When liberty memes have to get meta to be respectable. This regulatory culture is insane.
There are many ways to have fun playing Ingress. We are encouraged to explore our communities and see things we would normally miss. We get moving out in the real world. I even hear there's a storyline!
For many of us all these things are awesome, but the competitive aspect of the local regional MU score is also important. It is a simple metric, but one that results from a lot of work, planning, and determination. Mere numbers, sure, but ones that sum up the daily grind of keeping your neighborhood your favorite color, helping your faction farm, and teaming up to accomplish something damn near impossible on your own.
If we could just send accounts around the map to inaccessible portals closed for the night or requiring special permission, why would we bother to play? The bot does the work for you. The bot doesn't have to ask others to help with key farming, travel hours away to do one thing, coordinate a dozen people in lands of poor cell reception, or call out the alarm when the other faction's baselink is thrown. Yeah, we hear all the time that it’s “just a game”...well, doing these things is why we play it.
Maybe in another context (something like Starcraft, perhaps) that would be fun. Press button, see fields. However, that isn't Ingress and from my perspective, we should be earning fields (or earning their prevention) by out-planning, out-observing, and out-playing the other faction. If you share that perspective, we need to stand up for it.
Last night, Austin was fielded by bots. For the last few days, bots have been fielding heavily out east. Some of this has affected the score and some of it hasn't. Some of it has involved locations where both factions have worked hard to keep the peace and treat the venues with respect. Who did it? What will convince them to stop? How horrible/hypocritical/dumb are the people on each side of those arguments? Knowing the Internet, I expect the preoccupation will be with the latter question, cuz giggle troll lolz or some crap seems more entertaining. I really hope we can break out of that cycle and do something constructive.
Reporting bots to Niantic via their system here https://support.ingress.com/hc/en-us is critical in getting these accounts banned, but it is not enough when the cheats create as many accounts as they want and don't care about losing them. Indeed, they think it's hilarious. Maybe Niantic will come up with better systems to stop this stuff, but until then we should look to what else we can do after reporting.
I am open to suggestions. I like the essential mechanics at this game's core: one player = one account = one agent, you have to be physically present at the portal, you have to have legitimate access to the portal, and you have to operate the scanner. I remember learning about those limits the first time and thinking Challenge Accepted. I'm here to win against an opposition marked by dedication and ingenuity, not lines of code. If any of that sounds like you, please think about and share what we can do to answer real questions and not getting pointlessly dirty debating the distracting ones.
July 2015 - During a Slack discussion towards the end of the month, Adam casually mentions being able to get a list of portals for the purposes of guardian hunting. He receives immediate push back from the community and its mods. During that discussion, he mentions not knowing of a written list of ENL community rules and to be fair, there was not one. It becomes clear during the discussion that "don't cheat" and "don't be a dick" would no longer be sufficient behavioral norms. We created drafts of two documents outlining what behaviors are not acceptable in ATX ENL, built an anonymous comment form, and started a channel dedicated to discussing the documents. I posted the links to both docs to our G+ community, where they remain pinned to the top of the forums to this day.
August - The discussion continues and by this time, the only sticking points are procedural stuff and exactly why or why not POPTART is cheating. POPTART alerted its users to ADA/JARVIS use, ostensibly to alert us if the Resistance were dropping blue links when trying to field Austin. The overwhelming majority of agents speaking up in these discussions considered the tool cheating on grounds it was a scraper program, it was a bot that automated too much of the game to be fair, or it gave us an unfair advantage regardless of its technical aspects. Those technical aspects, however, were debated extensively and for that Adam chose to remain to describe how the tool worked and to draw comparisons to IITC and other things. There was no "negotiating," there were never requests to use POPTART, many of our most active agents spoke up saying they felt dirty knowing they may have helped stop blue fields over Austin with info gleaned from the tool, and no one (including him) expected him to remain in the community once we finished the documents because the weight of the community was against him. He eventually leaves the channel and goes quiet.
September-October - The community documents discussion peters out and we stop receiving edit suggestions for the documents. We go back and forth on how to vote/ratify them, but life gets in the way and it doesn't happen. In the meantime, Adam pops up only once in a while to mention game play things local to his region and progress on badges or levels. Regular readers know he has tools the community considers cheating, but by their nature we can't tell when he uses them and the ADA/JARVIS warnings are posted less. Call it a status quo, or accommodating a cheater, or whatever you like, but the ATX mods decided it was more trouble than it was worth to call him out on something we could only prove happened months ago against standards that were not final.
November - Adam leaves the community with no warning. By December, he's gone rogue and is helping the Pflugerville resistance farm. Things only get uglier at both a personal and a game play level going forwards. Today, we have Ingress accounts spoofing around the east side fielding from inaccessible portals, targeting ENL agents, deliberately junking up farms with crap mods, and joking with each other about leveling up. Meanwhile, new agents see these fake accounts with crazy stats and ask them how they do it.
