28 July 2010

"Extraneous Info" strikes again - mistake confirmed for 27 July 2010(1261)

Two choices in the 27 July quiz included this phrase "in place of a table or view name." As many players noted, you cannot call a function "in place of" the name of a table or view. Instead, the function invocation must be placed inside a TABLE operator, as in TABLE (my_function()). Thus, two of the choices were scored incorrectly. We have changed the text of the answers to remove this "in place of" clause. We then gave 931 players credit for a correct answer for those two items, and rescored/reranked. AL0 wins an O''Reilly Media ebook for being the first to identify this problem. In this case, one of my reviewers actually noted this problem, but I did not read his critique closely enough and thought that he was referring to something else. Argh.... Regards, Steven Feuerstein


  1. This is less a case of "extraneous info" and more an instance of wording that is insufficiently precise. I interpreted the "in place of" phrasing as a reference to the concept of using a function as a source of rows. Others apparently construed it as prescribing the literal replacement of a table or view name with an unadorned function invocation. The required use of the TABLE operator does not alter the conceptual reading, but it definitely affects the literal view.

  2. Good point, John. But people have to be able to interpret the question "literally" - all they have to work with are the words in the quiz. So that is my responsibility: to make sure that the conceptual and literal interpretations are not in conflict.


  3. I still argue argue that it is an "extraneous info" - as if it is omitted the question becomes unambiguous.