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WPF and conflict of interests

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:01 pm
by Fred76
There was a topic opened on the GP forum: ... -interests

WPF director said in April 2017:
"We will attempt to iron out a plan for future competitions, but that is not happening any time soon nor is it immediately necessary, so I request that we table the discussion for now. At the time when the WPF is ready to divulge a full plan, we'll be open to discussion and thoughts from everyone."

It seems that WPF director and some board members will take part officially in the next WSC/WPC. But what said WPF director wasn't done. Was there a vote of WPF members about this subject?
Can you please inform us about this subject.

Thanks !

Re: WPF and conflict of interests

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:21 pm
by WPF
Hi Fred,

Firstly, I am very sorry for the lack of response. I confess it is entirely an issue on my end, I've just had many issues through the year and been prioritizing essentials.

To your point, I did say that earlier and did bring it up in the Board as well. This was discussed within the Board and it was agreed there was no issue. The larger reason for this is, both my application as well as Zoran's Board Member application clearly stated that we would still like to be competitors, and the members had access to this information before we were assigned our roles. However if a member wishes to bring it up again during the meetings, we can surely discuss it.

A good reason why there shouldn't be an issue is because we are a small community, and these posts are much less likely to get filled up regularly if participation is not allowed, and also, the WSC and WPC are handled entirely by the hosts, from content to planning of structure. The WPF Board/Director have no prior information about anything relevant to the actual competitive portion (same goes for Asian Championships or any other offline WPF event - it is always up to the hosts to handle everything from a content point of view.

I will note this: I had, at the time of applying, noted that I would like to participate in the GP as well, and this was also considered to be fine (Hana personally told me it is so, in fact). However having taken up the duties I myself realized the conflict, again not necessarily in terms of prior information but in terms of duties during the Finals that have to have some involvement from the WPF Director to be efficient. Knowing this I have myself stepped away from participating in the GP finals. I only participate in the online rounds because I like solving, and have asked Karel to remove my ranking from the official standings but he said there is no need for this. This is just to show the different considerations that were made.

Now you will possibly give a response to this. I'll tell you right now that I probably won't respond heading into the World Championships - not because I will be busy preparing as a competitor but because I have a lot of WPF related responsibilities like planning the meetings and the newsletter and so on, and I don't think a lengthy discussion here is productive compared to those duties. The easiest way to get this discussed is to tell your Swiss representative (or any representative of course) to submit it as a topic in the WPF meetings, and I will add it to the agenda. But for this year, we are going with there being no issue because of the reasons mentioned above.

Re: WPF and conflict of interests

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:54 pm
by Fred76
Thanks for the quick answer.

I understand that WPF board tells you it's ok when you applied, so it should be clear for this year.
The problem is that the WPF board take the decision it's ok that they take part in WPF competitions, that's exactly where is the conflict of interests, I hope you see it, too (board members want to take part and they decide it's ok).
I think it should be approved by the GA, not the board.
I'll ask the Swiss representative to bring this as a topic for GA meeting.

Just another point, less important:
WPF wrote:A good reason why there shouldn't be an issue is because we are a small community

I'm still disappointed to see the lack of ambition of WPF to be more popular, more mainstream, more serious.
I think sudoku deserved more than a competition for a small community, and it's not possible if the federation which organize a world sudoku championship has no such ambition.


Re: WPF and conflict of interests

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:20 am
by Fred76
WPF wrote:The WPF Board/Director have no prior information about anything relevant to the actual competitive portion

I don't think this is very clear. A few points that must be answered:

