www.whyville.net Feb 24, 2000 Weekly Issue

The Trading Post Scandal

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The Trading Post Scandal
An investigative report

by Vanilla

and Spazchick
Times Investigative Reporters

All of us are familiar with the Whyville Trading Post where we can all auction items that we have and no longer want. But, most people don't know what went on there back in January. It all started when the Trading Post opened. The idea was: auction items, bid on items, and earn money. Seems safe enough, huh? Evidently not.

The truth was that the Trading Post wasn't exactly trustworthy. Some fiendish person with a taste for greed had found a loophole in the Trading Post, and started a scam that profited users in thousands, even millions, of clams. Our job was to find out all about the crime.

So, here's the scoop: let's say a girl has a screen name called X. X goes and puts up all of her unwanted objects for auction. Okay, that's great. BUT, this is the part where you have to pay attention. X creates another user, we'll call it Y, who goes and bids thousands of clams on the girls other name, X. As a result, since Y was really bidding on herself, X would end up with all of the clams Y bid, and Y would be in serious debt. Get it? Got it? GOOD.

What we tried to uncover was: Who did this? Why did they do it? Did anyone help them? Was it a mistake? We received a list of possible suspects from City Hall and the Times Editor, and we wrote all of them a note on Whyville and explained the situation, asking if they did it. Days went by and we still didn't get anything. It seemed as though we were pumping a dry well. One day, we got our first reply:

"Oh, that's very bad. Sorry, but I didn't do it, but I'll be glad to help you find the person. Bye!" - Cheese123

Okay, this wasn't exactly our person, but at least we had narrowed it down by one. Soon we started getting more, but all of them claimed that they didn't do it! Well, we could see how no one would actually want to come out and admit that they did the crime, but we knew there had to be one courageous person out there. Here are some quotes from some of the people we wrote:

The scene of the crime

"I've heard of this happening before, but I didn't do it." - Christina

"I saw someone bid 5000 on my bubbly hair!" - Tech-Girl

"I DIDN'T DO IT!" - banana

We were sincerely about to give up. I mean, the article was due, and we felt that we didn't have anything to produce, so we were going to let the editor know and let her add a note in the Times about the situation.

BUT, one GLORIOUS day, we got the reply we had been waiting for. It was a letter from one of our users on Whyville, and was a suspect. The person was very sweet about it, and explained it to us like this: she and her sister had found out the way to get lots of clams. They committed the crime for one reason: to see how far it would go. She said that she has learned her lesson, and that she doesn't want anyone to be mad at her. She was willing to let City Hall know about what she and her sister have done. After the loophole was fixed (which we will tell you about in a second), they decided just to leave the matter untouched.

The person is very, very sorry and wishes to remain unknown. We figured it would be very cruel to expose her, so we did as she wished, and she remains anonymous.

Fortunately, the mystery has been solved, and the loophole has been fixed so that you can no longer bid an amount of clams that you don't have. Unfortunately for all of those who made and received these fake bids, all the clams that they had given themselves have now disappeared, as they were non-existent clams to begin with.

We would like to let the culprit who DID confess know that we think that what she did was very gutsy. We appreciate that you actually were honest, and you really helped us out. Now, we must take off our trench coats and leave our magnifying glasses behind as the Trading Post Scandal is over.


If you want to Y-mail us, please do!


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