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Tiberius

Trade Bots

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On 1/26/2019 at 12:35 PM, Tiberius said:


Is it really that difficult to implement a confirmation box when you select submit on create a trade offer?
 

Is it really that difficult to check your trade before submitting?

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On 1/26/2019 at 7:51 PM, Alex said:

Letting a bot play the game for you would mean that you are effectively sitting there doing nothing while getting free money, which to me, is the definition of cheating.

While a notification bot is useful and certainly can help you play better, it still requires some input from the user, and like I said, there's effectively no way to prevent people from setting up notification bots anyway. Rules need to be enforceable, so it doesn't make sense to have a rule against something if there's nothing I can do about it anyway.

These trade bots are exactly that. You log in, sit there and do nothing while a bot looks to make you free money. The only difference is you click a link to accept the offer. So cheating is ok as long as you do the absolute last action needed?

I would support your argument, but in line with the games rules you can automate everything with your Nation apart from trading. So cheating is okay, as long as it isn't with regards to trading? I know captcha stops that to some degree with declaring wars and playing baseball. 

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19 hours ago, MoonShadow said:

I do sell and buy a whole lot, well a lot would be pretty small to the bigger alliances, but I feel that if you make a mistake then its your mistake, I have personally been caught a few times buying Steel at a low price and for some reason it picks food and i spend millions on food that will be gone within seconds.
 

This isn't exactly an uncommon issue. It's not an individual problem when it happens to a decent quantity of people and concerns the UI. It's a user experience issue that would get rectified on any  website.  In lieu of slowing the api update down(as many can see the mistrade go through and be bought before the page loads for them),  then the confirmation dialog or checkbox are the best solutions.

However, it's a really weird implication throughout this thread that it's an acceptable thing that people  are losing and/or benefiting from UI fumbles.

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@Roquentin

And? IRL, people have spent billions of dollars on building private fiber connections to take advantage of pricing mismatches between the major exchanges. Alex can of course "fix" it, but you see...

 

The reason "classical" RTS (Brood War, Generals) is so great is because pathing is glitchy and AI is terrible. For instance, in Command and Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour, one tactic is to use stealth fighters's special ability to force units out of a tunnel network. But they're forced out on a single bloc, so if you also send in an Aurora Bomber at the same time, you can destroy the entire contents of the tunnel network. In Starcraft: Brood War, Lurker attacks don't track, so there's a bunch of videos on Youtube of players microing a stimpacked marine to dodge the lurker attacks, and lurkers are a unit that typically counters marines, so that a single marine can wipe out a lurker.

 

In this game, catching misplaced trades, like in classical RTS, is a legitimate exploit. It adds strategy and dimension to the game; TKR-sphere is using this to create a bit of extra funding for their war effort, and, for you to properly counter it, would require a few man hours of coding onto your extensions to block it. It is also creating drama because your effort to kill Kosonome scripting is a contentious term in the peace process. This is, like in classical RTS, a bug and an exploit that's also a feature.

Edited by A Boy Named Crow

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3 hours ago, Roquentin said:

This isn't exactly an uncommon issue. It's not an individual problem when it happens to a decent quantity of people and concerns the UI. It's a user experience issue that would get rectified on any  website.  In lieu of slowing the api update down(as many can see the mistrade go through and be bought before the page loads for them),  then the confirmation dialog or checkbox are the best solutions. 

However, it's a really weird implication throughout this thread that it's an acceptable thing that people  are losing and/or benefiting from UI fumbles.

Check out this part of a prior post:

On 1/14/2019 at 11:38 PM, WISD0MTREE said:

Is the bot really making enough for it to be a major issue, or is it outrage from a very small amount of people who get pissed off at a loss of resources? If it's the former, why wouldn't NPO or any of TKR's opponents either run a script to at least compete with them in the resource market, hoping it makes a dent in their WC or use it as a bargaining chip in negotiations (assuming they aren't already)? 

From TKR's perspective: More particularly, how does TKR prevent a trade-bot war? If TKR can't prevent a trade-bot war, how do they "win" it? If they can't win it, how do they ensure their trade advantage survive? If their trade advantage doesn't survive, what other advantage do they aim for?

