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 Post subject: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #1 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:49 am 
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Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that there's a Go resource that doesn't require downloading a client and is apparently super popular. More people playing the best game is a good thing.

But lately I find myself exhausted by OGS. I can always get games there (of a sort), but the culture seems very "aggressive". Lots of 9x9 and 13x13 games, not many 19x19. Blitz timing always. People get peeved if you set handicap on. And I seem to run into a lot of what I term "flowchart Ken" players (from my fighting game days). Obnoxious constant overplays, attaching everywhere, etc. Also tend to see a lot of "mirror Go".

I'm at a level now where I can counter such players about half the time. I don't know how much playing on OGS is really helping my Go, though.

Am I just unlucky? Or is this a symptom of DDK play online everywhere, and I just don't see as many DDKs on other servers, or something?

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Post #2 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:25 am 
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Obnoxious constant overplays, attaching everywhere, etc. Also tend to see a lot of "mirror Go".

... I can counter such players about half the time.
Then they're exposing your knowledge gaps, which exist independent of them. To improve, eliminate these gaps, eventually, regardless of other humans (or engines). The "overplays" only feel obnoxious to you because you can't handle half of them; once you can handle most of them, you may feel differently ("Oh, a gift.").
I don't play on OGS; but many streamers seem to play there.

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Post #3 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:33 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Quote:
Obnoxious constant overplays, attaching everywhere, etc. Also tend to see a lot of "mirror Go".

... I can counter such players about half the time.
Then they're exposing your knowledge gaps, which exist independent of them. To improve, eliminate these gaps, eventually, regardless of other humans (or engines). The "overplays" only feel obnoxious to you because you can't handle half of them; once you can handle most of them, you may feel differently ("Oh, a gift.").


This is what everyone says, I know. It'll be nice when I'm strong enough to agree, haha.

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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #4 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:31 am 
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If you want handicap games you can use KGS or IGS. If you like slower time settings, IGS is better. However,

* on IGS, at ranks around 17k, you will encounter sandbaggers. In one of my first games against a "17k" on IGS, I lost by 230 points...
* On every server, especially at 15k level or lower, your opponents will make many overplays, invasions that shouldn't work, etc. and you will lose what "should" be your territory, especially during the endgame. Consider that as an exercise: during the endgame, count liberties, watch all cutting points and check if there is a threat. Doing that effort may not be the funniest part of the game, but it is necessary.

On the other hand, you will encounter overly aggressive players on every server and at any level. Maybe you can't punish them right now, but when you grow stronger you'll realize that they create many weak groups that you can harass or kill.


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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #5 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:49 am 
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jlt wrote:
If you want handicap games you can use KGS or IGS. If you like slower time settings, IGS is better.


Definitely. I started my online go experience on KGS way back in the day and I like it a lot. These days, it seems pretty dead though. Takes a while to get a game. I suppose that's a small price to pay for a more relaxed atmosphere.

jlt wrote:
* On every server, especially at 15k level or lower, your opponents will make many overplays, invasions that shouldn't work, etc. and you will lose what "should" be your territory, especially during the endgame. Consider that as an exercise: during the endgame, count liberties, watch all cutting points and check if there is a threat. Doing that effort may not be the funniest part of the game, but it is necessary.


Actually I quite like the endgame. I try to get to it as quickly as possible, haha. I agree that it's an excellent mental exercise! The infinite possibilities of the opening are reduced and reduced until you get to a set of mathematical certainties that you can sit and count, calculate and work out. From art, to science. It's beautiful.

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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #6 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:26 pm 
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From my admittedly limited (though existent) experience with OGS, I would classify it somewhere in the middle in terms of aggression levels.

I think what you're experiencing is more generally true of DDK life. I'd attribute this to two things, both already mentioned to some degree:

1) On a lot of (possibly all) servers, you'll find sandbaggers in the DDK ranks looking to get triple-digit point victories to boost their frail egos (sandbaggers in the SDK or low dan ranks are maybe just looking to try out goofy openings or play mindlessly or record educational YouTube videos--in DDK-land they're more likely looking to humiliate someone for their own satisfaction, unfortunately). If you've come to the firm conviction that you're playing a sandbagger who is going to kill all your stuff, you can just resign if it's raising your blood pressure or you can treat it as some kind of learning opportunity. It sucks, but, it's part of DDK life.

2) DDK players who want to fight have less of a sense of how to do it correctly, just like DDK players who want to play a peaceful, I-get-mine-you-get-yours game have less of a sense of how to do so correctly. So even if they're advanced enough to know that an attachment is generally a defensive rather than offensive tactic, or that some safe-looking group with ample space for about 15 eyes isn't kill-able, they are out of other ideas. So, wanting to steer the game towards fighting, what do they do? Annoy the hell out of you with constant overplays, attachments, etc. Again, it sucks, but another part of DDK life. While they might be doing so in bad faith or with some degree of bad faith, it's also possible and in many cases quite likely that they're just trying to play the game, just as you. Unfortunately, here, the solution is to gain strength and learn to calmly defend and out gain the overplay-er.

