Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

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jmo1121109
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Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#1 Post by jmo1121109 » Mon May 14, 2018 2:39 pm

As you may have noticed, anonymous games are now looking a little different. I made the following changes (thanks to A_Tin_Can for doing the code review!) to make anonymous games actually anonymous.

Online indicators have been removed from everywhere on the site except on the home page left nav bar, and on the new forum. That online indicator is ONLY tied to activity on the new phpbb pages. If you are only on the site looking at games, you will not see this online indicator for your own name.

Anonymous games no longer show check-boxes next to other players to indicate who has/hasn't submitted moves. Instead if someone still needs to enter orders you will see a "At least 1 country still needs to enter orders!" message at the top of the map. You can still see your own move indicator at the top of the map.

NMR counters have been removed from profile pages (you can still see your own), to prevent people from using the counter to break anonymity.

The last seen time on profile has been changed to show if someone was seen in the last 24 hours, if not, shows the last seen time.

Removes the last seen time everywhere else on the site, including both anon/non anon for everyone except mods who aren't in the game. This has been a long requested change even in non-anon games.

While there is still 1 vulnerability that makes breaking anon in non-gunboat games theoretically possible, gunboats games should now be 100% secure.

Additionally, Tournament Directors in games can now post in global which will show their message with a "Game Director:" bold pre-face that cannot be replicated by anyone in the game.

If you still have ways of breaking anon and are the first to report them to the mods at webdipmod@gmail.com and they are valid, I'll pay out 250-500 points depending on the severity of the bug.

Please post questions/issues/comments below.
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Tom Bombadil
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#2 Post by Tom Bombadil » Mon May 14, 2018 2:44 pm

You the man. Thanks.
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ghug
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#3 Post by ghug » Mon May 14, 2018 2:46 pm

Thanks, jmo!

Tournament directors everywhere are eternally grateful.

goldfinger0303
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#4 Post by goldfinger0303 » Mon May 14, 2018 2:57 pm

Indeed, tournament directors everywhere are thankful. Seriously, thank you. This was the biggest remaining problem with the site for us.

Kinda curious about the remaining non-anon way to break it now though...

Yonni
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#5 Post by Yonni » Mon May 14, 2018 3:06 pm

Amazing, thanks for the updates. Particularly the non-anon time stamp fix!

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#6 Post by Kremmen » Mon May 14, 2018 3:08 pm

Not that it matters, but I have to wonder: Were people seriously scraping the site to try to determine who an anonymous player is via their NMR counter? Wouldn't that only matter if they are not entering moves, in which case they're likely to drop out anyhow.

Is it really necessary to remove the check-boxes next to other players to indicate who has/hasn't submitted moves? NMRs from other players (esp. allies) are tedious and random enough as it is, but at least when you knew they were happening, you could enter orders appropriately in the situation. Also, when one user was just holding up the game, you used to know who it was. Now, we won't know, so turns will drag longer, which makes it less attractive to play here at all.
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jmo1121109
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#7 Post by jmo1121109 » Mon May 14, 2018 3:13 pm

Kremmen wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 3:08 pm
Not that it matters, but I have to wonder: Were people seriously scraping the site to try to determine who an anonymous player is via their NMR counter? Wouldn't that only matter if they are not entering moves, in which case they're likely to drop out anyhow.

Is it really necessary to remove the check-boxes next to other players to indicate who has/hasn't submitted moves? NMRs from other players (esp. allies) are tedious and random enough as it is, but at least when you knew they were happening, you could enter orders appropriately in the situation. Also, when one user was just holding up the game, you used to know who it was. Now, we won't know, so turns will drag longer, which makes it less attractive to play here at all.
Yes, they were unfortunately. In basically every anon tournament the site has had people have broken anonymity.

That is why for pending NMR's you see "At least 1 player still needs to enter moves" which allows you to contact the mods to prevent the pending NMR, just like you can do currently. As for turns dragging on longer, if you enter a game with 24 hour phases, expect the game to take 24 hours each and every time. There is no rule requiring people to ready faster and people generally make use of all the press time they get. You will also see who it was at the game end, and can avoid playing with them again if you wish.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#8 Post by Kremmen » Mon May 14, 2018 3:15 pm

One definite disadvantage: You can't even tell who has orders to put in any more. If it's a retreat turn, you used to be able to tell at a glance who was retreating. Now, what? Read through the orders looking for "(dislodged)"? Ugh.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#9 Post by ghug » Mon May 14, 2018 3:18 pm

Kremmen wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 3:08 pm
Not that it matters, but I have to wonder: Were people seriously scraping the site to try to determine who an anonymous player is via their NMR counter? Wouldn't that only matter if they are not entering moves, in which case they're likely to drop out anyhow.

Is it really necessary to remove the check-boxes next to other players to indicate who has/hasn't submitted moves? NMRs from other players (esp. allies) are tedious and random enough as it is, but at least when you knew they were happening, you could enter orders appropriately in the situation. Also, when one user was just holding up the game, you used to know who it was. Now, we won't know, so turns will drag longer, which makes it less attractive to play here at all.
To the former point, yes. The counter also had total moves entered, so you could watch when it ticked up to see if someone was in a game, or even if they were one of the people with orders in a specific build/retreat phase..

I'm not sure how turns dragging longer is an issue. It's not my experience that readying up is the standard anywhere outside of high quality gunboat, in which case it's also not frowned upon when people can't. Removing the means to target people for using the whole phase length doesn't seem problematic to me.

