[suggestion] "Limbo" State for Ladder Exits

Current implementation and issues:

  1. When a player withdraws from a ladder, they automatically resign all of their ongoing games in that ladder, which is usually undesirable. The workaround is to play out those games, while canceling any new challenges. However, this has the drawback of potentially giving a bunch of people free climbs up the ladder.
  2. When a player times out in a ladder game, they are removed from the ladder ranking, however their other games in that ladder are kept ongoing but are now meaningless in terms of ladder promotion. The opponents in those other games are now stuck with playing out ranked games that have no impact on the ladder and the challengers that ultimately win are robbed on an earned promotion.

Please correct me if the above is wrong in describing how the site currently behaves, or if there are some simple workarounds to address these issues.

Proposed implementation change: Create a “limbo” state for players leaving the ladder that allows for cleaner ladder exits with less disruption.

  1. A player enters limbo for a particular ladder if they withdraw or time out from a game on that ladder, while they still have other games ongoing in that ladder.
  2. When in limbo, they cannot send or receive any challenges, however, they still remain in the ranking of the ladder.
  3. Any games finished by a player in limbo affects the ladder ranking as usual.
  4. Once all remaining games are finished, the player leaves limbo and fully exits the ladder. They can only rejoin after fully exiting from the ladder, but they will start over at the bottom.
  5. A player cannot leave limbo, except by finishing all of their remaining games and exiting the ladder. This is to prevent players from abusing limbo to avoid receiving challenges for preserving position.



I really like this idea. As a process, it seems quite elegant. I don’t know how difficult it would be to implement, but it’s worth consideration in my opinion.

The only thing I might add is that having the #1 player (just for example) start at the very bottom seems a tad bit harsh. They should be able to challenge for the position that they just lost (or some other position below the one they lost) following completion of all of their unresolved ladder games. I don’t know if they should only get that one chance to move back up, but there should be some fair way to make up for an accidental timeout.

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I think that this is a separate but also important issue. It does seem quite harsh to completely knock a player off the ladder just for one timeout. Perhaps some sort of grace mechanism or a limited drop would be a reasonable compromise between the current implementation and the previous implementation (which did not punish timeouts at all).

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So you sorta get this behavior by default. If you have other games in the ladder still ongoing after you timed out and you win one of these after rejoining the ladder then you have a chance to move back up to that place where your opponent was.


Interesting point matburt, but it doesn’t always apply. For example, someone could timeout in their only ongoing ladder game. Or you could get the peculiar situation where both players have timed out recently, so neither can use each other to move up.

An idea: What if they simply dropped to the lowest position where they’d still be allowed to challenge for their old position? That would seem a fair compromise to me. Of course it still doesn’t address the issue of implicitly punishing their opponents who were hoping to move up before the timeout occurred, but yebellz’s proposal would handle that particular problem.

(To expand on the peculiar situation mentioned above: if both players timed out recently, then the lower ranked player should only be eligible to move up to to the higher ranked player’s new position, which is of course further down the ladder than it was previously.)

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Originally, there was a provision on the ladder that you could challenge people not only based on your current position, but also based on your rating (see https://web.archive.org/web/20130219061713/http://online-go.com/faq.php?name=ladder for old ladder FAQ). I don’t know why that was removed, but I would like to get it back. It allows strong players new to OGS to move through the ladder much more quickly and improves the ladder experience for all players, IMO.


In regards to the original issue of not being able to conveniently withdraw from a ladder should you wish to no longer participate, I suppose there is another workaround:

Continue playing your ongoing games (the ones that are past the point of cancelability), but timeout on the next challenge you receive (or one of your ongoing games that are still within the early cancelable stage). This would remove you from the ladder to prevent future challenges (and subsequent free climbs from having to cancel). However, the drawback of this workaround is that it robs your opponents in your ongoing games (that are lower in the ladder) from a potential ladder climb for winning.

@herminator: I’d argue that there’s a great sense of accomplishment from playing your way all the way up from the very bottom. Of course that’s why it hurts so much when you get dropped back to the bottom due to a technicality (hence my support for a less harsh penalty).

In any case, being able to go to the top right away would lessen one’s satisfaction in my opinion

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@Jamada: I don’t think there is much sense of accomplishment for dan players in slaughtering DDKs on their way to the top. I’m currently at the top of the ladder, and the interesting games were, roughly, those against players in the top 50 who are at least 5 kyu.

Of course, it is a discussion you can have, and if most players feel that it is a bad idea, then so be it. But I don’t like it much that the developers just removed that option without consulting the community about it at all.

EDIT: Or perhaps “removed” is not the right word, but rather they did not re-implement the ladder the way it was before.

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That’s a good point, but I wasn’t really thinking about the individual matches themselves. To me, there’s just something nice about seeing your rank go up and up and up. Even against weak opponents, there’s a sense of accomplishment in terms of movement up the ladder, eventually reaching your destination after a long journey.