Of Bots and Men

I was excited to learn that an intrepid player, who goes by the name Broadhead on the forums, created a bot detector which displays its results on the website Eve Bot Detector.  According to the tool’s creator, it uses algorithms to identify “persistence and consistence” of ratting activity and then assigns systems a probability score for botting.


Although there were many positive responses to the idea, quite a few forum users also expressed skepticism.  As one poster said, “Let me guess: It detects high constant ratting activity which is basically useless because large alliances actually do have the krabbers to keep rat kills at a high level with only human manpower.”

Bowhead concedes that his algorithm cannot identify botting with certainty.  But he says, “I know very well that people can and will rat for long periods of time, without being bots. But if you notice, some of the most ratted systems does not appear on the list, mainly because people are not so consistent as bots.” Whether this tool identifies bots or bot-aspirants, it could be a great force for good in New Eden.

I can’t say how well this tool works, but it’s an interesting idea.  The web and big data have certainly demonstrated the often surprising power of algorithms to reveal unexpected patterns. Like several forum users, I would love to see an organized effort to investigate the systems this tool identifies to evaluate its performance.  But, whether it works or not, it is good to see a player trying to make a difference himself, rather than just letting somebody else (CCP?) address the evils of botting.

In my short time enforcing the Code, I regularly come across apparent bots or bot-aspirants like these two:

Hentogaira ice miner

A Huge Group of Skiffs Mostly in NPC Corps Arrived Together

Gelhan miners

Locals Informed Me This Group of Hulks Seems to be Controlled by a Bot or Bot-Aspirant. Upon Being Bumped it Fled the Ice-Field.

It would be great if an algorithm could identify persistent and consistent mining activity in highsec, in addition to ratting.  It could make Code enforcement so much more efficient.  Unfortunately, the Eve Bot Detector has not been applied to highsec systems because its creator expects that it will not work there.  As he says, “I collect data from all systems, but you are right, I only display null systems. There is too much interference in ls/hs from regular people to make a proper analysis. (I think, haven’t actually tried).”  If true, this is yet more evidence that bots are likely to hide their evil schemes in highsec.

Until an industrious player figures out a way to detect bots and bot-aspirants in highsec, we will have to continue to rely upon the hard work and judgement of New Order Agents to fight the evils of botting and bot-aspirancy.  Fortunately, there is no more qualified group of people, for the New Order has spent years disrupting the best laid schemes of botters and those who aspire to follow them.