Questions Re "alt sandbagging" and provisional rank

I read something interesting in another topic that is now closed:

The interesting thing was this from @Conrad_Melville:

So, firstly, thank you to the mod team for dealing with this plague. Bravo to you all!

This is the first time I’ve heard of alt sandbagging so I have some questions.

  1. Re alt accounts in general: let’s say I’m 7 kuy live + correspondence and I set up a alt account to use for blitz. I play worse blitz so might expect blitz account to be, say, 10 kuy. When the account is new, rank is [?] but would converge on correct rank in due course. Is it sandbagging while rank is [?] and is it sandbagging while rank is converging (presumably from lower values)?

  2. What about strong players that join from other servers. They will also have a period of rank = [?] and then maybe lower rank while they converge on correct value. This is outside their control so is it fair that they are banned?

  3. I agree that it would be lovely if people put their rank in their username or ranked up against bots but it is unrealistic to expect people to do that. Wouldn’t it make more sense to allow people to set their rank when they sign up? At least then it is approximately correct from the outset. Other Go servers do this (you know which one I mean :wink:). IIRC the OGS reason against this is that it is potentially confusing for beginners. DGS deals with this with guidance notes: “If you are a beginner, put 30 kuy”, etc. OGS could even have it as an optional field. It just doesn’t make sense to me to force every account to start from the same provisional strength when users could just give the system a clue of where to start their rating from.

  4. Immediate ban of alt accounts that haven’t ranked up yet seems harsh. How are they supposed to rank up if they get banned before they get the chance?

Apologies if I have misunderstood. I am certainly not criticising the mods - just trying to understand the situation.

Thanks :smiley:

  1. alts, especially for specific play pararmeters like board size or speed, are permitted.

  2. new users are also permitted

  3. AFAIK that’s just how Glicko is

  4. we obviously don’t ban all alt accounts… firstly, like with any other matter, if we believe the situation is getting concerning, we warn the user first that they are stepping out of bounds. More importantly, even this step is only considered once the case becomes egregious. A handful of accounts is fine, we don’t have a hard line but it’s more than generous… and then, only when the alts are all used for ranked games (essentially something like 13 accounts all ranked 2 kyu, with a new account that is palying ranked games against 10 kyu) - (numbers were made up examples, each case is judged on its own merits)

If I have misspoken in any way, I am sure I can rely on CM to correct me :slight_smile: he is by far our foremost expert on this matter…


I think that creating alts in itself is not a problem, nor is it the alt accounts ranking up. It becomes sandbagging once these accounts are created, play a couple of ranked games, and then are abandoned in favour of creating a new account.

The abandoning, for me, needs to be present before it’s proven that the accounts are actually used for sandbagging, and not just by a user who wants to play with several accounts for whatever non-sandbagging related reason.


I still believe that Glicko should be able to handle users dropping in with a certain rating without too much of a problem. And even if it doesn’t, we could use our “humble rank” system to let the match-maker decide what rank a player is starting with, and let the Glicko rating catch up speedily like it normally does.

This is a completely different discussion, though, and something for another thread, really.


here we go again :grinning:


I’m not sure if this proves me right or proves my futility. Perhaps both. :man_shrugging:


Welcome to mod life. Right futility :rofl:


OK, questions answered. Thanks. Now, quick! Close the thread before it explodes!


Lololol petition to re-open previous thread

So I can fill it with sandbags :smiling_imp:



Glicko has nothing to do with it. Glicko has a fixed start rating, but it does not force you to use it for matchmaking. One can easily do something similar to “humble ranking”, asking new users for their strength and then adjusting the matchmaking until glicko is sure about the players rank.


It would at least alleviate unintentional sandbagging. Allowing users to pick their initial ranks might actually be a nice tool for trolls though…

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Question 1: typically how strong are those sandbagers and how lower ranks do they pretend to be?

Question 2: what is your view on accepting games from much weaker players?

I don’t have an information on (1), but (2) I think it’s fine as long as they are within the rank allowed by the game. Example:

Scenario: 20k makes a challenge with “restrict rank” set to +/-9 stones.

Behavior #1: 12k accepts the game. This is okay in my opinion
Behavior #2: 2d with a new [?] account accepts the game. This is wrong.

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I recently entered the 19x19 ladder. My OGS rank is 3d. I’m trying to rise a quickly as possible, so I callenged the highest placed DDK players that I can challenge. Ladder games are without handicap.

Am I sandbagging? If you feel I am, what should I do? If I resign those games, I might be sandbagging even more. Should those games be annuled? Or it is fine that I did this (after all, this is how OGS ladders are supposed to work)?


I think: no, you’re not. Ladder participants know they can be challenged by any player in the ladder of any rank at any time and they have to play. They can also see your rank is 3 Dan. If I was that DDK, I would just think “Boy, oh boy! This is going to be tough!” and sit back in awe as I get ripped apart.

Does beg the question though… Would you not even challenge SDK for a little bit of a challenge…?


No, that’s not sandbagging from what I learned here. Sandbagging is when you hide your strength and bully weaker players.

In your case, you are just an outright bully. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ok, that’s your only way up and you do what you have to do in my view.


I suppose I will have no other choice when I get higher up in the ladder, but until then, I’m just trying to be as lazy as possible :innocent:.


I’m above you in the ladder. You can challenge me when you get higher. I am currently 7 kyu so should be an easy win for you. I will have to complicate with kamikaze move (attach to opponents first stone they play) :laughing:


Sandbagging is trying to appear as if you’re weaker than you are. You appear as a 3d, which you are, so that’s not a problem.

Making new [?] accounts is a way of hiding your actual rank to get more games against weaker players, so that is a form of sandbagging.


I’d love to, but I already spent my 3 challenges, so it may take a while before I can challenge you.