Exit Scoring is a serious flaw

There is a fundamental problem with the way that the site allows players to exit scoring, and it is particularly confusing and damaging to new players, both in terms of fairness and in terms of them understanding the game, why it ends, and how it is scored. Since I think this is a pretty important issue, I’m just gonna lay it all out there on what’s wrong with it, why it should be fixed, and why it might not seem like a big deal, but it is.

The Context
When both players pass, the game is supposed to be ended (except AGA, where three passes may occur if white passed first. This is to make sure Area and Japanese counting come out the same) and scored. Occasionally, especially with beginners, there is a dispute as to the life and death of a group. In fact, even the rules of Go dispute life and death in some situations, such as Bent Four in the corner and some weird ko situations! It’s confusing. Disagreements happen. For this reason, the site allows players to exit scoring after a five minute period to try to come to an agreement.

The Issue
BUT there are some fundamental problems with how this is done. Either player can exit scoring of their own power. They just click the button to return to game and BAM, it’s magically their turn again! Seems innocent, but it actually causes some very serious problems

1. It can be used as a forced takeback
We all know score estimator is not always accurate. Let’s say someone uses score estimator near the endgame. Says they’re winning by a couple points. They play out the last of the endgame and, uh oh, go to count the game and they’re losing by 0.5 pts. Guess it was a little off. Well, that’s okay, since I’m losing, and I now learned that DURING (I might make a bigger point later, but there is a fundamental issue with gaining information like this then retroactively changing a decision based on it) counting, right before I should click “accept” and lose, I think I’ll expend every possible trick play I can in hopes of a silly oversight or time pressure slip. See, the “exit scoring” is being used in a way it is entirely not designed to be used. It is being used to FORCE your opponent to take back a move with no say. White cannot say “no, I don’t dispute any life and death of any groups, we must count.” If this is a fast game or a game with little time left, they might not even be able to call a mod and the mod might not show up in time. At very least, it is an undue burden.

2. Infinite stalling!
When you design something for social interaction, 100x so on the internet, you have to think of the worst way it can be used. If you pass, go into scoring, exit scoring at 4:59, then just pass again and enter scoring, you get a whole fresh 5 minutes. You can stall eternally. Even in other stalling methods, you will run out of moves eventually. Not this. Just straight up can’t end the game without moderator intervention.

3. It’s simply not the rules of Go
We already talked about how two passes is supposed to end the game. There are protocol for what happens when players can’t reach an agreement, in tiers of severity to fix the disagreement. In AGA rules, first is that the LAST player to pass gets to play in the contended area. Not the first. As it is now, if B passes, W passes, B decides he wants to try to fish for a cheap win with trick/time pressure moves, he exits scoring and it’s his turn! This should never happen. It should be white’s turn! Never would it be black’s move. Exiting scoring should be akin to an undo. This means the last player to pass is getting their pass undone, and therefore gets to play instead, making it to where two passes in a row effectively never happened. Now think about how it happens in the other example. White’s turn is simply skipped. Just doesn’t exist at all. And again, by force. This is simply not the rules of Go.

Why it matters

First, it’s just not good for one of the biggest Go servers to have a functionality that makes it actually not follow the rules of the game. Now there will likely be people saying “you just need to call a moderator,” but I want to nip that in the bud and say that this problem happens to beginners mostly. I don’t personally deal with this and I know how to deal with this. Double digit kyu often don’t even understand exactly how or why a game ends or is scored. I have witnessed this happen to people I teach and they feel like it’s not right, but aren’t sure if it’s actually wrong or not. I have spoken with some single digit kyu who don’t even think this is incorrect.

My wife is ~17k has run into this problem three notable times. The first time, she was pretty upset but didn’t know if it was right or not. I had to explain to her “no, this should not be legal.” The second time, she was very upset, but did eventually get resolution after trying to get ahold of a moderator and trying not to time out of the game while her opponent played with the time controls. The third time, finally she was equipped to deal with it. But this was only with my reassurance that she was correct. She tried to explain why this was unfair to her last opponent, but he did not believe her. People had done it to him, he said. Thought it was just part of the game, and I believe he’s being honest.

Beginners are the affected audience, and they are particularly fragile and valuable
This setup is confusing and incorrect.
It is difficult for beginners to know what to do or if they are even being wronged.
It spreads poor understanding of the game, how and why it concludes.
It puts power in the hands of those with the worst intentions.
There are better alternatives, such as requiring an undo to exit and if no resolution happens in 5 minutes, giving the proper player the next move and agreement to continue play, it is queue’d to a list of games for moderators to decide. Since this is rare, I don’t think it would result in a huge burden.
Beginners are easily discouraged, especially when they are confused or feel cheated. They often just quit.

