Effectiveness of eterna as crowd-sourcing if the crowd cannot solve most puzzles.

Thousands of our player puzzles have been solved by fewer than 20 players. We cannot make significant progress if only a handful of the thousands of players who participate in the “crowd” of crowd-sourced eterna can solve most of the puzzles.


Perhaps like me many of them have only solved less than 400 challenge puzzles, let alone the 5,000 player puzzles.

Yet I do quite well on the Labs, both originals and modifications of others’ work. So don’t despair too quickly.

“I’m disappointed. We need to be more of a teaching community.”

I can’t help wondering how many people “join up,” then “give up,” because they feel daunted from the start. There may be a lot of players, but how many stay active?
Obviously, the active players are the “solvers.”

I was almost one of those who gave up and dropped out (and still might.) I was a little overwhelmed at first, Not everyone has the time and patience to stick with it, and many, like myself, have no background knowledge. Without background knowledge, the technical terms are overwhelming, and even the simple “gaming terms” take time to learn and understand. I’ve had to spend a lot of time digging through the forums to find the answers to my questions.
I’m learning, but it’s a process, and it takes time. I still have hope that I will be able to crack the tougher puzzles at some point. : )
I don’t want to become an eventual dropout, but I do wonder just how much of a contribution I’m really making as one of those without any background knowledge. I want to learn at least enough to be able to make a helpful contribution to the community. For now, I fear my lack of knowledge might make me more of a liability than an asset.

Anyway, I guess my point is: I’m here, and I’m willing to learn, but like most folks, I’m ignorant. A good, but not too technical tutorial that is only a single click away from the main screen, would be a great addition, I think. It would have saved me HOURS in the beginning.

Ok, I’m starting to ramble. I better go now. : )


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Hi Iroppy!

Those curves are talking loud.

Hi Zanna!

I saw you were asking for technical terms and background knowledge. I have made a collection of educational materials about RNA and related topics. The first part of it is easy introductory videos and articles. I am also giving some advice on where to find education and how to deal with the science jargon and many new words.

Educational Resources

Also this guide might help you, if you haven’t found it already.

A comprehensive guide to EteRNA

I know it ain’t the same as in built visual tutorials and teaching material made specifically for our game. It looks like we are going to get those tutorials in 2014. But until then, here is what I got.

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The contribution that you are already making and will make in the future, is probably extremely difficult to quantify. I believe that the strength of the crowd is to associate a large number of brains, which all had different experiences, different education paths, etc. Because of those differences, each “problems” (lab experiments for instance) are observed and analyzed under a maximum of possible angles, reducing the chances that some important detail goes unnoticed.

So it may go this way: someone makes an unusual choice in a design and gets some result (not necessarily positive). Someone else notices some characteristic of this particular result and shares about it, in the chat for instance. And yet another player notices a connection with another result that s/he saw in another lab experiment. And someone else learns about that pattern and devises a strategy, either to test the hypothesis or to develop a general technique, etc.

Who was the “important” one in that chain ? All of them. Who could you be in that chain ? Any of them. And by your presence and participation alone, you are increasing the chances that such a successful causal chain will appear. So, yes, even lacking knowledge in this specific field (don’t forget, none of us players are the “professionals”, nearly all of us are just amateurs), you are already contributing, and there are no amount of contribution that should be considered negligible.

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Thanks for your fast response and willingness to help. I’m sure it will be a great help to me. I’m gonna go check this stuff out, right now. : )

To Nando,
I see your point! I’ll stop worrying about it, and just keep on truckin’. Thanks. : )

“Thousands of our player puzzles have been solved by fewer than 20 players.”

  1. It takes time to solve thousands of puzzles. There are probably a few left that I could solve but haven’t. I’ve only solved a few over 2000, and that’s after 2+ years. :wink:

  2. There is a seeming desire among *some* players to create hard puzzles that will have few solvers. But there is also a desire among *other* players to create moderate puzzles, or “teaching puzzles”, or (especially with new players) “any” puzzle.

  3. Having the ability to sort by number of solvers makes puzzles accessible to most players at their skill level. And sorting by “most solvers not cleared” makes it easier for players to jump into pages and pages of puzzles at a level they can probably handle.

  4. Plus after a while, some people (like me) burn out on puzzles and switch their focus to labs and forums. That’s OK too, no?

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JL, thats a fine list of reason. As I am reading what you are saying, players seem to specialize for different areas. For your nr. 4, I will say absolutely. My own interest over time has also shifted more toward labs than puzzles.