Poll: [REDO] Pick your favorite time control settings for all future correspondence ladder games

I totally agree with this. This is why I advocate for a longer max time, to give player’s a larger buffer and more flexibility.

If the per turn increment is +1d, then whether there is a 7 day max or a 1 day max (which would effectively be simple timing with one day per move), the same average speed is enforced. It only restricts the length and frequency of breaks, which may have a superficial effect of making already fast games seem to go faster.

The decision to shorten from 7d from 3d max doesn’t actually force slow players to play faster. It just makes everyone more likely to time out due to random occasions where they miss a few days.


Can’t vacation days be used in that case? They replenish with time, so having enough of them shouldn’t be a problem for anyone who takes breaks infrequently.

As mentioned before, my own preference is to have a consistent rate of play, even if it’s a bit slower on average.


Vacation can be used when you know ahead of time, but it’s also nice having that buffer for the cases where something unexpected causes you to be away from the site or internet access for a few days.

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That’s true mathematically but practically I think it could be different. For example if a person typically moves every day, but when they get a hard choice they “pass” that game – they don’t move for a few days. For people like that increasing the max time could have an effect like “oh I have 7 days, I’ll just think about this later”.

I think vacation fits better with the behavior I’m thinking of. The increment is set to what people do 95% of the time. And vacation is for things that only happen a few times a year. It’s like if you’re playing a +10s Fischer blitz game, but you have to use the bathroom. Just pause the clock when that happens – it shouldn’t happen too often.


Also, let’s not forget that a pause on weekends squishes the time-frame to 5 days a week. So, if you e.g. have 3 Days time, and decide to leave the game on a Tuesday night, you still have time until Monday before you time out.

The official ladder is a competitive thing, and most users would like the games to go a faster pace then before, where you timeout after 3 days. I understand that some users enjoy a long-term game with 7 days for 1 move, but then again, in my opinion, it’s too long in a competitive environment.

A possible solution would be to implement another ladder with very long time settings, like 7d+3d per move, so that the players who enjoy longer correspondence don’t feel left out, while the others can enjoy shorter games.

I actually prefer faster pace games as well. That’s why I want the increment to be reduced. That actually enforces that all ladder games will move at a faster average pace per turn. Reducing the max to 3d only enforces that no one can spend more than 3d on any particular move, but still allows people to play at an average of one day per move.

A 7d max doesn’t allow players to use 7 days for every move. It only allows them to do that occasionally since they would need to build that time back up. The +1d increment still enforces that players are, on average, moving roughly once per day.

If you are only comparing these two options:

  1. 7d max +1d
  2. 3d max +1d
    then of course you’ll see that the second option results in faster average speed across all games, but the reduced max is only having effect by making the faster games go faster. I’m asking people to also consider the possibility of shortening the increment to +16h if they actually want to ensure that games move faster.

Even with a +16h increment, I agree that a 7d max might be too long, and would prefer something like 4-5d max. Even 3d max would probably work for me. My main point is that reducing just the max to 3d in an attempt to speed up games doesn’t actually ensure that games are moving faster, and that reducing the increment should be considered as well.

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I’m not arguing for 7d max, +1 over 3d max +1. However, I did find it disturbing that the time settings were quite abruptly changed a while ago.

I want people to consider what they think about the following options:

  1. 3d max, +1d
  2. 4d max, +1d
  3. 3d max, +16h
  4. 4d max, +16h

I’m arguing that if you compare these above four, that options 3 and 4 will actually move significantly faster than either 1 or 2. You may find that, in practice, option 1 is slightly faster than option 2, and that option 3 is slightly faster than option 4, but the effect of reducing the max only comes into play when a player is already frequently maxing out their clock.

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As it happens, my vote was for 3d +16h. It would be great if others got on board with the shorter increment.

With pausing on weekends, I think the 3d max should work out pretty well. People who play primarily on weekends can “load up” on time during the pause, allowing them to play just a couple times throughout the work week. If there weren’t any pausing on weekends, I’d be more inclined to vote for a higher maximum.

With so many options, will there be a runoff?

The drawback with both +8/12/16h and pausing on weekends is that it makes the timing a little bit more complicated. Something like 3d +1d or 7d +1d without pausing on weekends (I’m fine with both really) is very simple, easy to understand for new users and there is less room for misunderstandings which lead to timeouts. Other people can have other opinions on this of course, but for me simplicity and clarity is a really important aspect of something so many people on the site will be using, so I wanted to remind everyone that the pace of the game isn’t the only thing to take into account when picking these time controls.

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You seem like to say this every chance you get, however you’ll notice that the current time settings (3d 1d no weekends) outweigh any other time setting by more than two to one, so I’d like to offer that as evidence that there was actually a fair amount of discussion on the topic and the decision that was made satisfied the largest singular group perfectly. So quit harping on it :wink:

@yebellz I actually made the same arguments you are making now when we were first discussing this change a month ago - but @matburt won me over with the same point that @KillerDucky made and they are absolutely correct, here are some numbers to back them up:

We have had 873 ladder games (not counting timeouts or annulled games) complete in the past 36 days with the new time control settings. The average time to complete these games has been 7 days 6 hours 13 minutes and 7 seconds.

I look at the most recent 894 ladder games using the old time control settings that had completed within the span of 36 days, hadn’t ended in timeout and hadn’t been annulled and the average time to complete those games was 11 days 16 hours 38 minutes and 9 seconds, or 60% longer than the new time control settings. I expect to see these numbers continue to diverge as we’re able to consider a wider window as well.

