I was thinking about mark5000’s recent post on beginners, and generally about the problems arising from people trying to jump right into Go without really knowing what’s going on, and an idea popped into my head: what if we had a “request teaching game” option in game creation?
Users selecting this option would be added to a “teaching game requests” queue on the game request page. Players of a certain minimum strength (maybe 5 ranks above the new player, or 15k for new accounts), could accept a teaching game request and play an unranked game in which they could share variants with the new player, and generally chat with them about their moves. Ideally, this’d give new players an opportunity to learn the game with someone that’s ready to teach, rather than whoever pops up in automatch, and pair them with someone that’s going to be reasonable in dealing with beginner problems, like not knowing how to score or when a game is over. More experienced players could also request teaching games in order to work on their game with someone stronger. Ideally, there’d also be a “preferred language” drop down when creating teaching games, since being able to chat with your teacher/student is a great aid for learning, and not everyone speaks English.
Most of this is available, of course, in a custom match, but explicitly calling a teaching game what it is might make experienced players more likely to accept. I know that I, personally, don’t usually go into challenges with someone more than three ranks below me, even if they’re unranked, because I figure they want a competitive game, not a potentially instructive loss.