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 Post subject: Request for Rules Amendment to Prohibit Intentional Cheating
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:47 am 
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I hereby formally (re-)request the addition of a "rule 3e" that explictly prohibits any member from intentionally cheating any other member or forum audience in general through deceitful action or statements. This rule applies primarily to the Buy & Sell forums and to Photo Contest forum, but can be applied to other forums if required. There are some applications of this rule being enforced for certain situations (particulary on Buy & Sell forums) but it should be codified as a written rule and applied to the entire forum in the interest of ensuring fairness and honesty.

Mistakes and unintentional cheating may be forgiven if corrected upon being pointed out by either staff or another member, though repeated offenses of this nature should maybe carry a one-star rules violation warning. Using Photo Contest forum as example, should a contestant submit an entry that violates one of that month's contest rules, and unknowingly did so, they should be notified and given a chance to repost a corrected version if desired or willingly accept their entry as disqualified. Using Buy & Sell forum as example, should a payment attempt be made in good faith, but fail to go through for various reasons, buyer/seller should be allowed to correct if both parties agree to continue transaction. People make mistakes and weird things can happen with Paypal, credit cards, bank transfers, or shipping, and we should not punish members for such circumstances under this rule. Pardon the pun, but the intent of this new rule would be to rule on intent: i.e., when it can be proven with evidence (image artifacts, payment records, member's own admission, etc.) that a member knowingly and willingly tried to deceive others.

By the adoption of this rule, mods will be immediately granted the power to prevent and correct future instances of cheating in the Photo Contest forum, or rule upon such cases when requested by another member. Previously, this was not allowed through the 'non-interference with photo contests' doctrine, or through application of any other sections of rule 3. By not having a rule to prevent it, a loophole exists in which a cheating entry can only be removed at the discretion of the contest host for that month, and the cheating member can not be punished by staff for their actions.


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 Post subject: Re: Request for Rules Amendment to Prohibit Intentional Chea
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:32 pm 
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Cheating in a For Sale post is already regarded as a severe violation of rules. If intentional, if it's a scam, this will result in a forum ban. If it's a stupid mistake, we will discuss this with those involved.

In regards to the Photo Challenge, it's more difficult. We had those discussions before. TDF (staff and management) is not involved in the Photo Challenge, we only facilitate. We act if the Rules of Conduct of TDF are violated. Rules specific to the Photo Challenge are set by the host. The host rules these rules.


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 Post subject: Re: Request for Rules Amendment to Prohibit Intentional Chea
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:23 pm 
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I totally agree that the cheating issue is valid with regard to the Buy & Sell section. In that instance, money is changing hands and expectations are based on the the seller's "truth in advertising." However, forgive my ignorance and I have no intent to flame this post, but... regarding the photo contests... this is a joke right? A funny Ha Ha? Photo contest "doctrine?" Really? If someone intentionally cheats the stated rules in a photo contest, GIF challenge, etc., what harm is really being done to anyone? Its a photo contest! Something we choose or choose not to participate in. We do it for fun, nothing more. Hopefully those who do participate play along in good faith with the merit of keeping with the contest's rules, but if not, there is no monetary loss to anyone, no physical harm, no slander or liable at stake. I think Punishment would be a bit ridiculous in my opinion, but that's just me. Frankly, if someone is caught intentionally cheating in a photo contest, I have faith we would call them out on it as a group and their entry would be disqualified. We're a pretty tame lot here on TDF and I think we can all do a very good job at light-heartedly "chastising" someone for that type of cheating! Again, all this is JMHO.



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 Post subject: Re: Request for Rules Amendment to Prohibit Intentional Chea
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:55 pm 
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Knightshift wrote:
Frankly, if someone is caught intentionally cheating in a photo contest, I have faith we would call them out on it as a group and their entry would be disqualified. We're a pretty tame lot here on TDF and I think we can all do a very good job at light-heartedly "chastising" someone for that type of cheating!

Unfortunately, calling them out is actually a violation of rule 3a. That's the problem with this situation. Staff doesn't have power or authority to either stop or penalize the criminal, but do to silence the whistleblower (and just about have to if someone reports the post.) If staff can't take action and other entrants and voters can't chastise without moderation, then effectively it falls to the contest host to decide what to do. If contest host is friendly with the cheater or has something to gain from the situation, then the cheater may get off with entirely no penalty or social stigma. (Just bad feelings from people in-the-know.)