For these reasons, I must insist this is a high priority issue for the developers to look at changing. I also have other ideas on how to fix this if you’d like those, but I want to wrap this up for now. It’s already too long.

tl;dr exiting scoring, as its set up, actually violates the rules of Go and leads to bad situations in malicious hands and needs to be changed


Every go server does this though… it’s really the only way to be fair if there is a dispute about the board position, as one player could just not agree to go back to the board state and resume the game. It’s online there is always going to be a flaw and people will abuse it.

Since every go server uses this system pretty much it’s widely accepted

As far as I know wbaduk is the only server that doesn’t let players accept the score during scoring phase and that turns out horribly as automatic scoring isn’t always 100% it would be an even bigger problem with beginners as they don’t know when to end a game. They tend to leave stuff open and it makes it harder on the system to score correctly.

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Changed to what, though? I never seen any server implementing, say, hypothetical play that is used by Japanese rules to resolve the life/death status of a group. And were it implemented, you’d have a hard time explaining beginners what hypoplay is and how it is different from resuming the game. And I can’t think of any system that can’t be abused by a “malicious” players. The situation when one of the players refuses to accept the score usually requires an arbitration by a third party.


For the reference:

Emphasis mine. Here goes “requesting undo to exit”. That’s against the rules, right? :wink:


I’ve never run into this problem on another go server.

Oh, come on, use your imagination. There’s tons of ways to fix this problem or improve upon the way it normally works! What is it with the defeatist attitude everyone has here? Nothing can be fixed. Nothing can be improved. Get used to it. Geez.

How about this for one of many hypothetical fixes: you click exit scoring. It asks you to mark the group(s) you are contending the status of. A popup to the LAST person to pass says “your opponent has contended the status of the marked groups. Please play at least one additional move to try to resolve the dispute.” After you dismiss the move, a predetermined set of time (some byo yomi periods, something reasonable) begins. You play and a dialogue box appears for your opponent requesting them to play at least one additional move. This is so they cannot abuse the system by simply requiring that their opponent must play one additional move. It may be necessary to make dame points unplayable or ask that they be filled before this process, but that doesn’t seem too tough. Even if this repeats a couple times, there is always forward progress, clear intent, a communication of the dispute, and the proper player playing first.

Optionally, you could make three failed attempts to resolve the game in this manner simply defer to moderator decision. A moderator ticket is instantly called and they will decide when they can look at it.

And there are other options, all doable, all inarguably better, all more easier for a beginner to understand what is going on and what is fair to do during the scoring phase.

There’s other ways, too.[quote=“temifar, post:4, topic:9316”]
3. If a player requests resumption of a stopped game, his opponent must oblige and has the right to play first.

I like how you emphasized this one part, right before the part that is the bigger problem: the WRONG player is playing first!!! I would think if one had to choose, the spirit of the rule in all three sets is more important than one technical aspect that doesn’t translate well to an online environment in one (imo inferior) ruleset interpretation.


See that’s a good way to fix it i like that idea, I don’t like the one under it that puts more work on the moderators again they do this in there free time and for free. Also i’m surprised this hasn’t happened to you on other servers. It does for me.

I’ have no skill at all with programming so i have no idea if that can be coded in or not. Probably can almost anything can be coded.

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It’s called “lack of enthusiasm”. :slight_smile: If you just said “the current system is far from ideal and potentially exploitable, so I propose the following enchantments…”, people would agree more readily. Nobody says it’s the best system imaginable. But you have started with “it’s badly broken and is in need of urgent fixing”, so we’re arguing urgency of the situation.

Can’t they? Passing is a valid move. You can’t require them to place a stone, that would break life and death resolution (what if the first player thinks he’s alive no matter what the second player does? what if the first player made a meaningless move that do not require an answer?).

The simplest solution I can think of is as follows:

  1. Once the both players have passed, the game is over and can’t be resumed. There should be a very clear warning about that in the pass confirmation screen.
  2. If there is a dispute, the players can resolve it by using OGS’ analysis tools or by forking the game and playing it out.
  3. If within some reasonable time (depending on the game type) neither player accepts the score nor resigns, the game is marked for manual adjuration.

This mostly removes existing features, so it has the advantage of being simple to implement. But I don’t really see it working, though. People would just ignore all the warnings about inability to resume and then pester the mods with “we accidentally passed twice, how can we continue playing?” questions. :slight_smile:


I have never run into this problem ever :smiley:

In all seriousnes though, although I find this overall problem interesting, I can’t help but ask is this really such a big a deal?
Granted, I haven’t played that much games here, but regardless of place, I have never had a similar issue in any game apart from complete begginers who do not yet understand how the scoring works. They just have to learn. We can’t force computers (and programmers) to solve all problems for us.

