Without putting it off any longer, the Investigations Manager would like to put forth answers to some of the many questions that were sent to me. The following is from the Investigations Manager directly:
Hi, I'm the Investigation Manager. Let me start off by telling you a little bit about what I do on the site.
As much as it might be an affront to your gentle sensibilities, some people don't actually earn their achievements. They've found alternative methods of unlocking them that I won't get into here. Suffice to say, this can cause a problem with TA ratios, where the really hard achievements have become really easy to unlock.
It's my job to find these cheaters, and remove their achievements so they don't skew our statistics.
Mr. Dynamo has been kind enough to pass along some of your questions, and I'm going to do my best to answer them.
QUESTION NUMBER 1:
How does he/she cover the entire 60,000ish people on T.A. by his/her self? also will this 3 glitched cheesemints thing ever get resolved?
I'm actually the head of a group of people who help investigate any reported gamers. We're the smallest team on TA, but we make up for it with our stunning good looks! Also, we put that gigantic user base to work for us, by allowing them to report any cheating they see.
Ok, the "three game rule," where in order to be removed, you have to have cheated on three games. As far as I'm concerned, the matter is resolved, and it's here to stay. With this rule, we've been able to remove most offenders, while still striking a balance of giving borderline cases the benefit of the doubt.
Don't take this as an endorsement of any cheating, though. Like Jack Bauer, I'm willing to do what it takes to stop scum from exploiting the system.
QUESTION NUMBER 2:
How many people get banned per week?
Great question, because this allows me to clear up a misconception. I don't ban anyone! I just keep them from having achievements listed on the site. If someone wants to continue using the site politely, they're welcome to. If they're going to be a jerk about it, that's a job for another team.
The old investigations team started at the beginning of 09. Last year, about 800 gamers have had their achievements removed from the site by the investigations team.
QUESTION NUMBER 3:
I would be interested in knowing the future of Xbox, such as a new console is being considered or already prototyped. Or if there is going to be a hand-held.
As the Investigation Manager, I have my fingers on the pulse of Redmond R&D. I'll give you the low-down, but you gotta promise not to tell anyone, ok?
While the next iteration of Microsoft's console won't be hand-held, it will be portable. A small processor with USB port will be implanted at the base of your skull. They're calling it the Neckbox.
Now for the bad news (if the previous mark of the Beast implications don't scare you): They're doing away with achievements. Focus testing has been very strong on their proposed replacement: "believements."
QUESTION NUMBER 4:
I like ratting people out. A lot. What kind of evidence should I be putting in my reports? And how long does it take for an investigation to run its course?
Hey, you're my kinda guy! You wouldn't believe the weird reports we get on people. To the guy whose complaint was "has no g and copyrights other gamers," what do you expect us to do with that?
When you report someone, be specific. Mention what games and achievements you suspect them to have cheated on, and why they're suspicious. Really, we can usually figure out after spending some time on it, but you make it a whole lot easier for us, and raise the chances of getting the person removed.
Allow a little over a week from report time to resolution time for an investigation to conclude, but they can often be quicker than that.
QUESTION NUMBER 5:
What happens to people when they get reported?
Why do you care? Are you a cheater? *Files report*
Kidding! First, we receive the submitted report, and look into it. If we don't see anything suspicious, it ends there, without even notifying the person under investigation. If we do see something suspicious, we publish a report listing all the cheated achievements, and notify person under investigation that they have an opportunity to explain how the achievements are legit.
After all the evidence is submitted, we make a determination whether they should be removed or not, and notify the subject.
QUESTION NUMBER 6:
What are you talking about? Did I miss out on something?
You and me both, buddy. You and me both.