Cloned accounts folding competitively

Case number:699969-989405
Topic:General
Opened by:CharlieFortsCon...
Status:Closed
Type:Suggestion
Opened on:Friday, March 18, 2011 - 22:07
Last modified:Saturday, July 27, 2013 - 05:46

Since this will be the next subject to generate healthy debate on global, I thought I would introduce it now

Cloned folding, where one player opens multiple accounts, then folds *competitively* with them, is nothing new, but has occurred in the past by such a tiny minority of players, it's never caused any real harm. Those who do it, are generally known about, and are probably on the periphery of the community, so it's never been an issue. It would seem that this is probably about to change, sadly.

The reasons for competitively folding with more than one account are perhaps unfathomable, with little obvious concrete benefit - it is, after all easier to run more than one instance of foldit, especially now that personal hardware can cope quite easily with 6, 7, 8 or more foldits open simultaneously. The consequences, however, are much clearer. Crowding out both evo and solo ranks on the scoreboard are going to strike at the fundamental core of this community, and will inevitably drive away players. Seeing 50 folders above you on the scoreboard whets the appetite, and drives you to try harder. When players are named and shamed in public, and they undoubtedly will be, and you discover that maybe 10 or more of those scoreboard ranks are merely one player, the reaction is more likely to be 'what's the point of playing?'

With some players moving group to group recently, it's always unfortunate when acrimony clouds judgement. It would appear that some are turning to cloning in order to specifically irritate others. I would hope better sense, or perhaps better team management will prevail. Or maybe FoldCentral should step in now, and find a way to restrict participation, based on ip address, whereby once you have a scoreboard rank on a puzzle, only that account can use that particular ip on that specific puzzle.

I would welcome any thoughts.
CFC

(Fri, 03/18/2011 - 22:07  |  28 comments)


itskimo's picture
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I would like to say one player per ip address, but two would be the max if playing can be restricted to only one of those clones and if the other clone is used only for irc sign in and never played.

B_2's picture
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That would effectively eliminate groups of players such a school class all folding for a class assignment. They would all appear to be coming from the school district external IP address.

You have no idea looking at an IP if it's one machine or the external presence of an intranet with 6000 PCs.

And then there are anonymous proxies ...

Joined: 05/03/2009
Groups: Contenders

Yes, I thought it was clear I was describing competitive folding. I should declare I have CFC which is my IRC account, I fold only with CharlieFortsConscience, and I also have FoldPrefect, which I use to dip into the intro levels and <15/<150 puzzles to help other players. They're all within group. And only CharlieFortsConscience works the game.

There always used to be a 'rule of thumb' or a 'gentleman's agreement' that the obvious futility of COMPETITIVELY foldering with more than one account was enough to prevent it becoming an issue. It may be that FoldCentral does indeed need to find a way of protecting 'open' groups from infiltration.

It's very easy to identify over-eager folderers, who perhaps over-engage in the competitive element, perhaps believing that mythical points are 'just there to be found' regardless of how. That's an indication of just how resourceful pesky hoomans can be, to circumvent the rules given to them. I seem to keep coming back to this point over and over again - this game is not ultimately based on the points you can acquire, but what you can learn about how it works, and then bring your own insight. The best solution, that provides real, useful and workable data to the Baker Lab may not necessarily be the best scoring.

The longer you stay, the more you will realise that the scientists behind this endeavour arent interested so much in the score you can achieve, they're analysing the moves you make; or choose to make, or why you chose to make them.

Having 8 accounts, based in different groups, doesnt help anybody. It just causes very public problems.

CFC

spmm's picture
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There seem to be a few gentlemen's agreements (which the women don't need to follow?) and other conventions in Foldit - unfortunately they are not actually obvious as far as I can see; and they have never been mentioned to me.

I recently set up another account - with a very obvious nic ie spmm2 - dead giveaway - the purpose of this was to be able to explore other solutions when I had a relatively high score. I didn't bother registering it with any group because all of the scripts I use, (98% public), were still in my cookbook, which was a nice surprise.

