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Julia

Open discussion on rules for trading with scammers

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manic
4 hours ago, Mr Furley said:

My opinion, as a trader who has been around for far too long, is that the sites should block the scammers. People should be free to buy on the classies or mp or even outpost w/o worrying. In the sign up process it should check for issues. Still if it was a trade from a server yes check but sites should do the majority of the work

There is no foolproof way to do that, and anything that made a step in that direction would be annoying for a lot of people.

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MasterMinder

It's an interesting topic. It's actually quite funny, because we wouldn't have this discussion about this rule if people didn't start going on witch hunts and check the item history of every item that are valued at 15+ keys, just to get their competition banned and get all the profits for themselves. Unfortunately we are living in a time full of capitalists, who will go above and beyond to get that extra little buck, up to a point where morality plays no role.

 

About the rule itself, there is nothing wrong with it, it's more that the people I described above are pissing me off. Back in the day - as far as I'm aware - only people who repeatedly/knowingly traded with scammers got reported, because in most cases it was super obvious, but now it's witch hunt time ;)

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Brian
7 hours ago, Toughsox said:

Trading with scammers is a no-no for obvious reasons. Those that bitch about the rules are the ones usually caught up in them.  As a Staff member of Outpost, I can say that MANY permanently banned users have been offered a chance at another appeal.  The majority of them are turned down for the following reasons....... 

A: Usually they are requested for their trade history during their ban time and most of the times, they never learned any lesson and continued to trade with scammers. 

B: Or, as it most typical, they make an alt account and evade that original ban.

 

PS....one of you that whined how unfair Outpost is and was perm banned just had another new alt of yours banned.   You're welcome   B)

Why not use an example of someone getting another offer from a perm ban on Backpack.TF and not Outpost? This is a post about BACKPACK.TF not OUTPOST.

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Zeus_Junior
11 hours ago, Golf io said:

I personally feel that when you intentionally trading with 1 scammer for 1 time you dont derserve a perma ban because its a first offense and you are punished less than more but i feel that when you do it twice then its a perma cause you did it again anyway and you didnt learn from your previous mistake. -snip

Intentionally trading with a scammer = a permanent ban for a reason. You're helping out someone that has stolen things from others. It's obvious that this generally isn't accepted anywhere :P 

 

28 minutes ago, Brian said:

Why not use an example of someone getting another offer from a perm ban on Backpack.TF and not Outpost? This is a post about BACKPACK.TF not OUTPOST.

Both ban for trading with scammers, so sort of relevant.

 

As for the rule -

I've been banned too once for trading with a scammer.

It sucked, sure, made it harder to trade as i couldn't list on classifieds but none of the people i traded with during that ban felt like they couldn't trade me because of it. It obviously sucks to get your third strike 2 years after your second and get perma banned, and something about that could be changed, but isn't a point system just gonna make things a lot harder?

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Mew2!

This is a great thread and all, but can't VALVe do anything to destroy these scammers? Oh wait...

 

(the joke here is that VAC bans don't work)

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Teeny Tiny Cat
3 hours ago, MasterMinder said:

It's an interesting topic. It's actually quite funny, because we wouldn't have this discussion about this rule if people didn't start going on witch hunts and check the item history of every item that are valued at 15+ keys, just to get their competition banned and get all the profits for themselves. Unfortunately we are living in a time full of capitalists, who will go above and beyond to get that extra little buck, up to a point where morality plays no role.

 

This tbh. 

 

I won't say too much for now, since I want you guys to have an open forum to air your views and these threads can turn into users vs mods pretty easily. I will say that 2 chances before a perm ban, plus the ability to appeal a perm ban after a few months, seems more than reasonable to me. That's essentially 4 chances. I understand some users make more trades than others, but honestly, if you're trading so much that you're not able to effectively background check then you might want to look at what you can manage and what you can't. Plenty of very high volume traders have never been banned, and I suspect it's more the ones who are personally against trading with scammers and have incentive beyond avoiding breaking a rule who fit that category. 

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Woifi The Viking
13 hours ago, hugh said:

 Wolfi would not be unsurreptitiously watching this thread in the background haha!

:ph34r:

 

So this was discussed a few weeks ago already and I think we posted there as well and explained things. Just like teeny I wanna give more general thoughts here than a Moderator reply.

 

I guess I wanna roll things up from the beginning:

Welcome to backpack.tf, is it reasonable to expect users who first use the site to check the rules?

There is not a big red flashing window that pops up and says HERE ARE THE RULES, but the rules are linked everytime you want to make a listing (which is what most people use the site for), so I think the exposure of the rules is decent. On top of exposure the rules should be common sense as well for the most part. Don't trade with thieves? Sounds straightforward to me, you wouldn't wanna do that IRL either. Yet many people still act surprised when they first hear of that rule (possible AFTER they got banned for it already). Why is that? Is it just general carelessness when trading, or just lack of awareness? Maybe cause thieves IRL don't sell there stuff in stores, rather just privately (for the most part), yet in steam trading most trades are done privately. Maybe it's also about how to do research, how to perform a proper background check, and since people might not know that they are less likely to care/be aware about the topic in general.

