Absent with leave, contact Jay for assistance.
Points: 46,566, Level: 100
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Join Date: May 2008
A few Plain Facts about TFX Security... and Sharkboy
A "cold-call" to trade via PM, VM, or any other method (AIM, etc) is an IMMEDIATE sign of a dishonest trader, and it's the first thing that should set off an alarm bell in your head. Even if the trade seems to go through fine, odds are almost 100% certain that this person will go red later on down the road when it is time to have the green they so willingly did for you approved by the site.
If they're crafty enough to think they can coerce you into trading outside of the security of the forum structure... a structure that every honest trader has no problem adhering to whatsoever, they are crafty enough to already know how to provide a temporary "false green" to a freebie site.
IF THEY WERE LEGITIMATE TRADERS, THEY WOULD NOT TRY TO GET AROUND THE LEGITIMATE TRADING POLICIES OF THIS FORUM AND PM YOU. ==> THEY ARE NOT FOLLOWING THESE POLICIES BY PM'ING YOU TO TRADE, BEFORE YOU HAVE ASKED THEM TO. THEREFORE.............. Logic at it's finest.
2+2 does not equal 5. You will not be the exception to the above logic, don't let them bait you. REPORT THEM.
So.... who can read your PM's, and WHY on earth can they read your PM's???
I suppose this ties in with a thread I recently created regarding those who fail to report unauthorized trade requests that they receive via Private Message. The thread is somewhere else in this forum. Fish around and give it a look-over, but stay here a sec, I want to share something with you that no other forum owner will, ever.
You guys... you guys. Newbies to the forums, especially. I am dumbfounded... on a daily and weekly basis... at the sheer volume of infractions I hand out for these offenses (Private unwanted trade requests and the failure to report them), and the number of people that ruin their chances at success in freebies altogether by thinking they will be the exception to this rule "just this once". It is, in a word, FRUSTRATING. Beyond belief. As the owner of a forum that is, in all ways, trying to help you and set you on a real and honest path to success, it's very discouraging to see so many of you ruining your own chances.
Yesterday in particular, for example: I'm cruising about the boards in my usual fashion, clicking on online users and checking in to see what areas of the forum they're glancing at (always looking for ways for new members to find the information they need faster). I see one particular user with exactly 5 posts under his belt.
Now we all know what that means, and it's no big deal... I mean, of course you have to post five times before you can communicate privately and contact Traders who have posted threads. However, two things in particular set off a warning flag with me:
1. This user (who will remain unnamed) had been using the forums for quite awhile, about two months or so, and still only had 5 posts to his name.
2. This user's posts were of relatively poor quality, basically just one or two-word responses to other threads.
Now... Sharkboy wasn't born yesterday, right? So bearing this in mind, I decide to see what this user has been doing from my unique point of view on the admin side of the forums. After all, we want to be sure that nothing shady is going on, because all subtle indications are pointing to just that at this point.
As it turns out after some back-end investigation, this user had been sending trade requests to users in complete disregard for the forum's rules regarding first-contact. What's more, he had been getting trades... from other users who were new, and what I like to refer to as "green desperate". Let's face it, most newbies are.
Anyway, because of the fact that he'd been doing this for awhile, he earned himself an instant ban from the forums, as it was pretty clear from the content of his messages that he knew exactly what he was doing.
Yes, people... the light-bulb comes on... Sharkboy, the founder, coder and superadministrator of TFX can read Private Messages if he sees the need to do so, and it doesn't matter if you are crafty enough to delete them immediately after you send them. Honestly... I created this place, are you really surprised at the above? I can view every back-end 0 and 1 that ties this place together.
Any forum founder or "super-administrator" who tells you they can't do this is either straight-up lying to you, or they have no idea what they're doing on the admin side, which means you probably aren't very safe on their forum. Do you think a site like Facebook doesn't have the means to monitor messages? You are kidding yourself if believe they can't.
I am the only person on Staff at TFX that can do this, and I'm not even able to enable other staff members to do so without giving them full access to adjust the administrator permissions of others (including myself), so naturally, I just don't. Besides, nobody else really needs to. It's not that I sit here all day with a bag of popcorn laughing at everyone's personal and private conversations by any means. In fact, I do my absolute utmost to not have to exercise this ability. I just don't have the time, and honestly, I could care less what's going on through someone's private channels.
And here's the big "however". HOWEVER... if I feel it's affecting the security of this community, or that someone is deliberately setting up either to victimize another member, or circumvent the rules that are in place to prevent this from happening, YES! I will look at what they are sending to other users. I would be an idiot not to, and you should not be on my forum if I simply chose to close my eyes to the option and let this person continue unabated.
Back to the example above: No less that three users had replied and begun to set up trades with this person. Two of them newbies who were simply desperate for a green, and there was one other person who, as it turns out, was simply here looking to bring trade partners, people who were looking to do well here and honestly learn, away from TFX to another forum. How rude indeed.
I spent the better part of an hour discerning exactly what was going on, who initiated communication to who, and making absolutely sure that I would not judge in error when taking action. Necessary, but I still wonder what I could have done with that time for the rest of you if I wasn't busy sorting out the absolute bird-nest of issues created by one person's idiotic decisions.
The "Referral Stealer" (leading trade partners away from TFX) was lauched on his merry way by the bottom of my boot... to find his referrals on the forum he was so adamant about trading on. He will not access TFX again, but I'm sure he'll do fine on his real home, so best of luck to him. Perhaps he will learn something from this, and other forums won't have to deal with him in the same manner I did.
The "Sneaky-Trade Requester", was banned, absolutely, and permanently, for setting up trades outside of the confines & security of the Trade Manager, without the proper forum access to initiate trades or post a thread, and for convincing unsuspecting newbies to do so as well. Had it been a simple first-offense, he would have received a ten point warning for his PM, and been allowed the opportunity to read the rules and follow them. In this instance, it was very transparent that he knew exactly what he was doing, and had no intention of stopping, as he was garnering moderate success in the form of the two people in the next paragraph here.
The two remaining people who attempted to set up trades with this person, rather than report them (be it a simple "newbie mistake" or not), have been placed on two-day probation from any trading activity and the referral banks, and now have a permanent infraction on their record for, basically, enabling this covert trader to succeed, and place other unsuspecting new forum members in danger by simply being allowed to continue. Let's hope that they learn their lesson, time will tell.
What's the moral of the story? Use your head, people! Report PM's you get that you did not ask for! TFX Staff or your Personal Guide are the only people allowed to say a "hello" and offer a hand to you through private channels without your prior consent.
The staff of TFX are here to PROTECT YOU, and try to teach you the right, honest way of trading. It's plastered all over this forum, as are the consequences of deliberately trying to "shortcut" at the expense of honest practices. From reading this, you now have just a little more insight into not only how well you are protected on TFX... how much I actually CARE about the safety of my members as the head administrator of this forum... but you also have been made aware of the fact that, if you are one of those people who seriously believes that you can get away with dodging a rule for the sake of convenience...
You will, most certainly, reap the consequences of doing so. Be it sooner or later, you will be found out. The later it is, the more serious the consequences, but rest assured, the consequences are inevitable. We simply won't fail to catch you, we have years of experience doing it, more than you will ever have getting away with it.
Keeping honest members safe is my JOB, and I do it well. Please take a very special note of all the above information, and save yourself a lot of grief down the road. Read the rules, get used to them.
TRADE HONESTLY... TFX will accept no less.
Last edited by Free Referral Jay; 10-15-2010 at 12:28 AM.