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Announcement Policy Change: Trades with Scammer Policy, End of Life

Discussion in 'SteamRep General Discussion' started by Mattie!, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. Mattie!

    Mattie! SteamRep Admin

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    For 2016, we plan to remove the policy that calls for bans or cautions in "Trades with Scammer" situations.

    More details are below.

    What is happening as part of this change?
    • Not taggable anymore. No new bans or cautions will be tracked on SteamRep for cases where a normal trader (i.e. not green tagged) trades with, sells to, or purchases items from a banned user.
    • Retroactive. This is retroactive. Those banned or cautioned for this offense should appeal and, if there are no other offenses or issues, the appeal will be granted. If you had no other offenses, you should appeal even if your previous appeal was denied. (Use this reason during your appeal.)
    • Partners included. This applies to SteamRep partner bans and cautions as well. Those appeals should be granted by partners if trading with a scammer is the trader's only offense. (Obviously communities can still ban whoever they want on their own sites for any reason they want-- this only applies to their marks on SR.)
    • Brokering still bannable. It is absolutely still the case that SteamRep and communities should ban for knowingly brokering or partnering with a scammer or hijacker. Such a ban should include evidence of active brokering for or partnering with a banned user. Evidence for these bans cannot solely focus on purchasing an item or two from a banned profile.
    What was the original purpose of the "Trades with Scammers" policy? The rule's intention was to combat scammer alts and scammer-partners that worked together to fence hijacked or stolen items. A scammer would commit fraud on their alts and then dump stolen goods to a mule account with no conclusive connections other than trade history. Or a different scammer would search TF2 Outpost for quickbuyers to dump/liquidate items before their imminent trade ban at heavily discounted prices. These people knowingly worked with scammers on a routine basis, directly supporting fraud, and then claimed to trade communities that they themselves committed no fraud. Without Valve's knowledge of item transactions and alternate accounts, the trade community has only limited ability to tell when this is happening. As such, this rule placed responsibility on traders to mind their own reputation and to do due diligence before trading for valuable items-- if they were careful, there'd be no mistaking them for scammer accomplices.

    Why end this policy?
    • Doesn't focus on fraud. SteamRep's database is used to alert the community of profiles that were reported for fraud. While trading with scammers can sometimes be a smoking gun to find a scammer's partners, multiple cases have come up where the only offense was buying from a scammer without firm evidence of direct fraud by the user.
    • Unintended consequences. The knock-on effect of this policy made honest traders fear being banned for everyday trading and mistakes. While we do want people to check SteamRep before trades, the reason should be to protect themselves from being defrauded and not to protect themselves from being banned by a trade community.
    • Distracts from core mission. Progress is difficult to make in other areas due to responding to the frustration of the community and the regular witchhunts that arise.
    • Game inconsistencies. This policy is very difficult to investigate and enforce fairly across Dota2 and CSGO, due to lesser awareness and fewer available tools to help. As a result, enforcement / investigations were inconsistent across different games, making policy decisions more complex.

    Won't scammers be able to profit now? This wasn't the core purpose of the policy, even though reducing profits for scammers was a nice side effect. For a good while, it did make life harder for scammers to turn their new items into real cash. That being said-- our focus going forward is to reduce fraud through awareness and education rather than through indirect/inefficient economic pressure.

    So should I buy from scammers? Obviously not! If you know an item is scammed-- clearly you wouldn't purposely want to get mixed-up with a scammer. Even if SteamRep is not banning for everyday trades like this, it's still putting your items or money into a criminal's pocket-- and making you look shadier and shadier. If you end up doing it repeatedly and intentionally, then it makes you look like a broker, partner, or alt of a scammer-- that's still something markable on SteamRep.

    If you have questions or comments, please share them. Ultimately, this is something we felt was necessary as a means of making progress in other areas. Some partners have already started granting appeals and rejecting reports in this area. This policy reversal should be in full effect everywhere as of this week.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
    Bizarro, Foxyfluff, Sjru and 14 others like this.
  2. | LZ | Gentleman

    | LZ | Gentleman SteamRep Moderator Partner Community Donator - Tier V

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    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  3. [PPM] Happy

    [PPM] Happy Banned on SteamRep

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    Hm. This sounds cool yeah. If someone previously "partnered" with a scammer to repeatedly buy/resell into regular market, would they receive an unban?
  4. Lava

    Lava SteamRep Admin

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    They'd be allowed to appeal, but systematically working with scammers is still taggable. They might not have the tag removed entirely, if at all.
    Roudydogg1 and [PPM] Happy like this.
  5. boomerandzapper

    boomerandzapper Donator - Tier V

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    Questions:
    So would it be ok to actively trade with someone who is marked on Steamrep for trading with a scammer while they wait for their appeal to be looked at?

    Also, what about the people who, after recieving the "Trading with Scammers" tag, began to actively trade with scammers, making it no longer a one or two thing, and more to the extent of brokering/partnering?

