Presumed guilty


The Contesting Reflector has had some long threads based on a decision by a potential top ten team to not send in their logs to the CQ WW CW Contest Committee. Their reason for doing so was that the Committee, without their permission, would publish their entire log (and that of all competitors) on the Internet. The Contest Committee reasoning is that this would provide “sunshine” on the logs and help eliminate cheating (as if their log checking programs for the contest were not enough…).

The team’s arguments for not submitting the logs were that it was their log, the Committee did not have their permission to release them and it was therefore a privacy issue. In addition, there was the fear that other hams will nefariously accuse contest operators of the public logs as having cheated without any recourse from the Contest Committee, potentially ruining reputations. Or at least having to defend reputations.

After publicly stating their disagreement with the Committee decisions on the rules, but wanting to participate in the contest, the “presumed guilty of something” started in full force.

Some examples:

If there is nothing to hide and you stand behind your score then what do you have to worry about?

I guess if you are not intending to follow the rules then don’t operate or don’t submit your logs for consideration of winning an award.

I suspect there are other reasons why you don’t wish to play along with the CQ contest committee and this is just a ‘smoke screen’.

I won’t bother with the rest; you get the idea.

I’ve been concerned for a while that our hobby has become far more rules-based and exclusionary than is good for our health.

Now picture a new contester on the Contest Reflector seeing a valid reason for not turning in the logs and being attacked as if this were an offense the same level as a crime.

Or picture multiple casual contesters seeing this sort of faux outrage who have been interested in contesting, want to get more serious about it, and then have this stuff thrown in their face.

Based on the reaction of the reactionaries, I’d not submit my log either. I’d go on my nice little contest DXpedition, operate the contest and submit my log to LoTW so people can get their confirmations — without seeing my log — and call it a day.

I could care less now in my ham career about winning, but I always wanted to submit my log to help the log checkers. But, based on the reaction of the “presumed guilty” crowd and not even thinking of the merits of the reasons given for the action, I’ll pass on that. I don’t need the grief.

We used to be a “presumed innocent” hobby. What a long way we have come.

  • Scot,
    I have been loosely following this “open log” debate. I tend to participate in the major VHF contests and the occasional HF contest, mostly for the fun of operating and not with the expectation of winning.

    Interesting debate as I think opening up logs would be a good thing. Most processes are improved by making information available…unless there is a compelling reason to not share it. I have not heard a compelling reason yet.

    It terms of the accusations flying around (which I think is your real point of discussion), I invoke the Freedom of Choice principle. The contest committee made a decision to open up the logs….that is their choice. Some people will choose to not participate in the contest based on that decision….that is their choice. Apparently some people chose to participate but not submit a log…that is their choice. (Seems silly to me but that’s their choice.) The rest is just unproductive bovine scatology. Let’s move on.

    73, Bob K0NR

  • I’ve never understood the whole “hide your logs” idea. It isn’t as if other people can’t HEAR you make your contacts if they are so worried about it. I have no problem with posting my logs (and do) so others can see that I’ve been active and who I’ve been chatting with. This shouldn’t be a secret. I don’t think everyone should have to publicly post their logs but it shouldn’t be a secret one way or the other.

    Eric W4OTN

  • Bob, I agree with your analysis on freedom of choice. My point is that too many in the hobby see someone doing something they don’t agree with (like make the logs public) and the accusations for cheating come flowing out of the e-mail electrons. The person is attacked, not the merit of the idea. That drives people away from the hobby. That’s the part that needs to stop.

  • Eric, thanks for the comment. I wasn’t hoping to carry over the open log discussion here. Rather, when there are disagreements about something in the hobby — like open logs or now moving up the log submission dates — too many of us attack the person for taking a position rather than the ideas. Someone says they don’t want to turn in logs for privacy or other reasons and the first comments out accuse the person of cheating. Or hiding something that must be bad. Questioning their character. Wow.

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