Idea for Future I-F Competitions

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Joe Barlow

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Oct 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/22/96
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Hello everyone!
By now, most of us have probably had a chance to at least BEGIN
looking over the many wonderful entries in this year's competition.
I've played six of them so far, and every one has been impressive in
at least one regard (such as: a terrifically original plot, wonderful
prose quality, great puzzle implementation, etc). I'm having a
difficult time picking my favorite of just the six that I've played...
and there are still over twenty to go! Truly, Dickens was right: "It
was the best of times, it was the worst of times." :) All of the
writers should be tremendously proud of their achievements, but you've
made it difficult for us poor judges. :)
I think this year's entries have surpassed many people's expectations
with both their quality and quantity. It has been commented that
finding time to play nearly thirty entries in a fairly short time
period will be difficult for many people. Although there's nothing we
can do about that this year, I have an idea which might help future
competitions. Please let me know what you think:

Suppose next year, instead of having everyone download and play every
single entry, we seperate the games into various " lots"? For
example, say that I am interested in judging next year's entries. I
would simply e-mail Whizzard (or whoever) and request a lot number.
He would then write back "You are a judge for Lot #1" (or some other
number). I would then download the games which comprise Lot #1, and
the judges for the other lots would do the same. We would then vote
upon the best games in our lot, and the top three games from each lot
would then go to the Finals, where everyone could vote on them.

Confused? Thought so! Let me talk you through it......

For instance, suppose 30 games are entered in next year's competition.
These 30 games are then divided into 3 lots (numbered Lot #1, Lot #2
and Lot #3), with each lot consisting of 10 games. We'll also assume
that when I e-mailed Whizzard (or whoever) to ask for a lot number, I
was assigned Lot #1. I would then go into the COMPETITION97 directory
on GMD. Under this directory would be three more subdirectories:
LOT1, LOT2, and LOT3. I would then go to the LOT1 directory, since
that's the lot I was assigned. This directory would contain ten
entries, such as GAME1.Z5, GAME2.GAM, etc. I would download all of
the entries in my lot and then play them, as would all of the other
folks who also were members of Lot #1. All of the Lot #1 members
would vote on which of the ten titles they thought were the best. The
top three entries for Lot #1 would then go to the Finals. Folks
assigned to Lot #2 would do the same thing with the ten games in their
lot, and ditto for Lot #3.
Now the competition would progress to the Finals, which would consist
of nine games (the three "winners" from each lot). Everyone would
then download the six Finalist games that they have not already played
as a part of their previous lot, and again, everyone would vote for
the best of the 9 Finalists. Tabulate the votes, and we have our
winners!
With this method, I think folks will be less "swamped" with the
entries than they are this year. Every game is still actively played
by a roughly equal number of people, and the best games still seem
like they will rise to the top. An additional advantage of using this
system: authors can participate in the voting. Suppose I authored a
"Lot #2" game. If I was assigned to judge Lot #1, I could still
participate in the voting.
So one more time. We'll say Lot #1 contains Games 1-10. Lot #2
contains games 11-20. Lot #3 contains Games 21-30. I am assigned to
be a judge for Lot #1. I download the ten games in lot #1 and play
them all (Judges for Lots #2 and #3 do the same thing). The Lot #1
judges decide (by voting) that the best games are games #4, #7 and #9.
Lot #2 judges choose games #12, #17 and #18. The Lot #3 folks choose
games #22, #24 and #30. These nine games then go to the Finals.
Everyone downloads the games that they haven't already played, and we
vote again, but of course we can only vote on the 9 finalists. The
votes received from this level of the competition would determine the
winners of the IF competition.
Another thing to stress: just because you are assigned to one
particular lot doesn't mean you can't play the games in the other lots
(assuming you are blessed with enough free time to do that). All it
means is that you can't VOTE ON the other lots. For the first round,
you can only vote on the games in your individual lot, and in the
Finals, you can only vote on the Finalist Games. But anyone is free
to PLAY the games from any lot, if time allows them that luxury.

Whaddya think?

Joe

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Joe Barlow (jba...@ipass.net)
"Zorkers do it under the rug..."


Joe Barlow

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Oct 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/22/96
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Admiral Jota

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Oct 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/22/96
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jba...@ipass.net (Joe Barlow) writes:

[snip]


>Suppose next year, instead of having everyone download and play every
>single entry, we seperate the games into various " lots"? For
>example, say that I am interested in judging next year's entries. I
>would simply e-mail Whizzard (or whoever) and request a lot number.
>He would then write back "You are a judge for Lot #1" (or some other
>number). I would then download the games which comprise Lot #1, and
>the judges for the other lots would do the same. We would then vote
>upon the best games in our lot, and the top three games from each lot
>would then go to the Finals, where everyone could vote on them.

