Recently in the FT MSFR thread, one of the regs, ThePizzleFosho, got a little upset because he thought another reg (Newmanmi) was sharing his reads/notes/HHs with other (Australian) regs, because their play vs him seemed very "unsual" for people who haven't played much with him. Later that day, TPF apologized for sounding accusatory and the episode blew over. At the end of the day, we're all one big somewhat-happy somewhat-dysfunctional family over there.
But this does bring up an interesting point... which is, what is the "ethics" of sharing information? The issue comprises a wide spectrum of activities, from sharing (or buying) hand histories, to sharing notes (which are basically condensed hand histories), to sharing reads on various strategic plays (which may even be during play). IMO, sharing Hand Histories and ghosting (offering advice during play) crosses the line, but I don't think sharing reads/notes is (altho it is a grey area). The former is really only because those two activities have been confirmed by FT to be against their Terms of Service.
"Full Tilt Poker prohibits the use of external player assistance programs (EPA Programs) which are designed to provide users with an unfair advantage over their opponents. ... Full Tilt Poker defines an unfair advantage as a user accessing or compiling information on other players beyond that which the user has personally observed through his or her own game play."
But in reading the passage over again, it sounds like all of the activities I mentioned are against the ToS. This topic has been talked about to death. I can see arguments for all arguments. In my opinion, all of these rules are pointless since they are unenforceable.
I've just come to the acceptance that certain competitive endeavors are going to be based on honor (like golf, where competitors will penalize *themselves* at the slightest breach of any rule) and others will be based more on "street rules" - where you do whatever it takes to win. A good example of the latter is our national pastime of baseball, where stealing signs, lying to the umpire, juicing, doctoring baseballs, corking bats, etc are all commonplace. Even the golden boy Derek Jeter was caught pretending to get hit by a ball, just to get on base. Some of those items are going to be illegal and others aren't, but it's all part of the game. Poker is always going to be on the"street rules" side of the competitive spectrum.
I rely on the sites to catch blatant cases of cheating and deal with the violators effectively. I generally concern myself with the things that *I* can do to protect myself. The most obvious thing is to always be observant and reflective of the things you are doing on the tables. As long as *I* keep getting better and realize what spots I am becoming unbalanced in, people sharing information on me will have little impact. If you think someone's a HH buyer, you can always play differently from your stats. If you usually play one way, switch things up once in a while. Recently a few people have caught on to the fact that I've been 3betting them light, and I've made good money jamming over their light 4bets. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think all of these collective adjustments are what is commonly referred to as "playing poker." Poker's all about balance, and anyone who makes you aware of spots where you are unbalanced is doing you a favor.
Which kind of brings me to my last point... if you see a leak in someone's game, you should probably keep it to yourself (or just discuss with a few people). Because as soon as you tell all of your buddies and you all start taking the same lines, you are alerting the villain and that source of money is gone (assuming villain's not some kind of doof). If you like the "free" apples you get off a neighbor's tree without him noticing, maybe the best idea isn't to tell everyone about it. He may not notice a few apples gone, but he's going to notice when half the apples are gone. IMO, TPF shouldn't have even said anything - if he realizes people are taking a certain line regularly, he should just do the opposite of what he normally does to take advantage of that. Ka-ching! Rather than trying to shoo the neighborhood kids away, just lace a few of the easier-to-reach ones with some diarrhea-inducing medication. Ker-plop!
[ ] Put up a "No Trespassing" sign
[ ] Report to Authorities
[x] Street Rules for Street Rules
[x] Not Legally Advisable