Concerning WSC/WPC:
  • In the board, one position is "Competition liaison". A board member is directly in contact with WSC/WPC organizers. What is his role exactly?
  • In 2017, there was no playoff. Prasanna said on LMI forum: "I checked in with the WPF Board on behalf of the organizing team earlier this year about a few things, including this topic of whether playoffs are a must." That means WPF board took the ultimate decision if it's ok not to have playoffs, despite WPF rules mention explicitely playoffs. It shows that board may have to give some answers to organizers concerning important part of the competition.
  • In the WPF guidebook, it is mentionned that WSC/WPC organizers may ask help from WPF concerning puzzle authors. I guess in such cases board members contact some authors. Choosing authors is a big advantage regarding to the competition (see below for GP, too).
  • In case of protest at WSC/WPC, the WPF committee can overrule organizer's decision (see guidebook). "The WPF Committee will be established in advanced by the WPF". If there is an issue, with a board member concerned (as a player), I fear it can present a serious fairness question.
If WPF repr. are allowed to play officially at WSC/WPC, it means the organizers have no chance to ask for some advice/help from WPF concerning the competition. The guarantor of the competition is the organizer, not the WPF. I don't think it's a good idea to kick the WPF out of the competitive aspect of championships (and as I showed, it's not the case now, in contrary to what you state).

To be in total accordance with WPF rules, I think WPF repr, should always take part in unofficially (B,C,D, UN..-team) in WSC/WPC.

Concerning GP, I would like to refer to the WPF director job description published by the WPF in 2016. I didn't found any mention of changes concerning the job of WPF director, perhaps I missed something. This document says:
6. Overseeing the WPF Grand Prix Tournament
· To support the GP Directors
· To select the puzzle authors
· To manage the forum, GP web page – should ideally be done under Technical Maintenance
· To ensure all puzzles, booklets and other information are provided on time
· To inform all the players about the upcoming GP round – should ideally be done under
Social Media and Outreach
· To manage the face-to-face finals (puzzle booklets, trophies, certificates, site management,
finalists, proctors)

  • Select the puzzle author is a huge advantage gained by director over other players.
  • The discussion on GP forum: ... ts-results leads to think that the WPF director took part actively in the discussion concerning new puzzle GP format. This is also a huge unfair advantage over other players.

Concerning the GP, I think director shouldn't play online rounds, of course he can enjoy the puzzles when the competition is over. If the purpose is to enjoy solving puzzles, there is no limit.

Thanks for reading,

Re: WPF and conflict of interests

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:30 pm
by WPF
Fred76 wrote:I'm still disappointed to see the lack of ambition of WPF to be more popular, more mainstream, more serious.
I think sudoku deserved more than a competition for a small community, and it's not possible if the federation which organize a world sudoku championship has no such ambition.


Fred, I think herein lies a core problem with all these discussions. You seem to think that acceptance that this is currently a small community is a sign of waving the white flag against progress - they are clearly not inherently connected as you make out.

Ambition is in setting goals, and as you yourself have pointed out in the other topic, we set some goals last year. We fell short of some, and achieved some, and some are still ongoing but I hope you see that we wouldn't be setting goals for improvement in the first place without ambition.

So again, I repeat, we are a small community, largely full of part-time workers trying to help out and put together better structures and grow towards the future. I definitely don't want this to be the case much longer, but right now it is.

So if the Sudoku Panel didn't work out this year, we'll discuss ways to move forward and try again. For the new website, I had put out a mail earlier in the year about it and even taken applications. For multiple reasons, I couldn't follow up, but I have it noted as a topic to bring up at the meetings in Prague and I definitely want to get something concrete out of those discussions. Now I'll openly say I haven't done everything I wanted to do this year (and I don't just mean that for the WPF, its true for LMI too among other things), and all I can do now is work towards getting those things done hereon.

To your points about conflict of interests: The competition liaison last year was Gareth, and mainly what we checked in with him about were things like whether the venue is responding well, whether there are any external issues (lighting of the hall was an issue for instance which I had talks with Gareth about). The playoff discussion mainly went towards the board members referring to the guidebook and stating it isn't a must, rather than having their own opinions on the matter. Having said all this, I will be sure to bring these points up at the meetings and look towards, if nothing else, at least a reworking of responsibilities with some more clarity.

About the GP - I agree, and won't submit my answers next year unless my name can be blanked out before the results are made public or something. It was a bit difficult for me to transition to this stage because, like I said, I was told pretty clearly when applying that there wouldn't be any issues with competing. To your point, its not just about enjoying the puzzles afterwards is it, its also the excitement of the timer running and submitting the answers and so on :) I stopped competing this year midway anyway but that was more due to the same personal issues that have kept me from being as productive as I'd like these past 4 months.

