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Probability - What's the Chance?

What's the chance that Brilliant will return to its better site where we have a fixed number of problems each week, where we have points, where we can post on discussion boards rather than sharing notes, where problems are well-checked and not full of errors, where we have an impetus to return to Brilliant many times a week to solve the weekly problems before the limit?

I'm all in favor of change, but this was not to what I was looking forward when I heard Brilliant was having an update.

Note by Cody Johnson
3 years, 6 months ago

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Thanks for caring, Cody. And thank you for being open to change.

  • Problems full of errors: Have you seen problems with errors in the best of feeds? We take that very seriously. Please report the errors in best of accounts whenever you see them.
  • Fixed number of problems per week, per topic: Maybe, but likely in a limited way. The current format has caused a much higher % of people to return than before. That said, we have a feature that allows "time limited problem sets" on the drawing boards.
  • Discussion boards: probably not exactly the same, but definitely features that serve a similar purpose. We all miss having "front page of the Brilliant community" :)
  • Points still exist!

The only reason features disappear from Brilliant is because not enough people use them, or they don't use them enough. We view radical change as the only way to avoid becoming satisfied with a local maximum, when there is a far greater global maximum that we could reach. For Brilliant to be around for generations and serve millions of ambitious and intelligent people, we must experiment and be open to the data leading our efforts. Surely someone as analytically gifted as yourself can understand this approach.

And thanks for providing feedback in such a polite constructive tone. Silas Hundt Staff · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Silas Hundt I think it is great to get the constant stream of problems and I think that this feature should definitely stay but I fully agree that there has to be some sort of fixed weekly problems feature for the site to continue being successful. Everyone can post problems and solve each other's problems but there should be a tab for the weekly problems which would be worth significantly more points than other's problems. The weekly problems could be in the range of 100-300 points and the Best of _ Problems could be maybe 20 each since there are so many of them. There could be 2 or 3 problems for each topic for the weekly problems that could be made by either the Brilliant Team or be selected from user submitted problems that are particularly well written. I know that 2 of my friends who used to use brilliant stopped using it after the new update because they preferred the weekly format where they try to get them done in a limited time. I do like the new update for quite a few reasons but there is much to improve on and I think a hybrid of the new and old version would make it even better.

One thing that I noticed as well is that problems that are now rated level 4 or level 5 are significantly easier than the weekly problems before that were rated level 4 and level 5. I liked the challenge of potentially working on a level 5 problem for one or two days, trying to finish before the week limit, before figuring out the answer and I felt that it gave you a greater sense of accomplishment. I think that in general what used to be a level 5 is now a rating of 2250-2500, a level 4 is now rated 2000-2250, and a level 3 is now rated 1750-2000 etc. and that ratings have been inflated by about 250 points.

Although I do like the new system for many reasons, I think the major downside to it is that problems do not create enough discussion. Once your problem has been buried beneath 10 other problems it is completely forgotten about unless it is shared by a Best of __ Feed or you get a few reshares which completely depends on how many followers you have and how many followers your followers have. I know that some people have taken the time to write high quality solutions to some of my problems and then have had them seen or discussed because of this. I really liked the back and forth discussion that was created by the weekly problems because there were lots of people assigned to the same problems and lots of solutions were published. They also weren't lost in a sea of problems and they were the focus of everyone's attention for the full week.

I also agree that there needs to be a discussion board for the same reason there should be weekly problems. Notes are also lost in the sea of problems and other notes and they are typically forgotten completely after 12 hours depending on how many followers you have. There needs to be some way to systematically sort notes as well as upvote them so the community can see what the most recent notes are and what the most 'noteworthy' notes are.

On a side note, I don't see any more posts by Mark Hennings! I used to really enjoy his posts in the old format and he would always make really insightful posts and put a lot of time into them. I'm not positive but I am pretty sure he left because of the new update because ever since the update happened I haven't seen a single post from him which is unfortunate. Hopefully a hybrid version would bring him back. Cole Coupland · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Cole Coupland Or Wei Liang Gan. Also, Zi Song hasn't solved a problem in 5 days and I'm on a decline myself. Cody Johnson · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Cody Johnson Yes that's true. I know you guys are all exceptionally good at math so the decline in difficulty of the problems has probably led to people like you, Zi Song, Wei Liang and Mark not being active. In fact almost all of the people on my weekly leaderboard who have the lowest amount of points right now used to have the highest weekly point in the previous format which attests to this. I really think the rating system needs to be adjusted to account for the inflation and I think weekly problems sets in each topic that are harder than the rest will help as well. I think the influx of people that Silas is talking about is of people who are of a lower level, maybe level 2 to level 3 which is great. The problem is that this is because the majority of the problems and the discussions are now targeted at this level and it has left people at higher levels leaving, although in smaller numbers. So all in all I think this update has made the site shift slightly to a different audience but I think this can easily be amended by taking the best of both versions. Cole Coupland · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Cole Coupland Cole and Cody—to be clear, we won't be satisfied until Brilliant serves upper AND lower level members. It must be an excellent place for all ambitious, curious minds. Note that there are more L5 members active on the site now than ever before—measured both by absolute numbers and % of overall L5 members.

Regarding points—remember that now problems have a flat value in terms of points across the board.

Regarding easy problems floating up into your feeds—this is a issue that we are fixing. You should be seeing fewer easy problems over the course of the next week—and hopefully some good, harder problems as well :) Silas Hundt Staff · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Cody Johnson Note that the "Activity" tab is not being updated right now. We will be fixing this soon. Silas Hundt Staff · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Silas Hundt I know that I've had to turn to books like Problems From the Book to satisfy my mathematical thirst. Cody Johnson · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Cole Coupland Cole, thank you for putting your time into such a thoughtful comment.

I think I have addressed your points in other comments on this thread, but I wanted to thank you for putting time and care into your feedback. I think that, within the next 3 - 5 weeks Brilliant will become closer to a "hybrid" as you suggest, especially for dedicated high level members like you. Silas Hundt Staff · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Silas Hundt Since you said you guys are in the process of changing, maybe you should utilize a panel of opinionated individuals as Cole, Tim V., and myself to give user insight. You can contact me at merlincody@gmail.com if you're interested. Cody Johnson · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Cody Johnson What do you think we are doing right now?! :) Joking aside, a Panel of the Opinionated is long overdue... Silas Hundt Staff · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Silas Hundt If that did exist, I think I would be chair. (Silas, you know how many emails you've gotten from me). :) Finn Hulse · 3 years, 5 months ago

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@Cody Johnson Sounds like a good idea. Cole Coupland · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Silas Hundt Okay, I get it now. Also, are you planning on development of a Brilliant.org app? Cody Johnson · 3 years, 6 months ago

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@Cody Johnson Work has already begun... Silas Hundt Staff · 3 years, 6 months ago

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In this new layout actually you have to follow many people to get good problems...I personally really like brilliants timeline system ...it made me solve more problems on thia site in the last few weeks thsn I did in months when there was limited problems eaxh week.... Eddie The Head · 3 years, 6 months ago

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