Anonymity on BOUNCED
All games (with the exception of a few that are not for statistics and
have been clearly marked) are played under anonymous rules. This means
that at no time before a game has completed should any of the players
know, attempt to know, or aid in others knowing the identity of other
players in the game. A player is anyone involved in a game.
It is the responsibility of all users of BOUNCED to understand and
uphold this standard. This web page expounds on the meaning of this
What is Identity?
A player's identity is that which would allow someone else to deduce
that the player's power in one game was being played by the same person
Basically, this is the usual understanding of identity. However, it is
not enough to insure that the exact identity is kept secret.
Information which would lead to a "good guess" as to the exact identity of
another player is also included in this definition of anonymous.
- is playing a power in another game,
- has a given name, or
- has a given username on any known computer system,
Playing in an anonymous game reduces the chance of "meta-gaming"
(or externalities if you like economics and game theory). The term
meta-gaming refers to the use of knowledge, pressure, or incentives outside
the framework of a single game to influence the outcome of the game.
Examples include allying with someone because they are a friend, taking
revenge on a player because of a previous game, or using knowledge about
the ranking of a player to determine whether to eliminate them.
Anonymity also gives players the freedom to change
playing styles and become better players without being judged by their
previous record. Many players would like to improve. The easiest way
to do this is experiment with new playing styles.
Anonymity prevents communication outside of the press interface.
This is necessary in order to keep the games fair. Any other sort of
communication (even e-mail) allows much larger bandwidth and further
secures the sense of friendship. This places the other players in the
game at a serious disadvantage.
Examples of Broken Anonymity
- One person with two accounts on BOUNCED:
Clearly this person knows the identity of another player in a game
that has not finished. There are no valid reasons to have two accounts
- A Game Master inviting someone to play in their game:
There is no reason to tempt favoritism.
- Two friends deciding to play in the same game:
Private games can be organized if friends want to play in the same
game. They do not count for statistics and can be non-anonymous. In
fact, they are quite popular on BOUNCED (of course, you don't see the
listing for games you cannot join, usually). See below for options
should you and someone else you know both play on BOUNCED.
- A player using his or her username in a press message:
A username refers to anything which would relate a player to their
identity on an electronic system (BOUNCED included).
- Two players communicate about a game outside of the press
Obviously the only way this could happen would be if they knew each
other's identities. This gives both players a huge advantage over
players who must communicate using only the press interface.
In practice, it is impossible to insure complete anonymity. Examples
However there are a number of steps that can help to insure anonymity:
- Press messages sent by the same person often have similar "feels"
- Similar people tend to join similar types of games. This means that when playing a particular variant, a player has some
idea of what other players might be playing that variant.
- Game Masters necessarily have more information about players in their
games which can compromise anonymity in other games.
- Players ask for the same recesses in different games.
- Game settings (rank and commitment) necessarily limit the possible
people playing (and therefore add some measure of identity).
There are some ways in which revealing identity is okay:
- Players should try not to use the same "persona" in two different
games. Signing messages as the name of the power or the common title of
the leader of the power is fairly harmless. If a player chooses a
different signature, it should be changed from game to game.
- Players should try not to reveal personal information that might be
linked between games.
- Game masters should never reveal information about the powers that
would directly link them to other games. This includes recess requests
and which powers are late. It should be noted though, that often recess
and tardiness coinside because of other linking factors (such as national
holidays or network outages).
- Game masters should try to grant recesses (instead of extending
deadlines) for players who will be away when possible. If a player can't
respond to press in multiple games at the same time, it can be easy to
deduce they are the same person.
- Game masters should not start games for their friends and then
invite them (unless the game is a private game). The friends then know
that each other are in the game. If one player would like to teach a
friend how to play, they should not be in the same game. There are
plenty of other games running on the system and waiting for players.
- During the "EOG" (end of game) phase of a game: When the outcome
of the game has been determined officially (and not before), players may
(but do not have to) reveal their indentity.
- Timestamps on press messages: Players do not need to worry about
sending press messages in separate games at similar times. There is too
much hassle involved with preventing this and there are enough players
with similar time schedules that this is not worth worrying about.
- Game Master's username: This username is known to all other
players. While the players should not make their identities known to
the game master, the reverse is okay. This helps players identify game
masters who's style they like.
- If the system administrator says it's okay. There may be other
exceptions (although almost all of them would be for games that should
not be for statistics).
What If My Friend Also Plays?
If you know a friend who also plays on BOUNCED, you have two options.
Either are fine but they cannot be "mixed and matched." You must stick
either with one or the other:
Using the same computer to access BOUNCED is probably asking for trouble
if you attempt the second option.
- You agree not to ever play (or GM, or be an observer with press
abilities) in the same game. This will require active communication to
insure that it does not happen.
- You agree never to discuss the details, existance, or any other
information about any game on BOUNCED (whether you are in
it or not) until after that game has completed (meaning that the outcome
has been declared officially).
But I Need a Second Account Because...
No, You Don't. If you are worried about trying something new
because it might ruin your record, play in a game that isn't for
statistics. If there aren't any, send e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org and request
one. You don't need one to take "mercy" replacement positions.
People take those all the time. They cannot lower your power ranking.
Almost every replacement position is filled within hours (if not minutes).
There are no excuses for having two accounts. None. Not one. Zero.
When Identity is Revealed Accidentally
Occasionally, through no fault of either player, two players learn each
other's identity. In such a case, both players should try to ignore
the fact as much as possible. It should not be referred to at any point
during the game (either in press or outside should the players know each
other through another mediuim). The game master should be informed.
If they think it will cause a problem, either one or both can be excused
from the game without commitment loss.
(c)1999-2015. Christian R. Shelton. All rights reserved.