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The Watchlist

Talk about regional management and politics, raider/defender gameplay, and other game-related matters.
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August
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 134
Founded: Oct 07, 2011
Anarchy

The Watchlist

Postby August » Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:11 pm

Hello, Gameplay! Long time, no see.

A little background: I have been happily retired from the game since March, but last September I resumed work on my NS bot because a) Altino asked me for the NS Founders Discord server and it needed some renovations, and b) it was always kind of a fun hobby for me. One of the long-planned additions to that server was something called the Watchlist, and that is what brings me here today. With all the talk recently about blacklisting, community moderation, and the relationship between offsite platforms and the main site, it seems like a good time to take this public.



What is the Watchlist?
It is a centralized database of Discord accounts belonging to advertisers/spammers and people who are proven threats to the safety of online communities. When a spam account on the list enters a server that uses AugustinAndroid v2 and has the Watchlist feature enabled, the bot automatically bans it. When a dangerous person enters or is otherwise detected, the bot sends a warning to the server's staff. That warning includes a description and evidence of the activities that landed the person on the Watchlist.

What is its objective?
It is designed to be an unbiased, purely factual collector of evidence that works proactively to help regional administrators defend their communities. Some of the biggest problems with decentralized moderation are the lack of trust between admin teams, the difference in standards (both for offenses and evidence) between those teams, and the difficulty of identifying unwanted players and tracking down evidence for anyone without extensive gameplay connections. The Watchlist seeks to eliminate those problems.

What is the difference between this and the so-called "blacklist?"
1. The Watchlist makes no attempt to enforce itself or remove agency from regional administrators. It provides information and nothing more. While the "blacklist" is a construct of social pressure that comes with an expectation of consequences, for better or worse, Watchlist alerts can be ignored, switched off for a particular listed account on a particular server, or disabled altogether.
2. The Watchlist is fully transparent: all submissions, discussions, and votes take place in a set public location.
3. The Watchlist is held to an unchanging, publicly-available standard that excludes political and personal disagreements.

Who decides which accounts are placed on the list?
The Watchlist operates out of the NS Leaders Discord server, which is open to all founders, delegates, and senior delegates (full eligibility criteria here) and is currently host to 350ish members who represent regions containing over 70000 nations. The procedure for adding an account to the list is as follows:
1. Any NSL member proposes in #watchlist that a person be added to the list. They explain why, presenting a formal statement with evidence.
2. Server staff determine whether it qualifies.
1. A concrete statement of wrongdoing must be presented. This statement may not be political, ideological, or personal in any way. For example, a person will not be added to the list for appearing to be a fascist, no matter how unpopular that may be. It must also be purely objective, and may not include opinions, analysis, or recommendations for consequences. One example of a good statement of wrongdoing is as follows: "[Person A] collected information about [Person B] and used it to uncover a private social media account belonging to [Person B], and from there distributed [Person B]'s address and telephone number to [Forum C]."
2. Concrete evidence of at least one thing the person has done or said, which deems them a threat to general safety, must be presented. Graphic content must include appropriate warnings. The evidence must be complete and uncensored, except to protect privacy.
3. Server staff initiate a one-week vote using the bot's public poll function.
4. Members may discuss and vote.
5. With 85% approval, server staff add the person to the list.

Spam accounts may be added directly to the list by server staff with less stringent requirements for evidence, due to the nature of spam accounts and the urgency required. A false report, should it occur, would result in a permanent ban from the server.

How can I view and contribute to the Watchlist?
Join the NSL server (link in my signature) or encourage your founder or delegate to do so. If you are not eligible yourself, your founder and delegate are your representatives there with the power to submit evidence. Members of the server can use the >nsl watchlist command to view the full list.

How can I use this system on my Discord server?
Add the bot. The Watchlist is enabled by default, although you will not get alerts if NSVerify is disabled. (Bonus: the bot does a lot more than just this.)

Who can I talk to about this if I have questions?

