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Thread: My take on this hunt -- one man's opinion

  1. #11
    shirleylock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molnar
    Well, Shirleylock, once you get beyond the righteous indignation and ad hominem attacks, your post doesn't really say much besides these summarized points:
    Righteous indignation? No.

    Ad hominen attacks? No.

    Sarcastic? Yes.

    Calling Charles out for misrepresenting my name? Yes, definitely. I know that you have no way of knowing I'm talking about here, since you weren't in chat the night Charles is referencing - and please know, I'm not faulting you for not knowing. Please recall however, Charles wanted people to make a call on his credibility. When he brings my name into something and misrepresents me, I will call him/his credibility on it. That's not ad homininem. And, honestly, if you'll take the time to reread my post you'll see that I don't disagree with all of what he wrote. My point certainly was not to discredit his "points", except for his very loose use of "scam" and "fraudulent" which those of us in chat have been hearing from him for quite some time. He has some valid points, but for those of us who have, for quite some time, listened to him gripe about this game and how it's a scam - and do so with other hunts as well.... it's just old.

    For what it's worth, Calvin sums up my thoughts quite well here:

    I just don't see how any of you could be using the terms 'fraudulent' or 'scam' and believe that you are using these words correctly. These are harsh accusations. Without being a semantic stickler, someone really needs to be saying one thing while doing another to be labelled 'fraudulent'. Ken's rules are easy to find, easy to read. If he doesn't stick to them (doesn't mail out checks as promised, tells prospective buyers that certain prize categories are still available when they aren't, changes the rules so that prizes are ultimately withheld, etc.), then yes, that would be fraudulent. As of now, nothing remotely 'fraudulent' has happened.
    and here:

    That being said, have to admit that I actually agree with several of your general criticisms, particulary the ones that question the effectiveness of chaperoned confirmation solves. My contention is that it seems slanderous (and not without consequence) to call any of this fraudulent or a scam.

    When those terms are used, they need to be right.
    Peace and happy puzzling.

    Shirleylock
    Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by calvin

    While I slightly prefer your smug first-year law student style of writing to Shirleylock's emotional vendetta, I feel that both are using your egoic identifications to miss the actual point.
    Well, dang it! There it is again...my miscommunication in written word. Actually, Calvin, I was having a bit of fun writing that - not at all emotional - sarcastic - uh huh! Unfortunately, my main points were lost in that sarcasm (lesson noted). Those points were:

    I didn't want my name/words in chat misrepresented.

    I agree with your assessment, calvin, of the use of words "scam" and "fraudulent", and have, along with several others attempted to discuss such with Charles while in chat. I agree whole heartedly with your post and and this statement, "My contention is that it seems slanderous (and not without consequence) to call any of this fraudulent or a scam, " is at the center of my zeal.

    Thank you for stating what I also believe. Apologies to you, and any others with the same impression, for coming across as "emotional". Heck, I only wanted to be sarcastic.

    Shirleylock
    A "diehard puzzle solver who is a certifiable fine-print lunatic scouring and interpreting every last detail of a contest book" - but one who also knows that life is too short and there are far more important things in life


    Peace.
    Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

  3. #13
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    Calvin, Shirleylock,

    I agree that the words fraudulent and scam are loaded words. I tried to make it a point not to make any accusations to that effect in my post. If I failed in that respect, then I retract any implied accusations --- I have no proof to make such accusations. And using loaded words when not making an accusation is disingenuous. That said, I do not see where accusations have been brought forward. These are opinions in a discussion. The title of this thread has the word opinion in it, not accusation. More on my usage of those words in a moment.

    As an aside, I will just note that the use of loaded words, however unfortunate, is pervasive. Take for instance the phrase "smug first-year law student style of writing." This uses the loaded words first-year to to imply incompetence and law student to associate the negative aspects attributed to lawyers as a means to dismiss my arguments without judging the merits of the arguments themselves. I don't take any offense to this, I'm just making a point. I eat first year-law students for breakfast. Shirleylock, your statement about points being lost in sarcasm is quite true. As a grizzled veteran of the sarcastic post, that is why I tried a different approach.

