Immediate game cancellation

I am very upset at how many players recently just cancel our game before or right after his or her first move. It wastes my time, it messes up my games history, and it shows a lack of respect. I don’t know if seeing that the game is being played with a handicap has something do do with it, since for some reason I never understood, very many people on OGS prefer playing without handicaps, but I have always set “handicap” do “automatic.” Is there anything that can be done about this?

I think you hit the nail on the head.

You prefer an unpopular rule configuration, and people cancel when they realized they realize what they accepted.

Probably the only thing you can do is add it to the title so people who are not interested can not accept from the start. I started doing this with correspondence games, I like to play at a faster rate. First I just adjusted the timers but too many people timed out. Now I make the name “1 or 2 moves per day” and only people looking for that kind of game accept.


Well said. Great advice :wink:

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You can politely ask them why they canceled in messages. Maybe they’ll feel a bit of shame.

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They will never, ever see it…

I don’t recommend a passive-aggressive approach to dealing with the problem.

If you are contacting people with a view to shaming them, it will come through.

People have a right to cancel games, there is no shame in it on an individual basis.

So I agree with the first part of the sentence “You can politely ask them why they canceled in messages”, in order to actually understand what people don’t like, but not the second part of the sentence.

If a particular player is accepting then cancelling an undue number of games, you can report it and we can explore with them how to avoid that. This has been done in the past.

However, if you yourself are receiving a large number of cancels from a range of people, then the onus is on you to try to be clearer to people what they are in for when they accept, as suggested by Vicktor, and possibly offer more acceptable games.

(Bhydden’s comment alludes to the fact that people are not great at reading the game details on the game page - that’s just an unfortunate fact to contend with, but I think it doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying).


Maybe the game details are not presented as well as they could be from a UX perspective. There’s an avenue for a fix :slight_smile:

I would love to offer a better design that makes people pick up on unusual settings fast, but I’m too clueless on the topic. No concrete ideas :confused:

Well, you are poking at a topic of interest here, so let me share my experience with this.

We get complaints from people who end up in games with custom komi and crazy time settings. So first I implemented a warning sign with a pop-up if you mouse over it saying “custom komi” or “unusual time setting”. The warning sign icon :warning: was located next to the other game parameters (to the immediate right of “Time”).

This made little noticeable difference to people accepting games with these parameters.

So then I moved the warning icon over next to the accept button.

Still no appreciable difference in the number of people getting “sucked in”.

So then I made it so that if you mouse over the accept button with a warning icon next to it, you get the pop up. You literally can’t accept one of these games without a popup that tells you there will be something unusual.

People still accept those games then complain that the settings were unusual.

So believe me when I tell you it is hard to get people to listen to you telling them information they need to know about a game they are about to accept…


Are you using the automatch feature by any chance @amodeo?

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Thanks for sharing! I believe you that it’s hard :sweat_smile:

The solution is obviously an uncancelable 5-second popup window asking you if you are SURE you want to play with those settings.

Alternatively, you implement an uncancelable 5-second popup window asking you to confirm that by accepting this game with unusual settings, you waive your right to complain about this match afterwards.



I think that people accept first and think later because thinking takes time and meanwhile the game offer could be accepted by someone else (game offers often last only a few seconds). So the “Accept Game” button has become a “Reserve this game for me while I think about it” button. For comparison, IGS penalizes cancelled games with a half-loss, so this stuff almost never occurs there.

IGS also doesn’t use an ‘open challenges’ / room design, but a direct challenge system and most recently an automatch feature (allowing you to opt out of handicap games similar to OGS’ automatch settings).

If you directly challenge someone, they can reject the request without penalty. Only if you’ve already expressly agreed to the conditions and then cancel the game will you incur a penalty.

No. I always choose Create and then set all the parameters.

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Thanks for all the replies. I guess it was a little silly of me not to think about the fact that most people don’t read things such as proposed game details. I will just put up with it. It’s no big deal. I wouldn’t want to see changes made to the system that could mess up other things.

By the way, can anyone answer either of these questions?

(1) How do you cancel a game, and is there a simpler procedure during the first few moves?

(2) Does anyone have any idea why so many games on OGS between players whose ranks differ by more than 1 are played without a handicap? Anyplace else I have played, there are always players who never used handicaps, but I had the impression they were not more than 10-20% of the players.

I also thought more people would be playing handicap games than not, but flovo pulled up some stats in this post here and it surprised me :slight_smile:

I think a button to cancel appears at the start of the game before moves are played?

  1. You can cancel a game (without rank loss) if there is less than two moves. Basically by placing a stone you confirm you willingness to play the game. Once both players “agree” this way the game is ranked.

  2. Hard to say exactly I guess, partially it may be because no-handicap is a default setting (so those who don’t care play without), partially it is community preference I guess :slight_smile:

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Having played a few handicap games, I don’t want to play it any more. The reason is it is very hard, especially with more than 4 stones. With a game starting with 99% chance of losing, I don;t really know what to do. Most of moves are “irrational”, I won only because my opponents did not know better. Mentally I felt like I was “cheating”.

But I would play on once I accepted. Now I am just careful not to accept handicap games unless I am the one who is given handicap. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

A properly handicapped capped has a 50% chance of losing.


I know exactly how you feel. I too am not a big fan of HC games. Basically I feel forced to overplay and hope opponent does not punish, which feels all the worse as I think that if the opponent actually tries to copy some of the moves they are technically mistakes and should not work…

I guess it can be more fun, as it is a sort of a challenge and excitement, but as a means of a “good example” game I do not like it.