Any member of NSL staff: Altino (Altino#4453), Prybourne (TheRobocrat#7505), Lycos (WeirdoXVII#8247), or myself (August#4079).
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Queen Yuno
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Posts: 642
Founded: Dec 30, 2015
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Queen Yuno » Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:32 pm

Good bot
(I tried that command and got

AugustinAndroid v2BOTToday at 2:32 PM
The command nsl does not exist.
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Boda
Envoy
 
Posts: 219
Founded: Nov 14, 2019
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Boda » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:05 pm

This is some... bad timing..

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Agarntrop
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Founded: May 14, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Agarntrop » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:08 pm

I'm guessing I'm on it... good idea anyway
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Ethan Allen
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 120
Founded: Aug 25, 2019
Ex-Nation

Postby Ethan Allen » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:13 pm

I’d love to join this server and contribute to this effort. I have a lot of ideas that would benefit the group, and I so happen to meet the criteria.
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Lycos
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 6
Founded: Sep 15, 2019
Father Knows Best State

Postby Lycos » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:59 pm

Queen Yuno wrote:Good bot
(I tried that command and got

AugustinAndroid v2BOTToday at 2:32 PM
The command nsl does not exist.

This command only works in the #watchlist channel of the NSL server. You cannot browse the list from other servers, but as mentioned it will notify you when a user on the Watchlist joins.
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Darkesia
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Darkesia » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:34 pm

Incredibly bad timing for this application of a well intentioned idea.

I would not recommend participation. But what do I know.
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Lycos
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Founded: Sep 15, 2019
Father Knows Best State

Postby Lycos » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:41 pm

Darkesia wrote:Incredibly bad timing for this application of a well intentioned idea.

I would not recommend participation. But what do I know.

For what it's worth, the Watchlist predates the Whitelist campaign. It's only just now being brought to the forum.
Holocovoy wrote:
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█── █──█ █▀▀ █▀▀█ █▀▀ | Warren Arrna
█── █▄▄█ █── █──█ ▀▀█ | Founder of Niamark
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August
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 134
Founded: Oct 07, 2011
Anarchy

Postby August » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:51 pm

Boda wrote:This is some... bad timing..
Darkesia wrote:Incredibly bad timing for this application of a well intentioned idea.

I would not recommend participation. But what do I know.
Please elaborate. I fail to see how this is bad timing--in fact, as stated in the OP, I believe that the ongoing discussion of related topics makes this a good time to present solutions.
Agarntrop wrote:I'm guessing I'm on it...
Not even close.
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Ethan Allen
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 120
Founded: Aug 25, 2019
Ex-Nation

Postby Ethan Allen » Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:48 pm

Yeah Boda, there’s no time like the present.
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Aynia Moreaux
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 118
Founded: Nov 27, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Aynia Moreaux » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:10 pm

Personally I don't think this is bad timing at all, and it's always better to be public and transparent than it is to be secretive. To me this doesn't really have anything to do with the 'white list' campaign, and from everything I've seen it's extremely professional and bi-partisan.

But my main point I'd like to make: August is trustworthy. I'm going to gladly put my neck out for him because he has incredibly high standards and is consistently professional. He's a good guy with a good record and good intentions.
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Boda
Envoy
 
Posts: 219
Founded: Nov 14, 2019
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Boda » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:17 pm

Ethan Allen wrote:Yeah Boda, there’s no time like the present.

I dunno man. Like with all that’s happening i just didn’t think this needed to be bought into the fray at the time.

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Ethan Allen
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 120
Founded: Aug 25, 2019
Ex-Nation

Postby Ethan Allen » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:31 pm

Boda wrote:
Ethan Allen wrote:Yeah Boda, there’s no time like the present.

I dunno man. Like with all that’s happening i just didn’t think this needed to be bought into the fray at the time.


I think this is the perfect time, honestly.

August, will there be an appeal process to get off the watchlist? I don’t recall reading about that if there is one.
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Altino
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Posts: 75
Founded: Jul 04, 2016
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Altino » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:32 pm

It is a little sad to see you guys prioritize timing over safety. I understand if you have concerns, though. The Watchlist is not intended to be a contradiction to or replacement for the "Blacklist." In fact, I see the Watchlist as supportive of the Blacklist's function. When we blacklist players, we rely far too heavily on hearsay, to the point that there is some impermanence to the strength of our accusations. For example, I have recently been collecting logs on blacklisted players for the very purpose of seeing them added to the Watchlist and found that much of the evidence to support our accusations have been lost with time. These are things I can piece together from what different players still have lying around, but in large part this information has been lost. This is the problem that the Watchlist aims to solve.

