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12 April 2011 @ 09:56 am
On calling the director when opp is drawing incorrectly  
It seems to me that you should just do it, each and every time.

There were a number of posts about potential cheating and/or irregular drawing in a few tournaments in the last couple of years. Some people have related that they feel that there was no way to prove someone was cheating, and that feeling like they might have been cheated tilted them for the remainder of the tournament.

Deciding in advance to call the director each and every time achieves a few things:

1) it informs your opponent that you want the rules enforced during your game.

2) it gives the director some history over the course of a tournament and even over multiple tournaments, should the TD list be used. Yes, one poor drawing technique moment is not actionable (and likely should not be unless obviously just plain old cheating). 3 or 5 or 10 might be.

3) The onus of "should I have acted? I hate myself for having let this person cheat me (maybe?)" is removed.

4) The *decision* during the game of "should I call the director?" is removed. You make the decision in advance. The director will do what he/she wants to do--but regardless of the decision, YOU have done all you can do. There are bad calls in sports. I think it's easier to get over a bad call than a "I didn't do anything and got cheated as a result" feeling.


As an aside, you don't have to be a dick about it at all. Just when you see irregular drawing, call the director over, inform the director and the player quietly about it. And do this every time the drawing is irregular as neutrally as possible.
 
 
 
wallydraigle on April 12th, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
This sets a very dangerous and bad precedent. I feel bad for any director who has to deal with 100+ people who takes said precedent, and I think you'd find it very hard to make friends this way. It is important to separate illegal and malicious behavior. Use discretion.

This is especially true in an open. A lot of games are spent playing against lower rated players, which are the players that make playing in opens possible. You want to treat these people well: they are by and large donating to the prize pool with little chance of getting their money back. They know this in advance and are perfectly happy with doing so, but they won't be happy doing so if their opponents are calling the director on them every 3rd game.

Calling the director when you believe malicious behavior is involved is fine. And, just as an aside, just because the game is over doesn't mean you can't talk to the director THEN. I've made many complaints to directors about behavior I felt was malicious after the game or even tournament is over. I think this is far more appropriate, as it doesn't embarrass the player and doesn't cause a scene nearly as much as a stern warning (make sure it's loud enough that neighboring tables hear it though.)

I suppose after the second infraction I could have called the director, but I didn't think that it mattered at that point since both blanks and all 4 Ss were gone. Also, calling the director mid-game doesn't exactly put you in a good mental mindframe (unless you call it on yourself, which I've done several times.) I don't really regret not calling him over, but even at this point I wasn't that sure he was cheating, or more accurately, I didn't want to believe he was cheating.

As a person I generally don't believe that there are bad people in the world, and it's hard for me to account for cheating Scrabble players. Even in Hodges' case I can at least say to myself (well, he put himself in a really bad financial situation and wanted to account for himself and other people). With this opponent I know that's not the case: if he's cheating (and I still feel it is very likely that he did, even with David Whitley's comments) he's doing it out of pure ego.

I'm not even really hoping for a suspension right now, because I'm pretty sure that you can't get him for cheating under the current rule set. What I want right now is a rule change so that this doesn't happen again, and so that if I play this player again and he does the same thing THEN he can be thrown out of the tournament, and I can play the rest of my games with peace of mind and a forfeit win.


Bradgoldfishbw on April 12th, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC)
they won't be happy doing so if their opponents are calling the director on them every 3rd game

Then they should learn how to draw correctly! If it's important enough to be a rule, it's important enough to enforce.

I think Jason is correct... if we all forced our opponents to draw correctly, that would go a long way toward preventing people from cheating. That's a lot of work though so I don't think I would do anything unless I was playing someone suspected of cheating. Usually I pay no attention at all to my opponent when he or she is drawing.
The Voracious Loanwantonhalo on April 13th, 2011 09:17 am (UTC)
As an example of this rule being annoying, I played someone at SDO who is not at all suspected of cheating. This person blatantly violated the rules for drawing, but I did not call him/her on it, as it would only cause an annoying fuss by disrupting the director, the game, me, my opponent, and the surrounding players.
skin_it_mahatmaskin_it_mahatma on April 13th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
very sorry to hear you had to go thru this.

i long suspected this individual of cheating. in addition, s/he used to (not sure if s/he does anymore. i am happy to report i haven't played him/her in ages) do some tsk noises during games (a doctor should heal hisself or herself, no?), talk during my turn, etc. i had called the director on him in reno a couple of times, many years ago. would have been helpful if others had backed me up then. perhaps kenji woulda been spared this anguish. to be fair, none of the youngsters like cesar, kenji, jesses, conrad, pickaxes, jamez et al used to be in the tourney scrabble scene then.

