Feedback Ban lengths

Discussion in 'Issues, Suggestions, and Feedback' started by Ice, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Ice
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    Ice Member

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    I'm gonna apologize for the essay, but I assume this will be a pretty controversial topic so I usually try to make my argument as clear as possible.

    Before March 31st 2017, if you received an anti-cheat ban then it was permanent with no chance to appeal. After that date, you were able to appeal your ban with the minimum time in between your ban and appeal being at least 6 months. Although this might seem generous, 6 months is an extremely long time. Many players change their favorite games in that time, others may have lifestyle changes that don't allow them to play games as long, and still there might be some people who sit there patiently waiting to get unbanned. I'd like to talk about how to let reformed players get the chance to play again without waiting half a year. Let's take a look at another community's ban lengths.

    Here is the KZ Global team's Ban Policy: http://www.kz-climb.com/index.php?threads/new-ban-policy.1855/

    As you can see, they have different punishment lengths based on the type of cheating involved, but what's important to note is that they still use a two-strike system. One chance is okay - two times though, and you're out permanently. I agree with a two-strike system because usually if a person hasn't learned after the first time, they won't after the second, so their ban policy resembles ours except the ban lengths are so much shorter. This is because usually if people are want to reform and play legitimately, they'll do it immediately, rather than after an extremely long period of time like 6 months.

    Let's look at some stats. Here is some data posted from every ban and public ban appeal, starting from May 1st 2019 to today (July 7th). Only 3% of people banned actually make an appeal, and of those roughly half are accepted, and half are denied.

    Total Bans: 4301
    - Duplicate account bans: 1816
    - Real (Unique) estimated bans: 2485

    Total Appeals: 78

    Accepted
    : 34
    - (16) false positives/mistakes
    - (10) regular unbans (immediately unbanned)
    - (4) bans removed due to age
    - (4) bans lowered to 1 month

    Summary:
    - If we assume false positives aren't real bans, we're left with 18 accepted appeals. With a lowered punishment system, the 10 regular unbans would not change, but the 8 bans lowered/removed due to age would be forgiven and probably removed entirely, meaning that 100% of accepted appeals would most likely be unbanned immediately and not have to wait.

    Denied: 44
    - (30) bans were denied due to Racism/Cheating/Being rude, with no chance to re-appeal or lower their ban time. The majority of these were from people lying on appeals.
    - (9) bans were told to reapply in 6 months because of anti-cheat bans.
    - (5) bans were KZ global bans, so their ban time lies with the KZ Global team.

    Summary:
    - Nothing can be done about the people who lie on their appeal. I don't have any pity for people who do that, because it's clear they're not interested in reforming, or at least aren't ready yet. KZ Global bans do not apply here, so we're left with 9 bans from people that are told to reapply in 6 months. This means around 20% of people who appeal technically got their appeal accepted, but now they have to wait a minimum of 6 months before being able to play again. With a more lenient punishment system, this means the 20% of reformed players would be able to join the community in 1-3 months rather than 6.

    Final Notes:
    I don't want to make excuses for people who cheat. But rather than target the cheaters themselves, I feel like it's better to try and offer help to those who are truly sorry they did it, and wish to play again legitimately. If you go out of your way to appeal your ban, it's usually clear that you care about coming back into the community and playing legitimately, and with a more lenient two-strike system it gives people that chance to redeem themselves. As it is now, even if someone knows they made a mistake and truly wishes to play legitimately and not touch cheats again, they have to wait a minimum of 6 months before being able to. At that point, who knows if they'll even be playing the same game anymore? Is it really counting as being generous when they have to wait half a year before being able to join the community again, even though they were ready to start fresh soon after their ban? What if they have a group of friends who also play on these servers - if they want to play together, their entire group has to leave or they get left out, which isn't great for anyone involved.

    Anyways, I know it's not really my place to decide the rules or punishments, but after seeing appeals like this one it really stinks seeing a player that's aware they made a mistake, they're truly sorry, and yet they still have to wait out a month or more because of a harsh punishment system. If a shorter two-strike system was implemented, not only would it encourage more people to appeal, but the main players who benefit are those who actually want to reform. Cheaters who cheat again would get permanently banned again regardless of which punishment system is used, so overall it seems like a less harsh system would benefit everyone involved. Moving to either a tier-system where different punishments have different ban lengths, or to a more lenient two-strike system seems to be a better option all around.

    Sorry for the long read, but I'd appreciate it if others could let me know their thoughts on this.
     
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  2. Mylifetogive
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    Mylifetogive Admin Admin Server Moderator Lifetime VIP

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    I think this is well thought out and deserves some consideration.
     
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  3. sneaK
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    sneaK Owner Admin Server Moderator Ops Team Owner

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    I think there's more of a grievance here with ban lengths for questionable offenses, and some clarification needed overall.