While the Blacklist may ask you to ban someone based on their very strong insistence, the Watchlist will not ask you to do anything. The Watchlist will present you with the facts, give you the evidence that you require to make a decision, rest on your shoulders the knowledge that at least 85% of the hundreds of regions represented on NSL found this evidence actionable, and leave the rest up to you as an administrator. This in no way steps in the path of the Blacklist's success. Instead, it arms GP with the information that it needs to not blindly make demands, but firmly prove their position with evidence that will not get lost. We do not have to hear from noob players "well, they seem nice to me, I've never seen them do anything like that" and stew on that frustration. We can simply provide them with our evidence. We would be able to essentially permanently remove the burden of proof from ourselves and place the burden on new viewers to decide.

The Watchlist does not say the Blacklist is canceled and we should all stop being so gosh darned demanding. The Watchlist is a resource, it deals in information. Its only goal is to make that information more widely available and more permanent so that down the road when a blacklisted player says "can you prove that I've done this?" and calls us a bully we will say "yes I can" and move on with our day. That is all we intend for it to do.
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Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes.☮

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Ethan Allen
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 120
Founded: Aug 25, 2019
Ex-Nation

Postby Ethan Allen » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:42 pm

And about that appeal process to get taken off the watchlist?
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Wayneactia
Diplomat
 
Posts: 826
Founded: Aug 01, 2014
Corporate Bordello

Postby Wayneactia » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:46 pm

Ethan Allen wrote:And about that appeal process to get taken off the watchlist?

Don't get put on it in the first place? Seems relatively simple to me.

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Ethan Allen
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 120
Founded: Aug 25, 2019
Ex-Nation

Postby Ethan Allen » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:18 am

That’s not an answer.
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Libertarian/Anarcho-Capitalist

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August
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 134
Founded: Oct 07, 2011
Anarchy

Postby August » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:25 am

Aynia Moreaux wrote:Personally I don't think this is bad timing at all, and it's always better to be public and transparent than it is to be secretive. To me this doesn't really have anything to do with the 'white list' campaign, and from everything I've seen it's extremely professional and bi-partisan.

But my main point I'd like to make: August is trustworthy. I'm going to gladly put my neck out for him because he has incredibly high standards and is consistently professional. He's a good guy with a good record and good intentions.
You are the best. :hug:
Wayneactia wrote:Don't get put on it in the first place? Seems relatively simple to me.
This is essentially correct. Minor offenses and petty squabbles are not getting anyone a spot on the list, and the standard for evidence is high. Of course, if we were to learn that evidence was misleading or falsified, we would remove said evidence from the database, along with the entire entry if no evidence remained. I do not anticipate that happening.

Now, if the idea of hard evidence was threatening to anyone, or the Watchlist's "off" switch was too difficult to figure out, one could simply leave servers they share with the bot and remove the bot from their own server--as if that would help.
Last edited by August on Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
|| AA Founder - Retired.

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The JELLEAIN Republic
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Posts: 984
Founded: Jul 15, 2019
Democratic Socialists

Postby The JELLEAIN Republic » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:39 am

So basically you (I’m assuming illegally) compile a list of people’s op addresses and share them amongst “admins” for your own moderation layer.

Ripe with possibility for abuse.
Would be best if they kept it to themselves.
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Altino
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Founded: Jul 04, 2016
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Altino » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:50 am

The JELLEAIN Republic wrote:So basically you (I’m assuming illegally) compile a list of people’s op addresses and share them amongst “admins” for your own moderation layer.

Ripe with possibility for abuse.
Would be best if they kept it to themselves.

No. Just logs and evidence of what they are accused of, plus known nations and their discord ID. As I said, the Watchlist is a tool of information. It is not looking to hunt people down. It is only looking to provide facts. We do not need their IP to provide that information - we do not deal in hidden identities and regional IC security.
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Emiline
Civilian
 
Posts: 1
Founded: Apr 20, 2019
New York Times Democracy

Postby Emiline » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:19 am

The JELLEAIN Republic wrote:So basically you (I’m assuming illegally) compile a list of people’s op addresses and share them amongst “admins” for your own moderation layer.

