Note: this article is a reply to a guestbook post on 20/04/08 by Christoph Nikolaus, in which he accused Damien Moore of damaging the minesweeper community, etc…
You deserve a clear explanation of the situation. I hope that Ronny is correct that this is not a case of us trying to hurt each other, and I have spent hours trying to make this as neutral as possible (I do make one or two jokes).
The most important thing to know is that I want to work with the IMC. Whether the IMC wants to use my ranking as the basis for an official ranking, or create a new one with special rules, or make a tournament only ranking, or make a ranking from AR scores (like in tennis), I’m available. The community is the most important thing.
As a background to reading my reply, you should know that the IMC has never asked Christoph to talk to me, so our recent conversations have no authority behind them except the weight of our own opinions.
Joni has said it best:
"Taking all that and saying he has consciously sabotated IMC's work is going way too far... I think the problem here is you both have your vision on how you want the things to be... and you don't like the vision you THINK the other one has. That means you have difficulties in both making clear your view of things to the other in the first place, and in putting yourselves in the other's point-of-view."
If there are mistakes in this, I apologise: I'm definitely not perfect (you should know this by now!) But I have re-read all the imc posts and meetings and gone through my emails to limit my bias.
A Response to the Guestbook Post:
“I will retire from the IMC today. The reason for that is Damien Moores behavior in the last 18 months. It is entirely impossible to work together with him as he demands as a minimum that one has to do absolutely everything he wants.
This is really mean and it hurts. Has anyone else had problems with me?
He is working only for his personal fame forgetting completely about the community.”
The community is the most important thing in my life besides my girlfriend.
“(Perhaps you remember his question about the purpose of the IMC lately on the GB? Pretty much all the answers went exactly the opposite as he would have liked. In all our discussions afterwards he either ignored that or made me understand that it would be good for the community if it changed its opinion.)”
I disagree with Christoph and believe the IMC should be public. I wanted input from the community, so I asked. The results are great! I did not discuss these results with Christoph in our letters. If I wanted to destroy the IMC, asking for advice is the worst way to do it.
”How did all that happen? Long ago the IMC decided to provide an official world ranking on minesweeper.cc.”
When exactly? There were no votes and no IMC discussion. Christoph decided this, I assume from talking to people privately? I know Andrew agreed with him, but this was not discussed officially with the IMC.
“Back then the planet minesweeper ranking was not updated anymore and the ranking on metanoodle was completly outdated. Now more then a year ago the ranking tools on minesweeper.cc were ready for use.”
Andrew was still updating Bestever on Planet in March 2007. I believe it was a month or two later Andrew said he could no longer do this (I think he wrote in the Guestbook?), but this was not discussed in the IMC. Christoph tells me now that he had a ranking tool ready in April 2007, but this was also not discussed in the IMC. The IMC never talked about my rankings, and I continued to work hard to make them better.
Can anyone find examples of this?
“Instead helping building up a really good ranking system he put in a big effort to delay the IMC work and to get his own ranking up to date.”
The IMC never asked anyone to help Christoph -- because we did not meet or vote on anything from late May until September. (A poll on tournament results started in August but did not get the final vote until October from inactivity). During this period Christoph did not ask me to help. Except for a break in 2003-2004, I have always worked hard on my ranking. I would love the IMC to be involved, but I have never been asked by them.
“(avoiding to forward any scores to the IMC”
The IMC has never asked me to forward scores.
“and - as he told me yesterday - not applying IMC decisions).”
Yesterday? 19 days earlier I said “At the moment I do not have to follow IMC rules” and added that if my ranking was accepted by the IMC I would have to obey all the rules. This is a pretty obvious idea.
“He even told me he'd like to revote some 'important' decisions (the list of those he gave me contained the decisions which didn't go as he desired it).”
On 14 April I suggested “I think maybe the IMC should look again at some old decisions, vote on them, and post them on the cc website”. Christoph then accused me of wanting to change any vote I disagreed with. I explained that this was the wrong idea: “I think all the important votes should be re-affirmed. For example, the IMC vote was limits of 2-30-99, but we do 2-30-100. I am sure if we re-voted then 2-30-100 would be 7-0 instead of 2-30-99 being 4-3. We are smarter now and have more experience. There were only 5 or 6 big votes in total that are not on cc and maybe need clear.”
I tried and tried to co-operate with Christoph too, btw (even though he is not the IMC, I thought we could have a useful discussion). I told him many times I want to help, but he has rejected the idea of negotiating how my ranking can be used. Instead, he took it without permission. I still would like to negotiate.
“He wants to have total control over the unique ranking and wants the IMC to just say 'yes' to every of his ideas so he can use it to make his desired dictatorship look like a democracy - at least that's the summary of what he told me lately.”
Yes, he accused me of this before …but where is the evidence I am playing games? The only game I have played is some minesweeper last week. ‘Games’ are when people talk only in private emails, and then claim the result is from the IMC.
To that he reacted by finally confessing that he doesn't want to cooperate with me (unless I delete the work I did for the community and help him make everyone worship him without having any say myself).”
Christoph seems to suggest that I tried to hide something. Why would I want Christoph to ‘delete all the work’ he has done? That is a ridiculous claim. The only thing I asked Christoph was to not display the scores he stole from me until we had an agreement. This would have been an act of good faith on his part, and convinced me he was willing to talk with me (instead of at me). Oh – and I don’t want to be worshipped – I am just some random molecules. If I am what I eat, I am mostly bread.
