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Author Topic: [Request] New "Potential Scammer" Tag  (Read 1878 times)
Maged
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April 23, 2012, 04:49:17 PM
 #1

After much thought, I believe that there is now a case for us having a potential scammer tag. In both the case of Shakaru and newdude, this would have saved several people from falling for the scams.

Justification:
Recently, there have been people that have taken advantage of the fact that if they promise to repay the people they scammed, we won't end up marking them as scammers for a few weeks, even though they otherwise qualify for a scammer tag. Adding a potential scammer tag (or maybe the wording should be "Under Review" or something) does not go against the board philosophy that the that the label is merely a warning and that it isn't supposed to be a punishment. However, unlike the scammer tag, it doesn't hold the high weight that people put on the scammer tag (people like pirate rightly trust that we only apply the scammer tag when we have absolute proof).

Proposal:
I propose that we have a potential scammer tag. The evidence required should remain the same as the scammer tag in that there must be evidence that a contract was broken. However, unlike the scammer tag, this tag should not consider the potential for the issue to be resolved. To put this in prospective, I wouldn't apply the tag until I got to the point where I would normally contact Theymos. For example, someone posting that a large exchange didn't send them their money wouldn't qualify that exchange for the tag, but several (trusted) people (or one person if they have overwhelming evidence) reporting the issue with documentation that they attempted to resolve the issue would. In the case of Shakaru, the point where he would have gotten the tag would have been when Freeway came in with evidence that Shakaru was lying to us, instead of Shakaru being finally fully marked as a scammer today.

If theymos thinks this is possible and acceptable, I also propose that Global Moderators be allowed to automatically apply this tag themselves, much like how we can whitelist people now. Remove the ability from anyone who abuses it.

Also, this tag should not be a permanent resolution. I propose that administrators (or even other Global Moderators, if technically possible) be able to remove the tag at the following times for the following reasons:
1) Immediately if they feel that the person does not deserve the tag at all (based on what I said above). Be sure to check for posts in the staff forum first, in case the issue was brought up to someone privately.
2) After one week, extendable to two by whoever is overseeing the case (which doesn't have to be a moderator, but they must be trusted). Only if the case has an expected resolution time after this time-frame can the tag be left longer than two weeks (i.e. the scammer admits that they broke the contract and they agree to compensate the person they scammed by a certain date or they otherwise have a repayment plan, either of which, of course, must be reasonable). For example, Shakaru would have had this tag from when Freeway showed up, until now. After the time period has elapsed, a final case resolution must be made. If the decisions of both the person overseeing the case and an administrator (which may be the same person) are that the scammer tag is justified, the tag will be applied. Otherwise, it will not. Of course, much like the scammer tag today, it can still be removed later by the discretion of an administrator if the scammer resolves the issue with the people they scammed. Nothing ever has to be final.

None of the above should happen automatically, but can be initiated by an appeal by anyone to whoever is capable of removing the tag, or even at the whim of whoever is capable of removing the tag.

Also, the same person can not be re-applied with this tag for the same issue after it has been removed. However, the scammer tag itself can still be applied after a final ruling that both the person overseeing the investigation and an administrator agree to. The only thing is that this proposed tag would not be applied to the person during the investigation, much like how it's done today.

Technical Effects:
This tag should have the same technical effects as the scammer tag (not being able to edit posts, etc.), except instead of red X's, maybe have yellow question marks.

Anyway, let me know what you guys think of this proposal.

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April 23, 2012, 10:47:30 PM
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+1, but instead of question marks, it should be caution signs.

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April 24, 2012, 12:53:57 AM
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+1, but instead of question marks, it should be caution signs.
Oh, that's a good idea!

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April 24, 2012, 01:11:25 AM
 #4

After much thought, I believe that there is now a case for us having a potential scammer tag. In both the case of Shakaru and newdude, this would have saved several people from falling for the scams.

Justification:
Recently, there have been people that have taken advantage of the fact that if they promise to repay the people they scammed, we won't end up marking them as scammers for a few weeks, even though they otherwise qualify for a scammer tag. Adding a potential scammer tag (or maybe the wording should be "Under Review" or something) does not go against the board philosophy that the that the label is merely a warning and that it isn't supposed to be a punishment. However, unlike the scammer tag, it doesn't hold the high weight that people put on the scammer tag (people like pirate rightly trust that we only apply the scammer tag when we have absolute proof).

