Playing with friends or relations

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Playing with friends or relations

Postby super_dipsy » 28 Oct 2018, 09:28

One of the most common starter responses in cheating cases is 'the other player is my sibling / child / friend and I am trying to introduce them to the game'. Usually this is totally untrue and the player ends up getting banned, but it does consume Mod time and can be quite upsetting if you really are trying to teach your child the game for example. Since this has just come up again in a cheating investigation, this seems a good time to offer some advice.

Obviously it is in all our interests to see new players come on board, both to the site and the game of Diplomacy. But in order to avoid a lot of hassle and possible banning, it is important that people follow a few simple rules when bringing new people into the on-site game. These are listed in this post https://www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=58715. Summarizing, these are the key points:

1. Two player games are ideal for showing someone how the interface works, how to move, attack, convoy, retreat and build. They are quick (particularly if played with someone in your house) and certainly of no interest to the cheater hunting AI :)

2. Friend games are perfect if you have a group of friends, for example at school, and you want to play together. Apart from the most cast-iron rules (such as no porn) most things are allowed in Friends games and again the cheater hunting AI will ignore them. Also, remember that if you don't have 7 players there are a number of options to play with less than 7.

3. Unranked / ranked games are where the problems really lie. Best adivce is never to play these types of games together. If you want to teach a family member in a 'real game' environment for instance, then rather than joining them in the game, get them to join and then you can offer advice and guidance. Best if it is a norank game though, since otherwise you might be artifically inflating their playing strength relative to their rating.

4. If you DO want to play unrank / rank games...
Not advised, but if you do then make absolutely sure you are squeaky clean in terms of playing as if you do not know the other player. Be prepared to attack each other as well as ally, because otherwise the AI system will flag you and Mods will be in touch and you risk getting kicked from the site.

It is not that we are trying to make it difficult for you to bring new players into the game or enjoy games with a pal. We are trying to make sure the site offers fair games for all.
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Re: Playing with friends or relations

Postby Solar Flare » 02 Nov 2018, 08:57

Because the site offers Friends/Short-handed games, is there no scope to say simply 'no two players sharing an IP address may enter the same game'? And maybe something could be written into the programming to prevent this from happening... (if you have AI to spot when two users log in from the same IP then surely this would be possible...?)

Playing a game with someone you know can ONLY be a benefit to you, and of course if you share the same IP it's very VERY likely (as you state yourself) that this is one and the same person. I don't understand why you would invite cheaters to try to beat the system in this way... didn't you report a case recently where the user brashly said to you "I wanted to see for how long I could get away with it"?? Well if the system prevented him entering two users into a game with the same IP, then it wouldn't have lasted very long at all.

Am I missing something, or is there a valid reason why household members should be allowed to play ranked/unranked games together, while we also have the Friends option in place??
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Re: Playing with friends or relations

Postby super_dipsy » 02 Nov 2018, 09:05

Oh Cheese wrote:Because the site offers Friends/Short-handed games, is there no scope to say simply 'no two players sharing an IP address may enter the same game'? And maybe something could be written into the programming to prevent this from happening... (if you have AI to spot when two users log in from the same IP then surely this would be possible...?)

Playing a game with someone you know can ONLY be a benefit to you, and of course if you share the same IP it's very VERY likely (as you state yourself) that this is one and the same person. I don't understand why you would invite cheaters to try to beat the system in this way... didn't you report a case recently where the user brashly said to you "I wanted to see for how long I could get away with it"?? Well if the system prevented him entering two users into a game with the same IP, then it wouldn't have lasted very long at all.

Am I missing something, or is there a valid reason why household members should be allowed to play ranked/unranked games together, while we also have the Friends option in place??

Fair points. First off, the situation is clouded because we have quite a lot of students who like to play, and often they will be using the school network resulting in matching IPs. The second point is a practical one - how do you know what IP a player is going use before they start playing, and what would you do if during the game two players happened to use the same IP. Anything automatic would risk people being kicked from games with a good reason.

