Too many pop-ups in the initial page

That seems good—this needs discussion before we implement. As with any feature set, though, it needs a certain level of executive decision when we move forward. So far I’ve seen great management of this app’s feature set, so I have high confidence.

It seems like what needs to happen is:

  • catalog the types of notifications we have/want
  • catalog users’ concerns
  • create a working draft of an ideal user experience that serves both needs well and is extensible
  • follow up here to talk implementation details before attempting to write it.

I’ll try my best to start organizing this data so we can move forward responsibly.

Potential development course proposed

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More notification feedback

I’m glad to see that the developer is bringing up the policy and design decisions that need to be discussed and worked out. I think his points highlight that we need to think about how we might want to use this feature as much as what we want this feature to look like.

I think there is as much (and possibly more) that needs to be solved in terms of policy (decision making and behavior by those in charge of the notification system) as the implementation/code changes. While there are issues that exist with the implementation, the code is not the only problem, and addressing some issues can be done with only policy changes (without having to wait for code updates). Further, thinking more about the policy will also help clarify what the code/implementation should be.

What is the current decision process that initiates and decides upon each site-wide notification?

What are the criteria for deciding that something is worth a site-wide notification and banner display?

  • When posting someone’s Twitch stream, OGS is essentially just providing them a free ad and also potentially directs some traffic away from the server. I think OGS should be judicious about which streamers receive this privilege.

Why aren’t major events also announced and cataloged elsewhere (like in the forums)?

  • In the discussion above, I think @Kosh made a great suggestion about better utilizing the forum in coordination with these notifications. After all, if something is important enough to warrant a site-wide notification, I think we should want a forum post about it as well.
  • Forum posts for such events would have multiple benefits:
    1. It could reduce clutter by consolidating events that require multiple links (e.g., tournament relays that need multiple demo boards) into just one notification about the forum post.
    2. It would help raise awareness of the event before it happens, allowing people to schedule and plan.
    3. It would serve to catalog the event, so that people can still find and learn about it after it happened (e.g., viewing the game records of a tournament that’s over, or even just viewing the game records of the previous round while it is still ongoing).
  • The current notification system completely fails to provide the last two benefits, however, these issues could be immediately addressed by making a policy change to require a forum announcement for such events.
  • This situation is a real shame for those that are actually interested in these events. The ephemeral nature of the notification system means that past events (or even just earlier rounds of currently ongoing tournament relays) essentially disappear, becoming very difficult to find out about after the fact (if they have not also been cataloged on the forum or elsewhere).
  • For example, consider the Polish Go Championship (as seen in the screenshot in the original post), where, now that the event is over, it’s like the relay and recording of games on OGS are practically gone. Imagine a user that wanted to find these game records, how would they find these links now, or even know that they exist on this server? Also, this user might be disappointed by not having had more advanced notice that this event would be relayed via OGS.
    Note: if you search the forum about this event, you will find some cataloging of the live relay for 2018 and earlier years, but no mention on the recent 2019 edition.

I think, a few days ago, I saw another tournament relay with multiple notifications for each of the parallel boards. Not only are the multiple notifications annoyingly unnecessary, it also suffers the same fate of disappearing into the aether now that it is over (since it does not seem to be cataloged elsewhere).

Please consider quickly adopting the policy proposal suggested by @Kosh, which I will restate below:

  • Require a well-organized forum post to announce each event, provide information, and consolidate all necessary links (to demo boards, external streaming commentary, etc.).
  • Use only one site-wide notification, pointing to just the forum post.

I don’t know about this one. If this is about banning streamers who badmouth OGS, that may be tempting but you probably don’t want people to fear losing their right to notifications if they bring up an issue. If you want to encourage streamers to use OGS, the stronger ones will have a hard time finding even games anyway. Newer streamers also need more exposure. If limits are needed, it is probably better that they are the same for all and fairly objective. What about periodic limits per streamer, maybe more generous towards newer ones? I guess in this case a few extra notifications for those who use OGS when they use it would be ok.

Speaking of limiting the number of notifications, what about randomly notifying only part of the users? This may sound like a weird idea (and probably is one), but it would effectively limit the number of notifications users get, and it would allow nuance : important notifications would go to everyone, less important ones will only go to 10% users or something. This way it may even be possible to give limited notification rights to users when they want to organize some kind of small event like a collective game review. Chat and forum already can do this job, but not all users use them so maybe this is better suited (or maybe it is worse because non forum non chat users might overwhelmingly ignore these notifications - but that might be worth a try). And next instead of notifying random users, notifications would go to those who are most likely to answer them based on past events and profile information… oh god please don’t go that way.

