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T O P I C
Truth, Integrity and Lapdog Politics
June 22nd 2000, 08:12 CEST by andy

Verant, the developers of EverQuest, have successfully pressured a web site to remove negative commentary. Apogee fans take note...



An article recently published on GameFan criticised Verant's customer services department. The author complained of EverQuest having "horrible bugs that waste hours of my time" and "the lack of GM interest in correcting the situation".

His complaint was based on what he believed to be two bugs, one which resulted in his character's death and another resulting in the loss of a weapon.

According to the Guide FAQ on the official EverQuest site, such problems are grounds for complaint to the in-game admins. However, the GameFan writer did not feel the admins had behaved responsibly:

Either of these situations could've been corrected easily and quickly, with no harm or unfairness to other players, but instead, the GMs chose to accuse me of fabricating lies and engaging in arguments.

The article prompted some discussion on the official EverQuest forum and met with approval from other players who felt similarly aggrieved. It was then removed from GameFan's site.

Following complaints from people on the EverQuest forum, GameFan's editor-in-chief Robert Howarth (Apache) explained what had happened:

Yes, the Article was removed. It was removed at the request of Verant. Rather than spoil a good relationship by starting a big flame war, I chose to take it down.

If the writer of the editorial didn't lose equipment that was honestly gained (which was then lost) I might've put up a fight, but to be honest all his good gear was gifted to him from a GM as part of a press package...

The author of the article, Jasen Torres, responded to this:

  1. Robert was grossly misinformed. The "gift package" was on the test server before kunark was released. I was given a lvl 60 iksar monk to help test out Veeshan's Peak (which was really cool). That char was deleted once Kunark was released.

  2. The article was not pulled because Verant/Sony is a tyrant or because GameFan doesn't back up it's statements. It was taken down because it was an incomplete feature that showed what I was trying to say from a one-sided tilt. Anytime one outs a game or company to the test, they should at the very least include that companies thoughts. That's my fault.

  3. The point of the article (if you read it) wasn't to get my wrongs "right-ed", but to raise the issue of in-game play with our readers. I asked for nothing in retribution other than readers who had similar stories. After looking at the emails I received regarding this, I don't think I would have posted any of these.

Although the author signals his approval of the article being removed because it was "an incomplete feature", it is worth remembering that neither he nor GameFan management chose to remove it for that reason. It was removed, according to Robert Howarth, "at the request of Verant".

This incident underlines the problem of web sites that rely on game developers and publishers for content and exclusives.

GameFan needs to have a working relationship with the companies it covers. As a result, with no legal threats or even reasonable grounds for complaint, Verant was able to have a critical article removed. As the site's editor himself explained, the sole reason for removing the article was that he did not want to "spoil a good relationship".

So hands up who's looking forward to GameFan's review of Duke Forever?

-oOo-

Full text of the deleted article:

Today I Quit Everquest

The milk has been spilt, my loyal readers, and you'd better believe I'm going to cry over it. In fact, I hope you EverQuest fans will cry with me, and with your stories we will heal our wounds together...

Here's my story: I quit one of my all-time favorite games last night because I could no longer take the problems I have with it. I'm one of two resident EverQuest freaks here at GameFan, and it's a huge ordeal when a longtime fan such as myself quits the game; I mean, I'll be the first to say that EverQuest has provided me with many positive experiences. I've been playing it since it came out, and I've enjoyed it much--but I can suffer no more. My problem--and I feel I'm not alone on this one--is with its persistent bugs and the lack of its GMs' desire to sort the situation out. I'm going to give two extremely specific examples that have happened to me in the last month, and while these two in particular are the very reasons I quit the game, I'd like to point out that I've been screwed over many more times than I'll mention here...

The first time was simply a bug. My mid-level bard sat against a wall near the ocean of the dark elf port town of The Overthere; I played my invisible song to keep safe, I camped, and there was no kind of danger. Then, the next time I logged on, I was on the dock to the boat (which travels to Timorious Deep), next to two guards who are 'kill on site' (KoS), and naturally, I was slashed to death. Yet the point at which I originally camped was so far from the dock, it wasn't even funny... It was a completely obvious bug. There was no way I could've camped at the dock; the bard's invisible song doesn't work on the undead guard that I was right next to, and if I'd been invisible to the undead, I wouldn't have made it past the dark elf guard that helped kill me. Finally, reclaiming my corpse was near impossible--I just died again and again. Thus, I decided to contact a GM.

Now, GMs are supposed to be helpful; they're supposed to assist the player when the game has wronged him. This experience, however, was different... I waited for an hour to speak to the senior GM (an hour!), and all he did was argue with me. He told me he needed proof if he was to do anything about the bug, so I asked him what proof I could show him. He paused, and then admitted that there was no real proof that I could show him, but still maintained he would still not help me; he wouldn't even summon my corpse to a safe place to loot it. I was infuriated. I explained to him that there's no way I could've logged on at that spot, with an undead guard right next to me. He said, however, that since I had no proof of this bug, he couldn't do anything. And yes, I'm still bitter...

