I-F competition

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jba...@earthling.net

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Mar 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/2/98
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Hi all,
Please excuse me if this has been mentioned in the past, but I'd like to
know why the I-F competition isn't run more like a typical awards ceremony,
such as the Grammys or the Academy Awards. What I mean is, why not have a
ceremony that gives awards to the best game(s) of the year in different
categories (Best Full-Length, Best Short, Best Prose, Best New Writer,
etc.) in lieu of a competition? (I'm aware that XYZZYNews recently had a
ceremony like this, but I wonder if this shouldn't actually replace the
competition rather than appearing as a companion to it.)
While I have enjoyed many game entries over the past few years, I wonder
if the idea of the competition itself isn't hurting the release schedule of
I-F. As others have observed, we have a whole slate of short games released
all at once... but a relatively small amount being released during the rest
of the year. If the awards were done annually, perhaps the release of new
games would be more consistent... and perhaps many of the bugs that creep
into these games during the rush to finish it in time for the competition
would be eliminated.
No flames, please... it's a sincere question, and not intended as a
criticism for those who like the competition. Would we better off with just
a yearly I-F awards ceremony? (I'll be the first to admit that the
competition was flawless the first year, but it's gotten so big now that
there's no possible way for me to play all the games.)

Zorkers do it under the rug,
Joe Barlow (jba...@ipass.net)

-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
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L. Ross Raszewski

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Mar 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/2/98
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In article <6deigv$fte$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

jba...@earthling.net wrote:
>
>
> Hi all,
> Please excuse me if this has been mentioned in the past, but I'd like
to
> know why the I-F competition isn't run more like a typical awards ceremony,
> such as the Grammys or the Academy Awards.

Well, I think the main reason is that the IF Competiton is not an awards
ceremony so much as a competition.

Now, that's not a very clear answer, but it's a start.

THe XYZZY awards are not a competion. Every game made during the year is
elegible, and is awarded by category.

THe IF Comp, OTOH, is a competition. Games must be entered, and must meet a
set of requirements. THink of it as the Olympics of IF. No one has t oenter
to win a Grammy.

I think that by their natures, the Comp and the XYZZYs are two different
beastrs, and require diffrent styles of award ceremonies.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that if we changed the awards process,
especially to a "Best *" format, it would only add to the misconception that
so many people here seem to have that if you're going ot write a game, you
write it for the competition.

L. Ross Raszewski
(Who thinks that far too many people entered games into the Competition that
should right well have been written and released, but not entered into the
competition.)

jba...@earthling.net

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Mar 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/2/98
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In article <6detmi$st3$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

L. Ross Raszewski <rras...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> THe XYZZY awards are not a competion. Every game made during the year is
> elegible, and is awarded by category.
> THe IF Comp, OTOH, is a competition. Games must be entered, and must meet
> a set of requirements.

Perhaps the problem (if indeed there is one) would be solved if there
were a more stringent set of guidelines for the competition. How can one
seriously judge a long game after only two hours of play? As an example, I
cite Graham's "Long Glass of Sherbet", an absolutely marvelous game that (in
my opinion) had little business in the competition. Why? I simply cannot
believe that anyone could finish the thing in two hours. As such, I
personally gave it (relatively) low score when I judged it even though I
personally liked it; I thought it violated one of the main rules of the
competition. Was I wrong to do that?

> THink of it as the Olympics of IF.

Yes, but the Olympics do have a minimum set of criteria that an athlete
must have in order to participate. This does not seem to be true of the I-F
competition. There are several games that I played in the '96 competition
that, as you said, had absolutely no business being there.
If folks really love the idea of an I-F competition, would there be any
merit in going to a semi-finalist, then finalist, round of play? I'd love to
play 5 or 6 'finalist' games rather than 30 games of wildly varying quality.

Zorkers do it under the rug,

"Average Joe" Barlow
(who is working on a big game, but doesn't to announce it for fear it
will be the next Avalon)

Andrew Plotkin

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Mar 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/2/98
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jba...@earthling.net wrote:

> While I have enjoyed many game entries over the past few years, I wonder
> if the idea of the competition itself isn't hurting the release schedule of
> I-F. As others have observed, we have a whole slate of short games released
> all at once... but a relatively small amount being released during the rest
> of the year. If the awards were done annually, perhaps the release of new
> games would be more consistent... and perhaps many of the bugs that creep
> into these games during the rush to finish it in time for the competition
> would be eliminated.

The primary and original purpose of the competition is to get people
writing games. It works, and it works better each year. I don't think
that's a reason to *stop*.

I don't think that a continuous flow of short games throughout the year
is a particularly useful thing to strive for. You can play the games
after the voting deadline, yes? And authors can release post-contest bug
fixes.

I'm quite sure that if there had been no '97 competition, we would *not*
have gotten 35 short games appearing three a month over a one-year period.
I expect it would have been less than ten. And no, not the top ten
scorers.

There's also a certain levelness to the playing field which the
competition provides, which a best-of-year award does not. I think this is
both interesting and useful. All the games released at the same time,
played for the same length of time, no updates, and no extra information
from the author. You write a game, place it out there, and get feedback
based *entirely* on what you put in.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

jba...@earthling.net

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Mar 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/3/98
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In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

> The primary and original purpose of the competition is to get people
> writing games. It works, and it works better each year.

Would the competition not work just as well if it was divided into
quarters, with each quarter acting as a sort of 'semi-finalist' round? For
example: suppose every four months there was a deadline for submissions to
the competition. After the quarterly submission, folks could download and
play the games and vote upon the best one(s). The winner(s) would then be
allowed into the finalists round, to occur at the end of the year. The
process would then be repeated three more times throughout the year, with the
finalists being decided in the final quarter of the year. This would serve
to weed out some of the less-deserving games, plus keep the stream of new
releases coming out at a roughly equal pace. Most importantly (at least to
me), it would also prevent a glut of 30-some new games from appearing all at
once, since I (and assumedly many others) can't possibly play all of them
within the comparitively short voting period.

> I don't think that a continuous flow of short games throughout the year
> is a particularly useful thing to strive for.

Not in itself, no... but my point is, there's a drought of new releases
in the weeks immediately prior to the competition... after which we drown in
them. And anyone who releases a non-competition game during this period runs
the risk of having it get lost in the shuffle.

> You can play the games after the voting deadline, yes?

Sure, but I can't vote on them... which defeats the whole purpose of
calling the thing a competition.

> There's also a certain levelness to the playing field which the
> competition provides, which a best-of-year award does not.

Could you elaborate on this, please? Apart from all entries being
anonymous, I'm not sure how the competition provides a level playing field.
(Anonymity being a great idea for the contest, by the way... I'm sure all of
us have our favorite I-F authors.)


Zorkers do it under the rug,

"Average Joe" Barlow (jba...@ipass.net)

Andrew Plotkin

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Mar 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/3/98
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jba...@earthling.net wrote:
> In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

> > The primary and original purpose of the competition is to get people
> > writing games. It works, and it works better each year.

> Would the competition not work just as well if it was divided into
> quarters, with each quarter acting as a sort of 'semi-finalist' round?

In some ways, yes. In some ways, no.

In particular this would be five times as much work for the maintainer.
It would also be varying playing times, and up to a year before you got
finals results on your game. One of the things I disliked this year was
the very long dwell time; three months is way too long for a competition.
The momentum falls.

(I understand it'll be reduced again this year.)

(And I don't think the long voting period caused people to play more
games. I played 26 in the first month, and zero in the rest of the voting
period. Anecdotal evidence suggests this pattern is common. Six weeks
feels like the right length of time, even for 30-odd games.)

> Most importantly (at least to
> me), it would also prevent a glut of 30-some new games from appearing all at
> once, since I (and assumedly many others) can't possibly play all of them
> within the comparitively short voting period.

If this is the key point, there's probably no real solution. Some people
couldn't play 30 games in a year, either.

> Not in itself, no... but my point is, there's a drought of new releases
> in the weeks immediately prior to the competition... after which we drown in
> them. And anyone who releases a non-competition game during this period runs
> the risk of having it get lost in the shuffle.

This is one reason I want to keep the competition a *short* affair, as
opposed to a year-round schedule. With a six-week voting period, you have
to worry about this sort of thing for about two months of the year. With
a 12-week voting period, the competition was an issue for about *four*
months, and I didn't like that. I worry that if there was a deadline
every three months, it would cause a drought/glut effect *constantly*.

