Concerns re: Spoofing [A Dedicated Thread]
Dear Agents -
I wanna talk to you about spoofing and support. @NianticVK, @NianticBlue, and I really feel your pain, and I want you to know that I spend a lot of time sharing your feedback internally (not just related to spoofing!).
To help us make sure we’re collecting feedback related to spoofing in a productive way, we’re centralizing the conversation to this thread. We’re also going to start enforcing our Ingress Community Guidelines, in particular when conversations get heated and some of our guidelines are ignored or violated.
Until I’m able to share more updates with you with regards to spoofing, here is how we'll move forward with those conversations here on the forum:
- This is your dedicated thread about spoofing. Any other threads related to spoofing will be closed and directed here. Continuing to create new threads after we’ve directed you here will result in warnings and if it continues, possible forum suspension/bans.
- The Ingress Community Forum is not Support. The folks helping with the community are not equipped to provide support assistance and we cannot discuss account-related details in public (forums, social media, Telegram, etc).
- This thread is not an escalation path and while it will be monitored and feedback shared internally where appropriate, it is unlikely that you will get a response from the team monitoring the forum. Why have the thread then? Because I want you to have a place where you can share your frustrations, because we are listening, and because I want to make sure we preserve the rest of the forum for other conversations.
- Posts containing information beyond support ticket numbers will be edited (possibly deleted) and will be issued warnings. If they continue, we’ll evaluate whether banning from the forum is appropriate. The posting of Agent Codenames with accusations of cheating is against the Ingress Community Guidelines. Specific details and concerns should be submitted via Support channels.
- Keep it civil and constructive. I 1000% understand that you are frustrated and angry - I know you want to make the game that we all love so much better. Because this is a Community Forum, we are going to be more active in warning Agents who continue to be rude, negative, or toxic in order to encourage and foster a positive environment. I’m not expecting rainbows and sunshine, but I’m expecting better. Continued unproductive behavior after warnings may result in forum suspension/banning.
- I continue to meet with our teams to both understand how things work in all areas of Ingress and to share your feedback. While effort is being made to improve the overall Support experience, it will take time and we appreciate your patience while we do this work.
Thank you for loving Ingress so passionately and I hope to be the bearer of some more news on the anti-cheat front before too long.
Thank you so much. The General area just gets so overwhelmed with Spoofing stories.
I get it, it’s frustrating as heck, we just got a spoofer banned recently that was causing a ton of heartache for us, but the General channel just gets overrun with them. It makes the Forums seem so negative.
I welcome this positive step.
Better. There are updates about this matter mentioned.
I wonder how many people will stop playing before they do something real about spoofers. There's like 6 people left playing regularly in my city (2 of them are known PoGO spoofers, and looking at the weird things that happen after their portals go down and get enclosed by our faction, there's no doubt they're Ingress spoofers too) and many have stopped playing because they got tired of this.
Hopefully they develop or find a way to make connections between all those reported/banned accounts and block the specific devices from where they play, cause I've seen how easy it is for spoofers to level up a new account in less than 2 hours and destroy anything that one can build, just like blowing out a candle, so just banning those accounts is not enough to stop this problem, because yeah! it is indeed very frustrating to deal with someone 🦆ing up all your efforts with an anonymous account from the comfort of their houses, while you're out there spending energy and sometimes gas money to move between places. Makes you want to stop playing or makes you want to do the same to even the field.
@NianticVK can you please share some information if Niantic is taking actions against Multiaccounting as well? If so, what exactly needs to be done to report those so that the case is actually investigated? And in addition to that, what we can do if multiple phones are used?
*getting comfortable in the new home*
Thanks for creating this thread, I'm afraid we're stuck here together for a long long time, judging by how support works.
I have a couple of questions. Does Lambert really exist as human or is it a machine? Because we get bulk replies to our reports submitted by different agents sent by Lambert at the exact same time. It really looks like they are being checked and "replied all" without reading.
Does Sandro still work in Niantic? Or was he fired for actually doing investigations and replying in human words?
Which proofs does support look into and which are dismissed? Do they even look at the proofs?
Why fast tracking only works for remote areas? A spoofer making 100 crosslinks within 30 minutes in urban area is actually just as bad. Basically, 100 crosslinks demanding 100 flipcards within 10 kilometres from each other can paralyze the game even in urban areas, which is happening at the moment.
When will it be possible to automatically and promptly remove all the links made by the spoofers after they are banned?
Can we get ADA refactors to compensate what we already spent? The count is on hundreds already.
