You left out an important part of the 'margin trading scam'.Balthelion wrote:This is basically the skill used for market scamming. It you can afford the 24% escrow at lv5, you can place the buy order, but if someone tries to sell you something, and you don't have the full 100% cash (the rest being made from your personal/corp wallet depening on how the order was set up) then it will just go "Sorry, no can do", and no transaction occurs. So basically you'll see people selling uncommon items, putting up buy orders at, for example, 10x the normal buy price (usually with a high - often impossible - minimum quantity required), then linking the item in chat and saying something like "LOL! Buy order fail! He added one too many zeroes!". This obviously being in the hope that people will buy his wares, try to sell it back for a profit, then realise that they can't sell that item that cost 50million back, because he needs to sell 10 of them in one go. And even if someone had 10 to sell, he can;t sell it because the buyer doesnt have the full price to pay in his wallet (only the minimum for escrow).
When that over-priced buy order fails (because of the reasons you stated), the first matching buy order (for range, and volume in this case) will complete instead - which normally means the next highest buy order in the list after the "scamming" one. However, this second buy order is ALSO part of the scam! It is usually owned by the scammer (on one alt or another) where he (or she) will buy the goods back from the victim at a (usually) MUCH lower price than market average - so they get their goods back at a steal, basically!
I say "their" goods, because that's usually the case; the scammer is controlling not only the buy order(s), but the sell orders as well! He/she is providing ppl with the goods they will need to fall for the 'honey pot' buy order - usually at a (much!) higher price than what that particular item is usually sold for. So the scammer is making lots of money off the 'margin', in the difference between his sell orders and the price at which he/she is buying the same goods back.
However, this is also the great weakness in the scam! In fact, if you apply some careful thinking and reasoning, you can actually make lots of ISK off of the scammer!
Consider: the min volume of the scamming buy order is very specific (and cannot be (easily) changed once set), and they need to keep VERY tight control over all the sell orders (i.e. their volume!!) available as well, so...
Actually, the skill (skills, since it applies to more than just Connections) IS true to what it's advertised, because it doesn't state that it gives "+4% standing" (effective or otherwise).Balthelion wrote:The Connections skill states that it grants the user +4% effective standing per rank. But this isn't actually true. It's neither an additional 4% of your current standing, or a flat 4% of a 10.00 rating (ie, a 0.40 standing boost)
In actual fact, it gives you 4% or the value you are missing from that perfect 10.00 standing.
So if you had zero standing, you would get 4% of 10.00 = 0.40 boost per rank.
However if you had a 4.00 standing, you only get 4% of the remaining 6.00 standing = 0.24 per rank
At 8.00 standing, its a tiny 4% of 2.00 = 0.08 per rank. and so on.
So in short, the skill becomes less effective at boosting your standings, the higher your base standing are to begin with. Presumably its a deliberate measure to stop people capping standings easily just by training connections, while also allowing them a quicker start to standing grinding.
I'm not sure if this formula applies to the other standing modification skills though. Can't say i've particularly cared enough to run the math. Thus i'm not sure whether 1 rank of diplomacy for a -5.00 standing would grant 4% of 15 rep, or something else entirely.
What the skill (and others) states is: "4% modifier per level to effective standing..."
And that's exactly what it does.
The 'gory details' of the math behind these skills is actually (thankfully) rather simple. Here's the full formula:
E = 10 - (10 - S)*(1 - 0.04*L)
E - effective standing
S - 'real' standing
L - level of skill; 'Connections' if S >= 0.00 and 'Diplomacy' if S < 0.00
Some examples (that I picked from my own character):
"Servant Sisters of Eve 3.47 (Connections 3 raises your effective standing from 2.58)"; 10 - (10 - 2.58)*(1 - 0.04*3) = 3.4704
"Amarr Empire -3.88 (Diplomacy 4 raises your effective standing from -6.52)"; 10 - (10 - (-6.52))*(1 - 0.04*4) = -3.8768
Angel Cartel: -9.53 --> -6.40
And a rather amusing example; Blood Raider Covenant: -0.21 --> 1.42 (yes, quite a jump from a negative to a positive )
In a way I suppose the problem with understanding how these skills work lies in most ppl thinking they give an 'increase' per level, and then attaching that listed number to their conclusion, thinking that's what they're getting (i.e. +4%) while there, in reality, is nothing listed anywhere that states (or even suggests) that!
You were on the right track with your reasoning though - thinking that it rather affects the 'missing part' from what you have and 10.00. Because that's sort of exactly what it does; instead of ppl thinking of the skill as "increasing the standing" they should think of it as 'decreasing the difference to 10.00' - which is made pretty clear from just looking at the formula above.
In regards to the final paragraph in your post (regarding the "worth" of training Diplomacy), I think you can see from the examples above that it gives a HUGE boost to negative standings (I wouldn't be allowed into Amarr space without it )!
My short answer to that (and to anyone who doesn't want to bother with or even think about math, formulas and details at all!) is this:
Diplomacy is a rank 1 skill, and injecting it and training it up from level 0 to level 4 takes less than 1 day in total. You will never, EVER be sorry you trained that!