> > You can play the games after the voting deadline, yes?

> Sure, but I can't vote on them... which defeats the whole purpose of
> calling the thing a competition.

No it doesn't. The purpose of calling it a competition is for the authors
to get votes, not for the players to vote. That is, if not every IF fan
has time to vote, it doesn't make it not a competition. (The voting system
and Comp9*.z5 tool allows players to vote for as many as they have time to
play; this is accepted to be "not necessarily all".)

> > There's also a certain levelness to the playing field which the
> > competition provides, which a best-of-year award does not.

> Could you elaborate on this, please? Apart from all entries being
> anonymous, I'm not sure how the competition provides a level playing field.

Just what I said. Timing, length of play, and independence of judgement.

> (Anonymity being a great idea for the contest, by the way... I'm sure all of
> us have our favorite I-F authors.)

There are some technical problems with mandatory anonymity. Optional
anonymity is a good thing.

Laurel Halbany

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Mar 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/3/98
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On Tue, 03 Mar 1998 08:52:10 -0600, jba...@earthling.net wrote:

> Would the competition not work just as well if it was divided into
>quarters, with each quarter acting as a sort of 'semi-finalist' round?

I think the question is "work for whom"? For the contest
administrator? Nope. For the authors? The deadline becomes even worse;
people will still hoard their games, since if your game has the same
chance of finalling in December as in April, why not take the extra
months to hone your game?


Paul O'Brian

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Mar 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/3/98
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On Tue, 3 Mar 1998, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> (And I don't think the long voting period caused people to play more
> games. I played 26 in the first month, and zero in the rest of the voting
> period. Anecdotal evidence suggests this pattern is common. Six weeks
> feels like the right length of time, even for 30-odd games.)

As a counterpoint to this -- I played through as many games as I could,
throughout the voting period, and still only managed to barely make it. I
had to do a big push over Christmas. Granted, I could have spent less time
on the reviews and thus had more time to play, but I didn't want to
shortchange the authors (until the end, anyway, and by that point I felt
obligated). I don't know if I'm the only one in this situation, but I
doubt it -- I work full time, take classes, and have a family; precious
little time is left over for the competition. By Andrew's own admission,
part of the reason for his playing pattern is the fact that he didn't have
a job at the time.

This is not necessarily to say that I disagree wholly with shortening the
competition -- I understand the points about loss of momentum and
unbearable suspense for authors. I just wanted to make it clear that not
everybody has enough spare time to play 52 hours (or thereabouts) of IF
in a month. If all else remains equal and playing time is shortened, I
almost certainly won't be able to rate all the games in the '98
competition.

Paul O'Brian
obr...@colorado.edu
http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~obrian


Andrew Plotkin

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Mar 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/3/98
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Paul O'Brian (obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU) wrote:
> I don't know if I'm the only one in this situation, but I
> doubt it -- I work full time, take classes, and have a family; precious
> little time is left over for the competition. By Andrew's own admission,
> part of the reason for his playing pattern is the fact that he didn't have
> a job at the time.

Partially true. My playing rate was about the same for the '96
competition, and I had a full-time job then. (But no classes, family, or
life.)

Den of Iniquity

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Mar 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/3/98
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On Tue, 3 Mar 1998, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

>(And I don't think the long voting period caused people to play more
>games. I played 26 in the first month, and zero in the rest of the voting
>period. Anecdotal evidence suggests this pattern is common. Six weeks
>feels like the right length of time, even for 30-odd games.)

I think it would be a good thing if the voting period _was_ insufficient
time to play all the games. I can't see it as a good thing that people
rush to ensure that they vote for as many as possible. I think it would be
better if people were resigned to not being able to vote for them all and
thus had more patience with each effort. This, I know, doesn't work for
everyone, but it does for me. Drop the voting period to four weeks, I say!

(I, similarly to Andrew, managed 2 games in the first month and then
nothing thereafter. I copied almost the entire archive, plus interpreters,
on to about ten double density floppy disks to take with me when I visited
family over Christmas, intending to whip through as many as possible in my
free week, consequently never felt up to the task and failed abysmally.)

--
Den


Lelah Conrad

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Mar 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/4/98
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Here's my 2 cents worth: I would love to be able to play and judge
the comp games, but I know it impossible for me under the current
schedule. Frankly, that time of year is quite difficult for teachers,
and for people with any sort of holiday obligations it is doubly so.
My major free downtime, summer, is ahead of the comp deadline. So for
now, anyway, I'll have to just watch for the reviews of those who have
time to judge, and play the games after the fact.

Lelah

jba...@earthling.net

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Mar 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/4/98
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In article <34fc432...@hermes.rdrop.com>,
myt...@twisty-little-maze.com (Laurel Halbany) wrote:

> people will still hoard their games, since if your game has the same
> chance of finalling in December as in April, why not take the extra
> months to hone your game?

I must admit, I had the same thought after I posted my original message.
I guess a better question would be: am I the only one who thinks the
competition is 'broken'? If I am, I'll stop harping on it (and there was
much rejoicing...) but I'm sure there's got to be a better way to handle it,
for those of us who don't have time to play 30+ games in a six week period.
Speaking as someone who has entered many different types of
competitions, it's normal to see some sort of semi-finals round. Would it be
worthwhile to try something like this in the future?

Joe Mason

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Mar 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/4/98
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In article <34fc432...@hermes.rdrop.com>,

Laurel Halbany <myt...@twisty-little-maze.com> wrote:
>On Tue, 03 Mar 1998 08:52:10 -0600, jba...@earthling.net wrote:
>
>> Would the competition not work just as well if it was divided into
>>quarters, with each quarter acting as a sort of 'semi-finalist' round?
>
>I think the question is "work for whom"? For the contest
>administrator? Nope. For the authors? The deadline becomes even worse;
>people will still hoard their games, since if your game has the same
>chance of finalling in December as in April, why not take the extra
>months to hone your game?

I disagree, as far as hoarding goes. I think it would work the other way
round: people would tend to not worry about passing each deadline, because the
next is only four months away, rather than a year away. After each four-month
deadline, you would still get the thrill of seeing how your game stacks up
against the competition.

As it stands, people who have just finished a game in time for the end-of-year
competition have a big incentive to enter even without testing - if they don't
enter, they have to wait a whole year before being able to submit for the next
contest. This is why there are so many horrible games - I'd guess most of the
authors really would take more time to polish things if they had it.

If they can get it entered after only a four-month delay, I think we'll see not
only fewer games at a time, but BETTER games as well. Knowing that you won't
get it in the finals till next year's competition wouldn't be too much of a
problem, since you'd still get it into the next quarter's competition.

Joe

Lucian Paul Smith

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Mar 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/4/98
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jba...@earthling.net wrote:

: I must admit, I had the same thought after I posted my original message.


: I guess a better question would be: am I the only one who thinks the
: competition is 'broken'?

I think the only thing that needs to change is the judges' expectations.
The judges should be encouraged to calmly play every game they can for two
hours, then stop. They can finish the games later; they can play the
games they missed later; it shouldn't be a problem. Perhaps we need a
list of *non* rules for judges:

-You do not have to play every game. Just play as many as you
can. Please play at least [pulling a number out of the air] eight games.

-You do not have to see the end of every game you play. If you
want to, you may by all means use the included hints or walkthroughs (if
provided), but this is by no means necessary, and may indeed spoil the
effect of certain types of games.

-Lucian

Dancer

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Mar 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/5/98
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Each game is supposed to be evaluated on two hours' play is it not?
(I'm dredging this up from my crotchety long-term memory, as I've never voted in
the competition)

So, 30 games would be 60 hours. (Call it 70 to allow for coffee, snacks,
note-taking and suchlike).

Hmm. 70 hours is quite a bit of time. At the rate my time is worth (to my various
employers) we're talking like $3500 worth of time.

Assuming the average person has two hours free to spend playing I-F twice per
week, 6 weeks of time only yields 24 hours. Obviously, most of us have more time
than that available...I burned nearly four hours outright on Andrew Plotkin's new
jewel tonight.

What we need are two-hour slices though. If we bump it up to three such slices
per week, then that's still only about half of what we need over a 6 week period.
Hmm. Sticky.

