New Rules on spam???

Shuri2060

Chiliarch
Edit: Idea pushed https://en.forum.grepolis.com/index.php?forums/ideas.8/

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What follows is a giant wall of text I didn't intend on making, but this is what happens when I seriously consider topics like this... (a reason I haven't participated in the spam debate up until now). Points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 are the main things I want to bring out. I would appreciate it if this thread was shared to get more views and attention on the topic.

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Up until now, I have never heard of any restrictions on the number of attacks you can send/cancel. The only cases I've heard of players getting banned for spam were when they were using a script to spam and/or creating an alternate account to spam from (usually 12 hr atks from the rim). I even recall from en113 Support's stance on spam - it is part of the game as psychological warfare. EDIT: In fact --- https://support.innogames.com/kb/Gr...cks-notifications-even-at-night-What-can-I-do

I've always understood that it was generally agreed that although frowned upon, 'spamming' is a legitimate tactic in the game. That said - most players usually realise the Prisoner's Dillema scenario when it comes to spam. If you spam someone, they're likely to spam you back harder (possibly along with their entire alliance). At that point, you've either lost the spam war, or it escalates beyond the point of no return --- weeks of thousands of attacks until one side runs out of steam and multiple players VM/quit/ghost. Most people understand the consequences behind initiating a spam war, and so don't do it (in some cases players/alliances make explicit agreements with each other on the limitation of attacks).

That said - I've never known it to be an enforced rule on the en server. However, today I received a spam warning titled 'Fair Play Violation: First Warning' from Support. It also happens to be the first day I played seriously in the last few months (due to personal reasons), but even so, I've still followed updates, etc, and have never seen an announcement or similar regarding a change on these rules. Nor do I see any change in the official rules themselves.

So I find myself completely puzzled and slightly outraged at this. I'll even claim that what I was doing wouldn't be classified as spam by many (top) players who understand the game, but that is my personal opinion on my particular case and is independent from the points I would like to make in this post.

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What I ask from Inno Support/the moderators:

1. If you are going to introduce a change in rules, please make a public announcement on it, just like the updates for the game. On a topic as significant as this, I find it all the more important to do so - everyone should have received a message in game.

2. Before that, I would even say that it would've probably been for the best to announce a change such as this 1 week or so in advance in the forums to receive player feedback on the topic. (I do understand there have been lengthy threads on this topic in the past, however, and that these discussions tend to eventually derail into off-topic personal arguments which may be why this was avoided.)

3. When such rules are created, it should be explicitly said what is and isn't allowed. In my message I was told:

'I am writing to warn you that the level of minimum attacks and attack/cancel as seen on your account is unacceptable. Please moderate your behaviour or you will risk a ban.'

I find this level of ambiguity to be unacceptable - what exactly constitutes unacceptable in this case when there aren't even any guidelines or such in the rules???

Most can agree 10000000000 attacks a day is unacceptable, and 1 a day is perfectly acceptable, but where is the boundary!? In all discussions of spam I've seen so far, this has been one of the key points of debate. Everyone has their opinion on what is/isn't acceptable so it is no good just telling us to moderate our unacceptable behaviour when we don't know what is/what isn't!

You can accuse me of playing the Devil's Advocate here and tell me: 'Isn't it obvious what is/isn't spam? Just don't send 100 attacks a day, how hard is it to get??? Don't do it.'

Actually no - I argue that it is crucial we make it absolutely clear what constitutes as unacceptable spam. By receiving such a warning, I now have no idea when my attacks will break the threshold of acceptable/unacceptable. Now I cannot play without worrying about breaking the rules every time I want to attack a player more than just a few times. What if they report me and I get banned immediately? That forces me to limit my attacks to what obviously is acceptable and cripple my gameplay OR just risk getting banned when the next player I attack considers it to be spam.

I repeat: We need a clear definition of unacceptable or else it will cause confusion amongst players (and possibly mods) with regards to the rules. The game has no physical limitation on the number of attacks you can send/cancel and we have not been told such either. It is unfair on US for you to impose a rule ambiguously like this. This rule regards game mechanics themselves, unlike rules on player harassment, etc, and should NOT be subjective. Clear guidelines will assist BOTH the players and the mods in following/enforcing the rules of the game.

4. And so, if such a rule really is to be implemented, we need it to be quantified (even rough guidelines would help). The community will likely be divided on this matter - but in the end, some numbers MUST be chosen or we get nowhere (like the vague, uncertain situation we are in now).

Suppose a limitation of no more than 100 attacks a day per enemy player was set (for the sake of example). It is very likely a portion of the playerbase would be upset and disagree with this. HOWEVER, I argue having a quantified limitation is better than the position we are currently in. These would be ACTUAL numbers we can abide by, eliminating any uncertainty with regards to following the rules - in the end rules are rules created by the game developers/moderators, and once they are set, we follow them or get banned from the game. Yes, those rules can be changed (eg. if they turn out to be unpopular), but unless they change, they should be followed. This also will prevent Support from being flooded with spam reports on cases that quite obviously aren't spam (just hopeful players trying to eliminate enemies underhandedly).

5. I also argue that any spam restrictions should probably be hard coded into the game, like Shared Internet restrictions. In that way, players aren't even able to break the rules if they wanted to - the game itself enforces them and the issue goes away completely. It will likely change the way Grepolis is played quite a bit, but I believe such a change is healthier for the game when you look at it in the long run. There will be initial discontent among the playerbase, but players will gradually get used to it, leading to acceptance, and the issue of spam will no longer exist.
 
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Shuri2060

Chiliarch
The above were the main points I wanted to bring out - but there are further less significant points I feel need to be considered/discussed for game balance.

