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Unbalanced trades reports - feedback - READ OP BEFORE POSTING


Teeny Tiny Cat

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Unbalanced trades reports generally take a long time to compile and process, and there's been a lot of user frustration recently with that. I think there's two components to the frustration here; the rules feel unclear to people so they're unsure what can or cannot be reported, and then the time reports take to be handled can seem like mods are inactive. I'd like to improve these things, and I've realised when looking for the rule post to link to people that it's difficult for even me to find. If I, as the person who wrote the rule, cannot easily remember where it is, expecting users to find and be aware of it is a little silly. On the time it takes to complete reports, mods are not inactive, it simply takes a lot of time to comb through every trade, value unpriced or outdated items, confirm trade contents, etc. There are some things users could potentially do when making reports that would make it easier for mods to process them more quickly.

 

So, with the above in mind, the mod team have been working on a guide for unbalanced trade reports that should hopefully clarify the rule, how it works, what can be reported, what cannot, and the best way to research and then format reports.

 

The purpose of this thread is to get some feedback on what you all actually want from a guide. What are you unclear on? What about the rules around unbalanced trades don't make sense to you? Do you know how to properly research or confirm trade contents? Is there anything you'd like explained about doing so? Do you know how to estimate value for unpriced or out of date items? Is there anything you'd like explaining in a guide that would help you when doing that? 

 

I'm throwing out questions that have occurred to the team but really, it's more useful to hear from you guys what would be helpful to have laid out in a guide, clarified, explained further, etc. To be clear, I'm not asking whether you agree with the rule or not, this is not the thread for that, I'm simply asking if you understand it and if not what would you like clarified?

 

For context, these are the rules on unbalanced trades vs "sharking"

 

 

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The entire concept of an unbalance trade not being sharking only because you don't lie about item values is a big point that doesn't make sense to me. Like how is not telling the other person that your items are worth nothing/theirs are worth a lot more a get out of jail card for being called a shark in backpacks rulebook?(see the recent mogger case as a prime example)

 

Both unbalanced trades and sharking are deceiving practices with the same end goal of defrauding another person for personal gain, where does backpack draw the line between them?

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8 minutes ago, Heidecker said:

The entire concept of an unbalance trade not being sharking only because you don't lie about item values is a big point that doesn't make sense to me. Like how is not telling the other person that your items are worth nothing/theirs are worth a lot more a get out of jail card for being called a shark in backpacks rulebook?(see the recent mogger case as a prime example)

 

Both unbalanced trades and sharking are deceiving practices with the same end goal of defrauding another person for personal gain, where does backpack draw the line between them?

 

I hid your post, but you edited at the same time so I guess it's more on topic now. The guide can cover the rationale and the difference between a deceptive trades ("sharking" though I don't like that term) versus an unbalanced trades report, sure.

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2 minutes ago, Teeny Tiny Cat said:

 

I hid your post, but you edited at the same time so I guess it's more on topic now. The guide can cover the rationale and the difference between a deceptive trades ("sharking" though I don't like that term) versus an unbalanced trades report, sure.

Oh yeah, sorry my bad. I like to just throw out comments and then edit them afterwards when I actually think about what I said ^^

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Do you anticipate having a quantitative threshold for what can be reported? i.e., if the hat acquired in the unbalanced trade is worth over X keys, then it can be reported. Do you expect to use a percentage to value the transaction, like if a user pays 40% of an item's supposed price, then the trade will be considered "unbalanced"? A combination of the two? Or, will cases be assessed qualitatively - might prevent people from operating slightly within the acceptable boundaries?

 

If you expect to incorporate a value-based system, how will the value of items be determined? Surely not a given item's reported price on Backpack.tf at a given time, right? This seems like the most difficult area to get to a spot where it makes sense.

 

Will there be a limit to the number of times a user can make unbalanced trades or will there be "levels" of punishment? i.e., "Level 1" occurs at X unbalanced trades in Y months, and results in a ban for Z weeks. After the user is unbanned, and they continue to make unbalanced trades, the ban duration will increase based on the "level". Or, do you anticipate the first ban being severe, and thus not incorporating a "level" system in the reports/bans?

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Two things:

 

First: where is the specific wording of this rule? All I can find is what is in this post https://forums.backpack.tf/topic/53663-guide-for-reporting-on-the-main-site/#comment-595067 which has specific verbiage addressing sharking but not unbalanced trades.

 

Second: I think it is impossible to give specific metrics in terms of percentage or profit, amount of monetary gain from a trade etc. However, you could still give users a good idea of what is ban-able or not by giving hypothetical examples of things which would meet your criteria and things which would not. 

