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Re: Want a million dollars?

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Oct 03, 2006 at 21:20 UTC ( #576190=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Want a million dollars?

May I be cynical?

There is this contest for a million dollars. I know a bunch of smart folks. I'll try to get them interested in being on a team with me, and I might make a bunch of cash off of their talent.

I see what is in it for you. But what is in it for me? If I was motivated enough to seek this million dollars (I'm not), and I'm smart enough to possibly succeed (possibly = low odds in my case), I'm not going to want to be partnered with a large group of people, most of whom are going to contribute very little to my effort. But many of whom will be quick to say that they contributed something. That sounds like a headache. Doubly so since it is well known that large groups of people tend to suffer from apathy. Read The Logic of Collective Action for more on that.

If I wanted to put in the work, I'd register my own team, download the data, and try a bunch of things by myself, or with a small number of highly motivated friends. I wouldn't participate in a perlmonks team. I believe that my way of thinking is likely to be common among the people who are most likely to do the work.

I therefore predict that if someone from perlmonks wins the prize, they won't be participating in your team.

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Re^2: Want a million dollars?
by zby (Vicar) on Oct 04, 2006 at 06:24 UTC
    That's why I proposed to declare upfront that the money goes to some worthy cause instead of splitting it. This way they could avoid the gaming - ie subscribing to the team and doing nothing in hope that others will do it for you. I think the apathy of big teams comes from the feeling of unfairness. I've seen somewhere an article with the thesis that people would sacrify their own good to punish what they see unfair, this is in our nature. So the only way to motivate people to do something in a big team is to show them that there cannot be any unfairness. goes to some worthy cause instead of splitting it. This way they could avoid the gaming...

      Not entirely.

      Consider the value of adding to one's resume the claim of participation (membership) on the prize-winning team in a big-bucks competition.

Re^2: Want a million dollars?
by Mutant (Priest) on Oct 03, 2006 at 21:50 UTC
    Who's to say kwaping isn't one of the "motivated / smart" people you mention, and this is his/her effort to get together a small group of people to do just that. Maybe s/he doesn't have the right friends for the job, but is excellent at choosing good people and organising them?

    I agree that less is more (that phrase could have been invented for talking about the size of programming teams) but there's nothing in the OP that mentions "getting as many people as possible to participate".
      The way that kwaping set about soliciting for contributions is evidence against his or her excellence at choosing and organizing people. Feel free to trawl kwaping's posts looking for evidence of great ability.

      Again, I'm not saying that my cynical response is correct. But it was my first response, and I presented it because I think it is useful for people to learn to be a little bit cynical in analyzing proposed opportunities.

      Update: grinder [pointed out that I said troll where I meant trawl. Fixed.

Re^2: Want a million dollars?
by kwaping (Priest) on Oct 03, 2006 at 22:01 UTC
    I was originally going to try it by myself, but I figured I'd see if anyone else wanted to join in the fun. My grand idea is to have the winning team be a sort of open source movement. Of course, PM was the first place that came to mind for a community of brilliant programmers.

    Do you really think I'm the type of person that would fool a bunch of people into doing the work for me so I could get a cut of the money? Doesn't my mere presence on PM (and rank obtained) suggest that isn't the case? I would agree with your cynicism if I had just joined and had zero posts previous to this. But I think you're really reaching in this case.

    It's all fine and dandy until someone has to look at the code.
      Sorry, but your presence and rank on perlmonks don't mean much to me. You are person 438 in Saints in our Book. Anyone who shows up and votes religiously on this site for a few years should be able to reach a rank like that. That doesn't say much about what you personally are like, or how good you are.

      I have paid no attention to you in the past so I don't know what you're like. Glancing at your highest rated nodes and looking for one that shows your level of Perl knowledge, I see Using a module more than once. This shows that you have fundamental misunderstandings about how Perl works, and shows that you are not in the habit of looking in perldoc first for answers. (perldoc -f use would have given your answer.) Sorry, but this doesn't inspire confidence in your ability to realistically contribute to a problem like this.

      Furthermore as a personal bias, I dislike the groupthink on this site that says that people from this site are all great. Not only do I dislike that groupthink, but I tend to think relatively poorly of the people who subscribe to it, and doubly so of those who expect me to subscribe to it. So you get a bad reaction from me by insisting that your presence on perlmonks demonstrates that you can't be the kind of person that my (admittedly cynical) first reaction suggested you might be.

      I'm not saying that my cynical response is accurate, but it really was my first reaction. And as much as you might dislike it, I don't think it was particularly unfair under the circumstances.

        I agree with the substance of your arguments, but I think you have definitely erred on the side of unkind cynicism. It is likely that kwaping started out with a decent amount of enthusiasm and you have certainly made it more difficult for him to build a team from the ranks of PerlMonks ... I'm not sure what else you have accomplished with your words, apart from a few not-so-subtle put-downs. Striking a blow against groupthink in general seems a rather quixotic goal for which to strive.

        As one who is of similar rank and presence to kwaping, I will certainly concede that such rank and presence means little, except that such a person has posted something that other folks approved, averaging around 10 XP per post. This reveals that they (a) are reasonably committed to doing something over the long haul, and (b) have enough time on their hands that they don't require compensation for everything they do. Those seem like some of the qualifications one would seek in recruiting team members for a project like this. Granted, neither of us come near your lofty status or prolific talent, but, as you've pointed out, you're not motivated to try for this prize, so you're not available. :)

        I have few illusions left about the people on this site as a group. I agree with your assessment that membership on PerlMonks doesn't make you automatically a great person, having recently been savaged by a spate of vindictive down-voting by a collection of folks who I apparently offended. By and large I'm impressed by a few individuals, but not particularly enamored with the community as a whole, especially when it seems to be prone to knee-jerk communal disapproval of anything that ends up in Worst Nodes. But that doesn't mean that kwaping can't find a small group of like-minded folk who want to take a shot at the prize he mentions. What's it to you? Why the desire to rain on his parade?

        A simple "Hey, that's not my cup of tea." would have sufficed, I think.

        Where I draw the line: I try not to deliberately offend without good reason. - remeber who said this?

        BTW "Glancing at your highest rated nodes and looking for one that shows your level of Perl knowledge, I see Using a module more than once. This shows that you have fundamental misunderstandings about how Perl works, and shows that you are not in the habit of looking in perldoc first for answers."...Err no. It shows that a year ago he took what could definitly be called the wrong approach to something. Assuming anything else will....well i'm sure you've heard what assuming does to you right?

        Eric Hodges
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