KGS Issue - Escapers / Discussion

Sub-page of KGSIssueEscapers

Table of contents

General questions

What to do if you have to leave before the game is finished

Dan Argent:I am rather new on KGS and haven't gotten a good feel for schedualing enough time to finish a game yet. There have been two games that I have had to leave from. In both games I was winning by a rather wide margin. I felt that I could not make the other person wait on the result because of my failure. I resigned both games even though I'm pretty sure I would have won. I realise this is not the ideal solution, but I hope that this is less rude than escaping.

  • DrStraw The admins of KGS do not encourage this - it tends to warp the ratings. You should try to discuss it with the opponent first and explain the situation. It maybe possible to arrange to time to continue.

Hu: You were very honorable about it, Dan. Alternatively, sometimes one can get agreement from one's opponent to resume at a later time. There is no question that the way you handled is the opposite of rude.

knakts: But the KGS system doesn't recognize an agreement. No matter what you agree on, one will be marked as the escaper. So, currently, no good solution to this.

Anonymous: If people need to be able to leave a game for whatever reason and we dont want to place unnecessary rules on the server, why not make non-escape games an option in game set up much like selecting private. This way people who arent intending to leave may choose to select this option and should one or the other leave it counts as an immediate forfeit.

Phelan: Because leaving the game isn't equal to escaping? If one person(for example, the one who didn't choose non-escape) has a internet connection problem, the server would see him leave, and give him an instant loss.

Anonymous: Here's a proposal to help reduce the number of escapers on record. If wms could add a cancel button on the game board, that would indicate that a player wants to escape the game. The other player would receive a pop-up window that says "So-and-so wants to cancel the game. Do you accept?" There would be a "yes" and "no" button to press. If the second player presses the "yes" button, the game is canceled, and there would be no record kept of the game. Then each player would be free to close the game window whenever they want.

In the case of a game with a robot, the "cancel" button would result in immediate cancellation. The robot would then revert to the status of "available" in the Computer Go Game Room. The game would never be added to the robot's list of games played.

If the second player pressed the "no" button on the pop-up window, he would have to negotiate with the first player about whether or not to cancel the game or to adjourn to a later date.

dragon33?: I also resign, when I have to leave. But just now I had to deal with an escaper, who left a game, which was basically finished and the other player, mjj, was 30 points behind. I think in such clear cases an automated estimate of the score could provide a fair judgement and save frustration.

Best way to treat escapers

Labelling system

DJgoeland: I propose that an escaper is obliged to continue its part with its adversary. This escaper does not have any more access to the other functions of KGS as long as it did not finish its parts in progress (provided that an adversary is present and that this one has precised his intention to continue the part). So, the involuntary escaper which returns to play after a disconnection would not be penalized, but the 'professional' escaper which voluntarily leaves a part in order to go to play another part could not any more do it.

Ekted: There needs to be a system in place to at least label escapers using some trusted system. I don't care if the games count against them. I don't want to waste my time playing if someone is going to quit when they start losing.

Velobici: Escaping and Escapers create frustration for the player winning the game. One doesn't get the reward/affirmation of actually winning, having the other player resign or scoring the game. Perhaps this fustration is the result of misunderstanding. We are not engaged in tournament games. We are playing for the pleasure of playing and to learn how to play better. An escaper is someone who is losing so badly that they can't bear to resign or to score the game. Perhaps its best to count it as a win in one's own mind and move on to another game.

ProtoDeuteric: I do not believe that there is a general misunderstanding of the caliber of the games played on KGS, and I can say that I myself certainly have no such misunderstanding. The frustration comes from the lack of etiquette and the feeling that your time and the development of your games are abused by people who escape after feeling that they have lost. Escaping doesn't make the escaper stronger or better either because they don't rise above adversity. I can barely accept the argument that one should just "count it as a win in one's own mind and move on to another game" because that type of thinking (wrapped up differently) caused the escaper to escape. He "counted it as a LOSS in his mind and moved on (i.e. escaped)."