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5 hours ago, SpotlightR said:

Do you anticipate having a quantitative threshold for what can be reported? i.e., if the hat acquired in the unbalanced trade is worth over X keys, then it can be reported. Do you expect to use a percentage to value the transaction, like if a user pays 40% of an item's supposed price, then the trade will be considered "unbalanced"? A combination of the two? Or, will cases be assessed qualitatively - might prevent people from operating slightly within the acceptable boundaries?

 

This is an existing rule, and we assess it qualitatively. I've linked the rule in the main post now.

 

5 hours ago, SpotlightR said:

If you expect to incorporate a value-based system, how will the value of items be determined? Surely not a given item's reported price on Backpack.tf at a given time, right? This seems like the most difficult area to get to a spot where it makes sense.

 

That's something we plan to include some detailed info on in the guide - how to value unpriced or outdated items.

 

5 hours ago, SpotlightR said:

Will there be a limit to the number of times a user can make unbalanced trades or will there be "levels" of punishment? i.e., "Level 1" occurs at X unbalanced trades in Y months, and results in a ban for Z weeks. After the user is unbanned, and they continue to make unbalanced trades, the ban duration will increase based on the "level". Or, do you anticipate the first ban being severe, and thus not incorporating a "level" system in the reports/bans?

 

No, there are no levels of punishment, if a report is made and mods make the assessment that there is a pattern of unbalanced trades then the reported user will receive a negative trust and ban from premium. I can include some info on that in the guide, though I'm not sure how/why it's relevant to making a report?

 

28 minutes ago, bob_2_ said:

Two things:

 

First: where is the specific wording of this rule? All I can find is what is in this post https://forums.backpack.tf/topic/53663-guide-for-reporting-on-the-main-site/#comment-595067 which has specific verbiage addressing sharking but not unbalanced trades.

 

Second: I think it is impossible to give specific metrics in terms of percentage or profit, amount of monetary gain from a trade etc. However, you could still give users a good idea of what is ban-able or not by giving hypothetical examples of things which would meet your criteria and things which would not. 

 

I've linked the specific rule post in the OP.

 

Examples is an idea, I'll float it with the mods.

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I've hidden a lot of posts which are off topic. I am again reiterating that this is NOT a thread to discuss the rule itself, but to understand what users would like from a guide for how to make reports.

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  • Teeny Tiny Cat changed the title to Unbalanced trades reports - feedback - READ OP BEFORE POSTING
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"The use of deceitful tactics to coerce another user to commit a trade against their better judgment. It is akin to scams committed by con artists in the real world. The discrepancy in item value is much less important than the intent to defraud another user. We will ban users for committing this sort of fraud ONLY if there is definitive proof using screenshots of the conversation and trade agreement showing that the user in question has lied or misrepresented item values in a gratuitous way to deceive another user."

 

I feel like unbalanced trades are hard to prove...

 

If there is deceit, of course its similar to scamming if you say "hey my 10 key hat is actually worth 100 keys, give me ur 300 key hat that I say is actually only worth 90 cause its a good deal" to someone who doesn't know any better, thats sharking and I believe should be bannable.

 

But unbalanced is a little harder... especially for unpriced unusuals.

 

It's very easy if there is a trader who seems to go to newly unboxed players and buy say a high tier effect (burning or whatnot) for below what buyers pay for ANY effect, thats easy to prove and say yes this user is malicious and taking advantage, but say theres a trader who keeps buying hats 1 key above buy orders and still making 100's of keys profit, is that an unbalanced user? Should they be banned? They're technically offering the highest offer advertised, but it could be unbalanced or lack of buyers... so its really hard to give a definitive rule here.

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7 minutes ago, JayTuut said:

But unbalanced is a little harder... especially for unpriced unusuals.

 

It's very easy if there is a trader who seems to go to newly unboxed players and buy say a high tier effect (burning or whatnot) for below what buyers pay for ANY effect, thats easy to prove and say yes this user is malicious and taking advantage, but say theres a trader who keeps buying hats 1 key above buy orders and still making 100's of keys profit, is that an unbalanced user? Should they be banned? They're technically offering the highest offer advertised, but it could be unbalanced or lack of buyers... so its really hard to give a definitive rule here.

 

I don't understand what you're asking for clarity on, exactly. This thread is for questions on how to make a report.

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9 hours ago, Teeny Tiny Cat said:

what can be reported, what cannot, and the best way to research and then format reports.

For what can be reported.

Is it gonna be taking sales/purchases over a long period (6+ months e.g.) or is it intended to be more so commonly done (within 6 months e.g.).

What should be determining factors of sales (compare links only? or screenshots from the seller?)? Should we contact sellers if at all possible to ask questions about the sale and interaction? 

 

How many sales determine a pattern, multiple in a weeks time? multiple in a months time? 

We all get lucky with a random trade offer, is it fair to users who got lucky a few times in a month? 

 

For what cannot be reported.

