Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Stats Games

Study Finds Online Cheating Is Infectious 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-we-blame-jenny-mccarthy-for-this dept.
Freddybear writes "A study of online gamers in the Steam community finds that those who are friends with cheaters are more likely to begin cheating themselves. From the article: 'First up, cheats stick together. The data shows that cheaters are much more likely to be friends with other cheaters. Cheating also appears to be infectious. The likelihood of a fair player becoming labelled as a cheater in future is directly correlated with this person's number of friends who are cheaters. So if you know cheaters, you are more likely to become one yourself. Cheating spreads like flu through this community. Finally, being labelled as a cheat seems to significantly affect social standing. Once a person is labelled as a cheat, they tend to lose friends. Some even cut themselves off from friends by increasing their privacy settings.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Study Finds Online Cheating Is Infectious

Comments Filter:
  • So.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ak_hepcat (468765) <leifNO@SPAMdenali.net> on Saturday December 24, 2011 @05:37PM (#38484694) Homepage Journal

    This isn't about my ex-wife....

    Awkward post then.

    • Funny I was thinking the same with my exwife.

      Sadly, I was serious too for about 5 seconds until I got the conclusion it talks about people cheating games.

      • You guys have issues, but anyway. What is the point of cheating at a game that you play because someone designed the challenge--that you pay for? Doesn't make much sense to me. Cheats always seemed like something for little kids. Game cheats act to rob you of the value of the game.

        • Forgot to insert requisite Italian joke. [Disclaimer: I'm part Italian.]

        • by cduffy (652)

          Cheating in a game can be fun in and of itself -- reverse-engineering the checksums used for saved games, finding offsets in a hex editor, tweaking the emulator you're playing your game in to allow editing of memory state and the like is something I consider legitimate entertainment.

          ...now, cheating in multiplayer games? Nothing legitimate about that whatsoever.

          • Agreed. When you're playing by yourself, there's nothing more stress-relieving than switching on god mode after a bad day, and punishing your enemies. At that point, it's not about a challenge, or proving yourself, or learning, or whatever; it's mind-bleach. Boss yelling at you? Teacher being a bitch? Cop handing you a ticket for doing 65 in a 50, with no one else on the road? God mode is how you ensure the next 30 minutes of your life will go well, save your computer gets hit with a lightning bolt.

            However,

            • by Anonymus (2267354)

              Just like a lot of people release anger by yelling at other people, some people feel the need to stress other people in order to relieve their own stress.

              Both of those sorts of people deserve to be smacked down every time they attempt it.

          • by 517714 (762276)
            That isn't cheating, it's simply playing a different game.
    • by antdude (79039)

      Male geeks/nerds don't have any women so that's a lie about your former wife! :P

  • by backslashdot (95548) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @05:37PM (#38484698)

    Not just in online gaming, but in other things too.

    • by inviolet (797804)

      Not just in online gaming, but in other things too.

      Well sure. We're social creatures, and so we look to our fellow tribesmen for cues on what behavior is acceptable. Having others cheating gives us a sense of permission to do likewise.

      Add to this the fact that online interactions do not carry the normal risk of disapproving looks, shame attacks, and damaging the reputation of one's name. Such things are vital in maintaining a society's integrity, and they are almost completely missing online.

      • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @06:05PM (#38484874) Homepage Journal
        There are 2 major types of cheating:

        The acceptable kind, which serves to spare the user the expense of unnecessary tedium. They include using a bot to automate grinding in WoW and unfairly receiving help during tests for mandatory fluff classes that will have no effect on your future.

        The unacceptable kind, which are blatant misrepresentation of true skill. Those include exploiting a bug in WoW to make you invincible and a prospective structural engineer cheating their engineering classes.
        • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie AT hotmail DOT com> on Saturday December 24, 2011 @06:14PM (#38484934) Homepage

          The acceptable kind, which serves to spare the user the expense of unnecessary tedium. They include using a bot to automate grinding in WoW and unfairly receiving help during tests for mandatory fluff classes that will have no effect on your future.

