Players are not
required to submit saved games as part of normal reporting procedure. We keep
cheating incentives low and have had few troubles with rules enforcement. Some
games are not scored, the rest are scored individually, with no tie-ins, global
statistics, or ratings. Our focus is on the positive. The focus here is not so
much anti-cheat as pro-legit. Once players realize the benefits of legitimate
play and get to experience a community that values all players as equals, rather
than aggrandizing the best performers, those who may have come from a cheating
culture or background may be "converted" of their own will. As they
say, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Epics community focuses on discussion, comparison and analysis, rather than upon
performance. We all strive to improve our strategy and perform well in each Epic,
but there is a danger to this mindset. Perfectionism is the gravestone of progress.
The moment you adopt intolerance for mistakes, you have set yourself up for corruption.
When viewed as condemnations of weakness or failure, mistakes become a threat
to your esteem. That is the launch point from which the decision to cheat is made.
Cheating brings a comforting illusion of stronger performance than is there. When
esteem is tied to performance, then even flimsy, irrational constructs can feed
the insatiable need for validation, even if that validation would not hold up
there is something to be said for the perfection approach -- practice has its
merits -- there is more to be said for embracing tolerance for mistakes and the
process of adapting from a weaker position. When the illusion of erasing mistakes
is taken away, more focus is put on analyzing what went wrong to lead to the weaker
position, as well as how to recover. This builds confidence in a way not possible
when the preferred solution is to erase a mistake and redo it until you get it
right. You take the pressure off of yourself, and incredibly, from that more relaxed
position you are less likely to make mistakes in the first place.
esteem gathered internally from an honest performance includes both earnings from
the achievements and also from the honesty. The validation is real and thus enduring.
This compared to external validation, which can never fill the need and becomes
Epics players understand this principle, if not crisply then at least intrinsically.
Cheating has been largely a nonissue because the focus is mainly on the journey,
the process, the experience.
the need for rules and enforcement remains strong. The rules are necessary to
provide boundaries. The boundaries create a space within which we can play together.
Respect for those boundaries is vital to the community and its future. Rules have
a spirit, an intent, which provides the direction. They have a letter which allows
reserve the right to enforce all of our rules. The chief reason we have so little
security is lack of resources, not lack of desire or will to enforce the rules.
Enforcement always comes with costs. Who is going to pay the costs? Everyone,
to some extent, but chiefly the enforcers.
peaceful towns need a sheriff. Most law enforcement involves reminders, leadership,
the presence of authority. Handing out tickets and citations, or appropriate warnings,
will suffice in most instances. Often just having an authority will suffice. Refining
the rules may be needed to address some incidents that are handled in good faith
but produce harmful results. Yet there always remains the possibility of violence.
The internet has its own forms of violence, which are capable of tearing communities
apart. This too is the responsibility of rules enforcement.
brings many threats to a community. The worst is loss of trust and security. This
can foster a culture of witch-hunting, in which accusations of cheating and defenses
vs accusations dominate the discourse, preyed upon by the very same cheat-minded
players to give them cover for any and all mistakes, by way of blaming any result
not to their liking on "the other guy cheated". Another dire result
is that with the rising costs and diminishing returns in such an environment,
many good players will bow out rather than pay the higher ante. The cheating can
of worms is best left closed, but since any person can choose to open it, every
person gets a veto over peace and prosperity. Peace can be shattered at any time!
last thing we want here is to become a magnet for cheaters by being viewed (incorrectly)
as a community low on enforcement. We are just the opposite: so strong on enforcement,
on an understanding of how to craft a workable system, that we have been able
to enforce our rules with relatively little expenditure.
time passes, conditions change. New issues and new threats emerge. No, we don't
want to switch to a police style of enforcement as a general rule, but make no
mistake, we will enforce the rules as far as we believe we need to go to head
off serious problems.
the costs of enforcement exceed the budget, a crisis could ensue. Destruction
is far more easily achieved than creation. The community as a whole must take
responsibility as they can for maintaining what we have built. Think about how
much work it takes, how much expertise it takes, and what a stressful, dangerous
task enforcement can be.
not take the Epics for granted!