Toxic Behavior Continues in 2019

If you want competitive pinball to grow you’re going to have no choice but to codify this or all hell will break loose. Actions have consequences, its like getting a speeding ticket when everyone around you was speeding, life isn’t fair but we need rules and people to follow and enforce them.

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And if you want to codify it and call on that code, you need referees or it’s going nowhere. You need an impartial third-party watching every single game calling rules infractions. Without witnessing a code infraction, you only have people’s word and that doesn’t work.

When i have to define “excessive and loud” its almost more work than its worth for me to reply. Some people just dont or wont get it, oh, they will if they get interrupted or distracted by this behavior.

What do you think the IFPA/PAPA rules are? Most of what im saying is outlined there. I made this post to bring attention to it and some other conduct that may not be there. (Im on my cell phone so its hard for me to reference it)

Maybe I mistook codifying to mean automatic sanctions. As long as there is still someone reviewing a given situation and making a reasoned decision, I’m fine with it. I’m not fine with automatic things, because it’s trivially easy to come up with abuse cases. I’m also not fine with sanctions unless an infraction is clear. But sure, we can come up with a list of “bad things bad players do” and tell people not to do that, then just deal with situations as they arise.


Thinking about this more, you could go stronger with things that are virtually certain to always be fouls. For example, let’s take the somewhat nebulous “hitting a machine.” I’ve seen people give vigorous cabinet whacks to move a ball off a rail, or palms-down with force to the lockdown bar to jab forward or the questionably effective deaden the ball thing, etc. I wouldn’t call those “hitting” because they are pinball moves. If it’s too much, the tilt bob is the arbiter. But anything with a fist, anything to the glass, anything with the feet - there are no versions of any legal pinball move involving that, so those are always fouls.

For rage-tilting, it’s perfectly fine to shake the machine to try and save an outlane drain. I’m guessing we’ve all managed to walk a ball back up and into play at some point. But if that results in a tilt, I’m not calling that a rage-tilt no matter how hard the move was, because you never know. It’s only 100% a foul if you keep moving the machine after the tilt is registered.

I’d be ok with trying to expound on the 100% always a foul cases and just saying “don’t do these things ever, keep it under that and you’re probably ok.”


The good news in all of this is: it’s completely up to you as TD. The rules provide you the ability to be the arbiter of bad behavior, and also pass out consequences. You make the call. And you don’t have to administer and officiate your events the same as anyone else.

If you’re too lax on player conduct, and see a drop-off in attendance due to being lax, and want to reverse the trend, then consider tightening up your standards and enforcement. If you’re too strict, and see a drop-off, then do the opposite.


Quoting a 45 year old book to try to prove “timelessness” is obviously meaningless. Regardless, if that emotion is internal and doesn’t affect other players then i don’t think it’s the purpose of this discussion.

Similarly, chalking bad behavior up as “that’s just how some people are” when their behavior affects others is short sighted. Any league or tournament should have a code of conduct so players have guidance and something to look to. It does not need to be all encompassing. It should have a process for anonymous comments (about it) and complaints (about members). Allow players to understand the community they are supporting or endorsing. Perhaps one league is perfectly okay with five minute long outbursts of swearing and stomping and another, family friendly, league is not tolerant of even a single swear word. At least players will have the opportunity to evaluate which they want to be a part of.


I feel like the rules for behavior should be up to the TD. If they want to invoke a no swearing automatic red card that’s up to them. People may not show up again if half the field gets ejected. And if the TD says anything goes and let people scream and curse and abuse machines and berate other players. That’s fine too, but once again some people might not come back. Remember… it’s only pinball. We don’t have to play. But I think most TDs know their audience. In some situations you need more conservative rules, in others you don’t.

As for the TD being biased, that’s just part of life. This isn’t life or death. If a TD is being consistently unfair they will get called on it.


I 100% disagree with this, because I know more than a few a-holes in our scene that who have not been ostracized, and also have plenty of supporters. There are plenty that seem to think that some bad behavior isn’t that bad or is just so-and-so being so-and-so. That makes it tricky for sure but this ties into what other folks are saying about it being up to the TD.

I think the TD has the right to attempt to form the culture they prefer during their events. Everyone has the right to go to and not go to the events of their choosing. There are events and locations I will not go to for these reasons. There are certain folks that when I know they are going to be at a tournament, I have to think about if I want to go to that tournament. Some TDs will want to be more hands off, and some want to be more hands on with policing behavior.

At my tournaments, I make it known to all of the players that I have a certain expectation of good behavior. It basically is be kind to each other, but I will spell out the yellow card/red card system and that cards are given out at my discretion. I will outline a few examples, like don’t say racist and sexist things. Don’t touch anyone who doesn’t want to be touched. Don’t attempt to physically intimidate anyone. Don’t rage on the machines. These things won’t be tolerated. It takes two minutes, and some folks think I get a little carried away, but I want it clear that there are expectations and those who don’t live up to those expectations are gonna run into some issues. If my way of running things isn’t to anyone’s liking, they’re welcome to talk to me about it, or just not come to play. There’s plenty of events folks can play at these days.

As long as the IFPA is a decentralized entity that relies on volunteers to keep it running and growing, there’s never going to be one way of policing this stuff. This is a labor of love for all of those that giving up so much of their free time to plan and run events or create tools and software. Whether I agree with folks or not, I have massive amounts of respect for all the folks that give up their time for this hobby/sport/nerdom.