6. There are arguments that many would agree with for mass (minimum) attacking a player/+ cancelling.

Attacking
- Minimum attacks serve as the perfect Harbor Checks in this game. They utilise minimal resources to get Intel on enemy cities. They have their downsides which balance their use - the more units you have in your city, the larger the attack must be (costing you more). They are weak, and so the enemy generally gains more BP than you do.
- Following on from the point above, you can see if a player is online or not at minimal cost. If you hit offense, they are off, so you can continue to attack at an advantage.
- Making it harder for the enemy to cast spells on your full nuke attacks. Spells play a large part in whether attacks are successful or not. Almost all of the better players utilise this strategy as it is so important.
- Bluffing. Creating the false impression you are targetting a certain city (fake attacks), while actually going for another one. In more extreme cases, if very many cities are attacked with minimum attacks and only a few with full attacks, then it is very hard for the defender to react (such tactics are usually what 'OP's mostly comprise of).
- Padding (following on from bluffing). If the only attacks you send are full nukes, then the number of attacks you are able to send are limited to the number of OFF cities you own. This will make it harder for you to take on larger/multiple players. However, if you mix in minimum attacks with your full nukes, you can keep a steady stream of attacks going at your target(s) without running out of steam. I argue this strategy is very important at high level play - the best players are able to balance between sending too few attacks - most full nukes - (you quickly run out of steam and end up being very predictable) and many attacks - few at full power - (you lose out on power and BP as you are splitting your nukes up). I may be wrong, but I believe if a statistical analysis is done, Support would find ~10-30% of the attacks sent by the best players in the game are full attacks, while the rest are minimum attacks (I'm just guessing at numbers here - it might be less). The less skilled players would deviate away from the sweet spot. If such is the case - that is strong indication minimum attacks are a key strategy in this game.
Debatable:
- To overload the enemy with a lot of attacks, making it harder to defend. This point is more up for debate - perhaps some feel this shouldn't be a part of the game (as it is one of the reasons why spam is so irritating to deal with).

Cancelling
- To correct mistakes. Maybe the wrong city was attacked/you change your mind.
- To dodge. Attacking and then cancelling the attack against the enemy serves as a way to both bluff the opponent and to dodge their attack. In some cases, you might be forced to attack + cancel to dodge (eg. dodging a hero + land locked nuke on a red island).
- To snipe. Like dodging, there are cases where you want or have to attack + cancel to snipe (eg. casting a spell on the snipe).
- To time. It is a commonly acknowledged technique (but can also be the source of much notification spam). Almost all of the better players utilise this tactic, and so any change in the rules regarding spam should not affect this. In my opinion, the best fix to this would be to delay App notifications by 30 seconds. Attacks recalled within 30 seconds of launching should not create an alarm notification.
Debatable:
- To lower the enemy's guard. With the existence of the app alarm, it is harder to catch players offline - (and in the case of the most active ones, almost impossible). For some, the only way to 'beat' these players would be to attack + recall every so often to lower their guard/make them switch off their alarm, and then go in. This is the main issue with cancel spam - it is extremely annoying, but for some, they feel it is their only way to fight the best players in the game.

***Personal opinion on cancel spam***
I would not be against the removal of such tactics from the game - in the end, it is a last resort that says you can't beat the enemy otherwise. However, (and this is a separate topic from spam,) I feel there needs to be SOME balance against the app alarm. To be quite honest - it feels completely overpowered and is too large a factor in this game. Some players barely sleep because of its existence - it dictates how they play. I am not necessarily suggesting for the removal of the alarm - I am thinking more along the lines of changing the game itself so that catching a player offline has much lower consequences than the situation now. Currently, if you are offline, you risk losing your offensive troops and getting revolted or sieged. If you are online, you have many options to counter such attempts such as dodging. This puts a huge deterrant on attacking online players, and I really think this should be changed. This causes some players to play with barely any sleep - the more active you are, the more likely you are to do better in the game regardless of your actual technical skill. I agree activity should be rewarded, but I think the problem here is that the game penalises inactivity too much (and not just for individual players - for alliances too). I find this unhealthy for the game and its players. I really hope changes can be proposed which address this issue without losing the spirit of the game. I'll even go as far as to say activity being rewarded so heavily is the main reason illegal scripts are used as much as they are right now. Less people will use them if the incentive to isn't so big in the first place.

7. If we introduce hard limits to spam, should they be relative or absolute? Should the spam limit depend on how many cities you and/or your target owns? I think it should - if you have more cities, it would make sense for you to be able to send more attacks. At the same time, if your opponent has 1000 cities and you're limited to 100 attacks a day, then that would be unfair because you couldn't attack all of them. An absolute limit would encourage alliances to put fewer players on the front lines (ie. they distribute front line cities between just a few) to limit the number of attacks that could be conducted on them per day. A city dependent limit (both attacker and defender) would make much more sense in terms of game balance.

8. 'Minimum attack spam' - it seems that Support wants to punish players who send a lot of minimum attacks, although non-min attacks seem to be ok. I'm not so sure about this (see my points in 6), but even so, 'minimum attack' needs to be quantified. What constitutes a minimum attack? If we literally say - the minimum possible amount, then players will send just a little bit more than that. But if we don't quantify this at all, then we run into the same issues I highlighted in 4.

