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 Post subject: what is the ASR doing wrong?
Post #1 Posted: Tue May 17, 2011 1:46 pm 
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hey everybody,

ever since i took a break from the ASR i feel the league has gotten worse, games are dwindling, players are leaving, prizes have ground to a halt (yay for relying on ppl donating).

What is the ASR doing wrong? How can we improve our connection to the players and the league? Should we do more things on the side (lectures, tsumego etc)?

Plz do not talk endlessly about the system, no matter how we change it this trend is not caused by it so please do not talk about we should change A or B in the system.

Personally i feel the league was a uprising trend, but is over its top now. I feel the league and the ASR have much more potential and we as adminteam and community should fight to keep it running.

So bring it on! Be rude and direct, i want it straight!

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Post #2 Posted: Tue May 17, 2011 2:12 pm 
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I'll repeat myself again for this one... try to sort people by times they're available to play. I gave up on ASR when every person in my group except one was in Europe.

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Post #3 Posted: Tue May 17, 2011 2:54 pm 
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I'm one of the players who left recently. For me the reason is unrelated to the league organization itself. I just rarely had the mood to play the league games as seriously as I felt that they deserve. I already just played enough games to not get disqualified at the end of the month for several months.
So for me the reason was that I simply enjoy quick casual games more than slow serious games.
The thing I liked most about the league is the possibility of playing even games against stronger players. But those have an even larger pressure of playing seriously, since if I play thoughtlessly I feel like I'm just wasting that players time.

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Post #4 Posted: Tue May 17, 2011 4:58 pm 
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Just impossible to get games unless you're on 24x7, that's all.

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Post #5 Posted: Tue May 17, 2011 6:48 pm 
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The league is not very attractive to dan players. From there, I think there is a trickle down effect.

I was in the league for 3 months as a 2k. I played probably 25 games against 6k or worse, and maybe 5 against people of my own level or slightly stronger. The third month I simply did not have time to get in 10+ games and got demoted down from Delta to Epsilon. The thought of wasting a month to get back up to Delta and eventually Gamma was just too much.

I don't mind playing weaker players, but playing weaker players almost exclusively for two months is not an attractive option.

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Post #6 Posted: Wed May 18, 2011 2:18 am 
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Is the problem mainly in Epsilon, or in all the other leagues, as well? There seems to be a huge amount of variation in the activity of different divisions in Epsilon. I really think you need to throw everyone into a single class. Some people will gripe that this means people with more free time will get more points, but that's really not the end of the world. I haven't had trouble getting games with Europeans, Americans, or Asians, but there have been some months when no one in my league has ever been online, period.

It would be nice if you could suspend yourself for a while if you know you can't be active, and come back into the same league for the next month (instead of being automatically deleted。) Idon't know why my computer is using this font, so I'll stop now.


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Post #7 Posted: Wed May 18, 2011 3:54 am 
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jts wrote:
Is the problem mainly in Epsilon, or in all the other leagues, as well? There seems to be a huge amount of variation in the activity of different divisions in Epsilon. I really think you need to throw everyone into a single class. Some people will gripe that this means people with more free time will get more points, but that's really not the end of the world. I haven't had trouble getting games with Europeans, Americans, or Asians, but there have been some months when no one in my league has ever been online, period.

It would be nice if you could suspend yourself for a while if you know you can't be active, and come back into the same league for the next month (instead of being automatically deleted。) Idon't know why my computer is using this font, so I'll stop now.


a huge list of players who can all play eachother is a ladder. a league is a competition where there is a set hierarchy to create different levels of competition and honor in playing in higher tiers. we could make a ladder next to the league but i think a ladder is not viable in the long run because its not ver different from normally playing on kgs. you could compare it to the ranking system, the better you play the higher your rank is (reward for playing well)

I get that strong players have less motivation if they get stuck by not playing enough, but the fact is that we had a time where delta was filled with (new) dan players and all kyus were afraid of being promoted so it varies a lot i guess.

btw we changed the format to 2 games and way more players, hows that working out for ppl?

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Post #8 Posted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:43 am 
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I don't think I was clear. Having the A, B, C, D, and E divisions is all well and good; but the subdivision of E into E1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc., makes it harder to get games without adding much value.