    Ok, back to fraudulent and scam. The points in my post above were hypothetical, and I should clarify that the usage of these terms refers not to the money-making framework of the contest, but a point brought up by Charles about the possibility of the puzzles not being able to be solved without the clues, or worse, the possibility that the puzzles are unsolvable. I did a rather poor job of making that distinction, but I hope you would agree that that scenario would constitute fraud or a scam, at least in the colloquial use of the words (I cannot comment on the legal usage as I have no expertise in that area).

    The bottom line is that we probably can't know until it's too late if there is something funky with this or any contest. If Charles continues to solve all the puzzles by any means available, he would at least be doing the community a service by determining if the puzzles are solvable. This contest is in the stage where more and more people could be enticed to enter based on word of mouth. As I posted in another thread when this contest first began, it it important for potential contestants to read and understand the rules. This is just common sense, but people tend to be too trusting without realizing what they are getting themselves into. So if you only take away one thing from what I said let it be that: READ AND UNDERSTAND THE RULES. Fair enough?
    WHRECVBBLSMCEYVIHTEOIZROMR

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molnar
    fraudulent disingenuous pervasive hypothetical constitute colloquial

    GAH! So many big words!!
    *runs and hides from molnar's vocabulary*
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  5. #15
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    CThree,

    Moderate,

    people are getting nasty and using big words.

    moderate they are not!

    MArk

  6. #16
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    Molnar and Shirleylock,

    Despite the fun of online bantering, I think that essentially we are all in agreement. I need to give Molmar a little more credit than I had...the way this contest is set up does have a real potential to be less than it appears at the outset. In order for that to happen, a string of unethical events would need to happen, and it is naive to think that such things do not occur in this world. It is best to be aware of the possibility while assuming innocence until any wrongdoing actually occurs.

    Shirleylock: thanks for taking my "emotional vendetta" comment in stride...our posts actually make very similar points!

    Molnar: thanks for taking the "smug first-year law student" comment in stride...I was referring to a demographic that tends to use big words when a common, smaller word would do just fine. It doesn't take away from the points you make, but your criticism of Shirleylock's writing style made you fair game! Seriously, since I've written my first response I've grown to realize how important this topic is, and genuinely appreciate the way you and CharlesLS have opened my mind to a problem that could, but hopefully won't, happen.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4ll1f3r
    CThree,

    Moderate,

    people are getting nasty and using big words.

    moderate they are not!

    MArk

    Let 'em roll.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by cthree
    Let 'em roll.
    What? Heads? You're not supposed to enjoy it!

    Mark

  9. #19
    CharlesLS is offline Junior Twelever +1 Bronze CharlesLS is an unknown quantity at this point
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    I agree with much of what has been said here on both sides of the debate. You'll notice that in my somewhat lengthy post, I did not use the word fraud at any time. I do not believe Ken has done anything illegal. On the other hand, I don't think BTG did anything illegal. That doesn't mean very many of our members would recommend participating in that hunt, now does it?

    From the outset, it should have been clear to everybody that the rules were written so that this hunt was potentially a scam. I think it's clear from this discussion that everybody now recognizes this, and the debate we are having is simply as to whether it is a genuine hunt with very poor rules or whether it is a scam.

    I greatly appreciate authors writing these hunts, whether for money or for free. (I enjoy most the MIT Puzzle Hunt, in which the "prize" is that the winning team gets to write the next one.) As a result, my initial impression, after reading the rules, was that I should be wary, but that I'd give the author the benefit of the doubt.

    There is, as I mentioned, the possibility that the puzzles have been written in such a way as to prevent there from being a grand prize winner unless a certain number of books have been sold. Further, the rules are definitely written in such a way as to prevent Ken from having to pay money to legitimate winners for a lengthy period of time. And, just to point something out, money decreases in value with time. Winning $4000 for puzzle 10 today is worth more than winning $4000 for puzzle 10 six years from now. After all, with reasonably large sums of money a 10% return on investment is quite possible; at that rate $4000 six years from now is worth more like $2200 today.

    However, it is also possible that this truly is a scam or worse, and that Ken has no intention of paying the higher prize money at any time. I do not know if this is the case. And I would tell Molnar, shirleylock, calvin, lizardlips, and everybody else in this thread that they don't know either.

