As the Great Hall and Common Rooms have been stirred up by it in recent days, I don’t believe many of you are surprised to see that I am here to speak openly about cheating on Pottermore.
First, I want to make clear that whether or not cheating is going on is NOT IN DEBATE here. Cheating is happening.More than likely it is occuring in all houses, but some users are more blatant about it than others. The most blatant example sits atop the leader board as I draft this: SnitchSpirit168.
SS (as he will be referred to for the remainder of this post) has been utilizing a computer program (also known as a “Bot”) of his own design to duel for him. It runs 24 hours a day dueling while he goes about other tasks (such as sleeping). He is not shy about this, discussing it openly in the common room:
and also on his twitter account:
The twitter is a genuine account. When SS first found me on Twitter I demanded he verify his identity, and he did so by sending me a dueling request:
I provide these so that we can save all ourselves the “is SS cheating?” debate on here that I’ve seen everywhere else and go forward all knowing that SS is running a bot without any shadow of a doubt. Fair enough?
Now let me be clear: I do not believe he is the only cheater on Pottermore. Nor do I believe he is the only cheater running a Bot on Pottermore. However his is proven and open whereas others are suspect but not proven. Now that all of that is out of the way, let me proceed.
I have attempted to pen this many times in the past and succumbed to anger and had to desist. Finally I feel I must speak on it. As a voice in the Pottermore Community I have kept quiet about it here on the blog for too long.
I am against cheating on Pottermore in any and all forms.
That’s right folks, I am a Slytherin and I am against cheating for the earning of points. In fact, the majority of Slytherin agrees with me. I’m sure you have all had that bad egg in your Common Room suggesting someone make an account in another house to lose on purpose. As I’m sure the reaction in your common room is similar to in ours: multiple people reply saying we don’t need to or want to cheat, and encourage (rather forcefully) that the person desist with the idea and return to earning points the honest way.
Though I am sure a portion of those people go through with their illicit plans, it is not with the endorsement of the entire house. Just as I’m sure the accounts that are often found in Slytherin intentionally losing to other houses were not doing so with the endorsement of THEIR entire house.
There are cheaters in all houses but on the whole most users in all houses are not cheating.
I beg you all not to judge an entire house based on the few bad eggs, like SS, who are determined to find ways to cheat the system. Hufflepuff is being hurt more than helped by the actions of their leader board cheater. They don’t need house hate to be added to this. It does not help anyone and does not remedy the situation.
I am here to encourage you to make the right choice between cheating and not cheating. And to share with you how I handle things when I come across cheaters and trolls.
We all want our house to win the House Cup. I’m sure this urge to win was not dampened by the bonus they gave Slytherin after the last cup, but do remember that this is a game and that the more important goal for Pottermore is to create a fun environment for Potter fans to play and interact in.
Cheating, spying, and trolling only serves to ruin the fun for others, including those in your own house.
For those of you who have friended me on Pottermore you probably know that I love to duel. I duel for at least an hour a day, and some days more. In the run up to the cup it was much much more. Also, in the run up to the cup cheaters were attempting anything they could to put their house ahead of the others. Including making accounts in other houses to lose on purpose. Whenever I hit, in open duels, an account that was obviously doing so I refused to continue dueling that user. I can normally tell that person because they lose with a zero potency the first duel, and then immediately rematch me anyway. This rematch is normally ANOTHER zero potency spell at which point I start to hit decline if I see that user come up in my dueling queue. I know it can be tempting to carry on dueling someone who is quite obviously not trying, it is easy to see house points with little effort and want to succumb to the temptation. But I encourage you, if you know that a person is doing so to cease participation on your end. Then feel proud you had the self-control to do so.
Trolling and Spying are a whole different aspect of “cheating” that is difficult to deal with on Pottermore. We’ve all seen them in our Common Rooms and in the Great Hall. These users seem to get enjoyment out of annoying and pestering the people posting there. I have adopted a “don’t feed the trolls” mindset when it comes to these situations. In other words, I do not directly reply or respond to them. Instead I simply go down through their comments and hit report placing the reason of “trolling” or “spamming” in the reason box. Then I proceed to carry on normal conversation around the offensive posts. These people are looking for reactions to their outlandish statements, and by not giving them a reaction we take the enjoyment out of it for them. Instead of attempting to “shout them down” which will only lead to getting reported yourself, try to ignore them and report them instead. You would be surprised how fast a user posting inappropriate posts will end up banned or suspended.
