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ilian04's blog

By ilian04, history, 6 weeks ago, In English,

After the last round (Codeforces Round #645 (Div. 2)), the trouble with problems' statements became quite obvious: many people liked the problem themselves, but legends do not. Some people even started talking about incorrect use of coronavirus theme in the statements, you can read this post.

It's quite a shame that the announcement and editoral get downvotes because of the legends, because making the legend is the most minor part of the problems, much more effort is spent on generating tests, inventing the problem itself, checking the solutions, writing tutorials, etc..

There are people who want to read only formal statements, and there are those who like to read legends. Unfortunately, the first ones are much more numerous, and some of them rate rounds not by problems, but by negative emotions caused during the contest, and in this case the legend.

It is often difficult to write a formal statements in a place with a legend, the participant is not obvious where to read what is important and what is not. But I think it's wrong to remove creativity on such an excellent platform as Codeforces. That's why I'd like to suggest this: the possibility to write a separate statements with a legend, a separate formal statements. That is, separate "tabs" in the problem with only formal statements, and the statements of which are now the majority on Codeforces.

This does not mean that the authors will have to invent a legend, the main thing is to write a formal statements for the participants. In this case, the legend's tab just contains a formal statements.

With this innovation, it will be better for everyone — the participants read the statements they want, and the authors are happy that the round is not free of creativity and the round is evaluated by the problems themselves.

I understand that this is likely to be difficult to implement, especially from the point of view of Polygon, but this update will be better for everyone. What do you think about it?

 
 
 
 
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6 weeks ago, # |
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Auto comment: topic has been updated by ilian04 (previous revision, new revision, compare).

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6 weeks ago, # |
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Well, it seems okay to joke around with no offensive sense. It were those people make insulting comments who intensify the problem.

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6 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -23 Vote: I do not like it

Upvoting just for the sheer hardwork ... that's so lengthy well done

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6 weeks ago, # |
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Yeah, let's force authors to make more work and review more statements, and also open themselves to more stupid critique along the lines "I used only formal statement because it is superior but the problem was easier to understand with legend, this should be forbidden!!1!"

I understand that you try to improve the situation.

But I think that increasing the workload of authors is never the right way. What we (as participants) should do is shut up and enjoy the problems.

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    6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    By coming up with legends, aren't the authors increasing the workload themselves? I mean, coming with a plain statement is a definitely easier.

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      6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Did you write any statements? Writing statements in pure math model is not always easier than writing it with legends.

      Let authors decide what they want to do and what they don't.

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    6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    By the way, now the editoral has a negative rating. I think not all participants can normally perceive the legends, I do not know why.

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      6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      To know, edotoral had more than +200 yesterday. The announcement was +700, now +500.

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        6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Oh, you are one of the authors. And I thought why are you so fixated on upvotes...

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    6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    So why don't you just shut up?!

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6 weeks ago, # |
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For the last some years I'm using a principle: write the statement exactly like it sounded when the problem was firstly proposed in the messenger to your friends. It works good, and I will continue doing it. Recommend to everybody.

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    6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Do your problems appear in any contests except Samara local contests?

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      6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      No, except:

      • Some problems in partially our contest in Petrozavodsk camp in 2011. I was not experienced then, so there were stories in problems. Now I feel they were unnecessary in like 8 or 9 problems out of 11. This is also a reason why that contest is not uploaded to CF.
      • Problems in CF rounds (you may see them on problemsetting tab on CF profile page).
      • Some problems in recent Yandex Cups in Petrozavodsk camps.
      • Some problems that have been accidently stolen from local Samara contests.
      • Some still unused problems I don't want to propose to local Samara contests, I'll soon find where to use them.
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6 weeks ago, # |
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I have to appreciate your effort man. You did a great job.

Some people are pissed because the Corona issue is something they take very seriously. Writing a statement about taking a vacation(problem D) is fine, according to me at least. But some may feel like you're encouraging or even subtly suggesting that it's okay to go outside, which we all know is not desirable during the current times because of this virus. Or let's take problem E, someone who's lost their job because of Corona may feel bad.

The point of a problem is to solve it, not to nitpick on the statement. If a problem statement says you're superman, it doesn't mean you jump from a building because the statement said you could fly. So I think people should just chill out and enjoy the problems and not make a big deal out of it.

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    6 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Maybe people should just enjoy them, but they don't. This is why there is a problem that I want to fix.