[snip]

Well, I have a couple of thoughts regarding your thought. First: What if
there are more that nine prizes in next year's competition (this is very
likely)? Would we then vote on the *next* nine games? If so, we'd have
most people playing most of the games, anyway -- and it would be rather
anti-climactic, rating the leftovers after the tope games have been
decided. Would we just use the score the lot judges gave? That could be
biased: if judges of Lot 2 tended (on average) to give higher scores than
the Lot 1 judges, the Lot 2 runners up would have a better chance at 10th
prize than the Lot 1 runners up.

My second though (yeah, I get about two a day ;) ) is for people like
myself, who may *want* to vote on all the games. Your write-up seems to
suggest that we'd be allowed to play them all, but only vote on our lot.
This doesn't seem fair to the judges: what if the best game gets placed
in Lot 1, the second best in Lot 2, and the third best in Lot 1 (by
chance)? It doesn't seem all that unlikely to me, and then the Lot 3
judges wouldn't be allowed to place a vote for any of the best games.

--
/<-= -=-=- -= Admiral Jota =- -=-=- =->\
__/><-=- http://www.tiac.net/users/jota/ =-><\__
\><-= jo...@mv.mv.com -- Finger for PGP =-></
\<-=- -= -=- -= -==- =- -=- =- -=->/

Joe Barlow

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Oct 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/22/96
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Hello everyone!
By now, most of us have probably had a chance to at least BEGIN
looking over the many wonderful entries in this year's competition.
I've played six of them so far, and every one has been impressive in
at least one regard (such as: a terrifically original plot, wonderful
prose quality, great puzzle implementation, etc). I'm having a
difficult time picking my favorite of just the six that I've played...
and there are still over twenty to go! Truly, Dickens was right: "It
was the best of times, it was the worst of times." :) All of the
writers should be tremendously proud of their achievements, but you've
made it difficult for us poor judges. :)
I think this year's entries have surpassed many people's expectations
with both their quality and quantity. It has been commented that
finding time to play nearly thirty entries in a fairly short time
period will be difficult for many people. Although there's nothing we
can do about that this year, I have an idea which might help future
competitions. Please let me know what you think:

Suppose next year, instead of having everyone download and play every


single entry, we seperate the games into various " lots"? For
example, say that I am interested in judging next year's entries. I
would simply e-mail Whizzard (or whoever) and request a lot number.
He would then write back "You are a judge for Lot #1" (or some other
number). I would then download the games which comprise Lot #1, and
the judges for the other lots would do the same. We would then vote
upon the best games in our lot, and the top three games from each lot
would then go to the Finals, where everyone could vote on them.

Confused? Thought so! Let me talk you through it......

Candace Krepel

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Oct 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/22/96
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Joe Barlow (jba...@ipass.net) wrote:

: Suppose next year, instead of having everyone download and play every


: single entry, we seperate the games into various " lots"? For
: example, say that I am interested in judging next year's entries. I
: would simply e-mail Whizzard (or whoever) and request a lot number.
: He would then write back "You are a judge for Lot #1" (or some other
: number). I would then download the games which comprise Lot #1, and
: the judges for the other lots would do the same. We would then vote
: upon the best games in our lot, and the top three games from each lot
: would then go to the Finals, where everyone could vote on them.

I think there is merit in Joe's suggestion. Howver, I am not sure Gerry
(Whizzard) would greet it with the same enthusiasm. He's really done a lot
already and having him assign people to lots would be terribly
time-consuming. Because, of course, then he would have to be the police
officer to ensure that everyone voted only on their respective lot.

I suggest that the games be randomly assigned to lots, and people simply
vote on the best games in one or more lots. If I have ample time, I could
play all games and vote on all lots. If my time is more limited, I could
play one lot and restrict my voting to that lot. The only problem I could
foresee is people starting with LOT1 *because* it is first on the list, with
the result that a disproportionate number of votes are for LOT1 games.

With respect to the comment that, even with random assignment to lots, one
lot may end up with the best games, well...everyone knows that the Superbowl
is supposed to be the best two teams, but how many of you passed up watching
the 49ers vs. the Cowboys? And don't get me started on the
..ahem...thrilling World Series. Luck of the draw is just that.

Candy Krepel
ckr...@post.its.mcw.edu
First Law of Interactive Fiction: Go everywhere.
Second Law of Interactive Fiction: Look at/on/in/under everything.
Corollary to the Second Law: Take and examine everything.
David's rider: Keep everything that you possibly can.

Steven Howard

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Oct 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/23/96
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In <54hvgr$r...@news.ipass.net>, jba...@ipass.net (Joe Barlow) writes:
> Suppose next year, instead of having everyone download and play every
>single entry, we seperate the games into various " lots"? For
>example, say that I am interested in judging next year's entries. I
>would simply e-mail Whizzard (or whoever) and request a lot number.
>He would then write back "You are a judge for Lot #1" (or some other
>number). I would then download the games which comprise Lot #1, and
>the judges for the other lots would do the same. We would then vote
>upon the best games in our lot, and the top three games from each lot
>would then go to the Finals, where everyone could vote on them.