9. Collaborative spam. If anti-spam measures are placed on individuals, this does not prevent a group of players from all picking on one. Even if you place restrictions against alliances, this can be overcome by being in different allies. And at the same time, it may just be coincidence that 2 players from different allies pick on the same player. This is one of the reasons I'm wary of anti-spam rules being introduced into the game. Not only are they hard to decide on, but it may not solve the issue at all and create an even bigger one. Collaborative spam has always existed, but it is far less common than individual spam. Individuals commonly spam on a whim (eg. if someone has annoyed them), and it might be hard to encourage others to join in. But now, this would be the only way to conduct spam AND it is much harder to defend against. The spammed player wouldn't be able to spam back (they would break the rules), and even if they do/are allowed to, they are at a serious disadvantage - spam wars generally heavily favor the participating group with more members.

10. Other spam? Do minimum attacks and cancel spam cover everything? I think they cover most cases - but there are other times where I feel players are spamming, eg. repeatedly sending an OLU + catapult (+ hail) nuke from the same island over a long period of time to harrass players. Yes, you can argue you're HCing and making sure the player doesn't get any defence or a wall in (common tactic in revolt), but I personally think this is a worse form of 'spam' than 50 attacks sent at the same time to all cities. An OLU nuke every hour throughout the day certainly abides by the current apparent spam limitations (you're only sending 24 atks per day, and none are minimum attacks), but is much more disrupting than a bunch of attacks sent at the same time. This should be addressed as well.
 
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0ZZZ

Phrourach
Current definition of spam:
Current definition of spam:
(Based on what I have read so far, on other threads)
"Any attack I do not like that is bad when other people do it but ok when I some times do it because (paste hypocritical excuse here)."

This definition is not only a non definition but not going to help, and it is going to harm.

Because Mods/managers now consider this a public mandate to "fix spam!"

So they have pulled out their sledge hammer to remove what THEY consider spam Which aint what YOU consider spam thinking they are doing what the public asked for.
When their "solution" tanks the game they will not undo it because that would require them to admit they were wrong.

I have been gaming since PONG. I can not count the number of good games that tank because the devs listen to the loud cries and gnashing of teeth from a small but loud minority that in no way represents the average silent player.
And when they give the special snowflakes what they think they want, players start leaving, and even the snowflakes leave the ghost town they created.

Why there is no working definition of spam:
Players are too stupid, lazy, or cowardly to appropriately label different actions with unique labels so we know exactly what they are talking about.
Much easier to cry mmMC SPAM! BOO WHOO! so every one will agree with you and express sympathy.

Way to solve this:
First logically define spam.
Second come up with other logical labels for other naughty game actions you do not like.
If it is a good label it will stick.
If others dislike the appropriately labeled action as much as you, then it might get addressed.
If not it wont, and your just being a crybaby and it will get ignored while you are possibly ridiculed for being weak sauce.


The etymology of spam:
Spam is a tasty canned square meat that goes great with rice and eggs. Just ask any Hawaiian.
But some find it quite disgusting so it has become synonymous with "YUCK in a can."

Then came the internet and email. Along with that came advertising email. Or "unsolicited stuff you do not want that just clogs up your mail box" Or "SPAM."

Spam is:
"Any thing sent at you in mass with the sole purpose of clogging up your notifications and or locking you out of game in the hopes of causing you grief.
"
Usually as some response to some perceived slight or seeking a tactical edge.
But there are some people that are just &^%#s and they will spam you just cause they can.

The more serious problem:

A warning that does not define exactly How you broke a rule and how NOT to break the rule in the future is no warning by definition.
The purpose of a warning is so you can adjust your future actions to remain within the rules.
Right now the only purpose it serves is to allow mods to claim they were being fair because they gave you a "warning" before they banned you.

Further when you do not CLEARLY define your rules your game ceases to be a game.
The major difference between WAR and a WARGAME is a war game has previously defined and agreed upon rules.
War is just acts of aggression till one side is all dead or screams uncle.

You could even take it one step further and realize it is not even a rule at all.
A rule must be known and clearly defined so it can be agreed upon and followed.
That is the whole purpose of a rule.

What you have now is a popularity contest where those that are in the right crowd could easily be judged by a different criteria than those that are not.
Aaaand you would never know.
Since no criteria is clearly defined any one can be banned at any time once they are "warned."

I expect several of this "in crowd" to quickly respond with an "The end justifies the means." reply because this calls in jeopardy their ability to win.
Or simply have their friend delete it for the same reason.

Example of how the ends do not justify the means for the logic impaired:
Helping a blind old lady safely cross a busy street is a great end. A stereotypical good deed.
Removing on coming cars with grenades and clearing the cross walk of school children with a chain saw...... Kind of negates the good deed.
 
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LaSophie

Chiliarch
I agree -- strong definitions are required in order for this rule to be followed. It is unfair to keep players hostage to a Moderator's mood on a weak rule that is not explained anywhere.

I have attacked a player last night, one attack to every city (more or less half strength each attack) and they started to yell at me, saying I am spamming them, and that they reported me and that I will get banned. I have always said this and I will repeat this again, Spam will never, ever be defined as a rule because people call random attacks spam, random bolts spam, more than 2 HC's in one hour spam.

It's all well and good to be pointing at people and yelling 'spam', but sometimes use your common sense and examine closer what's actually going on. To be perfectly honestly, I am finding this whole argument trivial, because many of those so called Anti-Spam agents employed similar tactics against me and my team.
 
I am sure some of you would call this as he called "aggressive HC" it went on for many hours, at times for all day/night... I say people with a little bit of brain and intelligence would call this ******* and spam... but hey INNO was OK with it.... just thought I'd give an example as to try to clarify spam by players... lol

28db3102545c0178970940677597fd69.png
 
What follows is a giant wall of text I didn't intend on making, but this is what happens when I seriously consider topics like this... (a reason I haven't participated in the spam debate up until now). Points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 are the main things I want to bring out. I would appreciate it if this thread was shared to get more views and attention on the topic.

