A separate ranking pool for children?

What is this about? Are you talking about the simple idea of a kid community?
Yes, I’m sure the idea is not mind blowing. You could have just said that.

Why do you feel the need to give me advice on raising a child? And there are people liking it?
Moderate your own post.

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Yes, that was talking about setting up a kid community, as it was the set up for the sentence that followed:


Hi Gia! Please let me clarify my intent. I was speaking to the whole thread, focusing on no one in particular. My “you” that you quoted above was not intended to mean Gia. For all I know, Gia and I may have no disagreements on these issues. I’m still learning how to post here, and I don’t yet know why any of my posts look Gia-specific.


Oh, it’s OK, you probably hit “reply” on my post, since it was the last one.

If you want to reply to the thread, you can hit “reply” at the bottom, next to the share/ bookmark/ flag icons.


I have split this discussion from 2021 Rating and rank adjustments and deleted some of the posts that seemed completely off-topic or seemed mostly as ad hominem attacks.

If you believe I have deleted something that was relevant to the discussion I sincerely appologize, please repeat your point below.

As the discussion seemed to have needlessly escalated into personal attacks, please remember to discuss ideas, not the people involved in the discussion and also keep in mind that not everyone here is a native speaker so the percieved tone or meaning might be different from the actual intention and there is usually no offense meant.

As there were already some bad feelings raised with this discussion, please try to take extra care with your posts, so we don’t needlessly provoke futher quarrels.

Thank you, and appologies for the wait.


Someone already mentioned it but Iam not sure how do you know whether they’re really a kid or not, and i am pretty sure that there are plenty kids playing on fox. so, separate rank won’t be that necessary

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As someone who came out of real-life Go schools, I can share some of my old experience of “rank segregation”. My school divides kids of kyu rank into 5 classes - 甲, 乙, 丙, 丁, 初級 - about translated into A, B, C, D, and beginner’s groups. 甲(1~3k), 乙(4k~6k), 丙(7k~9k), 丁(10k~15k), 初級(15k and below). And there is also a special group 幼幼班, literally is a daycare class, where preschoolers can join and as their daycare (no kidding).

Although the kyu rank is just a reference since the strength is assigned and evaluated by the teachers (but advance to 甲 乙 丙 above 10k normally required students to participate in some local tournaments). And the teacher’s strength, normally amateur dan, definitely varied between different schools. I got sent to 丁 class (10k~15k), and skip the 初級 beginner’s (due to I was already taught by my uncle), but I can still say, lots of the students are just there for the lunch, not to learn Go. And students amount the same class (about 20 to 30 students in a class) would quickly identify and know amount ourselves who are top of the class and favored by the teacher, and those lagged behind. We would have in-class practices and competitions, but it’s normally the teacher assigning the pairing by our strength. And I am ashamed to admit that I was one of the “bullies” amounts my classmates in those kyu classes.

As to the daycare class, they are sort of a mix of language learning and basic Go learning class. They are the loudest, and us unfortunate older kids have to share time-slot with them can hear them laughing and screaming across the hallways. I think they only play on the 13x13 board when I watched their practice competitions, and only a few of them were able to finish a game.

As to 初級 beginner’s class, their difference is huge (and there are separate adult beginner’s class and kids’ beginner’s class), and there was always some age pressure for those who couldn’t advance to the 丁 class, since their age is usually about the same (6~8 years old), if someone stayed for too long, they would be embarrassed to come back next year. Teachers would sometimes “promote” them up just to keep their pride, and those are usually the ones lagging behind. But if someone is the teacher’s pet and keeps participate in local tournaments, they would advance pretty quickly through the classes (especially those who won the prizes can skip classes).

Overall, the kyu class students usually have pretty large skill differences amount them even if they are in the same class. The age and competition pressure to advance only stopped when kids go over to the dan classes (our school divided them into lower dan 1~2, middle dan 3~4, and high dan, 5 above), where there would be huge age differences (some are already teenagers, some are just kids), but the skill level would generally be pretty close.


@_KoBa makes a very important point that should not be overlooked. The current terms of service is essentially telling children not to play here at all, and the site pretends that everyone are adults, for the sake of privacy laws.

Actually recognizing and supporting children accounts would be explicitly welcoming children onto the site, and would probably put more legal and regulatory burden on the site to properly handle data collection regarding children. For example, a lot of websites under USA jurisdiction completely forbid under 13s from their site due to very strict privacy laws. I’ve heard that other places like Europe and Asia may have even more strict privacy laws concerning minors (and adults as well)

Speaking of privacy regulations, should the site have some sort of cookie disclaimer?


The BGA were (are?) looking for a solution to the issue of a secure online source for children to play Go.
The main issue (having not read all the previous posts, sorry) is that of safeguarding rather than playing strength. As a parent I am nervous of sites which encourage chat and have the facility to send private messages.
I realise that a Go server is maybe a less likely part of the web for ne’er-do-wells to hang out and much of the concern might be unfounded but we (parents) are constantly urged to be super cautious with online activities.