Case number two happened just last night, and has made me quite the bitter fellow this morning. I had just taken my bard off of the stormbreaker boat in the Ocean of Tears, on Sister Island... Then, a pirate came up to bash me, and I started to run and switched my drum for my two weapons. As I attempted to put the first weapon in its slot, however, I missed, dropped it on the ground (I freaked, because I hate when this happens), and turned around to pick it up. I reached for it, but it disappeared just as I grabbed it. It just plain disappeared! I continued to freak out, killed the pirate with my second weapon, and returned to search the area again. Yet my treasured sword had disappeared, for no good reason... There were only three other people in the zone, a necro on Gargoyle Island and some goblin hunters. I was the only one on Sister Island, so I knew that some invisible character hadn't grabbed it. I felt nothing for the game but utter disdain, and yet my foul experience was not yet over...

Again I called for a GM, hoping that I would be helped, this time for sure. After all, this was an obvious bug... I explained my quick little story, and he admitted that it was probably a bug, yet he said that he couldn't replace it. So I asked if he could "back up" my character from yesterday, a process GMs do when servers crash or people's corpses disappear. I've been "backed up" before, on another character, when I logged on and suddenly my equipment was all gone, and I hadn't died... But the GM told me he had no good reason to back my character up. I was filled with contempt for the game, and started to argue rudely--upon which the GM argued back, saying I had no proof that I'd lost anything due to a bug. We argued for fifteen minutes (simply handing me the weapon or backing up my character would've taken much less time), and I was driven over the edge...

So I quit EverQuest. I can no longer stand these horrible bugs that waste hours of my time, nor the lack of GM interest in correcting the situation; it really makes me feel as if they just don't care about the player anymore. Either of these situations could've been corrected easily and quickly, with no harm or unfairness to other players, but instead, the GMs chose to accuse me of fabricating lies and engaging in arguments. This is utterly ridiculous... The main reason we pay the game's subscription fee is for servers and service--and I'll be the first to tell you that the server situation is horrible; it's fraught with overcrowding and crashes. And now that these incidents have happened, I question why people pay at all... My personal experience has been tainted by these factors, and as a result, one of my favorite games has become intolerable.

Am I the only one that's been wronged in such a way? I think not--and I ask you GameFan readers to send your stories to me (jtorres@gamefan.com). I want to hear stories like mine, stories of extreme cases in which the game's obviously wronged you, tales of grave errors, unpleasant play experiences and GMs who just don't care. In fact, screen shots (small .jpg's only) of proven GMs saying particularly interesting things are encouraged, and I'll award the two best shots with a prize (I don't know what yet, but I'll find some game or T-shirt or something). I'll follow up this feature with some screen shots of what the GM said to me, as well as the best stories from you readers... Want to get your EQ problem off your chest and be published on one of the largest online gaming sites? Now's your chance, GameFan readers--let the hard-core gamers come together and make a bold statement!

"We're not gonna take it...NO! We ain't gonna take it... We're not gonna take it anymore!"

--the immortal Twisted Sister

- Jasen Torres

C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: Truth, Integrity and Lapdog Politics

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#1 by "Replica"
2000-06-22 08:18:42
mrrobzombie@ozemail.com.au
I can understand why he is so pissed, but is this a big enough issue to make a whole thread about?
#2 by "Andy"
2000-06-22 08:20:16
andy@planetcrap.com
Apache's explanation actually said:
<quote>
It was removed at the request of @Verant.
</quote>
I'd better point that out in case someone decides I'm misleading them by correcting a typo.
#3 by "Jeff"
2000-06-22 08:25:00
jeffmill@bellsouth.net
Eh. It's not a balanced editorial, but, frankly, editorials aren't supposed to be balanced. They're one person's opinion. Verrant certainly has the right to request it be removed if they feel it's unfair. What disappoints me is Gamefan caving because they felt they'd lose a relationship with Verrant.

You write for your readers, not your sources.
#4 by "Andy"
2000-06-22 08:25:31
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#1</b>, Replica:
<QUOTE>
I can understand why he is so pissed, but is this a big enough issue to make a whole thread about?
</QUOTE>
Duh, yeah. :)

Companies dictating what journalists can and can't write about them? I'd call that a big enough issue.

Heh, I just realised the similarity between this and the situation that brought me to Planetcrap in the first place! (Similar but very different, mind.)
#5 by "None-1a"
2000-06-22 08:33:40
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
<i>Robert was grossly misinformed. The "gift package" was on the test server before kunark was released. I was given a lvl 60 iksar monk to help test out Veeshan's Peak (which was really cool). That char was deleted once Kunark was released.</i>

So let me get this strate the guy as pissed because the the lvl 60 iksar was removed that he was given for testing reasons after the test was over. Sounds more like Variant wanted to keep thing level of people buying the thing, not a bug.

