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Post 10 Mar 2017, 7:06 am

For the record--and the larger Redscape community to witness--can someone post for all to see and comment what happened with Canada and Israel?

Is it true that the same real life player signed up and played both of them, using two different email addresses? How was it discovered? How did the other players and GM react, and how did it affect gameplay? What should the consequences be to the player?
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Post 12 Mar 2017, 4:15 am

It was Dave Ling. He actually played both nations under different pseudonyms. It kind of killed the game after it all came out.
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Post 12 Mar 2017, 6:45 pm

It sounds so outlandish. Who would do that? A child maybe, but Ling?

What do the players think should be done, if anything?
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Post 13 Mar 2017, 10:54 am

Well, both nations were placed in CD until replacements were found, and the game was paused until that happened given that both nations were extraordinarily influential. The game then continued.

Somewhat corollary to that though, both nations have waned in power a bit since then, Israel made a critically bad NBR, and Canada has become the target of other nation ire, for the reasons any nation does in Dip.
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Post 13 Mar 2017, 7:33 pm

I'm glad the game survived.

What about the player? Would any of you play with him again? Should he be banned?
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Post 14 Mar 2017, 10:34 am

This game will forever be tainted, and it is hard to believe that Lingfish would do it. I am playing little E power Poland, and was not impacted directly. I don't have all of the facts, but the allegations started to fly after a very strong opening by Russia was hammered to dust by an odd coalition arranged by two skilled players with whom no one had any history. The Canada pseudonym was outed first, but then it went deeper and was found to extend to Israel.

I, for one, found it quite awful. I play as myself, and always have. Part of my diplomacy involves knowing me as a human. One would never sit down at a face-to-face game in a disguise. There are gunboat and GM-managed press games if you want a bit on anonymity. The fact that he was double-dipping was even worse.

I don't play much these days (beyond getting roped into these heartbreaking NWO variants), but I know I would never willingly share a map with David Ling again. I don't know what the "powers that be" will determine, but I can't imagine people welcoming him to a game at this site ever again.
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Post 14 Mar 2017, 2:45 pm

I don't have all of the facts, but the allegations started to fly after a very strong opening by Russia was hammered to dust by an odd coalition arranged by two skilled players with whom no one had any history.


This is not entirely true. The anti-Russia coalition got off the ground because of Rob D and Tom. It's true to say that Canada's involvement was essential but Israel wasn't involved at all in the initial planning stages. Obviously it's a little silly to make that distinction since Rob and Tom were attempting to play the rest of us while Dave was controlling both Canada and Israel and thought he was playing everybody else (the stooge was me, thanks for asking). Still though, it wasn't actually organised by Dave.

It's all very messy. Technically I'm still alive in the game (barely), but I've been phoning it in for weeks now. I hope it doesn't affect participation rates in the next game.
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Post 15 Mar 2017, 8:12 am

The player sent me a copy of the email he sent to all other players:

Hi everyone.

OK enough is enough. I have an apology to make. I thought I could get through the rest of the game on a damage limitation basis but that doesn't look likely. I've @#$! up.

I signed up to this game as 2 powers. I've been playing diplomacy on redscape since 2001 and have a long history here. I play under the name Lingfish, Randy was right about that at least although he figured it for the wrong reasons. He is also right that he is at the heart of why I chose to do this and I'll do my best to explain it for those who want to know. You all at least deserve an explanation.

This is the worst thing I've ever done in diplomacy by a long way and I am deeply sorry to let you all down. I know how much effort goes into these games.

If I can trace back to the starting point that has brought us here then it is a NWO game maybe a couple years ago. I'll avoid too much detail but it ended with Randy launching a vitriolic assault on me that I have never come close to experiencing in either diplomacy or my real life.

I've been playing diplomacy online regularly for 17 years. I've played with it must be hundreds of players at redscape. I have a thick skin. I've never really fallen out with any of them until this episode began with Randy.

I've met several players in real life who I've stabbed and been stabbed by. I recall meeting Freelance for the first time less than a week after he'd just stabbed me. We laughed and joked about it over a beer. I've spent time with Rewind and Reuben both of whom I've stabbed and been stabbed by. Point is that I know this is just a game and shouldn't be taken too seriously. At no point during any of my dozens of games at redscape has anything ever felt personal.

Randy made it personal. Im pretty sure hes held a grudge on me and almost every game im in with him he's made decisions that are difficult to explain. Each one on a standalone basis maybe you can let slide but when it keeps happening it gets frustrating, coupled with the abuse he sends I'd grown tired of it. This is not paranoia and I'm not misinterpreting anything. He has a problem.

