An open letter to community: Why and How cheating happens and why its so hard to stop

TL;DR: Don’t blame codechef. Don’t ask for changes to long contest. Change yourself. Blame hostel culture.

Seeing so many posts about cheating. So I decided to write this down so that people understand where the problem is and stop crying. Note - I am not going to address cases of blatant copy-paste that MOSS will catch eventually.

So I just entered a so-called cheating “Telegram Group” after the contest. I downloaded the whole text file and read through it. My findings:

  1. No one shared any working code or tutorial.
  2. They shared hints on what to read and also very basic test cases (which you can generate and hand calculate)

Clearly, the mass cheating ISNT happening in Telegram groups or Youtube. Logic also states that massive cheating cannot happen there. Its too risky to share code in an OPEN telegram group. No benefit to doing so, and if a troll directly copy-pastes your code, you get banned.

So can cheating happen in telegram? Yes. By adding friends. But more on that later.

So how DOES cheating happen? Hostel+Colleges. Number of reasons why cheating can happen in college:

  1. Its easier to work with friends. Its easier to divide and conquer.
  2. Friends can appeal to emotional side of the problem solver. (Please give me solution, I will get to five star and get referrals)
  3. The original problem-solver becomes the cool kid in the group.
  4. The original problem solver has LOTs of control. He can even instruct them to change code lines before submiting.
  5. Peer pressure, if you get a solution - its hard do deny friends.

So maximum cheating is most likely to happen in colleges. Any cheating one can commit by adding a random stranger from telegram is MUCH lesser.

Long contests and cheating
So, addressing the elephant in the room. Does cheating happen only in long contests? I am sure that’s not the case. Cheating is EASIER in short contests. Friends can sit down together in college and derive the logic together (maybe even share a whiteboard) and then code up together. Help debug each others code. In fact, its easier to cheat in a short contest - since they involve tricks and observations. In a long contest, there is much theory to explain and if one shares code and logic without sharing theory, not much can changing be done and MOSS will catch. In a long contest, many problems are hard to understand even if after reading the editorial if one is not familiar about the theory.

Another noteworthy fact, distributing effort doesn’t work as well in the short contest as well as in long test. I have a chance against 20 students from a college hostel in a long contest. But in a short contest, they can distribute effort and efficiently solve more than me. If anything cheaters have a problem with long contest since they do so well in short and they get frustrated that they dont do as well in Long (others are solving problems they are not able to). In fact, many accounts who have complained repeatedly about prevalence of cheating turned out to be cheaters themselves. And the new accounts who complain about cheating, I have two questions:

  1. Why are they afraid of showing their real account. Most likely because they have cheated and they are worried about being audited.
  2. If they are using a fake/burner account to post on forums (and violate the rules) - dont you think they will use fake accounts to try out problems first and then post on main?

Solution to cheating in long contests: Stop worrying about cheaters. Its a long contest. Its you VS the problem. Focus on trying to solve it. Become obsessed by it. Study up theory. Try to find similar problems and what solutions were involved. Don’t ask site to kill the long contest so that you can cheat in short contest using hostel advantage and eliminate competition.

55 Likes

Agree.

All cheating rant is just spam we need to get rid of from discuss which degrades the quality of the forum.

Most cheating cases get caught by MOSS it takes time, but they do get caught.
That might be the reason Codechef doesn’t take “cheating avoiding suggestions” so seriously.

Cheating isn’t at all the problem, it’s the people who cry and whine about it in Codechef discuss, we shouldn’t worry about others, they’ll get the fruits of their actions.

9 Likes

Irony is your post has been liked by 3 people (as of now) out of which 2 have cheated in FEB 2020 LONG.

This is actually cheating if you want to understand. Many times testcases give hints on a constructive or ad-hoc problem and giving hints is not fair. You are not able to solve on your own, why tf you should be given hints?? People posting blogs for official hints during contest, are you ppl serious?? You are not good enough to solve the problem, accept that fact and wait for the contest to end.

Somebody give this guy the link of Youtube video that gave out solutions this time.

It is very easy to bypass the MOSS, our fellow students prove that on a daily basis. So your so-called LOGIC is not at all correct.

Which college is opened in INDIA right now?? India because max users on cc are from India and sadly cheaters also.

