Spring Thing disqualification

Honestly, when people start asking for proof and saying the decision should be reconsidered, it doesn’t seem very friendly. It undermines the work that Aaron did to make the decision, and makes it seem like you guys don’t trust him to make such a decision without your approval.

We’ll see how Aaron reacts I suppose.

I’m not asking for proof and neither do I claim any part in the decisionmaking. I’m merely voicing my surprise, as Peter said. The reason being that I’d rather be part of a friendly, peaceful competition where such rulings aren’t even necessary. Your responses reek of unresolved bad blood, killa_robot (“lol”) which honestly makes things worse. I didn’t enter this competition to have a quarrel with anyone, or to compare sizes of each other’s anatomy, but because it seemed like a fun way to get my game played. Judging from Aaron’s decision and also some reactions, there seem to be some taking this competition way too seriously. Even the very idea that anyone would deem it worth to manipulate the vote to win is totally baffling to me!

We really need more information about the banning. Granted, it’s the comp organiser’s call to ban games and I’m sure he had his reasons, but all that’s been posted so far is the assertion that MTW cheated in some way and MTW refuting that he did. No cold hard facts. If indeed he did cheat, then he deserves the ban, but it’s difficult to say whether the decision was fair or not without more information.

Weeeellll… it IS a competition, however friendly, and there ARE rules to be followed. Normally the rules are mostly for organisation, not for really restricting, but they do exist and if they are breached the organiser has to decide how to proceed.

Yes, it’s all in good fun, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, none of us. But if the rules aren’t enforced, we might as well just write our games outside of any competition and just release it whenever. There’s an event; it has rules; sure it’s not as serious as the Olympics, but it’s somewhat serious all the same. Isn’t there even money involved on the Spring Thing?

Mind you, it never really looked as serious as THIS year, and it’s not due to anyone in particular, it’s just things piling up. Really crazy feeling.

Besides, I don’t see any rules which take into account the fact of cheating, or even asking friends to vote. Of course it wouldn’t be very fair to have a pool of friend helping to win, while not playing all the games (or half of them), but I see no penalty dealing with those cases in the rules:


Okay, I was going to stay out of the conversation because I figured that joining it would be immature… Then I remembered I am immature, so I figured, screw it. :slight_smile:
First of all, if David thinks that somebody saying something he doesn’t agree with is trolling then clearly he has no idea what a troll is (thank you Peter Pears for mentioning this.)
Second, while I understand that people are curious about the disqualification, it irritates me to see people throwing accusations at Killa because he pointed out that, at the end of the day, it’s the game organiser’s decision. Granted, most people don’t seem to be taking sides and are just asking for curiosity’s sake, but when people make comments like “I notice it was you who started the thread on the Choose Your Story site about discussing the comp games, which several CYS authors took part in, so if anyone should be disqualified it’s them.” It implies that Aaron was wrong to disqualify The Bibliophile and that he should’ve disqualified the three CYS games instead. So, you can see why Killa thinks that people are undermining Aaron’s decision.
I personally have no idea why the game was disqualified beyond what the author himself said in his defence, but obviously Aaron considered it a bad enough violation of the rules to disqualify the game over. Knowing Killa Robot better than the people on this site, I’d say that him suggesting that people don’t need to be shown the evidence wasn’t because he doesn’t want Aaron to reconsider his decision, I think he was just telling people to mind their own business and stop asking for information that could potentially make The Bibliophile’s author look bad in a public forum.
Honestly, I think this makes Killa a lot more mature than me, because personally, I would like to see the evidence too, if only to satisfy my own curiosity. That said, whether Aaron decides to share the information is up to him. If Aaron decides to reconsider his decision, that’s also up to him, but I don’t think people should suggest that his decision was too harsh when they don’t actually know why he made it.
Edit Also, Farvardin’s post made me giggle.

True, there aren’t any rules against friends voting, I just thought it was funny that he pointed out that there aren’t any rules against cheating… I mean, if the rules don’t say that cheating’s not allowed, then that means it’s okay to cheat… Right? [emote]:P[/emote]

I don’t agree with this. Aaron is the Spring Thing competition organizer. If he’s confident enough in the facts to disqualify someone, that should be enough.

I would also support Jason McIntosh in disqualifying someone from IFComp, Sam Ashwell in disqualifying someone from the XYZZY awards, or J.J. Guest in disqualifying someone from Ectocomp. Handling situations like this is part of running a competition.

The existing rules assume a certain level of maturity and sportsmanship from participants. “There’s no rule against it” is simply not a valid argument here.

There is also no rule against hacking into the Spring Thing site and manipulating the scores to force your own game to win. But that would also be an appropriate reason to disqualify someone.

But let’s assume for a moment that MTW’s account is valid. If so, a valid parallel under those circumstances would be Zombie Exodus.

In 2011, Choice of Games alerted their fan base that CoG game Zombie Exodus was eligible for a XYZZY award, and CoG voters swarmed the XYZZY awards to vote for their game. Zombie Exodus was nominated for ten categories and then (by the vote count) proceeded to win them all, including Best Puzzles, a category for which it was not logically eligible*. The voters who voted for Zombie Exodus were uninterested in any other games and voted a CoG-exclusive ticket. This presented a difficult situation for the organizer, but after extensive discussion, Sam handled the situation by giving a Special Recognition award to Zombie Exodus and then disqualifying it from every other category.

