Implemented Updating SPL/SCL Trade Rules

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shiloh

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hey, for those not following there was quite a bit of drama this past spl regarding trades and their current state in spl. the main issue seemed to stem from the fact that a team was preforming pretty poorly going into mids, and seemed to have given up for the most part from the outside looking in. they were also just asking for/being asked to make all kinds of trades with their players, and it created unideal situations where the hosts were put in a tough spot with having to allow/veto multiple trades that were proposed. thats obviously unideal, which begs the questions, is there a better way to do it?

in the current system a team that is basically out can have players on them that still wish to compete, and can create pretty unfair and one sided trades that are obvious from the outside, but value/price wise they can add up and it just comes down to subjective reasoning more or less from the hosts on whether or not to allow certain trades, since there is no good objective metric.

the most nuclear option is to just nuke trades altogether from the tournament, as this would make it so players would not even be able to cancer early draft/right after drafts and force managers to be more careful with planning/drafting as they will not be able to "undo"/make deals in order to fix any mistakes they made during the draft. while this is the simplest solution, i still think trades are a valuable part of this tournament, and would hope this is considered a more last resort option.

a less nuclear option is to just move up the trade deadline to either before week 1, or at the end of week 1. before week 1 at least lets auction trades still occur, and can help if a player isnt the best fit in a team chat, or some issues come up that are easily resolvable by a trade prior to the season starting. having it before week 2 still allows teams to consider some options if a player isnt prepping/playing well/isnt fitting in with the team and it becomes obvious during that week, but it removes the issue of teams that are out shipping out their players.

the final option is something Eo Ut Mortus proposed in the commencement thread ill just quote:
If someone doesn't manage to push through a motion to abolish trades in their entirety, the value of assets traded or liquidated during the season should be capped. If you trade away your star 35k player or three of your 12k players, then it's not really the team you originally built, is it? Especially on these reduced-size, ten-starter rosters. A side-effect of this would be prohibiting any trades involving players whose auction value exceeds the cap, and that seems to solve another problem we're encountering this season (and have historically), which is highly priced players acting like divas in an attempt to be shipped off to winning teams.
im sure there are other solutions as well, but i just wanted to post this with the three more "obvious" ones, and want to get it up asap as this will also probably be implemented for SCL if it follows the SPL auction format.
 

Wigglytuff

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A lot of questions came up regarding trades throughout SPL XII. The hosting team worked off of mostly precedent, but given that documentation for trades is difficult to find, it would be ideal for future SPLs and possibly SCL to come up with a solid determination on these.

1) Trading vs the team you're playing that week
Situation: The point of not allowing teams playing each other to trade is to avoid any potential conflict of interests, but it has some additional restrictions that aren't imposed on teams not playing each other (see the linked post for more info on this).​

The linked admin decision was a temporary workaround, but I don't see any problems with its implementation as a permanent solution for SPL / SCL.


2) Requiring player agreement to trades

Situation: Details of a veto'd trade were leaked, and one of the players listed in the trade was not happy to have been involved. This led to a tenuous situation where the player and managers had a falling out. Thankfully, it resolved itself, but we (hosting team) dodged a messy situation where a player doesn't want to play for the managers that just expressed interest in trading them away and the managers report an uncooperative player. If player agreement to trades was required, this situation could've been avoided or at the very least mitigated. In SPL IX, player agreement was required.​
I don't think we should require player agreement for trades. We trust managers to make the right decisions for their team to maximize competitiveness. If that includes trading a player away to patch up holes in the team, then that decision should ultimately fall on the manager, not the player. It's also a stretch to say that requiring player agreement would completely eliminate the chance of the above situation happening.

Speaking as a host, though, I would absolutely hate to deal with the above situation because there's really no good answer, and player agreement reduces the likelihood of it coming up. Furthermore, player agreement could help protect against the trades shiloh mentions in the OP.

Regardless, this is a detail we should work out and make an indefinitely permanent decision on, given the relatively recent occurrence where it was implemented. If we continue with not requiring player agreement, there should definitely be a discussion on how to handle above cases.