          Why is it "acceptable" then? I atleast do not find it acceptable to use a bot to do anything like that, it still gives you an edge over those people who stay completely honest.

          • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

            by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @07:49PM (#38485466)

            Why is it "acceptable" then?

            Generally, when someone speaks of the "acceptable" forms of cheating, they mean "the forms of cheating I use"....

            And I'm pleased to see that someone managed to start justifying cheating within a handful of posts. When I read online gaming forums discussing cheating, it generally takes not more than six comments to find someone justifying cheating....

            • Generally, when someone speaks of the "acceptable" forms of cheating, they mean "the forms of cheating I use"....

              Indeed, that's why I posed the question, I want him to formulate proper arguments for why one form of cheating is good while another form of cheating isn't. I mean, it IS still cheating, it wouldn't be called cheating if it was acceptable and within granted limits, so it's kind of an oxymoron in and of itself.

              And I'm pleased to see that someone managed to start justifying cheating within a handful of posts. When I read online gaming forums discussing cheating, it generally takes not more than six comments to find someone justifying cheating....

              I personally am strongly against cheating; I do not befriend anyone who does that, when I lead a guild in WoW I actively kicked people from the guild whom I caught from such behaviour and reported them

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                I want him to formulate proper arguments for why one form of cheating is good while another form of cheating isn't. I mean, it IS still cheating, it wouldn't be called cheating if it was acceptable and within granted limits, so it's kind of an oxymoron in and of itself.

                Well, how about a silly example of a form of cheating I see as acceptable. I like the game Mega Man X3 a good bit. I've played through it plenty of times. There's a certain spot in the game where a bot with two morning stars for arms sits

                • Sorry, I should have proofread that.

                  '... it'd seem clearer that for friends to "cheat" together would be acceptable but that cheating in the wild with people who don't know if one is "cheating" or not [is not].'

                • by neonKow (1239288)

                  You example is in a single-player game. His question applies to a multi-player game, and your justification for using the glitch is that "it is a victimless crime that increases enjoyment," which is completely valid, but not equivalent nor relevant to the example of using a bot to grind in WoW.

                  In fact, what you are using may be considered a completely separate form of cheating than the one pertinent to this /. article: it only affects you, and is effectively a mod of your game. It would be similar to changi

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Goat of Death (633284)

              And I'm pleased to see that someone managed to start justifying cheating within a handful of posts. When I read online gaming forums discussing cheating, it generally takes not more than six comments to find someone justifying cheating....

              Context is important. I never cheat in online multiplayer and find it pathetic the people who do. To me playing multiplayer online is about challenging myself and my abilities, especially fps. Cheating degrades the experience for others and that's weak.

              However, for single player campaigns like rpgs I don't see the problem with modding the game however I want. I'm generally not playing to challenge myself, I'm playing to enjoy the game and the story. I liked Icewind Dale but found it too difficult. So

              • by neonKow (1239288)

                This is a new grey zone. You get achievements and badges and decals for the single-player game that affect the multi-player. It would be nice to have built-in cheats that disable any achievements, but for other games, you start also getting items that are more than cosmetic in multiplayer. It's not the game maker's job to determine the purpose and capabilities of the third-party programs involved.

            • by Whorhay (1319089)
              I'm curious about how they determined who was cheating for the sampling. I know that some games have tagged people as chearters for modifying things that did not give them an advantage. Such as modifying an ini file to bypass the 5 minutes of video splash screens when starting up a game, tweaking graphics settings not available through the in game interface, and on and on.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Using a decent keyboard and mouse gives you an advantage over someone who's using a laptop. Where's the line between an acceptable and an unacceptable advantage?

            • Acceptable advantages -> anything hardware, including pasting a cutout of an iron sight on your monitor.