Second Apache should have offered Variant a second article to explan the situation from their side, not simply remove the whole thing.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#6 by "G-Man"
2000-06-22 08:35:11
jonmars@shiftlock.org http://www.shiftlock.org
In the beginning Jasen Torres wrote...
<quote>Either of these situations could've been corrected easily and quickly, with no harm or unfairness to other players, but instead, the GMs chose to accuse me of fabricating lies and engaging in arguments. This is utterly ridiculous...</quote>
It isn't ridiculous at all. To grant the completely unsubstantiated requests that he made to the GMs would have been extremely unfair to the other players, who's requests had been denied. Let's face it, this sort of issue has been around since MUDs first debuted. The authorities in charge HAVE to adopt a uniform code for dealing with grievances in the game. If anytime somebody complained (without proof) of a loss, the powers that be recompensed him, you'd see massive exploitation of that.

The only possible constructive criticism he could make would be to propose a more detailed and powerful method of tracking real-time events in the game database that the GMs have access to. This is likely a much larger task than is worth pursuing to satisfy the relatively low number of complaints. Reengineering a live real-time database without limiting performance or access, is no small task.

 - [g.man]<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#7 by "Nick"
2000-06-22 08:37:07
Where's Apache now? Come on dude, give us the dirt and fess up :)
#8 by "Jeff"
2000-06-22 08:40:23
jeffmill@bellsouth.net
Actually, the most disturbing element in the whole story is that the author quoted Twisted Sister.

Yikes.

The horror.
#9 by "G-Man"
2000-06-22 08:40:28
jonmars@shiftlock.org http://www.shiftlock.org
And now to address the topic at hand, namely Gamefan buckling under soft requests from preferred developers.

Well I don't recall having ever read Gamefan, so that sort of settles it for me. And Voodoo Extreme isn't quite my cup of tea. If anything I'd rather read Marvin Sedate.

Regardless this isn't really anything new. How about the popular US news media constantly referring to the contents of the recently misplaced Los Alamos hard drives as being 'Nuclear Weapons Secrets'?

 - [g.man]<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#10 by "Replica"
2000-06-22 08:50:04
mrrobzombie@ozemail.com.au
heh sorry was looking at the superficial side of things, just him losing his character. Dont mind me, brain isnt firing on all cylinders today! :P
#11 by "Serpwidgets"
2000-06-22 08:51:18
serpwidgets@hotmail.com http://people.ce.mediaone.net/serpwidgets/index.ht
11th post... That's twice as many 1s as 1st, muhahahaha!<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#12 by "Jafd"
2000-06-22 09:01:07
jafd@whatthefuck.com http://www.therainforestsite.com/
I wouldn't have any problem with the GMs demanding 'proof,' if it were possible to actually provide 'proof.' I've had my share of discussions with the GMs... they always want 'proof,' but there isn't really any way to give them this.

While I understand that they cannot simply hand out equipment based upon the word of the player (especially in a MUD as loot-centric as EQ is), the method they do have in place to reimburse legitmate losses is totally inept. I used to be a Guide... the policy is more ludicrous than you can imagine.

I think I still have their Policies and Procedures manual, actually... <b>don't</b> send me an email if you want a copy. That would be bad. Unless you have 'proof' that you are currently a Guide.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#13 by "None-1a"
2000-06-22 09:13:00
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
<b>#12</b> "Jafd" wrote...
<QUOTE>I wouldn't have any problem with the GMs demanding 'proof,' if it were possible to actually provide 'proof.' I've had my share of discussions with the GMs... they always want 'proof,' but there isn't really any way to give them this. </QUOTE>

Acctauly there is, take a screen shot of your inventory and send them that, although you'd think they'd have access to database backups that show who owned what and when. However I don't think this had anything to do with a server problem loseing the guys stuff. He admits that the items last where given to him as a test for the expansion, then lost when the expanion went on public sale. That sounds more like it was delete to keep beta testers level with every one else. <I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#14 by "Brandon 'GreenMarine' Reinhart"
2000-06-22 09:15:56
brandonr@3drealms.com http://www.3drealms.com
My understanding was that this character was a press kit gift anyway.  I'm not losing any tears over this one.
#15 by "Serpwidgets"
2000-06-22 09:16:38
serpwidgets@hotmail.com http://people.ce.mediaone.net/serpwidgets/index.ht
I think the point of the thread is well-founded. An obvious conflict of interest arises with the relationships between fan-oriented publications and the developers/publishers. The problems go both ways, too. If a publisher sufficiently pisses off a publication, they can suffer from it too.

