FOG2DL given clean bill of health by Slitherine review . . .

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by stockwellpete » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:27 am

MikeC_81 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:17 am
How is knowing whether an opponent reloaded a turn or not commercially sensitive information?
Ask Slitherine. I have just suggested that the security of their system, and discussion about it, might be a consideration for them.
My tone is negative because of Ian's response to my very first post in which he declared reloads as "normal behaviour" and came just short of saying transparency on player reloads was out of the question due to a fear of false accusation of unpopular players. His followup post also indicated that transparency was not the preferred route. A review of the data is not required in my opinion. We just want it for ourselves. A majority of respondents are in favour of this approach.
Some of us find your approach far too aggressive and unreasonable. And pompous. You made your mind up about Slitherine's response right from the outset. Iain wrote, "We have a zero tolerance for cheating and anyone we know is doing it would be banned. Determining whether someone is cheating beyond a reasonable level of doubt is the issue." This is a perfectly acceptable response for most people, but not you. Slitherine are moving quickly and they are not avoiding the issue. Hopefully we will have the new system before we start Season 9 on October 1st.
That that many people whom I have had rather pointed philosophical differences over the approach of the game, like camping, would support my call for transparency would indicate that this is a mature community that would not stoop to the "worst-case" scenario that you and Ian are afraid of. We might differ on individual issues but they are just that - differences of opinion that don't spill over into unrelated matters. We just want to see transparency on a turn by turn basis.
Whatever new system is brought in there will be a range of behavioural responses to it, most of them completely unproblematic, but there will be some issues where players are falsely accused of cheating, which will lead to some tournament disruption. You may not care about this. I do. You keep using the word "we" as if everything you say has overwhelming support. Not everyone thinks turn-by-turn excess download counts are without their problems, some of us would prefer a summary at the end of a match which could then be investigated if one of the players was unhappy about the numbers.
I was referring to 0 tolerance on reloads that some players (not me) would prefer. Once again you know this though but you misrepresent me to try and score points. Why?
You are just twisting and turning now. What you wrote was very clearly about cheating . . . “those people are free to not play in the DL or any other tournament where the organiser doesn't have a 0 tolerance policy.” I am not going to get into semantic arguments with you.
I am "in your house" because this is where Slitherine chooses to keep its communications on the issue. Several times, players have raised suggestions that you have dismissed because of the fact that you run the DL and these changes would potentially pose a headache for you (ie your fear of having to adjudicate these matters which Pantherboy -a player in favour of turn by turn transparency - succinctly pointed out would not be an issue because you would not be required to). My point is that the logistical organisation of the DL should not be the primary lens by which we evaluate our options.
Again, take this up with Slitherine. The issue emanated from the FOG2DL and is being discussed here. I do not have a problem with that. It is an awkward moment for Slitherine so perhaps they want to conduct their review first before addressing the wider community? That's fine with me. If our discussions here are helpful in any way to Slitherine then that is a good thing. My main point remains though that I am not going to allow this space to be used as a platform for you to attack Slitherine, particularly when they are acting reasonably and promptly to address player concerns.

I actually think Steve (pantherboy) is mistaken on this. No problem. I think our differences are probably rooted in the different ways that we have run our own tournaments. When Steve used to run League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LOEG) back in the day with FOG1, his main organisational inputs were at the beginning and end of the tournament. Someone new observing LOEG in its middle weeks may not have realised that there was an organiser at all. It still worked very well because Steve was very clear about what he was, and was not, prepared to do.

But I run the FOG2DL in a very different way where I am available right the way through, and I try to create an ongoing "magazine" feel to the forum. There are often new threads and debating points for players to talk about. And during the course of the season I get hundreds and hundreds of PM's and sometimes I do have to resolve disputes. What you are asking for with the turn-by-turn excess download count will inevitably lead to accusations of cheating against players who will turn out to be completely innocent. This will only be a small number of cases, but I definitely will be called on to sort things out. That you do not recognise this potential for conflict suggests to me that you still have quite a bit to learn about running tournaments, particularly larger ones. It sometimes is quite a demanding job.
If most players are ok with Slitherine continuing to monitor privately why are most respondents positive over transparency? Also, feel free to quote me where I said it was a major problem. Where am I attacking the DL in any way shape or form? Once again it looks like you are building a straw man to score points. My stance has consistently been that Slitherine failed big time with dkalenda. Slitherine has said it doesn't have the manpower to solve the issue. Technical solutions without transparency must have a degree of tolerance that a cheater like dkalenda can exploit. Ergo, rather than Slitherine set the tolerances for us and leave us in the dark, have the reload information publicly available so the community can set its own tolerances.
The argument has moved on now to how the issue of "transparency" might best be handled. Some of us are saying at the end of the match, others favour turn-by-turn. We will just have to wait and see what Slitherine decides.