Finally, I'd just note in passing that while you should try to play the game you want to play--and if that's peacefully, then you should continue to pursue it--a little bit of fighting mettle is probably going to improve your skill more rapidly right now than more general ideas about game flow/direction/etc. So when you're playing an aggressive player and it becomes clear that there's no way out but to fight your way out, rise to the occasion, fight fight fight, and learn from the result either way.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #7 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:18 pm 
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Applebaps wrote:
Obnoxious constant overplays
..
Or is this a symptom of DDK play online everywhere

I'm not sure what is you comparison base, but I'd say this is the general attitude. The kind of respect for the game that is common on IGS you won't find on most other servers, for example.

EdLee wrote:
The "overplays" only feel obnoxious to you because you can't handle half of them; once you can handle most of them, you may feel differently ("Oh, a gift.")

I don't think it's that simple. Many overplays take more effort to refute than to play them, that's why they are in fashion - even in sdk games. The difference between looking for truly working and good moves, or for traps that help winning games is something one needs to face permanently.

I think many players are not even aware of this difference: like bots, people learn by upweighting moves of the eventual winner, regardless of their real value. :)


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Post #8 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:10 pm 
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EdLee wrote:
Quote:
Obnoxious constant overplays, attaching everywhere, etc. Also tend to see a lot of "mirror Go".

... I can counter such players about half the time.
Then they're exposing your knowledge gaps, which exist independent of them. To improve, eliminate these gaps, eventually, regardless of other humans (or engines). The "overplays" only feel obnoxious to you because you can't handle half of them; once you can handle most of them, you may feel differently ("Oh, a gift.").

So, basically - people play like morons, but if it bothers you, it is all your fault, OP!
Nice. ;)

To OP:
While I agree with EdLee to some extent, there is also the point of view that not everybody is a die-hard, and some of us play the game for enjoyment, to relax. Some styles are not conducive to that. I remember feeling like that on Tygem a while back... Yeah, I was giving myself an internal snot-nosed lecture about 'it only exposes my weaknesses' and 'I should treat it as a gift' and all that... but in the end, it was not fun, and I don't play on Tygem anymore. My loss, I guess... but its also my time I invest, so if its not fun, I have t decide how much is it worth for me.

Back to OGS:
I have not played there much lately (I have not played anywhere much lately) - but my general experience is that it might depend on the level you play. Once you move a few ranks up (or down) you might have a different experience. But if not - there is always somewhere else. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #9 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:29 pm 
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columbo wrote:
From my admittedly limited (though existent) experience with OGS, I would classify it somewhere in the middle in terms of aggression levels.

*snip*

Good luck!


You raise some excellent points. I hadn't even considered the possibility that people might be higher ranking players deliberately sandbagging, for one thing.

I've gotten some very good preliminary results from just following through with natural moves (such as cuts and fighting) even when the outcome is potentially messy or scary. Following through with what I know are the right moves tends to work out pretty well a lot of the time, it turns out. Sometimes, that means fighting. Other times, it means peacefully cooperating to build, and only later ruining my opponent's day a little, haha.

jann wrote:
The difference between looking for truly working and good moves, or for traps that help winning games is something one needs to face permanently.

I think many players are not even aware of this difference: like bots, people learn by upweighting moves of the eventual winner, regardless of their real value. :)


Thank you for stating this so clearly. It's something I've struggled to put my finger on, but there's definitely a difference between playing to beat a particular opponent versus playing to become better at Go. Often, these ridiculous-looking plays and crazy huge moyos and extensions are actually in practice very difficult to counter safely, they're a trick waiting for you to try, and then you lose everything. Do I want to learn to counter tricky plays? Or do I want to understand the game more deeply? For me, it's the latter.

Bantari wrote:
To OP:
While I agree with EdLee to some extent, there is also the point of view that not everybody is a die-hard, and some of us play the game for enjoyment, to relax. Some styles are not conducive to that. I remember feeling like that on Tygem a while back... Yeah, I was giving myself an internal snot-nosed lecture about 'it only exposes my weaknesses' and 'I should treat it as a gift' and all that... but in the end, it was not fun, and I don't play on Tygem anymore. My loss, I guess... but its also my time I invest, so if its not fun, I have t decide how much is it worth for me.


I have a lot of respect for this stance, and I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I love the game deeply, and I do play to relax, but I have a drive to become stronger, too. I want to be able to say I'm SDK, to start with, then eventually first kyu. That would be really nice. It requires a lot of work, so I'm playing every day and studying hard! But it doesn't feel like hard work, because I enjoy it so much. So I don't know where I fall, haha.

We definitely have a finite amount of time in this life with which to do things. There's no sense in beating our heads against a particular Go server if it's not conducive to having fun. That said, I'm mostly just venting in this thread. I know I'll eventually look back on players like these and laugh at how they ever fooled me.

