!!! New Traders Court !!! (2018 version)

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Also, I think that there should be some additional forum scripts that check to see if a review is done and/or a scam alert thread. In other words, if a review is posted, but no scam alert thread you can send 2 reminder emails to post a scam alert thread with evidence. You can also use the "alert" feature on the website to send reminder alert to that member

And vice versa: if a scam alert is posted but no review is detected (pending or live) from the same user, then remind the user to do this with 2 reminder emails and the website alert feature.

This may help reduce the number of mismatching "reviews but no scam alerts" or "scam alerts but no review" situations.
Currently the coders are 100% engaged in preparing to upgrade the forum software. As soon as that is completed, I do plan to have better interactivity between the forums and reviews.

Increasing post counts for invitations means I then have to check to see if someone is really participating or just post-padding. The 2nd post in the thread and 4 day delay is primarily to weed out hit and run complaints from wasting time on escalations.

Since this makes votes less frequent, the mailings contain links directly to the voting thread. When the forums upgrade is done, I'll see if there's a way to do a site-wide note, but if someone has already ignored 2 emails, I don't have a lot of hope that this will lead to a large increase in votes.
4 new trader's court improvements:

1) any resolved threads should not be locked immediately. Instead, 5-7 days should be given to follow-up with the OP to ensure everything was resolved and to answer any follow-up questions. You could still mark the thread as resolved, and set a timer to lock the thread automatically after 5-7 days.

FPA Forums Team Note: The amount of time to lock the thread ranges from immediate to one month. How suspicious AsstModerator is of whether the settlement is correct is one major factor. The other is how soon he gets around to noticing the thread is resolved. :)

2) new users should be given a warning for the first 5 new replies to non-OP threads, asking them to create a new thread instead of replying to a new thread. Maybe require a checkbox or radio selection between options:

"i've been scammed by the same company and need help. I will open an independent scam thread with evidence"
"I'm replying to add comments or question about existing OP scam. I will not mention my own scam case here."

Specifically informing them that if they are reporting a scam that affected themselves or people they know personally to open a fresh thread and submit evidence.

A lot of people keep finding an existing thread about a broker that scams them and then reply to it with their own scam situation.

This popup can appear either when they attempt to add a quick reply or reply to a thread and they are considered to be new (less than 5 posts, signed up within last two weeks, etc). It wouldn't appear if they are replying to a thread where they are the OP or have already submitted a reply.

Herding new members is difficult. The ones who make their first post in a thread which already has suggestions of opening unique threads show that people in a hurry often will ignore any instructions given. We are passing the suggestion on to the coders.

3) update the rules to explain what trading activities are covered or not covered. Specifically when it comes to IB/affiliate commissions from brokers.

AsstModerator has done some updates in several places. It's possible some have been missed. Please send him links to areas where this isn't covered.

4) The reviewer user profile needs to be hyperlinked to their FPA profile. Currently a user creates a review, but there is no way to check the user's profile info. You have to manually search for the user to access their profile.

fpa review member profile not clickable hyperlink.png

In the forums, each new post has a clickable link to the user's profile.
fpa forum member post clickable profile link.png

We've been complaining about this ever since reviews showed who was a registered user. The coders have promised to try to make changes after the next forums upgrade.

5) somewhat related to Reviews: I noticed that guests are still allowed to post reviews.

Guest reviews are only given 50% of the weight of a registered review in calculating the rating.

We are happy to let you know that ending guest reviews is on the priority list of upcoming projects. We hope it happens within 1-2 weeks of the forums upgrade completion.
@Amin3f @Cotney

Please create your own scam alerts thread with your timeline of the alleged scam, along with evidence.


This thread is only for discussion of Trader's court rules/suggestions, not individual cases.
A couple more important issues:

1. Make Create New Thread in Scam Alert folder an exact template instead of a standard subject/body/poll post.

This will enforce new scam alerts to have evidence more properly gathered and in an easy-to-read timeline of events.

  • one line summary of incident.
  • Summary of scam event (Under 500 characters)
  • Date/time of alleged incident. summary of incident. Proof of scam (account statement, email confirmation, etc)
  • Did you contact company's support team about the instant? Date time of contact
  • Did you get a reply? Date time of reply. proof
  • additional notes [can be like 5000 characters]
  • additional proof [attachment boxes]

This one you can actually implement now as you already seem to have a template from the old trader's court. You made sure to have several form items that had to be filled before the trader court thread was started. This same concept can be immediately applied to the scam alerts new threads.


