Why some players start with 17k? (old question: everything is different now!)

I started with 25k and it wasn’t easy to get 16k (my current ranking). But some players starts with 17k and I think they are not in that level, some of them have about 25-30k level and don’t get handicap (and it’s confusing playing against a 17k wich is really a 25-30k player).

I’m not concerned about the “fairness” of the ranking but I’m concerned about the level of the players i play… if i see a 17k I will think it’s near to my level but sometimes my guess is totally wrong and I get a boring game.

By the way, those players have usually a question mark at the right of their ranking… I noticed that, probably is related to this question.

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EDIT: the information in this post is very old. It doesn’t work this way anymore

There are 3 options for selecting your rank when you sign up for the site…

of those 3 options two are buttons: 1) Beginner never played before, 2) played some

and then the third option is to manually select your rank. If you select that you have played some then we will put you at 17k… the question mark means that their rank isn’t established yet… in OGS parlance we call them provisional. If you are not provisional and you play a provisional opponent then the game will not affect your rank. On OGS you have to play 5 ranked games against non-provisional players to clear the provisional rating.

I think you should put it at 20k not 17k. If someone is at 17k then I think they’re more likely to pick that rank with the third option. Just my opinion. You can also reword the second option or simply omit it.

possibly… it’s working a lot better now that we have that second option… prior to that we had a lot of people selecting beginner when they were not, in fact, beginners. We’ll consider tweaking it in the future or rewording the button. I think the bigger problem is people spending too little time on that page understanding what the options are in an effort to get into the site.

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We discussed this with people the other day.
I feel half of the problem is that the people are not reading the page correctly and half of the problem is that the page has 2 big colored buttons that are easy to hit and then the third option is blank and not so easily "glanceable"
It’s not the perfect design. The page also doesn’t explain what ranks are and how they work.

We kinda feel that it’s somewhat out of the scope of the page… like if you need to select your rank then you will understand it, but I do think it would be good to have a brief bit of information on how the rating system works.


I have played from absolute beginner to about 15k on this site, and I was also surprised by the sudden flurry of 17k? people whose true rank ranged from 10k to 25k. However, these newcomers form a minority of 17k people, and most of my games against non-provisional players felt well-matched at all ranges so far. I have recently tried out other go servers and on kgs the ranks up to my current level are much more unreliable than on ogs and if you are unranked, you have a VERY hard time to find someone willing to play a game with you to rank you and if you are below 15k ogs, you have a hard time finding anyone to play with you. I certainly would not mind if you improved this issue on ogs, but this issue is a small price to pay for the working ranking system.

And what about 17kT? What does the “T” means? (I think I saw a ranking with that letter yesterday).

Timed out recently in a correspondence game, user’s rank set to provisional until they finish a correspondence game that lasts longer than 24h (IIRC).

Please cf. @matburt’s correct answer below.

As far as I know it only protects you from rank loss through correspondence time outs, not making you provisional.

it’s actually a “timeout provisional” system which is a bit different than the normal provisional system, requiring you simply complete a correspondence game lasting more than 24 hours to get out of

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I know that I fall into the group of 17K players. I just signed up for this website and haven’t really been playing for very long. One person questioned me if I was really a 17K. I didn’t have an answer for him, because I honestly had no idea what he was talking about.

Anyway, I’ve completed a few games offline, and lost horribly, so I would consider myself a beginner. Is there a way I can change my ranking so I’m not always playing people ranked much higher than I really should be?

When I signed up for the site I didn’t see the option to manually select a rank. How do I set it? I am about 2k in most other servers.

A different system, Glicko-2, is used today, so everyone starts provisionally at 13k. However the system is very sensitive, so rank changes more quickly than in the past. So if you play a few games, it should bring you to your correct rank pretty fast. Here is the original announcement for more details: OGS has a new Glicko-2 based rating system!


Yeah just play (and win) a few games against SDKs and your rank will be in it’s right place in no time).