    Would a site allowing banned users to unload their goods be considered "partnering" with the scammer?

    Do the people who are affected by the "retroactive" part of this announcement get to bump in front of all the outstanding appeals/reports or do they have to wait in line?

    Thanks.
  6. Lava

    Lava SteamRep Admin

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    That would either be "trading with a marked scammer" (no longer taggable), or trading with someone who was at one point marked as a scammer (never was taggable), depending on when the appeal gets looked at (probably not as long as you think). So the answer to that question would be yes, you would not be marked for it.

    They'd appeal under the new rules. Brokering would be a separate offense, and it would be addressed in the appeal.

    Depends on individual circumstances, so I can't give you a blanket answer, but probably not in most cases. If they're systematically working with scammers and actively seeking out scammers to make a cut of stolen money, they'll probably find a bunch of bots trade banned though.

    Can't speak for partners, though probably similar, but see this topic: http://forums.steamrep.com/threads/appeal-tips.66354/
    And pay special note to the following point(s):
    #12: Basic appeal procedure.

    We actually pre-screen appeals before they get sorted into the long wait pile, in case of something seriously wrong so new slip-ups don't needlessly get stuck in the queue. If there's something quick, like a misapplied tag, we handle it right away instead of making them wait. Trade with scammer appeals, if the only offense are single, unrelated trades, would be promptly granted I think. Appeals with a mix of brokering and the like, such as what you described above, might get sent to the pile as a "change of heart" appeal, worked first-in-first-out.
  7. ★ HAXSAW ™ ★

    ★ HAXSAW ™ ★ New User

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    Makes sense, good move
  8. EChondo

    EChondo New User

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    So what do we do if we already have a pending appeal thread open? (Like me).

    Do we create a new appeal thread or will all old appeal threads be closed? Do I report my current thread and ask for it to be closed so I can start a new one?
  9. You Are The One

    You Are The One SteamRep Admin Partner Community

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    EChondo likes this.
  10. EChondo

    EChondo New User

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  11. Enstage

    Enstage SMT Owner Partner Community Donator - Tier V

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    No, by the looks of it, it means leave your current appeal, it will be reviewed within the same time frame as other appeals.
    EChondo likes this.
  12. 404UserNotFound

    404UserNotFound Donator - Tier V

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    Came back to say one thing;

    It's about god damn time this ridiculous rule was removed.
    Enstage likes this.
  13. DINDU NUFFIN

    DINDU NUFFIN New User

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    Question: Does that apply to other websites as well?
    I am currently banned on Outpost for trading with scammers two times in a period of almost a year, not knowing they were scammers. Did their rules change with SR?
    [PPM]TheVenomWithin likes this.
  14. Ninja Otter With A Taco

    Ninja Otter With A Taco Partner Community

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    They can ban you for trading with scammers on their website if they wish, however they cannot ban you on SR for doing so.
  15. DINDU NUFFIN

    DINDU NUFFIN New User

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    RIP, thanks for the answer though
  16. Major Erection

    Major Erection New User

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    Now all we have to do is hope outpost has the same open minded admins as SteamRep!

    Changes like this will only improve the community since our community is growing bigger every update.

    Thanks so much SR for your hardwork and keep up the good work.
  17. Bacon Overlord

    Bacon Overlord Donator - Tier V

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    Why would anyone that isn't already marked as a scammer or broker ask questions about this policy.

    The bottom line is: Don't trade with scammers and thieves.

    If you have to ask more detailed questions, then you're either one of them or you need to read that statement again.

    I personally have some serious reservations about this change. I understand that reducing the footprint of responsibilities can decrease workload, but identifying thieves was an important part of why Steamrep was so popular... At the very, very least I would leave the current bans in place. There's no reason to think someone that committed fraud or was involved in fraud should "clear their name" through no actions on their own besides filing an appeal and taking advantage of a policy change.
  18. Mattie!

    Mattie! SteamRep Admin

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    We're not talking about anyone directly involved in fraud. If they were, then they will remain banned if we have any knowledge of it.

    We're talking about traders who traded with a couple of different banned users in isolated trades. The items in most cases weren't even scammed items, they are just items that happen to have been owned by a banned user. In those cases, it's difficult to say the person was "involved in fraud", and so it's harder to uphold such bans. Under the previous policy, it was assumed that "if you happily will trade with banned users, we have to assume you're working with them because we don't have tools to show otherwise". Under the new policy, we're not using a simple handful of trades with a banned account and using that as an indirect indicator of fraud involvement.

    We will still be banning those who are partnering with scammers or brokering their items for them. If you or anyone else has evidence that a banned user that is appealing was actively partnering with a scammer, then please share that so we can keep them banned forever.
  19. Destiny 2

    Destiny 2 New User

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    yeah, this sure does seem like a belated xmas present to those with a tag lol!
  20. Almighty Sosa #GloryGang

    Almighty Sosa #GloryGang New User

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    This is awesome :) Keep doing wut u do!