Post Verdict Dispute Discussion:Dispute: Angela Stefanski - NES / FAMICOM / DISK - The Legend of Zelda - NTSC - Fastest Completion [1st Quest] - Player: Rodrigo Lopes - Score: 31:37.0

  1. 12-06-2019, 11:34 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninglendo View Post
    What platform though? Something like MAME that the performance could be sent via email? We are talking about VHS tapes here that had to be sent through the mail.
    Yes, Glen, I was talking about MAME.

    I concede that mailed submissions MAY have been treated differently. I doubt it though. Why would there be a difference? For example.....if there is an interesting submission in the pile of tapes received, if I were a ref under pressure(and they were) I'd pick the interesting ones to adjudicate. Once again, who cares about the 40th place Centipede score!


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  2. 12-07-2019, 01:54 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Tompa View Post

    Howdy! I wasn't going to link it here myself, but I also don't object to it being linked here, and now here it is.

    To be crystal clear up front, this is not an apology for anything. I said what I said, and I stand behind it. Yes, there were a couple things I included for comic effect in line with the tone I'd established that I didn't reeeeeeeeally mean and would not have said in a more serious report. For instance, I'll say there is a nominally proper purpose behind this post-verdict thread, and it's not exclusively here for people to "continue bickering about irrelevant bull****", even though we all know that does happen. Also, it's okay to be into ESI and cred rating and submission points, if that's your jam. I'm not the fun police.

    But the vast majority of the sentiment behind what I wrote was genuine. This dispute, and so many of the antics therein, were perplexing to watch. I was astounded this was a real thing, and that the people participating didn't see it all as bananas as I did (although, truthfully, it seemed many did). I won't recount all my observations here, given that I've just done so behind that link. I thought this dispute scenario was already preposterous about halfway through, and it Just. Kept. Going.

    This dispute should have been resolved the moment the thorough technical evidence of the level 9 spawns was produced. That was it. Case closed. That alone is enough to de-list an old no-video run immediately, while perhaps continuing the dispute thread to determine if the discrepancy was due to cheating or an error, and even that shouldn't take that long.

    Many of the people here, including site regulars, are good people who mean well. Not all, but many. Even many people I disagree with, on subjects like what penalties are appropriate for cheaters, I know they come from a well-intentioned place.

    Unfortunately, that does not extend to the site's head custodian. I'd been researching the Todd Rogers and Billy Mitchell stories, and by way of that, researching many of the ancillary characters involved as well. I was conflicted as to my assessment of Jace Hall, given how he seemed hellbent on sticking to the phoniest of excuses for Todd. (Maybe I'll write up a report on that specific topic some day.) But the TG dispute process was new at the time, and he handled the Billy and Triforce disputes differently, so I thought maybe the process was being improved. Maybe they realized where they went wrong. I didn't listen to people warning me about Jace, because I prefer to make my own assessments of people. And after seeing this dispute play out, I have.

    Jace Hall is consistently dishonest with his motivations, whatever the situation. Even in situations where there's seemingly no need for it. I'll give you all an example. In September, he called me out by name to participate in the revived Billy Mitchell dispute. While I recognized this for what it was (an effort to compel participation), I was in fact happy to participate and add my research to the thread. Jace re-posted my contributions to his wall, including where I stated my opinion in no uncertain terms that Billy was a "fraud", a "cheater", and a "liar", and that all his scores should be permanently scrubbed. But shortly after that, Jace reached out to me, by way of personal message, asking if I would have that post transferred from his wall to my wall instead:

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    I understood the actual reason for the proposal. Team Billy were trying to portray him as unreasonable and vindictive, out to besmirch Billy's supposedly good name. He didn't want the more inflammatory elements of my submission on his wall while he's trying to appear as a non-partisan dispute administrator. That's fine. Perfectly acceptable reason. I get it.

    So why not just say "On second thought, it's not really appropriate on my wall. Can we move it to yours?" Or how about "I have to take it down from my wall, but I hope you choose to put it up on yours"? Why this excuse of "It should be on your wall, because you created it"? Jace doesn't care that it sits with its creator. It was already attributed to me, anyway. That wasn't a problem that needed solving. If I wanted it on my wall, I would have put it there in the first place (and, indeed, I already had and he hadn't noticed). Why come up with this phony reason at all, when I would have happily accepted the truth? Why lie? Why lie when you don't have to? Why? Whyyyyyyyy?