As far as I know, there is no way for TKR to "win" a trade-bot war. By establishing a NPO trade-bot, assuming they're equally effective, you will gain half their advantage. That would  cause TKR to "lose" the trade-bot war by losing half of their malicious transactions and having no trade advantage over you. Because the API is the same for everyone, the only way to have one bot more effective than the other would be having more members with the bot online at a time. That could only realistically be achieved by having higher natural activity on Discord/Slack or mandating someone be on at all times watching for trades. However, creating a NPO bot would only advantage you. Even if you gain less than half of the trades, that's still damaging TKR and benefiting you. In addition, it can be used as leverage in the peace talks. To be honest, I'm a tad disappointed you haven't made one yet. You have all the resources to make one within 24 hours. The worst thing that can happen would be TKR pulling out another trade advantage that isn't as easily countered, making the two or so hours that you spent on coding goes to waste.

Edited by WISD0MTREE
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17 hours ago, WISD0MTREE said:

Check out this part of a prior post:

As far as I know, there is no way for TKR to "win" a trade-bot war. By establishing a NPO trade-bot, assuming they're equally effective, you will gain half their advantage. That would  cause TKR to "lose" the trade-bot war by losing half of their malicious transactions and having no trade advantage over you. Because the API is the same for everyone, the only way to have one bot more effective than the other would be having more members with the bot online at a time. That could only realistically be achieved by having higher natural activity on Discord/Slack or mandating someone be on at all times watching for trades. However, creating a NPO bot would only advantage you. Even if you gain less than half of the trades, that's still damaging TKR and benefiting you. In addition, it can be used as leverage in the peace talks. To be honest, I'm a tad disappointed you haven't made one yet. You have all the resources to make one within 24 hours. The worst thing that can happen would be TKR pulling out another trade advantage that isn't as easily countered, making the two or so hours that you spent on coding goes to waste.

Yes, we could quite easily create our own bot which would likely be more efficient, however for various reasons we would prefer that these trade bots are stopped altogether, hence why we have not yet created one. 

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2 hours ago, Tiberius said:

Yes, we could quite easily create our own bot which would likely be more efficient, however for various reasons we would prefer that these trade bots are stopped altogether, hence why we have not yet created one. 

If the Soviet Union had that philosophy, the cold war would have been over in minutes.

...And for that matter, we'd all be speaking German.

Just sayin.

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2 hours ago, Tiberius said:

Yes, we could quite easily create our own bot

which would likely be more efficient,

however for various reasons we would prefer that these trade bots are stopped altogether, hence why we have not yet created one.  

Yes.

It's possible. I have been told NPO players rarely logged on between wars due to the 100% tax reducing the work needed to do. However, I doubt that, seeing as how the daily log in bonus, baseball, and playing the market are your only ways of making money that doesn't go straight to the NPO bank. Assuming both sides have equally efficient bots, leading to an equal number of trades picked up by each player per hour spent watching, NPO would most likely have an advantage even if the average NPO player is less active than the average TKR player (which is highly unlikely for the reasons I previously posted), due to NPO's high player count.

And the admin has stated numerous times that the trade notification bots will remain. These reasons include:

  • The API is already delayed, making the bots less efficient. If the delay was increased, the bot would be modified to scrape the trade screens as opposed to the API, slowing down the server.
  • If the API is outright removed, the bots will scrape the trade screens, slowing down the server.
  • Punishing/banning everyone who accepts a trade too fast would result in innocent people being punished/banned.

"Yes, we could quite easily create our own nuclear weapons which would likely be more efficient, however for various reasons we would prefer that these nuclear weapons are stopped altogether, hence why we have not yet created one." -The USSR, never

Restraining from creating or using a weapon may be useful as long as you actively let your enemy know that you are refraining from creating or using the weapon. This also extends to limiting the scope of its use. For example, NPO could make a trade bot, test it, and show TKR. TKR at that point will then weigh their options.

  • They may ignore you, believing that losing part of their malicious trade income isn't worth what they'll have to give you to stop your bot. NPO could bring the bot alive, harming their war income, assuming the value of the trades is large enough to matter. Bringing the bot alive would be an attempt to "punish" TKR further and show NPO's resolve. The bot could accomplish this even if the NPO players return the resources they gain. If it was a noticeable amount, this would likely be brought up and possibly resolved in the peace treaty.
  • They may want pay you to continue to refrain from running your bot. They would only do this if they believe they will gain more from the bot than what they try to give you. Seeing as how long wars drain resources, this would be extremely unlikely for TKR to do during this war and while rebuilding.
  • They may limit their bot's reach so you don't go live with your bot. For example, they may require members to return trades with NPO. This would benefit your alliance if the bot is harming your members when they attempt to play the markets.
  • They may shut off the bot publicly or privately. This is unlikely to happen directly from activating your bot, seeing as how their bot will still profit even if your bot is more efficient. This would likely have to come through a peace deal or a deal after the war. Should this happen, though, you would have to establish some way to know if they secretly start the bot again.

There are more possibilities that I haven't listed. That's the beauty of politics. These are just a few so you can see your options going forward. Hope this helped.

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7 hours ago, Tiberius said:

Yes, we could quite easily create our own bot which would likely be more efficient, however for various reasons we would prefer that these trade bots are stopped altogether, hence why we have not yet created one. 

Sure, me too, but they're not going away, and as I've stated repeatedly, there's no way to enforce a ban on them anyway.

I'd love a world where no one ever cheated or used scripts, but Pandora's box is already open and there's no chance we're ever going to be able to go back.

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4 hours ago, WISD0MTREE said:

Yes.

It's possible. I have been told NPO players rarely logged on between wars due to the 100% tax reducing the work needed to do. However, I doubt that, seeing as how the daily log in bonus, baseball, and playing the market are your only ways of making money that doesn't go straight to the NPO bank. Assuming both sides have equally efficient bots, leading to an equal number of trades picked up by each player per hour spent watching, NPO would most likely have an advantage even if the average NPO player is less active than the average TKR player (which is highly unlikely for the reasons I previously posted), due to NPO's high player count.

And the admin has stated numerous times that the trade notification bots will remain. These reasons include:

  • The API is already delayed, making the bots less efficient. If the delay was increased, the bot would be modified to scrape the trade screens as opposed to the API, slowing down the server.
  • If the API is outright removed, the bots will scrape the trade screens, slowing down the server.
  • Punishing/banning everyone who accepts a trade too fast would result in innocent people being punished/banned.

"Yes, we could quite easily create our own nuclear weapons which would likely be more efficient, however for various reasons we would prefer that these nuclear weapons are stopped altogether, hence why we have not yet created one." -The USSR, never

Restraining from creating or using a weapon may be useful as long as you actively let your enemy know that you are refraining from creating or using the weapon. This also extends to limiting the scope of its use. For example, NPO could make a trade bot, test it, and show TKR. TKR at that point will then weigh their options.

  • They may ignore you, believing that losing part of their malicious trade income isn't worth what they'll have to give you to stop your bot. NPO could bring the bot alive, harming their war income, assuming the value of the trades is large enough to matter. Bringing the bot alive would be an attempt to "punish" TKR further and show NPO's resolve. The bot could accomplish this even if the NPO players return the resources they gain. If it was a noticeable amount, this would likely be brought up and possibly resolved in the peace treaty.
  • They may want pay you to continue to refrain from running your bot. They would only do this if they believe they will gain more from the bot than what they try to give you. Seeing as how long wars drain resources, this would be extremely unlikely for TKR to do during this war and while rebuilding.
  • They may limit their bot's reach so you don't go live with your bot. For example, they may require members to return trades with NPO. This would benefit your alliance if the bot is harming your members when they attempt to play the markets.
  • They may shut off the bot publicly or privately. This is unlikely to happen directly from activating your bot, seeing as how their bot will still profit even if your bot is more efficient. This would likely have to come through a peace deal or a deal after the war. Should this happen, though, you would have to establish some way to know if they secretly start the bot again.

There are more possibilities that I haven't listed. That's the beauty of politics. These are just a few so you can see your options going forward. Hope this helped.

The issue here is you're making this all about NPO when there is a broad base of support on this and it's something we have a consensus on. The sites performance is already slow, so if everyone universalized this advice you're giving we'd have another 100 scripts running. We don't have an interest in promoting the practice by going around saying we have a trade bot. There are various factors impacting who clicks first such as connection speed/time zone/ and some people have better set ups than others for multi-tasking so it's more likely to end up with a small number of people regardless of how many potential competitors there are. We would also give them back, but it puts the burden on us to act as a community service because of an easily resolved issue.  On the development end as an alternative to slowing down the api: improvements to UI were suggested to cut back the phenomenon.

The middle ground between getting rid of the bot and keeping it was to refund the mistrades upon request.  This is on the player end

Some other assumptions you make:

1. Bot is funding TKR war effort.

No. The bot is less effective at this time due to reduced trading and low prices on the market right now.