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Post #9 Posted: Wed May 18, 2011 2:31 pm 
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In my opinion the league is not doing that bad, is just that the league is not for everyone, not everyone see Go with that competitive look, so since the ASR League is a big deal in kgs, most people just wanted to give it a try and then quit, most of them influenced by the supergroup to join, but the supergroup no longer here, so it will be less frequent getting newcomers. The motivation for the supergroup to play was the prize, that is a plus but doesnt seems necesaary unless you want around 100 newcomers each month. Small prizes for the rest for the group are good motivational, but in my opinion the main prize here is just going up. Maybe if people want prizes, there should be sort of a asr club, were you enter a fee, and after the season over, the whole amount will be for given a percent prize to the club members, based on their results in their groups, the members with more wins in the whole league get first prize and so on, so the ones interested in prizes can cooperate to it, and the ones wanted to play free will continue like that, but without prize, still the main prize is going up and improving.

About side activitys, in my opinion reviewing with full detail should be good enough, beacause tsumegos and lectures are not really that popular(still is something everybody should do it by him/herself), so just reviewing in group and helping others specially weak players should be enough about classes, like the kgs teaching ladder but about games played in the league.

There were many new things, like the tournament, some videos, the goodwill games. I didnt participate in the goodwill games but is a wonderful idea, i am shure the ASR team enjoy it, and they won Congrats!!, they keeped high the honor of the league as a group, shure this is all good, but is something that few people can join at a time, still i would like to see more goodwill games. The asr tournament seemed like a lot of fun, but is useless, beacause XD the league is a tournament already, i didnt see the point of organizing a "normal" tournament since we are already in a bigger tournament, so just no point here. About the videos, these are good, people prefer watch videos than reading a kifu or attending a kgs lecture(unless it has audio), so these are great, my only sugestion here is show some videos reviewing dan level games played in the league(if possible of course), this will be very useful, entertaining and popular.

Something that could be added to the league are, these videos reviewing important games in the league, sort of like a commentary sport( like the ones in gocommentary.com), it will add a spirit of media coverage XD ( even starcraft, chess, poker and other games have this), this would be supergreat.

I really like the league, and how everyone look forward to improve it, i am not shure what next step will be make it greater, but shure there are more things.

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Post #10 Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 3:53 am 
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For me, there are two main issues why i dropped out and decided to not enter the league again.

1. Getting a game
Especially in epsilon it can be very hard to get a game if you are unlucky and most other players are in a different timezone. The timezones means, the class gets split into "subclasses" depending on the timezone and player mostly play people from their own "subclass". If the subclass you are in is pretty small, your having a hard time getting the minimum number of games, not even thinking about gaining enough points for a promotion.
This problem is maginified if you (like me) aren't online each evening, but only 1-3 times per week.
In theory 3 games/week are more than enough, in practice getting 1 game/week is a success.

I would forward the suggestion of placing new people of the same timezone together. At least in the lower divisions, where theres also the issue of many inactive players. Just a split into america/europe and asia might be enough.

2. Mostly weaker players
As a strong kyu, all/most of my league-games were against weaker players (5k/6k and weaker). Sometimes a player of equal strength (+- 1 stone) would be avaible, but that was rare.
If i was lucky, there might be one dan in my class, but that doesn't mean i would get the chance to play him.
I have no problem with playing weaker players per se, but for me personally it was a problem. (Sounds weird, read on i explain why this became a problem for me)
The time i spent on go is limited, partly because i have other things to do, partly because i'm not always in the mood to play go.
But as i want to improve if have to make the best out of my little playing time. Because of this, the ASR-games against weaker players proved to be problamatic for two reasons:
  • a) Playing weaker players in an even game doesn't help me improve
    Pretty self-explaining. In terms of learning, the weaker can get a lot more out of this game, than the stronger player. Now, everybody has to also play weaker players, but in this case i would prefer a correct (or at least a reduced) handicap. I can learn a lot of things when playing white in a handicap game. More than i can learn from crushing a 13k with black..
    However, i know that handicap-games are not an option for the asr.
  • b) Playing weaker players is boring (and therefore hampering my improvement)
    When i know from the start, that i'm 5 stones stronger than my opponent i don't play 100% like i would against someone of equal strength. Not only is this somehow disrespectful towards the weaker player, but it also has a negative impact on my normal play. In such a setup i can play lazily, playing purely on instinct, making blunders everywhere, and still come out with a nice 20+ lead.
    If now, most (all?) of my games in my free time are of this kind (remember, i don't have much playing time at all, to play several ASR games and a lot of people of my strength), this "style" gets carried over in serious games against equal or stronger opponents (like in tournaments), where my sloppy play and blunders get brutally punished.

Because of a) and b) i'm lacking a motivation to play in the league. I know, that much of this is personal and not the fault of the league itself, but at least for me it's the reason why i won't play in the asr anymore. And who knows, maybe i'm not alone with this reasoning.

