SPS Governance Proposal - Update Terms of Service To Prohibit Bot Use In Tourneys, & Brawls

in #sps7 months ago


Purpose Is To Create Individual Human Competition

Update the SPL Terms of Service to prohibit the use of all forms of automated play (known as bots) in the following:
a) Tournaments
b) Brawls

In addition, the team should use their best efforts to enforce this policy, but ONLY when they have the resources available to do so.

NOTE: Bot play is acceptable in the Wild Ranked Format

While changing the Terms of Service is a high priority, the proposal DOES NOT want to slow down or stop any other projects for special enforcement, so the team can use whatever tools they already have developed on a "best efforts basis".

Thank you for your time and attention to this proposal.


Thank you for doing this. After years of playing this and building up my deck I was losing hope on ranked and brawls because of the botting, the battle helpers and also that all of the content creators are openly botting. It was becoming bizzaro world where the cheaters are the normal ones and the people that don't like it and feel it is ruining everything about the game are the weird ones and "salty."

I had given up on ranked and I was seriously deciding to exit ranked and my guild because of the cheating and just focusing on renting out all my cards and playing the land game only or exiting the game entirely.

Everyone in my guild stopped brawling except me. Since SPS staking came into effect 2 have started brawling again and I got hope for ranked being playable again so I started battling but I could still see bots in modern they were just renting SPS. Now that the bot ban in modern has been implemented I just tried it out and ranked is better now but I can tell there are still battle helpers being used.

There is always hope.

I agree our back was against the wall, so we started fighting back. Thanks to Dave to make this a reality. Today many are playing at Modern manually, and it is such a joy,

Recently, I started playing Modern league to avoid the bot in Wild league and also to get better ranked rewards.

Ok, ok, that is right. Bots are not good for splinterlands, but we have to fight them by technology not law courts in my opinion. The terms of service should stay the same.

Yeah, I agree with you. Technology is the best way to manage the situation.
How many people will read carefully and understand the terms of service?
Normally, people just click "yes" for all terms of service and move forward.

I like to hear your testimonial because its good for people to know how various people feel. I have come across this issue many times and I'm super glad you made it to this point of still being here. I think @azircon has put other testimonials out from others too, so you're not alone.

I realize people see things from their own eyes, but I believe we are in agreement on how to improve the game. SPL has a ton of potential, and while its not easy, I think if we continue to focus on making players enjoy playing the game then we can achieve much more going forward!

Thank you @aironeous !!!

These are my personal thoughts as a player (not as a team member).

The two proposals (“SPS Governance Proposal: Update Terms Of Service To Prohibit Use Of Battle Helpers in Modern Ranked, Tourneys, and Brawls” and “SPS Governance Proposal - Update Terms of Service To Prohibit Bot Use In Tourneys, & Brawls”) are the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES that have come up before the Dao, even amongst all of the 39 completed and 1 active proposals.

In my opinion, these proposals are crucial to the future and survival of Splinterlands the game. Although the company started off with a bot agnostic position, over the past few years and especially the past few months, we as a community have seen the consequences of what happens when bot and battle helper use ramp up to such high levels. The reality is that while Splinterlands has always strived to ensure that bots do not have an unfair advantage over human players, it has become clear that over this entire time period the bots have maintained an advantage and that advantage has steadily grown over time.

The competitive aspect of the game disappears and skill becomes marginalized when everyone is using a bot or battle helper. Win trading within a botnet jeopardizes the integrity of the system. We have seen many human players give up and either leave the game or turn to botting (“if you can’t beat them, join them”) resulting in a cascading snowball effect.

Before I started playing Splinterlands in 2019, I spent a year playing CryptoKitties which I enjoyed. But the dominant and optimized bots in CryptoKitties pushed out the human players like me, and now I worry that I am seeing the same thing happen in Splinterlands. We’ve already seen what happens to games that become primarily bot-driven - do we want Splinterlands to follow the path of Alien Worlds?

How is Splinterlands going to attract and retain new players if the ecosystem is full of bots and most of the human players have already left? What is the player experience going to be like when you are constantly beaten down by over-optimized bots and battle helpers? How are we going to be taken seriously in the Esports community and get corporate sponsors for tournaments if botting and battle helpers are the norm in tournaments?

I do think there can be a space for bots in the Splinterlands ecosystem. At the moment it is Wild Ranked and maybe in the future there can be specific formats (botting league? bot vs human challenge?) that are specially targeted for bots. But I definitely do not think that bots and battle helpers belong in tournaments and brawls. And before the human-only Modern proposal was passed, a large number of community members agreed with that, even going so far as to informally agree to @davemccoy 's pledge to not bot tournaments and brawls.

The recently passed and implemented proposal “Splinterlands will try to implement anti-bot measures in Modern format” is a step in the right direction but by itself its impact will be very limited. It’s only a half-measure because battle helpers are not covered in the scope for Modern ranked. Furthermore, the impact of battle helpers is greatest in tournaments and brawls which are supposed to be about competition and skill.

