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Question: Is pool hopping ethical?
Yes, I do it - 54 (23.1%)
Yes, but I don't do it - 56 (23.9%)
Yes, no comment if I do it - 12 (5.1%)
No, but I do it - 11 (4.7%)
No, and I don't do it - 96 (41%)
No, no comment if I do it - 5 (2.1%)
Total Voters: 233

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Author Topic: Pool hopping... ethical or not?  (Read 22990 times)
JoelKatz
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July 25, 2011, 09:41:50 PM
 #81

I fail to see how pool hopping has anything to do with ethics...
See the various places where that has been explained. Pool hopping breaches the implied agreement of cooperation that the pool is based on.

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if it does, then you can extend the same argument to mining in general.
Sure, under similar circumstances, yes.

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if you wanted a more "appropriate" analogy, you'd have to consider a miner (for whatever resource: oil, gold, iron, salt etc...) going from one mine to another and working for some amount of time (doesn't even have to be equal).  mine hopping essentially.  is this ethical?  Well, it has nothing to do with ethics.
That would be ethical under some circumstances and unethical under others, depending on the circumstances. For example, if he had an arrangement where he each miner got a share of the profits and he had joined a particular mine just as they had finished all the hard work to uncover a vein and left as soon as they had mined out that vein to join another mine that had also just found a vein, I would say that would be an ethical issue. Under those circumstances, there would likely be an implied agreement among the miners to share the good times and the bad, and it would be unethical to take a share of the profits of the hard work of others only to desert them as soon as more hard work was needed.

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July 25, 2011, 09:52:24 PM
 #82

I fail to see how pool hopping has anything to do with ethics...
See the various places where that has been explained. Pool hopping breaches the implied agreement of cooperation that the pool is based on.

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if it does, then you can extend the same argument to mining in general.
Sure, under similar circumstances, yes.

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if you wanted a more "appropriate" analogy, you'd have to consider a miner (for whatever resource: oil, gold, iron, salt etc...) going from one mine to another and working for some amount of time (doesn't even have to be equal).  mine hopping essentially.  is this ethical?  Well, it has nothing to do with ethics.
That would be ethical under some circumstances and unethical under others, depending on the circumstances. For example, if he had an arrangement where he got a share of the profits and joined a particular mine just as they had finished all the hard work uncover a vein and left as soon as they had mined out that vein to join another mine that had also just found a vein, I would say that would be an ethical issue. Under those circumstances, there would likely be an implied agreement among the miners to share the good times and the bad and it would be unethical to take a share of the profits of the hard work of others only to leave as soon as more hard work was needed.

Well... now we're getting into agreements and contracts.  If we had them, i agree with you 100%, however, miners are under no obligations, implied or explicit.  If people swallow this hard fact, this conversation wouldn't come up I think...  Somehow there's this myth of an implied contract, most likely created by these discussions and eloquent arguments, but this is all personal feelings and thoughts, not real facts.  If this discussion is about feeling, then I suppose everyone could be right.  However, I have yet to see a single agreement when joining any pool out there.  No agreement/contract = total freedom to choose whatever you want with no consideration towards ethics.

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July 25, 2011, 10:04:10 PM
 #83

miners are under no obligations, implied or explicit.

Then why do pool operators put up anti-pool hopping provisions? for shits and giggles?

I think the moderators on bit-pool basically flat out said, "The only reason we dont just take all the shares when someone hops is because there are honest people who may have been accidently disconnected".

That sounds pretty implied to me.

I disagree.  This has nothing to do with an idea that there's an implied agreement.  What you are talking about is pool operators taking action against hopping.  It's the same as turning away a miner from some mine for whatever the reason.  but it has nothing to do with the idea of an implied agreement.  this is all semantics of course.  I clearly see your point, I simply differ on the logic.

To put it another way:  if a pool states:  "I agree not to use this pool for hopping" and a user agrees to this, then you have yourself an ethics problem if you use this pool for hoping.  As long as a pool has no such agreement, all these conversations are a bunch of "hot air".  Maybe pools should consider agreements and flat out ban hoppers.  It's their choice.

