Ladies and Gentlemen - A Moment

Discussion in 'CPA/WOTC Magic Issues' started by Zadok001, Feb 12, 2001.

  1. Zadok001 CPA Founder, Greater Good

    If you haven't already, go here, read this:

    It's long, but worth the read. If you don't have the time to read the whole thing, I'll summarize as clearly as possible:

    On January 25th, 2001, Edward Fear was banned from DCI tournaments for a period of one year for violation of section 41 of DCI rules - Cheating. Mr. Fear apparently put his hand down on top of his sideboard in the 11th round of PT - Chicago, and when he picked it up again, it had a Submerge in it. The board situation is not fully agreed upon (several contradicting viewpoints, though Mr. Fear's seems very realistic and likely), but what is clear is that Mr. Fear was losing. Badly. Unrecoverably badly. Like, 'time to scoop up cards and leave' badly.

    The Submerge was from his sideboard. Mr. Fear realized his mistake, and one of the spectators ran to get a judge as Mr. Fear revealed the Submerge and his hand to his opponent. Two judges arrived, and eventually concluded that Mr. Fear deserved a warning and a game loss.

    Donias did some investigating after the penalty had been handed down, asking a few of the witnesses for testimony. Over the course of the next six weeks, a series of emails went back and forth between Mr. Fear, Donias, and Chris Zantides, the DCI policy manager. Mr. Fear was officially banned on January 25th. (The entire string of emails is posted at the URL above.) Mr. Fear denies having cheated.

    /end{impartial statement}

    Now, this seems like an event that infringes on the interests of the Casual Player's Alliance. We are a representative quanitity of players, and if players are being treated unfairly, something should be done. I believe we should take a careful look at this, and possibly throw our weight into the ring.

    For the record, I do not believe Mr. Fear cheated. I have heard him referenced many times, in a variety of articles and emails, and he seems like a trustworthy person. The situation he was placed in was not one condusive the cheating. Therefore, I prematurely conclude that Mr. Fear was not cheating.

    I will look further into this matter of my own accord. What do _you_ think? Is this something the CPA should take interest in?

    *blows horn*
  2. Istanbul Sucker MCs call me sire.

    As much as I want to say yes, the answer MUST be no.

    The fact is that Mr. Fear brought in a card from his sideboard.

    Whether or not this was intentional is irrelevant.

    If we clear the way for him and say that it's okay as long as you don't mean it, we're opening up a floodgate. It's suddenly okay to cheat, as long as you later say it was accidental; intentions become more important than actions, and that's a really dangerous way to run anything of import.

    Mr. Fear, if you read this, I feel for you. I truly do. And I strongly doubt that you meant to cheat. But we *have* to keep to our rules, or everything goes to hell.
  3. FoundationOfRancor The Gunslinger

    I agree with Istanbul.

    What I dont agree with is the length of the banning. A year? Seems *way* to harsh to me.
  4. Daggertooth The Rune Master

    If he was loosing so badly, and made the mistake, why didn't he just scoop. wouldn't that have saved him the trouble? I don't agree on a year banning. Thats harsh. A year without magic? I'd wither and die. A fourth a year or a Major event. That would be more resonable. However, I like the message the DCI put out. WE wont accept cheating, And if your caught you will be Punished.

  5. Slick New Member

    I don't think that the CPA should take interest in this. I agree with Istanbul that cheating is cheating even if he didn't mean to do it. Rules are made for a reason and they shouldn't be shoved aside or forgotten just because someone didn't mean to break them. I don't mean to sound heartless or anything, its just a fact.
  6. Daggertooth The Rune Master

    If we do take an interest in this it should be declaring this a special case, where there is a good chance that he didn't mean it. And in that we simply try to lessen the penalty. It was questionable from the start, and he did reveal his mistake, nobody "caught" him first. That should mean something.

  7. Zadok001 CPA Founder, Greater Good

    I think you all missed the point... Isty, whether or not it was intentional IS relevant - if it is not, the error constitutes a warning and game loss. At most, a match loss. This is a year's suspension. The math doesn't add up. I agree with your basic point, which is that the rules must be kept sacred, but this isn't about the rules.

    It's about the DCI's REPONSE to the rules. If you read the URL I pointed you to, you can see as well as I can that the DCI did not follow impartial methods. That's unacceptable. If you haven't, READ the URL. My summary is not perfect - I only state the clear facts. It goes much deeper than that. Isty, IMO, this is not about whether Mr. Fear cheated or not (I don't think he did, but it doesn't matter). This is about the DCI's methodology, which is flawed.

    Slick, I doubt you read my statement at all... There is no 'shoving aside' involved! There is no 'It wasn't his fault' involved. This is about the DCI.

