Memory League - Popularity versus Integrity

Hi all, it seems like it’s been fairly active on ML in the past few months, which is fantastic because it means that it’s easier to play matches, there are more competitors on the platform (maybe indicating a trend of growing popularity for memory sports), more motivation to train, etc.

One issue related to growing popularity is that there’s also now a higher number of very strong results coming “out of nowhere”.

These could be of several types:

  • experienced memory athlete who recently joined the ML platform and is taking a number of attempts (over a few days/weeks) to get the hang of things and finally post results representative of their strenghts

  • people changing usernames (it’s not easy to keep track of who is who, even when trying to cross-reference scores using the search function)

  • very talented new competitors with a steep progression curve.

  • or, well, people cheating

I’m wondering how others are thinking of this issue. Is it an issue at all, since there’s no “real” incentives (money, prizes, …)? Is the current system of trying to earn points to climb on the leaderboard taken seriously enough so that more measures should be taken to prenvent cheating? Is it enough to have anti-cheating measures for tournaments such as the Remotes?

Using one’s real name could be one mitigating factor, but would likely scare off even honest players.

Needing to send a video to “prove” one’s skills might be a solution, but only if having objective criterias (on competition history, current posted results, …) for requesting it. Or is it meaningless?

What do you all think?

What do @Simon, @Josh, @Issa think about it, generally speaking and maybe more specifically regarding the past few months?

PS: I’m not going to point fingers at specific players and I’m not either saying that it’s the ML team’s obligation to do any more, just being curious about how everyone is thinking about this. I’m not proud of it, but I get occasionally frustrated from not being able to appreciate some of the insanely impressive results posted on the site for what they actually might be worth.

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I’ve had similar concerns in the past. I honestly can’t think of any great solutions to this problem except your video idea. People who are at the top of the top probably should be incentivized to show off their skills in a video. This should keep cheaters away from the top of the scoreboards.

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Maybe Hall of fame with the best results in each discipline. Every result must be confirmed by a video?
And people can click on a result and watch a recording of somebody doing this score.

That would be awesome to have, but does it mean that all matches and training games by potentially high-scoring people should always be recorded then?

Perhaps a threshold can be set where at one point, people have to make a video 1 time to confirm their memorization skills.

example:

let’s say the fastest time for 80 digit numbers is 13 seconds. A threshold can be put at 25 seconds where, if you were to go faster than 25 seconds in training, you have to record yourself 1 time getting below 25 seconds score in training. As long as you don’t upload 1 video then you get a mark next to your best scores below 25 that indicate the scores have yet to be verified/confirmed. You are still allowed to train but you won’t be able to play matches in numbers until you made 1 video of yourself scoring below 25 seconds.

This can be done for any discipline. I suggest looking at the scores of topathletes and using them to figure out where to put the threshold.

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I do like this idea, I don’t know how feasible it is and what the effect on the site’s popularity might be though.

I think there won’t be much of an effect on the popularity of the site because 80 digits in 25 seconds is a threshold for those who are at least serious about their memory skills, in other words, not beginners. Beginners are not affected by this because it doesn’t apply to them yet.

As soon as this “25 second rule” applies to them, they aren’t beginners anymore.

There might be the immediate effect of asking everyone beyond the threshold to send a video (possibly for several events), so it might take some energy to get the ball rolling. But yes, I agree that it would solve most issues and provide the community nice recordings of top scores Plus it might make it more common for memorizers to use recording devices during training (like in cubing from what I’ve seen) and make it easier to require such a setup for semi-official remote championships.

Any other thoughts? Anyone thinking its no issue at all the way it is now?

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Perhaps it would increase popularity since videos attract more people than screenshots.

It would be just another section next to leaderboard where only possibility to get there would be to record your attempt and when somebody approve this you can see your name, video an your best single result.
Just an idea, I don’t know if this is possible or easy to do

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Those who enter the top 20 rank for the first time should be checked by the means of videos.

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There are many people who don’t want to show their faces and prefer to remain anonymous, please respect that. In majority of cases it is enough to ask such person a simple question or look at the recall and it is clear if he/she is cheating or not. Also this issue is not that common like let’s say on the chess sites, where there are hundreds of people banned on a single day. Here we can see about one suspicious person in a month.