And within the form template, you can have explanations next to each section. But also there can be a sticky explaining how to fill out the form. @AsstModerator said it himself:
"...There now is NO separate case thread to be created. Your Traders Court thread is your case thread. It will have an option to directly invite the company from your thread. This removes all doubt about whether or not the company has been invited..."
So really if this is the case, then all new scam alerts should have a template that OP fills out to create new thread.

We can't keep allowing new and even older forum members to "figure it out" when it comes to creating a timeline of scam events and then having to ask the same questions over and over. We must guide OPs from before the OP is posted to create a post that has the proper sequence of events from the very first post. And a template-style create new thread form for scam alerts is a perfect way to implement this. It will cut down on rework 80+%.

I'll be more than happy to work with the programmer(s) to get the format correct, although I think most of it can be easily adapted from the old trader's court form.
Announcing some changes to the handling of scam complaints
New Traders Court

Short version for those who have limited attention spans...

Traders Court is changing. The replacement is called New Traders Court.

1. There are no more individual Traders Court Cases.

2. If you open a Scam Alerts thread and meet some requirements, you'll be able to invite the company by pressing a button and pasting in their email addresses.

3. If you have a Scam Alerts thread and an approved review, the thread can be linked to the review.

4. If you invite the company and the FPA invites the company and they can't fix or explain the issue, your review's effect on the total ratings of the company gets bigger. As the number of complaints like this grows, the company's rating falls very quickly.

5. When the FPA sees enough complaints, their will be a summary of the complaints posted and a single vote on whether or not the company gets labeled as a Scam.

6. I will save enough time that I am less likely to die of exhaustion dealing with everything at the FPA.

If you want to know why. read the long version.

Long version for those who want to know why this is happening...

First, let me tell you a little bit of history.

Back in the old days when the Forex Peace Army was still called Forex Bastards, Felix decided which companies were and weren't scam. He based this on reviews and research he did, but there were no formal investigations.

Later, all but 2 of the old Scam labels were lifted and the FPA formalized Scam Investigations. To file a complaint, one was supposed to have the rank of Private. The FPA charges traders nothing for its services, so hoped that traders could be active members who helped other traders. After all, you shouldn't join an army just to make one attack on someone you don't like and then disappear. Instead of understanding this, I had one person write multiple lengthy emails about why he shouldn't take the time to make 10 posts to qualify as a Private. The amount of time and effort he wasted trying to get out of the simple requirement was much more than the time and effort he'd have needed to meet the requirement.

Later, the requirement for the rank of Private stopped being enforced. Brand new people came in and filed Scam Investigation Tickets. Some would disappear immediately. Others would stick around long enough to see a Scam Finding or get their money back and then disappear, never to be seen again. Several people who got large sums back asked how they could thank the FPA. They were asked to come back once per week and answer 2 questions from new traders. Each one asked this agreed. None of them ever posted in the forums again. :(

There was a danger to this system. With only one complaint leading to a scam finding, it was possible that a single error would result in an innocent company being declared a scam. I'm convinced that this never happened, but did see how it might happen eventually. An improved system was needed.

The FPA Traders Court Case system began in early 2011 to replace the Scam Investigation Ticket system. Unless there were extremely exceptional circumstances, a minimum of 3 cases voted guilty by FPA members was required for a company to get a Scam Label. This removed the chance of a single error resulting in a Scam label being applied.

About 450 cases made it to Open Cases. Almost 900 cases didn't make it. Some were resolved before moving to Open Cases. Some were dismissed since the issue did not qualify for Traders Court. Most were dismissed after being abandoned. One that stands out above all others was a person who wanted the FPA to provide him with a legal team and demanded the FPA file complaints with regulators for him.

Another flaw is the act of opening a Traders Court thread required filling out a complicated form. Sometimes it took over a dozen messages back and forth before the case could be opened. Others gave up on filing the case.

Those who voted have seen the front end of Traders Court cases. You can see that each one started out as a conversation between me and the trader. That part was done in a semi-private folder. Depending on circumstances, a case could be moved to Open Cases within 10 days or might end up lingering behind the scenes for months. I had to deal with every case, even the hundreds that never went public.

Although this was an improvement in terms of preventing a single error from triggering an unjust scam label, it came at a very high cost in time and effort required.

