Forums  /  The Site  /  Bounty discussion - looking for a solution to a problem
  PacPac

Hey folks.

Bounties are an idea that has been brought up in the past, and while it's not something that's at the top of the priority list (coughprivatemessagescough), it's something I'd like to get an idea of how to pull off before I consider implementing it.

For those who don't know what a bounty is, it's basically where a certain goal would have a price on its head; a person (or persons) would choose to put a monetary reward out for a record to be broken or a skip to be found, and the one to do it would receive the monetary reward. The idea is to give people an extra incentive to make certain achievements in speedrunning.

However, there's a problem: potential cheating. People have cheated in speedrunning before, for the glory of getting a world record, and that's a problem that's relatively under control. However, someone might be more likely to cheat if there's a monetary reward.

As one solution to this problem, we could require that the goal be achieved live on stream, but what if the user precorded a video of a cheated run and just played it back on stream? It's never been an issue before (unless you count this, which only shows that it is possible, and doesn't count as foulplay), but again, it could be exploited in this case.

So I'd like to ask you guys if you can suggest any solutions to this problem?

ImaproshamanImaproshaman, BanksBanks and 17 others like this. 
  GothicLogicGothicLogic

With a monetary reward, there will be people that'll go to any length to cheat. I honestly don't think that there's any way to combat this other than things be done in person. It would be cool and I think something like that could be implemented pretty well but people that want to cheat will ruin it. Doesn't even matter if there was a controller cam, live cam, game capture and anything else. Someone will find a way to cheat for that money.

ImaproshamanImaproshaman, paintophobiapaintophobia and 6 others like this. 
  SeydieSeydie

I don't think a monetary reward should be given for a record being broken. Because people do everything to get some money and it's difficult to moderate this (And my guess is people get accused of cheating more often). Except if there is a good solution to this problem ofcourse.

But I do like the idea of giving a monetary reward for finding a glitch. I mean, if the glitch can't be replicated by other users, it's probably cheated.

KlashikKlashik, ShikenNuggetsShikenNuggets and ArtemisArtemis like this. 
  PentaghastPentaghast

Rewards for skips is a cool idea, I can think of a few I would offer if I wasn't so broke lol

 
  jelluh24jelluh24

For a glitch or skip you could require an explaination of how to replicate it.

HowDenKingHowDenKing likes this. 
  TimmiluvsTimmiluvs

I agree with Gothic in that I can’t think of a good way to make bounties very visible on the main site without attracting people who want to abuse it. Obviously as much proof as can be provided should be and it would have to be up to some very strict analysis, but a concrete solution is hard to come up with.

Bounties and speedrunning have gone hand in hand for a while so it would be neat to see a “hub” for them, but avoiding those who want to be dishonest will be hard if someone really wants to cheat for money.

EDIT: maybe some guidelines would help mitigate it. Something like if it’s a glitch bounty, if it can’t be replicated with your video then you can’t claim the money (although I see a lot of arguments coming from that). Not sure about WR bounties because there’s only so much you can do.

 
  wersterwerster

The prospect of cheating for monetary rewards is obvious, but I think an inverse reaction is possible. In that with a monetary reward, with higher scrutiny put into the verification of the times would actually make cheating harder.

I've made big posts about this before, but for speedruns, I would make specific verification standards an option for the person setting the bounty. The big one to put in, would be a visible controller cam. I can't really see how, if you had a clear cam that showed the human doing the inputs, that is actually verified properly, could realistically be cheated without being caught.

But, I would put the option to the person setting the bounty. Let them choose what needs to be applied for the bounty to be claimed. Whether they just want verified on the site, or require it to be streamed, or have mic on, or have an input viewer, or controller cam, etc. Not everyone would necessarily care that much, so I think it should be up to the person putting in their own money.

golderzoagolderzoa, AlayanAlayan and 12 others like this. 
  CriscoWildCriscoWild

In my opinion, the solution is to make bounties exclusive to live events in which runs can be attempted in front of a live audience, recorded in its entirety from multiple angles, and confirmed by as many people as needed. Make a new board that tracks live event runs, make note of who has had the fastest time in each game at said events, and they're the live event champ until someone dethrones them and if that happens, you make it rain on them. That's the way to go.

