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Re: [CQ-Contest] SRe: What I want for Christmas

To: "CQ-Contest@contesting. com" <CQ-Contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] SRe: What I want for Christmas
From: Michael Coslo <mjc5@psu.edu>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 10:37:36 -0500
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
On Dec 18, 2007, at 12:04 AM, K0HB wrote:

> Let me see if I understand this --- if you don't work N6TJ, you're  
> not a
> serious contester.
> That's a cheap and patronizing shot, and adds nothing to the  
> discussion.
> Is this discussion limited to people who have worked N6TJ?
> Ya know Jim, maybe a lot of "serious contesters" might decide not  
> to work
> you next time they have the opportunity.

        Ahh, I didn't know that Jim sent that to the list also. I had  
answered Jim in private email, but it might be good to let folks know  
who I am here.

I am a sponsor of a party. The Pennsylvania QSO Party specifically. I  
bring a different perspective to the table. Strictly speaking, I'm  
the administrator, the Nittany ARC is the sponsor, but no need to  
quibble. I'm the bad guy 8^)

The reason that I'm not in a lot more folks logs is twofold. First is  
that the work of running the party takes up a lot of my free time, so  
I don't get on the air as much as I would like. After my tenure as  
chairman, I intend to get back into contesting in a big way.

Second is that when I do contest or party, it is often under the call  
sign of W3YA or W3GA.


Now on to stuff not related to Jim's post to me, but related to the  
subject of cheating.

I think I have some possibly valuable insights into some of these  
matters, as the person sitting on the other side of the logs.

Many of the suggestions we've had here are frankly just too unwieldy  
and time consuming to work. Some of them are draconian (but that's a  
personal opinion)

One of the major problems is that most of the suggestions put an  
undue burden on the sponsor. This statement isn't made out of  
laziness, it's made out of the fact that there is only so much time  
available, and only so many people to help.

The concept of self policing is the only one that will consistently  
work. It is the "structureless structure" that makes Amateur radio so  
valuable during times of crisis. If a person notes that someone is  
cheating, it is incumbent upon them to report it to the sponsor. If  
they don't, they share in the problem.
This is a efficient use of resources.

On the other hand, putting the responsibility square on the shoulders  
of the sponsors is concentrating that responsibility at a point. How  
much more does a person who is pitting in a thousand or more hours a  
year going to handle an added burden of a recording from every  

I've heard folks claim that it should only be done to "serious"  

Not good. Are the serious ones more important than the non-serious  
ones? Think long and hard about that. It takes a lot of the little  
guys to allow the big guns to sit and run on a frequency.

Just because one makes less points than some others does not make  
them frivolous contesters.

And as a sponsor, and having caught cheaters, I can tell you that not  
every cheater is a top ten score. Why they do it, I don't know, but  
some folks just like to "get away with something".

So right there, the concept of recording fails - unless you promote  
the idea of listening to every QSO from every contestant.  All  
cheating is bad, not just among the "serious" contesters. A message  
to those who want this two tiered system is that you won't have so  
many QSO's if the "non serious" contesters decide that it is simply  
too much trouble.

If contesters seriously want to eliminate cheating, what they must do  
is self police. If you suspect someone of cheating, turn them into  
the contest sponsor. It doesn't (and shouldn't be) a public thing.  
Just a note alerting the sponsor, with as much proof as you can give.  
This allows the sponsor to look into the issue, and take action.  
Simply wringing hands and gnashing of teeth won't work, expecting the  
sponsor to do everything to cure the problem won't work.  One of my  
biggest questions to some folk is that if cheating is a rampant as  
you assert, why don't YOU do something about it, like report the  
perps? Gather up some evidence, and see if the sponsor can nail  
them.  Knowing something is wrong and not doing something about it is  
a second wrong. Lots of excuses for timidity mean little.

This often takes years however, and there is a strong desire among  
some contesters for immediate action and loud public displays  
denouncing the perpetrator. Public lynching don't work. Technology  
based solutions just give more avenues to cheat.

Contester, heal thyself! is not too bad of advice.

I'd like to close this with a positive note. I've looked at thousands  
and thousand of logs, from hand written to printed to electronic, and  
I can say with some authority that the overwhelming majority of  
contesters are scrupulously honest. And anything I might implement to  
catch cheaters is not going to make these good honest folk think that  
I don't trust them.

-73 de Mike N3LI -

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