HELP ME with a new interactive tutorial? (getting close)

A while ago I already mentioned I am trying to put together a new interactive tutorial for players that would sort of fill the gap between the “no nonsense - play and see tutorial” we have already going on OGS and some text-heavy book. Something like the IWTG, just more modern and perhaps a bit more brief. Now, thanks to @lswest I am happy to say the technical part works perfectly and is easy to maintain. What is needed now is the content. And as I kind of ran out of steam and ideas, I would appreciate any help.

You can preview the page here:

It is not complete, but it should give you a pretty good idea on what I am doing. What I am going for is:

  • Fully commented puzzles - I often feel like beginners can solve an example puzzle without really knowing why it worked or why another move would not. Hence I am trying to comment on both good and bad variations.
  • Not too little, not too much - I know the current trend is to not read too much (or at all), so I don’t expect it to be super popular, but still think in go some concepts are better understood after an explanation, not just a lone diagram.
  • Informal and fun

I welcome any sort of help. Even just a comment on what you are missing, find confusing or find needless (the whole thing? :smiley: ). If you would like to try and improve my texts and explanations, even better! Currently I am probably most displeased with the “counting” and “opening” chapters.

The project source is here (yes, another registration, I know and am sorry). Any edits are easy to do NO CODING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED thanks to Lucas the whole website is based on simple markdown files you can just edit like you would a forum post. If you want to build your own tutorial, you can just copy the whole formula and fill it with your own content too, I guess (though I would prefer to make one good one together :slight_smile: )

Thanks for reading this far and thank you for any help.


Did you write this @AdamR? Your posts are more fluent and well worded than this content :thinking:.

I am very sorry to report that the text needs a lot of work. As a teaching aid, this falls very short. It simply is not clear. All I read was the “Where and How we place the stones” page. I didn’t see a point to reading further.


I’ll second that. The interface and content are generally pretty great, but the writing needs work. A few thoughts on page 1:

  • Broadly speaking, the text should inspire the player to keep going and imply that they can achieve a good level in this game if they put in the effort. A lot of the text is actually discouraging. (e.g., “This is NOT a Tic-tac-toe,” “So you decided to try and learn the game you will actually NEVER be good at? Fine. Your choice. I made the same mistake after all.”)
  • Make a quick pass for capitalization and punctuation. I believe the convention is to lowercase “black” and “white” as an adjective (e.g., the black stones) but capitalize as a noun (e.g., and White lives).
  • Black and White don’t take turns equally, they take them alternately.
  • It’s not that you don’t play stones in the boxes; you don’t play them in the squares. Squares is the board-game generic term that everyone is familiar with. And boxes is a special Go term to describe stone formations and territory.
  • You say a stone can’t be moved, then say it can through capture. I think the phrasing you want is “… except when removed in capturing” or “… unless it is removed in capturing.”

I don’t mean to sound harsh. I really do love the work you’ve put into this thus far. It’s gonna be great. Feel free to send me a PM to help with the rest of the writing stuff.


Thanks to both of you, yes I did write that and no worries about sounding harsh. I am not offering the current version to beginners, it is a prototype and the whole purpose of this thread was to see if I can get help with the content, before it is presentable. I asked for it, let me have it :slight_smile:

I will wait for a bit to see if someone would be interested in outright collaboration, and if not, I will do my best to improve the texts myself, but I am already super thankfull for the ideas it’s a great start :slight_smile:

And I say a stone can’t be moved (as in you cannot slide them across the board like Chess), but can be REmoved (as in taken away completely) by capture… That sounds contradictory? That makes me kind of sad, that was actually one of the few sentences I thought made sense while still sounding simple enough damn English. :smiley:

Thanks again


I am also a big fan of IWTG. I found it more helpful than reading the AGA’s / Karl Baker’s “The Way To Go”, in terms of learning Go. I’ve invested plenty of time into teaching newcomers and answering questions, though most of it is outside of the forum. I’ve really enjoyed this pursuit. But even more importantly, I feel that more love needs to be shown to educating potentially interested folks in the ways of Go. There just isn’t enough love for newbies.