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Up until now, I have never heard of any restrictions on the number of attacks you can send/cancel. The only cases I've heard of players getting banned for spam were when they were using a script to spam and/or creating an alternate account to spam from (usually 12 hr atks from the rim). I even recall from en113 Support's stance on spam - it is part of the game as psychological warfare.

I've always understood that it was generally agreed that although frowned upon, 'spamming' is a legitimate tactic in the game. That said - most players usually realise the Prisoner's Dillema scenario when it comes to spam. If you spam someone, they're likely to spam you back harder (possibly along with their entire alliance). At that point, you've either lost the spam war, or it escalates beyond the point of no return --- weeks of thousands of attacks until one side runs out of steam and multiple players VM/quit/ghost. Most people understand the consequences behind initiating a spam war, and so don't do it (in some cases players/alliances make explicit agreements with each other on the limitation of attacks).

That said - I've never known it to be an enforced rule on the en server. However, today I received a spam warning titled 'Fair Play Violation: First Warning' from Support. It also happens to be the first day I played seriously in the last few months (due to personal reasons), but even so, I've still followed updates, etc, and have never seen an announcement or similar regarding a change on these rules. Nor do I see any change in the official rules themselves.

So I find myself completely puzzled and slightly outraged at this. I'll even claim that what I was doing wouldn't be classified as spam by many (top) players who understand the game, but that is my personal opinion on my particular case and is independent from the points I would like to make in this post.

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What I ask from Inno Support/the moderators:

1. If you are going to introduce a change in rules, please make a public announcement on it, just like the updates for the game. On a topic as significant as this, I find it all the more important to do so - everyone should have received a message in game.

2. Before that, I would even say that it would've probably been for the best to announce a change such as this 1 week or so in advance in the forums to receive player feedback on the topic. (I do understand there have been lengthy threads on this topic in the past, however, and that these discussions tend to eventually derail into off-topic personal arguments which may be why this was avoided.)

3. When such rules are created, it should be explicitly said what is and isn't allowed. In my message I was told:

'I am writing to warn you that the level of minimum attacks and attack/cancel as seen on your account is unacceptable. Please moderate your behaviour or you will risk a ban.'

I find this level of ambiguity to be unacceptable - what exactly constitutes unacceptable in this case when there aren't even any guidelines or such in the rules???

Most can agree 10000000000 attacks a day is unacceptable, and 1 a day is perfectly acceptable, but where is the boundary!? In all discussions of spam I've seen so far, this has been one of the key points of debate. Everyone has their opinion on what is/isn't acceptable so it is no good just telling us to moderate our unacceptable behaviour when we don't know what is/what isn't!

You can accuse me of playing the Devil's Advocate here and tell me: 'Isn't it obvious what is/isn't spam? Just don't send 100 attacks a day, how hard is it to get??? Don't do it.'

Actually no - I argue that it is crucial we make it absolutely clear what constitutes as unacceptable spam. By receiving such a warning, I now have no idea when my attacks will break the threshold of acceptable/unacceptable. Now I cannot play without worrying about breaking the rules every time I want to attack a player more than just a few times. What if they report me and I get banned immediately? That forces me to limit my attacks to what obviously is acceptable and cripple my gameplay OR just risk getting banned when the next player I attack considers it to be spam.

I repeat: We need a clear definition of unacceptable or else it will cause confusion amongst players (and possibly mods) with regards to the rules. The game has no physical limitation on the number of attacks you can send/cancel and we have not been told such either. It is unfair on US for you to impose a rule ambiguously like this. This rule regards game mechanics themselves, unlike rules on player harassment, etc, and should NOT be subjective. Clear guidelines will assist BOTH the players and the mods in following/enforcing the rules of the game.

4. And so, if such a rule really is to be implemented, we need it to be quantified (even rough guidelines would help). The community will likely be divided on this matter - but in the end, some numbers MUST be chosen or we get nowhere (like the vague, uncertain situation we are in now).

Suppose a limitation of no more than 100 attacks a day per enemy player was set (for the sake of example). It is very likely a portion of the playerbase will be upset and disagree with this. HOWEVER, I argue having a quantified limitation is better than the position we are currently in. These would be ACTUAL numbers we can abide by, eliminating any uncertainty with regards to following the rules - in the end rules are rules created by the game developers/moderators, and once they are set, we follow them or get banned from the game. Yes, those rules can be changed (eg. if they turn out to be unpopular), but unless they change, they should be followed. This also will prevent Support from being flooded with spam reports on cases that quite obviously aren't spam (just hopeful players trying to eliminate enemies underhandedly).

5. I also argue that any spam restrictions should probably be hard coded into the game, like Shared Internet restrictions. In that way, players aren't even able to break the rules if they wanted to - the game itself enforces them and the issue goes away completely. It will likely change the way Grepolis is played quite a bit, but I believe such a change is healthier for the game when you look at it in the long run. There will be initial discontent among the playerbase, but players will gradually get used to it, leading to acceptance, and the issue of spam will no longer exist.


If an entire tactic is to make you so annoyed you quit the game, 1st of all its agains rule 10, 2nd It will hurt Inno business its logic that will get you banned
 

0ZZZ

Phrourach
I am sure some of you would call this as he called "aggressive HC" it went on for many hours, at times for all day/night... I say people with a little bit of brain and intelligence would call this ******* and spam... but hey INNO was OK with it.... just thought I'd give an example as to try to clarify spam by players... lol

View attachment 13883
Yes I agree some one with "a little bit of brain" would call that SPAM.

