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base64

The key price thread

  

181 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Keys Go Up Or Down? Would They Help The Economy If They Are Higher?

    • Up / Yes
      59
    • Down / No
      122


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Puddilicious

This thread's topic has more to do with the TF2 economy than it does with backpack.tf. I am moving this thread to the TF2 Economy forum.

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Chief D

I'm off soon so I'll read your reply when I'm back (I hope I remember). 

 

Also, I hid all the useless spam posts. Waste of space.

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base64

I'd just like to say thanks for the responses, guys. This sort of discussion was what I'd hoped for. :)

Now, I'd like to address some of what's been said.

 

I thank you for voicing your side of the view. 

 

Justification of reporting equilibrium price in Price mechanism is only based on two things

  • Price
  • Quantity (Demanded and Supplied)
Any other personal feelings, external cost (social cost), utility not associated with the act of exchange, and the distribution of profit are totally disregarded. 

That means,

  • We don't care about whether the poorest buyer can afford reasonable quantity it at equilibrium price. 
  • We don't care about whether that Consumer Surplus much lower than than Producer Surplus (profit), as long as the total Surplus is maximized and there is no deadweight loss. 
  • We don't care about inflation when reporting current period equilibrium price. Anyone can list 100 reasons why inflation is bad, and even find a whole book describing the bad effects of inflation, both in economic activity and participant's "sad feelings". 
We don't report lower price because the market equilibrium has shifted due to inflation.

 

Take this as an example of price data aggregation,

where Gas Stations write a Form to report price, and the government displays the current market price to the public. 

 

unlimited free drops

 

That means you are NOT familiar with the definition of Demand. 

 

Demand has a fixed time period, and in a time period of one week, the free drops are finite. 

 

People are going to convert it into currency [Keys]

 

Convert with WHO? People

 

What happens after people convert metal with people? Some people will keep the metal for transactional purpose or crafting. 

 

You are assuming "All players receiving item drops will convert every metal into Keys, regardless of the keys price". 

 

This is totally not true.

  • Consumer maximizes Consumption (Wearing Hats)
  • Traders maximizes Profit
  • Websites maximizes service goals or advertisement revenue
We keep certain amount of Refined to Buy Hats periodically, the same reason we keep certain number of $0.25 coins in our pockets. We don't spend every dime on Gold. 

 

 

overwhelming opposition

 

it takes months and months for the average player to save up enough metal to purchase a single key

 

The sadness felt by the average player is not the concern in the Free Market. 

 

The people who has highest purchasing power, affords the most goods, as simple as that. 

 

Players are not entitled to unboxing upon participating in playing TF2.

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jjjon123

I stopped reading at "9 times out of 10, the people with the most stock are the highballers,
while the people with low to no stock are the people selling at the
correct price!
"

 

Duh, and that is why prices go up.

 

end of discussion.

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Chief D

I'd just like to say thanks for the responses, guys. This sort of discussion was what I'd hoped for. :)

Now, I'd like to address some of what's been said.

 

____________________________________________________

 

 

While I actually think that could possibly give a positive result, I think it defeats the purpose of the website. Backpack.tf exists as a guide for pricing, the only issue with comes from the fact that it's an open system that is currently being misused.

 

Oh I definitely don't think voting should exclusively decide the prices of items - that would definitely allow for price manipulation on a large scale, and that is unacceptable. A careful mix of voting + Admin input is required, as you alluded to  before this BMOC issue (which I actually wasn't aware of). The thing is, if you're going to allow one side of community input (suggestions), then in order for the system to truly work, you need to be willing to accept the other side (votes).

 

I accept there is an issue in that people will undoubtedly place meaningless votes or attempt to manipulate prices, but that is always an issue in an open system. It is an issue I'm sure was anticipated during the site's initial planning, and I would assume the solution was chalked up to be the Admins moderating the suggestions. That said, you guys can't start ignoring a whole segment of community input because of a couple of instances of it's abuse. Backpack.tf, as an open system, can ONLY work if both suggestions AND community votes are taken into account - you simply can't have one without the other, its either both or neither (aka a closes system, such as Spreadsheet). Anything in between and you're tipping the scales in the market toward a certain direction, as opposed to leveling things out.

 

As for the idea of a 4 ref suggestion manipulating the price, well the short answer is yes, it would be. That said, however, if it is to be believed that Backpack.tf is actually (unwittingly as it may be) controlling the market, it is already manipulating the price of keys, but it is currently doing so in a way that is consistently against the community view that the price should be lower. Given how deeply situated Backpack.tf is in the TF2 market, it is impossible NOT to influence/control it. The responsibility of the site thus becomes that of honoring the community's majority view, obviously with some form of moderation to weed out the twats who would abuse the privilege of an open system.

 

Now, with regards to the voting serving as a reward to users - sure, I get that, that's cool. But the fact that you automatically assume that because someone votes against a price they are guilty of trying to manipulate it is extremely disturbing to me, and sets a terrible precedent for community input. By doing this, you are actively punishing users for providing their input in an open system. What is the point? If you're going to punish those who vote against a price suggestion, then Backpack.tf is about as far from democratic as it gets!

 

While the idea of syncing with TF2Finance.com is attractive to some, the simple fact is we'd have the same problem. People would see the Backpack.tf price, increase by a scrap for profit, and over time the site would detect the trades and up the price. It's just an automated version of the problem we're already facing, with the added risk that people could manipulate the system externally.

I actually think freezing the key price for a short, non-publicly decided time, would be the best idea. This would allow everyone to clearly see whether or not Backpack.tf really does control the market. Note that the I said the time frame should be non-public, so as to prevent people from "taking over" the inflation of keys themselves in anticipation of the unfreeze, if that makes sense? I don't expect this to happen any time soon, if at all, but that would be my personal suggestion.

 

Also, please don't close the thread (unless it devolves into a flame war, of course). I really feel like this needs to be properly discussed. :S

 

Not going to close it, don't worry. This is the best thread about this topic.

 

Voting is VERY important to accept prices. Many times, then the votes are mostly positive and the comments support the suggester, I just have to check the links to see if they are in order. If so, the price seems fair enough to me and most of the community.

 

Other times, the suggester posts 5 links supporting his suggestion, and a user familiar with the site, gathers enough counter-proof to make the suggestion invalid, even if the votes are 100:10. 

 

Conclusion: Votes are important but not the main reason suggestions are accepted. (I think we agree on this.)

 

We try to be as unbiased as possible. When a price is accepted/rejected against the votes, we, admins, should ALWAYS (even though some times we don't) post a comment as to WHY we took said decision. That way, users are free to complain about it on the forums with counter arguments instea dof just babbling random arguments as to why we did the wrong thing. 

 

Backpack.tf has an effect, sure, but our "job" here is to keep the pricelist as updated with CURRENT prices as possible. It works great with every item except for keys, apparently. Wouldn't you say that's why the site became so popular? Keys are our black sheep. Key suggestions have such a huge impact on the community it's crazy. However, we can't just stop doing what we are supposed to be doing. If we stopped updating the price and started closing ACCURATE suggestion, we would be manipulating the prices. If we accepted un-accurate suggestions because many users upvote it, we would be manipulating the prices. To me, Valve has the final say in this key crisis, and there's nothing we can do but to keep being unbiased as possible, no matter what the users might think.

 

voters who vote against an accurate suggestion are not ALWAYS trying to manipulate the price, sometimes they just THINK the price is accurate. However, on key suggestions, the firs thing is sadly true most of the time. I hope you can convince it it's not, but if EVERYONE trades keys at 4.11-4.33 and a key suggestion of 4 ref has 5000:100 positive votes and it gets rejected, you can't blame us for it. I'm sure 4500 of the upvoters knew the keys were being trades for 4.11-4.33 and wanted them to be cheaper, so they downvoted it. (See all the LETS BRING KEYS BACK TO 2.66 groups).

 

Even base64 himself is against tf2finance auto-sync, so I won't even go there. I'll only say that if we stop updating the key prices by closing accurate suggestions, we'd be manipulating the key prices.

