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Problem User that wreaks havoc on our site

What can be done?

     
11:10 pm on Feb 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi All,
I have a problem the last few years that is costing me time and potential business and I'm not sure what to do about it.

There is a user that we have banned from the site that continues to come back and cause problems. We will ban his IP address every so often, but it is constantly changing. He is a Comcast customer, but they have not been that helpful with this incident.

The nature of this users transgressions is costing us time and money.

Any thoughts on what we can do? It has been going on for about 3 years now and it doesn't look like it will ever end.

Can we take this person to court or get a restraining order? I have the name he used on a paypal payment, but I don't know if it is his real name and not sure if we have an address.

Thanks for the help.

11:36 pm on Feb 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If you can show monetary loss, I would definitely consider looking into a lawsuit. Talk to a lawyer though.
1:43 am on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If this user is in the same country AND you have an address for him, a threatening letter from a lawyer may be sufficient, however, my guess is that it would not be.

If it is only a few digits of the IP address that changes then you could block the whole range.

Can you be more specific (within the posting rules) as to what this user is doing? Someone may have a solution from "outside the box".

Kaled.

4:09 pm on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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We run an online game, a baseball simulation. The game is free to try, and owners are placed into leagues. It is a way for people to try the game before paying for it. This guy basically finds a way to get more than 1 team in a league, then makes lopsided trades between the teams. The effect this has is to make other prospective customers not enjoy the game and potentially not sign up for pay leagues. We have to spend time removing him from these leagues and undoing the trades he makes.
11:13 pm on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

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<<<
This guy basically finds a way to get more than 1 team in a league, then makes lopsided trades between the teams
>>>>
This is where the problem is, if that guy found a way to do it then you scripts are not secured enough
6:24 pm on Feb 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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This is where the problem is, if that guy found a way to do it then you scripts are not secured enough

True, but if he's using different computers, paypal accounts, ip addresses, names, and email addresses it's rather difficult to prevent. How would you find that person A is also person B?
6:55 pm on Feb 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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i'm not sure how you trial bit works, but maybe you could turn off trades between teams if both are being run by unpaid members. or do it so they can only buy from other unpaid teams, and not sell to them.

but if they want to buy or sell with teams that are being run by paid members, then that is fine.

if a paid member starts cheating by creating lots of unpaid teams and trading with them, then you can threaten to ban his paid account. he'd soon get tired of that, if it meant him having to pay all over again to get a new one.

7:01 am on Feb 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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This guy basically finds a way to get more than 1 team in a league, then makes lopsided trades between the teams

He's batting on balls. Maybe he does not view it as a lopsided trade.

[edited by: MrHard at 7:09 am (utc) on Feb. 22, 2009]

1:25 pm on Feb 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like this guy is going to a lot of effort. Might it be personal - is it someone you know?

Kaled.

11:47 am on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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True, but if he's using different computers, paypal accounts, ip addresses, names, and email addresses it's rather difficult to prevent. How would you find that person A is also person B?

Based on this how are you identifying that it is one person doing this?

I assume you have a community built up around the game, is it possible that you could use community "helpers" to police the transfers of new members, perhaps for 2 weeks when they start an account?

4:47 pm on Feb 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

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We banned him from the site after he personally attacked several members of our site on a few occassions. So I think it has become a personal thing on his part.

Thanks for all the advice - sometimes the answer is right in front of your face :) I'm going to try to implement some logic so that trades can't be executed between people from the same IP address in these trial leagues. I have some logic to prevent them from signing up for teams in the same league too - that looks like it could use an overhaul as well.

If comcast ever gets back to me, I will let you know what they say.

Tyson

4:52 pm on Feb 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I would test him for steriods too.

[edited by: Rugles at 5:45 pm (utc) on Feb. 25, 2009]

5:00 pm on Feb 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

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he personally attacked several members - he hunted them down and physically attacked them ? Or was he rude to them online ?
5:38 pm on Feb 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Rude to them online.

Tyson

3:29 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Use whatever footprints you can.

Does he:

* Use the same, or a limited number of ISPs?
* Use the same, or a limited number of browsers?
* Use the same, or a limited number of operating systems?
* Does he take part in, or avoid, any community aspects of the site?
* Does this require account creation? Does he use the same, or a limited number of passwords?
* Can you drop a cookie on login to an account that stores, encrypted, all users that that computer account has logged in as?
etc.

All of the above may not be definitive but may help to identify users to watch more closely.

My personal favourite was the last. I had somebody proclaiming his technical brilliance and that I couldn't keep him out. Would have loved to have seen his face when he created another account and found it immediately banned before he'd done anything. He only tried it once before moving on. Technical brilliance my ****. I was almost disappointed!

3:43 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think maybe it's A Rod