It is the attitude that "the stuff I do not like MUST be spam" is the problem.
You are a part of the problem.

You have left out too many details to call that SPAM.
If there was a big nuke in that it would be called "cover" so you do not know which one to spell.
He could be farming you for rez or favor and once again avoiding the rage.
It could be "favor bait", an attempt to get you to spend favor so you do not have it for his real attack some where else.
Was he spreading his dirty cats out so they would damage the buildings better?
Plenty of reasons that may not be SPAM and thrice as many counters.

Stack the city, soak the BP, and send him a thank you PM in the morning. If hes not keeping you awake for over 24 hours.... your being a snow flake.
This aint supposed to be farmvill.




If an entire tactic is to make you so annoyed you quit the game, 1st of all its agains rule 10, 2nd It will hurt Inno business its logic that will get you banned
All of the top alliances run opps focusing on driving 1 or 2 players into VM. This is standard. Driving some one into VM repeatedly is not an attempt to get them to quit? That is more often than not the end result. Against the rules or not that has been standard for over 10 years. Had it tried on me plenty. Never herd of some one getting banned for it.
No Mod came to my rescue when I was hammered for over 6 months by an entire alliance daily.
It did put me in the hall of fame though.

I think you've made some really solid points, however like I've mentioned, and others, on posts before to this one... hard definitions or quantitative restrictions of spam is in my opinion a recipe for disaster. Even if you write a law book's pages worth of rules for all various scenarios there will still be loopholes some smarty pants will spot and abuse. And you have to remind yourselves, this isnt a court of Law. It's a game.
Games have well defined rules or they cease to be a game. There are clear markers of what is and what is not a foul ball. You can not send horsemen off island without a boat. If you do not say "mother may I" first, you lose. To collect rent when some one lands on "Board Walk" you must own that space.
Three strikes are an out.... not 2 strikes and ask the referee.

If they make the rule of 100 then 99 attacks are not a loop hole, it is following the rules.
If you do not want 99 attacks then make the rule 88 instead of 100. The developers were not morons.

As to number and hard coding the developers did code in a minimum attack, which decides your maximum number of attacks.
The game they decided to make made it roughly 1/30 th of your population per city can attack.
multiply your number of complete cities by roughly 30 and there is your number of maximum attacks.
A rule the game has been quite successful with and survived over 10 years.

This is not rocket science. Rules are only difficult if you are a control freak and they should all be hard coded.
The more subjectivity you invite into a games rules the more opportunity for "disaster."

What a ridiculous statement. There are thousands of players sending attacks every day across Grepolis, I have sent about 12 in the last 24 hours. I’m not being warned?

There is repeated abuse of various gameplay systems going on by a minority of players that mean dopey rules are having to be brought in which affect the whole community!

There is no doubt there will be players crying wolf over being attacked and that is also a horrible shame. Again most likely a minority. These players are just as bad as the players engaging in spam wars, or BP boosting millions of fake points to boost their rankings or to earn cheat city slots or the players landing nothing but LMD sieges on morale active conquest servers.

Thanks to any player who has abused any of the things mentioned above the mods have a horrible job trying to oversee the game. But rather than blaming the absolute numpties who do all this everyone sits there bitching about the mods who have the unenviable job of trying to stop it.

Have a word with yourselves!!!
Your argument is common among people who can not compete in an open field and must cry to a higher power to limit their betters so they can compete.
The developers were not morons they created a game with more open rules to allow factors like intelligence, mental fortitude. mercurial thought, and determination to play a greater role in combat instead of just simply numbers. This is why the game has lasted 10 years.

Just because you do not like an act does not make it abuse. Any act the mechanics allow is fair play as intended by the developers, or they messed up and it is their responsibility to fix the code.

Player actions should be governed by game mechanics and not by demonstrably massively biased judges playing god. The number of people like you that are not bothered by this is mind boggling. It as if you have never cracked a psychology or history book in your life.
In ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY this has never went well.

The rule they enforce simply does not exist, but there is one that says moderators enforce rules they do not make them, and there is one that says they have to notify us of rule changes in a reasonable manner.

Telling you you broke a rule but we cant tell you how or more importantly how not to in the future............is not even in the same country as reasonable.

Two rules your buddy moderators are in clear violation of.

Snow flakes destroy every thing they touch.
 
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Raydium88

Phrourach
4. And so, if such a rule really is to be implemented, we need it to be quantified (even rough guidelines would help). The community will likely be divided on this matter - but in the end, some numbers MUST be chosen or we get nowhere (like the vague, uncertain situation we are in now).

Suppose a limitation of no more than 100 attacks a day per enemy player was set (for the sake of example). It is very likely a portion of the playerbase will be upset and disagree with this. HOWEVER, I argue having a quantified limitation is better than the position we are currently in. These would be ACTUAL numbers we can abide by, eliminating any uncertainty with regards to following the rules - in the end rules are rules created by the game developers/moderators, and once they are set, we follow them or get banned from the game. Yes, those rules can be changed (eg. if they turn out to be unpopular), but unless they change, they should be followed. This also will prevent Support from being flooded with spam reports on cases that quite obviously aren't spam (just hopeful players trying to eliminate enemies underhandedly).
I think you've made some really solid points, however like I've mentioned, and others, on posts before to this one... hard definitions or quantitative restrictions of spam is in my opinion a recipe for disaster. Even if you write a law book's pages worth of rules for all various scenarios there will still be loopholes some smarty pants will spot and abuse. And you have to remind yourselves, this isnt a court of Law. It's a game.

Like @Drubzie wrote before, one if not the best examples of this is if you quantify it... if you set the limit to 100 attacks, per player, per day, someone will just spam 99 attacks every day and be on the clear. Who says 100, says any other number. That is allowing and I'd say encouraging this behaviour as "OK" or as "acceptable".

This is one example in many other ways players have proven to cheat the system if they are given too much information. I understand players don't wanna feel at the mercy of mods, or subjectiveness, which brings me to your 5th point:

5. I also argue that any spam restrictions should probably be hard coded into the game, like Shared Internet restrictions. In that way, players aren't even able to break the rules if they wanted to - the game itself enforces them and the issue goes away completely. It will likely change the way Grepolis is played quite a bit, but I believe such a change is healthier for the game when you look at it in the long run. There will be initial discontent among the playerbase, but players will gradually get used to it, leading to acceptance, and the issue of spam will no longer exist.
I actually love this, for many reasons than one would think. Do I think devs could come up with a perfect system to encompass all possible spam and it's context? Sadly no. It couldn't for starters be an absolute restriction, but would have to be a relative one. Otherwise players would cheat the system again. But there are more than one clever ways to implement it, and make it feel subjective enough at the same time so a) it removes human input or error in decision making, b) players wouldn't have to fear going beyond a threshold.

I still am of the opinion, common sense can take you a long way. If is toxic, or accomplishes no strategy whatsoever, just don't do it. But I wouldn't mind seeing a system similar to 5, to make everyone's lives much easier.
 

Shuri2060

Chiliarch
Digging a bit deeper in the rules I just found this ---





Looks like my memory isn't so bad after all. Come on now - this is even worse than not having any guidelines at all. We DO have guidelines and we're being penalised while following them. (In reality, I get this is most likely an oversight by Support - a decision was made to change their approach to spam, but they didn't release any announcement or new guidelines, and left the old one here, too, which leads me back to my first and second points.)

The Code of Conduct, which makes no reference to excessive attacks in any way:

 
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Shuri2060

Chiliarch
I think you've made some really solid points, however like I've mentioned, and others, on posts before to this one... hard definitions or quantitative restrictions of spam is in my opinion a recipe for disaster. Even if you write a law book's pages worth of rules for all various scenarios there will still be loopholes some smarty pants will spot and abuse. And you have to remind yourselves, this isnt a court of Law. It's a game.

Like @Drubzie wrote before, one if not the best examples of this is if you quantify it... if you set the limit to 100 attacks, per player, per day, someone will just spam 99 attacks every day and be on the clear. Who says 100, says any other number. That is allowing and I'd say encouraging this behaviour as "OK" or as "acceptable".

This is one example in many other ways players have proven to cheat the system if they are given too much information. I understand players don't wanna feel at the mercy of mods, or subjectiveness, which brings me to your 5th point:
Yes, I agree with what you say about the consequences of hard limits. If hard limits are imposed, there WILL be those players who tickle the thresholds because they can.

However, I still think hard limits are better than the previous situation we had. Previously, our hard limit was infinity. We could send as many as we liked. But I'm pretty sure just because there suddenly is a new limit of 'X attacks a day'*, doesn't mean everyone will start sending X-1 attacks a day. I think that's something people are afraid of in hard limits. In actuality, those sending less than X attacks per day in general shouldn't be affected by the rule, while it moderates the behaviour of the players going beyond. I'd even like to think that players would in fact be conservative with the number of attacks they send - just in case they need to send more later.

Another thing I'd point out is hard limits don't have to just be 'X attacks (per city, etc) per day'. They can be imposed implicitly - eg. through game resouces (it costs X to send an attack), or similar. This is a subtler way to hard code spam limitations into the game.

*For the sake of example. A more realistic limitation will combine factors such as the size of the attack and other things I've previously mentioned, etc.

-----------------------------------------------------

As for how hard limits compare to our current situation... that is harder to answer. As I said in the OP, I personally think having hard limits (even ridiculous ones) are better than leaving it up to the moderators to solely decide.

Indeed - what drove me to start this thread is that I feel I was unjustly penalised BECAUSE of the subjectivity of the decision. It would be wrong of me to go into the details of my particular case here - so that's all I'll say on it.
 
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Yes I agree some one with "a little bit of brain" would call that SPAM.

It is the attitude that "the stuff I do not like MUST be spam" is the problem.
You are a part of the problem.

You have left out too many details to call that SPAM.
If there was a big nuke in that it would be called "cover" so you do not know which one to spell.
He could be farming you for rez or favor and once again avoiding the rage.
It could be "favor bait", an attempt to get you to spend favor so you do not have it for his real attack some where else.
Was he spreading his dirty cats out so they would damage the buildings better?
Plenty of reasons that may not be SPAM and thrice as many counters.

Stack the city, soak the BP, and send him a thank you PM in the morning. If hes not keeping you awake for over 24 hours.... your being a snow flake.
This aint supposed to be farmvill.




All of the top alliances run opps focusing on driving 1 or 2 players into VM. This is standard. Driving some one into VM repeatedly is not an attempt to get them to quit? That is more often than not the end result. Against the rules or not that has been standard for over 10 years. Had it tried on me plenty. Never herd of some one getting banned for it.
No Mod came to my rescue when I was hammered for over 6 months by an entire alliance daily.
It did put me in the hall of fame though.
Just to add the info you were missing... it was 1 sling attacks over and over... so no fav farming nor res farming... he also knew I was on... but you are right... I was the problem than not him being a spammer :D
 

LaSophie

Chiliarch
Digging a bit deeper in the rules I just found this ---





Looks like my memory isn't so bad after all. Come on now - this is even worse than not having any guidelines at all. We DO have guidelines and we're being penalised while following them. (In reality, I get this is most likely an oversight by Support - a decision was made to change their approach to spam, but they didn't release any announcement or new guidelines, and left the old one here, too, which leads me back to my first and second points.)

