31 August 2010

Massive Confusion by Steven regarding 30 August quiz (1366)

Seeing as I am in Puerto Rico right now, I will blame my lack of clear thought (and the resulting impulsive actions) to Hurricane Earl.. :-) Sigh. Yesterday, I received a report of a mistake in the 30 August quiz and rather than think it through carefully, I too quickly accepted that I had made a mistake (which says something about my personality), went through my re-scoring process, had some problems with that (which several of you have reported), wrote a blog posting on the mistake, rewrote a blog posting and finally went to bed. It rained all night. It is raining today. And also today, several players have now pointed out that the mistake was not a mistake. My original scoring was correct. The choice (which referenced a column of a data dictionary view in a way that ensured the procedure would never compile, regardless of the optimizer level) should have been marked - and stayed marked - as incorrect. In my blog post, I noted that a player had complained about the complexity of the language (and presence of double negatives) in my question text. It tripped him up and, you know what? It made it much more difficult for me to see that I had not, in fact, made a mistake! Very frustrating - for all involved, I am sure (at least if you pay close attention to the quiz results and commentary on them). So I have made a real hash of things for the 30 August quiz. I have already cleaned up the question text, to make it at least a little bit more clear. I will work on that further to see if I can rid of any double negatives. I will then make sure that choices are marked correct only if they are TRULY correct - and make sure the explanations are clear about why. But in the end, given all the confusion, my plan is to STILL give everyone credit for a correct answer on the choice that has caused so much confusion, and then rescore/rerank. It may take a little while to do all this because we lost power at our house, so I am grabbing moments in which to get online. Rest assured that before I award prizes for August, I will resolve all scoring issues with the 30 August quiz, apply the "very fast answers" adjustments and also apply the forgiveness adjustments for the first time. So be patient and keep playing! My apologies for all the confusion. Thanks for sticking with the PL/SQL Challenge as I muddle through. Cheers, Steven Feuerstein


  1. Thanks Steven, all is right in the world again :)

  2. You have a house in Puerto Rico!!? :-) I guess it could be a rental.

    Anyway, Steven, you are by far the most entertaining technology person I know, even if you are human. Maybe because you are human. Half of the enjoyment for me is trying to keep track of what you are saying. The other half is your passion for learning/teaching. I wouldn't have it any other way.

  3. Thanks, Sparky. I take that all as high praise, indeed. I realized long ago that my main value was not in technical knowledge per se, but my ability to present it in infotainment form. That way, people tend to stay awake while hearing about bits and bytes, leading to a higher rate of absorption of material. Or at least a nice boost to my ego when people actually laugh at my jokes.

    My wife doesn't really believe that it is possible to have developer jokes, by the way.