I'm not 100% sure about why, possibly there are many different reasons but for some reason many people don't seem to think about that aspect while starting out trading. 

The scenario of a guy was also brought up who just uses trade servers and never backpack.tf and then he gets banned as well. Those cases are super rare and not many of those are reported to begin with either, but it should still be common sense to not trade with thieves so even then the "excuse" is a rather thin one.

So all the above could be reasons why the first strike happens, and keep in mind you still have to get reported as well for it.

 

Speaking about getting reported, I do believe the reason why this discussion is brought up more often recently is cause of the increased number of reports on people for trading with scammers. Some people report their competition (good point masterminder), some notice those trades while digging through item histories for suggestions and report it that way. Ever since user reports are public there also seemed to be an increase in reports for trading with scammers. Maybe that caused some sort of bandwagoning. Whatever the factors are it makes me think about how many people go unreported, or did go unreported in previous days, and how many people for example got permabanned after their 10th trade with a scammer, but they were only reported 3 times for it. 

However I still wanna emphasize that it's way more important for us to catch the actual scammers, scam reports always take priority over trading with scammer reports (bonus hint for report mod applicants).

 

Another reason that doesn't seem to be that intuitive to some people is the obvious alt thing. They just check steamrep/backpack.tf but nothing else. But if they have like 0 hours in games and no steam community profile and high value items already that's pretty obvious and not unreasonable to expect from users to check I would think. Also if you are unsure you can always ask report mods (in the discord preferably).

 

Just some food for thought for the discussion, at the end I also just wanna mention that you can appeal a permanent ban as well, which could be seen as a 4th strike, and personally I think that's quite a few chances, even for the time span of a couple years.

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Fishtail
3 hours ago, Woifi The Viking said:

Just some food for thought for the discussion, at the end I also just wanna mention that you can appeal a permanent ban as well, which could be seen as a 4th strike, and personally I think that's quite a few chances, even for the time span of a couple years.

 

Fully agree with you. I too have been banned at one point for trading with scammers, my first and only strike i believe. It was mostly because I was desperate to get one of my engie sets together that i'd longed a while for. A friend linked me to the user with the Spellbound Hairpiece, and when he finally came on, i paid his price and bought it no questions asked. Only after the trade did I realize it was actually a scammer. That was a huge blunder for me since i'd never traded with scammers before. But having a few thousand $$ worth of backpack at the time, I vowed to take the responsibility and always take my time with trades, even if it meant losing legitimate deals due to my slow-paced approach. As a result, i haven't been involved with any scammers even though i constantly get bombarded by good offers from them. There have also been alts adding me with legitimate hours and account at some point, but it wasn't very hard to find out after a bit of digging that they were hijacked or bought. 

 

Point is - If you realize you've got a sizable inventory, but you don't take it seriously, it's on you. Just as you'd take responsibility for your hard earned cash in life, you should also think about your backpack similarly. If you're under the influence of alcohol or substances, or you've got stress and tension, you should know better than to hop on your computer and think about trading. 3-4 strikes is quite more than enough to learn that lesson. You wouldn't get that chance in most circumstances in life. 

 

Bots are a bit of a different matter, but the point still stands. If you want convenience for yourself while trading, you should also consider the responsibilities that come with it. The bot's responsibility falls on you, and if it doesn't conduct as you would, then that's your fault. If you aren't very much into programming like me, ask for help or don't rely on bots to do your bidding. Granted, there are always loopholes around scripts that scammers can abuse, however you should have a safety net system in place so you can manually review those types of trades. If your morals don't tell you to go that extra mile to assure your bots aren't dealing with scammers, that just means you don't take the rules or trading too seriously. So you shouldn't be using it as an excuse to justify your bot's conduct when your bot or you get banned. Simple as that.

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Mengh.

Though I've rarely done unusual trading like most people do (with the use of keys), I do have quite some experience with selling large volumes on now-gone OPSkins, with items ranging from mere weapons to unusuals, so I've rarely had to deal with checking with scammers as there was no possible option to see item histories. When you have that sort of environment of anonymity when trading, it is true to say that you are driven by profit and are willing to take any deal that comes your way, no matter who you're trading with. The same could be said about the usage of SCM, in that there is no option to allow for such transparency with who you are dealing with.

 

I am thankful that this is not the case when it comes to the TF2 trading scene, with sources like backpack.tf, tf2outpost, SteamRep and Rep.tf that help provide better light on who you are trading with and whether it would be wise to do so. For some cases, there are instances where people legitimately don't know the communal rules for trading with scammers, but the leniency to be forgiven comes across with the three strike system, with the first strike being there to bring up the caution of trading with scammers, first-time-hand. Once you get banned the first time around, you should know what it was for, and know how to be responsible for it to not happen again.