This COULD work, assuming about the same number of games as this
year. If there were, say, 100 entries next year, what would you do?
Break them into ten lots of ten each? Then there are 30 games in the
finals, and it's this year's competition again. Break them into five
lots of twenty? Hardly better. Everybody's still got to play 20 games
in the first round and 12 more in the finals. Multiple rounds -- ten lots
of ten, then three lots of ten, then three lots of three?

========
Steven Howard
bl...@ibm.net

What's a nice word like "euphemism" doing in a sentence like this?

Roger Giner-Sorolla

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Oct 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/23/96
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If volume is a problem, why not have two competitions a year? (not
necessarily run by the same individual). That way, game releases are
more evenly spaced throughout the year.

Two, three, many competitions...

Roger Giner-Sorolla University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
rs...@virginia.edu Dept. of Psychology (Social)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Concerning the gods, I do not know whether they exist or not. For many
are the obstacles to knowledge: the obscurity of the subject and the
brevity of human life. -- Protagoras


Russ Bryan

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Oct 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/23/96
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In article <jota.84...@laraby.tiac.net>, jo...@laraby.tiac.net (Admiral
Jota) wrote:

> My second though (yeah, I get about two a day ;) ) is for people like
> myself, who may *want* to vote on all the games. Your write-up seems to
> suggest that we'd be allowed to play them all, but only vote on our lot.
> This doesn't seem fair to the judges: what if the best game gets placed
> in Lot 1, the second best in Lot 2, and the third best in Lot 1 (by
> chance)? It doesn't seem all that unlikely to me, and then the Lot 3
> judges wouldn't be allowed to place a vote for any of the best games.

Not so! In the situation you mention, the three best games would still go
to the finals, where you would get to vote on them.

I rather like the idea. While ideas are being tossed in the pot, how
about strict anonymity for next year's games during the voting period
(improving the Lot-drawing idea because people won't be distracted from
the games in their lot)?

-- Russ

How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

Russ Bryan

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Oct 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/23/96
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In article <54j1ch$g...@wiscnews.wiscnet.net>, ckr...@post.its.mcw.edu
(Candace Krepel) wrote:

> And don't get me started on the ...ahem...thrilling World Series.

Off-Topic: It ain't over 'til the Delta Burke Trio (featuring Dolly
Parton and special guest star Sally Struthers) sings.

Dave Gatewood

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Oct 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/23/96
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In article <54ip08$1...@news.ipass.net> jba...@ipass.net (Joe Barlow) writes:
>
> Suppose next year, instead of having everyone download and play every
>single entry, we seperate the games into various " lots"? For
>example, say that I am interested in judging next year's entries. I
>would simply e-mail Whizzard (or whoever) and request a lot number.
>He would then write back "You are a judge for Lot #1" (or some other
>number). I would then download the games which comprise Lot #1, and
>the judges for the other lots would do the same. We would then vote
>upon the best games in our lot, and the top three games from each lot
>would then go to the Finals, where everyone could vote on them.
>

I guess I don't see the need for this. Since games are being judged by
their AVERAGE score, rather than their SUM score, the current voting
system should have the same effect as this proposal, without the need
for "final jeopardy." What I mean is, if I decide I only have time to
play 9 games, why can't I just choose 9 random games? In fact this is
preferable because it gives us a better distribution of judges. (In
other words, the current system is just like the proposed system,
except that right now each judge has his or her own INDIVIDUAL lot.
Since these individual lots overlap in a hundred ways, there's no
need for a Final Round to even the playing field.)

The only problem with the current system, if many judges only play
some of the games, is that one game may receive 42 votes, while another
get 13. The 42-vote game (possibly) gets a more representative score
than the other. The 13-vote game could be a great game, but have
13 judges each of whom failed to solve the first puzzle, so they
scored it low. But that's why there's a 10 vote minimum on each
game, to minimize this possibility. If we think that it's still a
problem, we just need to raise the minimum number of votes (10 IS
kinda low).

In any case, the "lots" proposal doesn't really solve this problem,
I don't think; it may make it worse. Suppose there's a general
dislike of sci-fi games in Lot C. Then the sci-fi game in Lot C
has a comparative disadvantage to the sci-fi games in Lots A and B.
The Final Round won't help if a game can't escape the preliminaries.

Also, while the Final Round ought (usually) to give us the top three
finishers, it's not fair to the fourth-and-lower place finishers. If
5 of the top 7 games are in Lot A, then the bottom 2 of those don't
even get a chance to make the top 9. (And another thing: what do
we do for 10th and down?)

It's supposed to allow judges to not have to play so many games - but
as proposed, each judge still has to play 15 games. Currently,
judges can determine their own limit.

With some tinkering, this proposal could probably work, but I guess
it just seems to me like it isn't significantly better, if any,
while it sure would be more complex (assigning lots, organizing a
final round, counting votes twice, "policing" the votes, dealing
with votes from judges who apparently didn't understand the rules,
etc.) Allowing people to choose as many games as they can at random
is just about as fair, if not better, and so much easier.

