A compendium of beginners getting discouraged and confused by OGS's new accounts are 12k design

We’ve talked about OGS’s beginner-unfriendly system for new accounts starting at 12k and getting spanked by real 12ks putting them off many times, but here’s a compendium thread to collect examples. Hopefully once we see enough corpses of destroyed beginners OGS might actually change.



made new test
rating calculator, chat names list and custom games think new users are 6k
profile page thinks new users are 12k
auto-match thinks new users are 13k


Whether it’s 12k, 6k, or 13k isn’t really important, it’s that all those ranks are far stronger than a beginner at 30k (or 25k where OGS starts).


That’s tough. It’s definitely not the image we want to convey of the community or the game. :frowning_face:

Have solutions other than the “starting level” been discussed? For example, when creating an account, there could be a simple one question survey like this:

How would you describe your familiarity with the basic rules and strategies of the game of Go?
A) I am a complete beginner and have just started learning about the game.
B) I have a basic understanding of the rules but am still learning fundamental strategies.
C) I consider myself an intermediate player with a good grasp of both rules and basic tactics.
D) I am an advanced player, confident in my understanding of complex strategies and tactics.

Then, if someone answers A, they could get a badge or something that tells their opponent they are a complete beginner.

Another idea could involve encouraging beginners to initiate a correspondence game, which would automatically pair them with a welcoming “community ambassador”. A more experienced volunteer would engage in gameplay with the beginner and provide assistance by answering questions in the chat. The correspondence format is useful because it helps manage the time commitment for the volunteer, so they aren’t overwhelmed.

Just brainstorming. :person_shrugging:


It’s tough. I have three beginner friends, and I can’t even help them get an appropriate ranking by playing them with a handicap.


Some years ago already i mentioned this bad design. Some more topics were opened in between. A part of the community seems reluctant to change anything.
We just restart the debate once again.

For your beginners friends i can only suggest to let them play for a while on other go servers (like Goquest) to make their first steps.


FYI, I just posted a proposal here: Proposal: New users choose beginner/intermediate/advanced and drop ranked game restrictions


Why sandbaggers are problem? Because beginners wish to play vs weak opponents, but instead they play vs strong opponents.
In current system all beginners start with strong opponents. While there are few sandbaggers.
So, current system is worse than sandbagger problem.

Conclusion: its more important to give beginners ability to start with playing vs 25k.


I would never tell a beginner to start playing on OGS.

Sadly there is a small, old, long-established community that don’t think it’s important to make this server more beginner-friendly or child-friendly.


All I’m saying is we should have a way to gauge this. So when we inevitably get complaints about sandbaggers, we can say “yes, that’s an issue, but the alternative is much worse” or even “we’ve measured it, and the sandbagging problem hasn’t gotten any worse because of the changes”

I don’t think this is true at all. I think its pretty clear the OGS community would generally like to make the server more approachable to beginners.


Sandbagging is really irrelevant to the topic in this thread. Sandbagging by rank manipulation is trivial in scale, and alt sandbagging can’t be stopped if the sandbaggers are smart.


If OGS has to assign a starting rank, why not 25k? A 1 dan should be able to train OGS with just a few games, if a substantial correction can be done with each of the first N games, N approximately 4. And a beginner should be happy as a clam.


Well it’s good to take care of the advanced players as much as beginners. I believe it’s great that now beginners will start near their level, and it would be great too (in their interest) that dan players will start not far from their level.

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If we had all started at 25k, without anything to anchor the system at particular points, we’d have the same problems we have now, just with everyone’s rank shifted down by 19.


I thought it was relevant because the proposal makes it easier for alt sandbaggers to start at a lower rank (click “beginner” vs. play 20 bots). Happy to accept that I might be wrong on that.

Why not just let new users choose a rank? After a few games, won’t their rank start to approach their true strength?

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For beginners levels, old experience showed some wrong ideas like chosing 1k or 1d as a starting rank. Understanding the rating system doesn’t have to be a requisite for discovering the game.

For high levels, letting chose your rank instead of proving it by wins may not satisfy users expectations. Most servers if not all have its limit to which level you can declare.


Did you read my post carefully? The first 4 or so games would quickly correct the provisional rank. So my proposal would solve all the problems.

I don’t think you realize that the global ranking pool can shift. So the entry point becomes the average after enough players join and play games. We obviously wouldn’t want the average rank to be 25k :sweat_smile:


I’m actually not opposed to a system where ranks are generally hidden from the user, and then the absolute rank doesn’t matter so much anymore. I think WordsWithFriends works like this.

However Go players including myself like seeing the progression along the kyu/dan ranks, so I don’t think a hidden rank system would fly.


If this is so, there may be something wrong with the ranking algorithm. Ranking should be “absolute”, by which I mean relative to the highest rank, which presumably is 9 dan. If OGS uses relative ranking, then, yes, it will shift over time. So, is Go a zero-sum game such that relative ranking makes sense? I think not. We want, I think, 9 dan to be the fixed point, with all other ranks offset by the usual number of stones. Yes?