For reference, the Code of Conduct, which makes no reference to excessive attacks in any way:

This. This This This.

We have conflicting rules. That needs to be addressed by an Administrator before we are banning people for things.
 

Fatfingers

Hoplite
Great examples and clarification - Although it might be difficult to Define Spam - I think that we can define some examples of what is not spam. We need to ensure that while reducing the SPAM we don't create a situation where players are being banned when not spamming... In the majority of situations above where the intent of the small attacks is legitimate or strategy can be defined and identified - there are other activities happening that the game mods can see that differentiate Spam and legitimate small attack strategy.

Not Spam - there is other game activity which supports the use of small attacks
1 Hiding Nukes - okay small attacks on a city with a Nuke mixed in ... obvious not spam Mods can see small attacks but can also see a Nuke was timed in
2 Confusing player during CS attempt - same there is an obvious CS launch
3 Hiding Cats to destroy buildings during Dodge attempts - small attacks and one with Cats

so no these type of small attacks would not be classified as SPAM - annoying yes - frustrating yes - confusing yes - but losing is annoying frustrating and sometimes confusing and is part of game strategy. Just because you were confused during a CS attempt by multiple attacks and they snuck in a real CS attack is annoying - but it isn't Spam.
 

Sems

Taxiarch
I am sure some of you would call this as he called "aggressive HC" it went on for many hours, at times for all day/night... I say people with a little bit of brain and intelligence would call this ******* and spam... but hey INNO was OK with it.... just thought I'd give an example as to try to clarify spam by players... lol
Nope, in your case you are just a cry baby. I remember the first time ever attacking you. I had sent these 4 attacks at you ONLY and you called me a spammer. These attacks were not even sent on a constant basis and you were crying. Cry babies like you are gonna kill this game

I also remember you crying about spam when Sezame would do a timed CS on you.

 
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Shuri2060

Chiliarch
As to number and hard coding the developers did code in a minimum attack, which decides your maximum number of attacks.
The game they decided to make made it roughly 1/30 th of your population per city can attack.
multiply your number of complete cities by roughly 30 and there is your number of maximum attacks.
Now I see and think about this - I have suggestions for the implementation of anti-spam game mechanics.

1. Dealing with many concurrent minimum attacks

Increase minimum attack percentage. Maybe 3% isn't enough. Personally I think something like 10% is plausible. This would also increase the level of strategy in this game with respect to resource management as well (the resources here being units and attacks).

I would actually suggest making it something a little more complicated than a constant percentage. If you have less units in a city, I feel the percentage should be higher (if you have fewer units, you can split them up into fewer attacks).

An example would be (5000 - used_pop) / 250% as the minimum attack size. When you have few units in the city, it would be ~20%, and when it is close to full, it would be ~3%.

2. Dealing with flash/cancel spam

Create the concept of 'preparation time' for commands. While they are being prepared, commands can be cancelled. Notifications aren't sent out to the receiving player until the command is prepared (this would apply to attacks and supports, but could also apply to spies and trades). This completely erases the possibility of flash spam.

The preparation time should probably be treated separately from the minimum attack time (15 minutes / world_speed), which would essentially be increasing the total minimum attack time. This also reduces spam from neighbours repeatedly resending attacks as the round trip time is increased.

Note: players often like to ping each other ingame to notify each other and this would no longer be able to happen. I'd suggest creating some separate method of communication that achieves the same effect between allies and selected trusted players.

3. Dealing with continuous spam (being attacked over and over again for a long period of time)

I can't think of a solution atm (although the above suggestion of increasing minimum attack time does help this in some cases)... and tbh I feel it's part of the game. There are countermeasures like stacking your cities to soak the attacks, or just reducing the number of frontline cities you own (increasing the distance makes it harder to do this).

----------------------------------

I think the above covers the most commonly used types of spam.
 
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Fatfingers

Hoplite
Insulting people never wins a debate - insulting only creates a stronger desire to win the debate - after an exchange of insults - both sides are now debating two points - the logic of the debate and are now fighting for their personal honour ... it is much harder for someone to agree to your logical points if by conceding to the logic they are conceding that they are the insult. This issue of spamming historically has been not solved because there are two sides with different viewpoints ...
Not all small attacks are spam - but some are
Not all complaints about spamming are legit - but some are

So if you want to shut down the debate - insult the participants - it has been working for years - and is not productive and the debate goes silent - until someone starts it again. Save the insults and the judgements for the Trash Talk threads - verbal wars are fun to read - but have no place in a legitimate discussion to solve and find a WIN WIN situation for both sides.
 

DavidDesu

Chiliarch
Nope, in your case you are just a cry baby. I remember the first time ever attacking you. I had sent these 4 attacks at you ONLY and you called me a spammer. These attacks were not even sent on a constant basis and you were crying. Cry babies like you are gonna kill this game

I also remember you crying about spam when Sezame would do a timed CS on you.

So you are Mr Allen... who would have guess lol
 

Jimothy5

Hekatontarch
The discussion behind this fair play needs to change with regard to interactions with moderators. They seem less like game moderators and more like game-play police. What do I mean by this?