Assuming a voter can spend the required couple hours on one game _every_ day
that's a _month_ (4 weeks, for the horologically challenged) to go through 30
entries. Whew.

It can be done. But I don't see it happening in much less than six weeks. Honest.

D


jba...@earthling.net wrote:

> In article <34fc432...@hermes.rdrop.com>,
> myt...@twisty-little-maze.com (Laurel Halbany) wrote:
>

> > people will still hoard their games, since if your game has the same
> > chance of finalling in December as in April, why not take the extra
> > months to hone your game?
>

> I must admit, I had the same thought after I posted my original message.
> I guess a better question would be: am I the only one who thinks the

> competition is 'broken'? If I am, I'll stop harping on it (and there was
> much rejoicing...) but I'm sure there's got to be a better way to handle it,
> for those of us who don't have time to play 30+ games in a six week period.
> Speaking as someone who has entered many different types of
> competitions, it's normal to see some sort of semi-finals round. Would it be
> worthwhile to try something like this in the future?
>
> Zorkers do it under the rug,
> "Average Joe" Barlow (jba...@ipass.net)
>
> -----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
> http://www.dejanews.com/ Now offering spam-free web-based newsreading

--
Did you read the documentation AND the FAQ?
If not, I'll probably still answer your question, but my patience will
be limited, and you take the risk of sarcasm and ridicule.

Kenneth Fair

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Mar 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/9/98
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In article <34FD9E2D...@brisnet.org.au>, Dancer
<dan...@brisnet.org.au> wrote:

>Each game is supposed to be evaluated on two hours' play is it not? (I'm
>dredging this up from my crotchety long-term memory, as I've never voted
>in the competition)
>
>So, 30 games would be 60 hours. (Call it 70 to allow for coffee, snacks,
>note-taking and suchlike).
>
>Hmm. 70 hours is quite a bit of time. At the rate my time is worth (to my
>various employers) we're talking like $3500 worth of time.

When put that way, I'm certainly sure I can't give up over $8000 of my
time in one month.

Personally, I liked the amount of time I had. I played about a dozen of
the games initially, then played another dozen or so about a month later
when I had time again.
--
KEN FAIR - U. Chicago Law | <http://student-www.uchicago.edu/users/kjfair>
Of Counsel, U. of Ediacara | Power Mac! | CABAL(tm) | I'm w/in McQ - R U?
"Next to being witty yourself, the best thing is to quote
another's wit." - C.N. Bovee

David A. Cornelson

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Mar 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/9/98
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I think we may very well have another issue here. The competition IS getting
too big for the current judging methods. It would seem that ddyte needs to
make an adjustment to how people select games to be judged. I would say we
almost have to have judges 'register' with ddyte, or someone, so that all of
the games get played. For instance, if we have 50 games this year, almost no
one will be able to play every game, or hardly even half of them. The odds
increase that people will look for particular games to judge, and avoid games
by certain authors. Judges on a whole may also simply, out of pure luck,
never select a game. We then have the issue of completely unplayed games.

It's my belief that if we continue with the honor system and the current
judging methods, the competition will become unwieldly and games will fall
through the cracks.

Here's my suggestion. Setup a web page where judges can login. All of the
competition games will be displayed. The author clicks a button, the database
looks up all of the games records to date, and tells the judge that a review
and rating of game x by author y, is needed. The judge is 'forced' to go and
rate that game. We can give the judges two or three 'passes', but in general,
they would have to stick to the given game.

When the judge completes the two hour review, he/she access the web page,
logs in, enters the rating (we could even do a survey instead of a simple
rating), then clicks save and gets a new game to judge.

The database will contain all of the ratings from all judges on a real-time
basis. In this manner, every time a judge accesses the system, a game will be
'given' to them based on which game has the least amount of judgements.

This also solves the problem of playing all of the games. If you keep
accessing the system, eventually, you will have played and rated all of the
games. If you only access it five times, your votes will still be important
because you will have moved the peg down further. In this manner, it's more
important to have more judges, and less important to have judges play all
games.

I volunteer to create this system on my placet.com server if ddyte agrees.

Comments? Flames? Please, I welcome them all.

Jarbigruen

Andrew Plotkin

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Mar 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/9/98
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David A. Cornelson (dcorn...@placet.com) wrote:
> I think we may very well have another issue here. The competition IS getting
> too big for the current judging methods. It would seem that ddyte needs to
> make an adjustment to how people select games to be judged. I would say we
> almost have to have judges 'register' with ddyte, or someone, so that all of
> the games get played. For instance, if we have 50 games this year, almost no
> one will be able to play every game, or hardly even half of them. The odds
> increase that people will look for particular games to judge, and avoid games
> by certain authors. Judges on a whole may also simply, out of pure luck,
> never select a game. We then have the issue of completely unplayed games.

I agree this is a potential problem, but I don't think it's a *near-term*
potential problem.

There were about 90 people voting this year, right? I played 25 games. If
there are 50 entries in '98, and 90 people play 15 games each, and they
use comp98 with some degree of rigor (which is at least as likely as using
a sign-on web site), then each game will get about 27 scores. That's not
near critical level. If it turns out to be much worse than than this year,
we can consider how to change things for '99.

Also note that any procedure which makes people work to be a judge,
decreases the number of judges.

Also note that we're planning to push PR to get more entries, but we're
planning to *really* push PR to get more judges.

ct

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Mar 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/9/98
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In article <erkyrath...@netcom.com>, Andrew Plotkin

<erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
> David A. Cornelson (dcorn...@placet.com) wrote:
> > I think we may very well have another issue here. The competition IS
> > getting too big for the current judging methods. It would seem that
> > ddyte needs to make an adjustment to how people select games to be
> > judged. I would say we almost have to have judges 'register' with
> > ddyte, or someone, so that all of the games get played. For instance,
> > if we have 50 games this year, almost no one will be able to play every
> > game, or hardly even half of them. The odds increase that people will
> > look for particular games to judge, and avoid games by certain authors.
> > Judges on a whole may also simply, out of pure luck, never select a game.
> > We then have the issue of completely unplayed games.
>
> I agree this is a potential problem, but I don't think it's a *near-term*
> potential problem.

I'll agree with zarf here; the lowest number of votes any proper game got
was 34, and this was on a minority system. Tads and Inform games tended
to get at least sixty votes. Even if the contest grows by 50% each year,
and the number of judges remains constant, that's another (quick calculator
moment) three years before the present format starts falling apart.

Also, I really don't like the idea of a competition where the judges have
to have constant access to web-browsing. And what about the people that
prefer to wait until they've finished playing all their games before
deciding final votes? They're stuffed as well.

I agree the format needs re-thinking, but something more wieldy than
this, please!

regards, ct

Neil Brown

unread,
Mar 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/9/98
to

At 04:00:42 on Mon, 9 Mar 1998, Kenneth Fair wrote:
>In article <34FD9E2D...@brisnet.org.au>, Dancer
><dan...@brisnet.org.au> wrote:
>
>>Each game is supposed to be evaluated on two hours' play is it not? (I'm
>>dredging this up from my crotchety long-term memory, as I've never voted
>>in the competition)
>>
>>So, 30 games would be 60 hours. (Call it 70 to allow for coffee, snacks,
>>note-taking and suchlike).
>>
>>Hmm. 70 hours is quite a bit of time. At the rate my time is worth (to my
>>various employers) we're talking like $3500 worth of time.
>
>When put that way, I'm certainly sure I can't give up over $8000 of my
>time in one month.

Taken to extremes, though, you could end up charging your local cinema
manager for going to see some of the films. Do people really calculate
how much their spare time is costing them in lost revenue?

