Macro Ban Reviews and False Positives - March 2017
There was a case recently posted on a popular social media site in which a player claimed to have triggered our detection systems while using a touch screen to level fletching at high speed. The account was checked, it was determined that it was indeed a touch screen and not botting and the account was unbanned. This has caused some concern in the community about the accuracy of our bans, as well as comments about the lack of appeals, which we would like to address.
False positives like these do, of course, crop up albeit incredibly rarely. In every case the account is unbanned as soon as we find it and adjustments are made to the detection system to ensure that the same thing doesn't happen again. Unfortunately, this also often leads to a few months of other claims on various social media from banned players claiming they were doing the same thing. All of these claims are carefully checked and so far they have all been false. False claims like these waste a significant amount of the ICU team's time which is time that would be much better spent in other areas.
We are confident that, aside from these rare cases, our detection systems are accurate and that all of the other bans we apply are correct. However, we're also aware that a small proportion of banned accounts were being used without the permission of their owners at the time the offence was committed so in an attempt to get as many player back on to their accounts as possible we go back and double check all permanently banned player accounts (which has the extra benefit of catching those rare false positives). As you can imagine we ban quite a few accounts each day so it takes a little while to get through them all, an effort which is not helped by the need to check all of the false claims mentioned earlier, but we continue to do so and each month 1 to 2% of the accounts we review do not appear to be in the hands of their owners so get unbanned and secured, ready to be recovered. The vast majority of these unbanned accounts appear to be shared or even sold rather than compromised but despite this, and even though it is a lot of work to find a relatively small number of accounts, we are keen to make sure that we do everything we can to ensure that no innocent players remain banned any longer than is absolutely necessary and we'd rather err on the side of caution like this than leave anyone banned.
As we've mentioned a few times before, we know this is an interim measure and not a solution to the need for appeals but enabling the ability to appeal permanent bans is not as easy as simply turning it on, so it's taking a little longer than we'd hoped and while the best estimate I can give you right now is "the next few months" rest assured we are working on it and we'll have something in place as soon as we can.
Head of the Anti-Cheating Team (ICU)