Radewoosh's blog

By Radewoosh, history, 4 weeks ago, In English,

As you may know, Codechef long challenge is currently running. After the first one, I thought that I should just ignore it, but I've received a second ask for help with a problem from this contest...

Probably I'm not the only one being asked and that there may be more questions in the future. I'm always surprised by such questions. If you don't know how to solve a problem and you want to be able to solve it someday, then trying to cheat definitely won't make you such a person. What's their motivation if not just solving the problem (which makes no sense, because in this way you should just want to get better)? A bet with friends? Asking random people who are able to tell admins about this question is not a good idea then. Wanting to get a higher rating? Also stupid, you shouldn't get a rating to show that you are good, you should be good to show that you are able to get a rating.

Also, note that one of them was saying that he didn't ask for help because he didn't ask for any approach, while in my opinion asking for information which is not known for everybody is still cheating.

So, my question is how do you guys react in such situations. Here are my replies if somebody is interested.

Should I show their nicknames? Should just this blog and discussion be a way to show them that they should try to solve them by themselves? Probably it won't be the first discussion about it. I don't know, maybe making the world better is just a dream, but let me know what do you think in the comments.

Also, please note that I'm a bit irritated, as they used "question" instead of "problem"/"task".

 
 
 
 
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4 weeks ago, # |
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Also, please note that I'm a bit irritated, as they used "question" instead of "problem"/"task".

Curious why this bothers you. Is it just because problem/task are more standard/common, or is there more?

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Radewoosh has a theory ( which he mentioned somewhere I dont remember ) that the people who use the word "Question" instead of "problem/task" are Indians ( and that is true ), and well, I hope you know the record of cheating with Indians.

    Update : I found the link : https://codeforces.com/blog/entry/71825?#comment-561525

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Because it is wrong

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    Cause question is just a wrong word for describing algorithmic problems. Question is meant to be shorter and in some sense more lightweight like "could you pass me the salt?" or "why is the sky blue?". When you are given whole story and presented a convoluted statement "problem" or "task" seem much more appropriate and serious and everybody except Indians recognizes that difference. It's not like it is fundamentally wrong, but it somehow feels worse

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      This is from Merriam-Webster Synonyms of question

      (Entry 1 of 2) 1 an interrogative expression often used to test knowledge

      because I have missed so many classes, I had a hard time answering every question on today's surprise quiz

      Synonyms for question interrogative, problem

      I don't see a point in getting irritated or annoyed by using a different phrase or word, it make more sense that the hate/annoyance is toward region from where the person is coming from.

      Edit — Downvotes for spitting facts, thanks guys.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Well, don't get me wrong. I definitely do not want to spread hate in any way, it's not a big deal. I do understand the difference may be kinda delicate and that everybody's understanding depends on his environment heavily. Just take it as a friendly feedback.

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          4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          I get what you were saying and I wasn't calling "you" out, regional language and upbringing have more impact on kind of vocabulary and the structure of phrase the person uses rather than a programming website. But the thing that bothers me is op making a straight up statement --- Also, please note that I'm a bit irritated, as they used "question" instead of "problem"/"task" as op previously commented so this clearly make sense if we don't close our eyes.

          Well nothing matters at the death bed at least not the hate. -**This is for op**, if you are really irritated then just ignore or don't answer or block them or complain if they are cheating instead of making such rhetoric showing your hatred.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Quiz sounds like something that can contain questions, because you can answer them. There can exist even algorithmic questions like “what’s the complexity of Dijkstra algorithm?” but problems request something like “write a code which solves this problem”. There is even a difference between “solve this problem” and “how would you solve this problem?”, where the first one is a request and the second one is a question.

        On a quiz you can give an answer to a question, but on a contest you would rather call it a solution than an answer.

        Btw. the last sentence from my blog wasn’t 100% serious, it’s there also to just relax the situation, but I see that the result is rather opposite.

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          4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          Had u read any general knowledge book or given time to know about other countries, you would have known that "Hindi" is our official language and not English. "Hindi" is the mother tongue of millions of Indians. Accusing someone of not knowing such minute differences (like difference between a question and a problem/task) shows how biased and full of hatred u are even when English is not our mother tongue. If you try to speak in Hindi and we make fun of you just because u don't know the correct pronunciation and/or meaning, will this be justified. Certainly not, then why r u mocking Indians and making a stereotype. You are a great programmer but such biased behaviour is not justified. You could have ignored them instead of mocking the whole Indian community.

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            4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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            Huh. I know that Hindi is an official language in India, but I think that English is an official language on the internet (at least in some part of it). How many people on Codeforces use English as their native language? Less than 10%?

            But this isn't about it. I'm quiet when I see grammar mistakes, my English is far away from being perfect too, but I have a feeling that on CF we are talking about this one thing for a long time.

            Also, the most important thing is that they are trying to cheat, hello. These people are spreading stereotypes, not me.

            EDIT: I've got a challenge for you. Codechef is an Indian website, isn't it? Find for me on this website a place where the creators used the word "question" to describe an algorithmic problem.

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              4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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              How about I give u a challenge! Leave programming and start giving lectures on English in schools so that world would be a better place(in your head ofcourse) and you won't get irritated anymore. Don't think u r the only one who doesn't cheat. There are hell lot of Indian programmers who are where they are because of their hardwork. If some people cheated in the past doesn't mean every cheater is an Indian. Don't spread hatred for Indian community.

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                4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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                Of course it doesn't mean this, keep calm, I know how it works. When somebody from Poland does something stupid on Codeforces (or generally on the internet and I think that Polish swearwords are a common way to spam) I know this spammer hurts me, not a person who told him that he does something wrong.

                Of course I'm not thinking "India is a country full of cheaters", I understand how the statistics works. I just know that a huge part of the Codeforces community comes from India and a small part of them are cheaters who sadly give a bad impression.

