Finally. After spending a lot of time and energy into what I ended up calling the "OST-gate", the Tournament Directors have reached a decision. This post will explain how we reached it, as well as its consequences on the tournament. If you don't feel like reading this wall of text, feel free to skip to the end of the post which countains a summary of the conclusions.
As many of you know by now, a lot of coincidences have appeared in Style's OST run. They have induced a lot of drama around here in the past few weeks, and it was our duty as Tournament Directors to dig into that. However, circumstancial evidences are not strong enough to make decisions and shouldn't be used to defame users and/or stalk them, but that's another story. The people who, without Style's permission, went digging into her personal informations have been dealt with.
Let's delve into what happened later, behind the scenes. On the 13th of April, I received a PM from someone (who will be kept anonymous) who claimed to be a friend of Style in real life (he was willing to meet people IRL to prove his existence and revealed enough information that led us to believe him). That person proposed to help us clear things out regarding Style's situation as he was a Pokemon player himself for a long time and claimed to help her prepare her games since the first round. This individual extensively helped Style in the early rounds of the tournament, including finishing a game against UltiMario in Round 1 because Style had to leave the game before it was over. Said user clearly stated that he shared the "Style" account with Style, which is disallowed by itself. With this concrete information in mind, we decided to engage in direct contact with this person to ask for more information.
After a lot of discussions with Style and her friend (I guess you can understand why we postponed the final and took so much time now), we had a lot of data to process. There is no need to mention what is not relevant to the conclusions we reached so I'll just mention that both Style and her friend brought up the existence of a Google Document, in which they worked about Style's OST run since the first round.
Granted that this document could have potentially lift a lot of suspicions about them, I asked to have a full access of it, which they gave me. While it seemed to countain useful informations, I immediately checked the Revisions and the oldest revision was from the 16th of March, which corresponds to the R5 of OST. Basically, this very document ended up proving nothing. Only afterwards have we been told that they had moved everything in there from what I'll call The Original Google Document, whose timestamps were supposed to go back as far as Round 1.
However, they refused to give us access and show us this document, because it countained private and personal informations about their real lives. That is totally understandable, and while we were quite disapointed that we couldn't have put our eyes on that important document, we accepted it and just asked for other informations.
By the way, I have to mention that during that period, Style's friend, who also had ownership of the account, gave Aldaron and I the permission to log in under the Style account. Upon getting access, we decided that Style was most likely a unique person. The PMs were too involved, too intricate to fabricate.
This is where more issues appeared. After a lot of investigation on what they showed us, we realized that none of the informations they disclosed fully discredited them. If anything, more coincidences popped up, and our doubts were still there. At this point, we had noticed 2 particular coincidences that we couldn't just look past:
We asked Style to give us the exportables of all her teams. Her R1 teams pastebin was linked to an another pastebin (this happens when you use the "clone this paste" function, see: Screens 1,2and 3). The pastebin which was linked to her R1 teams happened to be the team CrashinBoomBang used against her in their second game during the R2 of OST.
We noticed one of our tournament players, who will also stay anonymous, shared some of Style and her friend's part(s) of their IRC hostmask in the past (some months prior to OST happening). Said Tournament player is known to not live near StonyBrook.
Style offered an explanation as to how the first element happened (and she'll explain it in her post), which was totally acceptable. We contacted an IRCop about the second element. He explained it wasn't that big of a coincidence (thus, we can't consider it as a hard proof that something is going on).
Considering everything that had been going on, including the amount of inconsistencies and doubts, especially these two in particular, we decided that there was enough justification for a deep investigation and that withholding personal information, which can be considered vital or key evidence, from a justified deep investigation is grounds for a DQ in our official tournaments.
With that in mind, we (the TDs) have done everything in our realm of possibilities to get a hold of that Google Document mentionned earlier in this post. Since this Google Document is supposed to date from the first round of OST or close to it, we could check if Style and her friend actually did mention the ideas and/or teams they used with the Google Revision timestamps (these can't be manually tricked). It would be the best proof to confirm a lot of their claims and it would lift most of the suspicions around Style and her friend. Unfortunately, they adamantly refused to show and give us access to that important piece of information.
