Why are there so many players on OGS only playing against bots?

in the last two years or so, Iv been seeing more and more of this, a bunch of these players seem to be very weak when I review their games but they use the weaker AI’s like spectral, that have some big bugs in the implementation to clearly inflate their ranks BUT never play any humans?
I honestly dont understand the logic behind this, if you just want to play AI, why not just install it locally? also probably better to use stronger AI to study,
is it an Ego trip?
did anyone figure this out?
the other thing I would love some insight into, whenever I see two AI’s of differing ranks playing against each other, are these experiments be the persons hosting these AI?
why do so many players watch these game?
it seems much more interesting to do this locally instead of on server, locally you can try different variations, you can play with different evaluations functions and parameters but thses games always seem to bring in a much larger crowd then Human vs Human games


Yes, why? I wonder myself too.

To me it was the fact that when you are not used to playing on time playing correspondance games against bots is kind of nice. You take your time to think on your moves, and the bot answers instantly.

But I agree with you, this approach is not good if you cannot bring diversity to your pool of opponents. You’ll eventually rank up, but you won’t be better. The same thing can happen when playing against humans though.

it seems much more interesting to do this locally instead of on server, locally you can try different variations, you can play with different evaluations functions and parameters but thses games always seem to bring in a much larger crowd then Human vs Human games

Well, OGSs playing interface is better than anything I have installed on my computer/cellphone.

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I think precisely because you don’t have to install anything… You just play in the browser/app on phone, pc etc.

It’s more work to do it locally don’t forget, the setup of it, and then actively editing the game if that’s what you want. It’s probably not what most people looking to watch a game want.

The bots are probably stronger than most people active on the server. People tend to watch the highest rated players playing, partly because they’re the promoted games (front page of the games page), partly I’d say because it’s interesting to see how stronger players play.

There’s also not that many strong players (say in the dans) playing regularly to watch, or, another issue is that if they are it’s harder to find (the filter doesn’t work properly, it stops sorting by rank when a filter is applied.)

Why do people play bots?

  • they want to
  • they only want a casual game, possibly unranked, possibly to try something out.
  • wouldn’t it be fun to try beat a strong bot like katago?
  • they want a quick game where they can quit whenever and it won’t insult the bot, or waste a persons time.
  • they want to

In my case it was a mixture of shyness and time availability.

I thought “I just learned the rules and played small boards on my phone… there is no way I can play another human yet, it would be a waste of their time and I won’t learn anything”

Also… bots are super fast, and I could quit at anytime with no “social-repercussion”

and finally… I installed gnugo, katago and leelazero… for a newbie… at move 10-20 I was hopelessly losing with the default settings, so it is not so easy to have a weak bot working locally

PS- I’ve recently started playing humans and it’s not such a big deal, I should have started sooner :sweat_smile:


Wasting the time of stronger players… You know it’s not a truth most will be happy to make you stronger and later have someone to play with more interesting challenge.
None is born Dan player, you need others to reach higher level. AI helps but I think just to some extent.


All dans play bots and not each other. Maybe if they played each other, we would have less complaints about not having enough dans.


On several occasions I have played against players who confessed that I was one of the first humans - if not the first - they played against (and most of them had been on OGS for a while).
What is it that new to OGS players adopt this line of thinking? Does the OGS site contribute to this?
If so, there is something seriously wrong with it.


I went to a real club only at around 5k because I presumed club players are probably strong and it’s bad manners to expect them to teach me from ground up. Maybe it’s similar.


No, no, it’s not particular to OGS!!

At least in my case it’s more of a personality trait.
I know it’s a stupid way of thinking but I have the feeling that the game is sooo ancient sooo trascendent sooo everything; people studying it exclusively since they are born… that I feel like… “I read the rules in a website, and now am I gonna go there to a dedicated website and play pros?! no way!!!”

I don’t mind losing by a lot, I mind not realizing that I’m being annoying to my opponent, not realizing when to resign, doing crazy nonsense… etc

:man_shrugging: crazy thinking, I know, I’m trying to get out of that mindset! XD


And did they receive you with open arms willing to teach you?
Don’t think they turned you away because of that. :grin:

Go clubs nowadays are not clubs with many members anymore (like in the 80-90s).
In order for a go community to stay alive it must attract new players.
Otherwise a go community is bound to fade away.

Let’s be a go community that welcome newcomers, explain the rules and etiquette, where they can freely play (teaching) games, use the go resources and lots of more things. A community where people at once feel at home.
In my humble opinion the OGS community could do more to make people at home.