I am still a novice at folding, first script run in November last year.
I tend to use Ctrl +A quite a lot :-) and there is nothing worse when you are following a different path to forget and hit Ctrl +A and revert to your highest score, wasting hours of promising work because undo will NOT always take you back to where you just were.
Undo just does not work well enough for me even using 100% memory.

It would be nice if, when you reset the puzzle your high score also reset, BUT ONLY if you could also keep your Very Top Absolute Best score. This could be done by saving the top score, locally or on the server, first before resetting perhaps. This would also encourage people to try out more solutions.

I was conscious of the fact that I was ranking down other players twice, however so many people seem to use multiple accounts and scoring very highly; without even making it obvious that they are owned by the same person; that I assumed that it was acceptable 'gamers' practice.

I don't know how you would identify the same person running multiple accounts as it seems that you are only limited by the number of email accounts you can create.

anthion's picture
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Hey spmm,

It seems like you are relying too much on the use of Undo and not using the Save Solution function.
I can't understand what the benefit of erasing your high score might be or how it would not be more complicated and error prone.

Your 'Very Top Absolute Best' score is saved in the client. Menu - Open Share Solutions and check the box for Show Auto and Quicksaves

I also don't follow the logic that leads you to creating another account to explore other solutions because your current score is high. You don't lose your high score. Your high score does not affect the work you are doing. What difference does having a high score make in your ability to explore other conformations?

The basic rules of thumb when working on a computer apply to this game. Save your work. Make the descriptions of your Saves meaningful. This game client is like any other computer program that produces documents. It can crash. But it autosaves as you go so you don't lose your best score. If you Save Solution as you go, then you will have a sort of record of your progress that you can go back to and branch off of if you wish.

I have yet to see a coherent reason for playing multiple accounts that does not include ignoring basic functions of the system for saving and undos or multiple instances.

I can't think of any good reasons for having multiple competitive accounts.

anthion

spmm's picture
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Hi Anthion,
I think you are misunderstanding the issue I have.
When I reset the puzzle, (having saved my highest scoring solution), I want to start again from the starting pose and original starting high score. I do NOT want to go back to a branch point. If I did I would not be resetting the puzzle, I would be going back to a branch I had saved. If I reopen a saved branch point, my high score does not revert to the score I had at that point, my highest score is still in place.

So the problem (for me) of the highest score and pose being retained is present either when reopening a branch save or when resetting a puzzle.

I want to keep the highest score I have achieved in the puzzle and I expect to do that by saving it before opening a branch save or resetting the puzzle. It is great that the very highest scores and associated poses are also auto-saved so they can always be retrieved.

Even if I manually save a puzzle immediately I open it; the A key will revert to the best highest score and pose on that machine. I looked at the auto-saves available on 405 (which is a bad example) and they only go back to yesterday.

Different people play in different ways.
I play very fast, at the start of and at some points during, a puzzle trying out lots of things and then frequently reverting to my highest score and often repeating several moves in slightly different ways as I see their effect take shape, or not. Even if I saved every single one of those attempts I would still have the problem.

Given the range of save and auto-save options available I find it odd that the scores and pose of a saved puzzle do not reset to match the high score achieved when it was saved.

When I save a document I expect it to be saved exactly as it was at that point, not to have later changes incorporated into it.
Basically the point of saving and version control really.

Joined: 12/27/2010
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I have 3 accounts at present. One for myself and one for my son, who is currently losing interest and no doubt I will kill that account off soon. The third account was forced on me when I tried to be myself at work and found that foldit would not allow me to download recipes to my work machine but sent them to my home instead. The only solution I could see at the time was to be someone else.

We are not getting any feedback from the game designers as to whether what we are doing / have done is useful in any way. I have been at it 3 months and have not seen any comment on this aspect. My interest is in programming the scripts and so far this has not proved a very successful enterprise but has kept me interested.