Velobici: He "counted it as a LOSS in his mind..." would lead a person not suffering from a "lack of etiquette" to resign. That is not what causes the escaper to escape...the escaper does not want to admit to the other person that they have lost, or does not want the game counted against them in the rating system. Its not the loss, its the recognition of the loss by the other person or rating system that they seek to avoid.

  • ZeroKun: So what's the problem? It's not like 3 out of every 5 games you play are unfinished due to people escaping you. The board position hasn't changed after he escaped, so you still won and he lost, shouldn't you be happy with that? Most likely one game won't affect your rank adversly. I've preached enough to people who complain about escapers to know that you can't change their mind about it, but just think of the board and not the fact that the server doesn't have a result :)

Chris Hayashida: I luckily have not run across many escapers, but I wanted to add my two cents. I don't have a lot of time to play online, and I do like playing rated games and using my rating to see if my play is getting better or worse. So when I play a game, I'm investing an hour or more of my time to play Go. It really sucks if after I spend all that time, the other person escapes. It's more annoying than anything else, and it somewhat feels like I "wasted" the past hour trying to improve my rating. I'll get over it, but it's still annoying.

Asd?: I've played two games very recently where my opponent would wait until the scoring and remove dead stones, only to discover that he lost by about 30 points, and then leave. It's not that hard to click "Done" once we've been playing for almost an hour. This is the same guy. He never greets me at the beginning of a game and I think his rank is around 10-12 kyu. Always on a guest account. Obviously this guy doesn't like losing and is just incredibly childish to pull this every time.

These were not ranked games and I don't really mind - I know who won and I got to see the score. It's not like anything is going to be different if I would play in a club, except that maybe my opponent would be more polite. I get being a sore loser so I can't say I care too much about that either. But it is annoying because those games are marked as unfinished in my games list, perhaps leading people to believe that I was the one who escaped.

For me the solution from now on is simply to never play against guests.

I think KGS already has a pretty good system for this. In automatch you can just decide you only want to play against registered people, and I've never seen a guy who has a registered account leave (maybe they care more about their reputation). When you browse the games list you immediately see if the guy has an account, a solid rank and so on.

I think a harsher system than what there is now would do more harm than good, because there are people who genuinely disconnect because their internet connection is crap. Then those people would suffer from it. It wouldn't be too hard to mark people as leavers though, even if they play from guest accounts (all you have to do is save and match their IPs or whatever, and have an "E" or something next to the name, similar to the tilde ~, but I don't think this would be a good solution). (I realize that this discussion might be old and maybe not current though because it says "changes as of 2004" below :-)).

Mark Galeck: there is an explanation of why the escapers system is unlikely to change - "people should not be forced to play a game they don't want to play". I think this statement does not make sense at all in this context. They are not forced to play. They started a game. If they don't want to play anymore, they can forfeit. So nobody forces anybody to play.

And here is my idea on how to deal with escapers. When a person logs in, if anybody whom they have an unfinished game with, is idle, that game is automatically restarted. If there are several such games, one of them is restarted.

Changes of January 2004

lusion: As of January 2004 I understand there's a new KGS policy for escapers: games older than a certain period automatically count against whomever left first. But there are problems with this policy.

I'll use myself for example. I have four games on my list where I left first. Two were for a flakey network connect where my opponent was gone when I returned. Two others I was interrupted and had to leave and we agreed to continue later but I haven't seen my opponent since. Under the new KGS policy, if my opponent doesn't come back, all four count as losses against me.

Neil: That's not quite what it says on KGS Status. There it says that the automatic forfeits happen if you have too many incomplete games, as a replacement for the old rank-forfeiture rule.

I support the policy. The needs of those whose opponents "escape" from losses must be balanced against those who need to "escape" from rude opponents.

Joshual000: This policy is excellent. A policy like certainly reflects that of tournement play where leaving a game would result in a loss on time. Not to mention that the added bonuses at KGS include it only happens if you have too many incomplete games *and* there is time to complete an unfinished game before starting another.

