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   Author  Topic: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid  (Read 16743 times)
Fritzlein
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #30 on: May 1st, 2015, 9:26am »
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on May 1st, 2015, 8:13am, omar wrote:

I was a government employee for 10 years and had to go through ethics training many times  
 
[...]
 
A neutral 3rd party is needed if a judgement is required. No judgement is required in this case.
 
Does anyone dispute that these bets were placed.
 
Does anyone dispute that we expect key participants to follow ethical standards.
 
Does anyone dispute that there is a problem with the game if the participant of the game did not follow ethical standards.
 
Does anyone dispute that a game should be invalidated if there is a problem with the game. The challenge match rules allow for this.
 
The only thing that could be questioned is if the participants knew if they were breaking ethical standards or not.
 
Would what I have presented be correct if I only had $1 at steak, but not be correct because I have $10K. Where do you stand on what I have presented if you did not know how much I have at steak.

Omar, I am surprised that the ethics training you completed many times leaves you believing that you have no conflict of interest in this case.  I am stunned that you can read the discussion to this point, which contains sharp disagreements on multiple issues, and yet claim that no judgment is required.  Finally, I am bewildered that you appear to think that you have presented an ironclad train of logic when it contains a glaring logical fallacy that I know you would be capable of spotting if anyone else presented such an argument.
 
By posing the question of whether "the participants knew if they were breaking ethical standards", you imply it as a fact that they were breaking ethical standards.  You need this to be a fact to complete your logical train.  Yet this very point is quite obviously under dispute, and on this point if nothing else, judgment is required.
 
In addition to your textbook logical fallacy, there is an essential matter of fact under dispute, namely whether browni3141 would be expected to perform worse given that he had bet on himself.  (It is of course impossible to prove what caused his loss.  It is sufficient to consider what would make him more or less likely to win, and discussing probabilities is the most we can do.)  I would argue that having a financial stake would make browni3141, if anything, more likely to win.  It would tend to encourage him to study the games that other people played in the Screening, to plan ahead for his own strategy, to play practice games against previous versions of sharp, and in the game itself to exert himself to the utmost, including not resigning prematurely, not giving a handicap, and not playing objectively poor moves in an attempt to win gloriously rather than winning surely.
 
I acknowledge the counter-argument that having a financial stake can increase psychological pressure, which could adversely affect browni3141's play.  I submit, however, that on the balance the incentive would be expected to increase rather than decrease his winning chances.  After-the-fact reasoning that because he lost the game, it must have been due to psychological pressure is another logical fallacy.
 
At a minimum, the question of whether browni3141's bet on himself would be expected to increase his winning chances or decrease them or not have much effect is another point essential to deciding on the validity of the result of the Arimaa Challenge, another point on which judgment is required, and another reason you have a conflict of interest in making the decision unilaterally.
 
 
 
 
 
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chessandgo
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #31 on: May 1st, 2015, 9:33am »
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Finally, I'd like to make it clear that I don't support browni replaying his mini-match (or clyring playing a deciding mini-match).
 
After hearing thoughts from others, I've changed my mind since my first post quoted below, and would rather have the challenge purely cancelled (wrongly so, in my opinion) than a mini-match being replayed, even if the cancellation is financially more unfair to lightvector.
 
on Apr 30th, 2015, 4:35am, chessandgo wrote:
To me, voiding this year's challenge is the worst decision for arimaa. From second-best to second-worst, here are some other possibilities:
 
- [...]
 
- Declare browni's mini-match void and make him replay it.

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mattj256
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #32 on: May 1st, 2015, 10:27am »
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I have been following this conversation for the past two days.
I was (foolishly?) hoping that this was going to be quickly resolved.
 
This is my opinion, for what it's worth:
 
1. Nobody can force Omar to reconsider his decision.  Having said that, in the American legal system it's common for a court to first make a decision and then stay that decision pending appeal.  I think it would be good for Omar to do that here.  (And going forward, as Fritzlein said, the person administering the challenge should be a third party with no financial stake in the outcome.)  I'm not a lawyer and I assume that Omar has the legal authority to invalidate the challenge.  Nevertheless I think it's bad for the community.  As Omar has said, we work hard to create a place that is fair and ethical even though hardly anybody watches the games.  We may disagree about how fairness or ethics is defined but we all believe that the others are acting in good faith, which is how it should be.  If Omar isn't willing to defer to a third party I hope he will agree to mediation or arbitration so there can be SOME third party and some closure other than the closure we were given.  Honestly I think ANY result would be better than Omar unilaterally invalidating the Challenge.
 
