Chatting during games?

Unranked is harder to find because server’s default is ranked, ladder and tournament games are ranked. And if you play unranked all the time, your rank becomes inaccurate (maybe). Plus you want a little bit of stake in the game even if it’s just glicks. Additionally you always don’t know beforehand whether game will be comment worthy, usually when I’m already in a game, interesting things happen or not.

I think it’s OK to chat during ranked game because social aspect of the server is more important than a small possibility of maybe (but probably not) inadvertently giving opponent a good idea, even smaller possibility that this idea will allow opponent to reverse the game, and even smaller possibility that this will change the ranks significantly.

And Malkovich doesn’t work because it would be nice if opponent responded and we had a nice little chat.

I believe there’s no real reason to enforce the rule in this interpretation. Chatting about past opportunities in the game hardly ever if at all change the game outcome. And if it does in that very small number of games, so what? We aren’t giving money prizes and rank will self-adjust just fine. And if it changes the game’s outcome against chatter’s favor, then it’s his fault anyway, so it’s a fair game.

I really doubt there’s a lot of players who want this rule in place. They may be against chatting because it’s distracting but not because it’s “assistance”. I’m very sure that most players don’t care and if they want to comment they will, and if they don’t want comments they ask opponent to not comment.

I also have a feeling moderators don’t get many complaints about opponents dropping an alternative variation, but here I’ll have to ask you how is it on the modering front.

Additionally I would argue that chatting in in-game chat can’t be “outside” assistance so it’s not exactly prohibited.

Now, if breaking this rule doesn’t hurt anyone, players don’t care about it, it’s not enforced (as far as I can see), and it’s not strictly in the rules, do we really need to interpret it in this way?

To the last your comment. It’s not allowed because it’s distracting your opponent, not because it’s “assistance”. And let’s be real, OGS ranked is not the same as a real life tournament.


Actually not particularly passionate. I just disagree that commenting on a past position is helping your opponent. If there was any chance of that position being hurt, the player wouldn’t mention it to their opponent…

Looking through the TOS there are no rules that prevent discussion of past positions. This seems to only exist in your interpretation of the rules

Edit: I don’t actually remember what my point was in the portion of my post that you quoted, so I removed it :sweat_smile:

Note about interpretation: I can only think of one case where I’ve been asked to moderate this.

When it came into question, I ruled according to the rules, and asked the player commenting on the game to desist. At that time, IIRC, it was quite detailed teaching that was going on.

Other than that, my observation is that this is largely theoretical because:

  1. You hardly ever actually see people talking about the positions in detail (my experience)
  2. It is almost-never reported as an issue

So probably the actual situation in practice matches community expectation about this :slight_smile:


Having observed that things are probably OK in practice, I am going to indulge in legalistic nit-picking here, in response to your attack on my rule interpretation.

<begin nit pick, with no impact on reality>

There is nothing the TOS that explicitly forbids talking about future positions either.

This is a silly way of looking at it. Of course the moderators have to interpret the rules.

And, in my opinion, it is trivially obvious that talking about a move just played and its pros and cons provides the recipient of that information assistance in how to look at what move to play next.

It is trivially obvious, because if the previous move was a mistake, and this is pointed out, then the person now knows that they need to address a bad situation that they may have previously been unaware of.

<-- end defensive nit pick about legalities and rule interpretation >

I didn’t intend it to come across as an attack, if that’s how it came across. Of course I agree that moderators need to interpret the rules.

It just sounded like you were stating that it is a defined part of the rules, when in fact it is only your interpretation of the rules. Another moderator may see things differently.

To continue in nitpicking mode, because I’m interested in this philosophically: I assert there is nothing in rules other than interpretation.

“Only your interpretation of the rules” is a statement that brings with it doubt that this is the rule.

It is also a statement of the obvious: any action on a rule is based on an interpretation. There is no “only” about it.

So the reason one would have for saying it in ths way is to bring doubt on whether it is a reasonable interpretation.

I have outlined why in this particular case I think it is a trivial interpretation of that rule.

(And once again I will emphasise that this is purely a philosophical point, because in practice I think we use these rules in a way that aligns with the community sentiment in this thread).

It seems that the issue of discussing the game has started a contentious debate. Personally, I think that a line does exist, with minor comments being okay (e.g., “whoops, I really misread that” after a localized fight is settled), but other cases that are unacceptable (e.g., taunting or insulting remarks after the other player makes a mistake). I think the issue of whether some comments might offer assistance, and when that becomes unacceptable, is where the line becomes blurrier, and perhaps erring toward caution is better. Generally, I think that chat that attempts to influence play should at least be discouraged. Otherwise, the path of the game is set by more than just the placement of stones, but also how words may affect and manipulate the behavior of the opponent. I would hate to see a player making subtle (or not so subtle) remarks that attempt to put their opponent on tilt or manipulate them into making a mistake.

On the other hand, I think more people would be amenable to casually chatting about other topics unrelated to the game, provided that this happens with reasonable time limits to avoid hindering play. However, I think a significant barrier to that happening more often is that people might err toward silence to avoid annoying another player that does not want to chat. It would be a shame if two players are both willing to chat and connect, but they both remain silent out of such concern. The social aspect of go is important.

