KGS Censorship

    Keywords: Online Go

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Comment: Please note that most of this page was written during 2005. Some people did not even play Go back then.

Note: Before reading this page, familiarize yourself with the [ext] KGS Terms of Service.

KGS do censor their users, and they might and frequently do boot people off for anything that the admins deem offensive.

Using traditional foul words like "f**k" and "s**t", etc. gets one banned quickly, and people also banned for using abusive language such as referring to other people as "stupid", "idiot", etc.

Whether they (kgs) have a right to censor people is open to debate

Since it's their private server, they can do anything they want.

But let's not forget the huge complaint from users of IGS of their censorship of their servers, some would even say abuse from the admins. Which led to the creation of NNGS, fore-runner of KGS, and a primary place for exiled players from IGS.

KGS is not just some server on a machine somewhere on the internet. In some ways, it's a community of Go players. Without the players, there's no KGS, and without the server, neither will there be a online KGS community. Unreasonable censorship might hurt KGS, and its online community, but, as things stand today (6/5/2010) the censorship is too light to discourage the large volume of foul, off-topic, and family-unfriendly language (something most people would not want a five year old to be asking their mother about).

A sample of the debates on KGS censorship from [ext] KGS Censorship debate

Mef: I find the [the complaints about] KGS censorship is often blown out of porportion. I've only seen bans without warning for very exteme cases, so should one be banned it is often that they chose to ignore an admin or assistants request they either cease their disruptive behavior, or move their non-Go related chat to a room other than the English Game Room. As far as calling someone an idiot goes, the KGS Terms of Service do prohibit "abuse directed at other KGS members" so I feel they would be totally justified for banning someone after repeated harassment with even this so-called mild language. From my experience KGS has been rather accomodating to it's users (and remember if all else fails you can create your own room to express whatever ideas you want in whatever manner pleases you).

Truc: Well, KGS *is* a private server and they *can* run it in any way they see fit.

Fhayashi: There is no freedom of speech when you're playing with someone else's toys for free.

SirLyric: I'm not one of the anti-censor crowd as in general I have seen KGS admins acting fairly and responsibly, trying to maintain a pleasant, welcoming tone in the EGR. Visit any Yahoo game room to understand what happens when you don't have someone responsible for this.

That said, I think comments such as Fhayashi's above are not a productive response to concerns such as these. "If you don't like it, leave," is not an honest response addressing the concern at hand, it promotes splitting the community (and the world Go community is small enough as is), and prevents any chance of positive change from within. Certainly the admins and WMS have final say, as it's their server - but promoting an atmosphere where players cannot bring up their concerns leads to a poorer environment for everyone.

DrStraw KGS restricts you from abuse of others and the use of obscenities only in public rooms, where there are often many children present. You can do anything you wish in a private room. The policy is implemented to create a pleasant environment in which to play while, at the same time, providing a venue for people to behave as they wish in private. It is my experience that the admins are very tolerant of most chat but will come down hard on people who deliberately create an atmosphere which is unpleasant for a significant minority of its members. The terms of service are clearly set out and offer very few restrictions: abuse and obscenities are the two significant ones. By playing on KGS you implicitly accept the TOS. I can say this with some authority as one of the longest-serving admins on the server.

ilan: I started using KGS occasionally a while ago, but about a month ago, I got booted after I made some comment consistent with the off topic discussion and immediately got booted. Apparently, the reason was "disregarding administrator's warning", but from what I can figure, the warning was given maybe one minute before the expulsion, I didn't have time to read it when the chat icon popped up. Anyway, it was unpleasant, useless, and I haven't been back since. Maybe you disagree with me, but that is the way I see it at KGS, right now, the aggravation isn't worth playing 9x9 games.

Mef: Perhaps if there weren't so much off topic chatter flooding the room you would've been able to see the warning. They really should do something about that.

Cycleist: "They" used to have a ban on "off topic" chat but they reneged on that policy.

