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beerforce

How does the message filtering work?

I've wrote a suggestion about it on Elysium forum before, but I've found deaf ears. 

I've played on 2 servers before where I was not able to send any kind of message which contained other private server's name. So if I wrote 'xxxxxxxxxxxxElysiumxxxxxxxxxxx' my message hasn't been sent.
Why is it not possible to use the same method on Elysium?

In the end of the gold selling whispers there are several random letters/characters/numbers, so it means Ely staff is muting a whole message, and not a word or a few characters from the message. So it's not that efficient to mute if these bastards still have infinity possibility.

In addition, I also don't understand why is it not possible to mute messages which contains certain characters/letters/numbers in a certain order.
I mean if you have a text: xxxxxxxx gold.com xxxxxx      why we cannot mute the whole message which contains g-o-l-d-c-o-m   - in this order.
I don't think it causes lagg since Ely staff has already banned thousands of messages.

So can somebody enlighten me who has knowledge about why this kind of filtering is not applicabe?

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Of course you can filter specific words, or even the order of characters appearing in text, but it has to remain specific enough to not filter normal messages, and that is where the problem starts.

At first you have e.g. gold.com, so you block gold.com, but then it becomes g0ld.com, then goId.com, gold.c0m, gold.co/\/\ etc., and if there are no variations left they'll just get the domain wowcash.com and so on, it never stops. The only thing you can do is add a filter rule for messages that are used, proactively preventing them is just impossible without having false positives.

As long as people buy gold it will never stop, that's just how it is. As long as they can make profit they'll find a way.

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Thank you for your answer @coolmodi . 

22 hours ago, coolmodi said:

The only thing you can do is add a filter rule for messages that are used

Can you tell me a few more words about this thingy? What is your opinion about the time cost to write a proper filter rule to mute these sellers, or atleast give them a really mind-breaker task to advertise?
I can imagine this like the 'IF fucntion' from excel :D I really doubt that it would take days/weeks to write it.

I'm really incompetent in programming and these things, but I feel like Elysium didn't tried everything against these sellers. :/ 

Edited by beerforce
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Writing a proper filter for these things is no easy task. As stated by coolmodi, filtering specific words or phrases is easy, but it gets a lot trickier is the gold sellers start getting creative (eg. g0dl.com, go1d.co/v\, etc.). The problem is not writing a filter that would catch these messages, bur rather making sure not to get false positives, i.e. filtering legit messages.

 

I'm not aware what filtering mechanisms they have available, but i would have to guess regular expression or perhaps context-free grammars. In either case, setting up a filter that would properly filter all gold seller messages would take a tremendous amount of work and a lot of testing - and you would still have the problem with false positives. I'm quite sure that if the filter was overly aggressive and filtered out all sorts of legit messages, people would become very angry. So I do believe that the staff, even at Elysium, are doing their best with what means they have available.

 

As said by coolmodi, as long as there are people willing to buy gold, there will be gold sellers. I think that the only way to counter this is having a good community that helps the GMs by reporting any gold sellers/buyers they encounter and that the staff takes drastic measures against these people, e.g. account bans, IP bans and what not.

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@beerforce The basic way of filtering is just having a list of words or phrases and then see if any of those are in the text, you can also use regular expressions like this https://regex101.com/r/WDOKTj/3 to scan for more complex things, but in the end you have to know or guess what you need to filter to filter it.

But other than the URL to the actual selling page the message can be completely arbitrary and it can be changed at any given time, they are also not forced to use words that normal players won't ever use, so it's completely impossible to filter that if the sellers test themself whether it's blocked or not regularly.
So you are basically left with the URL. The thing is they are also not forced to use words like gold in it, so it's pointless to make a list to try and block them from spamming before they are already spamming. And if you block what they are using they could just make e.g. the domain wffoffw4mmo.tk for free in a matter of minutes, and then change it up in the message a bit when you start filtering that.

It's just not about time here, it's an endless chase anyways, and while goldsellers earn money and do that as a "job", the people on ely don't get money and have to invest their free time combating something that only exists because enough players use it.

So if you want to make gold spamming "impossible" you'd need to build a system that can decide for itself whether it's spam or not, and that would take a lot more time and resources than the whole project. I don't even know if that's possible at all considering you really don't want false positives in a real time chat, and even systems to filter spam from giants like google are not perfect in that regard.

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Filtering is not the proper way. The proper way is make incentive for normal players to report them and those reports to be looked at swift. Bans to be given asap by IP. It will be really hard for the sellers to find new IP addresses, when there is VPN ban on. If there is no VPN ban - whatever you do - its not enough.

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Actually stopping gold spam would require one or two people to spend several hours a day monitoring tells and adjusting the filter manually.  No one on Elysium wants to do that.  It's not hard, it's just tedious.

It's also a question of incentive.  The gold sellers have an overwhelming incentive to keep breaking past the filter with dire consequences for their business if they stop.  On the other hand, Elysium can look at their player base embracing gold spam as an acceptable nuisance and reasonably conclude that dedicating several man hours a day to stopping it isn't worth the effort.

If you want it to stop, you have to quit permanently and cite gold spam as your reason for quitting.  Then several thousand other people need to do the same thing.

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3 hours ago, Joyman said:

Filtering is not the proper way. The proper way is make incentive for normal players to report them and those reports to be looked at swift. Bans to be given asap by IP. It will be really hard for the sellers to find new IP addresses, when there is VPN ban on. If there is no VPN ban - whatever you do - its not enough.

People don't report spam, if there is no simple system for doing so.

There could be an official CF spam reporting AddOn, which lets you report spam by right clicking names in the chat. The reporting process itself could work similarly to GM chat commands, so it would be something like ".report Taliaivo".