Also a small possibly personal note: In general, I like these discussions that are more in the nature of pointing out topics that should be addressed (even if they are challenging the WPF as much as the other approach) rather than intense critique of things that don't get done as fast or efficiently as we'd all like. We're all doing this primarily out of passion so its not like we're choosing not to get things done, its just a slog sometimes what with situations in life. I really hope you can understand this and maybe put aside a little bit of that inherently negative attitude you seem to have towards the WPF (and if I'm off on this assumption, I apologize, but it feels that way) and work with us more than against us.

Re: WPF and conflict of interests

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:18 am
by Fred76
Prasanna, I'm sorry if you had some personal issues this year, I hope it is not something serious and hope you'll be fine in the future.
I would like to make you sure that my posts are not against you personally. Believe me, I know exactly what kind of sacrifice it requires to renounce to compete. Even then, you still have the choice between staying a competitor or keeping your position of WPF director. In my case there was no possible choice.
The board and director should work together to get things better and when there are some critics, I hope every WPF representative feels concerned.
The feeling I have concerning WPF is that there are some big structural issues, and, to caricature a bit, the effects are that everybody is positive during the yearly meeting, but there is not enough energy put to realise the good ideas that emerge once a year. I also have the impression that board members hide behind the director, which is the only paid position.
I would like to quote a discussion I had recently with a very concerned person, and again I do that because it is not the first time I have this answer:
I know WPF wont change in next years..
There needs to be fresh blood, at least two active people, current board is useless

I feel sad when I hear that from people who are very active in the puzzle community.

Now about the yearly issues. I can hear that some things could not have been realized this year, this is not the main problem. The main problem is that these kind of issues appear each year, which reveals the structural problems I mentionned before.

Finally, to answer to your personal note: My negative attitude is not inherent. You know I was very positive during several years, I wanted to work with people to get things better. But I had to face to very negative attitudes against me and against my arguments. Some answers were ridiculous, some were hypocritical, and others were insulting. I don't want to say more than that except that the answer of WPF board itself is not acceptable, and insulting people whose passion is sudoku. Seeing a federation which put energy to denigrate one of the championship it is supposed to supervise is not acceptable.
You want me to be more positive, I'll tell you what I expect from WPF: a U-turn concerning sudoku: create strong link between WSC and sudoku (all efforts of WPF now have been to deconstruct this link). After several years trying to understand where the issues concerning WSC came from, my conclusion is that the issues come from WPF itself. Please fix the issue you've created. This is not only about having a definition of sudoku. A lot of national federations don't have these kind of issues without having a definition of sudoku. In the cases where I noticed non-sudoku puzzles in national qualifying tournament, I was answered that it is the way to select the best team for WSC, where it is probable to see these kind of puzzles. It shows the issue concerns essentially WPF competitions.
And please don't say you want that I "work with you more than against you", after making me understand that you don't want to make an effort to take my arguments into consideration.


Re: WPF and conflict of interests

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:47 pm
by Fred76
The week after wsc/wpc.
From outside, it looks like it was a nice event. The host made lot of effort of communication: Facebook page, live streaming on youtube (great ;) ), press coverage, etc..

Which news from wpf? website: nothing, gp website: nothing, youtube channel: nothing, facebook page: only an announcement before the championship (and a link to the results which is no more available now).
Question: GP finals: What happened? They were canceled or what ??? No winner? nothing to communicate from wpf ???

If wpf representatives want to take part in wsc/wpc, why they don't find someone who replace them to do the work they are supposed to do during the championships ????
It doesn't look ambitious at all to cut off all communications during the most important week concerning wpf.


Re: WPF and conflict of interests

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:47 pm
by Detuned
I think this is a fair point. Hana was very good during WSC / WPC week. It's a shame to see that the WPF has not been able to publicise the championships in any way.

Perhaps it would be helpful for the WPF board to publicly state the job description of the WPF director so that whoever is holding the position can be held to account.