Plans for 2.6.7

(See main page for the plans)

(Sebastian:) This reminds me of the "three strikes - your out" rule. Is this really effective in our case? Wouldn't it be easy for chronic escapers to just create a new account?

xela: The frustrating thing about having people escape against me isn't the lack of a result, it's the fact that the server won't allow players to save the SGF of a game that isn't finished. Could this be changed?

Most escapers don't have pictures, always check your opponents profile before engaging in combat.

Alex Weldon: I doubt that it will be. There's a good reason that you can't save the SGF of an unfinished game or a game in progress. If you could, there'd be a whole new category of cheaters, who leave in the middle of a complex situation or blitz game, take 10 minutes to analyse the situation offline (or consult with a stronger-ranked friend) and then come back and claim that their connection crashed.

tasuki: well, sadly it is not so difficult to make a screenshot and do the same (hopefully people are not *that* bad)

Kuolema: Or just replay the game in a demonstration game or offline mode...

Ggtt814 Luckily theres only a few escapers out there in the big ocean....

boozdaddyo: escapers are becoming an epidemic. honest players should not be penalized by a sore losers unwillingness to accept a lose. there is no reason that a game should not be forfeited if a player "Escapes" and doesn"t return within 5 minutes. it is only fair that he be credited immediately with his lose and the honest player be credited with the win that he or she earned. it is time for the fair and just rules to be implemented and the escaping issue be put to bed once and for all.

Anonymous:I doubt that. I just had a series of games when my connection broke down and my opponent use my asent to flee lost game. Due to actual rules i was marked as escaper, while theother palyer should be marked. A time window for returning could solve this problem

Poeli: I agree with boozdaddyo. Escaping is and escapers are rude. I really LOVE kgs, but it will finisch kgs if this problem will not be solved. I really feel that KGS doesn't understand and protects escapers too much. Why can't escaping lead to a loss for the escaper if the game is not completely (so funny repeatescapers are cut out) finished after 24 hrs? What is the problem with that?

Using refusal of game resumption

buty1954: Something is wrong in automatic apply of escaper rules. ESCAPER MARK SYSTEM CAN BE CHEATED

HOW ? If you get disconected from a game you get marked as escaper. Later on if your opponent will refuse to continue the game you remain with the escaper mark for that game no matter what you do. The unfinished game is going to be a win by forfeit for your opponent (if you get enough escaper marks) or to be dropped out of server (after 6 months). Your escaper mark can be erased only if both players resume the game. Server punish as ecaper any player who was unlucky to get accidentally disconected if the opponent will never agree to continue that game !!!

WHAT A CHEATER DO: In lost position a player resigns, but ... Cheater can propose to adjourn the game and let the other player to leave first. Or opponent of cheater get accidentally disconnected. If the other player was the first to leave, cheater is not marked as escaper and will never resume the game. In this situation: - game will never be lost by cheater ! - cheater have a chance to win the game by forfeit !!

WHAT CAN DO HONEST PLAYERS: Do not play ranked games against cheaters. If your opponent ask to adjourn a game take care who is leaving first!!

DANGER ? Server does not punish cheaters. What if more and more players will refuse to continue any unfinished game (use cheater behaviour) ? I think KGS will cease to be a nice place to play ranked games.

Escaper should be a player who does not make the next move in an adjourned game.

Note: This is not the original presentation answered by Phelan.

Phelan: First, this was posted in the wrong place. The appropriate place would be KGSIssueEscapers/discussion. Second, don't accuse people of cheating just like that. Does that player play against people with bad connections in purpose so he can leave when their connection goes down? If yes, then you should report him to the admins.

Phelan: However, this seems unlikely. It must be a lot of work to find people with bad connections and play them exclusively. I'm assuming that you just played one game against him in which this happened, and decided to complain here. You could also realize that if you manage to resume other games in the same situation, you'll never lose that game due to escaping.