 

For other cases like the ones stated in this thread, it's more about slipping up when it comes to your second and third strikes, which is what the main discussion is about. As for intentionally trading with scammers, I definitely believe that the rule for it should not be changed from what it is now, so I pretty much won't be talking about that.

 

On 17/07/2018 at 10:01 PM, Julia said:

Ever since the rules for background checks were established they haven’t seen much change. The current rules do not consider length of time between aberrant trades. It could be a month, it could be over a year. Going a year without trading with any scammers is a long time. Should a trader be so severely punished for trading with a scammer for the third time, even if it’s been over a year since their last trade? Please bear in mind, I am not saying that we should make the rules so relaxed that we condone trading with scammers. I do not think scammers should have an easy way of offloading their stolen goods. I myself would not do anything differently if the rules were to be changed.
 
I don’t know the perfect solution to the problem, but I want to propose a change. Like a driver’s license points systems for traffic violations, make it so that a trader collects points for each trade with a scammer. When the trader collects so many points within a certain period of time they are permanently banned. The points would reset after a certain period of time, say a year. This should be fair for everyone in the long-term of things and still prevent traders from trading with scammers.
 
Thanks for reading. This is something that’s been on my mind getting back into trading and I’d like to hear everyone else’s thoughts on the matter, and if anyone else has any other suggestions for rule changes.

 

In my opinion, I would be in support with the suggested changes that Julia suggested, seeing how it does take into account time between such trades with scammers, and does provide some leniency for that occasional slip up due to human error, but there are some scenarios where it has its flaws. The difference between this suggestion and the current system would be that the current system enforces strikes being struck against an account indefinitely. For someone on their second strike, it does provide that severity in checking every person you're trading with and sometimes, even letting go of a deal if the trader is unable to tell if someone shows the signs of a scammer when the deal seems too good to be true. With the suggested system, someone who is on their second strike but is about to lose one of their previous strikes would have that leniency to take on such a deal, leading to the possibility of a scammer successfully having liquidated the possessions he stole with the help of the trader. Simply put, when one considers points to be temporary, it may cause the checking of scammers to become lax as well.

 

Furthermore, this new system involving non-permanent points could be seen as a 'get out of free card' or a 'free trade with a scammer ticket' each year when it comes to your allowance of trading with scammers. In some scenarios, it is difficult to pinpoint whether a trade with a scammer is intentional or not, unless there are the clear signs of a mark on SR / BP.TF/ TF2OP, however, nowadays, a lot of scammers tend to use alts (sometimes not obvious) or hijacked accounts as to perform their trades with unusual traders. Through these channels, you'd have the possibility of not getting caught, but if you do, you'd have that privilege to be allowed to trade with scammers for a one-time trade per year. For a better picture, you could have a person using their three points wisely and attempt to purposefully trade with a scammer each half of the year, and continue that process by not collecting too many points within a certain period, but rather spreading that out across multiple years. A scammer with a scammed 200 key unusual would be happy with getting $200 for it, and by using a seemingly safe account and the technique of manipulating the backpack.tf caching system, a trader would be able to successfully make the trade at the risk of just one point that would be removed after one year. You could repeat that process year-on-year, however, the words of "collects so many points within a certain period of time they are permanently banned" could be used to negate this, if thought about carefully with the time period being appropriate to stopping the exploitation of this new system from such instances. Simply put, by allowing points to be temporary, it might soften the punishment for trading with scammers, and could lead to others seeing the action of trading with scammers to be of less implications - and therefore more willing to take on such risks.

 

With the discussion about bots, which may be starting to get a bit off-topic, I've assisted the development of some CS:GO bots but quite a few TF2 ones, however, enough to be able to say that the process of checking an account for the signs of an alternate account of a scammer by a bot could [edit: changed should to could] be foolproof in not trading with any scammers by any means necessary if programmed correctly (and given that the code isn't open to the public to see how it works). The process of checking whether an account could be a potential alt of a scammer is quite programmatic for a normal human, and could be checked through the use of resources like BP.TF or SteamRep along with 5 other different sources, like Julia's bot, however, there are some manual checks that a trader would normally do without the use of external websites that a bot should do such as:

  • Hours in TF2 (and other games if necessary, to judge how dedicated one is to this account)
  • Privatised inventories (Bot.tf does this, which I think it's pretty great that they do as it's pretty much what most humans are put off from trading with people)
  • Value of trade
  • A low steam level (Polar states "a steam level of three or less", but I generally set the required steam level for some reputability to be above 10 at least, as some alt accounts are levelled to 8 as to be able to participate in Steam events and farm free cards)
  • A very high unusual:non-unusual ratio for their inventory, partnered with a low TF2 backpack slot usage
  • Amount of total backpack slots (shows dedication)
  • Types of friends (private accounts / inventories, SR banned, their playtime etc.)
  • Distribution of Backpack.tf trust ratings

and a few dozen more metrics and factors that I employ into bots. I do believe that most people generally do follow the types of metrics and factors that I listed and also the ones I haven't listed out here, and actually turning it into logical steps, it can be put into a bot with ease. If push comes to shove in cases such as the backpack.tf API, Steam API or SR API being down, it would always be best to decline the trade as we have no means of being able to fully able to verify the user. In a case where a number of these factors deem the other user to be a possible alt, it is best to leave it for the owner of the bot to manual accept the trade on their terms, like how Masterminder implemented for Bot.tf. That, or the trade to be declined. Thinking about the volumes of trade that go through a bot, a false positive is better than the risk of getting a mark.