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~shenanigans

A ton of writing, I'm not going to quote individual statements, but instead I'll give a broad answer. Prepare for a wall of text :)

 

1. Concerning suggestions

Suggestions are opened by users when they feel a price is inaccurate. In the suggestion, the user provides proof of why the currently listed price is inaccurate, and other users can comment and vote. Community votes are taken into account, and so are relevant comments on the suggestion. Say, the suggestor makes a suggestion to increase the price of stout shakos to 2 ref. First, the suggestor needs to show valid proof. The best proof is completed trades, where a seller transferred a stout shako, and a buyer transferred 2 ref. The second best proof is outstanding offers: a potential buyer agrees to the sale price, and has the capital necessary to make the transaction, but the actual transfer has not occured yet. Other proof can be buyers, who are openly willing to purchase a stout shako for a certain price. Bad proof is proof where sellers are asking for 2 ref, without buyer interest. Let us suppose that the original suggestor gives a handful of good proof, completed sales at 2 ref. Some time later, another user views the suggestion, and decides to look for further evidence. The second user finds a bunch of sales completed at 1.33 ref. The second user then posts these findings as a comment in the suggestion, to refute the suggested price. Assume that the second user shows a lot of trades completed at 1.33 ref. Then, there is more proof at 1.33 than at 2 ref - in this case, the suggested price would be too high, and 1.33 should at least be part of the range. At this point, it is clear that the suggestion has flaws, and the admin who reviews this suggestion will most likely close it. It may happen that the second user, who posted counterproof, did so a significant time after the initial suggestion was posted. Voters, unaware of the counterproof, casually look at the original suggestor's links, and upvote the suggestion. When the admin reviews the suggestion, the vote split is 200/100. In this case, despite the votes, the correct decision will be to close the suggestion.

 

As long as a user is not banned on this site, and that the user has a backpack value exceeding the price of the item suggestion (including multipliers), there is no restriction on voting. Users may vote for many reasons:

• Based on evidence shown by the suggestor

• Based on events the voter has witnessed or experienced

• Based on what the voter wants the item to be worth

• Based on further research of the current market price

• Based on personal preferences (for the item, suggestor, etc)

A voter could potentially do research and vote based on actual market price, which would require some time and searching, or vote based on feelings. The latter is more problematic, because what a user thinks may NOT reflect the actual market situation. From experience, over 95% of suggestions are decided in accordance with user votes. Take a look here, and you will see that most accepted suggestions are positively voted. If you browse closed suggestions, most of those will have been negatively voted on. In certain situations, this is not the case. The main example is key suggestions; voters have very strong feelings about key prices, so they will tend to vote according to what they feel, and less according to the actual market situation.

Example 1 1319 people voted for this suggestion, 372 voted against. At the time, tf2finance was showing a 4.08 ref per key, and the suggestor himself, plus people in the comments, have shown buyers at 4.11, and many completed trades at that price. Is it wrong to deny that suggestion, when there was evidence of transactions at 4.11, despite voters strongly agreeing? No matter what the normative assessment, the objective assessment is that keys were not 4 ref, and so the suggestion should not have passed.

Example 2 548 positive votes, 414 negative votes. The proof was pretty good, and yet still 414 people voted against the suggestion. Also, this accepted suggestion had a positive split of voters. Same with this suggestion

Example 3 428 positive votes, 416 negative votes. Suggestion was denied because price wasn't that high yet.

Example 4 43 positive votes, 79 negative votes. 43 people agreed to a suggestion lowering the price of keys to almost half of its current value...

Example 5 29 people upvoted this suggestion...

We cannot hold voters accountable for how they vote. If they choose to vote according to what the market price is, then they will be rewarded with a point. If they are mistaken about the market price, or if they vote based on another reason, they will incur a penalty. Thus, voting is a good mechanism for feedback, but it does not mean voters are always correct.

 

 

2. Moral obligations

Many users use bp.tf as a price guide, and unfortunately some see it as a price bible. Backpack.tf is NOT a price bible, nor is it a price LIST, it is a price guide. The listed prices are what the item has sold for most regularly in the past, but any particular user can sell for more or for less. One argument against bp.tf is that since the website has a large userbase, we must work to stop the key inflation. We are not obligated to do this. I cannot claim that bp.tf has zero influence on key prices and its increase over the past few months, but we are doing what the goal of this website is: reflect the state of the market. Our purpose is to be accurate. Stopping inflation by manipulating prices is NOT our purpose. Stock tickers do not regulate or manipulate prices, they simply reflect what the actual market value is. Regulation is done by the parties who have actual control, who can make enforceable decisions. Our price guide is not inforceable. It is simply what already has happened, and lags slightly behind real-time values. We cannot force any trader to sell a key for 4 ref, or make a buyer buy at 4.22 ref. That is based on the traders in the actual marketplace.

If we stopped updating the price of keys, or set the price of keys to be 4 ref for a month, that would be blatant price manipulation. Even if it is backed by popular support, it is still price manipulation, and it goes against our purpose. Why should we make an exception for keys? If we start manipulating key prices, what is next? Bills? Buds? We will not make an exception for keys, because it could lead to disaster.

 

 

3. Future of key prices

Key prices will reach an equilibrium eventually. When that happens, nobody knows. People will decide 4.33 ref is outrageous, and refuse to spend a bit more to buy a key. Maybe people will keep buying keys, eventually causing metal to be absolutely worthless.

 

Here is something to think about. One account gets item drops, usually within 6-12 weapons per week. Sometimes the drops can be hats or other items worth slightly more. Are you paying for these drops? Aside from electrical bills, no. Valve decided to reward those who play the game with free items every week. Initially, keys are only sold in the Mann Co Store, and you would need to spend actual money to buy them. Since the start of keys, many keys have since been bought, and a secondary market has been created where users buy keys from other users, for reduced prices. Basically, this allows users to play the game, get drops, and trade those drops for something which costs actual money. If everyone were a perfectly rational human being (which nobody is, don't kid yourself), this whole endeavor would still remain profitable until the cost of buying a key with metal equals the cost of electricity needed to generate the metal (ignoring opportunity costs). In the United States, the average cost of one kilowatthour of energy is 9.83 cents. The average computer requires 60-250 watts per hour, let us take the average of 155 watts (although average useage is most probably less). Weekly idling usually takes around 10 hours, so it would be 1550 watthours, or 1.55 kilowatthours. That would make it 15.24 cents for a week of drops. Let us assume that the user gets 10 items per week in drops, and turns it into .55 ref. A key is $2.49 from the Mann Co store, so 2.49/.1524 = 16.34 weeks of drops. At the rate of .55 ref per week, this would be 8.99~9 ref. GIven these estimations, it would not make rational sense to buy keys for over 9 ref each - thus, this is the hard cap. This hypothetical can be different for everyone, because some people always have their computer running, some may use a low-power idle machine, some may have cheaper or more expensive electricity, etc. However, it proves the possibility of a hard cap.

 

Another alternative is if people lose interest in the game, and nobody cares for keys or unusuals. That would lead to a collapse of the key market, and every other TF2 item trading market.

 

 

4. Use of backpack.tf

Again, we're not forcing you to use our website, nor is our website dictating prices. We are suggesting prices based on completed trades. We cannot hope to please everyone, but we strive to be as objective as possible. It is not to say that we are perfect machines who make no mistakes - surely, our prices can be off. We value community feedback, and if you believe a price to be completely wrong, you may make a suggestion, with valid proof, to argue for what the right price should be. Alternatively, you may disregard our price guide altogether. We cannot and will not force anyone to follow our price guide. Our moderation team is a 9 member (as of now) group, and the tf2 economy is filled with thousands of items. We cannot possibly keep perfect up-to-date track of every item in existence. This is where the community comes in. A community member notices something wrong with our prices, and suggests a change. We look over their suggestion, assess it for its validity, and choose to accept or deny the change. In debatable decisions, the votes usually swag admin decision one way or another. On important decisions, admins will spend more time looking at the market status. If you feel a price was changed prematurely or without enough justification, feel free to open a suggestion or forum post, with evidence of the corrected price.

 

 

5. Other remarks

I find TF2 to be quite enjoyable, even without any keys. It's a class-based team FPS, with some nice features. Trading is completely optional.

I am NOT saying keys should go up in price, or that the current price is desirable. However, we reflect the market, and if this is what the market dictates, this is what happens. (I personally refuse to buy keys for over 2.33 ref)

Ye3G8rc.gif

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F  CHARLIE

There are several points that should be treated with more attention and I will preface this by saying that a vast majority of transactions dealing with TF2 are trading transaction or are for trading purposes.  The secondary market is not a component of a major of trade traffic.  Also, we should change the viewpoint of free drops being a negative concept (some think of it as some form of socialism where the buyers are given handouts) and remember that the drop system has been the basis of trading and is the basis of trading.  We should look at the drops as the "payment" for "work" (playing the game).  That is what built the trading economy over time.  Without drops there would not be an economy 2-3 years ago when the vast majority of wealthier traders made that wealth and there wouldn't be one now as the drop trading aspect is needed by low - mid  level traders to build up cache to become a higher level trader.

 

1.  The relevant stake holders in this debate are low - mid - high range traders, player/traders (who do a little of both, mainly for items to play with) and players who care very little about the trading component of the game and view it is as a bother to get what they may want.  It is safe to say that the majority of all market participants lie in the latter two groups which we will consider to be the consumer base for our purposes.  The market segment for the low - mid level traders are mainly the last two groups with players congregating to low level traders and player/trader using both of them but mostly the mid level trader.  The player/trader and other mid - high level traders make up the consumer base for the high range trader. 

