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[CQ-Contest] Spot Abuse - An Intermediate Suggestion

To: "CQ-Contest Reflector" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Spot Abuse - An Intermediate Suggestion
From: "Ward Silver" <hwardsil@gmail.com>
Reply-to: Ward Silver <hwardsil@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 15:01:32 -0800
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
>> Has anybody given thought to asking the people who own/operate the 
>> various
>> clusters, to voluntarily shut them down during contest periods?
> We need to encourage the casual operators who use Packet as a means to
> increase country totals to work contests.  Shutting off packet will
> discourage activity from casual ops and we do not need that.

There are two problems with abuses of spotting information:
1) Using spotting network information when the category of submission 
prohibits it - this is cheating.
2) Using the spotting network information inappropriately, such as calling 
without listening and logging busted calls - this is bad behavior but isn't 
necessarily cheating.

I agree that shutting down the spotting is not a realistic option.  However, 
we can affect what information is fed to it.  The simplest thing is just to 
not spot anything - and most unassisted folks do just that since they're not 
connected.  For those actively generating spots, why not limit the 
information to prefix only?  i.e. - DX P5 14195.0 N0AX

This is by no means a panacea, but it does have several good effects:
a) It will encourage spot users to actually listen - what a concept!
b) It will encourage DX stations to identify more frequently, since their 
call will not be complete in the spot.
c) The cheaters will have to work harder to get any points from the spot, in 
some cases to the point of it not being worth cheating.

It does not discourage casual operators in any way since they still get 
"Hey, there's a PY0 on 7027", just like the Goodle Days. Does it hurt 
legitimate assisted-category operators?  Not really - the good ones listen 
for a call sign anyway.  It requires zero effort on the part of two 
overworked groups - the sponsors and the spotting network operators.

What this does require is for the logging software authors to create a 
feature called "Spot Prefixes Only" or "Spot First Three Characters Only" 
(yes, the special 1x1 calls will get a free ride...so what) in new versions 
of the program.  How about it N1MM programmers?  This should be really easy, 
since the program already determines the call sign prefix for multiplier and 
heading information.  It's a "simple matter of programming".

Then it's up to the rest of us to try it.  If it doesn't work - stop using 
it.  Don't wait for the sponsors to try and enforce spotting rules 
administratively - change the game yourselves!

73, Ward N0AX 

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