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Results, results, results

Here is how GP webpage works in ideal world:
On Tuesday 0:01 a webpage with "My solutions" is automatically created and published. On Tuesday 0:01 a webpage with "Preliminary results" is automatically created and published. A webpage with overall GP results is automatically created and published after the second GP round. It is automatically updated after the results of the next round are marked as official.
Is it a SCI-FI? After 5 years of running WPF GP?
May be. But I am really sad after 48 hours of desperate refreshing.

You forgot to mention results for division B and C...

"But I am really sad after 48 hours of desperate refreshing."

Perhaps this is the reason of not publishing results: the website is very popular with all players visiting it in search of results. And we all want it to be popular, no?

Fred

P.S. In ideal world, World Sudoku Championship is a sudoku tournament. We definitely don't live in ideal world.

Yes, of course, we don't live in ideal world. And the misunderstanding on definition of sudoku is only one of thousands of reasons.

I understand that there may be reasons for postponing the results from time to time and that the desired automatic solutions may not work. But in nearly ideal world the newest news on GP webpage will not be from July 2017 in that case...

Currently the Preliminary Results are ready, I'm just waiting for the permission to publish it.

The My Solution section was already updated regarding to this problem:
http://gp.worldpuzzle.org/content/printing-error-puzzle-gp-round-3

Karel (Admin)

It seems that time bonus was lost with the compensation update, at least according to the "My Solutions" page.

Rob: thank you for letting me know. It's fixed now.

The Preliminary Results were published.

Best,
Karel (Admin)

Hi rob, I believe you should have time bonus. Let us know if after the official results are published (real soon now) if it is still missing.

You've said that preliminary results have been published, but I can't see them anywhere. Is it a technical issue or did I misunderstand something?
Best, Jonas

I guess it's just another joke, like the one about 40 points...

I'm sorry for that issue. Right now the visibility is set up correctly and you should be able to see it.

Karel (Admin)

I stand many times on the organizers’ side of competitions so I know that it is often not pleasant to be overwhelmed by questions and criticism of the players. (While voices of the thankful ones are usually silent.)
But... when I started to dig into this, I think that I should add few more thoughts. Hopefully to help to improve WPF GP for the future.

AA) Is it possible to describe more precisely the protest procedure?
I thought that the usual practice was 1) end of competition at time T1, 2) publishing My solutions at time T2, 3) publishing Preliminary results at time T3, 4) protest period announced on the top of Preliminary results page lasting from T3 to T3 + 48 hours, 5) publishing Official results at time T4 > T3 + 48h.
I think that the rules refers only to the ideal situation when My solutions and Preliminary results are published right after the end of competition. Protest period of 48 hours after end of competition makes sense then. But doesn't if T2-T1 >> 0 and T3-T1 >> 0. So I am surprised that the results published at the moment are marked as Official and seemingly no protest period was announced.

BB) Is it possible to inform about important issues in publicly visible way?
I thought that News on the home page of GP are meant for this purpose. I think that it is not a responsibility of players to search through all forum threads to find important information in a heap of unimportant stuff. I think that important announcements (postponing publication of results, reasons for it, decision about compensations, etc.) should be made clearly visible. I know that somebody has to write the news and it needs time and effort. But I am pretty sure that the players would love to read the news. Three times a week, no problem.

CC) What do you think about ABCD vs. ABCDA issue in Simple loop answer codes? Is it similar enough to OOOXXX vs. XXXOOO in Snake etc. answer codes?

I can declare that answers on these questions don't affect my well-being significantly. Feel free to read them, feel free to answer them or not. But A and B may be something WPF authorities (WPF / GP directors) should think about.

Regards, Jan Novotny

Those are very good questions, Jan.

I think one big problem that is the main cause of all these issues is that although I am the Director, I actually have very little control or knowledge about the interaction with the website. I edit the puzzles, write instructions, organize testing, write answer keys, assign scores to puzzles, format the PDF files, judge "claim bonus", and decide on protests. I don't add passwords to the PDF files, and I don't write the code that calculates score; that is done by Karel. I know it is extra work for him to do special scoring and to have multiple answers to a puzzle, so I try to avoid it when I can. I also do not actually know what the experience of competing is like, so I am unaware of what information about scores are made public and at what time.

