Android: Netrunner (only Scott Cares)


If the information is unimportant and no one should care when it is taken, then is it okay for me to guess someone’s password and take their decks? Ease of access doesn’t really seem to change the morality of viewing information that was intended to be private.

If I stay at someone’s house and they ask me not to read their diary while they sleep, does it make a moral difference if that diary is locked?


First, it doesn’t matter if someone “intends” something to be private. Let’s say I write a letter and post that letter up on a billboard. Then I say “That letter is private, don’t read it!” Are you a bad person if you read it? NO! There is no reasonable expectation of privacy for something posted on a billboard.

The same goes for the web. Something that has a publicly accessible URL with no authentication mechanism is public for the entire world to see. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy. People keep saying “semi-private” or “semi-public” but that is just wrong. Those deck lists were published publicly on the Internet for all to see, like it or not. It doesn’t matter whether the people posting it knew that or not. They fucked up.

Just like it’s OK to photograph a complete strange walking down the street, even without their permission. They have no reasonable expectation of privacy when out in public.

Second, it’s not OK to look at someone’s diary because that is real life and real harm. It is perfectly fine to look at this information because it’s a fucking card game.

If I’m playing Diplomacy it’s perfectly OK for me to lie to Rym and betray him. If I’m playing Counter-Strike I can shoot him in the head. If I’m playing Poker it’s OK for me to try to look at his hand and use that information if he is careless enough to let me see it.

These are all horrible and wrong things to do IRL. Lying to and betraying your friends? Murdering people with guns? Looking at people’s private information, say, their bank account. NO NO NO.

This is the reason we play competitive games. When playing competitive games we can consensually engage in behaviors that would otherwise be downright evil. We create a space where it is safe, and expected, to do horrible things in a battle to determine who is the smartest, strongest, fastest, and/or bestest. That’s the whole point. People who do not consent, do not have to engage! It’s a game, they can leave at any time. Nobody is actually harmed because everything took place in a fictional world that hurts nobody.

Just like I can murder your MMORPG character and steal all their gear, and that’s perfectly OK. But murdering a real person and taking their wallet is the wrongest of wrongs.

And because I know where this is going next, the same applies to victim blaming. Victim blaming in the real world is wrong. Blaming someone for not properly securing their house when they got burgled is wrong.

But victim blaming in a game is perfectly OK. If Rym loses a game of T&E because he made a stupid move, he can be blamed for that. You are responsible for your own failures in a game. If you lose at football because you let the other team steal your signals, that’s your own damn fault!


I would strongly argue that this isn’t within the game. As you say, we have a space where we can consensually engage in otherwise evil behaviours, and this isn’t it! I don’t think anyone but you, including the people who did it, believes this is part of the game. We also have behaviours that we agree aren’t acceptable even within the game - I assume you wouldn’t be okay with me looking at all your facedown cards while you use the bathroom? Or rifling through everyone’s decklists while the TO isn’t looking? Also this brings me back to my question, would you be cool with them accessing accounts by password guessing?

You agree that reading someone’s diary isn’t okay because it causes “real harm”. The only real harm I can see from reading someone’s diary is the violation of trust by someone you considered a friend, and that has happened here. People really are hurt by a friend reading something they’d asked them not to, whether that’s who they have a crush on or what deck they’re going to play.


If it’s a casual game, then doing these things is very wrong. People have not agreed that they are going to engage in serious competition. If one player tries very very hard to win, and the other players do not, that is a very bad situation. Even without cheating, if a major league pitcher is playing backyard baseball at a BBQ, they do not throw 90mph fastballs.

But this is a serious competition. It’s the championships of the WORLD! People apparently take it pretty seriously as a competition, otherwise why would they be so mad? Since it’s a serious competition, there is an expectation that people will do anything and everything within their power to win.

Take spygate/deflategate for example. Did the New England Patriots outright cheat? Most likely. How much of an advantage did it give them? It’s debateable. What isn’t debateable is that, love them or hate them, they are wearing championship rings. Nothing you can say about that. Kiss the rings and deal with it losers. And I’m a Giants fan!

What was the punishment for the Patriots? Lose some draft picks, pay some fines, have players suspended for a few games. None of those punishments involve not winning. Think about the rule forwards and backwards, and things start to make a lot more sense.

If you cheat, we will fine you.

Now in reverse:

If you pay this fine, we will let you cheat.

Sounds a lot like pay to win to me! If you are truly competitive, truly trying your hardest, truly putting victory above all else, then yes you are going to pay if you really believe it will give you that competitive advantage. I would expect nothing less. The teams that aren’t cheating are the stupid ones. They could be paying to win, and they don’t. Result? They win a lot less than the Patriots do. Surprise!

There’s an old saying. If you 'aint cheating, you 'aint trying.


I’ve now read more about netrunner than I really care to. But knowing nothing else. Yeah, I agree with Apreche. You do what you can to win in competitive games. I’ve had otherwise fine games ruined for me like this. Great games when played casually but when played competitively they become different games.

Certain card games come to mind, where hypothetically I could try and account for the whole deck. In a casual game I don’t and I just play the game as intended but if it was the world championship. I’m now forced to account for the whole deck, do so, deal with the analysis paralysis that results, and enjoy myself less.

Because being competitive in this way makes certain games worse. It’s the nature of competition though.

It’s part of why pure skill games aren’t as fun to people. I guess if you don’t want people to steal your decks, play chess where there is no deck to steal.