 

2. The rapid change in the trading price of the key will create tremendous complications for mid level traders (who are generally newer to trading and generally aspire to be higher level traders) because all of their customers have less ability to acquire mid level goods.  It effects both low level traders because more of the ref is being consumed to buy keys which means less is available for low level goods and it takes longer for mid level transactions to occur.  This in turn negatively effects high level transactions by eroding the buying power of four segments of the market which in truth are needed by the high level traders to have "new" customers.  Remember, new customers are also vital to maintaining the value of trad-able goods whether they be low priced stranges or unusuals.  BTW, I have considered crafting some .11 stranges because i needed the metal.  The net effect of all of this is the frustration we see in voting and other areas.  More importantly, it will damage the game itself as components of the game are effectively out of reach for larger and larger amounts of players.  This will drive people away from the game and bring about its demise even tho it is a great game.

 

Economic and market theories are tools we use to help us understand what is going on but at the end of it all its about everybody's enjoyment of the game, which I will say, backpack.tf, and it mods/admin is/are indispensable for that purpose.

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Aerolite

Whoa, this is getting harder and harder to reply too, haha! Good points coming up, though! :D

 

 

base64:

 

I thank you for voicing your side of the view. 

 
Justification of reporting equilibrium price in Price mechanism is only based on two things

  • Price
  • Quantity (Demanded and Supplied)
Any other personal feelings, external cost (social cost), utility not associated with the act of exchange, and the distribution of profit are totally disregarded. 
That means,
  • We don't care about whether the poorest buyer can afford reasonable quantity it at equilibrium price. 
  • We don't care about whether that Consumer Surplus much lower than than Producer Surplus (profit), as long as the total Surplus is maximized and there is no deadweight loss. 
  • We don't care about inflation when reporting current period equilibrium price. Anyone can list 100 reasons why inflation is bad, and even find a whole book describing the bad effects of inflation, both in economic activity and participant's "sad feelings". 
We don't report lower price because the market equilibrium has shifted due to inflation.
 
Take this as an example of price data aggregation,
where Gas Stations write a Form to report price, and the government displays the current market price to the public. 

 

What you've said here makes perfect since if we consider that Backpack.tf serves only as a method of reporting prices. I have absolutely no issue accepting that.

Given, however, that widespread bible-like usage of Backpack.tf has set actual measurable constraints on the prices of items (however indirect they may be), Backpack.tf appears to be already in the position of being more than just a reporter. If this is the case, then given that it has thus already significantly influenced the market, would a better outcome not be Backpack.tf using that existing power of influence in a way that fits the majority community view (with careful moderation)?

Of course, the argument of "Two wrongs don't make a right" comes into play here, but when last I checked, one consistent wrong (inflation of keys as a result of Backpack.tf's pricing) doesn't make a right, either.

 

That means you are NOT familiar with the definition of Demand. 
 
Demand has a fixed time period, and in a time period of one week, the free drops are finite. 

 

No, I am, I just wrote that statement poorly. You are of course correct that drops within a set time frame are finite. I was speaking in terms of an indefinite timeframe, for which drops would be infinite baring direct influence from Valve. Sorry I didn't make this more clear.

 

 

Convert with WHO? People
 
What happens after people convert metal with people? Some people will keep the metal for transactional purpose or crafting. 
 
You are assuming "All players receiving item drops will convert every metal into Keys, regardless of the keys price". 
 
This is totally not true.

  • Consumer maximizes Consumption (Wearing Hats)
  • Traders maximizes Profit
  • Websites maximizes service goals or advertisement revenue
We keep certain amount of Refined to Buy Hats periodically, the same reason we keep certain number of $0.25 coins in our pockets. We don't spend every dime on Gold. 

 

No, not at all. Of course many players will elect to keep the metal for crafting purposes and the purchase of hats/miscs.

What I'm saying is that enough players have enough refined metal that they are willing to spend on keys, such that their demand for keys will never allow the price to drop, GIVEN THAT Backpack.tf continues to increase the listed price of keys as a result of these players buying, irrespective sellers asking for 1 scrap more.

 

The demand, of the average non-idler trader, for keys appears (from what I've seen, as well as my own personal opinion) to have plummeted. I've all but given up on buying keys with metal, as have many others I've spoken to on trade servers. The only course of action in this situation is thus more people start idling. Idling, of course, puts you in the class of players I mentioned above, and by extension, compounding the problem. If I was to idle with 200 accounts and make 100+ or whatever ref a week, do you think I'd care about a 1 scrap discrepancy between one seller and the next? Not a chance, I'm just going to buy from whoever is online with the most stock.

 

Therein lies the problem. It is one class (the idlers/metal farmers) of player and their actions that are causing a misrepresentation of the price of keys AS A WHOLE that doesn't apply to the rest of us, and given that sellers set their prices according to what Backpack.tf lists (usually + 1 scrap), Backpack.tf is directly involved in this.

 

The sadness felt by the average player is not the concern in the Free Market. 
 
The people who has highest purchasing power, affords the most goods, as simple as that. 
 
Players are not entitled to unboxing upon participating in playing TF2.

 

I'm sorry but I'm going to have to completely disagree here.

You are saying that players who may or may not have paid for a game are not entitled to enjoy some aspects of that game, just because a bunch of players are in a better position as part of that game? What on earth gives you that mindset?

 

If you purchase or download a game, whether it be free or not, you are entitled to have access to and enjoy ALL parts of that game, so long as they are not limited by any legally binding agreements or ongoing financial costs (subscriptions, etc). If that is not the case, then there is by definition considerably less reason to bother playing it.

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Chief D:

Not going to close it, don't worry. This is the best thread about this topic.

 

Thank you. It's certainly proving very illuminating for me, at the very least! :)

 

Voting is VERY important to accept prices. Many times, then the votes are mostly positive and the comments support the suggester, I just have to check the links to see if they are in order. If so, the price seems fair enough to me and most of the community.

 

Other times, the suggester posts 5 links supporting his suggestion, and a user familiar with the site, gathers enough counter-proof to make the suggestion invalid, even if the votes are 100:10. 

 

Conclusion: Votes are important but not the main reason suggestions are accepted. (I think we agree on this.)

 

We try to be as unbiased as possible. When a price is accepted/rejected against the votes, we, admins, should ALWAYS (even though some times we don't) post a comment as to WHY we took said decision. That way, users are free to complain about it on the forums with counter arguments instea dof just babbling random arguments as to why we did the wrong thing. 

 

Yep, we agree, and yes I think it's extremely important to post a reason as a the decision against the majority opinion, directly along with (in my opinion) any evidence that led the particular staff member to that conclusion. :)

 

Backpack.tf has an effect, sure, but our "job" here is to keep the pricelist as updated with CURRENT prices as possible. It works great with every item except for keys, apparently. Wouldn't you say that's why the site became so popular? Keys are our black sheep. Key suggestions have such a huge impact on the community it's crazy. However, we can't just stop doing what we are supposed to be doing. If we stopped updating the price and started closing ACCURATE suggestion, we would be manipulating the prices. If we accepted un-accurate suggestions because many users upvote it, we would be manipulating the prices. To me, Valve has the final say in this key crisis, and there's nothing we can do but to keep being unbiased as possible, no matter what the users might think.

 

The issue here is that while you acknowledge the fact that Backpack.tf has an effect on the market, you're still speaking as if it serves only to report prices and not to set/constrain them.

 

While you're 100% correct in saying that freezing key prices, as well as using only community votes to dictate the price would be direct price manipulation, the issue is that I'm still yet to see any concrete proof that Backpack.tf is not ALREADY manipulating the market prices. As I said above to Base64 - the prices that are being accepted each week are the result of continuous key purchases made by a specific segment of players (idlers/metal farmers), not the average player base, BUT due to how widely Backpack.tf is utilized by the whole player base (in that it sets constraints on what are considered fair prices), Backpack.tf, as a result of the purchases made by that segment of players, is directly causing inflation for the whole player base.

 

Backpack.tf is already playing a direct part in this problem, so again it comes back to the "Two wrongs don't make a right" issue, but I really think it's much more a case of choosing the lesser of two evils. Yes, it's wrong for Backpack.tf to manipulate prices in an attempt to please the majority, but I'd wager it's just as bad if not worse to (even unintentionally) manipulate the prices in favor of a select group of players that have the most wealth, at the cost of damaging things for the rest of the player base.

 

voters who vote against an accurate suggestion are not ALWAYS trying to manipulate the price, sometimes they just THINK the price is accurate. However, on key suggestions, the firs thing is sadly true most of the time. I hope you can convince it it's not, but if EVERYONE trades keys at 4.11-4.33 and a key suggestion of 4 ref has 5000:100 positive votes and it gets rejected, you can't blame us for it. I'm sure 4500 of the upvoters knew the keys were being trades for 4.11-4.33 and wanted them to be cheaper, so they downvoted it. (See all the LETS BRING KEYS BACK TO 2.66 groups).