3) Trading a player the same week that they play

Situation: A manager approached the SPL XII hosting team about if it was legal to have a player play and then trade them afterwards. There was precedent from SPL XI about this being legal, so it was given approval. Other than it looking kind of distasteful (...), there are some implementation concerns. What if the player involved plays close to the deadline, ties, rematches, and finishes their battle after the deadline passes? Does the trade still go through for the previous week?​
It's a well known rule that once a player has been traded, they cannot play for the remainder of that week. What is not as well established is the reverse - can a player play at all the week they're traded? Precedent says yes, but there doesn't appear to be any formal ruling on it.

I think the hosting team internally disagreed on this issue (tagging Merritt for his opinion). Mine is that there's a non-negligible chance you're an asshole for squeezing out one more game + prep + maybe support out of someone you want to trade, but other than that I don't see a policy reason to not allow it.

As for the issue of timing, we told the managers to set a time that the trade goes through. If the player to be traded's game is in progress, the trade is nullified, otherwise it'll go through regardless of whether the game is completed or not. I don't believe this is good for permanent implementation.

My hope in posting these is that the TDs can make a decision on them and they'll be solidly put in the Commencement Thread for future SPLs. Hopefully posting them here doesn't split discussion into too many ways.


re: the OP
in the current system a team that is basically out can have players on them that still wish to compete, and can create pretty unfair and one sided trades that are obvious from the outside, but value/price wise they can add up and it just comes down to subjective reasoning more or less from the hosts on whether or not to allow certain trades, since there is no good objective metric.
This pretty much nails it on the head, with the added caveat that what's obvious to the public isn't always what is actually the situation either.

The trades being referred to here are the Tigers-Ruiners trade from Week 4 and the Scooters-Ruiners trade from Week 5. With the W4 trade, there were legitimate factors (see the section of "constructive criticism") motivating this trade, not Ruiners trying to donate somebody to the Tigers. I get that it's less apparent with the W5 trade, but clearly there were reasons for the Scooters to make the trade that they did too.

While everyone sees and knows the two trades that we did approve, what's much less known are the ~9 others that we vetoed. Because we don't post about vetoed trades. In all of those cases, we had reason - not even necessarily ironclad reason, as was pointed out by some of the rejected managers - to believe that those trades were not about both teams looking to strengthen themselves. So we vetoed them.

So yeah I resent the notion that any of this was at all black and white (not that the OP pushes this narrative), and I question what changes could've possibly taken place to “prevent” this without giving hosts more subjective discretion, which all of you seem to despise whenever it happens.
 
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Eo Ut Mortus

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The TD team is leaning towards abolishing trades entirely. My thoughts follow:

- The minority of trades are mutually beneficial; it's usually one side trying to screw over another due to information imbalance or taking advantage of a compromised position (e.g. hostage situation). I've personally played for teams on both sides of this. ABR's and Rewer's posts both allude to the same thing happening, with references to "sketchy trades" and "managers outplaying other managers because they have more insider info." Problem examples of trades from this past SPL and others include:

- a bottom team attempting to ship off all its players to other teams for whatever reason,
- a player holding their team hostage and forcing them to trade to their preferred team; teams will generally comply because trades tend to offer more than a sellback
- a team takes advantage of poor manager judgment / information imbalance to make an unbalanced trade

- While people have suggested establishing a Week 1 cutoff for trades, there is no distinction to be made between pre-week 1 and post-week 1 trades outside of a bottom team liquidating all its players. Beyond that, the other issues that have plagued post-week 1 trades apply just as much. Ironically, the two pre-week 1 trades Rewer mentioned in his post as possible counterexamples both fell victim to the same factors mentioned above.

- Ultimately, there isn't really a reason to preserve trades in any gutted form; they'd be very situational while still presenting many of the same issues as they currently do. While abolishing trades will eliminate a longstanding fixture of the tournament, I can assure you that problem trades showed up as early as SPL 2, and removing them is not a knee-jerk response to a one-time incident, but an issue that has been present in nearly every edition of SPL.

I'll leave this thread open for a while to see if anyone has any further comments to make; if not, we'll proceed as planned and implement this into the ruleset for SPL/SCL.
 