2. I think it is better if future challenge defenders are not anonymous.  All bets should be public (also a previous post) and the Tournament Director for the challenge should have no financial stake in the outcome (Fritzlein's post.)  Taken together, these two measures will ensure that challenge defenders aren't placed under inappropriate pressure.  I think there is value in having a shared community, and value in the defenders being allowed to destress afterwards and discuss their games with others.  Meanwhile Omar phrased this as a decision that he already made, not something open to discussion.  I accept Omar's decision on this.
 
3. Omar's position (as I understand it) is that people should be held to ethical standards and not every violation of the rules is going to be written down beforehand.  And browni3141's position (as I understand it) is that there was no written rule forbidding betting on himself, and when he bet against himself that only canceled out the first bet so there was nothing ethically wrong with either bet.  This is a thorny problem and I don't expect us to answer it quickly, but I'll ask the question.  SHOULD we have more written rules about inappropriate behavior from Arimaa players?  This won't help the current situation but it will help going forward.
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Skarn
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #33 on: May 1st, 2015, 12:07pm »
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I'm seriously confused by all the people claiming browni didn't have a monetary incentive to loose. It wasn't a single transaction! Browni had already made arrangements that would have left him at -X dollars if he lost. This happened completely without the involvement of the developer. Then the developer comes along and says "if I win and you lose I'll give you X dollars". How do people not see the glaring conflict of interests here?!
 
And people keep bringing up the precedent of people betting on themselves. But that is completely irrelevant. The problem with betting against oneself is not that it involves money. The problem is that it creates an incentive which goes against the spirit of the game, i.e. "I should/can loose".
« Last Edit: May 1st, 2015, 12:07pm by Skarn » IP Logged
SilverMitt
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #34 on: May 1st, 2015, 2:38pm »
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Despite the logical explanations presented why lightvector's proposal did not, in any way, incentivize browni3141 to lose, I see several people repeating it as self-evident that it did.  This is disappointing.  However, having watched a government ethics training video last summer, my biggest takeaway was that even the appearance of impropriety may be unethical.
 
I am still waiting for the 2014 Arimaa Challenge results also to be declared invalid, as a similar bet (for 100 Arimaa points) was described in the forum in the thread named 2014 Arimaa Challenge.  I assert that omar's position cannot be consistent with only one of the challenge results declared invalid.
 
Finally, while I disagree with the reasons for declaring the challenge to be invalid, if humanity should get a mulligan due to the culture in the Arimaa gameroom, we should re-examine everything about the challenge to make it as fair and worthy a test of the challenger's ability.
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russ
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #35 on: May 1st, 2015, 3:31pm »
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on May 1st, 2015, 12:07pm, Skarn wrote:
I'm seriously confused by all the people claiming browni didn't have a monetary incentive to loose. It wasn't a single transaction! Browni had already made arrangements that would have left him at -X dollars if he lost. This happened completely without the involvement of the developer. Then the developer comes along and says "if I win and you lose I'll give you X dollars". How do people not see the glaring conflict of interests here?!

 
As an outside observer, this was my thought as well. It seems like the people involved in the financial transactions are so used to such financial bets/"insurance"/etc that they don't grok how ... odd ... it looks from the outside for the programmer to offer to pay money to one of the human competitors if and only if he loses versus the program.
 
Justify it all you want as "good motives" or "in the end, the finances cancel out so that there is mathematically no financial incentive to win or lose for the player", but how can "I will pay you if you lose" not look somewhat ethically dubious?
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SilverMitt
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #36 on: May 1st, 2015, 4:03pm »
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on May 1st, 2015, 12:07pm, Skarn wrote:
I'm seriously confused by all the people claiming browni didn't have a monetary incentive to loose. It wasn't a single transaction! Browni had already made arrangements that would have left him at -X dollars if he lost. This happened completely without the involvement of the developer. Then the developer comes along and says "if I win and you lose I'll give you X dollars". How do people not see the glaring conflict of interests here?!
 
...

 
on May 1st, 2015, 3:31pm, russ wrote:
...
 
Justify it all you want as "good motives" or "in the end, the finances cancel out so that there is mathematically no financial incentive to win or lose for the player", but how can "I will pay you if you lose" not look somewhat ethically dubious?

 
The way I can interpret these views is:  "This looks bad and I don't care about the details."  This is perfectly valid, and the fact that the details exonerate lightvector is irrelevant to this case.  As long as we understand one another's views, we can all agree to disagree.
« Last Edit: May 1st, 2015, 5:10pm by SilverMitt » IP Logged
rbarreira
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #37 on: May 1st, 2015, 5:37pm »
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on May 1st, 2015, 4:03pm, SilverMitt wrote:

the fact that the details exonerate lightvector is irrelevant to this case.

