Or, to compress the question, the various differences between data compression. I hate having to answering such school-type questions1, but I guess we're always ready to pawn our soul for 10 points :-). So we defined it as being techniques "for reducing the size of data for transmission/storage etc" (paraphrasing), but were ruled wrong. I'm not sure what the correct answer was, but I think it was to the effect of "extracting only that info from data that is needed" (memory fails me, as I was still reeling from the surprise). Without going deeply into data compression, there are different kinds: lossy (like in MP3s where you say that some data/info is unimportant enough to be thrown away) or lossless (such as in file compression, where you have a different, smaller form of your data to cheaply store or transmit). I'm not sure what was needed here.
The quizmaster did assert that he knew what he was looking for, he knew it would be one of this tricky ones, and he had sources who helped him "nail this one". He also did apologise a couple of times later, saying that he knew it was one of those borderline ones (i.e. for the inherent ambiguity, not that he was wrong about it), which was kind of him, I suppose.
- It's a terrible kind of question to ask - school homework-ish at best. Neither was it entertaining.
- If a quiz-setter knows a question/answer is inherently vague or prone to misinterpretation, then he'd be better off not asking it
- If it's not a domain you are familiar with, then you are dependent on hearing keywords in such answers - not a good idea
- Don't ask for 'layman' interpretations of technical questions - my layman lives in Shivajinagar, yours may live in Salt Lake.
I don't have much of a problem with big quizzes being designed to appeal to non-quizzing audiences, but why must they mess with the fairness of the rounds? The use of D&P over Infinite Rebounds (Infinite Bounce to non-Pune quizzers) is a menace that everyone in the game knows about. Most (and all good) quizzes use the IR system for their regular rounds because it guarantees one thing : between two shots at questions for any team, all other teams will have had a chance to attempt a question. IR does not smooth the fairness of the content or the fortune of receiving an easy question. But unlike D&P, you can be assured that your team will not twiddle its thumbs while the rest get to answer. Think of it as all teams receiving (almost) the same number of deliveries to bat to, at any given interval in time.
Yet another illustration of this from the other day: after 2 rounds of passing (one forward, one reverse), the number of attempts (out of 12 questions): two: A, B, F; three: E; five: C, D. Five vs. Two - that kind of imbalance would never happen in IR.
(This is no reflection on the qualities of the other teams, esp. the winners - just a commentary on why a quiz format shouldn't be so uneven. Let luck of the draw play its role in the content and team placement, but not the number of attempts.)
So why do big quizzes still employ an outdated and inferior system? Makes no sense at all.
1. read up for the future: the difference between ink pens and fountain pens; between MP3s and MP4s; between first slip and third slip (about a feet?)