Follow Up #1 - About my ProposalI want to clarify that the suggestion I made on how to improve the rule is just that, a suggestion. Maybe I wasn't clear by putting it under the heading "My Suggestion", but the main point of the article was to illuminate the flaws with the current situation, not to delve deep into the many facets of possible solutions. I'll reiterate here that my issue is the current rule is extremely exploitable and serves to aid cheaters while doing little to protect the innocent players because innocent players rarely find themselves in Example D.
As for the critiques on different angles that could exist using my suggestion, I think if the alternative would be perfect they would have already implemented it. There is a tradeoff in how these penalties are written in all situations, and to accept the status quo as being perfect or good enough is a disservice to the community. We should always be striving to do better, and I believe those that write these penalties agree, otherwise we would not have reached this point.
A common critique of my suggestion goes like this: If player A draws an extra card and player B notices, player B will now have an incentive to wait until its too hard to determine the source of the extra card in order to get a game loss penalty for player A. I agree this incentive would exist, but I do not think it would be as common as those who mention it think, nor do I think it makes my proposal automatically invalid. To explain, I'll actually have to go to Uncle Ty's Old Timey Magic Stories.
Prior to the implementation of the "Thoughtseize Solution", game loss was the standard penalty for drawing extra cards. This often led to "feel bad" moments when a player would draw two cards with sleeves stuck together or similar dexterity error. In a somewhat notable event, Patrick Chapin activated Ajani, Mentor of Heroes on camera at a Pro Tour and put the card into his hand without revealing it. While it was caught immediately, there was no path available for the judges to downgrade the penalty from a game loss to a warning. These kinds of incidents will still be warnings under my system.
My experience through 15 years of play has been when the count is off someone was very likely cheating, and the "feel bad" game losses occurred when the player caught it but it was too late because the card had hit the hand already. That's why i think it's a big difference in situations and one size fits all isn't working. Maybe this isn't the common experience everyone has, but this is where my suggestion is coming from.
Follow Up #2 - About the judge callSome have suggested I'm only upset because I lost the match and that's why I have an issue with this rule. While I am upset that I lost the match, this is not the only reason, nor even the major reason. It was perhaps a catalyst to finally write the thoughts I've been developing over the last two and half years. I didn't just come up with all of the previous post overnight. I'm on record on Twitter (@ceciliajupe) criticizing the change when it happened in 2015.
I am aware that despite saying "they would be mostly powerless to do anything" they still had the power to disqualify the player if they thought he was cheating. Disqualification is always an option, I didn't think I needed to say that. I think that judges at the higher levels like GPs and PTs are more likely to do the things needed to make the current rules work. At lower levels like PPTQs, the weaker judges will struggle to make the best decisions. If you think a different judge (maybe you) would have made a different ruling in this situation, I'm glad to know that but I think most judges would not. We can write the rules to protect weak judges from hurting innocent people who make mistakes, or we can write them to protect them from being exploited by dishonest players. I am not a judge and I do not know which way should be preferred.
Since writing the article I learned that the player's previous disqualification was for a similar situation where he was found with extra cards. Perhaps the Head Judge of that tournament was more thorough than the judge at the Hunter Burton event. Perhaps the player had learned through experience what not to say when trying to explain away his cheating. Perhaps the system failed to have a proper penalty to lower the incentive to cheat. What's done is done, I can't change the past. I just want to ensure this doesn't happen in the future.
So yes, I was upset because I lost, but I lose all the time. I was more upset because I got cheated. I was more upset because a cheater was allowed to continue and do well in an event that so many people love. I was more upset because we had caught a known cheater red handed and couldn't bring him to justice.
The discussion doesn't end hereI want to thank everyone for reading the previous article, and especially thank those who engaged in discussion about it. I also want to thank the great people that put on the Hunter Burton Memorial Open. I hope none of my anger perceived as directed at them; it was a fantastic event overall. Unfortunately, I don't think as many people will read this post as the previous one.