Well and if in one of the two hundred games they played they got cheated for one point, I am sorry, but who cares? It changes nothing. They lost because they did not understand the game enough.

What I am trying to say is - one of the reasons I like go is for its simplicity. I do not want to confirm 27 pop up boxes about how my opponent might try to cheat me and whatever. I do not want some weird restrictions. I want to be able to resume the game when I and my opponent agree to. Basically I want it to be like playing in real life. When we want to do something with my opponent I want to be able to. Yes, your opponent can try to cheat you if he wants to. As he can do in real life! But have you really encountered anyone who behaved like this on purpose? Then just don’t play with them or report them.

Yes, theoreticly I guess, but again, have you ever seen anyone do that? Go is the game of gentlemen. And I must say I have never once here encountered anyone who would try to cheat me somehow. Usually I find quite the opposite problem, when we are having an interesting game, and one of us is running out of time and we can not prolong the game.

Seriously? You will? Why? That’s horrible then, maybe you should read about the ethics of the game…

To summerize, for me the system worked always great. And I hope it will be kept as simple as possible. We have a chat window to solve problems from lack of understanding and if it is a tournament game, I am sure it would be easy to call a moderator if there was a problem.


I don’t have much to add to the discussion except that I am a new player on OGS and have had this happen to me three times already. All three times when a moderator was called they agreed that what the other player was indeed cheating, and they either got a warning or a ban each time.

So I disagree with those of you who are saying it isn’t a big deal, or it isn’t urgent. It might not happen as much for stronger players, but weaker players are exploiting it a lot. It is important to not forget about the beginners! If I didn’t have a teacher, I wouldn’t have known it was against the rules, and quite frankly after a couple times if it happening I would have quit Go altogether.


Another way to look at it is you’ve played 636 games here and it only happened 3 times. I didn’t really do any math but im pretty sure thats less than 1%.

You are likely not a DDK and have pretty full understanding of life and death. This is likely not a problem that affects your sphere of the Go world, as it is not at all one that affects mine directly. Only through the people I coach. That does not make it suddenly not matter.

Yes, it teaches beginners wrong notions about ending the game. That is bad enough. Then, on top of that, it very disheartening to lose a game in a way that is literally against the rule, when you may not even know it is against the rules. At any rate, if it is a small problem, it is also a small fix, so… still reason to be dismissive!

Yes, I have personally witnessed this be used as infinite stalling, to take advantage of aji and trickplays after realizing one was losing, and everything else I mentioned. It is rare, but it shouldnt be BUILT in to the way the system works! Especially to the group of people who might not even know they were cheated, and therefore won’t think to call a moderator!

Oh! But the bolded is NOT how it works! There is no need for agreement! If there is a need for agreement, fine. I outlined a system that works as such. For the rest of this quote, are you serious? This would never happen in real life. You cannot just start counting and then go “oh, I’m losing. OH! Maybe I’ll try this!” Do that in real life. Go ahead, try it, see what happens. Do it in a rated tournament game. Nothing like this system allows would EVER happen in real life. It creates a fundamentally different situation.

And if the problem doesn’t affect you, guess what, no pop-up window. If it does, wow, two extra popup windows explaining necessary information. On rare occasions. Such an unbearable burden. Might as well just quit go /s Come on, you sound ridiculous with this “27 popup” hyperbole.


That is just since I was told was against the rules. I don’t remember how many times happened before that. Even so, it seems like it’s still worth fixing. I’ve run in to a lot of other new players that have had a problem with it. Telling beginners to essentially “suck it up” when someone cheated them out of a win is a great way to lose beginners.

Why would we play a game where out opponents cheat, and when we complain we are told that we just need to deal with it?


Most people don’t get murdered. Less than 1%. Problem solved!

Ok, but seriously, though, it is about making the software better and most accurately reflect how a game should end. Literally allowing the rules to be broken (and not just as technicality, but fundamentally against the spirit of the rule) when there are sure ways to fix it is just… lazy at very least. There is no doubt that this game has a hard time attracting new players and that far and away the most confusing part of a game is “when does a game end? How? Why?” Mudding those waters is an awful idea. We can directly address them with proper design instead of saying “too bad git gud, go read this very long article about scoring and ending games that requres knowing what territory is, what dame is, what life and death is, what seki is, etc etc.” Because this is essentially the onslaught of information that hits a player when they have a question about the ending status of the game. This is the wrong way. I’m sorry, but I have to say that this is seriously important, even if it doesn’t show up in every game. That player’s poor understanding WILL show up in every game and questions that could be answered through direct experience with software that addresses the questions intuitively.

Again, I have met single-digit kyu who don’t REALLY understand scoring or game-ending outside of their direct experience with go servers. That’s horrifying!!! That will eventually lead to a wall in that person’s understanding!