Ectospheno: While I can sympathize with your situation ilan (as I too was booted once under similar circumstances) I think you are taking this a bit too far. In situations like that the admins are in "boot mode" primarily because they've been nice and put up with the offtopic conversation far longer than they should have. These fast boots are only for 1 hour and then you can log back on. Is that really worth leaving the server? DrStraw has a point... you only have to watch your mouth in the public rooms. You can make a private room and spout crap all day. So I'm failing to see why your panties are in a wad.

ilan: Just to give you all an idea of the silly nature of the expulsion, it happened like this: Some annoying fellow flooded some racial epithets and people were all selfrighteously annoyed, which I found a little humourous, given the random nature, but this person was quite worthy of being banned. Anyway, I wrote the following three lines: My favourite race is/ The Tour de France/ GO LANCE (it was in the days prior to the start of the race). And that's when I got booted. Puerile yes, offensive, I don't think so. In fact, my purpose was to lighten things up, but I suppose not everyone has the same sense of humour, which is fine. For now, I prefer the set phrases on Cyberoro such as: "Hello, Baduk fans!" or "Hello, foreign friends!" Lots of good Baduk and no problems so far.

Tirian: If this is the continuation of the story you told above, where you were booted a minute after the admin told you all to shush, then that's almost certainly why, not the content of your message. The admins seem clued-in enough to recognize that some people are in the middle of typing a message and aren't looking at the chat window, so there seems to be some sort of grace period before they pull out the ice wand, but a minute is just not paying attention to the flow of the conversation. :) Of course, you're free to come and go as you please, but you are free to consider a one-hour suspension as something less than a mortal insult to your free speech rights.

ilan: You are perhaps correct in the sense that what I'm saying is not relevant to free speech, which means that what I wrote does not belong on this exact page. What I do want to say is that I do not like being ordered about and giving orders is something which I avoid as much as possible. Basically, I fail to understand how someone interested in playing go would waste time by monitoring the idle chatter of other (often stronger) players. Since there is another server which satisfies all my preferences, I prefer to go there, even if I find KGS only mildly annoying at times.

IanDavis Why do you fail to understand the need to monitor the idle chat? When somebody is typing obscenity and nefarious profanity into a room isn't it a good thing that somebody notices? I don't understand what go strength would have to do with that. I also don't understand why you wouldn't come to KGS if you only find it mildly annoying, you have stated that you like annoying people ;-)

ilan: Good call, on that last part, anyway... It thought that it went without saying that obscenity and nefarious obscenity is not idle chat. Like I said on my website, I sometimes find KGS to be like grade school with hall monitors sending you to detention. To be perfectly honest, the main reason I haven't played on KGS is that I haven't played too much this last month anyway, I've been too busy watching the Tour de France. GO LANCE! Do I get deleted now? I guess so...

  • IanDavis Are you saying that admins can only monitor for evil talk if they don't monitor idle chat. I am not sure how this could be done in practice. If I read the EGR chat I myself tend to read everything there, in its totality.
  • ilan: You beat me in our last game, so I won't argue with you until I improve.

Ectospheno: As long as we are advocating allowing people to say anything, allow me to say that you are being a big baby about a one hour suspension. Especially given that most initial suspensions are by user id, not IP address which means you can usually just log right back in as a guest. This entire page is just sad. Grow up people.

Bildstein: We're advocating allowing people to say anything? Oh great! In that case, let me say this: I'm really enjoying this conversation. ilan is saying controversial things, but not being agressive at all. I think it's great - I think too many people try too hard not to say controversial things lest they end up becoming defensive in justifying themselves, which is of course a shame.

ilan: My wife, who is French, says that, from her observation, the most common reproach of Americans to other Americans is: "Grow up!" So, KGS reflects American values, at least in its ECR incarnation which is not too surprising from an American server. Anyway, I prefer not to grow up, it keeps me young, just like not being as good at Go as I would like.

Velobici: What is [ext] nefarious [ext] profanity? I am familiar with each word; dont recall ever seeing them combined before.

  • IanDavis I saw it is as sordid abuse myself, but I am happy for you to form your own interpretation of the meaning.

ilan: Javaness is surprising us all, not only with his improving Go skills, but also with an increasing aptitude for the written word. The juxtaposition reminds me of the novel Lucky Jim, in which one finds the expression "frenzied boredom" used to describe the act of finishing a Ph.D. dissertation.

