[CQ-Contest] Cheating

David Gilbert xdavid at cis-broadband.com
Thu Jul 19 11:08:50 PDT 2012

If you define "the norm" as being within one sigma of the mean, then 
yeah ... I do think that cheating is considerably closer to being the 
human norm than it is to being out at the 0.1 percent point.  I'm not 
necessarily saying that lots of people intentionally cheat in order to 
try to win, but I do think that lots of people end up cheating because 
of one or more of the reasons I outlined in my post.  I left one out, by 
the way, and it is probably one of the most important of all.  People 
are much more likely to cheat in situations where they don't think it 
will matter ... either in the results or in terms of whether they 
perceive they would actually be hurting anybody else.

Humans have an incredible capability of rationalizing their own 
behaviors. Does anybody truly think that the following infractions don't 
happen all the time??

a.  running more power than allowed for the claimed category (especially 
if the person feels it's fair compensation for not being able to afford 
a better antenna)

b.  using spotting assistance while claiming unassisted operation

c.  massaging the log after the contest using DX summit or QRZ.com

In the studies I read online (no, I don't have the links any more) where 
sociologists tested groups of people for their tendency to cheat, the 
single biggest factor was visibility.   People were way more likely to 
cheat if they believed they weren't being watched and there wasn't a way 
to identify them afterward.  The percentages approached 40% in some 
cases!  Guess what ... ham radio is about as anonymous as you can get.  
No, I'm not saying that 40% of contesters cheat, but I wouldn't be at 
all surprised if the number approached 5% to 10% in one form or another.

I do agree that strong penalties are probably the only effective 
deterrent, since real time monitoring is simply not practical. DQ'ing a 
log alone is a really lame deterrent.  It's like the only penalty for 
robbery being that you have to give the money back if you get caught.  
The shame of getting caught doesn't work either ... we have at least a 
few high profile examples of that in our hobby.

Anyway, I'm done flogging this.  People will pretty much believe what 
they want to ... that's also human nature.

Dave   AB7E

On 7/19/2012 4:04 AM, Pete Smith N4ZR wrote:
> Is there anyone who hasn't cheated, as Dave defines the term, at some
> time in our lives?  But that's a far cry from defining cheating as "the
> norm."  A better way of thinking about it might be to take time spent
> cheating versus total time spent in the activity.
> As for enforcement, I think it's analogous to the enforcing of traffic
> laws.  That cop car on the shoulder, or traffic camera warning sign,
> won't be of any significance for most people using the road.  Their
> presence will probably deter some people from speeding, aggressive
> driving or running stop lights.  Some of those who aren't deterred will
> be caught, and the object lesson of being caught and given a ticket
> won't be lost on those who might be thinking of doing the same things.
> And finally, those who persist in such behavior should have their
> licenses taken away.
> 73, Pete N4ZR
> The World Contest Station Database, at www.conteststations.com
> The Reverse Beacon Network at http://reversebeacon.net, blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com,
> spots at telnet.reversebeacon.net, port 7000 and
> arcluster.reversebeacon.net, port 7000
> On 7/18/2012 10:37 PM, David Gilbert wrote:
>> I understand the political correctness of that statement, but I
>> guarantee that it isn't accurate.  I've written on this subject at
>> length before, but the reality is that WAY more of us will cheat under
>> the right circumstances:
>> a.  we perceive that a rule is unwarranted or unfair
>> b.  we perceive that cheating is a way to correct some imbalance in
>> circumstances
>> c.  we perceive that many others are cheating and that we are at a
>> disadvantage if we don't
>> c.  we don't think we will get caught because of poor visibility or
>> anonymity
>> d.  the stakes are high enough to warrant the risk of getting caught
>> e.  we consider it a challenge to cheat without getting caught
>> I didn't make those things up.  They're all discussed in various
>> sociological studies on the behavior of cheating that can be found with
>> a little internet searching, and all of the factors can be found in ham
>> radio contesting.  If anyone thinks that giving in to one or more of
>> those factors is limited to 0.1 percent of our ranks, consider what
>> percentage of people fudge on their tax returns, go through a stop sign
>> if nobody is around, have affairs  .... or even loot stores in a
>> disaster.  Cheating in one form or another isn't an aberration in humans
>> ... it's closer to being the norm.
>> 73,
>> Dave   AB7E
>> On 7/17/2012 10:35 PM, Tree wrote:
>>> Hello fellow contesters.
>>> Let me preface this message by first saying that I believe 99.9 percent of
>>> contesters play by the rules.  This message talks about the 0.01 percent
>>> who don't.
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