Letter of the law or spirit of it?

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Great White Shark
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So I inherited commish duties for my dyno money league because I won it last year, and one of the new rules which got voted in by a 9-1 margin was that teams had to field a 'complete' roster each week. The reason for this rule being necessary was because there were a couple of owners who would refuse to replace defenses/kickers/TEs when their guys had byes or injuries or for whatever reason were not active that week. Their reasons for not doing this revolved around the fact that it's dyno and they didn't want to drop a 'valuable' player for a one week rental, and/or they didn't want to spend the $3 transaction fee for a pick up.

So, a rule (passed 9-1) which states that a $10 fee will be assessed to an owner per lineup spot which does not have an 'active' (don't worry about that word, just assume it means no byes and no IR) player in it.

Cut to week 2. An owner who had learned Fournette was out, took him out of his lineup but didn't replace him immediately with a backup (he had no good options, but that may be beside the point, he had options). By Sunday, he still hadn't put a bench player into that spot. By Monday it was too late anyway. After speaking to him he claimed that he did place a player in that spot, but the site (CBSSports) must not have worked when he hit the 'Accept Lineup' button.

So, I've now got a couple of guys talking about assessing the fine to him, and I would like to not bother because he clearly wasn't throwing the game with this action, and he wasn't intentionally violating the rule for his gain (losing for better draft position, it's week 2 damn it, he won his week 1 game) or for his opponents gain (no one has accused them of collusion, and looking at his roster and available WW RBs there simply wasn't a replacement with a likelihood of scoring anything more than 5 points less a random TD).

So, we made a rule which reads pretty clearly that this is a finable offense, however, the spirit of the rule was not violated in my estimation from talking to both coaches involved in the game.

I look at this as an honest mistake, and fining people for honest mistakes sucks the fun out of FF. On the other hand, the hard core guys have a point about the letter of the law.

Thoughts?
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Great White Shark
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Unfortunately, it's. It about what he tried to do. It's about what he did.

It's highly unlikely that he never once looked at his lineup after the "site failure". And there will always be an excuse when this happens.

Sucks to be the first guy to do it, but it's highly unlikely that it'll happen again if you follow through.

Out of morbid curiosity...was this the one nay vote?
Great White Shark
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NautArch wrote:Unfortunately, it's. It about what he tried to do. It's about what he did.

It's highly unlikely that he never once looked at his lineup after the "site failure". And there will always be an excuse when this happens.

Sucks to be the first guy to do it, but it's highly unlikely that it'll happen again if you follow through.

Out of morbid curiosity...was this the one nay vote?


Nope this guy was 100% on board with the rule. Just that the discussion of the rule was about preventing people from camping their lineups during bye weeks, not about punishing people (can you tell I have a bias here :) ) for accidental oversights or inability to confirm their lineups after a site glitch, or user glitch as I think is more likely.

To me there is a difference between not replacing a bye player and taking a zero and 'forgetting' to put in a replacement who is on your roster. Unfortunately, that's not how the rule is written.
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Great White Shark
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The problem is you have no way to tell when it was an oversight vs on purpose. If you give this guy a pass, then everyone else can say the same thing. You have no way of knowing.

And I still think it's shady that they never once looked at their lineup and said "gee, he shouldn't be there."

Fine him, apologize for it, and move on. He'll get over it and understand to be more careful next time.
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Great White Shark
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As a side note, we have a 15 point penalty per empty slot. Fines are hard to force payment on. Point penalties(or DQ) are more meaningful.
Great White Shark
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Well it worked itself out, the two guys involved had their own tete a tete and decided to go with a 'warning', whatever that actually is.

For what it's worth, there is no way anyone was trying to game the system. At worst it was an owner who wasn't paying enough attention to his lineup, and so a fine would likely have pushed him further away from the league, the 'warning' seems to have the desired effect of pulling him in.

As to enforcing payment... we all know each other, we all see each other, we all like each other (most of the time anyway), dues are collected at the draft and so everyones money, including what has been called 'seasonal transaction funds' are in. What would happen if someone got fined enough to where that fund ran out would be that they could no longer make trades or WW claims until/unless they re-up their fund. I won't say it's the best system, but since this league is around a $250 buy in it cuts down on the nonsense we used to have with people trying to make moves on a light account and then saying they should have until the end of the week to get their account squared.

Anyway, lest you think I defaulted my responsibilities as comish on this one, I probably did, but having been in this league for 15 years now, and having been comish earlier on, I learned that for my sanity it was far better to try and get the people involved in a dispute to settle it themselves, and then step in when/if they couldn't. At least for things which are not clear cut.

I'm going to reword this rule anyway, or add an addendum to it so that there's a bit more 'commissioners discretion' involved, it sort of needs it I think because I know people will start complaining about people at the end of the season starting 'scrubs' in an attempt to tank a better draft spot.

