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OverviewThe Cheater's Lament was added to the game on 2nd September 2009 during a short period when Valve were concerned with dealing with those players who had used external idling applications to earn items in-game. Normally items are earned randomly while playing in-game, but under normal circumstances anyone idle on a single server for too long would be kicked, preventing them from using character idling to unlock items without actually playing. However, many employed external applications which would make sure the character on the server would stay active in some way, so that the player could gain items without any actual playing. Valve announced that they would be dealing with all players who cheated in this way by removing their unfairly obtained items, but on the same day also rewarded all those who had not used such cheating methods with this hat. The appearance of the hat is supposedly a play on the generally good nature of those who wear it (possibly in a satirical manner) and in the inventory it is described as "an aura of incorruptibility". According to Valve roughly 95.5% of players on the game at the time were rewarded with the hat and anyone playing again for the first time since the release of the hat has received a congratulatory message about receiving the hat when they first entered the game.
ControversyAfter the initial rewarding of this hat, there was wide-spread controversy in the Team Fortress 2 community over it. Some felt that it was unfair that Valve had rewarded those who did not use external idling applications with the hat, while stripping others of items gained through certain means. Others felt that Valve's actions were justified and that those who used external idling applications were at fault. In various cases arguments broke out between members of the community over the subject and in some cases players were griefed in-game over whether they wore the hat or not. This controversy has since greatly died down.