Activision is Harassing a Modder After He Reveals Odds of Drops

Call Of Duty is one of the biggest franchises in the gaming world, with releases year after year from no less than 3 developers now. With so many games it comes as no surprise that their modding community is quite active as well, bringing new maps and options to gamers all over. One modder seems to have caught the developers eye resulting in claims that Activision are harassing a modder over some of his content.

In the Reddit post, moderator and modder TheReal_DF (DecrypterFixer), explains how much of a fan he has been, especially of the zombie survival mode. Recalling everything from his average of wave 45 in the zombie survival mode and how he got into the game mode only to then discover the mysteries of easter eggs within the game. Being interested in programming TheReal_DF decided to have a look and see how the game (Black Ops 1) worked.

TheReal_DF even says that the game helped him better at reading assembly language, a skill which eventually got him his dream job. That’s where the post goes south, describing the game as something that no longer represents what he “loved”.

In a follow-up post by chefslapchop, it’s revealed that “Activision has been harassing him legally him exposing the annals of their micro transactions and creating offline mods”. If this isn’t clear he then goes on to point out that in particular Activision dislikes that TheReal_DF has been “trying to find the exact odds of supply drops so people know what they’re spending money on”.

So a community loses a great person, a modder, all thanks to a company “harassing” him over offline content (not even stuff that affects people online, unlike the many hackers that exploit the game) and the fact that he wants to help people understand and make better decisions in the game.

Do you agree with this? Who’s side are you on? Is Activision right to be upset someone is looking at and learning from their work or should we all have the right to learn and enjoy games without the companies that create them trying to bully and scare us from their communities?

German Court Rules Facebook’s ‘Friends Finder’ Unlawful

The highest court in Germany has ruled that Facebook’s ‘Friends Finder’ function is unlawful on the grounds that it scrapes the e-mail contacts of users in order to market the social media site to other users. The German Federal Court of Justice found that the feature – a complaint in a case brought against Facebook in 2010 by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) – constituted advertising harassment, upholding a previous judgement from 2014.

A summary from the 2014 ruling [PDF] described the function of the ‘Friends Finder’ feature as “undue, harassing, and therefore illicit advertising as defined by the German Law against Unfair Competition,” and argued that “the Find Friends feature violates German privacy laws. After the user clicks the Find Friends button, Facebook processes and uses personal data for advertising purposes without informing the user or obtaining the user’s consent as required by law.”

“What the judgment means exactly for the current Friends Finder, we now have to find out,” Klaus Mueller, head of the VZBV, said (via Reuters). “In addition to Facebook, other services use this form of advertising to attract new users. They must now probably rethink.”

In a statement, a Facebook Germany spokesperson said that the company was still awaiting receipt of the formal decision and that it would examine the findings “to assess any impact on our services.”

SXSW Gaming Events Cancelled After ‘Threats Of Violence’

Well this is a mess but here goes, two gaming events have been cancelled at the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) festival that is due to take place next year (March 2016), after organisers confirmed they have become victim to continuous threats of violence which includes a direct message of the potential for violent behaviour “on site”.

At first, the content of the discussion panels seem compelling and rather innocuous considering the alleged reaction, the first was coined “SavePoint: A discussion on the Gaming community” while the other was named “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games”  The former was there to primarily analyse the social and political landscape within the ever-changing and diverse gaming community as well as a closer look at the journalistic integrity of gaming journalists themselves; the latter was focussed on data around abuse in larger gaming communities as well as other related topics.

Sounds interesting right? Indeed, the reason this has somewhat blown up in the organisers faces is down to the panels referring to the madness known as “GamerGate” neither panel was officially linked to this subject but did intend to discuss issues associated with both sides of the row. SavePoint was due to feature prominent GamerGate supporters while Level up was likely to feature an argument, sorry discussion against Harassment in games and I would have thought GamerGate would have come up at some point.

So that’s it, no, supporters of the GamerGate campaign suggest that they themselves have been the victim of “abuse after they tried to highlight conflicts of interest in the video games industry. The organisers of SavePoint have announced that they will go ahead with plans to host a panel discussion themselves and will do so by other means.

To add to the complications, media organisation BuzzFeed has threatened to boycott SXSW unless the festival reinstated both parties, which looks unlikely at this time considering both panels are fearful of their safety. Buzzfeed released a statement that reads as follows,

“We will feel compelled to withdraw [our staff] if the conference can’t find a way to do what those other targets of harassment do every day – to carry on important conversations in the face of harassment. We hope you can support the principle of free speech and engage a vital issue facing us and other constituents on the event.”

I have always felt rather non plus with the ideology of threats of violence, granted, if you received one then you are well within your rights to take it with the utmost of seriousness, but, if someone intended to hit you, they probably would not warn you that they intended to do so in the first place, it rather defeats the point. It’s a tough one, free speech should be the number one focus, but, free speech itself does not mean you can say what you want if there is a chance that it could cause major offence.

It does seem silly though that two gaming events have been cancelled because it has caused this reaction, can’t people debate like adults and others listen with respect like adults without the need for threats?

