Wednesday, April 28, 2010


With more than 3 million English articles to its name, Wikipedia, is without question one of the most important sources of knowledge today. While some come to Wikipedia to acquire knowledge, others arrive here to share knowledge. Basically, anyone who has internet access can contribute a new article or update existing articles. While this open-source culture (that Wikipedia practices) does encourage contributions, unavoidably, some of these contributions may contain false or debatable information.

YS explained that he had referenced to this Wikipedia article for the following question:

Q26: 500 metres?
Ans: Pusat Membeli Belah @ The Forum

Without quoting any sources, I find it challenging to confirm or dispute the claim (by the author of the article) that li (里), today has a standardized length of 500 meters. However, I'd like to point out that a number of my trusty dictionaries reprinted in the 21st century eg. Webster still has li (里) listed as one third of a mile, which is not exactly 500 metres.

While it may be true that the Wikipedia article could have the most recent information as articles get refreshed every few seconds, there is still this lingering thought in my mind on whether Wikipedia should rightfully be treated as a reference or as a standard!


Cornelius said...

In my recent KK Challenge 6, there was a clue referring to something forbidden in the Garden of Eden. No mention whatsoever based on which source. When crafting that clue, I did not even bother to research from the bible. Neither did I check from Wikipedia or any other internet sources etc. Turned out that someone submitted a bunch of grapes! I was told that somewhere in an internet source, someone interpreted the forbidden fruit as the grape, not the apple. Nevertheless, an overwhelming percentage of the submissions, and indeed people in general, would think of the apple as the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

I'm inclined to think that when dealing with the general knowledge, especially when there is no conclusive evidence of which is the correct answer, then the one answer which is shared by the vast majority should stand. Hence if the vast majority sees the apple as the forbidden fruit, and there is nothing in the bible that would conclusively reject this, then the apple should be taken as the "universally accepted" answer for our purpose.

In this particular case, that "LI" itself is a very rare unit, and it is difficult to say what the average man in the street would equate that unit to. There is not really a basis of assessment on what's the popular answer in this case. I would certainly consult my dictionary when faced with "LI", and I would surely take the meaning provided by that dictionary.

I will post this first, and then continue shortly...

Cornelius said...

That said, however, we are now faced with the question of an alternative scenario where the hunter, instead of checking his dictionary, decides to verify the info from Wikipedia? In such a case, he is bound to arrive at LI = 500 metres. Are we still in the position, as in the case of the apple of the Garden of Eden, to claim that most people understand "LI" is a third of a mile, and not 500 metres? To put it bluntly, can we insist that LI = 1/3 mile?, not 500m?

I think not, because I'm convinced that not many people are aware of the meaning of "LI" to start with. And in this modern age, we can't argue that most people would check from the dictionaries and not from Wikepedia!

In the end, I think sometimes it boils down to what's the best we can find to fit the clue from within the given hunt sector.

Obviously this is not the most satisfactory affair, but sometimes it may happen in treasure hunts. I suppose we can say that such questions are not "elegant". But then again elegance is not compulsory in hunt clues. And some CoCs are not particularly concerned about elegance anyway!

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Taking into account that:

1. This is not a situation of:

Spot li-Confirm li (with reference)-Answer li

2. And the fact that the CoC had raised the bar by churning out a DJ riddle.

3. Plus, it was not a sign that was easy to spot too!

.... Unless one happens to refer to the same source used by the CoC, it is unlikely that he can derive the same solution!

My hat goes off to the Winners of the hunt, who were probably the only team who broke this question!

Cornelius said...

Yes, 2R1I, even if everyone can eventually agree to accept LI=500m, I still don't like this particular Q.

I myself would try to come up with 1 or 2 Qs meant as insurance policies to deny the top teams the perfect score, but I'd like to do it a bit differently. And this is where the ideas may differ from one CoC to another.

I can - if I want to - set a Q which would require a very specific knowledge on, say, an extinct plant of the Amazon jungle which is hardly known by anybody alive. And then there is nothing in the clue that would suggest that a special knowledge is required in the riddle. Furthermore, even if the hunter realises that a special knowledge is required, I can ensure that it won't be very easy to find that info online. Beyond that, I can also make sure that I choose the smallest sign within the sector etc. etc.

And then when the punishment is over and the curtain comes down, the denouement is accompanied by the smile of the ring master.

But quite truthfully, I won't be very proud of myself. For I can't see anything smart about that at all. The hunters may say something like "Oh, even if I spent the whole day there, I still won't find the answer!"

I'd like, if I can help it, to set something very solvable, and "obvious" for the majority of the teams. Yet because of some tricks or twists in the riddle, they fail to solve the riddle anyway! The kind of riddle that would make them feel frustrated for not seeing the tricks! That is the best insurance policy the CoC can be proud of.

Liew said...

2 teams got the answer. The winners said they 'tembak' it after much deliberation after arriving at the finish control as they ruled out all other signs and guessed that the coc was doing a DJ trick again because of the the 'pusat' somehow but don't really know how or why.

Did not managed to ask the other team (non-regular) how or why they put that as the answer.


Cornelius said...

I was just about to comment on that, KS.

It was when I was hunting in the Tiger Show when it was mentioned that 2 Qs were unsolved in that hunt. And then later on, I think Mike actually brought it up again in his blog. I wanted to comment, but eventually forgot all about it!

I think I prefer the term unanswered (correctly) as opposed to unsolved. Teams may not have solved the Q, but instead tembak and got lucky! In that sense, strictly speaking, that Q is unsolved, although it may be correctly answered because of the lucky tembak.