Reporting (possible) cheating

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Reporting (possible) cheating

Postby super_dipsy » 15 Jun 2019, 07:50

One thing we are always very keen on here at Playdip is to try to keep the games as free from cheating as possible. Cheating is the bane of all online games, of course, and Diplomacy is no exception. Whether it is people running multiple accounts or people working together as a team across multiple games, we try very hard to stamp it out quickly.

We have gone to great lengths on this front. Around a year ago we put in place our cheater hunting AI tool which greatly increased the sophistication and accuracy of identifying potential cheats, and reducing the time needed for a Mod to check it out. As a result we probably have a fairer playing field than at any time since the site's launch.

However, the prupose of this post is that over the last few months we have seen a growing number of requests for investigation from players who just feel something is amiss. One of the most common is when a player points out that a new player has joined their game and taken over a dommed country as their first game on site. Another is when two players form a strong alliance that the accussing player cannot break. Often a Mod will get a PM asking if they could 'just take a look to put my mind at rest'.

The first and most important thing all players should do before raising a request for an investigation is to check out https://www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=54352. This has guidelines for judging whether to raise something or not. The KEY element is you should have some sort of evidence of cheating. To say someone has joined a game in a poor position as their first game, for example, is not evidence of cheating. In fact, it is a lot more likely than it used to be because we order the Join Game list now based on the fullest games first. If a player wants to start a gane straight away, the first games they see will be ones where there is a surrendered country, and these may well be ones where the country only has one or two SCs. The question is what does the new player do, not the fact that they have joined. As another example, if two players are in a tight alliance, frankly that is often what the game is about. If however you disocver that they play all their games together and they always ally, then that is another story. THAT would be the sort of evidence to justify raising an accusation.

I think it may be people do not realize that when you investigate a cheating accusation, it can take quite some time. For the player, it is just a seemingly sensible request just to 'check this out' because it 'seems a bit off'. The Mod now has to spend half an hour or so going through all the evidence and player histories to decide if there is anything going on.

We do not want to discourage people from identifying cheating. This is one of the key ways we find out. The AI may be super powerful, but it can't catch everything. But we DO want to discourage requests to investigate based on a feeling, or the fact the game is not going your way etc..

So please read the link in the Cheaters forum to check out the guidelines before submitting a request for investigation and only go ahead if you feel you have some evidence that the countries/players are colluding unfairly.

P.S. It is worth reminding people that you should NEVER make cheating accusations in the Public Press. If you think someone is cheating, and you think you have evidence, you should either post in Cheaters or PM a Mod. Making cheating accusations in the PP is in itself cheating, because you are trying to influence the game by making the accusation against another player.
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