THIS IS A PROBLEM, no matter how much you nit-pick an imperfect ENL community's actions over the last year. THIS IS A PROBLEM, no matter which side you think sucks less in what should be a completely private issue among a few individuals. THIS IS A PROBLEM, because cheaters sap the urge to play a great game that rewards teamwork and strong relationships. So, can we move on from this He-Said-She-Said garbage and find ways for both factions to improve relations and curb cheating?
== Orlando Nightclub Shooting Response ==
Early this morning - the 12th of June, 2016 - Omar Mateen, a sympathizer of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), shot dead at least 50 people and injuring over that number in what is objectively the deadlist mass shooting in the history of the United States of America.
This well-organized and carefully orchestrated act of terror is not only the deadliest shooting on American soil (the worst since the Virginia Tech massacre) but also the single worst act of terror since the World Trade Centers fell in New York City back in 2001.
As an individual speaking here on G+, primarily to an audience of fellow Ingress players, I have to report after having consulted individuals like and that the overwhelming majority of our players have been accounted for safely. There is a very minute fraction of inactive players who are still being sought out, but all in all, it seems that our community was spared.
It is important to remember that while the Ingress community may have been largely spared, hundreds of people and families were not. In contrast, the LGBT community was hardhit - this act of terror being carried out at Pulse, a popular LGBT club in the Orlando night scene. It's at this time that I'm going to choose to take out a soapbox to stand upon (otherwise my height prohibits anyone from seeing me).
This is 2016... ISIL has been plaguing Iraq, Aghanistan, Syria, the Mahgreb, Yemen, southeast Asia... and numerous other countries and regions for years on years now. Thousands live under one of the most strict interpretations of Sharia law, where even fleeing is justification for death. Especially for us Americans... so far removed from the nucleus of the violence and the turmoil, it's easy for us to be content in blissful ignorance to that which is happening overseas. It's all too real for those men and women who have served and in some cases, given their lives, for our protection. However, just as 9/11 shocked us - we so too need to be shocked here and now, as this especially brutal brand of hate hits our shores in the most explicit sense.
That being said, I do want to take the time to emphasize that hate has no identity. Hate has no religion, no skin color, no sexual orientation, no nationality... hate has nothing. Hate is nothing. It seeks to destroy and make everything else nothing. America was and is a boiling pot. Of innumerous ethnicities. Lifestyles. Cultures. Religions. The list goes on. This is how we thrive as a nation and by and large, every step away from this has resulted in peril. ISIL and militant Islam is a very real and a very dangerous threat... but just as the Crusades were waged under the name of Christianity, just as the Sinhalese Buddhists wage war against the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, just as Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge banned all religious groups and exterminated 2 million in the Killing Fields as atheists -- this all goes to show that hate and terror have no identity.
As demagogues and their minions rise here in American politics, attempting to assign blame and fearmonger attention - and unconcidentally, hate - against certain groups... it leaves us with one viable option. We, as Americans of all types, need to come together against hate. It is rumored to have been Isoruku Yamamoto who said, upon the bombing of Pearl Harbor, that America was a sleeping giant that they had now awoken and filled with a great resolve. I think no truer quote can be attributed to this nation when it comes under attack... for now it left up to us as a country to determine the path of that resolve.
== How to Help ==
Keep up with the City of Orlando's blog:
Donate to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting on GoFundMe:
Donate blood (notably O+ and O- types):
* Orlando - West Michigan Donor Center, 345 West Michigan St., #106 Orlando, FL 32806 | Phone: 407-835-5500 | Fax: (407) 835-5505 | Sun: 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM
* Orlando - Main Donor Center, 8669 Commodity Cir., Orlando, FL 32819 | Phone: (407) 248-5009 | Fax: (407) 455-7570 | Sun: 7:00 AM - 1:00 PM
* Apopka Donor Center - 131 North Park Ave., Apopka, FL 32703 | Phone: (407) 884-7471 | Fax: (407) 884-7475 | Sun: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
* Kissimmee Donor Center - 1029 North John Young Pkwy., Kissimmee, FL 34741 | Phone: (407) 847-5747 | Fax: (407) 847-9605 | Sun: 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
* Oviedo Donor Center - 1954 West 426 #1100, Oviedo, FL 32765 | Phone: (407) 588-1291 | Fax: (407) 365-9982 | Sun: 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM
* Lake Mary Donor Center - 105 Waymont Ct. #101, Lake Mary, FL 32746 | Phone: (407) 322-0822 | Fax: (407) 328-1119 | Sun: 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Thank you to the hundreds of ENL who put in real work behind the scenes and the thousands of ENL who carried us to victory all over the globe this series. #ENLorGTFO #Ingress
I'm going to slowly transition over to Gmail for my primary needs, so if you want the new address, send me a Hangout.
Any suggestions? And yeah, I'll upgrade to 7 when I'm at my home wifi connection. 😉
Hopefully we can work towards closer cross-faction community values and respect through sharing these ideas.
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