On Sep 1, 2005, at 11:43 AM, Simon Kr?ger wrote:

> Ruby Quiz wrote:
>
>
>> I just ran sixteen programs there all with exactly the same  
>> command, outlined in
>> the quiz.  Five of the sixteen programs died with an exception.   
>> Six more
>> printed only an error message or couldn't find a chain.  That  
>> leaves us with
>> five chains out of sixteen attempts, about a 31% accuracy ratio.   
>> Yikes!
>>
>
> From your original posting:
>
> "Each word in the chain must be in the dictionary and every step  
> along the chain changes exactly one letter from the previous word."
>
> So i would say printing no chain is exactly correct if there is no  
> suitable word in the dictionary (and there is no hint saying you  
> can alter the words in the dictionary).
> Maybe it is a hint that 6 programs did actually refused to find a  
> non existing chain but only 5 did. Its the problem description  
> thats weak, at least it was misleading for me.

Certainly any specification is open to interpretation.  This time,  
you and I don't agree on the interpretation of the above.  I really  
think that's fine.  Your code works for you.  It didn't work for me  
though, so I chose to skip it.  That seemed to work out well for both  
of us, excepting of course that you are now upset with me.

Note that most people chose to strip whitespace off of the words, but  
this isn't mentioned in the quiz.  I guess we just thought it was a  
good idea.

> I realy wouldn't write this if you didn't stressed on it.

Well, I'm pretty sure I also wrote that the solutions that couldn't  
find a chain where a "minor issue".  You may even view your way as  
correct and my downcase() calls as wrong.  That's fine too.  You're  
also welcome to write up your own summary from that perspective.

That's why we do all this Ruby Quiz stuff in public, so you can  
correct me as needed.

> So, while i think you are in fact "free to ignore anything that  
> creates more work" i would like to ask you to realy _ignore_ it and  
> stop making us look stupid on your website.

Most of the time, I don't even do time trials, because I don't think  
it tells us much.  However, I did mention speed in the quiz itself  
and then one of the quiz workers asked me to time them.  Because of  
that, I decided to make an exception this week.

Unfortunately, Ruby Quiz does eat a lot of time.  This week I've  
written a quiz, a solution, a time trial script, and a summary.  I've  
watched for the solutions to roll in and added all that code to the  
wed site.  I've also tried to be an active participant in the  
community, by monitoring and responding to threads like this one.  I  
estimate that it took about a single work day of time and I do it  
most every week.

Because of that, when I sat down to do the time trails, I was really  
burning free time I usually give to the summaries.  I wrote the first  
version of the script, ran it, and saw a lot of problems.  I handled  
the external dependancies to fix a couple of them, because I  
remembered that they needed them.  Rinse, repeat.  Still a lot of  
errors, unfortunately.

So, I started opening the solutions one by one and coding workarounds  
into the time trail script for them.  I did two fairly quickly, but  
the third one was quite different and I struggled to figure out what  
I needed to do to make it happy.

By this point, I'm not having fun and I've used up about an hour of  
time.  I decided that it would be better for me to use what I  
currently had and get on to summarizing.  To help others who might  
want to finish the job, I made my work available and suggested how to  
finish it in the summary.  That was as helpful as I could think to be.

Still, I NEVER intended to make ANYONE "look stupid" and it's clear  
that at least a couple of people think I did.  I sincerely  
apologize.  I was trying to report objectively on what I was seeing,  
nothing more.

A lot of times in a summary I'll point out a minor bug, or offer an  
alternate chunk of code.  I do these things so that readers can add  
to their mental map of gotchas, and hopefully skip a problem area in  
the future.  I never mean to insult those who's code I'm altering,  
I'm just making suggestions and drawing attention for the sake of  
learning.  Last week it was even pointed out that my suggested fix  
was broken and we got to discuss that here on Ruby Talk.  I'm very  
grateful that was brought to my attention so the quiz could be  
corrected, even if it did make me look dumb.

So again, I'm very sorry for everyone I offended and I strongly  
encourage you all to follow up anything I post with all the needed  
corrections.  Ruby Quiz is definitely meant to be a group effort.

James Edward Gray II