CoJ Case 061
DB vs Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj was the sixty-first case tried by the Chamber of Justice. The sitting Justicar was Dacien Victae, the Left Hand of Justice was Rajhin, and the Right Hand of Justice was Farrin Xies Tarentae.
Basic Case Information
- Cheating - Plea of Not Guilty
- GUILTY as to all charges
- Letter of Reprimand
- Loss of Credit for organizing "DB Flash Game Knockout 2019";
- Three month ban from competition organizing or co-organizing.
Related News Post
Members of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood,
The Chamber of Justice has convened and issued a verdict in the pending case of DB v. Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj. Following a formal complaint and investigation, Andrelious was charged with one count of Cheating. After the Left Hand of Justice informed Andrelious of his rights, he pled not guilty. A detailed Verdict and Justicar's Opinion for the case can be found in the PDF file linked below. Please note that the written opinion is generally found on the page after announcement of the verdict.
The verdict was as follows:
Case #061 - DB v. Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj - Opinion PDF
- One Count of Cheating
- Verdict: GUILTY
- Punishment: Letter of Reprimand; Loss of Credit for organizing "DB Flash Game Knockout 2019"; Three month ban from competition organizing or co-organizing.
Note that probation is not included in the sentence as it would serve no useful purpose in this case.
Comments on CoJ posts are left open for positive comments and words of encouragement to a member that has just gone through this hard process. Please be kind.
Signed and sealed in Justice,
Dacien Victae Justicar of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood
The facts of this case were not in dispute. Andrelious organized a DB-wide a knockout-style Flash game tournament, DB Flash Game Knockout 2019, set to run from April 21, 2019. Thirteen members subscribed to the competition and Andrelious used a “cup fixture generator” to draft the knock-out match-ups for the first three of four rounds in the competition: the first round, the quarter final, and the semi final. The final round was then composed of the winners of the semi final competing for first and second place overall, with the remaining semi-finalists competing for third place.
The entirety of the competition details are as follows:
Welcome to the latest DB Flash Game knockout!
How It Works
To take part, all you need to do is subscribe. After a week, I will make the first round draw. Unlike a bracket tournament, each round will be drawn anew; you will not know who your next opponents might be. In each round, I will pick a new Flash Game. Your goal will be to outscore your opponent.
How To Submit
Simply submit a screenshot of your score. As usual, I will need to see both the URL of the game (to verify you're using the correct version) and a timestamp. This will mean overwriting a previous round's entry - but I will keep track of everything on a GDoc. Round information will be emailed to you at the start of a new round. Feel free to speak to me on Telegram if you're not sure of the details.
Each round, Andrelious selected a different Flash game for the participants to play. Of the thirteen subscribers, three members failed to submit entries, one in each of the first three rounds. At the end of each round, Andrelious emailed the participants with the results of that round, including the scores for each participant. He also notified the participants of the match-ups and deadline for the next round.
Throughout the competition, Andrelious also contacted certain individual participants via Telegram private message to discuss the competition. Some he contacted to remind them to submit entries; others, however, he informed if their score was too low to beat their opponent’s score and shared with them their opponent’s exact score. Andrelious only shared score information with the low-scoring competitor in a given match-up and he did so during active rounds of the competition. Moreover, his score sharing was inconsistent even amongst low-scorers: some participants whose scores were very close to but lower than their match-up’s scores were not notified of their scores.
During the discovery phase of trial, Andrelious admitted to informing low-scoring participants mid-round of their opponents’ scores and provided Telegram screenshots of those conversations for five distinct instances over the course of the competition. Further, during the investigation into Andrelious’ conduct, the Andrelious noted that:
As with all flash game comps, the highest score wins. However, in an attempt to whip up a little more excitement, I talk to the participants. Generally, I have only spoken to participants when their score is lower than that of their opponents. Similarly, when running a Dozen of Games series, I have always done my best to keep a live score table.
Andrelious’ pattern of mid-round score sharing did not reveal any intent to benefit or harm any particular members, so the focus of the trial was on whether giving only some participants a competitive advantage during a competition constitutes cheating as defined in section 7.06(d) of the Covenant:
(d) Cheating and Exploitation – Members must not willfully or knowingly exploit, abuse, or otherwise tamper with official game play or official activity in the form of competitions, tests, or other activities. As used in this section, exploitation means the unsanctioned use of bugs or loopholes in gameplay for the purpose of gaining an obviously unfair advantage. Cheating means the use of any dishonest or unfair act for the purpose of gaining an advantage. Unauthorized use of the same submission in two separate competitions is a form of cheating.
