What do you think about Topcoder's policy regarding (not) revealing the author before the round? This time I was allowed to announce I'm an author (btw. do participate in SRM 727!) but it was generally forbidden so far. Should it stay that way? Cons of announcing the author:
- Every problem setter has their own style of problems. Some people will skip rounds of some setters because they don't like some type of problems. So one should carefully choose rounds in order to maximize their rating.
- Knowing the problem author might help you in solving a problem, e.g. when you know this author loves flows.
- Rounds of new setters aren't that attractive so they might get fewer participants.
My opinion is that one's rating doesn't matter much so (1) isn't important. Similarly, I'm fine with the fact that you can read problems in CF but decide not to participate — it doesn't affect me much.
If we want to deal with (2), we would also have to forbid any personal references in the statements. I wouldn't want that.
The last thing (3) is actually fine in my opinion. The author should try their best to prepare nice problems and his/her reward will be high participation in his/her next round.
Pros of announcing:
- Hopefully more participants in general. As an author, I want my round to get many participants and thus I announce it on CF and I invite my friends on facebook or in person. Let's also note that usually a problem setter and thus his/her friends are highly rated — in some way they make the contest more prestigious and indirectly increase the participation in the future.
- I don't have to hide from friends that I'm preparing a round. While it's normal to not show statements, solutions, etc., it's very hard to ensure that nobody sees that I use topcoder software or that I'm current coding in Intelli (what implies Java that I use only for TC). I'm talking mainly about programming camps where I'm usually not alone in a room. On the other hand, I once talked with Petr about this and he gave a good counterargument: a setter is paid for their work and there might be some requirements, also about keeping something secret.
- As a participant, I'm more eager to attend rounds of some authors. If I like their problems, I'm more likely to skip classes or stay awake until 3am. Thus, I prefer to know.
- Other platforms reveal everything and nobody complies.
My opinion is that authors or particular problems should be secret only for big important contests like IOI, acm regionals and WF, TCO. We usually know who authors are there but every detail matters there and thus we shouldn't know the exact author of each problem. And reasons about high/low participation don't matter there.
What is your opinion?
I wrote two comments to create a voting, but I think discussing arguments is much more important.