”If you're interested in the damage he caused: [……] Thanks to Damien Moore these and many more features (I tired to work on) never came together –“
These are great features! Maybe this will happen if the IMC talks about it. I have even thought about paying some people to help, but I am not very rich.
“and as it now got more difficult to cooperate with the clone designers some of them will probably never come true.”
Remember the Clone wars? On a more serious note, we desperately need Rod back to fix the Chinese video problem, but he has not answered any of my emails.
This makes Christoph sound like a saint, hehe! My punishment for not ‘cooperating’ with him was that he was going to leave “and with me the world championships, the tournament client, the chance for online tournaments, the active ranking, the last active clone developer and probably the imc”. Someone thinks very highly of themselves, rotfl.
If there should come along a sensible and anyhow acceptable solution til the end of the year and if minesweeper.cc will find a little support, I might think about staying and helping the community whereever I can.”
This gives me hope that we can still be friends and that there will no damage to the community. I think a lot of good can come from this. Christoph has done a lot for our community, and it would be sad to see him go. I really hope we can find a solution.
A History of IMC Website and Rankings
Authoritative Minesweeper started a world ranking in 2000 but stopped updating in 2003. Georgi Kermekchiev used these scores to start the Bestever list, and he maintained the ranking until June 2004. At this time he asked for volunteers to continue the ranking. Christoph volunteered, but Georgi gave it to Planet Minesweeper because Gregoire was already hosting a French ranking. In October, Damien started updating the original ranking again. The two rankings were different because several hundred players emailed Damien but did not post publicly, Gregoire had combined the Bestever with the French players on his site, and both sites decided it was wrong to steal scores from each other. Damien and Gregoire were both elected to the first IMC, which started in September 2005. At this time the ranking at Planet Minesweeper was smaller but more accurate. No one voted or announced it, but the Bestever list was considered official. All ranking decisions in 2005 and 2006 were made without an IMC website.
In February 2007, Gergely wrote that one of the problems of the IMC was "The IMC homepage is almost empty" and he suggested we could "a) fill up the minesweeper.cc with info, links, rules, rankings, etc. or b) use the popularity of minesweeper.info" to promote the IMC. No one replied to this (they did answer his other complaints). It appears that Christoph started making a ranking tool at minesweeper.cc in April, but there is no record of this being announced or discussed with the IMC. In March, Andrew had started a poll about where the IMC should meet: Christoph suggested meeting at his site, but the vote was 3-0 to continue meeting in the Forum. The last update to the Bestever occured a few days later. There was a small discussion in April between Andrew and Christoph in the Forum about starting a newsletter, where they planned to announce an official ranking made from scores taken from other rankings. This discussion was completely ignored by the other members of the IMC. Also in April, there was a vote to remove Beginner from the rankings, but this was not applied or announced. Except for a few posts, the IMC was effectively dead from May until September. On 30 September 2007, the IMC had its first official meeting at a designated time, using IRC. During this meeting both Elmar and Daniel asked whether the IMC had done anything useful. Rankings were not mentioned until 21 October, when Damien wrote an example description of the IMC: "The IMC is a non-profit organisation established by the minesweeper community to verify scores submitted for world rankings [...]".
At the beginning of 2008, the ranking Christoph was running had tournament scores (no limit on sum), scores for about the top dozen players, and a few new players. The ranking at Planet Minesweeper was dead. The ranking at Authoritative Minesweeper had grown to over 700 players and collected nearly all the Bestever scores (not by copying), but the IMC had not yet talked with Damien about his ranking. The IMC had never voted about making a particular ranking official, and there were no votes or official discussions about what types of rankings should be on the IMC website. Everything was assumed. The only votes taken after the last update of Bestever were to ban Winmine (never announced), ban Beginner (never announced or done) and to accept tournament results (never announced).
13 January 2008 was the first time Damien's ranking was mentioned in the IMC. During a discussion of tournament formats, Christoph announced that he and Damien would get together and discuss the ranking "so that's a task for damien and me the next two weeks"…Gergely and Roman pointed out that Damien (and Andrew) were not at the meeting! Damien and Christoph had a productive private talk about this on 17 January in IRC. However, some time in February before their next talk, Christoph copied the scores from Damien's site without mentioning this to Damien or the IMC. Damien was unaware of this during the IMC meeting on 24 February, when Christoph, Damien and Thomas discussed what should be in an IMC ranking. Damien said that any IMC should not include old scores; Thomas claimed it was a "lose-lose situation"; Christoph claimed old scores could be accepted without evidence if he put a markl by the score. Thomas agreed that could solve the problem, so two days later Christoph announced he had made a star tool for the ranking. (This was only discussed with two IMC members, one of whom did not agree). In the first week of March, Damien discovered that Christoph had copied his ranking: he asked him in the IRC where he had taken the scores from. While Damien went on a two week holiday, Christoph wrote him on 20 March to say "As the rankings on minesweeper.info and minesweeper.cc are pretty paralell [sic] at the moment it would be a really big deal if we managed to keep it like that. I know that you neither like this idea nor what happend [sic] with the .cc ranking [...]". When Damien returned from holiday, talks began between him and Christoph on April Fools Day.
Emails between Christoph and Damien
As offered, I have deleted this section, as it breaks Christoph’s legal privacy.
Did you read this far?!?!
The IMC should be open and regularly consult the community so it can not be run by one member. We need to agree to focus on what the IMC is responsible for, so there are no misunderstandings. Oh, and I still want to discuss rankings (preferably with the IMC) – my last post only said that it would be a foolish decision in the current circumstance. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to prevent this public brawl, but it should make the community more accountable and will be good in the long run. Love you guys.