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Announcement Policy Change: Prioritize Reports Using "Pre-Trade Checklist"

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 change the way we prioritize incoming reports directly to SteamRep. We will prioritize reports higher if the reporter used a simple "Pre-Trade Checklist" to protect themselves. This checklist will change over time, but is essentially ensuring that traders do a minimum to identify who they are actually trading with. The first "easy mode" version of this checklist is in draft form here but we'll be working with partners to create a checklist that gets new traders headed in the right direction.

    Why change this policy?
    • Reduce trivial scams. Currently the majority of reports involve traders who did not follow any safe trading practices before engaging in a trade. They are fooled by trivial impersonators or very simple scams that could be avoided with following best practices.
    • Educate traders. Our goal at SteamRep and OFPF is to prevent fraud through education. By telling users that their scam reports, in the future, will be processed faster if they use the "Pre-Trade Checklist", we encourage them to educate themselves and avoid being scammed in the first place by the "easy" scams. Adopting such a process will give external communities a reference point to encourage their members to leverage, further spreading the best practices.
    • Bans are less effective for these. Scammers using "simple scams" prey on newbie traders who didn't know SteamRep existed in the first place-- so it's questionable how much a ban on SteamRep would have protected from that scam.
    • Reduce fruitless time-consumption. Many of these scams are done via throwaway accounts that result in low value "whack-a-mole" alt chasing that is ineffectual at stopping scams. Simple/avoidable scams eat time that can be used to stop more sinister scams.
    How will it work?
    • Reports where the reporter indicates they did use the official process will be flagged as such when they are "Pending"
    • Moderators will review the evidence as normal, but if it's evident the reporter didn't use the process during their trade (but said they did) the reporter will be told about the process and their report will not be moved into the higher priority queue.
    • Any report that doesn't use the process will be told (by the system or a moderator) about the "Pre-Trade Checklist" and how those cases are often reviewed faster and can protect you better from scams.
    • Any reported fraud that happened while trying to use these processes is prioritized higher in our daily queues. These scams will be more advanced scams such as PayPal chargeback, legit staff members going rogue, new types of scams, or scams where our process needs to improve (and it will need to change over time).
    • "Unsafe" reports go into the default priority bucket for the type of scam being reported.
    • The "Pre-Trade Checklist" will be advertised prominently on SteamRep, on admin/middleman profiles, in the reports, and hopefully echoed by partners to their users.
    • The goal is to make the checklist the absolute bare minimum to help new traders without becoming a daunting series of steps that overwhelms them. (This is a challenging thing to create, it turns out.)

    Does this mean you won't handle other reports? While SteamRep staff cannot handle every scam report on Steam, we won't ignore reports that did not follow the checklist. We will do our best to review them on our existing priority basis, but we will prioritize "meatier" scams (i.e. those who followed the minimum checklist) higher than the simple ones. The hope is that long-term the simpler reports will be fewer and fewer as we educate the community on protecting themselves better.

    Does this affect Partners? Not directly-- partners are welcome to prioritize their reports as they deem most sensible for their community. This is solely a change to how SR staff prioritizes direct scam reports. Ideally our partners also spread the word about the process and encourage their users to leverage it (or something similar based on the needs of their community).

    If you have questions or comments, feel free to raise them below.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
    schmed, Sjru, buddhapest and 5 others like this.
  2. Knucklejoe

    Knucklejoe New User

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    That checklist is going on my profile. Hopefully we as a community can get at least the basics spread around to pretty much everyone.

    I'm seeing a lot of good changes, keep up the good work.
  3. Bizarro

    Bizarro New User

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    Mad props. I believe SteamRep's new or realigned focus benefits the community in a much better fashion.
  4. Bizarro

    Bizarro New User

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    One suggestion - Add one or two more colors! Unconfirmed reports submitted by users should be different than "Evidence Provided" and other caution tags, imho. Maybe it's just me but the stop light system seemed preemptive.
  5. Sebastian Nielsen

    Sebastian Nielsen New User

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    What about scam attempts? Eg, when you receive such a obvious scam attempt so theres no reason to use the pre-trade checklist at all, eg its just to reject the trade and then report it.
    will it be processed in the higher queue then? (to allow for marking scam attempts so not anyone else fells into the trap).
  6. ЩĄ | Horse

    ЩĄ | Horse Administrator SteamRep Admin Partner Community

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    Who's to say any report is obvious? Some reports are certainly obvious but without the proper evidence they may as well have a picture of sponge bob for evidence as it won't get accepted.
  7. Sebastian Nielsen

    Sebastian Nielsen New User

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    Of course evidence is required. What im talking about is when the scam attempt itself is so obvious so theres no neccessary to follow any "Safe trade practices", its just to reject the trade on sight and then report (for the purpose of getting the scammer marked so not anyone else falls into the trap).
  8. ЩĄ | Horse

    ЩĄ | Horse Administrator SteamRep Admin Partner Community

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    If there isn't evidence to support any report no matter how obvious it looks to me - its noted in the report and archived/invalidated. I've done many like that in which I also feel that the accused is prob guilty but without proof - it won't go beyond that and I have no remorse in moving it to the side. All data in the report is still searchable if traders take their time and check out the other person.
  9. SilentReaper(SR)

    SilentReaper(SR) Retired Staff

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    Hmm, there are always cases that are "obvious", like someone claiming to be a Valve Employee, and not having the Valve badge on the profile or being member of the official Valve steam group (which isn't mandatory for them to be member of). Or if they throw a Trade Offer with a text saying that "steam wallet money" is going to be transferred to your steam wallet etc. These are obvious and will be Banned for.

