Ethical Dilemma: Scooping on MTGO



  • @BobbyVictory ok. So you dont care if its permited or not. Just want to know if is ethical or not. See? This is the problem because the answer could be yes or no depending on who you ask. We all have different points of view and the same scenario generates infinite outcomes depending on the observer. So again, was it ethical? You will never get an absolute answer for this. Dont feel alone youll find plenty of people thinking like you. But dont be surprised neither when you find people with the opposite idea. But guess what. If you ask is it allowed? You will get the same answer. Is it within the rules?
    Now, if you want the rules to be changed or rivisited thats a totally different topic. The world is plenty of "unfair" things that are supported by the law. Deal with it. Move ahead. Or change the rules.



  • @BobbyVictory As @The-Atog-Lord said, concessions are explicitly allowed in the rules and there's no dishonesty involved in doing it. There's no moral grey area in playing by the rules. Period. If there was, there would be a rule about it. Those people being "screwed" could have done themselves a favor by being more successful in their earlier matches to not be in that position. It's not @ChubbyRain or anyone else's obligation to do anything other than play out a match the way they wish to play it out, be it via the games themselves or a concession from either side.



  • I guess I'd probably "vote" for it being a somewhat gray area, but I'm going to go on and bring in a couple of examples -- possibly for criticism, but at least trying to make them food for thought.

    The first example I'm going to use comes from my own experience and in a different game -- Dreamblade, in fact. An unfortunately dead game. The game in question, was in the first round of the first tournament I had played in at a higher level than FNM-equivalent. This was a $5K event, so the winner would have a pretty good payoff. I got off to a pretty fast start and was ahead on points. If I had managed to hold on to the time limit, I would have won the match. In fact, following my fast start, I was completely outplayed and had nearly no chance at all of "winning" the game other than by holding on to my, increasingly slim, lead. I played trying to find some way to break loose, but was unable to find one. As time was running out with less than 2 minutes left I was still in the lead on points, but completely locked down. I conceded.

    Frankly, I don't think I did anything wrong. Some of you may disagree, but that's why I'm bringing up the example. I was/am a (mostly former) chess player and although the clock is a real part of that game, tournament rounds don't have the same hard limit that Magic or Dreamblade rounds do/did. In chess, not conceding when your position resembles the position I was in is considered quite rude. I may have "won" that game, but it was pretty obvious that at that time, I was not likely to be in contention to win the event. I considered the "scoop" to the person who clearly played better (and who had me essentially locked down) to be the right thing to do under the circumstances.

    @brianpk80 said in Ethical Dilemma: Scooping on MTGO:

    @revengeanceful said in Ethical Dilemma: Scooping on MTGO:
    That person may not have a chance to make top 8 in this scenario, but I don't see why it would be considered a "dick move" to not hand a top 8 spot to the other person.

    Because you have nothing to gain from winning aside from ruining the record of the person sitting across from you. I would only do that to someone I hated and there is no one in the Vintage community I dislike, let alone hate.

    Another example from the world of "paper" Magic (and I do mean paper): A couple of weeks ago I was playing Vintage (with unlimited proxies). Only four of us had showed up, including none of the real locals. All of us had come at least 50 miles and one considerably further. We all agreed that a round-robin would give us the most Magic, so that's what we did, despite the "warning" from the store owner that it might make determination of a winner less clear. Two rounds would be quite sufficient as an elimination mechanism. Three could end up with a more muddy situation. In fact, that's exactly what happened.

    In the third (last) round, the two 1-1 players were paired up and the 2-0 was paired with the 0-2. The last-place player, in fact, won the match 2-0, which (by what kind of tie-breaker calculation I'm not sure) resulted in the winner of the 1-1 match ending up as the overall winner and the formerly 2-0 player finishing second.

    I will note that the formerly 2-0 player was the person who had driven the farthest and was also quite emphatic that he came to play Magic and wanted to maximize the amount of Magic he was able to play. The loss did cost him the difference between 1st place ($25) and 2nd place ($15) where we had each tossed $10 (x4 = $40) into the entry kitty. The 3rd and 4th places got nothing (except the chance to play). Did the guy who placed 4th make a "dick move"? I, for one, do not see the formerly 0-2 player as having made a "dick move" at all. He also came to play Magic and that's what he did. The result of that last game did not change his prize ($0) and did reduce the prospective prize of his opponent. So what? We all came to play.

    It's not MTGO, so it isn't directly related to the original topic, but the "dick move" comment struck me as worth some response. Have at it.

    Paul



  • @Hydra the idea that morality is defined by rules is rediculous. Laws or rules of course can be immoral. Just because something is permitted by laws (whether the laws of a game or otherwise) does not make them moral. The rules about lying to judges or tricking an opponent into believing something about the game surely weren't always against the rules. Situations came up that then caused rules to be made. That didn't mean that they were ethically or morally justifiable before the rules got established.