Sadly, i have no idea how the asr could fix the second issue. Maybe having seperate leagues (each with a small tier-system and classes depending on number of players) for certain rank-ranges. (like one 30k-15k, 15k-10k, 9k-5k, 4k-1k, 1d+)
Of course this may contradict some of the core ideas of the league, but in this way it would be ensured, that most, if not all, league games are not one-sided and therefore (hopefully) taken seriously by both players.
This may also be a motivation for stronger players to enter the ASR, as a place where they can find players of equal strength to play serious games in an competetive enviroment.
Also i think, a person can learn a lot by playing serious games against player of equal strength (or at least not total off) and having such a game analysed by a stronger player (like someone from the leauge-range above).

Because, in the end the asr should be a place where people come to improve, shouldn't it?

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Post #11 Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:38 pm 
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fengytreon wrote:
In my opinion the league is not doing that bad, is just that the league is not for everyone, not everyone see Go with that competitive look, so since the ASR League is a big deal in kgs, most people just wanted to give it a try and then quit, most of them influenced by the supergroup to join, but the supergroup no longer here, so it will be less frequent getting newcomers. The motivation for the supergroup to play was the prize, that is a plus but doesnt seems necesaary unless you want around 100 newcomers each month.


Yes it seems that fengytreon is correct; many people try out and then quit because they just wanted to see what it was all about. A lot of other people may indeed quit because of scheduling concerns. As for me, the reason I quit was because I just fundamentally disagreed with how it was run, from top to bottom. It just wasn't in me to give 20 teaching games a month, and get maybe 2 or 3 losses which would then hold me back. I asked myself, if that's what the league is for, did I want to be a part of it? The answer was no so I quit. Then again things have changed now and I'm thinking of joining.

I'd also like to comment on what Fengytreon said above. If Fengy is 100% correct as I assume it means you shouldn't worry about people quitting, the loss of the superclass, and not having any prizes. Let me tell you it would be possible to double your membership if you offered cash prizes, and then if you increase the prizes to the next tier (whatever that may be) you could double your membership again. You could go all the way, offering so much money that your membership would eclipse KGS and people would begin to learn the game solely in hopes of winning your league. But let's be honest, it's just the ASR. You don't need prizes, you don't need a superclass and you don't need 300 members. You really don't. And if Feng is correct then you won't, soon enough; so don't sweat it. relax ^^

fengytreon wrote:
About side activitys, in my opinion reviewing with full detail should be good enough, beacause tsumegos and lectures are not really that popular(still is something everybody should do it by him/herself), so just reviewing in group and helping others specially weak players should be enough about classes, like the kgs teaching ladder but about games played in the league.


Side activities do not fit in well with a league and may eventually ruin it. The ASR is not the only league on KGS that has failed in many spectacular ways solely because they got away from simply reviewing the games played in the league. Nuff said about that. Just do the league IMO. Create a separate organization to do other things. if you want to run an ASR school, separate it from the league. And for god's sake stop running tournaments. You already have a league.

fengytreon wrote:
I really like the league, and how everyone look forward to improve it, i am not shure what next step will be make it greater, but shure there are more things.


Not sure not sure.. no one is sure.. So this is the space where I get to be "open" and "honest". First of all, I'm going to brag and gloat again that I am the guy who created the ASR. Yes I know that what I made has little if nothing to do with the ASR as it stands. But I did create it, and I did create the structure that is used today, more or less. And, for those that don't know, I put hundreds of dollars of my own personal money up for prizes. And for those that don't know I've spent countless hours talking with the admins and trying to help out. And for those that don't remember I have provided detailed mathematical models of subscription rates, rates of improvement, strength distrubution and so forth; only to be completely ignored in the end.

hey, the league is fine right now, really.. and we all have our faults.. even me, obviously I'm not a capable leader given my history with the ASR so who am I to give advice. So I'll just give my opinion. The admins of the league have their own idea of what they want to do and they don't really want to take advice from other people. You in particular Stalkor, it's "your league" and I must admit I feel upset at myself for spending so much of my personal time to help you when in the end you just didn't take anything I said to heart, at all. You sat on the fence for SO long about issues like increasing promotion/demotion and didn't take my advice about superclass either, which ended up flopping just like I said it would. Then about organizing people by timezone, no admin would do it, but I received topazg's blessing to do it myself. Then while I'm sitting there interviewing every member of the ASR spending a lot of my fee time to do so you go and promote two unknowns to admin positions in the ASR. I thought to myself wow, those people you promoted, they must be doing way more work than I was, you must trust them way more than me, so I stopped. I figured, if you really were going to do anything with the data you would have an admin responsible for it. I gave topazg access and quit.

