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This question asked about how to do item duplication in Minecraft, which on most servers would probably be considered cheating. But is a blanket ban on all exploits in multiplayer games appropriate?

Consider skiing in Tribes for example. It was pretty clearly an exploit not intended by the developers, but it became so popular that the sequel was designed around it.

Contrast it with whatever you call this glitch in TF2, in which a player can hit people with a flamethrower from across the map.

Where is the dividing line between an acceptable exploit and an unacceptable exploit?

Edit: I'm aware of this question, but I think this is a different issue. That question is asking about what cheats are ok to discuss. The examples given are unquestionably cheating, but may be OK depending on whether the game is competitive multiplayer or not. My question is about how you judge whether or not an exploit is a cheat or just a fun quirk of the game.

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    This is an extremely complicated question that gets more complex when you consider that there are often long debates about what should even be considered a glitch when building the rules for glitchless speedrun categories (for instance, movement tricks are generally allowed, but when does a movement trick cross the line into a glitch). – Unionhawk Oct 29 at 17:04
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    Cheating is gaining an unfair advantage over other players, glitching is abusing the game physics or code to do something you're not supposed to in a game. Cheating is bad and ruins the game for everyone else not cheating. Glitching can be fun and is used to surpass what developers originally intended. The TF2 link you posted was a bug and patched out. Bugs that are fixed are not relevant to discussions on cheating. – FoxMcCloud Oct 29 at 19:05
  • @FoxMcCloud We all know some companies can be glacially slow at fixing bugs, sometimes even gamebreaking bugs. Recall the glitch that allowed defenders to get inside the washing machine in the basement objective on the Oregon map in Rainbow 6: Siege. Ubisoft took a year to fix it, even though it made that objective impossible to win for attackers. A defender inside the washing machine could shoot out, but attackers couldn't shoot him. Imagine a question being asked here about a similar longstanding, but unfair bug. – Ryan_L Oct 29 at 20:03
  • @Ryan_L I think you are focusing on the wrong thing. I was simply stating that I don't think bugs like that should fall under your argument of cheat vs glitch. – FoxMcCloud Oct 30 at 14:02
  • @FoxMcCloud What's the meaningful difference between the washing machine glitch in R6: Siege and the item duplication glitch in Minecraft that was mentioned in the linked question? Both seem to give an unfair advantage to the user. Although maybe it IS fair because anyone could do them? I think this is worthy of discussion. – Ryan_L Oct 30 at 15:28
  • @Ryan_L This is going beyond your original question of glitch vs cheat. What you are truly talking about are multiplayer shooting games that have bugs that users can take advantage of that allow them to kill other players in wacky ways, right? – FoxMcCloud Oct 30 at 16:22
  • @FoxMcCloud not just shooters, but any game in which a bug may give an advantage to some players. In some cases we can just defer to the esports community for the game; if they ban users of a glitch, we can clearly prohibit it as well. Some glitches are cheats; if they weren't, the esports scene wouldn't ban them. I want to know where the dividing line is. We cannot always defer to the esports scene, because many games don't have one. – Ryan_L Oct 30 at 16:31
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    I think I would strictly say that 'a cheat' is something enabled by the user (infinite lives etc) by pressing a key combo or using the console. A Glitch is something unintended but totally within the game parameters (whereas a bug is an error in the code). As others have said - 'cheating' is gaining an unfair advantage, and so using glitches to gain an advantage is a form of cheating (I'm thinking the old Hostage sky box glitch on the counterstrike desert level which made it impossible to counter). But there are glitches that don't give advantage and are just amusing (and so not cheating) – Smock Nov 1 at 13:22
  • Skiing in Tribes is interesting because while it was unintended behavior, the developers decided to turn it into a feature during the beta. After all there was no attempt to correct the behavior – MMM Nov 4 at 8:25
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It seems to me that there are two main factors when it comes to whether a glitch/bug/cheat/exploit/etc is acceptable or not.

  1. What is the counterplay? If it's just something else that other players can watch out for and reasonably react to, that seems fine. If there's nothing that other players can do about it, or they have to go very out of their way to do so, that's probably not fine.
  2. Does it cause degeneration? Is it just another tool in the toolbox? Or is it so strong that in order to win you have no choice but to use it because everyone else is?

Of course people are always going to argue over whether trick X is truly uncounterable or degenerative (see wobbling in SSBM).

  • I suppose another factor to consider is the ease of access to which people have, whether it's easy, hard or skill based to pull off will dramatically affect how players both view and use it. Skiing as above being a prime example. – Connor Martin Oct 31 at 13:33
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In my opinion, the question "What is a glitch and what is a cheat?" is not as important as "What sorts of glitches should we support in questions?", but I will give my opinion on both these topics.

What is the line between a glitch and a cheat?

Naively, a cheat is something that was added intentionally by the developer, in one way or another. If a developer sat down and said "Alright, so if a player enters 🡅🡅🡇🡇🡄🡆🡄🡆, they will have infinite lives", then this is clearly an intentional feature of the game, even though it may be hidden. Other "cheats" may be a reward for completing certain optional tasks.

A glitch is something that should not happen. A very good example for this is the old gravel trick in Minecraft, in which partially submerging yourself in gravel would allow you to see through solid blocks and find caves easily. This feature was clearly not intended, and can thus be considered a glitch.

The trickier question is, when is something a "glitch", and when is something "a very advanced technique"? The skiing example, as noted above, really blurs the line. It's difficult to say, and topic of extensive debate among many speedrun communities. I would argue that defining a clear line when something is a glitch or not is a very philosophical question, which I am not equipped to answer.

Should all cheats and glitches be considered off-topic?

I would say it depends if it negatively affects the enjoyment of others. It's actually a remarkably similar question as to what to do with spoilers for movies or shows, where some hardliners even consider "Wow, that movie was really good" to be a spoiler.

My suggestion is the following: If the execution of a cheat or glitch does not negatively affect the way others can enjoy the game, then it should be allowed. A question like "What are all known cheat codes for GTA: San Andreas?" should not be voted off-topic, as cheating in this game is the sole reason why many people bought it in the first place.

Of course, questions such as "How can I duplicate items on a multiplayer server?" are a gray area. It depends on the people playing there, and if they appreciate item duplication or not. It might interfere with their enjoyment, if one player suddenly has an excessive amount of a very rare item.

Other questions, such as "How can I make an undetectable aimbot?", are blatantly off-topic, as they are bound to be used in a way that negatively affects other players.

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