<QUOTE>It was taken down because it was an incomplete feature that showed what I was trying to say from a one-sided tilt.</QUOTE>
All I can say to this is, "Wuss."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#16 by "Jafd"
2000-06-22 09:19:49
jafd@whatthefuck.com http://www.therainforestsite.com/
<b>#13</b> "None-1a" said...
<QUOTE>take a screen shot of your inventory and send them that</QUOTE>

They won't accept that. Screencaps can be easily faked. Well... maybe not 'easily,' but they surely can be. Besides, it isn't likely that people are going to take screencaps of their inventory before they lose an item.... :)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#17 by "JasenTorres"
2000-06-22 09:27:24
jtorres@gamefan.com
Eeeek.  I'm on the planetcrap. Time to reconsider my life's gameplan.

To sort out some garbage-

1) The character was not a "press gift". Far as I know, Verant doesn't do that. Before Kunark was released, I was allowed to create an Iksar on the Test server to write a Kunark preview. Once created, I was buffed to lvl 60 and summoned at Veeshan's Peak to commense testing. That is what Robert thought this was about.  It wasn't.

2) If you actually read the story, it's not about vengence, trying to get something in return, or any lost items. It's about being treated like crap for a game I pay monthly for (and I do- it's not free).

3) GameFan will sort the whole thing out tomorrow. This really wasn't a big deal until all of the press types started calling it a conspiracy. There were many reasons to take it down...you'll understand tomorrow (if you care- and I hope you don't because it's so trivial).

'nuff said. Let it go.

-jasen
#18 by "Apache"
2000-06-22 09:43:03
apache@warzone.com
I took down the article for several reasons.

1) I did not think the editorial lived up to Jasen’s ability as a writer; he’s now ‘cranking it up’ and the new and improved feature will be online tomorrow or Friday.

2) Ruining a long-standing relationship with Verant over something as silly as a lost sword is petty, to say the least.

3) When Brad called and asked the feature to be taken down, I was under the impression Jasen was using his ‘ill-begotten’ character and gear, so it didn’t take much convincing on his part. As an online player myself, cheaters are about the lowest form of life. They ‘suck up the fun’ for everyone else...
#19 by "Andy"
2000-06-22 09:53:42
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#18</b>, Apache:
<QUOTE>
1) I did not think the editorial lived up to Jasen’s ability as a writer; he’s now ‘cranking it up’ and the new and improved feature will be online tomorrow or Friday.
</QUOTE>
So why did you post it?

Why was it worthy of publication right up to the point that Verant asked you to remove it?
<QUOTE>
2) Ruining a long-standing relationship with Verant over something as silly as a lost sword is petty, to say the least.
</QUOTE>
The lost sword and dead character (why did you only mention the sword?) are not very important. What's important is that you removed a criticism at the request of the subject, when previously you had thought it should be published.
<QUOTE>
3) When Brad called and asked the feature to be taken down, I was under the impression Jasen was using his ‘ill-begotten’ character and gear, so it didn’t take much convincing on his part.
</QUOTE>
Ironic, huh? Part of the article's complaint was that the game admins requested proof that couldn't be provided. But you were willing to remove the article without any proof that its complaint was invalid.

Rob, you were bought. You didn't want to annoy Verant or Sony so you did what you were told. You sold your integrity in return for future exclusives and material. As an editor, you should be ashamed.
#20 by "superion"
2000-06-22 10:22:06
superion@goth.net
who reads gamefan anyway, except whenever they say something meaningfull and recant it away.

reminds me of the nick rox/casey loe days.

everquest is falling apart btw. you can do stuff like jump off the map and nuke the priest of discord to death.
#21 by "Apache"
2000-06-22 10:43:46
apache@warzone.com
<b>#19</b>: <quote>Rob, you were bought. You didn't want to annoy Verant or Sony so you did what you were told. You sold your integrity in return for future exclusives and material. As an editor, you should be ashamed. </quote>

It's not about me, it's about the welfare of the entire team. If I told Verant to sit on my middle finger and start spinning, it not only affects the PC site, but the publication as a whole.
#22 by "Apache"
2000-06-22 10:44:58
apache@warzone.com
sigh, I need a vacation :-)
#23 by "Jafd"
2000-06-22 11:18:14
jafd@whatthefuck.com http://www.therainforestsite.com/
<b>#21</b> "Apache" said...
<QUOTE>If I told Verant to sit on my middle finger and start spinning,</QUOTE>

No reason to tell them that (although since that is precisely what their GMs tell their players, no wonder you thought of that as your only other option)... you could have simply offered them the opportunity to tell their side of the story.

Bottom line: this could have been handled better.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#24 by "StickerBoy"
2000-06-22 11:18:43
jclee@ou.edu
#22 Apache:
<QUOTE>sigh, I need a vacation :-)</QUOTE>

Heh.  It's always easy to second-guess editors, especially when said second-guesser isn't an employee of the company in question.  I feel for you, Apache.

As for everyone who believes that press freedom shouldn't be diminished from the unimpeccable ideals that it is now, well, <B>wake up</B>.  ABC declines to run negative stories on Disney, CNN will never run anything negative on Ted Turner.  Pick up a copy of <I>Brill's Content</I> sometime, or better yet, get a subscription, in order to get a clue about how biased and slanted news coverage generally is.

