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  1. Standard member cludi
    Blogger
    04 Jul '07 13:22
    I've noticed that everytime one or more users are banned a new thread is started in this forum to discuss the "new" cheaters. I've also noticed that only a few posts into these threads, the same questions inevitably pop up:

    How do we know they're cheating?
    Do they get a chance to defend themselves? etc etc.

    For future reference, please allow me to answer some of these questions once and for all:

    Excactly what is considered cheating and what is not?
    Opening books and online/offline databases and references to already played games between humans are allowed.
    Getting 3rd party help from chess software, other players, endgame tablebases while the game is in progress is not allowed.
    Terms of service is to be found at http://www.redhotpawn.com/myhome/termsofservice.php , section 3(b)

    Where do I find the list of banned players?
    http://www.redhotpawn.com/comhub/removedplayers.php or
    simply click "Site Map" link in the bottom of any page and the "Removed players" link in the bottom right side of your screen

    I have an ongoing game against a banned player. What happens now?
    One of two things can happen;
    1. Site admins resign the game. You win but gain no rating points
    2. Game times out before 1) happens. You win the game and gain rating points as well

    How do we know if a player is cheating?
    The short answer is: A player is cheating if he moves like a computer and not like a human.
    You may think that it is difficult to spot the difference between strong human play and engine play. It's not. If you carefully analyze game after game the difference stands out like chalk and cheese, as Gatecrasher once put it. We apply a statistical methodology over many, many games that can often highlight patterns of engine abuse that are less than obvious.
    It's important to add here, that opening book moves are not analyzed at all.

    How can we be sure never to ban innocent players?
    All players are given the benefit of the doubt.
    All the players banned for 3(b) on this site have scored significantly higher engine matchups than both current OTB GMs/IMs and pre-computer era CC GMs/IMs. If the best players in the world past and present can come up clean, there is no legitimate reason why some of the players at RHP can't.

    Do players get banned based on a single or a few move(s)?
    No player was ever banned on the basis of a single or a few moves only, although single moves might have been part of the evidence against them. All players are analyzed until there's no doubt about their guilt. We apply a statistical methodology over many, many games that can often highlight patterns of engine abuse that are less than obvious.

    Do banned players get a chance to defend themselves?
    No.
    The game mods present the evidence to the site admins who then decide whether to ban or not.
    Some people have compared the banning of players to a case in the court of law where the accused are allowed to defend themselves. This is, however, quite a different situation for at least 2 reasons:

    1. All players on RHP have agreed to the terms of service, in particular Section 3(b), http://www.redhotpawn.com/myhome/termsofservice.php
    2. All evidence is known by everyone. There's absolutely no need to explain anything. All that counts is the actual moves made by a suspect. And these moves are public and accessible for everyone.

    How come players are allowed to play here for years before they get banned?
    1. If no one reports them, they are probably not investigated. The game mods cannot possibly check every single user on the site.
    2. The evidence against them has not been overwhelming enough for a ban. Remember, that we always give the players the benefit of the doubt. As a result, some cases has been investigated for long periods of time before the evidence was strong enough for a ban.

    How do I report a suspect?
    Use the Send Feedback link in the bottom of any page or send a PM to one of the game mods. Please include all evidence, if any, against the user.

    Hopefully the above has answered some of the questions you might have regarding engine use on RHP and the way the game mods work. Let's all help making this a place for people to play without an engine helping or deciding their next move......
  2. 04 Jul '07 13:45 / 1 edit
    I feel very uncomfortable with the fact that players accused of cheating are not allowed to defend themselves. Do you get many outraged e-mails from banned players when they are informed that they have been banned, or do they tend to slink off into Bolivian (*) once they've been caught?

    It is also strange that no evidence of cheating is shown. I don't like being obliged to take anyone's word in matters like this and if no evidence is shown then I suspect that the reason is that the evidence is not very good. The only other explanation I've heard which held any weight was that if detailed statistics of how a player's moves matched an engine were given then it might help other cheaters avoid detection.

    (*) Copyright Mike Tyson
  3. Standard member Marinkatomb
    wotagr8game
    04 Jul '07 18:20
    Originally posted by Fat Lady
    I feel very uncomfortable with the fact that players accused of cheating are not allowed to defend themselves. Do you get many outraged e-mails from banned players when they are informed that they have been banned, or do they tend to slink off into Bolivian (*) once they've been caught?

    It is also strange that no evidence of cheating is shown. I don't li ...[text shortened]... e were given then it might help other cheaters avoid detection.

    (*) Copyright Mike Tyson
    The mods avoid getting caught up in never ending arguments in the forum. As soon as they release some evidence, they have to release it all, as some wise ass is going to keep going 'yeh but...yeh but...yeh but...' until the mods eventually turn around and go 'well if you don't like it, you know what you can do!' It seems to me, the current policy avoids this ugly conversation i just outlined.

