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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: elevator

in: Cristina; Cristina > 2010-08-22

Aug 23, 2010 8:22 PM # 
sounds better than crossing an uncrossable swamp, jumping from one chunk of floating bog to another...but never being more than chest deep...only to find out after that according to Canadian rules @%#~!@# it's illegal even if the course setter does make the only other route choice through an equal distance of dark, dark green...sometimes you just have to use your best judgement.
Aug 24, 2010 2:55 AM # 
I'm all for creative - sounds like quick thinking on your part.

So you answered questions afterward? Sort of like a memory test? I've always carried the question list (and a pencil) along with me for that sort of thing. Totally fun, though - my troops have actually asked to do something like that when we get back. Maybe I'll volunteer to work that into our post-deployment "adventure training."
Aug 24, 2010 4:48 AM # 
No, I circled the answers as I went. I really just don't read so good.
Aug 25, 2010 12:24 AM # 
I completely understand your complaint about certain meet organizer's philosophies towards events of this type. At the pre-NAOC street-O event at Kimberley this summer, one of the questions was something like "How many steps does this staircase have?" The expected answer was 137. However, it wasn't clear what should count as a "stair", as the staircase had long flat sections inbetween the actual stairs. Plus, counting accurately from 1 to 137 in competition is a bit tough!

Yet, when I arrived at the finish with an answer of 136, the event organizers were going to not count my answer as correct, and I had to throw a bit of a fit to eventually get credit for the question :-) But by getting so close, clearly I proved I had been to the feature. And who is going to cheat in an informal little street-O event anyway?

I very much like this kind of event format for urban races, but I can easily see first-time orienteers be completely turned off by this Nazi-like attitude towards the questions--seeing them as the end in itself instead of the means toward the end, as you say.
Aug 25, 2010 1:31 AM # 
I totally agree -- the questions shouldn't be trick questions, only a formality to prove you were in the right place.

But what about when an answer comes down to enforcing pinpoint accuracy on the control location...?

At our CU Clue Score-O in 2008, a few people gave an answer that was close (red arrow, outer edge of control circle), but not correct (green arrow, exact center of control circle). I was the meet director, and it was a tough call because counting it or not made the difference between Troy and a super-competitive adventure racer getting first place.

I decided to exclude the close-but-incorrect answer (which made Troy the winner as a result), with the rationale that punching a nearby but wrong control on a "real" course wouldn't fly. (Even though controls on a "real" course wouldn't be so close together.)

Did I do the right thing?!?

Map snippet.
Aug 25, 2010 1:46 AM # 
I don't like the trick questions either. Though some people do. I try not to take it too seriously.

@bbrooke, I think you did the right thing (assuming the map is accurate). Those two spots are different enough that it is reasonable to expect someone to go to the right spot. Troy earned the victory.
Aug 25, 2010 2:03 AM # 
I also had an answer on the steps at Kimberly that was just 1 or 2 off, but they didn't give me any credit (to my mild annoyance). I counted in both up and down directions, but wasn't sure about landings and also the 2 or 3 steps back down from the top lamding. The question should have clarified, and with such a high number, a range should have been accepted.

In the illustration above by bbrooke, the map detail seems more than adequate to expect competitors to accurately locate the center of the circle. But on a less accurate map (typical of many urban trivia O's), allowances should be made.

Trivia O' questions should allow you to prove you were there, not force you to guess between choices. (Another trivia question at Kimberly also asked you to describe 2 uses of a building. It was obviously a school, and one entrance had a sign indicating a theater entrance. So I said school and theatre, which was apparently correct. But it didn't seem to me to be an absolutely clear decision and I worried about its correctness. After all, many schools have theatres or auditoriums, But they also have gyms (sports events), which this school appeared to have and cafeterias (eating). There also was a poster by the door indicating some sort of community gathering or activity... that could have counted as well? Although I very much enjoyed the Kimberly event, I also really appreciate the efforts of organizers to avoid ambiguity and unfairness (such as not accurately indicating which walls / routes are passable).
Aug 25, 2010 2:05 AM # 
The one I got wrong after using the elevator went something like this:

"How many words are on the 'Notice' sign on the stairway leading from the 5th floor to the 6th floor?" The answer was 7...

