In a perfect example of shady marketing gone wrong, SineSpace has created a griefer problem. Griefing is a problem anywhere, but this is worse. It’s a much bigger problem when it comes to a developing world with a much smaller population. The screen shots of in-world chat logs above and below should give you an idea of what can happen.
Be Careful Who You Work With
To be clear, the team at Sine Wave (who make SineSpace) are not griefing users. But they have been paying a marketing company to bring them in. Over the last couple years, they have worked with a number of small marketing companies. They run various campaigns to test the waters and look for users who might be interested in SineSpace.
Historically, this has been more traditional marketing. Paid ads are placed and it drives traffic to a web page, signup page, or even directly to log in on the web. Unfortunately, they’ve recently turned to using pay-to-play schemes. Pay-To-Play, as the name implies, offers to pay users to play a game or use a service. It’s proven popular for short term gains, but is less effective in the long term, and raises brand morality issues.
According to Sine Wave, what is happening in-world is the result of a single marketing agency who they have already complained to about the practice. However we’re still seeing these users coming in, often referred to by shady site like this one, this one, and this one too (and those are just the sites users are posting links to in chat).
Pay-To-Play Is A Terrible Thing To Inflict On A Community
In my opinion, Pay-To-Play schemes are a terrible thing to inflict on a community. Normally, fresh faces and more users are a really great thing. In the case of Pay-To-Play residents, you’re bringing in ranks of people who have no meaningful interest in the community.
By virtue of being offered payment in another game’s currency, they are confirming from the onset that they have no interest outside of getting currency to spend on another platform. Do they really expect users coming in for IMVU or Roblux currency to abandon everything they’ve built? The promise of SineSpace may be great, but the world is far from finished.
Worse Than Failure
It isn’t just a matter of setting themselves up for failure. It’s much worse. On top of bringing in a bunch of people who are very unlikely to join the community and even less likely to become economic participants, it creates the Sinespace griefing problem.
Users are much more likely to engage in anti-social and trollish behavior if they aren’t a member of the community and have no desire to return. And that is exactly what’s happening here. New users are creating throwaway usernames, and from the onset they are harassing and mistreating other SineSpace users with profanity and racial slurs.
A griefer problem is a terrible thing when you have regular concurrency of thousands of users at a time. With SineSpace concurrency currently much lower than that, they can not afford to have bad actors chasing anyone away. So far the company’s approach has been to try and turn the other cheek.
This Needs To Stop Yesterday
While accidental, SineSpace has created a griefer problem and now it needs to take action to shut it down. Cut all ties to any companies that are engaging in this practice, and take steps to block traffic coming from these and any other sources.
It probably also wouldn’t hurt to apologize to the current SineSpace userbase. It may be small in number, but they do matter and it is wildly inappropriate to have subjected new and longtime members to this behavior. This isn’t a matter of weathering some random attack by 4chan trolls, this SineSpace griefer problem came about because Sine Wave hired a company to bring them in.
Griefer Problem Update 1st June 2019
For a while on Friday, it looked like the program was winding down. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The problem continues – and when it does, having global chat channels becomes a MASSIVE liability. Users are subjected to profanity and racism, and the only effective escape is to log out of SineSpace.
Griefer Problem Update 5th June 2019
After the weekend, I had received assurances that this had either stopped completely, or would be stopping immediately. While it is true that there seems to have been a significant drop in random users coming in and asking about earning robux, it appears that pay to play is still in play.
A quick internet search of prizerebel turns up this site – yep, it’s still an operation that’s essentially paying users to spend time in-world. Fortunately it appears that in the case of the user I screen-shotted today, they only appeared to have chased one regular SineSpace user away (who knows how many lurkers may have logged out).