Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

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t3st3r
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Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

Post by t3st3r » 18 Sep 2016, 04:39

Reid wrote: GMs are not cops, they represent the link between developers and the community.

I would dare to challenge this particular statement and not exactly happy about it :(

Reason: upon connection attempt, TMW forum "welcomes" me:
==========
Access Denied

As an anti-abuse measure we disallow connections from TOR, VPNs, proxies, and most hosting companies.
==========

It looks much like police state. It exceeds most games I know and even China. So it seems TMW GMs and admins actually turned into cops. If someone looks like a cop and behave like a cop, he/she is a cop, right?

After looking on users list I can see about 20 players. Like half of these are bots. I wonder who are these heartless bastards doing horrible crimes worth of these draconian countermeasures. These are easily most restrictive measures within whole TMW history, at least since 2009, as far as I could remember. It seems it far surpases e.g. any Platyna measures I'm aware of and anything else I've ever met.

Disclaimer: I could be unaware of some events behind the scene or something. Yet, when facebook could run tor hidden service despite tremendous amounts of users (and resulting abuse) and small project posts such claims in error message, I sense there is some bug or so. Are you sure its heading good direction and GMs/admins haven't actually turned into cops? For me it actually looks like if GMs and admins are full-fledged cops at this points and have established police state.

What I really do not get is: is it really okay to take drastic countermeasures to get rid of players at ALL costs, even if it gets rid of other players? (I'm aware of at least one player who left the game thanks to this approach). Most games I've seen were investing efforts in getting players to behave in first place and their GMs did their best to resolve situation peacefully, only resorting to bans when everything else has failed. Unfortunately, TMW is nowhere like this. Then, since RPGs take a plenty of time to develop a character, just suspending it, even temporarily usually works like a fairly good measure. I wonder how it came to this. Am I fundamentally wrong with this view of the world and wildly missing something? (I know access to server is a privilege, not right, but still fail to understand such a strong determination to get rid of players)
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Re: TMWC

Post by WildX » 18 Sep 2016, 14:11

All such actions are taken for a reason. There is no evil person sitting in a chair stroking their cat and gloating about their evil plan to transform TMW into a police state. There is a very simple set of rules and those rules are enforced. That's far from the dystopian world you describe.

Regardless, I'm going to make this post into its own topic so that you can start a discussion about Tor or VPNs if you wish. Maybe this can get somewhere constructive.
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Re: TMWC

Post by Reid » 18 Sep 2016, 16:42

t3st3r wrote:It looks much like police state. It exceeds most games I know and even China. So it seems TMW GMs and admins actually turned into cops. If someone looks like a cop and behave like a cop, he/she is a cop, right?
GMs have nothing to do about it, so I stay still with what I said.
t3st3r wrote:is it really okay to take drastic countermeasures to get rid of players at ALL costs, even if it gets rid of other players?
Let's rephrase your question.
Is it ok to take countermeasures to prevent users to escape their IP ban? Yes.
Also, TOR is a bad service to use if you want to play, you should know about it.
WildX wrote:All such actions are taken for a reason. There is no evil person sitting in a chair stroking their cat and gloating about their evil plan to transform TMW into a police state.
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Re: Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

Post by deepthought » 18 Sep 2016, 17:51

I believe those who use proxy and play games are upto no good as we had players who are banned using proxies in the past. That's the reason most of the proxy and vpn services are banned. And also why use tor ? If you use tor with tmw, you will have big lags. GMs have nothing to do this.
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Re: Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

Post by mistergrey » 19 Sep 2016, 01:10

It looks much like police state. It exceeds most games I know and even China. So it seems TMW GMs and admins actually turned into cops. If someone looks like a cop and behave like a cop, he/she is a cop, right?
Wait... so, you're saying that TMW is a police state simply because there are countermeasures against people using proxies, Tor, etc ? And GMs/Admins are cops? This seems like extreme exaggeration because you are frustrated, more than making a valid point. To be fair, the issue you bring up has very little to do with GMs anyway; GMs are players nominated by player votes. The reason I point out an obvious fact is this: Several times during a GM vote, somebody has used proxies or other methods to sockpuppet accounts on the forum, just to be able to vote Yes or No multiple times. My own poll passed, only to be restarted because somebody cheated to vote no several times. Similar things have been done to get around player bans as well.
Most games I've seen were investing efforts in getting players to behave in first place and their GMs did their best to resolve situation peacefully, only resorting to bans when everything else has failed. Unfortunately, TMW is nowhere like this. Then, since RPGs take a plenty of time to develop a character, just suspending it, even temporarily usually works like a fairly good measure. I wonder how it came to this.
So, what exactly makes you say this? Are there any particular incidents you can think of where a player was unfairly banned? I can't help but notice you started this post talking about how unfair it is that people can't use certain services to log into the forum... but by the end, it appears to be about "GMs banning people without giving more chances". Have you or a friend been banned recently, to be this upset?

I'm not trying to accuse you of anything, t3st3r, it's just hard to pinpoint what you're actually upset about. Bans aren't a first reaction for GMs, and just about the only time anyone gets banned permanently is if they break the afk botting rule (twice!), or actually prove themselves to be a menace in game. This is a far cry from the police state I keep hearing about, but I'm absolutely willing to hear what makes you feel this way.