AA) Yes, this round has demonstrated that there are inconsistencies in our protest procedure -- the logic has not been this severely tested before. I had the mistaken impression that players could see their submitted answers immediately after the test ended, and so I thought the rule of "48 hours after the test ends" was fair and announced.

I agree that going forward, we should have a clearer system.

One slowness is that the Claim Bonus rules (for when a solver solves all but one puzzle) can't be done automatically. I need to actually look at the solver's answer and make a human-based judgment call. With my schedule I cannot always do this in a short amount of time, especially last year when I would often have to judge around 30 claims. So that can add another period of 24 hours between T2 and T3 in your notation. And when we have a situation like this, where we actually need to find a way to change the "puzzles", it adds even more time. Since I was aware that there was a lot of impatience with people wanting to see final results (earlier in this thread), I decided to make things final as fast as possible while still staying in the letter of the rules -- and I was not aware that preliminary results were not visible.

It comes down to: people who want to protest want more time; people who want to see final results want less time. If there's a problem like in this round, I can't make everyone happy.

Going forward, I will propose something like this:
(1) At end of competition, "My Solutions" and preliminary results are instantly available. The "all-but-one Claim Bonus" situation will not be accurate, because I haven't judged them yet.
(2) Players have 48 hours to lodge protests by email to puzzlegp@worldpuzzle.org. "all-but-one Claim Bonus" rulings cannot be protested.
(3) I will do my best to adjudicate protests and make rulings on "all-but-one Claim Bonus" within 72 hours of end of competition. As soon as I've done all the rulings, I will inform Karel, who will then release the official results when he is able. This could be as early as 50 hours after end of competition (if there are no protests), or as late as 96 hours (if there are many protests and rulings), or even later if there are an unexpected number of protests and issues to deal with.

For this round, I think it would be an even bigger mess to "undo" the supposedly "official results" and have another open protest period, so I am leaning towards having the results stand. I could be persuaded otherwise.

BB) The reason the announcement was on the forum rather than News content is that I didn't know how to add to the News section and didn't think of it, since I only read the forum. In the future, I will remember that I have the power to post News items.

CC) Any time I allow for more than one valid answer to a puzzle, it creates an exception and more work for Karel. So in general I am reluctant to do it. Yes, if the answer to a loop puzzle is ABCDA, and you submit ABCD, then as a human I can tell that you very likely have the correct solution to the puzzle. But what if you submit ABCDAB? Or ABCDABC? Similarly, if the answer to the Snake puzzle is OXXOO, and the solver submits 0XX00, then yes, they probably have the right answer, but again it goes down the path of I start needing to write dozens of possible answers.

For Snake puzzles, I accept OXXOO and XOOXX reluctantly, as an exception, because through playtesting and past rounds I know that solvers "see" Snake puzzles very differently -- some feel that "O" indicates "presence" and "X" means "empty", while other solvers feel that "X" means "black" and "O" means "white". This problem doesn't show up in, for example, Heyawake, so I don't allow reversals of "X" and "O" in Heyawake. In other words, this is not a general "reversing X and O is always okay" rule; it is specific to Snake.

What would be nice, perhaps, is to allow arbitrary encodings -- you could use any two different characters, so that "OXXOO", "0XX00", "10011", "P44PP" would all be valid answers. I do not know if this is technologically feasible; I will ask Karel. But then we would need to distinguish between puzzles that allow this encoding and puzzles that don't (after all, if the puzzle answer is ABCDA, we probably shouldn't accept ACDBA), and this becomes more complexity for solvers to have to pay attention to.

I think that I do see behind the curtain at least a little bit, being quite experienced in the world of sudoku and puzzle both as player and organizer. But I find it usefull for all the players to have these clarifications being made publicly from time to time.

Your proposal in AA) section goes near to the ideal scenario. If this is technically possible, I say let's go for it.