If one character is reported more than 5 or 10 times by different accounts, then a GM is alerted. The GM takes a look at their chat log, and bans the account, if it's not a false alarm. If someone keeps sending obviously false reports, then that person could be shadow banned from the reporting system. I think that maybe 20 reports should be enough to silence a player even before a GM has checked their chat log, although that could potentially be abused.

It would take some time to implement, but I think the best way to handle the reports would be through an interactive web interface. On duty GMs would have this website always open, and everything could be handled through it. Basically it could work just like the poe.trade live search feature. Use WebSocket to update it in real time, and play some alarm sound when there's a new player, whose chat logs needs to be checked. The chat log would of course be shown on the web interface, and there'd be a button to ban the player, so the GM doesn't even need to be logged in to the game client to deal with the spammer.

After this kind of system is implemented, it wouldn't take much time from the GMs. The main issue would be getting people to report spammers, and 
dealing with false reports. If the playerbase was properly informed about this system, and there was that aforementioned AddOn to easily report players through the right click menu in the chat, I think it would work well enough to all but eradicate the gold spamming issue from the server.

I don't even know what the correct way to report gold spammers on Elysium is. On their terms of use page it says "If you feel a player has violated this agreement, please report them with the corresponding system.", but it doesn't seem to state what that correct system is. It says that you should NOT use the in-game ticket system for "Ban requests for players and/or accounts". I'm not sure if that only refers to unexplained ban requests like "plz ban this idiot", or if it means that spam reports and such are not handled through that system. I don't know what alternatives there are, though. Is it any wonder that gold spammers might go unreported on Elysium?

If I wanted to report a gold spammer on Elysium, I guess I'd use the in-game ticket system, since I don't know any alternatives, and I guess in that ticket I should write something like "Taliaivo sent me gold spam whispers". Would I need to include a screenshot of the spam? Dunno. Surely they can just check the chat logs, unless they have the worst GM tools in the world. It would be a million times easier to just right click a name in the chat and click "report player" or to type ".report Taliaivo".

I don't know if players need extra incentives to report spammers. I certainly hope not, but if it seems necessary, then I think it could be OK to give players redeemable points for reports (obviously not for false reports, so the points would only be given after a GM has checked the chat log and banned the spammer). These points could be redeemed for cosmetics that are not available through in-game means (Collector's Edition pets, BlizzCon pets, TCG items, RAF mounts). The issue with this is that if you reward people too generously for solving a problem, then they might want to keep the problem around for the rewards. Some people could make throwaway spam accounts just so that they could report those accounts on their main account to get some of those sweet cosmetic rewards.

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2 hours ago, Taliaivo said:

I don't even know what the correct way to report gold spammers on Elysium is.

I have been reporting gold spammers through the in-game ticket system after finding a post by staff somewhere on the Elysium forum stating that it is the way to do it. I always take a screenshot and upload to Imgur and leave the link in the ticket.

 

I've received several messages from GM's thanking me for reporting and saying that they would look into the case. I don't know if any action has been taken though.

 

--- EDIT ---

I do agree though that an easy to use web interface, perhaps with an add-on would make it much easier, and perhaps make more people actually report.

Edited by AcId
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1 hour ago, AcId said:

I have been reporting gold spammers through the in-game ticket system after finding a post by staff somewhere on the Elysium forum stating that it is the way to do it. I always take a screenshot and upload to Imgur and leave the link in the ticket.

 

I've received several messages from GM's thanking me for reporting and saying that they would look into the case. I don't know if any action has been taken though.

 

--- EDIT ---

I do agree though that an easy to use web interface, perhaps with an add-on would make it much easier, and perhaps make more people actually report.

I reported one goldspammer who was spamming in /world with colored text on Elysium(two big no-no's). A GM messaged me that they do all they can do, but they can't go through all the reports so I should just deal with it and no action would be taken. Honestly a little frustrating, but I do understand it's a massive task to fight spam.

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11 hours ago, Kelila said:

I reported one goldspammer who was spamming in /world with colored text on Elysium(two big no-no's). A GM messaged me that they do all they can do, but they can't go through all the reports so I should just deal with it and no action would be taken. Honestly a little frustrating, but I do understand it's a massive task to fight spam.

I'm sorry to hear so. I think that is completely unacceptable. IMO every report should be dealt with properly, even though it may take time to go through all the reports. If they are not going to act on reports, then why should people even bother to make reports? These are the kind of things that will make me lose faith in the GM staff and makes me question the integrity of the Elysium staff in general.

 

Fortunately, as also stated in my previous reply, I've always received messages from GMs that they appreciate my report and that they will look into the case. I reported 3 gold sellers last night (I'm in CET), but the ticket was still open when I signed off. I'll check as soon as I get home from work if I have got a reply.

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You don't need super complex report system. There is report menu on right click in chat. It just need to be looked at, also no command lines, spammers use special characters in their account names or some other mumbo-jumbo. And finally bans should be not on the account(well not only), but on the IP address. Making new account is the easiest thing in the world. And waiting for 20 reports is silly 3-5 is quite enough. And for incentive for the players I mean - existence of working system, not rewards. The best reward would be lower spamming or even no at all. So its mostly on the players reporting and gms banning. But this would require more gms online just for this.

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36 minutes ago, Joyman said:

You don't need super complex report system. There is report menu on right click in chat.

I don't see any report menu/option when right clicking in chat.

 

--- UPDATE TO PREVIOUS REPLY ---

I received an in game mail from GM, saying that my ticket has been reviewed and the accounts will be noted and looked into.

Here's an URL to screenshot: https://imgur.com/a/o8VsH

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