              Unacceptable advantages -> giving yourself auto-aim + shoot through walls + all upgrades + reveal map, in a multiplayer game, while your fellow gamers assume you're running the standard vanilla version of the game.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by bky1701 (979071)
            I buy very good mouses. My latest one is very vast, and has a polynomial speed curve, so I can aim quickly and accurately. This gives me an edge over others - but is it dishonest? I do not even buy good mouses for that purpose, I do for graphical design; should I have to downgrade to the level of others?

            Situations aren't as black and white as people want to make them. MMOs are designed to suck up time, either to cost the players more money directly (subscription games) or encourage them to spend more ("h
            • by antdude (79039)

              Mouses? :P

            • by Rinnon (1474161)

              Cheating on fluff classes I am inclined to not care about, either. The education system is screwed up and needs fixed badly enough that people stuck in it now should be using whatever means they can to get through and get the piece of paper entitling them to be some kind of magically upstanding citizens (regardless of actual skill or knowledge). Again, I never cheated on tests, but I wouldn't necessarily vilify those who do. If cheating on a meaningless test makes the difference for someone between flipping burgers and having a fairly good job, I can't possibly fault them for it, and I think you'd be hard pressed to do so, even. Maybe if the system weren't broken it would be different, but I just see bigger ethical and moral issues in the world than that.

              Hard pressed? Surely you jest. Do you know what cheating is a substitute for? Hard work. There is no "fluff" class it's not possible to get through with decent grades through hard work. Cheating, is dishonest. There can be no question about that. And it's not dishonest for the sake of some greater good either, don't act like this is some righteous resistance against an oppressive educational system. It doesn't matter if the educational system is screwed up or not. Cheating is just being dishonest so one can

              • by bky1701 (979071)
                "And it's not dishonest for the sake of some greater good either, don't act like this is some righteous resistance against an oppressive educational system. It doesn't matter if the educational system is screwed up or not. Cheating is just being dishonest so one can be lazy."

                I can see you're making no effort to go and define that line I talked about.

                "Not willing to put in the hard work, why do you think they deserve the better jobs then?"

                I don't think they don't deserve the jobs for failing to go t
            • by Anonymous Coward

              As a software development and electronics engineer what you have just stated about mice is utterly ridiculous and moronic.
              Get a life dweeb. The only mouse that matters is the one that the marketing department of these mice companies use to extract brain cells from your head and keep you from thinking. That way they can keep the free flow of money coming from your pocket. I could PWN you with a 1995 ball mouse connected to a RS232 serial port! Sucker.

        • I agree that there are two types of cheating, and I also agree with the broad outlines that you've drawn. However, I see things a bit differently, as I'm one of the people who actively creates hacks for the games I play. Here are the two types of cheaters that I see.

          1) The "white hat" cheater. This is the gamer who would usually cheat at single player or LAN games. This gamer wants to have fun, and cheats enable gamers to calibrate the difficulty of their games to their own taste, "tuning the engine" fo

        • "unfairly receiving help during tests for mandatory fluff classes that will have no effect on your future."

          This is abhorrent - there may be examples of cheating that would be appropriate but I would like to call you out for such flagrant unethical behaviour.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, online games cheating is a _game_ in itself. they're just playing a different game.

      which is actually why online games should be designed differently from what they are designed now - in the sense that you would be free to do anything you want with the data you're sent and could send back any data you'd want(the server should only accept just movement controls usually from the players client - and the client should only be sent data the player should see). actually onlive is almost like that, you're on

    • by bipbop (1144919)
      I missed the mention of "Steam" and interpreted this as being about relationships. Whoops!
  • Makes complete sense. I can easily see that if everyone you know is cheating, it would start to seem "fair.". Plus, the cheating itself starts to seem like a game in itself.

    Griefing in MMOs seems like it would be the same sort of thing.
    • by rtb61 (674572)

      Cheating ultimately destroys all games. Games are required to be played by rules otherwise there is not means by which to share the game with others in any meaningful way. Once you start cheating, there is no limit to the extent of cheating and thus no means of sharing context as cheating always shifts the rules upon every exchange.