I said that your attacks on Slitherine, suggesting that they were soft (and incompetent) on cheating can indirectly be construed as an attack the FOG2DL because you are saying that cheating is a serious issue across the FOG2 multi-player community. Some players may feel that the FOG2DL is tainted as a result. I do not accept that view.

Yes, there were problems with Slitherine’s dealings with dkalenda, but it remains the case that he was flagged and warned, and his season was completely disrupted by the current Slitherine system. A more thorough check by the member of staff would undoubtedly seen him disqualified a week or two earlier this season. We can only speculate that if he was flagged before this season then more thorough checks then may also have seen him removed from the tournament.
Where did I equate reloading to cheating? Certainly not where you quoted me. Strawman #3. My point was to illustrate the limitations of a non-transparent solution. Someone raised concerns with dkalenda. The answer was insufficient proof when Slitherine could have delivered a blunt 0 reload answer. Maybe this is one of the things that you know that I don't. In any case, this was a demonstration where if the information was public, perhaps dkalenda would have been intimidated by the transparency to never have gone on the cheating spree he did, to begin with since he would know he would be under increased scrutiny from the rest of the players. Instead, since it was handled behind the scenes, and then we get the 225 reload situation.
More slippery evasion. It seems to me that the things you write don’t actually mean what they appear to mean. Very convenient. Sorry, but I cannot be arsed to deconstruct it all. The thing that will inimidate a cheating player is getting a warning PM from Slitherine telling them they have been flagged for excess downloads. It certainly intimidated dkalenda and completely disrupted his season leading to his eventual demise. We have not seen anything like that with any other player in our tournament. My own view is that the current monitoring system just needs an upgrade, not complete replacement, because it does do some of the important things required of it.
Stop taking this so personally. This is not an attack on you.
Seriously? Is that what you think? That I am taking this personally? Stop being being so bloody ridiculous! :roll: How can it be an attack on me? I am not responsible for dkalenda’s behaviour, or Slitherine’s response to it. As soon as I received the evidence I shared it with Ian and Anders and we came to a unanimous decision and the prompt action we took was widely supported on here.

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by kronenblatt » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:35 am

When it comes to saving during one's turn, is that save made locally (i.e., on one's computer) or on the server? If the latter, or if at least the number and frequencies of saves being logged (maybe in the save file itself, that information to be transmitted to the server while submitting the turn), could that work somewhat against save scumming? I mean, then Slitherine will obtain information about whether saves are made extremely often, such as after each individual action of a unit; another potential indication of suspect behaviour and save scumming.
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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by desertedfox » Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:00 pm

Saves are done server side, so there is no chance of cheating when doing that.

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by Thunderbird » Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:55 pm

desertedfox wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:00 pm
Saves are done server side, so there is no chance of cheating when doing that.
Perhaps implement a feature where periodically the client 'saves game' to the server without notification to the player. Those 'saves' could then be compared to later turns to detect differences if someone save scummed.A cheating player could never be sure of the integrity of their cheat...... the code is already there for partial turn saves.....

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by IainMcNeil » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:05 pm

I haven't had time to read all the messages in this thread but an update on where we are.

The review identified a number of users whose activity was suspect. We found that of the 5 of them. The thing that surprised us, was when we looked in to banning them, 4 had already been banned, one of which was dkalenda, the other 3 in July. So the system was actually working, but the banning was delayed due to workload and pressure of COVID. The other user, was actually playing against his brother, which was verified and they were both messing around so was let off.

However having said this we do feel like the system needs an overhaul. It is going to be a lot less tolerant in future so you will get a lot more warnings a lot earlier, and automatic temporary bans will be enforced if you are a repeat offender. We are completely taking away the manual part of the process, which is what caused the problem in this case. The ban was not enforced for a number of weeks after it happened due to the team being overloaded with other tasks.

The current manual system was too forgiving as we let people off if they had a good excuse. The new system being automated will not allow this. You will be required to make your connection work to participate and the automated system will not give any opportunity to offer an excuse. There will also be no way for support to overrule it so complaining to them will not be possible.