2. Their/our negotiating stance is based on potential gains and losses. 

We're not trying to get a special deal for us specifically out of it nor gain an edge. We are seeking to discourage the practice regardless of who is involved. The reason they've ruled out simply returning the mistrades was they see them as legit transactions and the recipient is entitled to keep the proceeds without artwork or some other form of compensation. A lot of people disagree and that's the impasse.

Edited by Roquentin
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Where exactly is the lot of people? This is primarily an IQ term. I haven't seen Syndisphere posters complain about the problems with Kosonome scripting, and it's been primarily IQ that's been pushing it, at least on the forums. If there is a common consensus, wouldn't you like to show Syndisphere backing this proposal?

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21 hours ago, Roquentin said:

The issue here is you're making this all about NPO when there is a broad base of support on this and it's something we have a consensus on.

The sites performance is already slow, so if everyone universalized this advice you're giving we'd have another 100 scripts running.

We don't have an interest in promoting the practice by going around saying we have a trade bot. 

There are various factors impacting who clicks first such as connection speed/time zone/ and some people have better set ups than others for multi-tasking so it's more likely to end up with a small number of people regardless of how many potential competitors there are.

We would also give them back, but it puts the burden on us to act as a community service

because of an easily resolved issue.  On the development end as an alternative to slowing down the api: improvements to UI were suggested to cut back the phenomenon. 

The middle ground between getting rid of the bot and keeping it was to refund the mistrades upon request.  This is on the player end

Some other assumptions you make: 1. Bot is funding TKR war effort. No. The bot is less effective at this time due to reduced trading and low prices on the market right now.

2. Their/our negotiating stance is based on potential gains and losses. We're not trying to get a special deal for us specifically out of it nor gain an edge.

We are seeking to discourage the practice regardless of who is involved. The reason they've ruled out simply returning the mistrades was they see them as legit transactions and the recipient is entitled to keep the proceeds without artwork or some other form of compensation. A lot of people disagree and that's the impasse. 

It seems almost exclusively an IQ problem. Also, assuming a large number of NPO players play the market to gain tax-free income as I've been told, removing the trade bots would benefit NPO.

And as explained before by Sheepy, removing trades from the API would even further decrease the speed of the servers due to the bots scraping the trade screens themselves. That would be the most feasible way of "banning" the bots. Almost all other options for banning the bots are described here:

On 1/28/2019 at 6:50 PM, WISD0MTREE said:

The API is already delayed, making the bots less efficient. If the delay was increased, the bot would be modified to scrape the trade screens as opposed to the API, slowing down the server.

If the API is outright removed, the bots will scrape the trade screens, slowing down the server.

Punishing/banning everyone who accepts a trade too fast would result in innocent people being punished/banned.

Stating you have a trade bot does not necessarily "promote" the practice if you employ it properly. Retaining the script and capability of bringing it live would diminish the incentive of an alliance to develop one if you began to use it in response to the alliance starting theirs. Activating your script would diminish their gains from their bot. Should everyone develop one, the scripts would be almost worthless.

Connection speed and time zones already affect every other aspect of the game, except for baseball. Multi-tasking setups cover the baseball area, yet I haven't seen a major push for removing baseball due to an unfair advantage. I suspect a player would make more from playing baseball all day than gaining what few malicious trades their (delayed) script finds all day.

I'd imagine it's a good PR and recruiting move.

Again, banning trade bots is not an easy fix. The most rational solutions would be delaying the time between the trade being created and posted on the market, changing the drop down to a checkbox/radio button setup, and/or creating a confirmation page if your trade is X% above/below the average trade price. Despite these being mentioned in this thread and becoming "popular" posts, I have yet to see Sheepy acknowledge them. Those are all options I would support because they would work better than attempting to place an unenforceable ban.

No, I stated that NPO could use their trade bot to refund the trades NPO's bot picked up if NPO is so opposed to others taking advantage of mistrades. Every trade picked up and returned by NPO's bot would effectively reduce the number of mistrades accepted by TKR or any future bot runner. This is because we all know Sheepy lives a busy life and doesn't make many changes to the game. Even if he decided to implement it, it may take weeks or months.

On 1/28/2019 at 6:50 PM, WISD0MTREE said:

NPO could bring the bot alive, harming their war income, assuming the value of the trades is large enough to matter.

The bot is free to run. Therefore any trade it gains is "profit." It is very likely not "funding" their war effort, hence why I never used the word "funding" in my previous post. Any gain your bot negates would be decreasing their income, damaging your enemy's income even if you return the trades. This brings us to a point I made on page 2:

Quote

Is the bot really making enough for it to be a major issue, or is it outrage from a very small amount of people who get pissed off at a loss of resources? If it's the latter, why wouldn't TKR come out and announce they get a very small amount per week from it as damage control?