To go back to that original NWO game I forwarded on a small snippet of the torrent of abuse to a select few other players and the GM. I have to say I was pretty disappointed in the responses. General consensus seemed to be Randy was just being Randy and I had broken the sacred unwritten rule about forwarding messages. IMHO we should be able to play diplomacy without having to put up with that type of abuse from anyone no matter who they are. The GM at the time essentially said suck it up and he could do nothing. Had I known about the redscape rule that has been quoted against me in this game then I would certainly have cited that. The irony of Randy using that rule against me is not lost on me. I can't imagine how many times he's been in breach of "cruel or insensitive emails to a player". FWIW I don't believe I was in breach this game. I am certainly guilty of playing 2 accounts though.

Randy should have been kicked or at least his anger addressed that game but he and it wasn't. I admit I have become disillusioned with redscape and the NWO community since then. I should have just stopped playing at redscape then and there but I've been here 17 years and couldn't walk away.

There have been other games as well. Verdux recently had some strange moments and I wasn't the only player to notice them.

Bare in mind randy was banned (still is?) from redscape and so IMHO shouldn't even be playing in these games. The fact his behaviour is tolerated is beyond me. Seems like one rule for one and one for everyone else.

Anyway. I don't want to go into too much detail on past games.

After Verdux where I was frustrated at him again I made a brutal error and signed up to this game. I wanted to figure out what was driving him and whether it was just me or he had other issues going on. I couldn't play as my normal account so I created a new one. I should have left it at that but I signed up with two.

So this game started and suddenly this became about cross gaming. I don't know what happened with Brazil or where that brothers stuff came from but when it kicked off I couldn't resist chipping in and made an ill advised public comment as Dana.

I certainly thought Randy and Corncob had some odd moments this game and I probed them directly mainly as Dana. I still find their responses unsatisfactory but how do you self police the self appointed self police? It did feel somewhat validating to know others in the game were at least suspicious of the behaviour or maybe someone just wanted to kick up trouble. I still don't know who told Brazil that or if he just made it up himself.

Anyway. This email needs to stop now. I can only apologise from the bottom of my heart for letting you all down. I @#$! up badly and do not expect anything other than deserved disdain from you all. My most sincere apologies to the GM for wasting your time.

I'll be happy to pick up any of these points with any of you in more detail of you so wish. My main email is

lindav123 N O - S P A M @ N O S P A M hotmail.com

Please feel free to contact me there if you want.

I am sorry.


I appreciate the apology, but I wasn't in the game. Thoughts and reactions?
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Post 16 Mar 2017, 10:37 am

geojanes wrote:The player sent me a copy of the email he sent to all other players:

I appreciate the apology, but I wasn't in the game. Thoughts and reactions?


What are you looking for here? Most of us are just trying to push through and finish the game. Any punishment would come from the admins. Beyond that, players are free to choose whether or not they play future games with him. Some will, some won't.
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Post 16 Mar 2017, 10:40 am

Sendric wrote:
geojanes wrote:The player sent me a copy of the email he sent to all other players:

I appreciate the apology, but I wasn't in the game. Thoughts and reactions?


What are you looking for here? Most of us are just trying to push through and finish the game. Any punishment would come from the admins.


Punishment doesn't happen in a vacuum. Knowing the impact on the players and their opinions are fundamental to consequences.
Last edited by geojanes on 16 Mar 2017, 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post 16 Mar 2017, 12:34 pm

I personally would be willing to play with Dave again. You'll remember the major row I had with Randy a few years back. It would have been easy to say "I'm never playing with that guy again" but I didn't do that, we ended up neighbours in the next game and he was fine. I actually enjoyed working with him and haven't had any issues with Randy since. That was obviously a different situation because there wasn't any issue with Randy cheating, but I see this situation with Dave as more of an emotional spasm that went too far and I'm sure he regrets it.

At the end of the day, while it is only a game and we really shouldn't get too emotionally involved, we also sink a lot of time and effort into it over a prolonged period and occasionally people freak out. I try not to hold it against people and I'd like to think they'd do the same with me.
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Post 17 Mar 2017, 7:59 am

I am playing Egypt, and had been allies with Israel for the entire duration of the game. Ling was alot of fun to play with and is a very good player. I would definitely play with him again. He made a huge blunder and he regrets it to a very large extent. I don't know that he needs to be "punished", he has punished himself enough with guilt and regret, but I do think he could use a break from diplomacy, for his own sake.

In terms of the outcome of this game and the impact it had, I don't think it is calculable. Playing two nations doesn't just give you more units, the main benefit is from probing for information from 2 "independent" sources. Knowing who is lying, how stories match up or don't, and coordinating units in a timely fashion across the globe (fall of USA as a key example, but also Russia). He seemed to have alot of accurate "hunches" as to what was going on around the globe, and I think a large reason was that he had information from 2 nations. I don't think it is an understatement that the outcome of this game has been dramatically altered for many major nations in the game because of this, it is hard to predict what the map would look like under different circumstances, but I imagine it would be a MUCH different map than it is now if only because of domino effects.