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We’re kicking around the idea of requiring both users’ consent before exiting the scoring phase. With a call to the mods if things go wrong. Feedback on this would be appreciated.

@anoek is in the weeds in another part of the code base at the moment, but we have this one high up on the priority list for when he makes it out of the swamp.


I don’t like the idea of putting more work on moderators that seems like a cheap fix to be honest. Any system for the most part can be abused one player could just not consent to resume the game for example.

In these examples we are talking about, a moderator should be called no matter what. Having the system intuitively queue them for moderator decision, which could be given several days to complete, instead of risking an unfair loss and misunderstanding literally has no drawbacks. If there are too many tickets, sure seems like that makes it easier to find problem players, tell them to stop doing it or they will be banned. All organically. This problem that you are imagining with the solution literally does not exist. Moderators are there to moderate situations where players cannot come to an agreement or are being unsportsmanlike. By your logic, we should just get rid of them. They are useless if they do not exist to do literally their only function.


I have had someone try to use up as much time as possible. They played every single legal move on the board, which in itself was an extraordinary waste of time, but he also entered and exited scoring repeatedly (which gives you more “free” time). It was very maddening, especially when you are fairly new and feel like this might just be the way many people play the game.

It is a problem that affects beginners disproportionately, and it is very disheartening that because of that almost all of the responses I have gotten from other players is that it just doesn’t matter enough to be delt with.


Well, if it really bothers that many people I have nothing against remaking the ending. But still, it seems to me we are bothering poor Anoek or whoever writes the code with something (at least from my point of view) very minor, while he can be working on something “better”. Why do you care so much? I get it is more of a problem of begginers, but have any of you really encountered this issue so many times with gamechanging result? And what does it matter if I lost 200 times insted of 199?

As I see it there are two possibilities why this happen

  1. The person does not understand how scoring in go works and thats why there is dispute at the end. This is good, because either the other player can enlighten him, that he/she can be changing the result and he/she will learn. Or he/she will see something fishy and will ask a moderator or someone more experience and he/she will learn more. Which is both good. If the system solved it all for them, they would never learn and would be unable to solve such issues even in real life games.

  2. The other person is really trying to cheat you. (I do not understand why - it’s not like you get 100 dollars for each win), but nevertheless he is trying to. Then personally I would just quit and not play them again and/or report them. Cheaters always find a way to try to cheat you. I would rather try to get rid of those people, than spend ages trying in vain to make the system bulletproof. There are tons of ways to try this in real life as well. Yes, you can play every legal move in real life as well, it will be maddening for the other player, sure. Then just quit and play with someone else… Do you relly care so much about that one win? why?

Ok, this would be an issue, I agree. I am not really that versed in all the varieties of rules, but as far as I know it is in the rules that when there is a dispute a game is resumed, is it not? So you just think the order of resumption is wrong? That could be surely easily fixed…

I am just worried that making the system ¨"bulletproof" because of that 1% of problematic games will unnecesarily make it more restraining for all the other players who are just playing for the fun. Sometimes it’s good to bend the rules a little if it can help you finish, study, debate, better understand, or just enjoy a good game.

And honestly, it is of course a little far fetched, but yes, unfortunately that’s how the world works. There are still murders and allways will be. Because if you made a system where nobody would be able to kill anybody, it would be so restrictive for everyone involved that nobody would be happy.

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Although I really do appreciate the sentiment of not putting more work on moderators, I’m unsure if @FawkesFire 's proposal would create more work. Many of those cases require moderation anyway to deal with the aftermath of wrongful scoring. In such cases, I (1) ask the cheated player if they would like a rating correction, (2) calculate and manually apply that rating correction, (3) send a private message warning the alleged cheater, and (4) make a note in the mod log about the alleged cheater’s behavior for future reference. Then there’s (optionally) (5) listen to an excuse about how the alleged cheater didn’t understand scoring, (6) determine after considering their rank and number of games played if they might in fact be ignorant of scoring procedure (or weigh the sufficiency of whatever other excuse they’ve got), and (7) make further notes in the mod log. Speaking for myself, I’d rather moderate the outcome in advance.

PS: The fact that many wrongful scorings go unreported is not necessarily a good thing if you ask me.

PPS: The other thing I wonder is how @FawkesFire 's proposal might impact tournaments. A moderator is not always available, of course, and moderator unavailability might delay tournaments, particularly blitz and live tournaments, if moderator action is required for a game to be decided.


We need more moderators as it stand we don’t have enough to deal with what’s needed already. There’s been a lot of times in chat where someone needs a ban or stern talking to and no one is available. Other times it’s issues with an ongoing game and people will wait 15-30 minutes before someone comes . I understand that you guys/gals do this in your free time so it doesn’t bother me to much.

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