All new players should be ranked via bot

Given how low quality many unranked players are…why are you putting it on us to rank them when you have ranking bots?

People should play 3 ranking games and be able to select the strength of the bot they play.

This would solve so many issues automatically. Kind of a no-brainer, eh?

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New players are already free to do this, if they wish, in order to get some data for setting a rank. I’m not sure if just three games are really enough to get a well established ranking.

However, we don’t force anyone to play against bots just for getting ranked.


Encouraging bot play is also questionable; I’d much rather encourage new players to play games against other people. My preference would just be to eliminate the ±9 rank difference max for even ranked games, while maintaining it for handicap games, as that is the reason it’s there. This would allow new players to directly challenge other tpk players and their glicko will quickly follow.

PS: I’m also more than happy to play new players, but a beginner may enjoy playing other beginners more at first.


If you are an intermediate player, it will take like 4 to 6 games. If you are more at the extreme (beginner or top player) it seems it takes more like 15 games around to get a proper ranking, as it was discussed not so long ago in a topic.

Besides there is quite a quantity of players who don’t enjoy playing bots for multiple reasons.

Finally to ask a beginner to go play first a bunch of games with bots is not the most friendly attitude. Bots wont explain anything and wont help to discover the basics of playing go.


The ±9 rank difference max is not enforced universally anyway, even for handicap games, so isn’t it already proven to be completely unnecessary? For example, I’m finishing up a ranked handicap game at a 11-rank difference right now (in a 9x9 tournament) and nothing seems to be exploding. I think ladders and direct challenges also allow any rank difference, and your ranks might drift apart during a long correspondence game.


I’m against forcing people to play bots to get a rank. People come to OGS to play Go, not to help the rank system accurately assess them. The rating system should serve the players, not the players serve the rating system. It’s a beginner bad habit to be scared of people and play bots instead and this suggestion would encourage that.

It’s a frequent flyer forum topic, but I think beginners should definitely not enter the ranking system at 12k or 6k or whatever it is which forces them to play and lose to real 12ks or 6ks several times before they can play other beginners. That’s just a terrible welcome to new players. IMO they should be able to choose their starting rank, which will have low confidence so change quickly if wrong, with appropriate guidance. There could also be the option to do a few graded tsumego to help find out your level. Maybe required if you want to pick a dan rank. That’s much less onerous than games with a bot. People have pointed out that in the past people could pick their starting rank and there were problems, but I would counter that that was not the improved work flow I am suggesting in the new user sign up but an inferior one, plus I think creating a good experience for new players is very important and worth e.g mods getting more rank reset requests (though I don’t see that as a logical consequence: every 30k beginner who OGS currently forces to 12k should send a rank reset request to mods now so as to not disguise the problems in the current system).


Not only new players should be allowed to choose their starting rank, but also there should be a button to reset their rank at the level they wish if they have played less than 5 rated games, in case they made a wrong initial choice.


Good policy. Changing it also wouldn’t help with problems. E.g. There are some unranked players who appear to want to stay unranked by deliberately resigning all DDK games and winning all SDK games. I guess they do this to confuse the system?

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You mean some players yearning for the hug of a mod hammer ?


Possibly, some do try to manipulate their rank to troll others, i.e., sandbagging.

Please report when you come across such cases.


It doesn’t feel like a “crime” so reporting them feels a bit weird. But I have just reported one example. My only problem with this is that it is annoying to feel tricked when you try and do a good deed to help someone get ranked. It makes me more reluctant to play unranked players again

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It doesn’t feel like a “crime” so reporting them feels a bit weird.

If you want to stay unranked, just don’t play ranked.

Playing ranked and purposefully fudging your rating is entirely a “crime”.


If it’s a crime it doesn’t seem severe. I don’t get why anyone would want to do this in the first place. Do they get pleasure out of tricking others?

Yebellz mentionned sandbagging, which is the practice of purposefully lowering your rating. Those players usually enjoy crushing weaklings, and so resign from time to time to keep their rating low.


Now I understand why it’s a crime. I am just watching that “poor unranked player” I wanted to help out, has now progresse to reducing the ranks of Dan players, then deliberately losing to Kyu players… now I feel annoyed that it is in my records a “loss to a weaker opponent”

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I was always fascinated by the historical method. Starting everyone with 9 handicaps. Every time you win, you lose a handicap stone. Anyone wants to have established rank can either go through at least 9 games (and the restriction will be lifted after this period, and the ranked will be determined by the final handicaps left losing to a particular rank, or if they win them all, given a starting rank that is the middle of the server’s overall rank. In history, it is the rank of the teacher). Or they can give credentials for verification and to be manually set by mods (or be given references from trusted members, etc.)

It would also be pretty obvious if someone deliberately loses handicap games and tried to sandbagging.

Even if you specifically try to play the first games vs bots you can’t immediately play vs stronger bots (“rank too low”). But on the contrary you can join games of any human. It’s bot owners who made it this way. Presumably bots have feelings too and they feel more easily annoyed by mismatched opponent than human players.

I have long advocated that non-beginners get rank by playing bots first, so as not to inadvertently sandbag. However, that is a personal choice. OGS does not want to infringe on players’ preferences in that regard. Starting with a weak bot and working up doesn’t take too long. I did so and got a rank after 6 games in my Conrad 9x9 account.

I disagree. This would make people less likely to stay, and is and unnecessary burden. If you do not want to play with them, cancel the game. I do that in 19x19, but happily playing on 9x9


It is impossible to tell whether an unranked player with no history is a beginner or a dan player new to OGS, so cancelling is useless to avoid being sandbagged.

You seem to have overlooked that I said playing bots is a personal choice. I chose to do so because the sandbagging plague is a very important issue for me.