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Backpack.tf price maipulation?

Discussion in 'SteamRep General Discussion' started by -=SLP=-EVILBOY4LIFE, May 12, 2013.

  1. -=SLP=-EVILBOY4LIFE

    -=SLP=-EVILBOY4LIFE New User

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    Many people are aware of backpack.tf, the new "price checking site" as the tf2spreadsheet was and still kind of is. When you go to backpack.tf and view the "Frequently asked questions, you see this:
    How can I get tickets for the monthly raffles?

    There are currently 3 ways to earn raffle entries.
    • Vote on suggestions. Every month, we remove the rejected votes from the accepted votes (this ensures you're not simply voting on everything, we're looking for accuracy!). For each 100 votes left you will receive 1 entry up to a maximum of 5.
    • Make a donation. For every $1 of items donated, you will receive 1 ticket.
    • Become a Premium Member. Each Premium Member receives 5 tickets every month and are also entered in a premium-only raffle.
    The main point in this first one is the last bullet, become a Premium Member. Each Premium Member receives 5 tickets every month and are also entered in a premium-only raffle. I know i am not the only one who sees a problem with this.
    How can I accumulate contribution points?
    There are currently only two ways to accumulate contribution points. Note that if you ever go into negative points, you will not be able to post new price suggestions until your contribution points are positive again.
    Here's how to gain contribution points:
    • Upvote an item. If the price gets accepted and you've voted on the item, you will get 1 contribution point. You will lose 1 contribution point if the vote gets denied.
    • Downvote an item. If the price gets denied and you've downvoted on the item, you will get 1 contribution point. You will lose 1 contribution point if the vote gets accepted.
    • Start a price suggestion. You will receive 10 contribution points if it gets accepted. In the case it gets denied, you will lose 5 contribution points.
    • If you close your own suggestion, you will not lose any extra contribution points than the already accumulated. (this is to promote self-moderation!).
    • Negative votes affect your contribution points instantly, and positive ones are only added after a suggestion is accepted. The rationale behind this is very simple: block trolls from suggesting multiple bad suggestions in a row.
    If you ever end up with negative contribution points:
    • You cannot go lower than -5, it will be reset to -5 every day.
    • Every day passing, you will gain 1 point back. So if you're in the negatives, you could wait it out for 5 consecutive days and be automatically back to 0.
    • You can still vote on items. You can gain points back by voting accurately.
    And in this one it is obviously the last part, negative votes affect your contribution points instantly, and positive ones are only added after a suggestion is accepted. The rationale behind this is very simple: block trolls from suggesting multiple bad suggestions in a row.
    Please look over this and share it with other steamrep admins.
  2. Clive

    Clive SteamRep Admin

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    I don't understand what your point is.
    A Filthy Streetrat likes this.
  3. ForteSP

    ForteSP New User

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    I remember I set burning anger price to 1 ref on backpack.tf.

    Is that considered price manipulation :c?
  4. Duskfall -a^DF

    Duskfall -a^DF New User

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    I fail to see the problem. Explain. This has nothing to do with the prices they suggest for items.


    Again, I failed to see the problem. Explain it to me.
  5. Burnt Waflles

    Burnt Waflles New User

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    I am also confused.
  6. -=SLP=-EVILBOY4LIFE

    -=SLP=-EVILBOY4LIFE New User

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    It is mainly the second one, if they are having the community vote then why do they say "negative votes affect your contribution points instantly, and positive ones are only added after a suggestion is accepted"?
    That is price manipulation. They (the admins) are the only ones that decide what prices really end up at.
  7. Ace♡

    Ace♡ TF2 Raffle House admin Friend Community

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    You really need to use the 'quote' function.

    And yes, we are well aware that the moderators are the ones that choose to accept or reject a price change. They generally look over the evidence given and decide;

    the only thing I find wrong with this is that they lie in saying votes matter, because they don't, it's just an incentive to keep people around to farm rep.

    The same system would function EXACTLY the same even without voting, but it would APPEAR far less democratic.
    14bux, Gatherix and D2Girls like this.
  8. Duskfall -a^DF

    Duskfall -a^DF New User

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    Their job is to report current pricing. You fail to understand that many voters vote either because they want an item to raise in price so they can profit, or they want an item to lower in price so they can buy it (and then probably turn around and sell it for higher).
    Some prime examples:
    1: http://backpack.tf/vote/id/5187e6eeba2536a948000001
    2: http://backpack.tf/vote/id/517edf29ba25369d6500000c

    Look at the mountain of proof the original poster had. Yet, they still had a low percentage score. Why? Because everyone wants the price of keys to go down. That's not bp's job though. Their job to report CURRENT prices, not to set them. Did you not hear of the BMOC scandal (not an accurate description, but it's the best word I could think of at the moment)?
    If backpack.tf were to go off of votes only, people like these guys:
    http://steamcommunity.com/groups/strangegunslingers
    and
    http://steamcommunity.com/groups/savethetf2keys
    would effectively have full control of prices via mass voting.