    This wasn't an isolated thing. I now see that to be a constant theme with Jace. Whatever his motivation happens to be in a given moment, he'll just come up with something that sounds good. No one could possibly believe that Jace Hall just sat and thought "This dispute evidence is close, but I can't really decide on it unless five Zelda speedrunners agree." No one could possibly believe the guy who saw right through Billy Mitchell and pinned him to his word at every step of the way also genuinely believed it was possible Todd Rogers got three separate cosmic rays on three separate Ataris. And whatever his reason for collecting peoples' personal info, it's clearly not because of Guinness, or else he wouldn't be calling for your info in unrelated matters, or just bringing it up randomly out of nowhere. I start to wonder what benefit he could be getting from that info, if he wasn't selling it.

    Speaking of info, look at that PM from Jace again. He sent me a text message that same night, as he was trying to get a hold of me. I believe I still have it on my phone. Here's the thing: I never gave him my phone number. I just got a text randomly one night, saying it was him. But I did use my number to verify on this site. I'd always assumed he'd gotten it from someone else, but now I'm left wondering if he didn't just pull up my private verification info and get it that way. Is he going to call you on your phone as well? Is he going to start mailing stuff to your house? What will he and won't he do with your info in his database? I hope he knows that just because he owns the site doesn't mean he should check your PMs.

    Back to the topic of dispute adjudication, if I saw a trend, progress, I could understand why different disputes were handled differently. I could see changes in policy. Growth. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt. But this Rodrigo dispute has convinced me the adjudication is not nearly so mindful or principled. It seems to come down to whether Jace wants the player to be guilty or not, whether he wants the matter extended a little longer or not, or whatever his whim happens to be on a given day.

    I prefer to be positive. I did genuinely hold out hope Twin Galaxies would turn around. Here were my thoughts on TG, posted to that same speedrun subreddit, just after the Billy MAME evidence was published almost two years ago:

    I'm telling you, Twin Galaxies could look very different 3-5 years from now.

    In the short term, they did themselves no favors by ousting Todd. They've long had credibility issues. The people who hold that against them (and I would count myself among them) haven't come around just because of that one move. On the other hand, they built their brand not on accountability but on loyalty, and ousting Todd was a big fault in that foundation. A lot of their "old guard" are still on Todd's side. In short, overall, they made themselves no friends with the Dragster dispute, and how long it took to conclude. The final decision was made for no virtue other than that it was the morally correct move to make with regards to the facts.

    While they didn't do themselves any favors in the short term, if they continue that trajectory, putting the actual truth above who their old friends are, critics will come around. They really do have an opportunity to rebuild their brand the right way, as long as they don't half-measure it. I'm very interested to see where this goes.


    That hope is done. This site, this organization, is Jace's sandbox. If he feels like kicking a cheater like Billy to the curb, he'll do it, and if he doesn't, he won't. I don't mean this with any sort of bitter tone, because ultimately it really doesn't matter to me. It is what it is. As for site activities, forums and submissions and stuff, again, I'm not the fun police. You all can do your thing. But as far as general scoreboard credibility, it will never be had under Jace Hall. Never. This is who he is.

    (Note: Don't mistake this as me saying I'm done posting here. I'll post what I feel like, until such time that I'm disallowed from doing so. But I won't sugarcoat the medicine.)
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  3. 12-07-2019, 02:54 AM
    Wow, did Jace p*ss on your cereal or what.
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  4. 12-07-2019, 03:21 AM
    Well, a lot has been discussed in this post-dispute thread. I'll try and start from the top and try not to reiterate what has already been discussed. Most of the reasons for and against the official decision have already been discussed between @Jace Hall and @thegamer1185 . As for summing up the dispute in it's entirety I think @ersatz_catz did a pretty good job of that in the Reddit post albeit in a very direct manner in which many people might not want to hear. The bottom line is that the dispute was a bit of a roller coaster in nature with many highs and lows that probably ultimately dragged on a bit too long.

    Highs: 1) The general consensus is that the correct decision was made despite it taking 4 and a half months.
    2) This dispute, in particular, created a unique situation such that the final ruling and circumstances surrounding it add to the
    cumulative knowledge base of TG disputes moving forward.
    3) Discussions of the old "referee" system further proved that there were flaws in how things might have been handled then.
    4) The recruitment of new members like @fcoughlin and @cantaloupeme . I can't speak for the experience that either of these
    have had and I don't want to speculate if they will or won't stay around.

