First, an explanation. This is not a new set of rules. The original version of this, posted by Diplomat, was good enough for me However, there were some areas that have been re-worked in an attempt to (hopefully ) reduce ambiguity. I have also added some clarification points
.However, the basic set of rules remain. So, with full acknowledgement to the great work of Dip in writing the original version that v1.2 relies heavily upon, here is the updated version:
Unfortunately games are competitive and some folks will seek competitive advantage by bending, or breaking, the rules of the game. Given the issues with anonymity on the Internet all internet games have this problem, and members of all Diplomacy sites complain about it, and rightfully so. What is cheating though, and what should you be concerned about or avoid as a player?Disclaimer: This is not a finalized list of items, just a general definition for players to use in gauging behavior, either their own or others, for potential problems. Consequences can vary and are not proscribed and limited by this post.
Generally there are 3 ways to cheat in online Diplomacy: breaking the actual rules themselves, violating the spirit of the game or breaching the independence of games from the Forum. Descriptions of each are below. Please note that variants and known exceptions (ie Neutral Austria or other variants) in unranked games are generally tolerated but always let a Mod know in advance if you plan to set such a game up. A. Rule Breaking1. Multi-accounting
(a) A single user operating more than one account in any game, Rank or No Rank. Clearly unfair.
(b) Users accessing another user’s account in a game for any reason. There is no excuse for this. Logging into your account, then another user’s account in the same game while they are “gone” is not an excuse.Clarification: Games-sitting is allowed. This is covering games for another user while s/he is unable to access the site. However, the “sitter” must not be in the same games as the absent player.This will usually result in a ban: accounts being surrendered from active games and being disabled.2. Violating any specific rule associated with a game other than the one above.
(a) Entering Anonymous games with another player where the players know the identity of other players in the game and/or which country opponents are playing.Clarification: breaking anonymity in a game is NOT seen as cheating; it could, after all, be a false identity that has been declared, there are times when anonymity is broken by posting in the Forum to have a game problem solved and sometimes it is possible to work out the identity of a player using, for example, writing style. It is entering a game with prior knowledge of a player(s) controlling a country/countries that is against the rules as it provides an unfair advantage.
(b) Communicating in a way which breaks specific communication rules.
(i) Gunboat games: no communication allowed at all, other than by in game orders for units.
(ii) Public Press Only games: communication only allowed via Public Press box.
(iii) Using screen shots to pass on information in any type of game, eg map information in Fog of War games.Clarification: in FoW games, a player should ONLY have information that can be "seen" from her/his territories and any info passed on by messages. Screen shots might also be used to prove what another player has said, for instance. This can be done by copy and pasting messages, of course, but a pasted message can be altered before it is sent so this still maintains some degree of doubt.
(c) Communicating about alliances prior to the start of the game with players you know are in the game.All of these are considered cheating and, depending on account status and standing, could result in your being surrendered from the games in question to having an account disabled.3. Mis-use of "dummy" accounts.
"Dummy" accounts have two main uses on site: they can be used to create variants of less than 7-player games (that is they can act as Civil Disorder powers) - please inform Mods before starting the game - and advertising anonymous games in the Forum.
(a) Any game in which a dummy account is used must be No Rank. If a game is found to be Ranked, it will be unranked and the player who set the game up will be warned; failing identification of this player, ALL players in the game will be warned.
(b) In games, dummy accounts must only act as Civil Disorder powers, ie they must not issue orders other than HOLD. If a dummy account is found to be issuing any other orders by another active player in a game this will be seen as multi-accounting. The player issuing orders will be warned and/or both accounts will be surrendered from the game. A repeat occurrence will lead to a ban.
(c) If a dummy account is found to be issuing orders by a player who is NOT operating an additional account in the game, it will be surrendered from the game.
(d) In the Forum, If a dummy account is found to be used for anything other than game-creation purposes, it will be banned from games and from site. This will include the banning of the associated IP address. NB: banning the IP address of the associated with the dummy account in the Forum will be permanent and will affect the player using the account.4. Anything Else the Mods take issue with that is bad for the community or the game. This could include phishing for account details, passwords, or a wide variety of other behaviors not specifically mentioned here.NB: please see College/School Games...B. Violating the Spirit of the GameThe Spirit of the Game
is that players enter a game intending to achieve a solo victory (although this may be moderated within the game to achieving a draw) and that each game is independent of every other game and "stands alone" (Tournament games excepted, of course). When users allow previous and coexistent games to affect play in a game, this is “metagaming”.
There can be said to be two forms of metagaming: “active” and “negative” metagaming.1. Active metagaming can be, essentially, where players act as a “team” or partnership, denying others an equal chance to form an alliance with them.
(a) Entering a game with a preset alliance with another player, whether friends or not.
(b) Entering a game and forging an alliance with a player that goes against reason solely because that player is someone you know from prior games.Clarification: we recognise that trust is important in Diplomacy and that players will naturally be inclined to trust players that they have worked in successful alliances with before and, on the reverse side, be wary of trusting players who have stabbed them before. However, all players should have an equal chance to form a successful alliance with all other players in a game. Where the alliance, in the opinion of a Moderator, goes against the game situation and can be evidenced to be built solely on previous or existing relationships, this will be considered as being against the spirit of the game. As general guidance, other games with someone should not be the principal factor in the way you play a game.
(c) Entering several games with another player and always allying with that player for victories over other players. The general rule is that no more than 1 game in 5 should be with the same players and have similar outcomes.Clarification 1: "1 game in 5" relates to the proportion of total games, ie 20% of the total games a player has played on site involves metagaming.
Clarification 2: “similar outcomes” means a similar alliance within the games, with the same core of allies. Playing so that two or more players can eliminate the rest and then “shoot it out” – when evidenced regularly – will be considered as being against the spirit of the game.