However, it does bring up the question whether you can fully allow a bot to have such a consciousness or such preciseness to be able to correctly predict if an account is a possible alt account for a scammer or not.

 

In any case, I do believe that bots, and their users should be held accountable and be held to the same standards as any other user, bot or not. By using Bot.tf or other programs, you should be held accountable, I hope, for the trades you accept, allow to be accepted through the bot or by the code, as you paid for the service and usage of its code at its current state (or have coded it and hopefully done extensive testing before public release and have introduced the bot to the market as you believe it's enough to trade like a a user and automate such processes).

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Mrs TS

Scammers, by a general definition, are people that have gotten items by STEALING THEM, in many cases for absolutely nothing.  No amount of points, or time, nor any other factors should be taken into consideration once your strikes are over and done with. 

 

From alot of what I see here, so many of you are so concerned with the traders rights in this matter.  No where has anyone mentioned the people that got scammed.  

 

Or is it, well, "well that guy he got screwed and sucks to be him but, oh my, my reputation and trading privileges just took a hit".    Stop with the hypocritical BS.  You got caught trading with someone you may or may not have been aware was the scum of the trading world, then you are remade aware of the rules.  How many times do you think you should be given more and more chances?  

 

Guaranteed you paid much less than the item was worth.....what, you think the scammer added you to give you such a discount because he randomly picked you out of thin air and was being generous?  Or, you think 'hey, this is my lucky day, a random person just traded me where I made a quick $200 profit because he saw me in a server?"    Get real people.    You aren't THAT lucky in life once, let alone 2, 3, 4+ times.

 

You know what the rules are in trading, no different than in real life.  Try using this snowflake mentality in real life and see where it gets you. 

"But officer, I only shoplifted once 2 years ago, where I got probation.  I should be let go again"    No, you got CAUGHT doing it 2 years ago, that doesnt mean you didnt do it in between each time.....just that someone paid attention to you and you got caught again.  And regardless, you did it again so guess who is going to jail?  

 

The bottom line is, alot of people need to be reminded that TF2 trading USED to be for the fun of it.    So many of you have sucked the life right out of it.

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hugh

Ahh I just realised, Mrs TS stands for Mrs Toughsox, it starts to make sense now...

As this is definitely one of the more emotionally charged posts here and also touches on many important issues, I wanted to give my 2c on it, since I'm in the pro-loosen rules up slightly camp.

 

39 minutes ago, Mrs TS said:

Scammers, by a general definition, are people that have gotten items by STEALING THEM, in many cases for absolutely nothing. 

True, utter scumbags they are, especially the remorseless ones. Absolutely fuck the remorseless ones. They might have the balls to steal 1k USD over the veil of the internet, but I doubt they'd have the balls to steal a $1k laptop from an actual shop and risk real criminal prosecution.

 

42 minutes ago, Mrs TS said:

No amount of points, or time, nor any other factors should be taken into consideration once your strikes are over and done with

I respect your opinion on this, but I do not agree with you. If the law operated that way, justice would be a lot more 'eye for an eye' and a lot less forgiving. The world wouldn't even need report moderators/judges if it was kept that simple.

 

45 minutes ago, Mrs TS said:

Or is it, well, "well that guy he got screwed and sucks to be him but, oh my, my reputation and trading privileges just took a hit".    Stop with the hypocritical BS.  You got caught trading with someone you may or may not have been aware was the scum of the trading world, then you are remade aware of the rules.  How many times do you think you should be given more and more chances?  

Yeah, definitely agree - banning trading with scammers should be secondary to actually banning the scammers - as said by Wolfi. However, everyone here is aware of the rules (and if they hadn't been, they certainly are now!). The problem is not being unaware of the rules, the problem is occasional human error (or bot error). At this current time, the conditions are 2 second chances and that's it. This most impacts high volume traders/longstanding traders and bots. 

 

51 minutes ago, Mrs TS said:

Guaranteed you paid much less than the item was worth.....what, you think the scammer added you to give you such a discount because he randomly picked you out of thin air and was being generous?  Or, you think 'hey, this is my lucky day, a random person just traded me where I made a quick $200 profit because he saw me in a server?"    Get real people.    You aren't THAT lucky in life once, let alone 2, 3, 4+ times"

I'm sure that does happen, but I can tell you that I make it my business to accept every marginally advantageous trade, because why not? I don't need 30% overpay or whatever the trendy number is now - why not make $5 bucks here and now? In the circumstance I can remember, it was scarcely profitable but definitely marginally so, which is not much different from most of the offers I accept. I can also tell you that the bigger the margin, the more suspicious I am - I can't not think: "Hmmm this man is selling me a Burning Flames Rack for 100 keys?? That does not sound right"

 

You haven't been trading unusuals for very long if you underestimate the luck factor that much. Whilst it doesn't happen often, in the space of my 3.5 years, it's definitely happened more than what I had originally expected. 