I don’t think that so many people record their attempts, most of them just want to practice and have fun. It is already hard to maintain regular training so making it harder doesn’t sound like a reasonable idea. Also we should respect and appreciate that so many world class athletes are willing to show their skills on the site. Making their life harder doesn’t achieve anything.

Sometimes one can get a feeling that being “good” is a disadvantage here – it is harder to find an opponent cause people are like “I don’t want to play with you, because you are too strong” or there are sometimes some rude comments if you loose or perform poorly. It was often really hard to exit a training session without beeing incredibly annoyed. Please stop beeing so toxic and don’t only think about yourself, it is really sad that you don’t have enough respect for strong players.

I will repeat that this issue is not so common and it is easy to fix using standard procedures. Two guys were already eliminated from the League, because of their suspicious scores. If they are honest (and I believe it is the case), they should present appropriate proof and that’s only their problem, not ours. Also making a video doesn’t remove the possibility of cheating. I think that Simon and staff should mainly focus on creating binary and 5 minute events (and other amazing things) to actually attract some people and not discourage strong players for no real reason.

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I agree that cheating is not acceptable but some people who are interested in memory sport are introvert like me. It might be uncomfortable for some people to video themselves and know that other might be watching it

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Also, after being online for 2 months almost everyday. From my judgment based on observing other people play or recall I can rarely see someone cheating. So i think majority of the top scores on ML are legit for me. Of course this is subjective. I just hope that the honest strong athletes would not be discredited of their scores because they work hard for that.

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But I appreciate you Sylle for writing this topic. Of course this is an important issue

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Yes, but later the people attracted are also required to record themselves if they want to get further. Otherwise, they can only keep the status of beginners all the time. If so, it would be boring。

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This is just rude.

You are calling us toxic, selfish and sad for no reason.

Nobody is trying to harm or disrespect anyone here, we are just talking about possible ways of preventing cheating. Nobody said we have to do something NOW, it is just a concern for the future or near future.

I get your points but there is no need for namecalling and attacking.

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I’ve been for people using their real name on ML for a long time now. People with nicknames at least cannot expect me to respect and treat them the same way as people who aren’t hiding behind a nickname. Not a perfect comparison, but it still works: I would be similarly suspicous of a disguised person entering a store. Be it a traditional balaclava or a fursuit portraying a sweet purple bunny with friendly big eyes. Suspicion is just a natural response to disguise. Nicknames are a variant of disguise.
A ML historical point of view also plays a role in it, originally I believe everyone or at least almost everyone was using real names. Even if it were just their first Names. So when I entered ML it would have felt weird, I would have felt guilty if I had just used my nickname as usual. They were establishing a certain level of trust by being open with their identity and I wanted to honor that. Now being one of them it feels like the majority of the next generations of memory athletes have kicked that foundation with their feet.
Also I feel like ML itself has just become so important to Memory Sports that it’s way more than a mere training tool. To me at least it’s a very central institution of memory sports. Where athletes of sports face each other they usually use real names. It’s kind of the proper manner. At the moment I can only think of Wrestling where this is not the case, but then again I wouldn’t consider that real sport. :smiley: I know that E-Sport is different and in my opinion digital memory sports way more resembles E-sports. However E-Sports has way more problems with cheating than real sports and I believe the very anonymity is part of the reason. The inhibition threshold is clearly smaller when what you splatter is your nickname rather than your real name with whatever wrongdoing you could comit.
Doesn’t mean that I’m for Nicknames being banned completely. But I still would be this strict to have both league matches and rated games open ONLY for people using their real names. Nicknamed people would have friendly matches and training mode left to use. But that’s just my very own opinion and majority or Simon Orton should be the one’s to decide. I also want to note that I haven’t read any previous comments so I’m not referring to anything written before except for Sylvain’s opening posting Furthermore I do not want to read anything following. I also don’t want to join a discussion. I’ve already invested much more time into this than I wanted. :smiley:

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I need to clarify that I didn’t mean to address this sentence to anyone in this thread. That was just a general thought.

I think that it is a good idea for the League matches. But in my opinion it shouldn’t be applied for rated games as it is in many other sites.

@Josh

Please no!

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