On the treatment of Copperplate’s Agenda
The treatment of tessera Copperplate’s Agenda is sure to raise many debates, but I’d like to voice my severe objection against one particular action here:
The fact that PAC published the method of how RES found the “wrong” tessera, before changing their mind later to keep the puzzle as original, allowing the ENL to follow suit with this free hint, together with a 5.5 hour window.
Especially that this information comes from RES agents who provided it privately to you upon your request.
Let me be clear first: I understand that PAC’s initial post was motivated by accusations of RES receiving insider information. And in a desire to clear themselves (and possibly the involved agents), they probably didn’t consider carefully how much of what they learnt about RES’s method should be withheld, since they thought there was gonna be a new puzzle anyway.
I also understand that the later changed decision was made in an effort to be more on par with previous decisions under similar circumstances, which, the previous disclosure of RES’s method notwithstanding, would be a fair and appropriate call.
Neither action on their own is to be too harshly judged. What I am enraged about is the fact that combined, it became a case of PAC releasing a hint - more than that, clear directions in plain language - to the faction that is falling behind in the hunt, on a tessera that is already found by the other faction, together with a 5.5 hour extra time in which the leading faction could do nothing at all.
What’s more, that it was PAC that privately requested this information from RES agents, who trusted PAC with a full and honest disclosure.
Yes, you screwed up big time here, PAC.
It was said countless times that the Tethered Hands have eyes and ears everywhere, which in large parts relies on agents from both factions trusting them not to disclose OPSEC information to the other faction, that this information will only be used to aid Niantic’s decision making.
We didn’t know they have a big mouth too.
Let me explain the impact and implications of this.
As I said, the disclosure notwithstanding, the treatment itself created a scenario consistent with previous similar cases. What PAC didn’t realise is that fairness and consistency of this solution is lost the moment they disclosed RES’s method publicly. Sure, it is far from a detailed report, but it’s all about the “puzzle solving mindset”, isn’t it? Let us take a minute and recall what PAC said in this post:
“...we have also received concerns on how publicly sharing solution at this time might undermine the decoding process for future puzzles. As the decoding process reflects the decoding mindset. As a Truthseeker, I believe in the sharing of intel. to uncover anything the NIA, or Nemesis has been hiding. But when there's still Faction to Faction competition involved, I can see the importance of preserving OPSEC information ... You are just highly recommended to pause openly sharing until the Event has concluded ...”
What is the use of discouraging agents from posting puzzle solving process when the gamemasters themselves are posting them, albeit concisely, before even the current tessera is found by both factions? If PAC deems puzzle solving process or mindsets to be able to aid puzzle solving efforts of future tessera, it should not be released publicly by the PAC, and sure as hell not before the tessera hunt is over.
I think there is no dispute in whether telling the other faction to go “make lucky guesses and trial-and-error in areas that contains a camera obscura would result in the tessera” is a severely, spoiler-y hint I might say, to the portal hunt.
But giving out a hint is not even the most serious issue. The issue is that RES agents disclosed their methods fully and honestly to PAC, which was later being used against them. This is a violation of the basic and fundamental trust between agents and Niantic representatives, and undermines the trust within a faction that could lead to “reverting each Factions' decoding community back to more exclusive subgroups within subgroups”,
Should we be keeping our guards up when talking to Niantic representatives in the future? Should we be keeping opsec information away from Niantic eyes now, in fear that it might be leaked to the other faction or even made public? We would love for the answers to be “no”, and it very nearly costed us a point. Niantic needs to do better to earn back that trust.
(I’m not even going to mention the amount of time RES lost on the hunt of the first portal due to the prematurely activated passcode, because some might say it’s a mistake on our part, that we should’ve make sure the media filename matches the thread. Well, firstly tessera media filename are rarely the same with its full name due to various reasons, and was never explicitly said to be a rule. Secondly, with the amount of bugs in this Tessellation event, one could legitimately suspect the mistake Niantic made was in the filename, instead of us accidentally found a prematurely activated tessera. How lucky would that make us? But then again, I wouldn’t complain too much on that. My concerns are with disclosing opsec information, a piece that has critical impact in the current game at that. )
In the end, this is not about points or medals, but about PAC and Niantic’s credibility. It is hard work to keep every party involved satisfied, and while I could think of various ways to offset the impact of that hint (i.e. by making a new tessera while giving RES some other compensation), the lack of any gesture or even recognition of its impact from Niantic’s part leaves me but to feel our effort, chalked up as a “lucky guess”, belittled and overlooked. It felt like arrogance. I hope it’s not.
Again, I understand how honest mistakes are made and how hard arbitrating disputes can be. I appreciate anyone taking your time to read this, and possibly be a little more considerate in the future.
a lucky guesser.