Another thing that I haven’t seen expressed would be the ability for users to filter notifications they get, maybe based on keywords or tags, blacklist and whitelist. Though this sounds like quite a bit of effort for dubious benefit right now but this might allow for more liberal use of notifications, since users would be able to just opt out of everything they don’t want, or opt in to what they want. Good default behavior would also be important.

The forum interaction ideas sound fantastic and don’t seem to require much work. Speaking of forum interactions (but probably requiring more work), what about notifications for polls or forum posts that are looking for player attention (feedback, polls, public lessons…)? This would have the benefit of bringing more people to the forum by bringing up it’s existence through interactive events. It would also allow people to reach a broader audience than just forum users, which I assume are a small minority of players. Overall I think more interaction between forum and main site would foster community growth. Obviously not everyone can be allowed to make site wide notifications on a whim so there should be some rules I think the idea is interesting.

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Case in point, I was under the impression that the U.S. Masters tournament from this year’s US go congress was relayed on OGS. I searched the forums for these games the other day and could not find any mention of them, nor figure out a different way to search the server for them.


To expand upon the Polish Go Championship example, the decline in its coverage over the years really demonstrates the problem.

2016 had a great forum post organizing all of the information

2017 does not seem to be mentioned in the forum at all

I don’t know if the games were actually relayed or not. Maybe @Revar_Isave or @silk would know?

2018 has a (partial?) catalog of the relay split over two posts

Auxiliary information is missing and the organization isn’t that great, but at least one can find some of the games.

2019 seems to be missing from the forum as well

However, I know that the tournament was in fact relayed (see picture in the original post), and there was even twitch stream for commentary. In theory, all of those game records are sitting on the OGS server somewhere, and the twitch streamer has probably archived the commentary stream as well.

Unfortunately, given the ephemeral nature of the notifications, it’s very difficult to find where any of that is located, or even know that it exists at all.

Note: this is as much an issue with those relaying tournaments as the current notification system. It’s surprising to me that people will go to so much effort to relay an entire tournament, but then let all of their work disappear into the mist by not archiving it anywhere. Wouldn’t they want to have people know about it both before and after the event happens?

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Sounds like we just won’t have tournaments relays then. If you remember Polish tournament, they only announced it on their website (and it was in eurogofed schedule), correct me if I’m wrong. And most events are like that, people learn about them because they randomly stumbled upon it, right, it’s not only me? Again, today we had Redmond AlphaGo review live on twitch, I haven’t seen any announcements at places I visit. (And with my relays it totally depends whether I can wake up 4am in the morning.)

It’s annoying but what I guess is that tournament organization takes so much effort, actual advertising the event to go population falls through the cracks. Or it’s not done successfully, like a separate website few people know about without posting in major hubs.

Long time ago I remember a cool female team competition (country vs country) played on OGS and streamed on twitch. I asked them directly about lack of pre-event announcement on reddit and such. They said they simply were too busy organizing but promised to do better in future. Haven’t heard about them ever since and can’t check because I forgot how it was called :slight_smile:

In my opinion flow of information through go community kind of… sucks. Lots of events come and go without even a blimp on a larger scale.

I imagine if we want to announce events beforehand or catalog previous events on the forum, we have to do it ourselves which is work (that probably few people would appreciate anyway).

I think we also need to prioritize our problems. Initial complaint is very serious - getting your screen covered in banners while you’re playing is bad (seems to be only problem on phones). Have a public history of announcements would be nice. Everything else - banner policies, forum posts is optional.

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Indeed it is, but as @BHydden noted, the coding fixes to change how the feature behaves could take a while (and it has been already 3 months since the issue was opened on GitHub).

However, in the meantime, one way to help alleviate this problem (without any code changes) is to avoid making multiple notifications for the same event (since this flooding seems to be a major cause of covering the screen). This could be done by consolidating links into a forum post, which really isn’t adding a prohibitive burden. Even if the forum post can’t be made far in advance (for advertising), it still would have the added benefit of cataloging the relay for afterwards.

Actually, it seems to be even easier to use a forum post to manage a tournament relay, rather than multiple notifications. Instead of having to ask the moderators to make a notification for every single link to every demo board and twitch stream, the organizers would have to ask the moderators just once for a notification to their forum post, which they can further edit as they wish.

I think Kosh’s “forum post” proposal helps to address multiple problems at the same time (including the original issue).

Even though the problem is still not fully solved by these policy discussions, it seems that policy discussions are vital for any substantial UI/UX redesign.