    Personally i'm prepared to trust the judgement of the mods, who don't get paid for what they do, but do it because they love the site. I'd rather pander to the desires of selfless people who are willing to give their time to keeping this site free of cheats, than to the ever changing whims of the masses. I thought that would go without saying really. If you find the thing so undesirable, then i'd like to here what your suggestions are to improve this, otherwise it's a mute point and we should probably just let them get on with it. Don't you agree?
  4. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    04 Jul '07 18:33
    Originally posted by cludi
    I've noticed that everytime one or more users are banned a new thread is started in this forum to discuss the "new" cheaters. I've also noticed that only a few posts into these threads, the same questions inevitably pop up:

    How do we know they're cheating?
    Do they get a chance to defend themselves? etc etc.

    For future reference, please allow me to an ...[text shortened]... ce for people to play without an engine helping or deciding their next move......
    Thanks for posting that. Much appreciated, and much clearer.
  5. 04 Jul '07 19:33
    Originally posted by Fat Lady
    I feel very uncomfortable with the fact that players accused of cheating are not allowed to defend themselves. Do you get many outraged e-mails from banned players when they are informed that they have been banned, or do they tend to slink off into Bolivian (*) once they've been caught?

    It is also strange that no evidence of cheating is shown. I don't li ...[text shortened]... e were given then it might help other cheaters avoid detection.

    (*) Copyright Mike Tyson
    another problem maybe that by releasing the evidence, you may aide cheaters -- if they know the system, they are in the best position to exploit it.
  6. Standard member Ramned
    The Rams
    04 Jul '07 20:33 / 1 edit
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=34171

    http://gameknot.com/stats.pl?wilfried

    And he did make mistakes in his games. I saw a game where he made an outright blunder that 1800 and below players would make. And I am sure he's had more.

    I doubt he lied his identity as well.



    The mods do great work, but everyone's bound to mess up eventually. Stating my opinion only, he was not a computer. I wish I was a stronger player to be able to see if he has a style.
  7. 04 Jul '07 20:42
    Originally posted by Ramned
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=34171

    http://gameknot.com/stats.pl?wilfried

    And he did make mistakes in his games. I saw a game where he made an outright blunder that 1800 and below players would make. And I am sure he's had more.

    I doubt he lied his identity as well.



    The mods do great work, but everyone's bound to mess up ...[text shortened]... ly, he was not a computer. I wish I was a stronger player to be able to see if he has a style.
    He is also found here. http://www.correspondencechess.com/marconi/can.ger.htm

    and many other sites... if that is his real name.
  8. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    04 Jul '07 21:09
    Originally posted by lepomis
    He is also found here. http://www.correspondencechess.com/marconi/can.ger.htm

    and many other sites... if that is his real name.
    blunders don't prove anything, claimed names don't prove anything, even real names don't prove anything. only statistical analysis with a big enough set of games does.

    if someone thinks it's reasonable to suspect anyone could give a false positive in an engine test which all masters pass, they're just silly.
  9. Standard member Kepler
    Demon Duck
    04 Jul '07 21:27
    Originally posted by wormwood
    blunders don't prove anything, claimed names don't prove anything, even real names don't prove anything. only statistical analysis with a big enough set of games does.

    if someone thinks it's reasonable to suspect anyone could give a false positive in an engine test which [b]all masters pass
    , they're just silly.[/b]
    Statistical analysis proves nothing. Ask a statistician, me for example. It doesn't even prove anything beyond reasonable doubt. All statistical analysis can do is provide evidence at a certain level of confidence (which needs to be stated) for a particular hypothesis. I hope that this is in effect what happens. The game mods decide there is evidence that a player is cheating in some way. When their confidence in that evidence reaches a suitable level their concerns are passed to the site admin who make the final decision.

    In fact there is no need for the administrators of this site to justify their actions. They are the sole arbitrators of who has access and no doubt feel they can afford to remove those they have reason to suspect are not abiding by the terms and conditions or if they just don't like the offending player. If a mistake has been made, so what? There is no benefit in admitting that it has happened. This is as it should be, this site is not a democracy it is a business.
  10. Standard member Kepler
    Demon Duck
    04 Jul '07 21:39
    The post that was quoted here has been removed
    I am pointing out that they OWN this space. They can do as they please with it. I don't actually think that anyone has been removed under any of the reasons for banning just because someone in the site admin or the game mod team disliked them. However, if that were the case we would not know and would have no reason for complaint.
  11. Standard member Ramned
    The Rams
    04 Jul '07 21:44
    The post that was quoted here has been removed
    No, he's right. You just can't prove that people are using engines.
  12. 04 Jul '07 21:47
    can we make this sticky please?

    Preferably after a quick conversion from american to english spelling, but i'll live with that if i have to ;-)
  13. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    04 Jul '07 21:53
    The post that was quoted here has been removed
    likewise.
  14. 04 Jul '07 21:53
    It is also strange that no evidence of cheating is shown.
    Surely all the evidence is in the games.
  15. 04 Jul '07 22:05
    It doesn't even prove anything beyond reasonable doubt. All statistical analysis can do is provide evidence at a certain level of confidence (which needs to be stated) for a particular hypothesis.
    And when the level of confidence can be accurately described as being "beyond reasonable doubt" the player is banned. Simple.