A Go Player

One man's fascination with the world's best game

Thursday, December 02, 2004

More on Sandbagging


I was inspecting several games today on DGS, and I came across the other end of the spectrum - people who had rated themselves as 1kyu or 2kyu players and obviously were not even close to that level of skill.

This is just as bad for a rating system as the other type of sandbagger, and having seen these people set themselves up with that rank, I can see two possibilities:

1. They don't have an idea of what rank to set for themselves, and therefore arbitrarily pick either absolute beginner or a rank that is much to high, or

2. They intentionally pick a rank that is incorrect.

Now in the first case, it's an honest mistake. Hard to argue against that. In the second, well, in an online system, there is no way to ensure that anyone's strength is correct from the get-go. So what can you do? *shrugs*

Now I begin to understand why so many people have problems with rating systems. I guess I do appreciate the KGS beginning somewhat more than DGS. In DGS, you self-select a rank, and then begin from there. In KGS, you are given the rank of the person you play, one or or one down based on win or loss, but it is not stable until you have won and lost two games with already rated players. This, I think, to some degree ameliorates the problems of #1 above.

However, in the case of #2, again, there's nothing you can do. If someone really wants to game a system, they can do it. It's been a problem for slashdot and many other self-moderating communities, and it's obviously a problem in the online go community.

So, with that said, I intend to relax a lot regarding sandbagging and not let it get to me. After all, there is nothing to be done but try your best. Eventually, as with all perturbations in a large system, the effect will settle down due to the dampening induced by games with other players. The only way to make a lasting effect would be to continually reopen accounts for the purpose of sandbagging. And my god, what a bore that would be.


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