But that's another topic of discussion for another time.

Thanks for your input NautArch.
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Mako Shark
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It's good it all turned out OK.

That said, I do agree with NautArch - the onus is on the owner to make sure the website reflected the change he intended. What about the next time, when someone says they "meant to" start a player in a flex spot who put up 25 points, but the site glitched? In principle, this is the same type of situation.

I also think this rule is pretty strict and not a good rule, especially combined with the $3 transaction fee. The $3 fee is in place to make sure owners are sure they want to make a transaction; forcing them to make a transaction and pay when they've decided it's in the best interest of their team not to do so is not something I'm a fan of. Perhaps you could suggest a modification, that the $3 fee is waived if the dropped player is on bye or IR (or whatever the criteria for an "inactive" player are)?
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Great White Shark
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I generally agree with the thoughts above. My league has a similar provision, but the rules state that the commissioner will correct an illegal lineup (based on a predetermined ranking site), which takes "throwing the game" out of the equation in most cases, and it is a warning for the first offense, then an escalating fine, none of which approach $10. That seems to work out well, and most of the honest mistakes are covered by the warning.
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Great White Shark
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^ To clarify this, if the player's lineup doesn't have a legal substitute, they incur the fine anyway. While I don't disagree with Eddo's take, we have a "fair competition" clause requiring owners to compete each week, which means they pay the $1 transaction fee for a new player, or they take the fine for as long as they don't.
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Great White Shark
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As with many rules, mine came from owners who abused the system to the point where it made it less fun for everyone....
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Great White Shark
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Eddo wrote:It's good it all turned out OK.

That said, I do agree with NautArch - the onus is on the owner to make sure the website reflected the change he intended. What about the next time, when someone says they "meant to" start a player in a flex spot who put up 25 points, but the site glitched? In principle, this is the same type of situation.


No one gets to get a player into their roster after the game has started, all that happens is if you don't fill every spot with an 'active' player you get a fine.

Eddo wrote:I also think this rule is pretty strict and not a good rule, especially combined with the $3 transaction fee. The $3 fee is in place to make sure owners are sure they want to make a transaction; forcing them to make a transaction and pay when they've decided it's in the best interest of their team not to do so is not something I'm a fan of. Perhaps you could suggest a modification, that the $3 fee is waived if the dropped player is on bye or IR (or whatever the criteria for an "inactive" player are)?


I agree with this stance generally, however, I think it's incumbent upon the owners to roster a team that can fill every position each week. We have a 19 player roster, while you may indeed not want to roster 2 kickers, having 2 defenses with different byes is not unreasonable if you are unwilling to make the pick up for the one week your preferred defense is on their bye.

In any case, the league decided by a vote of 9-1 that they wanted this, I voted for it in spite of my belief that you should be able to run your team however you want, because there was too much tanking going on, and this rule was a far nicer way to deal with it than some of the other proposals. I also think it helps people stay connected during the season because they actually need to manage their team every week, you'd think a $250 buy in would be enough, but even so there are always a few guys every year who get frustrated and just leave the team on autopilot. I know, find better owners... if only it were that easy :)
Great White Shark
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Warhaft wrote:I generally agree with the thoughts above. My league has a similar provision, but the rules state that the commissioner will correct an illegal lineup (based on a predetermined ranking site), which takes "throwing the game" out of the equation in most cases, and it is a warning for the first offense, then an escalating fine, none of which approach $10. That seems to work out well, and most of the honest mistakes are covered by the warning.


I proposed something similar but a couple of guys got upset about it claiming it would led to comish abuse of power and changing rosters before games started, even though I proposed it as being retroactive after the games had been played.

Some times, in some leagues, you have to cave to a little bit of crazy to keep things otherwise humming along.
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Mako Shark
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ubertaco wrote:No one gets to get a player into their roster after the game has started, all that happens is if you don't fill every spot with an 'active' player you get a fine.


No, I just meant that telling the commissioner, "I tried to do action X, but the website glitched" is the root issue (whether it's swapping out an inactive player or swapping out a player who scored fewer points). And as commissioner, your response should be, "That's on you, you need to confirm your action worked."

EDIT to clarify: My point is, if you were to retroactively make changes for the guy who says, "I tried to submit a legal lineup, but the website glitched", you will then have to field all sorts of (dubious) requests from other people who say "I tried to swap out [RB who scored 6 points] with [RB who scored 18], but the website glitched". You have to take a firm stance that people have to be 100% responsible for making sure the website reflects their intended changes.

ubertaco wrote:I agree with this stance generally, however, I think it's incumbent upon the owners to roster a team that can fill every position each week. We have a 19 player roster, while you may indeed not want to roster 2 kickers, having 2 defenses with different byes is not unreasonable if you are unwilling to make the pick up for the one week your preferred defense is on their bye.


Ah, with 19 roster spots, I dislike this much less.