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July 25, 2011, 10:05:31 PM
 #84

Well... now we're getting into agreements and contracts.  If we had them, i agree with you 100%, however, miners are under no obligations, implied or explicit.  If people swallow this hard fact, this conversation wouldn't come up I think...  Somehow there's this myth of an implied contract, most likely created by these discussions and eloquent arguments, but this is all personal feelings and thoughts, not real facts.  If this discussion is about feeling, then I suppose everyone could be right.  However, I have yet to see a single agreement when joining any pool out there.  No agreement/contract = total freedom to choose whatever you want with no consideration towards ethics.

A person who is only interested in his own benefits, with disregard for established implied social obligations is also commonly known as a unethical scumbag Wink

If every single obligations or expectations in a community/group must be explicitly laid down before people should follow them, then we're all in for a very unpleasant life.

Remind me to shoot you first if we're ever on the same side in a war, it's bad enough to have other people shooting at me, worse when the guy next to me will start shooting me because the probability of the other side winning is higher. Wink


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July 25, 2011, 10:10:14 PM
 #85

Whoever said the pools aren't against pool hopping is full of it.

Like someone said -- they only tolerate it because it's hard to know the difference between Mr. Honest Miner losing his net connection, and Mr. Scumbag pool hopping to chase a fresher block.

I'd also like to know -- all you pool hoppers -- what are your favorite pools? Which pools are the most amenable to pool-hopping?
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July 25, 2011, 10:11:25 PM
 #86

Well... now we're getting into agreements and contracts.  If we had them, i agree with you 100%, however, miners are under no obligations, implied or explicit.  If people swallow this hard fact, this conversation wouldn't come up I think...  Somehow there's this myth of an implied contract, most likely created by these discussions and eloquent arguments, but this is all personal feelings and thoughts, not real facts.  If this discussion is about feeling, then I suppose everyone could be right.  However, I have yet to see a single agreement when joining any pool out there.  No agreement/contract = total freedom to choose whatever you want with no consideration towards ethics.

A person who is only interested in his own benefits, with disregard for established implied social obligations is also commonly known as a unethical scumbag Wink

If every single obligations or expectations in a community/group must be explicitly laid down before people should follow them, then we're all in for a very unpleasant life.

Remind me to shoot you first if we're ever on the same side in a war, it's bad enough to have other people shooting at me, worse when the guy next to me will start shooting me because the probability of the other side winning is higher. Wink



You have got to be kidding me with your stupid shooting/war crap... idiot

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July 25, 2011, 10:19:06 PM
 #87

You have got to be kidding me with your stupid shooting/war crap... idiot

Name calling is usually a sign that the argument struck home Smiley



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July 25, 2011, 10:25:43 PM
 #88

You have got to be kidding me with your stupid shooting/war crap... idiot

Name calling is usually a sign that the argument struck home Smiley




You are correct if you actually stayed on the arguments and were sensible.  You must live under a rock (not a mining joke).  Why would you go into twilight zone with your nonsense when the news outta Oslo is disturbing enough?  Are you trying to get this forum or yourself on some gov agency to monitor or to dig into your life?  Common now... Totally inappropriate and irrelevant.  BTW, I do apologize for calling you an idiot.  I just couldn't think of anything else appropriate at that moment.

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July 25, 2011, 10:47:50 PM
 #89

I disagree.  This has nothing to do with an idea that there's an implied agreement.  What you are talking about is pool operators taking action against hopping.  It's the same as turning away a miner from some mine for whatever the reason.  but it has nothing to do with the idea of an implied agreement.  this is all semantics of course.  I clearly see your point, I simply differ on the logic.
If it is well-known that pools take action against hopping, then there's an implied agreement not to hop. I don't see how you can have one without the other.

The elements on an implied agreement are that both sides know that the behavior is considered unacceptable when they enter into the agreement. For example, you know that Burger King doesn't want people to knock over their garbage cans, doesn't tolerate that behavior, and would kick you out if you did it. Therefore, when you enter Burger King knowing that, you have made an implied agreement not to knock over their garbage cans. You know they consider it a breach, and you still choose to enter.

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July 25, 2011, 10:49:00 PM
 #90

You are correct if you actually stayed on the arguments and were sensible.  You must live under a rock (not a mining joke).  Why would you go into twilight zone with your nonsense when the news outta Oslo is disturbing enough?  Are you trying to get this forum or yourself on some gov agency to monitor or to dig into your life?  Common now... Totally inappropriate and irrelevant.  BTW, I do apologize for calling you an idiot.  I just couldn't think of anything else appropriate at that moment.