Not knowing who will NMR does change play. I'm not sure the old way was better though. You can still remind in the press or ask mods for emergency pauses without knowing who's doing it, and if anything, knowing who's going to NMR only exacerbates the issue of NMRs not impacting everyone equally, because people can plan to capitalize.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#10 Post by Kremmen » Mon May 14, 2018 3:23 pm

jmo1121109 wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 3:13 pm
That is why for pending NMR's you see "At least 1 player still needs to enter moves" which allows you to contact the mods to prevent the pending NMR, just like you can do currently. As for turns dragging on longer, if you enter a game with 24 hour phases, expect the game to take 24 hours each and every time. There is no rule requiring people to ready faster and people generally make use of all the press time they get. You will also see who it was at the game end, and can avoid playing with them again if you wish.
I'm talking about normal games. Nobody's going to contact mods about NMRs in them.

Sure, every turn can go full length, but they often don't (esp. retreat and build) and it's convenient to be able to remind players. You also don't necessarily see who it was at game end (if they get replaced) and you can't avoid playing with them in other anonymous games.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#11 Post by ghug » Mon May 14, 2018 3:42 pm

People email us to emergency pause normal games all the time.

I'm not sure how this change alters your ability to avoid people in future anonymous public games, remind via press that someone hasn't entered/readied others, or see who someone was before they got replaced.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#12 Post by Kremmen » Mon May 14, 2018 3:45 pm

ghug wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 3:18 pm
I'm not sure how turns dragging longer is an issue. It's not my experience that readying up is the standard anywhere outside of high quality gunboat, in which case it's also not frowned upon when people can't. Removing the means to target people for using the whole phase length doesn't seem problematic to me.

Not knowing who will NMR does change play. I'm not sure the old way was better though. You can still remind in the press or ask mods for emergency pauses without knowing who's doing it, and if anything, knowing who's going to NMR only exacerbates the issue of NMRs not impacting everyone equally, because people can plan to capitalize.
I've had plenty of games where everyone but one player readies up (esp. retreat and build) and the one delayer falls into line with the rest. Sometimes people just forget and can be reminded.

As for NMRs, I'm not sure which is better, but I think the old way is. People can plan to capitalise, but they can also plan to not rely on allies that are not going to be entering orders. NMRs already cause upheaval but do we need more randomness? I guess the new way does make them more equal, but they've never been close to equal: The neighbours of the NMR are affected quite unlike the players on the other side of the board.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#13 Post by Kremmen » Mon May 14, 2018 3:47 pm

ghug wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 3:42 pm
People email us to emergency pause normal games all the time.
I've never done it and never seen it done. Surely you don't want to be handling more email?
I'm not sure how this change alters your ability to avoid people in future anonymous public games, remind via press that someone hasn't entered/readied others, or see who someone was before they got replaced.
The change doesn't alter any of that. The point was that "You will also see who it was at the game end, and can avoid playing with them again if you wish." is a fallacy, regardless of the changes.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#14 Post by flash2015 » Mon May 14, 2018 3:58 pm

Will I be able to tell the difference between someone not entering orders and someone not readying orders?

Will it be possible to tell if you are the last person remaining to enter orders? If I know I may be holding up the game I may ready immediately. If not I may stew on my orders some more.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#15 Post by JECE » Mon May 14, 2018 4:24 pm

No that we've gone overboard in the direction of anonymity, can we remove the approximate "~" timestamps from anonymous games? They seem to be redundant given all of these changes. Accurate timestamps help players gauge whether players actually cross-posted or feigned a cross-post.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#16 Post by ghug » Mon May 14, 2018 4:27 pm

We're always happy to handle more email.

Informing you if you're the last person not ready is not a bad idea, Flash, though it would obviously require more dev work, so no promises.

Removing the timestamp obfuscation is also not a bad idea.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#17 Post by ChippeRock » Mon May 14, 2018 4:46 pm

I'm really not sure what the point of this was. The timestamps in my experience are typically up to 2 hours off from when the messages were actually sent.

You would have to be really lucky to get a message/order come in when your checking the game.

For non-Wait for orders games this also affects the ability to change your orders so you can take advantage of a neighbor's NMR.

I think, at best, you should make this an option when your creating a new game. And I think you should only affect the profile timestamps of those in Super anonymous games or those that are in a tournament's list of players.

I feel like this isn't really needed for normal live games because all 7 players will be online at the same time.
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#18 Post by Tom Bombadil » Mon May 14, 2018 4:51 pm

ChippeRock wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 4:46 pm
I'm really not sure what the point of this was. The timestamps in my experience are typically up to 2 hours off from when the messages were actually sent.

...

For non-Wait for orders games this also affects the ability to change your orders so you can take advantage of a neighbor's NMR.
I feel like you just described a major point of this. This way NMRs ruin games less because people can't immediately take advantage of them as easily. Also the fact that games are now anonymous makes tournaments much more playable if you don't care for the "you are leading so I'm going to see which power you are and make sure you don't win" mechanic. (some people like this, but those folks can just join a non-anon tourney like the Century League)
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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#19 Post by jmo1121109 » Mon May 14, 2018 4:52 pm

ChippeRock wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 4:46 pm

For non-Wait for orders games this also affects the ability to change your orders so you can take advantage of a neighbor's NMR.
We don't want people doing this. We want them to email the mods if they notice an impending NMR instead.

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Re: Anonymous Changes and Online Indicators

#20 Post by VillageIdiot » Mon May 14, 2018 4:55 pm

Love it, awesome stuff guys!

One thing I personally would prefer is keeping some kind of indication which countries have an action in a round, just not colour coding if orders were set or finalize. After a round goes by the high level way to see what went down is to see what countries have retreats or builds and then deep dive from there to see more details. It’s a lot more cumbersome to have to go descipher all the (fairly busy) icons/arrows on the map or click through to the orders and read them all individually without some kind of initial indication. More likely to completely overlook key activity.

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