The Covenant definition of cheating covers a lot of ground. For the purposes of this case, the key elements are:
1) willfully or knowingly tampering with a competition, 2) by the use of dishonest or unfair act, 3) for the purpose of gaining an advantage.
By Andrelious’ own admission, and strongly supported by the evidence of his conversations with participants, his sharing of scores with lower-scoring competitors during a round was intentional. It occurred, with some inconsistency, during all rounds of the competition over the span of weeks. He never provided score information to the higher-scoring competitor in any match-up, nor did he publish a live leaderboard or otherwise publicly announce all participants’ scores, and none of his communications during the competition indicated any intent to make score information generally available mid-round. As such, it is clear that Andrelious willfully -- that is, intentionally -- shared scores with only low-scoring competitors during each round of the competition.
Furthermore, on its face the score sharing constitutes an “unfair act”. Andrelious’ selective score sharing provided a competitive advantage to those members he chose to notify. They were given not only the knowledge that they needed to submit higher scores in order to win, but also, in almost every case, the exact score that they needed to beat. Their high-scoring counterparts were given none of this information. It is inherently and fundamentally unfair for a competition organizer to tip the scales of the competition in favor of or against any participant. In fact, it was one competitor’s sense that they were receiving an unfair advantage from Andrelious that led to the Chamber’s investigation of this matter.
Finally, did Andrelious share this information in order to gain an advantage? It has long been established that a member can be convicted of cheating even when not receiving a direct benefit to themselves. See, e.g., DB v. Wuntila, 037 DB, in which a consul was convicted of cheating by altering a scoring system to the benefit of some teams over others. Most cheating cases lacking a direct personal benefit to the charged member have involved a summit member seeking to advantage his or her unit. This case presents the issue of whether a member can cheat without any apparent intent to benefit or harm any particular person or unit. The answer to that question must be “yes”.
Fair competition is a foundational principle of this club, underlying nearly everything we do from Great Jedi Wars to the smallest one-off quiz competitions. The Chamber cannot in good conscience articulate an interpretation of “cheating” in the Covenant that would allow a competition organizer to place his or her thumb on the scale of the competition just to “spice up” the event. An organizer or co-organizer’s intentional sharing of a competitive advantage with only certain participants is unequivocally a violation of the Covenant.
That said, there must be a limiting principle -- a safe harbor -- to allow for the correction of innocent mistakes, and it is this: if in doubt, ask the Master at Arms, the Justicar, any Dark Councilor with oversight over an area of competition (e.g., the Fist for gaming comps, the Voice for fiction), or ask your consul. Mistakes can happen to anyone at any time and the Chamber has no interest in punishing genuine mistakes.
In this case, had Andrelious realized early in the competition that sharing score information during a round with only certain participants was improper and had attempted to correct his behavior, perhaps by publishing a leaderboard for any participant to see, the Chamber would likely have viewed it as a simple error in judgment worthy of a reminder to be more careful. Unfortunately, Andrelious apparently believed that it was acceptable to involve himself in directing the outcome of his own competition. It was not.
Cheating is one of the most severe acts that the Covenant proscribes because it strikes at the heart of this club -- the belief that all members should be treated fairly and are entitled to awards equal to their achievements. As such, cheating convictions often, if not always, come with demotions. The Chamber has carefully considered whether this case warrants the same strict sentence and determined that it does not.
Absent any apparent intent to harm or benefit particular people or groups, the harm caused by Andrelious’ acts is less concrete and severe than in the typical cheating case. As such, the Chamber has crafted a relatively lenient sentence that more neatly fits the offense:
A Letter of Reprimand; Loss of credit for organizing the DB Flash Game Knockout 2019 competition; and, A three month ban from competition organizing and co-organizing, effective from today.
The Justicar will work with the Master at Arms to close out the DB Flash Game Knockout 2019 competition.
It is important to note that Andrelious fully and openly cooperated in the investigation and trial. He comported himself with dignity throughout the process, and the Chamber hopes that this will prove to be a but a misguided detour in an otherwise long and dedicated career. The Chamber also hopes that all members will take this verdict to heart when running competitions in the future.
/s/ Dacien Victae
Points of Interest