CZ Minutes: Adapt or be permabanned

It will have escaped few involved in the meta of EVE Online that what may have started out as an ill-advised prank got player Stunt Flores banned from the game. Initially, as we discussed this event internally at CZ, I was going to steer clear of the issue as far as the CZM goes, perhaps having a writer do an analytic piece on it. However, as the debate has perpetuated to such an extent, and with so many differing opinions on the matter coming to the forefront, I think it’s worth talking about here on the Crossing Zebras Minutes. For those of you not familiar with the cause of this ban here’s a summary: Stunt Flores had taken a public statement by CCP Fozzie and modified it so that it read “Adapt or wait for the fixes.” According to Flores, this was intended as an internal joke sent to a friend. But we all know how these things spread; it didn’t take long before it was paraded on the front page of Reddit. Soon thereafter, Flores received word that he was banned for impersonating a CCP dev. You can read about the story in more detail over at Simply, do you feel that CCP are doing the right thing in banning Flores? What do you think it says about CCPs banning policy? Has a private joke been blown way out of proportion by no fault of Flores himself, or did he simply step over the line and should be banned, private joke or no? Mayrin Hawke: Living in Thera, I had a few close encounters with the Flores kind. Stunt getting banned is perhaps the least surprising thing I’ve read regarding EVE Online this year. Sure, he can be an amusing poster, and I certainly respect his gameplay of picking off ratters in one of the more challenging areas. However, Stunt is not a victim of his shitposting’s success and painting him as a sort of every-person in EVE would be a gross misunderstanding. From my experience, he’s the kind of player who’s not happy unless he’s making enemies. While some EVE players may relate, Stunt Flores carried this attitude far enough to earn multiple prior temporary bans. My understanding is that he was on something akin to a “final strike” when the GM impersonation aggro-joke finally netted him a permanent ban. In retrospect, Stunt Flores’ permanent ban and the frothing controversy around it seems inevitable. I can’t say that I blame CCP employees for choosing to blunt the Stunt. General Stargazer: So, full disclosure here before I answer this one. I’m one of the moderators over on the tweetfleet Slack and was present when the discussed issue was being addressed. In terms of my own personal involvement with the topic, i was one of people that agreed at the time that it would be a good move to at the very least remove him from Slack. All email addresses on slack are also public, so when anyone posts anything on Slack, anyone can relate that person to an email address, or in CCP’s case, a registered account (you join slack using the Eve SSO). With that said, let me get back on the topic specifically. So I discussed this with the guys on Podside on the 5th September when it was mentioned in passing on there. I have to say that I’m in agreement with the decision. It boils down to one fine point – It’s CCPs game, it’s their decision to do whatever they want in their game, whether or not we think it’s fair isn’t for us to decide.  The only impact it ends up having on the company is how it reflects back on CCP as a company. We know that it’s part of CCP’s policy not to discuss any punishments publically anyway, so it’s unlikely we will hear anything further from them. The fact this happened what some might call “out of game” and therefore “out of CCP’s Jurisdiction” is irrelevant. Everyone knows Eve is more than what just happens in game, given the amount of stuff that happens out of game. I appreciate the fact that it may have started as a private joke, but if that was the case, perhaps he should have told his “friend” not to publicly show/say anything? I feel I should also mention the fact that this wasn’t just a dev doing this on a whim. Certainly a dev issued the initial account ban, but as we’ve seen by pictures posted by Stunt himself, the account was banned while under investigation. IA has obviously then conducted said investigation, found the that the ban should stand. Not to mention the fact the guy seems to have accidently admitted he account shares.