I appreciate everyone's sympathy, though! It's good to know I'm not nuts.

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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #10 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:23 pm 
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Applebaps wrote:
Often, these ridiculous-looking plays and crazy huge moyos and extensions are actually in practice very difficult to counter safely

On the other hand I wouldn't be this quick to put everything that seem unfamiliar into this category. Crazy huge moyos and extensions are, for example, not necessarily bad moves (and don't mean the player expects to convert them as is - even if in practice they may give unrealistically good results, thanks to the opponent's lack of skill to handle them).

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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #11 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:41 pm 
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jann wrote:
On the other hand I wouldn't be this quick to put everything that seem unfamiliar into this category. Crazy huge moyos and extensions are, for example, not necessarily bad moves (and don't mean the player expects to convert them as is - even if in practice they may give unrealistically good results, thanks to the opponent's lack of skill to handle them).


That's very true as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #12 Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:18 am 
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Applebaps wrote:
Obnoxious constant overplays, attaching everywhere, etc. Also tend to see a lot of "mirror Go".


If you feel that certain plays are obnoxious that is how you feel. There is no right or wrong about that. :)

Hoewever, at your level are you able to tell whether a play is an overplay or not?

Quote:
I'm at a level now where I can counter such players about half the time. I don't know how much playing on OGS is really helping my Go, though.


Oh, I expect that playing against DDKs on OGS is about as helpful as playing against DDKs elsewhere. But if you want to improve, you should not play DDKs. Doing so will tend to reinforce your own bad habits. Play other DDKS for fun, which apparently means somewhere else than OGS. ;) The advice usually given is to take 3 stones, but at your level I would suggest taking 5 stones. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #13 Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:22 am 
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If you want a certain culture, I think one of the best ways to achieve this is to behave according to that culture.

So if you like, we can play a game with handicap. Just talk to me on OGS.


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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #14 Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:54 am 
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To back up what some other folks here have said in other words, I would not assume that the kind of play you are seeing is intentionally rude. There is a lot of variation in knowledge and approach at the DDK level.

Some players are more aware of what good go looks like in theory, and aspire to have games that look like that. They don't make "huge overplays" or make "unreasonable" invasions (quotes are there for a reason!) because they know they are "not good go" and "shouldn't work".

Others mostly just know the game from playing it themselves. In their experience, these sorts of moves often work, and they are correct to think so! Some of these moves that a 15k knows are overplays are still difficult to refute for 5ks.

If your play is more "cultured", you will likely find that you will improve faster than these other players because you have some knowledge of what the patterns associated with better play look like, and aspire to them. But it is also possible that these other players will improve faster than you, because they enjoy fighting more and get more practice at it. In the meantime, for better or worse you do have to put up with it to climb out of the DDK ranks.


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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #15 Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:26 am 
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I’ll offer another option: if a particular way of playing bugs you, try playing that way for a few games! It might be an area that you’re weak at, and by getting more familiarity with the “dark side”, you might get some ideas on how to use the force for good.

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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #16 Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:27 am 
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Adding more meat to Kirby's and others' suggestion: there are two ways of dealing with obnoxious play (as you see it). You avoid it, which is fine but may deprive you from games, or you confront it, which may be painstaking at first but will make you robust against it. Here's how to confront it:

1. An opponent who resigns when you (think you) are ahead, is convenient. Don't expect that convenience. Accept that the opponent may take the game to the bitter end, even if it's clear you win and he's only gambling on you making a big mistake. If your advantages is indeed clear, then reinforcing a cutting point of which you are not entirely sure, or taking those captured stones off the board, may be worth spending a move on.

2. Manage your time. Don't allow the potentially obnoxious opponent to get into a position where he can exploit your being in the last overtime period, making invasions or give you tough life and death problems. Keep some overtimes in reserve.

3. As the game proceeds to the late endgame, liberties become scarce. Be aware of your groups' liberties as they shrink. The obnoxious opponent may find himself a sneaky atari while you are getting frustrated about him not resigning when you are ahead.

This is for real obnoxious play, but as others have said, what seems unreasonable to you, might be very reasonable from your opponent's perspective or even objectively so. After all, if they can live in your territory, then how could you tell it was yours to start with?

(PS: In racket sports, sometimes people find out their opponent can't handle overheads, so they start lobbing. As ridiculous as it looks, and as detrimental to one's own game it may be to do the obnoxious lobbing, as a player you really only have 1 option: learn to confidently smash the overhead.)


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 Post subject: Re: Does the culture of OGS seem... wonky... to anyone else?
Post #17 Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:04 am 
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I think, in the end, I prefer club games irl. We had a fantastic club meeting this past Saturday, and at 8 members I think we can say we're active and thriving. Playing online feels like an act of desperation, haha. Like I'll take it if I have no alternative, but I'm lucky to have a club here so I'll just stick with that, thanks.

The feeling is just completely different, much more positive.

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