BB) Again, if it is technically possible, please leave the forum for questions and chatting and make the important announcements publicly visible and clear with News.
I can imagine (in ideal world ;-) ) three "News" about every GP round: 1) News that GP round is coming with a link to IB and few more words if there is something special in the round; 2) News that GP round is over with a link to Preliminary results and information about protest period and few more words if something special happened; 3) News that the Official results are available with congratulations to the winners and few more words if necessary.
I know that it is time consuming (I do it for czech website about czech tournaments) but I sure that it will improve players' experience with GP website.

CC) My situation was a bit frustrating: I submitted ABCD in last seconds of round, I was warned for a bad syntax so I resubmitted ABCDA... several seconds after round was closed for me. But I am absolutely OK with your approach to wrong answer codes. It is not easy to be player-friendly in this type of online competition with thousands of database operations during it.

Few more suggestions for the future (sorry for the brevity):
- Publish the preliminary results immediately after the contest (everyone understand that official results are the official ones)
- Communicate on a regular basis and inform us about possible delays
- Use answer keys as simple as possible (I have no clue how the second A in simple loop determine whether the solution is correct or not) and skip obvious cells in the answer key (as in first Arukone)
- Mention the number of pages in competition booklet prior the start
- Get rid of the useless bonus button
- Create a player profile subpage, where all results of each player will be displayed
- Create an archive where all puzzle booklets will be available and assign the country name to them (e.g. GP18_P3_India)
- Do not hesitate to disqualify the cheaters (there are still many of them in the bottom half of result table)
- Never cancel a contest again(there are many helpful authors and testers available all day long)

Mostly suggestions I agree with, but I have issues with these:

"Use answer keys as simple as possible" -- see discussion in other thread. Simple is nice, but proof of solution, fairness, and avoiding simple typos are higher priorities for me.

"Get rid of the useless bonus button" -- why do you think the bonus button is useless? It is similar to raising your hand and saying "finished" in a live competition; after you do it, you cannot submit any more answers.

"Do not hesitate to disqualify the cheaters (there are still many of them in the bottom half of result table)" -- this is the first I've heard of this. How do you propose we catch and disqualify the cheaters? It seems like cheating at the GP would be extremely easy, just create multiple accounts, get the puzzles on one account, then instantly solve them on the other. If the cheating is slow and careful, then it becomes undetectable.

"Never cancel a contest again (there are many helpful authors and testers available all day long)" -- the reason for the last cancelled contest was because the puzzle authors submitted very late set of puzzles that was unsuitable for competition. There may be many helpful authors and testers, but not necessarily from the same host country.

I believe that creating profile pages and creating a publicly-accessible puzzle archive are outside of my responsibilities (or abilities, even) as tournament director, although at the moment I'm not sure who, if anyone, has those responsibilities. Of course I, personally, have a very large archive of all past Puzzle GPs, with multiple drafts of each round, often including broken puzzles...

"why do you think the bonus button is useless? It is similar to raising your hand and saying "finished" in a live competition; after you do it, you cannot submit any more answers."

Actually, there are some significant differences:

-Raising hand and saying "finished" is the only known way in a live competition for the organizer to know a player finished early. On website competition, you don't need it, you know a player has finished when he submitted all codes correctly.

-In a live competition, you have more clue to decide whether you should spend time for checking before raising hand: you more or less see how many (and which) players already finished).

The only difference I would see as a player without bonus button, is that after having submitted all puzzles, I would spend the staying time to check my solutions and codes. It means also you, as organizer, can remove the contested rule about 80% bonus if all puzzles but one are solved correctly.

""Do not hesitate to disqualify the cheaters (there are still many of them in the bottom half of result table)" -- this is the first I've heard of this. How do you propose we catch and disqualify the cheaters? It seems like cheating at the GP would be extremely easy, just create multiple accounts, get the puzzles on one account, then instantly solve them on the other. If the cheating is slow and careful, then it becomes undetectable. "

This may seem stupid, but the best way is to contact the player and ask him, say him you have some suspicions (don't forget to tell him you're sorry if it's not true).
It happens that when I contacted a player to ask him if he cheated, he answered "Yes, That's true. I'm sorry I'll not do it again". And perhaps even if he doesn't answer, he'll stop doing it in the future if he receives a message from organizer.

