An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

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Santa Claus
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An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by Santa Claus »

Earlier today I was alerted to the fact that Aatreyo Bhattacharyy of Churchill MS was attempting to leak unclear packets in the high school Discord. I banned him preemptively from both the high school and regular Discords and asked for proof of the allegation.

I was given screenshots that I consider definitive proof that Aatreyo had made attempts to leak the majority of questions that had thus far been written for the MAGIC housewrite in retaliation for having been removed from the set and for perceived slights. This included an attempt to post questions on the forum announcement (which seems to have failed because the account did not have sufficiently many posts to avoid the moderator queue) and potentially the question database. Consequently, I assume that there was also credence to the threat to post the content to Discord. The screenshots included:
  • a series of excerpted conversations/emails between Aatreyo and other writers on the set, indicating that he had been removed from the set and that he had been misusing the set email after being removed
  • a private mail from the forum moderator that had caught the post with the leak, which had unclear question content (redacted by the person who shared them with me), information that positively identified the source as Aatreyo, and a stated motive:
    The MAGIC team kicked me out for a valid reason, but they were not polite in the manner. They took an email I created with personal info(my bad) for the group since they were kicking me out, I wanted access to the email, but I had to wait for an hour for them to give me the email and they were questioning on me on why I wanted it. They also made me feel bad and threatened me by telling my coach that I was ruining MAGIC when it is not related to Churchill QB, and also do you see Churchill anywhere in the name, no. They gave people who are rarely active more credit than me, so as payback I am leaking all the questions that I still had access to about 3/4 the total questions written so far.
  • a conversation between Aatreyo and another writer in which he admits to have attempted to leak the set’s contents, including at least some acknowledgement of what consequences this will have on the set (“U [sic] will be significantly behind”)
I am more than willing to pass the screenshots along to anyone who may need them as some sort of proof.

Since the initial incident in the Discord Aatreyo has contacted me and expressed remorse for his actions. It does not seem as if he has any concept of what the time of writers or editors is worth, or of the monetary cost that his actions would have had if he had succeeded. He is very clearly a doofus middle schooler, but I do not think this absolves him of guilt. This sort of behavior sets a very bad precedent - leaking a set is one of the worst possible things that someone in quiz bowl can do. Even cheating at a tournament will typically affect fewer people and cause less financial impact (short of, of course, cheating at a nationals).

I am not interested in discussing whether middle schoolers should be contributing to high school level housewrites, or what is the appropriate amount for Aatreyo to apologize - those can be saved for later threads. But I want to discuss what is an appropriate level of censure for this behavior, because I am absolutely convinced that it should not be zero.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by meebles127 »

I fully believe that this person is deserving of some form of punishment. People need to be aware and learn that their consequences online have real consequences. I would say that some form of banishment from online quizbowl spaces (namely Discord) for some length of time would be more than reasonable. I am unsure though if contacting his coach and/or school would be an appropriate case of action. I do believe; however, that it is something that should be discussed.

And a note to editors: Please be very cautious of who you choose to take on as a writer for your set. Additionally, it is important to make sure that your writers, especially first time writers, are aware of the fact that the content they are contributing is unclear set content and that they should not discuss it outside of their writing team, online or otherwise. The vast majority of people know not to spoil unclear set content, but I have found that younger HSers and especially MSers are unaware of this standard.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by Woodward-Eschenmoser »

It is an (implicit) agreement within quizbowl that unclear set content should remain unclear and should definitely not be posted in public for everyone to see, since quizbowl cannot function at all if people do not follow this rule. It makes sense to me that people who flagrantly violate this rule by intentionally leaking large amounts of unclear set content should be banned from quizbowl for a very, very long time.

I see many people (mostly in the discord) discussing about how it would be a bad idea to trust offenders of this rule with writing for sets for a very long time, but I think this misses the point. It seems reasonable to believe that someone who has made several attempts to post a set into public locations because they were angry might also just decide to leak the content of a set they played or moderated for. If I wrote for or edited a set, I would be extremely averse to letting someone play on my questions when they have demonstrated that they can and will ruin several hundred/thousand hours worth of work on questions because they had a heated gamer moment.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by AKKOLADE »

I think it’s also important to remember that we’re taking about someone who is approximately twelve years old. I’m not saying a punishment is unnecessary, but I do think it’s worth considering this.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by Stained Diviner »

Has anybody contacted an adult at Churchill MS?
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by King of Sarawak »

Deviant Insider wrote: Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:13 am Has anybody contacted an adult at Churchill MS?
Yes, the coach has been informed.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by Arjun_G »

Yes, we have. We're in crunch time right now trying to work out a solution.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by TheScientists »

This may be slightly unrelated, but for those working on housewrite sets:
Don't use Google Drive. Use a proper system like QEMS or Packetizor.

It's much harder for a rogue writer or editor to retaliate by leaking a massive majority of a set using a question management system.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by Cody »

TheScientists wrote: Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:07 am This may be slightly unrelated, but for those working on housewrite sets:
Don't use Google Drive. Use a proper system like QEMS or Packetizor.

It's much harder for a rogue writer or editor to retaliate by leaking a massive majority of a set using a question management system.
If someone wants to leak set content, they will find a way regardless of the technology used. QEMS2 allows editors to download all the questions in a set, or any writer can get an instant snapshot of all the questions in a set (answerline + first 100 characters or so). I haven't used Packetizor but I expect similar functionality is available or (if not) that it is still easy to grab a ton of set content within ~15 seconds. The qualities required of an effective question management system make limiting question visibility impossible or a fool's errand. You're setting yourself up for failure if you expect a question management system to help prevent leaking set content.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by TheDoctor »

Editors in Packetizor have access to see an entire set, but writers only have access to their own questions. This can still be a significant portion of the set, obviously, but it's much, much more secure than Drive docs.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by the return of AHAN »

What kind of punishment could be meted out by the quizbowl community if there's no action taken by the school? For example, would NAQT ban someone from an xNCT for actions taken that didn't involve their sets? Would schools in the player's circuit blackball the player?
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by Cody »

TheDoctor wrote: Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:22 amEditors in Packetizor have access to see an entire set, but writers only have access to their own questions. This can still be a significant portion of the set, obviously, but it's much, much more secure than Drive docs.
Hunh? This statement is at odds with the requirements for a successful question management system. Writers can't see any other questions or answerlines in the set? Writers can't search questions to avoid repeats? (there are many simple searches that would expose a substantial portion, or even all, of a set.) Maybe it's the case that Packetizor is secure, but I rather suspect it's a false sense of security and that Packetizor is just as vulnerable as any system because question management systems require that writers have access to the full set in some form.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by TheDoctor »

The idea is that it gives editors the ability to manage answerline awareness on their own recognizance. Leaving the system closed means that if you've got a set of writers you trust, you can give them all access to a centralized list of answers. If you don't, you can give out assignments by writer. Given that sets have wildly different needs (as evidenced by MAGIC's internal issues), this seems to be the best way to go about serving as many sets' needs as possible.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by Cheynem »

In my experience, having used numerous systems of writing questions, Packetizor works best if you have very proactive editors who have assigned answers or provide specific assignments (more of a top down system). QEMS is going to be better if you don't do a top down system, and do more of a reactive approach, where the editors respond to questions that have been turned in a more freestyle fashion.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by quizbowllee »

My son, Brodie (also in 7th grade and 12 years old) was telling me about this on the way to school this morning. He is very active on the Quizbowl Discord. Since he has become so active, we've had several conversations about packet security, etc. When he first started, he asked me several times if it was "OK to read X packet or to discuss Y set." A couple of times I had to say "NO! You can't do that!."

I'm really proud that he asked me first. But, I also realize that he is 12 years old, as Fred pointed out earlier. And, if he didn't have a dad who knew about these kinds of things (and how many of these kids have that?), then he very likely would have made some innocent mistakes.

Now, I realize that there doesn't appear to be anything "innocent" about the mistakes that the young man in the current scenario made. In fact, it appears that this was deliberate and vindictive. However, as the father of a 12 year old kid who LOVES Quizbowl (maybe even more than I do) and who is very active in the community, I feel the need to reiterate again the age and immaturity of the kid. Kids that age do STUPID things and don't realize what a big deal it is.

I'm not sure what the answer is. But, I'd hate to think that something like this could ruin the career or reputation of a kid so young. Hopefully, this can be used as a learning experience, not only for the young man in question, but for the community as a whole.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by db0wman »

Is there any way to send an automated direct message to players upon joining the Discord server? Making clarifications about packet security before they post would be a good way to make sure there aren't any slip-ups (although of course this wouldn't account for malicious behavior).
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by Woodward-Eschenmoser »

Yes, it's pretty straightforward to set up a bot on discord which will DM people a message when they join a server.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by Dominator »

Packetizor currently does not allow users to do the kind of bulk downloading that happened in this case. But I wouldn’t exactly call that a feature, and it’s not really clear if it’s desirable. As Cody correctly points out, it is very difficult for writers if they don’t know what clues and answer lines to avoid. It’s not impossible for the writers, but it requires a kind of diligent, proactive editor who can communicate with each writer just enough information. Kristin is definitely one of those editors. A lot of other editors, myself included, just try to stick to writers they trust and share openly with them. That is true whether they use Packetizor, Google docs, or something else. A set can be ruined without having the text of its questions leaked. It would be just as bad if the answer lines were released, especially if a significant amount of the writing had been done. And in my experience as a writer, I’ve usually had access to all the answer lines in the set, regardless of the question management system.

I bring this up because I’m curious whether people feel there is a better protocol. I’m planning to make extensive updates to Packetizor this spring, and if there is something I could build in the enhance security, I’m all ears. But my gut tells me that no matter what, the security is ultimately going to depend on people following protocols, and that any leaks we see will happen due to lapses.
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Re: An incident of intentional content-leaking from an unclear set

Post by TheScientists »

db0wman wrote: Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:33 pm Is there any way to send an automated direct message to players upon joining the Discord server? Making clarifications about packet security before they post would be a good way to make sure there aren't any slip-ups (although of course this wouldn't account for malicious behavior).
Yeah, Dynobot and MEE6 let you set up new member custom messages.
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