WhiteTower: In money play, agreeing a draw is common. This usually happens in a close game, where the outcome would be decided solely by the luck of the dice. In tournament play, I think the situation is different and a draw is never really acceptable.
alanback: I think the underlying theory is similar in both systems, but in practice they behave very differently. First of all the parameters in the USCF formulae are set up for chess and are not suitable for games like gammon where luck plays such an important role. Secondly the provisional formulae are designed to allow a relatively small number of new entrants to quickly reach their correct rating in a large established pool of players. When applied to a startup situation they just introduce a random element. Similarly the formulae for established players only work in a mature rating system. So even for chess, the rating distribtions here are nothing like those of the USCF itself. You only have to look at the number of players here who achieve the rating ceiling of 2700 to see this. At times it seems that ratings are just proportional to number of games played.
As you know in FIBS everyone starts at 1500 and have to work their way up (or down) the ratings over the course of at least 400 games. Because of this, nobody gets a high rating by luck. By the very nature of gammon, it is impossible to try and get to a realistic rating playing less games than this.
The USCF itself uses a different rating system for correspondence chess which I believe is a lot like the FIBS system. I think this would be the obvious one to use at a site like this for chess and the other games. Again probably without the provisional formulae.
I don't really have a problem with players deciding to rest on their laurels. The problem is that their ratings are unrealistic to begin with. As has been said many times before, the rating system here is not suitable to the gammons. FIBS works well at dailygammon and GT. It is a simple formula so why can't we implement it here. If someone leaves with a high FIBS rating at least you know they earned it.
Hrqls: Yes, you set the playing strength at Settings/Players. Just click on expert and select World Class. You can do this for both chequer play and cube decisions. Then do the same under Settings/Analysis and Settings/Evaluation. Experiment a bit if you like and when you're happy click on Settings/Save settings. Otherwise next time you run it, you'll be back where you started.
1-ply is a compromise between speed and ability. Just don't trust it too much.
GNU is not very user-friendly to put it mildly. If you want it to play a decent game then you need to set it to at least 2-ply (World Class). Similarly any analysis at less than 2-ply is totally useless. Unfortunately the higher the standard, the longer it takes to play/analyse. Hope this helps.
Pedro Martínez: Sorry to disagree again but there is no way GNU recommends playing double 4 2x13/5 as an opening roll unless maybe if you have it on 0-ply. On both 2-ply and 3-ply it recommends 2x24/20 2x13/9 which is the generally accepted best move.
Sorry, but I think you did make matters worse. By blocking him out, all you can do is crunch your home board. You are giving your opponent even more timing than he already has. When he gets back in, he should have no difficulty rolling his prime forward. Even if you're lucky enough to get a hit, he will just get straight back in again. If you had not blocked him out, your homeboard wouldn't have crunched quite so much.
alanback: We've had a metrication program for about 40 years now. At one time wood was sold in metric lengths but imperial widths and depths or was it the other way round, can't remember. Great fun. Selling fruit and vegetables by the pound is now an offence. As for road signs and speeds, nobody has even thought about it as far as I know.
Nackgammon was designed to make players think positionally rather than just run for it. An early blitz in nackgammon probably won't work either as there are not enough men available in your half of the board. So a blocking game of some sort is more or less essential. If both players escape 2 of the back men quickly then it can turn into a game of backgammon. Otherwise it tends to develop quite differently. Very little seems to have been written on nackgammon strategy and the strategies of the better players seem to vary quite widely.
Kevin: I don't think the additional move validation would have any noticeable effect on the server performance. I haven't noticed the sites where the rules are implemented correctly being any slower than this one.
These rules need to be implented. As far as I know GoldToken and this site are the only ones not to implement these rules correctly. At GT I once encountered transgressions of these rules twice in 10 minutes so they are common enough to need addressing in my opinion. As RsBaby said, it is very frustrating to set yourself up in a good position only to be beaten by the rules being broken - it spoils the game for me.