Unfair advantage

Written by Don

The last post is going into the bad ideas basket.  That’s why I’m glad I have all of you here to keep me honest.  There have been disputes about rematch games so I have added a small section 9d to the daily challenge rules. A very good question was posed in the comments section of a prior post.  How do we deal with players who are trying to gain an unfair advantage?  This is a particularly timely issue because the next monthly tournament is due to begin and I concede that the introduction of cash prizes has the potential to exacerbate the problem.

I deliberately mentioned that the prizes would be “modest” which to some extent I hope mitigates the incentives for unfair play. The idea is not to incubate a professional WWF circuit. I merely want something that the daily player can keep striving for and hopefully attract traffic to the site in the interests of building an even more vibrant and colourful community.

Regarding the daily challenge there are a number of different possibilities I have thought about.  One possibility is making the prize completely random so that everyone has an equal chance.  For example for the daily challenge there could be a prize of $0.25 per point for the person who submits the highest scoring rack of the month.  Another possibility would be to pay $0.10 for the highest scoring bingo. Under these systems people have the incentive to keep coming back and playing every day instead of dropping out once they no longer contend for the winning prize.

The monthly challenge presents a more difficult conundrum.  My instinct is to send the prize straight to the winner.  However if this proves difficult in practice then perhaps a prize could be awarded to “best and fairest” or some other such user voted category. These decisions I do not plan to make unilaterally.  I’m very much open to feedback from the community.  Ultimately my aim is to implement a mechanism to drive more traffic to the site without destroying the camaraderie and collegiality that Mark has worked very hard to build.

I’ve presented a number of issues here and to sharpen the focus I would like to specifically focus on the monthly tournament.  I hope to have registrations open within 48 hours and my preliminary plan is to offer a $50 cash prize to the winner.  I understand philosophically it’s a significant departure from prior tournaments and may distort certain incentives.  I look forward to your feedback and can always be emailed privately using the contact form.
Categories: Tournament Rules

6 Responses to “Unfair advantage”

  1. Jcom10 says:

    Good question! Don, please explain. Having lost one game and reaching the twenty games, I stopped playing, thinking that if the Undefeated One (!!!!!) does lose a game, then there will be a massive tie and a playoff. But, if this isn’t true, then it might be too late for me if the others go 29-1. If you can, please let us know today. Muchas gracias!

    • Don says:

      Although I don’t believe the current system is optimal the only fair thing to do is to strictly apply the rules as they currently stand. So 20/21 beats 19/20

  2. opus61 says:

    Note: when I “copied and pasted” the rules, the strike-through did not show up in the second part.

  3. opus61 says:

    This “reply” has nothing to do with this blog…but, I don’t know where to put it.

    I have a question. I was just beat by a great player, Zzzings. She has lost one game. Now, let’s assume (perhaps incorrectly) that Maaria loses a game. At this point, we will have several players who have only lost one game for the current tournament.

    The Daily Challenge Rules state:
    “Monthly winners will be determined as follows:

    * Highest win/loss ratio
    * In the event of a tie, or multiple undefeated players, then points spread against all opponents will determine winner a playoff will determine ultimate winner. In the event of an balanced playoff, the moderator will determine bye independently via coin toss.
    * Must have played at least 20 matches during the month to be eligible to win the championship”

    Originally, Mark, designed the Daily Challenge so that there would be a twenty game minimum. This would accommodate peoples’ busy schedules (work, business, being a mother, etc.) and allow for some days off from the tournament.

    The rules state that winners will be determined by the highest win/loss ratio. So, according to this rule, a player with a 21-1 record would lose to the person with more time on their hands who has a 22-1 record. Yet, both have achieved the twenty game minimum. For that matter, if a Maaria should lose a game, then win all of the rest of her games for the duration of the month, she would not have as good of a win/loss ratio as others who played more games. And, yet, again, she reached the bar of twenty games.

    There seems to be some discrepancy between the intent of the tournament and the tie-breaker rule. Would you please clarify. Thank you.

    • Don says:

      There is a discrepancy here and there is definitely some internal inconsistency as you’ve pointed out. However I think that regardless of what rules are used, distinguishing between records of 20-0, 21-0, 29-1 and so on is always going to be a very difficult task. I think a better approach is to ask how is it that people are compiling such phenomenal records and would it be a good idea to introduce more competitive tension into the process.

      With that in mind I’m planning to split the daily challenge into an expert and regular division. I think this will increase the enjoyment for everybody because neither victor nor the loser really enjoys a lopsided game. I also think it will solve a lot of problems because I’d be extremely surprised if 19/20 or perfect records are as prevalent as they are now. Unfortunately this will only be in place by March at the earliest. In the meantime I think we should bear with the current system through February rather than undergo a lot of hand wringing for something that will only be around for a month or so.

  4. bloggermark says:

    Sent my 2 cents’ worth privately, Don. But I just wanted to say here that I expected you to take the site in new directions, and very excited to see this kind of thing!