      Often cheaters cheat do so for no other reason than they are bored (likely psychopaths and narcissists even they computer game) and simply wish to spoil the game for every els

    • by Geminii (954348)

      There's also the issue of opportunity. Someone who knows a cheater is more likely to be introduced to the concept of "playing in a slightly different way", and may not actually realize what they're doing won't be looked on beneficially by others until they're labeled a cheater themselves. People who don't have any contact with cheaters are less likely to have cheaty methods of interaction pop up on their radar.

      It's not really all that surprising that cheating - like any other human activity or idea - can

  • Labels (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @05:45PM (#38484758)

    The likelihood of a fair player becoming labelled as a cheater in future is directly correlated with this person's number of friends who are cheaters.

    Whereas the likelihood of a fair player being labelled as a noob, faggot, or the son of a whore is directly correlated to both their opponent's self-perceived skills and their opponent's lack of actual skills.

    • Yes, but we've known forever that the desire to jerk off to one's own ego greatly exceeds any sense of honour or human decency that may exist in online gamers. It's sort of like anarcho-capitalism, except with rankings instead of coffers.
  • There is a lot of money at stake in MMOs. If people cheat too often, the revenue stream will start drying up.

    Now, if people were running their own servers, this would be less of a deal -- servers that had strict no-cheating policies would attract serious players, and servers that allow cheating would attract cheaters (assuming that people even had an incentive to cheat).
    • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @06:17PM (#38484954) Homepage Journal
      The incentive to cheat in moneyless games like Valve's FPSes is unfortunately quite simple and immune to your logic. It's a desire to torture and torment non-cheaters. Most people who are simply bad at the game don't download aimbots and wallhacks, because that would be admitting defeat. Putting up a "trolls OK here!" sign doesn't generally stop trolls from attempting to troll other communities.
      • Most people who are simply bad at the game don't download aimbots and wallhacks, because that would be admitting defeat.

        Good point, but it becomes moot once you remove multiplayer games from the equation. In fact, emulator speed-runs often specifically include classes for cheated runs(even the particular cheats listed). When I came of age and had just discovered NESticle, I treated myself to using cheat codes to beat all those games I never beat when I owned my NES - the most notable being the original Mega man, which is to this day more difficult than any of its sequels.

        Most old Nintendo games are awesome in our minds b

        • Yes, I was going to go on to make the point that once you have everyone cheating, it's no longer a human-directed game—unlike the intricate art of the tool-assisted speed run, which is basically a mission to explore the best possible playtime assuming perfect luck and skill, or reliving an old classic (I'm a strong proponent of the five-second rewind in ZSNES myself), a multiplayer game boils down into a pure struggle of code-versus-code. Suddenly, the arms race evolves into a 3D version of Core Wars [corewars.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 24, 2011 @05:53PM (#38484796)

    What could be even more lame than cheating?

    N00bs joining a game standing still and moving predictably running their mouths with endless accusations of auto-aim cheats as they are mercilessly sweet spotted and head shotted.

    Friends of non n00bs are likely to not suck either and before you know it the whole team is "cheating".

    • by Kurrel (1213064)
      Back in the Counter-strike heyday, my friend would commonly get banned from a server after a few rounds for cheating. All he had was surround-sound headphones and the fast-twitch accuracy of a Korean but I'd get banned by association. Being labelled a cheater doesn't prove guilt; why wouldn't they use VAC analysis rather than hearsay?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Back in the Counter-strike heyday, my friend would commonly get banned from a server after a few rounds for cheating. All he had was surround-sound headphones and the fast-twitch accuracy of a Korean but I'd get banned by association. Being labelled a cheater doesn't prove guilt; why wouldn't they use VAC analysis rather than hearsay?

        Me and my pals would usually get kicked out for camping. Apparently it was unacceptable to play tactically, to cooperate and assign some team members to cover the team's back while the rest of it conducted their assault.

    • by Phrogman (80473)

      There are lots of people for whom winning is much more important than playing fairly. When they lose, they assume others are cheating better than they are.

      There is no sense of sportsmanship these days. None at all.

