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Talking about some issues surrounding cheating and how to handle it and other violations.

Enjoy!

-Mickey and Bill

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  • Mike F.

    Solid show guys. I had just a few comments.

    1 - A game needs a simple and easy means to submit good and bad feed back on players or the game in general. People will bitch and moan about cheaters, but when it comes time to submit an official report, people don’t do it unless there is an easy way to do it.

    One game I play right now has a section of the web site specifically for feedback. It can be good or bad. It can be to report cheating or just a problem you have with the game. It specifically goes to the owners/managers and not to anyone else. It is an excellent way for players to address issues in a more private fashion than a PEL which has a wider audience. This game has a solid track record for dealing with cheating and other issues and I think this feedback system is a key component of that.

    2 - A game needs a fall guy or two. Designate a hatchetman or two for the game. The game owner is the best person for this so that the guilty party can’t attempt to appeal to a higher power. This is something that should be determined before the game starts and not something to address after issues start to happen.

    3 - Full investigations: An investigation, by itself, can address and cure a lot of cheating issues. It can serve as a non-warning warning for some of the parties involved. So even if the investigation turns up nothing or it is inconclusive it demonstrates that the game does look into potential problems.

    4 - Peer pressure is the best cure for cheating. Players need to police themselves. If I tell a guy on my team “hey dude.. you took way to much damage in that last fight” it tends to mean more than a warning some times. Most people cheat because they don’t want to look like a chump or they want to win and be cool. Players need to pressure the players they travel with if there is an issue. Just one guy can give an entire group of players a reputation of being cheaters.

    -

    So here is a question. What do you do if one of your players came up on the sex offender registry? I know of an instance or two where this has been an issue. One was a major offender, one was a minor offense. I tend to think it should be a case by case issue, but to me that can be a reason to say to someone “you are not welcome”. How much of someone’s past outside of LARPing should impact their ability to play?

    Jul 7, 2011 at 10:03 am
  • larpcast

    Good comments and totally agree.

    Because of the problems with the Registry, I would also have to say it’s on a case by case basis. You can be on the Registry for peeing in an alley during your halcyon college days. I’d probably let you play. If you actually committed what normal people think of when you hear the phrase “sex crime” I probably would deny you.

    More broadly, someone’s past can impact their ability to play as much as is necessary for a game runner to ensure a safe environment for everyone else. As always, it’s a question of judgment and reasonableness and sometimes liability. And it can also just be a question of personal preference. There’s nothing that says I need to spend my time and effort entertaining someone I hate as long as I’m willing to not take their money. There’s no fundamental right to play my game, though my intention is to be fair and egalitarian and all that. But I will refuse to let sexual predators, thieves, rampant cheaters, massive game ruining assholes, and my relatives (’cause that would just be weird for me) play. Because I owe it to my other players to give them a safe fun environment and because I can.

    Luckily, the big stuff is very rare. More common is “guy who cheated a lot 10 years ago but really wants another chance guy” and there it’s a question of whether you, generic gamerunning you, think they’ll turn it around or not. Probably worth giving them a shot and just being wary. And probably even telling them you’re wary.

    -Mickey

    Jul 7, 2011 at 10:22 am
  • Bill

    As a follow up to the story about the player who was being abused and won’t come back to the game:

    Turns out, that person was causing as much trouble as the first person, so when both were asked to leave, it was more appropriate. So it wasn’t so much losing a possible player, as it may have been dealing with trouble early on.

    That’s what you get for hearing one side of a story.

    Jul 13, 2011 at 11:47 am
  • Lars

    I think some of the concepts you mentioned (like not retaliating or escalating) are awesome, but they require a great level of trust in the staff and the process. People are more likely to actually ‘turn the other cheek’ on cheating, yelling, etc. if they feel it will be adequately addressed by the folks running the game when they do bring it up after the fact.

    Unfortunately, in my history of LARPing, the opposite has occurred FAR more often; I’ve seen common (sometimes systemic) cheating/lack of sportsmanship, that often receives no (or inadequate) remedy. These situations quickly erode any culture of trust with the staff, and thus most of the desire to avoid escalation.

    I’m reminded of the ‘party line’ I was given at a NERO chapter years ago, where any staff member who was told of a player cheating would assure me that said player had been “squish tested” before and that they would be again soon. Without fail, no consequences for the player would follow - on the other hand, ‘pet peeve’ issues for the staff (like the word “activate”) would bring that chapter’s version of the untouchables down upon your head. Needless to say, my level of trust was ‘low’.

    Mar 2, 2012 at 5:02 am