    What Horse is talking about, is the grey murky area where its just suspicions and dirt throwing. One of the most misunderstood parts of reporting here is what we accept as being evidence, and the only evidence that after the fact cannot be shown again is the full chat that scammer(s) and victim had regarding a trade. They either close it, or forget to make sufficient screenshots of it (full chat window). All other evidence can be asked for later, like steam item history, trade offer history for a month or 2 (all in the STEAM client full window excluding the upper bar with the username), paypal or other online payment information (full browser screenshot, including URL bar), etc. Also they like to "annotate" the screenshots with drawing circles and lines in it to "mark" the "important" parts, which invalidates those screenshots (the only strikeout allowed is for the steam account username).

    Bans here are based on factual observations. An account being a "likely" scammer alt isn't a reason to apply a ban if it got reported for that reason. The admin will probably check if the account is a alt, and if nothing can be found it will be dismissed. A report on an account doing suspicious behavior, but isn't too obvious with it, and cannot be determined with the chat etc without there being a factual scam.. such report will get archived as Horse above says.

    Unless you have examples, and even those are hard to answer without an actual "event' where such happened and a admin reading the chat, its hard to explain. This is why we have the system of mods as start point on SR, which get guided by the admins (if they have questions regarding a case, they can ask the admins about it) along with their processing they will also see admins reply on reports they handled and see why a certain decision was made. admins get support from senior admins, and senior admins will discuss more difficult cases on the staff forums (where mods and admins can discuss them too).

    All that is a tiered system on learning the new volunteers the ropes and get the experience. Its the cases that are off the threaded roads that teach them the most.
  10. Sebastian Nielsen

    Sebastian Nielsen New User

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    I think you don't understand my point.
    Of course, its clear you need to follow all EVIDENCE collection points on the pre-trade checklist.

    What im talking about, is the point that will be used to assess if the person is a scammer. The draft does not contain such a point currently, but I guess the complete version will contain such points.
    For example if it would be like:
    1: Check that the profile does not have a private backpack
    2: Check that ... etc etc

    and then, its no point going through that checklist if you already know its a scam attempt and want to report it as a scam attempt. Then its just sufficent to collect any evidence (follow the checklist on evidence collecting) and report.
  11. ЩĄ | Horse

    ЩĄ | Horse Administrator SteamRep Admin Partner Community

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    A private backpack doesn't concern me when looking at a users report...it does come into play for an appeal process.
    I understand what your saying - as in if I know beyond any thing that something is in fact a scam, someone is using this.
    We will always got thru the checklist and evidence collecting, if we just brushed it off then we have nothing to fall back on when that user comes to appeal.
  12. Sebastian Nielsen

    Sebastian Nielsen New User

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    I think you are still not understanding.
    If you have all evidence, eg have collected all evidence with URL bar visible and checked everything is right, then I think the report should be prioritized. Even if you skip a few items on the checklist that is not applicable, and does not relate to evidence, or is not applicable in your particular case (for example, things relating to paypal is not applicable in a report that is about quickswitching scam attempt in a item VS item trade).

    What i mean, is like this:
    You have a test, where 10 out of 10 questions must be right for a pass, and the only thing you want to know is if the tester failed or passed.
    If a tester answers incorrectly on the first question, is it any idea to check the answer on the 9 following questions then?
    Of course, you skip the following 9 questions.

    In the same way, I think if you see a clear-cut 100% scam attempt, you simply collect the required evidence (screenshot of the trade request) and do everything as requested. (and following the checklist on the report form)
    I mean, if you get this 100% obvious scam attempt (since its impossible to send Steam Wallet money to other people):
    http://www.tobyscs.com/files/steam-wallet-scam.jpg
    Is there any idea to follow the pre-trade checklist then? The only evidence required is the print screen of the trade attempt and all other evidence (like ID-blocks and such) in the report form.
  13. Sebastian Nielsen

    Sebastian Nielsen New User

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    (Just FYI, that scam attempt picture is a google picture I googled up to give a example of what scam attempts im talking about, of course I know that blurried names are not okay in evidence).
    A suggestion is that the pre-trade checklist is never required (and will always get prioritized) if you are reporting a scam attempt, where the scammer failed due to the victim execising caution during trading. Provided that all evidence that is required is collected (eg, the URL bar must still be visible and the evidence checklist on the report form must be followed).
  14. Lava

    Lava Public Relations SteamRep Admin

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    The checklist may be updated over time to account for other types of scams, but at the moment only accounts for impersonation. Reports for those types of scams, attempts or otherwise, won't be outright rejected, but will be treated with lower priority.