 
Depends on what "exonerate" means. When I saw the chat between him and browni3141 I did not think anything improper was going on, and I still believe his intentions were good (both towards browni and the challenge). But are good intentions enough?
 
In hindsight I can see how the action was wrong regardless of the details of why and how it happened. This is why I'm not as much against Omar's decision as others are. The only thing I fault Omar for are some of his arguments in this thread that I disagree with, as well as the fact that he didn't appoint a neutral party to decide it.
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browni3141
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #38 on: May 1st, 2015, 5:46pm »
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I can acknowledge that it's not a good thing if something looks bad at the surface to a number of people, even if the thing itself is fine when looked at closer by them, but I don't think appearances alone is enough to invalidate the Challenge result.
 
I think that replaying my games now is unfair for several reasons.
 
First, the replay is conditional on the fact that I lost my mini-match. If Omar can honestly say he would have allowed a replay of my mini-match in the case that I had won, then I would be more open to a replay.
 
Second, I do not know if I can play my games to the best of my ability. I assure you that my analyses will be hindered by my emotion on this matter, and also that there will be the lingering thought in my mind that if I win I will take away what I consider to be a legitimate win for sharp/lightvector. Part of being a strong player is managing emotions during a game, and I am capable of that, but only if I am dedicated to performing my best in said game, which I am not. By Omar's reasoning, any replay by me must be considered invalid by the same reasoning that my first mini-match was declared invalid, except that in this case I am declaring that I will have a real problem playing my games, not a hypothetical one (in fact I insist that I didn't have any problems before which were caused by the bets)
 
Thirdly, as mentioned I have played 4 games with sharp already. The Challenge defender is not supposed to have this exposure before his match (unless the developer puts his bot up voluntarily, I suppose)
 
Finally and least importantly, I simply don't want to play any more Challenge games this year because of the stress and anxiety they caused me (compounded now by recent events) and possibly won't want to in the future. I could deal with this and take one for the team were it my only reason, though.
 
I decline to replay my mini-match personally and object to someone taking my place (fwiw) until a convincing argument can be constructed against my above reasoning and against other potential objections I have that I can't think of on the spot.
 
On the topic of psychological stress having caused me to play worse during my first game, this may be true. However, I dispute that it was caused by the bet. There are other more severe contributing factors. After harvestsnow and chessandgo had already lost their first two games and after sharp had performed so well in the screening, I essentially felt that the Challenge defense was up to me. Also, I had not been able to play sharp at all yet, and it is a little bit intimidating to have to play an opponent you don't know much about. It's hard for me to really gauge an opponent's ability only by observing it's games with others. I need to play it.
 
There are also the possibilities that the perception that I played worse in my first game was caused by my unfamiliarity with sharp, the fact that I played an odd strategy to try to take advantage of it, random variance, me having a bad day for other reasons, sharp playing relatively better than usual, a biased observer, or some other reason or a combination of these reasons.
 
Others have already said this, but I would like to add that I also dispute that ethical boundaries were crossed by me, Fritzlein and/or lightvector. At the very least I think Omar must concede that this is an ethical gray area. I think relying on an unwritten rule of ethics is not sufficient to justify invalidating the Challenge result when it is clearly not a widely accepted rule of ethics. I dislike the analogy with swiping pieces because almost no-one would dispute that it is clearly unethical. On the other hand many of us here are disputing that the acts of betting/compensation were clearly unethical.
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lightvector
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #39 on: May 1st, 2015, 7:54pm »
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More than one person has privately asked me to publish my opinions on the issue and on the various possible courses of action that have been suggested. I have been avoiding being part of the discussion about what should be done because given my position in the matter, it's simply not my place to be part of the decision-making here.  
 
I enjoy this game and treasure the community around it, and I greatly regret that this event has spawned such controversy and division. I still stand by what I did, because to me it would have been intolerable not to offer my help to someone in such a situation, particularly when doing so simply restored things back to the status quo.  
 
Also, given the way that the discussion has proceeded and how things do not yet appear to be heading to a resolution, it seems clear to me that the event that was to be the closing ceremony on Saturday tomorrow should be postponed. I don't plan to be at this event tomorrow.
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omar
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #40 on: May 1st, 2015, 11:11pm »
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Thank you browni3141 and lightvector for posting your thoughts on this. browni3141, I totally understand you not wanting to play.
 
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omar
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #41 on: May 1st, 2015, 11:24pm »
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Quote:
The only thing that could be questioned is if the participants knew if they were breaking ethical standards or not.

