Phenomenon 4
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INQUIRY S/N: #107


Security Status:
RESTRICTED

Security Protocol:
The information within this document shall be withheld from the Public Archive, personnel without appropriate security clearance, and the eyes of the public. Release of this document to any of the above parties without prior authorization constitutes a chargeable offence.

Security Justification:
This investigative report is intended for internal circulation only. It contains speculative, unverified, and potentially confidential material which may scare or confuse the public, and harm important diplomatic relations. Release to the Public Archive may also risk encouraging copycat behavior.

I. Description

Spider

A sketch depicting the hypothetical entity, taken from a spiderpost.

Spiderposting refers to a bizarre recent trend wherein crudely-written, spider-themed coldposts are uploaded to the General Public Database (GPD). The articles almost always focus on a single instance of a spider-like entity, often given a nonsensical name such as "Ara-King-nid", "Manspider", or, in one case, simply "He bigg [sicc]". This entity is usually depicted as a figure possessing the head and torso of a human male, and the lower body of a spider. Thus far, none of the thousands of M.E.G. expeditions into Level 8 or the Hive have yielded documented evidence of this hypothetical entity. In view of this, the creature's existence is a statistical improbability, and should not be counted as fact.

It is noted that these "Spiderposts" have gradually increased in frequency over the past months. An exhaustive catalogue of all known Spiderposts since 1 Jan 2018 has been collected and archived in the table below.

Archived Spiderposts

S/N Date of coldpost (DD/MM/YY) Archived file
127 05/05/22 Entitiy_23.docx
126 04/05/22 102EntityyybyWeegle.docx
125 03/05/22 Enity-37-spider.docx
124 02/05/22 SPDIERKING.txt
123 02/05/22 a82872saa98wq9.docx
122 02/05/22 Entiy045.docx
121 01/05/22 spodermanspidemran.docx
120 31/04/22 ENTITYZEROEIGHTNINE.txt
119 29/04/22 ERROR: FILE CORRUPTED
118 29/04/22 Theitsybitsyspiderclimbedupthewaterspout.docx

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II. Current and Anticipated Effects

While Spiderposting may appear harmless or even humorous, it contributes greatly to the problematic wider phenomenon of "Coldposting", which has serious consequences.

Coldposting is broadly defined as the upload of an article to a site without external review. In terms of the GPD specifically, this refers to articles uploaded without the oversight of known and verifiable jurisdictions — whether M.E.G.-aligned, neutral, or otherwise.1 On a public information site as ubiquitous as the GPD, this is highly detrimental to both the public and our organization. Coldposts, and specifically, Spiderposts, are likely to:

  • Spread false information, which may confuse Wanderers, causing grievous harm and even death.
  • Foster distrust of reliable and accurate information on the GPD, to similar effect.
  • Cause disillusioned Wanderers to move to non-neutral (possibly even extremist) sources for survival information. This allows such unsavory groups to grow in strength and influence, which may threaten the M.E.G. and our affiliates.
  • Produce unneccesary workload and stress for hardworking M.E.G. Archival staff.
  • Act as an undesirable distraction to Archival staff, diverting them from more important duties. These include the upload/maintenance of legitimate articles to reflect accurate and up-to-date information — tasks which are essential, and which save lives on a daily basis.

III. Possible Origins

To date, no person, M.E.G. Operative or otherwise, has been caught in the act of Spiderposting. A vast majority of Spiderposts are uploaded from IP addresses which are not registered within M.E.G. jurisdiction. As a result, computers from which Spiderposts are made are usually untraceable — it is not possible to determine their physical location given the data available within our systems. Furthermore, even on the rare occasions when computers were successfully traced for Spiderposts, attempts to apprehend the culprits still failed. By the time our Operatives reached the terminal responsible for the upload, the offender had already physically left the space.

Consequentially, it is extremely difficult to determine the nature and origin of Spiderposts. Based on limited circumstantial evidence, the following theories have been proposed as plausible explanations. The truth about the phenomenon may well be contained within any one of these proposals, or some combination of them.

Proposed Theories

Proposal #1: "Spider-mania"


Note:
This proposal has been made with reference to the following document on the M.E.G. Public Archive.

Description:
While the condition of Spider-Mania is extremely rare, it is possible that Spiderposts are uploads made by afflicted patients. This would additionally account for the poor spelling/grammar as well as the tone of hysteria characteristic of Spiderposts.

Possible Repercussions:
The recent spike in Spiderposts may point to potential infestations of Entity 16 in an area of high population density. This may pose a public health and safety concern.

IV. Proposed Solutions

Spiderposting cannot be prevented.

This may primarily be attributed to the fact that the General Public Database remains impossible to regulate. Since the M.E.G.'s establishment, our organization has located and gained control over a majority of GPD servers. However, a significant minority of such computer servers remain public, or have fallen into unfriendly jurisdiction.

A good number of these computers retain administrator rights to the database, which cannot be revoked, allowing troublemakers with access to them to make Coldposts freely. It is even possible that certain levels (such as Levels 3.1, 4, or 522) are able to spontaneously generate computers which already possess such administrator rights, making total regulation of the GPD utterly impracticable.

A. Discouraging Spiderposts

In spite of this, there are already many established courses of action which minimize Coldposting and mitigate its effects. These include:

  • Public advisory campaigns about the detrimental effects of coldposting
  • Strict charges to be dealt to M.E.G. operatives found to have engaged in coldposting
  • Redirection to the smaller but more reliable Public M.E.G. archive

This report proposes that advisory campaigns over the following months be altered to specifically target Spiderposting. Higher penalties may also be exacted upon M.E.G. operatives found to have engaged in Coldposting or Spiderposting.

B. Capturing Culprits

Though difficult to execute practically, apprehending an offender may shed light on the origin of Spiderposts. If there is indeed a single, cohesive group behind the phenomenon, this may allow us to trace the problem to its source and hold to account those responsible.

To achieve this, a reward may be publically offered to M.E.G. Operatives or members of the public who manage to capture Spiderposters. "Bait servers" may also be set-up — computers which are left physically unattended across public spaces, while being digitally monitored at all times for suspicious activity.

Summative Remarks

While this report has attempted to summarize all available information on Spiderposting, the phenomenon's origins and intentions remain a mystery. At the time of this document's publication, Spiderposts continue to jeopardize the GPD and put stress on our Archival staff.

Personnel who may have any information on Spiderposting are encouraged to come forward to put an end to the practice, for the good of the general public, for the benefit of the M.E.G. and our ideals, and — ultimately — for the betterment of humanity.



Report by Senior Archivist and Chief Researcher Dr. Marcellus A. Fox

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