I can't say I oppose abolishing trades entirely, but the one biggest loss imo is the very small-scale trades around midseason. On bigs this past year we had a mutually beneficial trade where we traded a player for credits < 3k that would be wasted otherwise. Since we had like 1k or something left over from the auction, we were able to use the combined credits to buy someone else at mids, giving an additional person the chance to experience SPL. This ended up being awesome because the person we bought at mids ended up being a fantastic team presence and we had an excellent time. I remember seeing a wholesome log of him being really happy we managed to get him at mids, and the bigs chat which is still active wouldn't feel the same without him.

I think these small trades should be allowed in some capacity, maybe by setting a credit cap as mentioned before but making it very low. Perhaps there can also be a trade lock put in place for teams that are no longer in contention for playoffs or are not at a certain place in standings by x week, but I feel that there can definitely be a rule in place to allow for the small trades around mids to give players the SPL experience who otherwise wouldn't have a chance.
 

Coconut

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Really like the concept of giving the teams and managers more freedom to use their resources as they see fit. I'm not a huge fan of removing trades altogether because like excal said there are small-scale trades that end up making a positive impact on both teams.

There are absolutely bad examples of trades but we should take a moment to reflect on the good trades that have come to fruition. Maybe the hosts should be more selective about trades? Perhaps both of the teams should have to justify why this trade benefits the team? I don't think removing them altogether is the best approach.
 
Really like the concept of giving the teams and managers more freedom to use their resources as they see fit. I'm not a huge fan of removing trades altogether because like excal said there are small-scale trades that end up making a positive impact on both teams.

There are absolutely bad examples of trades but we should take a moment to reflect on the good trades that have come to fruition. Maybe the hosts should be more selective about trades? Perhaps both of the teams should have to justify why this trade benefits the team? I don't think removing them altogether is the best approach.
Except this was proven to be an issue in just the last SPL, where the Ruiners tanked their resources and the hosts attempted to shut down /bad/ trades, several of which they did!, but the Ruiners still pulled some very Questionable business. I don’t think that it’s fair to the hosts to field every trade and properly gauge balance for the sake of some small managerial flex.

I do not think we should continue to operate under the assumption that managers need leeway to “make plays”. You can just sign up and actually play.

Eo is right: ax trades.
 

Amaranth

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I can't say I oppose abolishing trades entirely, but the one biggest loss imo is the very small-scale trades around midseason. On bigs this past year we had a mutually beneficial trade where we traded a player for credits < 3k that would be wasted otherwise. Since we had like 1k or something left over from the auction, we were able to use the combined credits to buy someone else at mids, giving an additional person the chance to experience SPL. This ended up being awesome because the person we bought at mids ended up being a fantastic team presence and we had an excellent time. I remember seeing a wholesome log of him being really happy we managed to get him at mids, and the bigs chat which is still active wouldn't feel the same without him.

I think these small trades should be allowed in some capacity, maybe by setting a credit cap as mentioned before but making it very low. Perhaps there can also be a trade lock put in place for teams that are no longer in contention for playoffs or are not at a certain place in standings by x week, but I feel that there can definitely be a rule in place to allow for the small trades around mids to give players the SPL experience who otherwise wouldn't have a chance.
This is something that was brought up internally as well - low value trades are much less prone to abuse, so the idea of preserving them makes sense. Ultimately our conclusion ended up being that leaving any avenue open for abuse is probably not worth it, though that conclusion is currently not definitive.

The following is personal opinion and not necessarily shared by the rest of the TDs:

I think even a value cap wouldn't stop the issue - it's totally possible for a 3k to be inactive or close to inactive, and if a manager prefers to trade them away for another already drafted player rather than sellbacking and picking from the midseason pool, then we slip into the same information imbalance issues again, where that manager will be trying to swindle the opposition into an unfavorable trade.

I can still see very realistic issues surfacing even with a value cap - hell I myself tried a swindle of this type in SPL XII, no opponents agreed to it but it's plausible for it to happen. The fundamental problem in my opinion is that sellbacks don't feel good and picking people up from the mids pool will most often feel worse than trading for a cheap player from another team, purely because the good cheap players tend to be already drafted and not left up for a mids pool lol. So as a manager you're always incentivized to lie and swindle to get the most value out of your inactive player rather than just selling them back. If there's any solution it is to be found by looking at ways to make sellbacks more appealing, but I don't know how one would go about doing that. Sellbacking can be so underwhelming that we ended up keeping the inactive player in hopes that they'd resuscitate rather than trying to bring in anyone new.

