Gunboat Games + Anonymous

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Re: Gunboat Games + Anonymous

Postby rick.leeds » 14 Jun 2015, 09:45

Janepeg wrote:Rick, While the site mechanics only have restrictions for premium/non premium and ambassador/diplomat. In my opinion friends playing in anonymous games is always against house rules.

General rule 12 states All players in the game should be treated equally.

With anonymous players games knowing that your friend is in the game gives you knowledge that is not available for other players and therefore friends making up some of the players in an anon players game is incompatible with rule 12.

Anon countries and all gunboat games are OK by definition but as you point out you need to be vary careful to avoid cheating in such circumstances.

There's are presumptions here.
1. That you know that certain players are in the game. This may be the case with Gunboat, PPO and Anonymous Players, though not for Anonymous Countries. If you start one of these games, though, there's no guarantee that the game will have the people in it you expect in it.
2. That having friends in a game will break that rule.

The rule is "All players in the game should be treated equally." If the assumption is that having a friend in a game is going to mean you will treat that player differently, that's saying someone is guilty of cheating BEFORE they've cheated. Surely that's the wrong way around? (I know of at least one Western nation that has a starting point of 'guilty until proven innocent' but, generally, the starting point of any legal system is 'innocent until proven guilty'.)

So let's consider this case. We have here a site member who has asked a question about friends being involved in an anonymous game - is it allowed? Given that the member has asked the question, it suggests he is concerned about following the site's rules. Is it likely, then, that this member is aiming to break those rules? I doubt it.

In other circumstances, where members who are friends off-site simply go ahead and join an anonymous game together, we have to assume that they will NOT cheat until there is evidence of cheating. Will this catch everyone? Possibly not but it seems to me the right way to approach this: We need to remember that this is a games site and games are best when played against friends.

Now, instead of friends off-site, place friends on-site or players known to each other on-site. Is there any difference? Does it matter if you enter an anonymous game knowing that another player of a power is someone you know on the site? You might recognise another's writing style, for instance. They might even say in a message who they are... which in itself isn't against the site's rules. If I'm in an anonymous game, I might claim to be anyone in that game... or anyone on the site. This can't be proved until the game is over and the details are published. I might be telling the truth... or I might be giving a false identity for some reason.

And, finally, how do we stop this? We could say that you're not allowed to share an anonymous game with a friend from off-site. Fine. There's no way of knowing whether this has happened until the game is over, though. And, if we find that this HAS happened, what do we do then? Unrank the game? Why? Do we unrank it simply because two players who are off-site friends have participated in the game? If so, what if they have played the game fairly and within the rules other than this rule? If we have this rule, then we need to enforce it and the only way to do that is to take action on the assumption that they have cheated in some way.

And, again, if we do this for off-site friends, do we need to do it for on-site friends? Do we ban invitational anonymous games? If we have the rule for off-site friends, it needs to extend to all members and that would mean entering a game where you know - or find out within the game - that you're playing against someone that game will need to be unranked at least.

So, the advice is given above is sound but it can't be a site rule without affecting ANY anonymous game where players can be shown to know each other... on the presumption that they will cheat.

I would suggest one additional piece of advice, though. If you ARE going to start an anonymous game where you are inviting someone you know to play it - as in this case - then, whilst it doesn't mean you have to create a Friends or a No Rank game, a No Rank game is probably best; also, whether No Rank or Rank, add in the description that some players will know each other. That way, when members NOT in the group join the game, they have a clue and, if they DO presume that some unfairness will be in the game, then they can steer clear of it.
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Re: Gunboat Games + Anonymous

Postby Jegpeg » 14 Jun 2015, 17:51

I am not saying that off-site (or on-site) friends being in an anonymous players game will cheat just that because they know the identities of some of the other players that are not in an equal position to those that do not know the identities of the other players. I suppose that if I am chatting with 4 off-site friends about having a game and agreeing I will set up an anonymous game at 7pm called "Secret War" to which they should join there is no guarantee that they all will although I would have the knowledge that the identity of 4 of my opponents is highly likely. Add a password and put it on the forums after the 5 of us have joined and it is guaranteed,

I was viewing the word "treated" as being all encompassing including how the system treats players (like with the excepts for premium/non-premium and ambassador/diplomat but I can see if you limit it to the way the payers treat each other such a situation is not necessarily against rule 12.

The advantage might be small but if I know Asudevil is one of my opponents it would be a lot easier to identify him from his communication style than if I have no idea whether he is playing or not.

The way I was thinking things work is if a group of friends want to play an anonymous game with other people making up the numbers it should be anonymous countries, in this case as long as no-one everyone abides by the rules they all have equal knowledge.

Invitational anonymous players games would need to be set up by a non playing person. For example if I wanted a game limits to the top 200 players I would have to get someone else (who isn't playing) to post the invite on the forums and hand out the password. Again for anon countries this is not necessary.

As far as policing goes it would work like any other cases of cheating, nothing is done unless a game is flagged up as suspicious for some reason. if the only offence is that some of the players know the identities of some of their opponents while others do not there should be no need to un-rank the game just a warning to be given. It could also be considered whether to change the game to anon countries, (either by the system of an admin public press giving the names of all the players).
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Re: Gunboat Games + Anonymous

Postby rick.leeds » 14 Jun 2015, 18:43

But, if there's no need to 'police' a game any differently then is there any need to have a rule about it?

As I've said, I don't see that there is any problem with any group of friends joining any game. Having any rule which says it shouldn't happen for anonymous player games - which includes Gunboat and PPO, remember - means a number of restrictions which aren't necessary. I really don't see any advantage in having some idea about who may be in the game, especially with limited communication games... which brings us back to Anon Players again ;)

So, is there a distinct advantage in knowing who some players may be in an Anon Players game? Possibly. Is it enough of an advantage to prevent a small group of friends from joining a game? I doubt it, frankly, but if it is then it is also important to prevent people who know each other on the site from joining games together for the same reason.

Just a note on advertising and invitationals - they are different processes. Advertising a game on the Forum when the game is anonymous is simple enough: we have the 'Dolph Shtoss' account. That's what the account's for.

An invitational is when I invite certain players to join a game. I may use the Forum to do this but it's more likely that I'll invite people by PM. Send a PM to a number of players giving out the password. It would make sense in this case to set up an Anon Countries game but what if I do set up an Anon Players game? Should we be that worried about it to prevent it? Personally, I don't think so.
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