Ergo, my other response

"Yeah I agree with basic conduct talk as well to help mitigate issues, but it gets tough handing out punishment unless it can be easily an objective call, like certain words that are unacceptable.

One suggestion is do what I did at home. I created a Slap Happy Bucket of Shame and made people put a $1 into it every time that hit the glass after a drain. That actually helped because everyone in the room would start hooting and hollering and the offending player would sheepishly then add a $1 to the bucket. I eventually took it down because it had its effect."

Oh yeah @alwysmooth, you know I love you buddy. I wasn’t trying to call you out, I just disagree with you’re one point about jerks getting ostracized.

There are folks who make me super uncomfortable based on past interactions, and despite these incidents being known, these folks are still welcomed in the community.

It’s just the way it goes for now. Hopefully, it’ll change sooner than later.

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Yall, can we talk pinball? This thread pops up every month, with the same results. I’ll accept the reprimand of creating an off topic post because I am just so tired of these threads. They’re why I haven’t been to pinside in years, and they seem to be trending here too.

Look at every other thread on tilt. What do they have in common? The title makes it apparent the thread is about pinball. And when you get in, pinball is the topic. This is a pinball forum, not a behavioral therapy forum. Pinballers should be discussing formats, scores, wpprs, and tgp. Not arguing about how they plan to solve the world’s behavior problems.

The pattern is always the same. A very specific event happened between one player and another. The TD had inadequate cajones to address it right then and there, let the steam build, then the next day boils over with a rant on the Internet about how it ought to be all the time. The names are redacted, and the event fogged up by memory. Then comes the “be more stern” brigade. Followed by the “don’t be too stern” squad. Then the “people are always gonna be like this, relax” argument countered with “people always acting like this is no excuse for people to always act like this”. One week in, it’s just a jarbled mess of keyboard warriors talking about the subjective nature of yellowcards.

I hope you guys can solve this issue quickly, but if not, I’ll see yall next month when this topic comes up again.


Yeah I guess I was just thinking about the overall “punishment” that can be enforced or not enforced. Most of it is a judgement call, but as you saw this past Saturday, many times it takes talking to different parties separately and working things out. I think we’re mostly fortunate to not have too many a-holes in our region.

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gorgarsupperlip hits the nail on the head IMHO.

If we are going to hash this out again can we maybe try all agreeing on what is obvious at least. The last time this came up the conversation was mainly about vocal outburst scaring away people but nearly all the rebuttals were things people mutually agreed on (physical harm to games).

I’m not going to get political but we should all very clearly see in our current environment that people naturally disagree with what they feel is right and wrong. Most, if not all, of the confrontation comes from one side of an argument trying to FORCE their beliefs on another person. I’m of the opinion that people of all sides and stances have the right to their beliefs and don’t need to have strangers try and mold their moral compass for them. It’s not their job either.

Let’s just put it to bed already. If you are the TD make up the rules and make them known and enforce them fairly and evenly. Shoot in this thread we are already trying to hold people in the top 100 to a different standard of which that is where the problem starts. It doesn’t matter if you are 1 or 100000 in the world. Rules are the rules that you set forth and they should be treated equally. It’s also not up to you or me to decide what is offensive or not to someone else. Shoot, for example, I was just made aware that I offended the District manager of my home builder by asking him “how in the hell I would know the building plans changed if you didn’t tell me.” He tried to kick me out of the meeting as I cussed him and he was offended. To me Hell is not offensive but apparently to him it is. Another example: I think most people are offended by the word F&CK but most people aren’t offended by SH^T. Is it my place to judge if you should be offended? Nope… But it’s also not your place to tell me I can’t use the word either. At the end of the day, as a TD, it’s your job to make it clear what YOU find to be offensive and not tolerable. If someone comes to your event then they are making the choice to abide by YOUR rules so now it’s on them. I have zero issues with that.

Over this past year I’ve come to my own personal realization. At league events things should be tighter. It’s a better atmosphere and its their for the fun of the sport. At tournaments, things need to be more lax (obviously not physical abuse to a machine) but we should allow people emotion. Their is a lot more on the line and as such tensions are higher and they should be expected to be.


Always have, always will.
Being tolerant of others doing things we don’t like is part of living in a free society. Communicating acceptable standards and dealing fairly with situations that don’t meet those standards goes a long way towards making fun events.


How to manage the behavior and expectations of players in my scene has as much to do with pinball and my enjoyment of it as WPPRs or rulesets or maintenance or format. More, in fact, and given the frequency with which this topic comes up, I am apparently far from alone. Just because this is a people problem, doesn’t make it any more or less a pinball problem. At heart we manage communities, and communities are full of people, and peopling is tough all over. Any help or support we can supply to that I am fully in favor of


Yeah but the obsession with this issue is the reason the “community” is afflicted with confusion, shenanigans, and drama all the time.

Stick to pinball.

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You really think there was no confusion or drama around this issue before we started talking about it? As someone who has been involved in pinball event management for multiple decades, I can pretty clearly state that this is not true.

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No I’m saying I know it was there because pinball types have always been the same. They will be in the future as well. Like I said, hope you can tackle the issue in this thread once and for all.

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