It seems the accusations of cheating may have gotten to the point where it outnumbers the actual cheating itself...and that's saying something around here. That can get awfully confusing for a newer user to the site just checking out Throw Downs for the first time, immediately being told to choose sides, bullied, or otherwise treated disrespectfully. It leads to shouting matches and even wilder accusations. It causes some to just throw their hands up and walk away entirely.
SmoothSandy came up with the idea for a group that separates the wheat from the chaff and if you're reading this, you've found said group.
Now, I'm not going to pretend to be an unbiased observer here. That would be disingenuous. I've been around long enough and seen more than enough to know who is cheating and who isn't. I know who is mentoring others on how to cheat, whether they are doing so intentionally or just through their own actions.
However, I'm not writing this blog to name names or tell the reader what to believe. That's for each to determine for themselves. The intention here is just to give enough information that you recognize cheating when you see it.
The Plagiarizer - This kind of cheater is usually very easy to spot. They are either lazy or not very intelligent. When you see an argument that seems was written by a professional sportswriter given by someone who through normal course of interaction doesn't seem capable of putting two proper sentences together, it's fairly obvious they cut and pasted the thing. Plagiarism is not only cheating, it's illegal.
The Vote Begger - This one is the most common, and comes with the finest of lines between cheating/not cheating. It's pretty much universally accepted that sending out a group mail to the FanNation Community group to draw attention to a TD that is no longer on the main page is perfectly acceptable. The group was created for that purpose and is open to everyone so it's all out in the open.
The line blurs a bit when sending group mail to private groups. This can certainly be done in a completely innocuous way, but also can be done in a very biased way even if the bias is unintentional. For that reason, group mail to private groups should be avioded if for no other reason than to not give the appearance of potential cheating. The obvious exception being if both people participating in the TD are members of the private group.
Direct Fan Mails to a large number of people crosses the line. It's just human nature that if a 'friend' asks you to look at a Throw Down you'll do so with an eye biased toward the person who asked you to look. Not necessarily intentionally or even consciously, I've seen many users vote for the same individual over and over and over while honestly believing they were doing so with an open mind. Thing is, they went to the TD expecting to see a superior argument from their 'friend' who 'invited' them to look, so that's exactly what they do see. Some TDers are well aware of this phenomenon and use it to their immense advantage sending out FM's to everyone they know, or even sending them out selectively to people they expect will agree with their side of the issue from the get go. Many will vote for the person requesting as a favor and not even read the arguments. Few will look at it truly unbiased. It's a numbers game that greatly favors the sender...and they know it.
Dupe accounts - This one has been the biggest problem on Fan Nation of late. Someone creates multiple accounts (against the Fan Nation terms of service, BTW) to vote on their own or their 'friends' TD's mulitiple times.
The threat maker - We have a few of these around as well. They threaten punitive action against people who don't vote for them and then make a production out of voting against an individual in their TD's to scare others from crossing them in the future. Usually it's something along the lines of 'I'm voting against you in every TD you do because you (fill in the blank...voted against me...don't answer my FM's...have a private profile...like so and so)'. The intention isn't so much to punish the individual as it is to scare others who see it into believing they will be subject to the same abuse if they don't fall in line with whatever the cheater wishes. This cheater will often throw out how many 'friends' they have to back them up to further pump up the threat.
Cheating has been around as long as Throw Downs themselves. Any time there is a competition of any sort there will be people willing to bend or break the rules to their advantage to gain that all important 'victory'. That leads to suspicion and ultimately to completely innocent users being accused and labeled a 'cheater'. While understandable, this of course is unfair.
This group exists to defend the innocent who are wrongly accused and to expose those who are caught red-handed. The cheating will always exist, but together we can put a damper on it, or at least make more people aware it is happening.
What to do if you know or suspect an individual is cheating? Bring it here. What should you do if you are wrongly accused of cheating? Bring it here. This group isn't here to blindly accuse, but to investigate and let the truth be known.