Cameron?: Keep up the good work KGS. I enjoy signing on and appreciate your attempts of making a fun and friendly environment for me to play go. Again, Thanks to all who are involved with KGS.

Drimgere: Ilan, are you sure you're not going onto kgs and seeing what can get you booted? I remember you were quite angry about the room split and left soon afterwards, and now it seems like you are looking for material to substansiate your position, which seems to be unreasonable dislike of kgs, you sound like the IGS flamers on r.g.g. (no offense intended). Whatever the reason, i doubt you were not able to see the warning of the admin, considering warnings in the egr are carried out in bold, to avoid complaints like yours, and to throw in random chatter after a warning like that, especially only a minute after the admin has asked you to move it, is definitely grounds for a boot, lasting all of one hour. It doesn't seem that you don't want to be told what to do, you just don't want to be prevented from trolling in r.g.g. fashion

ilan: Drimgere, just to answer you in the same spirit, are you sure you're not saying the above because I beat you in our last game? Seriously though, I believe that many people have understood my point, and only the KGS diehards remain opposed, as noted by Bildstein. As for the events, there was no bold face warning in the EGR, I had no idea who the admin was, and I didn't have time to read his personal chat warning. That said, I do believe that this current discussion is pretty much irrelevant, and in this, we probably do not disagree. The reason is that I believe that WMS' non Go related policy in the EGR has been a failure in the sense that I have noted in the last few months that the EGR has essentially reverted to its pre WMS state. In particular, I have seen you, Dr Straw, and other admins participate in such idle chat without anyone being worried about expulsion. The conclusion must be that this discussion is not very constructive. In any case, I hope that tolerance will continue to prevail in the EGR, even if my beloved anarchy no longer exists.

Drimgere: wait, we've played? well that changes everything, obviously i must be biased against you because of that result (which i don't remember, and can't find on joncol), and since you spend so much time observing dr straw and myself, as evidenced by your very qualified statement about our chatting habits, you must also notice it is never for pages on end, we (usually) moderate ourselves, and if you have a legitimate complaint as a kgs user you are welcome to forward any such incidents to wms who will take the appropriate action, it's not like there's a shortage of assistants. of course if you just want to post it on here as some sort of proof you are right, that's fine too.

DrStraw: Ilan, you are quite correct. Admins and assistants do participate in idle chat. After all, we are human. If you read my previous contribution to this subject you will notice that it did not mention idle chat, only violation of the TOS. I presume you are referring to an incident which happened in the EGR, where there is a stricter policy. In that room you are requested to avoid long non-go related conversations. This is because the room is the entry point for all new English-speaking players and they frequently ask for help in that room. Admins do permit non-Go conversation in there and, if there is no indication that it is drowning out other things, will frequently let it go for quite a while until such a time as it becomes disruptive or is moving in an inappropriate direction. At this point there is usually be a request to move the conversation elsewhere (there are plenty of other rooms available). The point is, however, that once a request from an admin or assistant is made, then it is expected to be respected. Most people know that and most people do respect it. There are a small number of people who believe they are God's gift to go servers and who troll with the aim of pushing the TOS to the limit. The admins know who these people are and it is not surprising that these are the ones who are booted from the server (usually for 1 hour) for not respecting the TOS. You agree to a TOS when editing an SL page: KGS is no different.

This thread is degenerating into the kind of discussion frequently seen on KGS and I recommend that it be moved there. SL is not the place for partisan dicusssions.

ilan: I agree that this discussion only has temporary merit, but it was necessary for me to vent. Now that everyone understands what happened, it's time to move on. I agree with you that this page can be deleted. We have managed to agree, so things must be moving in the right direction.

Bildstein: For what it's worth, from the point of view of someone who knows almost nothing about KGS, it looks like most of the anti-ilan content on this page is borne as much out of a fanatical love of KGS than it is out of any justified criticism of ilan's point of view. This is just an observation - correct me if I'm wrong.