I am somewhat disappointed that almost none of the suggestions/bug reports I have made have had any official comment. I realise that this is whole show is very understaffed and perhaps my comments are naive or have all been made before, however, I do feel that if this game has a problem, it is in its obvious inability to keep the newbies. I note a certain hippocracy amongst some "old hands" who use scripts themselves but feel new people should not be allowed to. If they feel that scripts are not part of the game, well don't use them. The reality is that almost nobody would be competitive without them.

My aim for myself at this stage is to see how high I can go in 4 months and then I will quit. That will free up 3 slots in the top 50 for the rest of you. One month to go!

Joined: 12/27/2010
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PS: I have resisted the temptation to use my clones to vote up or down any suggestions. And "hypocrisy" is very difficult to spell.

Joined: 05/09/2008
Groups: Void Crushers

I have pretty much stopped playing evo for the same crowding out reason, not by clones but teams. When 10 people on a team can add 0.001 to the top solution and evolve it, it kind of sucks the fun out of it.

Joined: 06/17/2010

Maybe change "evolving" reqs? Add at least 10pts, or 0.1% of current score? Instead of current "pump up to next point".

Joined: 08/24/2010

spmm, I think I can be of help: There are restore Absolute best (press A key), restore Best score that was saved in saveslot 1 (CTRL + 1), restore best score saved in saveslot 2 (CTRL + 2), restore best score saved in saveslot 3 (CTRL + 3)

..but you also have restore Recent Best (CTRL + N)

And you can Set Recent best, at any time in the game, with CTRL + SHIFT + N. So long as you never hit 'A', your score will always update locally.

Note: Quicksave slots (1-3) can also be programmed by replacing CTRL with CTRL + SHIFT ( e,g, CTRL + SHIFT + 1)

..I only learned about these by reading feedbacks from Crashguard303, but to learn more about these shortcuts, go into "menu >> help", in your client. All shortcut / key functions will be explained for you.

Joined: 08/24/2010

Correction: to learn more about these shortcuts, go into "Actions >> Help", in your client. All shortcut / key functions will be explained for you

Joined: 06/17/2010

Me about using multiple clients and missing points:
we have:
- running more than 1 client on same account and same puzzle
- we running different (or same) scripts and/or making different things on clients at same time
- one of client found hot spot and get high score ever -> score sent to site, abs best save
- second client (unaware of jump on first one) found another spot and get best score but slightly lover form first one -> score not updated on site (lover than b4) BUT abs best saved!

We now kill all clients, and restored abs best is NOT as high as best score from site.

Can dev team confirm my patch?

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SPMM

Yes, I don't understand your issue as you describe it. Furthermore I don't understand how it would compel someone to create another account as a work-around.

You say this, and I can only presume that this is the issue you claim to have, "When I reset the puzzle, (having saved my highest scoring solution), I want to start again from the starting pose and original starting high score. "

I don't see an issue here except that I have no idea what you mean by "original starting high score". Resetting the puzzle resets the current model to the starting conformation. The conformation determines the score.
What behavior are you expecting here and what doe you mean by "original starting high score"?

You go on to say this,"If I reopen a saved branch point, my high score does not revert to the score I had at that point, my highest score is still in place."

Of course your highest score is still in place. Why would you expect your high score to change just because you loaded another solution? Your highest credited score is your highest credited score. It makes no sense for that to change to a lower credited score. The 'highest credited score' is like the high water mark. It's just a record of what your highest score has been. It really has nothing to do with what you are currently working on.

You then say, "So the problem (for me) of the highest score and pose being retained is present either when reopening a branch save or when resetting a puzzle."

This sentence is just plain hard to read.
I simply can not understand why you think this is a problem or why you think creating a new account would solve this problem (that isn't there). I can't understand why would would expect your highest credited score to go away when you reset or load a different solution.

You go on to say, "Even if I manually save a puzzle immediately I open it; the A key will revert to the best highest score and pose on that machine."

