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  • ihaveareputation

    • 2019 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • x2

      2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    I get the impression that the majority of low-stakes and casual users on this forum are against scripting. I’ve also heard this sentiment echoed by some of the RG hosts. Speaking as a programmer, I want to outline why it’s impossible for sites to stop people from using scripts, even if it’s explicitly against a site’s Terms of Service.

    1. Scripting is extremely hard, if not impossible, to detect, especially if the code is designed to mimic human behavior. While it may be easy to detect someone making 10,000 clicks in under 5 seconds, it’s much more difficult if that script just has some “be human” characteristics. Everything is scriptable when it comes to the web. I could write code that just moves the mouse around the screen, hovering over certain popups, waiting a random number of seconds, clicking player game logs, and then eventually settling on my choice. Sure, this takes more time for the script to execute, but the end result is the same. I can click once and then go have dinner while the program runs for the next hour.
    2. CAPTCHAs are solve-able with scripts. Requiring some type of CAPTCHA isn’t going to help. Just search for “captcha solver” or “captcha service”, and you’ll find tons of existing software or 3rd-party services which employ cheap labor overseas to just sit at a desk and solve incoming CAPTCHAs that are being sent by scripts from all over the world for fractions of a penny. Sure, this might cost the script-owner a few extra dollars, but for high stakes scripters, this is a drop in the bucket. This technique has been employed by web spammers for over a decade.
    3. There are better solutions than attempting to ban scripts. The crux of the complaints is that scripters have better tools than the average Joe, so the playing field isn’t level. There’s a difference between mass-edit scripts vs. “fish finder” scripts*, so let’s discuss the problems and potential solutions for each:
      1. Scripts that allow mass editing of thousands of lineups. This type gives an edge to the mass-multi-entry GPP players who need to edit lineups quickly in the event of a late scratch. The major sites already have a “Bulk Swap” feature which allows you to swap out one player for another across all of your lineups, but this isn’t good enough. There may not be a player you like in the same price range, your lineups might have negative correlations after a bulk swap (e.g., QB vs. DST), or you end up with a lot of money left on the table in some lineups. Potential Solutions:
        1. Sites should just make it easier to make mass lineup edits. Allow me to upload a new CSV and swap all of my lineups with the new CSV. There are already several public lineup builders out there, and RG’s “script” extension enables mass editing on DK under most circumstances, so the playing field has already been leveled to a degree. But the sites themselves should offer these features. If you’re going to offer unlimited-entry tournaments, at least make it possible to make several hundred entries without getting carpal tunnel or waiting on unnecessarily-slow page refreshes.
        2. Limiting contest sizes. I don’t claim to know what the best number is, but 200-entry GPPs seem reasonable right now. Some of the giant prize pools allow 500, and that also seams reasonable when it allows players the chance to turn $20 into $1,000,000.
        3. Running more single-entry, or small multi-entry tournaments. Limit people to 5-10 entries, but just create more of the tournaments.
      2. Scripts that automatically scoop H2Hs or smaller contests against known weaker opponents. This is entirely the sites’ fault for showing a Win record for each user (I’m looking at you, FanDuel, FantasyAces (Winning%? Seriously?), FantasyFeud, FantasyHub, and others). Exposing a player’s win records should only occur if the user agrees to it (make it opt-in). Then, it would be extremely more difficult for sharks to feast on new users. DK hides this, and up until recently, only gave that information to sites like RG for rankings purposes, but it was always opt-in. Now, it’s locked down, which sucks for ranking purposes, but it’s at least harder for sharks to poach newbies. Potential Solutions:
        1. Make win data public IF AND ONLY IF the user opts in to be a part of a leaderboard of some kind. By default, this should always stay as private information.
        2. Limit the number of contests that a player can join. DK is doing this finally, and in a way that I really like. You’re limited to X number of contests for a particular sport/slate/buy-in level. For example, I can only join up to 40 $1 H2H/double-up contests for tonight’s 7:00 NHL slate. Attempting to join any more of those fails, but I can still join up to 40 $2 H2Hs. FanDuel has a similar limit, but I’m not sure they restrict it to buy-in level or not. Forcing higher buy-in levels makes a lot of sense. Instead of allowing someone to join 5,000 H2H games at $1 each, players with that type of bankroll are forced into the higher-dollar contests in order to spend that much money.
        3. Matchup blockers and limiters. For the love of God, FanDuel, why haven’t you prevented a single person from scooping all of your H2Hs yet? About 6 months ago, I vowed to never post another H2H contest there until they implemented a 1-person, 1-contest rule like DK allows you to do. Also, if I decide that I never want Condia to pick up one of my posted H2Hs, then I should be able to block that user when posting the contest, and it should never even show up for him. The playing field is big enough now, just get this crap done, sites. I’ll come code it for you over a weekend if you want.

    Sorry for the long rant, but I’m tired of people complaining about scripts. There’s nothing anyone can do to stop someone from using a robust script, so let’s re-focus our attention on alternative solutions that make sense and will actually be enforceable.