    • by icebike (68054) * on Saturday December 24, 2011 @06:24PM (#38484992)

      Actually this happens more than you might think. Anyone who spends a LOT of time on specific games
      can achieve a skill level that looks like cheating to the newbie player.

      The solution to that problem is easy. Go find a better group of opponents instead of beating up on newbies.

      Really good players don't enjoy waxing a newbie 100 to 0 time after time. It takes a pretty juvenile mentality to do that,
      and playing against the bots ends up being more fun. Many really good players will start offering
      tips to newbies to help build their skills. It makes game play more fun for all.

      Just asking, "wow cool, how do you do that move" on the chat will get you a lesson from an honest GOOD player
      and a taunt or "just practice" from the cheater.

      But all too often good players will spot actual cheating, and hacked clients which evade server detection, etc.
      The better you are at any given game the more likely you will see things which you know to be impossible.
      Recording movies of this (if you have the computer horsepower) will actually allow you to replay
      something enough times to see rockets coming out of a guys ass and going thru walls etc.

      And cheaters often come in pairs. Lurk long and quiet like you are away from the machine and you will
      often catch them chatting about the cheat.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Most accusations are, I dare say it, false accusations. People hate losing, and are quick at running their mouths when they have their anonymity.

      • by Scorch_Mechanic (1879132) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @07:22PM (#38485306) Journal

        You're quite right, of course. Mod parent up and whatnot.

        I played a lot of TF2 for a very long time, up until I was exiled from my favorite community for reasons that don't deserve airing. I even played some competitive, and I saw and learned things about classes, maps, and moves that would make the average "pub" player's hair stand on end. I knew soldiers who had perfected the art of the rocket, snipers who almost never missed, scouts who executed heavy classes and were impossible to hit, and spies who are so sneaky they could literally hide in plain sight. Playing with and against these people honed my skills so much that I can tell the difference between skill and cheating with ease. It's all about the attitude. Despite the public perception, few if any competitive players are assholes. Being part of a "comp" team necessitates a good attitude and an instinct for rapport that belies the usual arrogance and casual asshattery of a cheater. As you said, an honest to goodness GOOD player will give tips and be courteous. A cheater will respond with insults.

        In all my literal thousands of hours of TF2, I only saw a handful of cheaters. I could count the number on two hands. You know why? It's the community. If you don't want to deal with cheaters, find a server that has a boisterous community and a conclave of attentive admins. Good players will gravitate towards servers with other good players, and as long as there's enough friendly admins around to keep a lid on the jerks the server will remain pure and enjoyable.

        • by Cruciform (42896)

          The only reasons I've left a TF2 server is bigots and guys who don't want to play but just want to take up slots, stand in one place, and karaoke rap through their mics.

          It's a pretty nice community all-in-all :)

      • by Cruciform (42896)

        A few of us used to stay after work and play up to 8 hours of Quake 3 Rocket Arena almost every day, seven days a week. I was okay, but two of my co-workers were monsters - just amazing to watch. And watch you could, via spectator mode. And it was pretty obvious though the movement and traversal of the maps that it was skill, not cheating.

        The thing that sucks about a nice spectator mode like that is when you have a squad based game and someone who was killed is yelling to their surviving teammate "He's on t

  • Quickly! Ban the friends of every cheater! They might also be cheaters. Such a thing would bring about the apocalypse.

  • by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Saturday December 24, 2011 @06:00PM (#38484834)

    There are some black-and-white cases of what constitutes "cheating" in online games, but a lot of gray-area ones as well, especially when it comes to when players will accuse other players of cheating (this book [amazon.com] is an interesting study). Sometimes it's violating technical mechanisms, like installing a modified video driver or aimbot, but there are a lot of social rules of what constitutes cheating as well, and some mixed cases like using technical features in the "wrong" way. Some tournaments even have to very precisely specify what constitutes "cheating" with legalistic rules, like some of the Starcraft 1 tournaments' rules about which edge cases of unit behavior (mutalisk stacking, etc.) were cheating (banned) versus just edge-case behavior (ok to use).