    To be absolutely clear: Anti-Cheat convictions are for actual injected cheats. No scripts, macros, or 'broken scroll wheels'; actual cheats. Our competitive servers soak the majority of Anti-Cheat convictions, which only ban for these types of injected cheats - if you can do it in Valve's Matchmaking, you can do it here. These bans are permanent, and as you noted, can now be appealed after 6 months. We have 0 tolerance for cheating in this community, and while people make 'mistakes', if they really care to rectify that mistake, they can do so after that time. I have absolutely no desire to award someone who cheats/cheated a second chance at all, but I do understand that people can make poor decisions, hence why that rule was changed. The appeal process is intentionally lengthy/difficult.

    Permanent bans here are absolutely not taken lightly, expelling someone from a community is a big deal. The word "Permanent" bears no weight if someone can just get an immediate second chance, or get it removed a few short months later, and there needs to be a standard for this - hence why there are more requirements than just 6 months since the date of initial ban. The player needs to show that there has been a conscious effort to stop their previous behavior, and that they have indeed "reformed". As someone who's been dealing with cheaters for years - I can tell you, people do not reform immediately. They just get scared because they got caught, and are afraid they will actually have to face the consequences to their actions.

    I absolutely disagree with a "strikes" rule when it comes to injected cheats. You cheat, we don't want you here. Not only are you ruining the game for others, it displays malicious, deceitful behavior, which we do not want in our community. If you can prove that you have changed your ways and are now a clean player - we'll be happy to see you again in 6 months. Now, when it comes to scripting/macroing - these bans are temporary, and entirely separate. This is where I think some confusion lies. The only sort of scripting/macroing bans we do is for scroll modes on bhop, and on the KZ servers. GOKZ server 1 month bans for scripts/macros, and permanent bans for injected cheats. KZTimer cannot differentiate between the 2, so it automatically permanently bans, which can be appealed.

    Scripting/macroing scroll modes on KZ will earn you a 1 month ban, bhop will earn you 3 months, generally reduced to 1 month if appealed. Cheating a mode whose core mechanic is based off of getting in good jumps is obviously not acceptable. Now is this the same as having an injected cheat? No, but you are utilizing external assistance to artificially make your times better, which is still absolutely not acceptable. Now, whether that was intentional or not - we cannot judge. We've had several appeals "oh I just wanted to test something" "oh I forgot I was injected" "oh my mousewheel was broken" - if everyone appealed with this, should we have to unban them? Absolutely not. As unfortunate as it may be, you are still responsible for your actions, regardless of excuse. Kind of like you are responsible for your words/actions even when you are drunk, you don't just get a free pass.

    A few things:
    • A few of those possible false positives were not at all FP's, and the player was either re-banned by our AC later on, and/or has a game/VAC ban on record since then. We are lenient, if there is a shadow of a doubt of a FP, I'd rather unban and have them picked up again to be sure.
    • KZ Global Team has more strict bans than we do for injected cheats. After clarifying with Sikari, bans for these cheats are permanent, and while you are free to appeal them, only a very, very select few have been accepted (I'm talking single digits). We are more strict on scripting/macroing, because the player needs to make a conscious effort to disregard the warnings they are presented with - I even created a plugin for our bhop server which displays a very blatant warning in chat about scripting/macros, just like the KZ servers do.
    • The "oh I was hvh'ing and I forgot to take my cheat off" excuse is something that gets no sympathy from me. HvH is an absolute cancer for CS, as it bleeds off to matchmaking and community servers, as we can see. It's not like you "forget" you can see everyone through walls and have triggerbots/whatever other crap comes with them. I don't want players of little to no integrity in my community, chances are if they don't end up cheating here, they'll end up inviting someone from the community to play a matchmaking game, and cheat in that.
     
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  4. Ice
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    Ice Member

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    If there are different ban lengths based on the severity of the ban, then that's my bad. Looking back at the 9 denied appeals that were told to reapply in 6 months, each of them seemed to be because of injected cheats, so by the standards you listed those would be correct. From what I could tell it seemed like it was a 6 months default, and the ones lowered to 1 month were special cases, people who wrote an extremely good appeal, or bans matched to the KZ Global team.

    I agree that they may not actually be reformed and be apologetic immediately, but getting banned would definitely discourage them from cheating again, especially when they know they get banned extremely fast, and this would be their last chance. I am going to say that there will definitely be people who cheat again immediately after getting unbanned, but this is kinda unavoidable. But for the people who stop cheating immediately, whether they're fully reformed or not, the end goal is the same in that they still probably won't cheat anymore (and even if they do, a permanent ban would be the same result in either case).

