Proposal: Bot games are not rated

It might seem worthwhile have bot games be not be rated. There are ways to win against a bot that are just utilizing some blind spot/glitch. The false wins will throw off rankings/ratings for the person exploiting and have ripple effects on others rankings/ratings that they have played.

See for example:

We all know newer bots such as LeelaZero, KataGo, etc. are beyond humans and there seems to be little gained by having them effect rankings/ratings.


Running a bunch of bots at SDK level, I see people exploiting them sometimes. All that happens is their rating is a bit lower on OGS than in bot vs bot play. If people want to increase their rating this way, they’re welcome to it.


Also people use bots to quickly get a roughly correct rank. That’s actually useful.


Also, deliberately exploiting a bug to play the same game against a bot multiple times is cheating and will get you kicked, this is very different to just knowing the bot has a general weakness, which you’ll find most players have if you play the same one often enough


Is that also disallowed in unranked games? What if I lose all of those unranked games?


it’s fine in unranked, though I fail to see where the joy would be in such an endeavor…


I can imagine someone curiously seeing if they can force a bot into a ladder it can’t read, or discover other “programming weaknesses”. Definitely an activity - a technical challenge - for unranked games.

However, a solid purpose to have bot games being ranked to provide newcomers with a quick way to get a rank. It’s definitely the case that some people like to do that with a bot before getting into ranked games with people.


Allowing newcomers a low pressure way to instantly get in some games to figure out their rank is too useful. Although the OPs point is certainly valid.


We have ways of detecting and rectifying people bot-cheating in this way.

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Community (by which I mean “chat”) is in consensus that losing 10 games to even ranked bots in a row, then beating low ranks is fine. Moderation is fine with statue of limitations on people having lowered their ranks with thrown games and now playing unranked with those, to lure low ranks and beat them easily. I’d like these things to change. I have omitted to report botters and sandbaggers in the last months because I didn’t feel my judgement of the situations regarding sandbagging/airbagging and bot-games overlap with that of most, in general.

I strongly agree that bot games should be taken out of ranked. If it is possible, give new accounts 5-10 slots to play bots -to get their rank- since that was the main reason given as bot-ranked games being available. This is one of the things that makes ogs ranks completely discredible for me.

I also have a word or two about (7sec or lower) blitz’s effect on ranks, but I’ll save that for another thread.


Lol, well in that case OPs concerns are not valid.

I feel like the rank becomes weird when you play all your games with one bot

Perhaps there should be a lower weight assigned to games played with the same opponent.


I am fairly new here, for many years I only played on KGS. On KGS I think ranked games against bots were completely essential to get yourself a ranking, or to make your ranking firm again if it got a ?, otherwise hardly anybody would play you.

In any case I think it is nice for new players / beginners to be able to play bots to help them get an initial rating.

Any established players who throw games to reduce their rating, or use games with bots to manipulate their rating - what on earth is the point or fun in that? If this behaviour can be detected then presumably some action could be taken.


Welcome to the Forums, @Paul_Smith. I agree with you. Just yesterday I banned a sandbagger who periodically down-ranked by playing bots. When such cases come to our attention,we do take action. However, such cases are comparatively rare, because it takes time to play a bunch of bot games. Most sandbaggers prefer to simply create an alt account.

In addition to the reason you gave for the value of ranked bot games, those games also make it possible for someone to rank up a legitimate alt account (such as one dedicated to blitz or a different board size) without inadvertently sandbagging.


I play against bots when my rating gets 17-18 k because my rating should be 16-13k or at least in real life

You can have different ratings on different sites, I don’t think you should be trying to use bots to manipulate your rank to a level you think you should have.


This is broadly true, though actually it is OK to play lower ranked opponents if you feel you need some wins, similarly its Ok to play higher ranked opponents if you need a challenge.

If you are playing lower ranked bots to get wins, this is not a lot different to playing lower ranked people to get wins, and note that it is not at face value a bad thing. How else will lower ranked players get to play higher ranked ones, if higher ranked ones don’t play down?

Indeed, what is best for the ranking system and for the community is the same here: play roughly half and half up and down. Your rank will be most accurate, and all players get to play higher and lower.

What IS a bad thing is taking advantage of particular weak spots of bots to win against them repeatedly. This is a bad thing, because unlike human opponents, the bot is not learning each time, and so your one win is being multiplied infinitely and incorrectly.

That is cheating, and will be dealt with as found and reported.


Interesting. I don’t have a problem with playing players of other ranks, I do see an issue with doing so with the express purpose of “correcting” your rank. I think it’s the motivation that’s the issue. Of course, this has veered away from practical moderation guidelines and into the moral question of sandbagging/airbagging.


One time I was playing against a bot and it automatically resigned but luckily it got annulled or it is unranked, wasn’t sure. Edit : annulled it said it couldn’t start the bot so didn’t make a move which will make it under two moves.

I think if you are, say, a dan-level player with a new account, it is better to use bots than people to get your account to a sensible rating level. For a start it is likely to be a lot quicker, and secondly weak players don’t always enjoy being crushed up by a way stronger player.

How else will lower ranked players get to play higher ranked ones,
if higher ranked ones don’t play down?

I play many games every week against lower ranked players (mostly children), a lot of them 13x13 handicap games. I find this a lot of fun (when they improve and can beat me and we have to reduce the handicap). Of course that is not for everyone. But yes, everyone should be prepared to play against people a few grades weaker than them!