Riker's Mailbox

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SpinTunes #2 - Scoring Considerations

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be writing a grand epilogue to my SpinTunes #1 experience. It's coming, but I wanted to get this out beforehand, since it's a time-sensitive issue.

I want to speak out in favor of fresh-start scoring for each round of the contest. Given the other aspects of the contest that are likely staying the same, this makes sense and bears further presentation.

(Copied from comments over at the planning post at the SpinTunes blog)

Since the votes are going up for the SpinTunes #2 format in the newer post, I'll make another argument in support of my preference to keep the "start fresh" method for each round.

Edric already made a compelling case against cumulative scoring, considering that competitors can be logically eliminated from the finals an entire round early.

I just wanted to go further into depth on this for those who may have missed it the first time around. I think this contest has a superior format by not relying on a popular vote... I don't want to see the judges' panel get compromised. And it's precisely *because* we don't have a popular vote that Edric's argument holds water.

There is a fixed number of points available to be distributed amongst the competitors. Furthermore, those points are earned under different circumstances each round because the challenge is different every time. Cumulative scoring under a contest like this is effectively double-counting points earned elsewhere under circumstances that no longer apply to the challenge at hand.

I think people are trying to get a handle on the scoring system by comparing it to other contests/activities, but some of the other things it's being compared to aren't quite accurate. Remember, Travis is a sports guy.

Let's imagine a football game between the Bills and the Patriots. The Bills kick the Pats' asses, winning by 28 points. Meanwhile, the Dolphins play the Cowboys and win by 7 points.

Next week, the Bills play the Dolphins. Should the game start Bills 21, Dolphins 0? Of course not. It's a new game. You can't reward the Bills points for being better than the Patriots when they're competing against the Dolphins.

The analogy isn't exactly perfect, but it illustrates why it doesn't make sense to keep counting the points earned in previous rounds of the contest. The challenge is new every time, so the score needs to reset every time.

Since there's as much weight as there is being placed on the diversity of the tasks to be completed in each round, then a competitor's talent at one particular challenge should only help or hinder them within the scope of that challenge. Especially since it's possible that a challenge can favor one competitor's style. We shouldn't compound that across multiple rounds.

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