    I think this is the main part that I wanted to talk about. I want to repeat again that I have no pity for people who cheat, but there are many players who make mistakes, get encouraged to cheat by friends, or have no intention of cheating on live community servers and accidentally end up joining. In some of these cases they get autobanned immediately upon joining, meaning that even if they weren't planning on cheating, they get punished anyways. It's kind of a moral issue here on whether you want to punish people for things they do on their offtime, but for all the cases that occur where people weren't planning on cheating but got banned anyways, 6 months still seems like a very harsh punishment. I agree that it'd be hard to tell the difference of legitimate accidents versus people trying to cheat, but I'm not a huge fan of zero-tolerance policies since I think they're kind of unfair. We can disagree on this though and that's okay, just tossing my thoughts out there. I know you talk more about your reasoning below so I will too.

    This is where I misunderstood, so my bad on these things. If automated bans can't really tell the difference, but you lower the time for appeals based on severity, then that's fine.

    For the first bullet point, not much I can do about that - I didn't do that in-depth checking, this was all just from what was publicly posted. For the second, I actually disagree with first-offence permanent bans too but again that's just a difference of opinion. I was just trying to compare how they use smaller/different lengths for different ban reasons, but since I wasn't aware you already did this, we can ignore this point for now.

    The third part is I think where I might be misinformed. I don't hack and never have, so I'm not sure of the exact steps that lead to people getting banned immediately. From what I can gather it looks like as soon as someone joins a server with the hacked client though, it auto bans them before they actually do anything/start playing, and this is what leads to so many people mistakenly getting banned even though they didn't have any intention of cheating. If you believe that circumstances are irrelevant and that they should get banned either ways, then there's not much I can do to convince you otherwise because that's the basis of my side of viewing things.

    At the end of the day, you make the final say, so if you prefer zero tolerance policies that's okay. I was just wondering if anyone's ever brought this up before, or if you had ever discussed anything like this. If most of your decisions are already set in stone and clarified, that's all good, and if not, I figured discussing it wouldn't hurt. Overall I was just trying to talk about lessening punishments on first-time cheaters, but still keep a permanent ban for repeat offenders.
     
  5. sneaK
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    sneaK Owner Admin Server Moderator Ops Team Owner

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    I really like talking about these things in a discussion-type manner, where we can see the other side of the card, and be exposed to ideas we've never thought about before. Not a whole lot is set in stone, this being one of them.

    As much as I would like to, we do not enforce off-server and out-of-community actions. I know of people who openly, and consistently cheat in matchmaking, but they don't here. Do I think significantly less of them because of it? Absolutely. Do we do anything about it? We do not. Sometimes I wish we did, but at the end of the day, that seems to be a step too far.

    With the sheer number of cheaters, especially with CS:GO gone F2P, we are absolutely bombarded. The last math I did was a couple months ago, but we were sitting at about 28 anti-cheat bans daily, with approximately the same amount in new accounts cheaters have made, attempting to ban evade, assuming still cheating. In combination with a few manual bans a day for cheaters that don't get detected, we sit at around 60-70 cheating related bans every day. That's an absolutely insane, unprecedented amount of people attempting to cheat, and it's something we need to be really, really strong on, because if not, we'll be overrun with them, and administrative time dealing with potential cheaters will be through the roof. We're lucky to have a very comprehensive anti-cheat, albeit not the best out there, but quite competent for this time period in CS:GO. It also goes to show how sad of a state CS:GO is in.

    Unfortunately we would need to re-work a lot to accommodate what you are suggesting - plugin-wise, on the web-side, and we would probably need an entire volunteer team dedicated to keeping track of who is first time and who isn't, which would also lead to logistical nightmares, and giving people more access to more sensitive information like IP's. That's all I can think of off the top of my head, aside from my moral standpoint of being tough on cheaters.

    As far as "time to ban" - without going too much into detail: to get "immediately" banned depends on numerous different aspects of a cheat - generally the shittier, free ones will get picked up sooner, but it also depends on what 'settings' the user has enabled. People appeal all the time saying 'oh I was using AHK' or 'it was just a macro' or 'it was just a skin changer' - it's pretty obvious to see what it truly was from a data standpoint. We consistently have people trying to test our anti-cheat and figure out how to bypass it, so maintaining a bit of radio silence on how everything works is pretty important, aside from publicly known methods.

    I guess all in all, we should probably make some changes to macro/ahk induced bans, but when you have people trying to actually cheat, connected on over 30 accounts, it gets a bit old. :p
     
  6. Ice
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    Ice Member

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    I really enjoy discussing stuff like this too, so even if nothing gets changed, it doesn't bother me - like you said I enjoy seeing other people's viewpoints too. Even without debating the whole moral-cheaters standpoint, I understand completely if it's just something not feasible with the current technology. That's a perfectly valid reason, because I know it's not always easy to implement that type of tracking safely while making sure it works AND making sure it doesn't reveal too much information.

    I'd offer to help but unfortunately my CS degree hasn't really been covering web languages, so it's not something I can easily work with, sorry. Even so, if this just ends up being food for thought then that's fine with me. Thanks for taking the time to talk it out with me, I learned a few new things about how bans work and got to see your viewpoint and reasoning as well, so thanks - I appreciate it a lot.
     
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