Even a case where the company refuses to respond takes time on the backend system. This now meant a scam finding took at least 3 times as much effort. This was exceptionally bad when dealing with companies that felt the best solution was to argue extensively by email.

Even cooperative companies also didn't like it. Most of those that replied to complaints felt that replying in the reviews and one complaint thread is enough. If that doesn't work, then they feel that being expected to defend themselves in both a Scam Alerts thread and Traders Court thread over the same issue was a wasteful duplication of effort.

The trading inviting the company to their Scam Alert thread has been a requirement since scam investigations were first formalized. For reasons I cannot understand, some traders say that there's no use in inviting a company to the thread, since they "probably" won't respond. The simple fact is that if you invite them, let everyone know they've been invited, and they don't show up, that says a lot about the company. If you don't bother to invite them, this means they don't even get a chance to speak out and possibly resolve the issue. I will now never again have to waste time on cases where someone doesn't want to take the effort to try to talk to the company.

Another problem is that a surprisingly large number of people don't understand "Send the company an invitation to join this thread. Then someone has to carefully explain that they need to email all the addresses they have for the company and that the email needs to include the link to the thread as well as an invitation to come and post a reply in the thread. Even then, some people seemed confused. One time a trader posted an image if his invitation - it asked the company to come to the FPA's homepage. From there, the company would have had to search to find the thread.

Abandoned cases have been a continuous problem. There's a company which would have a scam label right now, but the trader abandoned what would likely have been the 3rd guilty case instead of bothering to send the invitation. There have been worse things than that. Banc de Binary managed to stretch out the time to get a well-deserved scam label for a long time. This was because traders who were doing everything right on the back end suddenly disappeared when asked one last time if there had been any progress on the case. Considering BDB's history. I suspect they blackmailed or threatened the traders into never coming back to the FPA.

Another tactic employed by scammers who wanted to avoid a scam label was to do nothing until a 3rd Traders Court case was up for a vote. They'd then pay off whichever of the 3 cases involved the smallest amount of money. YouTradeFx was the worst of these. Eventually, what happened was that several cases came to a vote at the same time and the scammer wasn't prepared to pay that many clients at the same time.

In some cases, a well-rated company with a large number of reviews decides to go deposit-only. MFX Broker is one of these. They earned a Scam label, but their rating is still over 2 stars. I'd have to look, but I think there was a company with a rating around 3.5 stars that earned a Scam label. If people look at the review page closely, this isn't such a problem. If someone comes in the day before a 3.5 star rated company gets labeled as a Scam and just checks the rating, the person can easily lose their money.

Companies can get better or worse over time. This is why the FPA implemented time weighting for reviews in 2016. For a company with a large enough number of older good reviews, even this doesn't let the score fall fast enough when a company turns bad.

The worst possible flaw I've seen over the years with Traders Court is lack of participation. The typical case gets less than 100 votes out of all the active members of the FPA. Many cases were filed by brand new members who dropped out as soon as they recovered their money. Others dropped out the day their case votes was over. If everyone who ever had an issued resolved with the FPA's help voted, there should be many hundreds of votes on every case. If those who used the FPA's reviews to avoid getting scammed voted, it should be tens of thousands of votes.

The New Traders Court will try to improve all of these issues.

1. Users need to leave a review and get a Scam Alerts thread opened. There is no longer a separate Traders Court thread to open or monitor. The current manual method for linking reviews to a forums thread should be automated at some point.

2. There is now a method for those with Scam Alerts threads to press a button to invite the company. All they need to do is fill in some information in a form only visible to the person who opened the thread. There are two main requirements to send the invitation. First, the thread must be at least 4 days old. This allows FPA members to interact and provide advice to the person who opened the thread. Second, the person who opened the thread must add at least one additional post to the thread. A post showing that the invitation has been sent is automatically added to the thread.

3. The FPA added the ability for FPA admins and moderators to send similar default invitations to companies and those who opened threads earlier this year. Just like the trader, all that's needed is to add the email address or addresses.

4. Unlike waiting around for a final Guilty vote to change a 1 star review to a zero star review, the FPA will watch as each complaint progresses. If the company does not respond or responds inadequately, there is a separate weighting function which will make the trader's 1 star review count more and more heavily in calculating the final average rating. This also means if a trader is somehow threatened into silence as the situation escalates, the review is likely to already have gained some additional weight. The final result is the ratings for a company that turns bad will usually fall much more quickly than under the old system. The way this is set up, hit and run complaints which aren't escalated don't increase their review's weight. Traders who actively participate in their thread and provide evidence will end up with the weightiest reviews.

