/poll set capabilities

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toaster
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/poll set capabilities

Post by toaster » Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:40 pm

I am concerned about what's happening with some of the servers and some user activity in the past few days. It seems that perhaps some of the servers are configured to allow anyone to poll for changing some server settings.

1. Two days ago, i saw a player (not admin or cop) initiate a poll to set _explodeTime to a larger number on viper.pimpi.org. Fortunately, we have rapid communications and the controls have been adjusted. And in the big scheme of things, this is a pretty minor setting anyway.

2. Yesterday, a player initiated a poll to set gravity to -1000 on another server. (same player that time!)

3. Earlier today on bzflag.blah.pl, I discovered that someone has changed max speed on normal tanks to a high number, 3 or 4 times normal rate of 25. Even though bzflag.blah.pl has been a pretty busy server the past two weeks, now, since the change, it's been mostly idle all day. Possibly an indicator that most people prefer the normal settings as opposed to a "cracked" style of play. I don't know if the server owner even knows about it.

4. Just now, I noticed on hepcat that SW expands v-e-r-y slowly, perhaps 1/4 the normal rate, and opponents dodge it with ease. It used to be one of the more effective counters to WG. Now, you have to be cornered to get caught by it.

I find myself wondering just how many other servers are being played with in this manner by one or more knowledgable users. And what the next surprises will be.

Should the default server settings configured in the release should be tightened down a bit?
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Post by wegstar » Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:20 am

I think the hepcat SW was set that way deliberately... not by some user... I agree with you that the SW is rendered "useless" by the change.
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Post by RPG » Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:58 am

How do you do this and is it supposed to be doable?

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Post by ducatiwannabe » Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:29 pm

I was there with toaster (bzflag.blah) to help him fix it. It was rather sad how speedy it was, and it was just plain unplayable. Perhaps, let the poll last for um....20 min or something? So your tanks will only be speedy so long if nobody can stop the people who change it?

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Post by Workaphobia » Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:17 pm

That's a great idea - allow the change, but revert it to the server owner's original settings after a designated period of time. Still, by default, I don't think the server should accept polls on variables, or at least not easily (require a lot of registered users and a high percentage).

Is there currently any mechanism for limiting which variables can be polled on, or is it all-or-nothing?
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Post by Scorch » Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:39 pm

Can we please not have this option. I'm not gonna run my server if random cheaters can change the variables! that's just nutty! Is there any way to turn that off but keep polling? i need polling but not with that.

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Post by toaster » Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:23 pm

There is a way to allow polls only for certain commands, such as kick, ban, and set. Manu and Pimpi have done that on viper. Not sure how they do it, but it's there.

I think it ought to be defaulted off, to help the new admin avoid difficulties. But I can see why the capability should be kept in case an admin wants to turn it on.

Thanks again, DW.
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Post by RPG » Thu Feb 24, 2005 8:42 pm

Yep, I tried the /poll set on Secretplace, and lo and behold, it worked! It's nuts! The poll was quickly shut down by an admin and I was lectured about it but boy was it fun to know that I can change a variable on a server!!

2.0 is pretty neat with all these undocumetned features (/poll set, multi-hunt).

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Post by 1veedo » Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:39 pm

:lol-old:

I run /poll kick SoneInnocentPlayer once at the fast shot server. He's registered.

Another registered user told somebody to do it. I didnt think I was allowed to but ended up kicking the poor guy. I'm really sry! He cant log in, with the "+", anymore. I dont think at least. He came back in wih a "-" all like "WTF???"

Like I said, I was very suprised I could start a poll.

I do kindof like the idea of having a polls open to the public though. People that TK would definitely get baned if they piss off enough people. Mods actually have a life. They cant just sit around like "Some people want to change SW radius. I'll start the poll!"
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Post by DTRemenak » Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:54 pm

Common sense: if you see a poll to set an unreasonable value, vote against it. If something's already set to an unreasonable value, start a poll to set it back. /poll works both directions, and it only works when a fair number of people want the changes to occur...initiating a poll doesn't automatically make it pass.