                Also, I'm not trying to hate anybody. I'm trying to joke about both sides of the barricade. I've made this blog, thanks to the comments (but probably more because of -is-this-fft-'s comment, not because of spakk9's comments) I understand things better and I have to admit that I think that I'm not the person who does "hating" stuff here.

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                  4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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                  But your this comment says something else. You yourself admitted that less than 10% of the users on CF use English as their native language but in the comment u gave a judgement about Indians which is quite insulting. Anyone from some other country could have said "question" instead of "problem/task" and involved in the scam. If this isn't spreading hatred then I don't know what is!

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                  4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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                  Wat? No, it doesn’t work like that. People do grammar mistakes, but I’ve noticed that this one is made mostly by Indians. Let’s have a logic lesson. Let’s assume that there exist only cats and dogs and that the following two statements are true:

                  1. Some cats have black hair.
                  2. Only cats can have black hair.

                  And let’s answer two questions:

                  1. Does every cat have to have a black hair?
                  2. If an animal have a black hair, is it a cat?

                  The answers are of course “NO” and “YES” respectively. Here is the thing, I’m answering “YES” for the second one, and you accuse me that I’m answering “YES” for the first one.

                  Ofc. it’s a little bit different as in our conversation there are of course also some dogs with a black hair, but cats are a huge part of a population also.

                  It’s also a hint that the “animal” asked about Codechef, small hint but anyway it is.

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                  4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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                  Hey radewoosh There is nothing called grammar mistake its grammatical mistake(in your last comment second line)you yourself is making gramatical mistake and at the same correcting others...well thats ironic

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                  4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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                  Please, read the conversation one more time.

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            4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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            chill out dude. Also India has two official languages- 1.Hindi

            Spoiler
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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        2 synonymous words do not need to have the exact same meaning. It's true that "problem" and "question" both test knowledge. But "problem", especially in competitive programming, also tests skill, and "question" does not.

        Edit: forgot the word "same". My bad.

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          Do you even know what are synonyms here is- Definition of synonym. 1 : one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses.

          idk why a word matter so much to people or it is someone just wants to lick the ass of an lgm

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            4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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            Well, you said "nearly the same" and "in some senses", which is actually my point. In a lot of case, as usual, problem and question do have the same meaning, and I tototally agree.

            You also asked "why word matter". You are the one who even looked at the dictionary to pull out those defintions yourself.

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              4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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              I'm sorry,I was just trying to say that using question instead of problem shouldn't bother people to the extent where they get irritated.

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                4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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                No worry mate. It is funny how we actually drifted the main topic a bit far. Like, in the beginning, it's just complaining about live cheating, and now we discussing the word meanings. We do have our own points and they are correct in their own way. But yeah we have strayed further from the main topic.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Just wait for folks who use "doubt" instead of "question".

      They also never put a question mark. Perhaps, because doubt is not a question.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      I am an Indian, and I agree Indians will never realize the difference, and this is majorly due to the fact that we don't start CP because we enjoy it, but because we think it will help us to get a job. We just see it as another assignment question that we need to learn in order to crack an interview, and that's also the reason why we cheat a lot because we have actually never completed an assignment in our college/school life without copying it. IMO, One can only recognize the difference if one really enjoys solving algorithmic problems.

      P.S. — When I am referring to Indians I mean most of them because I know it's just a statistic and there are a lot of Indians who don't this.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Because saying it's a problem/task (something given to you) will make you think if it's from a running contest or not. While question seems more like something you came up by yourself.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Question: Is it true that only Indians use give contests?

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        I don't know about others but I think most Indians have picked it up unknowingly from their coaching professors. "Kitne questions lagaye?" (How many questions did you solve?). "Weekend wali test de rahe ho na?" (You're giving the test on the weekend, right?). Ofc some words when translated literally from Hindi, lead to phrases like "giving contest". And I don't think we need to worry too much about it.

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The blue one is such an arrogant idiot!!

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In my opinion , revealing the nicknames won't be a great move.Probably after this post everyone will think twice before attempting to cheat in Ongoing challenges.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Do you know how many of these type of posts have been made?

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Please read my comment carefully .. I have never encouraged them to Cheat!!

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    So you are encouraging people to cheat?

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      No I am not encouraging that but giving one chance to them toself-reflect their mistake the last time.

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        That is sensible. But you have said something else in the original above comment. You said:

        revealing the nicknames won't be a great move.Probably after this post everyone will think twice before attempting to cheat in Ongoing challenges.

        Showing that cheaters will hesitate to cheat which is clearly something good. But you were opposing that idea. And now, you are saying something else.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Look, how ironic. This guy himself had posted an entire Codechef Long Challenge Problem on StackOverflow while the contest was running. F**king hypocrite. People like you smear the reputation of the Indian programming community.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Looks like we already know one of the nicknames

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    very bold of you to assume cheaters will not cheat again after seeing these exposing blogs

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Nobody has never assumend that.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Probably after this post everyone will think twice before attempting to cheat in Ongoing challenges

        I think some people do.

        Anyway, I'm fine with exposing blogs, it's a sign that the community still cares about fairness, but I doubt those blogs will change their mentalities in a day or two. Probably some stronger actions, like account suspension could work.

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These people are just wasting their time to gain rating, which is an absurdity .

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I am in favor of showing their names, in fact codeforces should have a formal way of reporting such cheating attempts and a method to punish such people, I am not sure whether simply banning them would be the best punishment because they could just create another account, but it is better than nothing. Differently from copying ones code, in this case, there is no doubt about whether the user cheated or not.

In the distant future I dream of a way of holding the person accountable for what they post in the internet in general.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    I think mass internet surveillance would bring much more issues than it would solve... It's very hard to have a global censorship policy that has no chance of going very wrong, for example...

