Thanks to MATHCOUNTS, AMC, and Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing for their contribution of thousands of problems to For The Win!

For the Win! Frequently Asked Questions

I'm a new user who can not chat. Why not?

New users to FTW are not able to chat until they have played 30 fully rated games. For a game to qualify as fully rated, it must either be a rated Countdown type game or rated FTW type game. FTW type games must have at least 6 problems in order to be counted.

In order for a game to be fully rated, you must have at least one opponent that is not on the same physical network as you. So, simply playing against your brother or sister on a home router or your fellow students at school will likely not count towards your games played.

Note about recent changes: The number of games played has recently been recomputed. It is possible that you were previously able to chat and you are no longer able to. This is because we used to count games as fully rated that shouldn't have been counted.

How long am I muted or banned for?

This depends on the reason for the mute or ban and number of times you have been previously muted or banned. Bans automatically set due to inappropriate language last 7 days. The minimum time for mutes or bans set by moderators is 7 days for the first offense and 30 days for subsequent offenses, although 30 days for the first offense is most common. Your ban may be longer depending on the reason you were muted or banned. (Deliberately avoiding language filters and bullying or harrassing others, among other things, often last longer.) Three or more offenses will likely lead to an indefinite mute or ban. Under no circumstance will we research the length of your mute or ban as we do not generally offer support for users who abuse our system.

Why am I muted or banned?

The reason for your mute or ban is shown when you log in to FTW. The most common reasons are "Inappropriate language" and "Inappropriate conduct." We expect our users to be old enough and responsible enough to know what is and is not inappropriate language. If you wouldn't normally yell it at your parents or teachers, it's probably inappropriate language. Inappropriate conduct generally indicates disrespectful, hurtful, or cyber-bullying type language directed at another user or group of users. This includes name calling and words like "idiot," "stupid," "loser," etc. Both inappropriate conduct and language will generally lead to a 30 day mute or ban on first offense and longer periods on subsequent offenses. As we expect our users to know between right and wrong, and we do not have the time to answer many requests, we are often not able to respond to requests for information on what you did wrong.

Why did my rating not change when playing a rated game?

If you are playing on the same IP address as your opponent, your rating will not change. This is to limit players from creating multiple accounts to gain rating off their other accounts.

Why did my rating drop when I wasn't in a game?

You lost a game. If you were in the middle of a game and left it either by exiting the game itself or by logging off or refreshing your browser, you are still considered to be a player in the game. Since you didn't finish the game, you likely lost, and therefore lost rating.

I have been muted or banned but I did not violate the TOS; it was my sibling, friend, or school mate who violated the TOS. What should I do?

A majority of mutes and bans are based on network IP address. IP addresses are based on a single point of Internet connection. Generally all computers within a single home have the same IP address. Often, all computers at a school, hotel, or other business have the same IP address. (Your next door neighbor will not have the same IP address - so don't blame them.) Anyone using the same computer network as the individual who was muted or banned will likely also be muted or banned. Unfortunately, we are unable to grant access to specific users on a specific IP address.

Why can't I connect to the For the Win! Server?

Many schools, hotels, and other public networks block the necessary ports needed to access For the Win! If you are on a public network, and the port is blocked by that network, there isn't much you can do. If you can't connect on a home network, make sure ports 9898 and 9899 are not blocked by a firewall, parental control, or Internet security software or hardware.

There are also times that our hosting company reboots our machine. This will knock FTW down until we are able to restart it. Generally this will be when we get in to the office, generally before 1 pm eastern, 10 am pacific.

I tied with a player with greater rating than me and lost rating, why?

Some games, especially those where your score is based on time, show the scores rounded. You actually had a lower overall score than your opponent, but due to rounding, the scores appear to be the same within the game.

FTW blocks the menus in the menu bar. Why don't you fix this glitch?

Primarily because it isn't a glitch. Flash is a plug in which sits on top of the rendered page, blocking anything below it. This is an issue with Flash and your associated browser, not FTW.

What are some of the commands that can be used in the Lobby of FTW?

/lastgame - Displays last game number. Cleared every time you log in.
/msg - Send private message to user.
/w - Send private message to user.
/whisper - Send private message to user.
/version - Display game version information.
/me - Do an action - this is that pretty blue text that you see.
/ignore - Ignore a user in chat. Issue command again to un-ignore a user
/help - Full list of commands available to you.

Can I be a mod?

No.

Can I use people's real names in chat?

For safety reasons, please avoid using real names in chat unless the name is part of the username.

What should I do if I don't like the rules or can't follow them?

Go to another gaming or chat site or do something else entirely. Reacting negatively, immaturely, or disrespectfully after being muted or banned due to being unable to follow the rules will get your mute or ban extended and provide lots of negative karma towards you by other users.

I was muted/banned unfairly, what should I do?

Nearly all the complaints about unfair mutes or bans turn out to be more than fair. Researching these complaints takes away from the time AoPS staff has to work on other projects such as books, working on the website, new developments, etc. If you complain, lie, whatever, about the mute and after research we find it was fair, we will extend your mute indefinitely.

I was muted and didn't receive a warning first, what should I do?

You received your warning when you agreed to the Terms of Service.

I found a glitch, what should I do?

Please report every single last bit of information you can about the glitch. If it's in a game, make sure to include game number. Without this, your glitch report will not be able to be investigated. You can find the game number with the /lastgame command. Explain exactly what you did before the glitch occurred. Try to recreate the issue before posting the glitch and state what you did to create the problem. If the issue was with a specific problem in the game, after the game is over, choose to review the game, go to the problem which had the issue, and report the problem, giving a detailed description of what was wrong with it.

Can I use a calculator?

For the Win! is to help you develop middle school competition math skills. For this reason we recommend against using a calculator, however we can not prevent you from doing so.

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