Ripe with possibility for abuse.
Would be best if they kept it to themselves.


Hiya! Emi here, I have seen Altino has already said a little bit, but I wish to expand a little bit. There seems to be some confusion from you on as to how the Watchlist operates and what information it entails so let me clear it up for you! First off, the Watchlist is a feature of the Augustin Android V2 which is a bot customly built for NationStates on discord that anyone can invite to their server and operate. This feature is not a compilation of addresses nor is anything gathered illegally in the process. The Watchlist catalogs an individuals known user IDs, Usernames, and nations all which is public information that anyone can find on anyone. In addition it also catalogs links to evidence to support the reason they are on the watch list. As the post says, when a spambot on the list enters a server that uses AugustinAndroid v2 and has the Watchlist feature enabled, the bot automatically bans it. When a dangerous person enters or is otherwise detected, the bot sends a warning to the server's staff. As August has also pointed out, those who are considered and added to the watchlist are essentially those who have been determined to have engaged in quite harmful practices against other people such as harassment, exploitation, threats, etc. Minor offenses and petty squabbles are not getting anyone a spot on the list, and the standard for evidence is high.

Now you seem to be concerned that this is exclusive to August or a select few group of people but as I have already pointed out the Augustin Android is available to all, the Watch List itself is also subject to public. The only place in which those can be added to or removed from the watchlist does not exist within the hands of the bots creator nor a select few he has chosen but a public forum known as the NS Leaders Discord server. The NS Leaders discord server is a public server open to all regions of NationStates founders, delegates, and senior delegates (more information here). Here anyone who fits one of these categories may propose that an individual be added to this list and they may explain why, presenting a formal statement with evidence. This will be brought before all present in the NS Leaders chat and must reach 85% approval for that individual to make it onto the Watch List. No single person or region or "admin group" has control over it. It is a very much large, group effort.

This is a valuable tool that people may use in order to keep those who they wish to keep out of their servers and the Watch List, and even bot mind you, are features a server owner can choose to utilize and if they do not wish to use it then they do not have to. The Watch List can be ignored, switched off for a particular listed account on a particular server, or disabled altogether. I encourage you to give it a go yourself if you have a server and if not, I encourage you to give another read to the Watch List feature and the Augustin Android itself and give her a little bit more of a fair chance. I hope I could clear a few things up and I hope you have a blessed day. :)
Last edited by Emiline on Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:41 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Wymondham
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 51
Founded: Apr 03, 2017
Father Knows Best State

Postby Wymondham » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:21 am

Altino wrote:It is a little sad to see you guys prioritize timing over safety. I understand if you have concerns, though. The Watchlist is not intended to be a contradiction to or replacement for the "Blacklist." In fact, I see the Watchlist as supportive of the Blacklist's function. When we blacklist players, we rely far too heavily on hearsay, to the point that there is some impermanence to the strength of our accusations. For example, I have recently been collecting logs on blacklisted players for the very purpose of seeing them added to the Watchlist and found that much of the evidence to support our accusations have been lost with time. These are things I can piece together from what different players still have lying around, but in large part this information has been lost. This is the problem that the Watchlist aims to solve.

While the Blacklist may ask you to ban someone based on their very strong insistence, the Watchlist will not ask you to do anything. The Watchlist will present you with the facts, give you the evidence that you require to make a decision, rest on your shoulders the knowledge that at least 85% of the hundreds of regions represented on NSL found this evidence actionable, and leave the rest up to you as an administrator. This in no way steps in the path of the Blacklist's success. Instead, it arms GP with the information that it needs to not blindly make demands, but firmly prove their position with evidence that will not get lost. We do not have to hear from noob players "well, they seem nice to me, I've never seen them do anything like that" and stew on that frustration. We can simply provide them with our evidence. We would be able to essentially permanently remove the burden of proof from ourselves and place the burden on new viewers to decide.