A former KGS player?: I agree strongly with the topic of this page. Most of the admins / assistants are really nice people, but some do misuse their "power". I was threatened by an admin after making a comment about the pope (one year ago, the old pope was still alive then). I questioned the usefulness of his position and got a harsh and rather impolite warning from an admin, who is very religious (found out later). I was not insulting the pope or anybody else, but this admin just stopped our discussion because of his personal views. The discussion took place in a room, where non go related discussion is allowed. (not in the EGR or ECR)
In the last few weeks I have seen censorship and kicks / bans in the German Room by a new assistant for almost no reason. (my daughter plays there and because she is only 12 years I take a look sometimes).

kritz The biggest reason I greatly limit my daughter playing online is the fear she will run into a Troll. Because of this, she only can play if I am seated next to her. (sad) Which leads to the next biggest problem ... Not offering advise. I think the admins are necessary .... KID friendly rooms would be nice (PG-13?)- that way I could set up her account to only point to these rooms....

  • DrStraw Unfortunately some of the worst perpetrators are under 13 so a PG-13 room would notwork.

ilan: Drimgere, I just saw the newest anti-KGS thread on r.g.g. I have nothing to do with that stuff, which I find extremely bad. Basically, I use KGS as my 2nd favourite server, and get mildly annoyed when I get kicked off, leading to some complaining here or elswhere. I hope no one takes me too seriously.

Drimgere: well that's reassuring, I know no one takes me seriously so I can say all the stupid things I want to ^-^

Krin?: A majority of administrative action I've seen in the English Game Room comes from admins stopping off-topic speech. Let's call a spade a spade here: KGS is a Go server, and in any "public" chat, one is expected to discuss Go. I myself was kicked last night for making a bit of a tasteless comment on American politics. If you see KGS as a place to play, and not a place to talk, you might find alot of these boots to be more warranted. I'm not saying no one should be allowed to talk, but keep in mind that if you're in a "public" channel, chances are good that people are expecting the banter of be above-board and about Go. KGS admins defend that.

With that said: I've been there. I used to administrate an MMORPG and know quite well about administrative abuse. It will happen in any circle, no matter what. The question is not whether you were kicked unfairly or not, but who is willing to listen when you pose your grievance. If you're complaining in a public forum, it is assumed that you DID pose a grievance to someone above your current problem-op.

ilan: Amazingly, I was warned today by an administrator for using the word "bitch" after someone used it to describe me in chat, clearly because the picture on my profile is of my female dog. The administrator, someone whose id is "sigh" told me in private chat later, that: "it's still not appropriate language for a public room."

hikari99: Seems like a lot of this nonsense is with the backbone, "Oh, there are children present!!" I suppose this is talking about 13 year old and above. Oh well, everyone knows the censorship is stupid, and I've had my share of silly bans..

In my experience the KGS admins are moody and unpredictable. The most inane, non go related chat can go on for hours on end and then if something they don't like or something they disagree with pops up people are banned. There need to be firm rules regarding what is allowed to make this less arbitrary.

jramon mail to wsm

I have been banned abusively by jyem because this guy comes in the spanish room menacing everybody and interpreting what he calls trolling.

I never had injourious, racist or even bad words on KGS, and i think a stranger of the spanish comunity is not abble to juge what can be said between people who knows one other from outside KGS, just because he imposes his rigid understanding to all the rooms.

If KGS is a business maybe it is not the best way to make money banishing users registered since 2002, and who have actively helped newcommers to learn playing.

I will be thanful to you if you could check the logs and tell me if really it was matter to be banished.

Maybe would you think in a way the users can vote the admins and defends themselves from abusive an intolerants admins.

Of course if your idea is to expel all the users to others go servers just ignore this.

ps: my kgs login was jramon, same on igs


What exactly do KGS admins get for their fine work and troubles? Do they get paid? Perhaps in kind (maybe a KGS Plus subscription)? Or Do they work for pure love of power and authority? Because I'm starting to think the later.

