Re: math question verrrrrry off topic
If this were a simple probability experiment, let's say there were 600 objects in a big jar, all exactly the same size and shape and differing only in color: 450 red ones (for not-accepted) and 150 green ones (for "accepted") all mixed up really well, and the question was, "if some people from College X reached into the jar blindfolded and three of them pulled out green objects, what would the probability of that result be, would it be 1/4x1/4x1/4?" then the answer would be "only if just three people from College X reached into the jar. If more than three people from college x reached into the jar, let's say five people from college x reached into the jar, then the probability of three of those five people pulling out a green marble would be 1/4 x 1/4 x 1/4 x 3/4 x 3/4."
But of course this isn't anything like that. In this case, the 600 objects in the jar are made by the people who are being selected, and the objects are all different, all different sizes and shapes and colors, and made of different materials. People might contribute different numbers of objects (though it's never been clear to me whether that's the case or not) in which case the objects made by the same person presumably aren't as different from each other as the objects made by different people. And the selection is made not by the people themselves reaching into the jar blindfolded, but by a third party, a judge, who also doesn't reach into the jar blindfolded and pull out objects randomly to make a selection, but pours them all out on in a big tray and looks at all 600 of them closely before deciding which ones he/she wants to include. This particular judge might be drawn to metal objects, or even especially to platinum over silver, or maybe he or she particularly dislikes street scenes and prefers pictures of old mills, or is looking for a certain level of craftsmanship in the work, or maybe the criterion is something even more difficult to articulate, whether the judge "likes" something or not. Whatever the criteria, by the end of the day, the objects are separated into two piles, "accepted" and "not accepted," and there are 150 objects in the first pile and 450 in the second pile.
I hope it should be clear to everyone at this point how different this is from the problem above, and why you can't treat this as a problem of simple probability and say that the probability of any entry being accepted is the same as the probability of any other entry being accepted, and that this equal probability for each entry is 1/4, since 1/4 of all the entries were accepted. It's just not that kind of problem, and it doesn't work to treat it that way. Thank you.
On Jan 18, 2008, at 6:49 PM, Katharine Thayer wrote:
:--) On Jan 18, 2008, at 6:23 PM, Diana Bloomfield wrote:Hey Katharine, I don't know-- maybe. I honestly didn't read the other answers. :) On Jan 18, 2008, at 8:43 PM, Katharine Thayer wrote:Hmm, I thought that's what we all already have said, isn't it? That that theoretical probability (1/4x1/4x1/4) would hold only if assumptions were met, and since assumptions are obviously not met (for example, judging is not a random lottery of course but is done on the basis of criteria, arbitrary or otherwise but certainly not random). Also, no one has said whether the 600 entries are 600 works or 600 people; I was assuming that they are 600 works representing fewer than 600 people, in other words people could submit more than one work, in which case, as I said, the number of works submitted per person would also have to be figured into the equation somehow. Besides, if one person submits ten pieces and another person submits one, the ten pieces by the one person couldn't be considered independent entries in the same way one of those ten could be considered independent of the one from the other person, and independence is also an assumption that must be met in order to consider the probability of acceptance to be the same for all entries.