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 Post subject: Re: L19 in decline?
Post #21 Posted: Fri May 12, 2023 12:36 pm 
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Another thing: does the forum have a mobile-friendly version? If not, could it be a partial explanation to the decline?


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Post #22 Posted: Fri May 12, 2023 12:52 pm 
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Knotwilg wrote:
So, yes, I believe video and forums with better capabilities are taking over from L19.


In an ideal world, what capabilities would a website for a go community have? Clearly, it shouldn't have some of the bugs that have been reported here.

What would an ideal site look like though? I'm asking particularly in regard to the things that L19 doesn't have.

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Post #23 Posted: Fri May 12, 2023 1:41 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
My sense of the thinking of people on the "cultural" side of go (and chess) in response to the advent of AI is along the lines of "why should I bother taking an interest now?"


"Why should I bother taking an interest?"

This is a question I have asked myself a lot over the past few months - not just in go, but in many areas of my life. A sense of meaninglessness leads to apathy. Feeling apathetic reduces motivation. Accordingly, to be motivated to do something, finding meaning is important.

So how do you find meaning?

On one hand, it seems like meaning is something that may be hidden in the bushes - something to be discovered after having acquired sufficient life experience. But with recent events in my personal life, I was at a loss to know where in the bushes that meaning was to be found. I read Viktor Frankl's famous book on man's search for meaning. He had some theories on how meaning was acquired (achievements, experiences/relationships, through suffering). But what stood out to me was man's unique capability to assign meaning to things independently of some universal rule.

In other words, maybe meaning isn't hiding in the bushes somewhere. Maybe meaning is something that I can create arbitrarily within my experience of living.

But this doesn't answer the question directly for a given topic: "Why should I bother taking an interest?". For example, if we want to answer the question, "Why should I bother taking an interest in go?"... there isn't a universal answer, except that "One should take an interest in go if one has decided to assign meaning to go". Which begs the next question, "Why should one decide to assign meaning to go?". It becomes recursive:

"Why assign meaning?" --> "Because you've chosen to assign meaning" --> Why choose to assign meaning?" --> "Because you've chosen to choose to assign meaning?"

Until one steps back out of this loop and realizes:

"The process of assigning meaning and achieving enjoyment from that meaning is, in itself, good."

The alternative to assigning meaning to at least some aspects of life is to not assign meaning, which results in a meaningless life. And a meaningless life is not desirable - I think that's close to a universal sentiment...

Coming back to assigning meaning. If the act of assigning meaning to something and finding meaning through that assignment is good, then all that is necessary is to find a medium through which to perform this assignment. Go can be one such medium. But it is only a good medium if you can convince yourself that the meaning you assign to the activity is beneficial.

Here are some potential aspects of go that I believe might make the assignment of meaning beneficial and worthwhile:
- Enjoyment from playing the game. Maybe it's dopamine, or maybe it's something else. But I experience positive sensations when I believe I am winning a game. I experience positive feelings when I've killed a group. I experience positive feelings when, maybe I haven't won, but I feel that I have utilized my brain and played well. I feel positive feelings when I feel that I have stretched my ability. I also feel positive feelings from concentrating on something for a long time. That concentration is nice - it's maybe similar to the famous "flow state". I don't have to worry about my wife dying or global warming or my job or the politics on the other side of the world: I can focus just on the black and white stones and what can happen in that finite, yet infinite board.

- Enjoyment from progress. I have a positive sensation and a feeling of achievement when I realize that I have improved at something. Maybe this is similar to Frankl's point about finding meaning behind achievement. By being "less good" at something, and then becoming "more good" - it's easy to see the "good" in that activity. It feels less like the time you spent on earth has gone to waste - you at least showed improvement at something, which means that you are learning something in your limited time on earth.

- Benefit from study. Similar to playing a game, studying can produce a state of flow and concentration, which invokes positive feelings. Maybe studying in itself is less competitive in the moment than an actual game. So folks who are less competitive may enjoy this aspect of achieving concentration while not worrying about competition. Surely, there's something worthwhile about this.

- Benefit from community. Has AI destroyed the aspect of community? I don't really feel this, because the community itself is one thing that still separates the humans from the AI. While it's nice to concentrate within the boundaries of the go board, being connected to other people brings us in touch with a body of people larger than each one of us as individuals. This can deter feelings of insignificance and/or mortality that one might face when considering meaning in their individual finite life. The community will outlast the player. After I die, the community remains. That's not as good as having eternal life, but at least it's nice to know that part of your memory or whatever will live on.