    Anyway, I agree on the reporting mechanism being a great idea, it's a good deterrent to this kind of behavior, I'm surprised it's not already implemented.

    Though, obviously, it would just reduce the cheating, not get rid of it. I don't think we can really get rid of it, specially since it's not really the focus of CF and CC, the focus is more on having a good platform and good contests, not on having an accurate ranking.

    I think the harder issue is that there are many external incentives to get a higher ranking that shouldn't be there, because it's not what the rating is for. Rating is just a number you try to make go up, not an accurate measure of how smart you are, and the cheaters are just exploiting those who think the opposite.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      I'm not surprised it is not implemented, implementing things takes work :)

      Also I thought about this censorship thing, but there are places where being anonymous does no good. My point is, as long as there is at least one place where you can be anonymous, the rest of the places do not need to be too, and codeforces is not the best place to fight for freedom of speech in most cases.

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Maybe you want this

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    It's not this problem. Getting messages about how to solve some problem is not such a problem, but I am simply sad getting mentioned messages and realizing that many participants try their best fairly while other people do such things and end higher in standings.

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Yes , I think such ppl should be thoroughly exposed and should be banned from competing (or at least punished) as they besmirch the contest. Other than codechef, I think codeforces should also punish these guys. Cause, if they have cheated on codechef now, who knows they might cheat tomorrow on codeforces ??

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    There are lots of cheatings happening in Codeforces too. There are several telegram groups operating where codeforces solutions get leaked during the contests.

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"you shouldn't get a rating to show that you are good, you should be good to show that you are able to get a rating". Nailed it!

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This is like the "send bobs and vegana" thing from facebook...except here the victims are GMs and instead of bobs they want solutions XD

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I also get these kind of messages during codechef long challlenge.

This is so irritating.

Also this happen due to the fact that codechef long challenge is too long that people have plenty of time to adopt different techniques to get to the solution.

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this is hilarious. someone asked me similar questions in feb long

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Personally, if someone did send me messages like that, I'd just start talking about random topics and try to confuse them as much as possible. That probably isn't the right way to handle the situation but it would certainly be fun.

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Can we somehow remove all benefit from cheating?

I am really annoyed at how getting a job in some parts of the world is somehow intertwined with competitive programming. It doesn't make a lot of sense in the first place and indirectly this causes a lot of problems even on sites with no "get a job" background like Codeforces.

I can't prove it but I'm willing to bet that a lot of these cheaters are people who think that doing well at that contest somehow increases their probability of being hired (maybe it does, I don't know). And it explains why a disproportionate amount of cheaters seem to come from countries where employment is associated with competitive programming.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Do companies ask about CF/Leetcode/atcoder/etc... handles?(Sorry for lame question) If yes, then probably most cheaters are cheating for that purpose.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      The answer can be both Yes and No. For example in India, here, if you ask for referrals from someone working in big tech companies like Amazon and Google, then they would first ask you about your competitive programming experience and handles. Companies also indirectly select for interview based on cp. Like if your resume, contains the word "Expert" or "Candidate Master", your changes of qualifying for resume screening round increases. So thats the most ultimate reason, people do these stuffs in cp rounds. Simply to say, supply is huge, but job is scarce, so simply one has to stand out. P.S- I am in no ways justifying cheating. I am just telling the real scenario here

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Bruh, that is very dumb. Thanks to that unfair scenario, cheating became more than ever. If companies would actually interview each person instead of choosing by ranks on CF, then everything would be a lot better. Also, CM can be hardly ever be achieved with cheating. I guess the good fix is that all companies would hire from CM+. Cheaters would dramatically decrease. I have also noticed that huge percentage of cheaters from India.

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          Yes, true. 99% of them are Indians. Now, if companies will start recruiting based on CM+, they would hardly get candidates. Because almost 80% of them are stuck in between green and blue. So, to make their CV stand out, they do such petty stuffs. Situation is really bad here. Ask any random Indian, that why do you do cp? Almost everytime, you will get answer- "To get a job". (There are many, who do cp because them love doing, so just excluding them).

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            4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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            Hmm, I see. Thanks for clarification and answering my question!

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          4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          If companies would actually interview each person instead of choosing by ranks on CF

          It is likely infeasible, because it is way too expensive, so they have to use some proxy methods — judge based on university you graduated from, previous work experience you have on your CV, you competitive programming results, papers you published, open source contribution, whatever other methods they have. It is true that such methods are unfair to people who are left out, but they help filtering the pool of candidates down to the ones who are much more likely to be valuable&skilled enough. As a result cost of hiring goes down, because you waste much less resources on candidates who aren't going to make it.

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          4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          Also, CM can be hardly ever be achieved with cheating. I guess the good fix is that all companies would hire from CM+.

          CM+ is easily achievable with cheating, as long as it is the right kind of cheating. There are multiple yellow & red CF accounts that got boosted by strong contestants. While some of that is "I did it for a friend" or "Now somebody can show off and feel good about it", in a lot of cases this is done with the sole intention of putting boosted account on CV and getting interview calls for that.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        From the POV of an Indian school student, this is so very pathetic. I wish Indian interviewers didn't use CP ratings as a parameter to test skill level of students. I know few people who are quite good at dev stuff, but don't perform that well in short contests. In fact, IMHO, there is a huge amount of difference in the skill sets required for being a good software engineer, and performing well at CF rounds. Just as expected, the system here is messed up. :(

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Ok, I am laughing at this. Nobody gives a crap about Expert on CF and it certainly doesn't affect resume screening. If you are CM+, asking for referrals from Ex-CPers is easier. That's all.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      In my experience, most of the companies (atleast in India) do not ask about these handles.
      An average recruiter doesn't even have knowledge about CF/LeetCode/AtCoder and won't consider them a parameter for recruitment. (There are some exceptions but I am talking about the general scenario).
      Most of the people who are good at CP get recruitment offers from tech giants because the process is DSA based and this has led everyone to believe that being good at CP would get you a decent job.
      Though in reality, these ratings come in handy when asking for referrals.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    This is an interesting point. Unfortunately, I think people will still cheat regardless (see: the number of people who play chess online using an engine). But it might help.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Maybe I am not good enough to be in this discussion. But, cheating can go on even without hiring concept.

