Average difficulty rating - show wrong or multiple sessions
A yellow/light blue highlight in the time distribution charts highlights your time, where relevant.
Rating scores out of 10.0 show the average difficulty rating chosen by users, where 1.0 is "Easy" and 10.0 is "Hard".
If a puzzle is opened more than once, including by loading from a saved position, then this is potentially a significant aid so it is listed as being completed with 'multiple sessions' for the purpose of the best time/average rating displays above.
Minor aid is defined as no more than one use of 'Check solution' when incomplete and/or no more than one use of 'Check solution' when wrong; and/or using highlighting aids (show repeated digits, show broken inequalities and show valid/invalid placements [slitherlink] only). Major aid is any and all other use of the solving aids except for 'show wrong'.
I see this puzzle has been rated 9 times now: 6 x moderate, 2 x easy and 1x hard. But the average rating in the table above is 'hard' - it does not seem to add up.
Last edited by gareth 21st Apr 2023 at 16:16
Based on the counts you list, a true mean average would be 'moderate' but the analysis shows that for a puzzle to average 'moderate' among user ratings it is likely to actually be 'hard'. Now it has been rated by more users than when you posted your comment, the rating has dropped to 'tricky' which (while obviously subjective in some respects) is intended to convey a tougher-than-average difficulty which is still easier than 'hard'. So essentially the mean average is re-mapped to provide the reported average. There is inevitably some noise when only a few people have rated a puzzle and the averages do usually settle down after 20 or so ratings. Also, now the displayed ratings pre-play are more realistic, it's possible people react to a claimed average they disagree with and rate puzzles easier/harder than they otherwise would (although I haven't looked to see if that's the case). It also possibly encourages users to pay more attention to how they rate a puzzle. Either way they tend to stabilize at a rating I broadly agree with. That's in my opinion a huge improvement over how it used to work.
Another underlying issue is the design of the site which misleadingly presents ratings without making it clear they are user-derived, so people used to wonder why every puzzle was 'easy' - it's something I should have changed years ago, and I honestly don't know why it took me so long to apply this update! :) Or perhaps I do - it's because I knew what the averages meant and didn't think about how they would come across to a new user.
But yes, because the site still shows the exact breakdowns of ratings, and a numerical average too, the end result does appear inconsistent sometimes.
Reason: My understanding is, that I'm supposed to give an objective opionion about the difficulty level.
But I'm not able to give that based on my experience with the puzzle.
One reoccuring mistake of mine is: in a cell with "3x" I put pencilmarks 12 down instead of 13.
That makes the puzzle very hard for me.
The other perspective: there might be a point in a puzzle where there is only one logical step to move on - and it might be not easy to see.
-> if I find this one step right away by chance, I'd rate it easy. If I have to look for it longer, my rating would be different. But this doesn't change the difficulty of the puzzle.
-> I may also not see a problem at all, and put a number down that is logically not valid at this point, but turns out to be the correct number, and everything falls into place -> rating goes to "easy", because, technically, I made a mistake. If I put a wrong number down, then I might run into difficulty and then track back to a point to reconsider that decision.
But usually I get impatient (especially on a day with 3 killer type puzzles at once) and click "show wrong", fix my wrongs and go on from there, finishing quickly, because I got more information from correcting than I'd otherwise had.
At that point, any rating of mine is neither objective or subjective.
I guess there is a way to obtain an objective difficulty rating. You'd have to have a software solve the puzzle using defined methods and calculating how many different next possible steps exist at any point of the puzzle. You apply weights to the methods, add it all up and put a rating on the sum.
Last edited by gareth 23rd Apr 2023 at 23:09
JoergWausW, of course you're right that sometimes people make puzzles easy or hard for themselves by fortuitous or unlucky mistakes. But that washes out in the averages - if only you were rating then you'd need to be very careful, but once enough people rate then these issues naturally cancel out and/or are minimized. So it's fine to rate if you wish! :)
You can however view other players' statistics and comments in the tables above.