On Oct 4, 2009, at 5:57 PM, Martin DeMello wrote:

> I've noticed that the ruby quiz has been getting few responses of
> late. In one sense I'm part of the problem; I seldom do the quizzes
> myself. However, I do like setting them, and have fun thinking up
> quizzes that are (reasonably) quick and (hopefully) enjoyable. So I
> put it to you - what sort of quizzes do you enjoy?

I really enjoy working the quizzes, but I really don't have long hours  
to give to it anymore.  The length of the problem is definitely my  
number one factor in deciding whether or not to do them these days.   
If I start to read through the problem and begin to think it sounds  
hard at any point I just quit right there.  I guess I'm very lazy.

The good news is that I'm also pretty dumb and easy to trick.  More  
than once I've read through the problem and thought, oh that's easy,  
only to lose two hours trying it.  If I have some progress to show by  
then, I will do so, but if I'm still a long way off I tend to give up.

Given those two weaknesses, I'm really an instant gratification kind  
of guy.  If I can start to see results quickly, I really get into it.   
I think that's why the game and algorithm quizzes tend to be my  
favorites.  Once I see a piece moving around the board or an algorithm  
chewing through some data, I feel like I'm making progress and it  
encourages me to go on.  If I can choose to keep refining or submit my  
small effort, more the better.

If it's an algorithm problem though, spell it out for me at least  
enough to get going.  If I have to start with an hour of reading or  
thinking I'm already bored and give up.  Early success, on the other  
hand, is addictive and makes me want to keep going.

I'm also pretty bad at math, so heavy number crunching usually scares  
me off too.  Again, dumb it down for people like me when you can.

There's nothing wrong with fairly easy problems.  Lots of people try  
them and those who fine them easy tend to spend their extra energy  
getting creative with their solutions.  As soon as we get that kind of  
fun flowing around we all learn something.

So, just do all of that and you'll be a smashing success.  Easy,  
right?  :)

James Edward Gray II