Hey, maybe I could start charging Central Trains for the hours of delays
I've had to endure in the last two months. :)

- NJB

David A. Cornelson

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Mar 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/9/98
to

In article <ant09194...@stu012.sjc.ox.ac.uk>,

ct <c...@computing.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> In article <erkyrath...@netcom.com>, Andrew Plotkin
> <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
> > David A. Cornelson (dcorn...@placet.com) wrote:
> > > I think we may very well have another issue here. The competition IS
> >
> > I agree this is a potential problem, but I don't think it's a *near-term*
> > potential problem.
>
> I'll agree with zarf here; the lowest number of votes any proper game got
> was 34, and this was on a minority system. Tads and Inform games tended
> to get at least sixty votes. Even if the contest grows by 50% each year,
> and the number of judges remains constant, that's another (quick calculator
> moment) three years before the present format starts falling apart.
>
> Also, I really don't like the idea of a competition where the judges have
> to have constant access to web-browsing. And what about the people that
> prefer to wait until they've finished playing all their games before
> deciding final votes? They're stuffed as well.
>
> I agree the format needs re-thinking, but something more wieldy than
> this, please!
>
The web is here to stay. I feel this is an unwarranted restriction. The
judges don't need to 'work' at anything. It's just a control to make sure all
the games get roundly played. As for rating games while they're played or at
the 'end', that's not important to me at all. The ratings could be added
later or the ratings could be entered through some other system. I just think
registering what you're playing/judging would be a good thing.

Jarb

Joe Mason

unread,
Mar 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/9/98
to

In article <6e1dn1$usv$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

David A. Cornelson <dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:
>
>Here's my suggestion. Setup a web page where judges can login. All of the
>competition games will be displayed. The author clicks a button, the database
>looks up all of the games records to date, and tells the judge that a review
>and rating of game x by author y, is needed. The judge is 'forced' to go and
>rate that game. We can give the judges two or three 'passes', but in general,
>they would have to stick to the given game.

I think this is a good system. Our current system is more accessible, but I
think we have enough of a community here to ensure that even with the extra
complexity of judging we'll get enough for the results to be meaningful.

Joe

Jeff Hatch

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Mar 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/9/98
to

David A. Cornelson wrote:
> I think we may very well have another issue here. The competition IS getting

> too big for the current judging methods. It would seem that ddyte needs to
> make an adjustment to how people select games to be judged. I would say we
> almost have to have judges 'register' with ddyte, or someone, so that all of
> the games get played.

I'd think a simple solution would be to have a couple rounds of judging
with different play lengths. For instance, ask the judges to play every
game for thirty minutes to an hour, depending on how much they enjoy
each game and how much time they have. Then compile some statistics
based on the results of that first round. After that, ask the judges to
play each of the top ten games for another two hours, and use the
results of the second round to determine the winners.

There are some obvious drawbacks to any such system. I imagine some
games take more than a half hour to become quite engaging. OTOH, I'm
sure there are some games that any judge can tell you won't win after
just 15 minutes. This would allow the judges to spend less total time,
while actually playing the best games for more than two hours.

Disclaimer: I don't actually know what I'm talking about! I've never
been a judge, and I play interactive fiction very seldom these days.

-Rúmil

John Francis

unread,
Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to

In article <6e1vdv$cqk$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

David A. Cornelson <dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:
>In article <ant09194...@stu012.sjc.ox.ac.uk>,
> ct <c...@computing.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
>>
>> In article <erkyrath...@netcom.com>, Andrew Plotkin
>> <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
>> > David A. Cornelson (dcorn...@placet.com) wrote:
>> > > I think we may very well have another issue here. The competition IS
>> >
>> > I agree this is a potential problem, but I don't think it's a *near-term*
>> > potential problem.
>>
>> I'll agree with zarf here; the lowest number of votes any proper game got
>> was 34, and this was on a minority system. Tads and Inform games tended
>> to get at least sixty votes. Even if the contest grows by 50% each year,
>> and the number of judges remains constant, that's another (quick calculator
>> moment) three years before the present format starts falling apart.
>>
>> Also, I really don't like the idea of a competition where the judges have
>> to have constant access to web-browsing. And what about the people that
>> prefer to wait until they've finished playing all their games before
>> deciding final votes? They're stuffed as well.
>>
>> I agree the format needs re-thinking, but something more wieldy than
>> this, please!
>>
>The web is here to stay. I feel this is an unwarranted restriction. The
>judges don't need to 'work' at anything. It's just a control to make sure all
>the games get roundly played. As for rating games while they're played or at
>the 'end', that's not important to me at all. The ratings could be added
>later or the ratings could be entered through some other system. I just think
>registering what you're playing/judging would be a good thing.
>
>Jarb


You might think that. But many of us disagree. I would most emphatically *not*
be a judge if I had to go online every two hours to find out which game I was
going to be allowed to judge next. I download all the games at once, and play
them as and when I get time. If I'm playing one on my laptop while I'm sitting
in a cafe waiting for my wife to finish her evening classes, what do I do when
the two hours is up ? (or when I've finished the game - one of the '97 entries
could be totally explored in under fifteen minutes).

If all judges use the Comp97 randomiser, the difference between that and the
overly-complex online registration scheme will be statistically insignificant.
So why add another restrictive step (especially one that will sometimes be
very hard to comply with) for no noticeable benefit?
(And if judges weren't using comp97, they won't stick to this scheme, either).
--
John Francis jfra...@sgi.com Silicon Graphics, Inc.
(650)933-8295 2011 N. Shoreline Blvd. MS 43U-991
(650)933-4692 (Fax) Mountain View, CA 94043-1389
Unsolicited electronic mail will be subject to a $100 handling fee.

Dancer

unread,
Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to

In article <3UI5gMAT...@highmount.demon.co.uk>, Neil Brown <ne...@this.address.is.fake>
<34fc432...@hermes.rdrop.com> <6dk1rn$ff3$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>
<34FD9E2D...@brisnet.org.au>

<kjfair-0803...@ntcs-ip308.uchicago.edu> wrote:
>At 04:00:42 on Mon, 9 Mar 1998, Kenneth Fair wrote:
>>In article <34FD9E2D...@brisnet.org.au>, Dancer
>><dan...@brisnet.org.au> wrote:
>>
>>>Each game is supposed to be evaluated on two hours' play is it not? (I'm
>>>dredging this up from my crotchety long-term memory, as I've never voted
>>>in the competition)
>>>
>>>So, 30 games would be 60 hours. (Call it 70 to allow for coffee, snacks,
>>>note-taking and suchlike).
>>>
>>>Hmm. 70 hours is quite a bit of time. At the rate my time is worth (to my
>>>various employers) we're talking like $3500 worth of time.
>>
>>When put that way, I'm certainly sure I can't give up over $8000 of my
>>time in one month.
>
>Taken to extremes, though, you could end up charging your local cinema
>manager for going to see some of the films. Do people really calculate
>how much their spare time is costing them in lost revenue?

Some of us have the choice about how much time to spend on work, and how
much to spend on other things. It's not a choice everyone gets. So spare
time for me is entirely optional. I don't have any. I sort of 'buy' it
from work, by choosing not to get paid for the time.

When you _do_ have that choice, one of the things you tend to do is keep
your own hourly rate in the back of your head ($50-$150 for me). Money
doesn't come into a lot of decision-making, but it's in there for any
sufficiently large gobs of time (as well as a deciding factor when you
consider things you don't enjoy...like answering complaints about spam).

D

--
http://dancer.brisnet.org.au/

Laurel Halbany

unread,
Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to

On 10 Mar 1998 01:25:15 GMT, jfra...@dungeon.engr.sgi.com (John

Francis) wrote:
> I would most emphatically *not*
>be a judge if I had to go online every two hours to find out which game I was
>going to be allowed to judge next.

Me either. Perhaps this is the time to Gently Remind (the two-by-four
is only for backup, I promise) that not all of us have constant,
uninterrupted access to a computer, let alone the Web. In other words,
maybe some of y'all can log on regularly from your job, your school or
your bachelor flat. Not true of all of us, and anybody who has a
problem with that is welcome to come to my home and entertain two
small children while I surf the Web.

Adam Cadre

unread,
Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to

Laurel Halbany wrote:
> ...anybody who has a problem with that is welcome to come to my home
> and entertain two small children while I surf the Web.

And as we all learned in the *last* competition, if you take your eyes off
small children for a second they'll get wedged under the sofa.

-----
Adam Cadre, Anaheim, CA
http://www.retina.net/~grignr
"Isn't Adam a girl?" --ifMUD's "Heaven"

Laurel Halbany

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Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to

On Tue, 10 Mar 1998 08:27:25 GMT, fake...@anti-spam.address (Neil
K.) wrote:

> Mmmm... you *sure* you'd want to leave your children in the hands of
>someone who refuses to acknowledge this basic fact? :)

Good point. I could be liable for the damage the kids to do them. :*

Paul O'Brian

unread,
Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to

On Mon, 9 Mar 1998, David A. Cornelson wrote:

> The web is here to stay.

