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Author Topic: Should Evil fees have a maximum?  (Read 424 times)
LoyceV
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August 15, 2019, 06:48:14 PM
Last edit: August 16, 2019, 08:53:03 PM by LoyceV
Merited by Foxpup (4), bones261 (2), eternalgloom (1), o_e_l_e_o (1)
 #1

This topic about Tor made me test it again. I had to go through 2 sets of Recaptcha (one to register, one for login). That's annoying, but didn't take too long.
What really surprised me, is this:
Quote
Your account contains 19,955.70 units of evil. To atone, you must pay a total of 0.00576923 bitcoins (5.76923 mBTC; 576923 satoshi).
That's $58!

If I understand correctly, each banned account on a certain IP-range adds Evil units to that IP-range. And paying the Evil fee clears all Units of evil, after which the entire IP-range can be used again to register many accounts (as long as they don't get banned). I stand corrected

I can imagine this $58 fee is scaring off real users who use Tor to protect their privacy. But even if one of them pays the fee, it opens the gates for spammers to register accounts from the same IPs again. (correct me if I'm wrong here)

Would it be possible to maximize how many units of evil have to be cleared to activate a single account? Say 1000 units is enough, and after paying there will still be 18,955.70 units of evil left to stop spammers from joning. Paying $3 sounds much more reasonable for a real user to join a forum than paying $58, while it's still too much to be worth it for a spammer.
It would really be a waste if the high Evil fee stops good users from joining.

(I only registered to test the Tor-process so I don't need it, but that's not the point of this topic)

Update
Theymos lowered the maximum to the Copper Membership price.

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August 15, 2019, 07:00:33 PM
 #2

In poker theory, you have to focus on both your and your opponents' thinking, especially in post-flop play.

When you have a good hand, you typically consider the question, "what cards do they call with?" when you're constructing your bet size.

If you have a high bet, only the players that would really benefit from it would call. Obviously, otherwise, they would fold.
So, if you have a high fee, there are only two kinds of people that would really pay it. One: scammers. Two: whales that are too lazy to register a new account. One of those groups certainly outweighs the other.

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August 15, 2019, 07:54:34 PM
 #3

How about dividing all the units of evil by the total number of banned accounts in that IP address which we can determine the units of evil per user has to pay? In this case it would be a better alternative compared to setting a standard of 1000 evil units per user has to pay since it won't be a fixed amount that account farmers, spammers, and scammers that can abuse. It would definitely be more affordable for the real user who wants to register in BCT and it will be harder for abusers to register more accounts because they have to pay varying amounts every time they want to register. Its simply would be like an expressway with a toll that only real users could benefit from that IP address.

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August 15, 2019, 08:01:03 PM
 #4

Its simply would be like an expressway with a toll that only real users could benefit from that IP address.
Just have an escalating increase in fees until the whole thing is paid. New users only need to register once.

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August 15, 2019, 09:18:17 PM
 #5

This thread makes me wonder what the highest amount of evil fees anyone has ever paid is?
Got any stats on that Theymos?

I know for a fact that an online acquaintance of mine who lives in Ghana couldn't sign up, due to the evil fees being much too high.
He wasn't using tor btw, but trying to sign up while using a public wifi (which many people over there seem to do).

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August 15, 2019, 09:33:46 PM
 #6

Doesn't this really hurt people using public places such as a library or internet cafe. 

I didn't know you could obtain that many evil units, I know this forum has huge reserves already so its not like they need the money.
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August 15, 2019, 09:44:31 PM
 #7

Doesn't this really hurt people using public places such as a library or internet cafe. 
Yeah, but evil units only affect people creating a new account. If you already have one, then you can log in with any kind of connection and blacklisted IP.

I didn't know you could obtain that many evil units, I know this forum has huge reserves already so its not like they need the money.
The point isn't to get money, but make creating spammy and malicious accounts harder.

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August 15, 2019, 09:45:39 PM
 #8

I didn't know you could obtain that many evil units, I know this forum has huge reserves already so its not like they need the money.
It's not to make it profitable, it's to disincentivize getting banned.

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August 15, 2019, 09:46:02 PM
 #9

But I think users with a malicious purpose would be willing to pay a small amount in order to scam.  This probably hurts honest users more than bad ones.