    Lows: 1) I think most would agree it took a little too long for a decision to be made
    2) Unnecessary stakes were added to the decision (e.g if you like a post and put your career on the line maybe he will release the tape)
    3) Poor behavior throughout the process by the accused, who by virtue of being at the top of the leaderboards, should have set a
    better example or just kept quiet throughout the entirety of the dispute
    4) The dispute threatened to go off the rails on several occasions due to diverging viewpoints and in some cases poor behavior in

    As for finding a rationale for how this dispute ended and Rodrigo's behavior and actions throughout I can only think of only 1 line of reasoning that makes sense. I think after revealing he was in possession of the "legit submission" he gambled thinking he was only going to get the specified time length ban and removal of the non-TGSAP scores after which he could simply return in a few years albeit under a dark cloud and continue operating business as usual. I don't think for a single, solitary second he ever thought about putting that run out for the experts to scrutinize as it would have been ripped apart in a matter of minutes. I think he felt he "held the cards" in this situation and as long as the experts were not able to definitively prove any foul play then he wins in the end which ties into what @thegamer1185 mentioned about the "protected" nature of these old "verified" submissions. This line of reasoning of course assumes that the submission is indeed a fraud which I think it was in order to account for these behaviors and actions. I think Rodrigo must have been pretty surprised when this all backfired on him and resulted in him gambling away his career down the toilet. Most of the time in real life (and in Zelda) you will lose if you gamble.

    As far as the question pertaining to the verification/referee that debate could probably go on forever. @Barthax , @rtm, and @lexmark have provided testimonials as to what the atmosphere was like to be a referee back in this submission's era and all 3 make good points. In general, most referees seem to have been overloaded and do not remember every detail of every submission that may have passed by them. However, I do find it somewhat strange that no one can remember anything about this submission when you consider the magnitude of the accomplishment. No announcement was made, as had been the standard with this game in the past. No confirmation that RTM ever received the submission. No other referees coming forward during this dispute to say 'Yeah I was the one who saw it.' No comment or help from Team Metroid. It was as if the submission was a "ghost." The general lack of finding anything on that front leads me to believe that it may have just been entered into the database by someone who had access to it as a raw "time" and not been viewed by anyone. If that is the case then there is a good chance that the preceding 25 or so minutes of that submission does not really exist and what is seen in the "final moments" could have resulted from a casual playthrough of the game up until level 9 followed by repeated use of save/retry and/or resetting of the console in order to produce a level 9 which might have been considered "optimal" for the time period. Unfortunately, that means the multitude of people in this thread that hope to eventually see this run in it's entirety might want to ask Santa for something different for Christmas this year.

    Comparing this dispute to some of the other high profile disputes brings up a few similarities as well as things that make it unique. The main thing with this dispute that seemed different compared to the others was the general one-sided nature of the evidence. From post #1 of this dispute it was just a steady stream of evidence (both objective and subjective) against the accused with basically no response. In "Dragster" and "Donkey Kong" you occasionally had people coming to the defense of the accused in those disputes. Even if Rodrigo had made the conscious decision to not say a word or even mention he had the "legit submission" still no one would have come to his defense. Even after Jace came in after 3 months and things really ratcheted up there was still no defense. An overwhelming amount of evidence does not necessarily prove guilt but a lack of a defense at all does not help the case for the accused either. Looking at how this dispute fits into the context of TG history I think it to be pretty unlikely that there will be a dispute that carries the stakes and impact like this one had. People putting their careers on the line, outside communities coming in, terms of punishment being changed, and the accused withholding evidence all created a situation that is unlikely to be repeated. I think this was bigger than "Donkey Kong" or "Dragster." However, the experience and knowledge gained by those who actually went through this could be valuable for the future.