If this were something substantial, like GameFan running a story on rampant EverQuest GM bribery or something of that magnitude, then I could see reason to flame Apache.  But as it is, EvilAvatar got pissed at something that's no one's fault, really.  Too bad; get a grip and enjoy the game - else go play another.

Slightly OT advice: if you gain items in your inventory that you'd like to keep, <B>take a screenshot of your inventory</B>.  It's like backing up your HD regularly - it's just good practice for peace of mind.  If you don't, and an item suddenly disappears, well, don't go bitching to the GMs.  They can't do anything for you.
#25 by "Seth Krieg"
2000-06-22 11:43:54
seth@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
"Push,
comes to pull,
comes to shove,
comes to step around."

Apache did what he felt was in the best interest of the company he works for. If GF expected any less, he never would've been hired in the first place.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#26 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-06-22 11:45:02
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#21</b> "Apache" wrote...
<QUOTE>It's not about me, it's about the welfare of the entire team. If I told Verant to sit on my middle finger and start spinning, it not only affects the PC site, but the publication as a whole.</QUOTE>

Your right. You should sell out to protect your ass. Your not at all like any of the other people who sell out because of other reasons ... no-sireee<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#27 by "Jafd"
2000-06-22 11:46:45
jafd@whatthefuck.com http://www.therainforestsite.com/
<b>#24</b> "StickerBoy" said...
<QUOTE>As for everyone who believes that press freedom shouldn't be diminished from the
unimpeccable ideals that it is now, well, <B>wake up</B>. ABC declines to run
negative stories on Disney, CNN will never run anything negative on Ted Turner.
Pick up a copy of <I>Brill's Content</I> sometime, or better yet, get a
subscription, in order to get a clue about how biased and slanted news coverage
generally is.</QUOTE>
Oh yes, everyone does it, that makes it a-ok. Thanks for clearing that up.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#28 by "Gestalt"
2000-06-22 11:47:03
john@eurogamer.net http://www.eurogamer.net
"An article recently published on GameFan criticised Verant's customer services department"

Sounds familiar .. check the "Problems" section on the second page.

http://www.eurogamer.net/features.php3?name=kunark

Actually that section was originally much longer, but I had to cut it down to get the review to a decent length. :) Gamefan certainly aren't alone in thinking that Everquest has more than its fair share of bugs still, and that Verant aren't doing too much about fixing them...
#29 by "Prodigy"
2000-06-22 13:04:59
prodigy@gamedata.com http://www.gamedata.com
Origin did the same thing (kind of) with U9, when they shut down all the public forums on their site. If that's not censorship I wonder what is...
#30 by "Desiato"
2000-06-22 14:20:19
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com
The author should thank the GM for liberating him from the endless cycle of "testing our beta software out on our paying customers" syndrome. (If software isn't released as beta, but it behaves as a beta release...guess what that makes it......right -- "stealth beta")

I can't say I really care for Everquest, but I'm not going to let that taint my opinion.

Should his grievances been addressed? Sure -- but if you have GM's that are more interested in obtaining "proof" than believing the customer, then you're just going to shut your gaming regulars out into the cold.

Oh well .. I'm sure it will catch up with them.

As far as pulling a post on the request of a influential sponsor -- ethically, it stinks -- but of course in our world of infinite greys (instead of logical, clear-cut black and white scenarios) that sure the hell isn't going to help you pay the bills, now is it.

Moral Idealists - 0  School of Hard Knocks - 1

Sucks doesn't it?


Desiato
#31 by "asspennies"
2000-06-22 14:38:51
asspennies@coredump.org http://www.coredump.org
<b>#29</b> "Prodigy" wrote...
<QUOTE>

Origin did the same thing (kind of) with U9, when they shut down all the public forums on their site. If that's not censorship I wonder what is... </QUOTE>

While there are some undeniable moral repercussions to such actions, it is hardly censorship.  Origin owns and operates those servers, and is by no means required or even expected to give people free reign on their site or their message board.  If you want to go to your own webpage on your own server and set up a message board about how much you hate U9, that's your business and there's nothing Origin can do about it.  But it's not censorship at all if they won't let you do it on <u>their</u> servers.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#32 by "Andy"
2000-06-22 14:53:15
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#31</b>, asspennies:
<QUOTE>
While there are some undeniable moral repercussions to such actions, it is hardly censorship.
</QUOTE>
Don't worry, I'm not in the habit of holding people to literal definitions of words, but the definition of 'censorship' is important and often misunderstood.

My dictionary defines a censor as: "an official who examines books, papers, telegrams, letters, films, etc, with powers to delete material, or to forbid publication, delivery or showing"

If, for example, I were to delete one of your comments here -- even if you then posted it again and I didn't delete that one -- I would be acting as a censor. I would have censored you. It would be censorship.

Origin didn't close its boards because they were being abused, or because the server was overloaded, or because the company was shutting down. They closed the boards because the legitimate complaints posted there were damaging Origin's reputation.

