Should goo difficulty be eliminated?

1 vote
5 votes
1 vote

Scott Hardie | November 30, 2021
Someone (who I won't name but may identify themselves if they wish) sent me a private message suggesting that the difficulty estimate per celebrity goo is no longer needed and should be eliminated, since the points per goo no longer take it into account.

The difficulty estimate is technically still used for one thing, which is the randomized selection of each day's goo. The nightly process that chooses each next goo tries to choose more easy goos than hard goos (specifically, it tries to make around 10% of goos be very hard, 15% hard, 20% medium, 25% easy, and 30% very easy), though of course it can only serve up what it has available. This could be removed without any long-term effect on the game; all goos created will eventually publish sooner or later.

The difficulty estimate has been controversial for much of the game's history. People would mockingly ask "how can such an easy goo possibly be considered hard?" and vice versa. I removed it for a while, ultimately bringing it back in service of the pagoda system, and I think it's been uncontroversial since then. That's partly because the game now defines exactly what each level of difficulty is supposed to mean instead of it being just a gut feeling, and partly because I clarified that it's just a subjective estimate by the creator, not some kind of objective fact, since difficulty is in the eye of the beholder.

Does the difficulty designation affect the goo's difficulty in and of itself? I can imagine some goos where there's an obvious answer and a more clever hidden answer if you pay closer attention, and seeing "easy" or 'hard" beside it would tell you how much thought to put into it.

So I'm curious what everyone thinks. Should difficulty go away again? Do you like it? Dislike it? I appreciate the feedback.

Erik Bates | November 30, 2021
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Steve West | November 30, 2021
I find them useful but not necessarily accurate for my mindset. Goos rated medium difficulty but are not recognizable as even human throw me. Relying on clues exclusively makes me often tangle with wordplay. But the difficulty rating does help me on occasion.

Chris Lemler | November 30, 2021
Here is the situation with the difficulty. Some of the difficulty of the goo's can really be misleading. Just like the goo Ronnie Wood that Steve made that was listed hard wish should have been rated very hard. Only 2 people guessed it right, which I don't know how they found it. To me the difficulty doesn't play into the game just plays into the fact how long it take to solve.

Russ Wilhelm | December 1, 2021
I agree with Steve. It also serves to get my mind set for the effort I might have to put into finding the solution. I've been thrown by easy Goos and found some hard Goos easily, but that's me, and for the most part I've found the ratings to be fairly accurate.

LaVonne Lemler | December 1, 2021
I can take it or leave it! The difficulty doesn't affect the game in any way, so it wouldn't hurt to lose it. I, too, feel the difficulty rating is off occasionally, but how each player works to solve a goo really tells the story --- it will be different for everyone! On the other hand, a few times when I logged on later in the evening (tired!) and saw a goo labeled "hard" or "very hard", I simply shut it down and decided to try the next day!

It would be interesting to do a season without the difficulty to see how everyone feels then --- but that's more work for you, Scott. Being retired, I don't worry about how long it takes to solve a goo ---- whenever I have time, I log on and work on it. Some I get faster than others, but always realize I have seven days to get it done. Other times, I can't solve it, throw my hands in the air and simply give up! Lol

Scott, whatever you and the others decide is fine with me!

Scott Hardie | December 6, 2021
Erik, I like your idea. I have thought about simply reviewing the data that we already have (the number of solves vs. the predicted difficulty), but that is of course skewed by the small player base that we have, mostly dedicated players who are likely to solve any goo at any difficulty. We would need a lot more data to make realistic predictions that way.

I'll consider Erik's proposal of gathering that data, and continue to consider the original suggestion of removing the difficulty entirely. For the moment (especially given the lopsided vote), I'll leave it alone.

Thanks for the feedback, everybody!

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