 

Yeah, I see what you're saying. I guess again it comes down to the lesser of two evils - players vote, and if their wrong, they get penalized because the unfortunate truth is that less people get votes wrong honestly than they do in manipulation attempts.

Nothing you guys can really do about that, so I can accept it. :) Sadly means that giving input on a suggestion may have the side effect of censoring you in the future for an honest mistake. :S


 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

~shenanigans:

A ton of writing, I'm not going to quote individual statements, but instead I'll give a broad answer. Prepare for a wall of text  :)

 

1. Concerning suggestions

Suggestions are opened by users when they feel a price is inaccurate. In the suggestion, the user provides proof of why the currently listed price is inaccurate, and other users can comment and vote. Community votes are taken into account, and so are relevant comments on the suggestion. Say, the suggestor makes a suggestion to increase the price of stout shakos to 2 ref. First, the suggestor needs to show valid proof. The best proof is completed trades, where a seller transferred a stout shako, and a buyer transferred 2 ref. The second best proof is outstanding offers: a potential buyer agrees to the sale price, and has the capital necessary to make the transaction, but the actual transfer has not occured yet. Other proof can be buyers, who are openly willing to purchase a stout shako for a certain price. Bad proof is proof where sellers are asking for 2 ref, without buyer interest. Let us suppose that the original suggestor gives a handful of good proof, completed sales at 2 ref. Some time later, another user views the suggestion, and decides to look for further evidence. The second user finds a bunch of sales completed at 1.33 ref. The second user then posts these findings as a comment in the suggestion, to refute the suggested price. Assume that the second user shows a lot of trades completed at 1.33 ref. Then, there is more proof at 1.33 than at 2 ref - in this case, the suggested price would be too high, and 1.33 should at least be part of the range. At this point, it is clear that the suggestion has flaws, and the admin who reviews this suggestion will most likely close it. It may happen that the second user, who posted counterproof, did so a significant time after the initial suggestion was posted. Voters, unaware of the counterproof, casually look at the original suggestor's links, and upvote the suggestion. When the admin reviews the suggestion, the vote split is 200/100. In this case, despite the votes, the correct decision will be to close the suggestion.

 

As long as a user is not banned on this site, and that the user has a backpack value exceeding the price of the item suggestion (including multipliers), there is no restriction on voting. Users may vote for many reasons:

• Based on evidence shown by the suggestor

• Based on events the voter has witnessed or experienced

• Based on what the voter wants the item to be worth

• Based on further research of the current market price

• Based on personal preferences (for the item, suggestor, etc)

A voter could potentially do research and vote based on actual market price, which would require some time and searching, or vote based on feelings. The latter is more problematic, because what a user thinks may NOT reflect the actual market situation. From experience, over 95% of suggestions are decided in accordance with user votes. Take a look here, and you will see that most accepted suggestions are positively voted. If you browse closed suggestions, most of those will have been negatively voted on. In certain situations, this is not the case. The main example is key suggestions; voters have very strong feelings about key prices, so they will tend to vote according to what they feel, and less according to the actual market situation.

Example 1 1319 people voted for this suggestion, 372 voted against. At the time, tf2finance was showing a 4.08 ref per key, and the suggestor himself, plus people in the comments, have shown buyers at 4.11, and many completed trades at that price. Is it wrong to deny that suggestion, when there was evidence of transactions at 4.11, despite voters strongly agreeing? No matter what the normative assessment, the objective assessment is that keys were not 4 ref, and so the suggestion should not have passed.

Example 2 548 positive votes, 414 negative votes. The proof was pretty good, and yet still 414 people voted against the suggestion. Also, this accepted suggestion had a positive split of voters. Same with this suggestion

Example 3 428 positive votes, 416 negative votes. Suggestion was denied because price wasn't that high yet.

Example 4 43 positive votes, 79 negative votes. 43 people agreed to a suggestion lowering the price of keys to almost half of its current value...

Example 5 29 people upvoted this suggestion...

We cannot hold voters accountable for how they vote. If they choose to vote according to what the market price is, then they will be rewarded with a point. If they are mistaken about the market price, or if they vote based on another reason, they will incur a penalty. Thus, voting is a good mechanism for feedback, but it does not mean voters are always correct.

 

In reading through your run-through of the "Life of a suggestion" as it were, something has immediately become apparent to me - Comments are the wrong place to provide refuting evidence!
It sounds like what is needed here is a more integrated and functional way to provide evidence to the contrary of a suggestion, similar to how YouTube allows users to post Video Responses. If possible, get your coding staff together and ask them about the ability to implement a way of making a kind of "Sub-suggestion"-style post specifically for refuting the evidence provided by the initial suggestion. Make this plainly visible immediately upon opening a price suggestion (again, similar to YouTube's Video Responses), so users can see straight away that a suggestion is being refuted and that they need to look at more than just the evidence provided by the suggesting user. Finally, allow users to also vote on this rebuttle, to show how the community feels towards it AS WELL AS the initial suggestion.

This would allow a much clearer distribution of votes reflecting the communities input, and avoid the problem of actual rebuttles getting buried in the comment spam (particularly an issue with keys).

 

Sound like a plan? :)

 

Other than that, I pretty much agree with all you've said here.

 

2. Moral obligations

Many users use bp.tf as a price guide, and unfortunately some see it as a price bible. Backpack.tf is NOT a price bible, nor is it a price LIST, it is a price guide. The listed prices are what the item has sold for most regularly in the past, but any particular user can sell for more or for less. One argument against bp.tf is that since the website has a large userbase, we must work to stop the key inflation. We are not obligated to do this. I cannot claim that bp.tf has zero influence on key prices and its increase over the past few months, but we are doing what the goal of this website is: reflect the state of the market. Our purpose is to be accurate. Stopping inflation by manipulating prices is NOT our purpose. Stock tickers do not regulate or manipulate prices, they simply reflect what the actual market value is. Regulation is done by the parties who have actual control, who can make enforceable decisions. Our price guide is not inforceable. It is simply what already has happened, and lags slightly behind real-time values. We cannot force any trader to sell a key for 4 ref, or make a buyer buy at 4.22 ref. That is based on the traders in the actual marketplace.

If we stopped updating the price of keys, or set the price of keys to be 4 ref for a month, that would be blatant price manipulation. Even if it is backed by popular support, it is still price manipulation, and it goes against our purpose. Why should we make an exception for keys? If we start manipulating key prices, what is next? Bills? Buds? We will not make an exception for keys, because it could lead to disaster.

 

Well the problem is that it's not just some that see it as a bible, it is the majority of the trading community. In addition to this, the only time I've personally seen Backpack.tf used as a guide only is when sellers are trying to overstate the worth of their items. When it comes to the lower range of an item's value, if you ask for less than Backpack.tf's price, you're instantly labeled a lowballer, because all of a sudden Backpack.tf is now a bible for fear of losing any possible profit. Can you see the problem with this, particularly with keys? People will ALWAYS try to sell keys at a fraction above Backpack.tf's price (using the site as a guide), but NEVER will you see a current trade with stock at less than Backpack.tf's low end price (thus, the site becomes a bible). This, coupled with the fact that idlers and metal farmers can consistently afford to pay 1 scrap over the listed price, creates the upwards trend in price we are now at the mercy of, simply because of the purchasing habits of idlers as well as the consistent widespread bible-like use of Backpack.tf's pricing.

 

It is not because Backpack.tf has a large user base that it is obligated to stop the key inflation - the obligation comes from Backpack.tf's involvement in creating the problem to begin with. Yes, you're reflecting/reporting the prices of items (not necessarily accurately, however), but it is in those attempts to report that the site is also controlling.

 

Also, while it's true that Backpack.tf's pricing is not enforceable by the site itself, nor necessarily by ourselves, but it IS enforceable in the market as a whole because of how many traders consider Backpack.tf as a bible, and by extension, any prices outside its range are either highballs, or lowballs. The prices listed here are indirectly enforceable in that there is a higher probability of encountering a Backpack.tf-using trader then there is encountering one that does not, and it is for this reason that Backpack.tf controls the market.

 

As to your comments on freezing the price of keys being manipulation, see my comments on that above in my replies to Chief D.

3. Future of key prices
Key prices will reach an equilibrium eventually. When that happens, nobody knows. People will decide 4.33 ref is outrageous, and refuse to spend a bit more to buy a key. Maybe people will keep buying keys, eventually causing metal to be absolutely worthless.

