Hey All Brilliantians,
I've used the Brilliant site for over a year now! A lot of things look great and the Brilliant staff has done a great job in pursuing their vision. Unfortunately, I think I've lost the motive to continue using this site a month after the radical change from "problem sets" to "problem feed". There were a few reasons for this.
One, there was too much choice. The fact that I can jump from one problem to the next is simply too overpowering an instinct rather than solving the problem at hand, especially if the problem at hand is too hard and the problem in sights is more appealing.
Two, there was too little choice. To rephrase, the enormous amount of choices I did have were either of low quality or were too scarcely dispersed amongst a barrage of bad problem choices. I often find myself scrolling miles down pages just to find problems that I like. In particular, a lot of algebra problems I see in my "Best of Algebra feed" have been greatly diluted, in that a lot of problems deal with statistics and "real-world" word problems that require little more creativity than expressing the given problem as a set of mathematical statements.
Three, there was no more incentive. (Note that this doesn't equate to the points.) I used to come to the site every day looking for that satisfaction from getting problems right. Amongst the set of 8-problem challenges, it was a great joy to get a problem right. Now, the feeling has been reduced to "eh, I solved this problem, I'll move on." The colorful green splash that pops up when I get a problem right does little to fix this. In particular, I feel lazy and don't type up solutions anymore, simply because there are so many problems out there to solve that are also worth writing solutions for, and to spend time on this problem would mean I should also spend time on the other problems to write a solution, and there's only so much time for that.
It's not that I don't enjoy the new system; it's that, somewhere inside me, I need to have that sense of "completion". Getting the majority of problems in a "difficult set" is far more rewarding, in my opinion, than getting a few problems amidst a torrent of mixed-difficulty problems.
I think the Brilliant staff can fix these problems (no pun intended) quite easily, so that the site appeals to both users like me as well as users that enjoy the current set up. I believe that the same old system of weekly problem sets can be reintroduced, but it can be done adjacently to the current system. I see that the staff have already developed preliminary systems to recommend problems to users. What if problem sets were a gateway to the current set up of the site? I have a plan proposal that caters this exact possibility.
At the beginning of each day, the Brilliant system can determine a set of two problems from each topic a user is subscribed to, with these problems being chosen from the existing database based on the problem's rating and the user's rating. Any problems that are read by the user are marked as completed, and they cannot appear in later problem sets until a very long time. The user can either choose to solve both problems, one of the problems, or none of the problems from each topic. Upon indication from the user that the user has finished his problem set for a topic in this way, the user can enter the problem feed for that particular topic, with options to post problems within that topic as well as site-wide, topic-wide notes.
As a concrete example to avoid ambiguity, John Smith gets two problems, one entitled "A" and one titled "B". John has not recently seen or has never seen problems "A" nor "B", and they're in algebra. They're suited to the level that John's rated to solve, and he can choose to solve either one, two, or no problems before entering the problem feed for algebra. Within this feed, John can publish site-wide notes and algebra problems.
What do you guys think, Brilliant community? Do you think that this system is a good or bad improvement to the current one, and why?