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Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:34 pm
by DadofTwins
As we work on getting the last few days of scores in and tabulated, I'd like to give our players a chance to make any suggestions on how to make the game better.

Specifically:

-- The "spoiler tag" thing has its pros and cons. We gain some things in terms of game administration, but lose a bit in the entertainment value enjoying joke answers and mocking ridiculous ones. After using it for a year, do you think we should bring it back? Switch to invisi-font (posting answers in the background color that becomes visible when highlighted)? Or something else altogether?

-- TOC Wild Cards. Require more (or fewer) players for a Wild Card category to reach "critical mass?" Other categories for Wild Cards? More slots for "Total Score" wild cards? I initially picked 3 for the first SHC when we had about 50 players. Now we have over 100, with 80+ playing every day. Should we expand the playoffs with the expansion of the game?

-- Writing. My aim is setting difficulty level is to see somebody who can answer 45 questions per night on The Show can score 45 points a day in the SHC. Seven years ago, that was pretty consistent with the difficulty level in the Jeopardy regular season, and over the years I've gotten better at hitting that target. It may be just me, but it seems that the writing on The Show has gotten easier over the last 4 years. This raises 2 questions: Are you happy with the SHC difficulty level as is, regardless of whether The Show is easier or harder than it used to be? And if I'm right about my assessment of The Show's difficulty, should I adjust the SHC accordingly?

On the game administration side, I am deeply indebted to the scoring team. I hope my health will be better next year so I can hold up my end better. I appreciate everyone's patience on that front.

Comments welcome.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:15 pm
by StevenH
This probably is not helpful, but I want to say that I have no major complaints with the way the game is run. The wild cards all seem fine to me, as does the difficulty. It seemed to me this year that the difficulty of each week (or maybe just between certain consecutive days) varied a good bit, but as long as you know what material you want to use for the 7 weeks I guess it doesn't really matter what order you use it in.

I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other about the spoiler tag. I can take it or leave it.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:48 pm
by SwanShadow
First and foremost, DoT, all of us owe you a supreme debt of gratitude and admiration for your continued generosity in creating this annual tournament, especially this year when you've been soldiering through serious health issues. Thank you, sir, thank you.

I think the degree of difficulty has been fine this year, as always. I've found plenty of genuine challenge each and every week.

I'm on record as saying that I think the spoiler tag business seems superfluous. But I don't feel strongly enough about it to suggest that you should do anything other than what you think is best for your operation of the game. The rest of us, who enjoy the benefits of your hard work for free, should simply do whatever you ask us to do, and let that be that.

Again, my sincere thanks for your incredible gift!

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:23 pm
by Rex Kramer
I think we need a "Teacher" wild card.

Just kidding. :)

It's tough to weigh the desire to include more people in the ToC -- it's very nice to be invited -- against the sense that ToC participation should signify special achievement. If not for the latter aspect, we could just invite everyone to play. (Yet, realistically, no matter how many ToC participants are invited, without the buzzer and DD elements there are likely to be only 5 or so contenders for first place in any given year.)

One way to "reward" as-yet-unrewarded subgroups of participants for doing well among their peers might be to grant wild card spots for the highest scorers in groups defined by the number of perfectos achieved -- say, one wild card slot for the highest scorer with 0 perfectos, one for the highest scorer with 1-3 perfectos, then 4-6, and maybe 7-10. At some point, probably around 10, players start coming into contention for the straight high-score wild card slots, so we wouldn't need a special wild card for them. These perfecto wild card slots could be awarded after the Rookie, ATB, College, etc. wild cards, like the straight high-score wild card slots. In this way, we could reward players for exceptional performance among their peers, at least in a rough way. (It might also set up interesting possibilities for gamesmanship -- having to choose, for example, between trying for a perfecto late in the game to increase one's score, or to intentionally blow it to avoid getting bumped up a level -- but that just means more opportunities for competitive fun across the board, not just for the lucky players in the top dozen or so.)

Otherwise, I think the game is as splendid as ever. If you'd asked me early on, I might have said the clues seemed easier than usual, but that turned out to be a quirk of arrangement; overall they've seemed as perfectly difficult as ever. I don't like the spoiler tags, but they're no big deal.

And I must add my own expressions of gratitude and (frankly) amazement for the industry, quality, cleverness, and attentiveness shown by Dad "I can play hurt!" of Twins and his stellar crew (yes, even Peggles). Thank you all so much for this great fun; it's a wonder this endeavor works at all, let alone as well as it does.