So there we have it, by reducing the maximum time people are allowed to build up, games tend to move significantly faster.

Now then, would dropping the increment down to 16h or 12h speed up games as well? Surely so, but it’s not the only variable we have to work with.

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I fully agree that reducing the max setting will reduce the average length of games. I even said as much above. However, this reduction works by primarily making the faster games faster, but doesn’t force the slow games to actually move faster. If you make the fast games go faster, then of course the average will drop.

Your statistics are looking at only short games that lasted less than 36 days, hence only looking at how the already fast games have sped up. I’d be thrilled if all of my ladder games completed within a few of weeks, but with a one day per move increment, a player is at most only forced to play about a couple dozen moves in that time span. A 3d max +1d inc game could easily last months.

My whole point is that the really slow games aren’t much sped up by only reducing the max setting.

In the same vein, reducing the max isn’t the only variable that we have to work with. I’m saying that we should consider reducing the increment if we actually want to enforce faster games.

I’m sorry, but I feel the need to harp on this a bit more.

3d +1d is the current time setting. With the granularity of the poll and the inability to vote for multiple options (i.e., specifying a range that you prefer), I don’t find it surprising that the mode is on the current setting. However, you’ll notice that 17 people have voted for a settings with a max longer than 3 days compared to 16 that have voted for a setting with a max of 3 days or less.

I’m not too sure where this discussion took place before the change was made. This thread exists, but really only consisted of input from 3 moderators, none of which are even participating in the ladders. What seemed to be stale conversation that had no indication that a change was imminent suddenly ended on July 8th with a change and the thread being closed.

I think we got your point in the last posts. I’m sure the Devs will also consider the opinions of all those that want more then 3d. No worries! :smiley:

I would like to hear additional opinions aswell, though, so please, all those who vote, reply to the topic and tell us why you chose your decision.

How about vacation automatically kicks in when a player is about to time out. If his vacation is all used up, then the timeout would occur.


This is a great idea. It’s actually pretty frustrating to be in the middle of a ladder game with someone who timed out and lost their spot in the ladder (especially when you were likely to move up). If vacation kicked in automatically, then this would mitigate the issue. Players who time out for various reasons get a reprieve and their opponents don’t get irritated by that particular issue.

Obviously it would result in stalled games as people will inevitably timeout, putting us back to the issue of speed. So, automatic vacation combined with shorter increments might work together quite decently (at least to reduce the average move time for a majority of the games).

There’s still the issue of players eventually running out of vacation time and losing their place in the ladder (and irritating players who were about to move up), but at least it would be far less likely to happen.

Incidentally, I agree with you about the desireability of shortening the time/move rather than shortening the max time in Fischer timing that can be accumulated.

Short max times - If my life becomes unexpectedly complicated for a few days, I’ll time out. More games end in timeout.

Short move times (say 8 hours): I’m expected to make 1.5 moves per day on average and so is my opponent. If my life pulls me away from Go for a few days, I can draw on the time I banked. But I won’t be punished as long as my average behavior is desirable. More games get finished, and sooner.

I really don’t get why option 1 is more attractive to people.


You should consider the worst case where your opponent always answers almost right away. In that case 8 hour increment requires the slow player to move 3 times a day.

I think standard ladders should not be faster than one move a day. When you play a fast opponent this requires a 24 hour increment.

Good point, KillerDucky.

[quote=“KillerDucky, post:38, topic:1499”]
I think standard ladders should not be faster than one move a day.[/quote]

Why not?

That assumption allows you to respond to their move immediately, thus letting you build up a time bank with several moves in succession. Worst case scenario is that your opponent waits for you to go and do something else, which could be 10 minutes, an hour, or maybe even a few hours. It’s not a bad point to make, but the assumption that your opponent responds immediately without you building up any sort of a buffer is too strict.

Besides, I think saxmaam is accounting for a bigger time bank to begin with.

If you start with two weeks of time (336 hours), playing one move a day will get you 224 hours to use for the next week and 112 for the week after that. In other words, you will get 3 full weeks of one move per day. That’s only 21 moves, so pace has to be considerably quicker to keep the game going much longer.

If you play two moves a day, you get 280 hours at the start of week 2, 224 at week 3, 168 at week 4, 112 at week 5, and finally 56 at week 6. That’s 6 full weeks of 2 moves per day. That’s a total of 84 moves per player. That’s not bad.

Of course, those are using the assumption that your opponent can respond instantaneously without you providing a few responses of your own in quick succession to build up your time bank. If player X is always available, then player Y will likely be able to dedicate an hour for one day per week to knock off, say, 14 moves which matches the pace established above. If player X isn’t available to have such a session, I think it’s reasonable to assume that player X isn’t likely to be the type of player to respond in such a way that player Y loses time at a significantly faster rate. In other words, either player Y needs to build up time and is able to do so with a single hour per week (averaging less than 10 minutes per day), or there’s no pressing need to build up time.

I don’t know what kind of time frame we’re trying to achieve for completion of these ladder games, but I think a smaller increment can work with the right starting amount.

The reason that I would oppose 8 hours is that we usually have multiple games going on at once. A slower pace allows one to better handle the multiple concurrent games that occur during tournaments and various ladder challenges. That’s why my preference is 16 hours.

I’d also like to see a strict limit to the number of challenges one can play simultaneously in a single ladder to let people focus on fewer games with better pacing. An extra benefit is that this would motivate more people to challenge #2 almost as much as #1. (Is there already a limit on number of challenges? If so, make it smaller!)