They looked at the boards, considered them, and then based solely on the contents of people's posts they prevented people from saying anything else.

That's censorship.

The only debate is whether you think it was right or wrong for them to behave in that way. People generally don't like to say "that's censorship but I agree with it", so they just say something isn't censorship when really it is.

Thank you. :)
#33 by "asspennies"
2000-06-22 15:08:53
asspennies@coredump.org http://www.coredump.org
<b>#32</b> "Andy" wrote...
<QUOTE>Don't worry, I'm not in the habit of holding people to literal definitions of words, but the definition of 'censorship' is important and often misunderstood.

My dictionary defines a censor as: "an official who examines books, papers, telegrams, letters, films, etc, with powers to delete material, or to forbid publication, delivery or showing"

If, for example, I were to delete one of your comments here -- even if you then posted it again and I didn't delete that one -- I would be acting as a censor. I would have censored you. It would be censorship.</QUOTE>

Fair enough.  It's no use arguing semantics - I think the message behind my post is still clear.

Is it censorship in the simple, dictionary definition?  Ok, I'll bite.  It is.

Is it censorship in the deserving of outrage/contempt of the community at large/call the ACLU to defend you sort of way?  Not hardly.

Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.  Your right to hack into linux boxes ends at your own server.  And your rights to post messages ends at your own webpage.  After that, you're subject to the whims of others - whether you agree with them or not.

I'm not saying I think highly of Origin for removing those messages.  I don't.  I think it's a cowardly act, and a very shady one besides.  It gives me no great joy to defend them.  But the simplee fact is, when you sign up for their bulletin boards, you agree to abide by their rules.  Plain and simple.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#34 by "Sastan"
2000-06-22 15:12:07
sastan@tpg.com.au
# 16 Jafd - <QUOTE>They won't accept that. Screencaps can be easily faked. Well... maybe not 'easily,' but they surely can be. Besides, it isn't likely that people are going to take screencaps of their inventory before they lose an item.... :)</QUOTE>

I remember on the Wheel of Time site, they had a competition where whoever was the 100,000th (or something like that) visitor would win a prize, and the proof needed was a screenshot showing the counter.
Funnily enough, there were at least 5 different people sending in screenshots of the correct counter number.
#35 by "Andy"
2000-06-22 15:23:36
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#33</b>, asspennies:
<QUOTE>
Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Your right to hack into linux boxes ends at your own server. And your rights to post messages ends at your own webpage. After that, you're subject to the whims of others - whether you agree with them or not.
</QUOTE>
I'm not sure that this philosophy applies to the Origin forums.

They gave people permission to post there, just as a government gives TV stations permission to broadcast. Origin deciding that people may not criticise Origin is censorship, just as a government deciding that TV stations may not criticise the government is censorship.

If your government banned you from writing something that criticised its foreign policy, would you object to that or would you just go to another country and publish it there?

That scenario is the same as what happened with the Origin forums. It's just that moving to another country is a lot harder than pointing your web browser to another message board, so the censorship seems more severe. Ethically, though, it's the same.


<b>#34</b>, Sastan:
<QUOTE>
I remember on the Wheel of Time site, they had a competition where whoever was the 100,000th (or something like that) visitor would win a prize, and the proof needed was a screenshot showing the counter.
</QUOTE>
And I won! (Or did I win the 10,000 competition? I can't remember.)
#36 by "PiRaMidA"
2000-06-22 15:24:33
piramida@agsm.net http://www.agsm.net/
<b>#34</b> "Sastan" wrote...
<QUOTE>I remember on the Wheel of Time site, they had a competition where whoever was the 100,000th (or something like that) visitor would win a prize, and the proof needed was a screenshot showing the counter.
Funnily enough, there were at least 5 different people sending in screenshots of the correct counter number. </QUOTE>

It happens with every counter-based contest... There is usually one lucky person with exact number and everyone else *very* close... So close that you just have to open up that Photoshop, especially if the prise is something interesting.

As for faking item's screencap.. Its not the same as faking counter numbers, no, you must actually have the graphics of the item. Unless you find another char with the same item who'd be kind enough to give you the shot which you can insert in your faked pictuire, you can't recreate the item's appearance/stats yourself.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#37 by "StickerBoy"
2000-06-22 16:02:21
jclee@ou.edu
#35 Andy:
<QUOTE>If your government banned you from writing something that criticised its foreign policy, would you object to that or would you just go to another country and publish it there?

That scenario is the same as what happened with the Origin forums. It's just that moving to another country is a lot harder than pointing your web browser to another message board, so the censorship seems more severe. Ethically, though, it's the same.</QUOTE>

It's <B>not</B> the same at all.  Free speech zealots over at Slashdot have the same problem discerning the differences all the time.  You have every right to say and write what you want to; do you have the right to use someone else's property to express it?  No.  For example, you can spray paint your house with all of the political messages you wish to, but try to do it on your neighbor's house and it's a far different story.