    Let me mention my case. I am extremely guilty of it now. It was in a CF contest. I submitted A and I had internet connection problem. I got my connection restored after 1:30 hour. So, I had no other choice. Submitted C with cheating, solved B and D, still got minus but managed to save a disaster.

    What wrong made me to do cheating? Fear of getting down and doing 5/6 contests to retrieve back my position. Maybe I was too inexperienced or maybe I am a bad person. I don't know. But, I definitely regret it.

    Right now, I would have no problem if Codeforces makes me to start from zero. I would happy to do that as I did cheating.

    Forgive me guys if you can.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      You really don't need 5-6 good contests to get back even after multiple screw-ups. I got to a rating higher than my skill level in one contest even when I had a series of rounds with terrible luck.

      And I don't know if you should listen to me on this, but If you get screwed in some contest because of things not under your control, this is an opportunity. Yes, it's an opportunity to prove that you can reach this rating again with ease later. Otherwise, you are just some guy who got to a certain rating and is staying there by doing hacky stuff.

      I even extend this to rounds where i take 30 minutes in Div 2 A. I can just walk away and prevent a rating loss. But I feel much better if I just continue solving nonetheless and still manage to prevent something like -150.

      Don't turn this opportunity into guilt by cheating. It only makes you feel like a loser, and contributes to imposter syndrome later.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      There will always be people who cheat (your case, or people who are bored and want to see how far they can get, or people with different morals who don't thing there is anything wrong with discussion during contest) but removing this huge incentive (if it could be done) would drastically cut the number of cheaters.

      Smaller amount of cheating is a lot better, not only because there is less cheating but also because it's feasible then to deal with the rest. Currently I think sites don't have enough manpower to deal with reports and appeals (see for example how ouuan couldn't get rating back because Codechef had 400 other appeals, most of them likely bogus) which leaves the impression that nothing is being done.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        At most what we can do is banning cheater's account. Is it worth? He can simply start with another account and as he had reached the rating by cheating, it would not be a big deal. For you or even me, this CF handle matters. For cheaters, it doesn't.
        How can we remove the incentive anyway? How come the interviewers would not get that the cheater guy isn't worth of his rating? Everyone knows that it's impossible. Cheaters also know that.
        If anyhow the companies which prioritise CP shifts their position in projects, then there would be less cheating because there would be no intruder. Only the people who loves doing CP would do it. Anyway, maybe it isn't happening quite easily.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    The fact that CP rating happens to be such a good metric for some companies to use pisses me off. It forces cheaters and people who don't give a fuck about CP into our community.

    I highly value integrity in CP and other similar high skill cap fields, so I would like for companies to not put such a large emphasis on rating (thus indirectly hindering said integrity). Of course this won't prevent cheating entirely, but it should help.

    Perhaps they can go by some alternate metric that correlates highly with true rating, such as a long-term (4-5 yr+), consistent submission log. Take, for ex, the "plot scatter" or "plot hist" commands on AC server. This also makes it so that people can't simply pick up CP just to find a job/get a referral.

    tldr: Is there some metric companies can look to other than CP contest rating? Any ideas?

    PS — Discussing this topic just makes me mad because frankly I don't have any influence in the way companies run their recruitment processes (to people that do: please take action!), and the current system inevitably produces cheating. And in general it's really difficult to prevent cheating (especially in CC longs) so we ought to try to reduce its benefits like OP said.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      The people who do the sport only to get jobs annoy me a lot too, but let's be honest, if you want to evaluate how good someone is at doing CP, I don't think any other metric is going to be nearly as good as... seeing how well they do in CP. Not to mention any other metric can also be cheated -- nothing is stopping someone from simply copying solutions from others and resubmitting them, or doing hundreds of div2As to inflate solved count.

      For your example, the metric may not correlate as highly as you think it does -- compare the stereotypical Chinese IGM with a submission list less than a page long to a cyan contestant who took part in 200 contests. (These are extreme cases, but something like getting CM in two contests is definitely fairly frequent, even on one's main account).

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      I don’t think many companies care about CF rating, the average big tech holds interviews to check if the candidate knows anything, which is the correct way of checking it I guess

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Dang it Radewoosh, you exposed our private talks.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Wow, so you are exposing yourself that you are a cheater?

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4 weeks ago, # |
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I get a fair amount of these messages as well, and I also see them posted on Reddit (the funniest one was when two different people posted the same question on r/algorithms within <1 hour of each other).

I usually just kind of shame them for wanting to very obviously cheat. I don't usually get people arguing with me that they are not cheating like you seem to have gotten; that's pretty ludicrous, I can't believe people have really done that.

The common factors in all the cases I've seen are that it is Indians asking about CodeChef problems (you can typically tell whether people from India based on typing patterns/certain phrasing). From what I understand (I could be wrong since I'm American and have limited knowledge about other countries), the state of software engineering in India is such that programming competitions are more or less a requirement for getting placed in companies. People have told me that Google/Microsoft/etc recruiters have specifically told them to go practice on CodeForces and CodeChef after doing poorly in an interview. It also seems (?) that your rating on these sites has pretty nonzero value to put on your resume and/or LinkedIn, even if you are say 1600 on CF. So, this creates a pretty huge incentive to cheat on contests to increase your rating. Cheating is much easier to do on a CodeChef long contest for obvious reasons, so it tends to be these contests where cheating occurs.

