Golem IV - Rise of MELOG
Original Post
Automate TC Verification
To be honest, the system you guy's have in place for TC trading is extraordinarily convoluted. My guess, this stems from the fact that you've taken an environment that isn't suitable (the forums) and implement measures in an attempt to make it so. The result, you have security but at the cost of usability - this isn't typically considered an acceptable solution. Especially, when you are having to ban and further disenfranchise your user-base to allow the system to function. In my humble opinion, your real issue is that you aren't leaning on automation or properly developed functionality to solve this.

Just as an example, I want to outline what the obvious issues are and then propose how you could develop a feature to resolve it.

Issues with TC Sales
1. How do you determine that the TC being sold comes from legitimate means. Or, more specifically, how do you delay the transfer of said TC until you verify the legitimacy of the earnings.

2. Buyer receives the TC but fails to send the USD amount. The TC is then spent/lost and rendered unrecoverable.

3. The seller receives the USD but fails to send the TC. You obviously cannot reverse a USD sale, nor can you force send TC that doesn't exist or is lost spent/lost after-the-fact.

Issues with Current System
1. Seriously lacking in usability: You've made the sale of TC a logistical headache for your user-base. With a dwindling amount of users, you need to take the fact that they are voicing their frustrations surrounding this seriously.

2. Poor visibility: The system is exclusively forum based, I am willing to bet a large percentage of non-compliance comes from users who are approached to buy TC via in-game or Discord. These users are probably not aware of the system you have in-place.

3. General non-compliance: There is nothing in-place to stop an illegitimate seller from refusing to follow your system, getting the USD and then bolting. Although, I admit this is the hardest issue to solve.

Basic Proposal
I believe you need to develop (as in program) a solution for this. Specifically, as a custom feature in the Torishop. This needs to be simple and fast to use.

Step One (Seller):
Verified sellers are placed in a user-group that grants them access to a "TC Sale" mechanism in the Torishop. The seller kicks off all transactions:

- The seller specifies a user and an amount of TC to send. This TC is placed in holding and assigned a unique transaction ID - placed in holding could be as simple as being sent to a third-party account. The seller is unable to recover TC from holding, it is effectively removed from their account. It would require staff intervention to reverse the trade at this point.

Step Two (Buyer):
The buyer receives a confirmation message stating: The seller's name and that they have initiated a trade, including the amount of TC and transaction ID. At this point, the buyer has an assurance they are not being scammed. Issue 3 from above is resolved.

- The buyer is instructed in this confirmation message to now complete their side of the trade by sending the USD amount via PayPal or another suitable medium to the seller.
- The buyer now waits.

Step Three (Seller):
Upon receiving the USD amount, the seller can access a list of their pending transactions in the Torishop:

- The seller will access the transaction specific to this user and mark it as completed.
- At this stage, you could require further verification in the form of an image upload containing a screenshot of the USD transfer.
- At this point, issue 2 is resolved. The buyer will not receive the TC until the final step takes place.
- Both parties now wait for approval.

Step Four (Staff):
In my view, this step isn't strictly necessary if you trust the vetted sellers. But I understand that you want some human (staff) verification to occur to resolve issue 1 - determining the TC came from a legitimate source. Certain staff, whether that's Market Squad, TSA etc. have access to a list of pending transactions in the Torishop:

- The staff member reviews the transaction and verifies the legitimacy of uploaded evidence and TC source. The staff member then marks this as complete.
- At this point, the TC is released from holding to the buyer.

This can be summarised as:


How This Solves Issues with the Current System:
- Usability: Despite my wall of text, this is pretty usable. The buyer does not need to do anything other than send USD. The seller completes only 1 extra step (upload of USD transfer screenshot) when compared to a regular trade. Staff input/time spent is probably (although I'm estimating) on par if not lower, than the current system.

- Poor Visibility: Hard to solve, I'll admit. Messages need to be included in-game, on the forums and on Discord NOT to send USD payment until a confirmation message is received indicating TC is in holding.

- Intentional Non-Compliance: Again, tricky to solve. Increase visibility as much as possible, make it obvious when a user is/isn't a verified seller and continue a clear stance on not supporting trades that occur outwith the official system. If you make it visible enough, even new users won't be duped by non-verified sellers.
No... this wiuld took ages with all the staff laziness. If someone wants to buy tc fast to duel someone it would take days for the transaction to complete.



Just a short story to proof how awful these rules are:

I once made a tc thread and waited for staff to approve. 2 days later, someone contacted me and asked to buy tc from me. I thought that my thread was accepted after all this time, so I made the transaction. When I was going to my thread to post that I sold some I saw it never existed. I went and told staff about the incident, came clean and asked for help resolve the problem, and they went ahead and banned me, then removed my tc selling status.



They were literally ready to fuck me up after years of selling tc, being one of the most trusted sellers around here, just because I made a mistake assuming they did there job in 2 days.


Do not make any system that requires staff to take part off to sell tc, otherwise everyone will start selling without approval.