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6 weeks ago, # |
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The problem is not whether legends are used, but that these legends are controversial and offensive. It may not be the same for most people, but there are many Chinese people on CF. As a student in Wuhan, many people have been sacrificed in Covid-19, many of whom are relatives and friends. Nothing about freedom of speech, it is just a matter of respect for one to the other. Still thank you for your efforts to make the question, I also agree that everyone has the right to express their ideas, but at the same time, they should also be prepared to accept criticism from people who feel offended.

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6 weeks ago, # |
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Yes, a legend can make a problem funny and easy to understand. But you should know that the point was never whether to use the legend or not. You're avoiding the importance. There are a lot ways to write statements that don't offend anyone. It's your freedom to write what you want. It is also our freedom to criticize your content.

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6 weeks ago, # |
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A legend must be a "natural part" of a problem statement. If one just vigorously sticks a legend to a problem, that is not going to work. Hence I think not all problems need a legend but some do. Also Corona virus is not a neutral subject, it is a global issue and not all people love to cope with it by making jokes about it. So in general I don't think two versions for problem statements would be necessary.

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6 weeks ago, # |
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We can appreciate your efforts to prepare for the problem, and by the meantime we can also feel nauseous for your offending background and legends. Because if you are someone who has sympathy for people who died in the plague, you will clear that the implication will certainly annoy a group of people, but you still choose not to avoid it, just for catering to your own preferences. Plz be responsible for what you've done, like a real adult.

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6 weeks ago, # |
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This increases the probability of the round getting unrated because what if there is a small language fault which implies a totally different meaning than in formal statements or vice versa. And I don't think personally that anyone would waste time reading a legend if he has direct formal statement in front of him in contest time. While practicing he might read it though.

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6 weeks ago, # |
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I am sure that a problem should have a single statement. I do not plan to complicate the system in this way. As Um_nik correctly noted, such a change will increase the load on: development and support, writers, coordinators, and complicate the process of competition. I'm not sure what will bring something good.

Regarding the legends. My opinion is this: when writing a statement, you need to remember and bear in mind that the main purpose of a statement is to clearly and unambiguously formulate the problem. The statement should be comfortable to read. Sometimes legends help to do this since there is a certain naturalness in the formulated model. Sometimes not. Sometimes legends help lower the terminological bar of entry. Not all participants have the same conceptual apparatus in mathematics. A good statement for the problem should be written so (especially for easy problems) that even an unfocused reader without a background in math and without a strong knowledge of English can easily understand the problem.

Almost always, excessive literature complicates the perception of a part of the audience, it takes time and attention of a participant. The longer a competition (in terms of man-hours per problem), the less noticeable this effect. For example, in a 5-hour team ICPC competition, an unnecessary legend is less critical than in a 2-hour individual. On 5-hour school competitions with 3-5 problems, such legends are a little more appropriate than on regular Codeforces rounds. In addition, it should be borne in mind that in international online competitions the situation is becoming more complicated, as for the writers and for the participants, English is not a native language. And one of the author's tasks is to write so that the reading of statements does not turn into a test for understanding the author's English.

Legends are quite acceptable as a way of self-expression of a writer. But it's important not to cross the border, that it bothers or upsets participants.

Personally, my skepticism about your statements was that in some places your legends made reading and understanding more difficult. In addition, the statements that I saw shortly before the start required significant changes and improvements. I would prefer that your creative energy be more focused on writing understandable, detailed, clear statements, correcting English and Russian, just accuracy. I note that the flaws were not only in statements. It is good that most of them were quickly fixed. It seems to me that the final version of the statements (I did not read E and F carefully) is not bad to readers, there are no hard issues with them.

I'm not sure that the minuses to the editorial are solely due to legends in the statements. Your ROUND LOG part strangely prioritizes. For example, my and Ildar's efforts to improve the problems are skeptical. The analyzes themselves are not written in some places diligently and accurately:

  • Untranslated Russian words in the text of the post («идея», «задача»)
  • Not following your statements (Maria becomes Maria Ivanovna)

Including pictures in the analysis is debatable — you did such an experiment and probably got the result: there is a noticeable part of the audience who consider them superfluous.

In total, I'm glad we had the round. Thanks to you and 300iq. I am grateful to you for the problems and your efforts in preparing them.

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6 weeks ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +9 Vote: I do not like it

I think that people are not against legends in general. I doubt that many people didn't like the legends of A, C or E from your round.

On the other hand, phrases like this one

Solve this problem and get the cookie, or the coronavirus will extend the quarantine for five years and make the whole economy collapse!

simply look like some sort of clownery. Most people prefer statements without any jokes to statement with bad jokes.