imageWelp, I got played.

A couple of days ago, TSM – an addon for auctions, among other things lost its data feeds.  These data feeds provide information about item pricing on the auction houses of specific realms.

This data is fetched live by a desktop utility which, incidentally, also keeps your addon up to date for you.  So the expectation is that, when the game launches, the data that the desktop tool fetched is waiting for it.

Now, normally when the feeds die, the addon refuses to function, or at least it refuses to do auction-related functions that rely on that data(1) without a very noticeable notification.  But this time, what we saw was that TSM threw an error when we logged in, and some – but not all – auctions that rely on TSM data feeds refused to post, or be cancelled, through the addon.

What I did not realize at the time was that some auctions were posting even though they relied on data feeds.

Now, there was an indicator in the AH window that there was a problem with the data feeds, but the desktop app insisted the feeds were up to date – though I noticed that they were last updated over 24 hour ago.

Anyway, unknown to myself, as I said, some of these dependent auctions were allowed to go through. But due to the vagarities of how the defaults were set up for these auctions (with a category called “dump” you can probably guess the nature of those vagarities) some of these auctions posted for less than 10g or, in one case, 1g.  These auctions were for items that were normally priced around 25,000 to 100,000 GP.

Now, I’m not going to point fingers here.  Ultimately, the driver is responsible for plowing into the side of a school bus full of kindergarteners. And I took out, metaphorically, about 10 busses. I took the defaults. I was lazy. I did not react to obvious danger signs. This was 100% on me.

But it is vexing – vexing! – that TSM has multiple publication channels and yet none of them were updated regarding this. Their blog was last updated in March. The Twitter feed, April. I don’t live on Discord(2) but just posting on Discord is insufficient and, not to put too fine a point on it, lazy.

So, yes, I do take full responsibility for losing around 200Kg in one night, but TSM bears responsibility for not being up-front about what just happened. 24 hours after this incident, nothing. It’s not like you can blame my computer. I am the master of this ship and know what happened on it. So let’s not go there and make TSM’s maintainers look stupid(3).

The main cause of this loss is something called “sniping”. This is an AH practice that involves finding ludicrously undervalued auctions and snapping them up to resell at the market value, which happens to be far higher – thus, a profit. You may think this is not something that happens a lot, but, in fact,  it does. In fact, it happens so often that TSM actually has a “sniper mode” built in. “Goblins” are expected to be “snipers” because Mammon forbid if they were portrayed as fucking geeks with fucking spreadsheets that happened to notice that something sorted lower than usual.

Listen, I loathe the concept of Sniping but I really don’t have a beef with them. Normally. In this, an abnormal situation, they ate my lunch. Good show. Go you. I still, unexpectedly, have no beef. Listen, in a month, I’ll have recovered all losses and then some. I knew these fuckers existed, and planned around it – based on known solid, accurate information(4), and my plan, as it were, is basically let them go do their thing while I focus on the long game. That has not changed.

Have lessons been learned? You bet your hairy ass they have. I will in the future be less cavalier in posting auctions when there are any indications at all that my AH addon is malfunctioning. For the simple reason that I can no longer trust that the people that maintain it and its infrastructure are doing so in good faith. And, if I notice that the data feeds are over 24 hours out of date? Best practice is probably to wait a day before doing any auction-related activities. This is something that would be de rigueur when, for example, transitioning from one expansion to the next. But In the middle of all the shit, with no expansion or even content patch? Unexpected.  At best.

I’ve been pwnt. Well played, pwner. You goblins got your pound of flesh. I’ll keep the metric ton of fleshage, though. Carry on. I am playing the long game. And I will be here long after this event. Regardless.

  1. It’s possible to do so, but it’s not the default.
  2. Discord is not an archive.  #IYKYK
  3. Somebody please tell me they aren’t stupid
  4. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.

Posted on July 24, 2022, in Addons, Cashey Money, Derp and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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