    You also couch your terms in absolutist terms which is why I got so upset with you earlier. You say there is no possible grey area as long as rules aren't broken. That just isn't true. Plenty of people find moral grey area with this. Maybe people like me are wrong but you shouldn't use absolute statements because they are simply your opinion. Just like what I think is simply my opinion



  • @BobbyVictory You can have any opinion you want, get angry, shake your fist at the heavens and scream, whatever you want. Does not change anything, as this will continue to happen, as it is a part of the game, and has been for a long time, and will continue to be. It is within the rules of the game. Anyone can concede to anyone at anytime they want.
    I pay a lot for my cards as well. I pay for them so I can play and have fun. Winning tournaments is just a bonus. Those that think they are in this to make a profit are missing the point of the game. If profit is the intended goal, then create a bot and buy/sell cards instead of play.


  • TMD Supporter

    @The-Atog-Lord said in Ethical Dilemma: Scooping on MTGO:

    Dishonest? No. It is Matt's right. It put me in 9th place. But it was legal. I am not upset about it. It was simply following the rules. Not cheating, not deception, not angle shooting. Clearly permitted.

    Just because someone follows the rules, does not mean there isn't any harm.

    There are all kinds of harmful behavior that is legal.

    The subject line of the OP framed the issue in terms of ethics, not rules.

    I think people (not directed at Rich, but earlier posters) are conflating ethics, morality, and the rules.

    As I understand it, morals derive from deep values, whereas ethics derive from philosophical principles ( like logic, an internal system), and rules are codified, like laws, and are generally based on norms and mores.

    Actions (or inactions) can be moral and legal without being ethical.

    I don't think anyone thinks that scooping a player into top 8 is against the rules as long as there is no collusion. And it's hard to make the case that it's immoral. But it is not necessarily harmless from an ethical perspective.

    And, as I pointed earlier, MTGO has a different structure than paper magic. A clock and no IDs, etc. make it incomparable to a pro tour.



  • @KingLeovold What should be defining the morals then in this case, if not the rules? These aren't laws that openly discriminate against people or otherwise cause harm to someone, it's a GAME. Wizards and the DCI have a firmly established code of conduct and have been refining it for 20+ years, and it covers this situation. I speak in absolutes because this has no doubt come up countless times and the only grey areas that exist are when it comes to coercion and bribery for a concession, which is not the topic for debate here. If after that long it's still legal then it's safe to say that Wizards doesn't consider it to be a problem. By entering the event we are agreeing to abide by these rules, and there's no moral grey area in my mind by following the rules. Your examples are of people trying to skirt the rules, conceding is part of the game and in the rules. There's no skirting or bending involved here, nor is there exploiting of the rules taking place because the person doing the conceding is explicitly not benefitting from it.



  • @Smmenen I think some prople are conflating laws and game rules.


  • TMD Supporter

    @The-Atog-Lord said in Ethical Dilemma: Scooping on MTGO:

    @Smmenen I think some prople are conflating laws and game rules.

    No conflation on that point.
    When I say an action within magic is "legal" or "illegal," the meaning is within the rules of the game, not constitutional law, statutory law, common law, etc. That is common parlance. E.g "It is illegal to target Time Walk with Misdirection or krosan reclamation targeting two cards."

    But people are conflating ethics, morality and the rules of the game. The OP subject line asked about ethics, not game rules. But one of the options (the 3rd) is framed in terms of morals.



  • This was a depressing read. I understand that people will either favor conceding or never conceding, but that is their own choice to make. Calling someone an asshole for favoring one position over the other is idiotic.

    I will never hold it against someone for not conceding to me. Similarly, I will usually always concede to the person I am playing against in such a circumstance, unless there is specific reason to not do so.

    To cut a long story short, it's idiotic to compare this to e-sports or anything of the sort. I am not being paid to play Magic. This is my leisure time and I can choose to spend it however I like, as long as it is within the rules. It is not my obligation to play every single round. I can choose to concede for any reason whatsoever, whether it's because I'm hungry, or because I would rather go home early, or because I simply do not want to play.

    Stop confusing professional sports and our Vintage events. When I'm paid to play Vintage, then I'll take a different approach. Until then, I'll do whatever brings me the most personal satisfaction because, once again, it is my free time to do with as I choose.

    Good god, I really feel sorry for @ChubbyRain because he does a lot of additional work in bringing metagame information every week, and streaming because it is helpful to bring newer players into the format. His reward is being called an asshole for conceding, an action which is perfectly legal by the rules of Magic, blamed for manipulating metagame information because of concessions and worse. I'm disappointed.



  • @Hrishi said in Ethical Dilemma: Scooping on MTGO:

    This was a depressing read. I understand that people will either favor conceding or never conceding, but that is their own choice to make. Calling someone an asshole for favoring one position over the other is idiotic.

    I will never hold it against someone for not conceding to me. Similarly, I will usually always concede to the person I am playing against in such a circumstance, unless there is specific reason to not do so.

