Game annulment due to extended absence of opponent

I find this historical perspective really interesting.

With Glicko-2 (vs ELO), maybe ratings of the 5d turned 5k that returned would recover more quickly, and not too many 5k players would be annoyed or beaten up in the process.

Maybe the downside of the ratings for a player-who-disappears-for-“reasons”-then-returns being wrong are lower than we perceive. I mean, it’s fine if they have to work their way back up—on them that they disappeared—but maybe the players they beat along the way will be few and far between, and it’s just not that bad.


Totally agree; just maybe hard to distinguish from other major life events; and also less of a downside because (unlike live) it’s not preventing their opponents from playing other games.

But unlike live, if you timeout correspondence, you don’t “pay the price” in rank.

@benjito has argued that this should average out because you time out your winning and losing games, but it has been demonstrated (by Conrad, Tongue, and others) in the past that these “catastrophic life events” often have mysterious coincidence with being in a losing position on most games…

Any chance you could share a link? Are you talking about the XAlexander posts from this thread? If so, it seems more anecdotal than demonstrative that this is more than an exceptional case.

I can find anecdotes from players in my own game history that go the other way. For example, this dropbear user has the mass timeouts that have won and undecided games too, the case that the mass timeout rule assumes. Here is a game where this user is comfortably ahead Tournament Game: Mingren Main Title Tournament 2022 (96938) R:2 (dropbear vs Flowflo98)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning this behavior. This type of behavior should be reported/warned/banned whatever. I just don’t think we need to use the rank system as a penalty.

And here’s a user with what looks like a “life event”: Poller
And one that joined a bunch of games, but didn’t play moves: go2zoo

These three players are the most recent mass timeouts I could find in my game history, so I hope it’s clear I’m not trying to cherry pick. But anecdotes aren’t really going to give us the answer we need. It would be much better to have a holistic analysis that shows “There have been X mass timeouts in the last Y days, and Z% of these have been associated with a majority of games in losing positions”

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I’ve not looked particularly but I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen it convincingly demonstrated.

And I think that the solution is to reset the mass timeout on log-in or move in any game (I.e. inc live games) if that’s not already the case. I had understood that it’s quite some effort to engineer only allowing losing games to time out in this way, probably involving continuing playing the winning ones and so precluding disappearing entirely.

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Playing devil’s advocate, that could still be unintentional. Perhaps some players slow down in correspondence games when they’re losing, because they don’t want to resign yet, but they are at a loss how to continue. If they still play quickly in games where things are going well, they may end up with a backlog of games where things aren’t going so well.

Still, intentional or not, if they happen to have a mass time-out, it is windfall for them, avoiding rating loss and thus inflating their rating, because they win rating points from their quick wins and don’t lose rating points for their slow losses.

Perhaps mass timeout games should be adjudicated in some way, instead of just annulling them.


I think that’s exactly what happens. So it’s a vicious circle: it gets harder and harder to reduce your backlog.

Yes exactly. That’s why this sucks :slight_smile:


We could invoke @Conrad_Melville and @Tongue to once again go through their records and show where these things happen, or search back through forum history.

It’s a bit old now though TBH. I mean - it’s a bit tiresome showing the examples again and again.

Why would it make any difference to be shown them again this time?

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Ok, sorry


I think the thing is that there is no doubt that this happens.

The question isn’t “does it happen”, the questions are “do we care enough to do anything” and “even if we do, what could we do?”.

It’s one of those hard ones where there’s no decent answer to the second question.

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I still have doubt. Not that it doesn’t happen at all, but that it doesn’t happen often

I’ve just pulled up 3 examples of bulk timeouts, and they all have mixed losses and wins, as we expect. There is really no indication that it’s common for users to hack the bulk timeout rule to annul their losses.


Ok, 9 of of my last 50 games were annulled. 18% of games. 0 of those were my fault. Do you think it is not annoying? No mass system or process should be optimised for extremes, like in the examples above like being hit by a bus or something like that. And do you really believe like those 18% were hit by a bus? I see that they are playing other games right now, like it never happened.

Automation should consider a normal flow of the process and some special protocol for extreme, like for example creating a support ticket if such an event happened. But OGS is set up in a way, like every lousy player who is not responsible enough to keep his correspondence game is considered terminally ill (or something) which is plain stupid.

The only effect of such policy is the following: other players would start to think that this is a good way out of a bad game, which is probably already happening right now. And mark my word we would see more and more games being annulled (which is also already happening).


Sorry that you feel bad, so i looked in your games history.

The last cancelations are due to mass timeout, not by opportunity. You are among others having your game timeout.

Another one is a cancelation from the start (you put 2 handicap stones and your opponent ran away. Maybe he didn’t check well the game offer)

It’s not about being hit by a bus, it’s about the rating system in which a mass timeout without cancelation will inflate your level.

In any case, if after checking your opponent games history you have some doubt of abuse or if you don’t understand why, please report that game to the moderation team. (Better private way as here publicly in the thread, even older games can still be transmitted to the mods)

Hope you will still have fun playing here!


The argument about protecting the ranking system does make sense. But at the same time, timing out and annulling the games also both discards prospective information from the ranking system and for the players it’s obviously frustrating if they had put in effort into those games (whether being on path of winning those games or not).

So one question I have is, does knowing that there is little consequence to timing out in games for yourself encourage players to be more relaxed about losing on time than we’d like to? Because that kind of attitude could be making correspondence games less enjoyable for the player base at whole?

We used to have a little mark on player profiles “has recently timed out in a correspondence game”. Maybe there should be a little more consequence for players who relatively frequently time out of correspondence games?

And thinking of the reasons people time out, I wonder how often people who time out had enough vacation time that they could have easily have saved those games? But whatever mini emergency they had that stopped them from making a move also stopped them from turning on vacation. So maybe vacation should turn on automatically when about to time out in a correspondence game?


My main reason for wanting to end annullation of mass timeouts

A secondary reason

Automatic vacation would also help with both of those I guess (as an alternative). It’s been discussed before though:

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Imho one of the main reason to go on a mass timeout is to be involved in too many simultaneous games. Each player manage on his own, and there are no documentation or easely accessible help on the subject.

There are no limits how many you participate and having to wait for your opponent answer may trigger the choice to add one more.

So one day, overwhelmed, for whatever reason you jump out of the whole. That’s bit shameful but that happens and as long as one can remember, it can happen to everyone including yourself.


Yep, and time management is a part of correspondence. Incidentally, if ratings were totally separated instead into time control and board size instead of having an overall rating, there might be less pushback on this as there would be correspondence-specific ratings, not an overall rating

Definitely! I don’t know if I’ve had mass-timeouts, but I’ve definitely timed out accidentally on correspondence games for pretty mundane reasons - not nearly as serious breaking a leg but maybe something as silly as going to a concert one evening and being a bit tired after work the day after.

I think it’s never satisfying to time out on a correspondence game. If I felt I was slightly ahead then I would still rather have finished the game and even if was behind it won’t feel like I really deserve the win. Though I do understand the point that in some sense I do deserve the win, for having been more diligent in making my moves on time. I just think in blitz games it can be satisfying to win a losing game by confusing your opponent, because I making a non-awful choice under time pressure feels like an interesting go skill, while making sure to make a move after grocery shopping before washing up dishes does not feel like an interesting go skill :slight_smile: (at least to me)

So if something could smooth over little gaps (eg: automatically turning on vacation when about to time out in a correspondence game) I think I would enjoy games more and I wouldn’t feel like a win was taken away from me because the site allowed for a little bit of slack to the opponent.