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Cheating is the gaining of a reward by dishonest means. One can cheat at almost anything involving a reward.
Because NaNoWriMo is an honor-system challenge, the term "cheating" is discouraged within the NaNo community. While some Wrimos may choose to work on their non-novel projects or otherwise bend the challenge's rules, they are referred to as NaNo Rebels instead of cheaters.
In fact, cheating would serve little purpose, as the real prize for winning is having written your first draft. Okay, the Winner's Certificate and Winner's icons don't hurt. While some sponsors may offer special incentives to winners (such as free physical copies of one's novel or discounts on writing software), most of these rewards serve little purpose to those who did not complete NaNoWriMo.
The most common targets of cheating accusations are NaNo rebels or participants who reach 50k very early in the month, often out of a love for the rules or a belief that NaNo experiences outside of their own are wrong or impossible. That said, these accusations are still unacceptable.
Any cheating accusations on the website should be reported to forum moderator Heather Dudley, as they are not tolerated in the NaNo community. You can report in-person cheating accusations to your ML or to Sarah Mackey.
Just a reminder: Do NOT under any circumstances call anyone a cheater. Doesn't matter what forum, doesn't matter if it's through NaNoMail or at a NaNo event. If you don't believe someone, ignore it. Their accomplishments do not devalue yours in any way.
The Codes of Conduct on cheating
Do ignore cheaters and trolls
Every year, we get dozens of posts accusing others of cheating at NaNoWriMo. Please—don’t worry about cheaters. NaNoWriMo is an honor-system challenge; no one is cheating anyone but themselves if they don’t write the novel they said they wrote.
The Shoutouts forum on cheating
The main sticky in the Shoutouts forum emphasizes the no-cheating accusations rule.
It doesn't matter if you believe them or not. This is a self challenge, on your honor. If someone's lying, it doesn't hurt you or diminish your accomplishment in any way. :)
If you can't believe someone's word count... don't worry about it. :)