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 Timed Puzzle Bonus 
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Posted on: Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:09 am




Posts: 175
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 2:11 am
Post Timed Puzzle Bonus
Okay, so now I'm realizing there's a mild issue with just letting one timed puzzle count per day per size.

Today, I put up a 14.611 5x5 on my first 5x5 of the day. That will get me 10 points, since no one else has gotten below 18 seconds.

The issue, though, occurs with my third puzzle. I finished in in 19.6something seconds, but even though it's one of the top 10 times in the site's history for any user, and only 2 users have gotten faster than it, I can't get any points for it.

The easiest solution to this, if we're intent on keeping the point structure for fastest in a day so that more people get points, is to also add a 10 point (Number adjustable) bonus for finishing in the top 10 puzzles all time without adjusting it down to 1 per player. That would solve for the whole thing where I'm getting nothing out of that 19 second puzzle.

Alternatively, we could give points, though probably fewer, for being above a certain threshold on any puzzle, which could either be a time that most days would get you first on that size (I'd estimate about 8 seconds on 4x4, 27 on 5x5, and 50 seconds), which would allow for a higher number, maybe 7-8 points, or it could be any time over the fastest average of top 75% puzzles, so 10.346 on 4x4, 39.635 on 5x5, and 62.805 on 6x6. Those are obviously significantly higher numbers, so it wouldn't be able to be as many points; maybe just 3 or 4. This one not only solves for my 19 seconds thing, but also solves for the days where I'll have 3 straight 7.something second 4x4's, and only 1 of them counts for anything even though only 1 other person has gotten below 7.4 seconds.

Basically, the issue I'm having right now is that since Kenken goes so much faster on days when I'm in a rhythm, it happens often that my best times will all come on the same day, and I feel like other people probably do the same sort of thing. Just on the off chance you could add some further points in from timed puzzles.


Last edited by starling on Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:58 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Posted on: Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:52 am




Posts: 108
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 6:44 pm
Post Re: timed puzzle bonus
hi starling,

as you see, I've moved your post to a new topic: in general, don't
be shy about starting a new topic :-)

(it doesn't help if most posts end up in a single topic)

Wrt. the timed bonus: you've got a point. In sports, for example, people
often get a prize if they break a world record.

I like your suggestion for giving points below a certain threshold, I'll probably add that
(for example, for the 4x4, 1 point for every second below 10 seconds, etc.)
(and this would apply every time of course).

thanks,

Patrick


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Posted on: Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:31 pm




Posts: 43
Location: Tacoma, WA, USA
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 4:03 am
Post Re: timed puzzle bonus
A general observation about points for timed puzzles – I would suggest reducing rather than increasing the number of points available for timed puzzles. I say that because they penalize the tortoises in favor of the hares.

(Before you dismiss me for arguing my own self-interest, I made a suggestion a couple months ago that worked against me (limiting book puzzles to one per day) – as I knew it would when I made the suggestion. Patrick implemented the suggestion and it predictably has taken me out of the competition for tops of lists. In both cases, I’ve made the suggestions not because they hurt or helped me but because in each case it seems to me it’s the fair thing to do.)

As a practical matter, the timed puzzles only have points for a small number of people, the speed demons. Us four-door compact cars can only sit and watch as the lamborghinis and ferraris roar by. (I’ve never been close enough to one of those to spell it right!). Timed puzzles are the only points that are limited in that way. All the other points, daily and book puzzles, are available to all comers. It doesn’t matter if a hundred people have already solved the 12x12; you can still get 16 points if you solve it. The reverse is not true; even if I get my fastest time ever on one of the timed puzzles, I’m not going to get any points for it because I’m nowhere near the top eight (or any of the other qualifiers people have been suggesting). This is not just about me – 99.9% of the site’s users have no realistic chance for those points.

I‘m not opposed to the idea of rewarding elite competitors – that’s quite common … they wouldn’t let me into the U.S. Open or the British Open even though I’m an avid golfer. It’s limited to top professionals and elite amateurs. But there’s a time and a place for everything. There are plenty of golf tournaments for everyday hackers like me. And one of the strong points of this website has been that not only participation but also scoring are available to all comers, not just the elite.

But the points for the timed puzzle works against that open opportunity for all. Those puzzles give a relatively large number of points to a small group of people … the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. It limits the competition for the top of the 7 day and 30 day lists to a smaller number of people. Adding more points for timed puzzles would only make that problem worse. To compound the problem, it does that in a way that’s unbalanced – the sprinters (the timed puzzle wizards) get to score points in the distance events (daily and book puzzles) too; but the distance runners can’t get anything in the sprints.

So I would not increase the number of points from timed puzzles, which is what all the various suggestions include. If the wrong speed demons are getting points, then rearrange the points currently available from timed puzzles to distribute them differently. (Or better yet, reduce the points.) But don’t increase the number of points unless the goal is truly to make this a website for the elite.