**Can you list any reasons why allowing services like [Tor, VPNs, proxies, etc] would be worth considering? And can you list any examples of GMs permanently banning someone with no good reason?**
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Re: Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

Post by WildX » 19 Sep 2016, 01:23

This seems like extreme exaggeration because you are frustrated
Sums up this thread pretty well.

There is no restriction of freedom on TMW. Only simple rules, like you will find anywhere else in life. Until wushin's anarchist Utopia comes about that is.
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Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

Post by t3st3r » 19 Sep 2016, 05:19

@WildX
TMW forum is fisrt web site I see which declared goals going THAT far. These goals are exceeding what China does (well, trying to). Since China often considered to be police state of the networking, I think I'm not entirely wrong calling things that way?

@Reid
Heading towards police state is my perception of TMW rules/policies and their evolution over time. I doubt abuse levels evolved the same ways. After all, "legacy" server seems to be half-empty. My real question is probably like this: shouldn't TMW GMs and admins invest more efforts into trying to spin down conflicts and resolving issues by peaceful means instead of investing more efforts into ban hammering?

I would agree Tor is bad for RPGs. But msg suggests vpns, proxies and hostings as well. I wonder if those who put msg in place seen proxies/vpns on dynamic ISP pools as well? To add more fun, my "real" wired ISP known to break TMW downloads (coz cloudflare throws server used to host illegal drugs site, local ISP bans it). When I'm not in the city, wireless connection suxx anyway. What really frustrates me is the fact these days everyone having fun breaking networks arbitrary ways.

@deepthought technically I could bypass any IP ban, my presence here suggests I've did exactly that :). If someone curious: I've attached some random socks5 on top of Tor. After reading your message I'm feeling myself a real badass.

@mistergrey as for incidents, I've been unfairly banned from TMW! I believe I did nothing worth of IP bans so far. So it makes me sad to see network breakages here and there, be it ISP or server itself. Ppl breaking nets are frustrating.

But you're right in one thing I've failed to consider. It could be the change through whole TMW community, so it could be that TMW community considers such policies evolution to be ok and fine with it. Looking on summing up it seems it is exactly the case, right?
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Re: Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

Post by WildX » 19 Sep 2016, 11:57

t3st3r wrote: @deepthought technically I could bypass any IP ban, my presence here suggests I've did exactly that :). If someone curious: I've attached some random socks5 on top of Tor. After reading your message I'm feeling myself a real badass.

@mistergrey as for incidents, I've been unfairly banned from TMW! I believe I did nothing worth of IP bans so far. So it makes me sad to see network breakages here and there, be it ISP or server itself. Ppl breaking nets are frustrating.
Could you elaborate on this incident, please?
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Re: Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

Post by t3st3r » 19 Sep 2016, 14:42

WildX it has come to situation where I can't or wouldn't use my account.

- If I do not use tor/vpn/etc, most of time resouces download fails thanks to local moron laws and ISP being wise enough to ban CDN servers and displaying ban message in weird way like just altering HTTP 200 OK content. So Manaplus ends with borkzored resources. Manaplus often ignores borkzored resource and overall result usually FAIL. And it has been like this for maybe year. Or two.

- If I would use tor/vpn/proxy... to overcome local idiocy (as well as enhancing privacy/protecting local wireless traffic) TMW staff insists I'm outlaw. Equally sweet.

So at the end of day its overall not too far from IP ban. Why its so unjust? I can't even blame someone particular, lol. Compound failures and collective decision making are funny things: everything is FUBAR and I can't even name any single person responsible for that. So I'll stick to "simple rules" and would just consider everyone breaking nets for their convenience or whatever other minor gain just evil, including TMW staff.

At the end of day I'm tired. Thanks for giving it a try, but it seems it just not going to work and I'm getting in mood to give up.
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Re: Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

Post by WildX » 19 Sep 2016, 14:50

I do not understand. You have been banned and are upset that you can't evade that ban? It seems the rules are working as intended then. What is the issue here?
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Re: Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

Post by chaychay » 20 Sep 2016, 10:54

no. he has not been banned *as a person/player* but he has been banned as being part of the group of people that have to use tor/vpn/whatever to connect to tmw because isp/government makes them jump through hoops. :? Correct me if i'm wrong.
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Re: Use of TOR, VPNs, proxies and hosting companies

Post by MadCamel » 23 Sep 2016, 17:37

I'm the one who implemented this blocking.

IP address is the only identifier we can use to ban people who just keep making new accounts and breaking the rules. They'll use hosting providers, TOR, and VPNs to bypass any IP bans we set, so I've blocked many of these to help prevent this.

IP is not a good unique identifier. I'll be the first to admit this isn't a very good solution to the abuse problem.. But for certain types of persistent abuse it's the only tool we have!

I've been making this a bit friendlier. I recently added the error message instead of just denying connections. Since t3st3r pointed out that not *everyone* on a vpn/etc is bad, I'm updating the message with instructions for getting an IP whitelisted.

t3st3r, if you have a good reason to be using a proxy/VPN/whatever, I'll be happy to whitelist an IP address for you or anyone else. Highlight me on IRC.
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