- The "cultural" side of go. I will agree that some aspects of go "culture" feel different now. Maybe we can see flaws of Sakata or Shusaku more easily now. However, I don't think it necessarily has to be a reason to let go of all meaning behind the game. If a specific "culture" were the only meaningful aspect of go, meaning would be lost whenever a new generation of players rose to the top.

---

On the flip side, there may be reasons one might choose not to assign meaning to go. Here are a few I can think of:
- Being absorbed in a game feels good. But maybe it comes at the opportunity cost of spending more time connecting with other people. Maybe it means less time spent outdoors or exercising.
- At the end of the day, you're just putting stones on a board. What makes it different from gomoku or othello? I'm not sure if this argument is as strong. While the physical aspect of putting stones on a board is true, the meaning acquired by being absorbed in the game is in the context of the rules of the game itself, so I don't think we can isolate the activity to just putting stones on a board.
- Losing isn't fun. For those who are competitive, maybe it can feel meaningless to study when you end up losing against others. I suppose, if you choose to assign meaning to go, the competitive nature of the game should not be the only reason for playing, lest you aim to be the best player in the world.

Overall, I believe that go is a perfectly valid *medium* for assigning meaning to an activity in this lifetime. The biggest reason not to choose to do this is in the event that you have another activity or thing in life, which gives you more meaning. In that case, the opportunity cost of playing go is high, given that you might get more bang for your buck assigning meaning to something else. We're here in life, able to divvy up meaning according to what we want. It's like being in a candy store with some cash that can be used only to buy candy at that store. We should certainly not miss the opportunity - we should buy whatever we can with the resources we have: let's not waste any money. But the choice of what distribution of candy to buy...? That's up to you. What selection do you think you'd regret the least?

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 Post subject: Re: L19 in decline?
Post #24 Posted: Fri May 12, 2023 2:07 pm 
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So many other activities in life. I'll be back in 1 month to 10 years to add more posts.

But in general I've noticed that many hobbyists tend to go for Discord or Whatsapp chats where conversations get lost. There's no time or energy to draft a post for a forum.

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Post #25 Posted: Sat May 13, 2023 1:22 am 
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 Post subject: Re: L19 in decline?
Post #26 Posted: Sat May 13, 2023 1:47 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:

I'm not convinced by your maths video example. I don't doubt its effectiveness for you, but IU think you are viewing it as an existing maths experts, and one advantage of the video format is that they can jump in and start at a high level, this giving you what you want in a short time. But for beginners in any subject, I think the slower pace of books is very often an advantage. Beginners' brains need more time to absorb new concepts.



It's a decent hypothesis which, as an expert in math, I can't disprove, although the channel possibly has topics I haven't studied before yet - I'll try those. I'll switch the argument to playing the guitar, where previously I had been learning from books, and today's instruction videos are 1000x more useful. Then again, guitar playing is a highly physical-technical-temporal activity, while Go and math are more abstract and in a way "static".

Quote:
To give a specific example, many go players have marvelled at and enjoyed the games of the likes of Shusaku, Sakata or Cho Chikun (or whoever). But now AI tells us their famous moves were crap, and it rather takes the shine off that player.


That's a valid point. AI's validation methods and inferred claims, probably take away a lot of the intrinsic variety.

As you said, it's not only AI though. In today's tennis, only baseline counterpunching survives, serve & volley becoming an extinct style. As a result, it seems like nobody knows how to flat serve or volley like in the days of Ivanisevic, Becker, Edberg, Sampras ... There's hope though: the new prodigy Alcaraz has reintroduced the drop shot and now everybody starts to drop shot. It probably takes a new kid who builds his game on a strong flat serve and extreme volleying skills, to revive that specialty. In the last Madrid finals, we already got a hint of that by Jan-Leonard Struff (but he's not young and it was more like a situational tactic).

In Go, the trend and style are being determined by an "absolute truth" hence less likely to be reversed, although I don't exlcude that further refinement of AI will see the revival of pincers or extinct joseki, maybe even that dreadful early 3-3 will one day vanish from our gobans.

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 Post subject: Re: L19 in decline?
Post #27 Posted: Sat May 13, 2023 1:20 pm 
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Better make a post and measure if L19 is in a sharp decline in last couple of days.


This post is 277786 and this topic was opened with post 277650, I think, 3.25 days ago. That is 42 posts / day. We did it we are back :tmbup:

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 Post subject: Re: L19 in decline?
Post #28 Posted: Sun May 28, 2023 2:38 pm 
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Knotwilg wrote:
...and there's a shift going on to other forums, notably reddit/baduk?