 

1 hour ago, Mrs TS said:

You know what the rules are in trading, no different than in real life.  Try using this snowflake mentality in real life and see where it gets you. 

"But officer, I only shoplifted once 2 years ago, where I got probation.  I should be let go again"    No, you got CAUGHT doing it 2 years ago, that doesnt mean you didnt do it in between each time.....just that someone paid attention to you and you got caught again.  And regardless, you did it again so guess who is going to jail?  

That is true. Realistically, I'm actually just asking for mercy considerations for people like myself - I know the rules, I put in a goddamn lot of effort to abide by the rules, I would never knowingly commit to a trade with a scammer - but because I am human, I can slip up. You can even look up my profile, I make it deadly clear that they are not welcome. Even if the rules are relaxed, I'm still not going to commit to trading with these thieves, it is ethically wrong.

 

1 hour ago, Mrs TS said:

The bottom line is, alot of people need to be reminded that TF2 trading USED to be for the fun of it.    So many of you have sucked the life right out of it.

This is pretty off-topic right? But it still is, ask Julia, she's loving it right now. As for me, I don't enjoy it anymore, not because of the market but because I am tired of it. However, there are many things I need to pay for, the biggest being that I owe 120k to the government for my degree. Then there's the elective surgery to correct the unfortunate anomalies that can happen in human development. And then saving up the money to buy a house in Sydney, which is not freaking easy when even an apartment costs $600k if you don't want to live in a hole. I was most definitely not born with a silver spoon, and this platform is one way I have managed to be effective in making money before I can get my job, which is next year. I could be considered near the top of the trading game, but I'm not here to gain shiny pixels, or boost e-penis or whatever - I'm here to pay off my university debt primarily, and then the other things, and I'm most definitely not here to intentionally suck the fun out of trading for you.

 

Other people here might not be as old as me (I'm 24, and still without my first job! I know right?) - they could be too young to find work, too busy otherwise with studies. Regardless, aptitude in trading teaches a lot about money, which is a good thing, I think. But I don't think the people on this site are the people 'sucking the life out of trading.' -  you should be going after the scammers themselves.

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MSL
13 hours ago, hugh said:

^^^

Preach. Just adding one thing. I know Julia, and sort of know hugh (we worked together on a sticky situation regarding FINESSE a while ago) and neither of them desire to trade with scammers in any way. They’re both doing everything they can, and are simply trying to open the discussion regarding if the permanency of points may be too harsh. 

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Julia

Some interesting points have been made. The community should be more open about issues such as this. Regardless of the outcome of this post, I still feel it's valuable for people to share their views, and give their own input on the ways the community could be bettered. I feel backpack.tf has always been very good at adapting, whether it's their rules or features to its site, and I'd still like to believe that the admins have the best intentions for its users. I'd like to expand a bit more on my original post, hopefully not re-iterating myself too much.

 

I'm very against allowing traders to trade with scammers. This post is not about allowing traders to do as they please. I hope my post didn't come off as that way. I know some wouldn't care whether they trade with a scammer or not, and some that do care. People that trade with scammers should be punished. I detest scammers. I wish they'd just go away, but obviously that won't happen. It's great that it's been made more difficult for scammers to offload their stolen goods. No community cares as much about this as the TF2 community, and that's one of the things I like about it.

 

Some of my close friends have been scammed of their items and I only wish they would have talked to me before doing anything risky. Some of my less trader-savvy friends do ask me, and I've always given them my advice on what to do, and maybe I've prevented a few people from being scammed. Though I can't help them much if it's already too late. One of my friends that I used to regularly play with bought a Vivid Plasma Head Prize from me only to be scammed of it around a month later from a friend who he thought he could trust. He loved that hat. It was his dream hat, and it was taken from him. I felt really bad about it. It was also a hat that I grew quite fond of, and it was nice that I'd at least be able to see it around when we'd play together. No more could that be.

 

I was very surprised that bot.tf only recently implemented features for checking obvious alts when it should've been there from the start. It was only after bots being banned that something was done. Seeing as how many Unusual bots were running on bot.tf, it blows my mind that many of them were able to avoid being banned for so long. I do not think bots should be treated any differently than human traders. When I was building my Unusual bot the first thing I wrote was a way to check for alts. In fact, I wrote it over a year ago, well before I even began writing my Unusual bot. As it's very extensive, the feature took probably over a dozen hours to write and test. I didn't get any use out of it until I decided to write my Unusual bot back around April this year. It's easily one of the most important features I've built into it. I did make a few changes to it before getting my bot up, particularly including more sources to have more data points to check from. Account hours used to be a dead give-away of whether an account was an alt or not, though they are hidden on many profiles now.