exasperated, i posted on cgp a contest called "quoth the maven":
"an apple a day keeps Dr. Poe away. PLEASE eat an apple a day!"

absent fellow players' support, this was my way of dealing with the bastard.
(no subject) - hebdomad on April 12th, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - hebdomad on April 12th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
1337 5CR4BBL3 P1ZZ4actionjackson36 on April 12th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
I use the Tile Can with my board. I don't hold the "bag" above my head either way, I hold it around eye level but I look away.
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dugy1001dugy1001 on April 12th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
spheruliticspherulitic on April 12th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
Those things are annoying. Although it's probably mutually exclusive having something that's easy to reach into and hard to see into. What they need is a tile dispensing device, preferably with a model attendant like the lottery drawings on TV
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spheruliticspherulitic on April 12th, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC)
Well, ISC is a bad example because it's designed in such a way that it can be rigged. Your point is taken, although a tile dispensing device could solve a lot of problems (including brailleable tiles as well).
JMcAtolarjev on April 12th, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
I agree that they're completely annoying. I have a small hand but it gets stuck in the can. Hate them more than I'd hate analog timers or creaky old boards.
(no subject) - actionjackson36 on April 12th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
jigsawn on April 13th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
like
Craig Rowlandwrongradical on April 12th, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
I do not like the Tile Can, however I prefer it to some regulation-size tile bags that are made of such a sturdy fabric that they do not flop shut. Case in point: the fabric of one my Club member's bags (sturdy fabric à la Vera-Ellen's skirt in the fireplace scene with Danny Kaye in "White Christmas") is so thick that the bag yawns open. When they finish drawing, the mouth of the bag sometimes is open to me. I have to crumple the bag to avoid taking a peek. At least the rules now prohibit pillow slips as bags.
vinylchancesvinylchances on April 12th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
This is a very nice principle, but it's very hard to execute it... as Kenji says, very hard to make friends this way, yes.

Even if you're not trying to "be a dick about it," you'll inevitably be perceived that way.

There are some people I've known for a relatively long time who hold the bag in an improper place -- people I see every week at club and play with all the time, etc. I would never say anything, because I don't suspect any malice there, and I don't wanna become "that guy who bugs people about drawing." I'm sure others are in the same boat here.
Nth Pliskiecrosstables on April 12th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
I agree. In fact, someone we know was asked to adjust drawing technique during a tourney, and the perception was that the requestER was just being sorta dickish. Perhaps directors should mill around more, or deputize helpers to keep an eye on people, to take the onus off the opponent. It feels to me that when your opponent says, "Keep your bag up," it sounds more like "you're cheating" than if a director says it to you and some others.
synodalhajsynodalhaj on April 12th, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
I think how you do it is a big part of it. I guess I would only really recommend this strongly to someone who would get really upset if they lost a game to someone they thought was cheating due to improper bag drawing.

I don't think changing the rules is going to do much--we already have a rule (re drawing) that makes it so it's tough to cheat. The point is you need to get it enforced, right?

Part of this is attitudes, too. There shouldn't be stigma associated with a director call.

Maybe I am being a bit unrealistic.
real lad scorescesarsalad on April 12th, 2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
There shouldn't be a stigma, but there is; we need to do something to collectively remove the stigma, but I don't know what. Perhaps the directors can remind everyone before the games begin that if an opponent is drawing suspiciously, to gently tell them to raise the bag higher, or hell, change the rule so that "your eyes must be visible while drawing" (actually, I have a feeling this is partly how it's worded). It doesn't have to be an implication of cheating, but there doesn't seem to be an easy way. I think cheaters prey on the fact that it's hard to call them out on it and that there is so much plausible deniability. I tend to notice how all my opponents draw and for a very small number of them, I notice that they draw suspiciously, and that they are noticing that I am noticing them, but no more is said; this is partly my fault of course.

Cheating (or the strong suspicion thereof) can ruin an entire tournament for the cheatee; Kenji completely steamed off his games and I understand exactly how he felt.
synodalhajsynodalhaj on April 12th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Maybe I should modify this to "each and every time when facing an opponent who you feel might be doing something shady." I mean, if you don't feel they're doing something shady, then you're not going to get upset, right? If you do, on the very first occasion where you think something is being done improperly, just call the director.

Saves you from being upset. No harm for honest mistakes--everyone gets a good reminder.
wallydraigle on April 12th, 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)
Let me respond with something that I'll undoubtedly have to write to NASPA: Why I didn't call the director over earlier.

Basically, there are two possibilities: either my opponent cheats or my opponent doesn't cheat. In this case, the opponent clearly DOES know better, so if he continues to draw this way after being warned he's probably in the "cheat" category.