I realize that many of the human players who have since resorted to botting or using battle helpers might now like the extra time that has freed up. But if you ever enjoyed playing the game, if you ever prefer playing against a human player, or if you want Splinterlands to grow and be able to attract new human players instead of just being a massive botting simulation, then I encourage you to vote in favor of both of these proposals. Even if you have more free time or earn higher profits from botting or using battle helpers, I hope you agree that these two proposals are what is best for the future and survivability of the game.

I am confident that the Splinterlands Dev team can identify the use of bots or battle helpers to a high degree of accuracy and that they can implement measures to significantly reduce and deter such use.

I am confident that ...

I can't say I would be really confident, but I completely agree with your analysis.

100% in agreement. I am hopeful we will get this done, and gameplay will be infinitely better.

Thanks again for such a powerful stance on this issue Byz!

I personally would have prefered to include battle helpers, too, as also battle helpers are clearly superior compared to human players and eliminate the skill factor from the game.
However, every beginning is better than no beginning at all. :)

Me too, but it was suggested to break them down into 2 votes. Of course I hope both votes pass then it will fix this! :)

Thanks for the support @jaki01!!!

Hey all- Tom Krochock aka TK here. For those that don't know me, I post a lot on Twitter but not often in here/discord.

Dave, Thank you for making these proposals. Like, seriously. Something similar has been on my mind for months. I think it's very important that this vote goes though, even though it may not seem like a big deal to some people.

I think the power of the team taking a formal stance on botting could be a major galvanizing force for the community. And the beauty of this proposal is that they don't even have to formally declare it themselves. The TOS will do it for them.

In my 2 years of playing the game, my biggest issues have always been with botting. It's not uncommon for me to quit battling out of frustration 1-2 times a week because of bots. And then usually what happens next is that I get pretty profoundly sad, because I realize that many other people experience these same things and choose not to stick around because of it.

These proposals of finally getting some kind of formal stance against bots/battle helpers into the terms of service may not seem like a big deal, but I believe it's an important step that will help to create the decentralized haven that the team wants while also plainly stating that there will be restrictions on the expectation of bot use because we can't ever expect the bot to play fairly.

I believe that as part of our definition for "Anti-Bot Measures," We should also be getting creative about designing specific advantages for human players. If the humans don't have enough advantages against the bots, let's create some more.

I have some ideas about how to make things more human but I don't know if it would take away from the other things they are doing and I am not sure if now is the right time to discuss them with everything else that is on their plate.

Thanks for your response! I would consider it more of a brainstorming session. They don't have to commit to anything but I'm thinking let's at least start having the discussion. I don't think we should rely only on the team to solve this, and we could actually make some really cool/inventive contributions to this within the community.

Awesome to hear TK! Thank you for taking the time to not only express your thoughts, but to give your own personal experience. That's helpful in my opinion.

I completely agree that the incorporation into the Terms of Service is a very big deal and its a necessary step to end this loop where nothing gets done.

Thanks again for the support and I hope it passes. I too share your sadness when people leave over this issue.

After playing a load of Modern I'm now even more convinced this is the way forwards. Thanks for both proposals!

Thank you @theukm ... I will always be grateful for your proposal, which changed the game. So I accept that compliment proudly coming from you! :)

Let's Go Dave! TeamPH appreciate your support and actions! We salute you.

Awesome Mango! Thanks for the support on the proposal and I hope everyone gets out and votes!!!

Oh you know it we will vote as a unit :)

Downvoted for the only reason that i would like the ban in Wild Tournaments to be in a later stage ;-)

I understand @bubke and still have a lot of respect for you, even if we disagree ... Obviously I wish you voted the other way, but I'm sure you wish I did not propose it.

I wish you all the best in everything you do, and thanks for having the respect of telling me why you voted how you did!

This is a no brainer. Thank you!

I like the emphasis on making sure that such new policies do not derail the original intent and goal of Splinterlands as a game. Implementation always has a cost that needs considering.

"NOTE: Bot play is acceptable in the Wild Ranked Format"

Am I correct in presuming that if this passed Wild ranked would be the only place bots were accepted?

at this time, yes that is exactly correct.

I have been discussing a new 3rd mode called "Beat The Bots", where the reward pool is divided equally in that mode between bot players and human players.

I did get some buy-in from various players, but it would take awhile to implement and most felt it was better to put these proposals out as they are, and then work on the new mode later in the future when the team doesn't have as much backlog.

I might start winning more in Brawls.., that would be nice?

lol... yes I think so! Nice to see you @slobberchops :)

i like the idea but i feel we need to be clearer with what we want and a path to do so. A blanket ban in tournaments won't work as services need a way to earn to stop them from just updating their tools to just play in tournaments. We also need to detail what will happen to accounts that break x rule. We need a path for human vs human and a path for people to bot so we have a middle ground so services will get on board with this like they did for modern ranked. For tournaments, it should be a setting for host to choose if they want a human vs human tournament or not so then Splinterlands can keep their decentralized approach to things while allowing others to make the human vs human league. Matt said before that host and sponsors should have the opinion and finding a middle ground for both partys to be happy will be the most successful way to do things.

tournaments is an easier task to do this over brawls as brawls will need a full rework to have a path for human vs human or services wont get on board with this and will still allow their tools to work in brawls.