That said, server owners certainly ought to be able to turn off any or all /poll commands at will. Here's what's up:

2.0.0 release servers can't turn off individual poll options (e.g. set) without recompiling. Polls can be disabled altogether, or restricted to certain groups with the POLL and VOTE permissions.

2.0.1 CVS servers from about a week ago until today had an extension to the -poll option that would allow disabling of each poll function independently.

Current 2.0.1 CVS servers have a more fine-grained permissions system. To disallow /poll set, for instance, remove the POLLSET permission from the VERIFIED group. If you have people you trust to run polls but not to set things directly, the permission can be reassigned to them. Anyone can vote in a poll, but only those with the appropriate permissions can start them.

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Post by Workaphobia » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:07 am

DTRemenak wrote:Common sense: if you see a poll to set an unreasonable value, vote against it. If something's already set to an unreasonable value, start a poll to set it back. /poll works both directions, and it only works when a fair number of people want the changes to occur...initiating a poll doesn't automatically make it pass.
Chaos theory - universe tends towards increasing entropy. Half the people who vote on a poll probably don't understand what a reasonable value is, or in some cases, what the variable does. Assuming an admin doesn't intervene, the variable can only be reset when enough registered users get together with that in mind. If the server is screwed up enough that people don't want to play there anymore, there won't be anyone left to change it back.

That's why it'd be a good idea to give the variables some elasticity, a will of their own to revert to a reasonable number after a certain amount of time.
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Post by spldart » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:28 am

Workaphobia wrote:
DTRemenak wrote:Common sense: if you see a poll to set an unreasonable value, vote against it. If something's already set to an unreasonable value, start a poll to set it back. /poll works both directions, and it only works when a fair number of people want the changes to occur...initiating a poll doesn't automatically make it pass.
That's why it'd be a good idea to give the variables some elasticity, a will of their own to revert to a reasonable number after a certain amount of time.
X2 :wink:

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Post by DTRemenak » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:41 am

1. Chaos theory and entropy are unrelated concepts. Entropy occurs in both chaotic and non-chaotic systems, and is usually measured by non-chaotic means (e.g. Gibbs Free Energy).
2. If someone doesn't understand what a variable is, they should ask. "What will this do" is not a hard question to ask or answer. At the very least, if someone polls to change a variable to an unreasonable value, someone else should say why it's a bad idea.
3. It is no harder to change a variable back than it was to change it in the first place...takes the same proportion of people. Most people want a fun game, so convince them to vote for a reasonable value.
4. If people complain about the variable being set wrong, tell them to register and vote to change it back.

The concept of polling is based on the idea that at least half of the verified population is well-intentioned and at least somewhat informed. If you don't think these are true, then don't allow polls on your servers.

That said, allowing poll-changed variables to return to their original values after some amount of time is probably a good idea. Patches welcome.

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Post by toaster » Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:27 pm

DTRemenak wrote:Common sense: if you see a poll to set an unreasonable value, vote against it. If something's already set to an unreasonable value, start a poll to set it back. /poll works both directions, and it only works when a fair number of people want the changes to occur...initiating a poll doesn't automatically make it pass.
Good point. What happens when a user of this nature joins a quiet server, changes a variable, and leaves? Most users don't know how to undo that when they join. Even if they have an idea, are they likely to know the variable name or its "normal" value? Such as _tinyFactor is .4?
2.0.1 CVS servers from about a week ago until today had an extension to the -poll option that would allow disabling of each poll function independently.
Good change. Would it be better to force these off, and then set the extension to allow enabling them independently?
Current 2.0.1 CVS servers have a more fine-grained permissions system. To disallow /poll set, for instance, remove the POLLSET permission from the VERIFIED group. If you have people you trust to run polls but not to set things directly, the permission can be reassigned to them. Anyone can vote in a poll, but only those with the appropriate permissions can start them.
Better change. So is the default still set that anyone who registers can run /poll set ? In such a way that an admin has to learn how to shut them off if desired?