Here is something to think about. One account gets item drops, usually within 6-12 weapons per week. Sometimes the drops can be hats or other items worth slightly more. Are you paying for these drops? Aside from electrical bills, no. Valve decided to reward those who play the game with free items every week. Initially, keys are only sold in the Mann Co Store, and you would need to spend actual money to buy them. Since the start of keys, many keys have since been bought, and a secondary market has been created where users buy keys from other users, for reduced prices. Basically, this allows users to play the game, get drops, and trade those drops for something which costs actual money. If everyone were a perfectly rational human being (which nobody is, don't kid yourself), this whole endeavor would still remain profitable until the cost of buying a key with metal equals the cost of electricity needed to generate the metal (ignoring opportunity costs). In the United States, the average cost of one kilowatthour of energy is 9.83 cents. The average computer requires 60-250 watts per hour, let us take the average of 155 watts (although average useage is most probably less). Weekly idling usually takes around 10 hours, so it would be 1550 watthours, or 1.55 kilowatthours. That would make it 15.24 cents for a week of drops. Let us assume that the user gets 10 items per week in drops, and turns it into .55 ref. A key is $2.49 from the Mann Co store, so 2.49/.1524 = 16.34 weeks of drops. At the rate of .55 ref per week, this would be 8.99~9 ref. GIven these estimations, it would not make rational sense to buy keys for over 9 ref each - thus, this is the hard cap. This hypothetical can be different for everyone, because some people always have their computer running, some may use a low-power idle machine, some may have cheaper or more expensive electricity, etc. However, it proves the possibility of a hard cap.

Another alternative is if people lose interest in the game, and nobody cares for keys or unusuals. That would lead to a collapse of the key market, and every other TF2 item trading market.

 

 

 

The fact that you have outlined a reasonable possibility of an upper bound on the price of keys is extremely comforting to me, despite the fact I consider the price to be astronomically high. Thank you for giving me some form of hope that this situation will at some point come to an end! :)

4. Use of backpack.tf
Again, we're not forcing you to use our website, nor is our website dictating prices. We are suggesting prices based on completed trades. We cannot hope to please everyone, but we strive to be as objective as possible. It is not to say that we are perfect machines who make no mistakes - surely, our prices can be off. We value community feedback, and if you believe a price to be completely wrong, you may make a suggestion, with valid proof, to argue for what the right price should be. Alternatively, you may disregard our price guide altogether. We cannot and will not force anyone to follow our price guide. Our moderation team is a 9 member (as of now) group, and the tf2 economy is filled with thousands of items. We cannot possibly keep perfect up-to-date track of every item in existence. This is where the community comes in. A community member notices something wrong with our prices, and suggests a change. We look over their suggestion, assess it for its validity, and choose to accept or deny the change. In debatable decisions, the votes usually swag admin decision one way or another. On important decisions, admins will spend more time looking at the market status. If you feel a price was changed prematurely or without enough justification, feel free to open a suggestion or forum post, with evidence of the corrected price.

 

 

 

As I said above, it is not Backpack.tf that forces us to use the site - it is the rest of the community and the probability therein of being forced to trade with someone who DOES use the site.

 

But of course, I accept the fact that the staff here try extremely hard, and that you aren't perfect. :)

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

F CHARLIE:

There are several points that should be treated with more attention and I will preface this by saying that a vast majority of transactions dealing with TF2 are trading transaction or are for trading purposes.  The secondary market is not a component of a major of trade traffic.  Also, we should change the viewpoint of free drops being a negative concept (some think of it as some form of socialism where the buyers are given handouts) and remember that the drop system has been the basis of trading and is the basis of trading.  We should look at the drops as the "payment" for "work" (playing the game).  That is what built the trading economy over time.  Without drops there would not be an economy 2-3 years ago when the vast majority of wealthier traders made that wealth and there wouldn't be one now as the drop trading aspect is needed by low - mid  level traders to build up cache to become a higher level trader.
 
1.  The relevant stake holders in this debate are low - mid - high range traders, player/traders (who do a little of both, mainly for items to play with) and players who care very little about the trading component of the game and view it is as a bother to get what they may want.  It is safe to say that the majority of all market participants lie in the latter two groups which we will consider to be the consumer base for our purposes.  The market segment for the low - mid level traders are mainly the last two groups with players congregating to low level traders and player/trader using both of them but mostly the mid level trader.  The player/trader and other mid - high level traders make up the consumer base for the high range trader. 
 
2. The rapid change in the trading price of the key will create tremendous complications for mid level traders (who are generally newer to trading and generally aspire to be higher level traders) because all of their customers have less ability to acquire mid level goods.  It effects both low level traders because more of the ref is being consumed to buy keys which means less is available for low level goods and it takes longer for mid level transactions to occur.  This in turn negatively effects high level transactions by eroding the buying power of four segments of the market which in truth are needed by the high level traders to have "new" customers.  Remember, new customers are also vital to maintaining the value of trad-able goods whether they be low priced stranges or unusuals.  BTW, I have considered crafting some .11 stranges because i needed the metal.  The net effect of all of this is the frustration we see in voting and other areas.  More importantly, it will damage the game itself as components of the game are effectively out of reach for larger and larger amounts of players.  This will drive people away from the game and bring about its demise even tho it is a great game.
 
Economic and market theories are tools we use to help us understand what is going on but at the end of it all its about everybody's enjoyment of the game, which I will say, backpack.tf, and it mods/admin is/are indispensable for that purpose.

 

 

Thanks for this. It expands quite well on the concerns the community has regarding the possibility of the average player being the ones to lose out, while the rich/idlers are the only ones to enjoy the game. While it's not the definite outcome, it remains a possibility as long as key prices continue to climb.

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lukecandy

A ton of writing, I'm not going to quote individual statements, but instead I'll give a broad answer. Prepare for a wall of text :)

 

1. Concerning suggestions

Suggestions are opened by users when they feel a price is inaccurate. In the suggestion, the user provides proof of why the currently listed price is inaccurate, and other users can comment and vote. Community votes are taken into account, and so are relevant comments on the suggestion. Say, the suggestor makes a suggestion to increase the price of stout shakos to 2 ref. First, the suggestor needs to show valid proof. The best proof is completed trades, where a seller transferred a stout shako, and a buyer transferred 2 ref. The second best proof is outstanding offers: a potential buyer agrees to the sale price, and has the capital necessary to make the transaction, but the actual transfer has not occured yet. Other proof can be buyers, who are openly willing to purchase a stout shako for a certain price. Bad proof is proof where sellers are asking for 2 ref, without buyer interest. Let us suppose that the original suggestor gives a handful of good proof, completed sales at 2 ref. Some time later, another user views the suggestion, and decides to look for further evidence. The second user finds a bunch of sales completed at 1.33 ref. The second user then posts these findings as a comment in the suggestion, to refute the suggested price. Assume that the second user shows a lot of trades completed at 1.33 ref. Then, there is more proof at 1.33 than at 2 ref - in this case, the suggested price would be too high, and 1.33 should at least be part of the range. At this point, it is clear that the suggestion has flaws, and the admin who reviews this suggestion will most likely close it. It may happen that the second user, who posted counterproof, did so a significant time after the initial suggestion was posted. Voters, unaware of the counterproof, casually look at the original suggestor's links, and upvote the suggestion. When the admin reviews the suggestion, the vote split is 200/100. In this case, despite the votes, the correct decision will be to close the suggestion.

 

As long as a user is not banned on this site, and that the user has a backpack value exceeding the price of the item suggestion (including multipliers), there is no restriction on voting. Users may vote for many reasons:

• Based on evidence shown by the suggestor

• Based on events the voter has witnessed or experienced

• Based on what the voter wants the item to be worth

• Based on further research of the current market price

• Based on personal preferences (for the item, suggestor, etc)

A voter could potentially do research and vote based on actual market price, which would require some time and searching, or vote based on feelings. The latter is more problematic, because what a user thinks may NOT reflect the actual market situation. From experience, over 95% of suggestions are decided in accordance with user votes. Take a look here, and you will see that most accepted suggestions are positively voted. If you browse closed suggestions, most of those will have been negatively voted on. In certain situations, this is not the case. The main example is key suggestions; voters have very strong feelings about key prices, so they will tend to vote according to what they feel, and less according to the actual market situation.

Example 1 1319 people voted for this suggestion, 372 voted against. At the time, tf2finance was showing a 4.08 ref per key, and the suggestor himself, plus people in the comments, have shown buyers at 4.11, and many completed trades at that price. Is it wrong to deny that suggestion, when there was evidence of transactions at 4.11, despite voters strongly agreeing? No matter what the normative assessment, the objective assessment is that keys were not 4 ref, and so the suggestion should not have passed.

Example 2 548 positive votes, 414 negative votes. The proof was pretty good, and yet still 414 people voted against the suggestion. Also, this accepted suggestion had a positive split of voters. Same with this suggestion

Example 3 428 positive votes, 416 negative votes. Suggestion was denied because price wasn't that high yet.

Example 4 43 positive votes, 79 negative votes. 43 people agreed to a suggestion lowering the price of keys to almost half of its current value...

Example 5 29 people upvoted this suggestion...

We cannot hold voters accountable for how they vote. If they choose to vote according to what the market price is, then they will be rewarded with a point. If they are mistaken about the market price, or if they vote based on another reason, they will incur a penalty. Thus, voting is a good mechanism for feedback, but it does not mean voters are always correct.