Sadly, I wish this were all hypothetical, but this rule is proposed becuase this is exactly what happened a few weeks ago. An entry was submitted that multiple members commented on that it appeared to violate the rules. The entrant defended that their entry did not, however I proved that the image artifacts concluded that it was. The contest host elected not to disqualify and would not name which entry was the violator in the poll thread. Everytime I tried to point it out, my comments were moderated out to protect the entrant under the terms of rule 3a. At conclusion of poll, at least one voter openly admitted publicly that they did not know cheating had taken place and was not able to identity which one before placing their vote. I asked, but never found out if that voter had given one of their votes to that entrant.

What harm you say? Where's the harm in me calling a cheater for what they are if I can prove it? Does the truth hurt so much it must be moderated out? Apparently so becuase its considered a derogotory/demeaning/disrepectful statement made against another member, a violation of rule 3a. But I spent a long time getting just the right angle, framing, and lighting for my entrant that month. I put in hard work and followed the rules to the letter (as did many others) only to see someone else come along and be excused from doing so, and then protected by both the host and by forum rules. So yeah, I felt highly disrespected to see a cheater's sense of impropriety take precedence over my principles of fairness. So I tried to argue cheating as a rule 3a violation taken against me and every other entrant but staff explictly denied this interpretation. Rule 3a is worded so that its member vs member, not member vs everyone in general. I've never quite understood how the rules can protect a cheater's interests but not those of the other entrants. Implementation of this rule would correct for this in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: Request for Rules Amendment to Prohibit Intentional Chea
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:42 am 
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The issue here is 'calling out." If you have questions about something in the sales section, send a PM to the Moderator. If you have a question about a photo contest entry? Send a PM to the Host.

It is NOT members' role to chastise one another publicly.



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 Post subject: Re: Request for Rules Amendment to Prohibit Intentional Chea
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:34 am 
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JunkGuy wrote:
I hereby formally (re-)request the addition of a "rule 3e" that explictly prohibits any member from intentionally cheating any other member or forum audience in general through deceitful action or statements. This rule applies primarily to the Buy & Sell forums and to Photo Contest forum, but can be applied to other forums if required. There are some applications of this rule being enforced for certain situations (particulary on Buy & Sell forums) but it should be codified as a written rule and applied to the entire forum in the interest of ensuring fairness and honesty.


How much of an issue has this been in the Buy and Sell forum? Is there a history of, "take the money and run," on that forum?


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 Post subject: Re: Request for Rules Amendment to Prohibit Intentional Chea
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:29 pm 
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TJ_Foxx wrote:
If you have a question about a photo contest entry? Send a PM to the Host.

It is NOT members' role to chastise one another publicly.

What if host doesn't do anything? This is the loophole I'm talking about. There may be a conflict of interest or some other desire involved for a host to not take action to enforce their own rules. If some members are tied to one set of rules, and some to another set of rules, how can we perceive the contests as fair?

I just don't like the idea of having a single member be the arbiter of "fairness" on the forum and would rather see it passed to moderator group. Requesting the host enforce rules evenly per rule 6 is proper first course of action, but there's no second level of appeal in the photo contests forum. No higher power. Effectively, the contest hosts have full authority to ensure unfairness if they so wish, and neither mods nor other contestants nor third-party members can do presently anything to prevent it.




AAAP wrote:
How much of an issue has this been in the Buy and Sell forum? Is there a history of, "take the money and run," on that forum?

No. Possibly becuase admins and mods have power to prosecute there. A member who "took the money and ran" would likely be banned for their actions. There is, as yet, no such power to prosecute in the photo contest forums, which means no penalty if the host doesn't want one.

(It doesn't even have to be an issue of one clearly cheating the other in those forums. Perhaps just a misunderstanding between the two that can't be resolved by exchanging PMs. They could presumably request arbitration by moderators. Can't do that in photo contest forum.)

I was trying to phrase my request in general terms though, rather than specific to photo contest forum. But that's the one presenting the loophole and therefore in most dire need of rules clarification and/or means of conflict resolution.


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