One of the hardest things for a newcomer to wrap their head around is the basic Go concepts. I tried learning by just playing AI (Many Faces of Go), reading “The Way To Go”, and completing IWTG. The latter really helped hit it home for me. I think because it was overly exhaustive. That is what it took to hammer the concepts into my brain effectively.

As a teacher, I find new students learn the basic concepts really fast. With a person there to answer their questions directly and to demonstrate basic concepts in a live tutorial, people tend to grasp things the first time around. I do not think that tutorials can be as effective as live instruction. There are plenty of reasons why.

So, to make an effective tutorial you really have to put together an experience that combats the various reasons that tutorials are inherently weaker than live instruction. Maybe others can chime in on any reasons I missed, but I feel tutorials are weaker because:

  1. Many people don’t show the tutorial the same degree of attention as a human being.

  2. Nobody is there to hold them accountable. Most folks do not hold themselves accountable when learning new things. Self-led learning tends to be more carefree and exploratory, versus serious and analytical.

  3. Social perception of judgement by others can be a powerful motivator. With nothing to lose, some people lack the motivation to invest themselves in the process. Similar to how some kids perform poorly on homework but test fine in class.

  4. Readers must work harder to find the answers to questions they have. Live teachers make access to any information immediate. Impatience is a serious issue for many.

  5. A newcomer may be easily discouraged for a variety of reasons. A human being can interpret this can react accordingly; in order to lift their spirits or to try to regain their attention as the student’s eyes glaze over, when their mind wanders.

  6. While the information being taught is generally easy to grasp, you never know when the “aha!” moment will come for a reader. The path the tutorial walks the reader through must be as effective as possible, in terms of keeping their attention and simultaneously teaching new concepts.

  7. Tutorials must be informative, approachable, easy to understand, interactive elements must be effective, and there needs to be the “right amount” of information. Depending on your reader, the right amount may be a little or a lot of information. A tutorial, therefore, must hit a “sweet spot” between all possible user preferences. Unfortunately, when someone see’s a long tutorial, they may be turned off right from the beginning, regardless of the tutorial’s actual content.

In short, the way that a tutorial is constructed determines whether or not a tutorial will be effective at teaching and whether the average reader will finish it. I feel the original IWTG was a bit on the wordy side. The number of lessons could have been shorter, sometimes the number of examples for teaching certain concepts were too numerous, and the language could have been better in a lot of places.

Frankly, a tutorial needs to be tuned and honed over time, with copious amounts of user feedback, in order to reach it’s greatest potential. However, if a tutorial is not particularly attractive or effective from the beginning, getting user feedback is going to be like pulling teeth; if it comes at all.

There is a big part of me that wants to help you write this thing, but I view this task as being extremely complex. I’m not sure to what degree you are seeking “collaboration” and how much of the tutorial you are willing to potentially modify. That is, I’m not sure how attached you are to it, as it stands now.

I’ve taken a more thorough look at it and I feel that the tutorial needs a serious re-write. As @Mark5000 pointed out, I feel the text is a bit on the negative side. References are made to other board games that make Go seem elitist, as if other games were beneath it. No matter how I feel about Go, I do not agree that this direction is the right approach.

Explaining the rules of Go is extremely difficult. Just look at the Japanese rules :laughing:. They aren’t alone either. Most modern rulesets struggle to convey how Go works without supporting commentary. I feel the only way around this is to have a thorough tutorial which effectively serves as the equivalent of ruleset supporting commentary. Simultaneously, I feel that a long tutorial will scare away more people than it will attract.

I’m not sure what the “sweet spot” is for tutorial length here. I just know that I am not particularly taken with the tone of the teaching that currently embodies the tutorial text. This seems like a great opportunity to help newcomers with Go. It is also an opportunity to, as a side effect, help the OGS community. So I find it hard to turn my back if I can be of some help.

But life is busy and time is valuable :thinking:. Can you tell me anything more about what you are looking for in a fellow “collaborator”? I’d like to know what that means to you and what you are specifically hoping to gain or find in this person or people that you are seeking.

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I am really glad to see this project going forward. Like you I am a big fan of ‘Interactive Way to Go’ but it is sorely dated and there is definitely an opening for a quality replacement.