We cannot use "player has submitted all answers correctly" as an indicator of "finished." Doing that would allow a player to solve all but one puzzle, reduce the last puzzle to a small number of possibilities, and then submit answers for all of those possibilities until one of them succeeds.

You have proposed a way to confront cheaters once they are identified, but I was asking if anyone can think of a good way to identify cheaters.

"We cannot use "player has submitted all answers correctly" as an indicator of "finished." Doing that would allow a player to solve all but one puzzle, reduce the last puzzle to a small number of possibilities, and then submit answers for all of those possibilities until one of them succeeds."

Sorry, I had not explained well enough. I thought that in that case, only the last submission for each puzzle count, so make a guess on the code of last puzzle will not help you, or it is like winning at a lotery.
Actually it would be similar to contest engines on German website and UKPA website. I didn't heard about serious problem there due to the absence of a bonus button.

Fred

"I believe that creating profile pages and creating a publicly-accessible puzzle archive are outside of my responsibilities (or abilities, even) as tournament director, although at the moment I'm not sure who, if anyone, has those responsibilities."

I'm very sad (but not surprised) to see after several months of retirement of worldwide sudoku competitions that nothing changed in the WPF.
Not including the treasurer, I don't understand what are doing board members (it seems it's more a honorific position to be a board member), what about dicastery, it was mentioned in 2016, to share the tasks and responsibilities inside the board?
What do we want in the board: people who have an opinion and speak politely, or people who do some works and care about things that are not working?

I'm sorry, but same thing about the WPF director: since his appointment, I only see what he's no more doing compared to his predecessor (I can't make a list here, it would be too long). I think the position should be viewed more as a paid job (I think he's still paied for that?) than a honorific distinction. And surely this is his task to write the news described by Jan on this website.

I know some of the comments should be adressed on the WPF forum, but...
...

...

...

it is offline since february !!!

Sorry to have to be harsh each time I'm active, I don't see another solution...

Fred

Creating a publicly accessible archive is something that was discussed last year, and I eventually want to bring it up again and have it in my notes to do so.

Within the GP season we simply do not have enough personnel to do extra work as Karel and the tournament directors have a lot to do setting up the rounds (this includes the finals too where a lot of coordination and logistics need to be thought of in advance), so our window to truly undertake and do new things is between the WSC-WPC and the start of the next year's GP.

In recent times, our priority has been in finalizing the format of the Puzzle GP, above all else, and I think that is a correct priority to have given the circumstances. This was the main issue brought up during discussions online and at the offline meetings too. In the next off-season period, assuming this issue is resolved, we can discuss other things, and I agree with a lot of the things that can be improved and already have them noted.

As for 'nothing has changed', the puzzle GP format has been (at least in my opinion) improved over time taking in input, and we have a panel discussing a proposal for the question of 'what is a Sudoku?' which was appointed in Bangalore. We have addressed these two issues (even if the latter one isn't resolved yet, there is work going on over it), among others. If you need other issues to be addressed, its easy enough to reach me or anyone on the Board.

I won't speak for the Board members, but about the Director's position, what I will say is the transfer of responsibility was largely just about accesses rather than details about things to do, and that is a problem because there are some things that are missed simply because I don't have a checklist. I have been preparing one in the background and adding to it as and when I see the need, just so that things are easier and more organized in the future. So if you do get the time, you have my email, feel free to send across the list that you think isn't being done (this goes for anyone - as I said it may simply be something I am not aware that I need to do!).

Since its been brought up by multiple solvers, I'll add in the point about using the news section more, which I was currently using only when there was something to report that I was aware of through discussions with the tournament directors and site admin. I'll admit to being too occupied in the past week and missing a news item on the 3rd Puzzle GP which was worth being updated even by my own understanding of the section.

Also, I do think there are other solutions rather than being harsh each time, you could be suggestive rather than accusatory and negative. Just a thought :) There are many duties of the Board as well as the Director that aren't going to be done in the public eye, like coordinating with the next WSC-WPC hosts on logistics issues, working with the GP Tournament Directors and dealing with potential new memberships, among other things. It is unnecessarily negative to state positions are honorific just because people aren't shouting out to everyone about the work they do.

