It Might Be Better if Friendly Matches Aren't Ranked

You can use the rating for the pairing but then don’t take in account the results (so not recalculating the rating after the game.)

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How reliable will it be, especially that you can’t correct for rating mistake? Other idea is to add invisible rank which only ogs can access, but again how reliable it would be if I’ll just quit unranked game when I get bored or something. It’s not ranked so why use my nerves on it? No unranked games at all in such case, everything is ranked now :skull:

I ask for a game based on my rating.
Then i don’t want it to change it because i dunno, i m tired, i want to watch that movie ot i will have to eat a bit…
What s the reliability problem?

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If you play unranked for a prolonged period of time it’s likely to deviate the more time you avoid playing ranked.

It might not be a case for you, but nothing stops your opponent from doing that.

Maybe i am, simply said, less focused on rating but i don’t see things like this. Not at all. Deviation? What’s that?

Just a statu quo for one game. Why not?


While we may not continue the UI discussion, I’d like to outline a specific use case I had in mind.

Imagine a scenario where a veteran player and a beginner inadvertently start a match in Ranked mode for practice purposes. If the veteran decides to resign to conclude the session, the beginner’s rating could become abnormally high. This could lead to difficulties in being matched with suitable opponents in future automatic matchmaking.

It might be easy to say that the oversight was on the veteran’s part for not checking the settings. I understand that playing several more ranked games and enduring many losses could eventually correct the rating to a more appropriate level.

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That’s not correct. One resign when losing.
If your student don’t understand you can use the pause feature to wait

While this would indeed distort the player’s rankings, I think the overall system would suffer more if unranked was set as a default setting, resulting in many more unranked games and a less accurate ranking system - simply due to inertia.

We would probably also get a number of newcomers to OGS who are wondering why they are still ? ranked after playing 10 games and not noticing the checkbox.

I think the actual solution to your issue is to introduce a special “teaching game” option which is unranked and specific to this type of game, including more tools available to the teacher to guide exactly how the teaching game progresses. This feature has been proposed and discussed here in the past.


There are several ways to potentially implement matchmaking for unranked games.

  1. Disregard rank altogether when making pairings (i.e, random pairing game).
  2. Use a player’s rank (from their ranked games). It’s possible that this might be inaccurate if they don’t play a lot of ranked games, but often it would not be.
  3. Use a hidden “ghost” rank (which is calculated based on a player’s performance in unranked games, but this is never shown to the users). This strategy is used in some other online games.

Overall, for unranked games, player’s might be inherently less concerned about being paired up by skill.

However, maybe implementing unranked automatch games is not a good idea overall. One potential issue is that further splits the player pool, which might increase the delay in getting an automatch pairing.

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Thank you very much for your comments; I’ve come to understand that it might be challenging in reality.

I have only used the auto-match finder for rated matches, and when initiating games from the friends list, it has been solely for educational purposes. This might be why I particularly felt this way.


I get an impression that you just try to convince that accurate matchmaking has no value and if so, then inherent flaws of proposed solutions you give aren’t important and can be neglected.

I don’t think that it’s the way to advocate for something by question value of “better”, “more pleasant” and “more efficient”.

All my further polemic will develop from agreed universal truth (axiom).
(1) having even games against random people of equal or close to equal strength is better then matchmaking for even game against random people with bigger skill gap.
(2) When playing two games games with different levels of stakes, one game has some stakes and second one has no stakes except intrinsic motivation, player would put more effort in winning first game while putting lesser effort based on axiom(3).
(3) Amount of effort put to a go game directly effects the outcome, making victory more likely when compared to the game in which player puts lesser effort in reading, judgment and other parts of the game that require conscious application of mental effort.

If you disagree with this statement then reading further has no meaning to it.

1st Paragraph refutation:
Based on axiom(1) it’s inferior solution to that of keeping rank system and thus delivering better playing experience for all users.

2nd Par. ref.:
You cannot rely on constant rank being a correct representation of player strength due to naturally occurring improvement or deterioration of skill due to various factors such as little amount of practice or loss of cognitive abilities with age.
If rank cannot be corrected(modified) to accurately represent new conditions(playing strength) => then it cannot be used as an accurate representation of playing strength.

3rd Par. ref.:
Ghost rank means that player will not know about its existence and will treat games that are ghostranked as unranked games.
Instead of representing full, maximum strength of players abilities in ranked games due to lesser motivation, based on axiom(2), playing strength can vary through all spectrum from 1% of effort to 100% of effort put, which makes it less precise when compared to the possible deviation from 75% to 100%.

“Ghostranked” rank being a median of different possible strengths levels will have possible precision error up to ±50%.
“Ranked” rank possible deviation will be smaller then any deviation of “ghostranked” rank due to substantially smaller set of possible strengths making it more precise with a smaller precision error.