law“She’s blind where the judge sits but she’s not blind out here. Out here the bitch got eyes.” – Fat Mancho, Sleepers (1996)

Diana Olympos : First of all, it is not really new that Stunt was really aggressive in his ingame communications. I’m not surprised to learn that he was temporarily banned before. What I saw of his gameplay the last few months revolved around borderline actions. I think it’s time to remind to everyone the EULA about Eve and behavior into the game. Every link you post has to be legal. You can’t post anything that could be considered erotic or pornographic. Even roleplaying a sexual act in a private message can be enough to be banned. You can spy, Awox and lie, but putting words into someone else’s mouth is a major offense. Without that policy, no game of trust would be possible in Eve. The only real thing you can know about Eve is the name of a toon. That will never change and that’s what allow you to link pilots to their past. Is a permaban harsh? Ending suddenly years of times and thinking invested into a community is harsh. But in the end, Eve is one of the most welcoming online communities. And CCP is enforcing that policy to be sure that this aspect never disappear. I will end my part with that strong post by CCP Falcon that i can’t support enough. Dunk Dinkle: Some people like to dance right up to the edge of the line of getting kicked out of Eve.  They asked repeatedly for exacting criteria on where the line is in excruciating detail and get very rules lawyer about issues of crossing the line.  CCP has stated that they aren’t going to draw a specific line, because they want to avoid people dancing on the line and playing rules lawyer. Stunt danced too far over the line. I never knew Stunt in game, and don’t like involved player’s getting booted, but I understand CCP booting someone that was undermining their efforts to move the game forward due to the exact kind of inflammatory shitposting that the graphic was intended to create. You may now begin your elaborate comment diatribe on rules, the ‘line’, private vs. public, and other explanations on how Stunt died for our sins. Diana Olympos : I moderated a twitch chat for a french webtv during two years. The feed was embedded on the official company website. We had to enforce strict rules to avoid any legal problem. When you are a moderator and have to ban someone, there are only special cases. I never saw a case where an exact line can be drawn. You can’t follow an exact book of situations. That’s the exact reason you use humans and not a bot to moderate that type of interactions. And what if the man with the hammer is wrong? _Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?_ That’s why you got an internal department or a team dedicated only to managed that type of case. A team that never directly moderate interactions themselves. And your customers can directly complain to that team if they think it’s needed. As far as we know, the IA team of CCP have not yet said anything about that ban being a power abuse. Sorry Stunt, you really crossed the line! JEFFRAIDER: ”You play in dirt, you get dirty.” – Jimmy McNulty, The Wire Gorski Car: Kneejerk reactions banning people for shit like this is exactly what CCP shouldn’t do. The fact that their PR and Fozzies reputation is so bad that this quote that wasn’t even offensive was considered real is the biggest problem here. In some ways I feel bad for CCP with the autism they managed to release by banning Stunt. The fallout with shitposts and people being angry over this is far worse than keeping a notorious shitposter around. In this case he wasn’t even guilty. Only reason Fozzie found out it was him in the first place is because Stunt admitted that he did it. The guy who posted the thing on reddit got nothing. And I mean faked CCP quotes have happened before multiple times without any party getting banned. The fact that he has prior bans is also just stupid. I have countless warnings for just saying fuck in local or calling someone trash. All it takes is a mass petition or enough of them at least and you get a nice generic warning mail from a GM. Free Stunt. Neville Smit: Seems like Gorski is the only one defending Stunt here. Consider me divided down the middle on this issue. I’m all for banning those people who cross the line – or even those who step right up to the line so many times that it becomes bothersome. That is CCP’s right and it’s entirely their call. People should know that they are flirting with danger when they engage in that kind of behavior, and there are consequences for doing so. In this case, however, a permanent ban seems excessive to me. I have to trust that CCP has done a thorough investigation, and have made the right decision, but of course we don’t have any visibility on what they found or on what motivated their decision. Based on what I know about this incident, it appears to simply have been a joke that got out of control. Clearly, the ban comes not just from this one incident, which may not have been sufficient by itself to warrant such harsh action, but also from the track record of provocative behavior