Would buyorders possibly get you in trouble? and if so, should people with buyorders on limited items keep them up after a purchase just to be safe? Since without context a buyorder sale could easily look like a possible unbalanced trade. (Reason for asking this is due to the snapshot services are not always available or don't go far enough back)

Would a user going to the possible "offender" and sending them a trade offer without context that is seemingly unbalanced put the "offender" in jeopardy? 

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11 hours ago, Teeny Tiny Cat said:

 

I don't understand what you're asking for clarity on, exactly. This thread is for questions on how to make a report.

I think what they're trying to say is that some unusual trade buy orders are so low, that they consider some of those low offers to be comparable or even more severe disparity between the value of the item and the item paid than what a shark might offer. I think they're trying to ask "Does simply beating buy orders make you not a shark? -If not can one report extremely low buy orders for sharking?" I've personally seen buy orders for items worth hundreds or even over a thousand keys that are much worse than what people who've tried to shark me in the past have made on other high tier items. 

 

Edit:fixed typo I noticed when checking thread.

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Sorry about yesterday, Teeny Tiny Cat. That was unrelated to this discussion.

 

Look, this is a really good topic, Teeny After the MOGGER Issue Tracker verdict earlier this month, I see we're making progress and I'd like things to get clarified between the terms of sharking and unbalanced trades.

 

After reading the sharking topic on the OP's post, I've always thought that they were the same and continue to believe they're the same topic.

 

So to reiterate, what is the difference between Sharking and Unbalanced Trades and when we decipher which is which and then to how to make the report.

 

Thank you in advance. ^_^

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16 hours ago, Vincentius said:

For what can be reported.

Is it gonna be taking sales/purchases over a long period (6+ months e.g.) or is it intended to be more so commonly done (within 6 months e.g.).

 

Either. We can look at the last 6 months if that's provided, we can look at a longer period if that's provided. If all trades provided are over a year old, we'd probably ask for some more recent evidence also. We can note this in the guide.

 

16 hours ago, Vincentius said:

What should be determining factors of sales (compare links only? or screenshots from the seller?)? Should we contact sellers if at all possible to ask questions about the sale and interaction? 

 

We're planning to go over how to confirm sales in the guide. I don't expect people to be adding sellers, that's potentially a bit intrusive and not really helpful.

 

17 hours ago, Vincentius said:

How many sales determine a pattern, multiple in a weeks time? multiple in a months time? 

We all get lucky with a random trade offer, is it fair to users who got lucky a few times in a month? 

 

There's no set number or amount on the rule, we're simply looking for patterns. I see your point that 10 trades in a week could be 90% of trades done by a small trader but less than 10% of trades done by a larger, high volume trader. The reports are public and reported users are free to add their perspective and context to each one, which we do consider when assessing them. We can note that in the guide if it'd be helpful.

 

17 hours ago, Vincentius said:

For what cannot be reported.

Would buyorders possibly get you in trouble? and if so, should people with buyorders on limited items keep them up after a purchase just to be safe? Since without context a buyorder sale could easily look like a possible unbalanced trade. (Reason for asking this is due to the snapshot services are not always available or don't go far enough back)

Would a user going to the possible "offender" and sending them a trade offer without context that is seemingly unbalanced put the "offender" in jeopardy? 

 

I mean we're not looking at what buy orders people have up, no. The likelihood of a large enough proportion of someone's trades being super unbalanced dumps to low buy orders for it to appear like a pattern of unbalanced trades seems pretty low to me. One trade isn't gonna get you caught by the rule, neither is the odd one here or there, only a fairly substantial pattern. Either way, this isn't really related to reporting.

 

16 hours ago, Lexi said:

I think what they're trying to say is that some unusual trade buy orders are so low, that they consider some of those low offers to be comparable or even more severe disparity between the value of the item and the item paid than what a shark might offer. I think they're trying to ask "Does simply beating buy orders make you not a shark? -If not can one report extremely low buy orders for sharking?" I've personally seen buy orders for items worth hundreds or even over a thousand keys that are much worse than what people who've tried to shark me in the past have made on other high tier items. 

 

Edit:fixed typo I noticed when checking thread.

 

No, if you read the rule, you can't report people for "sharking" just for having low buy orders. I've linked the rule in the first post. And again, this thread is not for a discussion of the rules, it is for users to let me know what would be helpful in a guide for reporting.

 

6 hours ago, RussellSproutz said:

After reading the sharking topic on the OP's post, I've always thought that they were the same and continue to believe they're the same topic.

 

So to reiterate, what is the difference between Sharking and Unbalanced Trades and when we decipher which is which and then to how to make the report.

 

Thank you in advance. ^_^

 

They are not the same in our rules, and the difference is clearly stated already in the post linked in the OP. The guide will also cover the difference between deceptive trades ("sharking") vs unbalanced trades. 

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