 

 

2. Moral obligations

Many users use bp.tf as a price guide, and unfortunately some see it as a price bible. Backpack.tf is NOT a price bible, nor is it a price LIST, it is a price guide. The listed prices are what the item has sold for most regularly in the past, but any particular user can sell for more or for less. One argument against bp.tf is that since the website has a large userbase, we must work to stop the key inflation. We are not obligated to do this. I cannot claim that bp.tf has zero influence on key prices and its increase over the past few months, but we are doing what the goal of this website is: reflect the state of the market. Our purpose is to be accurate. Stopping inflation by manipulating prices is NOT our purpose. Stock tickers do not regulate or manipulate prices, they simply reflect what the actual market value is. Regulation is done by the parties who have actual control, who can make enforceable decisions. Our price guide is not inforceable. It is simply what already has happened, and lags slightly behind real-time values. We cannot force any trader to sell a key for 4 ref, or make a buyer buy at 4.22 ref. That is based on the traders in the actual marketplace.

If we stopped updating the price of keys, or set the price of keys to be 4 ref for a month, that would be blatant price manipulation. Even if it is backed by popular support, it is still price manipulation, and it goes against our purpose. Why should we make an exception for keys? If we start manipulating key prices, what is next? Bills? Buds? We will not make an exception for keys, because it could lead to disaster.

 

 

3. Future of key prices

Key prices will reach an equilibrium eventually. When that happens, nobody knows. People will decide 4.33 ref is outrageous, and refuse to spend a bit more to buy a key. Maybe people will keep buying keys, eventually causing metal to be absolutely worthless.

 

Here is something to think about. One account gets item drops, usually within 6-12 weapons per week. Sometimes the drops can be hats or other items worth slightly more. Are you paying for these drops? Aside from electrical bills, no. Valve decided to reward those who play the game with free items every week. Initially, keys are only sold in the Mann Co Store, and you would need to spend actual money to buy them. Since the start of keys, many keys have since been bought, and a secondary market has been created where users buy keys from other users, for reduced prices. Basically, this allows users to play the game, get drops, and trade those drops for something which costs actual money. If everyone were a perfectly rational human being (which nobody is, don't kid yourself), this whole endeavor would still remain profitable until the cost of buying a key with metal equals the cost of electricity needed to generate the metal (ignoring opportunity costs). In the United States, the average cost of one kilowatthour of energy is 9.83 cents. The average computer requires 60-250 watts per hour, let us take the average of 155 watts (although average useage is most probably less). Weekly idling usually takes around 10 hours, so it would be 1550 watthours, or 1.55 kilowatthours. That would make it 15.24 cents for a week of drops. Let us assume that the user gets 10 items per week in drops, and turns it into .55 ref. A key is $2.49 from the Mann Co store, so 2.49/.1524 = 16.34 weeks of drops. At the rate of .55 ref per week, this would be 8.99~9 ref. GIven these estimations, it would not make rational sense to buy keys for over 9 ref each - thus, this is the hard cap. This hypothetical can be different for everyone, because some people always have their computer running, some may use a low-power idle machine, some may have cheaper or more expensive electricity, etc. However, it proves the possibility of a hard cap.

 

Another alternative is if people lose interest in the game, and nobody cares for keys or unusuals. That would lead to a collapse of the key market, and every other TF2 item trading market.

 

 

4. Use of backpack.tf

Again, we're not forcing you to use our website, nor is our website dictating prices. We are suggesting prices based on completed trades. We cannot hope to please everyone, but we strive to be as objective as possible. It is not to say that we are perfect machines who make no mistakes - surely, our prices can be off. We value community feedback, and if you believe a price to be completely wrong, you may make a suggestion, with valid proof, to argue for what the right price should be. Alternatively, you may disregard our price guide altogether. We cannot and will not force anyone to follow our price guide. Our moderation team is a 9 member (as of now) group, and the tf2 economy is filled with thousands of items. We cannot possibly keep perfect up-to-date track of every item in existence. This is where the community comes in. A community member notices something wrong with our prices, and suggests a change. We look over their suggestion, assess it for its validity, and choose to accept or deny the change. In debatable decisions, the votes usually swag admin decision one way or another. On important decisions, admins will spend more time looking at the market status. If you feel a price was changed prematurely or without enough justification, feel free to open a suggestion or forum post, with evidence of the corrected price.

 

 

5. Other remarks

I find TF2 to be quite enjoyable, even without any keys. It's a class-based team FPS, with some nice features. Trading is completely optional.

I am NOT saying keys should go up in price, or that the current price is desirable. However, we reflect the market, and if this is what the market dictates, this is what happens. (I personally refuse to buy keys for over 2.33 ref)

Ye3G8rc.gif

got me there m8

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Aerolite

(Sorry for the formatting, btw. I had to start using code blocks instead of quote blocks. I hope you don't mind.)

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Chief D

Chief D:

 

Thank you. It's certainly proving very illuminating for me, at the very least! :)

 

 

Yep, we agree, and yes I think it's extremely important to post a reason as a the decision against the majority opinion, directly along with (in my opinion) any evidence that led the particular staff member to that conclusion. :)

 

 

The issue here is that while you acknowledge the fact that Backpack.tf has an effect on the market, you're still speaking as if it serves only to report prices and not to set/constrain them.

 

While you're 100% correct in saying that freezing key prices, as well as using only community votes to dictate the price would be direct price manipulation, the issue is that I'm still yet to see any concrete proof that Backpack.tf is not ALREADY manipulating the market prices. As I said above to Base64 - the prices that are being accepted each week are the result of continuous key purchases made by a specific segment of players (idlers/metal farmers), not the average player base, BUT due to how widely Backpack.tf is utilized by the whole player base (in that it sets constraints on what are considered fair prices), Backpack.tf, as a result of the purchases made by that segment of players, is directly causing inflation for the whole player base.

 

Backpack.tf is already playing a direct part in this problem, so again it comes back to the "Two wrongs don't make a right" issue, but I really think it's much more a case of choosing the lesser of two evils. Yes, it's wrong for Backpack.tf to manipulate prices in an attempt to please the majority, but I'd wager it's just as bad if not worse to (even unintentionally) manipulate the prices in favor of a select group of players that have the most wealth, at the cost of damaging things for the rest of the player base.

 

 

Yeah, I see what you're saying. I guess again it comes down to the lesser of two evils - players vote, and if their wrong, they get penalized because the unfortunate truth is that less people get votes wrong honestly than they do in manipulation attempts.

Nothing you guys can really do about that, so I can accept it. :) Sadly means that giving input on a suggestion may have the side effect of censoring you in the future for an honest mistake. :S

 

I still disagree with the idea of your "lesser of two evils". If we are indeed "manipulating" the price of keys indirectly, I'm sure there are other factors that do the same. As Base64 stated, premium packs, halloween unboxing and others played an important role in the spike of keys. 

 

I really understand your concern, it's crazy for all of us. Honestly I don't think "rich" players are getting anything either, as they make more ref per key, but keys are still the same value in $$, so they can make more metal while the metal and items priced in metal drop. Basically, the increase in the metal price of keys means nothing to the real value, unless all you want is lots of hats and don't care about values (Regular players would enjoy this, traders wouldn't care).

 

Again, I think we're talking about something out of our reach here. If a solution to the key problem shall arise, I think only The Gaben can help us.

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~shenanigans

In regard to refuting a suggestion. I do not know why you say comments are the wrong place to post refuting evidence, because it seems to be the best place. Also, there is a system in place: create another suggestion. The other open suggestions are listed at the top of each suggestion page, and voters can look through each one. This is the same as posting reaction videos - separate videos which provide a different view. Users who find that the proof is unsatisfactory can post a different suggestion, or show that the current price is still accurate. In the case of inaccuracy, they will have to show in the comments the proof is inaccurate (unless the item in question is an unusual over 2 months old in price). Sub-suggestions are unnecessary.

Quote

Well the problem is that it's not just some that see it as a bible,

it is the majority of the trading community. In addition to this, the

only time I've personally seen Backpack.tf used as a guide only is when

sellers are trying to overstate the worth of their items. When it comes

to the lower range of an item's value, if you ask for less than

Backpack.tf's price, you're instantly labeled a lowballer, because all

of a sudden Backpack.tf is now a bible for fear of losing any possible

profit. Can you see the problem with this, particularly with keys? People

will ALWAYS try to sell keys at a fraction above Backpack.tf's price

(using the site as a guide), but NEVER will you see a current trade with

stock at less than Backpack.tf's low end price (thus, the site becomes a

bible). This, coupled with the fact that idlers and metal

farmers can consistently afford to pay 1 scrap over the listed price,

creates the upwards trend in price we are now at the mercy of, simply

because of the purchasing habits of idlers as well as the consistent

widespread bible-like use of Backpack.tf's pricing.

