Friday, January 23, 2015

the problem of quitters: part I

Possibly the most frequent complaint that I get at World of Card Games is about people quitting games. I've been collecting some statistics to see how the site is affected by habitual quitters. Here are the results!

The charts below are histograms that show the number of players divided up according to their quitting patterns. Players who rarely quit - between 0 and 10% of their games - are "bucketed" in the first column. Players who quit a lot - 90%-100% of their games - are bucketed in the last column. The rest are divided into buckets between those percentiles.

Private tables are ignored in these statistics, as are tables with only a single human player. Quitting from such tables is not a major problem. On the other hand, if you enter a game and then quickly leave, you are getting counted as a quitter for the purpose of these statistics. So the charts may make things look a little (or a lot?) worse than they are.

Hearts is badly hit by quitters. Hearts games are not usually very lengthy, and I suspect this game is one where people quit because they want to avoid a loss.


Spades is also pretty badly affected by quitters. I've noticed that people will sometimes quit when their bid is set (especially if it's a nil bid), or when they get set because they couldn't cover their partner's nil bid. Maybe they fear their partner's ire? I've also noticed people quitting when they are close to losing, here.


Euchre is a fairly quick game - you are usually done in 10 minutes. Quitters are not as big a problem, here.
Twenty-Nine has a huge problem with quitting. However, it's perfectly understandable - it's a game that can take several hours, as the scores of each team ebb and flow. This is just the nature of the game. So far as I can tell, many people enjoy this game, despite the fact that you often just have to quit to get on with your life. It's interesting.

 

Gin Rummy has statistics that are similar to Euchre. I'm not sure why. It's a 2-player game so it does tend to take less time.
One noticeable thing is that the games that take longer tend to be affected more by quitting. I do wonder how big a factor this is in quitting.

25 comments:

Unknown said...

Thanks for such a beautiful website..
i would like to suggest you to make each quit quit count as a loss or two in statistics.. that would make people stay rather than quit! you can also show regular quitters in red and players with less quit % in green to stop this thing.. also, regular players could be given some badges which they can proudly show off!

also, please update the rules of 29 to include features such as double, single hand play, no trum and more.. as said in the link below..
http://www.pagat.com/jass/29.html

thanks Marya!

Marya said...

Hi Krishna, I'm glad you like the site!

When I have a little more time, I'm going to write another blog post which explains different ideas for stopping quitting... I'll talk about your suggestions there. I doubt there is much that I can do to stop people from quitting, but I think there are things I can do to make quitting less of a problem for non-quitters.

Currently, I'm working on adding a new option to Twenty-Nine - the "seventh card" option which is described at the Pagat site. Eventually, I hope to add other variations as well.

Unknown said...

Thank you! keep up the good work!

davidly said...

Quitting doesn't bother me as much as having players pop-in-and-out during a hand. This can be so disruptive. I would recommend – if it's feasible for you with the relatively thankless task of doing it – having robots replace quitters until a hand is played out.

Marya said...

I plan to add an option for people who do not want to join games in progress. Currently there's no way to avoid such games, and I imagine this causes most of the jumping in and out.

I don't know about other people, but I actually enjoy coming in on a game midway. Sometimes I can come from behind, and it's a real triumph. Other times I'm rather busy and don't really have time for a full game - so I'd just as soon come "rescue" a table where people are waiting for someone to fill in. I can imagine there are other people who feel the same way, so I don't want to completely exclude the ability to get into a game in progress.

davidly said...

You misunderstand. I am not talking about a game in progress. I am talking about a *hand* in progress.

I am like you; I enjoy coming in to a game from behind. I just think the process of playing would be less disruptive if the joining happened between hands. And anyway, about 80 percent of the time when I join a hand in progress, I have to refresh to make the cards visible, and depending on the game, the hand can be about half over by the time the screen comes back up.

Thanks for answering; the newer games are great!

Marya said...

Can you clarify what you mean by a "hand"? When I refer to a hand, I normally mean playing the entire set of cards in each person's hand. I just want to make sure you don't mean a "trick" (e.g. all 4 cards being played in Euchre).

For Euchre, waiting for a hand to play out wouldn't take very long, but for Spades it would be a bit of a wait. I would prefer to be seated immediately rather than wait for an entire hand to finish. I wonder what most people would prefer here.

Thank you for telling me about the problem with the cards not being visible. 80% of the time is a lot! It surprises me because it basically never happens to me (maybe it happened once, a long long time ago, but never in the past few months). I wish more people would report such things so I'd have an idea what is happening. I feel pretty sure that I can fix this if I could catch it happening. Do you see this happening in all of the games, or just some of them?

no bots plz said...

Hi Marya, I am also experiencing the invisible hand, bid & score when I join the table in mid game. I didn't realize it wasn't only me. I just leave the table and come back and everything is ok. It was annoying and I was going to tell you about it, but by the time the game finished, I had forgotten to send you a heads up. I bother you enough as it is...M

Marya said...

Thanks "no bots plz"! I'm going to experiment over the next few days to see if I can reproduce this. I know that you are using Windows + Chrome... if anyone else sees this, please let me know what system you are using if possible (PC operating system + browser).

davidly said...

Mostly Spades and Euchre is when it happens. I hit refresh and then they appear. You can observe it when other people join: often their hourglass comes up for the first trick or so and then they are okay. It's pretty common for a newbie to be confused and have someone already in the game comment, "refresh".

I get what you mean about Spades taking a while to finish a hand; but when you have a situation wherein someone (or two or more someones) keeps popping in and out and in and out, it makes that one hand take forever. You know the routine, you click to invite the robot, and somebody pops right back in, looks at the score, and leaves - only to keep joining and leaving because they don't know about the list of tables feature.