Oh, when you say "mention number of pages prior to start", do you mean on page 1 on the PDF, or do you mean on the website? I can do something about the PDF but I can't do much with the website.

The reason the second A is in the answer key is to help remind players that they are supposed to create a loop (and not just a path).

I actually don't like the current answer format for Simple Loop, but I can't think of a better one. The usual "rows" doesn't work well because often the critical parts of the loop are separated among too many rows. Ideally because most Simple Loop puzzles are quick solves for top players, I want an answer that can be really fast to enter (so, something where solvers have to count cells is probably too slow). Perhaps a "dots" system, where the submitter just has to identify whether the cell has a turn or a straight line. I welcome suggestions for alternatives.

Hi Wei-Hwa, I appreciate your quick response and fair answers (including the one about answer codes I still didn't react to), thank you.

Some of the Grand Prix rounds are included into Slovak qualification (and Czech league) and we know most of the competitors, whose honesty I would not question. This year there is at least one (few appeared in the past, but fortunately dissapeared) whose performance is suspicious and affect our national rankings.

The number of pages should be mentioned on the website (e.g. instead of size of the booklet). The booklets have 15+ pages and that is quite enough.

Most of my suggestions are related to the website, which is... let's say cumbersome and I understand that you have only limited impact on it.

I am sorry for being cruel, but the site has no significant advantage compared to LMI site and still miss many of its unique functions. I hope I am not the only one who believe that new website is a must (does anyone consider having just one common site for GP's and WPF?)

"The booklets have 15+ pages and that is quite enough."

There are many competing factors here:

* Top solvers need enough puzzle material to spend at least an hour solving.
* Novice solvers need enough easy puzzles that they can make progress on.
* Above-average solvers need the overall variance between puzzle difficulty to be low. (I get a *lot* of complaints from solvers when there is a 90-point puzzle, because these solvers get into a situation where they have a big 90-point puzzle and a bunch of small 15-point puzzles left and they hate having to make the risk decision of whether they will be able to get the 90-point puzzle in the time they have left.)

With these general constraints, the net result is that the puzzles range in difficulty from about 8 points to 60 points, with the average being around 20-30 points and a total score of around 600 points. That's 20-30 puzzles. Usually a page is 1-3 puzzles, so that works out to occasionally having 15+ pages.

Of course I could reduce the page count by making the puzzles smaller, but already we are at the point where some players complain about the puzzles being too small or there not being enough room around the puzzles for notes.

Add to that the restriction that I sometimes the contest writers are late in submission so there is no time to ask them for more puzzles, or to ask them to make puzzles easier or harder. Finally, puzzle authors really like writing new puzzle types or new variations on puzzle types. If an author team submits a round that is all classic puzzle types, we could cut down on instructions and decrease the page count some.

Last year I tried to deal with these conflicting issues by having separate tests for different levels of players. The WPF board stepped in and decided they did not like that idea.

The booklet lenght is appropriate, I have no problem with it (BTW, this year's competition format is far better than the last year's, I like it). Just try to mention the number of pages, if it is possible. I guess it is.

Is it possible to restrict the number of puzzle types and have more puzzles from the same type? This will reduce the number of puzzle types that beginners have to get accustomed to, you can also have a range of difficulties within the same puzzle type and also try to reduce the number of booklet pages, by formatting puzzles of the same type on a page.
I believe this was done in previous years of the Puzzle GP. Were there any negatives to that approach?

"I am sorry for being cruel, but the site has no significant advantage compared to LMI site and still miss many of its unique functions. I hope I am not the only one who believe that new website is a must (does anyone consider having just one common site for GP's and WPF?)"

I don't see this as competing with LMI. For both sites, there is no registration fee, no income from advertising, and there are still costs for hosting and running the competition. Players are not restricted to being "loyal" to one site; it is quite possible to do both.

LMI simply has a better group of people who are willing to volunteer the time and/or money to make the site better. Yes, there are many improvements that can be made.

I am sorry for being cruel, but if all you are doing is complaining about how things are not to your liking, but you are not actually spending money or volunteering your time to do work here, you are not actually being helpful.

So everybody who did not invest money and time shoud be quiet? Do you think that this is the best way how to communicate? I do not think so...
(by the way, I spent more than fifteen months working on the WSC&WPC and I am still not fully recovered)

I am sure, that this "campaign" is not aimed on you. However I am aware that there are few people around the WPF who are getting paid from the membership fees and as Fred said, we only have to guess what are their duties and responsibilities. We all see just the result and that is the inactive WPF forum, delayed results, weak communication and so on...

Just came with a comparison to LMI to demonstrate that many of my suggested changes are achievable and time-proved by this demanding community.

As someone who works on both sides mentioned here, and also having put in similar amounts of work for organizing a WSC-WPC, I'll try to weigh in.

Firstly, I would think that LMI has things easier in some aspects: we do not have nearly as strict deadlines to work with because we can always decide a new schedule at the start of the year, decide to keep things lighter, change the format of our scheduled competitions as we like. We also do not have to worry about consistency of formatting, judging results, protest issues, etc. outside of SM and PR as long as each individual contest is passable within our standards. Also to be fair to the GP, the LMI website has been around longer and we had an easier 'settling in' period, whereas the GP website had a scheduled series of tournaments from the start. I think these are things that matter much more than number of people involved and time/effort put in.

I would suggest we give the GP website that little bit of leeway for these reasons, and also the reason I mentioned in my reply to Fred about the small off-season window and having to prioritize the Puzzle GP format during that window in recent times.

I think some things are different with organizing the WSC-WPC too, its a huge effort but its a one-time effort where things are in the control of a tight knit group of organizers who have time to build to that one event. I get the burn out because of it, I feel it too sometimes, but to be fair to Wei-Hwa he has been working on the GP since 2014 so this is difficult too.

About the latter bit about not seeing the result, and facing issues, again, please reach out to me or any member of the Board. Communication needs to work both ways. You have complimented LMI and I hope you enjoyed the WSC and WPC too, I am/was heavily involved in both, so I hope its clear that I care and am interested in putting in effort.

"So everybody who did not invest money and time shoud be quiet? Do you think that this is the best way how to communicate? I do not think so..."

I didn't type "should be quiet", I typed "not being helpful". I also used the worth "if", and I wasn't actually thinking about you (Matus) specifically when I wrote it.

Criticism can be helpful if it is pointing out problems that people were unaware of and that can be fixed. If one is pointing out problems that I already know about (including complaining about the same problem repeatedly), or problems that I can't fix, than it stops being helpful and actually starts to hurt as I have to pay attention to the criticisms instead of actually doing something useful.

Recently, I've had a lot of incidents in my life (not just puzzles, but other work and daily stresses) where people make suggestions, thinking that they are just being helpful, when in reality they are not because they are suggesting that I do spend more time and do more work to make them happy. I apologize for being confusing about that, and I definitely was overreacting a bit and I'm sorry that I did so.

I think several suggestions and criticism here go far beyond the task of GP director and webmaster.
We all understand that it is a big task to run the GP.
But I can't hear from WPF director that the reason for not improving things over years is because small off-season window.
WPF board and director can think about improvments, study which are feasible, what are the coasts, take note of criticism and suggestions done by players, etc... at any time.
Only the implementation of these changes have to be done during the off-season - That means typically from september (if we don't count the finals that are offline) to end december.

I understand Jan's frustration when he mentionned that the GP website is running since several years and some problems are recurrent.

I also have the impression when I read for example the GA minutes over years, that the typical answer of the WPF board is "We'll ask Wei-Hwa if he can help" on so many subjects. And what if he can't help? Well, then nothing happens... I think this is not the way an ideal board of a World Federation should work.

Fred

I'm sorry but I don't know how we can study what is feasible without properly discussing with the tournament director and website admin. When it comes to the GP, we have to have their input for moving ahead. They are both paid to run things and aren't mindless robots. They have their own valued visions, capabilities and also most importantly, information on how changes will impact things. I am actually saying all this from experience: last year we did discuss the Puzzle GP, at length, before including Wei-Hwa and Karel, and then got enough new information that we had to continue just as much discussion as we had prior to their involvement. We need them involved in the discussions, without the continual stress of preparing for the next round.

I also don't think it is fair to say we always look to Wei-Hwa. We brought up the topic of the WPF bank account in an open forum for example, and even gave it a month after that, and no one came forward, so then we asked Wei-Hwa and he said yes. If he didn't we would continue looking, but it wasn't like our first directive was to go to him. The panel for 'what is a Sudoku?' was also decided in an open forum, and Wei-Hwa happened to volunteer for it. Again, not sure where "we'll ask Wei-Hwa" comes into this.

We have full teams (be it even of 4-5 people) running competitions in each country, some online and some offline, but at this global tournament we basically have three people (the tournament directors and one web admin) running 16+ rounds a year with some help from the WPF Director for the offline part. So what is several years to the competitor flies by for the organizing team.

I think it was 4 years ago, when I complained about things wrong with the GP and Wei-Hwa said to me, that if I think so many things are wrong I should get involved, and I did - and I can see how tough things are now while also trying to help out. I think one additional topic to discuss is about adding more personnel to the GP team, but we again need the tournament directors and web admin involved in this discussion to define specific tasks and plans.

"I'm sorry but I don't know how we can study what is feasible without properly discussing with the tournament director and website admin. When it comes to the GP, we have to have their input for moving ahead. They are both paid to run things and aren't mindless robots. They have their own valued visions, capabilities and also most importantly, information on how changes will impact things. I am actually saying all this from experience: last year we did discuss the Puzzle GP, at length, before including Wei-Hwa and Karel, and then got enough new information that we had to continue just as much discussion as we had prior to their involvement. We need them involved in the discussions, without the continual stress of preparing for the next round. "

- I was not thinking about changes that affect the competition itself, but improvments of the website. Of course, it needs to be discussed with Karel, but I don't think all ideas have to come from him. For example, the structure of the website is very unclear. No problem for regular users, but for a newcomer, or an external visitor (a journalist who would prepare an article about puzzle competitions?), how to easily understand the difference between "official results", "WPF GP results", "Final results". Some results of current year rounds are in the section "archive". How to find quickly the names of winners of a given year? etc...

"The panel for 'what is a Sudoku?' was also decided in an open forum"

-What is this open forum you speak about? I think lot of people heard about this panel during the GA in India and the members of the panel were already known, am I wrong? For those who were not in India and have no spies, the first appearance of this could have been in March 2018, when the GA minutes 2017 were published (could I still mentionned that this publication was not announced, nor in the news section of the WPF website, nor on the facebook page... so only very "motivated" people may have seen it).

Fred

Website changes do not need all ideas to come from Karel and that isn't what I implied either. But if we are discussing broad scale changes, the web admin has to be an important part of the discussion. For instance, the very changes you describe (most of which I agree with btw) require a full understanding of what the structure is now, whether these explanations are available somewhere already, require entirely new input or minor changes, and also a finalization of everything we are doing in one concrete plan, because I don't like changing the website a little bit at a time as that can be confusing from our side too.

In fact that may be the reason for the typos you pointed out elsewhere - there should have ideally been one document listing all the places where the year of the tournament needs to be changed - these are things I am listing to hopefully make it easier in future years.

Again, please understand that I am not saying improvements won't be done or giving excuses for why it hasn't been done, I just want to point out that we have been changing things, that we prioritized, in the time we have, like the Puzzle GP format, picking a new Sudoku GP Director, etc. The number one priority is to keep the tournament going, and that is itself significant effort, so the other things take a bit more time than is ideal.

About the 'What is a Sudoku?' panel - this was announced in the Open GA, and the members of the panel were not already known, they volunteered from the people who were present there. Members were also told to communicate to their members and let the Board know if anyone is interested. The Board got 4 volunteers, found them to be experienced enough and also considered the fact that two of them were primarily Sudoku enthusiasts so that the panel had a voice in that aspect, and approved it. If anyone else had expressed interest, it would have also been considered, even if they got back the next day, or the day after. The Swiss member was present at this meeting I believe.