    I think my summary is being taken out of context - I'm summarizing the facts of the events that led up to series of emails. The issue is not the event, it is what happened in those emails.
  8. FoundationOfRancor The Gunslinger

    For some reason, Wizards seems determined to give Ed Fear (One of the coolest names...ever.) a year suspension. Why? Could be a couple of possible reasons:

    A.) They wanna make a point that cheating will be dealt with harshly, and will defintly not be tolerated.

    B.) They wanna get the media attention. I doubt this, but I guess its an option.

    C.) They messed up, and they dont want to admit or show it (They never actual gave any factual statments in the letters)

    D.) They're all fools at Wotc.

    Any other ideas? Rants?

    (*This thread is not about cheating. Its about Wizards response to a specific event of cheating. Or lack thereof.*)
  9. arhar Member

    I think we should take action on this. Why? First of all, it's completely illogical for Mr. Fear to cheat. He was losing MISERABLY, and Submerge wouldn't help him! It's obvious that he just made a mistake, and of course, SOME sort of punishment at a premier-level event was to take place, but ONE YEAR SUSPENSION?!?!? Mike Long got ONE MONTH suspension, and he's a well-known cheater, and Ed Fear gets a year? This is totally unfair, and, from what I understand, DCI has treated him very unfairly in the following investigation. We should take action, even just to hear DCI's side of the story.
  10. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Wouldn't this be better suited for CPA/Magic Issues? I'm hesitant to move it since Zadok started it, but I'm wondering then what the difference between the forums is...

    Anyway, I think perhaps the CPA should INVESTIGATE and thereby determine if a player has been treated unfairly. I am very reluctant to pass judgement on the case for the following reasons:

    1. The article linked by Zadok was authored by the person with the grievance, which makes it biased in the first place. I would like an account from the opponent to get his point of view.

    2. Several things in the article struck me as rather... "interesting". Like self-admitting he's a sloppy player. And not paying attention to his match during the specific sideboard incident.

    Now I know everyone makes sloppy plays, but as I've always thought, as the stakes of the game go up (i.e. increasingly more important tournaments), why are you shooting yourself in the foot and not paying attention to what you are doing? And this is not specifically card play during a game, this is sideboarding between matches. I also understand you can get rattled after a tough game that you thought you should have won or made better plays. But again, I just have the "feeling" that when you're playing at this level, you should have a "poker face" or "poker play"; let it roll off you and get on with the next game. Otherwise, you're not really "professional", are you?

    And not paying attention to your own match! What is up with that? Frankly, there is no excuse for this... especially if you've been rattled by the previous game and need a win to go 2-1.

    3. The punishment does sound excessive, but I don't really know what kind of punishments have been given out in the past to compare (aside from Long's 1 month suspension? Was it really that short? Although it was for deck shuffling, wasn't it?) So I can't really comment on that.

    4. It does appear that Donais' questions were loaded and leading towards already promising guilt, but this is from one guy's perspective. The additional testimony/evidence from Fear's side would be helpful (heck, if everything was laid out in the open, it would be helpful), but if that's not available, the next best thing would be to hear the witnesses' viewpoints.

    Conclusion: Certainly more investigation is needed before it is determined whether the CPA should get involved, and that investigation should try to determine if in fact the person WAS guilty and if not, exonate him. If he was, determin whether the punishment was excessive or normal.
  11. Baskil CPA Member

    no, no, no, no, no...

    The DCI penalty committee does not rule in a vacuum. There *had* to have been a history of sketchy play for Ed to get this sort of penalty unless this it is the new push of the DCI to give harsh penalties (which I am all for).

    Even if it wasn't intentional, he still had an extra freakin card in his hand. Intentional or not, that is cheating. And the current game state (which we've only heard his own biased commentary about it) is irrelevant. That fact is that he had an extra card, which falls under section 41 of the Tournament Rules.

    Taking away all of that, if this is truly his first offense, I still believe that this ruling is fair. This kind of penalty will be a good deterent against sloppy play and actual cheating.

    (On Mike Long, the reason he was given a month was because of insuffecient randomization, which is a whole other animal)
  12. Rando Freaky Bear

    I'm inclined to belive that he was indeed treated unfairly.

    If you did read all of the corospondence between Mr. Fear and the DCI, you surely see the discprepencies in the so called "investigation".

    Also, one year of banning for a first offense is insane. No other "sport" would have such a penelty. Also, other "sports" have an appeal prosess a little more involved then the DCI's.

    The whole Magic community would be much better served if Magic's governing body was not directly associated with the company that produces the cards. This in it's self is asking for trouble, and I've always thought that. Obviously the DCI is going to produce rulings that further the game as a buisness, not as a sport.