Someone signs up from a library or college and they never even owned bitcoin before and they are asked to send in btc.  They will just leave the forum right away.
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August 15, 2019, 09:51:17 PM
 #10

This thread makes me wonder what the highest amount of evil fees anyone has ever paid is?
Got any stats on that Theymos?

I've seen 0.04 before, not sure how much higher than that it could go.



Instead of having a maximum, maybe we say everyone can claim back their evil fee - copper membership once they reach Sr or Hero because then they'll have proved themselves and they still have to pay $20 (merit abuse is quite well spotted now)...

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August 15, 2019, 10:08:39 PM
 #11

But I think users with a malicious purpose would be willing to pay a small amount in order to scam.  This probably hurts honest users more than bad ones.

Someone signs up from a library or college and they never even owned bitcoin before and they are asked to send in btc.  They will just leave the forum right away.

It doesn't prevent scammers, it prevents spammers. Registering 100 accounts and sneaking 10 past the moderators with low quality posts may be profitable enough for them to continue doing it. If you have to pay some BTC for each attempt, those 90 fails dissuade spammers from even trying. Its not an absolutely effective plan, but it does help.

Keep in mind that real members who are interested in joining have more motivation to see what the units of evil thing is rather than instantly forsaking the community forever because of something they don't understand. They'll probably search what units of evil are and find a handful of threads in meta that'll tell them what they need to do to avoid them.

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August 15, 2019, 10:11:31 PM
 #12

Is there a designated address like it's for the copper membership to pay the fee or it's only one fee everyone? In the second case would be very easy to find the highest fee ever paid for.

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August 15, 2019, 10:15:27 PM
 #13

Is there a designated address like it's for the copper membership to pay the fee or it's only one fee everyone? In the second case would be very easy to find the highest fee ever paid for.
One address per account. Otherwise, how would it know who paid for it?

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August 15, 2019, 10:27:33 PM
 #14

Wouldn't it be *fair* to have a fixed rate of evil fees instead of having a randomized yet calculated one? Like for example, 10$ or 0.001 btc fixed for having evil IP, fixed regardless of how high or low the price of per bitcoin is..

Thoughts?

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August 15, 2019, 10:53:09 PM
 #15

I can imagine this $58 fee is scaring off real users who use Tor to protect their privacy. But even if one of them pays the fee, it opens the gates for spammers to register accounts from the same IPs again. (correct me if I'm wrong here)
I think if one paid the fee, it doesn't reset the evil unit on that IP to zero
the evil unit only automatically decreases slowly in time by system
but it seems that many users login their accounts via that tor to post spam
so the evil unit keeps accumulating and never had a chance to decrease to zero

btw if it is high enough for a copper membership, the new user automatically gets it too
and if there is a new membership or perk introduced by the forum, the fee paid counts towards it

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August 15, 2019, 11:32:49 PM
 #16

This topic about Tor made me test it again. I had to go through 2 sets of Recaptcha (one to register, one for login). That's annoying, but didn't take too long.
What really surprised me, is this:
Quote
Your account contains 19,955.70 units of evil. To atone, you must pay a total of 0.00576923 bitcoins (5.76923 mBTC; 576923 satoshi).
That's $58!
I believe you can actually get around having to pay the full amount by buying a Copper Membership, which currently costs ~$24:
You are automatically whitelisted if you buy a copper membership.
I looked at the thread about Copper Memberships and it is not 100% clear you will have the proxyban lifted if you have a Copper Membership, but I am fairly confident this is true based on:
If you pay the fee, you become a Copper Member, and you can post images.

If the above is correct, it would make sense to cap the evil fees to a percentage of the cost of the Copper Membership. I would speculate the intention was for evil fees to nearly always be cheaper than a Copper Membership, but maybe the price of evil fees was not adjusted when the price of a Copper Membership was.

I don't think it makes much sense to even have evil fees for users who sign up via Tor. All of the Tor exit nodes are public, so if someone signs up with an IP address associated with, or near a Tor exit node, they should be forced to pay a flat fee for signing up via Tor. Evil units should also not accumulate on IP addresses associated with Tor exit nodes when a Tor user is banned. An added benefit to this would be a reduction in noise regarding which IP ranges are a problem with spammers, making spammers easier to deal with because these IP ranges can be more easily detected. 