Dave

(Of course I have my own little suggestion for voting rules - but
that's material for another post... ;)


Joe Barlow

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Oct 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/23/96
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Thanks to everyone who responded to my suggestion about next year's
competition. Several folks wrote back to the newsgroup with some
concerns and questions about how the idea might be improved further.
I will be the first to admit that the idea is not yet complete or
perfect. I just wanted to throw something out here as a starting
point. While I dearly love playing all these games, having so many to
review in such a short time makes it very difficult to perform my
other non-IF related activities (unfortunately, I do have some. grin)
I also didn't want to sit down and draft up a "complete" proposal
without at least testing the interest level on the newsgroup. Of the
seven or so responses that I've received, most of them have been
agreeable to the basic CONCEPT of my idea, if not to all of the
specific details (only one response didn't like the idea at all).
Here is a summary of some of the basic concerns I have received.

Admiral Jota wrote:
>What if there are more that nine prizes in next year's competition (this is very
>likely)? Would we then vote on the *next* nine games?

This is a good question. Here's one possible suggestion: suppose we
have 12 prizes next year, and we'll also assume 9 games are in the
"finals". The 9 "final" games would be voted on, and they would of
course receive the first 9 prizes. The remaining four prizes could be
divied up in one of the following two ways. 1) Give special prizes
for innovation and originality. I have seen many folks on the
newsgroup suggest that we need a special award for this category
anyway. Or, 2) Award the remaining prizes to the games that were
voted on highly but didn't make it to the finals (such as the "4th
prize" winners of each lot). These are two idea off the top of my
head; other suggestions are much appreciated.

The good Admiral also observed:
>If judges of Lot 2 tended (on average) to give higher scores than

>the Lot 1 judges, the Lot 2 runners up would have a better chance at 10th
>prize than the Lot 1 runners up.

That's part of the beauty of randomly assigned lots. You get a good
mix of people, making it very difficult for any one group to receive
higher or lower average scores. I doubt this would be a concern.
Comments?

Also,


>Your write-up seems to
>suggest that we'd be allowed to play them all, but only vote on our lot.
>This doesn't seem fair to the judges: what if the best game gets placed
>in Lot 1, the second best in Lot 2, and the third best in Lot 1 (by
>chance)? It doesn't seem all that unlikely to me, and then the Lot 3
>judges wouldn't be allowed to place a vote for any of the best games.

In the "semi-final" round, when all of the games are in lots, you are
not voting on the best game in the competition; merely the best games
IN YOUR LOT. It shouldn't be relevant. I also find it unlikely (but
I agree that it is possible) that all of the best games would be
assigned to the same lot. Again, having every entry randomly assigned
to a lot would help decrease that chance.
Another person (and forgive me, I forgot who it was) suggested that
ALL contest entries be anonymous next year. I *LOVE* this idea. On
more than one occasion, while judging this year's games, the author's
identity has tempted me to either overlook or harp upon mistakes or
bugs. If it's a new author, I have been tempted to say "Oh, this is
his first I-F game. I'll ignore the fact that I can't close the door
after I've opened it." If, however, the same bug had appeared in a
more experienced I-F author's game, I may have taken a point away,
since "he or she should've known better". So I agree that all entries
should be anonymous until after the competition is over.
Someone else also observed that implementing a system such as this
would place extra strain on whoever was running the contest. This is
probably true, so I'd be willing to volunteer my services towards that
regard. If we can all agree on a system, I don't mind handing the
assignment of lots, or helping to draw up a new "rule" guide, etc.
Of course, this may all turn out to be irrelevant. We could have a
dozen entries next year, at which point it would be silly to do the
lot thing. On the other hand, we could conceivably have 40+ entries
next year. I would suggest that the contents of no lot exceed 10
games. In other words, for every 10 games, create 1 lot.

Comments, everyone?


Hoping to create a kinder, gentler I-F competition...
Joe

P.S. This post is in NO WAY intended as a critcism of the very fine
work that Whizzard has done in handing things. But if we can get
things to run even smoother, it will probably save everyone some
effort and make things a bit more fun for everyone, rather than be a
headache to certain folks. Thanks for reading all this!

aul...@koala.scott.net

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Oct 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/23/96
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In article <54lmdu$e...@news.ipass.net>, Joe Barlow <jba...@ipass.net> wrote:

>The good Admiral also observed:
>>If judges of Lot 2 tended (on average) to give higher scores than
>>the Lot 1 judges, the Lot 2 runners up would have a better chance at 10th
>>prize than the Lot 1 runners up.

> That's part of the beauty of randomly assigned lots. You get a good
>mix of people, making it very difficult for any one group to receive
>higher or lower average scores. I doubt this would be a concern.
>Comments?

I believe this could be a concern. Even with a random distribution of voters
to lots there will still be fluctuation in how harshly or generously one
lot scores games versus another. The mean (average) of a set of numbers is
actually pretty volatile. One ornery crank in one lot could cause the average
scores of that lot to be significantly (statistically speaking) lower than
if the same games were scored by a different lot. Then it gets worse if
one of those different lots has a generous love-'em-all skewing that lot
to the higher end. This leads me to say that I would have little confidence
in distributing prizes to the non-finalists based on the average score they
received IN THEIR SEPARATE LOTS. They're not, IM(Informed)O, really comparable.