    To cut a long story short, it's idiotic to compare this to e-sports or anything of the sort. I am not being paid to play Magic. This is my leisure time and I can choose to spend it however I like, as long as it is within the rules. It is not my obligation to play every single round. I can choose to concede for any reason whatsoever, whether it's because I'm hungry, or because I would rather go home early, or because I simply do not want to play.

    Stop confusing professional sports and our Vintage events. When I'm paid to play Vintage, then I'll take a different approach. Until then, I'll do whatever brings me the most personal satisfaction because, once again, it is my free time to do with as I choose.

    Good god, I really feel sorry for @ChubbyRain because he does a lot of additional work in bringing metagame information every week, and streaming because it is helpful to bring newer players into the format. His reward is being called an asshole for conceding, an action which is perfectly legal by the rules of Magic, blamed for manipulating metagame information because of concessions and worse. I'm disappointed.

    Well said, Hrishi. This whole thread seems like a great argument for a newcomer never to step foot in this community.



  • @Hydra

    @Hydra said in Ethical Dilemma: Scooping on MTGO:

    Those people being "screwed" could have done themselves a favor by being more successful in their earlier matches to not be in that position.

    This is actually false. The person(s) paired down against Matt had done WORSE than other players who were forced to play against similarly ranked opponents.

    But with an additional loss that ends up declared a win, they end up one of the few playoff spots.



  • @spook Did you read the original post? The pairings on MTGO are done randomly in the last round. My opponent's were not even close to the worst X-1s and I was not close to the highest ranked X-2s. It's a stupid system and one that needs to be fixed in my opinion.



  • This whole thing does not seem any different than ID's in paper. By the same logic, those are match fixing as well right? But that happens in EVERY tournament EVER. I don't see how this is even a discussion thread. This is part of the game.
    If someone draws or concede's in a final round and it knocks me out of top 8, which is more productive: complain about how those people 'screwed' me, or reflect on the matches I lost and consider what I could do differently in future matches so that I don't have to hope for tie breakers to get me in?



  • Sorry for my assholery and for personally attacking Matt, Sorry Matt, It was uncalled for. I come from a very competitive background and I hate how the current system works and how it can be somewhat "gamed". In other competitive games i've played in the past, tournaments were ran with 2 sets a brackets, a winners and a losers bracket. There was never any way to game the system in those competitions. The only thing people would do is throw matches for money provided there was enough people betting on the match.

    I could go in depth why i think mtg should be treated similar to esports, however, I don't think it would serve a purpose as people are entitled to play how they wish.

    Good luck and have fun.



  • @ChubbyRain said in Ethical Dilemma: Scooping on MTGO:

    @spook Did you read the original post? The pairings on MTGO are done randomly in the last round. My opponent's were not even close to the worst X-1s and I was not close to the highest ranked X-2s. It's a stupid system and one that needs to be fixed in my opinion.

    Only the bit about being the lowest of the record, but misremembered that was you at X-2, and not your opponent.

    In a live event, it is very likely that the person paired down had the worst of the X-1 records.



  • @spook I agree. The 5th seed should be playing against another high seed, where both players have a shot at making top 8 and every reason to play. Regardless of the ethical ramifications, the tournament system for MTGO is poorly executed. If only that was the only thing flawed on MTGO...



  • I don't think a concession should be acceptable in this case (and most others where it affects other persons in such a way).

    Speaking from a more rules-oriented position, I do not think that concessions exist to match fix and screw players like this. However, you cannot be forced to play a match, and no one could truly enforce such a rule anyway. This has always lead me to believe that using concessions for any reasons such as this example, or IDs, is simply an abuse of a system that can never truly enforce what i would consider 'fair play'.

    Whether it is allowed in the rules or not, this does not change the fact that someone lost a top 8 spot they would have otherwise earned. After reading this whole thread, i still cannot see how someone can justify that outside of "the rules allow it".

    The short of it is that the rules do not exist for people to scoop when they have nothing to lose, just to give their friend (or a stranger) a favor into the top 8. They cannot be 'fixed' to do so, but it is not my belief that WOTC structures their rules under any belief that "you should be able to ID/concede and propel someone into top8 who has technically done a little worse than someone else who had to play for their match". So i would consider someone in this position to be abusing rules, unethical, and not playing honestly.



  • @Sovarius You can consider that, but its objectively misleading and false. The rules explicitly DO allow me to concede to someone to propel them into the top 8, or ID with someone to put us both in (at the expense of another player). The black-and-white rules-oriented approach leaves no question: Matt was 100% within his rights, full stop.

    Saying that the rules do not work the way you'd like is fair. That's an opinion you can have. Most of your arguments are more along the lines of what you consider ethical within an event, not about how the rules work.



  • If you were a world-famous ethicist and WotC was willing to pay you to advise them on how to make tournament structures more ethical (preferably by changing as little as possible), what would you advise?


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to The Mana Drain was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.