24 June 2010

Advance notice of upcoming change in scoring/ranking

We are just coming up to the end of the first quarter of the PL/SQL Challenge. Now that we have gathered lots of data from thousands of quiz answers over three months, we have started doing intensive analysis of that data, looking for various patterns.

One consequence of our analysis is that we are changing the algorithm we use in scoring and thus ranking. We will publish a full explanation on Monday, but we wanted to give you advance notice of three things:

1. The #1 ranked player for the week as of Friday may not be the #1 ranked player for this week come Monday, so that prize will not be awarded until early next week.

2. You can expect to see major changes in the ranking on Monday, so don't be shocked. Or, rather, feel free to be shocked, but at least not surprised.

3. Looking further ahead, we plan to hold the championship playoff in the middle of July, not immediately after the end of June. We need time to, quite honestly, finish implementing the playoff process and also to identify all participants in the playoff.

Thanks so much for your patience as smooth out the functioning and accuracy of the PL/SQL Challenge. We know that your rankings on the website are important to you, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that your ranking accurately reflects the effort you put into answering those quizzes!

Warm regards,
Steven Feuerstein and Finn Ellebaek Nielsen
The PL/SQL Challenge


  1. Does 2. means that the calculations will be done on all the current results? Or only on new quizes?

    What I want to know, is what is the effect if I take a three week leave and I don't have internet access (oh horror). I'm a little afraid for my scores in total or quarter.

  2. Hello.
    With the upcoming changes in the ranking system I would suggest a little tweak.
    The summer is coming. Many will have their leave. Some will go on vacation, some staycation, some will not have a break at all.
    You know how it goes: we will be cried by our partners for wasting our time in some connectivity challenged internet point just to take the daily quiz.
    But I HAVE to take THE Challenge.
    There is also the case that someone could not take the quiz for business constraints, or for personal problems.
    In order to address these situations, I suggest that the quarterly ranking does not account the (you choose the number) n lower scores from the total.
    In this way we could balance these situations that can happen to anyone.
    What do you think about this?
    Sterol Andro

  3. The calculations were performed for all quizzes already taken, and of course will apply to future quizzes as well.

    If you take off 3 weeks, yes, you will likely fall behind other players.

    Sterol, you are proposing that we ignore a certain number of the lowest quiz scores (or missing the quiz entirely) in calculating the rankings. That is an intriguing idea, but it seems to me that it penalizes those who make the effort to play every day and score well.

    What argument do you have for the way this rule would "punish" those who play each day?