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Re: [CQ-Contest] Game theory of spotting?

To: <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Game theory of spotting?
From: "David Robbins K1TTT" <k1ttt@arrl.net>
Reply-to: k1ttt@arrl.net
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 14:10:59 +0000
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Oh yeah, lots of theory and not much analysis I think.  There are many
different thoughts on spotting.  And its not a zero sum game in many

Things to consider in the spotting game:

1. a real spot for someone may slow them down if they are not good enough to
handle the pileup.

2. a real spot for someone may help them if they can handle it or they were
calling without enough stations to work

3. some nodes filter spots by time/frequency.  So many spots for a single
station on the same frequency may get filtered out as dupes, in which case
frequent spotting of the same station doesn't help or hurt.

4. some users filter spots by origin or spotted station.  i.e. many
stateside users only look at spots from their own call area, so spots from
outside their call area make no difference.  This is one of the motivating
factors for spotting with fake callsigns, you can target the spot audience a
bit by picking your fake call properly.  This also means that stateside
spotters for stateside stations (intra club cheerleaders), may not be
helping as much as they think as some dx stations also filter out stateside
spoters so they don't see them.

5. some nodes also filter spots by origin, so ditto above for even more

6. spotting stations you can't work can alert them that you are calling if
they are on the network.

7. spotting stations you can't work can alert bigger stations to call them
to get their attention for you so they listen in your direction.

8. spotting stations that are dupes on a barely open band (like 10m now) can
alert other ops that there is propagation and help attract them to the band.

9. picking a cq frequency just above or below a rare dx station that has
been spotted can get you more attention than otherwise as stations tune off
the rare guy after working him or giving up... or it can give you more qrm.

10. busted spots (intentional or otherwise) can result in loss of rate for
the spotted station as callers who are dupes show up and call without
verifying the callsign.

11. busted spots (intentional or otherwise) can result in NIL's for the real
station if he logs the callers and they log a completely wrong callsign.
This is a trap that I think the JT's that have been spotting completely
different calls to attract attention to themselves, if they don't identify
enough to make sure the callers log THEIR callsign instead of the spotted
callsign, they lose!

12. busted spots (intentional or otherwise) that are one-off may still get
credit for the real station during log checking.

13. not verifying the callsign of a spotted station when you work them is a
gamble.  Most spots are probably ok, but some percentage are bad... that has
to be weighted against the penalty for a busted call, the time it takes to
work the station, and how often they are identifying.

There are probably more, these are just ones off the top of my head.

David Robbins K1TTT
e-mail: mailto:k1ttt@arrl.net
web: http://www.k1ttt.net
AR-Cluster node: 145.69MHz or telnet://dxc.k1ttt.net

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cq-contest-bounces@contesting.com [mailto:cq-contest-
> bounces@contesting.com] On Behalf Of Dave@KA1N.CN
> Sent: Sunday, December 23, 2007 02:49
> To: cq-contest@contesting.com
> Subject: [CQ-Contest] Game theory of spotting?
> As fascinating as the cheating discussion is (and it could only be better,
> if there were gratuitous naming of names and calls as well as legal
> threats), as someone with a passing interest in game theory, I wonder if
> any of the more capable on the list have done any analysis of the
> ramifications of spotting someone on packet as it now stands.  We know
> that packet changes the character of contests, but can we be sure HOW it
> changes the contest as a whole and as well as individual strategies.
> In the old days, spots on packet were meant to help out fellow members of
> a club or team.  This was easy to understand.  Now, they serve some other
> purpose in contesting.  But, it also seems that we now have access to lots
> of data which would show potential motivations and rewards for spotting.
> I imagine that there are all sorts of "learning" going on as the contest
> progresses.  Is there an incentive to provide incorrect spots?  Is there
> an incentive to spot someone without working them?  My intuition is that
> most of the "cheerleading" spots don't really help, but I might be wrong.
> Any ideas?
> 73,
>  Dave/KA1NCN
> Dave@ka1n.cn
> .
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