i love that you have tried to tackle all the most at once but i feel tackling them one by one will yield a high result to get people on board and find what areas we can get success with the human vs human part of the game. Also separating bots and helpers is a good idea but if we find a perfect middle ground then we can tackle them together.

the only parts missing in this really is

  1. how to handle accounts that break this rule to stop them from just doing it on another account by moving assets
  2. how can we set this up for tournaments to still allow these bot/helper services to make money so then we can keep them out of the human vs human league
  3. how can we change brawls to allow bots/ helper services to make money so we have human vs human brawls while keeping a path for people to bot brawls
  4. we need to use what the team did with the modern and wild split by allowing these services to make money in wild while allowing us to have modern as the human vs human league as the only reason we got the bot free modern league was because the team made the bot/helper services get on board with allowing modern to be the human league.

as i whole im happy we are actually looking to make steps on working on the underline issues without spl but we need to do it well otherwise any attempt after it fails will make things worse to re try again.

Repost this on the other post as well so others can see the same response!

First, I love the time it took for you to explain your thoughts to the community.

Second, I agree with most of your points with the exception "what goes first, and therefore what is the best way forward".

I have learned from more than 5 years of experience here that things are never easy. Every suggestion you made could be good, but people will fight because a) they are against it b) they like it but like something else better c) they want the order of events to be different.

On top of that, the load on the team is a huge issue, and this proposal was designed in such a way to not take away from any of the other projects they are working on. While a comprehensive process is "better" in the sense that it might achieve better results, if that process takes say 2 years for example, then we didn't achieve anything until such time.

My main issue for bringing this forward faster than I planned was I saw yesterday what I feared would happen. The bot developers are in a rush to make battle helpers so that their clients can win more games than the other players. Its an "arms race" and I've seen it before.

We used to have small time bots that weren't any good, then j69 came in and did really well and took lots of prizes by developing the first high powered bot. It didn't take long for Bubke to get mad at his rewards, and so he developed his own bot. Once people saw how much money Bubke made, they felt they needed their own bots and so both Archmage and Xbot were made.

Now all the big players have to use a bot or lose out on earnings. Its not hard to see. What this has done is create a situation where players have 3 options: a) use a bot and keep up with the competition b) not use a bot and make much less money from the cards or c) leave the game.

So what this has led to is a situation where people have forgot how to play the game, because for the most part they don't play (they just bot). This creates a situation where we have taken out most of the human manual play. Very few new people are entering as a result. If we don't have more new people that feel they can come in and compete (without a bot), then we won't get more money into the system and we continue on the path we've been on. Sooner or later, it will lead to death as all business need new customers.

So this is a long answer, but my point is I love your points and agree with many of them. I actually proposed a 3rd MODE that is Bot vs Human, but the feedback from others was that it would take a long time and they suggested I cut it from the proposal. Which I did.

Thank you again and I do hope you decide to vote for this. I recognize your points though if you decide not to.


I dont't like this. Will downvote. The way to reduce bot usage is by technology not some bullshit lawyer who thinks he knocks down your door and bring law inforcement into your house. Also there is the risk to suspend accounts who are humans and have nothing done wrong.

That's ok if you feel this way, I respect you voting how you feel is best for the game. Thanks for voicing your opinion.

Who the hell do you think you are? By the way my decision is pure logic. Do you have counterarguments to my statement?

Real nice attitude. Thanks for the courteous reply.

Still no arguments from your side. 😕 I am waiting.

On your request for arguments, I don't know who the bullshit lawyer is you are referring to. I have never advocated for any lawyer to knock on any doors, nor do I think this proposal states this.

There is no mention of suspension either. So your risk of suspension is made up in your own mind.

If you want to argue facts based on pure logic, then in the future please start with facts. Making ridiculous assumptions and then stating them as facts isn't the way to go if you want answers with me.

I have responded to many polite people on both of these posts. I don't mind having a conversation. But when you come to attack in a rude way, then don't hold your breath that you will get much further response from me.

I did respond to you once more in case you felt regret for your behavior on this post. But if you aren't civil, then this will be the last answer I give you. I'm happy to discuss, if that's the purpose.

What will happen if a user account violates the Terms of Service? What will happen if a player uses a bot or helper tools?

I voted down on this for now and will likely do so on the official proposal as well if it makes it through, not because I disagree with the sentiment, but because rules without plans for enforcement are a non starter to me.

I'd personally like to see how the bot ban in modern goes so that we as a community can gather data on how it works in that test environment first then expand implementation from there.

I understand. I explained the reasoning in the reply to @crypto-zard , but I understand you for taking that position. Thank you for taking the time to reply and for giving your thoughts to the community!

I responded in the @crypto-zard thread here

ok cool... I will go read it!

Thank you for participating in SPS DAO Governance @davemccoy!
You can place or monitor SPS Stake Weighted votes for and against this proposal at the link below:
Link to this Pre-Proposal

This Pre-Proposal is over!
413 Users voted with 2% of the staked SPS supply at that time!

Updated At: 2023-07-31 16:42 UTC