I am getting pretty sick of KGS. It’s been bothering me for several months already.
Most admins don’t care about the users at all. What’s worse, I’m starting to be like that too. I simply follow the rules: “leave me alone, we don’t deal with escapers, the system does it automatically”. Which is true only partially. As of now, the escaper system is still fucked up. Sometimes people forfeit after getting disconnected from just one game. Also, the escaper system is inherently flawed because it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do — it doesn’t protect users with bad connection from losing games. Au contraire — after they reach the critical amount of escapes (quite a lot of people will not continue the game because they are assholes and know that their opponent was marked as escaper), they lose every single game as soon as they get disconnected. If there was a simple five or ten minute limit for them to return, sometimes they would lose, but not nearly as often. Come on, they lose on time very often anyway! Plus the limit would take care of all the escapers.
But wms thinks that people should not be forced to finish their games (like when you are playing against someone who is obnoxious). This is in contradiction with the “rated games are supposed to be serious” policy. I’ll be much more angry when someone refuses to finish the game than when they are obnoxious (what does that mean, anyway? if they break the ToS, the should get banned, if they don’t, someone is just oversensitive here).
Many users complain about escapers, yet most of the admins think that there is no problem (there’s reasonable amount of freedom on kgs, but you are not allowed to talk about escapers in EGR, for example).
Look at the rating system, it is mathematically sound, but it sucks. And users know this. Still, the administration is unable to accept it. Now it sucks a bit less then it used to, but it still does: when people play too many games, they get stuck. Then they can win as much as they want and will not improve their rank. Or it will take half a year. A simple Elo-based system would perform much better. It would make it easier to change your rank, you wouldn’t get stuck, and it would be much more transparent. Users want transparency, not some insane maximum statistical likelihood function over last half a year of your performance.
The KGS server manager is rarely on with admin nick, usually just uses an alternate (secret) account. You know why? … Doesn’t want to be bothered by users… (did I mention that admins don’t care?)
Few months ago, a user reported someone heavily abusing him. No senior admin was online at the time. So I decided to use a senior admin account which I got access to because of some KGS+ lectures. I snooped the chat and wrote a reason “tasuki snooping based on user complaint”, so as to make it all transparent. I just tried to help. But I was scolded and told not to do that again under any circumstances.
Recently I (ab)used a bug which enables all admins to make permanent rooms. Yes, I know the rules for room creation, and it was a reasonable room (co-owned by Fan Hui). As no senior admin was online (only the server manager with alternate account, not to be bothered, as usual), I used the trick to make the room permanent. I was told not to do it again.
I haven’t done anything wrong, I was using tricks (which I am not officially supposed to do to) to help users and do the work of senior admins (while they keep hiding behind their alternate accouts, not to be bothered). Yet I get scolded for trying to help. And when some other admins seriously fuck up, nothing happens. Sure, we all make mistakes, but it is necessary to accept and correct them, if possible.
Unfair banning happens, but I think it’s not such a serious issue. It’s at most 48 hours, which doesn’t really harm the user too much. Still it sucks when people get banned for “offtopic chatting” or just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Much worse thing is unfair deranking. That is very harming to the user, he practically loses the account. Users often get emotionally attached to their account, so this is perhaps the hardest punishment. However, these fuckups (usually caused by someone deranking just based on same ip or without checking the games at all) usually get corrected after a complaint. Not always, though.
There is one more thing, unnecessary deranking. The official policy (aka wms) says “deranking is not a punishment, deranking serves to protect the rating system”. Well, if one established user plays against himself to get 9d to be able to brag to friends, sure, the 9d needs to be deranked to preserve consistency of the ranking system. But deranking the other account might not be necessary. This was not a repeat offender, he did not lie, he admitted it and said he’s done it just for fun, and added that he didn’t want to use that account to play against other players so as not to damage the rating system. I see no reason to keep both accounts deranked, yet that seems to be what most admins support (or they just don’t care, as usual).
And there has been at least one occasion when an admin was unable to accept his mistake and very persistently and repeatedly kept on harming an obviously innocent user, although he was told by other admins not to do it. Punishment for this admin? None.
There are more skeletons in the KGS closet, I think I could write a book on the topic…
KGS has one very important thing though — amazing user community. Users who care and who try to help (although most are ignored ;)).
Still, currently there is no overally better server than KGS, so we somehow have to live with it. And if you avoid EGR and play no serious games, you will probably be able to avoid most of the potential troubles.