Rex

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:19 pm
by cinemaniax7
Which answer is going to get me into the ToC? :)

I can't even remember from year to year what the rules are concerning who gets into the ToC. If DoT tells me I made it, I'm there. If you choose to expand the field, I wouldn't suggest adding more than a few slots. This is not the NCAA, after all.

I, for one, prefer the previous non-spoiler-free format, if only for the self-effacing humor our boardies bring to the SHC table. There were several moments this summer when I wanted to write something (I thought was) funny but then thought, Besides the scorer, who's ever going to see it?

Thanks, DoT, as always for your creativity and commitment to providing the rest of us going through J! withdrawal during the dog days.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:20 pm
by Paucle
Early on, I noticed reading everyone's replies with the spoiler tag was cumbersome. I also noticed that, other than the first couple respondents, we didn't really need the tag.

What about having a general agreement that if you're not the first half dozen or so to post your answers, you don't really need to "spoil-proof" your post? Once that many are up, I don't think you're going to accidentally run into anything.

That being said, thanks DoT not only for running another great competition, but for also allowing "dabblers" a bit of participation by not only accepting category submissions, but also occasionally allowing us that special frisson when you run one and we get to see how it's received by our peers.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:05 pm
by econgator
Paucle wrote:Early on, I noticed reading everyone's replies with the spoiler tag was cumbersome. I also noticed that, other than the first couple respondents, we didn't really need the tag.

What about having a general agreement that if you're not the first half dozen or so to post your answers, you don't really need to "spoil-proof" your post? Once that many are up, I don't think you're going to accidentally run into anything.
That.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:09 pm
by Woof
Regarding the TOC slots, I will only say that most viewers find the baseball playoffs far more exciting and engaging than the NHL playoffs; feel free to draw whatever conclusion you want from those data. Regarding the difficulty of the questions, my own subjective impression is that SHC boards are more difficult than J! boards: where I usually miss on 2-3 questions on a typical J! board, I miss 2-3 times that amount on yours, proportionately speaking. But I like it that way, and I find the SHC to be challenging just as I'd wish it to be. Speaking as a representative ATBer, I'm playing the SHC in part to perfect my J! chops should I ever get The Call and this level of difficulty really helps in that regard. And please add my voice to the chorus of thanks. You do a fantastic job every year with the SHC, DoT, and this year more than ever you deserve our most heartfelt thanks. I also wish to publicly thank all the scorers for their part in making this year's version run so smoothly.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:10 pm
by econgator
Woof wrote:I will only say that most viewers find watching paint dry far more exciting and engaging than the NHL
Fixed. :D

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:27 pm
by boson
First of all: I echo the huge thanks to DadofTwins and the writing and scoring team for the SHC - a great way to amuse, challenge and humble myself each day. Continuing through major illness is impressive, but perhaps something your doctor might not have recommended? Hope you continue to recover.

ToC: I don't think I'm close to qualifying for any of the ToC wild cards. I still want to play, for further amusement, challenge and humility. As long is there is a way for us to play along and score ourselves, without adding extra work for the scoring team, then our current ToC wild cards are fine.

Spoiler Tag: It was easy to do, and easy to click it away. Doesn't bother me, and keeps me from inadvertently revealing the answers. If it bothers others, I would be happy to see it not reappear next year.

Writing difficulty: The Summer Hiatus Challenge is a very different game from Jeopardy. There is no competition to ring in fast, you can pause and think about the answers, and if the opponent knows the answer before you, that's ok. There are some very good former Jeopardy champs who aren't at the top of the SHC leader board, those who excel at the faster portion of the game. I find the questions tough on the SHC, but that is better than easy. I would prefer to lose based on answers I've never heard of, rather than a few boneheaded mistakes. However: the level of the tougher questions on the SHC is well above that of regular Jeopardy. The SHC rewards deeper knowledge rather than rapid processing and response, so tougher questions are appropriate.

Other comments:
- I need a larger monitor - I started the first week on the first page of the scoring spreadsheet, but rapidly dropped away from that.
- I'm blown away by the knowledge by the ToC invitees... Schlie and TomK had a string of perfectos almost 2 weeks long! Schliemann really still should be listed as ATB though, shouldn't he? Or does that only apply to mere humans?

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:46 pm
by Peggles
Rex Kramer wrote:

And I must add my own expressions of gratitude and (frankly) amazement for the industry, quality, cleverness, and attentiveness shown by Dad "I can play hurt!" of Twins and his stellar crew (yes, even Peggles). Thank you all so much for this great fun; it's a wonder this endeavor works at all, let alone as well as it does.

Rex
Dear Rexy, your effusive compliment makes me blush.

