IMC is an acronym for the International Minesweeper Committee. Members were elected each year and tried to establish rules and organise the minesweeper community. It operated from 2005 until 2008.
The Winmine Congress (2002-2004) was the first minesweeper committee, formed to discuss the Dreamboard and Board Cycles. The IMC resulted from an anonymous post Roman Gammel (Russia) made 4 Sep 2005 in the Guestbook. He suggested creating an International Minesweeper Committee:
From the point of view of last events [...] minesweeper community showed itself as an organization which is unable to make decisions what is considered as a cheat and what is legal. Existing methods of decision making (guestbook, yahoo group polls) are not enough effective. The suggestion is to create elective International Minesweeper Committee. This committee will make decisions in situations when public discussion is useless and inefficient, sometimes to prevent claims of unrealistic results.
IMC will be composed of seven players with sufficient experience. Elections will be annual, all sweepers of community can vote. Any of elected IMC members can refuse his membership at any time, community will choose another player to replace him. Discussions within IMC are nonpublic, but all decisions will be published."
Roman stated that voting results would be made public on 15 Sep 2005.
The announcement sparked intense discussion in the Guestbook.
Aryeh Draeger (USA) advised people to research the ideas of potential candidates before voting. Dennis Lütken (Denamrk) wanted deserving players to be elected regardless of opinion. Rodrigo Camargo (Brazil) refused to vote until the anonymous IMC revealed itself. Several players asked Damien Moore (Canada) to trace the IP from the post. Wee Pin Yeoh (Malaysia) noted that someone who did not want to participate could get elected. Dmitriy (Ukraine) did not like the secrecy involved and believed the community could discover cheaters more efficiently than a selected group. Gergely Nagy (Hungary) stated the community should decide what power the IMC should have before it was created. He also suggested the IMC should register as an organisation and become the official voice of the community. It should oversee the world records but consult the community on larger decisions. Dmitriy created an IMC discussion channel in the forum on his site. Christoph Nikolaus (Austria) wrote a letter supporting Gergely. Finally, Elmar Zimmermann (Germany) reminded people to vote before the poll closed.
On 16 Sep 2005 the anonymous IMC announced a tie for the final position and extended voting. Two days later Roman revealed himself and announced the seven members of the IMC:
- Christoph Nikolaus - Austria
- Damien Moore - Canada
- Dan Cerveny - USA
- Elmar Zimmermann - Germany
- Gregoire Duffez - France
- Rodrigo Camargo - Brazil
- Roman Gammel - Russia
The IMC began its first term without a mandate and limited support. Gergely summed up the opposition on 23 Sep 2005 in the Guestbook:
|"Hello and congrats to who have been elected into IMC [...] No-one will ever treat IMC as a serious board except from this community (if it will). First, there weren't any restrictions about voters. Who voted? How many times? Who checked the votes? Maybe a registration process should have been inserted first. Just think about it: the election was open through less than one month [...] the candidates could have registrated themselves, too, so all of us could have had a clear picture of them. And then, finally (and again), the committee should have some kind of "constitution", which determines its rights and duties. Until these things will be put to rights, the respect of the committee is not more than of a bunch of schoolboys" [...]|
Several people agreed. However, the community eventually took the view offered 26 Sep 2005 by Robert Benditz (Germany):
|"In many points I agree with you Gergely. The election of the committee did not happen in a very organized and democratic way. You are right, everybody was allowed to vote, even people who have never swept before and many people did not vote because they did not read about in time. But that does not make the IMC unnecessary. It's a first step into the right direction, a direction which leads to important decisions and which will hopefully keep the community from breaking apart and prevent cheaters from entering the world rankings. I am sure that the next election will be much better but for now I am pretty satisfied with the chosen members and I am convinced they will do a good job."|
First Term 2006
The IMC met in the Forum at Planete Démineur in a locked forum. Unfortunately, all posts were lost when the site went offline in May 2009, so much of its early discussions are missing. Members of the first term limited the IMC to verifying records and trying to establish rules for new clones.
The following decisions were made:
- Created IMC email (email@example.com).
- Set 3BV limits for Beginner, Intermediate and Expert records to 2-30-100 or 2-30-99 (7 Nov 2005).