I don’t know if this is a real problem or if it’s specific to OGS and if so I don’t know the answer to this, however I think there is less of a culture of opponents reviewing games on OGS? I remember a long time ago (before I found OGS) I played a little bit on KGS and was completely surprised when my opponents (who demolished me) offered to review the game. It certainly helped to make me feel less nervous.

I have tried to “be the change” and so whenever I play a game where I win by a large amount if I feel there’s even one tip I can offer I will suggest a review. These are just DDK games so my advice is very basic… but one opponent said that I was very kind to review, even though it took me less than 10 minutes, so hardly a great effort on my part. But it made me think that they they have been playing with opponents who just said “glhf” and “gg” and nothing more.


If we have any noble Chinese princes among our players, please let me know.

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You only learn by playing and making mistakes.
And you can share your doubts with your opponent; like: Hmmm, just lost a big group. Think it is time to resign. Wonder where I went wrong?
There will be players who appreciate this and help you. Not all of them, just a few (but that is enough).

That’s something very important to mention, this loss of the culture of reviewing together. For me it’s just because of internet, the way people use it. I don’t see why we would lose it in real life.

I mean when you finish playing with your opponent in front of you it feels rude to just go away, you want to say at least something, like I feel I lost control here or you should have lived there. And then comes an interest to see if we could have played differently. More serious may say ok let’s look from the beginning. This attitudes disappeared on internet, playing like alone, you need to push yourself to do it.

There is a matter of generation too. Before internet you were quite lucky to discover the game, and then you could appreciate all the dedication of your teacher, who really wanted to keep you playing as there were so few players. So from the very beginning it was an obvious activity to talk about the game we played. Now things changed with internet and then the AI.


I am not sure how how applicable it is nowadays but when I first started as a 22-24kyu, I found it very difficult to find correspondence games that would accept my rank. Most folks were looking for opponents that were a bit ahead of me, and my options were limited to either live or Blitz games which I found very stressful and intimidating.

What i should have done is hop on the forum and ask for teaching games, but I didn’t participate on the forum then, and didn’t realize that was an option : /


I’ve heard that the culture of reviewing has declined in IRL chess too. I commented on this in another thread. It astonishes me because of a wonderful experience I had in the late 1970s when I played in a chess tournament in New York. We had to leave the hall after our game because of the rule of silence, so players went out into the large lobby to review. We plopped down, here and there, on the stone floor sitting cross-legged or stretched out. Here I had the privilege of seeing Joel Benjamin (age 13 or 14) and Yasser Seirawan (17 or 18) casually review their game just like the rest of us. A tremendous feeling of community prevailed, a common bond in sharing an experience with fellow enthusiasts, where everyone lived up to the ideal of being seekers after improvement.


It’s changed from “lets review together immediately after” to “review it with people who care later”.

I suspect it’s partly because of the sheer variety of people you can get on the internet compared to “lets review together after the game” face to face. That sheer variety dilutes the pool of people who actually like to chat together. Plus there is no bonding like in face to face where you think you somewhat know your opponent and could talk to them.

In contrast, there are stacks of people in the forum and chat and gokibitz.com who would love to review your game. So it’s shifted there. The one thing this loses is the element of “what were you thinking at that time, I thought I was a goner”. For me, I get this by playing selected opponents who will agree to and enjoy the post game review.

On a separate topic:

the person’s point was not that the gameplay will waste their time, but rather that a bot won’t be offended if you suddenly quit. This is true - you can resign out of a bot game and try again as soon as the strategy you’re working on goes foul.


In my case, I play bots because they’re more available than people.
When I came to OGS, I was surprised to discover that most people here apparently play correspondance games, but I came here to play real time games. The available challenges at any time are usually 10 correspondance games and, if I’m lucky, one or two real time games, usually not my rank.
So in order to kill time and play a little, I challenge bots. Plus it’s a good way of getting exactly the difficulty that you want.

Also, as somebody mentioned, another thing that surprised me is the lack of “reviewing culture” on OGS. When I used to play on KGS, almost every game was followed by a review where both players would reflect on it and test other alternative paths. But from what I’ve seen on OGS, the players usually just leave the game as soon as it’s over, or simply analyze it privately without discussing it with the other player. So why should I play with humans if there won’t be any review and discussion after the game? Better play bots, then.


Maybe 10 years ago on KGS people used to review after the game. Now it’s the same everywhere.