Currently, the rewards for players submitting lab designs can only be based on how well a design’s secondary structure (to the extent it is predicted by SHAPE values) matches a target structure chosen by the lab designer. But player scientists have been asking questions about RNA folding that are difficult to fit into that paradigm. An obvious example would be Nando’s labs that challenge players to create a pseudoknot. And yet, any design that scored 100% would be guaranteed not to be a pseudoknot, regardless of what he chose as a target structure. This is an extreme case, but there have been many labs where players need to choose whether to design (and vote) to maximize their score or maximize the contribution to the stated research goal.
So my question for all lab participants is "What changes could the devs make – in the way player/designers create projects, how other players create their individual designs, or how designs are scored – to better align the scoring with the potential for making a contribution to science?
To get the discussion started, here are a few of possibilities that Rhiju and I came up with:
* Allow the lab designer to designate key base positions that are particularly relevant to the research objective. When a player is designing their submission, those positions might glow, and hovering over that position could pop up some text about how the choice of base assignment at that position could address the research objective.
* Allow the lab designer more options for how designs for their project will be selected for synthesis. For example, one of these options might be to allow the lab designer to vote for an unlimited number of designs on their own lab. This way, other users would still have the biggest say in which designs got chosen for synthesis, but the designer could give a boost to any designs s/he felt actually addressed the research objective.
* Allow the designer to specify, as part of their project proposal, what percentage of the design’s score will be determined by the normal scoring, and what percentage will be decided by the designer, based on his/her judgement about how well the design addressed the research objective.
But what are your ideas? This is something Rhiju wants to address, but so far it hasn’t been a high priority. If we, as players, can come to some consensus that is workable, that would bump the priority for the devs.