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    Discussion of the Sanitee Permaban Incident

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    Shippuu
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    Discussion of the Sanitee Permaban Incident

    Post by Shippuu on Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:15 am

    I created this thread so that I wouldn't have to continue updating the notice page sitting ontop of my site, and to also allow others to give their thoughts on the situation.

    I want you to be aware very early on though: If you post intentional disinformation here I will remove your post immediately. This is not the Nexon NA forums, trolls will not be allowed to derail serious topics.

    As a last note before jumping into it, please read the notice on my site first. This post assumes that you have read it (and it was updated with a Jan 29 update at the same time as I made this thread). The new update contains more information about the situation.

    The center of the issue is now VZipFlip, not Sanitee's unjust second permanent ban


    This is an important distinction, and I'll make sure it is the first thing in this post so that the circumstances are clear. Sanitee and I have both received one permanent ban before for running VZipFlip, a tool we use to read copies of the files. As we now know, it literally cannot modify the game itself, it is incapable of making successful forgeries of Vindictus HFS files, and I am not sure that it ever could to begin with. My main notice explains more about the details of this.

    On January 18th, Sanitee was permanently banned a second time. She is very very nearly certain it was not running (it's obvious when the Windows Command Prompt is open), yet Nexon says they detected VZipFlip and banned her for it. Since Nexon isn't a fully credible source here, and Sanitee is not infallible, I cannot say for sure if this is true or not. What I can say is that regardless of if it is or isn't, Sanitee's current permanent ban is the result of a VZipFlip detection, either in her previous unjust ban or in her current. Thus, since Nexon thinks they were justified in banning for this, the topic of the issue is now this: Is VZipFlip a hacking tool?

    Current Policy


    Nexon currently considers VZipFlip a hack tool. This is (I believe, speculating) because they believe that it can modify the HFS files, and thus hack Vindictus. It is not capable of this. The only capability it has is to unpack them for the purpose of reading files: datamining. So what is Nexon's policy on datamining, now that it is relevant? Well...

    Nexon policy overall is baffling and confounding on datamining. VindictusDB was one of the earliest official Fan Sites, and was literally a pure data dump of datamining. Despite the blatant fact that it is pure datamining, it was an official Fan Site right up until it closed due to a lack of traffic. Vindictus Wiki, the only official Fan Site as of their revamp of their own site, relies on datamined information for enemy stats, item icons, and the skill rank information for ranks beyond what are currently enabled.

    Vindictus Inn and CoronaPlease were blacklisted for having datamined information, and Sanitee was threatened with a permanent forum ban by the VFM for having posted it. However, Vindictus Inn DB, created purely via datamining, was given the green light by Saygo himself directly in a thread advertising it.

    In short? I have no goddamn idea what their stance on it is, and I don't think anyone does. Saygo at least clearly acknowledges the good it does, having seen Vindictus Inn DB and given it the all clear, but this simultaneously seems to have been a one-off thing that isn't normal policy. I do not understand them.

    If datamining is allowed when its goal is to help players, then suddenly Vindictus Inn (and all of its add-ons such as her DB), and Vindictus Manual would both immediately become "allowed" Fan Sites, even if not officially recognized. This would be a huge step from the previous situation where both were literally blacklisted on the same list as MPGH.

    My Current Goal


    Later today, I plan to send a ticket clearly and concisely explaining VZipFlip's capabilities and limitations, and all of the implications involved in allowing it or not allowing it. I will be requesting that it no longer be flagged by BlackCipher as an unauthorized program, due to the fact that it is harmless to the game.

    I will update this post as well as make a new post as more information arises on this. The invisible rule set that the VFM say exists claims that we cannot directly post full logs of responses we get from Customer Support, so I will summarize just the answers I get, and not name names or give excess details.

    I hope for a positive reply, but my honest expectation is more of Nexon sticking their fingers in their ears as if that makes the issue stop existing.

    But what are your thoughts on this all? I should have made a thread here the day it happened, instead of using the awkward updating I was doing to my site's notice.
    Shippuu
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    Re: Discussion of the Sanitee Permaban Incident

    Post by Shippuu on Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:54 pm

    I got a reply to my ticket in the negative, I sent back another reply, and got another negative response.

    The VFM claim that we shouldn't post full logs of ticket replies, so have a summary:
    * This particular CM said that datamining is against the rules.
    * This same CM said that the way I used VZipFlip would not have been against the Terms of Use, but the program itself is. (I cited semi-modern uses of the tool and its benefits, since they claimed it had negatives, and this was his/her response to that.)

    I guess that it is company policy to have an unclear stance on datamining. It is both allowed and not allowed.

    It looks like I was right that will refuse to even consider the matter.
    ARMAC
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    Re: Discussion of the Sanitee Permaban Incident

    Post by ARMAC on Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:40 pm

    The knowledge about the format is not private and there's nothing stopping us from writing a different tool for the same job if it's sole existence is tracked and instantly marked as guilty....even though they have no business banning us for owning an application they don't like if it's not actually running at the time.

    Other than watching our processes, they most likely monitor any access to the game's files. 
    I've had the game simply close down on me without any notice at all on two occasions and both were during me wanting to extract data
    #1 flipping a hfs in the game's directory (vzipflip itself is in another location)
    #2 manually copying a hfs file I want to where my vzipflip is, to extract that instead of a maybe-in-use file which may confuse and crash the game which may happen with #1. The moment of shutdown I didn't even notice with this one, so either the action of copying or the action of accessing "a hfs file" even if it wasn't in the game's directory. Vague, I know, but the fact is it conveniently happens on attempts to access the game's files.