So is the constant stream of busy signals I receive when calling in to my
university's modem pool. Asking me to check in after *every single game I
play* is, IMO, asking too much. Not surprisingly, it would often require
me to call in when the modem pool is busiest. I have little enough spare
time to spend on actual judging, set aside waiting for a line to clear so
I can find out which game I'm supposed to play next.

> I just think registering what you're playing/judging would be a good
> thing.

I understand that this idea is well-intentioned, but I disagree. As has
been pointed out, people who are inclined to ignore Comp98 will ignore
this system as well, and in fact I would argue that far *more* people will
ignore the "check-in" system. I certainly would. And if it was a
requirement of judging, then I don't think I'd be a judge. Granting judges
fairly wide-ranging independence ensures not only more judges, but judges
who are in a better mood when they go to rate your game. :)

Let me suggest that this, along with most of the ideas for how to change
the competition, are fine *optional* choices if you find that they work
for you. But to make them requirements closes more doors than it opens. So
if you want to set up a web site with a distributing database, go for it,
but please don't make it a rule for everyone.

Michael Straight

unread,
Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to


On Mon, 9 Mar 1998, David A. Cornelson wrote:

> The web is here to stay. I feel this is an unwarranted restriction. The
> judges don't need to 'work' at anything. It's just a control to make sure all
> the games get roundly played. As for rating games while they're played or at
> the 'end', that's not important to me at all. The ratings could be added

> later or the ratings could be entered through some other system. I just think


> registering what you're playing/judging would be a good thing.

This would greatly reduce my chances of being a judge. I download games
and play them at home where web access is awkward.

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT

David A. Cornelson

unread,
Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to

In article <6e24pr$17...@fido.asd.sgi.com>,

jfra...@dungeon.engr.sgi.com (John Francis) wrote:
>
> In article <6e1vdv$cqk$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
> David A. Cornelson <dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:
> >In article <ant09194...@stu012.sjc.ox.ac.uk>,
> > ct <c...@computing.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
> >>
> >> In article <erkyrath...@netcom.com>, Andrew Plotkin
> >> <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
> >> > David A. Cornelson (dcorn...@placet.com) wrote:
> >> > > I think we may very well have another issue here. The competition IS
> >> >
> >> > I agree this is a potential problem, but I don't think it's a *near-
term*
> >> > potential problem.
> >>
> >> I'll agree with zarf here; the lowest number of votes any proper game got
> >> was 34, and this was on a minority system. Tads and Inform games tended
> >> to get at least sixty votes. Even if the contest grows by 50% each year,
> >> and the number of judges remains constant, that's another (quick
calculator
> >> moment) three years before the present format starts falling apart.
> >>
> >> Also, I really don't like the idea of a competition where the judges have
> >> to have constant access to web-browsing. And what about the people that
> >> prefer to wait until they've finished playing all their games before
> >> deciding final votes? They're stuffed as well.
> >>
> >> I agree the format needs re-thinking, but something more wieldy than
> >> this, please!
> >>
> >The web is here to stay. I feel this is an unwarranted restriction. The
> >judges don't need to 'work' at anything. It's just a control to make sure
all
> >the games get roundly played. As for rating games while they're played or
at
> >the 'end', that's not important to me at all. The ratings could be added
> >later or the ratings could be entered through some other system. I just
think
> >registering what you're playing/judging would be a good thing.
> >
> >Jarb
>
> You might think that. But many of us disagree. I would most emphatically
*not*
> be a judge if I had to go online every two hours to find out which game I
was

> going to be allowed to judge next. I download all the games at once, and
play
> them as and when I get time. If I'm playing one on my laptop while I'm
sitting
> in a cafe waiting for my wife to finish her evening classes, what do I do
when
> the two hours is up ? (or when I've finished the game - one of the '97
entries
> could be totally explored in under fifteen minutes).
>
> If all judges use the Comp97 randomiser, the difference between that and the
> overly-complex online registration scheme will be statistically
insignificant.
> So why add another restrictive step (especially one that will sometimes be
> very hard to comply with) for no noticeable benefit?
> (And if judges weren't using comp97, they won't stick to this scheme,
either).
> --
> John Francis jfra...@sgi.com Silicon Graphics, Inc.
> (650)933-8295 2011 N. Shoreline Blvd. MS 43U-991
> (650)933-4692 (Fax) Mountain View, CA 94043-1389
> Unsolicited electronic mail will be subject to a $100 handling fee.
>

Jonathan Fry

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Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to

Adam Cadre (ad...@acpub.duke.edu) wrote:

: Laurel Halbany wrote:
: > ...anybody who has a problem with that is welcome to come to my home
: > and entertain two small children while I surf the Web.
:
: And as we all learned in the *last* competition, if you take your eyes off
: small children for a second they'll get wedged under the sofa.

And, as the same game taught us, that's why you put them in the
blender for safe keeping.

--Jon

+->---->---->---->---->---->---->---->---->---->---->---->---->---->-+
| It's time we see that thought is free so don't stand in front of |
| me and what I believe / Smitten by the unseen hand / Kneeling down |
| to its command / Victims of a rich man's game / But truth crushed |
| shall rise again - Ken Tamplin -----------[jf...@skidmore.edu]------|
+--<----<----<----<----<----<----<----<----<----<----<----<----<----<+

Brock Kevin Nambo

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Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to

Michael Straight wrote in message ...

>
>
>On Mon, 9 Mar 1998, David A. Cornelson wrote:
>
>> The web is here to stay. I feel this is an unwarranted restriction. The
>> judges don't need to 'work' at anything. It's just a control to make sure
all
>> the games get roundly played. As for rating games while they're played or
at
>> the 'end', that's not important to me at all. The ratings could be added
>> later or the ratings could be entered through some other system. I just
think
>> registering what you're playing/judging would be a good thing.
>
>This would greatly reduce my chances of being a judge. I download games
>and play them at home where web access is awkward.


And, of course, suppose I, being the IF lover among everybody I know IRL,
would like to give everything98.zip on disk to all my Internet-impaired
friends that were interested, there's no way they're getting my computer
that often <g>

>>BKNambo
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----http://come.to/brocks.place
Hey look, it's the Roman Empire!


Brad O`Donnell

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Mar 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/10/98
to

Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Also note that any procedure which makes people work to be a judge,
> decreases the number of judges.

In addition:

I don't think the above point can be stressed quite enough. From what I hear
from some of the complaints about the amount of time one would have to
allocate for judging, I think that the two-hour time limit is being
misinterpreted: the time limit is a maximum, not a minimum. That, and it's
only a rough guideline. Adjust to fit your computer. (although computer
speed is rarely a consideration when playing IF.)

>
> Also note that we're planning to push PR to get more entries, but we're
> planning to *really* push PR to get more judges.

Excellent. I won't ask how. More judges means, in the long run,
more authors, too.

>


--
Brad O'Donnell
"A story is a string of moments, held together by memory."

Kenneth Fair

unread,
Mar 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/11/98
to

I really don't think the contest is as broken as some folks 'round here
seem to think. I know that as far as I was concerned, I liked the present
system. I didn't go around looking for the games of particular authors
to play. I used the Comp97 randomiser and stuck to it (with one or two
exceptions). This allowed me to play games in the morning, at night, or
whenever I had a free moment.

I renormalized all of my ratings twice during the judging, once because
I changed the criteria I was using, and again at the end to spread the
rankings out more.

My willingness to judge the next competition *will* go down as I am given
more requirements to undertake. I will be less likely to judge games if
I have to log on to a Web site before I play each game. That's partly
because I was playing games to kill time while my roommates used the
phone and so I couldn't dial in.

I don't see any reason for serious changes. We had lots of judges this
year, and all of the entries received a substantial number of votes.
We may have more entries next year, and we may not. We may also have
more judges next year. And I don't see any evidence that veteran
authors do any better in the competition than novice authors. As far as
I see, the games stand or fall on their own merits.

My view is, it's not broke, so don't fix it.


--
KEN FAIR - U. Chicago Law | <http://student-www.uchicago.edu/users/kjfair>
Of Counsel, U. of Ediacara | Power Mac! | CABAL(tm) | I'm w/in McQ - R U?

"UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT Information
is ENCOURAGED, ESPECIALLY to COMPUTER BULLETIN BOARDS." - Bob McElwaine

David A. Cornelson

unread,
Mar 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/11/98
to

Idea #1 has been squashed. That's okay. It was a bad idea. A few people think
the web is an unreliable thing and I guess that's something I'm not used to.
Doesn't everyone have a T3 connection at work and two internet providers at
home in case one is busy? Guess not. I'm sorry for the assumption.

So back to Comp98 and the randomizer. I disagree about the effectiveness of
randomizing when the number of entries increases to more than what it was
last year.

I suggest we put a different mechanism in Comp98 where everyone can retrieve
a serial number that sets the order of the games. The serial number is
generated by the (well-intentioned) web site and corresponds to an algorythm
in Comp98.

That would keep the simplicity if downloading all games and using the Comp98
tool, while adding a more effective method of game judging.

Jarb

Magnus Olsson

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Mar 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/11/98
to

In article <Pine.A41.3.95L.98031...@login3.isis.unc.edu>,

Michael Straight <stra...@email.unc.edu> wrote:
>
>
>On Mon, 9 Mar 1998, David A. Cornelson wrote:
>
>> The web is here to stay. I feel this is an unwarranted restriction. The
>> judges don't need to 'work' at anything. It's just a control to make sure all
>> the games get roundly played. As for rating games while they're played or at
>> the 'end', that's not important to me at all. The ratings could be added
>> later or the ratings could be entered through some other system. I just think
>> registering what you're playing/judging would be a good thing.
>
>This would greatly reduce my chances of being a judge. I download games
>and play them at home where web access is awkward.

Indeed. This, I think is common. It may be true that almost all presumptive
judges have Web access, but this does not mean that they have the ability
to access the Web every time they've finished a game.

And what happens if the Web server, or the judge's ISP, is down just when
he or she has finally managed to get enough free time to play a few games?


In general, while I can agree with David up to a point - the current
judging system may not be broken, but it's certainly in danger of
breaking - I don't think the risk is so much that everybody plays some
games, while others (perhaps the ones with "Dragon" in the title? Just
joking) remain unplayed. It's rather that the organizers feel forced
to extend the judging period beyond reasonable limits, to ensure that
all the judges have an opportunity to play all the games. IMHO, the
'97 competition had a far too long judging period (for reasons
eloquently stated by others, so I won't repeat them here).

But let's keep it simple. Any rule change that makes it harder to be a
judge will decrease the number of judges, perhaps drastically so. And
I have the feeling that such a decrease will be a worse evil than the
ones fixed by the rule change.

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------

John Francis

unread,
Mar 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/11/98
to

In article <6e6fub$m0g$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

David A. Cornelson <dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:
>Idea #1 has been squashed. That's okay. It was a bad idea. A few people think
>the web is an unreliable thing and I guess that's something I'm not used to.
>Doesn't everyone have a T3 connection at work and two internet providers at
>home in case one is busy? Guess not. I'm sorry for the assumption.

Only a T3? :-)

>So back to Comp98 and the randomizer. I disagree about the effectiveness of
>randomizing when the number of entries increases to more than what it was
>last year.
>
>I suggest we put a different mechanism in Comp98 where everyone can retrieve
>a serial number that sets the order of the games. The serial number is
>generated by the (well-intentioned) web site and corresponds to an algorythm
>in Comp98.

Is this objection to a randomiser based on anything other than personal opinion?
I claimed (and continue to claim) that the randomised approach used in Comp97
is indistinguishable from any (truly fair) arbitrated and/or pre-allocated
distribution, provided the number of judges is large enough (which, for most
statistical purposes, means more than about thirty).
In fact I go even further - I don't believe you can come up with any scheme
of allocating play order that will do as well as a randomising approach, if
you take into account the facts that you don't know how many games any judge
will manage to play, and that a judge's opinion of a game can be affected by
the quality of the game played immediately beforehand.

>That would keep the simplicity if downloading all games and using the Comp98
>tool, while adding a more effective method of game judging.

It's still more complicated than a randomising Comp98, for no benefit.

The current scheme isn't broken (nor is it about to break). Don't "fix" it.

Kenneth Fair

unread,
Mar 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/11/98
to

In article <6e6fub$m0g$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, David A. Cornelson
<dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:

>Idea #1 has been squashed. That's okay. It was a bad idea. A few people think
>the web is an unreliable thing and I guess that's something I'm not used to.
>Doesn't everyone have a T3 connection at work and two internet providers at
>home in case one is busy? Guess not. I'm sorry for the assumption.
>

>So back to Comp98 and the randomizer. I disagree about the effectiveness of
>randomizing when the number of entries increases to more than what it was
>last year.

I still don't understand your complaint. For the current system to fail,
we must assume that (a) a substantial fraction of the judges (like half)
don't use the randomizer and that (b) failure to use the randomizer leads
to skewed results. Not to mention that even with your system, nothing
can prevent the judges from playing the games out of order anyway.

It may be that virtually everyone in this year's contest immediately
judged "The Tempest" because they wanted to see the next Angela M. Horns
game. But I don't think that would have made a difference in the rankings.
You have yet to demonstrate any correlation between judging position and
rating. Without such a correlation, the only difference would be due to
the error range of the mean rating.

If a game received a mean rating of 4 when judged by ten people,
it does *exactly as well* as if it received a mean rating of 4 when
judged by 150 people. The only difference is in the error bars, and
even those aren't significant given a couple-dozen judges.

Making the judging system more complicated will only serve to reduce
the number of judges, thereby *increasing* the error and making things
worse.

Let's keep two things in mind: (1) This is an all-volunteer contest.
No one, organizers or judges, is receiving compensation. Let's try to
keep things as simple as possible for all of them so that more will
participate. (2) We're not giving away Cadillacs here. The winner
gets a spiffy prize and some bragging rights and that's about it.
The reward level is not worth ensuring against any possible error
in the system.

One note about my judging: I used Comp97 to rate my games. I followed
the order fairly closely, but there were times that I postponed rating
a game until later. In a couple of cases, I started a game and then
felt like I couldn't rate that game fairly right then, maybe because
I wanted to think about it some more, or maybe because I just didn't
feel like playing a game in that genre right then. To have been
strictly forced to a particular order would have caused me to rate
some games unfairly, since I wouldn't have given them the consideration
they deserved. ("The Tempest" was one such game; I kept picking it
up and putting it down because I wasn't sure how I felt about it.
I had to think through very carefully the rating I eventually gave it,
but I felt in the end that my rating was a fair one.)


--
KEN FAIR - U. Chicago Law | <http://student-www.uchicago.edu/users/kjfair>
Of Counsel, U. of Ediacara | Power Mac! | CABAL(tm) | I'm w/in McQ - R U?

"Isn't it amazing with all of the post presented by creationist in these
newsgroups were wrong 100% of the time?" - ks...@fast.net

David A. Cornelson

unread,
Mar 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/11/98
to

In article <kjfair-1103...@ntcs-ip121.uchicago.edu>,

kjf...@midway.uchicago.edu.REMOVEME (Kenneth Fair) wrote:
>
> In article <6e6fub$m0g$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, David A. Cornelson
> <dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:
>
> I still don't understand your complaint. For the current system to fail,
>

I don't make any assumptions. It is my contention that if the number of
entries increases and the number of judges stays static or fearing the larger
number of games, is reduced, it will a) reduce the chance of any given judge
rating all games, b) increase the chance that any given game is not rated
accordingly.

You believe that four votes compared to twenty is fair? In a perfect world,
maybe, but these games are being reviewed by varying personalities with
varying tastes in IF.

It's not broken, but if there are more than 50 entries and less judges, some
poor author may very well get screwed.

Why take the chance of that happpening?

Laurel Halbany

unread,
Mar 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/12/98
to

On Wed, 11 Mar 1998 11:01:17 -0600, David A. Cornelson
<dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:

>So back to Comp98 and the randomizer. I disagree about the effectiveness of
>randomizing when the number of entries increases to more than what it was
>last year.
>

>I suggest we put a different mechanism in Comp98 where everyone can retrieve
>a serial number that sets the order of the games. The serial number is
>generated by the (well-intentioned) web site and corresponds to an algorythm
>in Comp98.

Okay, I *still* don't understand how this will be any better than the
Comp98 game. The algorhythm thing will randomize the games, yes? Just
like Comp98 would randomize the games.

