One man’s quest to end cheating in virtual cycling

I’m drawing a parallel between his experience of toxicity within these forums (as was made clear in the article) and my own experience in these forums.

2 Likes

oh, yeah i think i remember. the sauce gdpr thread. i thought your concerns were perfectly reasonable personally. my condolences

2 Likes

That thread was closed because it was becoming abusive and generating a lot of flags, not because of the topic however.

Edit: It was also not shut down by a zwift employee, but by a community moderator.

1 Like

i think that was tim’s point, no? for sure it was a nasty vibe though. nobody needs that in their lives. not luciano, not tim

1 Like

I think a thread being “silenced” (by that meaning locked via a community moderator) due to abusive discussion. Is different than Zwift employees publicly making a statement on their approach to cheating, and them personally banning specific users due for attempting to make the platform better.

We should not conflate those two things I think.

2 Likes

I think excessive heat was more the reason for that getting shut down than the topic. For GDPR specifically, there’s not much point in a forum thread anyway. If I had concerns about it I would just file a complaint with the appropriate regulatory body since it has considerable teeth and doesn’t require an attorney.

I believe it is a fair parallel in the sense of culture of omertà and to silence anything affecting Disneyworld. Comes from the same intention not to discuss things that are not “approved”. By the way the deterioriation of the corporate culture and the gap between Zwift leadership and its employees is also something largely echoed by many Zwift current and former employees in Glassdoor during the past two years. Not me saying. Them saying.

1 Like

It was becoming abusive because of the topic and forum users vested interest in shutting down the debate.

The point about individuals’ conduct on this forum remains.

The perpetrators of the abuse were those seeking to shut down the discussion. The moderators gave them their own way. That is the parallel.

People do like to conflate!

I was referring directly to the reference in the article of what happened in this forum. There are direct parallels.

Do you know which part of the article it is to which I’m referring?

Can I just clarify that people have read the article? The parallel is really clear where the article specifically mentions the forum.

1 Like

I would rather put it this way that I am interested in establishing communication with the so-called offenders, i.e. the “cheaters” - in order to specifically ask about their intentions and motives. The “how” is of course also interesting and should also be examined a little - in addition, it can be asked how the respective type of cheating could be prevented - and whether the cheaters try to do something about it, try to cheat differently, would look for another platform. A conversation could be very interesting. Whether you have given the respective different methods a number is merely triviality, though not uninteresting - just wanted to know if you would answer me at all. I’m more concerned with the why, less the how. Since several people have reached you, these have probably voluntarily shown you methods, well, that does not mean that they use these methods regularly. I just wonder which methods are at the top in frequency of occurrence - ebikes? I think the drills cheaters, the so-called makita-boys are myth and rather a rarity - maybe you know more. I can understand very well that cheating in serious races is annoying. Just recently an interesting video was uploaded on you tube, in which impressively “K. the cheater” gets a cone of shame. The weapon works after all…
To clarify exactly and to show methods how cheating can be stopped - I think I can’t help there - but as it is in a dispute: first you should try to talk.

I suspect many of them just have bad equipment and are either unaware or don’t have the cash to fix it.

Cone of shame works very poorly and lets a lot of problems through its filter. We’ve heard from Zwift that the code behind it is ancient and hasn’t been updated.

I would say it is the case 50% of the time, specially in lower categories and in people not riding IRL. That is why at FERA (Fair ERacing Alliance) we are helping team managers also to educate people to smart trainers calibration, dual recording, etc…

Now for people riding outdoors at a certain level, you perfectly know your IRL numbers. If your indoor numbers do not correspond to your IRL numbers you can perfectly detect something is wrong. Then two choices, you disregard it and continue misrepresenting your power, or very easily you make a search on google and you find a quick solution. If you are the first kind then, clearly your intention is to manipulate the data.

Lastly, there is people actually going through a lot of trouble to misrepresent and manipulate the data. Eddy Hoole type. And there are many many. We took an EMEA A2 division of ZRL of beginning of 2023 and could clearly determine around 25% of the results were unrealistic one way or another. Unrealistic indoor pedaling patterns, obviously manipulated smart trainers, upscaled power sources etc… When you intentionally modify the way your device works, there is a clear intention to overreport and to negatively impact the fairness of the game. We also have shared a lot of knowledge at FERA in order to detect this. And being together allowed connecting the dots in many cases.

Also it is super clear that there are some teams that are more tolerating sketchy behaviors than others.

6 Likes

That’s exactly what we do at FERA in case of suspicion of manipulation or intention to overreport. We first contact the team manager, and ask the team manager to get in contact with the rider.
As representative of Coalition I have been in both sides, being contacted by other team managers because they doubted the performance or the accuracy of the devices of some riders in my team, and the opposite too.
If you want to establish contact with the so-called offenders you don´t need me, it is very easy. You go to Zwiftpower and you find very easily a full list of people who are being disqualified from races week after week, with some tags like DQ BS, or 20min etc… You can also very easily get to some ZADA sanctions for the most well known offenders.
I had many guys admitting very directly to me they were cheating once I presented undisputable evidence. I have many exchanges even in writing. Most of the time they claim first “it is not that important” to which I generally answer that if it is not that important why would you go through the effort of manipulating your device, and finally you discover that for many it is super important, being “succesfull” at Zwift is a great part of their identity. But again, you don´t need anyone to get in contact with them, all data is public on Zwift Power, it would take you literally 5 minutes to find ten potential offenders among top ranked zwifters (I mean A+) by crawling the most popular weekly community races. There are some event organizers not hiding at all and disqulifying people with obvious tags.

2 Likes

If you go back to that thread (which is still fully there, not removed), the first individual attack that seemed to cause the thread to devolve was someone who was arguing for the purpose of the thread, not against it. The thread became a back and forth that wasn’t actually going anywhere. So, I still believe it is not right to conflate a thread getting shut down due to personal attacks to a bad set of policy statements on Zwift.

But anyhow, back to the content of this thread. I do think it would be good for Zwift to take cheating more seriously, and they shouldn’t punish people for posting exploits, but they should do the best they can to patch exploits.

1 Like

Politely, I suggest you actually do go back and read that thread again and this article.

I’m out. This forum has the ability to make zwift a very unpleasant place.

I did, thanks!

Then I ask that you read it again as your interpretation here is inaccurate.

My stance is the same after re-reading it. I thought you were out?

You are both decent people - any chance I can have the last word ? :innocent:

2 Likes