So, yes, there’s a definite value in “discovering possible mechanics” which I agree is something that ultimately benefits SEMC or any game company, and helps them tighten up their game so that it matches the developer intent.
That last bit (developer intent) is important, and personally, I’d term anything “cheating” that goes against the developer intent. This gets fuzzy because developers can’t outline every way they don’t want players to win, just encourage players toward strategies that they do want. But you have a sense of the intent, and you know cheating when you see it. If a developer is including features that are largely hidden, but meant to be discovered, then you’re describing something different from exploiting unintended mechanics, and different sorts of games, so we shouldn’t conflate the two.
For instance, consider original poopstrat (September 2015):
This is a non-hacked, mechanically legal way of playing the game. But by no means does it match the developer’s intent to create a dynamic and engaging experience. I would thus call this cheating, and accordingly, it was hotfixed quick af. By your definition though, this is perfectly fine and in fact, preferred?
This is pretty lazy, dude. Lawyers bending laws and mechanics bypassing safety regulations leads to people dying. It’s in no way comparable to video games, for one, not how law works, for another, and for threesies, using the existence of wrong-doing to excuse future wrong-doing is logically flawed.