- Accepted Arbiter for rankings.
- Accepted 11 by Manuel Heider on Intermediate (made before 3BV limits).
- Rejected 1 by Antonio Poppo on Beginner (fake).
- Accepted 72 by Jake Warner on Expert (provided more videos to prove skill).
- Agreed to ignore speed advantage of Clone 0.97 over Clone 0.96.
- Christoph and Rodrigo score new personal records of 51 and 62, but later realise a Clone error has put them in UPK mode with 86 mines on Expert. Both scores rejected. Agreed not to announced bug until fixed.
- Andrew McCauley scores Intermediate record on illegal 3BV 29. Proposes penalty system, IMC rejects it.
- Rodrigo puts 3BV limits into Clone2006.
- Rejected proposed Arbiter feature to have timer beep when on track to break a record.
- Agreed to keep old scores by Sriram Sridharan without video evidence as he was retired.
- Accepted 53 by Rasmus Jensen on Expert although Clone video is corrupted.
- Declared Arbiter click bug illegal (releasing left button last after chording still opens a square).
- Accepted 1 by James Custer on Beginner although video lost in computer crash.
- Rejection of all new sub15 Intermediate games completed on Winmine (22 Mar 2006)
- Rejected 14 by Jake Warner on Intermediate due to Arbiter chording bug (program fault, not cheating).
- Accepted 19 by Alex Poehner on Intermediate (he did not have knowledge of Arbiter chording bug).
- Rejected 35 by Rob Lovett on Expert (fake).
- Allowed records made on Viennasweeper to be accepted during the Vienna II tournament.
- Rejected 11 by Vazgen Geghamyan on Intermediate (Arbiter click bug).
- Temporarily banned new scores from Jake Warner pending more evidence after he makes 10 NF on Intermediate.
- Accepted 49 by Jonathan Conto on Expert after he submits a 53 Clone video to Damien.
- Rejected 12 by Loic Bouillon on Intermediate (fake).
The following ideas were suggested but were not carried:
- Christoph suggests universal video format.
- Attempts by several members to create a mandate.
- Attempts by several members to propose rules for records.
- Christoph makes temporary IMC website.
- Attempt to ban Arbiter after chording bug discovered.
- Attempts to make rules on what constitutes a clicking bug.
- Damien suggests registering the IMC and organising tournaments.
- Christoph proposes meeting on Skype instead of the forum.
Decisions were made by majority votes. This did not require all members to participate, and some polls closed with results such as 3-0. One important vote was 3BV limits. Members discussed the pros and cons and agreed limits of 2 and 30 for Beginner and Intermediate. The debate for Expert focused on a limit of 99 or 100. The vote finished 4-3 in favour of 99, but Dan then stated he would accept 100 if his record (44, 3BV=99) was not rejected. This tipped the vote 3-4 but the forum did not allow votes to be changed. This led to confusion as minesweeper.cc used 2-30-99 and minesweeper.info uses 2-30-100.
Second Term 2007
At the end of the first year both Dan and Gregoire announced they would retire. IMC announced the second election 26 Nov 2006 in the Guestbook:
Authorities of the first elected International Minesweeper Committee are coming to the end. Now we should elect another 7 sweepers who will take care of minesweeper community, fight against cheating and define the common rules. Members of new IMC will work from January 1, 2007 till December 31, 2007, after this period another elections will be organized.
From this moment till December 8, 2006 you can propose candidates, discuss them, protest against them. Each candidate should be in BestEver. Then full list of the candidates will be created and published on December 9, 2006. If there would be no protests the election will take place from December 11, 2006 till December 24, 2006 you can vote for 7 (or less) players from the list. In case of a tie sweepers who didn't submit their votes get two additional days to vote. Results of elections will be published on December 31, 2006.