 

 

 

It is not because Backpack.tf has a large user base that it is

obligated to stop the key inflation - the obligation comes from

Backpack.tf's involvement in creating the problem to begin with. Yes, you're reflecting/reporting the prices of items (not necessarily accurately, however), but it is in those attempts to report that the site is also controlling.

 

 

 

Also, while it's true that Backpack.tf's pricing is

not enforceable by the site itself, nor necessarily by ourselves, but it

IS enforceable in the market as a whole because of how many traders

consider Backpack.tf as a bible, and by extension, any prices outside

its range are either highballs, or lowballs. The prices listed here are indirectly enforceable

in that there is a higher probability of encountering a

Backpack.tf-using trader then there is encountering one that does not,

and it is for this reason that Backpack.tf controls the market.

 

 

 

As to your comments on freezing the price of keys being manipulation, see my comments on that above in my replies to Chief D.

Bp.tf is not a bible. Users treating it as such are making a mistake. Actual sales may fall on either side of the suggested average price. Being labeled a "lowballer" is a subjective assessment. In regard to keys, people try to sell at a higher price, and they are successful. Think rationally - why would a seller settle for less, when they can make more with minimal effort? Idlers and metal farmers are still potential buyers, and they cannot be ignored. An example is that a very wealthy person may decide to arbitrarly buy a ton of coke bottles, thus driving up the price of these bottles. Anyone else who wants bottles has to pay more for them, or refuse to buy.

 

One thing that people seem to believe is that keys are in integral, vital, indispensible part of TF2. This is NOT true. Keys are a commodity. Ownership of keys offers you no special advantage over other players - there are no weapons that can only be obtained from keys, and having keys does not make you play better. Having a key is like having a lot of money - you can show off your money by buying a BMW (unusual hat), but in the end it is just a symbol of vanity. All unusual hats also come in a unique form, and this cheaper variant can be bought quite easily with metal. All weapons come in a unique form, and they are constantly traded for other weapons or items.

 

In a free market, sellers are allowed to sell for whatever price they want, and buyers can pay whatever price they want. When the seller's price matches the buyer's price, a trade occurs. Whatever that price is, it is not up to us to regulate it. Backpack.tf did NOT create the problem, although some argue it may have accelerated key price increase. There are many forum topics on the cause of key price increases, please give them a read. Anyone is allowed to create a suggestion, and that suggestion will be assessed for validity, so I don't see how "those attempts to report" is being controlled by bp.tf.

 

Bp.tf's pricing is not enforceable. We simply create a guide that users can choose to follow or not. For example, if a community deems "killing rats is wrong", some may agree and some may not. If a second group, a band of vigilantes, comes in and decides to kill anyone who disagrees with "killing rats is wrong," does that make the original community responsible for the vigilantes' actions?

 

Many people use bp.tf's price guide because they find it to be accurate, convinent, or profitable. Bp.tf does not control the market - if tomorrow we changed key prices to 3 ref, how many people do you think will actually sell for 3 ref? Although bp.tf does have influence on the market, the market is still essentially free to change as it wishes. Greed is a part of human nature, and traders always want to make a profit. Bp.tf is not capable of fighting human nature; we can only watch and document it.

 

EDIT: I had typed out an extremely long and carefully detailed explanation. Then someone logs me off the library computer I was using, and deleted everything ;_; This is a very shortened version of what I probably had...

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F  CHARLIE

"I really understand your concern, it's crazy for all of us. Honestly I don't think "rich" players are getting anything either, as they make
more ref per key, but keys are still the same value in $$, so they can make more metal while the metal and items priced in metal drop.
Basically, the increase in the metal price of keys means nothing to the real value, unless all you want is lots of hats and don't care about
values (Regular players would enjoy this, traders wouldn't care)."    Chief Robin

 

1.  I would like to know if the high level/unusual traders are having a harder time right now.  The difficulty they should be seeing is when they try to get keys for their unusuals but it should be slower all the way around.

 

2.  I would like to see if we can figure out how many transactions are trades as opposed to secondary market purchases.  I believe there is far more volume being done in regular trading which makes your last statement untrue.  I believe this creates a perception problem between established traders and newer traders that is not recognized.  The guys who have been doing this a long time and have a lot in their pack, most likely think that so much is going on in the $$ side because that is where they are.  As well as the many people they know and matured with as a trader.  These high tier traders would naturally become classicists, just like in real life.  I have seen a degree of this attitude from some towards other commentator's.  In turn we also see the natural tendency for lower tier traders to become frustrated and then resentful towards mid and then high tier traders.

 

I have seen plenty of people try to refer to the mann-conomy in free market terms.  They also forget the reasons why Laissez-faire economics doesn't work or even exist.  Humanity is rife with corruption and complacency which leads to market abuses.  As valve has not, to our understanding, regulated the market (I leave open the possibility that they may engage in trading manipulation through game and item design)  than it acceptable for us to regulate this market thru some means.

 

The vehicle for this would be a group of game participants including admins, moderator and player/traders as well as major contributors.  Research would be conducted and cause be fully understood and published.  The published document could be commented by all player/traders.  At that point the group would take the course of action that the published document would imply needs to be taken.

 

This may or may not be feasible.  We could also agree that valve will have to care for its product and not take the responsibility on ourselves.  Whichever, but please discuss.

 

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F  CHARLIE

Chief D

 

I think u mau have been mentioning a change to the price suggestion format to make refuting evidence easier to view by voters.  There could be two columns with suggestor evidence on the left with space for new evidence there and one on the left for refuting evidence.

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base64

base64:

 

Backpack.tf appears to be already in the position of being more than just a reporter. If this is the case, then given that it has thus already significantly influenced the market, would a better outcome not be Backpack.tf using that existing power of influence in a way that fits the majority community view (with careful moderation)?

Of course, the argument of "Two wrongs don't make a right" comes into play here, but when last I checked, one consistent wrong (inflation of keys as a result of Backpack.tf's pricing) doesn't make a right, either.

 

The power of backpack.tf is given by its reporting of true market price. 

 

Market --- Influences ---> Backpack.tf --- Influences ---> Market

 

Ideally, we want Backpack.tf to report the exact market price, it would become

 

Market --- Influences ---> Market 

 

which is what "price signal" is intended to be in price mechanism. 

 

Your majority community view does not mean that the Newspaper can report Gasoline to be US$1 because the majority of individuals want lower price. 

 

 

 

What I'm saying is that enough players have enough refined metal that they are willing to spend on keys, such that their demand for keys will never allow the price to drop, GIVEN THAT Backpack.tf continues to increase the listed price of keys as a result of these players buying, irrespective sellers asking for 1 scrap more.

 

The demand, of the average non-idler trader, for keys appears (from what I've seen, as well as my own personal opinion) to have plummeted. I've all but given up on buying keys with metal, as have many others I've spoken to on trade servers. The only course of action in this situation is thus more people start idling. Idling, of course, puts you in the class of players I mentioned above, and by extension, compounding the problem. If I was to idle with 200 accounts and make 100+ or whatever ref a week, do you think I'd care about a 1 scrap discrepancy between one seller and the next? Not a chance, I'm just going to buy from whoever is online with the most stock.

 

Therein lies the problem. It is one class (the idlers/metal farmers) of player and their actions that are causing a misrepresentation of the price of keys AS A WHOLE that doesn't apply to the rest of us, and given that sellers set their prices according to what Backpack.tf lists (usually + 1 scrap), Backpack.tf is directly involved in this.

 

I'm going to explain your assumption in a mathematical way. 

 

You are saying that Quantity Demanded is the same regardless of the price. I'm going to prove you wrong. 

 

Each account gets roughly 0.5 Refined (9 Weapons) per week. And your assumption is they spend all of them on Keys and keep no Refined. 

 

LGOKnOv.png

For every price increase, the Quantity Demanded for Keys (if you assume that idlers buy Keys with 100% of refined they received) decreases. 

 

On the other hand, we know that Quantity Supplied increases as price increase, and thus Demand and Supply intersects. 

 

Buyers compete on open grounds with Money or Purchasing Power, same reason fighters compete in a boxing arena only with fists, but not family background, how handsome they are, etc. 

 

The rules of allocation of resources through market are like that, get used to it. 

 

We don't care why the "average non-idler trader" wants Keys, or where did the Refined come from. 

 

Whether it's Consumption Demand, Speculative Demand, Demand from Fraudulent Money, Demand for shits and giggles. 

 

All it matters is the summation of market Demand. 

 

df5qUSt.png

 

If you agree that Idling is a problem, please consult Valve. 

 

I'm sorry but I'm going to have to completely disagree here.

You are saying that players who may or may not have paid for a game are not entitled to enjoy some aspects of that game, just because a bunch of players are in a better position as part of that game? What on earth gives you that mindset?