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August 16, 2019, 12:11:12 AM
 #17

There is a maximum: it's that value currently. Without the maximum, that much evil would result in a fee of 0.06491724 BTC at current rates.

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August 16, 2019, 08:13:58 AM
 #18

There is a maximum
Thanks for responding here. I still think it's too high though, I wouldn't have paid that when I joined Bitcointalk, and I'm probably not the only one.

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August 16, 2019, 08:36:40 AM
 #19

Surely the simple solution is to avoid using Tor to sign up.

It seems unfair to make one user pay to clear all the units of evil. I like the suggestion that payment reduces the units rather than clearing them.

Baronets is a private domain management service owned by Jet Cash.
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August 16, 2019, 08:55:21 AM
 #20

There is a maximum
Thanks for responding here. I still think it's too high though, I wouldn't have paid that when I joined Bitcointalk, and I'm probably not the only one.

But there is nothing wrong with registering without tor and start using it afterwards, is it ?

If one is privacy-orientated, he/she doesn't have to use his own IP address. But using a VPN to register the first time or using a public WIFI is definitely an option.
And after registering, you can freely connect via tor without having to pay any fee.


I don't think honest user would gain anything from reducing the fee.
The least people care about their privacy that much that they would only register via tor. Using another private method is possible as well without paying such a high fee.

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August 16, 2019, 08:56:18 AM
Merited by LoyceV (1)
 #21

There is a maximum: it's that value currently. Without the maximum, that much evil would result in a fee of 0.06491724 BTC at current rates.

I just wonder why the max value isn't similar with with costs of copper membership? At least they could get copper membership benefit and probably won't decide not to join this forum.

Surely the simple solution is to avoid using Tor to sign up.

It's not simple for those who cares/have serious concern about privacy.

If one is privacy-orientated, he/she doesn't have to use his own IP address. But using a VPN to register the first time or using a public WIFI is definitely an option.
And after registering, you can freely connect via tor without having to pay any fee.

Using VPN probably will lead to same result (at least for free ones). Public WiFi is good option, but it reveal your geolocation.

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August 16, 2019, 09:31:00 AM
 #22

I just wonder why the max value isn't similar with with costs of copper membership? At least they could get copper membership benefit and probably won't decide not to join this forum.
if the max value was the same for getting copper membership, it would not effectively block spammers
in fact it will encourage them, as they will just need to buy CM and also free of proxyban
I wonder if LoyceV, DdmrDdmr or tranthidung can do analysis on newbie users with CM that got banned for spam/plagiarism

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August 16, 2019, 01:41:24 PM
 #23

if the max value was the same for getting copper membership, it would not effectively block spammers
in fact it will encourage them, as they will just need to buy CM and also free of proxyban
Spammers won't stay on one dedicated tainted IP. It doesn't make sense for them to pay just to spam a few times, then get banned and rack up evil points again.

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August 16, 2019, 07:21:09 PM
 #24

if the max value was the same for getting copper membership, it would not effectively block spammers
in fact it will encourage them, as they will just need to buy CM and also free of proxyban

It's trade-off between stopping spammer and legit newcomers who cares about privacy.

But spammer won't buy Copper Membership (which is 0.00240385 BTC or about $25) when there's cheaper option such as subscribe to paid VPN which offer various server/country or register as many account as they could on direct/public connection before one of the account is banned.

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August 16, 2019, 08:01:40 PM
Merited by DaveF (1), LoyceV (1)
 #25

OK, I reduced the maximum to the same price as copper membership, since it doesn't really make sense for copper membership to be cheaper when it includes whitelisting.

In the last 30 days:
 - 16441 users registered.
 - 4040 required a fee, and the average required fee among them was 0.00127297 BTC.
 - 99 paid the fee, and the average fee paid was 0.00116449 BTC.

I'm not necessarily bothered by the number of accounts abandoned due to fees, since many of those will probably be spammers searching for a no-fee IP. The fees actually paid (by people who are presumably not spammers) may be a bit high, though: I feel like it should be about a tenth of that.

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August 16, 2019, 08:09:52 PM
 #26

Can you have a way to track how many people registered, were prompted to pay a fee, didn’t pay, and subsequently registered a different account (both that did and did not require a fee). Something other than IP address would need to be used to track this.