Various candidates were suggested in the Guestbook. One problem was that the creators of Minesweeper X (Curtis Bright) and Arbiter (Dmitriy Sukhomlynov) were not on the world ranking so could not be elected despite being experts. Damien asked voters to give opinions on the role of the IMC. There were debates about whether the IMC should register as an organisation, have its own website, host tournaments or run official rankings. This was followed by a big discussion about whether rankings should use Real Time starting from 0.00 or RT+1 like Windows Minesweeper. On 10 Dec 2006 Damien created this IMC article and a page to register and vote. 30 players voted for 15 candidates and the poll closed 24 Dec 2006. Results were:
- Andrew McCauley - Australia (Term 1) - 29 votes
- Christoph Nikolaus - Austria (Term 2)- 22 votes
- Damien Moore - Canada (Term 2) - 26 votes
- Daniel Brim - USA (Term 1) - 17 votes
- Elmar Zimmermann - Germany (Term 2) - 24 votes
- Gergely Nagy - Hungary (Term 1) - 17 votes
- Roman Gammel - Russia (Term 2) - 18 votes
The IMC continued to meet in the Forum. Andrew was running Planet Minesweeper for Gregoire but did not have Admin control of the Forum. As a result, the newly elected members could not log in until 19 Feb 2007. As mentioned, all posts have been lost. By email that month Christoph suggested using Real Time for the rankings and removing Beginner scores, while Gergely suggested registering the IMC as a non-profit organisation. Some talk occured on IRC but none was logged. The IMC forum gradually died, as the slow rate of posts meant members visited less often. There were at least 2 completed votes in the Forum, one to allow skins and one to ban Vista minesweeper. No results were announced publicly. Other polls, such as banning Beginner, were not completed. From May to September only 2 or 3 posts were made.
An IRC channel #imc was then made at irc.initialized.org and the first logged meeting took place 30 Sep 2007. This meeting concerned a recent article where Joni noted bugs in Arbiter 0.43, the quick progress of Jake up the rankings, and the lack of any progress made by the IMC. Four meetings were held in October. These discussed MSX, upcoming elections, archiving or making chat logs public, and several other topics.
The following decisions were made:
- Allowed skins to be used.
- Banned Vista minesweeper from rankings (7 Apr) - Vote 6-1
- Set official clones as Clone 0.96+, Arbiter 0.45+ (30 Sep) - Vote 4-0
- Jake Warner to provide additional video evidence or be removed from ranking in two weeks time (30 Sep & 7 Oct) - Vote 5-2
- Agreed to hold elections on minesweeper.cc (7 Oct) - Vote 4-0
- Accepted MSX 1.13 as an official version (30 Sep & 14 Oct) - Vote 5-0
- Decided to publicly endorse MSX instead of Clone 0.96 (14 Oct) - Vote 4-0
- Agreed to archive chat logs of meetings but vote later about making public (21 Oct) - Vote 4-0
- Asked Maryna Reshetnyak to provide videos of her records (21 Oct) - Vote 3-0
- The 'About Us' on website to be created with certain details (21 Oct) - Vote 3-0
- Agreed on election process (28 Oct) - Vote 3-0
The following ideas were suggested but not carried
- Christoph suggested removing Beginner from rankings
- Daniel and Gergely wanted chat logs made public
- Damien and Gergely said the IMC needed a constitution
During this time the IMC website became minesweeper.cc which Christoph had purchased on 18 Sep 2006. The site added the Active Ranking in April, and in September/October added 'Rules', 'About Us', 'Decisions' and 'Archive' sections. This resulted in some decisions being published for the first time.
Third Term 2008
Players were allowed to nominate themselves from 15-30 November by registering at the IMC website. Voting took place 1-21 December with 25 players voting for 11 candidates. Results were as follows:
- Andrew McCauley - Australia (Term 2) - 15 votes
- Bertie Seyffert - South Africa (Term 1) - 14 votes
- Christoph Nikolaus - Austria (Term 3) - 21 votes
- Damien Moore - Canada (Term 3) - 22 votes
- Gergely Nagy - Hungary (Term 2) - 20 votes
- Roman Gammel - Russia (Term 3) - 16 votes
- Thomas Kolar - Austria (Term 1) - 12 votes
There were 6 meetings in 2008 from 13 January to 6 April. The 1st meeting created penalties for members who did not attend frequently, and replaced members when a limit was reached. It was decided Christoph and Tommy would investigate rules for Austrian non-profit organisations, that the Active Ranking would start new in 2008 and not be continuous, and there was debate about the role of IMC and tournaments. The 2nd meeting refined the penalty system, discussed possible online tournaments using a modified Viennasweeper, and studied the idea of an IMC newsletter. In the 3rd meeting registration of the IMC in Austria was rejected for legal reasons and members validated some new scores submitted to the website. The 4th meeting saw Damien and Tommy assigned to create a draft IMC constitution, and talked about the IMC ranking accepting only validated video scores or including unproven historical scores. The 5th meeting talked about changing the meeting time and validated some scores. The final meeting saw Jason and Wee Pin replace Andrew and Gergely, discussion about an official video format, and debate about Winmine. After a tied vote on accepting Viennasweeper, Damien cast the deciding vote 4-3 in favour on 5 April.