It would be possible to even things up between lots a bit by using the
median value rather than the mean (median being the middle value of a
sorted list or the mean of the two middle values). This might make for an
inordinate number of ties, however, since mean values would all be whole
numbers or with a fraction of 1/2.

I would suggest this as a good way to even the lots out somewhat:
1. Compile a sorted list of the votes a game received.
2. Throw out the top 10% (or so) and the bottom 10%. (at least one
from each side, two or more is better)
3. Average the rest.
4. Use that value as the overall score for the game.

This will reduce the volatility of the straight mean, while allowing for
a wider variety of fractional parts on the scores. I'd have alot more
confidence in giving out second-tier prizes using this formula.

That is all,

Joe

P.S. The reason I haven't spoken up about using the mean before is that
under the present system (1 lot) everyone votes on all the games
they can, so there's not that much problem... However, if the OS/2
people happen to be particularly generous...

Come to think of it, maybe I SHOULD have said something before.


David Adrien Tanguay

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Oct 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/24/96
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Candace Krepel wrote:
> Joe Barlow (jba...@ipass.net) wrote:
> : Suppose next year, instead of having everyone download and play every

> : single entry, we seperate the games into various " lots"? For
> : example, say that I am interested in judging next year's entries. I
> : would simply e-mail Whizzard (or whoever) and request a lot number.
> : He would then write back "You are a judge for Lot #1" (or some other
> : number). I would then download the games which comprise Lot #1, and
> : the judges for the other lots would do the same. We would then vote
> : upon the best games in our lot, and the top three games from each lot
> : would then go to the Finals, where everyone could vote on them.
>
> I think there is merit in Joe's suggestion. Howver, I am not sure Gerry
> (Whizzard) would greet it with the same enthusiasm. He's really done a lot
> already and having him assign people to lots would be terribly
> time-consuming. Because, of course, then he would have to be the police
> officer to ensure that everyone voted only on their respective lot.
> [and other lot problems and suggestions]

Here at Thinkage we have a complicated employee evaluation scheme. The
idea
is that everybody rates other employees to determine year-end bonuses.
The
problem is that most people have little or no contact with some others
during
the year and are unable to rate them fairly. We came up with a scheme
whereby
each person rates a subset of the total, and all votes are combined and
crunched to get an overall rating. The same system would work well here.

The basic idea, greatly simplified, goes something like this: Say there
are
three games, A, B, and C. John rates A and B, Susan rates B and C. This
means
we know the relative value of A vs. B from John, and the relative value
of B
vs. C from Susan. By normalising their votes to centre on B, we get a
relative
rating for A vs. C, pegging all three. It gets more complicated when you
add
Kelly, who rates A and C. Basically, we take the rating from everybody
else to
determine B's rating vs. A and C combined (i.e., the average rating of B
from
everybody except Kelly) and normalise Kelly's total contribution
accordingly.
Kelly's ratings are then simply averaged into the previous total, giving
new
ratings for A and C.

That's pretty hard to follow. Basically, we have a way of taking a set
of
partial evaluations and combining them into a complete evaluation. To
use it
for the i-f competition, you could do the following. Each voter
registers as
a voter. Every voter will evaluate N (e.g., 7) games. The first voter to
register would get games 1-7, the next gets 5-11, and so on. The
sequence
would be predetermined to ensure a good coverage, not just the simple
sequence
I started here. Note that this can be done with minimal work: the forms
are
predetermined, the electoral officer simply assigns the next form (set
of
games) to each voter as the officer processes the registrations, noting
which
form each voter received.

If it sounds good to Whizzard or whoever's running next year's
competition,
contact me.
--
David Tanguay d...@thinkage.on.ca
http://www.thinkage.on.ca/~dat
Thinkage, Ltd. Kitchener, Ontario, Canada [43.24N
80.29W]

David Adrien Tanguay

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Oct 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/24/96
to

Candace Krepel wrote:
> Joe Barlow (jba...@ipass.net) wrote:
> : Suppose next year, instead of having everyone download and play every

> : single entry, we seperate the games into various " lots"? For
> : example, say that I am interested in judging next year's entries. I
> : would simply e-mail Whizzard (or whoever) and request a lot number.
> : He would then write back "You are a judge for Lot #1" (or some other
> : number). I would then download the games which comprise Lot #1, and
> : the judges for the other lots would do the same. We would then vote
> : upon the best games in our lot, and the top three games from each lot
> : would then go to the Finals, where everyone could vote on them.
>

David Tanguay d...@Thinkage.on.ca http://www.thinkage.on.ca/~dat/

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/24/96
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David Adrien Tanguay (d...@thinkage.on.ca) wrote:
> That's pretty hard to follow. Basically, we have a way of taking a set of
> partial evaluations and combining them into a complete evaluation. To use it
> for the i-f competition, you could do the following. Each voter registers as
> a voter. Every voter will evaluate N (e.g., 7) games. The first voter to
> register would get games 1-7, the next gets 5-11, and so on. The sequence
> would be predetermined to ensure a good coverage, not just the simple sequence
> I started here. Note that this can be done with minimal work: the forms are
> predetermined, the electoral officer simply assigns the next form (set of
> games) to each voter as the officer processes the registrations, noting which
> form each voter received.

