[CQ-Contest] Cheating as a moral issue

Rick Kiessig kiessig at gmail.com
Fri Sep 14 12:10:41 EDT 2012

> My view is that cheating is primarily a moral issue, and that morality 
> cannot be "legislated." You can't force someone to be moral. Rules 
> won't make someone more moral. The moral must be chosen; you have to 
> want to be moral.

Why, then, are all competitive events governed by
rules?   Because, without rules, morality would not
be a factor in the results.

>> And yet cheating still exists in those other events. Even Scrabble. 

>> I don't have any objection to rules. What I'm saying is that rules don't
change anyone's morality. Morality is always a factor in the results, rules
or no rules.

> If a cheater "wins," their victory will be hollow,

Cheaters are delighted with any victory - that's why they cheat.

>> Cheaters cheat for all sorts of reasons. For most, I doubt winning is
anywhere close to a major motivator (how about "I don't like that rule" or
"I'm going to do it my way"?). If they are victorious, any "delight" is only
temporary at best, partly because it's not a real victory (and they know
it's not).

> Only an honest competitor will truly enjoy the win for the long term.

How would you know - you're not dishonest?  :-)

>> I'm pretty good at observing others around me. I know about morality and
I know people. Being dishonest is a path to misery in the long term. You can
see it yourself if you look.

> Rules should be enforced, but they should also be enforceable.

It's preferable that rules can be enforced.  At present, there's no absolute
way of enforcing power-lever rules, but that's no reason not to have
power-level rules.

>> I think not being able to enforce a rule is a very good reason not to
have it. What does it mean for something to be a "rule" if it can't also be
enforced? "Gentleman's agreement"? For cheaters who are in it to win,
cheating with high power can certainly give them a big leg up.

> To reinforce this point, I would like to suggest a move in the 
> opposite direction from Yuri's recent post: fewer rules all around, not

Isn't that equivalent to ignoring the issue of cheating in contesting, and
hoping it will go away?

>> No, it's acknowledging the reality of the situation -- which is that
cheating will not go away, and that more rules won't change that. Fewer
rules would actually make it more difficult to cheat, and make it easier to
be honest.

> Trying to
> legislate things like power levels, assisted vs. not, use of a local 
> Skimmer, and so on, is just a waste of time and effort.

On the contrary, all these seem to be perfectly reasonable things to do.

>> "Reasonable" by what standard? Unenforceable rules seem totally
unreasonable to me. In fact, unenforceable rules actually give cheaters an
advantage (if you're going to cheat on power, what better group to go
against than QRP?).

>> Why do contest organizers even care about discriminating between assisted
an unassisted? Seems like assisted scores are lower anyway -- "distracted"
and all that. Reclassifying someone from unassisted to assisted could
actually mean that they go from not winning in their original category to
winning in their new one. It seems crazy.

> If you do have an honest win, why spoil it with some nagging doubt 
> about whether you fully, absolutely complied with the rules?

When anyone has nagging doubts about whether they complied with the rules,
chances are they didn't have an honest win.

>> That's a big jump. Accidents happen. Things can be misinterpreted.
There's a grey area. I'm not saying it's a big one, but I can see how it
could happen -- and the more rules there are, the bigger that grey area

Rules that are updated promptly in the light of experience are essential to
combat cheating in contesting.

>> I think that's backwards. You can't combat cheating with unenforceable
rules. The recent rule updates related to Skimmer are a case in point. Bad
idea. I wouldn't be surprised if it causes more people to cheat, not less.

73, Rick ZL2HAM

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