Buty1954 - for Phelan to understand:

1. I think in some cases the server does not manage well the award of escaper mark !! Server is awarding wins by forfeit based on number escaper marks. It is a game handling issue or not ? 2. I had beeen disconnected due to a server problem. When I tried to resume the game my opponent run away. I am marked as escaper and my opponent is not. The esacaper mark is awarded to the first player who leave a game and this is not changed if the other player refuse to continue the game. A player who refuses to continue a game knowing that has no escaper mark is a cheater !! 3. Cheater does not look for opponents with bad connection. Cheater just use each opportunity. Cheater is not leaving a game, but will never continue an unfinished game. Cheater is never marked as escaper, no matter how many such games is refusing to continue. A significant part of cheater's unfinished games are won by forfeit (wins awarded by server). Some of those are wins against real escapers, but there are also games won by forfeit in bad position, based only on cheater refusal to continue the game. 4. It is not only about losing a game. It is about a player who is forgiven for not wanting to continue any unfinished game (unlimited number). It is about getting a better rank due to this way of action.(cheater can avoid some loses and is getting some undeserved wins). 5. My wish is to make the server award the esacper mark to the player who is not making the next move !! It is logical, simple and fully compatible to the concept of escaping. A player who get disconected can be an escaper or not. A player who refuses to continue a game is certainly escaping. 6. If you can move my message in a more apropriate place,please do.

Phelan: 1. I don't think it's a game handling issue, I think it's a social issue.

2. You use the terms "run away", which have a different meaning from "left", as in "my opponent left". Without knowing the opponent in question, I can't say from your description that he ran away. Why is he cheating? He might not have time to resume that game. You are assuming here that everyone who does not resume a game does so because he is cheating.

3. Again, you are assuming things in the mentality of a player. You are assuming that his reason for not wanting to resume the game is cheating. Forget the specific situation and think about it in general. Can you see a reason for a player who doesn't want to cheat to refuse a resume?

4. Why are you concerned for another player's rank? If the person is cheating to get a better rank, he/she isn't improving, just looking to get a better number that gives him no advantage. Or at least none that I see.

5. This idea is interesting, but it would have to be carefully thought out to see if it could be done without harming players who aren't cheaters, but that might have some reason for not resuming a game. For instance, how long after the game would he have to resume the game not to be branded a cheater? I don't see a way to figure this all out simply.

6. Moved it here.

KGS user buty1954: For Phelan better understanding

1. I think that the way server awards escaper mark in an adjourned/unfinished game and use the count of escaper marks for decisions to award a win/lose by forfeit is an automated process.and is a game handling issue.

2. The term "opponent is running away" is used in KGS help files, FAQ, escaper section. I opened the unfinished game and invited user kgsty18 to continue. User kgsty18 was online,but ignored me while opening and playing new games. I kept our unfinished game open for more then 1 hour and in this time user kgsty18 had played 2 new games and started another, This fit to definition of the term "opponent is runing away" ?? User kgsty18 has a lot of unfinished games, about 30 in 6 months, but is not losing any of them. All opponents in user kgsty18 unfinished games are escapers ?? I think this user is somehow cheating ! I am almost sure that user kgsty18 is refusing to continue any unfinished game if the opponent was the first to leave. The result of this behaviour can be estimated by simply counting the number of unfinished games and number of wins by forfeit for user kgsty18 in last 6 months (in KGS archives).

3. I understand that a player can have a reason to refuse to continue a game. In my case user kgsty18 reason is clear - I was going to win. Server does not use the term cheater. Server does use escaper mark system in order to reduce the chances of players who want to cheat. That can be improved.

4. Each ranked game has an effect on both players rank. The player who get a better rank by cheating does not improve its own skill. But what can you say about the opponents of the cheater ?? What can you say about accuracy of the ranking system if this kind of cheating is possible ?? One game has litle effect. The effect is depending on how many such games are possible. A player who get the opponent disconected (for technical reason), can refuse to continue the game and will never get an escaper mark. Unlimited number of adjourned games can be cancelled or awarded as wins by forfeit to a player who use this opportunity. I call this a method of cheating. Phelan call it a social issue.

