Online Go anxiety
Online Go Anxiety, often shortened to OGA, is a problem that keeps people from either playing, or playing properly, on online Go servers. An effect of this anxiety on players is that they often log on into a server, but choose to watch other peoples' games and possibly also make comments, instead of playing games themselves. Players with online Go anxiety tend to play worse games compared to playing face-to-face.
A typical cause of online Go anxiety is the fear of airing the dirty linen in public, and is related to fear of losing. This is because games on online servers are broadcasted live to anyone who cares to watch, that the resultant game records are stored permanently on the servers for all to see. Online Go anxiety also occurs because of the fear of not knowing the opponents' intentions, thoughts, state of mind, or even their fears, since body language is absent in online games. The inability of seeing the opponents face-to-face may also cause anxiety during communication. Timed games, especially blitz games, are common on online Go servers, and may also contribute to this anxiety. Players who are too obsessed of their rank are more prone of getting online Go anxiety.
To overcome online Go anxiety, one has to find out and overcome the causes of the anxiety. One suggested method is to create anonymous or unranked accounts and start playing using these accounts.
I feel sharing one's experiences frees others to admit their own problems.
I had strong online go anxiety because of the idea of game etiquette. I was taught that in a game in which you had lost, you allow the game to end, unless you have a serious, well thought out plan to make up for a deficit. When playing online, I encountered a few players who would, at the sight of a 30+ point deficit, play a series of moves after the endgame (by which I mean all territory was walled off and secured) in the hopes that a player would make a monumentally idiotic move and they could take some chunk of territory. While this did not harm the perpetrator, as they had already lost, I was told this was a severely disrespectful practice and I would become very angry, not outwardly, but inwardly. Also, these players always left before I could thank them for the game, so I began to hate playing online for fear of meeting a player that I felt was extremely disrespectful.
If a discussion page is more appropriate, please let me know and I'll move my experience there.
I have severe OGA in live games. Correspondence games don't cause me much stress. It starts to build around mid-game for me in live games. I do not fear loss but there's something about being unable to see my opponent that bothers me a lot. I have played games with local friends in real-time online while talking to them on the phone and I still find I have severe OGA. I have not yet tried playing with them on a video feed.
As far as getting over my anxiety is concerned, I'm hoping that exposure solves the problem. I love to play the game and online games give me the ability to play anytime I like. I'm setting goals of playing a set number of live games this month. Next month, I will increase that number. Hopefully it'll yield less stress.
Lack of chat during the game may also be a problem. Typically one is met with "Hi!" or "Have a nice game!" and then zero talk or socializing. The only reason I think this is not the actual root problem for me is because a lot of my in-person games are played in silence.
Some thoughts on overcoming the issue:
- Regular exposure to online games, play as many as possible.
- Start by playing with people you know, if possible
- Listen to music if that helps you focus (or avoid hyper-focus)
- Have a nice beverage with you
- Once the anxiety builds, push through it and continue playing (e.g. if it is possible to win after a large capture, keep going)
- Use your time, don't play to fast
- Play when you can avoid distraction
It would be great to see this page expanded with further coping tools.