All right, jump back. There is this sudden set of proposals to deal with
a problem: There are a lot of entries, and not everybody may have time to
play all of them.

All the solutions seem to involve the solution: Do not allow anyone to
vote for more than N entries, for N much less than the number of entries.

Does anyone else think this is dumb?

I've rated eight games in three days (not counting the days I spent on
other pursuits, like MaxTads.) (Coming along nicely, thank you. :-)
Except that it's still hardwired to load nothing but "Underoos"...) I
certainly expect to have rated all the TADS and Inform games by the time
voting ends. Next year there may be more games, but I may have more time.

Besides, what about people who don't have time to rate N games? Or who
are assigned a game they can't run?

The current big 'ol average system, simple as it is, allows for people
who can't get to every game (either for reasons of time or portability.)

--Z

--

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

Candace Krepel

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Oct 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/24/96
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David Adrien Tanguay (d...@thinkage.on.ca) wrote:

: The basic idea, greatly simplified, goes something like this: Say there are


: three games, A, B, and C. John rates A and B, Susan rates B and C. This means
: we know the relative value of A vs. B from John, and the relative value of B
: vs. C from Susan. By normalising their votes to centre on B, we get a relative
: rating for A vs. C, pegging all three. It gets more complicated when you add
: Kelly, who rates A and C. Basically, we take the rating from everybody else to
: determine B's rating vs. A and C combined (i.e., the average rating of B from
: everybody except Kelly) and normalise Kelly's total contribution accordingly.
: Kelly's ratings are then simply averaged into the previous total, giving new
: ratings for A and C.

Obviously David had no trouble with the combination to the chest in Magic
Toy Shop.

Candy Krepel
ckr...@post.its.mcw.edu
First Law of Interactive Fiction: Go everywhere.
Second Law of Interactive Fiction: Look at/on/in/under everything.
Corollary to the Second Law: Take and examine everything.

David's rider: Keep everything you possibly can.

Joe Barlow

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Oct 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/24/96
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erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

-snip-


>The current big 'ol average system, simple as it is, allows for people
>who can't get to every game (either for reasons of time or portability.)

Errrrrr... what? The whole reason I came up with the lot proposal was
because the rules, at least from my understanding of them, stated that
everyone was honor-bound to play ALL of the games before voting (minus
those that wouldn't run on their system). You seem to be implying
otherwise. Am I missing something?

Katy Mulvey

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Oct 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/25/96
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d...@thinkage.on.ca (David Adrien Tanguay) wrote:
>> Joe Barlow (jba...@ipass.net) wrote:
>> : Suppose next year, instead of having everyone download and play every

>> : single entry, we seperate the games into various " lots"?
> Here at Thinkage we have a complicated employee evaluation scheme. The idea
> is that everybody rates other employees to determine year-end bonuses. The
> problem is that most people have little or no contact with some others during
> the year and are unable to rate them fairly. We came up with a scheme whereby
> each person rates a subset of the total, and all votes are combined and
> crunched to get an overall rating. The same system would work well here.

I'm suddenly reminded of a chapter in the book, "Innumeracy" (or perhaps it
was one of the sequels), which discussed fairness in voting. It discussed a
theoretical example where there were eight candidates in an election. Eight
different voting schemes were discussed, and each led to a different
candidate being called a winner.

I have the feeling that *how* the votes are tallied is something we can argue
about from now until the turn of the century (whatever year that is :-).

My opinion is that whoever is tallying the votes should decide on the form
the votes should take. Or announce the form the voting will take far enough
in advance of the deadline that the authors can tailor their games to show
off to best advantage. (So if the "literature" of a piece counts heavily,
we'll get more literary games; if puzzles get points we'll get more puzzle
games; if innovation gets more points, we'll get more innovative games,
and if games are to be rated simply on a scale from 1-10 we'll get a
variety of games in different genres, and endless arguement from the
voters. Hmmm.

Katy

--
Rich or Katy Mulvey
mul...@frontiernet.net


Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/25/96
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Joe Barlow (jba...@ipass.net) wrote:
> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

> -snip-
> >The current big 'ol average system, simple as it is, allows for people
> >who can't get to every game (either for reasons of time or portability.)

> Errrrrr... what? The whole reason I came up with the lot proposal was
> because the rules, at least from my understanding of them, stated that
> everyone was honor-bound to play ALL of the games before voting (minus
> those that wouldn't run on their system). You seem to be implying
> otherwise. Am I missing something?

The honor rule requires people to play as many as possible, but the
scoring algorithm allows for people who can't play them all. Separate rules.