    Instead of pulling s✿✿✿ out of your ass, do some actual research before throwing around accusations.
  9. Ace♡

    Ace♡ TF2 Raffle House admin Friend Community

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    Well- that depends on how much faith you have in the general public. The way you talk kind of reminds me of the catholic church. 'If we let people decide anything, it'd be chaos!'.

    We've seen in the past that giving total power to a small group of people in regards to this sort of thing is bad. I personally think democracy is better than oligarchy. Not in all cases- TF2R for instance would not benefit from a democracy, nor would sites like OP or Bazaar.
    DARKLY | Jakk and D2Girls like this.
  10. Eoj Nawoh

    Eoj Nawoh Retired Staff Partner Community

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    The admins and mods serve as the cooling of public opinion. Anyone and a group of friends can lead a crusade to change a price, sometimes things such as this have to be stopped.

    Public opinion is easily swayed. I won't say their system is the best, but it's not the worst. It allows for input while not letting things get to out of hand.

    And honestly, if you want 100% accurate prices, then just do your research. Look up trades, offers, what's out there. That's the only way you get a true understanding, otherwise settle with what the "easy" path gives you.
  11. cleverpun

    cleverpun New User

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    The premium membership functions are completely separate from voting; being premium has no impact on the voting section. Raffle entries encourage voting correctly, but both positive and negative votes can credit raffle entries. The points you receive for suggestions are already explained in the FAQ (and you even quoted the paragraph explaining why they credit at different times). If you are implying the system biases voters to vote one way or another, I'm missing exactly how.


    As for the other question; votes, proof, and mods are all part of a system of checks and balances. Of course none of them have total control over the other, that is how checks and balances are supposed to work; in tandem.

    On the vast majority of accepted suggestions the voters, proof, and mods all agree with each other, and it is those suggestions are easiest to defend after the fact. If a moderator is accepting/denying a suggestion against the voters wishes, they are required to post a comment explaining their decision. There is a way to publicly ask moderators to explain their decisions on the bp.tf forums over here.

    This is one of several reasons why key suggestions take so much time to moderate; a third of the system can't be relied on, so there is more strain put on the other checks (mods and proof).

    No one is perfect, but I think the current system works reasonably well.
    Sjru likes this.
  12. VenGanZa

    VenGanZa User

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    EOJ's post sums up my views :)
  13. DARKLY | Jakk

    DARKLY | Jakk New User

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    I thought backpack went off pure voting, with evidence...?

    http://www.skial.com/threads/the-tyrant-is-forever-gone.37856/

    Lovely job attacking the OP however. *Slow clap*
    Probably the best summary here.

    What users continue to do however, is insist on trading what the price guide says. The same old dead horse is being beaten..again...instead of doing their own queries, or setting their own prices, they stick with whatever one site says, and beat to death anyone else who says otherwise.
    Poor image example...but hey, it sticks.
    [​IMG]
    14bux and Melkor like this.
  14. Nathan Cash

    Nathan Cash New User

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    I think a purely democratic system would cause price manipulation. I mean, what would stop all the poor members from setting buds to a scrap? Also, what is wrong with Backpack.tf is it is considered law. It changes when things sell for more or less than its quoted price but now, everyone only sells for its quoted price.
  15. Randinie Grey Beard

    Randinie Grey Beard New User

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    For me its their lack of rules. Anyone can post a price change request as often as they want to, whether it needs one or not.
    The lack of 'proof' is also a major issue but I understand that it can be difficult with whats available to use as proof but than again the failure of the admins there is utterly unacceptable where proof is concerned. They have many users that fib/lie (hoping no one will check the 'proof') for their proof. Users there point it out, they clearly show it is not proof at all or in some case an out right lie, yet the admins still pass the change request, this I do not understand. They need guidelines for what works as proof and what doesn't. Maybe make a group of admins to approve a change instead of 1 or 2 people approving it.

    Limited number of times a month any item can be voted for a change, excluding new items.

