Cheating

There are really only two ways to approach this:

“We don’t cheat.”

“We cheat when we can get away with it.”

The posture of, “our side doesn’t cheat,” is the belief in the validity of the game itself. It’s a statement of moral authority, a promise of consistency and valor. It respects the process.

The posture of, “cheat if you can,” is the belief in the ends at any cost. It degrades the system, because if everyone cheats, then there is no system left.

Cheaters often brag about their exploits, because they want to normalize them.

Sophisticated competitors, the ones who really want to win, understand that cheating destroys the very thing they set out to do. Because once cheating is normalized, the winner is the person who had the guts to cheat the most and destroy the system, not the one who deserved to win. Being against cheating doesn’t mean you don’t want to compete, it means that you do.

In every community, on every team, there are people who believe that they only chance they’ve got is to cheat. Our systems persist only when peers in the community step up and insist that the cheater stop. Because being on a team that wins by cheating is ultimately self-defeating.


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