Real life rank policy discussion

Real life rank policy discussion  

  By: climu on July 12, 2018, 3:18 p.m.

Since we introduce this real life rank policy, it has raise many interesting discussion on our discord.

In order to structure this talk easily, please use this thread.

Reminder of the new policy:

A player's true strength cannot be effectively proven online, so we decided to rely on real life results for very strong OSR members.

These can be rankings from official federation or tournament results if the player's country doesn't have a ranking system. Every strong Go player (5d and above) must provide some real-life proof of their Go strength to take part in OSR either as a player or a teacher.

This rule means that we can confidently say that all OSR strong players are authentic, leaving no space for doubts, toxic accusations or rumors.

Re: Real life rank policy discussion  

  By: Fudly on July 12, 2018, 8:09 p.m.

You should specify a server when you say what strength, and it should be Tygem or Foxy since it's easiest to find high ranked games on those servers.

My complaint with the policy is it's a huge barrier for many high ranked players to play. It's not easy to get an AGA rank in the US. I've played at 5 official AGA chapter Go clubs in Colorado and the Seattle Go Center, and I don't have an AGA rank. Clubs don't generally bother with AGA ranks unless it's a tournament, and I'm not sure Colorado hosts an official tournament each year. I'm sure other states host less. Requiring high dans to drive/fly to different states to get a rank is too much. There needs to be an easier method to prove you're talented.

Also, that method is easily subverted. All a cheater would need to do is browse the AGA website http://www.usgo.org/all-players-rating , pick a player of the appropriate strength and claim to be that player. Are you going to be checking IDs? Are you skilled at identifying fake ids from all states, provinces, and countries as well as spotting photoshop alterations? Requiring an offline rank is a high barrier that's still not going to work 100%.

The policy feels out of place. It mostly affects the dan league. The dan league's problem right now is a lack of participation. Barriers to entry, by definition, decrease competition. Amplifying the current problem to head off an intermittent problem is not a great growth strategy.

I also think it's odd that the policy only addresses 5 dan plus players. Our leagues are low ranked. Why pretend to be 5 dan if you can be competitive at 4 without suspicion? Why isn't kyu players cheating addressed at all?

Unfortunately, the cheating problem is not easily solved, but I'm not sure this policy helps more than it hurts. Reviewing games on a case by case basis seems like an overall better strategy, but realistically, not all cheating will be caught. It'd be better to focus on ways to improve the league's participation and limit the damage cheating can do.

Re: Real life rank policy discussion  

  By: climu on July 12, 2018, 9:49 p.m.

First of all, thanks for sharing your opinions, ideas and thoughts in here. It certainly help us a lot.

I will try to answer point by point. It will be my personal opinion in here and I hope other team member will correct me if they disagree or think of something to add.

My complaint with the policy is it's a huge barrier for many high ranked players to play. It's not easy to get an AGA rank in the US. I've played at 5 official AGA chapter Go clubs in Colorado and the Seattle Go Center, and I don't have an AGA rank. Clubs don't generally bother with AGA ranks unless it's a tournament, and I'm not sure Colorado hosts an official tournament each year. I'm sure other states host less. Requiring high dans to drive/fly to different states to get a rank is too much. There needs to be an easier method to prove you're talented.

I would like to point out that it does not affect many players. We never had many very strong players in OSR as players as it's not a place where they can find competitive play or even training. It will always be a place where they can teach. We do have quite some of them as teachers and we appreciate their help a lot. We do know all real life identity of our teachers and their real life strength. All of them are quite known in the go world for participating in many real life tournaments.

Does the AGA chapter you participate in have records of their results? Because we only need real life proof of one strength. It can be tournament results.

Also, that method is easily subverted. All a cheater would need to do is browse the AGA website http://www.usgo.org/all-players-rating , pick a player of the appropriate strength and claim to be that player. Are you going to be checking IDs? Are you skilled at identifying fake ids from all states, provinces, and countries as well as spotting photoshop alterations? Requiring an offline rank is a high barrier that's still not going to work 100%.

We are not going to check users ids. I believe using someone else id is a lot more serious issue than using bot in online go games. One could press charges against that. I hope the seriousness of such behavior will discourage most of the cheaters. Also, I think most very strong players are quite known in the go world and soon someone will refer to this player and the truth will show.

The policy feels out of place. It mostly affects the dan league. The dan league's problem right now is a lack of participation. Barriers to entry, by definition, decrease competition. Amplifying the current problem to head off an intermittent problem is not a great growth strategy.