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LoyceV
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August 16, 2019, 08:44:11 PM
 #27

The fees actually paid (by people who are presumably not spammers) may be a bit high, though: I feel like it should be about a tenth of that.
In that case: why don't you lower it further? It doesn't feel right though to clear all Evil units for a low fee (as that would benefit spammers). Hence my suggestion to allow only 1 registration after paying a smaller fee.

Can you have a way to track how many people registered, were prompted to pay a fee, didn’t pay, and subsequently registered a different account (both that did and did not require a fee). Something other than IP address would need to be used to track this.
That would go against many things this forum stands for.

Further reading:
A year or two ago I was researching fingerprinting techniques that'd work against pretty much anyone with JavaScript enabled, and I found several promising leads on that front. But then it occurred to me that I don't really want bitcointalk.org to be known as the #1 forum on the leading edge of de-anonymization technology, so I stopped pursuing it seriously...

theymos
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August 16, 2019, 08:49:35 PM
 #28

It doesn't feel right though to clear all Evil units for a low fee (as that would benefit spammers). Hence my suggesti to allow only 1 registration after paying a smaller fee.

Paying the fee only affects your account, not the IP. Evil on IPs only decays with time.

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DaveF
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August 17, 2019, 01:52:23 AM
 #29

OK, I reduced the maximum to the same price as copper membership, since it doesn't really make sense for copper membership to be cheaper when it includes whitelisting.

In the last 30 days:
 - 16441 users registered.
 - 4040 required a fee, and the average required fee among them was 0.00127297 BTC.
 - 99 paid the fee, and the average fee paid was 0.00116449 BTC.

I'm not necessarily bothered by the number of accounts abandoned due to fees, since many of those will probably be spammers searching for a no-fee IP. The fees actually paid (by people who are presumably not spammers) may be a bit high, though: I feel like it should be about a tenth of that.

Of the 99 that paid, did any turn out  to be spammers? If so how many?

Do you have any anonymized data for them that you can share?
i.e. boards posted in, number of posts, etc.

-Dave

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PrimeNumber7
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August 17, 2019, 04:15:53 AM
 #30


Can you have a way to track how many people registered, were prompted to pay a fee, didn’t pay, and subsequently registered a different account (both that did and did not require a fee). Something other than IP address would need to be used to track this.
That would go against many things this forum stands for.

Further reading:
A year or two ago I was researching fingerprinting techniques that'd work against pretty much anyone with JavaScript enabled, and I found several promising leads on that front. But then it occurred to me that I don't really want bitcointalk.org to be known as the #1 forum on the leading edge of de-anonymization technology, so I stopped pursuing it seriously...
It is not necessary to rely on NSA (or Chinese government) level spying to track what I was referring to. I was referring to something closer to tracking cookies that can track your activity. I believe these can help detect things like if accounts are being hacked, for example if someone is accessing an account with the same browser type and IP range as normal but without a cookie that has previously been consistently present when accessing an account. I also believe these can pretty easily be removed, so if you don’t want this type of tracking, it is trivial to stop it.

I believe there are other types of tracking that doesn’t require NSA level spying.

The quote you cited was referring to very advanced tracking when the person being tracking is taking many steps to avoid being tracked. I don’t believe even the likes of Google and Facebook employ the types of tracking referred to in your quote.

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August 17, 2019, 07:53:47 PM
 #31

It is not necessary to rely on NSA (or Chinese government) level spying to track what I was referring to. I was referring to something closer to tracking cookies that can track your activity. I believe these can help detect things like if accounts are being hacked, for example if someone is accessing an account with the same browser type and IP range as normal but without a cookie that has previously been consistently present when accessing an account. I also believe these can pretty easily be removed, so if you don’t want this type of tracking, it is trivial to stop it.

Cookie clearout happens too often for me Grin...

Also, there isn't much you can happily track without making it possible for other sites to get hold of your data stored on a cookie. Hopefully there is currently just a random session ID stored on out systems for the cookie for this site (afaik, that's how stuff normally works). You could track people by MAC addresses but I think it's possible to not use a mac address as modems are good at identifying devices with clones of mac addresses and IP addresses now (I've tested that)...


I'm surprised though that theymos hasn't started looking at anonymising accounts further though as there's a lot you could do to improve anonymity of people especially if your servers get hacked or Amazon fancies a look...

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