Apology accepted and I believe I was and still am on topic man.

Whatever happened in Oslo has nothing to do with the topic here. I think you're letting your feelings over that affect your perception of this discussion. I live neither in Norway or the US, never been to either country so I doubt any of your government agencies would even remotely link whatever I say in a debate to any possible war event anywhere.

So shall we go back to your statement which I was pointing at as being fallacious?

Quote
No agreement/contract = total freedom to choose whatever you want with no consideration towards ethics.

This was the point I was using my example to address. Sorry if it touched a raw nerve due to whatever else might be affecting you but extreme examples usually show up the flaws in an argument better.

Your argument is that there is no agreement and implied obligations due to personal feelings/thoughts are mythical and should/can be disregarded. So only explicit contracts are acceptable, in the absence of which, miners/whoever/ is free to choose whatever with no consideration towards ethics.

My argument is that implied contracts exists and are accepted as a matter of daily life. We all make various decisions, some more than others, with other people's feelings and thoughts in mind. When we don't, usually people consider us at the lightest inconsiderate, selfish and at the other extreme end, possibly evil.

Hostage situation: bunch of strangers thrown together because they just happen to be in the wrong place at the same time. The implied social contract is for everybody to cooperate and do whatever they can to survive together. If somebody switches sides and tell the criminals "I'll work with you since I get more benefits that way", how would people view him? How many of us would do something like that? Why not, since there is no explicit contract.

Two brothers, again no explicit contract whatsoever, but how would people view a person who, for the sake of material benefits, repeatedly cheats on his brother or giving him the short end of the deals, only to come back smiling and cooperating whenever there's greater benefit to be gained?

Whenever two or more persons come together for a purpose, there is an implied contract. After all, would you partner me if I tell you that I'm going to fix it so that you do 70% of the work while I get 60% of the profits? The right and ethical thing is to be equally fair to everybody involved. Messy disagreements, fights, lawsuits and even wars come about because somebody decided he wants to be more fair to himself.

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July 25, 2011, 11:03:08 PM
 #91

I disagree.  This has nothing to do with an idea that there's an implied agreement.  What you are talking about is pool operators taking action against hopping.  It's the same as turning away a miner from some mine for whatever the reason.  but it has nothing to do with the idea of an implied agreement.  this is all semantics of course.  I clearly see your point, I simply differ on the logic.
If it is well-known that pools take action against hopping, then there's an implied agreement not to hop. I don't see how you can have one without the other.

The elements on an implied agreement are that both sides know that the behavior is considered unacceptable when they enter into the agreement. For example, you know that Burger King doesn't want people to knock over their garbage cans, doesn't tolerate that behavior, and would kick you out if you did it. Therefore, when you enter Burger King knowing that, you have made an implied agreement not to knock over their garbage cans. You know they consider it a breach, and you still choose to enter.


I think you are describing a law that deals with disturbing peace and possibly criminal damage to property...  it's beyond an implied agreement.

I like the BK analogy though, and here's a modification you might enjoy:
A person buys a hamburger in McDonalds, strolls in to BK with that McDonalds bag in hand, and asks for fries.  then goes across the street to Starbucks to eat both and maybe orders a cup of coffee there...  BK, McD and Sturbuks HATE to see this and some manager of Starbucks might actually ask you to leave... Is this ethical on either part?  You spent money at all places!

There are establishments that clearly state: no outside food or drink permitted.  Is it ethical to bring your own pop corn or say a bottle of water?

Pool operators should clearly state if they don't want pool hoppers and then discourage them (payout methods, banning etc...) if they want.

I don't think people who hop see it the way you present (BTW, personally, I don't disagree with you).  Hoppers do not believe they are entering an agreement.

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July 25, 2011, 11:42:02 PM
 #92

I like the BK analogy though, and here's a modification you might enjoy:
A person buys a hamburger in McDonalds, strolls in to BK with that McDonalds bag in hand, and asks for fries.  then goes across the street to Starbucks to eat both and maybe orders a cup of coffee there...  BK, McD and Sturbuks HATE to see this and some manager of Starbucks might actually ask you to leave... Is this ethical on either part?  You spent money at all places!