    It was months ago and what I can say for certain is that I had vzipflip on and the shutdowns occurred when I actually interacted with HFS files, not idling the application itself. 
    Any other crash I ever had gave some form of feedback, be it from the game itself or classic windows information (at least this should occur if my copy/access would crash it) or even hackshield saying some nonsense in the past when it didn't like gedosato.

    I have used the most common original "6" release in the past, but since it's open source there's a relatively up to date buffed GUI version too with friendlier methods of unpacking. It is in essence a different application based on the knowledge from the original command line tool's source. I've been using this newer one during the game shutdowns I mentioned. Maybe it added a silent mark on my account, maybe not, maybe I get banned once we merge into the US service in two weeks hahaha (didn't have any issues with my account yet)

    I doubt EU and US versions are set up any different since we had the same issues with blackcipher recently and even our patches have the same problems for months now despite XE-Pre.

    So even now there are, disregarding minor updates, two very different applications which are both "vzipflip" and neither of them modify game data, they just read it and create new data unusable by the game. Which one do they "detect"? Both ? Do they really even know what vzipflip is or is it just a name picked up as "something" which tried to access a file and it doesn't really matter what it does?
    My point is that there's a high chance of it simply picking up the fact "X tried to access game data" and X is not "explorer", "Avast", "some_whitelist_process" so it must be evil or specifically on the blacklist via some form for higher priority. 


    Has anyone actually got blackcipher to complain or did those bans happen silently without any feedback from the game to tell you what an awful person you are for loving the game more than the developer? Hackshield used to be vocal before, as I said when I tried gedosato to downsample from higher resolution.

    Either way using the tool while the game is not actually running should be fine really. If they trigger on the simple fact that it's running or open in one of your folders when the game is on (since they do monitor explorer for example) then that's completely unwarranted, like arresting you for owning a gun cause it's dangerous.

    I check the db file and strings for new stuff between patches usually and work on/with the models as a private hobby since it's (a slightly modified) Source engine with plenty of documentation so it's good for some practice.
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    Re: Discussion of the Sanitee Permaban Incident

    Post by Shippuu on Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:47 am

    Ok, my ticket was closed (at my request, though the CM guy insisted it was his decision that it needed to be closed, to have the final word).

    I don't want to post the full content of the tickets due to what the VFM claim is true, and I don't want to be breaking the ToU, not even an invisible one. However, this one sentence the person said...

    Nexon Ticket Support wrote:
    "This was never a debate, it is clearly in the Terms of Service that Data Mining is not allowed, of any kind regardless of the intent or situation. This is the reason why these sort of programs are not allowed and why we do not white list them. "

    Never allowed for any reason period. It's high time to bring the official Vindictus Wiki in line with the ToU, then. It's been breaking the rules for years, and encouraging others to break the ToU and datamine, with its boss stat fields and other spaces.

    I don't have the slightest idea how to edit a wiki page without breaking it, but this is a direct declaration from this person that the wiki should not contain datamined information. This includes:
    * Item icons
    * Gear icons
    * Boss stats (Literally all of them, except the number of HP bars. We only know DEF because of the ATT formula, which required datamining to find and confirm).
    * Skill rank effects that do not match what is said on tooltips, are not shown on tooltips, and those that are not released yet.




    This also happens to be Nexon NA's final word on the matter. There is no further recourse I can take to try to make them see sense.

    Since Sanitee is going to remain banned it seems, I declare Vindictus Manual permanently closed.
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    Re: Discussion of the Sanitee Permaban Incident

    Post by boddole on Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:57 pm

    As much as my initial reaction to taking information off the wiki was negative, I suppose it would be the 'fair and impartial' thing to do according to Nexon's own rules. And we know how much Nexon loves to be fair and impartial.

    A quick glance at the wiki pages would suggest that it wouldn't be too hard to redact any information, for the most part it seems that Edit (instead of Edit Source) would be fine for text [Edit allowing you to work within a preview of the live page, and usually limiting your edits to the 'active area' which would prevent pretty much any accidental destruction], still not sure how their images work though.


    Last edited by boddole on Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:00 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : more info + typos)
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    Re: Discussion of the Sanitee Permaban Incident

    Post by Shippuu on Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:47 pm

    To make it completely clear, my previous post about wiping the wiki of boss stats/item icons was not a joke. It really is inappropriate that their own official wiki is encouraging players to data-mine and risk getting banned in the process of updating it.




    On a separate note, I personally have been playing RuneScape for the last few days, for the first time in years. I was astounded to see that not only are numerous JMods (Jagex employees) posting frequently on their subreddit, but two of them are also in the game's Discord channel.
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    Re: Discussion of the Sanitee Permaban Incident

    Post by boddole on Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:56 am

    ",my previous post about wiping the wiki of boss stats/item icons was not a joke"
    -I didn't think it was.


    The only problem I would see is that whatever person / people have 'admin power' on the site would just lock all the pages and then revert them to some previous state, negating all the work done. Maybe start with the boss stats since its easy and there aren't that many of them (that people care about anyway), if the changes stick start working on the icons (which seems like quite a project).


    Last edited by boddole on Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:57 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos)
    Shippuu
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    Re: Discussion of the Sanitee Permaban Incident

    Post by Shippuu on Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:41 am

    It was a general reply to anyone reading this thread. I had a sudden thought that with how absurd this situation is overall, people might think I was kidding.

    If anyone reverts the wiki to have datamined content, then they are breaking the ToU and should be reported. It is never allowed of any kind for any reason with no exceptions.
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    Re: Discussion of the Sanitee Permaban Incident

    Post by iSung on Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:30 pm

    Nexon is a joke :^)
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