    As another dispute comes to a close, I think it appropriate to thank all of those who have been involved in a proactive way with these disputes over the past few years. A large portion of the scoreboard has been cleaned up thanks to the efforts of many but there is still a ways to go. However, although I think sifting through the scoreboard to determine potential invalid and/or fraudulent scores should be a top priority I think there is a more far reaching problem as it relates to this site and the scoreboard in general and at the conclusion of this dispute it is probably appropriate to bring that up. That problem, as I touched on a little earlier, is member recruitment and retention into the future. In order for the website and community to grow it has to be able to recruit new members. Many people that were here even before Jace came on board can attest to this. There are huge communities of serious gamers out there that TG is not reaching right now. What's happened over the past decade is that tons of communities have popped up and in many cases they center around a single game or sometimes a collection of games. The Tetris community, Mario64, and Goldeneye 007 communities are 3 of the biggest. Right now they probably have hundreds and in some cases thousands of members that compete against each other. Some of the players in these communities used to be here but no longer are here even though tracks exist for all of these games in the database. Members such as @Tompa and @starcrytas who have gone back and forth between some of these communities and TG over the past 10 years can verify these facts as well. Notwithstanding the 3 communities mentioned above there are quite a few others as well. Consider the following hypothetical example: Let's say that in a given week 100 significant video game achievements are achieved and archived on the internet within these communities. How many of those achievements are actually going through TGSAP? Maybe 1-2 or maybe even 0. History seems to be happening but TG seems to be in the background while it is happening. To note Jace's response from an earlier post you can't give the recognition of a TG record to someone unless it goes through the scrutiny of TGSAP. You also can't force people to sign up or submit here. The website should not just contain "data." I get that. However, if even 10-15% of people from these communities could be recruited then it would be a huge increase to the user base as well as adding more competition and higher level game play in some titles that haven't been competed on in a while. I know that "what's going on with TG" should be the main focus rather than "what's going on with other communities" but there's a large number of talented gamers out there that could be useful to this site. However, knowing the fact that most of these gamers have the ability to monetize their twitch channels, be promoted within that "other" community, and have the ability to participate in that community by creating tracks, verifying etc. it makes it that much less likely that they will take the time and jump through the hoops to join TG. In a nutshell even if every dispute eventually gets resolved and the scoreboard is viewed as credible again there's still the problem of recruiting and retaining a significant user base into the future. I assume the member numbers have increased since Jace came on board but chances are there are lot if improvements that could still be made in that regard. Thanks for reading.
  5. 12-07-2019, 06:02 AM
    One thing I seem to be missing. There are references to a Metroid Team or Team Metroid. Who was part of this team?
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  6. 12-07-2019, 06:07 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ersatz_cats View Post

    Jace Hall is consistently dishonest with his motivations, whatever the situation.
    Some of these statements are very "conpiracy-esque" so there is no way for me to respond to the whole mass of it other than to say is that most of what you have presented as it relates to what I think, or why I have done something is not the reality.

    I'm wondering, before making all these sweeping assumptions about me and my motivations or whatever it is you have decided I have done or didn't do, did it ever occur to you to perhaps just ask me directly about the items? Have I ever been non-responsive to you? Maybe you would have believed my answers, maybe you wouldn't have, but it might have been a good starting point.

    I do understand that as head of TG I'm going to have to deal with people talking about me or whatever, but good lord this is next level.

    Let me be clear so that there can be no misunderstanding.

    1.) I don't have anything to hide. You want to know something, I'm happy to tell you the answer. Not a big deal.
    2.) There are no magical plans or secret agendas. There are no conspiracies to find - at least none that I know of.
    3.) The whole concept of me having some kind of issue with disputes, or "protecting people" or whatever it is that is theorized is ridiculous. I am the person who actually had the dispute system built for the very purpose that it is being used for. No other TG ownership would ever have done this, and they didn't! There would not even be a conversation about this subject right now without my efforts on it. It makes no sense that I would build such a system only to prevent it from working. It's far easier to just remove it, which is something I can do.

    Of course believe what you want but consider just this one small set of facts (out of many more I could present):

    1.) Every score dispute you reference is based on a score that I had nothing to do with putting in the database.
    2.) Every score dispute you reference was not started by me or any TG admin.

    I didn't make any of these problems. i didn't approve any of the scores you mention and I don't have a huge personal stake in these referee verified scores. This is why I laugh when people think I had interest in "protecting" Todd or anyone else. I'm just focused on the dispute claim evidence and circumstance. Scores can stay, they can go - but if they go, we need to be sure its the right thing to do. There's really nothing more to it. I don't get all the conspiracy thought.

    I'm just the poor fool who has to ultimately make the final decisions with TG Admin staff on disputes that users initiated and endure all of the incoming accusation and commentary. I have to tolerate character assassination, economic burden, threat of legal action or other challenges only to be told now that apparently I'm "dishonest" and that all the efforts toward increasing scoreboard integrity are useless - because obviously whatever my motivation is, it's not what I say it is, according to you.

    I'm not sure why you would think I have some kind of motivation other than trying to clean up the database. I'm guessing that you have some theory on what my motivation is but I can't imagine what it must be.

    The truth is things are much more simple and straightforward than you are constructing.

    For instance -
    My note asking permission to transfer the post you made on my wall to your wall, was just what it was and nothing more. Had you declined, I simply would have deleted the post off my wall - but since your post was lengthy, thoughtful and substantial I thought I was being courteous by reaching out to you. I didn't want to just trash all your work. (You're the creator!)

    As you can see in my follow up response to your response, what I am saying above is consistent with what you see below. My intention was that I just didn't want you to lose your work by my deletion. No other reason to contact you. I can delete anything off my wall for whatever reason I want to, without contacting you - I was legitimately just trying to be courteous, and I did not know that you had already placed that same post on your own wall previous to me even contacting you.

    Further, you can see that I kept a reference link to your post along with complete description still completely on my wall. Not trying to hide anything from anyone.