beforehand. People who do not obey Wheaton’s Law ( eventually reap what they have sown. That appears to be the case here. Tarek: Not so fast Mr. Smit. I also find the ban wrong. As far as we know, it was not Stunt Flores himself who posted this to the public and caused a storm of rage among players by passing it off as an actual post by CCP Fozzie. If anybody deserves a ban then it’s the person who posted it on reddit. There is a major difference between two people exchanging a satirical image and someone pretending that it is the real thing. This becomes even more evident when we consider the identity of the alleged perpetrator. Stunt Flores had nothing to gain by increasing the public rage against the new sov system and CCP_Fozzie. As a matter of fact, he was on record during a Podside podcast describing how he wanted to use that system to start a broader trolling campaign against Imperium sov holders. I can understand where this is coming from. During recent weeks the amount of hate directed at CCP, and particularly Fozzie, has grown to terrible and completely unjustified proportions. I can see that CCP felt they had to make a statement and declare “You will not get away with inciting hate against our devs.” I completely agree with them there. I still think they got the wrong guy though. That being said, maybe what we have been lead to believe is wrong. Maybe there is irrefutable evidence that Stunt Flores wanted everyone to believe that this is what Fozzie said. In that case he is not only an idiot but also in clear breach of regulations. Until I know this to be a fact, I will maintain that Stunt Flores was banned unjustly though. Sarin Blackfist:  I am not a huge fan of Stun Flores, the person.  He’s the kind of player I wouldn’t get along with, even if we were on the same team.   He’s that loud obnoxious guy who boasts about how much better he is than everyone, and I find the whole over-the-top anime schtick boring.   However, he’s a guy that’s obviously very passionate about EVE Online. He has a stream, he runs multiple pilots, and he’s active among the community, even if it’s a bit troll-ish.  These things are very important for a game that is losing subscribers, for that reason alone, I think the perma-ban is a poor decision by CCP.  In my mind, there’s no question that Stunt should have received some sort of punishment for his actions, but from everything the average player can see, he does not deserve a permanent ban.   I think CCP should take a page from RIOT Games on this one, and explain to us the full reasoning behind Stunt’s ban. Niden: I don’t really give a shit about Stunt himself, what I do care about is how CCP reacted to his actions. Not just his actions, but all the actions that lead to this incident. It’s a matter of responsibility. Who is responsible? Flores? The guy who shared it to an IRC channel? Or the guy who posted it on Reddit? Let’s assume for a second that Flores indeed made this as a private joke and look at that as an isolated incident. In that case, even though the joke was perhaps ill-advised, it was still a private joke and all the recipients involved understood that Flores was not in fact Fozzie. The guilty in that case, by common sense, to me personally, would be guy no. 2 and 3. The fact that they did not create the image themselves, has little bearing. The permaban is over the top in this scenario, according to me. However, it should also be stated that it is infact a breach of the TOS to impersonate a CCP dev at any time, private joke or not. In summary I will say that, looking at this as an isolated incident, the permaban was perhaps the wrong course of action. Not only is it questionable (and let me be extra fucking crystal clear here: questionable =/= wrong), but it also opens the door for a world of shitposts, something other parts of the community are actively trying to combat (listen to episode 369 of Podside for example). The the total sum of all the variables result in a negative total. However, this is not an isolated incident and CCP aren’t the court of law in a free country. We interact with Eve on their terms. By all accounts, Stunt was not a first time offender and may have indeed been so damaging to the parts of the community that came in contact with him that a ban was indeed the right solution, ending in a net positive. In this case, the impersonation of CCP Fozzie was the technicality needed to justify the solution, as CCP saw it. It’s a tricky thing and the biggest mistake those of us who voice our opinions on this thing can make is to say that we know whether CCP made the right call or not. Only CCP and Flores know all the facts involved, as J Mcclain pointed out once. I will say this: I’ve not met Flores personally, but I have met quite a few CCP devs, and most of them are super chill people that certainly live up to Wheaton’s Law. If they say the ban was necessary, I’m willing to accept that there are motivations behind that based on good sense.  
Tags: bans, cz minutes, Strunt Flores, TOS

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12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.