A number of you have pinged me this morning to ask if I personally or the CSM generally have heard about the change to the TOS this morning, detailed in this news post. Short answer: yes.
Long answer: we’ve seen it and we’ve expressed to CCP our concern that the change in policy is far too broadly written. This has a number of players concerned as well as expressed in this (locked) thread as well as in this post by Goon member Weaselior. That thread is also likely to be locked and it’s possible that the post itself will be deleted. But it gives GM Grimmi‘s response to a question stating that impersonation of CCP employees and in-game personalities has been prohibited for a long time. He further states his belief that the TOS update is nothing new and simply a clarification of what has been long-standing CCP policy.
The only trouble is that isn’t quite true.
This is a change to the TOS, whereas the previous statements existed in the Naming Policy. The punishments specified in the latter involve having a character, corp, or alliance renamed.(1) The only context for disciplinary action against players in the Naming Policy applies to blatantly offensive names. The TOS, on the other hand, is awash in various forms of disciplinary action.
Put more simply: before this TOS change, creating a character named darknessss could get your character renamed. After this TOS change, it could theoretically get you banned. But that’s only where things start.
You see, if I characterize myself as a Goonswarm recruiter, say, or a recruiting representative of an operational in-game incursion community, and I charge 100 million ISK for these services, these things are now also technically a violation of this TOS change. After all, after this change I can no longer “falsely present [myself] to be a representative of [a] group of players.” Given that “Goon recruitment scams” have been a thing pretty much since Goonswarm came to EVE, this is not a small matter for the Goons involved.
It also raises the intriguing notion: if I fall for a Goon recruitment scam, can I petition the loss of ISK and get it recovered since the scammer violated the TOS to get my ISK? That would be a fairly major change to the nature of EVE, if so.
Needless to say, both the players involved and the CSM are asking all of these questions. I don’t think it would be out of the question for there to be a clarification of this TOS change in pretty short order. For now, I believe the wording of it is overly broad and creates the opportunity for some unfortunate precedents. Even if the wording changes, though, it’ll be interesting to see how broadly these new precedents are applied.
If you would like to read more we invite you to visit his blog here.
EDIT (9/Sep/2013): CCP Guard has issued a first class statement in this matter. Go read it.
EDIT (9/Sep/2013): Caught in the net of this policy change was a Goon rental advertisement thread. A valid Goon rental advertisement thread. I assume the CCP employee in question couldn’t believe there was such a thing. Hee!
(1) You may remember that I was in the midst of telling a story about this very thing and it’s a story I’ll be wrapping up soon.