(It also seems to me it’s in Patrick’s interest to make the site, including features like those lists, available to as many people as possible – advertisers are not going to pay a site that’s used only by a small number of elite solvers; they want to advertise on sites that are used by large numbers of people.)


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Posted on: Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:22 am




Posts: 175
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 2:11 am
Post Re: timed puzzle bonus
I feel like, rossiniman, that the threshold thing solves for that as well, because it makes it to where everyone past a certain point, and not just a select few, get points.

With the threshold suggestion, it makes it to where everyone has a chance to get those points, but only people who are good enough do, without the influence of the daily fluctuations of what the speed demons do on any given day. Similarly, everyone has a chance to get the 8x8's and up, but very few people do, whether because they lack the ability or they don't have the time.

Further, the idea that it limits who can top the 7 day and 30 day thing is a bit strange; Out of the current top 10 7 day in the world, over half of them have probably never gotten a point from the timed puzzles, including the person who is currently #1. The 30 day one is a bet more timed heavy, but still has 3 people who have never gotten a point from timed puzzles. Meanwhile, I average the most timed points out of anyone and have never made it above 8th. Right now I'm much lower than normal because I've been out of town with no internet access several days resulting in a drop in points.

I understand where you're coming from, but I feel like my solution doesn't have the problem you're accusing it of.

Unrelated, yeah, Patrick, it just seemed to fit with what the topic was going for so I put it there. I generally start a new topic when it seems that it doesn't belong somewhere.


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Posted on: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:36 am




Posts: 13
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 9:44 am
Post Re: timed puzzle bonus
I must be missing something here. All I need to do to solve a timed puzzle quickly is to solve it while not logged on - print the solution - and then log on and enter the solution as fast as possible. I am not saying that anyone is doing this but the fact that you can and the points count towards your total would suggest that timed puzzle points should be accumulated separately or not counted at all.


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Posted on: Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:37 am




Posts: 26
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 7:57 am
Post Re: timed puzzle bonus
I agree with johne and rossiniman.
I stopped with solving timed puzzle due to the fact that I'm not able to reach top 15.

My 30 day average is 67, solving nearly all online puzzles and a few book puzzles. (As far as I can remember I missed 2 8x8 difficult on thursday).
Average for number 1 is 84 points!


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Posted on: Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:42 am




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: timed puzzle bonus
johne wrote:
I must be missing something here. All I need to do to solve a timed puzzle quickly is to solve it while not logged on - print the solution - and then log on and enter the solution as fast as possible.

Well, why don't you try? :-)

But seriously, I did put quite some work in trying to make sure
that all the times you see are valid..

I think it's still possible to cheat, but it's not trivial: a decent hacker
would have to spend quite some time on it.

Patrick


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Posted on: Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:57 am




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: timed puzzle bonus
fb_1124 wrote:
I agree with johne and rossiniman.
I stopped with solving timed puzzle due to the fact that I'm not able to reach top 15.

My 30 day average is 67, solving nearly all online puzzles and a few book puzzles. (As far as I can remember I missed 2 8x8 difficult on thursday).
Average for number 1 is 84 points!

Another thing I'm considering is extending the "tail" of the bonus points,
so going from 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 to (for example):

10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

(so 3 for positions 6 through 8, 2 for 9 and 10, 1 for 11 through 20)

Patrick


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Posted on: Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:32 pm




Posts: 175
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 2:11 am
Post Re: timed puzzle bonus
johne, when you leave the page, I'm pretty sure that it instantaneously lists the puzzle as unsolved and gives you an 18 minute time. Even if it's not instantaneous, there's no way to get back to that page.

pnm, I feel like extending the tail really heavily waters down the points; e.g. when the top 20 get points, using yesterday as an example, a 43 second 4x4, any completed 5x5, and a 4 minute, 6 second 6x6 all would get points. Those aren't exactly times worth rewarding in my mind; Not trying to be elitist, it's just that at the point at which I pass the 1 minute 30 second mark on a 6x6, I just go on to the next puzzle rather than solving it (Because the top 75% thing hadn't been introduced at first, I had already blown up my average so badly before then that I don't even try and compete in it for 5x5 and 6x6.)


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Posted on: Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:48 pm




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: timed puzzle bonus
starling wrote:
pnm, I feel like extending the tail really heavily waters down the points; e.g. when the top 20 get points, using yesterday as an example, a 43 second 4x4, any completed 5x5, and a 4 minute, 6 second 6x6 all would get points. Those aren't exactly times worth rewarding in my mind;

So maybe there should also be a maximum time beyond which you don't get points, even if you're
in the top 20. So for a 4x4, for example: in top 20, and below 20 seconds, will get you points.

starling wrote:
Not trying to be elitist, it's just that at the point at which I pass the 1 minute 30 second mark on a 6x6, I just go on to the next puzzle rather than solving it (Because the top 75% thing hadn't been introduced at first, I had already blown up my average so badly before then that I don't even try and compete in it for 5x5 and 6x6.)

Yes, I do the same, my top 75% average is terrible :-)

The motivation for the longer tail is to get more people to do the timed puzzles.

Patrick


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