I misread it as how many words *other* than Notice are on the sign... So I circled 6. At the finish the course setter read the question to me and I immediately said, "Oh, I didn't count notice!" I was expecting to receive credit since obviously I had been there, because 6 + notice = 7. When I wasn't given credit, because I had also quite obviously answered incorrectly, I realized that the philosophy was different than mine. I like my approach better, but that doesn't mean that I don't recognize my score as entirely valid.
Aug 25, 2010 2:16 AM # 
By the way, there were a lot of foreign visitors at Kimberly and some of them had considerable difficulty with the complexity of language skills required by the trivia-O. Not a problem for local events but definitely something to consider at international festivals.

On a related note, the Colorado events in July only had English language descriptions for orange and below. Knowing that there were international guests, effort should have been made to have at least one symbolic translation posted on each day. On a couple days I did some on-the-spot translation to symbols for confused European kids.

Hey, I know organizers have 10 million things to do right and not everything will satisfy everyone every time...
Aug 25, 2010 12:13 PM # 
...effort should have been made to have at least one symbolic translation posted on each day....

Perhaps Mike. But over on the permanent courses around Stockholm, it is irritating that the clue sheet given out with the excellent but expensive maps is completely in Swedish. Didn't the Swedes invent the orienteering symbolic language?

I guess Americans shouldn't be faulted if the Swedes do it too!
Aug 26, 2010 3:16 AM # 
Permanent courses are not National Championship A-sanctioned events. On a permanent course or training run, understanding the descriptions is a nicety. In competition, it is part of fairness. I believe that most orienteers pride ourselves in the international language of our maps and symbols, and the ability to compete anywhere in the world on a perfectly equal basis.

Again, organizers have a million things to prioritize and I thank the Colorado organizers for hard work and fun orienteering. But it can only help us to improve our "product" in the future if we look at the aspects of particular events that make that particular event more or less enjoyable to our "customers". I know a couple Europeans who will remember a moment of frustration that could and should have been prevented. Will it colour their overall memory of the event and their recommendations to future orienteering travellers, or even their future participation in and contribution to te sport? Who's to say?

The first real O' event I ever went to, unbeknownst to me, was an "A" meet. (Chitownclark's home club, by the way) Initially the organizers told me I couldn't sign up day-of-event for a competitive course. I insisted that I hadn't driven 150+ miles to do "recreational" and they very generously and wisely let me in. If they'd said no, would I have simply walked away? Probably not, but its possible. If I'd only done a white rec instead of a competitive orange, would I have been equally hooked on the sport? No way to know. Would I have signed up to do a competitve blue (M21) at the US Champs the next month? Likely not, as doing so well on the "intermediate" orange course convinced me that I could potentially do well in this sport.

The bottom line is that you never know where the impression you make on that next "customer" will lead. Let's make sure we make every effort to make them happy with the experience.

Back to trivia-O, in my mind that means fun and fair, avoiding ambiguous questions and answers that could needlessly frustrate some or many participants.
Aug 26, 2010 4:27 AM # 
Pink Socks:
I'm really spoiled with the well-oiled trivia-o machine of the Street Scrambles in Seattle. The questions are not meant to trick, so answer choices are usually pretty distinct. For counting stairs (which I've had to do before), we'll see three distinctly different ranges to choose from. I've never had to count words. If it's a sign, it'll be, "What is the last word on the sign?" or whatever.

In the event of a disputed question, they'll usually accept multiple answers. The event we just had last week had several (a rarity).

It's hard to circle the answer while trying to move along quickly

Try drawing a simple, straight line through the correct answer. It's a lot easier than a circle, and it avoids accidentally circling the question above it, too.
Aug 26, 2010 7:58 PM # 
permanent courses around Stockholm...

I suppose visiting orienteers from abroad are not considered a major customer base for those maps - while regular outdoors-minded non-orienteering Swedes are. The symbolic language is known only to orienteers and makes things harder if you´ve never seen it before. I don´t think translating to several languages has even been considered.

On the other hand - for international events (or national events with visitors from abroad) I would say English is perfectly enough as the "official" language. People visiting should realize that information will not be translated to every obscure language possible. I understand that kids (10-12-year olds) may have problems with a foreign language - but I´m sure they can live with that since their "real" courses at least would be using symbols.
Aug 26, 2010 9:33 PM # 
All courses should have symbolic descriptions, and beginner courses should also have descriptions in the local language. That's how beginners can easily learn the symbols.
Aug 26, 2010 11:43 PM # 
Agreed with JJ. The problem was that the beginner and intermediate up through M-16 / W-16) had ONLY local language (English) and NOT symbolic descriptions.

This discussion thread is closed.