The system will give temporary bans of increasing size until the user becomes permanently banned.

The system will be monitoring the server availability and will not punish people for excess downloads if there was an issue with the server. If there is an issue between you and the server, this is unfortunately your problem to resolve. There is no other way to make it fair for everyone.

The new system will also remove people from tournaments automatically and award their opponents a BYE and prevent them from joining tournaments while banned.

We expect the new system to nip any potential cheating in the bud. We're working on the system now but do not have an ETA yet. For now we'll continue to manually police matters but hopefully this raised awareness by players that we are watching, will mean it self polices.

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by harveylh » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:35 pm

IainMcNeil wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:05 pm

The review identified a number of users whose activity was suspect. We found that of the 5 of them. The thing that surprised us, was when we looked in to banning them, 4 had already been banned, one of which was dkalenda, the other 3 in July. So the system was actually working, but the banning was delayed due to workload and pressure of COVID. The other user, was actually playing against his brother, which was verified and they were both messing around so was let off.

The good news is it appears the only digital league member cheating was dkalenda. That should reassure many. And based on the hundreds of digital league games I have played, dkalenda was the only one I ever thought was cheating. Other than my very strong belief dkalenda had been cheating for several seasons, it appears our league has been cheater free. And again that is very good news.

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by Jagger2002 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:01 pm

I assume hundreds of games are going on each month. To find only 4 reloading is reassuring. That is a pretty small number.

Myself, I have internet satellite but loss of internet is not really a problem from my experience. The problem is apparently reloading and even if internet connection is lost, reloading is not necessary. Waiting for the internet to come back up, should allow continuation of the game without reloading. I assume that I could even wait for days if necessary to continue the game without making a reload necessary. It seems the greatest risk of a mandatory reload would be loss of power or a computer failure shutting down the computer. And power failure is usually related to thunderstorms but not always and myself, I usually will not start a turn if weather is bad. Those are possibilities but should be very rare. It would probably be helpful to have a sticky post somewhere detailing how players can ensure they reduce their risk of getting into a situation requiring a reload.

Still, I am in MikeC's camp when it comes to giving us feedback at the end of each turn. We can correlate a reload with the action which has just taken place. And when the game is over and everyone knows no reload took place, every one is happy that a clean game was just completed. I suspect I am just happier knowing from my own observation that the game was clean.

PS: Out of unhealthy curiosity, what percentage of people reloaded? I am guessing under 1 percent.

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by desertedfox » Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:32 pm

The thing that surprised us, was when we looked in to banning them, 4 had already been banned, one of which was dkalenda, the other 3 in July.
Can one assume that those other three have received a permanent ban? I hope so.

Also, I like your new system. It's the player's responsibility to have a relatively stable connection.

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by stockwellpete » Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:03 pm

IainMcNeil wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:05 pm
I haven't had time to read all the messages in this thread but an update on where we are.

The review identified a number of users whose activity was suspect. We found that of the 5 of them. The thing that surprised us, was when we looked in to banning them, 4 had already been banned, one of which was dkalenda, the other 3 in July. So the system was actually working, but the banning was delayed due to workload and pressure of COVID. The other user, was actually playing against his brother, which was verified and they were both messing around so was let off.

However having said this we do feel like the system needs an overhaul. It is going to be a lot less tolerant in future so you will get a lot more warnings a lot earlier, and automatic temporary bans will be enforced if you are a repeat offender. We are completely taking away the manual part of the process, which is what caused the problem in this case. The ban was not enforced for a number of weeks after it happened due to the team being overloaded with other tasks.

The current manual system was too forgiving as we let people off if they had a good excuse. The new system being automated will not allow this. You will be required to make your connection work to participate and the automated system will not give any opportunity to offer an excuse. There will also be no way for support to overrule it so complaining to them will not be possible.

The system will give temporary bans of increasing size until the user becomes permanently banned.

The system will be monitoring the server availability and will not punish people for excess downloads if there was an issue with the server. If there is an issue between you and the server, this is unfortunately your problem to resolve. There is no other way to make it fair for everyone.

The new system will also remove people from tournaments automatically and award their opponents a BYE and prevent them from joining tournaments while banned.

