Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Photo by Jon Tyson / Unsplash

A few days ago I saw a news article pass my feed that was about some cheating occurring at the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament. I couldn't really understand how you could cheat at fishing - I assumed fish were pre-purchased and just pre-attached to fishing lines, so I clicked on the link.

Jason Fischer via CNN

This cheating felt dirty as it looked pretty damaging to the fish. What happened is some individuals shoved lead weights and fish fillets down the throat of a fish to increase its weight from 4 to 8lbs. Of course tournament organizers being knowledgeable individuals of the fish world quickly realized there was no way a fish that size could be that weight and cut the fish open exposing the above.

I thought that was really odd that cheating had gone as far as fishing, then I saw another article about cheating in chess. I was so out of the loop but then saw a 72 page document about Hans Niemann cheating. I kept reading and this looked like a serial cheater from the past being accused of cheating again.

With basically zero competitive knowledge in chess - I have no idea what is going on here, but strangely more attached to claims of cheating than watching an actual match. Seems embarrassing to admit, but perhaps because I've never been one for the competition side of chess to understand the full story here.

I continue to read and come up with a ton of possibilities:

  • Hans after many confirmed instances of cheating has cheated again.
  • Magnus loses legitimately to Hans and has to reach for a cheating claim.

This rabbit hole never ends and all this research about cheating has messed up my Google predictions and now I start seeing results about cheating in the Miss USA pageant. So at this point I have to read on - the winner is accused of being shown favoritism by the corporations that normally provide benefits after winning the pageant - not before.

I don't care enough about Miss USA to honestly read more into that - since at the end of day I'm not sure how you judge the competition without some form of bias. Maybe I'm blissfully unaware of a perfect point scale used to determine a winner, but either way - cheating allegations spread to another competition.

So at this point I'm just curious what the last week looks like in any relation to cheating:

  • Poker game accused of cheating from stealing chips while off broadcast.
  • Competitive Irish dancing cheating scandal.
  • Cheating on the bar exam and admitting it on Reddit.

I haven't even talked about video games which affects me the most. Its ridiculous how much effort people go towards in order to cheat. They may see through walls and have auto-aim in shooter based games, but all that cheating effort goes useless when the account is banned.

Is the purpose just to disrupt games for fun? What changed in our culture to just embed cheating in near everything?

I'm not quite sure, but it could be folks locked in at home for the better part of a year during a global pandemic. Things were online at that time and who knows how many tests were proctored while a student could simply look at some notes located off screen from the computer.

Or maybe its the drive to never lose and to win at whatever it takes. If the world's best athletes have access to training injections that allow the body to excel further and train better is that cheating? Or does it only become cheating when a certain line in the sand has been crossed.

Lets say I pop some Ibuprofen before a race to loosen up some muscles - that might be perfectly valid. However, if I test positive for Clenbuterol I'll probably be disqualified for using a performance enhancing drug. So what do corporations do once a drug has been classified? They research and make a newer iteration that is not banned and less detectable - until it is banned.

This is a race that never ends. Video game developers realized they couldn't really detect cheating efficiently because they don't own the machine that their code runs on. So if you can't trust the host - then you can't trust any inputs. This led to engineers building kernel level anti-cheat drivers which puts code even further to the heart of your machine.

So while anti cheat detection is enhanced so is the cheater and while drugs are banned yearly - many new ones are invented. This drive to cheat for some reason is seemingly increasing and I still don't know why.

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