Proposal:
I propose that we have a potential scammer tag. The evidence required should remain the same as the scammer tag in that there must be evidence that a contract was broken. However, unlike the scammer tag, this tag should not consider the potential for the issue to be resolved. To put this in prospective, I wouldn't apply the tag until I got to the point where I would normally contact Theymos. For example, someone posting that a large exchange didn't send them their money wouldn't qualify that exchange for the tag, but several (trusted) people (or one person if they have overwhelming evidence) reporting the issue with documentation that they attempted to resolve the issue would. In the case of Shakaru, the point where he would have gotten the tag would have been when Freeway came in with evidence that Shakaru was lying to us, instead of Shakaru being finally fully marked as a scammer today.

If theymos thinks this is possible and acceptable, I also propose that Global Moderators be allowed to automatically apply this tag themselves, much like how we can whitelist people now. Remove the ability from anyone who abuses it.

Also, this tag should not be a permanent resolution. I propose that administrators (or even other Global Moderators, if technically possible) be able to remove the tag at the following times for the following reasons:
1) Immediately if they feel that the person does not deserve the tag at all (based on what I said above). Be sure to check for posts in the staff forum first, in case the issue was brought up to someone privately.
2) After one week, extendable to two by whoever is overseeing the case (which doesn't have to be a moderator, but they must be trusted). Only if the case has an expected resolution time after this time-frame can the tag be left longer than two weeks (i.e. the scammer admits that they broke the contract and they agree to compensate the person they scammed by a certain date or they otherwise have a repayment plan, either of which, of course, must be reasonable). For example, Shakaru would have had this tag from when Freeway showed up, until now. After the time period has elapsed, a final case resolution must be made. If the decisions of both the person overseeing the case and an administrator (which may be the same person) are that the scammer tag is justified, the tag will be applied. Otherwise, it will not. Of course, much like the scammer tag today, it can still be removed later by the discretion of an administrator if the scammer resolves the issue with the people they scammed. Nothing ever has to be final.

None of the above should happen automatically, but can be initiated by an appeal by anyone to whoever is capable of removing the tag, or even at the whim of whoever is capable of removing the tag.

Also, the same person can not be re-applied with this tag for the same issue after it has been removed. However, the scammer tag itself can still be applied after a final ruling that both the person overseeing the investigation and an administrator agree to. The only thing is that this proposed tag would not be applied to the person during the investigation, much like how it's done today.

Technical Effects:
This tag should have the same technical effects as the scammer tag (not being able to edit posts, etc.), except instead of red X's, maybe have yellow question marks.

Anyway, let me know what you guys think of this proposal.
+1, but instead of question marks, it should be caution signs.
Maybe those triangular caution signs would work I think. Placed in the regular ole' space as the X's live  Wink

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April 24, 2012, 01:25:47 AM
 #5

I second this motion.
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April 24, 2012, 02:27:55 AM
 #6

Have to disagree with this proposal. If you start labeling people as potential scammers, you actually INCREASE the chances of them scamming people. You cause a self fulfilling prophecy. Consider the case of Occulta. Occulta appeared on bitcointalk late last year offering something that many people deemed too good to be true - amazon codes at 80% of their cost price. Occulta has since proven himself reliable and trustworthy - and i do not mean to question his honor here. But his case illustrates my point.  Lets assume that not long after Occulta first appeared on these forums, he sells someone a $1000 code that for some reason doesn't work, and is then given the potential scammer tag. Lets also assume Occulta is midway through several other transactions, so that he is currently holding another $5000 which he has not yet sent the codes for. In this scenario, by giving Occulta the potential scammer tag, you severely reduce his incentive to follow through on the other transactions. When the bitcointalk lynch mob goes after him upon seeing the potential scammer tag - he may decide it is easier to just walk away with his bitcoins - then attempt to convince the mob of his innocence.

