there are things I'm failing to understand from my limited point of view, there are things you cannot see from the position that being the enforcer of the rules puts you in. If you can manage to put your ego aside for a moment you might find you have much to gain from questioning the status quo and being more open-minded. This is not a democracy so whatever you do, in the end the choice is always all yours and there's nothing wrong with that. However this doesn't necessarily make suggestions and opinions from us users any less valid or useful to you since truth and power don't always go together. And in fact you already know that because you've proven many times you know how to listen. So I have trouble understanding, why should this topic be any different?

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Woifi The Viking    1864
Woifi The Viking

^Bot ban thread.

 

And yes sure mistakes can happen, but if the same mistake happens 3 times then I don't know what to tell you.

If you make a check on the trade to see the items value you can simply open that users backpack and you have it right there, if you search for the item in the quicksearch bar or the users SteamID should be the same amount of time required. Also if you check an items history if its clean or duped you should also open that users profile already which is half the work for background checking almost.

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KeysMate    4
KeysMate
37 minutes ago, Woifi The Viking said:

^Bot ban thread.

 

Ok so if I get this right, the bot with the most expensive inventory you were referring to was Chopper and the alexbot thing is a different story altogether. Thanks for clarifying that.

On a side-note it does seem from what Sprekt is saying that I'm not the only one who finds the current rules a bit harsh.

 

42 minutes ago, Woifi The Viking said:

And yes sure mistakes can happen, but if the same mistake happens 3 times then I don't know what to tell you.

 

What can I say I have very bad luck. Guess it's for all the scams I didn't fall for.

Presented with a choice though I would much rather have gotten scammed out of all the items in question, that should tell you something.

 

You're wrong about the same mistake happening 3 times though, it only happened twice. Before I got my first ban I wasn't even aware I was breaking a rule by doing what I did so it can hardly be called "the same mistake". If I'd been fully aware of those rules I never would have made that trade which incidentally out of the three was the only one where I was aware of dealing with a marked user. But since the guy clearly wasn't an active scammer and just wanted some items to play with I didn't think I was doing something reprehensible by selling them to him. To this day I still don't think it was ethically wrong of me to do. At least after that I was aware of the rules and believe it or not, I've always been happy to respect all of your various rules, like not sharing premium search results, not making false advertising or troll suggestions, etc. Because I do agree that as a privately owned website you have every right to make up any rule you want. But since you are kind enough to give us a platform to express ourselves, and that I strongly believe that everyone would benefit from a change in the rules, I don't see a reason not to try and make my case, as long as I'm still following the rules as they are now.

 

The related point that for some reason everyone keeps ignoring:

2 hours ago, KeysMate said:

 

  • If those rules are presented to them in a clear and concise way as well as impossible to miss, then yes most people will read them. But if it's one of those user agreement walls of text or if it needs to be tracked down they usually won't bother and how could we blame them. Don't you find it ironic that even though I am banned on the site I am able to post on this forum, yet this forum is the only place where you can find a detailed account of the rules I have been banned for breaking?
  • I made this point in my previous post and apparently it was ignored but I feel as if it's the most important one so I'm going to repeat it: making important information like what to look out for more accessible to all would help prevent countless scams and as I've stated before it's well within your power to do something of this nature. It would be a great investment for you because it would mean a lot less work down the road dealing with scammers, not to mention all the positive effects on the economy a drop in scams would have. So if you care about fighting scamming as much as you say you do, there's an easy way to prove it.

 

So yeah it's pretty unlucky that the same mistake happened twice the way that it did, but that's what happened and in hindsight I don't think there's anything I could have done about it. Pretty sure it couldn't happen a third time given how paranoid I've become since the third ban. Too bad it's permanent this time.

 

 

1 hour ago, Woifi The Viking said:

If you make a check on the trade to see the items value you can simply open that users backpack and you have it right there, if you search for the item in the quicksearch bar or the users SteamID should be the same amount of time required. Also if you check an items history if its clean or duped you should also open that users profile already which is half the work for background checking almost.

