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Fair Play - Rules for participating in Forum Games

PostPosted: 22 Feb 2011, 17:08
by rick.leeds
Site Rules for Forum-based Games.
Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, Mods have been asked to investigate possible cheating in games played on the Forum. In response to this it has become necessary to draw up a series of Site Rules for games played in Forum Games and Other Forum Games.
At present this is up for discussion, hopefully to be improved. Players should also make themselves aware of specific game rules for the game they are playing to prevent confusion.

A. Rule Breaking
1. Multi-accounting.
(a) Players may only operate a single account in any and all games played in the Forum.
(b) Players may not access another player’s account for any reason if they are playing in the same Forum game.
Clarification: Should a player require a substitute, s/he may find a player from another game but not someone who is playing in a game where both accounts are active.
Players who break these rules will have all accounts banned from accessing the sub-forum. The account names will be added to a list in the sub-forum and GMs will not allow these accounts to participate in any game.

2. Violating any specific rule associated with a game.
(a) Players must follow any rules associated with the game they are playing, eg communication, anonymity, deadline rules.
(b) GMs must not share or produce orders prior to deadline.
(c) GMs should not play games they are GMing.
GMs (Game Managers) may remove a player from a game for breaking specific game rules. This is the GM’s decision. Any appeal is subject to the GM’s rules for the game and may not be sought through site Admin.
Players may ask the sub-forum Moderator to investigate should a GM publish adjudications, or otherwise share orders, before deadline.

3. Violating Forum rules as stated in The Forum and Communicating.
(a) A player receiving a Forum ban of any length will be removed from any games played on the Forum.

4. Meta-gaming.
(a) Players may not link actions in one game with actions is a separate forum-based game, ie they may not make cross-game alliances. This includes all meta-gaming as defined in Section B of the main site rules (see House Rules: What is Cheating?)
Clarification: In some games played on the Forum, meta-gaming may be part of the game. Generally, though, actions in a game should not affect actions in a different type of game (eg Heptarchy should not affect play in World Dip, Mafia should not affect play in NOMIC). Neither should two separate games of the same type affect how the games are played where this is not appropriate (eg two games of The Great Lakes should be free from meta-gaming). Check with the GM if unsure.
(b) Where appropriate, players should not allow relationships with other players affect the way they play the game.
Clarification: Again, in some games (eg NOMIC) this may be appropriate. In general, however, each game should stand alone.

5. Anything else the Moderators take issue with that is bad for the Community, Forum or the game. This may include phishing for account details, passwords or a wide variety of other behaviours not specifically detailed here.

B. Acting on possible cheating.
1. Role of GMs.
(a) Where GMs receive a report of possible cheating from players, they should Private Message the suspected player(s) to obtain information to clarify the situation.
(b) Where GMs feel cheating may be happening in games, they should refer the matter to the sub-forum Moderator(s) for investigating. Moderators may refer the issue to Site Admin for further investigation.
(c) GMs are expected to conform with the agreed action should the evidence of cheating be persuasive (see below).
(d) GMs may remove any player where the evidence of cheating is suggestive.
Clarification: where a GM is involved in a separate game with the suspected account(s) s/he should not investigate but refer immediately to Admin.

2. Role of Players.
(a) Should a player believe another is cheating s/he must report this to the GM by Private Message NOT via the Forum.
(b) Players should not threaten other players in the game with action on suspected cheating, whether in an attempt to affect the game or not.
(c) Players should not refer an issue to Moderators or Admin without first referring to the GM.
(d) Subject to any appeal system the GM uses, players may appeal a decision. However, the GM’s decision is final and players removed from a game may not appeal to Mods.

3. Role of Mods/Admin.
(a) Sub-forum Mods may decide to investigate by Pming players separately.
(b) Should a sub-forum Mod want more information, s/he should ask Admin to investigate.
(c) Admin will advise the Mod and/or the GM on any findings and give an opinion on whether the evidence is suggestive or persuasive of cheating, or whether the evidence cannot support the suggestion of cheating at all (see below).
Clarification: Admin will approach any investigation without interest in any game s/he may be involved with the suspected accounts. Where a conflict of interest may be involved, Admin may refer this to other Admin OR declare that they are unable to investigate. In the latter situation, the GM will use the evidence available to decide what should happen.

C. Action taken.
1. Nature of Evidence.
(a) Evidence may include anything the GM/Mod feels is suspicious.
(b) Admin may be asked to examine other evidence, such as IP addresses, relationships in main site games, and anything it is felt is relevant.
(c) Evidence may be Persuasive, Suggestive or Non-committal:
[i] Persuasive evidence will result in accounts being banned from the sub-Forums.
[ii] Suggestive evidence will be returned to the GM and the GM may decide to remove a player from the game.
[iii] Non-committal evidence will be returned to the GM and the GM will balance this with any other evidence s/he has.
(d) GMs may act upon evidence Suggestive/Non-committal evidence as they see fit.