Also, I'd like to add, whoever 'owns' KGS (i.e. makes money from KGS Plus subscriptions and shells out money for bandwidth and development), should seriously considering what the current bunch of random power-tripping admins (and the inane rules that give them authority) are doing to your revenue base.

mover?: Hi everyone!!! I got boated from the server just now. Anyhow it made me feel sad for a little bit caus it wasnt fair at all but. Just write a email to the admin. let em know how it was unfair. And also remember to be nice in the email. You can make yourself feel better by writing stuff and they can get your constructive feedback. (although it may be hard to remedy the situation) At least the admins can be reminded to try and use their severe measures with more discretion. Dont forget to thank em tho for bein on kgs cause really.. Kgs is for me almost always a huge positive and I am happy there. It won't be negative for you except for under these rare circumstances, and I hope that any of you who read this will decide to give kgs another try if you have received an unfortunate first impression.

Cyphis: I hate to agree with annoying people, but it's true that there are so so many admin who are on a power trip. For example, if you call someone "stupid" (in a go-related discussion) and then they say "haha" (they obviously don't feel abused) and you get banned without ANY WARNING whatsoever, unable to log in as guest or a different account for TWENTY FOUR hours. Whoever that admin was and all the others like them need to be monitored by the super-admin and have their power stripped from them after making terrible calls like that. That is over-kill and not productive for the KGS community. KGS has far too large a number of people complaining about being booted. Admin should be more concerned with keeping people on the server and less hyper-excited about clicking "boot" whenever they get to chance to express power.

from Noquar: Kgs, unfortunately, is the best provider of go games around. Although we sometimes abuse it and although it sometimes abuses us, it's really all a lot of us have. Right now I'm sad that I can't play because I've been booted for "flooding." That just means getting kicked off for typing too fast.

sjd123: Hmm, I think if you were had to pay to use the server, you could complain, but as the server is free, it seems fair that they can boot anyone they like.

  • AC?: This is a common misconception that if you get something for free you lose all right to complain about abuse, or that if you provide something for free you get the right to abuse the users as you please. It's the same kind of mentality that leads to banning people using harmless 3rd party clients and that in the Real World leads to dictatorships in all areas of life ("I made it so I get to decide to rules and if you don't like it you can just go away"). Wrong!

karakusa?: ok, since when do we have to censor a phrase like "kicking ass"? I got warned by someone who I thought was a plus subscriber at the time (no bold message)... some other admin "2nd strike" me for asking why is ass a censored word, and got booted before I made any other comment... I kinda want an explanation for this, since it seems like it's worse than the cultural revolution years, anything you say can get you banned/kicked.

ilan: I once had a KGS admin warn me for using the word "bitch" when referring to my female dog.

Cycleist: First: and again, the darrrrned admins have capitulated over the "long not-go conversations". Without acknowledging it up front. Meanwhile they boot those of us who try to steadfastly stand up to their censoring ways.

Gosnake I was booted with no warning and I don't know how long my connection is blocked...

login I found KGS admins either narrow minded or having a fake sense of power. IGS got this kind of admins and slowly went into oblivion. With at least 10 sites out there to choose they should really strive for keeping good player on their site (I am a 6dan EU player in real life). Banning people for fancy reasons is not the best way to stay on top. I personally left KGS for good and don't plan to come back.

Just a hilarious example: I said that God will give 4 handicaps to a pro and one of the admins said: don't discuss religion here. I replied that he must be a bot that reacts to some listed words and he quickly obliged to ban me :)

Anonymous 010110?: I had never even given this issue a thought before, because I'm one one to use swear words often. But today I witnessed a silly discussion about "wtf" being an offensive abbreviation and when I went and used the same acronym to mean "World Taekwondo Federation" I got a swift kick from the server. Certainly at least a portion of the admins are egoistical power abusers who cannot tolerate a difference of opinion.

BobWhoosta: I see a lot of fuss here about banning on KGS, but I for one am grateful that the admins keep such a tight watch on their server. More people would complain about KGS and it would NOT be as popular if the trolls were allowed to troll, the flooders to flood, and the conversation was allowed to meander everywhere. Yes, sometimes it's annoying to get your conversation cut short, and yes, I wish I could type in BOLD like the admins, but all in all it seems much more helpful for the admins to have the power they do, and the "abuse" I see is much less than the abuse the server would take from the masses if the masses were allowed to have their way. GO KGS!!!

KGS Censorship last edited by on January 30, 2013 - 14:49
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