[Beyond the Borders] NS Forum Mods reveal Jakker's Misuse of Moderation Tools






NS Forum Mods reveal Jakker's Misuse of Moderation Tools
New Information about disgraced former forum moderator leads to new reforms, Council of Hawks denies wrongdoing

Written by John Laurens




In a rare move by NationStates (NS) Moderators, Senior Issues Moderator Sedgistan posted in the NS Gameplay forum to disclose actions by former Forum Moderator Jakker in regards to Karputsk, who was exposed as a spy operating under the alias 'Ursidae' in The Black Hawks (TBH).

In April 2020, TBH discovered a spy within their ranks, named “Ursidae.” At the time, several players suspected that Jakker, then a senior member of TBH as well as a moderator on the NationStates Forums, had abused moderation powers to look up the IP Address of a nation called “Lmaoofl”, a known alias of Karputsk. With the confirmed IP Address of Karputsk, it would become trivially easy for Jakker to determine the identity of the spy by comparing that IP address to those of TBH members.

In an episode of the Ministry of Pod recorded hours before the moderator disclosure, the Director of Europeia’s Intelligence Agency (EIA) Kazaman recounted how “Lmaoofl” was a formerlly “clean” name used by Karputsk as part of the Founderless Regions Alliance’s attempts to infiltrate Europeia during the Champagne Jam / Falconias scandal of the 2009-2010 era (25:30 of the episode).

When the moderation team confronted Jakker, he claimed that he had looked up the IP of Lmaoofl out of personal curiosity. He then apologized for the action and further claimed that the information had never been used. Sedgistan, however, notes that the moderation team cannot say for certain if Jakker’s account is accurate or not. Sedgistan notes that in the wake of the event, “the Admin team [has]implemented a much improved logging system to ensure indefinite recording of forumside IP lookups by Moderators and accountability.”

NS gameplayers reacted with a mix of gratitude regarding the Moderation Team’s transparency, and disbelief that Moderators trusted Jakker’s flimsy excuse in the first place. Jakker, who was removed from NS and the Moderation Team for unrelated and unknown behavior, was a sophisticated gameplayer, and few, including Sedgistan, give him the benefit of the doubt.

Ever-Wandering Souls, a General and Council Advisor for TBH, provided some additional context, reporting that Ursidae had been under investigation by the Council of Hawks in the months prior to Jakker’s actions, but that “it's entirely likely … that Jakker illicitly confirmed [the Karp-Ursidae IP Address Match] for himself, and then used that to guide the other council member towards public proof, without their knowledge.”

Souls also confirmed that Ursidae was assigned as an ambassador to Europeia in the hopes that Europeia “might flag the account as a duplicate IP via their own security if dispatched their (sic) as an ambassador.”

Souls forcefully denounced the Moderation Team, saying “Staff reaction to [Jakker’s IP search] probably should have been stronger than it was; They also could have attempted to confirm with someone other than Jakker himself the claim that he was confirming something already known. As I said above, I think that [Jakker’s] claim should probably be called a lie.”

Several other prominent gameplayers reacted as well. Speaking on suspicions that Jakker had used the information discovered to nudge the Council of Hawks in the right direction, Rejected Realms Army High Commander Frattastan said “... there definitely was the feeling that someone had just put Karp's name on the table around the same time as the forum post, which allowed you to put together a decent case once you were on the right track.” Consul of the League Quebecshire was also concerned, stating “Ultimately, the how matters a lot here, regardless of inevitability or lack thereof, and it's really disappointing that this went down this way. To be clear, I don't think TBH Council knew or was involved, but to me it seems exceedingly clear that Jakker used his knowledge to nudge and hint Council in the right direction. The acceleration of the timeline along lends extreme credence to that.”

Sedgistan is confident that reform to the Moderator logging system will prevent systematic future abuse, but did note that “it could be a possibility that this wasn't an isolated incident” because of the nature of the historical IP logging system.

Editor's Note: This article has been edited to fix spelling errors.
 
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Salem

he/him
Citizen
New Information about disgraced former forum moderator leads to new reforms, Council of Hawks denies wrongdoing

Bold mine - I do wish you phrased this significantly different or just left this part out. Especially since this is the second line of the article, and people may not care to read below the title and article description.