    Had this been a "nameed" player, I gueren-damn-ty it that there would have not been such a penelty. In fact, I doubt it would have gone beyond the first judge's initial ruling.

    I fear that Mr. Fear is little more then a scape goat being used by the DCI to try and appear inpartial and fair.
  13. Zadok001 CPA Founder, Greater Good

    Re: Spidey

    You're right, this should be in another forum now that I think about it... :) Ooops. Sorry 'bout that. So much for my "Post in the right forum!" rants. Sorry... I'll move it when I finish this post.

    In response to your two points, you are largely correct. I will say that, despite the article being by Mr. Fear, the emails are all accurate transcriptions (I asked Mr. Zantides). So it's really more just evidence than a rant by Mr. Fear (although his emails are rants in and of themselves). I've contacted both Mr. Zantides and Mr. Fear purely out of personal curiousity. Zantides responded simply saying the emails were correct, and that the exact course of investigations is not open to the public, so no details can be revealed. That seems odd, but oh, well.

    As for your second point, you're right again. It seems like a _really_ screwed up incident. I've seen stranger things, but not in tourney play, and certainly not at the Pro level. I don't think anyone will disagree that this incident looks VERY ODD on paper, and IRL.

    Here's a segment from my email to Mr. Fear:

    "2. My Investigation

    This is where it gets stranger. If neither you or the witnesses involved have anything against the idea, I would like to contact as many people relating to this incident as possible. I'd like verification, or at least more viewpoints, of your story. The objective is two-fold. First, it gives me the opportunity to (at your request and permission) to inform the rest of the public about their views (through StarCityCCG). Second, it allows me to feel slightly more comfortable with your statements. I have few doubts in your testimony, but I would like more perspectives before taking direct action."

    And his response:

    "I have nothing to hide regarding my offense, and would glady submit to an interview or any other reasonable recounting of events. Hopefully after this occurs, we can work togetehr to repair some of thw wrong that has been done. Even if not, perhaps we can prevent a similar occurence from befalling another. Regardless, better to light a match than curse the darkness."

    Long's suspension was 1 month, that's correct. Of course, his transgression was one that must, mathematically, occur once in a while for every player (someday, you WILL get a God hand). Nonetheless, cheating is CHEATING. I palm a card, you stack your deck, what's the real difference? Assuming Mr. Fear _was_ cheating, Long's punishment seems completely unrealistic by comparison. (I also intend to do some background checking on Mr. Long's incident.)

    The main problem with investigating (and I will, no matter what happens) is that the DCI won't freely give out information regarding this incident - They're locked up tight. Which leaves me only Mr. Fear as a resource. He's cooperative, so I'll talk to him for a while, and see what other emails I can get.

    Re: Baskil

    "There *had* to have been a history of sketchy play for Ed to get this sort of penalty..."

    Nada that I've found so far. Of course, I can't access his back records, but still. I should point out that Mr. Long has a SERIOUS history, and still got his one month suspension. They don't operate in a vacuum, that doesn't mean they're right.

    "Even if it wasn't intentional, he still had an extra freakin card in his hand. Intentional or not, that is cheating."

    Absolutely, and Mr. Fear definately should be punished. To what extreme, and through what court, that's the question at hand. Mr. Fear had an extra card. However, I can point you to an incident by none other than Jamie Wakefield, chronicled in his reports, regarding a Creeping Mold that (through a misunderstanding) blew the heck out of a creature. :) No punishment there. In the past, of course, but still - The incidents don't directly relate, but both are cheating under section 41. Jamie wasn't even told to stop his current game in progress, but to continue as though nothing was wrong. That is ancient history, and it should be, but still - My point is clear. This is not a punishment that makes sense based on previous incidents, and it doesn't appear that the DCI followed fair routes to reach their conclusions.

    And while this penalty will certainly encourage better play, it won't deter cheaters - They already know what happens if they get caught. This is a one year suspension for a first time offender (AFAIK). That doesn't look to hot to me.

    Re: Rando

    No argument from me. I'm bias in that direction. But if we do conduct an investigation of our own (and I'd like to, personally), then I would like to leave aside all bias and just get every viewpoint we can. Then compare them, and try to figure out what really happened, both on site with the incident and afterwards between the DCI and the other players.
  14. FrigginRizzo New Member

    After reading way too much irrelevant information in Ed's article, I can conclude two things:

    1) He's guilty.

    2) A one year suspension seems a tad excessive.

    There was nothing in his article that led me to believe that he was innocent at all. Rather, his entire tone, especially in the later emails to the DCI dudes, seems to smack of a kid being caught with his hand in the cookie jar and desperately claiming that he has no idea how his hand got stuck up in there in the first place.