Can you update on how many spoofers were already banned in a specified cell for the specified period? Without names, just statistics by demand, so we know there are cases when reports do work.
I will post more questions later, I have them.
Accusation the whole faction of cheating is against the Ingress Community Guidelines too.
Сач amazing! 😍
Posts containing information beyond support ticket numbers will be edited (possibly deleted) and will be issued warnings.
Well frankly speaking I don't understand this rule. Does that mean every reply should be in and only in following format:
Ticket Number: 1234567 (the 100th ticket I created) Spoofer still not banned after 30 days. Please HELP!!!!
Or can players still talk like:
Player X (proactively hide the codename when publishing) is supposed to be a spoofer for following reasons:
thank you @NianticThia for topic
I join @Guschtel and I would like to know if it is really useful to report the multi-account and under which pattern.
I third the comments from @Guschtel and @Shooters42 about multi-accounting - is it possible to have a similar set up for that? Just as big a problem as spoofing.
But I also want to say I think making this thread is a massive improvement over the recent attempt to talk about cheating that actually just made it look like Niantic didn't care, when your roadmap focused on "positive" things even though you acknowledged cheating and cheaters are a huge problem.
Tigerlilly will be loving this
I thought maybe a forum could be open on here to provide more information to any ticket but the visibility of the posts are only for the topic creator and Niantic staff.
Removes the potential of any abuse.
Why have the thread then? Because I want you to have a place where you can share your frustrations, because we are listening, and because I want to make sure we preserve the rest of the forum for other conversations.
For any Agents reading this, I've found that doing something similar for your local community is quite effective at keeping your community together.
Make a dedicated channel for discussing spoofing and multi-accounting. Direct people to use that channel. Any capable chat program will let you pin documents, search for messages, etc. This makes it easier to track whether someone's complaint about Fake Agent XYZ was turned into a support ticket, and whether that ticket is still open. This also makes it so that anyone in your community who isn't as affect by or as interested in the spoofing can continue to discuss their fielding ops, plans for meet-ups, etc., without getting side tracked and discouraged all the time.
This won't solve the actual problem of spoofing, but waiting for Niantic to completely eradicate it is like waiting for Godot (I've been waiting for 6+ years, now…), so you might as well find ways to cope in the meantime.
Create a new thread related spoofing... That´s a paddlin'
Post containing information beyond supoort ticket number... That´s a paddlin'
Post agent codename with accusations of cheating... That´s a paddlin'
Be rude, negative, or toxic... That´s a paddlin'
The current team dedicated to investigating spoofing should be fired.
In the last 2 years they have not been able to ban any account in my region.
I have tried to send as much data as possible to facilitate their work (videos, photos, geografic information...), but they have proven to be incompetent.
I think thet a completely renewed team is needed, that can contribute new ideas on how to combat spoofing.
You apreciate our patience, great. Paying 13 months of CORE in the hope that part of the money will be invested in fighting spoofing, and not seeing results, is abusing our patience.
lol what team. it's just a bot that closes tickets
Positive step for really solving the issue of spoofing reports' not being taken action?
Or positive step aimed for making the General section look harmonious and that's all?
Unfortunately the community of the opponent faction in my area is generally embracing spoofing and multi-accounting to take advantage. We don't need effective communication channel between players. We need effective communication channel between us and NIA OPS anti-spoof team (if there really is someone except Lambert bot).
We had one, a limited one, when the old Trusted Reporter Program was working, i.e. the Telegram fast track report BOT. But even things like this were ab.andoned and somehow nobody (no Vanguard or XM Ambassador) stood out to ask "hey why are you proactively limiting the resources and eliminating possibilities for players to stop cheaters".
Instead I see some players asking "hey you should not defame others" and flagging for it in every anti-spoof report even when some suspicious accounts look 99.99% likely a bot and some showing "none of my business" attitudes.
However when it comes to players who suffer from ineffective spoofing reporting I see them uniting and supporting relevant posts automatically. Thus it's never a "keeping players together" thing. We have passed this step for very long.
I have mitigated feeling about this thread...
At one side it's a good initiative showing that cheating (not only spoofing, but also multi-accounting, sharing account, ...) is taken seriously by Niantic
On the other side I have the feeling that the last door for agents to alert Niantic that some reports where closed too fast is now definitly closed and it add frustration to frustration.
However, I totaly agree with the fact that we need to be more constructive than frustrated even it is very difficult in that case.
So it would be constructive for us "passionate players who just want fair gameplay" to know how to be the most effective in our report?
