Yet another Ladder Proposal to purge inactive players

Can ladders be modified such that, after a year of not playing a ladder game, the player is removed from the ladder? A year of inactivity seems sufficient to warrant removal, and could be universally applied to site-wide ladders and group ladders.

This would slowly fix the problem with the 100s (maybe ~1000) new players with ? ranking who join a site-wide ladder very soon after joining the site… play 1 or 2 games (typically live games) then disappear.

In addition, it would naturally purge serious players who, for whatever reason, have left OGS.

As discussed in several posts (19x19 Global Ladder : soon 3000 players - #22 by BHydden), having a large number of ladder participants is good… but only if they are active.

I have given up on the site-wide 19x19 ladder, and just play older abandoned accounts to purge them after they timeout. I probably have removed ~200 such accounts over the past year… but that is just a drop in the bucket


They do get removed after only 1 timeout… so IME it hasn’t been a huge bother to me.

(But I’m not against a regular purge)

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You know what, I changed my mind. The main reason this doesn’t bother me is I usually just climb to the top as fast as I can, where most ppl are active. When I start from the bottom it’s a little more annoying.

A silly idea: someone could code a bot that systematically challenges every player on the list, slowly culling the herd over time :robot::broom:


hmm i dont know, i am sitting at the top in handful of group ladders where i havent been challenged in ages, and i would hate to be kicked out because inactivity within those ladders.

I guess its mostly a problem in sitewide ladders, but those abandoned accounts will be kicked out when they timeout in a game. Sniping abandoned accounts for easy gains on ladder positions is a tactic some ppl utilise… >___>


I think if we think challenging an inactive player is a good way to move up the ladder, then I suppose leave them in.

If not it would probably be better to have them auto-dropped out.

Pros for dropping them out:

  • there’s a good chance people left in the ladder are active (but that depends on the auto-dropout time)
  • the number of players in the ladder isn’t inflated and reflects the people actually participating
  • the tactic of speed climbing against inactive players doesn’t work

Cons for dropping them out:

  • you might lose your position if the whole ladder is inactive
  • the tactic of speed climbing against inactive players doesn’t work

There’ll be counterpoints to every point like “just challenge people with ongoing games” to one of the pros. Or “just join the ladder again if you want to be #1” to being top of an inactive ladder, or alternatively, just keep the top 10/20 from being auto-dropped out.


If the trigger were inactivity on OGS in general presumably this would still catch



So, with this proposal of dropping inactive players from a ladder, now the best tactic is to avoid challenging the players at the top of the ladder, so that they can’t play games in the ladder, so that they drop out due to inactivity?

This sounds like the exact opposite incentive of what a ladder is supposed to do!


How about kicking out players who haven’t finished (by scoring or resignation, not timeout) any correspondence game on OGS in 1 year?

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A) already mentioned an alternative.

B) it would have to be a collective decision of everyone available in the ladder not to challenge the players at the top, otherwise they will get challenges and stay in longer. I kind of assume people want to actually play Go also though, but that might not be the case :slight_smile:

Indeed for player 1 not to be dropped out, someone like player 2 needs to risk also being dropped out by not challenging them etc.

To be honest I would expect people high enough in the ladder not wanting to risk being dropped out, waiting for the person above them to be dropped out (since you can only challenge people above you)


Well, yes, but people also want to game the system. Which is why ladders exist in the first place. Ladders are a system that people want to game. Ladders should be built so that trying to game a ladder results in more fun and more go games, not in an incentive to play less.

So lets think this one out (well I’ll think out loud and feel free to correct me)

You can challenge players higher than you on the ladder, subject to the following limits:

  • 10 positions higher than you
  • 40% of the players above your position (e.g. if you are 100th, you could challenge the player in 60th place on the ladder)
    * 5 positions lower than where you would be if the ladder was sorted by rating (e.g. if you are the 7th highest-rated player in the ladder, you could challenge for 12th place, even though you are at the bottom of the ladder.)

from Github except I don’t think that last point is true after testing it recently OGS Ladders · online-go/ Wiki · GitHub and I think it should say “You can challenge the highest position of the following:” since it looks to have come from old docs Ladders ·

So how do we game the system and make sure player #1 gets dropped out by time?

First off players 2-11 need to make sure not to challenge player #1. So that’s a reasonable amount of collusion that needs to happen, but maybe collectively if we’ve reached the top we’ve already figured out this strategy.

But now as second player, for example I have to choose not to challenge player 1 but that’s the only player I can challenge so it’s quite likely the same strategy will be applied to me too, with collusion from players 3-12.

Now I’m not quite sure induction will actually apply here, but certainly there will be some game theory involved where players have to realise that they’re also likely to time out if they don’t challenge a player above them.

So maybe it’s beneficial for player 2 to just challenge player 1? And 3 to challenge 2 etc at least up to a point.

Is there something I’m missing?


By induction, we will see that either everyone is compelled to issue challenges and hence play games, or else all N blue-eyed ladder players will be kicked after N days.

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Well the 40% rule also kicks in at some point.

Like for player 60 to get timed out, players up to 100 need to not challenge player 60.

I just mean it widens a bit at some point, needing more collision and basically nobody really playing in the ladder :slight_smile:

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Another scenario:

  • Player 1 is 1 kyu.
  • Players 2-10 are all around 3-4-5 kyu.

Players 2-10 change places regularly, because they all are pretty close in rank; they win and lose games in-between them; and get shuffled around as a result.

Player 1, on the other hand, hasn’t been defeated for quite some time and is solidly holding the first place.

Should the ladder give players 2-10 an incentive to keep reaching for first place by challenging player 1? Or should the ladder give players 2-10 an incentive to stop challenging player 1 and wait for player 1 to be dropped out for inactivity?

I think it could naturally happen anyway, but it depends on the players mentality.

For example if player one on a ten person ladder is a 6dan and everyone else is 1k or below, they might just give up challenging player 1 naturally because “what’s the point”.

Like I said, for small ladders like group ladders, one could ignore such a timeout rule if one wanted to. For larger ladders like the site 19x19, it probably won’t be a 1kyu sitting on the top with players 2-10 very close in rating and swapping places.

If we look at the 19x19 ladder at the moment, just as a snapshot, maybe not representative,

Five players in the top twenty are not challenging anyone but being challenged themselves (not counting player 1 obviously)

I guess the idea is that more people than that in the top 20 won’t challenge anybody in the changed system because then they have the chance to move up from inactivity?

How about this: any player in a ladder who hasn’t occupied the first place for 1 year and hasn’t challenged any player higher in the ladder in 1 year gets kicked out.

But maybe it wouldn’t work because you can’t challenge another player if you are currently playing too many ladder games.

Can you not challenge 3 players while being challenged by 3 also?

If you’re worried about games lasting more than a year, one could also think of including active games as ok and a way to avoid being kicked out.

I still think that it would be in player 2’s interest to always challenge player 1 in this scenario even if they can’t beat player 1.

Player 2 can’t lose their position by timeout if they always challenge player 1, and having a high chance of staying in second with some (maybe small) chance of being first is probably better than gambling to timeout player 1, only to have the same thing happen to you as player 1, and end up rejoining at however many thousandth place. No?

Apparently I didn’t remember the rules correctly, only the number of incoming challenges is limited.

I thought it was both, so you could only have six games going at once? Can you challenge more than three people? :slight_smile:

Well I’ve added three challenges now and it says

Already playing 3 games you’ve initiated

if I try to add more