30 August 2010

Penalized for playing for "thrill and points"?

A player sent this note to me today:

"Hi Steven, I don't have a blog account so I use this form to react on your blog on very fast answers adjustment I think you are absolutely right to make some algorithm to weed out cheating. But as this is a quiz, you might disadvantage people who play for the thrill and the points as well as the pleasiure of learnig new things of PL/SQL. If I look at myself in the august 16 quiz, I read the question and knew that I didn't know the answer. I also knew it would take me a lot of time to look up the fully correct answer. The 5 answer looked as if they didn't exclude each other, and in my experience if you provide five answers probably most of them are correct. So I marked all of them and pressed submit as fast as I could. That gave me a decent 418 points, 329 less than the high score. I don't think that is cheating, it's just a strategy to play the game. By this strategy I could perhaps ond day have all correct choices, like on the 27th of August quiz after rescoring. Would behaviour like this be punished? That would seem unfair to me."

To which I reply:

You are correct, that is not cheating. It is a strategy to play that has little to do with learning PL/SQL. You can, though, choose this approach - but I am not going to organize the rules of the game around people who do not play primarily for the purposes of testing and improving their knowledge of PL/SQL. [Note: I am not claiming that you are playing with this strategy for all quizzes.]

As to the impact on your scores and rank, answering this way occasionally should not trigger a "very fast answer adjustment." This only occurs if your total time to answer over a two week period (minimum) is less than my total time to answer.

So, sure, feel free to - now and then - check all boxes or random boxes and press Submit, very quickly. But if you do this day after day, you will likely find yourself dropped like a stone in a river: to the bottom of the rankings.

Regards, SF

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