I feel a separate class of account would be better - one which cannot join chat, receive private messages and such but can still play in the general pool. Ideally with a range of options like being able to chat in games or chat allowed and record available to parents and things like that.

My point is none of that is about the actual playing of Go or the rating system etc. There might or might not be other issues there but they are not specific to children.


I understand the parents’ concerns and I agree (as an outsider).

I don’t know how easy it is to implement a separate account type on OGS, structurally.

I wonder if a private group, with hidden members and activities, where some kind of moderator accepts members (after the parents apply and provide some sort of proof, I can’t provide a good idea for that) would be a good way to ease children into the server environment.

Or maybe have children’s accounts earmarked for faster mod interference, if needed.

I think due to covid we had some IRL clubs migrate into OGS, maybe they can share some ideas and/ or best practices from this past year.

The little things I know, most platforms either hide the children-members behind a “I hereby promise a parent vouches for me” or have a separate very strict environment, like Youtube for kids (which is a megacorporation and can do such stuff/ and still fails at some points).

Still, I support protected access to potentially dangerous people but free access to the game (ranks etc).


Yes, I think this is pretty much the solution at present. It still requires a general account with all that entails. I assume it wouldn’t be too difficult to shut off messaging/chat ability for a class of accounts since individual accounts can be chat banned but still play.
And honestly I’m completely ignorant of what good practice is in this area or what the full range of problems are that need to be addressed. However, I don’t think OGS currently deals with the issues.

It’s not special to OGS though, the current system for kids online is a mess. Mainly because there isn’t one!


I’ve never suggested a separate ranking pool for children or teenagers or total beginners or any other category you might think of. I see no need for it. None of my posts above this one here were in response to the new, surprise topic of “A separate ranking pool for children?”

Instead, my wish is for OGS to stop pretending that no one is weaker than 25k and instead announce the really good ratings we now have for everyone so that players can decide who to play against for a relatively even match (possibly including handicap stones if needed).

In brief, I remain against a separate ranking pool for children or any other group, and I remain in favor of allowing OGS to display realistic ranks based on performance, even if below 25k. That way, not only can people play even games more easily, but also, people can see their improvement over time. (I’ve heard that some go players improve over time.)


Thanks, Gia! That is the information I was missing.

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So maybe we need a third thread on this topic since the last two are now closed…

A separate website is probably a better idea. For example, there’s chess.com for adults and chesskid.com for kids. On the kid website there are automatically assigned fun user names (like SuperAstronautRobot) and no real names, extremely limited chat (say hello, thanks for the game and that’s about it), and loads for kid-friendly features like video tutorials aimed at kids with simple explanations, funny cartoons, etc., graded puzzles starting with the very simple, play Vs computer with robot animation, etc. Something like this for Go would, IMO, be better than splitting OGS.

As for letting kids win, I agree that it is an important lesson for them to learn to lose gracefully. However, kids of 5 - 6 years old and even slightly older are very impulsive and get annoyed very easily. In my experience, it’s best to let them win the first few games at least to get them interested, and then start to win sometimes (though even then a marginal win is probably preferable). This is another reason why beginner kids playing other beginner kids is good because then there’s not so much hard feelings for the loser. For example, I win at Go with my son, he gets annoyed and wants to do something else. But if his cousin of the same ages wins, he wants to play again to try to win this time.


That sounds really, really good.
Someone™ should build that!


It exists already for chess. Those websites are real. Would be great to have for Go. Unfortunately, it’s a lot of work so I can’t see it happening any time soon.


As Devin_Fraze already suggested, little birdies are chatting about such a project being underway. To dispell potential rumors, we are not behind it (as far as I know) and I do not know much more - so no point in asking, but it might happen sooner than expected. :slight_smile:

This sounds great - I am pretty sure it would also help out schools that also have a lot of restrictions and worries about this kind of stuff. It is unlikely to happen soon, I am afraid, but I would have loved that.


From a tech POV perhaps a way to do it would be for the BGA to handle authentication of “who is a child”. However this may be done with the current BGA protocol i.e., trusted BGA people who have verified the child is a real person, vouching by parent members etc.

Design a protocol for that information to be linked to OGS accounts, giving BGA admins revocation privilege so that they can age out the children or cancel bad accounts.

Assuming there’s some budget for it (or pro bono programmers), BGA could hire developers to implement the OGS side of it.

For minimum functionality:

  • Some admin interface for the BGA to create and maintain control of the child accounts
  • Child accounts could only talk to one another and would turn off communication functionality with the rest of the site.

For bonus development:

  • Perhaps some authorized BGA adult access like tournament directors who could talk to the child accounts.
  • Perhaps allow anonymous/no-chat play against non-BGA accounts with matchmaking. Maybe a mode that would inform the other player that the opponent is an anonymous player (with corresponding functionality to allow other players to disable play against anonymous players).

Oops totally missed this line. I’ll just leave my post up anyway in case it’s useful.