The guidance is to try not to play certainly ranked games with friends/family members, but you have to look at the fact that particularly if you are trying to bring a friend into the game, it may not be possible to have a proper game as a Friends game. You mention we have shorthanded, which of course we do, but if you have ever played two handed you will know that it is only a mere shadow of the game, really only useful to learn the interface and some of the basic moves. A two handed game is no way to get someone interested in the game I woudl argue.

Frankly, it is never clear cut. But I can assure you, we have plenty of games where players DO know some of the other players but they play absolutely straight. They can be quite vicious to their 'friends'. In the end, if you are going to cheat, you have to be caught another way. Hence the AI system.
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Re: Playing with friends or relations

Postby Solar Flare » 02 Nov 2018, 12:58

My point is that if these players are playing with friends, and ARE playing absolutely straight then it takes nothing away from their gaming experience if they are playing with people they do not know.

Meanwhile, to enforce no matching IPs in the same game WOULD deter plenty of cheats. On the whole, you lose nothing, you gain something.
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Re: Playing with friends or relations

Postby super_dipsy » 02 Nov 2018, 18:19

Oh Cheese wrote:Meanwhile, to enforce no matching IPs in the same game WOULD deter plenty of cheats. On the whole, you lose nothing, you gain something.

I don't agree. If you adopt a straight 'shared IP = boot' mode, then as I said you risk kicking people out of a game for no good reason. Let me give you an example. Quite a few people play on their phones now. Network providers usually have a pool of IPs that they will assign to phone users. We often get matches where players are using a phone from the same network provider and just happen to pick up the same IP as someone else from the pool. I would prefer to risk having to rely on the AI to spot real cheaters than kicking out innocent players which will cause a lot of righteous anger.
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Re: Playing with friends or relations

Postby condude1 » 09 Nov 2018, 04:34

Oh Cheese wrote:My point is that if these players are playing with friends, and ARE playing absolutely straight then it takes nothing away from their gaming experience if they are playing with people they do not know.

Meanwhile, to enforce no matching IPs in the same game WOULD deter plenty of cheats. On the whole, you lose nothing, you gain something.


Did you ignore Dipsy's response? He very much responded to this point.
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Re: Playing with friends or relations

Postby gareth66 » 10 Nov 2018, 23:49

The complication with enforcing a "no shared IP addresses in rank/norank games is that there are often shared IPs (completely innocently) where the players involved have no idea that IP is being shared by other users. Schools and colleges are a case in point. In such cases there are often dozens of users all identified (on an occasional basis) with a particular IP address. As mods, we have ways of determining which cases are a cause for concern, and which cases are not. But a blanket ban, like the one that has been suggested, would not work where IP addresses are publically shared.
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Re: Playing with friends or relations

Postby blazebbc » 11 Nov 2018, 03:27

Case in point:
I teach AP Calculus and happen to have a Diplomacy game in my room. Some of my kids asked about it and I told them what it was. I now have thirty kids playing an instructional game (moves process after school). Quite a few have decided that they want to play online. I don't like pointing them to specific sites - this is "social media" and it's not good for teachers to be inviting students to social media sites. However, it is very possible that several have come here. If they were to decide to access their accounts from school, it is very possible that they would all be flagged.
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Re: Playing with friends or relations

Postby MichaelG » 26 Nov 2018, 00:02

Another issue with enforcing the no-matching-IPs is that it's easy to circumvent. I won't give any clues to the uneducated, but it's easy to mask your IP address. I'm guessing that a lot of cheaters get caught because of matching IPs. If they simply get blocked, some of them will figure out that they need to mask their IP at one account, and then the matching IP is no longer a useful flag to catch them.

It might be good - and this may already be happening - to flag matching IPs for a mod to investigate. But maybe even this happens to often to be useful. Certainly I would expect accounts with matching IPs to happen all the time; having them in the same game would be rarer.

One comment on the friends/family situation in ranked/unranked games: I would hesitate to play those with my siblings, not because we would be too likely to make an unfair alliance, but because my family is extremely competitive, and my siblings would be out for my blood at every opportunity!
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