 

If you purchase or download a game, whether it be free or not, you are entitled to have access to and enjoy ALL parts of that game, so long as they are not limited by any legally binding agreements or ongoing financial costs (subscriptions, etc). If that is not the case, then there is by definition considerably less reason to bother playing it.

 

I thought you said not to start a flame war, yet you question what on earth my mindset came from. 

 

The mindset came from the adoption of Capitalism, which exist in over 200 countries on Earth. 

 

And so far, no countries on Earth gives residents access to ALL resources of the country, including free iPhone 5 plus unlimited bandwidth subscription when people can't afford it. 

 

If you want to complain why we don't have access to enjoy ALL parts of TF2, ask Valve why the Mann Co Store needs us to pay real money. 

 

Also, I'm in a worse position of getting a Burning TC as part of the game, please help me complain to Valve. 

 

----

 

As a side note here, even though I own hundreds of Keys equivalent, I have never unboxed a single crate in my life. 

 

Also, the last time I bought keys was at 3 Refined. 

 

Unboxing is not a necessity, you don't die if you don't unbox. So if Demand for unboxing by "average player" cannot compete against the "Demand for Transaction" by rich players/idlers, deal with it. 

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Blue Screen of Death

I think all sides have valid points here. Most of what I think and would say has already been said so I'll keep it short and just be straight on my views.

 

1) I agree Backpack.tf does have some control over the market price. A good % of traders would sell/buy for whatever the site reports as the current price (when they need to sell the item, and not profit from it). But the job here is being done the right way when it comes to accepting/closing a suggestion.

 

2) I agree something could be done to make counter-proofs more noticeable. Most suggestions are filled with countless amount of spam, and because of this many people only care enough to read the suggester's arguments (or some hand picked members') and miss some counter-proof comments. If everyone with a counter-proof starts a new suggestion it would simply clog the site with many useless suggestions.

 

3) I believe it's time for Backpack.tf to stop reporting key prices. Don't freeze it, don't set a fixed value, just remove it from the system. It may hinder the site from reaching its goal, which I assume is to have prices for every single item in the game, but this whole key discussion has already begun to hurt the site's reputation. Without a guide/bible/anyothertermyouthinkitfitshere people will sell for whatever they want or think it's fair (and probably will do their own research if they care enough to do it), and won't have a place to use as a justification for their high or low prices.

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F  CHARLIE

It would be worse if they didn't report.

 

Base64, all coutries regulate thier free market economies because if they don't there will be coruption and abuse. Economists always strugle to calculate the effect of motive and emotion because they effect outcome. There r product or comodities that must be regulating because of how they effect an economy.

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base64

 

all coutries regulate thier free market economies because if they don't there will be coruption and abuse. Economists always strugle to calculate the effect of motive and emotion because they effect outcome. There r product or comodities that must be regulating because of how they effect an economy.

 

Tell that to Valve, and please show an example of "corruption and abuse" of a non-essential free-market good such as iPhone 5. 

 

And no, Economists do not calculate your emotions of not able to buy something non essential. 

 

If you want to know Normative economics, get an expert in Public Policy or Marketing instead. 

 

Furthermore, who gave Backpack.tf the right to regulate the prices to your "popular opinion"?

 

Which country allows a News Agency (eg. Bloomberg or Reuters) to give false information in an attempt to "regulate" the popular price?

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Baloo

I was going to make a comment on this conversation, but then I saw the comments had gotten very lengthy and extensive. I might read them, but then I thought:

 

tumblr_me9l7mfF511rxwarf.gif

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F  CHARLIE

Tell that to Valve, and please show an example of "corruption and abuse" of a non-essential free-market good such as iPhone 5. 

 

And no, Economists do not calculate your emotions of not able to buy something non essential. 

 

If you want to know Normative economics, get an expert in Public Policy or Marketing instead. 

 

Furthermore, who gave Backpack.tf the right to regulate the prices to your "popular opinion"?

 

Which country allows a News Agency (eg. Bloomberg or Reuters) to give false information in an attempt to "regulate" the popular price?

 

Inside this environment the key has become essential to trading and essential to access all aspects of the game. Valve was not the one who made keys the trading currency it became, the community did. 

 

Also, the very existence of backpack.tf, tf2finance, and even outpost are themselves a form of regulation. 

 

Backpack.tf informs the public, creates consensus and is a guide for trading activities.   That is the basis for regulation.  The newspaper writes a story about an accident prone stretch of road. The community reacts to the information and after researching the problem, sets in place instruments to make that stretch safer.  Reporting is the first step, and in this environment, its enough to standardize pricing which is better for all.

 

finance and stats are data bases for research and they give historical perspective.  Again, information and knowledge establishes self regulation.

 

Even outpost serves as an instrument for community regulation.  By displaying multiple sellers, in the same format, for buyers to more easily compare it standardizes prices and makes proof searches easier.

 

I believe all of these sites have the ability to warn and ban its members.  If you add in the forums and steamrep, etc, you have a self-regulating community.  We are our own governing body.

 

I wasn't trading when backpack.tf was envisioned and built (my first real trading effort was Dec 28th last year I think) but I am pretty sure that its function as a trust worthy price guide was part of the vision.  All of its components are part of the communities interest in self-regulation.  All of you knew what you were doing when you had discussions about it.

 

BTW if Brad Pitt isn't paid, he is a programing saint.  This is an incredible site.

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GSC159753

This makes me wonder, what would happen IF and only IF ALL and yes I meen ALL pricing/trade sites suddently closed down, would it return to a state such as the birth of the mannconomy (see the forum for that) or would another person/group, create a site based on what they want/"rember" as I low level trader I got advise to unbox and hope, advice that keys were always 2.33 and to use spreedsheat. I came back after several months to trade again, I saw that keys were now 2.66 and did not in anyway question it. As a low trader I took the advice and unboxed like a madman and got my first unuasal (an O.planets grimme hat). Soon after worked my way up to my level now. I find it sad that I see in servers people telling new traders the price of keys being 4.33-4.44, and most listen and buy at that price, the more seanoned yet newer traders argue that keys are cheaper, of course the older traders say well soon it will be 4.33-4.44, and reliezing they are right buy that high. I also see alot of advice saying to never unbox due to high key price. Where will the unuasals come from? Where will the stranges come from? I myself am cashing out soon, at least until the whole key price issue is sorted out.

 

(please excuse my terrible spelling)

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F  CHARLIE

 I also see alot of advice saying to never unbox due to high key price. Where will the unuasals come from? Where will the stranges come from? I myself am cashing out soon, at least until the whole key price issue is sorted out.

 

I have estimated that 23,000 crate 56's have been opened and 17,000 crate 57's have been opened.  That is a rough estimate.  That would mean that at least 400 unusuals have entered the market since the release of crates 56/57.

 

The only crate that is worth while opening is crate 19 but all crates average out to a loss even with unusuals factored in.  I would never recommend that anyone open a regular crate.  A big part of that is the high trade value of the key.

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Uranium235

The only crate that is worth while opening is crate 19 but all crates average out to a loss even with unusuals factored in.  I would never recommend that anyone open a regular crate.  A big part of that is the high trade value of the key.

That is only true if you assume everyone has utility function of a risk-neutral or risk-avoiding individual.

But obviously that is not the case.

The high value of the Key is not such a big part. A lot of crates are opened for Strange Weapons, which tend to rise with the Key price as well as having a high initial price with the release of a new crate.

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F  CHARLIE

That is only true if you assume everyone has utility function of a risk-neutral or risk-avoiding individual.

But obviously that is not the case.

The high value of the Key is not such a big part. A lot of crates are opened for Strange Weapons, which tend to rise with the Key price as well as having a high initial price with the release of a new crate.

 

Not these items for now but if the pace of opening continues to slow than yes these will rise in price.  Note, its my opinion based on the current ev of the crates.

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Hugh Jazz

Whoa, this is getting harder and harder to reply too, haha! Good points coming up, though! :D

 

~shenanigans:

 

In reading through your run-through of the "Life of a suggestion" as it were, something has immediately become apparent to me - Comments are the wrong place to provide refuting evidence!

It sounds like what is needed here is a more integrated and functional way to provide evidence to the contrary of a suggestion, similar to how YouTube allows users to post Video Responses. If possible, get your coding staff together and ask them about the ability to implement a way of making a kind of "Sub-suggestion"-style post specifically for refuting the evidence provided by the initial suggestion. Make this plainly visible immediately upon opening a price suggestion (again, similar to YouTube's Video Responses), so users can see straight away that a suggestion is being refuted and that they need to look at more than just the evidence provided by the suggesting user. Finally, allow users to also vote on this rebuttle, to show how the community feels towards it AS WELL AS the initial suggestion.

This would allow a much clearer distribution of votes reflecting the communities input, and avoid the problem of actual rebuttles getting buried in the comment spam (particularly an issue with keys).

 

Sound like a plan? :)

 

Other than that, I pretty much agree with all you've said here.

If there was a coding staff, Brad would be the only one in it.

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