The important thing to remember about trolls and spies posting in the Great Hall is that the house they are posting from is probably not their true house.
I want to emphasize that this is a community of millions of people, and that people are capable of creating accounts in other houses. It is easy if one wanted to smear the name of a house to create an account in that house and go trolling in the Great Hall. Chances are they are just trying to stir trouble. So do your best to not feed trolls.
Which brings us to the piece of this puzzle that has brought me to finally creating this lovely essay against cheating: BOTS!
I don’t think any of us would defend the actions of SS or any other user who has created a Bot program to duel for them. I know that nothing is more frustrating for me then when I look at my dueling results and realize that most of my responses are from a Bot. Starts to feel futile after a while, but please try not to let it ruin your experience. And again do not let it tarnish your opinion of the house from which the cheater hails. Hufflepuff is not full of cheaters just because SnitchSpirit is in their house. Just like Slytherin isn’t full of cheaters just because of the books stating we will use “any means to achieve our end”.
At the moment there is no true recourse for dealing with a Bot. You could switch which house you are dueling, if you are so inclined, but remember that there are probably Bots active in all houses and you might not even realize you are facing one. If you suspect that a user is a Bot pretty much the only thing you can do is report that user to Pottermore with the reasons you believe they are a Bot. Not all Bots are going to be as obvious as SS, as I doubt all programmers are capable of programming as successful of a program. The first thing to start looking at if you suspect a Bot is whether or not the user goes off line. There are some excellent duelers who can pull down thousands of points in a couple hours the honest way, and we wouldn’t want to start turning in honest users. Enlist help if you need it. You can even send me a message about it here on the blog, or on twitter ( @ElmBlade43) and I can check their online status at times you might not be available to.
If you have established a solid belief that a user is cheating using a Bot, the next step is to report them and to include in your message why you believe them to be cheating.
To send in a message to Pottermore follow the following steps:
- Proceed to the Pottermore help page by clicking here.
- Click on the “Other” heading to expand this section. You will have to scroll down to see the headings in this section.
- Click on the “What’s Next?” heading to expand this section.
- Click on the “Need more help?” with the downward pointing arrow. This will reveal an e-mail form to send a message to Pottermore.
After this, the actions of that cheater are beyond your control. We must leave it in the hands of Pottermore to make adjustments to security to prevent the Bots from continuing to operate on the Dueling platform. Right now a simple adjustment in how CAPTCHA works would probably hinder them to a certain point (if CAPTCHA could not be gotten around by logging off), but with things in their current programming state the Bots have nothing really stopping them from operating on site. I don’t expect this to remain this way for long, now that so many people have been reporting cheating to Pottermore.
The most important thing is to try to ignore them and have fun. Try to understand that people in the Great Hall might not know that SS and others are cheating, and try not to route your anger towards the wrong people. Remember that not everyone in one house is cheating and that no entire house deserves to be punished for the acts of a few.
We are in this together. We are family. We are Potterheads. And we can not, and should not, forget this even in the face of cheating and adversity. So please, stand with me. Stand up to cheating. Make it clear in your Common Rooms and in the Great Hall that you do not use or condone underhanded means on Pottermore. Encourage others to support each other and not hate each other. Post on your blogs. On your twitters. On your facebooks.
We are all in this together.
I can not tell you how many people I have met in all houses since I joined Pottermore that I consider to be good friends of mine. I have worked WITH members of all houses against cheating. I support all houses alike. Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and Slytherin.
We are all in this together.
And you can be a part of the team, or you can be the next SnitchSpirit. It is your choice. Stand together or let the site turn into Robots fighting Robots.
Imagine this with the words “♫♪ Everybody was ro-bot dueling”. Thought we’d end on a light note.