Does impersonating a famous person on your OGS account violate any ToS?

What the title says. :slightly_smiling_face::woman_shrugging:t2:


Let me know if you find out!


Change your name as well, not just the photo!


In short, yes. I think it could be considered a form of harassment, and depending on what exactly they are doing with such deception, it could be a form of spam or scam or otherwise unpleasant deception aimed at the general user base.

Of course, there is a difference between people simply setting their name and/or profile pic to that of a famous person, versus taking active steps to assert their false identity. In the former case, I think many would assume that it is merely indicating that they are an enthusiastic fan or parody. However, someone actively falsely claiming to be a famous person is problematic, especially if they are also seeking to exploit that misidentification.

If there is particular active case that you are aware of or suspect (and this is not just a hypothetical question), please report the issue to the moderators via the report system.


What about a fictional person?

(Like me :grimacing: )

I think that to paraphrase what yebellz said: as long as you are not taking serious steps to persuade someone that you are someone else, pretending is fine.

This would be common sense test, so it seems pretty obvious that the chance of someone presenting as a fictional person is seriously trying to persuade that they are that person is very low.

For the lawyers, serious impersonation (of anyone, not just famous people) falls under (*)

"(f) engagement by you in fraudulent […] activities

as grounds for terminating your account.

We suffer more from attempted impersonation of moderators or other users than famous people :woman_facepalming:

*: or is deemed by me at this time to fall under, I speak for myself only etc etc :slight_smile:


It may be worth noting here that there is (or was) a list of nine, infamous, 20th-century political leaders whose names are (were) prohibited for use on accounts. The rationale for this was that the names fell under the category of “offensive” material prohibited by the TOS. This came about during an extensive mod discussion back in the day. The names established at that time were Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Kim Il-Sung (and/or descendants, I don’t recall), and two more from among Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi (I don’t exactly remember the last two). This is obviously an inadequate list, but it was regarded as a start. Whether or not this prohibition still exists, I don’t know.


The general rules about offensive material still apply.

Those are prohibited not because of impersonation (obviousy?) but because (as you said) folk are likely to find them offensive.

I’d be surprised if there is a published list, because typically these things fall under “case by case basis, judgement calls”. It’s like FFS don’t try to offend people by appearing to salute tyrants or mass-murderers, we don’t need a list, just don’t do it.


You are right. To clarify, the list was not published. It was just an internal agreement among the mods, because cases of players choosing genocidal maniacs as avatars are comparatively rare.

I like how vvms is an invalid username on KGS.


The creator of KGS is William M. Shubert, username wms


There is a player using Vladimir Putin as his user name. Maybe he should be asked to change it. He also says he is Russian.

That one has already been reported, and deemed to be not actually impersonating.

None of the moderator team thought for a moment it was him. Did anyone else spend any time thinking “whoa, Vladimir, I’d love to beat him at Go!”?

Curiously, the one person who has lost to that account did greet it with “Wow, putin himself” or similar.

Maybe they were so scared they lost on purpose :smiley:

Am I allowed to say that? :face_with_monocle:


I think this was in response to Conrad’s post stating that, at some point, there was a list of global world leaders that were deemed too offensive to have as a username (regardless of credibility)


If we struck Vladimir off on those grounds, we’d also have to strike off Trump, and where would it end?

(Although its far more credible that Vladirmir might know how to play Go than suggesting that Trump does :smiley: )



Maybe he wants to express something without speaking it out?



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If I were you, I would stay away from any windows on higher floors for a while😬
And maybe check your tea with a geiger counter.


Yes, it does.


Play Go at! | OGS




Btw, I banned one Vladimir Putin (there are several ones, apparently!) yesterday for totally unrelated reasons. (Am I allowed to say that?) :sweat_smile:

It was much less satisfying though than banning the real one would have been. (Am I allowed to say that?) :stuck_out_tongue: