Greedy Goblin

Friday, April 12, 2013

Preventing all corp thefts

Corp thefts are happening left and right. The story is simple: someone who has access to corp assets gets pissed off with the corp and takes it. Some joined exactly to take it, but they are minority. Corps want to limit it with various "no drama" drives and API checks, obviously without results, as thefts are still happening.

The solution is pretty simple: you can't steal what's not there. Can anyone tell me why should a corp have any assets? No, I don't go full objectivist here, denouncing all public services. However a public service like fleet reimbursement doesn't need public property. The reimbursement officer can have that money in his personal wallet. The best is to have a dedicated alt as officer who does nothing else, so his wallet is not trashed up with ratting ticks and sales. Sure, he can steal the wallet, but only the reimbursement wallet and only him. It's much smaller risk than "any officer can steal all wallets". Also, the reimbursement waller can be limited to the daily costs, there is no need for him to have tens of billions rotting there, the CEO can send him a few bills whenever the wallet is running low and any member can check that characters API. The same can go to everyone who does public services: he gets access only to a weekly amount of resources needed to do his job.

Several cases the CEO himself stole the goods. How can this be prevented? Simple: he also has to have access to a weekly amount of resources needed to be redistributed. If the cash-flow is properly designed than the wallet of the CEO alt is always low, despite the large amount of money coming in and out.

The worst thing is community owned non-money assets. For example the corp owns a moon that the logistics guy manages with the corp-owned JF, using corp-owned fuel and filling it to the corp hangar where the market guy jumps it to Jita with the (other) corp owned JF and sells it for the corp wallet. No need to say that any of them can take the JF, the moongoo and the money. Alternatively: the corpies mine for free, supported by the corp-owned Rorqual, fill the minerals to the corp hangar where the manufacture guy makes corp-owned ships and modules using corp-owned BPOs and then later give out the "free" ships to members. This will end with a bunch of Megacyte jumping away in the Rorqual along with all the BPOs.

This is completely unnecessary. The correct way of doing this is: moon-guy owns the tower, manages it with his own JF, sells it to the market guy who pays with his own money. The corp gets a monthly rent fee for the moon from the moon-guy. No one can actually steal anything besides one month worth of rent. The mining guy should owns his Rorqual, pay the miners for their minerals (lower than Jita of course, but they would surely sell to him instead of hauling it themselves to Jita). The miner guy sells the minerals to the manufacturing guy who pays with his own money, makes the ships with his own BPOs and sells it to the members.

Finally we have to address emergency funds. Having low asset prevents theft but also prevents adaptation to emergency. If a whole fleet of faction battleships needs to be reimbursed, having a wallet with only a few B in it is bad. A corp should have enough money to cover such unforseen expenses. But it doesn't mean that the leader or any officer needs to have it. It can simply be ordered that every member must have X billion emergency fund in cash in his own wallet. The CEO can check it via APIs. So when the rainy day comes, he can just say: emergency time, everyone please pay 1B to cover the expenses of the current crisis.

Please note that by the above changes, I did not actually change any corp activities: the same guy fuels the same tower and the same people are flying the same ships funded by the same people. Only the money routes were re-planned to avoid money or assets collecting in places where people can steal or waste it.

"I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand "I have a problem, it is the Government's job to cope with it!" or "I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!" "I am homeless, the Government must house me!" and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations."
Rest in peace, Margaret Thatcher


Anonymous said...

Interesting proposal. However, I see the following issue.

"It's always easier to do something than to do nothing. The chance of someone choosing not to do something is higher than the chance of someone choosing to do something."

Let's say that a person holding "corp assets" in their personal wallet leaves the corp after some drama has been caused.
In the current system, the corp wallet will stay intact as long as the person does not willingly choose to withdraw money. It may not even cross their mind that they could steal money.
In your proposed system, the corp wallet will only stay intact as long as the person willingly transfers the "corp assets" back to someone else in the corp.

People act irrationally. "Pride" might prevent someone from taking the corp wallet on their way out, but the same "pride" might prevent that same someone from returning the "corp assets" they hold to the corp they're leaving (since it would require rational communication between the two sides).

Dave Rickey said...

The biggest motive for having things like reimbursement funds or strategic assets in corp wallets and hangars is the AFK/MIA problem. If the guy with the reserve dread fuel is on his honeymoon, you're scrambling and scraping to field the fleet. Two or three episodes like that, and centralizing the stuff into corp looks pretty good in spite of the theft risks.