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Post by Workaphobia » Fri Feb 25, 2005 4:09 pm

DTRemenak wrote:Chaos theory and entropy are unrelated concepts. Entropy occurs in both chaotic and non-chaotic systems, and is usually measured by non-chaotic means (e.g. Gibbs Free Energy).
Ok, you caught me with my intellectual pants down. I guess I was referring more towards entropy, because the tendency for people to disrupt the system is slightly stronger than that of the people to piece it back together without administrative assistance.
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Post by SilverFox » Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:06 pm

the command

Code: Select all

/reset *
will restore everything to its defaults. I presume "/poll reset *" would work as well.

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Post by sbgodin » Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:37 pm

SilverFox wrote:the command

Code: Select all

/reset *
will restore everything to its defaults. I presume "/poll reset *" would work as well.
It won't work as expected. Many servers have modified variables at start, now this command will reset the variables at their default values, not the map designer ones.
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Post by DTRemenak » Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:08 pm

toaster wrote:Good point. What happens when a user of this nature joins a quiet server, changes a variable, and leaves? Most users don't know how to undo that when they join. Even if they have an idea, are they likely to know the variable name or its "normal" value? Such as _tinyFactor is .4?
There's a minimum-players parameter for polling. By default it's something like four verified users, so you can't set anything when you're alone. That notwithstanding, I think the scenario you outlined is a good fit for the "undo poll sets after n minutes" idea.
toaster wrote:Better change. So is the default still set that anyone who registers can run /poll set ? In such a way that an admin has to learn how to shut them off if desired?
Yes, all polling options default to on.
Silverfox wrote:the command

Code: Select all

/reset *
will restore everything to its defaults. I presume "/poll reset *" would work as well.
/poll reset has not been implemented. Do people think this would be a good thing to have, to ease changing things back to defaults, or would it just cause a different kind of trouble?

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Post by toaster » Sat Feb 26, 2005 12:17 pm

DTRemenak wrote:Yes, all polling options default to on.
Oh. My opinion: it would probably be best to set only the kick option on by default, all the rest off.
DTRemenak wrote:/poll reset has not been implemented. Do people think this would be a good thing to have, to ease changing things back to defaults, or would it just cause a different kind of trouble?
I think sbgodin made a good point about this. A reset should set it back the way the admin set it up. If the options come from a configuration file, the file should be re-read. Or if the command line was used to override options, the args should still exist in the run environment. This is the traditional way for all Unix and Linux server processes to work. Heh, not Windows, I know, but so? :)
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Post by Manu » Sat Feb 26, 2005 1:21 pm

/poll kick is like useless.

You spend more time in run the poll and the players in vote than the kicked player in rejoin.. heh

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Post by sbgodin » Sat Feb 26, 2005 1:49 pm

Manu wrote:/poll kick is like useless.
You spend more time in run the poll and the players in vote than the kicked player in rejoin.. heh
After un kick you loses your points. A somewhat bad speaking player should figure out that. Of course for jerks, ban is the solution. But the most cases I met it was normal player just thinking they could do what they want.

Another curious topic is that the '/poll ban' can do only if the IP adress of offender is known. Typically, when you can see the IP you can also at least shortban...
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Post by RPG » Sat Feb 26, 2005 4:00 pm

I think the polls should be easier, first of all most registered players don't even know what a poll is nevertheless how to vote yes or no.

Server admins, make your polls easier!

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Post by ducatiwannabe » Sat Feb 26, 2005 7:23 pm

It's such a problem to get them all registered...so just make it on your permissions so that they don't have to register, they can already vote, and poll. :) That prevents the confusion of "How do I register?" Then they just have to type /vote yes/no.

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Post by RPG » Sat Feb 26, 2005 7:28 pm

Heh I alomost got banned from the "Map for smart and sneaky people" server for attempting to change the gravity. I argued that the rule wasn't in the server's list of rules, so I shouldn't be banned.

I still maintain my record of 0 bans/kicks!

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Post by brad2901 » Sat Feb 26, 2005 10:58 pm

RPG wrote:I still maintain my record of 0 bans/kicks!
Well done RPG :)

As far as I can remember, i've only been banned twice, one for tking and the other ban was some idiot banning me from my own server :shock:

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