Name: Memento_Mori
Location: Zurich
Posts: 4187
What is punishment?

Proper punishment has two purposes. First, to teach the offender a lesson. Second, to wield repressive action and make potential offenders consider twice. A form of punishment that fails to fulfill both aspects should be considered unsatisfactory, and replaced with one that succeeds.

Let us focus on banishment, or exile.



Lucifer: The Fallen Angel - Diego Maia

In times where communities were small, scattered far apart and life in the wild was dangerous, banishment could result in starvation/death, or to the least a life of solitude. As the density of population over the land increased, someone in exile could try and rebuild a new life in a different community, with the danger of his previous identity being revealed, possibly leading to a new banishment.

If we discard the danger of being in the wild alone, the major strength of banishment is the loss of things one considers dare to him or her. A rogue with no family, friends or belonging, would probably suffer less than a respectable citizen, banished after some regrettable crime. This is why, in some cases, banishment was a privilege, and death dispensed instead to those unworthy of it.

What is our home land?

To understand punishment in the context of Quake, we need to understand what is this “place” our community inhabits, what are its goods and trading rules, what do people really consider of value, i.e. what would they be sad to lose.

We have the game, where one has an account, with stats, achievements, and a friend list. We have ESR, as main exchange plaza, and we have localized websites. We have QLRanks.

As money comes from the real world, it may or may not be important for the offender. In certain countries 50$ is the price of entrance + 1 cocktail in a club. In others is the pay of one week of work. We must consider the worse case, where money does not count for the cheater. In-game stats and achievements are also not so relevant. They are not really considered of much worth as they are not really exposed or relevant while interacting with people. Finally, the ELO rank can be rebuilt relatively quickly.

So the things that are left are the skills of the player (very valuable, but cannot be taken away) and his place within the community, i.e. his e-fame. That is a mix of records or worthy achievements, interpersonal relationships, and the social role one has. Indeed, these are valuable stuff, and cannot be rebuilt fast.

Now who are the respectable citizens and who are the worthless rogues?

Without falling into elitism and oversimplification, we can take the skill of a player as main factor, and add any community relevant job (cup admin, streamer, movie/guides creator) one has done. Rogues are therefore newbies with no past or future, coming into the game and cheating. While prosecution at a technical level is necessary and important (we see how bad the situation is at lower tiers, where the long-criticized pb has left a hole), their treatment should be as close to a death sentence as possible. No need to alert the population about it.

What needs public attention are those cases of respectable citizens, the latest notable cases being Serbia ZeroQL and Sweden Zhu.

What form of banishment?

This is the real topic of discussion: how should a ban work?

Besides the technicalities of account/ip banning being unsatisfactory or inapplicable in some cases, there is the social aspect of it. In both cases mentioned above, we witnessed the following: first the cheater gets exposed and banned from the game, and second, soon after the ban, the cheater returns with some form of community contribution (movie, guide).

Aren’t banned people supposed to be gone for good?

Currently they are not, and this exposes the first problem of how we perceive and implement banishment. Cheaters have been banned from QL, but they haven't from ESR.

Indeed, this looks more like a modern version of banishment, the ban you would give to – say – violent hooligans; they are forbidden to enter the stadium, but they can still sit at the bar, watch games and cheer for their team (which is a considerable part of being a soccer fan).

ZeroQL releases Frag movies, Zhu posts video guides. What should we do? Some people hate on them as they are cheaters. Some others actually enjoy the content. I think we should decide as a community the proper response.

Outlook

If cheating is so bad that a full banishment should be issued, then it should be done at all levels. Banned from the game, banned from ESR, banned from any Quake site, the nickname put into a public black list, to warn anyone of what this guy has done. This is the only way to take away the “valuables” from the cheater and make the banishment a strong punishment. Let them hide in the dark, their past haunting them.

Or...

Alternatively, we can make a game-only ban, where one is not allowed to play in competitions, but can still participate to the community. He won’t receive much love, but also not walls of hate. The advantage is that we can benefit from social work done by these individuals, and they can seek redempion over time.

Your turn.