 

Back when SteamREP's rules were in place I would use backpack.tf automatic for selling Unusuals, which I also modified to be more strict on checking for alts. backpack.tf's own tool could not prevent you from trading with scammer alts, unless the account was banned on SteamREP or backpack.tf. Though backpack.tf automatic was used for selling items. Scammers would rarely ever buy anything from you, and if they did it was hardly that harmful. I still wouldn't want to trade with them regardless, and the feature I wrote did prevent me from selling a few hats to obvious alts, so it was worth doing.

 

What MasterMinder wrote was something I also wanted to say. It's not that these types of trades weren't happening before, it's more that no one was reporting them. Rules are rules, whether people are reported are not. If you want to use the site they must be followed. The proposal I suggested might've been too lax, though I was thinking about the time I got my first speeding ticket. I was driving a bit faster than I should've. I got pulled over and received a ticket. It was my first offense and I now had 2 points on my license. If I wanted to keep my license to drive in good standing I needed to be more careful about my driving. I learned that the State is very forgiving when it comes to violations. You would need to have accumulated 12 points to have your license reexamined. That's 6 times of what my offense was! And, even after examination you still may be able to keep your license. Obviously, you should be careful while driving as your carelessness could either harm yourself or others. When I was pulled over the officer reminded me of this. Since then I've avoided receiving any other offenses and my points should be cleared in around 4 months. Now, I know trading with scammers and traffic offenses are two different things, though it's interesting that offenses which do lead to people's deaths on a daily basis are still able to be forgiven if you're able drive in accordance to law.

 

I'm not overly worried about myself trading with scammers. I'm quite responsible, though, I do admit that I'm not perfect and I do make mistakes from time-to-time. The rule change is about what's reasonable to expect of traders. I do think this rule impacts high-volume traders the most. Just to put some numbers into perspective: I've kept a trading spreadsheet of nearly every Unusual I've traded since the beginning of 2016 and it contains 4,320 Unusuals! OK, so maybe not all of those will apply to the rules. Many I've received off the market. After filtering to only Unusuals that weren't bought off the market and which were over 15 keys (based on my personal quicksell value of the hat, so this number would actually be higher), that comes to 1917 Unusuals. An Unusual is bought, then sold, resulting in generally 2 trades per Unusual, so the actual number of trades comes to around 3800, and I do check for alts regardless of what the trade value is. That's quite a lot of trades to go without trading with scammers! It amazes me because I do not consider myself a very careful person in a lot of cases. Over the past week my bot has bought a total of 35 Unusuals, all of which were over 15 keys in value. A total of 5 scammer/scammer alt accounts had attempted to sell Unusuals to the bot.

 

These are their accounts:

https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198217562733 - Marked on SR.
https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198056213049 - Marked on SR.
https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198828760010 - This doesn't look terribly obvious based on profile alone but still has some easy give-aways if you know how to check accounts.
https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198085171374 - I'm not sure why this account appears so empty now, as I don't think it appeared so when I last checked it. The account has a reasonable age, steam level, and playtime, except only 1 hour in TF2.
https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198449476400 - This has low account age, hours, and low usage on backpack.tf. Likely alt.

 

I usually block these accounts, and I've reported a few. I probably should report more so that no one else trades with them. Though that does take time and effort on my part and I mostly just want to complete my trades

 

Being able to appeal after 6 months is somewhat fair, though this still puts you out of the game. In the event I'd get permanently banned I would just cash out all my items and stop trading maybe altogether, which I sort of did last year. Attempting to trade without the use of backpack.tf would just not be worthwhile to me. As an example, TF2Outpost has always had strict rules for trading with scammers. Many high-volume traders eventually ended up being banned after enough time. I could name many... but I'm sure most that were around back then knew who they were. There were even a few backpack.tf moderators who have made the mistake. They're not perfect either.

 

The way a lot of scammers operate is that they attempt to sell their stolen goods to buy orders, and if that doesn't work they will often sell the goods to scrap.tf or any other sites that allows them to automatically offload their goods. The good thing about preventing them from selling to buy orders is that at least they're not making as much profit. Selling to buy orders will almost always yield the profit for most scammers.Though I have seen other bots trade with alts that my bot was able to pick up. They could be making more of an effort. 

 

It's not that difficult to avoid most alt accounts, but no one is perfect either.

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Kate

I have almost finished a background checking system for my bot when I got banned for a second time. Now I am subject to a perma ban. I would like to give all the bought items back to the rightful owners back so I can get one strike removed but I don't think moderators are interested so I'd rather discuss a problem no one mentioned before.

 

I have tested a system which declines offers from people with <100 hrs, accounts <6 months old when noticed that many of REAL accounts will get their offers declined. So If I use this system I would either get banned for declining offers or for trading with scammers. (Of course the first is more preferable but still it's not perfect)

 

Also I have met some problems with this criteria:

(3) minimal inventory except for high value items

Does anyone know how to preform this check? I already feel how I get perma banned for trading with 1 year old level 4 steam account with 200 tf2 hours with public profile BUT WITH MINIMAL(how low?) INVENTORY EXCEPT FOR HIGH(how much high?) VALUE ITEMS.