Again, this only affect really strong players. Let's be honest, our dan league mostly target player from 1dan to 4/5 dan. Most of those very strong players are not interested in participating in our leagues. For instance I don't think Cornel will ever participate in our dan league. On the other hand he will teach some of those dans from time to time.

We once had an Elite league for very strong players. There were so much issues with botters and botting allegations that it was quite hard to deal with.

I also think it's odd that the policy only addresses 5 dan plus players. Our leagues are low ranked. Why pretend to be 5 dan if you can be competitive at 4 without suspicion? Why isn't kyu players cheating addressed at all?

That is a very fair point. I tend to think that when a player cheat it is to appear strong but I might be wrong. I don't see the point of cheating in OSR and being a kyu player. Maybe there are cheaters who do so and they never get caugh, but I don't think issue ever occured.

Unfortunately, the cheating problem is not easily solved, but I'm not sure this policy helps more than it hurts.

It refrain one player to participate at this time. This player understand our policy and his situation should be fixed quite soon at USGC.

Reviewing games on a case by case basis seems like an overall better strategy, but realistically, not all cheating will be caught.

reviewing games on a case by case basis isn't relevent sadly. It has been showed that it canot be conclusive evidence (source coming later, it's too late now).

It'd be better to focus on ways to improve the league's participation and limit the damage cheating can do.

I am certain both OSR team and community would appreciate any advices or ideas on those matters :)

Re: Real life rank policy discussion  

  By: Fudly on July 13, 2018, 12:22 a.m.

As far as I can tell, nobody records results at AGA clubs unless it's a tournament (and I don't like tournaments but this isn't about me).

It might be fraud to impersonate someone else online, but good luck getting the police interested in that dispute across state/country lines for an online Go club. Realistically, the web is the wild, wild west, and it'd be pretty safe to cheat like this. To pursue it in civil court, you'd have to find out their real name and address, which they're not going to be forthcoming with and then somehow prove damages. If you win, you'd be entitled to those damages, which will be less than court costs. In other countries, it might not even be illegal.

On that note, does every country have an organization like the AGA to get a rating from?

I also don't think other high dans are going to learn and out that person. It's not like you guys are publishing all high dan's real names (would that be legal in Europe?), and 5 dan isn't even that high. There are plenty of mostly anonymous 5 dans to impersonate. According to this, there were around 500 AGA 5 dans https://senseis.xmp.net/?AGARatingHistogram in 2014.

The dan leagues are a chicken and egg problem. High dans like competitive play. Our leagues currently do not offer competitive play for high dans, but there's no inherent reason why we couldn't recruit enough dan players to become interesting to high dans.

I know reviewing games can't be considered conclusive evidence, but everything short of playing in person cannot be considered conclusive evidence.

Re: Real life rank policy discussion  

  By: climu on July 13, 2018, 10:03 a.m.

As far as I can tell, nobody records results at AGA clubs unless it's a tournament (and I don't like tournaments but this isn't about me).

Then it's an issue indeed. I can only praise very strong US players to participate in real life events.

It might be fraud to impersonate someone else online, but good luck getting the police interested in that dispute across state/country lines for an online Go club. Realistically, the web is the wild, wild west, and it'd be pretty safe to cheat like this. To pursue it in civil court, you'd have to find out their real name and address, which they're not going to be forthcoming with and then somehow prove damages. If you win, you'd be entitled to those damages, which will be less than court costs. In other countries, it might not even be illegal.

That's true. Idea is it would discourage some players as eventually truth will appear.

On that note, does every country have an organization like the AGA to get a rating from?

Again, it's not only about ranks, tournaments results are good enough. If player were to show up out of nowhere in a country without go organization and be very strong it would be a surprise. Anyway, this issue never occurred.

I also don't think other high dans are going to learn and out that person. It's not like you guys are publishing all high dan's real names (would that be legal in Europe?), and 5 dan isn't even that high. There are plenty of mostly anonymous 5 dans to impersonate. According to this, there were around 500 AGA 5 dans https://senseis.xmp.net/?AGARatingHistogram in 2014.

AGA 5 dans are around OGS 2D according to this. Still, it's true we canot be sure. Someone can impersonate another id. And the idea is indeed to publish strong players id as we are doing for teachers. I think it's quite legal if the player agrees to it. Anyway the only cases of someone using a fake id (not someone else) was caught in less than a month.