IMO the creation of a potential scammer tag would be a worrying development for these forums.   The opinion of forum mods on whether someone is a scammer or not is very influential - particularly for junior forum members. As a result, forum mods have a responsibility not to exercise this power in such a way that it actively hurts legitimate members - such as by issuing premature scam warnings.
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April 24, 2012, 02:41:26 AM
 #7

Have to disagree with this proposal. If you start labeling people as potential scammers, you actually INCREASE the chances of them scamming people. You cause a self fulfilling prophecy. Consider the case of Occulta. Occulta appeared on bitcointalk late last year offering something that many people deemed too good to be true - amazon codes at 80% of their cost price. Occulta has since proven himself reliable and trustworthy - and i do not mean to question his honor here. But his case illustrates my point.  Lets assume that not long after Occulta first appeared on these forums, he sells someone a $1000 code that for some reason doesn't work, and is then given the potential scammer tag. Lets also assume Occulta is midway through several other transactions, so that he is currently holding another $5000 which he has not yet sent the codes for. In this scenario, by giving Occulta the potential scammer tag, you severely reduce his incentive to follow through on the other transactions. When the bitcointalk lynch mob goes after him upon seeing the potential scammer tag - he may decide it is easier to just walk away with his bitcoins - then attempt to convince the mob of his innocence.

IMO the creation of a potential scammer tag would be a worrying development for these forums.   The opinion of forum mods on whether someone is a scammer or not is very influential - particularly for junior forum members. As a result, forum mods have a responsibility not to exercise this power in such a way that it actively hurts legitimate members - such as by issuing premature scam warnings.
I totally agree with you, which is why I mentioned that the level of evidence must still reach that of the scammer tag. However, unlike the scammer tag, I'm proposing that this be applied while we wait for the person to compensate the person who was scammed.

But yeah, maybe it does go too far. It just pisses me off that so many people lost money just because we didn't label them as soon I we knew that they were scammers.

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April 24, 2012, 05:14:24 AM
 #8

IMO the creation of a potential scammer tag would be a worrying development for these forums.   The opinion of forum mods on whether someone is a scammer or not is very influential - particularly for junior forum members. As a result, forum mods have a responsibility not to exercise this power in such a way that it actively hurts legitimate members - such as by issuing premature scam warnings.
I totally agree with you, which is why I mentioned that the level of evidence must still reach that of the scammer tag. However, unlike the scammer tag, I'm proposing that this be applied while we wait for the person to compensate the person who was scammed.

But yeah, maybe it does go too far. It just pisses me off that so many people lost money just because we didn't label them as soon I we knew that they were scammers.
The opinion of the Mods is very influential, as it should be.  Especially to the noobs.  It was a few of them that lost significant amounts because Shakaru's profile said Hero member.  Had their been a question mark under his name, or a link in his signature just suggesting they do some homework before blindly investing, "because he is a Hero member", a lot of people would still have their BTC.

If you read this thread:  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=65989 , from the beginning, you will see there is an amount of time before I showed up with my, "evidence".  Then there was about 5 more weeks before the mods gave him the scammer tag.  Had there been a warning, or a question mark on him when I showed up, another 100 btc would not have been lost.  The mods are very conservative and do require significant evidence and time before they make a decision such as this.  What else do you suggest?

Maged, thank you so much for your time and trouble.  It is greatly appreciated.  I personally think this is a great idea. (esp since I'm becoming very fond of this community  Cheesy )

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April 24, 2012, 05:19:26 AM
 #9

Maged, some points:

  • Thank you for doing this. It has been long overdue.
  • Myself and everyone in the DCAO supports this (so 50+ votes)
  • One small modification is that each "scammer" and "potential scammer" tag should carry with it a record of why they got the tag in the first place. Removing tags doesn't change previous situations. Having someone say "Matthew got this scammer tag a long time ago" doesn't help me, it only hurts me. It might as well never have been removed in the first place. Having a history of why it was removed though, helps people to have a better idea of the character of the person and draw a better conclusion on how they handle situations, what they will likely do in the future, etc.
  • I'd like to be the first nominee for "potential scammer" until I print the magazine so that I can start keeping track of how many times I've absolutely baffled people by not being what they think I am. My guess is that by the 100th documented time, people will start realizing how unstoppable I am.

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April 24, 2012, 05:30:27 AM
 #10

  • I'd like to be the first nominee for "potential scammer" until I print the magazine so that I can start keeping track of how many times I've absolutely baffled people by not being what they think I am. My guess is that by the 100th documented time, people will start realizing how unstoppable I am.
Sorry, but you wouldn't currently even qualify for this. That's how little I want the system changed.

I agree it would be nice if the scammer tags all included a link to how it happened, but I don't know what is technically possible there, so I will have to defer that to theymos.

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April 24, 2012, 06:44:33 AM
 #11

  • I'd like to be the first nominee for "potential scammer" until I print the magazine so that I can start keeping track of how many times I've absolutely baffled people by not being what they think I am. My guess is that by the 100th documented time, people will start realizing how unstoppable I am.
Sorry, but you wouldn't currently even qualify for this. That's how little I want the system changed.