And you still have people whining about why you don't organize people by activity/timezone/whatever.

Again I'm not a genius leader but if you want to know what I think about what the ASR is doing wrong, it's that the current leadership doesn't know how to delegate responsibility; and I don't just mean in the delegation of it, but in allowing the subordinates to truly take control and lead in the areas they have been assigned. That about sums it up. There's nothing SPECIFICALLY wrong. The ASR is a success. It's just that you are doing stuff very inefficiently (like the superclass). Just as an example. Looked like a great idea didn't it. Why did it fail? Was there anything you could have done differently? I doubt it. It was just the whole structure of it. It was poorly designed. There was no real incentive. I spoke with you about this.

If you want to do something like that you need sponsorship. And that means you will need to make your sponsors happy, and that means you will need to release some creative control or you will have to advertise a product or some other thing. If you're not willing to do that or to delegate responsibility properly then I say relax; just relax and let the league govern itself; concern yourself with the month-to-month scorekeeping and nothing more.. It's worked so far

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Post #12 Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:04 am 
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Now I'm not heavily involved in the league anymore, and certainly not egotistically invested in taking credit, but I have to respond, if only to clear something up once and for all. I created the league (as "sente"), years ago, with Reprisal's help. It was Reprisal and I who came up with the initial pyramid structure. Usagi offered us a spreadsheet with some formatting that didn't work very well and used a linear class system (a-b-c-d, not pyramidal at all), but I'm the one who made the room, who built the original website studygo.ca (which has long since been down), and handled the first year of the league. Usagi, to his credit, offered us some nice prizes to begin with, but at a certain point vanished without explanation. And right now, it's the hard work of the admins, stalkor in particular, but also kerem, topazg, and others who have kept the league going and sustained it through its ups and downs.

Please don't take credit for what you haven't done. It's parasitic and unhelpful.


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Post #13 Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:08 am 
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sente wrote:
Now I'm not heavily involved in the league anymore, and certainly not egotistically invested in taking credit, but I have to respond, if only to clear something up once and for all. I created the league (as "sente"), years ago, with Reprisal's help. It was Reprisal and I who came up with the initial pyramid structure. Usagi offered us a spreadsheet with some formatting that didn't work very well and used a linear class system (a-b-c-d, not pyramidal at all), but I'm the one who made the room, who built the original website studygo.ca (which has long since been down), and handled the first year of the league. Usagi, to his credit, offered us some nice prizes to begin with, but at a certain point vanished without explanation. And right now, it's the hard work of the admins, stalkor in particular, but also kerem, topazg, and others who have kept the league going and sustained it through its ups and downs.

Please don't take credit for what you haven't done. It's parasitic and unhelpful.


Oh, I've been called parasitic and unhelpful. Now I get to be even more "open" and "honest" than before ^^ joy ^^

The reason why I like to sabre rattle about being the creator of the ASR (which is indisputably true, see below) is because we've "been there and done that". Without reservation I can say that all of the problems stalkor and I discussed were original problems of the ASR that were never resolved. Don't worry, I'm fully aware that it's not my league anymore and I could care less about running a league. The reason I am complaining is because of the amount of time and the amount of suggestions I gave to stalkor, nevermind what I posted here, which was initially laughed at and then later implemented.

But besides all that, I'd like to deal with what you said above about you creating the ASR. You did not, history is history.

http://senseis.xmp.net/?KGSRooms%2FTheDanStudyRoom

There's that, of course.

And.. simple question, sente, do you deny that http://senseis.xmp.net/?ASRRankingTournament was created by me? Are you claiming you created that set of pages? Your name appears in my place, because you took over the league I created. Yeah, here's a link to your first act as ASR room admin, changing my name to yours on the senei's page: http://senseis.xmp.net/?diff=KGSRooms%2 ... =21&old=17

Just check it out yourself. http://senseis.xmp.net/?info=KGSRooms%2 ... dStudyRoom is a senseis page with a long and storied history. Sente started modifying it in 2007, about a full year after we started running a league, IIRC. And before that time I had been running it as the new and improved Dan Study Room which was basically the ASR with the fabled ASR school but without a league. It's easy for me to admit in hindsight I was unaware of the time commitment it would take to run a league. Now that I realize it, is the reason why I have no interest in running a league. If I were to run a league now I know exactly how I would do it, I would delegate responsibility. It is not something one man can do, even with an automated script and especially not with 300 members. Stalkor needs help and support, someone who's been there, to help him out. If it's not you or me, I don't know who it will be. So my advice to him is to not worry about it, and let the league govern itself. It's too much work to do it right.

I know.