Please set up the Mega Man, DKC, Mega Man Zero, and Halo boards.

 
  starsmileystarsmiley

Streaming it with every type of camera under the sun, doing it in front of people IRL and being able to consistently replicate it, being able to explain (in detail) how/why it works, everything that's been suggested already.

Make sure you're aware of who's doing it. Someone who has been in the community since 2014 is less likely to cheat/fake it than someone who hadn't made an account until the time the bounty came out. Two extremes, but it's an example.

While these are solutions, these aren't very concrete, because there will be people that will slip through the cracks occasionally, even with the strict guidelines/checks.

I don't really like the idea of the bounties to begin with. Unless it's a really small game, chances are, the community is already trying to break the time the bounty set, and same goes for the glitches, unless they're literally impossible.

SpiderHakoSpiderHako and ArtemisArtemis like this. 
  VertigoVertigo

I have never actually heard of a bounty system in the speedrunning community be used before. Sounds very exciting.

In my opinion, there's no way of avoiding cheaters submitting or participating in these bounties. Obviously, as Pac has stated, people are more likely to cheat when a monetary reward is involved; more so if the reward is more valuable. The only way to combat this would be to crack down on the verification of potential winners. I don't personally think there is a direct solution to the problem, otherwise we would've found a solution, as the same problem is shared with regular speedrunning. We'll just have to make sure we carefully verify each submission.

 
  ArtemisArtemis

multi verification. They would provide video proof of the trick (hopefully with input display or something) and an explanation on how to do it. Leaderboard mod would take this explanation and record themselves doing the trick. If proven successful, the bounty is given out.

as for a bounty for world records, this could also be done, but would have a higher chance of being faked. Its completely possible for a newer runner to get a world record for some games, but newer players are less trusted than the well known ones. And as we have also seen, even well known ones can cheat.

Alternatives to this is to let each game decide the exact requirements to claim the bounty, such as "submitted more than xruns beforehand" "posted on the forum x times before x date"

The idea is cool, and I think it can be implemented, but the leaderboard mods need to be trusted. If you were really worried, you could also set it so that only "verified leaderboards" can do this, and the global mods or something could verify the leaderboard, fully trusting the mods with verifying bounties.

edit: alternatively, you could have a threshold feature, where if it reaches a certain amount of money, a global mod has to verify it. Also if you wanted to test the feature you could set a max bounty and see how it works out

VolpeyVolpey and starsmileystarsmiley like this. 
  emeraldalyemeraldaly

I don't love the idea of this being a feature of the site. I think it should be offered and handled privately by only the involved parties (the one offering and the one claiming the cash). Involving speedrun.com seems unnecessary and a bit of a headache for the site.

QuivicoQuivico, HabrenoHabreno and 5 others like this. 
  Really_TallReally_Tall

I think the prevalence of cheating is being exaggerated in this thread. Sure, it's happened many times in the past, but that's across all games ever in the span of a decade. The vast majority of bounty attempts will be legitimate, or the kind of obvious trolls that are already commonplace on the site like 1 second runs: I can't recall any illegitimate claims to SDA or TASVideos bounties, even the massive ones like the old Barrier Skip bounty for The Wind Waker which was >$1000.

Despite this, there will always be people worried about the chance of cheating. I think as long as you give the person creating the bounty unlimited freedom for setting the proof required then everyone will be happy. Minimum levels of verification would be the run getting accepted to the site, with additional options such as having splits, a video, a mic, the run being livestreamed, an input viewer, a controller cam, the run happening at a live event, etc. The only problem with user-defined requirements is ensuring payout, which I'll touch on later.
And those proof methods are for bounties for records being broken: with a glitch bounty the only proof necessary is another person replicating it. I'm not sure if you've considered TAS bounties too, but similarly all that's needed for those proof-wise is the input file, or acceptance to TASVideos.

