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sargon
Sargon  (Level: 112.0 - Posts: 1256)
Sat, 2nd Dec '06 5:05 PM

CHEATERS BEWARE - PROBABILITY

It long time since I took my probablity classes (in the days when slide rules roam the earth) so my calculations could very easily be wrong. If I remember correctly if there were 10 questions in a word puzzle and a person is assigned 5 for at puzzle then there are 252 possible combinations. Just wondering if someone could confirm my math.

baggiob
Baggiob  (Level: 142.7 - Posts: 888)
Sat, 2nd Dec '06 6:10 PM

You are probably right.
However, that doesn't really matter.
If there are 10 questions and each time you get 5 of those, then the first time you play you are getting 5 of those, so thus you are only looking for another 5.
So the real proabibility is that each time you play there is an extremely high (above 90%) you will get a question that was not there the last time you played.

In theory the fewest possible times you would have to play to see each and every question would be twice. Worst case scenario is it could take you infinity times to see them all.
But with probability it would be roughly 50% chance that it would take 5 tries or less. Because of the high probability of getting one 'new' question each time (although you may get more than that)

smoke20
Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Sat, 2nd Dec '06 6:23 PM

And you wouldn't have to get them all. A person with modest skills would get a huge leg up just from having seen a couple of them, maybe shave off 10 moves or more. To me the question isn't "how" but "why."

I submit for consideration the proposition that IF there's cheating going on, it's not about winning puzzles at all, but about making trouble.

baggiob
Baggiob  (Level: 142.7 - Posts: 888)
Sat, 2nd Dec '06 6:44 PM

Interesting theory.

To be honest when I do word puzzles, i tend to just do them, fill in the letters and take as many moves as i can. In fact it is extremely rare for me to it in less than 70 moves, but I strive to always maintain 5,000 points.

I have never been near the top so I could not say the what the bonus points are for coming high up, but if it is anything like the word rounds/matches then to put in so much time and effort just to get those points, would it not be quicker just to take some quizzes or something.

So maybe you are right, it may just be the excitement of trying to beat the system.

kaufman
Kaufman  (Level: 257.2 - Posts: 3936)
Sat, 2nd Dec '06 10:19 PM

I don't think it's supposed to be a secret.

Places 1-5 each get 1000 bonus points.
Places 6-10 eaach get 500 bonus points.
Places 11 and beyond get gradually descending bonus points from 290 down toward 200.

Plus, we all know how valuable Sploofus points are, so any chicanery isn't likely for the purpose of gaining 770 or so points a pop. There is something about being at the top of the leaderboard -- a little feather in your cap that's worth more than that.

As for other possible motives and how strong they might be, you can speculate as well as I can.

smoke20
Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Sat, 2nd Dec '06 10:55 PM

Bag, some people really love this kind of puzzle. It's kept Wheel of Fortune on the air for decades. It's a completely different discipline from the speedy games. As "Garyxxxxxxxx" so helpfully pointed out, the object is to solve in the fewest moves. Period. Everyone doesn't have the patience for it. The points structure is designed to minimize the motivation to cheat, and at the same time to encourage the best players to work for the top spots.

There are at least 3 ways of approaching WPs:
1. You know that you won't be in the top 10 and just try to tiptoe safely through with all your eggs unbroken.
2. You blast your way through letting the bodies fall where they may and get 4000 points or so and go back to doing other stuff, or
3. You save them for that peaceful cup of coffee or the quiet hour late at night and immerse yourself in mental alphabet soup, patiently picking your way to the best score you can get in the time you're willing to spend.

To be clear, I don't think this situation is about winning nor about points. I think it's a pretty good player with a grudge and an agenda showing contempt for the rest of us for unknown reasons. Maybe they won a few games and were accused of googling and it sent them over to the Dark Side. Whatever's behind it, the voice of "Gary" gives away the game.

That's only my opinion, I doubt we'll ever know for sure, and we'll just have to suck it up and live with it until it goes away.


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