I did find that unspoiling answers slowed the scoring a bit, and I too missed the clever and humorous answers sprinkled throughout the rounds. I would vote to discontinue this next year except for the first five or six answers, as Paucle so wisely suggested. The bottom line is that we are all on our honor, and anyone who chooses to cheat will find a way to do so.

As for the level of difficulty, I'm tempted to say that the questions were easier, inasmuch as this is the first year that I won a round. But in all honesty, I think I lucked out with the number of categories that were "Peggles-friendly."

I too want to thank Dad for his amazing efforts in running the SHC, especially this year, when he had health problems. That is service above and beyond the call of duty.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:09 am
by Rex Kramer
boson wrote:Schliemann really still should be listed as ATB though, shouldn't he? Or does that only apply to mere humans?
My understanding is that the ATB designation isn't automatic; you have to ask for it if you qualify. Schlie qualifies, but probably sees no point in asking.

Rex

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:00 pm
by mrbungle
invite isaac mizrahi and cheech!

thank you, DadofTwins, for this resplendent annual reprieve from a life otherwise rife with misery and strife.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:26 pm
by Schliemann
Rex Kramer wrote:
boson wrote:Schliemann really still should be listed as ATB though, shouldn't he? Or does that only apply to mere humans?
My understanding is that the ATB designation isn't automatic; you have to ask for it if you qualify. Schlie qualifies, but probably sees no point in asking.

Rex
Rex is right. I already qualify for the TOC being a past champ. If I remember the criteria right, I won the '06 SHC still eligible for the college wildcard.

100000x thx to DoT for the SHC!

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:29 pm
by Mark B
I really enjoyed the SHC, which I've taken part in only sporadically in recent seasons (I guess I never really got over getting, like, zero points that early year that I snuck into the TOC). I thought the questions were thoughtful, varied and well-valued.

I was away during the early weeks of the contest and would have liked to answer those clues, but didn't want to burden the scorers with weeks of catch-up grading. Still, I wish there had been a way to back-participate, if only so I could get in on the trash talking. The things I'd like to say about that ridiculous Reddpennn, that dismal demomoke, that rodential Kingrat! Oh, sorry...it just came spilling out.

Thanks and congratulations to you DoT and your team.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:03 pm
by DadofTwins
Mark brings up an interesting point.

Had my health been better (and perhaps had my Internet situation been better regardless of my health), I too would like to have opened up past weeks to players with vacation plans, health issues, or other game delays. Make-up scoring hasn't been that cumbersome in the past. Folks could just drop me an e-mail letting me know where to look for their posts and I'd manually add the points to their total.

This year, though, I just couldn't make that work. In a lot of cases I couldn't even promise to read incoming e-mails for several days.

Before next year rolls around, I'll look into a way to make that happen.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:17 pm
by Mark B
DadofTwins wrote:Mark brings up an interesting point.

Had my health been better (and perhaps had my Internet situation been better regardless of my health), I too would like to have opened up past weeks to players with vacation plans, health issues, or other game delays. Make-up scoring hasn't been that cumbersome in the past. Folks could just drop me an e-mail letting me know where to look for their posts and I'd manually add the points to their total.

This year, though, I just couldn't make that work. In a lot of cases I couldn't even promise to read incoming e-mails for several days.

Before next year rolls around, I'll look into a way to make that happen.
Perhaps in future years, if players want to make up lost weeks, they themselves could collate the missed days into a single email, with answers, to make it easier for you or another alternate scorer. Naturally, latecomers give up their rights to win a particular week outright.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:49 pm
by Vanya
At the risk of lowering my scores even further, I think the clues could be more difficult.

Also would like to see more clues from different people (this is pure self-interest).

No. of TOCers could be expanded a little.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:29 pm
by dhkendall
Vanya wrote:At the risk of lowering my scores even further, I think the clues could be more difficult.
I disagree. I think all the quizzes on the board should be of the level to prep us for The Show (ie the level of the tests that the show runs). I think the SHC is actually a bit harder than that, which is OK because if you can do decently there, you stand a good chance on the real thing. Anything harder and you'll have people bowing out because of the difficulty level.

Re: Summer Hiatus Challenge -- The Suggestion Box

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:56 am
by Bamaman
I'm not getting a wild card, so how you choose them doesn't matter. I would keep them to a low number, however.

I HATED answering in spoilers. I missed reading through everyone's wrong and humurous answers. I never even looked when you had posted the answers. The spoiler thing lowered my interest and enjoyment in the game this year.

That being said, thanks for putting this together once again. I hope you are feeling better. I know having an extended health issue is not fun so I'm glad you have been up to posting the questions with minimal delay. Thanks to all the scorekeepers and guest writers as well.