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There seems to be quite a bit of multi-ing of late. So here's an idea to try and stop it. When a user registers, get him to verify a phone number - like Gmail does (if you don't have an alternate email address). (This works by sending a code and getting them to enter it and bleh)
Responses on the other thread indicate that the number of registrations may go down. We could manage this by making account verification optional, and then introducing a game creation option where as a creator, I could choose to only allow verified users.
The key here is account verification. I intend to make un-verified users second class citizens, that's the whole point of the scheme. But the verification process will need to be diverse enough to leave out as little of the real userbase as possible. The point of this thread is to think of ideas to do this.
I wonder how many people on this site have access to a cell phone with an SMS plan. I'm not sure, honestly. It would be interesting to find out.
I do, but I do not give my number to many people and never over the internet. And the problem with this is if a few players completly above suspicion refuse the idea turns into a huge arguing debate that no one wants.
Although it's a better scheme than what is available now, I don't think this plan would work. I currently have 2 phone numbers - 3 if I include my work number - and the shops here (in the UK) sell v.cheap SIMs which fit in any mobile/cell phone which give it a new number.
My family has 4 cell phones - mine, wife and 2 kids. I can multi with 4 accounts by this phone verification scheme, and because I'm "verified" on each account, I expect i will now be able to multi to my hearts content, right?
In other words, this little invasion of privacy would do absolutely nothing to stop someone that wants to multi. Dude in a dorm that plays and has X number of friends willing to let him register their phones can now register X+1 accounts...
There IS a way to not prevent multis, but to make them totally useless. Currently, you can join your own games. Perhaps if there was randomly-assigned games, it would be harder for someone to multi in a way that made an impact?
I really think that so long as people report the games they legitimately feel they have been cheated against to the moderators the site will continue to work fine. I have never been ignored when I have reported an odd game to a moderator, I see multiaccount's banned when they are caught and most of the multi's I have seen banned have not been able to accumulate enough points to join quality games. Any foolproof system to stop multi's, if one exists, would be more of a hassle to the players here then it would be worth.
So the idea was that if a multi gets discovered and banned he'd have to get a whole new phone number to rejoin, presumably harder than just getting a new mail id.
I would think that most multis multi for quick gains, and I wouldn't be surprised if multi-ing happens a lot more in live games than in longer ones. If this is the case the bet size doesn't matter because live games usually have bids below100.
Multis have a very clear print: a. mostly playing with the same players. b. not a few games. c. abnormal win/loss/draw ratio. d. same/similar ip (although I hope the current system already checks it). e. etc
What do you think about automatically analyzing players based on their stats and assigning 0..100 value of "multi-rating" (risk level that the player is a multi)?
This way, when you create a game, you can set up this value as an option and restrict players according to this multi-rating.
a. Who is going to pay for phone verification? b. How can you make sure that the system will work with all cellular communication providers in the world? c. A lot of people have two phone numbers or access to more than one phone number.
I don't think phone verification is a good idea. It will make potential good players to go away, and leaves enough loop holes for multis to slip in to.
i still dont get why someone will be multy is not like playing with yourself? boring they can download diplomacy and play alone doesnt the site identify the ip? i say why do we care if someone is a multy or you think so then dont play with them the same as resigners
... but I will say this. If it were feasible, and if it were not so problematic, it would reduce cheating. Yes some people have multiple phones. But most people do not have multiple phones and most people are not cheats. Thus the set of people who have multiple phones AND are inclined to cheat AND who could be bothered to jump through the extra hoop would be considerably smaller the set of people who cheat now. So the idea, impractical as it is, does have some merit. It would reduce cheating.
Well I concede it's probably not practical, but hypothetically... and just addressing your concern that it would be onerous to new and existing players... When give the site your mobile number and then a little while later you get an SMS asking you to verify your account. You reply and voila your account is verified. Is that all that onerous?
Between this site and vdip, I've only had 3 games screwed up by multis (CONFIRMED multis), and even then, it didn't really bother me so much that I'd be willing to volunteer personal info to stop it from happening again.
@taos - I seriously doubt 5% of us are multis. It's like anything else. You only hear about the bad stuff so it seems all of the stuff is bad stuff. The tens of thousands of games on this site that have not been affected by multis get over looked for the few (< 100 I would bet) that have been.
I think I've only had one game I started from the beginning that had a multi. I've taken over in a few that were multi damaged to try and salvage them for others, but you can't count them in my percentage as they were intentional joins to help out.
OP's opinion was shot down by uclabb's and krellin's messages. For one, it costs money to call people and get verification. Two, some people have multiple numbers (and google voice can give everyone with 1 number 2 numbers), and it is a terrible invasion of privacy. Rommeltastic's idea has a lot of merit. Have two levels of games: randomly assigned (where you put in the features you want, like "I want a game with 48-72 hour phases, WTA, classic. Other parts I don't care about" and puts you in a queue until a game like that is open and it places you... then another one that you assign or 'invite' other players into so we can still have games created and filled with friends from the forum.
However, while multi is a small problem, it can usually be found out pretty quick by the mods. I think the bigger problem is meta, especially in live gunboat games. Everyone else isn't using communication, but if I'm in school next to my buddy and we are talking and planning, it is a huge unfair advantage. I don't know a good way to really, truly prevent meta from the start...
@ghanamann, how would phone verification prevent meta-gaming?
fortknox has a good point that meta-gaming is certainly a trickier problem. It's not only harder to detect, but also harder to draw the line between what constitutes meta-gaming and what does not.
In my personal opinion, any game involving two or more people that know each other in real life will be affected by some degree of meta-gaming (unless the game is an anon gunboat, and the players involved strictly adhere to the anon and gunboat rules). Players can claim that they do not let it affect their game play, but there is still the tactical and diplomatic advantage of being able talk face to face. At some point, it becomes hard to draw the line.
I have invited several real-life friends to WebDip and have played games with them before. However, my personal policy is to only play games of two types: 1) where everyone has contact with each other in real life 2) where no one has contact with each other in real life Games with friends are bound to have some degree of meta. No matter how you try to not let personal relationships bias game play, it is bound to happen to some degree. That is why I also advocate playing games of the first type with low pots.
The funny thing is: People that meta usually claim they were trying to 'help' or teach the other player. Honestly, you can do BOTH a heck of a lot better by NOT being in the same game together. For example, if John and Joe know each other, and play in the same game together and talk to one another outside the game (John is teaching Joe), because John is privy to other information that Joe isn't (what countries are telling him + what he knows from Joe's game), they are, basically, cheating (and that doesn't include that they are 'allied' so Joe can stay alive so John can keep teaching him). Suppose Joe jumps into a game where John isn't playing... but John sits over Joe's shoulder and gives him advice and helps him and teaches him.... where's the cheating there? Because it is only "one" player (albeit 2 different people), there is no 'extra' information known nor any 'unbreakable alliances' formed. And John can be more 'hands on' in his teaching. This is a much better way to teach people how to play diplomacy, in my opinion...
the majority suffers because of one player(bad loser)
i play two games where one country doesnt want to stop the pause because they are losing and thats a fact one of them i know personally and he told me that so one bad loser ruins the game to the other 6 i think the unpause must be majority like 60 percent or so
Just wondered if this a completely American site or whether there are any other foreigners on here.... For example I'm English and currently we have major riots and crises in our Capital - any more Brits out there???
I noticed that games end if someone gets to 18 centers after a fall diplomacy phase. But what if a dislodged unit could retreat to a center of the winner, stopping his win? The question is academic - I have not seen a game where this would have mattered.