Over the past few weeks we have received dozens of mod reports targeting a wide variety of players for conduct such as trolling, sandbagging, playing random moves, using AI to make moves, being an AI player, refusing to resign, refusing to score, wasting time, and cheating in general. Many of these players fall into the same pattern: a new account, playing the first games, bad moves, losing hundreds of points, won’t resign, playing well past move 300. Then they get reported and insulted and abused.
I humbly suggest to you that players fitting this description are far more likely to be BEGINNERS than they are cheaters. As it happens, OGS attracts new players daily. Many of them don’t know the rules and have come here because of our Internet search visibility hoping (for better or for worse) to learn by doing. I can totally see how more veteran players would be annoyed by these players, since Go is also a long game with an ill-defined win condition that takes a significant time commitment. At the same time, I’m appalled by the poor treatment I’m seeing in the moderation queue each day, and this coming from veteran players in our community. Unfortunately for a game like Go, 5 minutes of toxicity IS enough to make the player not want to return.
This a call to better treatment of new players.
Everyone whose opponent is a new account should be prepared that they may be facing a beginner. If that is the case, you have only two choices: (1) be prepared to help them along the way or (2) decline the challenge. My plea is that most of you will choose option #1 and help OGS live up to its advertised claim of “the best place to play Go online!”
For the remaining players who are clearly not beginners, please continue to report wrongful conduct.
I’m super in support of erring on the side of kindness and fostering new player and OGS is well designed and intuitive to use.
Might it also be worthwhile to perhaps have a short video, or perhaps walkthrough (much like discobot) for new accounts (skippable of course). My thought is the video or demo wouldn’t teach the rules of go, but rather teach how to use OGS and some proper etiquette.
There is also no low level bot for newbies to play. I think having one could help give more new players someone to get a feel for how the game is played and ends (bots don’t get upset if a newbie keeps playing doomed/dead stones, etc) [To be clear, I’m aware only users host bots, not OGS]
This is a problem caused from the design of the site. It should be OBVIOUS to new users how to get started if they want to join or play go. Therefore resources provided from the site need to ensure correct behavior. I do advocate for good behavior and never see anything mean in the chat boxes. However if this is a problem, and clearly it is, then there should be more work from site devs. One idea is if the ‘estimate score’ is like 80 to 0 then an information message could pop up with useful information. ‘Hey this game seems to be a blow out, if youre not playing at your level … resource/resign’ something along these lines .
Also it is clear that AI would likely not be training against real humans because that is incredibly inefficient.
I think , as a low level player and someone trying - slowly - to learn, there is a difference between playing a ‘new’ fellow learner and having someone manifestly play, not absurdly, but clearly cleverly…to no point.
The first is a privilege. The latter is a real unhappiness.
I’m a beginner, low ranked and aware of it.
But, perhaps, totally new players should be allocate a much lower rank than 12.3, to begin, and should earn their progress .
I really appreciate how much work, time and care - let alone Go and coding skill - goes into moderating this site.
I want to be a really small force in support. But it has really upset me at the seeming prevalence of unkind players recently.
Thanks for such a truly brilliant, brilliant, site.
You are absolutely correct. A welcome video explaining even the smallest measure of the intricacies of this community would be helpful. Although, I do think there should be some content teaching how to play, if not actual human teachers. I myself used @mark5000 's “Exercises for Beginners” as a teaching tool, but it was sheer luck that I found that. A small introductory video to be hosted on OGS would be a godsend.
The low-level bot issue is a large one. I, for one, don’t have a lot of time, so bot games are more accessible to me than player games, especially at live speed. (To make up for this, I play a lot of correspondence games.) However, the lowest bot being 8k is a major obstacle, being that I’m ~20k. To have bots at, say, 25k, 20k, and 15k, would be a great teaching tool for beginners as well as a reliable ladder function to increase rank slightly. I do think that these bots should be varied, though, because playing the same guy 200 times just makes you better against that person, not the game. It’s the variance of opponents that increases skill. Maybe have different bots for different playstyles, or bots that swap playstyles every few games? (I speak as a player, not as a programmer.)
Also, side note, I’m not aware how users host bots. Could someone explain that to me?
Actually it’s almost trivial to host a weak bot. It’s just not trivial to set it up or to maintain it. But if you’ve got a machine and broadband, there is no stopping you. All you have to do is to set up LeelaZero and feed it one of the earliest networks, make an account it uses to handle game requests to and open it to the public.
However, all of this has little to do with the PSA, it’s about how frequent OGS users treat new OGS users. :]
There are a variety for different things being mentioned here. Not all of which have to do with being a beginner and some things which may stem from deeper issues.
The first thing here is that players on OGS are not bound to an account. It is too easy to make a new account and behave poorly under the guise of a new account. Registering an account to an email should be a requirement. This will GREATLY reduce the instance of actual trolling.
