The "how long have you played?" question is disrespectful

I created a new account on OGS to test something, and I was greeted with a question “how long have you played?”. Based on my answer the site gives me a rank. What OGS needs to understand is that players improve at different rates. I know plenty of people at the 6 kyu level that has played for years. On OGS these people are forced to lie to get their rank. Being stuck at 10 kyu for years isn’t uncommon either but on OGS these people must select “10 months”. It’s like OGS is telling them that they suck. If you have played the game for a few months chances are you know your rank and don’t need to answer a question like this. This isn’t a good way to greet new players to the site imho.


OGS has been through several iterations of the “rank question”. No matter how they do it, there are always some newcomers who place themselves as 6d. Especially with the multi-button solution ([Complete Beginner], [Novice], [Select Rank]) - people will simply not read anything on the screen.

I like the time+rank slide as it is now because it tells the new user so much with a minimum of text. You can see how the rank scale works and even if you are one of those who “prepare” themselves for 6 months in isolation with GNU Go, the site can suggest a rank for you.

Is the question disrespectful? Well…

  1. “Lying” to the machine should not make you as uncomfortable as giving the answer to another player
  2. To an experienced player, it is obvious that the question is really not about the time at all and they will simply ignore it
  3. I know that many players are uncertain about their rank and they need help choosing one. It takes a rare looking-to-be-offended kind of person to know their accurate rank for sure, and expect the site not to suggest that it could have been achieved in whatever time frame.
  4. You did not actually suggest any alternative or improvement.

I don’t need to suggest an alternative to give an opinion about something. Anyway, the question should be rephrased or removed all together. Plenty of people never become dan level and they have to lie, the site makes a childish assumption and it’s disrespectful. Maybe the question can be an alternative for beginners, but one shouldn’t be forced to lie about how long one has played to create an account.

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If the question is rephrased, how would you phrase it? If the question is removed, how would you have the new user pick their rank? Assume that they have no clue what a “kyu” or a “dan” is.


Speaking as a moderator, I can tell you that the number of users selecting the wrong rank has dropped a lot since we implemented the time/rank slider. I see how it may be disrespectful though. Removal of the question isn’t really an option because it would take the number of incorrect rank selects to old levels, which is more work for mods.

We could correlate labels instead of time. For example, a slider from “never played” through “beginner” and “novice” and “intermediate” and “advanced” to “near professional.” (The precise words don’t really matter.) But I don’t think that would be an improvement in terms of mod work.

My two cents.


I would probably remove it and let people chose their rank themselves, and add an explanation for beginners regarding what rank they should choose. explaining that If you have played for 1 month you might want to pick 20 kyu, if you are completely new choose 30 kyu, something like that. Could also add that OGS has fairly strict rankings, similar to KGS/EGF,

Having labels like that sounds a lot better.

Certainly wasn’t meant to be disrespectful. Our goal there is to maximize the likelyhood that someone selects something close to the correct rank they are to reduce the need for later moderation of honest players. As @mark5000 said, when we had the old rank selector we had far more inaccurate ranks selected. If we make 1 person a little uncomfortable for a few seconds vs. saving hundreds of people from selecting the wrong rank and all that comes with that then I’ll take it.

Obviously we are always looking for ways to improve it from a user experience selector, but we’re definitely not going back to the old way, so any other UX suggestions are absolutely welcome.


Maybe an alternative would be put a button: “I know my rank from other servers” and then let the person choose the rank without asking the time.



Have you played < 50 games? (set to 25)
Do you know your rank from server or other ranking system? (enter rank and server/system)
Otherwise … the slider? And maybe make the slider rank estimations less optimistic?


These are all things that we have tried in the past :wink:


I mean, do all of them. In order

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I guess a totally different approach could be to have ranking bots.

You could add some pseudo-legalese at the bottom:

  • This timescale is for entertainment purposes only and can in no way be construed as a guarantee for your rank after any given time period.

If you can make it funny, it should take away most of the sting of falling below a standard.


That is a great idea. :slight_smile: I love fanfics which take something which should be dry, and make it hilariously comical.

Now I’m starting to feel inferior. I’ve seen that timescale thing when registering and not a single thought about how disrespetful it is have crossed my mind. What’s wrong with me? Is there any way to get stronger at taking offence online? :slight_smile:


It’s not really a big deal. Still wouldn’t choose to do it like how it is now though.

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Consider yourself lucky you don’t have to worry about being offended by every little thing. :slight_smile:

Consider taking a small starting level of offence from a bot, or from a more offensive player. When you find that you are getting annoyed reliably, then you can reduce the starting level of offence.

Eventually you will be playing on even terms, and eventually, losing your temper like Sato Tadanobu.


I have a suggestion(that’s not so directly related to this problem)
What I’m concerned is that it only takes 5 game for a player to get out of provisional status. Yet for some player whose it’s initial rank selection is >3-4 stone off, 5 game not enough to adjust their rank to the proper level. So it start to artificially inflate/deflate other’s rank.

So what I suggest is in addition to the 5 game limit, 1) make the status stay provisional until they have two win against someone who is within 1 rank difference of their current rank. (or with some other possible combination) 2) make the status stay provisional until they have their first ranked loss against someone of similar strength OR if play a large amount of game (say 30).

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