Now, after the first incident I don't know. If he does cheat, calling over the director dissuades him from cheating for the rest of the game, and... for a while. Warning him should in theory stop him for the rest of the game, or else risk an explosion (like what happened). If I were a more vitriolic person I could easily just lie and say I saw something I didn't see and he'd be completely and totally fucked because my story would be plausible and consistent with the rest of his behavior. Once he was sure no one was watching in a few rounds (he'd go back to cheating again. Directors can't and shouldn't be expected to watch for the remainder of the tournament based on one accusation.

If he is a cheater, I don't want him to stop for a little while. I want him gone: out: kaputt.

If he's not a cheater, a warning will make said person change their suspicious behavior just as much as a director will, especially from a highly rated player.

After the second incident, both blanks and all 4 S were gone. Thus, if he is Hodging his tiles (which seems more likely), what good is it if he doesn't know what tiles he needs? Again, I want him out. Informing him that he's going to be watched like a hawk will make him stop temporarily. I don't want him to stop temporarily. I want him GONE.

If he doesn't cheat, what does calling the director accomplish?

After the third incident, I was too pissed to be rational about it. I guess the best strategy was to just swallow my 120 point loss and move on and covertly create an incident report but I let my emotions get the best of me.

Calling the director over is to correct behavior. This wasn't an instance of correcting behavior. This person had already been told earlier what he was doing was unacceptable by 2 different people priorly.

I think you are being a bit naive in this thread. Maybe not. I could definitely be convinced otherwise. The identity of this person is not irrelevant here.
synodalhajsynodalhaj on April 12th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
Establishing a formal track record of complaints and/or incidents is the best (only?) way to develop a case against someone. Very rarely are there seven witnesses and a camera record of obvious cheating (or other misdeeds) which is unmistakable.

If a police officer decides he has it in for you, he can give you a ticket for anything he wants, and you will lose if you take it to court if he decides to lie. The point in fighting it is not so much to get out of the ticket, because you will lose in a he-said-she-said with a lying cop, but to establish a pattern, so that the police officer cannot do so indefinitely.

Saying nothing to the rules people while infractions were happening, stewing, and then eventually losing your shit seems ineffective at achieving your professed goal. I don't know what happened there, I can only guess from reading a few posts. You weren't the only person I had read about a similar situation (though of course most recently I thought of this because of CT posts). I have no idea about the relative guilt/innocence/whatever in any of these incidents that have happened.

I also disagree on "calling director is to correct behavior [only]." That's part one, but it's also to have director impose sanctions where necessary. While there would be no sanction for an isolated incident, establishing a pattern of incidents could be useful for later in this tournament, or in other tournaments.

Sounds like a very frustrating weekend. Sorry to hear that it was not much fun for you. :(
wallydraigle on April 12th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
The only way to get him out is if the director saw it. If the opponent knew the director was watching, he'd stop (as long as the director was watching). He's probably stop for a few rounds and then go back. That's not the goal.
tranonehalftranonehalf on April 12th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC)
The rules, if enforced, are enough to present shady drawing, without having to resort to tile cans or drawing machines. The only problem might be stigma. That can be changed if proper drawing was consistently enforced so as to be the norm. This way, deviation would be stigmatized, and reminding players to draw properly was congratulated instead. I agree with Cesar that the director's should bear a larger onus on enforcing this rule. I know for Calgary, Siri et al always make an announcement at club, the week before a tournament, to remind players of proper drawing technique.
skin_it_mahatmaskin_it_mahatma on April 13th, 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)
eric has got it right.

it would appear laziness is a main reason why most players do not draw tiles in the correct manner.
Sharsharya on April 12th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
This is fascinating. As a non-scrabble player, I did not appreciate that there is a correct drawing technique.

What's it supposed to be, and what are they doing differently when they don't draw correctly?
synodalhajsynodalhaj on April 12th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
You're supposed to display an empty palm before putting your hand in the bag (so you're not putting crappy tiles back IN), and hold the bag ABOVE eye level and avert your eyes (so you're not looking in the bag for letters you want, or looking in your hand just above bag level for tiles that you want).

IV.B.1. How to Draw Tiles
Mix the tiles, if desired. (Note: Total mixing time for the entire draw must not exceed 10 seconds.) Hold the bag at eye level or higher and avert your eyes. Never hold tiles in one hand while drawing tiles with the other. Always open the drawing hand before drawing. Place tiles either onto your rack or, preferably, face down on the table and then onto your rack.


Cheaters exist in every sport. It's amazing to me in some ways that the stakes can be as low as they are for us in Scrabble and that people still do it.

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tranonehalftranonehalf on April 13th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
You would have to have cheated prior, in order to somehow cheat by not revealing your palm.