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A Public Statement Concerning Recent Events


#1

Originally published at: https://stimhack.com/a-public-statement-concerning-recent-events/

Discuss the latest article here.


#2

I’d like to add my name to the signees as I support the statement as well


#3

I’ve literally seen @mediohxcore say over and over on Facebook that he wants the people to play, because he wants to beat them. Where’d this list of players come from? Did you just have a change of heart, Dan?


#4

Consensus requires compromise.


#5

Some people will find following statements difficult to believe, and some will say they are besides the point, but they are my views nonetheless:

  1. I didn’t gain a competitive advantage. I looked at one of the first deck lists to see what the bot was about, and I couldn’t tell you whose it was or what was in it. I didn’t participate in group testing, group strategy sessions, or looking at deck lists. Not because I didn’t want to, but I’ve simply been too busy at school to play netrunner. Maybe if I had been more involved I would have stopped it, maybe I would have encouraged it. But because of how things worked out, I didn’t gain any advantage. Again, I understand there is no way to prove that beyond a doubt.

  2. The bot didn’t seem like cheating to me. It seemed like a clever way to gather public information. If Wes had come up with a hack to access any deck from any account on NRDB and asked me if we should use it, I would have said “no, that’s a terrible idea.” This point has also been dismissed, but I firmly believe that intentions and perspective matter, not just consequences.

I’ve played this game for four years now. My days of grinding out hundreds of games a week are long behind me, and I don’t think I’ll ever play the game on that level again. I’ve been lucky to get a half-dozen games in over the past few months, but that’s my choice based on a need to take other parts of life more seriously. But even those few games I spent recording, analyzing, and always trying to get better at the game. I don’t think I will ever be able to be a “causal” player in that sense.

When I T4’ed Worlds in 2015 it was the first time I truly felt like I was good at something in this world. Later that night I found out more than a few people were saying I didn’t deserve my finish because I “cheated” by not allowing a late parasite token. I got super emotional and burst into tears, and it took a while for my friends to calm me down. Drunk, 20-year-old me couldn’t understand why someone would want to take away what I had just accomplished.

Those days are long behind me. I understand now that perspective plays a big roll in deciding what is fair, and you need to stand by your conscience. Simply put: I can live with people hating me, but if I lie to myself for the sake of my reputation, I’ll just end up hating myself instead. Nothing in my mind says “back out of the tournament, you don’t deserve to do well because you cheated.” Say what you need to say and issue whatever condemnation you see appropriate. But I’m playing in this Worlds, and every Worlds until circumstances prevent me from doing so.

It’s cool seeing such a formidable list of players united for the good of the game. I’m sorry I had to be on the other side of it.

Noah


#6

I do find it difficult to believe that you actually thought someone’s intent when making a deck with the ‘Share your decks’ box ticked is to allow people like you peek at it with a bot. I’m obviously not one to judge your decision, but I have to say its painfully evident that it’s a big breach of privacy, and I knew that whilst I was doing it.


#7

So you are saying you 100% thought that the decks the bot gathered were decks that were uploaded by other players on NRDB, publicly, to be accessed by anyone through normal means - meaning the 10 newest decklists on the front page, or by pressing on the decklist tab and looking under popular, recent or decklist of the week?

I just need some clarification here because your statement confuses me.


#8

His argument is that you, checking that box, made your dex public.

You left your house unlocked. Not ‘breaking and entering’ if one didn’t have to break in.


#9

Given what I know about the situation, I’ll be glad to see you playing. Can’t speak for anyone else obviously.


#10

@shmeguy @Terrificy It was explicitly clarified to me that we were gathering only public decks, not private ones. I didn’t know there was a distinction between public and published. I didn’t even know about checking the box in the settings until the stimhack article was published about how to do it (my NRDB was ‘public’ the whole time. I, like most, had checked it long ago so I could link my decks). I saw screenshots of the script, and saw Wes was really proud of it and how much work he put into it, and thought it looked cool and looked forward to being caught up when we got to the house. Due to my schedule, I conceded that I would not really be involved in testing until the week before worlds.

I’m not trying to distance or condemn myself, that was just how it went down.


#11

I’m not quite clear what you’re saying. The script collected decks that people intended to share only with those they chose to give the link to.

Are you saying that you were misinformed what the script did and you thought it only collected published, public decks and you only now realise it was collecting private decks?
Or are you claiming that the decks that people only shared with their friends are public information because of the triviality of accessing them without authorisation?

I think you’re absolutely correct that the intention is the crucial matter: it’s a moral failure not a technical one to access people’s private information. Did you think the script was cool in the way it analysed the data to form a snapshot of the metagame, or did you think it was cool because you understood it was accessing data you wouldn’t otherwise have access to?


#12

I didn’t even have the foresight/involvement to understand that was what it was doing. Over the past month I would reply to pm’s, @usernames tags and @channel tags, and occaisionally drop a line so that people knew I still had Worlds on my mind and intended to be at the house. Besides that I would just mark the chat as “read” every day.

The former.

I’m going to limit the amount of questions I field now, because I don’t want this to come off as defending myself or trying to get out of anything. The point of the post was that my conscience is clear regarding my involvement and I accept any condemnation/octracizing/or general disapproval that people feel towards me. I guess I just wanted to get it off my chest and make my position clear.


#13

Cheers, that makes sense. :+1:


#14

I’d like to echo Dan’s sentiments. Looking forward to seeing you.


#15

Noah, I asked a yes or no question and you used neither term in your response.

When you write ‘public or published’ do you mean private or published? Your sentence afterwards reads like you think checking the box makes your NRDB decks ‘public’. Do you believe this to be the case?


#16

Without necessarily taking a stance on whether there was an expectation of privacy, the account settings page’s terminology is consistent with what Noah said.


#17

Well so long as you read all of those sentences, public in that context seems to mean public as in:

“It’s not locked to your account login alone. You can choose to share it with specific people.”

and not:

“It’s a free-for-all.”

It seems hard to claim otherwise without selectively reading parts of that paragraph out of context to come to a desired conclusion.

(In other words the “expectation of privacy” you reference is also contained in that statement. The link sharing section is meaningless otherwise.)


#18

While this is true, it functionally works like an unlisted deck list, which is how many of us were using it.


#19

I agree. I’m not trying to defend the position; rather to provide context to understand how someone with half their attention on school could misunderstand after someone else told them “netrunnerdb says these decks are public”.

I could absolutely forgive that; what I don’t get is why stick to your guns after the rest of the community makes their feelings clear.


#20

Hi Noah,

I’m not quite clear on your position here. I hear you saying that your conscience is clear, because you were not exposed to what the group learnt, and thus can enter Worlds uncontaminated. I understand that position, and think that it is reasonable.

But, I also hear you saying that what was done was actually acceptable, given that the public checkbox was enabled. Is it still your position that this is the case? I find that surprising that anyone who knows how netrunnerdb is used in practice would maintain that decks shared by emailing links, but not published (not withstanding the formal wording on nrdb) were in the public domain. Probably, in a court of law, yes, this would hold up as an argument - you checked the box, you accept the wording as written. But we all know that’s not how the website was used by the community.