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Thread: My warning: being ignorant of BitTorrent stats "cheating" can still get you banned

  1. #1
    I have been banned from thebox.bz for "cheating", despite not even knowing how to cheat. Below is my warning to users of all ratio-based BitTorrent sites, and in particular, to users of thebox.bz:


    Last night I turned on my BitTorrent client (uTorrent 1.8.1), and noticed that all the status icons had gone red. I then went to thebox.bz's website (as 95% of my torrents are from there) to see if the tracker was down, tried to log in, but received a brief and ominous message: "Your account has been disabled."

    Baffled, I went to thebox's IRC channel, and spoke to an admin in #thebox-support. I was told that site traffic statistics suggested that I had been "cheating", somehow spoofing the amount of traffic that I was actually uploading as a seeder.

    And in terms of my account on thebox.bz, that was pretty much that.

    The truth of the matter is that I have not cheated - at least not intentionally. In fact, last year when I heard that BitComet was one of several clients that often inflates stats, I immediately switched to uTorrent, which I have been using ever since. I honestly have no idea how someone would spoof their bittorrent traffic stats, and frankly, I wouldn't have the time nor the inclination to find out. I had a good ratio at thebox (at +54 gigs at the time of my account being disabled), so there would be no need for me to try to provide fraudulent stats.

    Unlike some other people who have complained of rude administrators when confronted with a disabled account, I was treated relatively politely, although it was an abruptly open-and-shut case with a seemingly predetermined verdict.

    I chatted with an admin of thebox.bz on IRC, who had a look at the system stats and told me I had been definitely cheating. When I pleaded my innocence, and was asked which BitTorrent client I used, I said it was uTorrent 1.8.1, unmodified. The admin expressed disbelief, and asked if I had also used another client, or if I had used my uTorrent to cheat at another ratio-based sites. I said no. I only had one BitTorrent client on my system (uTorrent), and the only ratio-based site I use is thebox (I had used UKNova, but didn't visit it for 3 months because thebox was so good, and thus I discovered last week that my UKNova account was deactivated due to inactivity). The admin's response was that something insidious had to have been on my system that was causing these dodgy stats. I asked the admin if he had ever heard of malware/spyware/etc that had messed up BitTorrent traffic stats, and he said "no". He was pretty much convinced that I was either intentionally using my client in an insidious way, or had intentionally installed another program to help cheat the BitTorrent traffic stats. When I said that I hadn't done so, I was then told that "I was unaware of what was on my computer", that my account would remain disabled, and that any donations made via PayPal in the past 45 days would be refunded. And that was that.

    I then asked how I had cheated, so I could investigate it myself (e.g. I could see if I had unwittingly turned something on or off on my uTorrent client). The admin refused to disclose this information. Additonally, I opined that if people can inadvertently cheat without intending to, then thebox.bz should educate people as to how to make sure they are not cheating. Again, brushed aside, as if all "cheating" is intentional, and as if I were simply telling a lie.

    I was rather surprised by the quick verdict; I made it clear that this was a mistake, and that if there were unusual stats that they were not caused by any intention on my part to cheat the system. I also explained that I felt I have a model user of the thebox.bz community for several reasons:
    * I have been a member of the young site for more than a year (and am thus one of the longest-standing members on the site)
    * My combined upload/download total is nearing one terabyte
    * I have maintained a good ratio (+54 gigs at the time of account deactivation, gained primarily in Sept and the first half of Oct), and thus would have no need to "cheat"
    * I have donated money to the site in the past
    * I have never received so much as a warning since joining (more than one year ago!)

    All of that was pretty much waved away as an irrelevancy. I was treated the same way any n00b would be treated.

    Now please understand that this isn't a "boo hoo, woe me" whine. It's not the end of the world that my account has been disabled: I can always go back to UKNova, and if I was absolutely desperate to get back on thebox, I'm sure there are ways it could be done.

    But frankly, I don't think I want to be a part of a community that treats a long-term member the same way that it treats a one-week newbie. If I had only been on thebox for a week or two, had a poor ratio, and had been giving off seemingly dodgy traffic signals, then fine, lift up the drawbridge without so much as a warning. But for a long-standing member with a good ratio to be cast away with the same disregard, despite pleading innocent? That's just shoddy.

    I can fully understand the admins being pro-active against cheating. I would expect such a stance from any ratio-based BitTorrent community that I am a part of. But clearly, if I have not intentionally cheated, and yet there are somehow traffic stats saying that I have cheated, then there is something wrong somewhere. Perhaps the system that we all take for granted is fallible; perhaps thebox's traffic stats are not as black-and-white and foolproof as the admins might think.

    My warning to everyone (BitTorrent users in general, and thebox.bz users in particular) is that something must be wrong somewhere in the overall bittorrent system (whether it be a tracker, or a client, or something else), and that you could fall victim to this, just as I have. If I can be accused of cheating despite not having intentionally done so, than this whole episode of suddenly having my account disabled can happen to any of you. In fact, a simple search for "thebox.bz disabled" on Google shows numerous similar incidents. In my case, I suppose that either thebox.bz's tracker is dodgy, or (perhaps more likely) my BitTorrent client (fully up-to-date uTorrent 1.8.1, unmodified) is giving off bad signals. Regardless of what's to blame, ignorant users simply sharing torrents innocently can fall victim to the same thing as I have.