All of this is designed to save a very large amount of time, much of which was wasted on cases that were abandoned.

The remaining question is "How does a company get a Scam label under the new system?"

Only a few rating sites will directly call a company a scam. The FPA is the only one I know of with a formal procedure for doing this. It is tempting to to allow the improve weighting system for Scam complaints to let the weighted review score stand alone, but there are still cases where a company needs to be more explicitly labeled as a scam.

The Scam Label plan is this...

The FPA will note which companies are getting more and more Scam Alerts complaints tied to reviews. Those complaint threads will be checked to see how many where resolved, and how many escalated. By escalated, I mean that the trader presented evidence and invited the company. If the company didn't show up or gave an inadequate response and the trader who started the thread continues to pursue the case, what was the company's reaction to the FPA's invitation to join the thread? If there's no response or the response is inadequate, that counts as further escalation. The ratings of bad companies will get worse faster. The ratings of companies that turn bad will fall much faster than under the old system.

If there seem to be enough such threads which are not being resolved , then a summary will be written and the entire issue will be put to a vote. The voting period will be longer and at least 2 mailings will be sent about it. I hope this significantly improve participation in voting. If this doesn't seriously improve voting numbers, then the FPA will have to consider letting ratings stand on their own without issuing any future Scam labels.

The New Traders Court System is not perfect. Some adjustment may be made over time. In terms of functionality, I consider it to be a large leap forward over the previous systems.

I think that this makes a lot of sense. I also think that many people are probably put off or confused by the layout of the site. That's not necessarily a criticism, there's a lot here and it takes a significant amount of practice to learn to navigate around. Like anything else, it's easy when you know how but difficult enough to frustrate newbies, especially if they're running around like headless chickens having just had their life savings stolen.
I want put a notice against REMOVED,
How can I do it?

I've had to remove dozens of posts from this thread.

The topic of this is how the New Traders Court system works. Suggestions for changes and improvements are welcome.

If you have a problem with the New Traders Court system, post it here.

If you have a problem with a company, let me give you the shortest and simplest possible instructions.

1. Open a NEW thread in this folder (not a reply to this thread). One thread per person per company that person has a problem with.

2. Leave a review for the company.

If either of these causes any difficulty, there are detailed instructions here...

Help me! I've been scammed. What are the first steps?

Please do not use this thread to ask how to file a complaint.
Please do not use this thread for a complaint against a company.

I've given that information in great detail on page one. I've given you the shortest possible version of what you should do in this post. I've told you where to get more information in this post.

This thread is ONLY for asking for additional details or issues in using the New Traders Court System. Until you take the first 2 steps (your own thread about your own problem and your own review about your own problem), there is nothing else this thread can do for you.

Please do not use this thread to ask how to file a complaint.
Please do not use this thread for a complaint against a company.

Any more off-topic posts will be deleted without warning.
I have a new suggestion about reviews. Current default sorting is Posting Date descending (newest to oldest review). But there should be a new sorting method. Primary sort by "open case status". Then secondary sort by date descending.

There should also be a new sort column to show this "open cases" column.


Open cases will include:

  1. Trader's court case pending (voting)
  2. Trader's court case completed: guilty
  3. Trader's court case completed: not guilty
  4. Reviews with scam alerts: not resolved
  5. Reviews with scam alert attached: resolved

And then secondary sort by posting date.

This will do 3 big things:

encourage brokers to participate in the forum to resolve cases.

2) encourage traders to follow the rules and present evidence/discuss case in the forum

3) discourage brokers from trolling with fake [freelancer] reviews

This participation-based sorting technique goes beyond just the numerical score weighting and further incentivizes both sides to minimize trolling resolve the issue. Even with the weighting of the score, you still see this sudden flood of positive guest reviews, and even positive "registered user" reviews to push down the negative review.


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For abandoned cases, there needs to be a date written either in the last post of the thread, a new post made with the remark, or it can be put in the title of threadYYYY.MM.DD or YYYY-MM-DD format.

Or somewhere on the thread needs to be marked with the lock date.

So this way, we can all keep track of how much time the thread was opened for.
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