  • school (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday December 24, 2011 @06:34PM (#38485046) Homepage

    There are obvious analogies to be made with cheating in school, doping in sports, government bureaucracies where bribery is universal, ... and obvious caveats about whether those analogies are really valid (online games aren't real, so cheating doesn't hurt people in the tangible way that a bribe-taking Russian cop does).

    I teach physics at a community college. It certainly makes sense that students are more likely to cheat if they see their friends getting away with it, or if they see that cheating is so rampant that they start to believe that they have to cheat or else they'll be at an unfair disadvantage. The obvious fix for that would be to take it very seriously if students cheat. Suspend them, expel them, give them an F in the course with a note on their transcript saying why. But it seems to be a nearly universal thing at schools in the US these days that none of that happens. My school's lawyers have advised the administration that they can't allow faculty to give anything beyond an F on the assignment -- which is typically not a penalty at all, since usually the reason students cheat is that they're already failing, so they have nothing to lose.

    • I call bullshit, I attend one of (if it isnt outright by now) the largest universities on the east coast and our academic integrity policy is essentially one step shy of physically branding a giant C on the student's face. The first time someone is caught cheating the professor gets to do whatever they want with the now defunct letter grade, they get a "Z" in the course, if they try to drop the course they're re-added so they can't avoid the grade hit, and they can't retake the course or get the Z removed u

      • You are comparing a community college to a university. They are VERY different animals.

        • by bcrowell (177657)

          You are comparing a community college to a university. They are VERY different animals.

          Or the legal situation may differ from state to state. I'm in California.

      • Policy and implementation are very different animals. The GPs policy on cheating may say something similar, but that doesn't mean that the school is willing to implement it out of fear of a lawsuit. Have you actually seen anyone actually get punished in accordance with the policy?

        I also attended one of the biggest schools on the eastern seaboard who had a very similar policy, but guess what, what the GP says is absolutely true. Cheating was so rampant, esp. on homework(which is why homework shouldn't b
    • since usually the reason students cheat is that they're already failing, so they have nothing to lose.

      Most students pursuing a bachelor's in Biology have to take basic mechanics("101") and basic EM/optics("102") physics classes. There is not a damn thing in those classes that a B.S. bio grad would use that is not already overlap from the chem classes they are taking. The official line for justifying forcing so many extraneous classes on students is "producing well-rounded grads," but extraneous classes are irrelevant in this day and age, especially as tuitions skyrocket and information becomes more accessib

      • Having lived and learned my measly thirty years on this planet without a college education, It is my opinion that despite the well known problems with modern education, the requirement and justification of well-roundedness is a very good thing. I started college for the first time at 32 and I can see how valuable it is to take classes outside your field to round out your ability to think and consider new approaches. If there is any reason for college, the most glaring one is the way they force you outside y

  • It has been mentioned in other comments and I did RTFA
    but how is this news?

    I'm sorta on the fence about studies that prove a known.

    I can't imagine that this would be much different than any
    other members of a group taking on malevolent activities
    to create a dichotomy of the group of those that accept,
    tolerate and abhor the activities. IRL, Drugs, crime, sex,
    etc. Nothing new there. [That's what I mean, with proving
    a 'known'. Yes, more data points but still.]

    Furthermore I'm certain this will follow patterns re

  • If any of my friends cheated in BF or COD, well... Lets just say that I know where they live.
  • by Lando (9348)

    Well of course cheaters generally have cheating friends, I mean as a cheater, you aren't interested in putting in the work to become good, so why invest the time to find and or make cheats, someone else does that. So how to cheats get distributed? Well because people you know have them and they share them.

    I guess I should RTFA at some point, but it would seem to make sense. So what's the issue here?

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

    Cheaters are generally dishonorable, shitbag assholes and dishonorable, shitbag assholes are generally friends with other dishonorable, shitbag assholes. This is not rocket science, folks. People are generally friends with people who share the same behaviors and values as themselves. "Birds of a feather" and all that.

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.

Working...