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Old 05-10-2019, 12:34 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= is online now
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 12,026
Originally Posted by Ellis Dee View Post
What do you mean, slots? That's not really related to what I'm talking about.

You can play a slot machine and lose 20 times in a row and nobody bats an eye. If you enacted a tiebreaker for early buzzers on Jeopardy, and the champ gets picked 20 times in a row, you've opened yourself up for criticism.
Seems pretty similar to slots to me. In both cases you need something that generates random numbers, there's real money on the line, and people are worried about whether the process is fair.

And there's a known solution. The process to mechanically generate a list of random numbers is well known and studied. A regulatory agency tasked with determining if the process is fair already exists in other contexts.

Obviously, losing at a slot machine 20 times in a row is much more common than winning a 2- or 3-way tiebreaker on jeopardy because your chance of winning on a slot machine is a lot less than 1/3. But so what?

Notice that in this thread there's already speculation that Jeopardy is moving the Daily Doubles to thwart Holzhaur, that they are changing the difficulty of the questions, etc. People are always going to speculate that the process is unfair and criticize things. The question is: is the process fair, and can you reasonably prove it to an impartial observer. It is easy to make a random tiebreaker that satisfies both of those.

It's not like the current process is any less open to criticism. People sort of assume that Holzhaur is winning because he is faster on the buzzer, but... maybe the producers are letting him win the buzzes because they want the ratings of having someone go on a tear? To be clear, I'm not actually suggesting that. I'm just saying you have to have some amount of trust in the system. The machine that determines who buzzed in first could be just as rigged as a random number generator.