The lack of clear published results sometimes led to confusion. An important example was accepting Winmine for records. At the meeting on 10 February, Andrew did not know MSX had been made official, Christoph thought all Winmine scores were banned as of the 30 September meeting, and Bertie pointed out the IMC website said only Sub15/Sub60 Winmine scores were not accepted. At the 6 April meeting Damien still thought the rule was Sub15/Sub60, the official clone list was only about which clones were accepted, and that only Vista Winmine had been banned. This led to a debate where most players agreed the official list implied Winmine was banned.
Gergely and Andrew both resigned from the IMC due to lack of time and were replaced by Wee Pin Yeoh (Malysia) and Jason Kriegel (USA) on 6 Apr 2008. A big dispute then severely damaged the IMC.
Christoph and Damien started talking about rankings privately on 17 Jan 2008. These talks were personal and not endorsed by the IMC. Around this time Christoph copied the Authoritative Minesweeper ranking to the IMC site without asking or telling Damien. Rankings were next mentioned at the 24 February meeting. Of the 3 members attending, Damien thought an official IMC ranking should only accept video scores otherwise it was a duplicate of Authoritative Minesweeper, Christoph wanted all historical scores included, while Tommy disliked including old scores but agreed with Christoph they could be specially marked if included. About two weeks later Damien noticed his rankings had been copied and asked Christoph about it. This led to an exchange of emails for 3 weeks in April, culminating in Christoph resigning 20 Apr 2008 from the IMC and posting in the Guestbook that Damien was intentionally sabotaging the IMC. For more information, see Links.
The serious allegations in this post led to worried discussions in the Guestbook. Damien posted a reply on the 22nd which included emails and chat logs, but this prompted furore for breach of privacy. He posted a modified version the next day. Several players called for more transparency, while new members Wee Pin and Jason both questioned whether the IMC needed to restart after so many members had quit. When the situation calmed down, effectively 4 of 7 members had resigned leaving the IMC barely functioning.
Tommy posted 14 May 2008 in the Guestbook he had created a new forum at imc.martinpre.net for the IMC. The site was divided into a private forum for IMC members, a public forum for IMC members where all posts and polls could be seen, a public forum for drafting rules and a forum for general talk. The site was promoted by Tommy and Wee Pin over the summer but only 13 players registered. Bertie and Damien registered but contributed less than 3 posts between them. Of the two active members, Wee Pin found the process "disappointing and frustrating" and resigned 2 Dec 2008 while Tommy agreed and said there was no point unless others started getting involved. The site, and IMC, effectively ended 5 Dec 2008.
The IMC had good intentions but struggled with identity and transparency. Although many decisions such as 3BV limits were reached, these problems eventually led to the dispute between to Christoph and Damien and enabled it to cripple the organisation. Lessons suggested for future minesweeper organisations have been to disallow members with vested interests, operate with a defined mandate and role, and to allow public access to all proceedings.
DISCLAIMER - This article was written by Damien. Personal bias may exist despite attempts for neutrality.
The first mention of the IMC was a joke by Grégoire Duffez when it was proved Jason Tran used a progam to make his scores. He posted in the Guestbook on 10 Jan 2005:
|"The international Minesweeper committee carried out an anti-doping control, by examinating an urinal sample of Jason Tran. This test has been positive for a substance called "timerslowdownolone", which is strictly prohibited. Jason Tran has immediately been suspended from official lists, waiting for explanations.|
On 10 Feb 2005 a spammer posted twice as the IMC claiming that Elmar Zimmermann also had 'timerslowdownolone', but this was not serious in any way.