Skipping Nominations

Last night, NBA auction. Team A in the very early stages gets Jokic $114, Doncic $113, Harden $102. Then wins only 2 of the next 75 auctions, often skipping his turn to nominate when it comes around. Several of us point out in the chat box that this is happening. Commish says nothing of it. Team A continues to frequently pass on his nomination. Team A is last man standing, gets 5 above-replacement level players at $1 each with the last 5 picks of the draft, no competition left to bid against him. He wins 10 of the last 24 auctions, all for a dollar, all without a competitor with the cap + roster space to bid a second dollar, and they are all players who project as above replacement, many much higher than that. They would all have garnered competition if selected mid-draft, certainly someone would have said “ah, Serge Ibaka (or Lou Williams, Enes Kanter, Josh Richardson, Cameron Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith) I like him” and increased the bid to $2.

After the auction I messaged the commish, who is not Team A, he’s a first-time commish, says that the draft went too fast, he didn’t see the chat, etc. he will use the “miss your nom and you’re locked” box next year. Of course, that doesn’t help with this year.

I know turn-skipping is considered by Niv and the community at large to be unacceptable, and have read his position on it in these boards. I agree with the position. But it’s not really enforceable outside the commish and it’s not stated as a best practice anywhere sticky. The system cannot lock a user out for missing X picks while taking away the commish power to let them back in (wifi outages, forgot it was draft day, had to put the baby down, etc. One year I lost two guys in Columbus due to a tornado for about 35 minutes. Stuff happens.) but there has to be a safeguard against one inattentive commish who doesn’t see what’s happening and who is missing the protests of most of the league. This effectively means someone is getting away with cheating.

So how do we fix this so it’s difficult to see it happen again? It will be fine in this particular league. He knows now that there’s a box in Commish tools to lock someone out for missing, but that’s not transparent for a newbie Commish, and it’s not transparent why it’s important to that newbie Commish when he’s browsing settings.

How about a Best Practices amendment to the bottom of the Rules page across the platform. Things that are “hey, this isn’t against the rules but it’s only “legal” because it’s hard for us to engineer the solution into the platform as a rule, but it’s considered lousy so you’re expected not to do it.”

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This is indeed frustrating. And it’s difficult to enforce if you have new players and/or commish. It’s hard to tell when someone is doing it deliberately or if they’re just distracted, having tech issues, etc. But you can definitely give yourself a competitive advantage by skipping nominations, particularly late in the draft.

I like the idea of an FAQ of sorts for “best practices.” I think that the best way to deal with this and similar issues (e.g., when illegal rosters have to be remedied, enforcement of the rule that every team be able to fill out a lineup, etc.) is have some discussion on the league message board before the draft to set norms and expectations.

I will say that running a draft as a commissioner is harder than it may look because your attention is divided between running the draft and drafting your own team. I often have my worst drafts when I’m commissioner. So I can sympathize with a first time commish being overwhelmed and not managing that aspect as well as you might have wanted.

EDIT: In terms of a technical solution with the draft platform, maybe have an option to set it so you’re only locked if you miss three nominations or something? One and done is a little too harsh, or at least that’s where we’ve landed in my leagues. Just throwing it out there; I have no idea how difficult that would be to implement from a technical standpoint.

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If there’s a best practices page–both for players and commishes–it helps put things firmly out there, outside the context of this message board and inside the framework of the league’s scoring, rules, rosters, etc. I think it’s also helpful to have some expectations for a commish: he’s not just one of the players, who is expected to manage the system, he’s the guy who needs to make, maybe 1 time per year, a tough call to protect the competitive ecology of the league.

I agree, the one-and-done is to harsh and its really hard to focus on drafting if you have to spend to much time “commish-ing” during the draft. A 3 strikes and locked (can always be unlocked by commish) would be a lot easier. Almost everyone (including me the commish…) misses a pick(s) over the course of our draft.

@themiddle54 the goal is participation, I’d recommend staying away from punishment. If you lock someone from the draft, they might quit playing, and that’s a way bigger problem.

Other suggestions:

  • remind folks to use the sound test (post in forums, repeat, repeat again). Its kind of hidden at the bottom.
  • a beefed up sound notification would be nice, id say a continual “chime”, the entire time you are on the clock would be effective. currently, when it starts beeping, if you are focused elsewhere (spreadsheets, kid, bong, etc.) its probably to late.

We actually had this problem recently during a football draft. I started pausing the draft and making sure he was ready to nominate after 5 or so misses. Turns out he was trying to draft on his cell phone from the passenger seat a car. Good on him for trying!