    Remove the rank /reward system utterly. That invites people to make request for the sole purpose of rank/reward, not everything needs a price change and certainly not every few days. Players have openly posted they make their suggestions to rise up in rank, that action is a disservice to the TF2 community. Its an indirect abuse of the system, violating the integrity of the site.

    The changes should only be done when needed/warranted but at the same time some stability and fluctuation should be encouraged. By stability I mean give the item a week or 2 at the new price to see if it reflects the market. By fluctuation I mean let the high and low ballers do what they do but let the price reflect the average and not the high end like keys do and the low end like most items do. By that I mean stop the cycle of never ending inflation. Example: keys, if they are listed at 5.22 for BP.tf and finance.tf list them 5.33 and scrap.tf sells at 5.33, this does not mean a change is needed, people will always buy/sale to the +/- of any listed price, for keys it is easy/normal to always favor the +/high end of pricing, there are just to many people that wont care and will pay the extra scrap or two.

    Face it backpack is seen as the Bible/Law of TF2, to many players view it this way, many many servers use their plugin for price updating. Like it or not, it influences every item sold in TF2, one way or another. For me, its a nice idea gone bad but fixable, with the right rules in place. Personally I would prefer no pricing sites at all, let the buyer and seller work out a fair deal for both of them but that's not reality, not for TF2, not anymore.
  16. Eoj Nawoh

    Eoj Nawoh Retired Staff Partner Community

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    Let's go create a new pricing site, where all prices are "Go Do Some Research".

    Honestly, their system could be improved, perhaps suggest it to them, rather than discussing it in a thread that suggests they manipulate pricing, they may be less inclined to change it, if it comes with accusations.
  17. Burnt Waflles

    Burnt Waflles New User

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    I basically agree with you. The problem isn't necessarily that these pricing sites ruin everything. The problem seems to be more that tf2 pricing just should not be governed by any central source. It causes players to take the easy route and just rely on them for prices, so even the whole "just go research on outpost" thing becomes invalid, as people only post prices based on the other sites.

    I do think, however, that pricing sites do help in ascertaining a basic value, such as differentiating craft hats from non-craft hats.

    Based on that, I would like to see a pricing site that did not give specific prices, but rather separated items into tiers based on value. A weapon to a reclaimed would be the lowest tier, reclaimed to refined next, 1-3 refined next, and so on. This would allow new players to find out a basic item value, then encourage research to pinpoint value, without perpetuating the whole "i wont pay any more because _____ says it costs this" movement. Of course, like any other system, this probably has flaws as well. The tf2 community, being what it is, will probably just adopt a pricing system based off of that which assigned one specific cost to each tier or something.
  18. VenGanZa

    VenGanZa User

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    It isn't "sites [that] ruin everything" it is human nature. We take the easy way out, and we are conformists by nature :)

    Anyone with an ounce of education should have learnt in high school that you cannot accurately quantify prices of anything in a fluid and subjective market using the primitive methodology and sample sizes of any site that has been thus far, spreadsheet/backpack.tf included. There isn't even a need to mention limitations of such systems, no need to draw up bell curves, no need to need to quantify any of the myriad mathematical reasons why any such system is flawed. It should be patently obvious to anyone that such sites can only ever be used as a quick reference not as a bible. I have stated many times, that I am thankful for any such price reference, however wrong, if it helps newer gullible users to get a handle on what their "item" might be worth.

    We are human, and we are lazy sods. The vast grazing herds of TF2 users are always going to use some easy to access site. Why should we expect them to do something sensible like research actual historical sales data across multiple sites (marketplace included) and arrive at figures which would be much more accurate? Hands up anyone here who is willing to devote 90% of their online time to determining historical sale data (with an emphasis on most recent?).

    We can moan and price check sites, but the only real option is build a better mousetrap, I promise that anyone who comes up with a better, accurate and transparent system will garner market dominance at the speed of light... trouble is no one ever seems to be motivated beyond the occasional rant by some "back-seat driver" so we are stuck with what is out there :)
    Burnt Waflles likes this.
  19. Mr. Valentine

    Mr. Valentine New User

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    If there was a site that had a better more accurate system, it would under fire just the same as backpack, and spreadsheet before that. I don't think people will ever be happy with a site that shows prices.
  20. VenGanZa

    VenGanZa User

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    I agree.

    For all the faults of spreadsheet, tf and similar. I firmly believe it is better to have some kind of price guide for newer users. I just wish people would remember such places are not authoritative in any way and should never be treated as gospel; a hard ask really, people are far too lazy to think half the time :)