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BW Policy on Cheating Allegations

There has been some confusion about Bridge Winners’ policies regarding cheating allegations. This is a sensitive area and we do our best to use our judgment on each case. Our guiding principle is: We do not allow unsubstantiated cheating allegations. Action against a pair by a bridge organization is sufficient to consider an allegation “substantiated.” We do not allow unfeatured content to accuse pairs that do not have substantiated allegations against them. It doesn’t matter if names are mentioned or not, if specific players or teams are identifiable by the post, it’s not allowed.

While false information on the Internet tends to be discredited, it is often too late, or too far down a thread to be found; it is irresponsible of us to allow it on our site in an official-looking post. Crowd-sourcing is an extremely valuable tool for recording information and identifying cheating codes; however, when done in public a lot of harm can be done. In the bridge world, one’s reputation is everything. Since the cost to the accusers is negligible compared to the cost to the accused, precautions need to be taken to prevent unfounded accusations. We want to let the authorities handle things, and if we choose to publish another case, it will be after we have thoroughly researched it, as we did with all the articles we featured.

How this policy applied to some past cases:

  • We allowed the initial F-S posts because we had seen enough compelling evidence to be confident they were cheating. This was an exceptional case, and we felt extraordinary measures were necessary. We hope this never happens again.

  • We considered the WBF’s disinviting B-Z from the Bermuda Bowl to be public enough to warrant open discussion before the full evidence came to light.

  • We recently removed an article titled “Italian Leads” because its title and comments implicated specific pairs and players.

  • We removed an article several weeks ago which accused another pair in the Bermuda Bowl of cheating.

A few hypothetical examples to help clarify things going forward:


Will be Removed

Abstractly discussing a potential cheating method. (e.g., What if you coughed to show a doubleton?)

A hypothesis that a specific pair coughs to identify doubletons, and some data in support.

Requesting help crowd-sourcing opening leads from VuGraph records, without implicating anyone.

Requesting help crowd-sourcing opening leads for a specific team, pair, or set of videos which would implicate someone.

A post about an action taken against you such as “Declarer dropped a doubleton queen against me, did he have a wire?” that does not make it easy to identify the player who took the action in question.

A post that says, “<John Doe> dropped a doubleton queen against me, did he have a wire?” or “I played at Duluth duplicate club on Monday night and North led small from KQJxx and hit partner with Ax. Is this a logical lead?”

If you have information about cheating, you should send it to the proper authorities. If you’re not sure whom to send it to, send it to us and we’ll make sure it gets into the right hands. We want our site to remain a civil place where no one is threatened, harassed, or unjustly accused. If a non-featured cheating accusation is published, it will be removed as soon as we see it. We can’t monitor every post, so we need your help: please flag articles and comments that come anywhere close to violating this policy.

A separate issue arose about reposting content that we have removed. This is absolutely unacceptable. Even if you think you have removed the offensive parts, we will remove the reposted content, and the reposter will be, at a minimum, suspended from posting. If you would like to try to edit something that was taken down and re-post it, run it by us first.

We never want to remove content. We see content removal as a last resort when we or the community determine a line has been crossed. We do not appreciate attempts to skirt the rules or find loopholes; if we feel something is inappropriate, it does not belong on our site. These policies are not new, but we want to be clear that we will be enforcing them strictly from this point onward.

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