Legit players ban appeal, please help
I sincerely hope you and all your families staying safe during COVID times.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the team for all their effort for a great game that we all enjoy a lot - Ingress. Game, decoding and events are marvelous opportunities to have fun and meet great and interesting people around.
Speaking about events. During the very last event, 2 agents, pr0m and Azraf teamed together during an xfac authorised event - first saturday at home.
Covid is being less important this month in Switzerland country as it was at the beginning of the year, they agreed to hit as high score as possible playing together during ifs event, where xfac play is not considered as win-trading as per February 2019 AMA.
"Let me be very candid about this, as I’ve said this before, and it clearly needs to be repeated. Official Niantic events such as IFS, NL1331, Mission Days, Glyph Challenges, Anomalies, etc. are not win-trading. You do not have to like that statement. But those are the rules. Things were changed because it felt redundant."
Nevertheless, both players being on the spot, in real life in the location, using both only their accounts, they still got banned and hence a good will turned out to be the most saddest one for our communities as both were very dedicated and passionate players.
Our ENL player pr0m, one of the top 10 Ingress players worldwide as you may see in your statistics, was, here in Switzerland, giving a lot of his free time and always nice and positive attitude to provide the best in-game experience for many players by organizing enlightened only but also many xfaction events, such as IFS. You may find his name as a leader of many of those.
He was the first one to make sure that the game is fun and equal for everyone, not accepting any cheaters within the enlightened community and he put a lot of efforts to make sure to integrate all players in the game, green or blue.
Such as was the case for Azraf, who quickly became one of greatest RES players in the area. That provoked many jealousy among the ENL faction and it was pr0m who managed to calm down the situation with his legendary calm and patience. Again, to ensure that the game is fun and everyone is treated with respect.
Banning pr0m and Azraf already unfortunately gave the message that even playing without any third party software is the best way to get banned. Unfortunately I've heard that a lot lately from both factions here and it really saddens me. They were the best example, that just playing in a legitime without harassment, without anger or in life violence is possible.
Therefore, I would kindly ask you to reconsider your position on both accounts, as, at least from what we know, they have not violated TOS and it has only worsened the people relationships in this area. I personally feel, this is definitely not the way Niantic would like their communities to become, well I sincerely hope not.
Otherwise, if they did violate TOS according to your decision, would you mind at least communicating which terms were violated? Not to me, but to pr0m and Azraf, so that at least we may leverage the true reason to try and appease the high tensions in between communities.
Many thanks for your consideration and time to read this letter and sincerely hope you would pair with us to help us to make the game fun and equal for all players here again.
I hope the entire team is doing fine and that you're dealing well with the consequence of the situation we live in.
I would like to voice my opinion on a particular situation that occurred during the beginning of this week. Following the IFS at home event on Saturday, at least two relatively high-profile agents were banned in Lausanne, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Pr0m (ENL) and azraf (RES) participated in a x-fac event commemorating the recent catastrophic events in Lebanon.
The way the warnings, as well as temporary and permanent account bans in Ingress are handled is somewhat cryptic, and perhaps rightfully so, following the "security by obscurity" framework. There is a mix of official rules, unofficial rules, clarifications of Ingress staff, AMAs, and somehow self-converged opinions of Ingress playerbase, mostly figured out by experience, both positive and negative.
The impact of a ban obviously differs from player to player, and, as you know, tend to have very unintended feedback: Cheaters don't care, they'll create another. Legitimate players would be concerned with the effort that the account has had invested in over its lifetime. Committed players would have personal attachment to their account. Dedicated players would worry about the ban in the context of losing the level, sojourner streak, medals, achievements, badges etc.
On Tuesday, in the morning, agent pr0m got banned, with a generic message. No reason given, no three-strike policy, no temporary ban, just a straight-out termination. I assume the ban was done programmatically. An appeal that immediately followed, was rejected 3 hours ago, after (I hope) being treated by a service desk.
I imagine most of the banned agents don't appeal, as they are themselves aware of there being a good reason behind. If you take a look at the statistics of the agent, at the contributions in the community forums, at his event attendances, at the sheer amount of dedication, energy and willpower he has expended in order to support the game, everything it stands for, and the local community, do you really think this person is cheating? Do you think he would risk is L16*8, 1.2billion AP account, with badges and mission banners that take minutes to load on the scanner in consciously breaking the rules? With my utmost and most sincere respect, are you aware how much this game can mean to somebody?
This agent is the core of Swiss ENL network. He recruited countless players, myself involved. He is what symbolizes the game, and all of its values to us. I am not asking for reversal of the decision. I am asking for something that I am not entitled to according to ToS, I'm asking for an explanation of why an agent of such a profile got banned, along with an opportunity to be given to him to explain the action. You are by no means required to oblige, you can equally just ignore this wall of text, but if you do - and I truly believe you have no reason to not to - you will demonstrate yourself what you are asking for the players to do: a sense of fair play, transparency, adherence to the rules and a healthy antagonism and competition instead of hatred across the factions.
I will borrow the closing remark from Talleyrand: "C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute". Dear Niantic, with all the sincerity I have and all the respect I have, am, and will keep holding for the game and your entire team, you have made a mistake. You messed up. Please, I appeal to your Ingress core values, do revisit this case, look at the evidence, examine this particular case, and if you decide to maintain the decision, state the clear reason why. By doing so, the rules will become clear, unnecessary bans will be avoided, hard feelings will be quenched, and a little extra clarity would be for the better for you, for us, and for the whole Ingress community.
Many thanks for your considerations,
Juraj (aka agent Dragonfish, L11(recursed), Lausanne, Switzerland)
Regret to say that very disappointing thing happened: ban of pr0m and Azraf. Both players are very active and with no doubts real ones. Both with a positive attitude.
Yes, we are aware that you are not obliged to communicate / negotiate on your criteria, but we strongly believe that it’s a false positive one. As I've already contacted support on their behalf on this topic Terrence promised to provide extra info to banned players to allow them defend themselves but so far there are only generic mails unfortunately.
I really hope you will review all circumstances and will reconsider your opinion on this topic.