2. Ban List.
(a) Players banned from participating in sub-forums will have their account name(s) listed in the sub-forum and GMs should not allow them to participate in any games on the Forum.
(b) Players removed from games following a GM decision will have their account name(s) listed in the sub-forum on a separate list. GMs should take this list under-advisement when deciding to allow a names account from participating in a game. GMs should apply to Mods/Admin to have the name added to this list.
(c) Where a GM has removed a player from a game using evidence which has not been investigated by Admin (see clarification in B.3(c) above) the account name will not be added to any list until an investigation can be carried out.

3. Appeal.
(a) As stated above, players may only appeal to a GM but may not appeal to Admin should they be removed from the game.
(b) Players may appeal to Admin to have their account names removed from the banned list to the removed from games list. Admin will take the issue under advisement and will refer to sub-forum Mods. Only a total commitment to not cheat again will be seen as reason to remove the name.

The GM as a Player?

PostPosted: 22 Jun 2011, 14:05
by Pedros
See viewtopic.php?f=34&t=20813&p=284644#p284644

The question asked whether it's appropriate for a player to take part in a game where he is the GM. In the absence of rick.leeds (the Administrator responsible for checking and dealing with Cheating) through illness, I am posting my view about this; when Rick returns I will put it to him for a definitive decision, although I will be surprised if he does not agree with me.

In my view, it is entirely inappropriate for the GM to be a player in the same game. Players' orders are sent by PM to the GM, who therefore has access to everybody's plans should he choose to use that access, and this would clearly constitute cheating.

I do not believe that any GM on this site has any wish or intention of doing this, but I know from my own GM experience that it is actually impossible always to avoid seeing a player's orders before the deadline. My own House Rules say clearly that I will not open orders before the deadline, and that therefore players should entitle their PMs clearly to make it clear that they are orders; and that they should only include orders (and not questions, comments, etc) in those posts. However players don't always do this, so occasionally orders are opened under the impression that they are a different kind of message.

If the GM is a player, then from time to time a player who has suffered in a move at the hands of the GM's country will wonder whether all was above board. Even if the GM has been scrupulous in not looking at the orders, he will actually have no defence if an allegation of cheating is made against him.

A GM-player seeing another player's orders before the deadline would almost certainly be in breach of the existing guideline:-
(b) GMs must not share or produce orders prior to deadline.

This post does not constitute a site rule, since only Rick can make them, but it will be evidence if any allegation is brought up. I repeat - I have absolutely no reason to believe that any GM has broken, or intended, to act in the way described here.

Moderator, Forum Games

Re: Fair Play - Rules for participating in Forum Games

PostPosted: 15 Jul 2011, 20:24
by rick.leeds
Nice one to come back to ;)

I actually agree with Pedros here, and I've added a section in the rules above. I do want to explain my thinking here, though (and apologise for being long-winded, but I'm like that ;) ).

There is the huge possibility of cheating here, although I'm not suggesting anybody would. As Pedros says, the GM receives orders from all players in the game and could take the opportunity to amend her/his orders as a result of this. Unfortunately there is absolutely no way of checking this. Now as far as the game is concerned this has no impact. The games have no ranking and are just for fun, after all. But it is the possible ramifications of this that concerns me.

Players would only have the GM's word that s/he has played fairly. That, for most of us, would be enough, I know... or should be. But, should a GM who is also playing manage to prevent a stab by another player, then in that player's mind might be the question: "Was that good play or good luck? Or was there something underhand about that?" It could well have been good judgement or good luck - that happens all the time - but that is not necessarily the case. What it might lead to is the honesty of the GM being brought into open question, which would lead to a question of the integrity of the game, and the integrity of the GM outright.

As far as possible I think it is right to avoid site rules preventing site members running Forum games. Each GM sets the rules s/he wants for the game. It would, therefore, be up to the GM to decide who plays in her/his game. However, what I think is also important is that the site remains an enjoyable place to play Dip and Variants on, and the possibilities that might arise from a GM also playing in a game could well lead to bad feeling. It is to prevent this that I think stating that GMs should not play in the game(s) they are GMing is important.

Re: Fair Play - Rules for participating in Forum Games

PostPosted: 16 Jul 2011, 05:36
by sock
Welcome back, have been missed.

Re: Fair Play - Rules for participating in Forum Games

PostPosted: 04 Aug 2011, 12:54
by Waterice man
It should be noted that one technique I employ is that when I have a 2SC country without a player, I do submit the orders, but I publish them well before the deadline.

Re: Fair Play - Rules for participating in Forum Games

PostPosted: 07 Aug 2011, 12:46
by Pedros
Interesting one Wm. Do you mean that you publish the orders you're submitting and make it clear that they're yours?

It's certainly a possibility; I need to think about it!

Going back to Rick's earlier post, I think one problem for the GM is that it's not possible to guarantee that you won't look at another player's orders. My house rules say that players must title their orders as clearly that, and that they won't be looked at in advance so any other comments/questions etc should be sent separately. But very few players seem able to do that consistently, so there are times when I finish up opening orders thinking that they are - or might well be - something more urgent.

Once that's happened the GM probably can't be sure him/herself whether he's played it fair!