Thursday, May 8, 2008

Trust no one - and right-click for great justice

Inspired by Sigrid's blog entry about the travails of Carracci's first President and faction leader of Outcasts Faction, †Bayushi†. You can read the full article by clicking the link below:

Sigrid: On †Bayushi†'s Scamming Issues

You can read about what exactly happened to †Bayushi†, and why he's not happy with IAHGames, at the following forum threads:

The first [closed] thread, in which he describes the loss of his equipment

The second thread, in which he discusses how he currently feels

As for me, I think this entire flap should also be used to call attention to scammers and their insidious practices. The particular one I had in mind? Impersonation.

I'll call it "cloning" in this blog: the use, reuse, and abuse of keyboard symbols, ASCII and other special characters, and other character sets in order to come up with in-game names that resemble those of legitimate players.

Taking myself as an example [†Bayushi† has had enough grief on this matter already]: my in-game name - my family name is, of course, NineMoons. [Please take note: the "m" is capitalized.]

How can it be cloned?

Change the case of a letter in the name: nineMoons, or Ninemoons. [I'm just grateful that when people link to this blog with that latter version, they understand it's me and not someone else.]

Add Alt+160 before, in the middle of, or after the name. Alt+160 gives you a blank character and is how some people have "spaces" in their family names. So my name could be cloned as <blank character>NineMoons, Nine
<blank character>Moons, or NineMoons<blank character>.

Write it out in full ASCII, like this: ÑïñëMðö
ñš. [Do NOT ask me to do that again.]

People could interpolate J Random ASCII Character / Symbol into the name.

Or they could do all of the above.

valinorian on the forums, backed up by moderator Edythia, suggest checking Family Profiles in order to make sure you're talking to someone legitimate. Simply right-click on any member of the other person's family and select Family Profile.

Is there any way around this? Will banning ASCII characters actually work? [Probably not.] The lesson we all need to pick up is still the original one:

Be Wary When Dealing With Stranger, i.e. Non-Familiar, Players.

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