A4n0n4's blog

By A4n0n4, history, 6 months ago, In English

Hi, I was reading Wind_Eagle blog on how he found some cheaters during the contest earlier this week and his conclusion was :

""And the conclusion, as usual, is the same: cheating — this is a much bigger problem than it seems.""

To be honest I don't really get why cheaters are that much of a problem.

Let me list all all the reasons I see that should make us, as a community or as an individual, care about it :

  1. in big competitions, we want to acclaim real contestants
  2. (same as before) when there is a prize money, we want it to be properly attributed
  3. since some people use it on their CV, we don't want people to make false claim and damage the competitive programming perception
  4. my ranking is lower that it should be because of cheaters
  5. Cheaters don't deserve their ranks

It's pretty clear than for 1 and 2, it does concern only the grandmaster rank or above.

The third point may be critical since, despite plenty of experienced competitive programmer hinting the other way around, lots of people are getting in CP because they hope to land a job thanks to it. But even for this point n°3 : if you rank is below master, when doing an interview, you shouldn't get any credit solely because of your rank. More important, the interviewer job is to check whether your claims on your CV are verified. So, if it does matter, which I doubt, it does matter only for master rank and above.

So are we left with the 4th and 5th point. First, we shouldn't lose our time focusing on strangers ranking, it doesn't help ourselves being anything better, so lets drop the 5th point and lets focus on the number 4.

On n°4 : Cheaters are lowering my rank. This claim is true. But why should we care about ? Is CP really about our respective ranks or is it about the joy of discovering new techniques ? about the pleasure of finally solving a difficult problem ? or even better about the pleasure of solving an interesting problem that was out of our reach a couple month ago ? I believe each of us gets his pleasure from CP in a different way so I might not have pinpointed your reason but, to me, the rankings can't be and shouldn't be the motivation for doing CP.

So whats my conclusion ? we shouldn't care about most cheaters, cheaters below master doesn't matter. Cheaters at master and above are pretty easy to find, a simple ability test, or since, there are not that many people over there, statistical analysis on each participant should be able to tell if he is legit or not. Focusing only on cheaters at master and above would save lots of time !

And a last argument why, in a more pragmatic way, we shouldn't care about low level cheaters : all the lost time is time that could be invested elsewhere, to improve the community ! I believe MikeMirzayanov in his recent AMA told that dealing with cheater was one of the worst parts of his job, so lets all agree that we don't care about low level cheaters and lets focus on some other things to improve CP !!

PS : I would be glad to hear your thoughts and to discuss about my blog with you in the comments !

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6 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +15 Vote: I do not like it

I think everything you said is spot on but the rankings can't be and shouldn't be the motivation for doing CP is wrong (just my opinion). Because that's my basic motivation as rank is directly proportional to my skills so every time I rank up I get the feeling of This isn't even my final form yet.. so, I think saying that is a bit wrong. But yeah every other thing is right.

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    6 months ago, # ^ |
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    I must say that, in order to optimize your progress, focusing on your ranking is a bad idea. It's a common idea in all competitive environments.

    Ranking would be one performance indicator and the not only one and it would used as : "ranking at the same date each year" or "average ranking in rolling periods of X month".

    It's even possible to argue that, to progress, everyone should sometimes voluntarily do some actions that will make his rating drop down. I don't have enough experience in CP to take a CP example but I'm a snowboard instructor and I can tell you that is more efficient to correct a technical issue and to climb back the lost rating later with a healthy foundation than to keep going while have to bring this technical debt.

    This is why, in my opinion, ranking is more important in places where progress is slower which is the high ranks and why the impact on cheaters on the low ranking should be disregarded.

6 months ago, # |
Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +3 Vote: I do not like it

The whole point of rating is to foster a competitive environment so that people can be motivated to be better, do better. If cheating is allowed this motivation factor will go down and if unchecked will result in less and less participation from the community. So no we should care about cheaters. Also, you say cheaters below master do not matter but I think they do because it's newbies whose motivation to pursue any hobby is fickle, for long-time players they do it because they are doing it for a long time because they liked it. But when newbies find out that the whole incentive(rating) for participating is not guaranteed they are more likely to drop the field.

6 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +1 Vote: I do not like it

Closing eyes on cheaters is a horrible thing, no matter how small they are. It's ruining the sportsmanship, the spirit of competition, which is the reason many people even do CP, it has "competitive" in its name, you compete against people. With cheaters, all this vanishes, your hard work will be put into a trash bin by people, who outperformed you by asking for solution in a telegram channel, which is quite infuriating.

Moreover, if you stop punishing cheaters, it will only get worse. More cheaters will come, since you can just get better results without any consequences, more people will see this, more cheaters will come...It's an infinite loop that will keep feeding itself, until there will be pure chaos there.

In my opinion, cheating is a cancer no matter where, and I think you know what happens if you don't treat it

6 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -15 Vote: I do not like it

We really do not like cheaters.

But maybe we shouldn't post many blogs about cheaters(there usually are some after the contest), it maybe let us miss some more meaningful blogs, like tutorials.