I don't know that there's actually any good way around this (eg "removing all benefits of cheating" as another comment suggested) since, as I can see it, this would basically require an entire overhaul of Indian software engineering interview practices.

I feel bad shaming people for cheating, since at the end of the day it really seems like many of them enjoy software engineering and just want to get a job, and don't necessarily enjoy competitive programming (but are forced into it because of shitty hiring practices). Wish there was an easier way around this but it seems like this system will persist until a better, scalable way of evaluating candidates comes up.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    You seem to forget the fact that Google conducts Kickstart which features competitive programming style problems prepared by competitive programmers for hiring purposes only!

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      I don't think that fact is necessarily relevant to the greater story explaining prevalence of cheating. Cheating on CodeChef contests won't make you better at doing Kickstart rounds.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        That fact is relevant to the point that competitive programming is a necessity for getting a good job. See Interview experiences on leetcode for more.

        You pretended that you're unaware as to why competitive programming relates to getting a job in other countries, as an American.

        Coming back to cheating, don't you think it is easy to cheat and satisfy the "requirements" than to work hard and increase rating for an activity that isn't interesting to you? It's the dynamics of the game of incentives.

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          4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          I didn't "pretend" to be unaware why competitive programming relates to getting a job in other countries, you're interpreting my statement wrong. I made the claim that it seems to be more or less a requirement for recruiting in India, and clarified that being an outsider, my claim could be incorrect. I've made incorrect statements about recruiting in other countries in the past, so I wanted to add the clarification.

          In the US, competitive programming is "related" to getting a job in the same way that a flamethrower is "related" to killing mosquitoes. You can use it for that, but it's insane overkill and by no means required. The level of algorithm knowledge to pass Google/Facebook interviews in the US is probably like 1500 on CF. The vast majority of people at these companies in the US does not do competitive programming and many have never even heard of it.

          I don't understand your last paragraph. Are you saying that people cheat on Kickstart? If so, then sure, I agree that there is a large incentive for this. But I was specifically talking about how most of the cheating I see is related to CodeChef long challenges, which wouldn't help at all for getting a better placement on Kickstart.

          Regardless, yes, Kickstart is also a competitive programming event that relates to recruiting. This is a correct statement but it's a fairly useless point to nitpick; you can say the same thing about GCJ, which I got my Google interview through. My point was less about these specific competitions and more about the culture and state of recruiting in India as a whole.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Kickstart gives you an opportunity to interview in Google but so does GSoC. You still have to clear the interviews after that.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    System is really bad here. Of all the Indians doing cp, a rough figure, of around 60% are forced to do cp even if they don't like. There is no scope for development here. So, no one is really into making apps and websites or any cool machine learning models. All just do cp, cram the GeeksforGeeks articles and placement interview materials at the end of 3rd year and get into companies.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    As far as Indian software engineering practices are concerned, you have to realize that the supply is disproportionate to the demand. Thus, most companies seek to reduce false positives(at the cost of increasing false negatives) in their recruitment procedure. They do it simply because they can afford to do it. Its not just CP, they will use whatever measures they can to eliminate candidates(prestige of university, GPA, Projects/Resume/Coding tests etc)

    You have millions of people graduating with CS degrees every year. Moreover, a lot of non-CS grads also look for IT/SE jobs. This creates a huge pool of candidates that a company has to filter through, and somewhere down the line they decided that programming tests(held on hackerrank/earth during campus hiring seasons) were a good way to achieve their goal.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Then why a lot of Indians continue to enroll in CS programs?

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        The news of students getting high pay packages in CS/SE fields compared to other branches in engineering leads to a competition of getting into top colleges in the country where top tech companies come for placements. They don't want to pursue what excites them more! They pursue the courses and do CP just for sake of earning money. This is the reality here.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Herd Mentality plus huge population

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        It's even funnier when almost 80% of them leave programming altogether after graduating and getting their Bachelors Degree and pursue degrees like MBA or other type of careers like Civil Services. I am not saying it's bad to switch fields but rather the amount of people leaving programming afterwards is surprising.

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The number of users asking for help is disproportionate on HackerRank and HackerEarth.

For instance, this was my inbox after just one recent HackerRank contest:

And almost all the messages are like:

Spoiler

I ofcourse don't mind people asking for code after contest, but atleast 60 of the 70+ messages were asking for code during contest :(

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Ashishgup I think you along with some other good Indian coders should write a good and detailed blog that calls out this type of activity, not generally cheating but messaging asking about some "magical concept" or algorithm.

    I am not saying that this hasn't been done before or this will stop blah blah, but this might actually trigger the actual good ones to not go on this path. People upon seeing bad start thinking that why I'm not trying it if my friend/senior has been doing this and working in some big MNC. That is why I'm saying it to you because this thing is actually growing quite fast. When I joined 6 months back there was very little bad stuff going on in long or codechef(or any site that Indian's come across) in particular, but now it is multiplying like that one other virus.

    Talk with hitman623, aryanc403 to create a blog and post it across all competitive websites. Might provide a change in mentality for those who are thinking of these bad practices. Also might clear the placement myth strongly and provide a motivation boost for those that actually enjoy problem-solving in free time.

    Sorry for this long (rant?), but I'm convinced getting this topic called out on a large scale by you and other such people, could enforce a change in mindset. Since, we look up to you all! P.S. Please, convince GFG to delete itself, that site is a cancer. Haha, peace!

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Why do you think GFG is a cancer?

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        And why do you think it is not?

        Wrong solution or complexity, stupid explanation, bad code, bad advices, shitty courses encourage people to learn brainless data structures and algorithms, have literally everyone combination of "easy" problems and someone "remember all of them for interview".

        You should use http://cp-algorithms.com/ instead.

