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Guess limits
Like them a lot
23%
 23%  [ 10 ]
They're okay, I guess
18%
 18%  [ 8 ]
Indifferent
30%
 30%  [ 13 ]
I don't like them much
16%
 16%  [ 7 ]
Argh, I hate them, I hate you and I'll leave forever if you have them
9%
 9%  [ 4 ]
Other (please leave a comment)
2%
 2%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 43

Author Message
xyphic
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Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Posts: 2692
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:20 pm    Post subject: Guess limit Reply with quote

Hi all,

One of the features we found intriguing on ThePuzzleFiles was the guess limit. We've been umming and aahing about doing something similar for a while now, but can never gain a concensus!

So I'd like to put it to you guys who'll be using the site. What do you think about guess limits? Are they a good thing or a bad thing?

If we were to implement them, they would likely not be on every contest. Just an option for those people who want their contests to work that way.

The poll will stay up for a while... please spend a couple of seconds thinking about it and vote. If you want to leave a more detailed comment, it would also be appreciated. Smile

Cheers,
xyphic
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DollyLama
Thou whoreson cullionly barbermonger


Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Posts: 144
Location: Sometimes I wonder.....

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't particularly care for them, as just a few days ago, I was preparing for a puzzle that gave a alphabetical range, which the answer was numerical, I cannot begin to explain, going over and over other ways, of possiblities thinking alphabetically, etc.

Just a suggestion, I did use to puzzle on a site that kept a record of your submitted guesses, with PT, I find myself, with alot of notes worksheet, and honestly can't remember if I submitted that particular answer, when working it later on, and probably have submitted 2-3 in the course of one that I may be working. Just nice to know what answers that were wrong were submitted. Other than that, love the site!- And no real biggie on this suggestion.

Thanks,
DL
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ASA
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Joined: 03 Feb 2004
Posts: 5181
Location: Adelaide, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The guess limit was good, as it meant you could go and do some other sort of work when you were frozen out. But I think it favours people working as a team, as they could share the load out.
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The Hirsute One
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a guess limit concentrates the mind somewhat as long as the puzzles have an “obvious” answer (by which I mean you are directed to the correct answer without the possibility of many variations on a theme – sorry for the use of the word “obvious” FC). However, unless the same process as on PF is implemented for teams to register as a group, or teams don’t register as such, then this does allow for an advantage to larger groups, assuming one feels they would resort to guessing rather than solving. However, looking at my guess counts for most contests, a limit such as at PF would not cause a problem if the puzzles remain at the standard they are currently at. So I, for one, would have no problem with a guess limit being set for any future contests but, at the same time, I would not demand that a limit be set. Reading this back, it basically says, “You choose”. Not much help really.
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SparkPlug
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Joined: 30 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not so sure the 'teams' issue is really relevant... it's highly unlikely that most teams would resort to coordinated guessing and, even if they did, the restriction would severly limit the range they could cover. With or without the limit they will still be able to bang in answers X times faster than a solo player.

Labyrinth has a guess limit of 15. Despite this, there are [to date] just over 15,000 wrong guesses for the first question, 12,000 for the second question, and 9,000 the third.

What would these numbers have been without a guess limit Surprised
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Titanium22
your chamber lye breeds fleas


Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Posts: 12253

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SparkPlug wrote:
I am not so sure the 'teams' issue is really relevant... it's highly unlikely that most teams would resort to coordinated guessing and, even if they did, the restriction would severly limit the range they could cover.

I tend to agree with that - more than anything, a guess count deters random guessing and/or attempts to brute force a puzzle.

I think it's also important to remember that a guess count is only finite within a particular timeframe. So if someone really wants to try lots of guesses rather than taking time to think about a puzzle, they still can - but they have to wait 24 hours (or whatever timeframe is specified) once they have reached their maximum.


T22
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Titanium22
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Joined: 14 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is anyone else going to vote...?

At the moment, we have a large majority who are in favour of introducing a guess count - but it would be helpful if we had some more views (whether for or against) so that we can make a final decision on how to move forward on this.

To reiterate, if we *do* introduce a guess count, it won't necessarily be applied to all contests. And for those contests to which it might be applied, it wouldn't stop people from having as many guesses as they wanted - it would simply mean that after the limit was reached, there would be a "timeout" before any more guesses could be entered.


T22
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ckmcheetah
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Joined: 21 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the riddles are formed correctly then a guess limit should not be necessary. I don't see a problem with people trying many answers as long as they are not forcing it. My $0.02
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Titanium22
your chamber lye breeds fleas


Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Posts: 12253

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ckmcheetah wrote:
If the riddles are formed correctly then a guess limit should not be necessary.

Indeed - but we have to accept that when we are hosting other peoples' contests, we sometimes have problems.

It's a shame that 67% of the people who started your C&A contest failed to make it beyond the first two puzzles (and 33% couldn't even solve the first one) - and that there is a current guess count of more than 2000 on a puzzle that only a handful of people have managed to solve. Sad


T22
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bethfay
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Joined: 05 Sep 2006
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Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am one of those who voted in the "They're OK, I guess" category. I have a mild preference to support guess limits as it would deter the most extravagant cases, but still allow for cases where more than one possible answer can be tried without fear of being locked out.