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Post #14 Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:52 am 
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Actually usagi, when I was involved, there was a reasonably good effort to delegate work to people working on the project, and there still is as far as I know. You were suggesting time zone separation which sounded like a great idea if we knew all the time zones people were in. Sadly, we didn't, and couldn't easily get that information from KGS, so instead we asked for a volunteer to actually go out there and get the information. You volunteered, and got about 90% of the information for Alpha, and then that was that. No more information went in the Google spreadsheet, and you never communicated about it, seemingly forgotten about. No worries, we weren't doing it before, so no-one lost out any, but if work is to be delegated it then does actually need to be done by those it's delegated to.

PS It's "I couldn't care less"

PPS Persuasive evidence about being the founder, particularly the history of http://senseis.xmp.net/?KGSRooms%2FAdvancedStudyRoom

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Post #15 Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:45 am 
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you know what, probaly did overreact a bit, i just came back from a break and noticed the league was shrinking very rapidly so i slightly well...panicked:p
also usagi, when i started running the league over a year ago i was very protective of the league and ive changed a lot since then. I have never laughed at ideas ive simply analysed the idea and yes some of your ideas were introduced later then you wanted but when you proposed them it just didnt feel right to do so at that moment in time and even if you sponsor lots of money im still the one making decisions.

Delegating things is what happens a lot in the admin team, last two months agzam made the league, kayres made website changes and that worked very well even considering all us admins are shorter on time then we were in the past.

Doing it right imo is the only way, doing halfassed things is just another way to annoy ppl.

Ps. That last thing i don't follow enough myself oddly and should work on that:)

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Post #16 Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:15 pm 
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topazg wrote:
...

PPS Persuasive evidence about being the founder, particularly the history of http://senseis.xmp.net/?KGSRooms%2FAdvancedStudyRoom


To jump directly to the full history try http://senseis.xmp.net/?info=KGSRooms%2FAdvancedStudyRoom&unlimited=1. It does make it look like some of the current conversation could calm down and perhaps concentrate on the future. A real discussion of origins would seem to require having bluremi and perhaps antic around ;-)

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Post #17 Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:40 am 
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personally I think that the ASR really lacks publication. I heard about it from a friend and once I heard about it I immediately joined. I think it's not that people don't like the idea, but they just don't hear about it.

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Post #18 Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:53 am 
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YVW wrote:
personally I think that the ASR really lacks publication. I heard about it from a friend and once I heard about it I immediately joined. I think it's not that people don't like the idea, but they just don't hear about it.


that might be true, how do you suppose we "spread the word" even more? on KGS the league is i think greatly known. I think its up to the people in clubs to spread the word of how good it is, i can't and won't pressure the in doing so:)

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Post #19 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:56 am 
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KGS: danielm
What about some advanced scripting foo? :)

Ask players to sign up, specifying their region (which is then used to sort people into groups by region, or half/half).

Then ask players to mark a certain minimum number of hours during "reasonable" times in their timezone (e.g. 5pm to 10pm during weekdays, 12pm to 10pm during weekends, something like that) in a scheduler.

Then players can challenge other players on the website simply by selecting a free slot in their opponent's schedule (in addition to spontaneous chat challenges).

Combine this with email notifications and mechanisms to aid rescheduling if needed, and there is practical no limit to how much you can help matters to move along smoothly.

Creating the software for this is not going to be trivial, but why not give it a try? It can be set up as an open source project, and there is no rush to get it done anytime soon. The worst that can happen is that it never gets finished.

For what it's worth, given that I am thinking about joining, but the above mentioned issues do worry me a little, I do expect that I would have enough motivation to make some time to work on this.

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 Post subject: Re: what is the ASR doing wrong?
Post #20 Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:45 am 
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KGS: stalkor
were looking into redoing the entire website (as you can see here) and if you're good in drupal we would welcome the effort immensely!

the problem is that last time we called on ppl to help out, about 10 ppl responded, then got a task, to never show up again (except 1).

the league is getting back on its feet again now, i can see that since were getting close to 300 players again and i see about 45 games per day being played in a steady pace. Also a flurry of dans has entered the league, there is no class from alpha to gamma that hasnt got a dan or two (scary!)

biggest advancement this month has been 2 major contributions for prizes! We will be able to give away 3 months subscriptions to KGS+ for 6 months and teaching games from yilun Yang 7p (for an unspecified amount of time!)

3 of our admins (including me) are currently doing the 20 hours of drupal tutorial videos (which are reaaaaally great) and we've got a good idea of what were going to build, it just takes time:)

also, if you're a coder and you know how to build drupal modules, it would help greatly to have an SGF handling module.

ok my rant is done:P

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