The paradox of a fair overclocking competition

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The paradox of a fair overclocking competition

Author: Pieter-Jan Plaisier

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but behind the scenes of HWBOT a lot of work goes into ensuring that the rankings, and in particular the points distribution algorithm, provides you a challenging overclocking platform. In our quest for the perfect competition, which goes beyond the fields of HWBOT, one of the most heard arguments is the phrase “the competition is unfair” …

But what does this mean exactly? And if we know what it means, can we solve the problem of the unfair competition? And, if the problem is solved, does this actually improve the quality of the competition? In this short article, slash, blog post, I would like to elaborate on this topic.

Short introduction…

Let’s begin like how most of these types of texts start, by looking up what the word unfair means. Most commonly, the antonym of fair is referred to in situations where one (or more) involved parties are not treated rightfully, either by not following the written laws or surpassing unwritten ethical guidelines. Translating this into the world of HWBOT, this could mean that one of two identical scores is blocked, whereas the other one is verified. The key element in the perception of (un)fairness is not, as presented in the previous sentences, the actual blocking, but in most cases the consequence of the blocking: one score is removed from the ranking and receives no points, the other one remains in the ranking and, thus, receives points.

I know, I know … overclocking is not all about the points, it’s about having fun. Nevertheless, the points are a symbol of the underlying problem: one person has a significant advantage over a second person and the advantage is not caused by either one of the actors, but is the consequence of a third party: the umpire, referee or, in terms of HWBOT, the result moderator. As it’s the consequence of the action of our third party, neither one of the two actors can change the decision. Well, this last sentence may not be entirely correct, because as well as any other sport, we also have our own self-correcting mechanism in the form of the moderator staff and forum feedback to rectify mistakes. The case we described here is, however, only a detail of the many forms of unfair overclocking competitions. Let’s zoom out a bit and have a look at the bigger picture.

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