Or just not be stupid enough to post it online!


The important point here is that they published their decks on the Internet with a very poor understanding of what that entails. Not in a secure system or behind a password, but in an open system. They had the option of securing it, but they chose not to.

It’s like leaving a wifi unprotected. Phones will just automatically connect. It ASKS them to. The social contract of wifi is that if it lets you connect, you are allowed to connect. Full stop. No credentials are involved at any point.

If a URL lets you connect and GET without a credential, that information is public.


Well I mean that pretty literally, In chess your deck isn’t your pieces, it’s your game knowledge, which is fundamentally un-postable online.


Okay, if you think that looking at your facedown cards while you’re away or cheating by not revealing a Snare! is totally legitimate tournament play, then all power to you. You’re still talking about this in the context of the game, when this wasn’t a game event. It’s not governed by either the rulebook or the tournament rules. There is no “pay x to see the other players’ decklists” as in your example. You even said yourself games are spaces that require consent. No one consented to this! I’ve explained why I think people are upset and would consider themselves harmed and I don’t see how it’s different to the diary example you agreed was wrong.

If you’ll agree that any kind of password protection would make scraping these wrong, then cool! But that’s not what Scott is arguing, as he’s said anything goes for a competitive game.


If the site is password protected, then set up shop next to the place they playtest the game and video the deck with a high powered camera/lens. Reconstruct it from there. I’d be totally fine with such an effort.


If by this you mean the game store, other tournaments or online rooms, then I totally agree. If you mean their home then that seems pretty indefensible. It’s not okay for me to record someone in their home with a high powered camera regardless of whether they play a card game.


It’s not legitimate. I wouldn’t do it. But if you do it and get away with it, I gotta respect it. Odds are Usain Bolt used PEDs. Doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t. He’s the fastest man to ever live with a fist full of Gold and a pile of fame and cash. What are you gonna do about it?

All the more reason that it is perfectly OK to do this. There’s no rule against it. They were just accessing information that was published in public with no expectation of privacy. They didn’t do anything that is immoral or illegal, yet they gained a competitive advantage. I praise them for their ingenuity.

I don’t think you are really understanding this consent thing. There’s expressed consent and then there’s implied consent. Obviously they did not say “hey everyone, feel free to checkout my decks!” That would be expressed consent. They did, however, imply consent by publishing their decks on the public Internet. Just like walking around in public means you give consent for people to take photos of you, even if you actually really really don’t want people to take photos of you.

The other consent is the consent of agreeing to participate in the game. Even if a particular player, or all players, might not realize what they are getting into, they are still getting into it. If you get on a roller coaster without reading the warning signs, and then you get wet, there’s no sympathy for you. By getting on the roller coaster you have consented to getting wet, even if in your mind you agreed to no such thing. You consented without knowing it. Implied consent. It’s the tough shit rule in action.

Anything does go. If someone is trying to achieve victory at all costs, let them try anything they want to try. If they can manage to not get caught, disqualified, etc. and they end up the winner, then they are the winner. No matter what they did to make it happen, you can’t argue against someone whose name is on the Stanley Cup. You don’t get there by playing nice. You get there by destroying all who stand in your path.

The obvious exceptions are, as I have already said, causing actual harm. I could beat Rym at Advance Wars by chopping off his hands and throwing his GBA into the ocean. And maybe poking out both his eyes to be sure. Do I really need to explain to you where the line is between going too far and not going too far?


Well, yeah obviously. You’re just saying if you break the rules and don’t get caught then you’ve not been caught. If Usain Bolt had been caught using PEDs then everyone wouldn’t have said “Ah but he was just trying to win, so we can’t punish him”, so it’s not really relevant here. Same with:

These players did get caught and since it’s outside of FFG’s purview the community is trying to self-police. If one of these guys goes on to win worlds, the vast majority of Netrunner players are going to be fine with that. Something can be wrong and not be worth a lifetime ban.

There’s no rule against it because it’s not part of the game. The same way there’s no rule against grabbing someone’s decklists out of their bag and reading them. I’ve already explained why I think this was immoral and you still haven’t explained why this is different than the diary.

I understand the concept of implied consent, but I don’t believe this qualifies for the same reason leaving my diary unlocked doesn’t constitute implied consent for you to read it. As for the consent given by participating, I’ve already explained why I don’t think this is part of the game. There were almost certainly people whose lists were scraped that have never played in a tournament. When did they give this rollercoaster consent? For those who have played competitively, when does it end? If a year after you go on the rollercoaster, you get a bucket of water dumped on you surely that isn’t cool?

Just to clear up my position, I don’t think these guys are evil or should be banned. I think as a whole the community’s response has been way too vitriolic, but I still think they were being asses and they did hurt people. The problem is that a lot of people who are mad weren’t affected by it and seem to just be on a witch hunt.


Wait what? Why does this hypothetical roller coaster have water?


I’m imagining it’s actually a flume.

But I know the old superman coaster in six flags new england had a misted tunnel section. Might count.


There are some roller coasters where you get wet. There are plenty of other amusement park rides that get you wet, even though they are not in the water park, and you can not see the water from the start of the ride.


Yeah, my first thought was a log flume,
Or roller coasters like this?

This is a water coaster:


World championships are tomorrow and Sunday. Seems like despite the game having a downswing, there is a lot of hype and a great turnout at the actual event. Exciting to see what goes down.




Do it!

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