I can't say that I have *never* solved a puzzle by guessing, but it is a rare occurence indeed - usually when I have some reason to think I am very close to the answer and just feel like taking a shot. Both as a puzzle-solver and as a puzzle-setter, I have seen that sheer guessing is almost always useless as a well-designed puzzle is solveable and the answer is virtually unguessable. (To T22's earlier point, I realize that not all puzzles are well-designed, but the insolubility of a puzzle becomes apparent pretty quickly during the course of the solvers working it ... a situation that guessing does nothing to address.)

So that's *my* $0.02 worth.
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ckmcheetah
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Joined: 21 Sep 2003
Posts: 1157
Location: Grand Canyon State

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Titanium22 wrote:
ckmcheetah wrote:
If the riddles are formed correctly then a guess limit should not be necessary.

Indeed - but we have to accept that when we are hosting other peoples' contests, we sometimes have problems.

It's a shame that 67% of the people who started your C&A contest failed to make it beyond the first two puzzles (and 33% couldn't even solve the first one) - and that there is a current guess count of more than 2000 on a puzzle that only a handful of people have managed to solve. Sad


T22


I never said my puzzles were formed correctly! Thanks for the support... Razz
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s10eke
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Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 559
Location: Veluwe Holland

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Titanium22 wrote:
Is anyone else going to vote...?

T22



I did.. I took the second one..I don't mind a guess count..

(strange thing is though I can explain all my guesses with a valid method..only in my eyes ..)

In Holland we dont have guess limits but when you're finished you have to mail the maker with an explanation of some question how you solved it. On the other hand we can't see the progress,stats or whatever..

But what if like in our case you know the answer but you have trouble to find the right way to describe it..somethime I mis an extra letter at the end or so..the translator site are not always that good.. 8)

Or we know what it has to be in dutch..translate it and there are more than 1 translation..somtimes more than 7 for 1 word (same the otherway round but dont think anyone would make a dutch contest..) And we are not the only one not who's native language is not english..

In fact it would not stop me from puzzling.. and I like what Bethfay is telling..
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T_Hunter
Thou whoreson cullionly barbermonger


Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 111

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I voted as indifferent.

There are three factors to consider:

The Proposed Limit
What would the proposed guess limit be set at? 3, 5, 10 or 15? A guess limit set at 10 or 15 would have a neglible impact on the core puzzlers who frequent this site. (I can't think of the last time I ran a guess count near either of those numbers)

Bear in mind also that there already exists one restriction on puzzling during a live contest: the amount of time that must pass before a hint is provided ... (Many) Guesses and the need for hints go hand-in-hand.

Finally, on this point ... if the proposed guess limit was, say, 5, I would be opposed, because the fact of the matter is, there are more than a handful of puzzles I've encounted whose proper answers are subject to interpretation.

The Audience
Who is this directed at or who might it truely impact? I have found in my short time on PT that there is a core set of puzzlers numbering 30-60.

Again, I don't believe that a high guess limit would impact the core puzzlers but would affect all other, new or inexperienced puzzlers.

So perhaps the question is do you want to deter the novice puzzlers or grow your base, i.e. increase the number of active puzzlers, or deter

The Motivation or Rationale
What are you trying to accomplish? If the sole purpose is to deter a brute force attack on a puzzle, then a high guess limit of 10 or 15 might accomplish this ... but would, as it has been pointed benefit a large team. Of course, this is highly unlikely because most of the active, large teams tend to prefer solving puzzles rather than guessing (of course, there was a good bit of guess work on the final puzzle for SS IV ... LOL)

A Final Suggestion
One final suggestion, as DL mentions earlier, if there is one new feature I would rather see introduced over a guess limit, it would be prior guesses ... specifically, what were those guesses and/or whether or not I tried a particular answer previously.

I can recall numerous occasions where I could not recall if I properly formatted an answer, when I thought it to be correct, or between a very late night and the next morning, whether or not I already tried something ... not to mention for those less active puzzler who return to a contest after several days, weeks or months.

For the core puzzlers, I think this feature would provide more benefit and reduce the number of guesses.
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Natasja
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Joined: 20 May 2007
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being fairly new to PT and attempting to solve puzzles, other than in my native language, I thought my vote would maybe represent a pretty large group.

I voted, like the majority, as indifferent.

I wouldn't really mind a guess-limit, but at the same time I don't really understand the benefit of having one.

I think that people who are guessing continuously will not stick around for too long since trying to actually solve puzzles is obviously not their thing!

I have definitely come across some puzzles(not many Angelic ) where I have given between 5 and 10 answers. I wasn't guessing though. It was either due to a typo, or simply giving the wrong answer while I truly thought I had figured it out. That goes especially for puzzles when more research needs to be done, with the answer you get directly from the puzzle.

Without explaining it all again I definitly agree with s10eke considering the language "thing". Hey, the challenge is big enough for us without a guess-limit Razz
And also T-Hunter made some very good points.
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DaisyDeepdelver
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Joined: 11 May 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't like guess limits at all, but I will not leave PT or hate you if you introduce them anyway.

I am the guessing queen of my team (and maybe even of all the puzzlers here). Sometimes my guesses are just first thoughts but much more often they are based on a fair idea of what the right answer could be or should be. I sincerely think in several cases my wrong guesses fitted the puzzle better than the accepted answer. I also noticed that I am very often not the 1th person to have tried this answer, indicating that my line of thought has been followed before. Puzzlemakers could use a list of guesses to see which wrong ideas are provoced by their puzzles (and enjoy themselves besides improve their next puzzles I think).

Only to prevent brute force or some weird persons trying to get the site down entering a massive amount of rubbish answers a guess limit would be preferable, but I think in these cases a personal approach or ban is more effective.
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