The second thing is that a beginner WILL waste time, refuse to score, play random moves etc. It happens, in person, in go clubs, and on every server all across the world . It is had more to do with the ranks not properly correlate to skill. Between two 30kyu, playing a move like A1 might be new an exciting and something to wonder about. They might fill in their own territory or keep playing thinking it is possible to make an eye. However, between a 30kyu and a 1 dan this will perceived very differently or even disrespectful.
The best things then is to create a wider range of ranks or create “Rank rooms” - “Beginner Room 30K to 20K”. This will make sure that people of appropriate level players face each other. If the players are of similar level but exhibit behavior described above THEN we can take appropriate action.
However, Mark5000 is correct, We need to keep toxicity OUT of the community. Whether or not such actions are done on purpose we should behave in more friendly or at least understanding attitude. Report if we have a reasonable suspicion and move on.
@RyuoHama While it might be convenient to play robots, I suggest highly that you do not play them. Anything with actual AI will be too strong and, from what I can see, robots without AI show an extremely high level reading for their rank and exhibit odd behaviors and incoherence.
While human players show bad moves a human will have played a move for a reason that we can talk about and understand. Was this a mistake? What was his or her plan? I played this because i though this. We can learn from other people because a same level player can see what the other can see.
My opinion is that you will get much stronger by playing humans and asking yourself.
If you got the result you wanted and why did i get it here?
Could my opponents have blocked that?
If you did not get the result you wanted why? etc.
Once you have pondered about the game try it in another game. Then if the resulting trial does not workout try again or ask a stronger player.
I’m 13k, and this means I play new accounts quite often. I have a couple of suggestions:
Could the website have an option for new users to say ‘I am a beginner’? If they select it, make their first game against an opponent who’s ranked below e.g. 20k. I’m very happy playing beginners, but I’m concerned it might put some of them off - their first few games are going to be against people who are vastly better than them. And if beginners played other beginners, you might get less complaints from more experienced players.
Often, if you try to talk to new users, they don’t respond. Of course, they might not know English, but I recently had a beginner create a second account to say that their old one couldn’t use the in-game chat (something to do with the way it’s set up). It would be handy if the website could tell me that my opponent cannot chat back - then I’d know they might be reading my messages, and I might say a little more than ‘Hi’.
New accounts or more precisely, accounts to which no email address has been bound to, have no chat privileges, ostensibly to combat trolls.
Even if someone registers their account with an email address, unless they log out and log back in again, they cannot chat even if they wanted to. This tiny detail isn’t mentioned anywhere, as far as I’m aware.
i would be very happy to have this as an option and as an opportunity for myself. I mean this is a sort of feature that could very well help with all ranks across the board. A ten Kyu learning from a five kyu, and a five kyu learning from a 1 kyu or above and so on.
I would also suggest promoting the “Learn to play go” function that is already on the website. Make it visible when someone creates an account, no matter what level they say they are. I remember back about five years ago, i thought i was close to being a four kyu player,… in reality, and because i didn’t know better, i was actually around a 16 kyu level. This does happen. and only with real instruction in how these things work, can a player who is new hope to understand things better.
There is a bit of a back and forth here between what people think are important issues in relation to what is happening on OGS.
The bad manners
the Toxicity of handling new users
not enough functionality on the website to manage these issues
and lastly a way to ensure that new people only play new people.
However, i think that there are better ways of doing things that simply segregating users straight off the bat. and i do not think it wise to dictate to anyone who any one person can and cannot challenge. already in place is a system that prevents a greater ranking players record being smirched by a forced resign by a player that is being unbearably rude.
I do however think that educating new players and existing players on how to act and behave might be the better way to go about a task.
Make the “Learn to play the game” function immediatly visable on a creation of an account.
Make it so that one has to link up and confirm an e-mail.
Add the teaching game option proposed earlier. (Because that would help a lot of people.)
Upon creating a new account either put in a hyperlink to the etiquette of the game or simply list a few basic rules.
Promote the use of Call a Moderator, If and when a situation arises where a player is either being rude, toxic, or Isn’t accepting that they have lost the game. Much in the same was as when two players cannot decide what is a seki.
To make all of this possible i would suggest adding more moderators to OGS. But only to players that have proven themselves capable of being trustworthy, and have demonstrated that they have a fairly competent level of understanding of the game and an ability to mediate fairly.
I think if all of the above were put in to action then we would see a vast difference in what is now perceived as an issue that must be posted in the forums. OGS, is a great place to play GO, but it can only remain that way if the people on this site, are willing to not only help, but also do what is right in and of themselves to ensure that everyone’s experience of OGS remains as it should be, friendly, open and a great gaming experience.