The A key (also Ctl-B) will restore to your "Very Best Solution You Folded". What behavior are you expecting when you press the A key? And why would creating another account make the A key behave differently?

Then you say some things about how you play and also this, "Even if I saved every single one of those attempts I would still have the problem."
And this, "Given the range of save and auto-save options available I find it odd that the scores and pose of a saved puzzle do not reset to match the high score achieved when it was saved."

I still don't see a problem. When you save a solution you are simply saving the current conformation of the model. There is only one "High Score". Other scores that correspond to other conformations are saved with the conformation. There is not a problem that I can see.

Next and finally you say this, "When I save a document I expect it to be saved exactly as it was at that point, not to have later changes incorporated into it."

I have to presume that you are implying that your saved solutions have later changes incorporated into them. Where do you get this idea? How could this property even been implemented? You saved solutions are a save of the current conformation. There is no possible way that future changes could be incorporated into the file.

I'll go ahead and play devil's advocate here for a moment. Let's say these bizarre behaviors are taking place. Let's pretend that future moves done on a solution are somehow saved with the solution in the present. Let's say that you can't load the "original starting high score" when you reset a puzzle. How would creating another account help with that? Won't the new account also have the same problems that you seem to experience? How does the other account help you get around the problems you seem to have in the first account? You can't share solo solutions from one account to the other.

The descriptions of your perceived difficulties really don't seem to lead to a conclusion that supports having multiple accounts that compete in the puzzles.
I don't see a logical connection from a confused concept of what "high score" means and the need to run multiple accounts that compete.

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Each attempt needs it's own 'A' value to do what he wants.

If account 1 has 'A' = 6000 and he starts over from a total reset to try something different, if he presses 'A' he will get 6000. He needs a new 'A' that is relative to the new attempt at the puzzle, unrelated to the original attempt. This requires a separate account to have a separate 'A' score.

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Thank you B_2 - you appear to have understood the problem.

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Re: B_2

If the issue that spmm has is what you've described, then there's an easy solution:

1. Before conducting the reset, first save a copy of solution "A" with the score of 6000.
2. Reset the puzzle.
3. Go to "Manage Solutions," check "Show auto and quick saves," and delete the solution named "Autsaved Best Soloist solution"
4. Before doing anything else, close and restart foldit. If everything goes correctly, the new autosave will be the starting configuration.

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Arrgh. That's a lot of work to accomplish that, and still doesn't let another Fold.it session continue work on the original attempt/solution.

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One solution is to stop relying so heavily on the 'A' key.
The 'A' Key is just a shortcut for loading your credited best solution.
It's the same as going to the Open/Share Solutions menu and selecting that solution manually. The 'A' Key works perfectly, it does exactly what it is intended to do. If you stop mashing it down it will stop loading that solution.

Why is this workflow so hard?:

You work a solution up to a particular score.
You have the urge to explore a different conformation.
Save your current solution.
Work your exploration.
Don't like it? Don't save it.
Wanna go back to your other solution? Load that thing up and get busy.
You do like it? Then save it.
Wanna start over from the beginning? Hit Reset.

The 'A' Key has a specific function. It loads your credited best solution.
Why do some people think this gets in the way of anything?

This is really pretty simple.

What is it about having a high score recorded that keeps you from working on a puzzle? How does setting up a new account help?

Do you go change your identity after you bowl a 290 at the neighborhood lanes because you want to bowl a 300? Did you need a new passport after your professor graded one of your tests with a B+?
Are there people re-installing Microsoft Office every time they finish typing a letter that might have a typo in it?

Nobody yet has been able to explain the logical connection between being confused about what the 'A' key is intended to do and creating new accounts to compete in the puzzles.

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Hi Anthion, thank you for your comments, they are not helpful logical or relevant, and frankly the tone is getting a bit strident. Please see comments by B_2.

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To be able to work on two or more different solutions simultaneously. Why is that so hard to understand?

Any one of them could "pop" and become a winner. Why have to limit yourself to only working on one at a time?