    What I would point out though is that the rules are written in such a manner that we can only believe in the integrity of this competition if we trust Ken. The rules are very certainly written so that this is not a transparent competition, like many others. Instead, this is one in which information is hidden, and we are simply forced to have faith in Ken. For that matter, I didn't even find out whether my answer to 2 through 5 were correct prior to getting checks.

    So what I would say is this. Ken is asking us to trust him here. I didn't just go and make this post without talking to Ken first -- I expressed my concerns to him, but didn't get answers. I think that if Ken cannot answer these questions, we should be concerned. I hope that by posting them here, I'll get some answers that will convince all of us, myself included, that this contest is genuine and above board.

    1) Ken, you advertised this as a contest designed, unlike in your view ATT, to reward the first solvers of your puzzles with prizes. How do you reconcile this with treating the first submission on puzzle 6 in exactly the same manner as the 200th?

    2) You introduced rules stating that you would use verification puzzles to ensure that each puzzle was solved by the person who submitted it. You also stated that the rules on puzzles 6-11 were not in order to delay payments, but rather to ensure that people did not give out solutions. Now that you have verification puzzles in place, why won't you treat puzzles 6-11 like all of the others and check our submitted answers?

    3) You stated that you would not check answers because telling somebody whether their answer was correct provided a hint. Was I really hearing this right? If telling somebody their answer is incorrect provides a hint, why will you do this for puzzles 2-5? If telling somebody their answer is incorrect provides a hint, why would you bother with a 15-day waiting period for wrong submissions? And for that matter, are you really trying to tell me that somebody who has not solved a puzzle will be helped by learning that their solution is incorrect, without any further elaboration, and given the 15-day waiting period?

    4) If checking answers provides a hint, does that mean when 200 people have submitted the answer to #6, if, say, 190 of them have it right but 10 have it incorrect, you will not tell the 10 who have it incorrect that they were wrong? If so, doesn't that make it even tougher for this contest to truly reward the first people to solve a puzzle?

    5) You told us that you created on puzzle with help from a book, and that you would point us to the source when enough copies had been sold. Does this mean the contest will probably not have a winner unless you sell enough books? If not, why did you write a puzzle this way?

    I think most of the people reading this thread would agree with me that if Ken answers these 5 questions satisfactorily, we could be convinced that this contest is genuine. I think Ken's unwillingness to answer these questions would be evidence in the other direction, and it was his unwillingness to answer these questions when I first posed them which led me to start this thread.

    Hopefully with the added publicity we'll get some good answers, and everybody can then decide for themselves whether this hunt is worth continuing.

    Look, I have nothing against Ken personally. He seems like a nice guy. I really appreciate the work authors put into these hunts, and I enjoy both writing them and pariticipating in them. However, in order for these hunts to be profitable, they need an audience. Hunts like the Buried Treasure Game erode the trust between our community and these authors, and if we do not do a good job of figuring these things out ourselves, there will not be enough trust left for any hunts to survive. I think it is imperative that we figure out whether this hunt is genuine, and treat it accordingly. If it is genuine, the puzzles are interesting and we should support it fully. If it is not, we should let everybody know so that people are not so soured by this experience that they stop supporting other authors.

    Let's hope that it is genuine, and that Ken will jump in here and convince us.

  10. #20
    cthree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4ll1f3r
    Quote Originally Posted by cthree
    Let 'em roll.
    What? Heads? You're not supposed to enjoy it!
    Even though I know t4ll1f3r is just joking ( ), I'd like to make it clear that we are not enjoying this at all. People losing faith in hunts here in the US sucks because its happened in our past (golden horse) and part of our mission is to try with communication to make sure nothing like that ever happens again. On the same token, we do appreciate people asking questions and being interested in the ruleset and model of the hunts here. It is completely logical and reasonable to ask these questions and is ignorant imo to NOT ask them. We want you guys to be able to have faith in the hunts we have here. As well, we are not in the position to give our opinions (on the integrity of a hunt) without legal threats (yes we tried.). So please do keep this up. I agree Ken seems like a nice guy. I also agree the ruleset seems bloated and designed for an unnanounced purpose. Do keep in mind that is my personal opinion and does not reflect the opinions of Tweleve.org.

    Anyway...there have been some very direct questions asked. While they wouldn't satisfy all of my concerns by a long shot, they would be a good start.

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