Theoretically the competition could have been set up with the same
scoring algorithm, but a rule like "Play as many games as you can in one
weekend" or "Play seven random games."

The point is, next year we could say "Play as many games as you can in
the six-week scoring period. Rate each one you play." And then average
the scores for each game. I guess this is what I'm suggesting.

Admiral Jota

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Oct 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/25/96
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jba...@ipass.net (Joe Barlow) writes:

> Errrrrr... what? The whole reason I came up with the lot proposal was
>because the rules, at least from my understanding of them, stated that
>everyone was honor-bound to play ALL of the games before voting (minus
>those that wouldn't run on their system). You seem to be implying
>otherwise. Am I missing something?

My impression was simply that all players were honor-bound to play all
the games that they could. If some games wouldn't run on someone's
system, that person wouldn't vote on that game. If someone only had time
to play some of the games, that person would (probably randomly) select
however many he had time for, and not vote on the others.

I could be completely wrong, but this is how I had interpreted the rules.
I may have misread or misunderstood them.

Laurel Halbany

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Oct 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/26/96
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jba...@ipass.net (Joe Barlow) wrote:

>We would then vote
>upon the best games in our lot, and the top three games from each lot
>would then go to the Finals, where everyone could vote on them.

>Confused? Thought so! Let me talk you through it......

Not confused, just not convinced. Thirty is a lot, but it means that
the games have to be *damn good* to keep my attention.

I do think we should archive the things instead of having them all in
little separate directories, tho.


----------------------------------------------------------
Laurel Halbany
myt...@agora.rdrop.com
http://www.rdrop.com/users/mythago/

David Adrien Tanguay

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Oct 27, 1996, 2:00:00 AM10/27/96
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erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:
>All the solutions seem to involve the solution: Do not allow anyone to
>vote for more than N entries, for N much less than the number of entries.
>
>Does anyone else think this is dumb?

Fair enough. The system I described allows any number of evaluations per
voter. The provided form was just to ensure an unbiased coverage of all
games, to avoid a situation where few or no people vote for a game because,
e.g., it has an unappealing title. The form could be ammended to include all
games, simply asking the voter to evaluate the given games first. If the
voter is unable to evaluate some because of system inability, there's no
real problem.

>I've rated eight games in three days [...] I


>certainly expect to have rated all the TADS and Inform games by the time
>voting ends. Next year there may be more games, but I may have more time.

Others may not have so much time, or stamina! If the total number of games
stays fairly low (say 1 per day during the voting period) and the rewards
are insignificant, then all these lot etc. discussions are moot. Another
post mentioned that last year's winners (well, the top 3 in each category)
received a "nice" payment from Activision -- a more accurate voting system
should be considered if this ever threatens to become a frequent occurrence.
As for the numbers, I doubt we'll ss a great increase in the near future, so
lots would be considered polite requests only, not hard voting requirements.

Laurel Halbany

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Oct 27, 1996, 2:00:00 AM10/27/96
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Dave Gatewood <DGAT...@MUSIC.CC.UGA.EDU> wrote:

>I guess I don't see the need for this. Since games are being judged by
>their AVERAGE score,

Which average?

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 27, 1996, 2:00:00 AM10/27/96
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Laurel Halbany (myt...@agora.rdrop.com) wrote:
> Dave Gatewood <DGAT...@MUSIC.CC.UGA.EDU> wrote:

> >I guess I don't see the need for this. Since games are being judged by
> >their AVERAGE score,

> Which average?

Arithmetic mean.

Andrew Clover

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Oct 27, 1996, 2:00:00 AM10/27/96
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erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

> The point is, next year we could say "Play as many games as you can in
> the six-week scoring period. Rate each one you play." And then average
> the scores for each game. I guess this is what I'm suggesting.

I agree, and in the end, this is probably more or less what we've got this
year anyway. I fear that the reverberations of lot-based judging systems
would make the process less convenient, to the point of discouraging people
to vote, in what is already a small world. It would be annoying to have to
qualify for judging by filling in lots of forms.

Unknown numbers of people have been unhappy with the simple rule(s) of the
last few competitions. Don't be! Late bug-fixes are another thing I don't
really care about, and if next year we've got lists and lists of games to
judge, the 'average' system should ensure that it usually won't harm the
success of the wide tapestry of different games on platforms. I say let any-
one vote on anything, just give Whizzard the authority to step on anything
he thinks looks suspicious.

Just my piece of mind.

BCNU, AjC, who wonders if the contest could be more widely promoted

PS. Okay, I'll stop now. ;-) I'd run out of names anyway, unless *you* can
think of a smooth way of mentioning woks...

Bill Hoggett

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Oct 27, 1996, 2:00:00 AM10/27/96
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On 27-Oct-96 Laurel Halbany <myt...@agora.rdrop.com> wrote:

>Dave Gatewood <DGAT...@MUSIC.CC.UGA.EDU> wrote:

>>I guess I don't see the need for this. Since games are being judged by
>>their AVERAGE score,

>Which average?