Origin's website is Origin's property.  It can change whatever posting policies exist on its own website at will.  It has <B>no ethical obligation</B> to publish a viewpoint that conflicts with its own.  Anyone suggesting otherwise might as well paint "Freedom for me, but not for thee" on their forehead while they parrot their "anticensorship" slogans.  

If the government bans you from publishing something, that's different - the government is the final word of authority in this and all other nation-states, and restriction of free speech without clear and present danger is unconstitutional.  Government != Private corporation.

#27 Jafd:

You miss my point entirely.  Apache was entirely within reasonable bounds to say that this issue was not worth picking a fight with one of their major sources of income.  I'm sorry that the world isn't perfect for you, but businesses have to be run and gray areas have to be stepped in.  GM policy in EverQuest is well-defined, and if you don't like it, <B>pick another game</B>.  I certainly don't play EQ anymore.

The issue really isn't whether or not gaming sites should accede to sponsors' wishes.  The issue is whether or not gaming sites should accept input at all - from the peanut gallery, from corporations, or from avid readers.  By attacking Apache, you seem to be making the case that GameFan <B>should</B> accept input on what they publish - therefore by the same token, Apache has every right to give Sony's requests just as much weight (or more, since Sony pays GameFan and you don't).
#38 by "Andy"
2000-06-22 16:13:42
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#37</b>, StickerBoy:
<QUOTE>
By attacking Apache, you seem to be making the case that GameFan <B>should</B> accept input on what they publish - therefore by the same token, Apache has every right to give Sony's requests just as much weight (or more, since Sony pays GameFan and you don't).
</QUOTE>
Whoa! HUGE straw man alert! But I'll let Jafd handle it.

Anyway, what do you mean "Sony pays GameFan"? Does Sony have a stake in GameFan? I thought the only software publisher involved in the whole soon-to-be-shut-down-if-the-rumours-are-true operation was Eidos? (Which part-owns parent company Express.com.)
#39 by "Billy Saw Hurock"
2000-06-22 17:08:38
billysawhurock@hotmail.com http://www.bloweduprealgood.com
It's well known in my hillbilly circles that Everquest is for fags.
#40 by "Natausch"
2000-06-22 17:10:11
natausch@hotmail.com
You both disturb me.

Jasen
People have been wronged numerous times in EQ. Dealing with a GM in the game is not a fun experience. If you never had a bad experience with their CS count yourself lucky. Think about this one - I have a friend who was banned because his username was a naughty word. Oh my help us he had a nickname that was a bad word and he used it for his username.

Umm if it helps Both cases could have been avoided easily, never camp close to enemy guards, bad idea. Burdon of proof was on you for that individual rollback, obviously you didn't save when you logged, perhaps you did a /q?

Second one, umm didn't you know that the Pirates in OOR amoung other NPCs pick up dropped weapons? If you had logged it you would have seen the cute little emote that they do, would have been worth a laugh at least.

Apache
I understand there are business and political reasons to pull the artical but the article is not slander, its an editorial, an opinion page. I guess you really shouldn't have printed it as news but pulling it down drops credibility. Looks like while the government can't bully the press the same rules do not apply to Sony corp and their little toys.
#41 by "Calenth"
2000-06-22 17:44:08
jiminycricke@earthlink.net
Couple comments:

1.) Verant places the 'burden of proof' in these situations on players, but has admitted that there is no evidence a player could possibly submit that would be deemed valid. They do Not consider screenshots Or timestamped player logs valid evidence, both of which are produceable by EQ's client software.

2.) Verant GMs DO have the tools necessary to verify these problems, but are too lazy and too unconcerned to bother. The EQ servers keep logs going back one full realtime week; GM's just don't bother to check them, due to a "policy" that directs them to ignore player's concerns -- due, IMHO, to a fear that if they ever actually solve a customer's problems, they'll suddenly be swamped with false requests.
#42 by "StickerBoy"
2000-06-22 17:45:11
jclee@ou.edu
#38 Andy:
<QUOTE>Anyway, what do you mean "Sony pays GameFan"? Does Sony have a stake in GameFan? I thought the only software publisher involved in the whole soon-to-be-shut-down-if-the-rumours-are-true operation was Eidos? </QUOTE>

I've assumed that the reporting of Sony being a sponsor of GameFan is true.  Which means Sony helps pay the bills for GameFan, which the average reader of the free site does not.

And no, my previous argument is not a straw man.  After some further thinking while sitting through another useless information systems architecture lecture, here's a quick litmus test on whether there's a conflict of interest in pulling the article:  In a hypothetical situation where the company is <B>not</B> financially involved in the publisher, would the publisher have followed through the company's complaint anyways?

This is a summary of events as far as I can tell.

1) EvilAvatar has a bad experience in EverQuest.  EA further has bad experiences with the GMs, gets pissed off, and writes an article which reflects his mood.