 

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Teeny Tiny Cat

Kate, it's simply criteria to look at when making a judgement about what might be a scammer alt. What that last one means is someone who looks brand new to the game and has no in game items, etc, but has expensive unusuals - if that doesn't scream alt to you, as an experienced trader with common sense, I don't know what to tell you.

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Kate
6 minutes ago, Teeny Tiny Cat said:

Kate, it's simply criteria to look at when making a judgement about what might be a scammer alt. What that last one means is someone who looks brand new to the game and has no in game items, etc, but has expensive unusuals - if that doesn't scream alt to you, as an experienced trader with common sense, I don't know what to tell you.

I know it's easier to look, but sometimes I sleep or just don't have time to sit near my notebook. I  want to make my trading automated so I am thinking about how to programme it. I just can't understand why scrap.tf can buy unusuals automatically without doing a manual check but low tier traders don't have this option.

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Geel

I've been running Marketplace.tf and ScrapTF for the past 6 years. A huge part of that -- especially on Marketplace -- is preventing fraudsters (someone who commits fraud) from exploiting us and others for their own gain.

For the purpose of this discussion, when I say "fraudster" I'm referring as well to scammers. After all, scamming is really just fraud. I think calling it "scamming" as opposed to "fraud" serves to downplay the moral bankruptcy and, frankly, criminal behavior that is involved -- but I digress.

 

Few points:

  • It is impossible to detect fraudsters with perfect accuracy before they've attacked you. If you have a system that is worth exploiting, and which requires inherently trusting people at some point in the process, it will be exploited. 
  • Filters that attempt to analyze a Steam account to determine if they're legitimate are extremely weak, due to the lack of data available.
  • Fraudsters will always be able to offload goods as long as trading exists. 
  • People should not be banned for failing to screen traders according to a filter that the authority doing the banning is incapable of defining. If the authority (in this case, backpack.tf) is unable to itself distinguish between fraudsters and legitimate users, it cannot expect others to do so.
  • Looking back on previous caught fraudsters and attempting to learn from their behavior can be helpful, but it can also be very misleading. It's always easy to look at an account after fraud has been committed and identify a few points that "made it obvious" that they were a fraudster -- but you'll find that many legitimate users also share these characteristics.
  • None of this applies to people who are marked as scammers on SR.

This is my personal opinion. I am not in charge of backpack.tf policy.

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Teeny Tiny Cat
1 hour ago, Kate said:

I know it's easier to look, but sometimes I sleep or just don't have time to sit near my notebook. I  want to make my trading automated so I am thinking about how to programme it. I just can't understand why scrap.tf can buy unusuals automatically without doing a manual check but low tier traders don't have this option.

 

What purpose would banning scrap.tf bots from backpack.tf serve? They don't interact or use the site in any way.

 

1 minute ago, Geel said:

People should not be banned for failing to screen traders according to a filter that the authority doing the banning is incapable of defining. If the authority (in this case, backpack.tf) is unable to itself distinguish between fraudsters and legitimate users, it cannot expect others to do so.

 

We are able to distinguish, and so are traders. It's bot scripts that cannot. That's why we recommend people manual check trades above the 15 key threshold. 

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Geel
3 minutes ago, Teeny Tiny Cat said:

We are able to distinguish, and so are traders. It's bot scripts that cannot. That's why we recommend people manual check trades above the 15 key threshold. 

 

You can distinguish with a reasonable level of certainty, but are unable to create a defined filter that people should apply, nor are you able to have a 100% success rate.

 

It's an entirely subjective test, which can be very helpful, but it's not -- in my view -- fair to hold people to executing a subjective test perfectly.

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Teeny Tiny Cat
2 minutes ago, Geel said:

 

You can distinguish with a reasonable level of certainty, but are unable to create a defined filter that people should apply, nor are you able to have a 100% success rate.

 

It's an entirely subjective test, which can be very helpful, but it's not -- in my view -- fair to hold people to executing a subjective test perfectly.

 

It is somewhat subjective based on objective factors and common sense. Traders always have the option of asking mods, we are always available to answer questions if someone is unsure if an account is safe to trade or not. 

 

What would you prefer? Allowing free trades with unbanned accounts means basically no restriction on scammers offloading items easily.

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Geel
1 minute ago, Teeny Tiny Cat said:

What would you prefer? Allowing free trades with unbanned accounts means basically no restriction on scammers offloading items easily.

 

There already really isn't one, that's the point. Scammers are going to be able to offload items regardless, simply because it is far easier to disguise yourself than it is to see through someone's disguise.

 

I do, however, recognize that there is a moral imperative with regards to preventing people from profiting off of goods they know are scammed. I'm just not sure that can be done in a way that doesn't create further unnecessary victims.