Maybe a group could be helpful in this regard. Much like how we have a “Fast Correspondence” group, perhaps we could have a “Chatty Players” or “Chat Welcome” group (I’ll leave it to others to find a better name). Not only would it help players directly connect and set up games, tournaments, ladders, etc. where casual chat is encouraged, being a member of such a group would signal to other players that they welcome chat.


In most cases waiting until the local position is settled should be enough (in mid game).

If the discussion is about “why K10, not J11?”, it’s most times about the local environment, so talking about this a few moves later (when settled) should be fine.

If the question is more about direction of play (“why not playing in the big, empty area over there?”), I would wait until the possible impact of this board position is low.


I haven’t seen any.


Nor I.


Meh, ‘no assistance during games’ can be read as ‘you should not be using leela on your phone’ or 'you should not have a 7 dan sitting next to you telling you what to play.

Alternately you could pretend it means ‘woops I should not have played that’

I would expect the intention is the first but I would really dislike someone forcing the second. Give an option on site to not show chat messages if that is seriously considered a rule infraction.

’ A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds’


i can understand that talking variations in an ongoing game can be distracting and i assume many people would be annoyed by it. because of that, we should think before just sharing anything, wether the situation/mood is right :slight_smile:.
personally i wouldnt mind discussing a move with my opponent in most situations, on the other hand, i avoid giving input on an ongoing game im not a part of like the plague ^^.

i cant really follow the “sharing a variation is assisting your opponent”-train-of-thought. that seems very strained to me.


I think that commenting on a game you’re playing has the chance to help your opponent, but if you decide that that is worth the risk (maybe it’s too late for either player to change what happened in the area, maybe you just don’t care about winning that much (not me, but I know some people don’t), or maybe there’s a massive difference in the ranks and the comments are not going to affect the results), I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to accept that risk and comment on the game. Personally I would never make any comment which I thought might help the opponent; the closest I come is occasionally asking the opponent (if I notice that I am significantly (say, >=10 stones) stronger) if they would like to review after the game. Even this is technically advice since it gives away that I think I am winning the game.


When one player comments on the game, I’m not so concerned that they might help their opponent, but instead that they might offend/insult them.

Personally, I chose not to chat about the game, not because I’m worried about giving advice, but rather to avoid making a remark that could come off as condescending or insulting.


Or think you’re cheating. I was playing a lichess 30 30 (or 45 45, I forget) league game and posting thoughts in /w so the opponent couldn’t see, and accidentally forgot the /w on one message, which caused my opponent to think I was communicating about the game. :confused:

Yeah, I worry about being insulting whenever I do comment regarding post-game review or their length of play as well. If I’m playing a “[?]” and I notice that they are playing very clearly, umm, creative, moves, I will often ask something to the effect of “How long have you been playing?”. My intention is to start a conversation and offer to review the game if they’re receptive, but I always worry that it could come off as insulting their perceived lack of experience. Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much since I wouldn’t mind that comment on the other end?

When it comes to issues of etiquette and courtesy, I think what matters is if the other party would mind.

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But if I wouldn’t mind the comment, then I have some indication that it’s not actually an insulting comment. My only reason for worrying was that it seems like it could be taken that way, which is not a very strong evidence: possibility does not imply probability. So me not minding the comment seems to constitute stronger evidence than I had against making such comments.

OGS is a diverse, international community, with people from many different cultures and bringing different expectations of what is acceptable behavior when playing a game of go.

I believe that people’s preference will range over a wide spectrum. Some will feel that it is perfectly fine to chat freely about the game and other things, while others may strongly prefer complete silence, and be particularly sensitive to discussion about the game.

OGS is also a multi-lingual community, and differences of proficiency in the particular language being used can also lead to communication difficulties and misunderstandings. Even though something may be said with friendly intentions, a comment about the game could always come off as condescending or rude. One might think “why is my opponent pointing out the obvious?”, “are they assuming that I am not aware of what’s going on in this game?”, “do they presume to think that they are so much stronger that they feel they must give me advice?”, or “are they gloating in my mistakes to make me feel bad and play worse?”.

Of course, I believe that the vast majority of chat is initiated in good faith. I just wanted to make the point that different people may have different preferences, perspectives, and expectations.

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^^^ This is so true. I am regularly astonished to find opposite opinions to what seems obvious to me.

It’s why as a moderator especially these conversations are very important, so we can understand the full range of opinions and expectations, and explore them, in order to be properly calibrated to community expectations.

Note that this doesn’t mean that every opinion will be catered for in the end - some opinions do not align with the kind of server and community we are building. But it does hopefully mean that everyone has had the opportunity to present their opinion and have it respectfully heard.


I would certainly like to have a button which can be turned on when chatting is OK and off if silence is preferred, even DURING the game!


I voted “it’s fine” for both game types, however I would not mind if there is no chat either. About comments on the game position, I would definitely prefer to have them after the game is over (but this also happens in the club…).