Enforcement of Personal Conduct?

The thread on Sexism reminded my I wanted to ask about personal conduct. The rule is clearly stated.

All players are expected to conduct themselves in a polite and sensitive manner. Outbursts, especially those including indecent language, are unacceptable.

I was surprised when watching Wizard Mode to actually see REG officially given a warning about outbursts. I see lots of top players yelling at machines, kicking chairs, rage tilting, shaking other machines after their ball because they couldn’t afford to tilt their game. I am not here to call anyone out by name, or even pass judgement. I have developed bad habits in basements and have my own share of outbursts.

What I don’t see is consistent enforcement of this rule. If it was enforced, it would introduce a new skill not many are practicing right now. Having rules that are not enforced, or worse are explicitly ignored seems wrong. This also does build an environment that could be uncomfortable for some attendees and may not be welcoming to children.

Should TD make an effort to consistently enforce the rule through the entire tournament (in which case I expect a sea of yellow), or should the rule be dropped?


There were multiple conduct warnings given at Pinburgh. I’ve received a conduct warning before for swearing, and it was well justified.

Most of the time, conduct warnings are issued privately, which may be why you’re not seeing the enforcement.


In the SFPD league (70-some people in the same room every two weeks) we issue 1-3 warnings of this type every season. Loud screaming or rage tilting scares new players and we’re all adults who should know better.

Last week was an outlier were we had to physically eject a guest player from the venue for personal conduct reasons.

I firmly believe TDs should make every effort to enforce this rule. :slight_smile:


I think I was the one who handed that out.

In my time as a TD, I’ve given out 100 or more warnings for personal conduct. It has never gone past that point for me, since pinball folks are generally cool and once warned they tend to behave.

I think it is important to enforce these rules because a new player, or someone who might be interested in the scene could easily be turned off of the hobby or scene by poor behavior.


Great topic. I do come across a player here and there that freaks out and cusses. I have just pulled them aside in the past, after they cool off and tell them to chill out. It worked for one guy, as he is totally respectful now. Not so much on the other guy. He seems to have gotten worse.

My question is how to handle it. First offense during play is a warning, then next offense is disqualification from the tournament?

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In local tournaments or leagues where you’ll often be reprimanding your friends or acquaintances it can be tricky. What we do in our league is a verbal warning immediately followed up by a conversation with one of the officials a couple of days later. That way you’re not trying to have a rational conversation with someone who’s very emotional in the moment.

We’ve never had to give out a second warning during a tournament, but the second warning would either be a DQ from that game or a DQ from the tournament depending on severity.


Depending on the specific incident:

  1. Warning

  2. DQ from game or match

  3. DQ and removal from event.


This is actually good to hear. What are my responsibilies as a player in pinburgh if I see behaviour that is inappropriate. If I see cheating, I will call a TD, if I see someone dropping an “F this game”, I generally just laugh. I can think of at least 2 instances in my group or an adjacent group that probably deserved a conversation, but I look the other way. It is easy for you as TD in the finals where you are present, but harder during rounds.

Similarly, if am in line at a pump and dump, or score keeping and see someone slapsaving a ball, then standing on one foot yelling F-bombs at the machine as loud as they can until they get the ball under control again, what should I do? Totally hypothetical BTW.

I think private conversations are good for people involved, but may not serve the sport. Publicly holding up a yellow card and having the penalty appear on the player record will communicate to new players that the behaviour is not acceptable. Also helps define the standard for the line.

I don’t know if regional tournaments hold to the same standard.

I really like this strategy. Delivering critical feedback well is a real skill, and I think making the right space to listen and respond with empathy is an ideal first step. Removing peer groups and competitive factors from the environment is really smart.

Also a rule that can be neatly codified. I dig it! Gonna steal this for future use :smiley:

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I can’t claim credit for it. @JimiWolf is extremely good in these situations. I can say that it works for us!

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There was a player at Pinburgh who was playing either in my bank or the one next to me 4 or 5 rounds out of 10. We were on the Cetus bank on round 2 and he had a bad drain on CV while my group was playing Rollergames, and he gave a hard kick to Safari right in between both of our games. I straight up called him out though and said, “Hey man, what are you doing? If you wanna kick something then kick yourself for sucking. Not the game.”

Day two we shared the Godzilla bank too. He drains on that and screams, “You’ve got to be fcking kidding me." I just looked at him and said, "I don’t think it’s fcking kidding you.” Just looked the guy up and he’s a top 100 player. You’d think he could learn some etiquette and acceptance for when the game doesn’t go exactly the way you want it to. I mean, this isn’t your first rodeo. Quit acting like a jerk to the machines and everyone around you. In hindsight, maybe I should have said something to a TD?

That’s gold right there! Next year’s PAPA staff shirts maybe :wink:


Go for it! I won’t even ask for a share of the profits. Encouraging people not to kick games is reward enough. :smile_cat:

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We need @kayluh to write a new pinball article for GQ.

The game kick is a conduct violation, and so is the hand-glass-slammo. If I see either of those in walkaround, it’s an instant conduct warning.

Definitely this is something we should bring up in next year’s Pinburgh intro.


Have their people call my people. Text is ok, too.

Next time I see game abuse I’ll let one of you guys know. Though I do kinda enjoy responding directly to the offender.


Until someone complains they lost their ball due to yellow cards flying in their periphery.


6:5 odds in Vegas that Cayle is the first one to complain . . . easy money if anyone is interested! :slight_smile:

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Do both!


So I was told of this in Round 6, I was not in the group nor did I witness it. First thing in the morning in Group 6 two of the players were already drunk, and cursing like sailors, with eight yr old Gavin MacAlpine in their group. Pretty lame and I wish my buddy who was also in that group would have reported it to a TD.:-1:


Actually, I am personally opposed to the rule against swearing. A well-placed f-bomb is not out of place in pinball, in my opinion. Not every environment needs to be family friendly.

That being said, I totally respect the TDs’ rights to set the rules for their tournaments, and I will do my best to comply even with rules I personally don’t like. But maybe I’ll be more explicit about the rules at the next tournament I run.

Things that are not okay:

  • machine abuse (in my personal opinion - in other words, I do it at home - a lockdown bar smack does not constitute machine abuse, but I can see how that would be a slippery slope)
  • cussing that is homophobic, racist, or misogynistic

One thing to remember, if you do it in practice you will do it in the tournament. So if you have a problem with kicking things or inappropriate outbursts, you might want to train yourself to not do that. You can’t just turn it off because it’s a tournament. If a big event is coming up and I hear something un-tournament-worthy from the pinball room in my house I have been known to yell “Jake! Potty mouth!”