We expect the new system to nip any potential cheating in the bud. We're working on the system now but do not have an ETA yet. For now we'll continue to manually police matters but hopefully this raised awareness by players that we are watching, will mean it self polices.
Perfect. I hope everyone is looking forward to Season 9 which starts on October 1st. :D

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by devoncop » Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:04 pm

desertedfox wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:32 pm
The thing that surprised us, was when we looked in to banning them, 4 had already been banned, one of which was dkalenda, the other 3 in July.
Can one assume that those other three have received a permanent ban? I hope so.

Also, I like your new system. It's the player's responsibility to have a relatively stable connection.
That is the only bit of the otherwise reassuring update that worried me.

The fact that "Repeat offenders" only get bans of increasing length after they have been caught is a huge No.No.

If you are a repeat offender you should be permanently banned. End of story.

Better Pete but certainly not "perfect".

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by stockwellpete » Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:15 pm

devoncop wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:04 pm

That is the only bit of the otherwise reassuring update that worried me.

The fact that "Repeat offenders" only get bans of increasing length after they have been caught is a huge No.No.

If you are a repeat offender you should be permanently banned. End of story.

Better Pete but certainly not "perfect".
Again, I think you are muddling two things up. Slitherine (and the FOG2DL) has zero tolerance for cheating. If it is proven you are gone, permanently. Additionally, players repeatedly flagged for excess downloads that are not cheating (e.g. poor internet, thunderstorms etc) will also face incremental sanctions until they too are suspended. I don't think Iain is saying that if you are caught cheating you will initially just get a tap on the wrist.

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by devoncop » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:04 pm

stockwellpete wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:15 pm
devoncop wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:04 pm

That is the only bit of the otherwise reassuring update that worried me.

The fact that "Repeat offenders" only get bans of increasing length after they have been caught is a huge No.No.

If you are a repeat offender you should be permanently banned. End of story.

Better Pete but certainly not "perfect".
Again, I think you are muddling two things up. Slitherine (and the FOG2DL) has zero tolerance for cheating. If it is proven you are gone, permanently. Additionally, players repeatedly flagged for excess downloads that are not cheating (e.g. poor internet, thunderstorms etc) will also face incremental sanctions until they too are suspended. I don't think Iain is saying that if you are caught cheating you will initially just get a tap on the wrist.

"Automatic bans of increasing length if you are a repeat offender" is pretty unambiguous given that folk who are not cheating but are victims of "poor internet,thunderstorms etc" are in no sense "offenders" he can only be talking of actual cheats.

There should be no such second chance for such people.

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by Cunningcairn » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:22 pm

Thunderbird wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:55 pm
desertedfox wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:00 pm
Saves are done server side, so there is no chance of cheating when doing that.
Perhaps implement a feature where periodically the client 'saves game' to the server without notification to the player. Those 'saves' could then be compared to later turns to detect differences if someone save scummed.A cheating player could never be sure of the integrity of their cheat...... the code is already there for partial turn saves.....
Great suggestion!

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by Cunningcairn » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:26 pm

IainMcNeil wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:05 pm
I haven't had time to read all the messages in this thread but an update on where we are.

The review identified a number of users whose activity was suspect. We found that of the 5 of them. The thing that surprised us, was when we looked in to banning them, 4 had already been banned, one of which was dkalenda, the other 3 in July. So the system was actually working, but the banning was delayed due to workload and pressure of COVID. The other user, was actually playing against his brother, which was verified and they were both messing around so was let off.

However having said this we do feel like the system needs an overhaul. It is going to be a lot less tolerant in future so you will get a lot more warnings a lot earlier, and automatic temporary bans will be enforced if you are a repeat offender. We are completely taking away the manual part of the process, which is what caused the problem in this case. The ban was not enforced for a number of weeks after it happened due to the team being overloaded with other tasks.

The current manual system was too forgiving as we let people off if they had a good excuse. The new system being automated will not allow this. You will be required to make your connection work to participate and the automated system will not give any opportunity to offer an excuse. There will also be no way for support to overrule it so complaining to them will not be possible.

The system will give temporary bans of increasing size until the user becomes permanently banned.

The system will be monitoring the server availability and will not punish people for excess downloads if there was an issue with the server. If there is an issue between you and the server, this is unfortunately your problem to resolve. There is no other way to make it fair for everyone.

The new system will also remove people from tournaments automatically and award their opponents a BYE and prevent them from joining tournaments while banned.