(d) Entering games with known friends, coworkers, relatives, etc and treating them differently than other players by default.
(e) Entering a game with the intent to draw with certain users.Clarification: the key here is “entering a game”. If it can be evidenced that a user has gone into a game intending to achieve a draw with certain users, as opposed to aiming for a draw with any users, and as oppose to changing this goal to accepting a draw due to game development, this will be seen as against the spirit of the game.2. Active metagaming can also be linking actions in one game with actions in other games.
(a) Forging alliances in multiple games, ie “We are in 3 games together and we should be allies in all of them!”
(b) Exchanging information about anything in 1 game with a player because of a relationship in another game, ie “Since we are allies in Game 1 I will tell you that in THIS game Turkey and Germany are allied to win it all so watch out for them.”
(c) Exchanging favors between games, ie “You help me in game 1 with a support and I'll help you in game 2 with a support.”
(d) Referring a player to games when the referrer has played against the player the information has been given about, ie Player A, warning about, or supporting, Player C refers Player B to a game Players A and C have played in together.Clarification: This version of metagaming is usually when two or more players are in the same games together. There is nothing wrong with referring a player to a game where s/he can see the style of a third player, eg "This player played Russia in Game XXX and he stabbed Turkey so watch out." "Watch out for Player X as she is a known stabber. Look at what she did in..." This information is open to all players by research.3. Negative metagaming is where a user aims to retaliate in one game for something that has happened in another game.
(a) Entering a game with a preset plan to attack another player for “past wrongs”.
(b) Threatening reprisal/retaliating in 1 game for the actions in another game, or even a prior game.Clarification: again we recognise that a user stabbed in one game will be wary of that stabber in another game, and may stab early to prevent that recurring. However, threatening to “destroy” someone in one game because of actions in another, or telling someone “What do you expect after what you did in..?” will be considered as against the spirit of the game.
(c) Entering a game with the sole intent of attacking another player also in that game.
As you can see, some of these are tough to prove, and can only be seen with multiple game histories. They are also difficult to deal with in a specific instance unless clear evidence is there. This means that any action will usually only be taken if violations can be evidenced as regular and over a protracted period
. Actions taken when users violate the spirit of the game typically range from warnings to be careful to surrendering from questionable games, but rarely result in disabling accounts unless there is a clear pattern or evidence that can't be refuted.C. Breaching the Separation of the Forum and Games
The Forum is there to provide a place of discussion for members of the site and community. In general, games should be played independently of the Forum. As such, anything which unnecessarily breaks that independence will be seen as cheating. Below are lists of things which are examples of cheating when instances of this independence is breached unnecessarily. In general, if you are at all unsure about whether to post in the Forum, contact Admin/Mods for help.1. Cheaters Forum.
(a) Threatening players in a game with reporting them for cheating unless they act in your favour in the game.
(b) Threatening to have players banned from site for cheating in a game.
(c) Openly accusing a player of cheating in a game (by Public Press or messages) without evidence and/or without posting in the Cheaters section.Clarification: It is accepted that it might be useful to discuss potential cheating with the player(s) concerned or others in a game before making an accusation in the Forum. What we are trying to prevent here is false accusations which are being made to alter a game, something which wouldn't be possible without the Cheaters forum.
(d) Posting in the Cheaters section, claiming you have been accused of cheating, when this has not happened.Clarification: There's nothing wrong with defending yourself against an accusation. What we are trying to prevent is players using the above rules to post in the Forum if another player asks about something s/he has found suspicious.
(e) Posting in the Cheaters section when there is no real evidence of cheating.Clarification: It is accepted that sometimes one person may see something as cheating whilst another may not. There is guidance on this subject at:
So you think someone is cheating? 2. Bugs Section.
While players should feel free to post suspected bugs, attempts to use the Bugs forum as a tool to support in-game activity will not be tolerated. The following are NOT reasons to post in this forum, and posting without evidence will be seen as cheating, in that players are seeking to gain an advantage in the game by having the game history re-written.
(a) Players seek to use the Forum to deliberately make false “bug” reports.
(b) Players seek to use the Forum to support misinformation they have issued in the game.Clarification: In general, Admin will not consider a rewriting of game history unless there is evidence of a problem on site or a mis-adjudication of orders. See Bugs forum guidelines (Bugs Policy) for further clarification.3. Strategy and Rules Sections.
The Strategy section is meant as a place where members can discuss strategy in general. The Rules section is where players can ask questions about, and clarify, the rules of Diplomacy. Members should not:
(a) Provide a link to an active game they are in.
(b) In Strategy
, refer to a situation in an active game they are in when posting, including posting game name and ID.
(c) In Rules
, mention game name and ID unless asked to by a Moderator. Situations can usually be discussed by giving the orders in question without needing to refer directly to an active game.Clarification: If, as a result of a discussion in Rules, a member feels there has been a mis-adjudication, this should be brought up with a Mod by PM (or posted in Bugs).Actions taken when users violate the separation of the Forum and games typically range from Forum warnings and cheating warnings, to being surrendered from games in which Mods feel an advantage has been sought, but rarely result in disabling accounts unless there has been a number of occurrences.
NB: Ignorance is no defence. Everyone has the chance to make themselves aware of site rules and if you don’t take the time to do so that is your responsibility.
Also, these things are not down to “proof”; the decision of the Moderators is based upon the available evidence and action will be taken if a Moderator feels the evidence is convincing. Where a Moderator feels a situation needs to be clarified, users may be contacted by e-mail or PM; however, there is absolutely no requirement for Moderators to do so.Please feel free to post questions or points you would like further clarifying below.