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      If he had used this much smartness and creativity in the actual problem...

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Just curious, do the grey and blue shadings indirectly imply that those two guys are newbie and expert respectively?

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Because good rating helps us to get good job and secure future ,especially if you are from a third tier college , only opportunity to get chance for interview is having good competitive profile . Hardly any good company visits our campus .

Most of companies reject candidates based on their college . Also , they offer packages based on your college . For example ,IBM offers starting salary 10 lack+ for first tier college while just 3 lack for third tier . Also i have encountered interviewers who are very much interested in these ratings , even one of them asked and checked my profile for more than 10 minutes while interviewing.

So having good profile like 5 star on code-chef , expert/ candidate master on CF gives us opportunity to get referrals for interview and helps.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    That doesn't mean, you should cheat to increase your rating. Instead, try to learn new things, and solve problems upto the extent you can (during the contest). Learn the topics, on which your unsolved questions were based on, and then upsolve the unsolved ones. So, this isn't a valid reason to cheat. In fact, there is no valid reason you can give, to cheat.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Not justifying cheating, but what if someone does not like doing cp and here we are being forced into cp. What should we do in such case?

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Change your work area.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        if someone does not like doing cp and here we are being forced into cp

        No one is forcing you. Interviews require a basic understanding of DSA and its applications. CP is not necessary for that. Leetcode has many problems and that is not CP IMO.

        To clear a DSA round if you think CP is necessary then you are wrong.

        In India, hiring is done on the basis of CP

        This misconception is more hyped by the students here. You can look up for any tier-1 company or startup, you will find people of all sorts there. The ones who were into CP and also the ones who were not.

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          4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          I agree with you in some points. But, you may know situation with tier 3 colleges. Only TCS and Infosys visits them with a mere Rs 3.6 lpa. No big tech companies ever visits. Clearing interview is a secondary thing for tier 3 students, getting a chance for interview is the real struggle here. No one is going to give a referral, if I am pupil or specialist here. But yes, I agree one should never copy solutions and always practise to get to a level :)

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            4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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            Okay, I completely understand your point.

            Getting referrals can be a tricky thing. But if you do not have good ratings to show on your resume then you must be having something else like some cool projects which you did. You should try to glorify your projects then. And also since you are preparing for interviews, you must be practicing DSA somewhere like Leetcode or GFG, try mentioning that in the message that you send.

            Not every person will reply to you but you should be completely ready when one does. Also, apart from referrals, there are off-campus drives of various companies, watch out for them.

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            4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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            I don't agree with the opportunity part. I am from a tier — 3 college and from class of 2020. I have managed to land interview at each and every company (startup or Tech Giants) where I had applied (and cleared almost all except 1 or 2). Only one application had a referral attached where as rest were pure hunting on Career sites of those companies. And all my resumes had my highest CP rating of 1698.

            Getting an interview call is not just based on CP profiles. It's more on how you show case your projects and skills on your Resume. So even from a tier 3 college one can land at a Tech Giant.

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          4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          +1 to your point. Adding to it, I'd like to point out few things which has lead to many candidates fail interviews even though they had solution to the problem at hand and none of those reasons of getting rejected are as important in CP.

          1. Bad coding practices (In CP no one cares about readability and extensibility of code as long as you have AC)

          2. Inability of conveying proof of correctness and optimality to interviewers even though the candidate knows it.

          3. Inability to think/address issues related to computer fundamentals that the candidates solution neglects. For example, the current solution of candidate is good enough for problem at hand, but given a scenario where candidate is asked to integrate that solution with any existing system, candidate fails to address key issues like those related to threading, or OS concepts etc.

          Such list can go on and on but the point I am trying to make is CP is confused with basic DSA knowledge required for clearing interviews as mentioned by Swapnil159 above, and people tend to forget that good projects and strong computer fundamentals are equally important to clear any SDE interview. Also I am willing to bet that only great CP skills cannot land anyone into SD role. There are many other factors into play.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    “Because good rating helps us to get good job and secure future ,especially if you are from a third tier college , only opportunity to get chance for interview is having good competitive profile .”

    So somebody who’s trying to do this in a fair way will have a worse future. Great idea of life.

    But probably this isn't the most important thing here. Don't you think that the interviewers/coworkers will recognize that you aren't skilled enough to have mentioned rating?

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      bro , life has never been fair . It always favours one over other in some way . Somehow , we need to make space for our self to survive , either by hook or crook ,it doesn't matter.

      Sometimes , we need to play unfair.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Unfair play won't get you anything, other than rating. But, fair play will get you to the core aspect of the topics, by which you will surely improve. Just trying to get positive delta in rating, doesn't mean "you learnt something", and "Rating" isn't the only thing to show up in an Interview. If your rating is more than your knowledge about CP, you are surely gonna fail there, Also, CP is a sport, and unfair play isn't supported in any sport. So, better, play fair and win the game with your head up high.

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          4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          Got it , thanks to all of you , for your advise ...

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            4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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            Well, we see your point and the message, but still, if in this way a cheater gets a job instead of somebody who played fair (and is in the same situation), then I don't think that it's ok.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        No interviewer can judge you in 30 minutes , its about leetcoding ,and presenting yourself (if have good rating , its great) . And Once you entered industry , it will be just learning and copying other . (i don't think i will selected for some research or algorithm invention work ) , so co workers got no business in it .

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Don't you think that the interviewers/coworkers will recognize that you aren't skilled enough to have mentioned rating?

      As an interviewer I see that there is loose correlation between rating and interview performance. People with rating 2000 may perform worse than people with rating 1400, and often it feels like their rating likely isn't achieved by cheating, and they simply can't apply their CP knowledge to anything that isn't CP.

      For actual job you will most likely not need any of the CP stuff. I don't need it, for example. My coworkers can't tell if I'm good at CP because A) It is not used for the job; B) most of them don't even have any real CP experience.