Lengh, content, proof type ?
Specific report frame for spoofing reports, for multiple accounting report ?
Or the structure of the report doesn't matter for the support team?
Another question: is it possible for you to check z level of agents move ? Or portal position? Spoofer falsify their location and move to x;y coordinate but I supose that the z level stay the same when moving using spoofing tools? Or am I too naive?
And last question, is it possible for the dedicated team to reexamine cold cases?
Thanks in advance for your help. We really need improvement of the anti-cheat support in Ingress.
@Mendeleiev17 - thank you for your feedback on the NIA-staff. It's been noted each time you've stated this. Continuing say that staff should be fired and other insults towards staff (or other Agents) will result in disciplinary action as a violation of community guidelines.
I kind of wish there was a sub forum for this topic, so it would clear the general thread of yet another sticky post that likely doesn't need to be there. That and each thread that runs its course could be closed when its done with.
I feel like there shouldn't have to be a need for this thread as people shouldn't have to resort to having to post on the forums to get an answer to issues like this.
The current system is majorly flawed in how things are actually addressed and if it's not severe enough to get it fast tracked with a fully built up case or stuff that has a mighty need to be justifiably fixed by reset it's not worth your time to deal with the ticket system to not get any reasonable result.
I get that it's a very nuanced problem that has lots of factors in play, and it's very easy to jump on the bandwagon that someone is cheating inaccurately, and the fact that the material commonly used proof can usually be extremely circumstancial. But the way the current system results in hardly any fixes until the problem escalates to a point where it no longer can be ignored just leaves the game and it's players open to so much abuse from bad actors.
The lack of detection/information from Niantics end(at least how it seems) mixed with the black hole that is typical support leads to a very painful process that usually doesn't end up with a positive result and I can fully see how people get frustrated with it
If you are not willing to receive criticism and my opinions seem like insults, you may have made a mistake when creating this forum.
I may be being aggressive with my opinions about the productivity of Niantic's support team, but I think I give a voice to many who are just as angry as I am.
Ingress is in one of its worst moments, cheat accounts are proliferating and agents, sadly, we don't see any improvement in the anticheat system. I want to believe that improvements are attempted, but the results speak for themselves.
I was optimistic until I submitted two videos in two different reports, from the same spoofer account, and they were useless. I spent 2 hours of my time and gas to be able to record each of those videos, but I guess nobody saw those videos, because otherwise there would have been a ban.
I've lost faith in Niantic, but I'm so dumb that I keep paying, because I want to believe that this game can still be saved.
In the name of constructive feedback, I'd like to comment on the following question/answer flow:
If I'm reporting a player for breaking the rules, the options should reflect actual rules as I, an Agent, understand them and think of them. "Spoofing" is a good answer. "Sharing Accounts" is a good answer.
The other four options, however, are somewhat confusing. They actually answer a different, more specific question: "Why do I think this account is Spoofing?" And furthermore, they're not mutually exclusive. If I'm reporting an account for Spoofing based on allegations of impossible travel times and accessing difficult to reach portals, which of those options am I supposed to actually pick?
Don't overload this question. Instead, ask a follow up question.
Yet, there is no disciplinary action done when other agents insult an agent when he/she expresses his/her opinion. It happened to me multiple times probably to stop me from voicing my matter-of-the-fact opinions. How ironic...
Flag them; we're not going to retroactively issue warnings but I've asked the team to start enforcing going forward.
Recent spoofers in our area are actually doing it all: impossible timings, nobody at location, accessing restricted area portals, obviously are operated by the same person thus sharing accounts and level up in the same pattern, so can be referred as bot-like activity.
But it doesn't matter what you select. It goes to Lambert anyway.
@NianticThia, what changed? A lot of Niantic staff are reading the Community forum but chose to remain spectators and allowed uncivil behaviors to go unchecked. Also, it took almost a month of spoofing threads brought up by legitimate agents before a dedicated thread was created when all they wanted was prompt and proper actions on those reports. What those agents want are effective actions against spoofing and not a sounding board only. Nice effort in doing damage control...
I'm curious how many dozens of spoof accounts need to be banned before they ban the account the spoofers are actually clearing for rather than just the throw away level 5-6 they literally remake all day if necessary.
If this were football, the head coach / manager would be on the hot seat and the players would be getting booed/whistled in protest.
That's the perceived level of ineffective action that is the problem right now.
All the rank and file want are measurable upgrades where we can say yes, "try this game, we like it, we think you will too," to people who have been on the fence about sticking around or giving it a shot.