The average of all the marks a game is awarded by the judges, as
opposed to using a total of marks awarded to it (which would be
grossly unfair)


Bill Hoggett (aka BeeJay) <mas.su...@easynet.co.uk>

IF GOD IS LIFE'S SERVICE PROVIDER WHY HAVEN'T I GOT HIS I.P. NUMBER ?


Linards Ticmanis

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Oct 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/28/96
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A simple Idea: just include a short Z-Code program (not a game, without
library and such) that simply turns on scripting and then just outputs
the names of the games in a list of random order?
Then everybody could be honor-bound to play as many games as he/she has
time for in the same order they appear on his personal list.

A bit of playing around with the save opcode's feature that allows
discerning "just restored game" from "saved game" could be used to first
check if the list is already created (otherwise restore will simply
fail), if so, print the old list, or otherwise create it, save, then
print it so that people would get the same list again if they rerun the
program, so nobody accidentially loses the list, or can't use it because
he doesn't have a printer.

How about that? It would remove a bit of the anonymity /Interesting
title/most people play in alphabetical order sort of problems.

I guess most people voting can at least execute Z-code.

--

Linards Ticmanis

-=UDIC=-

Finire Dragon

<A HREF="mailto:tic...@reze-1.rz.rwth-aachen.de">
tic...@reze-1.rz.rwth-aachen.de</A>

<BRIBE> me. I'll leave.

Bill Hoggett

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Oct 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/29/96
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On 26-Oct-96 Laurel Halbany <myt...@agora.rdrop.com> wrote:

>I do think we should archive the things instead of having them all in
>little separate directories, tho.

Am I wrong in thinking there's one there already ?

Bill Hoggett (aka BeeJay) <mas.su...@easynet.co.uk>

It's not a bug, it's a feature...


Katy Mulvey

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Oct 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/30/96
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Chuan-Tze Teo <ct...@hermes.cam.ac.uk> wrote:

> Katy Mulvey wrote:
>> My opinion is that whoever is tallying the votes should decide on the form
>> the votes should take. Or announce the form the voting will take far enough
>> in advance of the deadline that the authors can tailor their games to show
>> off to best advantage.
>
> Well, if there are going to be 25 entries next year, I feel that several
> categories would be nice, plus one "overall" category. Elevating one element
> above the rest would lead to lots of games in the same genre...

True. I'd like to see somewhat abstract categories, not genre-based ones.
I expect that any judge would have to judge the entire category, and
I can't think of anything more *boring* to judge than a dozen "Humor" or
"Fantasy" or "Psychological Thriller" games in a row.

I think categories more like "Innovation", "Puzzles", "Story" and
"Characters", would be better. I'd also let the author enter the same game
in more than one category. So (taking examples from last year),
"The One That Got Away" might have been entered in the Story and
Characters categories, while "Freefall" could have been entered in the
Innovation and Puzzles category.

Note that this gives the author more control over how his or her game is
judged, so if the author is trying to create a puzzle-rich game,
deliberately shortchanging the characters or the story, that's how it
will be judged.

Chuan-Tze Teo

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Oct 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/30/96
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Katy Mulvey wrote:

> My opinion is that whoever is tallying the votes should decide on the form
> the votes should take. Or announce the form the voting will take far enough
> in advance of the deadline that the authors can tailor their games to show
> off to best advantage. (So if the "literature" of a piece counts heavily,
> we'll get more literary games; if puzzles get points we'll get more puzzle
> games; if innovation gets more points, we'll get more innovative games,
> and if games are to be rated simply on a scale from 1-10 we'll get a
> variety of games in different genres, and endless arguement from the
> voters. Hmmm.

Well, if there are going to be 25 entries next year, I feel that several

categories would be nice, plus one "overall" category. Elevating one element
above the rest would lead to lots of games in the same genre...

- Chuan

Walter OGrady

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Oct 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM10/30/96
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In article <n23D...@puppy.demon.co.uk>,

Andrew Clover <es...@csv.warwick.ac.uk> wrote:
>erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:
>
>> The point is, next year we could say "Play as many games as you can in
>> the six-week scoring period. Rate each one you play." And then average
>> the scores for each game. I guess this is what I'm suggesting.
>
> I agree, and in the end, this is probably more or less what we've got this
>year anyway. I fear that the reverberations of lot-based judging systems
>would make the process less convenient, to the point of discouraging people
>to vote, in what is already a small world. It would be annoying to have to
>qualify for judging by filling in lots of forms.

I agree with the above, but it sort of depends on how many people are
sending in votes. If there are only a few, they have a responsibility
to play each game and play it through to the end (if they can),
otherwise the scores are drastically affected. If there are lots of
individual voters, it doesn't matter so much.

Maybe after this year's contest we'll learn more about the
distribution of votes -- whether the averaging worked, and whether the
games written for more obscure platforms (if that's the word I want)
suffered because of it.

- Carrie
wog...@chass.utoronto.ca

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