XYZZY judges are expected to be (relatively) impartial members of the IF community. The same is true of Spring Thing judges. Recruiting people to vote a skewed ticket"** - regardless of whether or not the people are “real” - damages the validity of the competition.

By the Zombie Exodus precedent, it would still be appropriate to disqualify MTW’s game.

[size=85]* I could be wrong about this, but to my understanding, Zombie Exodus is a puzzleless game.

** To be clear, Choice of Games did not deliberately recruit people to vote a skewed ticket. Their fan base is simply very enthusiastic.[/size]

True, it’s his call but it’s going to kick up a significant amount of fuss if it looks like someone has been banned unfairly. Right now, I’d be very reluctant to enter the Spring Thing next year if there was a risk my game might be disqualified because of reasons out of my control*.

  • As yet, I haven’t seen any real proof of why MTW was disqualified. Just vague assertions. If the organiser doesn’t want to disclose any proof he has, that’s entirely up to him, but keeping quiet is only going to lead to wild speculation and ultimately harm the competition.

I find MTW’s own account to be fairly insightful.

Four people with similar IP addresses voted on the same day for Bibliophile. Their scores were skewed to such a high degree in Bibliophile’s favor that it attracted Aaron’s attention. He reached out to verify them as real people, and none of them responded.

…what more could Aaron add to this account?

A possible, reasonable, solutions is simply deleting the 4 votes if they were proven biaised.

Now what if in the future someone casts high votes with some false accounts for one entry. Does it mean it will automatically disqualify it? Well, then it’s an easy solution for eliminating a strong opponent! Let’s just vote for him.

The fact that they voted for “The Bibliophile” doesn’t mean the author did this himself, or told his friends to do this. It can also just be awkward friends. MTW had the honesty to tell us “it was his friend”, so we can’t accuse a wicked opponent, but I still find it strange to disqualify his entry like this.

Well, to be honest there’s nothing in Aaron’s post which says he reached out to verify them as real people and they didn’t respond. I’m guessing that’s information he told you personally. If it had been in the original post, it would certainly have helped explain things a little more clearly.

Saying that, it adds a dangerous precedent. You don’t like a game in a competition, or you have a problem with the author for one reason or another, simply register several false e-mail addresses and vote for his game exclusively in an attempt to get him banned.

Not that I’m saying anything like that happened here, just that it could happen.

A lot of people seem to be giving Aaron grief for not providing evidence for the disqualification. Again, I think this is probably for the same reason that I think Killa asked people to drop the subject, because Aaron thought it would be unfair to say “This is the person I’ve disqualified, and this is what he did wrong and here’s a list of all the evidence I have to prove it! Now you can all talk about what a naughty, naughty boy he’s been.” Again, I don’t know why exactly the game was disqualified, or how much proof Aaron has that their was a rule violation, or if there was a rule violation at all, I just wouldn’t assume that the fact that Aaron didn’t elaborate on the reason for the disqualification means that it’s unfair.

It’s in MTW’s post.

All it says is that Aaron attempted to contact them. For all we know, they might have responded. It doesn’t say they’re not real people or MTW under 4 different usernames.

You’re right. I assumed this was a failure to respond, but that may be an inaccurate presumption.

But the core point stands - by MTW’s own account, Aaron did due diligence in reaching out to these voters by their comp-registered email addresses. And whatever response Aaron received was insufficient to satisfy his concerns.

As I said, the decision to throw out the votes was not taken lightly, and the decision to disqualify rather than silently discard them was very much so not taken lightly. There are very good reasons for both of these decisions and I understand that it’s frustrating to some people that I’m not sharing them publicly. One of the reasons I’ve chosen not to do so is I don’t want to leave a handy map for future Spring Thing cheaters to show them exactly how the last guy got caught. There are other reasons, too, some of which involve respecting Marshal’s privacy.

For the record, the vast majority of the work I did trying to figure out what had happened was to make absolutely sure this wasn’t somebody trying to impersonate Marshal or get his game disqualified. Yes, of course I contacted people. Yes, of course there’s more to the story than four votes. Yes, of course I gave Marshal a chance to resolve this matter without having to disqualify his game, and he chose to continue to lie to me. That’s pretty much the end of the story, and this is my last word on the matter.

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Fair enough. I just wanted to know for my own piece of mind whether this was valid or simply the CYS guys trying to get MTW banned in payback for him trying to get their games banned.

Be interesting to see what MTW has to say about the matter and whether he has a good explanation for it all.

Uhh… Sorry to disappoint you but the CYS authors aren’t that immature. And when MTW gave his own account of why he was disqualified and why he thought it was unfair, he didn’t mention anything about any of the CYS authors being involved, so I have no idea why you’d jump to that conclusion. Infact he clearly said that the 4 writers who’s votes were questioned were all friends of his, so I don’t understand how CYS could be involved at all.

This thread is not a good look, gang.

Maturity? Yes, I see a lot of maturity on the CYS site:

Admittedly none of those comments are by you, and they’re probably by the CYS version of our dearly departed Pudlo, but a great deal of what’s posted there seems like one long flame war.

But anyway. Aaron’s spoken and given his reasons. If MTW wants to speak up in his own defence, he should do, but there doesn’t seem much point in the rest of us debating the subject much longer.