The day that sellbacks are good and managers stop having incentives to try and swindle other teams is the day I become pro-trades again, but with the current system I'm really unconvinced that trades bring enough value to the tournament to be worth all the headaches.
With all that said, realistically the room for abuse of 5k-capped trades is obviously a lot lower than the room for abuse of the current system, so I would see it as a step in the right direction regardless. But I also think it's a half measure that doesn't fully solve the problem, so I'm in favor of axing trades completely.
 
The fundamental problem in my opinion is that sellbacks don't feel good and picking people up from the mids pool will most often feel worse than trading for a cheap player from another team, purely because the good cheap players tend to be already drafted and not left up for a mids pool lol.
I agree with pretty much everything in your post ftr. To clarify without going into too much detail, this was not the case with the trade I mentioned before, as after some 'incompatibility' we pretty much preferred to trade for mids credits in our situation and ended up happier that way. As we see in every SPL, it is pretty much impossible to be certain that everyone on a team will unanimously get along and that every teammate you have will be great. Sometimes there are incompatibilities, unpredictable changes in attitude, etc. In our case it happened with a 3k buy that we primarily purchased since we had credits left over, so this wasn't a hugely influential part of our team. I don't think this player was eligible to sell back. I agree that if it happens with someone who's more expensive that a trade should not happen.

I think there's always somebody in mids that gets overlooked or starts showing promising results after the draft. Adaam is a good example since he had some really good wins in OST that probably would have gotten him picked in the main auction if that had happened prior. Yeah what you said about happening more often is true but I think there's definitely a situation like this that will come up most if not all SPLs -- someone from mids gets overlooked and it won't "feel worse than trading for a cheap player from another team", which is common enough to warrant some further thought.

I'm fine with trades being abolished in their entirety and can't really disagree with any of the points made in this thread, but I wonder if there could be an avenue for there to be trades subject to the host's discretion at a very strict level (to where it's a rare exception rather than the rule), perhaps with Coconut's suggestion that each team must justify how this will benefit them. I think under this precedent, the harmless trade like the bigs/raiders one this past SPL would be accepted. If this is deemed too rare/not worth the hassle to bend your back over, then that's totally fair, but from firsthand experience there was a significant benefit to this opportunity for my SPL team this past year and future teams/a couple of players may be shafted a bit by the nuclear approach you guys plan to take.
 
I'm fine with trades being abolished in their entirety and can't really disagree with any of the points made in this thread, but I wonder if there could be an avenue for there to be trades subject to the host's discretion at a very strict level (to where it's a rare exception rather than the rule), perhaps with Coconut's suggestion that each team must justify how this will benefit them.
This won't work, because ultimately the hosts still need to make a decision. We can't blame the Ruiners for any of what happened here, because why wouldn't they try and make a bunch of trades if their season is over after 4 weeks, right? The current system relies on the hosts' judgment to put a stop to these things and for whatever reason their resistance broke eventually. The rules need to be changed in a way that whether or not a trade is fair doesn't come down to the judgment of three hosts that might not even have any team tournament experience themselves. We can't blame our hosts for that, though. That's what the rules are right now and they just have to work with that, unless we make changes for the better. Hosting team tournaments is already a thankless and miserable job without having to evaluate each and every trade request that comes their way.

I'd personally be down to try the suggestion as outlined in the OP first, but I agree with dice and Eo that nuking trades altogether is the cleanest solution. If managers can't get their team in order while drafting - with a 4 subs minimum at that - then that ultimately just comes down to not having prepared well enough for the auction, or having made mistakes in some way after that. It happens. Some teams simply have to be worse than others, and that's okay. Managers shouldn't need the hand holding or any extra tools to play with. They just need to learn from the experience and improve. I've messed up my draft and subsequent managing more than once and not being good enough in one tournament is something you take with you to the next one. If anything there should maybe be a better way to select managers, though that's obviously a different discussion.
 
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