Can you prevent an open challenge to be automatched? [Answered: they are actually separate systems]

Hello, I feel like the current matching system either doesn’t quite fit my needs, or I don’t know how to use it properly.

By reading around and by my experiences with automatch, the way it seems to work is that if player A creates an open challenge, and player B presses an automatch button with matching settings, they’re going to start a match.

TL;DR: My experience with this system has not been exactly satisfactory...

Because of the relative vagueness of the automatch settings, I feel that this puts player B in the awkward situation of having to check the ruleset and potentially readjust their mental space quickly before playing, which is of course particularly problematic if you happen to get White in a Blitz match or a fast-paced Live match (the Black player gets 5 minutes for the first move, the White doesn’t, I think).

There’s the argument “Well, if you press an automatch button, you’re just accepting whatever conditions are thrown at you and you can’t complain” – but I feel that such an argument would be disingenuous, especially since I’ve seen thrown around in the forum the idea that beginners should use the automatch button to start with, and the FAQ also seems to suggest it’s the best course of action for people starting out with OGS.

If that’s true, if automatch is supposed to be the function that beginners and OGS newcomers use first, then it should be made as user-friendly as possible, and made to prevent as many annoyances as possible. But I digress.

So, my experience with this system has not been exactly satisfactory…

…but personally I just accepted it and told myself “Yeah, it’s not the best, but now I know what I’m getting into with the automatch buttons”.

So now I started considering creating my own open challenges, but it puts me in the opposite side of the problem: since I know getting automatched with a wacky challenge can be annoying, I don’t want to cause that same annoyance to other players; and at the same time, if I create a “peculiar” challenge, it’s also annoying for me if I end up getting automatched with players who are not going to like my rules and either cancel or play in an annoyed state. It would be much better if the other player could calmly consider my rules and decide if they’re up for it, and if they’re not, leave my open challenge untouched for others to find.

I thought the “invite-only” option might solve my problem, but it seems to not make the challenge visible on the “play” page, so then I have to find people in chats, which I think are way less frequented. Maybe I should just suck it up and go with this option, but I was wondering if there might be a better and simpler one.

So to sum it up, I’m wondering if there’s a way to create an open challenge that is visible on the “play” page, for maximal visibility, but that doesn’t get automatched; and if there isn’t a way to do that for sure, if there is at least a way to make an automatch very unlikely (e.g. does a custom komi lower the chances of automatch? Things like that).

Thank you if you’re going to answer, and I apologize if this question is already answered somewhere else or I missed something obvious.


custom challenges are not automatched.
some people just never read what they accept


Are you sure?

I’ve used the automatch function quite a few times, and I’ve found myself in a lot of different rulesets and time settings – right now I’m playing a correspondence game with 0.5 komi, which you shouldn’t even be able to set with the automatch settings. So unless I was automatched with an open challenge, how did that happen? Is that part of the “handicap” system?



All right, since Shinuito liked your post I’ll take it as a bit of an “official” confirmation. Thanks for the answer.

1 stone handicap = no komi

Yeah, I got it. Thank you again.

It would be nice to have it explicitly written somewhere in the official documentation, that the automatch system and the custom challenge system are completely separate, but maybe I’m just the weird one to think that they could be connected.

Unless it IS written somewhere? Am I missing something?

There have been other discussions about this e.g.

but usually the ask has been the other way around - i.e. if I’m waiting for an automatch and a suitable custom challenge is made by someone then I should be matched with it.

I think the point is that you can set criteria for automatch so can avoid “wacky” settings if you like (although I don’t think anything in automatch is what one might call wacky) and obviously custom games are very specific but as stone defender says, people just don’t read necessarily.

Documentation is here and a wiki

but yes it’s not specific on the lack of interaction between the various ways of starting a game.

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I mean I liked it because it probably explains why you can get different variations of rulesets and handicap with automatch.

If you have no preference say, and someone else does but they meet your rank requirements then I assume it probably matches you up.

I don’t think the automatch matches with the custom challenges.

Edit: @teapoweredrobot already linked the same thread

It doesn’t seem to say that’s how it worked when it was introduced

but maybe that might give an insight into some wait times.

Thank you very much, @teapoweredrobot, @shinuito !

Personally, after skimming through the thread @teapoweredrobot linked, I reckon its very existence provides some evidence that the two systems are in fact separate, or at least were as of 2020 (not 100% sure, but personally I feel satisfied for now).

If the two systems are indeed separate I agree; if they weren’t, there’s still a huge variation, say, within the “Live” time setting category, and with automatch settings you can’t specify more than the time control type (Fischer, Byo-Yomi etc). So if the systems were joined, you might be forced to wildly readjust your expectations for the pacing of the game on the fly. No time setting might be “wacky” per se, but it might still be very much outside your expectations.

I personally felt a little bit this way, which is why I talked about feeling unsatisfied in my first post, but thinking about it now it’s probably just that I’m unfamiliar with different time settings, so I’ve had several disorienting experiences that I guess could have been prevented just by setting a time control preference in the automatch settings.

Should I edit the first post and/or the title to avoid misunderstandings and potentially wasting other people’s time?