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?
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?
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......