 

That's a very good point and it is in fact what I've been doing all this time, hence why I didn't get permabanned sooner. The problem with that habit is that it doesn't install the right software in your mind if we're going for 100% accuracy. It doesn't make you automatically think about the possibility of the user being marked whenever you receive a trade offer for example, which would have been the only way for me to avoid those two bans.

 

Let's break down the two trades I made by mistake to see what happened.

The first one (so my second ban) back in December of last year was a weird one. The only reason I forgot to check the person's rep was because I already had the exact same unusual taunt he wanted me to buy so I must have checked the price from my backpack instead of his. The fact that it was a taunt meant I didn't need to check its history either. I remember I didn't even want to buy the taunt but the guy seemed nice and I felt like helping him... I'm such an idiot. Ended up barely getting back half of what I paid at the time when I eventually sold the taunt three months later.

 

So you'd think that getting banned two weeks right during Christmastime would be enough to plant this mental software deep in my brain, and it is true that I was even more careful after that. But maybe because it allowed me to really enjoy my family that Christmas, I suppose it still wasn't painful enough, not enough to prevent what would happen next at least. Or maybe that was just really bad luck.

 

So at the time of my third ban, I had been trading a lot of Max's Heads because I found it was a great way to get some nice overpay offers, in a sense it was kinda like putting up a buy order for random stuff. And since it's such a popular item, almost a currency really, I could trade a lot of them really fast. Little did I know that it would be my downfall.

 

I had two Max's Heads at the time. I was in a trade with someone who wanted to buy one with pretty much half of his backpack, so a very complicated overpay offer composed of many small items. While I was trying to figure out what they were all worth, I received a trade offer of 19 keys pure for the same Max's Head. It turns out I really needed the pure at that point so that offer appeared like a blessing. At that point I normally would have thought about doing a background check, but the offer was so straight-forward that the thought just didn't occur. As I might have mentioned before, us humans are pretty bad at multi-tasking, especially when under pressure. All of my mental capacities were already allotted to figure out that complicated overpay offer as fast as possible. And at the same time I didn't want to make the other offer wait. So I only thought to ask the guy I was in the trade with if he'd be okay with the other Max's Head. As soon as I got his answer I confirmed the trade. I was only worried about getting the keys before the offer got canceled when I should have been worried about an altogether different threat. But I guess from my past experiences of trading without a bot and missing so many pure buyouts, one threat eclipsed the other in my subconscious mind when there was only room for one because of the aforementioned circumstances.

 

And as soon as the offer went through, the pressure subsided and suddenly it hit me like a slap in the face. I'd somehow forgotten to check the rep. So I guess the mental software did kick in, only too late. And when I saw the red crossed name, I felt how I imagine people who just discovered they've been scammed feel like. Only difference was, the guy hadn't actually meant to hurt me. And obviously neither did I. Anyways, you know the rest of the story.

 

So as you can see from those two real life examples, relying on the fact that you check a person's backpack for value and history isn't foolproof. This is why people like me who trade a lot of mid-tier items are most at risk, because those items are low enough that often there's no real need to check value or history, but high enough that trading them to scammers is punishable. And when you do thousands of trades, and two errors of inattention is enough to be permanently banned, you need 100% foolproof accuracy. Only thing that can provide that is having the right mental software, aka mild paranoia. And the only way to install that is by going through enough trauma, either from being scammed or being banned. Or I guess in your case, by having to deal with this stuff on a daily basis so that it is always on your mind. None of those would I wish on anybody.

 

So in conclusion yes, mistakes happen. And I think it's high time to reexamine the balance between the damage that those mistakes cause and the damage that their current form of punishment causes. You don't need a hand grenade to kill a fly.

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Teeny Tiny Cat    2381
Teeny Tiny Cat

This isn't a place to discuss the circumstances of your bans. I understand you think it's harsh but ultimately we make the rules and we don't agree. Plenty of high volume traders manage just fine, you can too. There is not a lot of point in endlessly posting walls of text, you cannot browbeat us into doing what you want. The rules are in place for a reason and they are clear on the rules page not just the forums.

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