I did mention that step 4 wouldn't be strictly necessary if staff trusted their own vetting procedures for verified sellers. However, I do understand the need and desire for staff involvement to quickly spot and stop the transfer of illegitimate TC. The system I described would be quick to verify. Honestly, if it's an issue of staff action taking too long that's a different issue/suggestion altogether.
Hi, any automated system to allow users to sell their TC or items for real money isn't going to happen.


First of all, I'm not sure if you misunderstood the TC selling board rules or didn't read them at all, but staff do not verify every transaction.
This pretty much answers your described issue - TC sources are checked once when the sale thread is created and sellers are not allowed to sell anything until it's verified. Does this slow things down a bit? Sure. Does this prevent situations when users get to sell TC that was obtained through scamming, bug exploiting or any other illegal means to others which leads to even more issues for us to solve? Absolutely.

Buyer receives the TC but fails to send the USD amount. The TC is then spent/lost and rendered unrecoverable.

Then we ban the buyer and compensate the seller with what they had left, be it TC, ST or items. We may also spawn as many TC as needed.

The seller receives the USD but fails to send the TC. You obviously cannot reverse a USD sale, nor can you force send TC that doesn't exist or is lost spent/lost after-the-fact.

That's why we require users who want to sell TC to undergo a verification process. I cannot say with 100% certainty, but from my memory we haven't had a single case of a verified seller trying to scam a buyer when they were following new system's guidelines. Even then, worst case scenario is that we have to spawn some TC - which we own and have access to - and that's not a big issue.

Both your second and third points fall under this line:
Originally Posted by Rules View Post
Scams still can happen with our Verified TC Sellers; we do not guarantee you won't get scammed.

We never guaranteed the system in place will be 100% secure - the only way to purchase TC with zero chance of getting scammed would be to buy it from Torishop.


Some other points you've raised:
You've made the sale of TC a logistical headache for your user-base. With a dwindling amount of users, you need to take the fact that they are voicing their frustrations surrounding this seriously.

You're certainly exaggerating here. System does indeed require sellers to do a bit more than they'd probably like (assuming they'd like to just sell whatever they want whenever they want), but it's far from being a headache. All they need is to a) not be shit users and get verified b) post a thread to sell tc c) wait some time to get it verified and then start selling tc d) repeat steps b and c when they want to sell again. Following the system is far easier than arguing against it because you can't be bothered to make a thread.

The system is exclusively forum based, I am willing to bet a large percentage of non-compliance comes from users who are approached to buy TC via in-game or Discord. These users are probably not aware of the system you have in-place.

We control forums, we don't control Discord (this is also an answer to anything that mentions Discord usage later in your post).
Game client won't ever have a user-to-user TC selling system due to security reasons.

General non-compliance: There is nothing in-place to stop an illegitimate seller from refusing to follow your system, getting the USD and then bolting. Although, I admit this is the hardest issue to solve.

There will always be users who want to break the rules, that's right. Sellers that are caught selling TC without a verified status or without having an active selling thread are banned, buyers who get scammed lose their money due to not following the system. The risk of losing your game account or real money should outweigh some inconveniences imposed by the system.



System you proposed actually makes the process even worse for buyers than it currently is. Now they can get TC they purchased instantly because the seller doesn't have to undergo any additional checks, whereas in your suggestion every single transaction has to undergo a separate check. That's highly inefficient and would be even more cumbersome than current guidelines Market Squad follow.
While your system does add some layer of security in terms of TC getting locked and the risk of seller spending them after getting the payment is being solved, this won't prevent chargeback-related scams which are usually the main issue with any player-to-player sales (at least for us to deal with as chargebacks tend to happen anywhere from a week to months after the deal when obviously all TC/items involved have been long sent elsewhere).

In short, we get an automated system that I spent several weeks on trying to get as foolproof as possible, but it still doesn't address the worst scamming scenario, adds more load on MS than current system does and makes TC selling even slower. And yeah, as it's only forum based (and we for sure aren't putting user-to-user TC sales in a better spot than Torishop) it still requires users to actually know the tool exists to use.
Originally Posted by sir View Post
Hi, any automated system to allow users to sell their TC or items for real money isn't going to happen.


First of all, I'm not sure if you misunderstood the TC selling board rules or didn't read them at all, but staff do not verify every transaction.
This pretty much answers your described issue - TC sources are checked once when the sale thread is created and sellers are not allowed to sell anything until it's verified. Does this slow things down a bit? Sure. Does this prevent situations when users get to sell TC that was obtained through scamming, bug exploiting or any other illegal means to others which leads to even more issues for us to solve? Absolutely.

I certainly did read the board rules. The seller's thread is re-verified every 8 days. So, yes you are right it isn't every transaction. My suggestion (specifically regarding staff approval) was targeted towards the fact that I believed that level of scrutiny would be desirable. If it isn't, simply verify the seller and allow them to mark the sale as complete without staff intervention. This simplifies things greatly. You've stated that there hasn't been an incident of a verified seller committing a scan - cool, then maybe the rules can be relaxed somewhat?