I guess I just believe it would be best to assume that people capable
of doing a reasonable job of judging, can also do a good job of
figuring out which games they're going to play when.

IMO, the way to get out of the morass is for people to avoid using the
competition as a beta-test for partial code or not-really-games.

>
>That would keep the simplicity if downloading all games and using the Comp98
>tool, while adding a more effective method of game judging.
>

Adam Cadre

unread,
Mar 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/12/98
to

David Cornelson wrote:
> I don't make any assumptions. It is my contention that if the number
> of entries increases and the number of judges stays static or fearing

> the larger number of games, is reduced, it will a) reduce the chance
> of any given judge rating all games, b) increase the chance that any
> given game is not rated accordingly.

You're positing an awful lot here. First, you're assuming that the
IF authorship pool is going to grow dramatically -- enough to strain
a system that isn't even close to breaking -- but the playership pool
isn't going to grow along with it, and may well shrink. Why might this
be the case? You never say. What's more, despite the fact that many
people have posted that the strictures you propose would be the very
thing that would drive them away, you continue to argue that an
additional mechanism is needed -- one that would involve you and your
web site or your algorithm. Why the insistence that the competition
bear your personal stamp?

> You believe that four votes compared to twenty is fair? In a
> perfect world, maybe, but these games are being reviewed by varying
> personalities with varying tastes in IF.

There's precisely zero chance that a game will end up with an
"inaccurate" score based on the votes of a few eccentrics, thanks to
the minimum threshold -- a threshold, I might add, that has never
come close to excluding a game. Even "The Family Legacy", a game
which was almost immediately withdrawn, met the minimum threshold
to qualify on that count. What was the smallest number of votes
received by an eligible entry? 34? You could halve that and the
system would still be working and working well.

> It's not broken, but if there are more than 50 entries and less
> judges, some poor author may very well get screwed.

Some poor author whose game didn't do very well and who thinks it's
because it was overlooked rather than simply not being very good,
perchance?

Kenneth Fair

unread,
Mar 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/12/98
to

In article <6e7ltc$k50$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, David A. Cornelson
<dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:

>I don't make any assumptions. It is my contention that if the number of
>entries increases and the number of judges stays static or fearing the larger
>number of games, is reduced, it will a) reduce the chance of any given judge
>rating all games, b) increase the chance that any given game is not rated
>accordingly.

So all judges won't rate all games. Maybe *no* judge will rate all games.
So what? This is only a problem if there is a correlation between the
number of games played and the "toughness" of the judge. If there is no
correlation between the number of games played and the rankings of a judge,
then there is zero statistical effect.


>You believe that four votes compared to twenty is fair? In a perfect world,
>maybe, but these games are being reviewed by varying personalities with
>varying tastes in IF.

Yes. It *is* fair, unless you can demonstrate that the sixteen additional
judges would have voted en masse higher or lower than the first four.

Of course people's tastes vary, but you have to show that they'll vary
*in a particular direction*. Having fewer judges increases the error bars,
yes, but the best remedy for that is to increase the number of judges by
placing fewer restrictions upon them. As long as there is *some*
impetus for the games to be played in a random order, that will be
sufficient.

Could we please have a little more faith in our judges to act reasonably?


>It's not broken, but if there are more than 50 entries and less judges, some
>poor author may very well get screwed.

I don't even see any reason to assume that the number of IF authors is
going to rise proportionally faster than the number of IF players. In
fact, as word of the contest spreads beyond the close-knit circle of
IF enthusiasts, I think the proportion of players is likely to go up faster.


Let's face it. If someone unknowingly writes a game that is similar
to a previous IF work, that game is going to get scragged by a number
of judges. The rating it receives might be considered "unfair" if the
game were simply to be considered on its own merits without comparison
to the previous work. This, it seems to me, is a problem with a greater
visible skewing effect than the possibility that a game won't be rated
fairly because a smaller number of people play it. Not to mention that
authoring system plays a larger role as well.


--
KEN FAIR - U. Chicago Law | <http://student-www.uchicago.edu/users/kjfair>
Of Counsel, U. of Ediacara | Power Mac! | CABAL(tm) | I'm w/in McQ - R U?

"I'm sorry to have written such a long letter. I did not have
time to write a short one." - George Bernard Shaw

David Turnbull

unread,
Mar 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/12/98
to

On Mon, 09 Mar 1998 12:52:23 -0600, David A. Cornelson
<dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:

>I think we may very well have another issue here. The competition IS getting
>too big for the current judging methods. It would seem that ddyte needs to

<SNIP>

I have an idea to help ensure fair judging. I will admit, I haven't
judged in the past but would like to this year. It wasn't until a few
months ago that I even found that IF was still alive.

Here goes my idea...

Give every judge his own unique list or a seed to feed into COMP98.

The person tallying the scores now knows what order you were supposed
to play the games in. If there are scores missing as you go down the
list, obviously the judge didn't do it right. The entire judging
could be dismissed, or only the scores up to the blank could be
allowed.

It's probably not a perfect idea, but it should help level the field a
lot. Also, it doesn't make you dependant on a Internet connection.

-david

P.S. Using a seed for COMP98 would require a RNG to be built into
COM98 since an interpreter is free to handle this any way it wants.
If need be, I can write one that will distribute the games evenly.

John Francis

unread,
Mar 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/13/98
to

In article <35084818....@enews.newsguy.com>,
David Turnbull <d...@newsguy.com> wrote:
> [description of scheme snipped]

>The person tallying the scores now knows what order you were supposed
>to play the games in. If there are scores missing as you go down the
>list, obviously the judge didn't do it right. The entire judging
>could be dismissed, or only the scores up to the blank could be
>allowed.

No, no, *NO*!!! We don't want to discourage judges, we want to
encourage them. Dismissing a judge if he doesn't follow your own
particular favourite game selection scheme is the wrong thing to do.

As I have pointed out before:

1) The current scheme isn't broken. It doesn't *need* fixing.

2) You can't come up with a better scheme than a straightforward
randomiser, anyway. Anything else introduces a bias.

athol-brose

unread,
Mar 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/13/98
to

In article <35084818....@enews.newsguy.com>, David Turnbull wrote:
>Here goes my idea...
>Give every judge his own unique list or a seed to feed into COMP98.
>The person tallying the scores now knows what order you were supposed
>to play the games in. If there are scores missing as you go down the
>list, obviously the judge didn't do it right. The entire judging
>could be dismissed, or only the scores up to the blank could be
>allowed.

I'm not playing every game. I'm sorry, I'm just not. if I don't enjoy
muddling through Rybread Celsius' prose (though there is something
very amusing about "Ah! My blood-pumper is wronged!"); I don't want to
have to play his game for two hours, thanks. If something doesn't
spark my interest in the first 15 minutes, I don't want to play it for
two hours either... or maybe I want to leave it until later. If I
don't play it, though, I shouldn't rate it.

>P.S. Using a seed for COMP98 would require a RNG to be built into
>COM98 since an interpreter is free to handle this any way it wants.
>If need be, I can write one that will distribute the games evenly.

If you're going to go this far, why not have players register via
e-mail and get a listing of games back from a moderator. Then you
register your possible schedule for the two months of the competition
with the judge and they assign times for you to play each game. If you
want to change the time of playing a certain game, then you have to
register with your moderater 24 hours in advance to get approval to
move the time down on your schedule, bump all the other games down one
slot -- but the moderator reserves the right to reject your request
due to insufficient reasons ("The zoo with your kids! Ha! You're going
to be playing Phlegm 2 then even if you have to buy a palmtop to take
to the zoo WITH you!"). All voting must be e-mailed to the moderators
with a time-stamp of between 11.30 and 11.35 pm USAn EST on the last
day of the competition period or all of your votes are null and void.