Anyway, to me the biggest issue is not cheating but how you'll make sure the money is paid. The main problems with older bounty lists are that expiry dates were not set, so today nobody knows how many of them, if any, they'd get the reward from. Yet even when the bounties were new you had to rely on the word of another person with no other guarantees. If this site held the bounty money centrally and required expiry dates for all bounties then I think these problems would mostly be alleviated. The remaining issue is how to confirm the bounty has been met. With a simple bounty that requires a run under x time and acceptance to the site, the system could be automated. But when more proof than splits and/or video have been requested, or the user has set subjective requirements (run can't use any "big" new skips to achieve x time, the glitch must make the run more entertaining, I must give the TAS a technical rating of at least 7/10, etc) then it gets more complicated. If the bounty setter can deny a valid claim due to ambiguity then this would hurt the system. I think you'd need a small impartial group to moderate bounty submissions and confirm all requirements are objective with as little ambiguity as possible, as well as determine when the bounty has been met. You also need to consider what happens if multiple people help to find a skip, how bounties could be taken down, and so on... it's something I'd love to see on the site but there are a lot of logistical issues that need thought, and without speedrun.com holding the money while the bounty is active I don't think the feature would be worthwhile.

Tl;dr: Cheating isn't a problem as long as users can set the level of proof they want, there are bigger issues with creating a bounty system. The site needs to moderate bounty submissions and hold the money while the bounty is active or there isn't much point.

wersterwerster, TimmiluvsTimmiluvs and MASHMASH like this. 
  VolpeyVolpey

Well, in my opinion, for bounties for things like setups for certain tricks and glitches, and possible new glitches and skips being found, I would say that they have to be reproducible, so the person attempting doing whatever the bounty requires, should document it, and being able to explain what they did.
For example: I would give out a bounty for a setup for cannonless, but I wouldn't give out a bounty for someone doing the upwards warp on accident, after attempting it for 10 hours. So a person saying "Haha I got this trick totally on accident and recorded it, but idk how I did it" shouldn't be awarded.

 
  TheguesstTheguesst

In the context of bug bounties for a game, there are many models out there in the information security community to base these off of. The best of which 1. stick to a specific offer instead of a maximum value and 2. require documentation and replication by the contracted party. I had made one about a year ago modeled as such, albeit a bit simpler. http://tasvideos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19379

In the context of speedruns, this intends to bring back an old Speed Demos Archive era relic. In order to make this viable, moderation of these supposed runs must be under harsher scrutiny. It would place more importance on moderation staff and probably cause a big shakeup in the speedrunning landscape for some communities whose moderation teams may be objectionable to a portion of the community. At worst it might incite civil wars inside some games. At best, it's the growth of an angle the game can take as an esport. I think direction is needed before bringing back a relic like this, give it more time.

 
  KomradeKomrade

I have two bounties up right now. It's not for beating a certain time, but rather utilizing glitches I've found to break and/or speed up the run.

Another bounty idea is for improving TAS runs. There are PLENTY of games that need an updated TAS, but requires the authors to sink dozens of hours or sometimes weeks to months worth of work into one TAS.

I personally wouldn't put up a bounty for a speedrun that I know can be cheated easily, which is why I would stick to the aforementioned examples.

Ultimately it's on the person putting up the bounty to decide if they want to risk drawing the cheaters out. Who knows might be a good way to bait cheaters :^)

 
  LivLiv

Could be useful to get the people who are better at "breaking games" into lesser known communities. People who are more knowledgeable in breaking sequences because of understanding how games work on a programming level. For records though? Personally, not really bothered.

Obviously to prevent the skips being "cheated", the skip would first have to be verified/replicated by at least 3 active runners (lower if really inactive game) before any payout is made. It doesn't really matter how skips are streamed, even if they're done offline... only that when the skip/glitch bounty is presented the verifiers can replicate what is shown in the video.

As far as how to disprove cheating, just put a higher standard in place for these types of submissions. Do I believe handcam, webcam, a run being streamed and so forth disproves the fact a run was cheated? Hell no. But stuff like a required high quality capture with audio totally intact, one video, high quality recordings with zero compression provided to verifiers so they can check the run in a far more effective way through audacity and editing programs for WR bounties, yeah sure.

AlayanAlayan likes this. 
  KomradeKomrade

Yeah if a glitch/bug/skip etc can't be replicated it wouldn't count, obviously 😛

 
  LivLiv

As far as like standards for those, I don't see why it really matters that much for skips/glitches taking that into consideration. Even if someone puts up a 240p offline video with no audio but visually shows how a skip is done and this can be replicated by Moderators of that game... does it really matter how shitty the video is?

 
  MelonSliceMelonSlice

what happens if a user just gets WR and they never knew about the bounty or just wanted to play the game and happened to get WR would there run be rejected for not streaming if that person said it had to be streamed or could it be put in place that the person has to say in the run description they want the bounty? if it ever gets past this point 😊