  • PigskinSleepers

    Recaptcha alone would reduce 90+% of scripting, additional development on the back end could knock it down to very few who built out very advanced programs to work around it – but again, all scripts like this are repetitive at some point, so they could still be ID’ed over time.

  • Dusty_Starbucks

    I hear all the talk about fairness and tools used for advantage over those that can’t/won’t/don’t have time/brains/etc. and it makes me laugh. Ever try the stock market? You think Goldman Sacks doesn’t have auto-traders? Not to mention they have the funds to manipulate price of just about everything except Forex. Think that might be an advantage? Oh and yes, that is highly regulated (SEC). This is really no different. If you want to play a game with money involved, you will go to war. Maybe someone will come up with a nice mutual fund of lineups for you and submit them for a nice tidy price.

    The interwebs and computing make this game possible, but people want to make sure automation can’t be used for advantage. Would it be okay if I sent my 1000s of lineups to India and had a room full of underpaid souls enter them for me one keystroke at a time?

    This battle against using tools for “unfair” advantage has been waged and lost an almost infinite number of times in the evolution of humanity. It’s not one you will win. Just because you know some things about sports doesn’t mean you can play a money game.

  • yeahthisiscuddy

    I wish dfs was like the way its portrayed in the commercials – put together a lineup, enter a contest, compete against 100 or so other guys doing the same, see who’s the best. Instead they’ve turned it in to this arms race where a bunch of ex professional poker players and computer programmers figure out a way to enter every contest, balance their hundreds of lineups to capture the benefits of daily variance, and skim profits from the pool with enough regularity to make the whole exercise worth it to them. What a shame.

  • tonytone1908

    @yeahthisiscuddy said...

    I wish dfs was like the way its portrayed in the commercials – put together a lineup, enter a contest, compete against 100 or so other guys doing the same, see who’s the best. Instead they’ve turned it in to this arms race where a bunch of ex professional poker players and computer programmers figure out a way to enter every contest, balance their hundreds of lineups to capture the benefits of daily variance, and skim profits from the pool with enough regularity to make the whole exercise worth it to them. What a shame.

    Who cares what everyone else does. If I can make a few bucks while having fun watching the games than I am that guy in the commercial.

    What percentage of play do the sharks actually take up? Altogether? Maybe 10% of say the Sunday Million? I think that leaves around 80% of they players entering 1 lineup at most. They’re not playing $2 a weekend expecting to suddenly be a millionaire, although it does happen and is great

    You don’t need lineup builders and scripts and hundreds of entires to make you the winner. I would even bet many don’t even think of putting in multiple lineups. You put one entry into the million and you know you have a 1 in 184000 chance of winning. They’re not playing cause they think it’s easy money, they’re playing because it makes the game more fun for them.

    If someone wants to get rich playing DFS then yes, they will need bankroll, they will need scripts, but they will still need knowledge. Just being able to program will NEVER help you to be a winner.

    Remember, being able to mass change your lineups at the last minute is not always a good thing. How many of us cry about those last minute changes we should never had made?

    Edit: if you want to play against 100 guys go right ahead, you can if that’s what you want, but they aren’t advertising towards 100 man leagues, they’re advertising the big GPP’s. These people aren’t idiots. They aren’t the same people that need smoking is bad for your health messages on packs of cigarettes.

  • Matthew

    StarsDraft Rep

    I recently commented on a similar post by huitcinq on r/DFSports, but would like to repost a few thoughts that align and agree with serveral points made by ihaveareputation.

    When the scripting discussion began in July ’15, Victiv / StarsDraft put out the following statement:

    https://twitter.com/StarsDFS/status/619601217140854784

    I followed up with a lengthy discussion with David Purdum for his ESPN The Chalk article, but think it would be beneficial to outline the Victiv / StarsDraft thought process on bot and scripting usage here, as well.

    Similar to ihaveareputation’s initial post, we place scripts into either a constructive or destructive category. Starting with destructive, scripts used to automatically target contests with specific types of users or scripts used to make last-minute lineup changes in a way that’s not offered to all players equally should be strictly prohibited. They’re not good for the enjoyment of the game, the retention of players, or the growth of the industry.

    On the constructive side, there are many scripts which simply attempt to make tedious, repetitive tasks easier or faster. When we see these, we look at them as signs that some aspect of the user experience could and should be improved.

    It’s the job of the operator to offer all users an experience without frustration. If there is value for the user in these tools then they should be offered by us, and be made universally available.

    If there is destructive value and users are simply trying to gain an unfair advantage, it’s our job to build in safeguards (ex. H2H Anonymous Pools, Multi-Enter Unqiue contests) and enforce our terms of service to ensure the protection of our user base and the integrity of our product.

    As our industry moves towards implementing stricter controls and consumer protection practices, I believe that open and intelligent discussions like this, with dialog from both players and operators, are extremely important to the long-term well-being of the DFS space. There should be transparency for both consumers and future regulators on all aspects of the daily fantasy sports operations to ensure this game we enjoy is available to play for years to come.

  • FunkyColdModella

    @deejones49 said...

    My worst fear is someone who is able to change lineups after lock why not 100% transparency of all lineups right after lock

    This.