Therefore, the investigation has been inconclusive, with a major piece of evidence being withheld. That piece of evidence is likely to prove or disprove whether or not the integrity of the game has been breached. On the basis that there is enough reasonable doubt to require that piece of evidence, their matches can't be validated and thus the grounds for disqualification.
On the matter of setting precedent, this whole thing is honestly unprecedented. Furthermore, we always felt the Tournament council is better off not basing all decisions on precedent anyway. Meaning that future cases may not be treated the same, depending upon the situation.
What happens with the final now? We decided that a bye should never be given in the final of an official tournament, and thus, the whole bracket in which Style was involved will be re-done until someone emerges out of it to play WhiteQueen in the final. Basically, it will look like this:
Regarding the cheating claims: There is circumstantial evidence that casts suspicion on Bloo, and to a lesser extent gr8astard, but not enough solid evidence to indicate a definite connection between them or that illegal activities took place.
It is important to note that this decision is final and isn't up to discussion in this thread. The thread should in no way serve as a venue for discussion of this incident. Your post will be deleted and you will potentially be infracted if you try to bring it up. Feel free to start a conversation with all the TDs if you want to say something about it.
We understand that some of you were vocal about this issue, but now that it's behind us, we will sanction people posting anything out of line in other forums venues (read: VMs) and on the SmogTours server (expect infraction and voice removal if you do so). Morever, all the evidences we have gathered via accessing to Bloo and Hugo's PMs, as well as gathering many IRC logs cannot condemn them of a particular illegal act, but regardless there were still enough doubts in the air to justify doing the lenghts of our investigation, as well as our decision.
Style is disqualified for withholding a piece of evidence that is likely to prove of disprove whether or not the integrity of the tournament has been breached. On the basis that there is enough reasonable doubt to require that piece of evidence, their matches can't be validated and thus the grounds for disqualification.
The consequence is that we will redo the whole bracket involving Style to appoint a finalist for WhiteQueen.
You are not allowed to bash anyone about this whole affair for the time being in the Tournament forum and on SmogTours, otherwise, sanctions will be taken.
It's finally over! If there's any good from this, it's that at least I can now be acknowledged as a real person by you guys right? Or at least some of you ha...I don't mind the decision but I'd like to give my side of the story on two things in that post.
"We asked Style to give us the exportable of all her teams. Her R1 teams pastebin was linked to an another pastebin (this happens when you use the "clone this paste" function, see: Screens 1, 2 and 3). The pastebin which was linked to her R1 teams happened to be the team CrashinBoomBang used against her in their second game during the R2 of OST."
"However, they refused to give us access and show us this document, because it contained private and personal information about their real lives."
That's not the full reason I refused. I'll summarize below, but here is the message I wrote about my full reasons to the directors that gives more insight into why: http://pastebin.com/SjpRAQw4
- Everyone is already aware of people joining my school's Facebook group, contacting its president, and sending me emails without having been given the address by me.
- Even if I disagree with the justification for it, my account was logged into by others without my personal consent, even if my friend gave the permission I'd have appreciated it if I was told this was happening prior (not because there's anything to hide). My personal PM conversations with Hugo and 2 PMs from Bloo sending me advice along with him were viewed (hey, one of the PMs was even that they were going to stay out of the blunder series, but that doesn't seem to matter). Neither of these conversations, or any conversation in my inbox, showed any evidence whatsoever of "leaking" or foul play, yet suspicions still stand.
- Their accounts were also accessed without consent and nothing was found. Justification was provided but you can understand why this is touchy.
- Several screenshots of the original documents revisions dating to various dates around the OST rounds and were shown, albeit without the content of the document because as stated before, it contained a lot of personal inside jokes and the like between my friend and I that I wasn't comfortable showing to others, which is why I made a new one to display. They weren't acceptable for reasons I can understand.
- I sent the TDs various pieces of information they asked for and requested it stay private. Yet a few days later, I am told there has been more than one person outside of the TDs making fun of something from a team I showed, which obviously means the information was leaked outside of the intended parties by someone within the circle of people I initially showed.
