The Investigations Team Poll Results Are In

By Rich Stone, 5 years ago
Hi all

Firstly, I want to apologise for the downtime over the last hour - one of our maintenance jobs went a little haywire and required some emergency patching and rebooting of servers.

Now, on to the important stuff...

The Investigations Manager would like to go through the recent poll results and how they will affect the site's policies below, but before he does so I would like to point out a few of the key points:

1. Game Removal will only be offered under certain circumstances

2. Game Removal will be only be offered for less than 1% of a gamer's games, up to a maximum of 3 games

3. Anyone who has games removed and then is found to have cheated again will lose all leaderboard access and be moved to either GamerScore or No Tracking status, depending on the severity.

4. Most importantly - the implementation of Game Removal is not a green light to cheat.

And now, I will hand you over to the IM for more detail on the poll results:

Hello again TA. I posted four polls last week to get some community feedback. I want to quickly discuss the outcome of those polls and how it will shape the site’s cheater policy. You are welcome to post that you don’t like the results, but the decisions have been made.

Before I get in to the results of the polls... I want to make it clear that the IT is not looking for a revolving door system that allows people to continually cheat and get away with it. Leaderboard access is a privilege that will be taken away from accounts that are egregiously cheated or cheat again after being given a second chance.

The cheater policy will be updated as soon as possible to reflect these results. We thought it was important to make an announcement about the poll results as soon as possible, before people started making assumptions based on the poll results alone.

Game Removal: TA Cheating Policy - your opinion required

The largest percentage of people (30.1%) voted to remove any number of cheated games. When you combine that with the other game removal options, 60.7% of people are okay with some form of game removal in general. While the no removal (no removal, ban all) options hit 25.8% collectively.

The first time an account is caught cheating (or retroactively for accounts currently on NS/GS), the owner of that account may be given the opportunity to remove the cheated games from their TA account. The opportunity to remove games will be based on an agreement by the account holder that the game is in fact cheated (even if not by them) and they are willing to lose the game to retain leaderboard access. When a game is removed, it's TA score and any record of it's achievements are removed from the TA profile. The stats will also be removed from any leaderboards for that game.

The IT will only remove 1% of the total games played (up to three total games) from any given card. For example a tag with 203 games played, may be eligible for game removal of two cheated games. Accounts under 100 games played will be limited to 1 removal. If an account has had any games removed and cheats another game, the account will be moved to GamerScore tracking.

NonStat and GamerScore tracking will continue to be used by the IT for accounts that have been caught cheating. If an account qualifies for removal, but elects to not have the game removed, they will be set to NS/GS based on the existing policy. Game removal will not be used to improve account stats. You must have provable cheating on the game to have it removed, we're not removing games because it has unobtainables (that are still locked) or because you think it's too hard to finish.

Halo 2 / PC Cheating: Poll : Halo 2 / PC Modding

The clear winner on general PC cheating is that anything provided by the developer should be fair game. Halo 2 itself could have fallen in to “hacking” (moving/editing files) or “modding” (Halo 2 has a map editor). Several people contacted me stating that the Halo 2 map editor could be used to replicate the file moving cheat. I am unable to confirm that this is actually possible though (I don't have the game). When you calculate in the “ignore this cheat in Halo 2” with the total number of people who are in favor of PC cheating via developer tools, it seems that it would be best to ignore this evidence in Halo 2.

We’re going to classify this as a cheat that we don’t punish for. If another game was cheated using this method (moving/editing files) without a provided map editor, it will be considered cheating. Otherwise anything developer provided is considered okay. More than likely we wouldn't be able to tell if you are using a trainer, hacking your save file, or editing game files. However if you do these things (outside of a developer provided program/process) and they cause achievements to unlock incorrectly, they will be considered intentional cheating and subject to corrective action.

Repeat Offender Tracking: Poll : Tracking Cheated Accounts

The winner of this vote was to set to GS tracking and move on with 32.7% of the vote. 49.4% of the overall vote was to either ban (22.9%) or stop tracking (26.5%) though. I myself am a bit split on this. I prefer to keep people on the site who want to be on the site, but don’t have any problem stripping tracking for a repeat offender who isn’t using the site regularly.

The IT will make a judgment call on a case-by-case basis. If the account is fairly active on the site they may be allowed to retain a GamerScore account while accounts who have been away from the site (or who have been on the site but don’t respond to requests for information) will be moved to No Tracking.

Marking Cheaters: Poll : Marking Cheaters

After looking at the results and talking to site management about this one... we're not going to make any changes to the way cheaters are marked at this time. We will continue to discuss it internally and may still make changes in the future.

In closing... I really want to thank everyone who took the time to put in their opinion. I want to apologize again to the moderators here at TA, you did a great job trying to keep the thread on topic and somewhat civilized. It's been an interesting week and if I learned one thing, it's that I should never do this again.
Rich Stone
Written by Rich Stone
Creator of TrueAchievements, TrueTrophies and TrueSteamAchievements. Writes site news and still finds time for the odd game here and there. Loves Racing games and Shooters, yet to be convinced that any RPG is worth the time investment!