--
r. n. dominick -- cinn...@one.net

Mark J. Tilford

unread,
Mar 13, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/13/98
to

On Thu, 12 Mar 1998 21:11:05 GMT, David Turnbull <d...@newsguy.com> wrote:
>On Mon, 09 Mar 1998 12:52:23 -0600, David A. Cornelson
><dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:
>
>>I think we may very well have another issue here. The competition IS getting
>>too big for the current judging methods. It would seem that ddyte needs to
><SNIP>
>
>I have an idea to help ensure fair judging. I will admit, I haven't
>judged in the past but would like to this year. It wasn't until a few
>months ago that I even found that IF was still alive.
>
>Here goes my idea...
>
>Give every judge his own unique list or a seed to feed into COMP98.
>
>The person tallying the scores now knows what order you were supposed
>to play the games in. If there are scores missing as you go down the
>list, obviously the judge didn't do it right. The entire judging
>could be dismissed, or only the scores up to the blank could be
>allowed.
>
>It's probably not a perfect idea, but it should help level the field a
>lot. Also, it doesn't make you dependant on a Internet connection.
>
>-david
>
>P.S. Using a seed for COMP98 would require a RNG to be built into
>COM98 since an interpreter is free to handle this any way it wants.
>If need be, I can write one that will distribute the games evenly.

Don't forget that the list also depends on which games are playable, and
the player might revise that; initially, he thinks he can play all TADS
games, and later finds out that one game needs the DJGPP version. Or he
thinks he can play a game, which requires the XXXX interpreter, and later
discovers that the XXXX interpreter is unplayably slow on his computer, is
reluctant to play that game the full two hours. Or isn't sure whether
he'll have access to a computer which can run the game for long enough.

I think that there is not problem, and COMP97 is good enough. [Although I
think an option to unrate / punt games would be nice, for the reasons
mentioned above.]


--
-----------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
til...@cco.caltech.edu

Mark J. Tilford

unread,
Mar 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/15/98
to

On Thu, 12 Mar 1998 03:36:20 GMT, Laurel Halbany <myt...@twisty-little-maze.com> wrote:

>Okay, I *still* don't understand how this will be any better than the
>Comp98 game. The algorhythm thing will randomize the games, yes? Just
>like Comp98 would randomize the games.
>

I think that the only way Comp98 could fail is if:
1) Some version of Comp98 has a poor random number generator.
2) A large number of people use the same set of inputs playing it:
turn on all switches. push big red button

Other than that, there is no problem, and adding restrictions would just
turn me off from judging.

So, had anybody tried testing the various Z-code interpreters to see which
ones have such a problem?

Norman Ramsey

unread,
Mar 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/19/98
to

In article <6e1vdv$cqk$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

David A. Cornelson <dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:
>> Also, I really don't like the idea of a competition where the judges have
>> to have constant access to web-browsing. And what about the people that
>> prefer to wait until they've finished playing all their games before
>> deciding final votes? They're stuffed as well.
>>
>The web is here to stay.

I do most of my game-playing on airplanes or in airports.
I can't afford the AirPhone rates for Internet connectivity.


David Turnbull

unread,
Mar 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/20/98
to

On 13 Mar 98 14:00:54 GMT, cinn...@shell.one.net (athol-brose) wrote:

>In article <35084818....@enews.newsguy.com>, David Turnbull wrote:

>>Here goes my idea...
>>Give every judge his own unique list or a seed to feed into COMP98.
>>The person tallying the scores now knows what order you were supposed
>>to play the games in. If there are scores missing as you go down the
>>list, obviously the judge didn't do it right. The entire judging
>>could be dismissed, or only the scores up to the blank could be
>>allowed.

Sorry, can't resist!!!!!!!!!!!!

>I'm not playing every game. I'm sorry, I'm just not.

Who said you had to?

> if I don't enjoy
>muddling through Rybread Celsius' prose (though there is something
>very amusing about "Ah! My blood-pumper is wronged!"); I don't want to
>have to play his game for two hours, thanks. If something doesn't
>spark my interest in the first 15 minutes, I don't want to play it for
>two hours either... or maybe I want to leave it until later. If I
>don't play it, though, I shouldn't rate it.

If it doesn't hold your interest it doesn't deserve to get rated? Or
course not, it deserves a low score from you. Unless you don't have
confidence in your opinions, in which case you wouldn't be judging.

Looks like you are exactly the type of person who could potentially
make the juding unfair and the reason a change was even suggested.
Shame on you.

Let it be known that I don't like the 2 hour limit. You should be
allowed to play the game until you lose interest, be that 5 minutes or
until completion. I think the judges would be responsible enough on
their own to give each game a fair chance to get interesting.

>>P.S. Using a seed for COMP98 would require a RNG to be built into
>>COM98 since an interpreter is free to handle this any way it wants.
>>If need be, I can write one that will distribute the games evenly.
>

>If you're going to go this far, why not have players register via
>e-mail and get a listing of games back from a moderator. Then you
>register your possible schedule for the two months of the competition
>with the judge and they assign times for you to play each game. If you
>want to change the time of playing a certain game, then you have to
>register with your moderater 24 hours in advance to get approval to
>move the time down on your schedule, bump all the other games down one
>slot -- but the moderator reserves the right to reject your request
>due to insufficient reasons ("The zoo with your kids! Ha! You're going
>to be playing Phlegm 2 then even if you have to buy a palmtop to take
>to the zoo WITH you!"). All voting must be e-mailed to the moderators
>with a time-stamp of between 11.30 and 11.35 pm USAn EST on the last
>day of the competition period or all of your votes are null and void.

This is the most idiotic suggestion thus far.

-david

Brock Kevin Nambo

unread,
Mar 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/21/98
to

David Turnbull wrote in message <3512e777....@enews.newsguy.com>...


I wonder why? LOL

I think the "If you're going to go this far" is a hint.

>>BKNambo
--
http://come.to/brocks.place - Hey look, it's the Roman Empire!
'"USENET" is actually a very odd text-adventure game written by Infocom
that someone installed on your computer when you weren't looking.'
W o r l d D o m i n a t i o n T h r o u g h T r i v i a !


Neil Brown

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Mar 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/22/98
to

At 16:34:00 on Sat, 21 Mar 1998, Brock Kevin Nambo wrote:
>I wonder why? LOL

You know, all this week I'd got it into my head that LOL stood for 'lots
of love', and that BKN must be an extremely affectionate person. :)

- NJB

Lelah Conrad

unread,
Mar 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/22/98
to

When I first went mudding, I thought LOL meant Little Old Lady, and
that everyone was calling me names! Talk about paranoid, heh, and
ROFL!

Lelah


Kenneth Fair

unread,
Mar 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/24/98
to

In article <3512e777....@enews.newsguy.com>, d...@newsguy.com (David
Turnbull) wrote:

>On 13 Mar 98 14:00:54 GMT, cinn...@shell.one.net (athol-brose) wrote:

>> if I don't enjoy
>>muddling through Rybread Celsius' prose (though there is something
>>very amusing about "Ah! My blood-pumper is wronged!"); I don't want to
>>have to play his game for two hours, thanks. If something doesn't
>>spark my interest in the first 15 minutes, I don't want to play it for
>>two hours either... or maybe I want to leave it until later. If I
>>don't play it, though, I shouldn't rate it.
>
>If it doesn't hold your interest it doesn't deserve to get rated? Or
>course not, it deserves a low score from you. Unless you don't have
>confidence in your opinions, in which case you wouldn't be judging.
>
>Looks like you are exactly the type of person who could potentially
>make the juding unfair and the reason a change was even suggested.
>Shame on you.
>
>Let it be known that I don't like the 2 hour limit. You should be
>allowed to play the game until you lose interest, be that 5 minutes or
>until completion. I think the judges would be responsible enough on
>their own to give each game a fair chance to get interesting.

Just to clear up some confusion: the two-hour time limit is an upper
bound. It is primarily a binding on the game *authors*, to keep them
from creating large works that would require too much time from judges.
The two hour time limit is there so a judge has an excuse to say, "Okay,
now I'll move on to the next game." If the judge feels she can rate
the game fairly in fifteen minutes of play--as I did on a couple of
games in this competition--then she should vote. It is incumbent upon
the judges to give games a fair ranking; as long as the judge is
consistent across games, then there is no problem.


--
KEN FAIR - U. Chicago Law | <http://student-www.uchicago.edu/users/kjfair>
Of Counsel, U. of Ediacara | Power Mac! | CABAL(tm) | I'm w/in McQ - R U?

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?
We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

Jaakko Hucklebee

unread,
Mar 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/26/98
to


Well I am just mudding now! I keep telling everyone that I am stupid!
I thought LOL meant "left online" until a child told me the "correct"
meaning (laughing out loud). Now I think ROFL means "right of left".
Can I make up my own meaning? MOM?
Jaakko

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