Shenoute wrote:
...Reddit... while woefully inadequate for discussing go games and positions, is not doing too shabbily...

John Fairbairn wrote:
I personally don't see reddit as an alternative...

Nor do I.
Reddit is taking up it's natural share, and we should not perceive that as a problem.

John Fairbairn wrote:
...The likes of Bill Spight have not been replaced...

I don't think that the likes of Bill Spight will come along frequently. We got lucky there, and should not expect a replacement.

John Fairbairn wrote:
The other problem is AI... and, sadly, that may explain part of the decline in L19 activity.



I've been thinking about the general topic of growth and decline for the last few years ( part of an admin's responsiblity ) and have come to the conclusion that this is just the natural order of things.
In the online go world, there are a number of places where one can talk about go. In a mature online ecosystem, each will play its part, and all will coexist. There will be a natural equilibrium, as each site fulfills some need.

( The advent of AI may shift the equilibrium, but it does not funamentally alter it. Before AI, chop wood and carry water. After AI, chop wood and carry water to a different place. )

We have a number of alternatives ( and I have ordered this list according to permanence ):

1) Twitter - Great for spreading news, but tends toward superficiality. It has its place, however limited.
2) Reddit - Slightly less ethereal than twitter ( a low bar, indeed ). But a great place for quick discussions.
3) OGS Forums - I have only been there once or twice. Am placing it on this list according to Gennan's advice.
4) LifeIn19x19 - A good place for longer discussions. It may result in some conclusions worth saving.
5) Sensei's Library - Primarily a repository. Some discussions occur, but they are slow and few.


( An observer may notice that I have not included Facebook in the above list. I tend to avoid the place except when absolutely necessary, and consider myself better for the effort. If I were to spend some time there, I suspect that it would go in the above list next to Reddit. )

But Facebook or no Facebook, and AI or no AI, the fundamental point is this: the L19 forum exists in an ecosystem with other sites, and there is currently no substitute for a forum. Some sites are faster and more topical, some sites are greater repositories of information, but none are quite like a forum. We have our place in the ecosystem, and will for a long time.

I have more to say about this, but lunch is getting cold. I'll write more later. In the meantime, I invite all to read my signature.

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 Post subject: Re: L19 in decline?
Post #29 Posted: Sun May 28, 2023 3:23 pm 
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I would add the OGS forums to your list. I would place it in between Reddit and L19.


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Post #30 Posted: Mon May 29, 2023 4:28 am 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
2) Reddit - Slightly less ethereal than twitter ( a low bar, indeed ). But a great place for quick discussions.

FWIW, probably not a lot of people know this, but Reddit is not available in all countries. Here in Indonesia it's blocked by the government. I am grateful to have L19, and even though I am not very active any more, I am still reading.


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 Post subject: Re: L19 in decline?
Post #31 Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2023 7:09 am 
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L19 is frequently offline. Was it one or two days this time? People will use different forums, or what to call them, differently and above all as they please but when something is temporarily unavailable then they can't.

I think the slower pace on L19 can be good. Many posts and comments on the other platforms mentioned are often either ignored or deluged by many replies in a very short time. Admittedly, that seems to put other people off too and I have noticed that some of them have calmed down a bit. It's anyway not always better to have more of something.

One thing that is frequently ignored is that there is quite a bit of lurkers that only read and never or rarely post anything. Anyway if people desire more posts they can achieve that by making more posts.


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 Post subject: Re: L19 in decline?
Post #32 Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2023 8:43 am 
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I think L19 is probably going to end up very good for a particular niche in the baduk world not covered by other platforms, although I'm unsure as to what thtr niche would be.

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Post #33 Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2023 4:18 pm 
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I can agree that L19 has a different feel. It seems more old school. OGS forum is nice too though, and it has some great discussion. But it also has a lot more funny/fluffy discussion.

Reddit and the rest are too temporary. It's difficult to find anything and it all just comes and goes.

I'm happy that L19 is still going. I worry when I get a connection error.


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Post #34 Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2023 1:22 pm 
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All the cool kids use Discord :cool: . I do like forums however (searching in Discord would be a pita, and it's just not the same). That being said, the UI is quite archaic...but functional, sort of.