I agree it would be nice if the scammer tags all included a link to how it happened, but I don't know what is technically possible there, so I will have to defer that to theymos.

It doesn't have to be a separate library of functions etc. It could be as simple as an unlisted thread with posts to evidence etc that only the mods can post to but everyone can read, and the person's profile would have a link to that thread to see their "dispute history".

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April 24, 2012, 09:50:38 AM
 #12

+1 for many reasons.  One in particular, despite it being mentioned to me previously that is is difficult, but same user IDs from the same IP would be useful.  There are several sockpuppet accounts i suspect that are very annoying (but not scammers), and a few that might be scammers.

Still, anyone using the internet (or life) should be alert to bad things, but you can't fix stupid, so helping protect people from themselves is a good idea.
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April 24, 2012, 12:34:48 PM
 #13

If someone is a proven scammer, then they should get the scammer tag right away. They can pay back afterward and have the tag removed.

I wasn't willing to scammer-tag shakaru immediately because I felt that he was not a scammer. At the time I thought that his contracts were broken accidentally and he was going to start paying back the money ASAP. I guess you want the "potential scammer" tag to apply to people who have accidentally broken contracts but haven't paid back yet, since intentional contract-breakers and people who refuse to start paying back are given the scammer tag right away. This seems too harsh to me, and likely to cause drama when a high-reputation member is accidentally a few days late on a loan payment.

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April 24, 2012, 12:42:44 PM
 #14

If someone is a proven scammer, then they should get the scammer tag right away. They can pay back afterward and have the tag removed. I wasn't willing to scammer-tag shakaru immediately because I felt that he was not a scammer (since his contracts were seemingly broken accidentally and he wasn't refusing to pay back the money). I guess you want the "potential scammer" tag to apply to people who have accidentally broken contracts but haven't paid back yet -- this seems too harsh to me, and likely to cause drama when a high-reputation member is accidentally a few days late on a loan payment.
Actually, that drama already exists, and violently so. The tag would give some relief and calm down the opposition and probably keep them from trolling the issue to death. It would also send a clear signal to all parties that people are paying attention, that things are being investigated, but that nothing has been decided just yet-- pacification if you will.

As for Shakaru, last I heard he had been diagnosed with cancer or something and everyone felt sorry for him. Not it turns out he already knew he didn't get cancer but the doctor's were wrong, but he doesn't bother telling the community that. Seems like he's basically riding out his image of being deathly ill to avoid persecution for a string of ridiculously shady business endeavors.

Don't mean to start a lynch mob or anything but-- why does everyone here always have to be so goddamn shady? It's depressing for everyone, not to mention bitcoin as a whole.

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April 26, 2012, 08:46:56 AM
 #15


  • Myself and everyone in the DCAO supports this (so 50+ votes)


I must confess I'm in DCAO and wasn't even aware of this issue.


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April 26, 2012, 09:02:51 AM
 #16


  • Myself and everyone in the DCAO supports this (so 50+ votes)


I must confess I'm in DCAO and wasn't even aware of this issue.

Pff. That's what you get for not paying attention to the minutes.  Wink

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April 26, 2012, 09:04:30 AM
 #17


Pff. That's what you get for not paying attention to the minutes.  Wink

Smiley


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April 26, 2012, 09:26:05 AM
 #18

Since everyone doing business is a potential scammer,  Id suggest you change the label to 'suspected scammer'.

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April 29, 2012, 06:50:58 AM
 #19

If someone is a proven scammer, then they should get the scammer tag right away. They can pay back afterward and have the tag removed.

I wasn't willing to scammer-tag shakaru immediately because I felt that he was not a scammer. At the time I thought that his contracts were broken accidentally and he was going to start paying back the money ASAP. I guess you want the "potential scammer" tag to apply to people who have accidentally broken contracts but haven't paid back yet, since intentional contract-breakers and people who refuse to start paying back are given the scammer tag right away. This seems too harsh to me, and likely to cause drama when a high-reputation member is accidentally a few days late on a loan payment.

We must toe the tightrope above the lion's pit. I think existence of this tag is better than lack thereof, but I agree we must refrain from being overzealous. Perhaps a set grace period of a few days, along with the tag itself linking to a post in a "Potential Scammers" thread explaining why that user was labeled as such. Our goal here is to help users avoid scams, but we must leave the choice and judgement up to them.

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