Also, there was a mail sent to all WPF members (including personal members) at the time of publishing the GA minutes. I agree that it merits other ways of announcement too though, and will keep that in mind next time.

"In fact that may be the reason for the typos you pointed out elsewhere - there should have ideally been one document listing all the places where the year of the tournament needs to be changed - these are things I am listing to hopefully make it easier in future years."

- If you don't want to spend time doing this each year, because you don't find it is interesting enough, there are some solutions to display the current year in a text, for example using php:
<?php echo date("Y"); ?>
I understand this is a minor issue, but it is still a small task that has to be done once a year by someone.

"About the 'What is a Sudoku?' panel - this was announced in the Open GA, and the members of the panel were not already known, they volunteered from the people who were present there. Members were also told to communicate to their members and let the Board know if anyone is interested. The Board got 4 volunteers, found them to be experienced enough and also considered the fact that two of them were primarily Sudoku enthusiasts so that the panel had a voice in that aspect, and approved it. If anyone else had expressed interest, it would have also been considered, even if they got back the next day, or the day after. The Swiss member was present at this meeting I believe. "

- Thanks for the information. You're right, Markus asked me beginning November if I was interested to be a member of this panel.
I'm a bit surprised it took so long since the email you wrote to me in March 2017 in which you wrote "the board does want to work towards the issue" and the simple fact to ask for a panel of people to work on it.

I learnt by one member of this panel that the deadline of end March 2018 had to be postponed. This is also an information I would have liked to see somewhere.
I would like to know what is the new deadline for the text to be published on the WPF forum. Thanks.

Fred

Yes of course, this is also a consideration, to automate things that have to be changed each year, and also, reduce the number of places where they need to be changed (for instance, the GP schedule has to be changed on 4 separate pages, two on the GP website and two on the WPF website, I think 1 each should suffice) and my point is exactly this, if you try to change one thing, you will think of another, and another, and another, and doing this in a disjointed way gets very confusing. So I would rather sit down once the web admin and tournament directors are free, map out what is being done so far, what can be done to improve it and execute a complete plan together, rather than placing band-aids here and there repeatedly. There are some things that can be improved in the short term of course. I take the comments about the GP website news section seriously, and that area will be regularly updated hereon, as that can be done independent of much discussion.

The decision to have the panel was after many mails going back and forth about things to consider - of course, if the decision of having a panel was finalized in March, I would have asked for people a lot earlier too. This is an issue though - we discuss things in detail and there are 5 voices (6 now but at that time since I had vacated the Board position it was 5) who give varied input to any issue, but the end result is it may take time to reach a decision and execute it and then people on the outside are not aware of the efforts taken to reach there. Its why I wanted to archive our online discussions too last year, but frankly didn't have time for it because I was preoccupied with WSC and WPC. I hope to do that this year and moving forward though.

About the information of postponement, I agree with you. However, I have asked the panel for a new deadline, and thought it best to post about the postponement with the new deadline instead of stating it is indefinitely postponed.

Prasanna, can I ask you to repair (or ask the one who is responsible for this task to do it) the forum of WPF website http://forum.worldpuzzle.org/ , which shows a general error since february.
I would like to continue this discussion there, it makes no sense to continue here, as everything concerning GP has been said.

Thanks,
Fred

Fred, this is a big concern on our part too and all I can say right now is that it isn't for lack of trying that the forum isn't back up - I will be mailing the members about our steps forward relevant to the issue soon. I'll also post a note on the WPF website homepage itself when this is done. I ask for a few more days.

I take this opportunity to mention that the "About" section of the GP website still contains two "2017" instead of "2018". I already mentionned two of such small little forgetfulness in the beginning of the year (the logo and in the "Rules" section).

Guys, I hope you'll never take part in puzzle tournaments, these kind of small mistakes will cost you lot of points !

And it is the "6th WPF online Sudoku event and the 5th WPF online puzzle event.", not the "5th WPF online Sudoku event and the 4th WPF online puzzle event."...

Thanks for letting me know, I have updated those mistakes.

Karel (Admin)