2) Sony/Verant gets wind of the article, and complains to GameFan.

3) GameFan reviews the article, and finding it inflammatory and one-sided, pulls it for a rewrite.

Through all of this, I can't think of how GameFan is in the wrong with this.  By any journalistic standards, the original article is pretty stinky.  What they did was not the best or ideal course of action, but there was nothing unethical with what they did.  Sony being a source of money is almost beside the point; GameFan certainly has a case that the article deserved a rewrite.

I get a feeling that some people are arguing that by dint of Sony's financial involvement, they've effectively given away their right to complain to GameFan as an aggrieved party in this or any dispute.  Bleh.  I suppose YMMV.
#43 by "ynohtnA"
2000-06-22 17:54:58
ynohtna@ynohtna.org http://www.ynohtna.org/
<b>#41</b> "Calenth" wrote...
<QUOTE>2.) Verant GMs DO have the tools necessary to verify these problems, but are too lazy and too unconcerned to bother. The EQ servers keep logs going back one full realtime week; GM's just don't bother to check them, due to a "policy" that directs them to ignore player's concerns -- due, IMHO, to a fear that if they ever actually solve a customer's problems, they'll suddenly be swamped with false requests. </QUOTE>
Solving a players problems would also be an admission that such bugs did exist.
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#44 by "BloodKnight"
2000-06-22 18:40:37
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
That was quite stupid complaining about GMs like that.  It's like going up to the authority and say you been robbed of 1 billion dollars.  What proof do you have?  None.  Do you honestly expect them to believe you?  No.  But I do have to agree with the bugs, that should have been fixed!
#45 by "MCorleone"
2000-06-22 18:52:59
john_st123@hotmail.com
Seth, no more quoting APC here please:  Pearls Before Swine...  :)
#46 by "Vengeance[CoD]"
2000-06-22 18:55:31
rhiggi@home.com
<b>#44</b> "BloodKnight" wrote...
<QUOTE>

That was quite stupid complaining about GMs like that. It's like going up to the authority and say you been robbed of 1 billion dollars. What proof do you have? None. Do you honestly expect them to believe you? No. But I do have to agree with the bugs, that should have been fixed!

</QUOTE>
What proof can you have?  Screen shots are easy enough to fake.  You could have legitamately lost the weapon or you could have stashed it somewhere.  You can't prove it one way or another and they don't bother to fix the bugs so you'll never know.

Glad I never bought this game.

V<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#47 by "Skerry"
2000-06-22 18:55:32
apitcher@cuseeme.com
Hmmm, I have read this.. and read this .. and read this.  The boat incident I can go along with.. but the sword thing.. sheesh, petty.

I have been inundated with bugs, and irritating situations, and bad GM's but I have also had my share of incredible GM's and quite helpful ones.  To quit a game because of a couple bad incidents is .. well.. stupid.. BUT I support your decision to do so.  The more people that quit because they cant handle an inconvenient situation in a fantasy game is one less person on the server I have to listen to complain and one step towards solving the overcrowding situation.

It doesnt matter what game you go to, especially MMORPG's there are going to be problems, there are going to be bugs, there are going to be GM issues.  I can totally see why they wouldnt help you, with no proof.  MANY times I run into a situation and dont even bother asking for help unless I can prove it..accept the situation.. overcome and adapt...and above all move on.  For the amount of enjoyment EQ gives, compared to the amount of problems.. I would say they are doing a damn good job..  Sorry to hear you cant deal with it, sorry to hear you wish to create this posse of disgruntled..but, relax .. take some time off.. go see the real world.. it helps.
#48 by "Vengeance[CoD]"
2000-06-22 19:00:58
rhiggi@home.com
<b>#47</b> "Skerry" wrote...
<QUOTE>
 To quit a game because of a couple bad incidents is .. well.. stupid.. BUT I support your decision to do so. The more people that quit because they cant handle an inconvenient situation in a fantasy game is one less person on the server I have to listen to complain and one step towards solving the overcrowding situation.
</QUOTE>

You do read right?

V<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#49 by "RandoM"
2000-06-22 19:05:23
random1@speakeasy.org
It doesn't matter whether or not he had the item.  What matters is the typical churlishness you receive at the hands of an EQ gm.

OTH, you can't really expect anything else.  Most of those people have 0 personal power in real life and that is why they find it so enjoyable to be a gm.  Power corrupts. :-)

I'm sure there are some who are not like this, but it only takes one shitty customer service rep to piss off many customers.

Verant doesn't have a financial reason to care.  Bugs? People are still paying.  Lousy gm's?  People are still paying.  Unless the problems measurably impact the bottom line, there isn't any reason to expend resources to fix them.
#50 by "Seth Krieg"
2000-06-22 20:04:30
seth@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#45</b> "MCorleone" wrote -
<QUOTE>Seth, no more quoting APC here please: Pearls Before Swine... :) </QUOTE>

The world would be a site to see if everyone really *listened* to that album. :)
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
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