Back in the day, Imperium Technologies ran corp business ventures as coops. The corp took 10-25% (depending on how much corp capital, both financial and political, went into the project) of the operating profit, and the rest was split up by the people who financed and operated the venture (I owned 10% of the revenue from the Z-U station for a while, having put up about 20% of the money to build it). It worked well, we were the richest corp in the alliance both as a corp and as individuals, and the money let us swing a lot of weight in fleet ops as well.


Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: which is the larger chance? Someone leaving doesn't pay back the 10% of the wallet he has, or someone leaving stealing 100% of the wallet.

@Dave: why does anyone need reserve dread fuel? All dread pilots should have their own reserves.

Anonymous said...

After my browser lost my post for the second time, here's just the gist of the problems this would cause.

- needs filthy rich players to be able to own expensive assets, as they need to be private after all

- needs redundancies to compensate for important assets "not being online" or leaving corp. Especially a problem with those high-value assets. As the are owned privately, bought with private money nobody will be stealing. These assets WILL leave with the players. No sense of obligation here.

- needs LOADS of organizing, tracking and enforcing contributions. Assets need to be somewhere after all.
Let's see how long your grunts will take to get fed up with weekly demands of giving minerals/ISK to producers/traders and storing something else for safekeeping.
And how long management will be able to stand the associated boring work.

Anonymous said...

@Dave: why does anyone need reserve dread fuel? All dread pilots should have their own reserves.

Seems you barely have been in player-corp.
Everyone screws up. It's fairly common situation, when people don't have hulls/ammo/rigs to fit their ships. Same comes to fueling caps. Someone has to take care about this stuff keeping in mind that anyone can screw up.

Either you live up with it and plan accordingly, or gtfo.

Gevlon said...

If someone forget dread fuel, he trades with someone who has excess.

The point of the post is 100K fuel in the hands of the players is just as good as 100K fuel in the corp hangar, except the latter will be stolen soon.

Anonymous said...

Actually this is a question about good risk management.
Depending on the probability and cost of an incident compared to the cost to mitigate the risk it can be the smarter choice to just accept a certain level of corp theft.

Just an example with some random numbers (whether they make sense is not the point):

Let's assume the fuel hangar contains 100M in fuel average, and 200M max.
The chance that the fuel hangar is robbed dry is 20%/year.
Thus you have an average loss due to fuel theft of 40M per year (since the theft will most likely happen at max fuel).

So this ties up 100M in assets and costs 40M per year.

Now 10 guys have access to the fuel hangar and now need to stock the fuel themself.
Let's say every one needs to stock only half of the corp fuel in average, thus tying up 0.5B instead of 100M.

So the "common fuel" model ties up less resources moneywise and the remaining money can be made to work for the member or the corp (buy BPOs to build ships, manipulate the market, buy ships to conquer a new tech moon, what ever).

Now if this additional working money generates more interest than the cost of accepting the fuel theft (40M in this example) per year, it is the wiser choice to just accept the theft.

So it basically boils down that it depends on the numbers and your assessment of the risk (with all possible consequences, including monetary and publicity wise) whether it is worth the effort.

Sugar Kyle said...

Your plan sounds good but people wander off for weeks at a time. Also, herding cats. Just getting bodies into system is hard enough. Bodies plus ships is often a nightmare. People bring the wrong thing or nothing at all. Emergency fuel jumps for stranded cap pilots who didn't notice their fuel issues and etc.

You can't just sweep them under the rug even if it would be wonderful to do so. The exhaustion of prepping an op is huge and when they jump out to go kill things you collapse into a puddle.

Now many corps are super free with their assets yes. But some communal need is important when you have a lot of people participating in preplanned events. It may be jump fuel or mining crystals but someone is going to turn up in a blackbird to do a black ops drop while a quarter of the fleet needs ammo and the bridge goes afk.

whatever said...

"I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand "I have a problem, it is the Government's job to cope with it!" or "I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!" "I am homeless, the Government must house me!" and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society?

In her rhetorical frenzy to call people who lost their jobs "children", she seems to be telling us that children expect to be taken care of to much. Perhaps five year olds need to get jobs as chimney cleaners? They did that in London in the old days, you know. Quite the death count among them to.

Marget Thatcher was quite the rich man's whore.

Anonymous said...

"In her rhetorical frenzy to call people who lost their jobs "children"

She said "children and people", it's the listener's choice to which group they consider themselves to belong.

"she seems to be telling us that children expect to be taken care of to much."

Well, I must admit I don't know enough about the context, but I read it as: it's going on for so long, that the children that were given such understanding, are now grown-up people with the same expectations.

"Marget Thatcher was quite the rich man's whore."

Or she realized a reality-check was in order.