Friday, February 27, 2015

the problem of quitters: part II

If you haven't seen it already, read Part I for context.

There have been various suggestions for solving the problem of quitters. There is speculation that people who quit games early are protecting their statistics. This is because the Win/Loss ratio shown in your stats does not account for abandoned games; it just gives the ratio of all games won to all games lost. A loss is not recorded against you until a game ends, so leaving early does not show up in your stats.

If this is true, it might help to penalize people who are leaving the game early. It has been suggested to penalize such drop-outs with 1 (or more!) losses in their stats. Another suggestion involved imposing a penalty in the form of a time delay before a quitter can join a new game.

The problem with such solutions is that 1) it doesn't seem likely that they will work and 2) they will cause innocent drop-outs to be penalized as well.

There are reasons that a person might unintentionally leave a game. I've been in games where someone innocently clicked the "leave table" link. And sometimes a person reloads the web page and finds that they've been kicked out of their game. In such cases, the player rushes to get back to their seat, because they want to stay in their game. Since there's no way for the site to tell why someone left the table, inadvertently penalizing such a player with a delay (or a loss) just seems cruel.

There are a couple of reasons that I think a penalty won't work for intentional quitters.

I suspect that a number of quitters are just trying to avoid the psychological impact of something "bad" happening to them. We've all seen quitters leave just before they get hit with the Queen of Spades in Hearts, or before taking a trick when they've bid nil in Spades. People do this even early in the game, when there's plenty of time to make up for such a setback. People who do this will continue to quit, no matter what penalties are imposed.

On top of that, the statistics are not shared. If you're quitting to make them look good, then you know that your stats are meaningless. Given that fact, I have a feeling that quitters are not motivated by their stats.

In any case, as an experiment, I will soon be introducing a new statistic. It is designed to more clearly show whose stats look good because they're really winning more than average, and whose look good because they're evading losses.


Anonymous said...

This new statistic sounds very interesting. Can't wait to see it!

HappyCamper said...

I think a new/better win statistic will be great