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Post #35 Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2023 3:37 pm 
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I think there is a lot that L19 can provide that AI doesn't. Many people ask questions such as how should Black play in a given position. AI will give an answer to the question but without any explanation. A strong human player could answer the question, answer follow-up questions and give explanations. I suspect that a lot of weaker players just imitate AI moves without understanding them just as in the past pro moves or joseki books were imitated without understanding. As for the pace of posting, I notice on other forums that a position from a game, usually a DDK game, with a question about what to play in that position. A flurry of responses, many from weak players contradicting 5-dan level comments, appear rapidly. It seems that few posters read anyone else's posts, and rapidly it becomes difficult to find the gold among the dross. This does not create an environment for thoughtful communication. For me, the game of go has a history which I find interesting. AI doesn't help much with learning that history and the rest of the culture of the game. On this forum we are privileged to have John Fairbairn with his fund of knowledge, ability with Oriental languages, and vast experience to share. I am afraid that many people just take the go scene as a source of entertainment, not something that they want to put effort into to deepen their understanding.

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Post #36 Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2023 11:37 pm 
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I don't think it's wrong to consider go as "entertainment", people may prefer to play go casually and put more effort into other activities.


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Post #37 Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2023 6:41 am 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
and there is currently no substitute for a forum.


This is quite correct, which is why you should have another look at Gennan's suggestion and check out some things about OGS and its forum. Personally I got into fora many years ago and I love PHPBB fora like this one, but there are two main issues with L19.
a) it is not attached to a gaming server. Ergo it cannot be easily found by new players. Jlt noted that it is rare that 20k players would come here and ask for a review, but that is not rare in the OGS forum. Why? because the forum there is attached to the gaming server where the game took place. New players do not learn about this forum. I've seen Sensei's getting links and mentions all over the internet, since it is a repository of Go knowledge, but I've never seen a link anywhere pointing to L19 saying "here this was discussed and you will find an interesting answer or discussion there". It seems L19 has gotten out of the loop of the ecosystem you mentioned, even though some very important, smart and insightful people are writing here exclusively.

b) The issue with the images needs to be resolved. Limits with image uploads in size and dimensions, uploading errors, parsing errors of the img tag and so forth are a severe hit to a forum about a board game. I had a similar issue trying to upload an image to my usual announcements and it was resolved by some other user here posting and telling me "the secret" of changing "https" to "http" in front of an image link and then it would work. :shock: Staying behind such an internet-wide standard and not even incorporating the hint to the error message is a big issue. For example, could we have this discussion, in this forum or would most people spend most of their time wondering how to upload their variations?

https://forums.online-go.com/t/question ... seki/46594

Over there someone just makes a screenshot of the variation (or whatever else) and just drags and drops the image in the post - regardless of shape and size - and of they go with writing their post. That kind of speed and efficiency is crucial for a game like Go where image-based discussion is important.

Just my two cents on the matter :salute:

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 Post subject: Re: L19 in decline?
Post #38 Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2023 8:31 am 
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JethOrensin wrote:
Joaz Banbeck wrote:
and there is currently no substitute for a forum.


This is quite correct, which is why you should have another look at Gennan's suggestion and check out some things about OGS and its forum. Personally I got into fora many years ago and I love PHPBB fora like this one, but there are two main issues with L19.
a) it is not attached to a gaming server. Ergo it cannot be easily found by new players. Jlt noted that it is rare that 20k players would come here and ask for a review, but that is not rare in the OGS forum. Why? because the forum there is attached to the gaming server where the game took place. New players do not learn about this forum. I've seen Sensei's getting links and mentions all over the internet, since it is a repository of Go knowledge, but I've never seen a link anywhere pointing to L19 saying "here this was discussed and you will find an interesting answer or discussion there". It seems L19 has gotten out of the loop of the ecosystem you mentioned, even though some very important, smart and insightful people are writing here exclusively.

b) The issue with the images needs to be resolved. Limits with image uploads in size and dimensions, uploading errors, parsing errors of the img tag and so forth are a severe hit to a forum about a board game. I had a similar issue trying to upload an image to my usual announcements and it was resolved by some other user here posting and telling me "the secret" of changing "https" to "http" in front of an image link and then it would work. :shock: Staying behind such an internet-wide standard and not even incorporating the hint to the error message is a big issue. For example, could we have this discussion, in this forum or would most people spend most of their time wondering how to upload their variations?

https://forums.online-go.com/t/question ... seki/46594

Over there someone just makes a screenshot of the variation (or whatever else) and just drags and drops the image in the post - regardless of shape and size - and of they go with writing their post. That kind of speed and efficiency is crucial for a game like Go where image-based discussion is important.

Just my two cents on the matter :salute:


Lots of good points here. Myself I still lament the day the SL community went to GoDiscussions, then here. SL has talk pages now, preserving original thought, and probably was just a little too late with those to avoid the shift here. It didn't and doesn't have sgf integration, which was the other, perhaps main reason for moving out. You're right though that other forums are even the other way round: they are part of a "growing sgf db", a server.

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