Either way, the games are great and you are endlessly appreciated! Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I just would like to say that I enjoy playing on your web site.
I have seen many quitters but was wondering if it was possible that maybe some could have lost connection as I have. I was wondering if it is possible to know who are actually quitters and just have lost connection. I do hope that we can weed out sore losers and continue to have fun.

Marya said...

It does happen that people lose their internet connection. It's not possible to tell the difference between something like this and someone just closing their browser. It is possible to tell the difference between this and someone clicking the "leave table" link, however.

Anonymous said...

I have a habit of hitting the "leave table" link in order to go to the table list. If you start measuring the "leave table" link, its quite possible I could have the most clicks there. Not a good measure of a quitter, I think.......

Marya said...

Do you leave games that are in progress when you do this? If so, that is quitting.

Just hitting the "leave table" link from a table that where a game has not yet started was not considered quitting, when I measured these statistics. I took that into account.

Anonymous said...

Ok, thats good to know. I cannot say that I have never left a game in progress, however, its not the way I normally leave. I complete a game, then leave...

Marya said...

Great - you are a good sport! Thanks for playing at the site :)

Anonymous said...

I think that everyone should be able to see everyone's stats and then an option given to the players at the table to allow or not allow a person to join based on the stats. You have a very nice site here and its too bad there are sore losers to ruin it. Everyone needs to realize it is just a game and we are here for fun. If you are losing use some strategy and try to make a comeback. If you are going to leave then why bother even joining?


Hank Wheelie said...

Hi Mary, thanks for a terrific site. However, I disagree with the comment about Euchre where you state "Quitters are not as big a problem, here." Many, many players come then if I am the only player, they leave! This may be presumably that another table may have more players, but this is not always the case.

Marya said...

Hi Hank, thanks for the comment.

I'm not really sure why people will pop into a game and then leave. I suppose they are looking for a table that is has 3 players. Or maybe they are new to the site and just don't know what to expect when clicking on a game panel.

The Table Listings were added to allow people to be more selective about which table they sit at. I guess some people are still not aware of this feature, otherwise I think they wouldn't be popping in and out of tables... It might be that the Table Listings should be shown on the main page to encourage more people to use it, but there's not a lot of room for it.

Marya said...

Anon @ Feb 7 6:57 AM - Well, I agree with you, I don't see why people leave when they are losing. If you only want to win, you shouldn't play a game where it's possible to lose :)

In any case, people are clearly going to leave mid-game. So I have to find a way to make that impact the remaining players less.

One thing that helps is to make sure that bots are allowed at your table; then you can invite a bot to pick up the slack if someone leaves.

Regarding your suggestion about allowing players to join your table: The site does have ways to be selective about who you are playing with. You can click the (x) to "dislike" individual players, and you won't be seated with them again. This can help to weed out people who frequently quit. You can also click the "Options" button and choose to play with Registered players only, and to exclude "new" users. Of course choosing these options does lead to a longer wait time before your game can get started. But then, you may find that the game goes more smoothly once it does start.

As the site gets more players, it will feasible to be more selective about who you choose to play with. If you are too selective, currently, it just takes a long time to get started.

Marya said...

This problem should be fixed now, with the recent update.

Marya said...

Thanks for bringing the issue of "disappearing cards" to my attention - the problem should be fixed now, with the recent update.

Hank Wheelie said...

Hi Marya, Like you, I I'm not really sure why people will pop into a game and then leave within seconds. As a long time player, I see no point in players leaving, apart from impatience! Thanks for a great site.

Anonymous said...

Does quitting actually prevent a loss from being recorded in a player's stats? If so, then it's tantamount to cheating - it's certainly unfair to those losing players who stay until the bitter end.

I often want to 'dislike' a quitter, but by the time I know that's what they are, they've already gone and it's too late. I'd quite like an option which automatically 'dislikes' them when they leave the table, or at least reminds me of their name and allows me to 'dislike' them manually.

It might help to discourage quitters if they know that whenever they quit they reduce the number of players who are willing to sit at a table with them.

Marya said...

Does quitting actually prevent a loss from being recorded in a player's stats? If so, then it's tantamount to cheating - it's certainly unfair to those losing players who stay until the bitter end.

There are two stats: Absolute Win Ratio and Relative Win Ratio. If a player leaves a game early, the relative win ratio is not changed - however, this is recorded in the count of Abandoned games. Also, if a player leaves a game after playing for 30 seconds, it is recorded as a loss in their Absolute win ratio. So there are two indications of a quitter: number of abandoned games vs number of finished ones, and your Absolute Win Ratio.

Keep in mind that these stats are only visible to the player who owns them. Someone who quits to "protect" his stats is only fooling himself.

I often want to 'dislike' a quitter, but by the time I know that's what they are, they've already gone and it's too late

I understand that this is a problem, and I've got it on my to-do list to address this. It's not something that's easy to implement. There are so many cases when someone abandons a game and you don't want to dislike them. For example, someone explains that they must leave to go to work, or you are playing with a friend who loses his internet connection due to a browser crash, computer shutting down or whatever. For this reason, automatic disliking is not acceptable. But allowing you to dislike someone who is already gone - that is in my plans.

It might help to discourage quitters if they know that whenever they quit they reduce the number of players who are willing to sit at a table with them.

This is already true; there are enough people who dislike such players before they get away that they are definitely doing some damage to their reputation and making their wait longer. I also have plans to make quitters wait a bit longer to discourage this behavior, in the future.