Having higher precision in “ranked” rank then in “ghostranked” rank makes players more precisely paired when relying on “ranked” rank.
Since players get more precisely pared based on axiom(1) it’s better(superior) solution to rely on rank derived from “ranked” games as opposed to “ghostranked games.

It is possible to save game settings. If there is a particular type of game that you like playing with friends - unranked ultrablitz 21x21 games, say - then you can save this and re-use it, instead of having to type it all out each time you challenge a friend.


Now that Jigo has been implemeted I wonder if there is scope for introducing a third way of ending games. At the moment a game can end when both players pass, or when one resigns. But perhaps there could be scope for a “terminate” option. If you click on “terminate” then your opponent gets a request to consent and, if they agree, the game is declared a draw.

You would probably want to add some restrictions to it to prevent losing players bombarding their opponents with terminate requests. Maybe you can only use it X times per game, like pauses, and if your final request is denied the game is ended and auto-scored. Or, maybe, if your request is declined then you are auto-resigned.

Another possibility is that if it is your turn to move then only your opponent can request it, so you would have to ask for it in chat. So, if one of you is using zen mode, or you don’t speak the same language then this option wouldn’t be available (effectively) but this isn’t an issue for teaching games.

Draws are so finely balanced in Go, I can’t imagine agreeing to a draw before the late endgame being reasonable for anyone below pro level. I wouldn’t feel confident agreeing to a draw on 9x9 with only 2 easy endgame plays and a few dame left, but I’m only 3k, probably a dan player would

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Haven’t yet read the whole thread, but I’m totally FOR playing ranked, and this being the default.
I find the system of Handicap and Komi very “friendly”—towards both the stronger and the weaker players, and only ranked games keep the rank system alive.

But when it’s seriously about “friendly”—I’d MUCH more prefer if it was named “invitation” (to a game) rather than “challenge” :blush:
Yeah, I’m a peacenik :smile:


+1 for ranked by default (current behaviour).

IMO, unranked games are only really useful when:

  • (a) a player is “breaking the rules” in some way that precludes ranking (such as actively helping/reviewing/teaching their opponent during the game) or
  • (b) a player is more-than-usually distracted/inebriated/etc.

The rest of the time, I think we should be pushing players toward ranked games. The more data in the system, the more we can improve it, which in turn helps everyone find good games.


I feel like ranked games should be the default so that the rating system would gain more data (and to guide new accounts into playing ranked games), but i do also think that “friendly match” is somewhat misleading default name.

In the world of football, “friendly match” is usually used for practice matches which do not affect any standings or ratings whatsoever. I guess on OGS uses it in the sense of “not part of any tournament, league, or ladder” but yeah it’s bit weird term to use for a ranked game.

Tho the default name is just a suggestion based on which language setting you’re using, if/when you change the custom game into something different that will be saved on your cookies and you then have that as the suggested default name. Once you change the suggested defaults, those new settings will be saved on your cookies and used as your defaults for the next time you create a custom challenge.


For me accepting “friendly match” game request is more inviting then “death match”. I want to have a sportsmanship, in tournaments people still shake hands, bow or say “have a nice game”. I often would write “hi” or “gg” before the game. I’m not advocating for it, but I will accept undo if opponent obviously misclicked, though it happens more and more rarely as you go up in rankings.


What is a “friendly match”? I never learned this phrase anywhere in my go playing. Are normal go games supposed to be hostile? Anyway, I myself would call all of my games friendly, yet I want them all to be ranked so that I can see if I’m developing either good or bad strategies without realizing it. I’ve learned a lot by seeing my rank going down or going up over time. Disclosure: I play only 9x9 games, in case that invalidates my comment.


If you needed clarification, that’s how I see it.

“Friendly match” is just default naming convention for custom games if you don’t write your own name and leave field empty. OP calls direct custom challenges to players and all custom games (maybe even without realizing it) “Friendly matches” likely just because they have respective name in his game history.
Only because he uses custom challenges mainly (or exclusively. It wasn’t clear which of two from OP) to make direct game invites to his saved friends and tend to miss “ranked” checkbox on regular enough basis and ends up playing ranked games against his friends when he didn’t intend to.

“Friendly game(s)” don’t equal to ranked games in his mind. It should be fixed to unranked by default (whatever that means) for all use cases of custom games even though OP personally uses custom matches only in one single instance of all instances other players use custom games for.

Personally if this change will be implemented and if unranked will be a default out of the box option I’ll just change it to ranked. Since ogs just saves your preferences it will be ranked for me next time I use custom match, so it won’t effect me at all.

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