5.Discussions (invitation to continue a game) are not relevant to the server. The award of escaper mark is limited to "the first to leave a game". When the player marked as escaper will try to continue the game and opponent will refuse, the escaper is no longer the same. But the server keeps the escaper mark on the same player. I thought to a way to improve this. The player initially marked as escaper can make the next move in absence of the opponent. Based on last move placed in an unfinished game the server should move the escaper mark to the opponent. Now the opponent not coming to continue the game would be rightfully marked as escaper. All the other features related to escaper mark can remain unchanged.

This is my wish.

Is it wrong ? Is it hard to implement in software ??

6. Posting my oppinion here will bring it in the attention of KGSWishlist managers for analize ??

Thank you.

  • Anonymous: I fail to see how naming that player's username 17 times helps... Isn't it possible to discuss escapers issue without citing names? This sounds like personnal vendetta.
  • Anonymous: If the escaper system doesn't punish the players at first game left, it's to cover such a case where for instance the user is having a connection issue.

User buty1954:

I supose the above two lines are Phelan's oppinion.The real issue is carefully not answered. The issue is The server punish as escaper any player who has lost the connection if the opponent of the player will refuse to continue the unfinished game (general presentation of the issue is posted in section 32 of Wishlist). The repeated mention of the user name is placed for anyone to be able to view his record in KGS archives and see that this player refuses to resume any unfinished game (has dozens). It is the only example I have and I will not start searching for others.

Phelan: "I supose the above two lines are Phelan's oppinion." They aren't, I always sign my opinions here. "6. Posting my oppinion here will bring it in the attention of KGSWishlist managers for analize ??" Phelan: I don't know how much the KGS admins and wms (the developer) still read the discussion regarding escapers. I think wms is not interested in changing the escaper system at the moment. From KGSWishlist/Social:"There is already a system in place to deal with escapers - if someone has a too high proportion of escaped rated games, their old games get forfeited. Anything beyond this is unlikely to happen because (1) wms does not want to burden admins/assistants with unnecessary tasks (since there is already an automated system) and (2) people should not be forced to play games they do not want to play"

Phelan: Thank you for your explanations, but we have to agree to disagree. I haven't had problems with the current system so far, and for that I'm not motivated to try to find a better way for it to be. My main problem with your argument is that you are assuming that everyone has the same motivations for leaving, and are trying to find a formula to find cheaters that works all the time. I don't think that formula exists, and think that false positives (people who didn't cheat but are branded as cheaters) would increase if the system becomes stricter.

For Phelan: Please read the revised presentation of issue. It is not about being an escaper. It is about the undeserved advantage given by the KGS server to the ooponent of a player who get disconected by accident, with no will to do so. The victim get the escaper mark for the game (was the first to leave). The opponent can refuse to continue the game. The server does not protect the innocent.

User Buty1954 - 22.09.2009

Phelan: Just read the revised version. Substitute "not resuming a game" for "leaving" in the sentence "My main problem with your argument is that you are assuming that everyone has the same motivations for leaving" in my above post, but the rest of my opinion is still the same: I think you are trying to find a formula to stop cheaters that will not ever be perfect, and that if put into place, will likely brand normal users as cheaters. I think KGS works as its developer wants it to, and from what he has said, he doesn't want to force people to play games.

From Marathon, Nov. 7, 2009:

I recently talked to two players who claimed that they had once had "chronic escaper" status due to poor Internet connections. When a connection was lost when a game was in progress, they would try to resume the game later. However, if the player losing the connection was ahead at the time, the other player would be motivated to "not" resume the game. Although they both have reliable ISP service now, should there be concerns that others may currently have, or will have a similar problem?

Here is a suggestion I would like to see:

  • Change the "resume game" list to show more information about the opponent in a resumable game: 1) Opponent is not on-line; 2) Opponent is on-line, but not available; 3) Opponent is on-line and avaiable.
  • Change the resume game feature so that if one player resumes a game when the opponent is not available (i.e., playing), the opponent does "not" get the message that a resumption is requested. Having this message come up in a game is annoying and distracting.
  • If an opponent is available, gets the message that there is a request to resume a game, but declines, and that opponent begins a new game before the player requesting the resumption logs out (or is otherwise disconnected), the !"escape!" mark is erased from that game for that player. (Suggestion: Instead of erasing it, move it to the other player.)