      It may work differently for different companies in different countries, but on a high level the point of that comment is fair: typically people are doing this in order to get interview calls, and then hopefully get a job — and not because they believe that they will become smarter & better software engineers.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        I know that red's CP is not connected with things that we'll likely do in the job, but there is a difference between skills needed for becoming an expert and a grandmaster and I think (I might be wrong) that the former one is much more connected with general programming skills.

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Because of these kinds of Guys, honest people lose their Rating. I Know You will say Rating doesn't matter at all but still I am kind of person who motivates by seeing my rating. If My rating increases it motivates me to do even better. I am doing long challenges all by own. and after giving 2-3 days I am able to solve only some of the problems. and After 10 days if my rating will decrease then from where I am supposed to find the motivation! We have to find a way to stop this kind of cheating. Thanks

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    I totally agree to your point. During this month's July Challenge, on day 1 I solved 5 problems in Div2. and was around Global rank 7. But when I checked the website yesterday, I saw my rank around 2k. During this time I got numerous people asking me how to do the fifth one and assuming many people being asked how to solve and give me the code kind of questions explains how magically everyone is being able to solve the problem they had no clue of a few minutes ago! The story is the same every month.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      A green on 2k-th place, how unusual, must be cheaters' work

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Ohh mann :) I'm not that bad! Just haven't given contest from quite some time. And I'm not cheating else I would have solved more.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Even a green can have 300-400 rank (DivB) if he spends a lot of time on codechef. :)

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          4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          Yeah, I remember in Feb long challenge I was grey on CF and got global rank 44 in div2, but that was mostly because of my enthusiasm back then where I spent around 20-25 hours on the long challenge. Now I am purple on CF yet performing worse :(

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            4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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            I'm pretty sure your performance in cook-off's has improved though. :) And damn that's fast progress. what year in college are you?

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              4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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              Yes :) Unlike earlier, now cook off and lunchtime have major contribution in my rating.

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I don't understand the incentive behind doing this. Even if you build a good profile by achieving higher ratings, you will still get filtered in the interview process, and the interview process in especially the big companies is quite thorough and rigorous.

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In Long contests, Codechef should write in red at the beginning of each problem: it's strictly forbidden to discuss problems during a contest, including asking for code or any hints.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Will that really change anything?

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      It wont change the situation at all . Every cheater knows very well the guidelines.

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Nope, IMO it might help a bit, some people still have some conscience and some might not be able to figure out that the contest is ongoing and it’s really forbidden to discuss The problems in any way (like the blue guy from blog).

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        4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        I'd say a lot of people asking for help actually manage to convince me that they weren't aware that asking others to share some links or tell the name of the algorithm while not asking for the detailed solution / code is still considered cheating. Obviously I can't really tell how much of that is honest :)

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          4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          Well if you see, the cheating cases that are caught and reported generally are the cases where sharing of code is involved. So it is obvious that some people might think that only sharing of code is called as cheating and if they ask for (logic/concept/name of algorithm/resource/etc) and then code the solution themselves it will not be considered as cheating.

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
        Vote: I like it +9 Vote: I do not like it

      May be something like. "We kindly ask you to not cheat if you have a little bit of respect for your fellow competitors or for the problems' authors. If you don't, then be the narcissist that you are and do it for yourself if you want to be a decent human being". Bold and in red, all caps.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +19 Vote: I do not like it

    As far as I understand, it's not cheating from their point of view, they are just asking "what concepts they should apply" and "if there is an online reference"

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +3 Vote: I do not like it

    And a gif of some generic angry mom finger-wagging, to increase the psychological pressure

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4 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +63 Vote: I do not like it

Ok guys, I think I've found an appropriate analogy.

I claim that the following statement:

  • Interacting with anyone during the contest with a purpose of deciding what to do next in the contest is not necessarily cheating.

Implies the following two:

  • Oracle machine is equivalent to turing machine.
  • P = NP.

Change my mind.

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4 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -13 Vote: I do not like it

why do you even reply to them anyways......you are always in the list of top 10 on cf no doubt such people will message you......why do you read your messages anyways?

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4 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -67 Vote: I do not like it

so I don't know whether someone has taken my point of view in comments or not (I haven't read the comments) but according to me(strictly in the context of CodeChef long):

If someone had tried his best to solve a problem/task (not question,**Indian** though) and has no success then its ok to just ask for the techniques(by techniques I mean segment tree,fft, etc) used in that problem. so if someone asks something more than that then I think it should be considered cheating but just the name of technique(after trying your best) I think its not cheating.

so if I don't know fft I guess it extremely hard to come up the fft on your own. so I can ask someone, and they only told me "to checkout fft in case you don't know it". now I could go online and learn fft and then try out the problem.

And I also think people also talked about asking for blog (just scrolled through the comments). In that case i guess its ok to ask for blogs. How is asking for blog is cheating? I mean their are hell lot of blogs on segment tree instead of wasting time on some not so well written blog its better to ask some senior if "they know some tried and tested blog"

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +12 Vote: I do not like it

    Chill, the problem doesn't disappear after the contest. So, you can learn fft or some other unknown algorithm after the contest and then solve the problem.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    I think the issue is that during Codechef Long challenges you are already free to look up as much information as you want. And you can do it for a really long time. If even with 5 days of thorough research on the internet you are not capable of finding a solution maybe that means you really cannot solve the problem and the problem truly is beyond your skill level. Furthermore, for some problems, even a slight hint is more than enough to solve the problem. For example if a problem statement is of the form there are n queries of the form update(x) and sum(l,r) telling someone to checkout segment trees is basically telling them the solution. I think what needs to be clarified is that Codechef long challenge is not meant to be a learning opportunity but is a contest just like any other and aims to "even out" the playing field between slower participants and the faster ones.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +9 Vote: I do not like it

    That's stupid — knowing a particular technique can be used to solve the problem is a huge hint towards solving the problem. Even a "it's really simple" communication is enough to motivate someone to submit, say, a brute-force or unproven greedy solution, when it was not evident to them that such a solution could work.