The Watchlist does not say the Blacklist is canceled and we should all stop being so gosh darned demanding. The Watchlist is a resource, it deals in information. Its only goal is to make that information more widely available and more permanent so that down the road when a blacklisted player says "can you prove that I've done this?" and calls us a bully we will say "yes I can" and move on with our day. That is all we intend for it to do.

This ^. Too often when working for NSToday I've had to explain to people why certain people are not good, and the first thing they quite rightly say "I need logs to action this". Before the watchlist became a thing I would have to trawl through dozens of GPers who may have been around then until I hopefully found someone who had logs. People, quite rightly, want evidence before making OOC moderation decisions. It is much easier to help protect communities when you can provide their admin teams with evidence of their actions. IMO the watchlist is a very very useful tool for admin teams, especially those which aren't always up to date with the latest goings on in GP.
My views are my own and do not represent those of NSToday or any region I am involved in unless it is specifically stated otherwise

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Flanderlion
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Founded: Nov 25, 2013
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Flanderlion » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:02 am

Seems dumb for other regions to participate, as essentially you're handing your entire server logs and your members nations to a group of players who say they're not involved in GP, but miraculously appear when they suddenly become interested in GP again. Information is power, and by having the bot in your server, you're giving every discord user, every discord conversation, even every emoji posted to the hosts of the bot and whoever they deem to share it with. Power corrupts, and despite them saying 'we're not bad, you should trust us', unless every member is comfortable with all this info being shared, regional admins shouldn't add to their servers.

The overall idea of having a public document where people can submit evidence and everyone can see it is a decent idea despite the issues, just the issue is lack of trust of whoever runs the list.
As always, I'm representing myself as a citizen, rather than as part of the Government, if I am at the time.

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Devi
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Founded: Nov 09, 2018
Anarchy

Postby Devi » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:42 am

Flanderlion wrote:Seems dumb for other regions to participate, as essentially you're handing your entire server logs and your members nations to a group of players who say they're not involved in GP, but miraculously appear when they suddenly become interested in GP again. Information is power, and by having the bot in your server, you're giving every discord user, every discord conversation, even every emoji posted to the hosts of the bot and whoever they deem to share it with. Power corrupts, and despite them saying 'we're not bad, you should trust us', unless every member is comfortable with all this info being shared, regional admins shouldn't add to their servers.

The overall idea of having a public document where people can submit evidence and everyone can see it is a decent idea despite the issues, just the issue is lack of trust of whoever runs the list.


Is it strictly necessary to give the bot read access to more than just whatever welcome channel a server may have? If all it needs is the ability to check incoming members and notify accordingly, it's ultimately just as much of a security concern as any fresh account joining a server.
-Devi;

probably an ebil raider.

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Flanderlion
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Posts: 1521
Founded: Nov 25, 2013
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Flanderlion » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:00 am

Devi wrote:
Flanderlion wrote:Seems dumb for other regions to participate, as essentially you're handing your entire server logs and your members nations to a group of players who say they're not involved in GP, but miraculously appear when they suddenly become interested in GP again. Information is power, and by having the bot in your server, you're giving every discord user, every discord conversation, even every emoji posted to the hosts of the bot and whoever they deem to share it with. Power corrupts, and despite them saying 'we're not bad, you should trust us', unless every member is comfortable with all this info being shared, regional admins shouldn't add to their servers.

The overall idea of having a public document where people can submit evidence and everyone can see it is a decent idea despite the issues, just the issue is lack of trust of whoever runs the list.


Is it strictly necessary to give the bot read access to more than just whatever welcome channel a server may have? If all it needs is the ability to check incoming members and notify accordingly, it's ultimately just as much of a security concern as any fresh account joining a server.

"Can this bot spy on my conversations or damage my server?

Excellent question. Yes it can, and you use this software at your own risk. Due to the quantity and scope of all the complicated features on board, it requires the Administrator permission to function. However, I am the sole developer and retain 100% control of the code, and I promise unconditionally that I will not use it for malicious purposes. The owner of each Discord server, and any administrators they designate, will be the only people controlling this bot on their own server."

From viewtopic.php?f=15&t=472017 - also linked in August's signature.
As always, I'm representing myself as a citizen, rather than as part of the Government, if I am at the time.

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