Either TKR doesn't have accurate numbers to display or the income is a large amount. I believe it's the former due to Scarf's testing on page 1.

I just want to focus on this one small part for a bit:

21 hours ago, Roquentin said:

2. Their/our negotiating stance is based on potential gains and losses. 

Yes, it is. Every decision you make in your life is based on potential gains and losses. Pick a Dr Pepper over a Coke? It's because you believe, consciously or subconsciously, that your marginal utility from drinking the DP is higher than the Coke. Choosing to sign or not sign a MDP with another alliance? If you believe the MDP will be beneficial, you will sign it. If you believe it's more work than it's worth, you won't sign it. While you may not be looking for monetary gain, you are still looking for a gain. Absolutely everything you do in life is based on potential gains and losses.

And I have proposed some solutions that NPO can take to end the practice. As one of the most powerful alliances, you can easily have that in the peace terms. After the war, you could threaten or one-round anyone who starts up a bot. Ask them how "legit" their infra is after they accept one of those "legit" trades.

 

Edited by WISD0MTREE
Pulled a Milton and colored every third point for referenceability, if that's a word.

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If you screw up a trade, it's your own fault. I've done it before, myself (twice yesterday even). Just message the person and if they decide to return all or part of the trade, bonus. If they don't, well it's a lesson learned.

Just remember when messaging people, be polite. I find dropping a message of "Nice catch of my screw up :)" with a subject of say "Steel Trade", will get the nicer people offering to return all or part of the trade, without even asking.

It really doesn't matter how they noticed your screw up. Whether it be by a trade bot notification or they just happened to load the page at the right time.

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On 1/26/2019 at 12:35 PM, Tiberius said:

Is it really that difficult to implement a confirmation box when you select submit on create a trade offer?

Is it really that difficult to double check the information before you click sell or buy?

 ^  That is a simply solution many people, including myself, are currently doing when we make trade offers. I also noticed, @Tiberius, that you chose to ignore another person who commented that. Just like you chose to click that sell or buy button and made that trade offer. You chose to do it, it is your fault for doing it, and you have no one to blame for it but yourself. Stop blaming me and the rest of TKR for your mistake.

For clarification: It is a notification bot, not a trading bot. It is no different to the war notification bots floating around and it is not against the rules. The link that it provides takes us to the market page. It does not accept the trade offer, and the link is no different to having a market paged bookmarked (like I do because I don't like the default sorting). After the page is loaded we still need to look for the trade, accept it and then hope it loads before someone else gets it or you delete it. For someone like myself who doesn't have the best of Internet, or computer, it can take several seconds just for my browser to open let alone load the game.

We also don't accept every single mistrade. When we get a notification we determine whether or not we feel like stopping what we're doing to attempt and swipe that trade up in a perfectly legal way. And there are actually many mistrades that don't get answer.

The notification bot is a fair tool that doesn't violate the game rules. We all have an equal opportunity to make a trade bot for ourselves, if people don't then that is their choice, just like it's their choice if they want to double check their offer before clicking sell or buy. I make lots of trade offers a day, double check them all, and then go the extra step to check that they appeared correctly on the market page. Why? Because I don't want someone to profit from my mistake. I am taking the extra precautions to make sure I don't stuff up. If you choose not to and continue to create trade offers, then you have no one but yourself to blame.

On 1/29/2019 at 2:37 PM, Roquentin said:

The sites performance is already slow, so if everyone universalized this advice you're giving we'd have another 100 scripts running.

 

We would also give them back, but it puts the burden on us to act as a community service because of an easily resolved issue.

 

We're not trying to get a special deal for us specifically out of it nor gain an edge.

We wouldn't have another 100 scripts. If everyone made a script then it would be rare if anyone gets any trades. Just like mining bitcoin, the more people that do it the less worth it is to do it, making people choose not to do it as they don't believe the worth is greater then the cost.

This issue already has an easy resolution. Double check your offers before clicking sell or buy. It's not hard and it can save you millions. It doesn't even take any extra code that needs to be made, any extra delay in apis, any extra annoying captcha, or any extra pages that need to load. The simply and easy solution is to change how you do things to fit with how things are already done, instead of asking everyone else to conform to your way.

But you did in the peace terms. Forcing us to return it on request only to you people, not the rest of Orbis. Which sounds like special treatment to me.

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