There are establishments that clearly state: no outside food or drink permitted.  Is it ethical to bring your own pop corn or say a bottle of water?
Maybe yes, maybe no. But the big difference between these examples and pool hopping is that in these examples, you aren't harming other people. Pool hopping decreases other miner's average return per block.

Some stores have particular items at a deep discount. They hope that people will buy the more expensive items as well. In this case, there's no implied agreement not to buy only the discounted items -- the store takes the risk that smart shoppers will get a very good deal. But the smart shoppers don't hurt the other people shopping in the store, and the stores don't try to find and kick out the smart shoppers. A store is not a cooperative.

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Pool operators should clearly state if they don't want pool hoppers and then discourage them (payout methods, banning etc...) if they want.
Sure they should. But that has nothing to do with the ethics of pool hopping. Primarily, pool hopping is unethical because it abuses the other miners.

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I don't think people who hop see it the way you present (BTW, personally, I don't disagree with you).  Hoppers do not believe they are entering an agreement.
I don't believe that. I think you are giving them an undeserved benefit of the doubt. I strongly suspect that they know perfectly well that they are entering into an implied agreement with the other miners. In any event, if they don't know that, it's likely due to their willful blindness, not the fact that no such agreement exists.

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July 25, 2011, 11:55:09 PM
 #93

Long story short:
As long as there is no "(Please) don't pool hop this pool" sentence stated somewhere on the pool's webpage I don't care about delayed stats, faked round shares and whatnot and hop the pool.

I consider choosing which pool to mine at any point of time my personal right and I don't see any reason not to choose this on my own (especially as there are easy and simple countermeasures like PPLNS against pool hopping).

If anyone thinks him-/herself to be morally/ethically superior to me just because he/she mines at a loss in a pool with a payout system that is known to be broken for half a year already, well that's not my problem then. Haters gonna hate.

Comparing pool hopping with shooting comrades in a war, stealing or other things that are explicitly forbidden (or illegal) is highly inappropriate imho.

Pools offer a service to miners, not the other way round. Miners are free to choose their pool at any time. If some pools think they need to use a broken algorithm and enforce it with bans (meaning they steal from miners who subit 100% the same shares as anyone else, just not all the time!) that at least for me is reason enough to raise some red flags and I'm sure as hell gonna make my way out of there.
It's stupid enough that on most pools you have to open accounts with mail adresses and whatnot if all they really need is a payout address.

Pool hopping does NOT steal anything from/abuse other miners, 24/7 miners in proportional pools should know since february that pool hopping is possible, and some pools (like triplemining for example - they recently changed their payout model to a fair one btw!) even stated "no pool hopping protection" on their main page.

Sorry, but if you mine (which already is getting quite expensive/near unprofitable) and don't keep up with recent developments or read anything about mining (the forum here is full of pool hopping questions, countermeasures, complaints, hopping software...) that's your own personal problem then. If you decide to always mine somewhere because of some fancy stats that in the end cost you 20% of your income then that's YOUR choice.


All in all:
24/7 prop miner's stupidity is not my problem and I did already a lot (from advising pool owners on payout schemes to requesting more secure payout models at nearly every major pool and contributing code to an open source pool hopper to not let only a small elite hop - everyone here in this thread can start pool hopping in less than 5 minutes!) to make sure proportional payouts die out. Self proclaimed do-gooders can feel great about themselves and push their pool owners to put in even weirder restrictions (the next generation of pool hoppers won't need any webpage anymore but get stats most likely on protocol level) and shady measures/intransparency. I really hope that in a few months pool hopping will be dead, not because it's unethical or whatever, but just because no pool operator is stupid enough to open a proportional pool and no miner is stupid enough to mine in a prop. pool.

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July 25, 2011, 11:55:31 PM
 #94

How about an argument of common sense.

If you explain pool-hopping to 90 non-pool-hopping miners, then point out 10 guys that are pool hopping, do you think there'd be hard feelings?

No, there'd be plenty of hard feelings, and for good reason.

Pools don't militate against "the 3% optimization", the "vectors" switch, overclocking, or any other legitimate way to increase hashrate.
But they certainly don't like pool hopping, because it goes against the idea of pools -- each man puts in X, and gets a proportionate amount of reward, based on how much he put in.