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    So in answer to your question:

    So why not just say 'On second thought, it's not really appropriate on my wall. Can we move it to yours?' Or how about 'I have to take it down from my wall, but I hope you choose to put it up on yours'
    I did not say those things because that is not why I was asking you. Why would I say either of those things? Your post is still clearly on my wall as a primary post! Behold!
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    Here's the link:

    Perhaps I should have just deleted it without reaching out to you - but I'm reasonably sure that if I did that you still would be able to find some way for that to fit your current narrative. Lose-lose either way for me I guess!

    Anyway, I'm always happy to answer any specific questions you have, if you actually care to ask them.
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  7. 12-07-2019, 06:54 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ersatz_cats View Post
    I'm not the fun police. You all can do your thing. But as far as general scoreboard credibility, it will never be had under Jace Hall. Never. This is who he is.

    Jace can defend himself just fine, he doesn't need me -- but that is the biggest crock of shite I have ever seen post here at Twin Galaxies. Under TGSAP we have scoreboard integrity and credibility. We have the mechanisms in place to ensure all evidence is preserved and is publicly available. We have the means to discuss the submissions during the adjudication process. If for any reason a score is suspected as being fraudulent or was accepted in error we have the means to open a dispute and discuss further.

    You got called out for your off-site rant plain and simple. Free world, go nutz. But keep it off site. Nobody needs your brand of Cat-Despira-fueled anti-TG hysteria.
    Help me beat Snowflake at the "Like Game"
    Creator of Arcade Retro Clock

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  8. 12-07-2019, 07:45 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ersatz_cats View Post
    That hope is done. This site, this organization, is Jace's sandbox. If he feels like kicking a cheater like Billy to the curb, he'll do it, and if he doesn't, he won't. I don't mean this with any sort of bitter tone, because ultimately it really doesn't matter to me. It is what it is. As for site activities, forums and submissions and stuff, again, I'm not the fun police. You all can do your thing. But as far as general scoreboard credibility, it will never be had under Jace Hall. Never. This is who he is.
    Your observation about the power of TG administration to do what they want holds true for every era. The main difference for me is that the high profile disputes you referenced would never have happened under previous ownership despite community agitation to have them addressed. I suppose one could argue that any decision to exclude or include a dispute process is arbitrary, but I do think there's a qualitative and quantitative difference to include a formal, community initiated process. Of course one can find how disputes are managed as lacking or frustrating (arbitrary) at times, and I understand that can reflect on one's overall view of the site but my own personal metric is to take in what the community was able to discuss/share and the subsequent dispute result. I can be deeply critical about how each dispute was managed, but in my own view it hasn't reached the threshold where I felt that the decision was an arbitrary whimsical decision. I do believe that in every dispute objective evidence has been presented and compelled TG admin to accept disputes, even in those that took some twisty/unnecessary turns along the way, and I do believe that these archived disputes will continue to serve as an important account/repository of evidence for those that care to care in the future. Yes, primary evidence can get crowded out as disputes can quickly get off track with "non-technical" discussions. I'm trying to learn myself how to be a more constructive member - I have tried (and failed) to limit my posts, or at least focus them and make them more on point, and while I've seen criticism of how unwieldy the dispute threads can get, I think moderating them would be a real nightmare, and only invite accusations from those with disputed scores (and their supporters) that the admin is arbitrary/selectively removing exonerating evidence. There are things that I still don't understand about each dispute, but I'm inclined to view it was a learning experience for a site that didn't have any history with a public, evidence-based dispute process. YMMV
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  9. 12-07-2019, 10:20 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by lexmark View Post
    Yes, Glen, I was talking about MAME.

    I concede that mailed submissions MAY have been treated differently. I doubt it though. Why would there be a difference?

    Because the mail system takes time. It can take upwards to weeks mailing something from one country to another. It's not a hard concept to understand.
  10. 12-07-2019, 11:24 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by datagod View Post

    Jace can defend himself just fine, he doesn't need me -- but that is the biggest crock of shite I have ever seen post here at Twin Galaxies.
    I don't know, you have had some pretty irrelevant posts on here. So have I, so have many others where we posted and it literally had nothing to do with anything other than to be a dick, haha. While his opinion can viewed many different ways depending on the person, at least he is pointing out why he feels that way and that isn't shite. Just how he feels. You just don't agree with it. Which is completely fine.

    I mean, @Snowflake , @RTM , @Marcade are having a really elaborate back and forth in another thread that seems to be full of good tid bits shite in it. Not going to lie, I thinks it's funny. Some good old **** talk is good IMO can lead to some people mending their differences because it usually leads to more joking than actual insulting.
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