    I suppose the only way that users can attempt to avoid a similar fate is to pro-actively learn HOW to cheat, so that you understand how it works, in order to avoid doing so unintentionally. Ignorance apparently is not bliss, as I have found out the hard way. The sad thing from all this is that such a BitTorrent community would then be filled with users who know how to cheat the system. Definitely not ideal, is it? But again, ignorance will not protect the individual.

    It has been a fantastic 53 weeks on thebox.bz for me. I live in Canada and don't even own a TV set, as I'm only interested in UK tele. Thebox.bz basically was my tele. I suppose I'll be able to get a good chunk of the content from UKNova, but I'll be gutted not to be able to get things like the upcoming IT Crowd series three (unless it's on Mininova), as well as some of the old programmes from decades past (I especially like collecting the older shows, as I am an amateur comedy script writer myself).

    Oh well. Cheerio, thebox.bz.

  2. BitTorrent   -   #2
    Raban's Avatar Poaster BT Rep: +7BT Rep +7
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    you should watch american TV it's better

  3. BitTorrent   -   #3
    Artemis's Avatar żןɐɯɹou ǝq ʎɥʍ BT Rep: +3
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    Maybe one of the site coders will step in here and help with some information for you ? All I can say is that sites run purpose written scripts that hunt for unrealistic upload stats. These scripts themselves are usually modified by the coder concerned, or designed from scratch, hence the admin's unwillingness to go into how their cheat detection works.
    I have been accused of cheating myself in the past, because of high upload stats on a tracker, in my case it was that I was using a dedicated seedbox and had not notified the site, a lower level staff member was initially very rude and abrupt but I persisted and talked to a site admin and managed to prove my case. I do understand the indignation you feel at being a good member of a site and being abruptly disabled.
    I can however offer some alternatives, TVTorrents has a good range of UK shows, UKNova you already know, there is a new site called TV Vault which specialises in older shows and hard to find content, and finally SCT, a 0day tracker has alot of current UK TV show content as well and being a very fast site actually has the content up earlier than some of the sites you are used to using.

    4d7920686f76657263726166742069732066756c6c206f662065656c73


  4. BitTorrent   -   #4
    Cabalo's Avatar FileSharingTalker BT Rep: +24BT Rep +24BT Rep +24BT Rep +24BT Rep +24
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    i read carefully your post and i fail to see why or where u admit your fault on the issue, as u say you know nothing about cheating, which i will assume as true.

    might have happened someone else was cheating at the same torrents as u were, and their sum up was that you cheated instead, as torrent stats gone wrong.

    btw. if you are into 0-day series, TL is what you need.
    Last edited by Cabalo; 11-04-2008 at 04:51 AM.

  5. BitTorrent   -   #5
    saimer's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +1
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    edited.
    comfort.

    edit2: how about BMTV? they have both UK and canadian sections.
    Last edited by saimer; 11-04-2008 at 05:05 AM.

  6. BitTorrent   -   #6
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    unintentional cheating?
    thats a new phrase
    Last edited by Dithersky; 11-04-2008 at 06:35 AM.

  7. BitTorrent   -   #7
    Disme's Avatar I'm Belgian BT Rep: +7BT Rep +7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dithersky View Post
    unintentional cheating?
    Seems like a load of crap to me too.

    Some things to think about: The OP joined today ... wrote only 2 posts and the second one is a rather lenghty one about being banned somewhere ...

    As Art said there can be misunderstandings when there's some info not known to some staff-members, but talking to an admin who actually looked into the users stats and after looking into those confirmed he was certainly cheating.

    Anyway ... tough luck for you ... move on get another TV-site ... maybe some naive schmuck will offer you a BitmeTV, an ScT-invite or another great tracker and you will have achieved your goal, you certainly put some thoughts and effort into it

    P.S. Sorry for the sarcasm, but if you've been here as long as me (and I suspect this ain't your first account) you'd react the same.
    Can you feel the LOVE

  8. BitTorrent   -   #8
    kondrae's Avatar Trance BT Rep: +19BT Rep +19BT Rep +19BT Rep +19
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    Recently it has come to our attention that with an update to the latest version of µtorrent (1.7.7) by default there are several options turned on that absolutely must be turned off. DHT (distributed hash tables) and Peer Exchange, as well as Local Peer Discovery are features in µtorrent that allow you to connect to peers that are not part of the tracker. Failure to turn these options will cause µtorrent to misreport data to the tracker. This is not only a security risk, it is also a bannable offence as your client will report more data uploaded and less data downloaded from the tracker, thus falsely increasing your ratio. Also, if you are seeding to peers from outside the tracker, you won't be able to seed to S** members as quickly as possible. Please disable these features as soon as possible.
    ^something to think about. but many people argue this isnt true because the torrent has a private flag. i, personally, wouldnt risk it

    Skitt's Law: "any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself"

  9. BitTorrent   -   #9
    helpme's Avatar ANTI TRADER BT Rep: +9BT Rep +9
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    We all know cheating will make the account disabled
    so,what can i say
    Never cheat

  10. BitTorrent   -   #10
    Disme's Avatar I'm Belgian BT Rep: +7BT Rep +7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kondrae View Post
    ^something to think about. but many people argue this isnt true because the torrent has a private flag. i, personally, wouldnt risk it
    I don't think it can happen even when you put DHT on ... the tracker-side won't allow it
    Can you feel the LOVE

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