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I wonder what people would have said if I had multiple accounts working on every puzzle for the last 4 months or more. I'm sure I could crowd out some of the less experienced players on many puzzles and in the rankings. Hardly fair though, is it? Even if one of the solutions really is the 'better' one

For the sake of transparency, I still have multiple accounts but only use one now. Two I created when experimenting in my early days and one joined the CASP group, Anthropic Dreams. That one is now used as a group chat backup. Since CASP I have used only one account folding a single copy at a time.

As an example: Can you imagine your favourite sports team entering themselves multiple times for a competition? 1st attempt, they lose. Ok, no problem, let's call ourselves something else and have another go... lost again. Never mind, let's try this name and use different tactics... still no luck... a few more attempts later they win and congratulate themselves on how good they are. Doesn't sound fair to me.

Admittedly there have been times, especially on some of the design puzzles, when I wished I could have gone back to a lower scoring solution and have that admitted to Foldit as my best, especially when it had better h-bonds and just 'looked better'. That, however, is something we all have to live with.

The only other option I can see is to have 'zero-point' accounts whereby players have the ability to opt-out of the points for those accounts. You could have an option on the account page to 'award this account zero points'. That way people could explore as many variations as they have accounts, whilst having no impact on the scoreboard. Evolvers of these solutions would also receive no points. If the multiple account holders are really only interested in finding the best solutions, they wont mind not getting any points for them, or for their teams, will they?

Joined: 08/24/2010

There is a problem with having only 1 account: If you have multiple clients open and you don't close them in the correct order (from highest score to lowest), you can inadvertently overwrite your absolute best. And lose it forever. I've done this before. I've sold the movie rights to SyFy, and they will be producing a movie about it this fall, on the discovery channel. (It will be a romantic comedy)

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As a quick-fix solution, we have suggested a super-powerful-completely-reset-everything-button that you could use once you've saved the end of a trajectory and want to start over:

http://fold.it/portal/node/989662#comment-11049

Please let us know if that would be a sufficient solution for now... Thanks!

Joined: 05/03/2009
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Step in the right direction

(I know this is a duplicate post in the thread noted above
http://fold.it/portal/node/989662#comment-11049)

Beta's uber-reset button will solve short-term requirements, but not everyone runs the advanced gui.

Big thanks should go to jflat for coming onto #global and chatting through some of the problems that currently exist.

I also believe that massively increasing the number of save slots available, to 80, or even 100 would help. Since the scripting 'status quo' is currently limited to 10 slots, having 100 available would allow you to run 10 clients simultaneously, with the same solo position, using the same script. You WOULD have to have 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc versions of each script to avoid overwriting slots, but it would give a little more freedom to those with the hardware to exploit true exploring.

It would also be a step closer to truly emulating what we do with hand-rebuilding. With high-end hardware being more and more common-place, the dev team have a chance to be pro-active, rather than reactive. 100 slots. Job done.
CFC

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Even better, of course, would be increasing the number of save slots available to the capacity of one's hard drive. After all, I would imagine that some people might design evolution-like folding techniques that involve generating a large number of structures (say, rebuilding a segment 100 times and then saving one copy of each generated result) and then combining the best aspects of each solution through score comparisons, etc.

==> Also useful would be implementing a command line option into foldit, so that one can call scripts with parameters without having to create one copy of the script for each instance of foldit (e.g. simply type in "process_protein(5)" for the fifth instance).

Joined: 06/17/2010

Reset button will be nice, it need only ask user for save current AND best solution or create automated "manual" saves named ie "date-time-creditbest" and "date-time-current" (autosave will be nicer, no one will forgot to save and cry on forum about another lost points). This will allow user to back to solution it need in any moment.
Increasing numbers of save slots or "just" allow to save/load on name form script ie: quicksave("type-save-name-there") or just quicksave(any-number) would be nice add on too.

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Status: Open » Closed

closed tracks implemented and agreement that folders will have one folding name and one IRC name only

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