False Positive Bans Hammering User Engagement

MorganzaMorganza ✭✭✭✭✭
edited February 2020 in General

It's obvious that Ingress is losing user engagement -- portals standing for weeks in formerly high-turnover areas, huge swaths of dense gray even during the past deploy challenge, the noticeable drop in IFS participation after Redacted was retired (FevGames just started publishing stats, many thanks to them), fewer and lower-attendance farms in formerly high-participation areas, etc.

One thing that I've seen in my local area, though, is the huge hit to player motivation that even a few false positive bans of long-time legitimate players can cause.

I know that spoofing and cheating are huge problems, but false positives are also demoralizing. From an algorithmic perspective it probably seems wonderful -- send players A and B a letter accusing them of being the same person, player A quits, player B scales back their activity.... but that ignores the possibility that two legitimate players were unfairly accused and now a whole community is feeling the effects. Two less people to make 8. Two less people to have dinner with. Two more stories to make people question their commitment to the game. One less person to complain about attending farms with the volume turned up on the game. (Well, OK, maybe not that. But you know who you are and I miss you.) Two less people to keep the game interesting for the other faction.

Among many other things, it reduces the interest of players in spending money on the game, (There was a case i my area, admittedly a few years ago, where an iOS player bought a character badge, fired up Ingress on their VPN-ed work Android phone to redeem it, and got permanently banned on the spot.)

I know that transparency about abuse systems mostly just helps the cheaters (I used to work on spam detection...), but is there anything you can say to reassure the user community that things will get better?

Post edited by Morganza on
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