 
When I said that, I was not trying to rise an issue. We all know that the participants weren't intentionally trying to break any ethical standards. I just meant that if this point was under debate than it would require a 3rd party to make a judgement on this.
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omar
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #42 on: May 2nd, 2015, 12:22am »
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Many people are disagreeing with my position because I am one of the challenge match sponsors and so could be considered to have an interest in the outcome. But they are missing a key point.  
 
If one can go from given facts to a conclusion without needing to bring in any judgement then it doesn't matter who carries out the step to go from the given to the conclusion. This is why a tournament coordinator can play in the tournament while a tournament director cannot. The tournament coordinator only carries out the predefined rules of the tournament as various conditions are met. The tournament director is invoked if there is any judgmental decision to be made.
 
I seems clear to me in this case that anyone can go from the given to the conclusion without needing to invoke any judgement. If that was not the case I would have asked a 3rd party to make the decision.
 
Where am I invoking a judgement in the following:
 
Quote:

Does anyone dispute that these bets were placed.  
 
Does anyone dispute that we expect key participants to follow ethical standards.  
 
Does anyone dispute that there is a problem with the game if the participant of the game did not follow ethical standards.  
 
Does anyone dispute that a game should be invalidated if there is a problem with the game. The challenge match rules allow for this.  

 
If anyone can point out where I invoked judgement then I would be happy to have a 3rd party make the judgement call.
 
In the Arimaa Challenge I have been serving as the tournament coordinator; scheduling the games; starting the bots, etc. In doing so I follow the predefined rules of the Arimaa Challenge. For example we have rules that say that if a game goes wrong it needs to be replayed. I don't need to go to the tournament director if the conditions for replaying the game are met. I only need to go to the tournament director if the situation requires a judgement call.
 
brownie3141 asked me a the question:
Quote:

If Omar can honestly say he would have allowed a replay of my mini-match in the case that I had won, then I would be more open to a replay.

I can clearly answer yes to this, but it is not Omar answering the question, it is Omar in the role of the tournament coordinator answering yes based on the predefined rules of the Arimaa Challenge.
Quote:

The game must be replayed whether the disadvantaged player won or lost.

 
I don't think I have made any judgmental decisions in this case. If you can show me where I have, then I can be persuaded to retract the decision or pass it on to a 3rd party.
 
Argument such as "you are an interested party so any decision you make is judgmental" are baseless.  
 
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PhilomathBret
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #43 on: May 2nd, 2015, 12:49am »
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I would like to add another question that should have been in that list: "Does anyone dispute that ethical standards have been broken?" in which case the answer is clearly "yes". This is why a third party should make the call.
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omar
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Re: 2015 Arimaa Challenge Match results invalid
« Reply #44 on: May 2nd, 2015, 8:31am »
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on May 2nd, 2015, 12:49am, PhilomathBret wrote:
I would like to add another question that should have been in that list: "Does anyone dispute that ethical standards have been broken?" in which case the answer is clearly "yes". This is why a third party should make the call.

 
Good point Bret. Also I received this PM from bot_sharp:
 
Quote:

In going from the given (that key participants placed bets) to the conclusion that the effected games should be invalidated and replayed, I do see one technical problem. The Arimaa Challenge rules state that:
"If it is determined after a game is over, but before the next game of the player's series, that either bot or human player has suffered a disadvantage, the game result will be invalidated, the game will be made unrated, and the game will be replayed from the point at which the disadvantage first occurred."
This means that the only game which can be invalidated at this point is the last game of browni3141's series. Since that game did not have any impact on the result of the series, it makes no difference if it is replayed.
 
Besides I don't want to play browni3141 again; you have no idea how scary it is to play him.

 
Wow, a very compelling argument from Sharp. I guess this means that the 2015 Arimaa Challenge match results stand. Sharp has his tactics down onboard and off Smiley
 
Guys, I'm really sorry if I caused too much stress for you by creating this suspense and drama. When I found out about the bets that were placed I was quite disturbed and disappointed and I did not know it had happened in a previous Challenge match until I learned about it from this thread. However, I knew it was too late as per the challenge rules to do anything about it. But I thought it would be a good opportunity to add some suspense and drama to the challenge match being won. I hold no hard feeling from what anyone has said in this thread and I'm sorry if I hurt anyone else feelings by what I said. The only person I let in on this was Janzert and only after it seemed that he might have been effected by this thread.
 
Also I just want to clarify that I made up that PM from bot_sharp.
 
All is well in Arimaaland !!!
« Last Edit: May 2nd, 2015, 9:13am by omar » IP Logged
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