There's been several other threads like this in other forums, where someone complains about "contesting" on 17 meters.
The people complaining are not all clueless newbs, either. At least some, including the OP of this thread, have been around long enough at least on and off to know the difference between a contest and a DX pileup.
I have never heard anything like a contest on 17 meters. But with the multiple complaints just in the past few months. it makes me wonder if there really is someone running something that sounds like a contest on 17 meters? Maybe not a big enough one for everyone to notice, maybe a sprint of some sort, but something going on that sounds like a contest.
The main problem when people post these complaints about alleged 17 meter contesting is that there's never any details.
Dates? Times? Modes? Frequencies? Exchange used? Callsigns? Any kind of verifiable information.
Otherwise it's hard to take these seriously.
I wonder if it's possible that somebody has dual watch or a second/sub RX on across bands? They think they're listening on 17m but actually hearing the audio stream on a different band? I don't doubt that they seem to be hearing something, but I (and many others) have never heard as much as a contest peep on the warc bands.