Yes you will have to read.
I was thinking of emailing some Valve people, but first I want to throw the idea out there for discussion, feedback, proofreading, and possible signatures from people that support it.
'I' could be replaced with 'We' if people who sign want to be included. _______________________________________________________________________________________________Regarding the Team Fortress 2 Bot situation,
I believe Valve's focus in combating the issue should be on the bot accounts themselves and their creator(s), however patches that have been made to the game thus far address only their abilities.
I understand that legal action against their creator(s) is not necessarily feasible or worth the investment.
Probably the biggest issue with removing bots is distinguishing between a normal user's account and that of a bot.
Automating their identification and removal would be ideal.
I do not know what methods of identifying these accounts are in use currently, but I assume it is a difficult task to fully automate.
I suggest abandoning the idea of automation for now, and instead outsourcing the task to the player base. As your employees cannot be omnipresent, grant those who are (the players) the ability to resolve the issue.
My proposal for a solution is this:
Upon getting vote-kicked from a match, the account that got kicked is locked down until the completion of a captcha, (or some similar simple method of human verification.) Leaving before the vote is completed would count as it passing. Perhaps limited account locking can be added as a feature to Steam itself as a tool for developers to integrate with their games/software, as this would benefit the whole platform and justify the effort. (If a similar feature doesn't already exist.)
Once the account is locked for a period of time, you are no longer able to complete a captcha to unlock it, and it becomes flagged for manual review and possible deletion.
The specific amount of time could easily be adjusted to catch as high a ratio of bots to legitimate players as possible.
Obvious bots that have identical names or profiles could be scrubbed from the list of locked accounts en masse by a script, of course.
The concept can be infinitely modified; for example:
* It could be triggered only by a new vote kick reason called "non-human player"
* The account could specifically be locked out of TF2's matchmaking and nothing else.
* Instead of flagging the account for review, make the only possible way to free it be through submitting a support ticket.
Or even have an additional period of time between the captcha and flagging where this is the case.
* The system could be toggled on during periods of significant bot activity and off the rest of the time.
* Account locking could be based on 2 or 3 vote-kicks in sequence, or a pattern of kicks - a strike system. This would
prevent most abuse situations.
* The 'yes' requirement for a vote to pass should probably be increased to 7 to prevent parties of bots from abusing the
Overall, a change like this would make maintaining active bots require an inconceivable amount of effort from their creator, assuming they get kicked from matches.
I personally do not doubt they will be kicked. This game's player base has demonstrated its dedication to improving the game countless times, in numerous contexts. They already get kicked from matches, and giving the players more power to deal with the issue will encourage them to call votes rather than leave the match.
An explanation as to why something similar to this has not been implemented, or more details concerning current efforts would be greatly appreciated. There are undeniably aspects of this I have overlooked.
You know what you're doing, but I thought I'd express my ideas on the matter anyway.
For your consideration, ___________________
Duplicate Steam forum post: https://steamcommunity.com/app/440/discussions/0/2577696996230023780/
Reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/tf2/comments/hgnkdk/a_possible_solution_to_the_tf2_bots_a_letter_to/