We expect the new system to nip any potential cheating in the bud. We're working on the system now but do not have an ETA yet. For now we'll continue to manually police matters but hopefully this raised awareness by players that we are watching, will mean it self polices.
Thank you Iain! It is good to know our community appears to be far more honest than they thought :-)

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by stockwellpete » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:29 pm

devoncop wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:04 pm
"Automatic bans of increasing length if you are a repeat offender" is pretty unambiguous given that folk who are not cheating but are victims of "poor internet,thunderstorms etc" are in no sense "offenders" he can only be talking of actual cheats.

There should be no such second chance for such people.
Well, I think the "offence" he is talking here about is excess downloads, which is not necessarily the same as cheating. The whole thrust of Iain's post is to say Slitherine are tightening things up, not relaxing them. He has not said anywhere that Slitherine have abandoned their zero tolerance of cheating, has he?

Richard, can you clarify please?

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by IainMcNeil » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:47 pm

I should have been clear. Any proven cheating is an immediate permanent ban. Any system of cheat detection will have false positives and no way to be sure if someone is cheating or not. The temporary bans of increasingly length are to remove people with behaviour that matches cheating, but could be for other reasons.

Just to be crystal clear, there is no way to prevent this system from banning some people who are not cheating, just unlucky.

Some people just have other issues like a bad connection or the game crashed. This is why you get false positive and we are not prepared to brand people who have had these issues cheats, we just remove them from the player pool. This is also why we give them increasing ban lengths and not an immediate permanent ban.

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by devoncop » Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:09 pm

Okay Iain

Given the system is moving to a wholly automated one I guess that is as good as we are going to get.

Thanks for the clarification.

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by Barrold713 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:02 pm

I categorically deny using this method to unfairly grab a disproportionate number of Wooden Spoons in the DL.

I know there are rumors that the number of last place finishes and being regulated to a lower division could not be achieved through natural incompetence but rest assured each and every humiliating defeat is duly earned through bad planning and worse execution.

BDH

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by devoncop » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:05 pm

Barrold713 wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:02 pm
I categorically deny using this method to unfairly grab a disproportionate number of Wooden Spoons in the DL.

I know there are rumors that the number of last place finishes and being regulated to a lower division could not be achieved through natural incompetence but rest assured each and every humiliating defeat is duly earned through bad planning and worse execution.

BDH

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Believe me Barry

At the speed my player rating is declining you want to be checking your rear view mirror......I may be fighting you for your collection of cooking utensils very soon..........

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Re: dkalenda has been expelled from the tournament for multiple re-loading of turns during his matches . . .

Post by MikeMarchant » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:10 pm

IainMcNeil wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:05 pm
I haven't had time to read all the messages in this thread but an update on where we are.

The review identified a number of users whose activity was suspect. We found that of the 5 of them. The thing that surprised us, was when we looked in to banning them, 4 had already been banned, one of which was dkalenda, the other 3 in July. So the system was actually working, but the banning was delayed due to workload and pressure of COVID. The other user, was actually playing against his brother, which was verified and they were both messing around so was let off.

However having said this we do feel like the system needs an overhaul. It is going to be a lot less tolerant in future so you will get a lot more warnings a lot earlier, and automatic temporary bans will be enforced if you are a repeat offender. We are completely taking away the manual part of the process, which is what caused the problem in this case. The ban was not enforced for a number of weeks after it happened due to the team being overloaded with other tasks.

The current manual system was too forgiving as we let people off if they had a good excuse. The new system being automated will not allow this. You will be required to make your connection work to participate and the automated system will not give any opportunity to offer an excuse. There will also be no way for support to overrule it so complaining to them will not be possible.

The system will give temporary bans of increasing size until the user becomes permanently banned.

The system will be monitoring the server availability and will not punish people for excess downloads if there was an issue with the server. If there is an issue between you and the server, this is unfortunately your problem to resolve. There is no other way to make it fair for everyone.

The new system will also remove people from tournaments automatically and award their opponents a BYE and prevent them from joining tournaments while banned.

We expect the new system to nip any potential cheating in the bud. We're working on the system now but do not have an ETA yet. For now we'll continue to manually police matters but hopefully this raised awareness by players that we are watching, will mean it self polices.
Iain, that's great. Thanks for a clear and comprehensive explanation. I really can't see how Slitherine could do any more than this, and I, for one, am grateful.

Let's hope that we, an honourable and honest community, can move on from this with confidence. And then get back to arguing about battle sizes and RNG and Brexit.


Best Wishes

Mike

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