Then we ban the buyer and compensate the seller with what they had left, be it TC, ST or items. We may also spawn as many TC as needed.


That's why we require users who want to sell TC to undergo a verification process. I cannot say with 100% certainty, but from my memory we haven't had a single case of a verified seller trying to scam a buyer when they were following new system's guidelines. Even then, worst case scenario is that we have to spawn some TC - which we own and have access to - and that's not a big issue.

My understanding was that the strict TC guidelines were implemented primarily to avoid the creation of excess TC, but fair enough.

You're certainly exaggerating here. System does indeed require sellers to do a bit more than they'd probably like (assuming they'd like to just sell whatever they want whenever they want), but it's far from being a headache. All they need is to a) not be shit users and get verified b) post a thread to sell tc c) wait some time to get it verified and then start selling tc d) repeat steps b and c when they want to sell again. Following the system is far easier than arguing against it because you can't be bothered to make a thread.

I don't think it's okay for either you, or myself to define whether I am exaggerating the lack of usability. From what I have seen, users aren't satisfied. Granted this could very well be a vocal minority of sellers, but I'd be interested to see some responses from TC sellers in this thread to clarify the matter further.

We control forums, we don't control Discord (this is also an answer to anything that mentions Discord usage later in your post).
Game client won't ever have a user-to-user TC selling system due to security reasons.

Fair enough point regarding Discord. I never suggested a user-to-user in-game selling system. I suggested making the forum system visible in-game. I.e. messages in the game client that are shown persistently to new users for a little while to drive the message.

There will always be users who want to break the rules, that's right. Sellers that are caught selling TC without a verified status or without having an active selling thread are banned, buyers who get scammed lose their money due to not following the system. The risk of losing your game account or real money should outweigh some inconveniences imposed by the system.

By this logic, why have the current strict guidelines at all?


System you proposed actually makes the process even worse for buyers than it currently is. Now they can get TC they purchased instantly because the seller doesn't have to undergo any additional checks, whereas in your suggestion every single transaction has to undergo a separate check. That's highly inefficient and would be even more cumbersome than current guidelines Market Squad follow.

I refer to my point then about not requiring staff validation for every trade. As you've stated, verified sellers have proved themselves trustworthy.

While your system does add some layer of security in terms of TC getting locked and the risk of seller spending them after getting the payment is being solved, this won't prevent chargeback-related scams which are usually the main issue with any player-to-player sales (at least for us to deal with as chargebacks tend to happen anywhere from a week to months after the deal when obviously all TC/items involved have been long sent elsewhere).

Good point about charge-back scams and as you said they cannot really be handled. But you have stated that the vast majority of TC scams surround charge-back and unless I am missing something the current guidelines don't address this either? So then, why have such complex guidelines if they aren't preventing the main scam-vector and verified sellers are already proving trustworthy?

If most TC sellers are happy with the current system, great - I'll admit this is overkill.
Originally Posted by Nondescript View Post
My suggestion (specifically regarding staff approval) was targeted towards the fact that I believed that level of scrutiny would be desirable. If it isn't, simply verify the seller and allow them to mark the sale as complete without staff intervention. This simplifies things greatly. You've stated that there hasn't been an incident of a verified seller committing a scan - cool, then maybe the rules can be relaxed somewhat?

Checks are required for MS to confirm the TC sources stay legal. If they have legal TC today it doesn't mean that this doesn't change in a month or two. Week deemed a fair period for MS when we were deciding on how long should threads stay live, if they decide rules can be relaxed a bit towards extending that period they may do that.
This, however, doesn't mean that frequent checks are redundant and that it's fine to check a seller once and then assume they'd stay nice and cool forever - and keeping a log of all sellers to check every N days/weeks/months is way more hassle for everyone.


Fair enough point regarding Discord. I never suggested a user-to-user in-game selling system. I suggested making the forum system visible in-game. I.e. messages in the game client that are shown persistently to new users for a little while to drive the message.

I meant any promotion of user to user TC sales in game client, not a dedicated ingame tool specifically.


By this logic, why have the current strict guidelines at all?

Because strict guidelines have allowed us to dramatically reduce the number of scams that involve real money.


I refer to my point then about not requiring staff validation for every trade. As you've stated, verified sellers have proved themselves trustworthy.

Believe I addressed that above already, yeah. They proved themselves to be users we don't expect to scam others straight away (which is fairly simple), but their TC sources still need verification.


Good point about charge-back scams and as you said they cannot really be handled. But you have stated that the vast majority of TC scams surround charge-back and unless I am missing something the current guidelines don't address this either? So then, why have such complex guidelines if they aren't preventing the main scam-vector and verified sellers are already proving trustworthy?

Again, current guidelines explicitly state that users may still get scammed. What we do on our side is to reduce the risks.
I'm not sure what exactly your point here is, because current system is already in place and works reliably enough for us to stick to it for over 2 years now (with some changes and improvements over that time) and system you suggested doesn't really improve on any of the aspects yet would require both dev time and more MS work.