As you can imagine due to these things, I have a hard time trusting anything on here anymore, something that extended to even the directors of tournaments because of some of the things I mentioned above. Not to discredit them, they were presented with a very difficult situation and did everything in their power to approach it professionally. There's likely more things I'm forgetting to mention, but any defense I gave was either never enough or aroused unintended suspicion for one reason or another, like with the pastebin situation with CBB's team. There was a point where I almost opened up to giving the access, but that was shot right back down after more things occurred that further broke down any trust I had. I no longer wanted to continue bending over backwards trying to prove any of my authenticity because it wasn't doing anything bar causing frustration. After all, doubt was being placed on me, so I grew the same doubt and distrust on everyone else, enough that I didn't mind the disqualification if it meant I didn't have to compromise my beliefs/stance on the situation. That's more important to me than a trophy.
Refusing to give access is entirely my decision, but the decision to deny access was one duly influenced by various factors and people involved in the situation that made me feel a certain way, not one completely influenced by stubbornness or intention to hide something. If certain things were handled a bit differently, there's a chance I'd have been more open to the option., but definitely don't paint it out as if I am the sole one at fault for the feelings I developed that made me hesitant to give people who distrust me and that I don't know access to go through every piece of a personal, private document with a real life friend of mine after everything that's happened.
mister 9 Dragon Wall, sorry you had to get dragged into this drama. I think I speak for us both when I say we didn't expect a Pokemon tournament to result in what it did. Thanks for getting me to join this tournament in the first place and for taking the time to help me out with the situation and during the early rounds until you got too busy. The fact that you were willing to meet people from this website at our school and do all sorts of other things to prove I exist says a lot. You played the biggest role in helping me learn and get into Pokemon and are the best player I know, but never again will I join a tournament you mention :P
Bloo, thanks for the advice during the later rounds. For the person who helped me the least, you got the most flack and hate and I can't help but feel responsible for ruining your experience here. I'm sure there are still skeptics and narrow minded ones out there who will continue to think I am you, but if anything that speaks volumes about how powerful people think you are and what you're capable of, or maybe I should feel proud that people think I'm so good that I have to be you. Girls > boys at this game and I'll keep that legacy of yours alive in my future here. Take it easy.
Hugo, like the others, I am sorry for getting you involved in drama even if you say you're happy it happened. I learned so much from you throughout the tournament and it really helped me improve. You never had to help me but you did and I'm sorry all the time you spent doing so resulted in what it did. You're a great person and I enjoyed our interactions and hope we can stay in contact after all of this is behind us as long as the conversations aren't about how to cover Landorus-I on our teams. I will try to rep the torch you've passed onto me as well as I can.
To everyone else, don't be so quick to judge. You are free to have your opinions but there is certainly no reason to turn into a pack of animals and do everything in your power to attack and taint the names of others with baseless assumptions/unfounded rumors. There is a reason no real evidence of people helping me cheat was found even after rummaging through messages and it's because no one ever did as much as that will fall on deaf ears. There's a reason I was able to prove I am a real person separate from my alts Bloo and Hugo to the TDs: because I am one unlike what people were so quick to assume. Don't go around making things up and spreading it to defame others when it's undeserved. If you want someone to pick on, let it be me. You dudes got what you wanted and this isn't the last you've seen of me and I'll be around plenty to take on any bashing people want to relieve themselves of. If you got nothing out of that, remember that we are all humans here.
Blessings to the new bracket and maybe I'll see you guys in the world cup, I have a few people I would love to knock down a peg.
One last thing,
WhiteQueen, you down to still play our finals series? I don't care if it's not for a trophy but I do want to finish what I started all the way back in jan. We can use this to settle something way more important and that's who the best female battler on Smogon is!
LMK if you're up for it, I'll bring my wig too, just suggest some times. If not, go win it all!
As a last word don't believe everything you hear, chances are it's coming from the same reliable group of people and Google employees with access to such information who claim the email I have been using for years was made "20 minutes from California where Bloo lives" when I have lived in Brooklyn for the majority of my life.