Pool hoppers want MORE than their fair share. Doesn't that pretty much define cheating?  I want to get an A+ without studying, so I write the multiplication table on my arm on the day of the test.

Everyone instinctively knows cheating when they see it.
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July 26, 2011, 12:02:44 AM
 #95

Some stores have particular items at a deep discount. They hope that people will buy the more expensive items as well. In this case, there's no implied agreement not to buy only the discounted items -- the store takes the risk that smart shoppers will get a very good deal. But the smart shoppers don't hurt the other people shopping in the store, and the stores don't try to find and kick out the smart shoppers.

If you think this method doesn't hurt the less-smart shoppers then you obviously haven't thought it through enough. For every PS3 that Best Buy sells at or near cost they're hoping to sell an extra controller, monster HDMI cable, etc. at steep markups. If they fail to make these kinds of sales then they make no profit and go out of business. In order to make up for the deal they offer me, they have to rape the next six customers in line - and that's not my choice or my fault, its the store's pricing policies to blame. You and I know not to buy the $80 HDMI cable, that's just silly, but the next guy behind us probably won't and you can't blame me for not hanging around Best Buy all day warning people off of them.

PPS is, depending on your goals, a broken payment scheme. Pools that use it have three options: 1. pick a different payment algorithm. 2. ban every pool hopper you see. 3. recognize that people will hop you and either embrace it or shrug it off. Anyone mining at such a pool without hopping is equivalent to the guy right behind me at Best Buy who's gonna buy that $80 cable and pay 600% markup on extra controllers. I'm not stealing their money by choosing to store-hop for different components, the store is stealing the money of those who don't know better.

If you (as a pool operator) make it known that you don't want to be hopped then I for one will not hop you. I know for a fact that it will not stop some of my colleagues and you should really choose one of the three options above (preferably #1 or #3 - #2 is unlikely to work well in the long run). If you choose to mine at a PPS pool, then either you know the risk and you're taking it anyway (I could get the controller cheaper, but I'm lazy and don't want to make another stop) or you don't know any better in which case I'm sorry to say you probably shouldn't be mining (I got this gold-plated plenum-sheathed nitrogen-injected HDMI cable for only $115 you guys!). Until someone builds an FPGA miner that you can plug in and press one button, mining is a game for the techies. If you don't know what you're doing your earnings will be sub-par, either from "stolen" mining dividends or from poor planning/configuration - just as they will in any industry.

Finally, hopping CAN actually do some good. If we wanted Best Buy to go out of business (or at least change their scammy business model) and we found out they were offering the PS3 at a loss, wouldn't it be in our best interest to collectively buy as many PS3s as possible? Sure they'll probably just rape their non-savvy customers that much harder but eventually they'll have to stop selling PS3s at a loss when normal customers won't pay the extra markup on other things. Can buying goods you know are sold at a loss be considered theft? If so, could the subsequent price-raise by the retailer you've "stolen" from be blamed on you or is it the retailer's fault?

These are muddy waters my friend, and anyone claiming a clear answer is either a liar or a fool.

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July 26, 2011, 12:07:33 AM
 #96

How about an argument of common sense.

If you explain pool-hopping to 90 non-pool-hopping miners, then point out 10 guys that are pool hopping, do you think there'd be hard feelings?

Considering the amount and nature of PMs I get about pool hopping, at least half of these 90 miners would want to start to pool hop themselves... not start a fight. Roll Eyes

Also looking at the reaction of a LOT of smaller pools recently, which (in very often less than a week's time) switched payout models to hopping proof ones shows to me that luckily not everyone is fixed on that model that just came up because it was (and still is) used in deepbit.

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July 26, 2011, 01:45:38 AM
 #97

I find that my bank's ATM is broken. When I press 4-7-2-1-0 it gives me 200$ in cash, no card needed. Now the error is in the ATM hardware, so to fix it my bank has to fix each and every ATM. It decides that letting me steal money off of the bank (and therefore the other customers) is cheaper than fixing all those ATMs.

