[CQ-Contest] RE: My Friend Spotted me

Leigh S. Jones kr6x at kr6x.com
Thu Dec 4 21:56:24 EST 2003

I watch this thread with great interest.  Despite K1AR being tired
of hearing about packet, I still feel there's much to discuss.

A lot of comments come from guys who just don't seem to get
it -- they seem unable to understand why some of us are sensitive
to the subject.  Certainly, if no one spots anyone then there's no
reason for spotting systems to exist.  So someone gets spotted.
I don't think that any comments on the reflector are making an
argument against basic usage of spotting networks by "assisted"
or "unlimited" operators during contests.

K1TTT went to some great effort to expose some of the present
packet abuses.  Though he did a lot of work, and produced what
seemingly is an unbiased view of the issue, I'd caution against
taking the individual examples at face value because we don't
know all the details behind the reports.  It's the overall shape of
the K1TTT report that tells the story, not the individual examples.

As an example of reasons to be cautious, one thing that's often
overlooked when a report like K1TTT's is published is that an
amazing amount of sharing of IP addresses takes place on the
modern internet.  Those who've never studied logs from a web
server rarely understand the extent of this.  Entire regions of the
country are represented by AOL and other ISP's and dial-up
networks by small blocks of IP addresses. Often a handfull of
IP addresses represent several dozen users.  What appears as
a single IP address in the K1TTT report may really represent
many different hams using the same service.  This also works
in reverse -- a single computer and user can be represented
by 10 or more IP addresses when fetching the contents of a
single web page.

Some have written with resentful comments that go something
like "So now we're being lectured on who we can spot and
how..."  To this group I have to say that it is possible, and
apparently tempting, for many to abuse packet spotting.  A
twist of words and a tone of angry resentment can't change the
nature of the abuse.  There have been so many spotting thread
postings now that I've forgotten most of the individuals.  I
don't want to stand in judgement now with this, but I'd like
to suggest to this group of individuals that if they feel personally
under siege regarding their own packet spotting habits based
on the K1TTT report and the subsequent postings, that perhaps
the remainder of the contesting community really deserve
more consideration from the "don't lecture us" group.

You see, packet abuse is one of the "contest cheating"
techniques that is hard to define, detect, and correct.
K1TTT's expose was tantalizing, but didn't successfully
identify any entrants that should be disqualified or scores
that should be reduced.  We can see a pattern of "my friend
spotted me" type abuses, even clear instances of "friends"
who are seen to be hiding their true identities while spotting,
but can't clearly distinguish between "friends" spotting and
organized and extensive "friends" spotting or self-spotting.

Well, nonetheless, organized and extensive "friends"
spotting and self-spotting is the real concern of the thread,
though this is not what was exposed by K1TTT.  The
hot interest of the contesting community regarding this issue
does seem to indicate that many are concerned that we
may need better protection against these abuses. Despite
K1AR's boredom with the subject, this remains one of
the important issues facing the contesting community.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Root" <steve.root at culligan4water.com>
To: <cq-contest at contesting.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 4:51 AM
Subject: [CQ-Contest] RE: My Friend Spotted me

Last weekend I was nowhere near a Packet connection.  And I certainly
ask any MWA members before the contest if they would spot me if they
me.  As it was, I was spotted a couple of times by club members.  I
was also
spotted a couple of time by Europeans.  And most interesting, I was
by another Stateside station that's not in my club, and doesn't live
anywhere near me.  Wouldn't ALL of those spots look the same on your
or potentially have the same effect on my score?  What difference does
make who originated the spot, as long as 1) You didn't originate it
yourself, and 2) You didnt make arrangements for someone else to do

73 Steve K0SR

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