In order to infiltrate a community and not be discovered, it might be a good idea to lurk in the shadows. Don’t be flashy, don’t draw a lot of attention, and choose a good name.
“The_Mole” is an example of a name that doesn’t meet those criteria. However, that’s what a staff member of iPoker did on the 2+2 poker forums, resulting in moderators taking a closer look at who was behind the nickname. The outcome was a ban on the user—and a little bit of embarrassing publicity for the website.
When a new user started participating in threads related to iPoker, in particular regarding the use of bots and possible questionable activities on the site, it didn’t take long for the posts to get noticed. After leaving a couple of posts that raised members’ eyebrows, a poster called out “The_Mole” as an iPoker employee. To that, he or she responded, “Pretty weird. It would be ridiculous to post statements like that, unless I somehow had inside information. Which I couldn’t possibly have, obviously.” That is virtually the same as saying, “Yeah, I’m guilty. You discovered me.”
Going undercover can be a tricky ordeal. Throughout history, spies have met a wide array of punishments, including some pretty gruesome deaths. That might be a gross overreaction in this case, but it certainly made more than a few users get out the pitchforks and torches. Fortunately for the unidentified user, he or she escaped unscathed.
It’s not prohibited for poker sites to come into the forums and interact with the users. In fact, 2+2 welcomes the input. However, doing so surreptitiously is considered to be disrespectful and a breach of protocol. Once the forum moderators concluded a behind-the-scenes investigation, they banned the user and left a post in the forums explaining what had happened and how they came to their conclusion. Registering on the site from the “@ipoker.com” domain secured the fate of the user.
It would appear that the now-banished user might have had good intentions. The posts were designed to give a boost to iPoker’s reputation and to allay any fears of wrongdoing at the site. However, the result was completely different. Many users shared their opinions, stating that if things at iPoker were going so smoothly, it wouldn’t have to resort to back-channel methods to try to improve its reputation. Next time, perhaps “PokerStarsH8r” or some variation would be a better handle.