The draft chat gets erased every time you refresh the draft, so there is a good chance at least several folks in any draft don’t actually see some/all of the conversation.

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All good ideas. But a different issue. I am absolutely certain that the guy who did this did it purposefully and to cheat a system that does not condone (in fact disapproves of) his behavior, but cannot be built to stop it. I’m specifically addressing when someone is basically cheating by abusing a loophole.

Pausing the draft and making the team nominate solves your problem. Whether they are having technical issues or acting nefarious doesn’t matter once the problem is solved. Its much easier to pause a draft briefly a few times to help someone nominate, then it is to deal with constant in-draft commotion. And people on mobile devices might not even be aware there is an issue. Keep it simple.

The pause button is great, It doesn’t hurt anyone. Its like a deep breath.

What if the commissioner is a newbie, the live auction is his first time in a draft window as commish, there has been nothing to prepare him for what he can do as commish, so he is not clear on what his draft capacities are or the unwritten expectation that is on him as commish?

I was mainly responding to the thread title of “skipping nominations”, but if you are in the middle of the draft and there is an issue I’d still recommend pausing the draft.

You’ve kinda steered towards “commissioner incompetency” as the theme, if that is the case you definitely want to pause the draft and sort specific issues out. Otherwise, you are asking the person you describe as a newbie to make a spit second judgement on something they’ve probably never considered, while they are also scrambling to line up their own next pick.

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Yeah I believe that I’m in the football league where Leif used the pause button to get people to nominate (I’m Concussed Rodeo Clowns). It worked quite well and I’m going to do that the next time that I commish another draft. It was a little annoying to have the guy’s nominations take a bit longer, but it was better than giving him any sort of competitive advantage (and I agree that it was because of tech issues, not because he was being a jerk).

I also agree that enforcement is always tricky because a guy who quits in the middle of the draft can have a huge negative impact on the league that can literally impact competitive balance for a few years. Maybe have an alternate standing by to fill in should someone not show up, repeatedly try to cheat, quit, or otherwise be a jackass? IDK. Total jackassery is a low probability event (99.9% of Ottoneu players are good people–that’s one of the reasons why I exclusively play this platform). But the ramifications for an entire league of a bad apple can be pretty significant, especially a startup.

EDIT: I would also recommend that a first year Ottoneu player not try to be the commissioner. Or at least spend some time getting familiar with the interface. At one point, someone (Trey?) put together an Ottoneu draft tutorial that can be a helpful resource. But maybe someone should do an updated one, including a section on how to best utilize the commissioner tools.


It seems like a lot of these issues stem from the commish. It seemed like 3-4 of these guys were friends from another league, and the commish himself was part of that group. The commish consistently missed noms as well and another player decided to only spend $200 of his cap.

Blake: It’s a paradigm of why Best Practices as a doc on the Otto main site is, IMO, vital as the site grows. How is a commish accountable for something like this?

I’ll share an anecdote. I commish a $100 baseball league. Several years ago there was a trade. It was only a short time into the season, proposed and accepted late on Friday night of Memorial Day Weekend. It involved one team giving up less than 1/3 of the way into the season and shipping two big-time players, like an MVP candidate and another stud along with a $130 or so loan. I figured, holiday weekend, late Friday, huge league-deciding trade, veto requires 7 no votes, I’ll cancel it, then ask that they re-submit the trade on Tuesday morning when people are at their desks at work, bored, and more likely to be checking their fantasy baseball league. So I did that. And the two involved in the trade decided to litigate my decision on Slack, which led to enough online harassment that I deleted my Twitter account. And after all that, they didn’t re-submit the trade, which, for me, tells me my decision to preserve the competitive integrity of the league was a good one.

OTOH, stuff happens like this that tilts the competitive ecology. If you’re lucky to find a sucker early season who will give up, you can win lots of money! If you want to basically cheat the draft by skipping nominations, you can as long as the commish is negligent/complicit in the action. And there’s no remedy for me or Blake who have paid our $50 and sat through a draft where a few people were pretty clearly manipulating the league to their advantage.

So, if there are Best Practices–like, this is what flies and does not, and these are the things expected of you as commish and if you can’t do these things then just play and don’t commish–then this stuff could potentially be curbed. There’s no arbitrating or litigating what happened to kick off our league so we’re kind of stuck with any short- and long-term impact. It’s like how people use 60IL in baseball as speculative roster spots–the 40 spots exist for spec plays, the IL is not for that. But there’s no arbitrating or “fixing” when a team has exploited that. Best Practices give the commish a page to go to and say “You will cut your 60-man roster to 40 + 60IL players who were injured when already on your roster + to be nice 3 extra IL players.”