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OverduePixels
On 7/18/2018 at 5:50 AM, MasterMinder said:

It's an interesting topic. It's actually quite funny, because we wouldn't have this discussion about this rule if people didn't start going on witch hunts and check the item history of every item that are valued at 15+ keys, just to get their competition banned and get all the profits for themselves. Unfortunately we are living in a time full of capitalists, who will go above and beyond to get that extra little buck, up to a point where morality plays no role.

 

I can get behind this point. Just wanted to share this thought, the amount of report against people trading and or being suspected of trading with scammers/scammer alts have increased dramatically since the implementation of Open reports. It wasn't much lower before but this type of report surely have increased. I am not saying people should stop reporting those but I have noticed that those type of reports have significantly went up to the point some could say "spam" out of those bunch, a few does turn up invalid.  :ph34r:

 

Edit: From a high traders perspective I can understand how it feels to have people constantly checking and trying to find some fault in the items you acquired.

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Kate
2 hours ago, Teeny Tiny Cat said:

 

What purpose would banning scrap.tf bots from backpack.tf serve? They don't interact or use the site in any way.

 

I am not saying that scrap.tf bots needs to be banned I am saying that scaring fair traders with permanent ban is a very serious punishment. Scammers will always be able to sell their goods on scrap.tf, stn.tf or many other sites. The result of this rule is getting many fair and responsable traders banned and provoking a "ban war" between competitors. Anyone can ban permanently ban their competitor if they manage to bypass their filters. Here's a good point thanks Geel:

2 hours ago, Geel said:

People should not be banned for failing to screen traders according to a filter that the authority doing the banning is incapable of defining. If the authority (in this case, backpack.tf) is unable to itself distinguish between fraudsters and legitimate users, it cannot expect others to do so.

Either backpack.tf should have api telling a certain user is likely a scammer alt and bots should not accept trades from them or punishment should not be a permanent ban. Otherwise you're just killing the whole concept of automated bot trading and don't get rid of scams. Scammers will still be able to sell goods on other automated trading sites.

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zol
1 hour ago, Kate said:

I am not saying that scrap.tf bots needs to be banned I am saying that scaring fair traders with permanent ban is a very serious punishment. Scammers will always be able to sell their goods on scrap.tf, stn.tf or many other sites. The result of this rule is getting many fair and responsable traders banned and provoking a "ban war" between competitors. Anyone can ban permanently ban their competitor if they manage to bypass their filters. Here's a good point thanks Geel:

Either backpack.tf should have api telling a certain user is likely a scammer alt and bots should not accept trades from them or punishment should not be a permanent ban. Otherwise you're just killing the whole concept of automated bot trading and don't get rid of scams. Scammers will still be able to sell goods on other automated trading sites.

yeah, thats right.

3 hours ago, Geel said:

 

There already really isn't one, that's the point. Scammers are going to be able to offload items regardless, simply because it is far easier to disguise yourself than it is to see through someone's disguise.

 

I do, however, recognize that there is a moral imperative with regards to preventing people from profiting off of goods they know are scammed. I'm just not sure that can be done in a way that doesn't create further unnecessary victims.

yes, its what we are talking about, fair.

 

Btw guys, I can show you how its easy to "kill" someone. I would never "hunt" anyone, I'm for fair competition but im sure i can find "bad" trades very fast. so I will make report for 4-5 medium traders from buyorders for trading with "obvious" scammer alts, Im gonna spend like 30-40 min for this. Gonna do that to show you, that just ban good traders is not solution.

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Teeny Tiny Cat
9 hours ago, Kate said:

Either backpack.tf should have api telling a certain user is likely a scammer alt and bots should not accept trades from them or punishment should not be a permanent ban. Otherwise you're just killing the whole concept of automated bot trading and don't get rid of scams. Scammers will still be able to sell goods on other automated trading sites.

 

Our rules have been the same since before I joined this site. They're not new, they're not aimed at bots, and they're not remotely unreasonable. You only get banned if you trade a banned/marked account or an OBVIOUS scammer alt. You get multiple chances before a permanent ban, and you can appeal a permanent ban after so many months. 

 

The reason you got a ban is because you chose to ignore advice about manually checking trades above 15 keys. The account you traded with is extremely obviously a scammer alt:

 

https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198830377634

https://backpack.tf/u/76561198830377634

 

Between creation date, level, backpack history/spike, there is no way a reasonable and experienced trader would look at this account and think it was anything but an alt. I'm sorry but you're banned because you prioritised getting quick, good deals over following the rules. If you'd checked, I don't think you would have done the trade. And that is YOUR responsibility. We would penalise a random trader for this trade, so it's in no way fair to allow users who use bots an advantage. 

 

12 hours ago, Geel said:

 

There already really isn't one, that's the point. Scammers are going to be able to offload items regardless, simply because it is far easier to disguise yourself than it is to see through someone's disguise.

 

I do, however, recognize that there is a moral imperative with regards to preventing people from profiting off of goods they know are scammed. I'm just not sure that can be done in a way that doesn't create further unnecessary victims.

 

They are, but that doesn't mean we should just give them free reign to do so. By your logic there's no point banning for trades with banned/marked accounts either. 

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