Reddit Launches New Harassment Rules

Reddit is banning a handful of its worst communities. “Our goal is to enable as many people as possible to have authentic conversations and share ideas and content on an open platform,” “We want as little involvement as possible in managing these interactions but will be involved when needed to protect privacy and free expression, and to prevent harassment.”

One of the bans will include the only subreddit with more than 5,000 subscribers — is r/fatpeoplehate, a forum devoted to posting pictures of overweight people for ridicule. Also, four more subreddits have been names.as r/

  1. r/hamplanethatred
  2.  r/transfags
  3. r/neofag
  4.  r/shitniggerssay

They’ve all now been shut down, with a message stating:  “for violating the Reddit rules to keep everyone safe.” According to reddit these last four ranged from 149 to 3071 subscribers, although in r/fatpeoplehate’s case, “more than 5,000” is a bit of an understatement; the last Reddit metrics (and a Google cached page) put it at around 151,000 subscribers.

The changes have been made by Reddit this morning, there is approx 650,000 subreddits on the website, each one requires moderating and looking after. Over the past few years, Reddit has restricted the anything goes rule, to exclude sexual photos of minors, leaks of celeb nudes and more.

Deciding on what is banned and what is not could be a difficult problem for Reddit, especially because it’s hard to agree what harassment is actually constituted of.

Thank you to TheVerge for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Reddit

Permanently League of Legends Ban for Profanity in Just 15 Minutes

This was bound to happen sooner or later since most players I’ve seen on either League of Legends or Dota 2 gain faster profanity skills than any other game-wise skills. Thankfully, Riot Games shares the same vision and wants to keep League of Legends a fun and welcoming place.

The developer wants to make an automatic world-wide banning system for players who use verbal harassment in the game. The system is said to have rolled out for the European Union, but should the tests prove to be successful, it will roll out in the rest of the regions soon enough.

The system works by sending notification cars to players who have used verbal harassment in matches, providing an evidence of the latter and an appropriate punishment that will take effect. The player can be punished in two ways, with either a two-week ban or a permanent ban, after exiting the match. It takes only 15 minutes after the match ends for the system to register the verbal harassment and deliver the ban.

Riot states that the player behaviour team is looking over all verbal harassments being reported and if the test goes as planned, the system will be available worldwide shortly. But this is not all that it brings. The new system will also keep players who reported others up to date with the process status and rewards players for positive gameplay. Personally, if the system gets rid of all annoying players out there, it might even tempt me to join the MOBA community. How about you? What are your thoughts?

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information

Lizard Squad Teen Guilty Of 23 Charges Of Online Harassment and Swatting

Lizard Squad was once an unknown name among a lot of people, however, this changed when both the Playstation Online and Xbox Gold systems were taken offline over the Christmas Period. The group claiming responsibility, Lizard Squad, then began selling their services to hack and DOS (denial of service attack, in which a web site is forced offline by a barrage of traffic sent to the website companies). At one point they even claimed a bomb had been planted on the plane which John Smedley, Sony Online Entertainments Boss, was about to depart on. A teenager in British Columbia (Canada), a member of Lizard Squad, has pleaded guilty to 23 charges against him.

Due to his age the defendant cannot be named, but his actions have been described in a day-long hearing. The defendant specifically  targeted young female gamers and their parents, adding the girls on League Of Legends or Twitter. If the girls in question declined his friend request he would turn malicious, even resorting to doxxing (posting someone’s personal information online) or swatting (calling the police pretending that someone is being held hostage in their property or has been killed).

One woman he swatted, a student at the University of Arizona in Tucson, left her course after armed police dragged away family members during the second swatting of that week. He then continued to brag about his exploits, both on twitter and during an eight-hour live stream on Youtube in which he was seen to be swatting numerous people, during which viewers reported him to the police.

Several Lizard Squad members have been arrested, two of which were from the UK, one formally charged with Swatting and being involved in the Christmas hacks against Playstation and Xbox.

Personally I have no love for people who decided to ruin other people’s lives and experiences for laughs or personal gain, especially when people are quite often traumatised by swatting incidents. If you ever doubt how serious these actions are, you can watch a Runescape streamers reaction to a swatting that occurred on his channel (Be warned, this video is extremely emotional, you can watch it here). With sentencing due on the 29th June, it will be interesting to see the verdict of this trial and how it impacts future cases.

Thank you Eurogamer and for the information.

Image Courtesy of the Independent.

Gaming Reviewer Contacts Mothers of Trolls

Alanah Pearce, an Australian gaming reviewer on the radio and on YouTube, has come up with a novel method of getting back at her online trolls and harassers.

In a Guardian article, she says that she discovered that many of her online bullies were young boys, not 40-year-old men.

“A while ago, I realised that a lot of the people who send disgusting or overly sexual comments to me over the internet aren’t adult males,” said Pearce from her company’s Brisbane base.”

So, she decided to take it to where it’ll hit them hardest – their mothers. Instead of blocking them or reporting them to the authorities, she told their mothers to have a good old word with them.

She posted one of her exchanges with a mother on Twitter, which has since received over 20,000 retweets.

Source: Jezebel