Eidola recently created new forums, and I began slowly accepting all our members new accounts. Of course, with the new membership rules, there are some new Eidola members I don't know very well. Long story short, I accept the forum application for "Davis Arsinius" thinking he must be one of our new recruits...but a week later, when I look into it, I discover there's no such handle in SWC at all - and the eMail address from which he signed up belongs to an enemy player IC who managed to "infiltrate" Eidola's forums in this manner.
Now, I voluntarily gave him access to the forum through my own stupidity, but the rules say "YOU MAY NOT: infiltrate web pages, chat rooms, or any other PRIVATE areas of a group or organisation." Now, when I first read the rules, I assumed that meant to hacking, stealing passwords, cracking, etc -- now I'm wondering...does simply pretending to be an Eidola newbie under a completely fictitious name meet the standards to have this player banned...or shall I just ban him from my forum and learn my lesson about IC infiltrations?
That is a very good question, which I would like the answer to as well.
It is difficult to determine precisely what "infiltrate" means in the context of the overall spying rules scheme, especially given that it is used in both the May Not and May categories of the spying rules for different acts and with different modifiers.
Like Hal, I would have to say the player's action was a rule violation because it is similar to passing yourself off as another player and has a purpose similar to IRC example specifically mentioned, both of which are violations.
“Like Hal, I would have to say the player's action was a rule violation because it is similar to passing yourself off as another player and has a purpose similar to IRC example specifically mentioned, both of which are violations.”
To play Devil's Advocate, of course, one IS allowed to use the name "Hugh Jass" or "Ben Dover" or any other non-real-character name on IRC, and hang around and request access to their private channels...if they choose to grant it...it is their fault. Are forums different than IRC? Or if Bob_Skyfluker asks for access to #cmg-eidola and I grant it...he can be banned?
I suppose I'm mostly interested in the hypothetical interpretation of this rule, more than anything else.
Alright, if it's at all it doubt, let's refer to the rules.
“(You may not) Impersonate a member of the combine for any reason. This means you may not steal a person's name on IRC or register on message boards with someone else's handle.”
Well, the handle doesn't exist, so he's not registering with another person's handle... but can he be considered to be impersonating a random someone? He clearly chose not to register with his OWN handle... but that isn't covered in the rules.
“(You may not) Hack or infiltrate web pages, chat rooms, or any other PRIVATE areas of a group or organisation. This includes joining a private protected channel for the sole purpose of getting a member count and member names as well as retrieving a channel's access list for the same purpose.”
This does say "hack or infiltrate" so there must be other ways to infiltrate besides hacking. So, does registering with a false name to gain access to private areas count as infiltration? Again, personal opinion says yes.
“(You may) Spread false information about yourself or another group/person for any reasons.”
Can this possibly include faking your name to register for a forum so people don't know who you are? I don't think so. It says "false information about yourself". It doesn't say "pretending to be someone else". I can tell someone I'm in Eidola, but I can't pretend to be Squer Santagose, Eidola Pirate Lord. Can I?
"May the Grace of Ara go with you, and His Vengeance be wrought upon your enemies."
Yes, but there will be times when using phony names and being in someone elses forum is NOT infilitrating at all. Some people, a small portion, do not use their handles for forums, well, it happens.
The key words there are "infiltrate" and "private", infiltration alone is not easy to prove, he can always say "hey, i never thought you'd give me access, i thought it was eidola only, sorry about that, bla bla", stupidity does not equal intention to harm. There are a bunch of people who sign up for the (public) forums only to have some basic information available to them, thats why there are access levels for more sensitive information.
I think if the forum explicitly says, as he signs up, that it is for Eidola members only and thus the private area, thats strike one.
If he uses a phony name, strike two.
If he is an IC enemy, strike three.
If he is found entering the forums repeatedly, or using information only available there, strike... four?
So, you need agravantting circumstances to make the infiltrating clearer.
If this person is a long time enemy, its easy to assume he knows your forums are eidola members or invite only, in which case it would not matter if your forum has a disclaimer about it being private or not.
Of course if the guy would use his own handle to rob information and was given access, it would not be that much different from a scenario in which a person enters a faction only to rob it 10 seconds later and go: "well, you let me in". I think that would be acceptable.
Personally I cannot use my handle when I register on some forums. The reason is all down to the ` in my handle. I did ask if it was possible to remove it from my handle but seem to have drawn a blank so please do not crucify those of us who can't use handles for a reason.
I'm really not even sure on this one myself. On one hand, I think you should probably do a better job of policing your forum join requests, and that, if you read the rules literally with little to no room for a biased interpretation, I don't think they expressly forbid what happened. On the other hand, if you do look just a bit into the intent of the rules, I think it does indeed intend to forbid pretending to be someone else (even if tha that someone else does not exist) in order to gain access to restricted areas.
If I were to go on IRC during a monthly meeting of some huge unnamed faction and call myself RCT_Boshh, and in their hurry they gave me access to their channel and I sat in on their meeting, learning all their fleet movements and expansion plans, then subsequently giving this information to my true employers, I would probably be banned under the rules we are discussing.
Personally, I'm leaning towards "It's legitimate IC infiltration", but as Mikel says, the rules are blurry. We need to more clearly define "infiltrate" - surely I wouldn't be banned for sending a Darkness Message saying "Hey, it's Cpt_Djo, please assign me the star destroyer", would I be banned for registering "high_admiral_smith" and then proceeding to send the same message? I think that's a slippery slope...
I'd rather see the rule changed to "no hacking...and no using other player's names and accounts to view..." But as for "Davis Arsinius, I think he successfully played Eidola for a fool and managed to get ahold of such information quasi-legitimately. He should be congratulated (and offered a job...), not banned.
I can claim my name is Bob_Skywalker on IRC, and I can claim that I am Teniel Djo of the Galactic Empire...I just can't claim I'm Bob Skywalker of the Galactic Empire?
I think the issue extends to the word infiltrate still existing within the text of the spying rules. When infiltrating a faction was allowed, I don't think the other rules were looked at as closely to determine if their language needed to be tidied up subsequently.
As for the case itself - There are no clear guidelines with regards to that particular situation and if it was something I had to make a ruling on, I would say it did not break the rule, nor did it break the golden rule; yet it is something that the Admins should address to refine the spying rules.
"Seele's Law: As a New Republic Senate discussion grows longer, the probability of comparison involving the Galactic Empire approaches 1."
I'm not asking because I really want to see the person banned, more that I want to be able to caution them whether their innovative infiltration which caught me off-guard is likely to cause them OOC grief if they continue. Since it seems the issue is not unanimous, I suggest we update the spying rules, make a SimNews, THEN deal with the sackings.
personally fake names should be fine when infiltrating. It is when they impersonate another character, that is illegal or attempted to someway to hack into forum to place mole.
Keeping track of membership/groups is upto faction admin privs to sought out who has what privs.
I know from experience what it is like when redoing whole forums due to a hacker that took down the website we were on. Organising it with large membership lists (feel sorry for govt) you have to weed out inactives, old members who have left etc.
So I feel it just one of those rare cases you found someone from an enemy faction, due to security/maintenance, when normally you wouldnt of checked. old, shuffled members get forgotten in the system, and can be inactive sitting around gaining info due to Admin/s abilities in keeping forums running securely and smoothly.