As one of the people who was on the Council of Hawks at the time, I just want to reiterate none of us had zero idea that Jakker had abused his mod abilities and had we known, we would have gone about the situation a lot differently and reported Jakker to the moderators for abusing his mod-perms. Had moderation contacted us when there was an investigation into Jakker looking into Karp's IP address, his explanation to the mods could have been easily identified as bogus.

I think I can safely speak for everyone on the then Council at the time (aside from Jakker, obviously) when I say we would have rather Jakker never cheated even if that meant more ops getting leaked. TBH isn't denying any wrongdoing - it's acknowledged cheating took place and it's acknowledged Karp's alt was blown on unfair grounds, we're just trying to help provide clarification on how Jakker's cheating looked from TBH's end. Jakker cheating, Jakker giving a nudge to a Council member privately, rest of Council taking over the investigation, Karp banned.
 

North East Somerset

Honoured Citizen
Citizen
New Information about disgraced former forum moderator leads to new reforms, Council of Hawks denies wrongdoing

Bold mine - I do wish you phrased this significantly different or just left this part out. Especially since this is the second line of the article, and people may not care to read below the title and article description.

As one of the people who was on the Council of Hawks at the time, I just want to reiterate none of us had zero idea that Jakker had abused his mod abilities and had we known, we would have gone about the situation a lot differently and reported Jakker to the moderators for abusing his mod-perms. Had moderation contacted us when there was an investigation into Jakker looking into Karp's IP address, his explanation to the mods could have been easily identified as bogus.

I think I can safely speak for everyone on the then Council at the time (aside from Jakker, obviously) when I say we would have rather Jakker never cheated even if that meant more ops getting leaked. TBH isn't denying any wrongdoing - it's acknowledged cheating took place and it's acknowledged Karp's alt was blown on unfair grounds, we're just trying to help provide clarification on how Jakker's cheating looked from TBH's end. Jakker cheating, Jakker giving a nudge to a Council member privately, rest of Council taking over the investigation, Karp banned.
So basically you deny knowing at the time that cheating took place, but do not deny the cheating took place now. Which realistically is the only mitigating position you can possibly take, because denying any cheating took place would just look absurd in the face of the evidence that has been made public. So what you are doing is in effect denying "wrongdoing" - because you didn't know the information was sourced illegitimately at the time. So the statement bolded in the article is fundamentally factually correct.

Incidentally, one could argue that TBH have got off very lightly because there is precedent that just being ignorant of rulebreaking occurring is not a defence, from the LKE recruitment scandal of 2015, where the LKE was heavily punished for an individual member (Bob Moran) using an illegal recruitment script, despite the rest of the region not being aware of his usage of a script at all.

And particularly lightly the people or persons in TBH that knew about this specifically from Jakker. In the NS forum, Souls made a statement;

I've reviewed old Council logs for certainty: at no point on or after the 27th did Jakker or anyone else disclose this information to Council. At 22:16 Monday April 27, 2020 UTC, another (now-former) member of council re-raised concerns Ursidae was a spy and probably Karp, and the most Jakker did was agree with that but state there was no solid proof yet, then did not comment further. It would be my educated guess at this point that Jakker likely had privately encouraged this member to re-raise the issue after confirming it for himself, but without saying why.
I wonder who the "now-former" member of the Council that Jakker privately encouraged to re-raise the issue following him looking up the logs on the NS site was? Not you by any chance was it? No further comment?

One doth protest too much, methinks.
 

PhDre

Cabinet
Senator
Deputy Minister
Citizen
EBC stands by this article. The headline is appropriate. Feel free to read the entire article, which puts TBH's denial in the context of Jakker's abuse of Moderation powers and the advantage it gave TBH at the time of that abuse.

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Comms hat off
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I find NES's comment about the LKE's punishment for the actions of a single player that the region itself didn't know about very interesting. It says something that a senior member and moderator can lie to other moderators (as established by Souls) to advantage a region,and that region faces no punishment. My personal position is to note that is very interesting and wonder why Jakker and the associated organization were allowed to gain such a significant advantage based on Moderation abuse without any punishment. Perhaps the rules work differently these days when TBH council members break rules and when Reliant doesn't.
 
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