It is completely unrelated to accepted game rules. When we agree to terms and conditions, including game rules, such arbitrary and subjective enforcement of "fair play" restrictions was never included! They simply seek to curtail your game actions through arbitrary warnings and bans, without an explanation of wrongdoing, or even which specific rule is being referenced. The interactions with moderators are also inherently hostile at this point (the warnings are unambiguous; correct your violations in the future or receive discipline), which is utterly ridiculous considering the murky nature of what they are trying to enforce.

Without CLEAR guidance on what EXACTLY constitutes a "violation of fair play," ANY AND ALL WARNINGS MUST BE A TWO WAY DISCUSSION/CONVERSATION IN THE TICKET BETWEEN MOD AND PLAYER. The fact of the matter is this; currently, spam is completely subjective. Reporting a player for spam should NOT, in most cases, lead directly to a warning. This is a tactical strategy game, therefore the strategy behind what the target calls "spam" must be investigated by the moderator reviewing the ticket BEFORE any disciplinary action is taken. If the mod determines that there was little or no tactical value behind the "spam," then there is cause for a warning or even a ban. The mods should also consider if the tactical value of the attacks is outweighed by the manner the attacks are conducted (like around the clock spam for several days). The player should (MUST) be given the opportunity to confidentially explain his/her strategy behind the attacks! This is simple logic, and I fail to see how the moderators could overlook this. Even if it was a clear cut case of spamming, the player being disciplined should have an opportunity to defend their actions. If they were in the wrong, their explanation will be bad and the mod should feel free to discipline. But how could anyone logically enforce a SUBJECTIVE RULE without getting all the viewpoints of a situation???

There is no LOGICAL manner in which the moderation team can claim they have done the right thing here. It is mind boggling, truly, how they could consider this an action to help an already flagging community and try to save this game from bad actors. I believe this could easily be addressed by the admin/mod team if they put more than a token effort into defining spam. Currently, they do not even warn people for "spam," as there is literally NO RULE ABOUT SPAM. It is a "fair play" violation. But isn't it also a violation of fair play on the Moderator's part to even issue a warning or ban without giving a player a FAIR chance to defend their actions and strategies??? All warnings I have seen have no specific actions or directives on how to comply with the rules.

Spam should be something we all understand, yet it is completely subjective. There are obvious cases of spam, all of us agree. Yet none of us can agree on what those obvious cases are. It is time that we, as a community, attempt to establish examples of clear-cut spam. No two situations would ever be exact, but if we can establish base cases of spam, and the moderators implement a discussion based system for reviewing spam accusations, as a community we would be able to fairly evaluate almost every spam accusation (I hope). The base case gives a starting point, while variations from base cases are where Mods would be put to work, evaluating whether or not it was "fair play" or not. I cannot stress this enough, "Fair play" is as subjective as "spam," therefore, without clear guidelines, discipline is also completely arbitrary and subjective as well.

Inno Games and Grepolis mods obviously have the absolute authority and right to do as they see fit, this is their game after all, not a real life justice system. But if the violations they are now enforcing is "fair play," the player being disciplined should have a "fair" chance to defend their actions!

Here is what I would call a BASE CASE of spam. This is designed to be clear cut, while in game it would rarely be this obvious. However, we have to try and start somewhere.
If a player sends minimum population attacks, that are designed to be as small as possible (ex. 1-10 slingers per attack). If these attacks are constant over a long period of time (several hours with little to no respite), and more frequent than tactically necessary (like locking out golding of troops in the target city), then that could be considered spam. The period of time, frequency of attacks during that time, and impact of the attacks are all what makes this case clearly spam. It is designed not as a tactic to take or clear a city first, but a tactic to directly influence/pressure the player themselves. The tactical nature of the attacks becomes voided by the lack impact the attack has. Keeping a city with lots of unused population specifically for this purpose is an obvious indicator that the intent of the attacks is to spam.

The exceptions, which would NOT be considered spam;
Breaking up a myth nuke to clear militia and farm favor in small groups to avoid zues rage. These attacks could be more frequent than the golding lock out, and could even be done over an extended period, but if the attacks stop when there is no more favor or resources to loot, this is fair play. If the attacks rotate cities of the same player, this is not necessarily spam, you are checking/looting multiple towns, trying to catch returning or dodged troops, etc. The impact of these attacks is measurable and has clear tactical/game value; looting favor and resources, and BP hunting.
 
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Drubzie

Phrourach
The fact of the matter is this; currently, spam is completely subjective. Reporting a player for spam should NOT, in most cases, lead directly to a warning. This is a tactical strategy game, therefore the strategy behind what the target calls "spam" must be investigated by the moderator reviewing the ticket BEFORE any disciplinary action is taken. If the mod determines that there was little or no tactical value behind the "spam," then there is cause for a warning or even a ban. The mods should also consider if the tactical value of the attacks is outweighed by the manner the attacks are conducted (like around the clock spam for several days). The player should (MUST) be given the opportunity to confidentially explain his/her strategy behind the attacks! This is simple logic, and I fail to see how the moderators could overlook this. Even if it was a clear cut case of spamming, the player being disciplined should have an opportunity to defend their actions. If they were in the wrong, their explanation will be bad and the mod should feel free to discipline. But how could anyone logically enforce a SUBJECTIVE RULE without getting all the viewpoints of a situation???
This is sensible.

I suspect the mods would say they already believe they have established that the player who has been punished deserved it though? We (the spectators if you like) are actually the only people who are not privy to the full facts of the individual case. The perpetrator of said offence is hardly going to hold their hands up in public and tell us the whole truth if it makes them look bad.

The mods don’t need to publish everything to Avoid opening up any sort of kangaroo court, they would probably say “I have seen the evidence and I am happy with the conclusion”.

We are assuming this hasn’t happened but the truth is for all we know they could be bang-to-rights!!