Chronic Escaper Doesn't Care

From Marathon, July 31, 2009:

Here is some information about one player from (as of July 31, 2009):

Ranked games only:

Games played: 1328
Games on record(*): 1820

Decided on time: 18 - 13
Decided by resignation: 205 - 242
Decided on forfeit: 23 - 531
Decided on scoring: 260 - 36

Ranked and Free games:

Games played: 1591
Games on record(*): 1820

Decided on time: 24 - 17
Decided by resignation: 274 - 386
Decided on forfeit: 23 - 531
Decided on scoring: 291- 45

As far as I know, he has no demo, simul, rengo, or teaching games. So, 229 of his free games are unfinished.

He lost by forfeit 40% of his ranked games. Apparently, this doesn't bother him. Although he has never communicated with me, he has with another player. His attitude is this: Whether he resigns or leaves, his opponent still gets a win. So, why should his opponent care which he chooses?

Either this player is unaware that losing by forfeit is rude, or doesn't care that it is rude. If this attitude bothers other players, those players should put him on "censor" status. Otherwise, just accept that he, and possibly others, sometimes prefer to resign like this.

Shun Chronic Escaper

From Marathon, Sept. 14, 2009:

In spite of what I wrote above, I don't like it when my opponent "escapes" from a game, even a free game. Maybe I don't have the emotional strength to follow my own advice. Of course, I can check his record, and, if the record indicates he is a chronic escaper, I can "censor" him. But, I would rather have not started a game against him in the first place. Previously, I was satisfied with the way the system handles escapers. Now, I am not so sure.

I suggest the following feature be added: Add one or two check boxes to "set preferences"/"configure." If one check box, it would apply to both ranked and non-ranked games. If two, one would be for ranked and the other for non-ranked. The box would be labeled something like "hide games from chronic escapers." A user with this box checked would be not be able to see open games offered by chronic escapers. Neither would "Automatch" be permitted to make such pairings. This would be symmetrical: The escaper would not be able to see games open games from players who have the box checked. Alternatively, such open games could be displayed with a different font or color, indicating that they are "disabled" to the escaper.

Making this choice would have no effect in chat areas. People wishing not to play chronic escapers would still be able to see chat entries from escapers.

Marathon, Sept. 15, 2009: My intent in suggesting this isn't to punish chronic escpaers out of KGS altogether. But, I would like a way to avoid playing someone who is likely to leave if things go poorly for him. In suggesting this, I that these people could be "rehabilitated." Any suggestions for improving this suggestion?

Marathon, Nov. 7, 2009: This will have the effect of reducing the number of opponents a chronic escaper has available, but will not prevent chronic escapers from getting games. Chronic escapers would still be able to play with people who do not make use of this feature if is implemented. Presumably, this would include other chronic escapers. In suggesting this, it isn't my goal to prevent chronic escapers from playing. It is just that I and others would prefer not to play them. By the way, if this feature is implemented, maybe it should be disabled for those players who, themselves, are chronic escapers.


Anonymous: I've noticed that people are more prone to escape from a robot, because the robot doesn't have feelings and can't fight back. Escaping from a robot game should be treated the same as escaping from a game with a human. Many robots are forced to play free games. The rules against escaping should apply to robots playing free games, just as they apply to ranked human to human games.

When a person escapes from a game with a robot, it ties up the robot for 5 minutes, so that the robot can't service other players. That is unfair for the other players who want to play the robot.


KenSeehart?: Please see this design proposal, even if you are pretty sure the current system can't be improved. KGS Escaper Design This proposal addresses the following issues (among others): 1. Correlates helpful for distinguishing between accidental disconnects and intentional escapes. 2. Incentive for potential escaper to resign rather than escape (I assert that the current system does not provide any such motivation, a point that has been made many times by others).

KGS Issue - Escapers / Discussion last edited by on January 25, 2015 - 22:19
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