    And that's beside the point. It's a rule of contests that there should be no discussion regarding the contest at all. Don't like the rule — don't participate but don't make up justifications for flouting the rule.

    Also, regarding blogs, obviously there is no ban on discussion of general competitive programming topics. If someone were to ask for a good resource to study a particular topic — I think no one would really deny — but I think the red rated users might receive a lot of such messages and that's why may not be able to/want to reply.

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4 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -30 Vote: I do not like it

I have a question for Radewoosh or any other problem solver after reading this blog. Should we read editorial of problems during normal practice? What is your opinion about this type of practice:

Solve hard problems (according to your level) by reading editorials (if you are not able to solve by your own, which I mostly not able to do). By doing this, at least you will learn something new after every problem (even when you are not able to solve on your own). And I have observed that I came across most of the data structures and algorithms while trying to solve harder problems.

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4 weeks ago, # |
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Would deliberately giving them the wrong solution be ok? That way people would actually be discouraged to cheat (either because they would get wrong submission penalty if there's such thing on CodeChef long challenge or simply because filtering to solutions would be harder for them than just ignoring guys who don't want to tell them the solution until someone does). It might be problematic though because they could use that deliberately wrong solution as a "proof" that some LGM participated in cheating to harm their reputation as a means of retribution.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Will likely create more problems than it solves.

    One for the reason you mentioned, simply giving any solution can be considered as collaboration.

    Two for you'll likely get more annoying messages on "hey it doesn't work" "can u find bug in my code" and similar follow ups.

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4 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +42 Vote: I do not like it

I would just like to hear from those who support these kind of attempts.

Are there any success stories where someone gets a job after cheating?

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
    Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +8 Vote: I do not like it

    Sadly yes, I know people who have been placed at good companies using such condemnable strategies. Even worse is that this is demotivating for people who are doing things fairly, as a fairly catching up with a cheater is really hard.

    (Edit: I just noticed you wrote you want to hear from people who support such attempts, I must clarify, I am strongly against all such cheating)

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4 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -43 Vote: I do not like it

Maybe one of the possible reason for some people trying to cheat is the curiosity to find the solution and not just for the sake of rating.

But in that case, they should not submit the code after knowing the solution.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +23 Vote: I do not like it

    If cheaters are so curious about the solution, they can wait for the editorials which will be out after the long contest ends. Cheaters are impatient people who want to get things easily without any hardwork.

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Maybe the robbers just want to see how much money you have in your wallet out of curiosity

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4 weeks ago, # |
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I hate this

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4 weeks ago, # |
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What time should I give for one problem in long challenge? Because many times I can't come with solution and I waste my 5-6 days without any productive work. what is best strategy for long challenge?

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
    Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +9 Vote: I do not like it

    Best strategy is not participating at all because it is not worth the time.

    In long challange the sooner or later you get a problem you cannot solve, and will spend days and days on it. For what?

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      4 weeks ago, # ^ |
      Rev. 2   Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

      Exactly. This is why I also stopped participating in Codechef long contests. And, other than rating boost, this might also be the reason people ask for help. They get stuck in a question and get so desperate to figure out the next step (not for rating) that they start messaging high rated coders. It's not really worth to keep trying it after sometime, and if you leave, there are good chances that you'll loose interest and never return to that question (so no learning).

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    4 weeks ago, # ^ |
    Rev. 3   Vote: I like it +8 Vote: I do not like it

    What time should I give for one problem in long challenge?

    There's no specific metric, just keep thinking and trying ideas as long as you're absolutely out of any ideas. There may be some cases where you might surprise yourself, with a really cool idea. I remember last year in the Sept Long, there was a problem which on the face value looked kind of intimidating, but I kept working on it, believe it or not, I got the solution in my dream, the next morning when I woke up I was hyped and immediately jolted down some equations, and guess what, it actually got AC.

    So yeah, you never know what one might come up with.

    For those curious minds, who want to read about this bizarre way of solving, check this wiki.

    P.S. :- I strongly disagree with the guy(s) above me. The beauty of Long challenges, is the time span they give you to solve problems. If you enjoy problem solving, you should most certainly participate. Ignore the cheaters, who cares about them, at the end of the day they're only digging graves for themselves, while you, a persistent hard worker, is creating neurological pathways and strengthening your skills.

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4 weeks ago, # |
Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +11 Vote: I do not like it

Once someone legit searched my name on facebook and messaged me on it to ask how to solve a problem from codechef long.

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4 weeks ago, # |
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Codechef should make long challenges unrated. Codechef rating is a stupid measure anyway.

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3 weeks ago, # |
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Well, I think if what you meant by "revealing their names" is to report them to people who can deactivate their accounts, then that makes perfect sense. However, seeing as there is no reporting system in place, I can only assume what you meant was to remove the blurs over their names in this blog, which would not be a good idea. In fact, that encourages public shaming which not only the cheaters don't deserve, but also the community doesn't deserve. Nothing productive would come out of public shaming and in fact makes the community seem extremely hostile as we all seem to hate cheaters for the wrong reasons. (Envy they could get higher rating without work rather than hating them for making it more difficult for people who studied to increase their rating) FYI, if you want to public shame I think any outsider, rather than thinking you were making sure the cheaters never tried to cheat during a contest, would see people being petty over people who they don't even know over the internet. What I think should be implemented instead is a reporting system where accounts can be deactivated. I know this will mean a lot more work for the HQ, but in the end this is the right system to discourage cheating. Hopefully, we can see this implemented in the future.