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Alt ban policy for trade bots

Discussion in 'SteamRep General Discussion' started by The_Pi_Man, Oct 11, 2020.

  1. The_Pi_Man

    The_Pi_Man New User

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:497321488
    Hi,
    I make and run trade bots for members of the Tf2 community, but I don't understand the rules about alts regarding these bots.
    I understand if I get banned, the bots will too, but if the person who 'owns' the bot (The person that paying me to use the bot) gets banned, does the bot get banned as well?

    Note:
    As of right now, my bots check whether the owner is banned on Steam rep almost constantly, and if so, puts themselves in an inoperable state.
  2. Enstage

    Enstage SteamRep Admin Partner Community Donator - Tier V

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:52569926
  3. The_Pi_Man

    The_Pi_Man New User

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:497321488
    So I would need to establish that after a ban, during an appeal, correct?
  4. Enstage

    Enstage SteamRep Admin Partner Community Donator - Tier V

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:52569926
    I think your best bet is avoiding anything that could get you banned in the first place...
  5. The_Pi_Man

    The_Pi_Man New User

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:497321488
    I can't control my client's actions... If they get steamrep banned, i can't control that...
  6. Enstage

    Enstage SteamRep Admin Partner Community Donator - Tier V

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:52569926
    Then don't share accounts with them.
  7. The_Pi_Man

    The_Pi_Man New User

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:497321488
    I think you misunderstood. They have access to my bots through chat commands and trade offers. That's it.
  8. Enstage

    Enstage SteamRep Admin Partner Community Donator - Tier V

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:52569926
    Well, assuming you have appropriate controls in place such that users can't commit fraud through your accounts then there shouldn't be any risk of them getting banned in the first place.
  9. The_Pi_Man

    The_Pi_Man New User

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:497321488
    I was thinking that they might be tagged as alts.
  10. Enstage

    Enstage SteamRep Admin Partner Community Donator - Tier V

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:52569926
    Having alts is not a taggable offence, one of the accounts (or the account you're posting from) actually needs to commit fraud.
  11. Lava

    Lava Public Relations SteamRep Admin

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    SteamRep Admin:
    STEAM_0:1:46187366
    What exactly are your owners able to do from your bots? If they're simply trading, or using them for storage, that shouldn't pose a problem unless they end up brokering for a marked scammer, which as you pointed out, shouldn't happen. In most situations, I cannot imagine the bot itself getting marked even if the trader leasing it ends up being a scammer.

    If you start giving out control over its chat, name/avatar, or other controls, then you start to walk the line of account sharing and you may put yourself at risk. In that case, I would recommend selling the code for your bot script, instead of running it as a service, so there is no ambiguity over who owns the account or who was responsible for the fraud it got used for.

    Simply having alts won't affect your reputation. The only thing it does is if you get marked for scamming, it will propagate to your other accounts.
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  12. The_Pi_Man

    The_Pi_Man New User

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    Steam:
    STEAM_0:1:497321488
    Right now, they have access to the inventory through offers. Any offers they send will be accepted.
    Otherwise, the controls that they have are simply related to what/how the bot trades on backpack.tf.
    However, i'm planning to let them change their bot avatar/name using a webpage but as of right now, I have to do it myself.

    Also, my bot script uses an internal pricing server that has a very aggressive undercutting script, so if the people I sell it to ever leak or mass-distribute it, the economy might suffer. The script is also designed around multiple bots in the same network to minimize competition, a measure that won't happen if i sell the code.
  13. Lava

    Lava Public Relations SteamRep Admin

    Messages:
    5,698
    SteamRep Admin:
    STEAM_0:1:46187366
    I would be wary of automating that. Impersonation is an insanely popular method of scamming, and scammers will think of something your website hasn't filtered out (if you filter at all) when they start impersonating Steam Support. If you handle those requests manually, and you're comfortable exercising discretion and taking responsibility for what you ultimately approve and upload/set, that's one thing, but giving automated control over those account settings tends rather uncomfortably to leasing and sharing accounts.

    The economy itself won't suffer, it'll adapt just fine. Your ability to profit from it, and the value of said algorithm, will tank. People will find ways to exploit it and get bots to auto-accept bad deals, and if not taken advantage of, there will be too much competition following your method for anyone to make any realistic profit from it, so your method won't be very feasible anymore. Or trading communities may make adjustments that cripple your script's core functionality, depending on how it works. But in terms of the macro economy, if anything it'll almost make things easier for everyone else when people either quit using it, or everyone learns from it. You may lose income, but that doesn't mean the economy itself is suffering.

    Whether you sell your code or not - which introduces its own share of issues (e.g. allegations of backdoors) - is your choice alone. I'm not trying to judge the legitimacy of your business model, that's none of my concern. I'm just warning you that if your business requires leasing access to your own accounts in order to be profitable, you had best be extremely careful of what you allow customers to do, as you will share responsibility for what they end up doing on your accounts. Inventory storage and automatic acceptance (or possibly even sending) of trade offers is one thing, and even that has introduced its own host of liability issues (bot exploits/compromise), but there is a lot that can go wrong with delegating additional account controls. Who is going to take responsibility when one of the bots' avatars turns into a Steam Support logo, or an FBI logo, and your customer orders 8 year old victims to deposit their items into the "FBI anti-laundering bot" they just renamed, under threat of imprisonment? It's your account being used, and if we tagged your customer instead of you, the customer could claim you framed them because you have absolute control over the bot. Steam Support will not even look that far into it, and just straight-up ban your whole cluster for fraud without asking.