I think he wanted to get out of it sooner, or come clean, but he was in too deep and there was no good "out" solution for him until he was directly confronted. He isn't a bad guy, I think the frustration of this type of game really got to him and he made some terrible choices.
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Post 17 Mar 2017, 2:47 pm

I have to say it was a helluva job that Dave put into maintaining the deceit. When it was first mooted to me that Canada and Israel were the same player I didn't really buy it, but I went back and checked the messages that I'd received from the two of them. What I found was that (barring a couple of outliers) all of the Canada emails I got had been received in the evening or late night whereas all the Israel emails were in the morning or early afternoon. I'm not sure whether this was just a coincidence, but if not then he must have been consistently logging into the two different accounts at different times of day in order to give the impression of differing timezones. That's a lot of work.
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Post 19 Mar 2017, 10:11 pm

Sassenach wrote:I have to say it was a helluva job that Dave put into maintaining the deceit. When it was first mooted to me that Canada and Israel were the same player I didn't really buy it, but I went back and checked the messages that I'd received from the two of them. What I found was that (barring a couple of outliers) all of the Canada emails I got had been received in the evening or late night whereas all the Israel emails were in the morning or early afternoon. I'm not sure whether this was just a coincidence, but if not then he must have been consistently logging into the two different accounts at different times of day in order to give the impression of differing timezones. That's a lot of work.


I agree, I dismissed the possibility partly because of the time of day emails were sent. It was definitely a calculated deception.
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Post 29 Mar 2017, 3:11 pm

If you're still curious, here's my admittedly delayed input as the GM.
geojanes wrote:For the record--and the larger Redscape community to witness--can someone post for all to see and comment what happened with Canada and Israel?

Is it true that the same real life player signed up and played both of them, using two different email addresses? How was it discovered? How did the other players and GM react, and how did it affect gameplay? What should the consequences be to the player?

Morocco/Randy accused Canada/"Dana" of being a pseudonym that was hunting him with an unsportsmanlike grudge. Randy narrowed it down very specifically to David Ling. In a vacuum, I don't really care either way about the use of a pseudonym. In this particular case, it is evidence someone is trying to hide something. After an abundance of observations and evidence was presented to me, I felt it necessary to confront "Dana". One of the simplest but most effective problems was just how talented Dana was as a first time player. By simply asking how she heard about Redscape, how many games she's played, and such basics, she would either say she was a beginner with inexplicable talent, or admit she was a pseudonym.

Dana admitted to being a pseudonym, but she would not reveal her true identity yet offered she'd bow out of the game if it saved everyone the trouble. I asked her to reveal her true identity and appeal the accusation against her. She instead quit the game. I did not kick her out for this pseudonym. I never said this to anyone, but If Ling had actually admitted he was Ling, yet provide contextual in-game reasons for what he did that didn't point towards blindly hunting a player courtesy of a grudge, there's a solid chance I would've let him stay. But he instead chose to back out.

During the investigation and chatter of Canada's true identity, suspicious elements were noticed by myself and other players that suggested that Canada and Israel was played by the same person. However, in the end I felt that there was a sufficient amount of evidence to suggest it was only a coincidence, and I publicly cleared Israel of being played by the same person. Russia/Zac however, remained suspicious and kept the investigation going on his own.

After Zac stepped up one last time with a public prodding of Israel asking the entire player pool who knew him and where did he come from... Israel admitted that he was David Ling and also played Canada.

For that, I had no choice but to kick out Israel. I had an extra player in my search for Canada's replacement to immediately fill the role.

geojanes wrote:I'm glad the game survived.

What about the player? Would any of you play with him again? Should he be banned?

Thank you. If you observe the vote spread, you'll notice that many nations were selective with their votes. They didn't just vote yes to all blindly hoping the game would end. In the end, despite the controversy, people had fun. They cared. Several players were hoping the game would go on for another year, because that would be another year of fun, as well as a better opportunity for victory.

As for banning, I don't necessarily think so. Citing back to that italicized remark I made, I publicly cleared Israel of being the second nation. I announced it to the player pool. At that point he could've easily blown smoke, said he discovered the game visiting his cousin's house but he lives out in the middle of nowhere and has to play online if he wants to play Diplomacy and he found Redscape googling. There's a thousand reasonable lies he could've come up with, I would've told Zac to back off (or come back with better evidence) and Ling would've been GM protected in his cheat for the rest of the game. But his conscience got the better of him and he decided to come clean. And to this extent, I recommend the consideration of mercy when it comes to his ban.

geojanes wrote:I appreciate the apology, but I wasn't in the game. Thoughts and reactions?

If he were to make use of PRECISELY ONE pseudonym and sneak into one of my games, and not carry out the grudges which got this whole thing rolling, I wouldn't be too mad. However, things aren't really that simple.