    Until there’s TRUE oversight, there will always be a shadow of doubt on the whole industry. Especially when those NEW guys take 1st place in a lower fee multi-entry GPP with just one silver bullet entry.

    As far as scripting goes, would slowing down the server or choking the individual bandwidth at FD/DK cause a timeout for those using a script?

  • walterg55

    @Matthew said...

    I recently commented on a similar post by huitcinq on r/DFSports, but would like to repost a few thoughts that align and agree with serveral points made by ihaveareputation.

    When the scripting discussion began in July ’15, Victiv / StarsDraft put out the following statement:

    https://twitter.com/StarsDFS/status/619601217140854784

    I followed up with a lengthy discussion with David Purdum for his ESPN The Chalk article, but think it would be beneficial to outline the Victiv / StarsDraft thought process on bot and scripting usage here, as well.

    Similar to ihaveareputation’s initial post, we place scripts into either a constructive or destructive category. Starting with destructive, scripts used to automatically target contests with specific types of users or scripts used to make last-minute lineup changes in a way that’s not offered to all players equally should be strictly prohibited. They’re not good for the enjoyment of the game, the retention of players, or the growth of the industry.

    On the constructive side, there are many scripts which simply attempt to make tedious, repetitive tasks easier or faster. When we see these, we look at them as signs that some aspect of the user experience could and should be improved.

    It’s the job of the operator to offer all users an experience without frustration. If there is value for the user in these tools then they should be offered by us, and be made universally available.

    If there is destructive value and users are simply trying to gain an unfair advantage, it’s our job to build in safeguards (ex. H2H Anonymous Pools, Multi-Enter Unqiue contests) and enforce our terms of service to ensure the protection of our user base and the integrity of our product.

    As our industry moves towards implementing stricter controls and consumer protection practices, I believe that open and intelligent discussions like this, with dialog from both players and operators, are extremely important to the long-term well-being of the DFS space. There should be transparency for both consumers and future regulators on all aspects of the daily fantasy sports operations to ensure this game we enjoy is available to play for years to come.

    Very well said. WHERE ARE YOU FANDUEL and DRAFTKING? It speaks volumes that your comments are not posted.

  • FunkyColdModella

    @walterg55 said...

    Very well said. WHERE ARE YOU FANDUEL and DRAFTKING? It speaks volumes that your comments are not posted.

    They’re at the bank, eating caviar pizza and getting their feet kissed by supermodels.

  • Olhausen

    @yeahthisiscuddy said...

    I wish dfs was like the way its portrayed in the commercials – put together a lineup, enter a contest, compete against 100 or so other guys doing the same, see who’s the best. Instead they’ve turned it in to this arms race where a bunch of ex professional poker players and computer programmers figure out a way to enter every contest, balance their hundreds of lineups to capture the benefits of daily variance, and skim profits from the pool with enough regularity to make the whole exercise worth it to them. What a shame.

    Then stop playing if you don’t like it. It’s really not hard to compete even if you’re firing 5-10 lineup’s a night. If you take the time to do the research it won’t matter how many lineup’s someone else puts in. I usually do 10 a night and I’ve had plenty of success because I put in the time and make sure I learn something every night win or lose. Do we need some changes in Dfs? Yes we do, but people saying they can’t win because of people who are better then them is laughable at best.

  • dude_abides7

    @Dusty_Starbucks said...

    I hear all the talk about fairness and tools used for advantage over those that can’t/won’t/don’t have time/brains/etc. and it makes me laugh. Ever try the stock market?

    The stock market does not position themselves as a “game of skill”. DFS does.

  • yeahthisiscuddy

    @Olhausen said...

    Then stop playing if you don’t like it. It’s really not hard to compete even if you’re firing 5-10 lineup’s a night. If you take the time to do the research it won’t matter how many lineup’s someone else puts in. I usually do 10 a night and I’ve had plenty of success because I put in the time and make sure I learn something every night win or lose. Do we need some changes in Dfs? Yes we do, but people saying they can’t win because of people who are better then them is laughable at best.

    Look, I know you and tony don’t like what I’m saying. I get that you think I’m a sore loser, and that I don’t do research, and that I should just quit. I’m telling you again for the hundredth time that’s not the case.

    I like to play cash games. I like to make 1 lineup. I’d like to be able to enter a 50/50 on DK without having to sit against the big name guys that enter every contest. Good luck finding one of those, because there aren’t any.

    I’m not hating on them (or you) because they are doing what DK lets them (mostly). I’m saying I wish they weren’t allowed to do that. It’d make a more enjoyable product experience for me and (I’m assuming here) a vast majority of the other users.

    Why is it generally accepted as some divine right to be able to play enough volume to “make a living” playing dfs? It should just be entertainment.

  • hotpants

    Speeding is impossible to stop. Down with speed limits!

  • dude_abides7

    @hotpants said...

    Speeding is impossible to stop. Down with speed limits!

    Good one. lol

    Imagine if the “penalty” for going 30mph over the limit was to simply pull over and have to wait 5 mins until you could peel out right in front of the cop car on your way back to 100mph. (See tradestix 3 hour ban)

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