First impressions: I have only viewed the new site on laptop so I don’t know how it comes across on a phone (and phones are obviously hugely important.) but that said, I found the interface/layout to be very user-friendly. Unfortunately I was immediately struck by what felt like a condescending and/or mocking tone in the style of presentation. For me it comes across as negative rather than engaging.

If it was me I would try for an engaging but less flowery style. Aiming for a fairly simple and timeless quality so that your efforts don’t become dated too quickly.

Just as an example, I would replace ‘Just 5 simple steps, nothing to be scared about’ with ‘Just 5 simple steps’ and leave it at that.

This is NOT a Tic-tac-toe

So you decided to try and learn the game you will actually NEVER be good at? Fine. Your choice. I made the same mistake after all. And in all honesty, it has been a lot of fun. Let me try to get you off to a good start.

This is the part that really jarred with me. As another example I would replace it with:

Getting to the point. Beyond tic-tac-toe. (or perhaps not bother with this red line at all)

So you have decided to investigate or learn Go. Welcome to a community that has been growing for thousands of years. Whether you wish to learn the most challenging and timeless game known to man or just want to know what all the fuss is about, let me try to get you off to a good start.

ps. Not too keen on the red sections that sway slightly when you mouse over them. As they are not links, I’m not sure what the purpose is in having that movement. It makes it a little harder to read is all.

I completely agree that this is a huge undertaking if it is to be done as close to perfectly as possible.

Thankfully, I think that it could be approached in a modular system that would allow for content (and depth) to be added over time. It should also be possible to allow users to choose the appropriate depth either autonomously or by analyzing which concepts they have a firm grasp on. This could be used to solve most of the problems with traditionally 100% scripted tutorials.

I recently came into a lot more free-time for the next few months as I am going back to school in the fall. If there is any way I could collaborate or assist in whatever capacity, I would be delighted!


Honestly, I am mostly looking for options…

In my ideal dream world, we would have a group of 3 or 4 enthusiastic people that would discuss and rewrite the texts, and think about new and interesting topics and features (I still feel like I might be missing some awesome idea to add). The system Lucas build is super simple and adjustable. After some initial introduction to change (or add) any sub-page it really is just as easy as editing a forum post and can be done online. Let noone be discouraged by the percieved technical difficulty, it is easy.

Realistically however, I will not probably get that, as people mostly have enough on their plates already. Second best option is someone who will go through the existing drafts and make comments on what is missing, hard to understand, or too heavy on my weird humour.

Third best is people willing to at least check my grammar once I feel the texts are finished. I already have several kind souls who offered, so I am happy to say that at least this option should be covered, in which case I will try to finish the texts myself over some time. That’s good enough, I just wanted to see if we could get it even more community driven.

While this sounds great, it is way beyond my technical capabilities. Unless you feel confident you would be able to build such a system in near future, I would rather start working on a decent tutorial with the system we currently have as it is easy to use to and create content, I don’t wanna postpone the thing forever. I think the progress of new players is to a certain point similar for all, to the extent of justifying a simple step by step approach.

Wonderful! Thank you for taking interest :slight_smile: I think I have expressed my ideas well enough above, so feel free to let me know what sort of collaboration would you be most interested in, either here or by PM. I started the whole thing mostly for fun, and would like it to be fun for all involved, so let me know whatever you would enjoy doing.

Hmmm, thank you for that comment. Admitadelly from the beginning I was aiming for kind of a “fun” version to combat the modern distaste for long texts, but obviously I overshot, and there is wisdom in those words :slight_smile: While I still do not want to have it completely “dry” we shall limit my “humour” marginally.


I love how it looks and how fluid/fast it works, but IMO the puzzles need more variations, like this one:


Thank you, Tom, and well spotted! :slight_smile: I have added your variation. Yes, ideally I would like to have any even remotely possible variation commented upon, to make it super beginner friendly, but it is an ongoing process and appareantly I am still missing even some good variations :smiley:


There are a few more variations there … I also tried A8 at this phase and got the same notice (but this probably rather is Ko?).

Also, it was just a random exercise, I didn’t go through all of the puzzles in the tutorial.

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Yeah, I added that one as well since I was already poking in. It’s not really even a ko. They are less optimal as it gives white more ko-threats than necessary, but works as well. Maybe I should have chosen a less variable puzzle :smiley:

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