Now these are my options:
  • I can ask the bank nicely to reconsider.
  • I can just use it for my own benefit.
  • I can stop withdrawing money using the ATM bug. Others will still do it, but I don't. I am just being robbed, while the bank doesn't care.
  • I can tell the media / as many people as I can to do it until the bank has to fix the bug or loose customers.
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July 26, 2011, 01:52:53 AM
 #98

I find that my bank's ATM is broken. When I press 4-7-2-1-0 it gives me 200$ in cash, no card needed. Now the error is in the ATM hardware, so to fix it my bank has to fix each and every ATM. It decides that letting me steal money off of the bank (and therefore the other customers) is cheaper than fixing all those ATMs.

Now these are my options:
  • I can ask the bank nicely to reconsider.
  • I can just use it for my own benefit.
  • I can stop withdrawing money using the ATM bug. Others will still do it, but I don't. I am just being robbed, while the bank doesn't care.
  • I can tell the media / as many people as I can to do it until the bank has to fix the bug or loose customers.


You are breaking a law by stealing money that you know is not yours.  Not a SINGLE pool has a posted rule against pool hopping, so not only isn't it illegal, but it doesn't violate a SINGLE pool's terms of service.

I drink it up!
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July 26, 2011, 01:56:25 AM
 #99

I find that my bank's ATM is broken. When I press 4-7-2-1-0 it gives me 200$ in cash, no card needed. Now the error is in the ATM hardware, so to fix it my bank has to fix each and every ATM. It decides that letting me steal money off of the bank (and therefore the other customers) is cheaper than fixing all those ATMs.

Now these are my options:
  • I can ask the bank nicely to reconsider.
  • I can just use it for my own benefit.
  • I can stop withdrawing money using the ATM bug. Others will still do it, but I don't. I am just being robbed, while the bank doesn't care.
  • I can tell the media / as many people as I can to do it until the bank has to fix the bug or loose customers.


This wwould make sense if hoppers got paid while not doing ANY work.  I don't agree with your analogy.  it's not relevant.

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between a rock and a block!


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July 26, 2011, 01:57:32 AM
 #100

Long story short:
As long as there is no "(Please) don't pool hop this pool" sentence stated somewhere on the pool's webpage I don't care about delayed stats, faked round shares and whatnot and hop the pool.

I consider choosing which pool to mine at any point of time my personal right and I don't see any reason not to choose this on my own (especially as there are easy and simple countermeasures like PPLNS against pool hopping).

If anyone thinks him-/herself to be morally/ethically superior to me just because he/she mines at a loss in a pool with a payout system that is known to be broken for half a year already, well that's not my problem then. Haters gonna hate.

Comparing pool hopping with shooting comrades in a war, stealing or other things that are explicitly forbidden (or illegal) is highly inappropriate imho.

Pools offer a service to miners, not the other way round. Miners are free to choose their pool at any time. If some pools think they need to use a broken algorithm and enforce it with bans (meaning they steal from miners who subit 100% the same shares as anyone else, just not all the time!) that at least for me is reason enough to raise some red flags and I'm sure as hell gonna make my way out of there.
It's stupid enough that on most pools you have to open accounts with mail adresses and whatnot if all they really need is a payout address.

Pool hopping does NOT steal anything from/abuse other miners, 24/7 miners in proportional pools should know since february that pool hopping is possible, and some pools (like triplemining for example - they recently changed their payout model to a fair one btw!) even stated "no pool hopping protection" on their main page.

Sorry, but if you mine (which already is getting quite expensive/near unprofitable) and don't keep up with recent developments or read anything about mining (the forum here is full of pool hopping questions, countermeasures, complaints, hopping software...) that's your own personal problem then. If you decide to always mine somewhere because of some fancy stats that in the end cost you 20% of your income then that's YOUR choice.


All in all:
24/7 prop miner's stupidity is not my problem and I did already a lot (from advising pool owners on payout schemes to requesting more secure payout models at nearly every major pool and contributing code to an open source pool hopper to not let only a small elite hop - everyone here in this thread can start pool hopping in less than 5 minutes!) to make sure proportional payouts die out. Self proclaimed do-gooders can feel great about themselves and push their pool owners to put in even weirder restrictions (the next generation of pool hoppers won't need any webpage anymore but get stats most likely on protocol level) and shady measures/intransparency. I really hope that in a few months pool hopping will be dead, not because it's unethical or whatever, but just because no pool operator is stupid enough to open a proportional pool and no miner is stupid enough to mine in a prop. pool.

exactly.

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