    For way too long, Ed keeps harping on the fact that he couldn't possibly win that game, which is totally irrelevant to the matter of the investigation. Fact: he had a sideboard card in his hand. That is disputed by no one.
    It's also cheating.

    While Donais and the other DCI dudes didn't make any new friends, remember this is the ACCUSED guy's story, not the "official" story. While I do think that a one year suspension seems harsh, I have also heard that Ed has had other instances of this same type of "accident." The truth may never be fully revealed, but if Ed takes this suspension and doesn't bitch on The Net every friggin' day for a year, or file a lawsuit to clear his name, as I would if I was wrongly convicted, we can conclude only one thing: justice was served.

    John Friggin' Rizzo
  15. Rando Freaky Bear

    Frankly, I don't care if he is guilty or not.

    My concern is the DCI acting in an unfair, sloppy, and incompatant manner. This is not the first time the DCI has made a ruling that seems more then a little off. I'm sure it will not be the last.

    The DCI is the body that protects and looks after the intersts of the game, WotC and the official tournament structure.

    What we need is a body to represent and protect the players.

    As of right now, no such thing exists. The DCI should, in theory, be doing this. But it can not watch out for the player and it's self and remain fair to both. In a perfect world, it would work out, but life just doesn't work out that way. So, it has to choose who to lean on.

    Which do you think it will always swing for?
  16. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    This is going to go over two pages and I'm gonna have to open a separate window to refer to the original thread... Ihate when that happens... ;)


    Zadok: Oh, I'm not disputing that the emails are true. It's just one-sided in that it's only the correspondence between Fear and the DCI. There's nothing between the DCI and Fear's opponent (or other witnesses) which would definately be useful in helping to determine The Truth. Oh, and there has to be other people besides Fear. He mentions he has witnesses, there must be a record of his opponent somewhere, and whoever was judging that event. That's where I'd start, to begin with.

    Rando: As mentioned above, the incident has only been related by one side. Clearly the DCI looks bad, but it's not the full story.

    However, the other issue has been raised before in this forum, and that is that the DCI should be a separate body than associated with the one that actually makes the cards. I think people here just let it lie, from what I remember... but it is akin to having the fox guard the chickens.

    Everyone: I believe FrigginRizzo pretty much nails it on the head, from the evidence so far. Plus he adds that apparently, there have been other "questionable" incidents, and not having gone to the discussion on Mindripper, that's new news (granted, so far it's just one person saying that, but it opens the door that perhaps Fear is not quite as innocent as made out to be). Again, the punishment does seem excessive; what have other people got for "cheating" and more specifically, having an extra card in hand?
  17. Ransac CPA Trash Man

    This shouldn't be of the CPA's concern. But, agreeing with FOF, it shouldn't be for a year, if you want my opinion.

    Ransac, cpa trash man
  18. Rando Freaky Bear

    This should be a concern for anyone with a DCI number.
  19. Apollo Bird Boy

    Well, I'll have to agree with Spidey right now. We don't have enough information. After reading the email correspondence, everyone seems guilty. At the very least, Mr. Fear played irresponsibly, was not paying attention to his match, and grabbed an extra card. At the most extreme, he blatantly cheated. We have no way of knowing. From the sound of things, the investigation by the DCI was conducted poorly and irresponsibly. From Mr. Fear's point of view. We have no actual knowledge of how the investigation was conducted.

    Contrary to the belief of some, intent does matter. Intentionally cheating is a major penalty. Accidentally picking up a card is a game or match loss. This is more comparable to the Long "lap-dance" episode than the shuffling incident. Long claimed he accidentally knocked the most important card in his deck into his lap. Fear claims he accidentally picked up a card that couldn't help him. Long didn't get penalized like this. But that suggests to me they had some sort of information that told them, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he was cheating intentionally. Maybe it was a source close to Fear that didn't want him to know, and that's why they haven't told anyone. It just comes back to the fact that we don't know enough.

    Rizzo: what has he been caught doing before? Come on, give us the dirt!:)

    Zadok: you can feel free to investigate. If you get overwhelming evidence that he was railroaded, let us know, and I'm sure most of us will back you up. But not till then, sorry.
  20. Daggertooth The Rune Master

    Accident or not it is the penalty the conserns me. One year. I mean talk about a death sentence. Careless and stupid yes, but one year. It's way too much if it was and accident, by far too much if it was a first time offence, and a bit harsh for a hard time crook.

    As I see it, it is the penalty that should be the target of critisism. Is there a copy of the penalties given to those convicted of rule infriction? If the DCI wanted to get a point across they sure did.


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