"A few years back, Yahoo Games instituted an online chess ladder. A ladder system essentially ranks all the players from top to bottom, and you move up by beating people ranked higher on the ladder. Losing (or not playing) slowly lowers your ranking.
I'm a decent player—I won the state championship of Kentucky in my salad days—but couldn't begin to approach the top of Yahoo's ladder. But guess what? The people at the top weren't playing chess at all!
They were cheaters, a closed circle of players passing the crown around by systematically losing one-move games to each other. Player No. 2 challenges Player No. 1, makes one move to start the game, and then Player No. 1 resigns the game and they switch rankings on the ladder. "
There are literally thousands of people (or more) with an amazing about of free time to do the most mundane tasks for the most inane rewards. “Cheating” players would code purpose built programs to bot 100’s of chess games 24x7 simultaneously. They’d sit up late into the evening because every so often the ladder ranks would be reset, and when they did, they’d snatch the top spots. And once they owned a block of the top spots they’d only play within their controlled accounts to rise slowly in ranks. The way the ladder logic worked, “legit” ranked players must play against other equally or higher rank players, and since cheaters wouldn’t play against them, legit players would drop in rank.
All that just to be at the top of the Yahoo Chess games ladder. No monetary reward, no praise, no nothing. Makes you think where else this is going on doesn’t it?