Just one question, From whose account will you submit that since time matters in short contests?? And for the other person to submit, he would make some changes, say for about 5 mins. Which friend would agree to be behind in the rank list even after cheating?? Things would get more complex after a WA in cook-off lol.
People cheat in SHORT contests too but it is obviously no way compared to cheating in LONG. 2 reasons for that-

  1. Most cheaters do not participate which is good.
  2. It’s too late for them by the time they cheat because time is also a factor. So they end up either losing rating or not gaining much.

So the problem is cheating is more in LONG without a doubt.

Seriously I can’t stop laughing in this one. 28k people in a recent LONG and you think this.

I satisfy neither of these so it should not bother you that I complained.

57 Likes

+1000000000000000000000000000000000000

4 Likes

what will u do if someone comes to kill u ?
die ?
because…
they’ll get the fruits of their actions.

4 Likes

Interesting perspective.
But I want to further add up on a number of things.

  1. Increased participation is no proof of cheating. I don’t participate in short because its very stressful. And quite frankly it can feel like a typing contest with ranking being determined by who types solutions faster. Long contest will naturally have larrger participation because its flexible, its open for a longer window, and its not stressful.

  2. You said about colleges being closed, but do you think connections built in colleges stop? And you really think skyping and group coding wont help in short? Yes cheating will be lesser in short because participation is less than long.

  3. Yes its easy to cheat MOSS. Even if you have the ultimate cheat detection system, no one can catch idea sharing. So its not codechef’s fault that people are cheating.

  4. If you kill long contests, why would anyone even use codechef. Codeforces has much better short contests. The reason to come to codechef is the editorials and long contests which allow for research, study and slow paced learning

One last thing, there must be separate “badges” and “shines” for different categories. I am 5* thanks to long contests, dont think I deserve to be in the same “shiny” group as others.

If you give people who crush in short contests a special badge - they can wear their badge with pride and people like me can do long contests when they can and achieve progression as we as improvement.

If you remove long contests, I will just have to move to SPOJ or something.

Someone cheating in an online contest you are taking part in the internet != someone coming to kill you.

First one is not an emergency. It can be solved by lazy propagation.
Second one is an emergency. It should return a “assassination attempt” flag and trigger your “lizard brain” and “adrenalin” and force you to act in a fight or flight situation.

9 Likes

You’ve mentioned ur profile that you’re from India… But you ranked according to the country Bhutan … For some free codechef laddus or is it glitch ? @admin

5 Likes

I have reported using my mail to help@codechef.com. I don’t understand why people are copying code as if this is a placement drive.

Your progress is not measured by ratings in CodeChef instead it is by your skills and knowledge growth.

Codechef long are good for practice and some algorithmic knowledge.
But if you want to excel in DSA you need to practice topic wise too.
Ultimately this thing is like mathematics where you need to practice on each topic instead.

3 Likes

Cheating cannot be stopped. The only way to resolve this is to start new rating system for short and long contest .More emphasis has to be given on short contest ratings .

I agree with this.

5 Likes

Had to work extremely hard to earn my 0 laddus! I am at least glad that I am motivating you people to create fake accounts just to “expose” my laddu scam!

See the techniques people use to avoid being caught
https://www.codechef.com/viewsolution/35390650

2 Likes

Absolutely Correct
Although Once think that cheating is going on. People are sharing there code of problem 1-5 . Guys belive me all these Questions are too easy. And If you want to be good Coder. Go for the Questions from 6-10 Which actually Carry the level.
Uplift Yourself then you will realise that Cheating is not affecting you and your rating

4 Likes

Very interesting code. I feel it can be detected too, with some script. Not sure if conventional MOSS can catch it.

This is the spirit with which I carry on.

Bro You are 5 Star Coder and believe me cheating will not affect you and your talent.
Yes My spirit is this too

Stars don’t matter. Many three star coders here are better than me. Also, I don’t look at myself as a “five-star coder”. Next contest I will probably slip back to 4*. If I start participating in a contest and don’t find time to finish all problems, maybe I will be 3*.

What matters is whether or not fun was had, and something was learnt.

2 Likes

Commenting randomly just to see how it feels like writing after becoming 4* for the first time :wink:

2 Likes