The dan leagues are a chicken and egg problem. High dans like competitive play. Our leagues currently do not offer competitive play for high dans, but there's no inherent reason why we couldn't recruit enough dan players to become interesting to high dans.

Allow me to disagree here. OSR have been around for more than a year and we never managed to interest very strong players while this policy was not in place. So one canot say it's linked to this policy. As I said there was an attempt bot the botting allegations and actual cases made it hard for strong players to see interest.

The Advanced Study Room (a project that was quite similar to OSR) did made a superclass with very strong players for a couple of month and it was working steadily. The thing is they add a $100 monthly reward to the winner and there was no strong go bots at this time.

everything short of playing in person cannot be considered conclusive evidence.

With real life requirement, we try to get closer to this "playing in person" thing.

To conclude I would like to add that this policy comes from past experiences:

  • We mostly doesn't interest very strong players. Years of experience in the Advanced Study Room talks here. On top of that botting allegations doesn't help here. I consulted some very strong players when thinking about this rules and they all agreed it was good idea.
  • Most very strong players are involve in real life go events and introduce themselves with those.
  • This policy actually affect one only strong player and his situation should be fixed soon. He fully understand this policy.

So we base this choice out of experience and not on hypothetical situations like "It will refrain strong players to come", or "players will impersonate someone else", or "many very strong players are not involve in real life go events".


 Last edited by: climu on July 13, 2018, 10:04 a.m., edited 2 times in total.

Re: Real life rank policy discussion  

  By: Xandaros on July 13, 2018, 10:17 a.m.

How about we just try it for a while. As I understand it, there aren't many people affected by it, so it is unlikely to cause huge issues. If it doesn't work out, we can always remove it again.


 Last edited by: Xandaros on July 13, 2018, 10:18 a.m., edited 3 times in total.

Re: Real life rank policy discussion  

  By: darkronin on Nov. 8, 2018, 1:30 p.m.

I'll try to be as brief as possible:

  • I'm writing more in relation to a particular incident, rather than the merits or demerits of the real life rank policy. (just for the record, I agree 100% with the posts by Fudly from 12-Jul and 13-Jul, and the ideas expressed there.)

  • The incident was in the chat that happened in #general after I invited Imkyu to drop by our discord channel.

  • Bringing up this policy changed completely the vibe of what was a good chat with a potential new member.

  • my issue is about bringing this up in the way it was.

I'm not saying not to deal with this or not to have a policy with this. But the new person hadn't even played a game with anyone and hadn't even had time to see if they like the place.

A genuine newcomer would be really taken aback by this kind of greeting... At least I know I would have.

In conclusion: I don't want to come here and tell you how to run this place, but maybe this kind of policy could be brought up at a more proper time. Maybe after some days, or after that they've shown that they're really interested in participating in the league.

Of course if situations like that teacher who used a fake picture comes up, deal with it. But as a new member who only wanted to chat and had never used discord before, it struck me as a very odd welcome.


 Last edited by: darkronin on Nov. 8, 2018, 1:39 p.m., edited 1 time in total.

Re: Real life rank policy discussion  

  By: GoDave89 on Nov. 8, 2018, 2:10 p.m.

Yeah, I have to agree with darkronin. The shift in the tone of the conversation was clearly graspable and I felt it was a real pitty that the previous, light hearted conversation got turned on its head completely - and silenced the newcomer. I would also wait if the person is even interested. Let them breathe the new air for a bit.

I understand wanting to protect the leagues against possible botters, since there is also prizes involved, and I'm all for that.

But in the case of Imkyu, he clearly stated that he would play either way and that he was not interested in giving lessons for a fee, but rather told us that stronger players never wanted to play with him when he was weaker and he wanted to be different in that regard.

I don't see the reason to shut newcomers down right away, at least not from our discord.

Re: Real life rank policy discussion  

  By: korni on Nov. 8, 2018, 2:16 p.m.

Thank you very much darkronin and GoDave for this contribution. I believe you have a fair point and this hasn't been handled in the most appropriate way in this occasion.

We should definitely take your comments on board and make sure that we don't deter newcomers like this again. This is far from what we are trying to achieve.

Re: Real life rank policy discussion  

  By: climu on Nov. 8, 2018, 4:30 p.m.

Thanks indeed. We appreciate your input guys!

Sorry if it was not handle at best. I may have rush it because I wanted to be plain clear from the start.

For sure we don't want to refrain new players to join in.