The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0473  Friday, 13 July 2007

From: 		Ward Elliott <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 12 Jul 2007 13:55:43 -0700
Subject: 18.0466 Shakespeare Golden Ear Test
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0466 Shakespeare Golden Ear Test

Golden Ear progress report as of noon, July 12:  We've had about 55 
takers and found 3 Golden Ears, 2 Silver, 8 Bronze, no Tin.  More than 
half of the rated takers are anonymous.  We think that will be enough 
responses to make the test worthwhile.

Larry Weiss would like to know more about our non-Shakespearean 
controls.  It's not hard to find out: take the test and see, but don't 
louse it up for others by discussing it online till the test is over. 

Jim Carroll says the passages we chose are far too short, and the 
Shakespeare ones too indistinctive, to be meaningful. Maybe, but 
probably not, given the thirteen rated takers we found, who correctly 
identified 71-85% of the questions, and especially considering the group 
as a whole, which got 69% right, on average, the last time we calculated 
it .  All of these are way better than chance.  We'll explore these 
questions further in our final report when the numbers aren't changing 
every day.  We thank Jim for taking the test, despite his grave 
misgivings over it and over the many flaws he has previously found in 
our regular computer tests.

Ed Taft wonders if there is a Lead Ear category.  No, it's Tin Ear, and 
no one has managed to get one.  But, if we found someone who could 
reliably get every question wrong, it would be a tremendous find, in the 
same class with finding someone who gets them all right, because both 
overcome the natural tendency of tests like this to regress toward the mean.

Bob Grumman took a break during the test and couldn't get back to it. 
Try again; the test was down for a few hours the other day but is now 
back up. Let us know it's your second try.

None of these worthies has paid much attention to our request to discuss 
the test offline while it is going on, and we have learned that there is 
a big public discussion of it going on HLAS, a free-wheeling, 
bare-knuckled  band of authorship buffs, unfettered by either my 
restrictions or Hardy's. Many HLAS people, most of whom also belong to 
SHAKSPER, have rushed to take the test, but, like most SHAKSPER takers, 
not bothered to identify their group.  Too bad, but it's not the end of 
the world.  We welcome the additional interest and hope it yields some 
extra depth of talent to consult on our second test, but we would be 
happier if we could test the two groups separately, minimize public 
discussion of the test while it is going on, and as much as possible 
keep the test one of first impression.

One way of doing this is simply to have a cutoff, such as, say, midnight 
Sunday night, July 15.  This would not involve shutting down the test 
itself.  We'll keep that going for a while and let people experiment 
with it as they wish.  But it would mean that we could close Golden Ear 
nominations, give more attention to the first week or so of responses 
than to any subsequent ones, write up our analysis, and free 
SHAKSPERians to discuss the test publicly, but with the continued hope 
that they don't spoil things unduly for people who want to try their 
skill in the future.

Would anyone in SHAKSPER feel unduly rushed if we closed down this phase 
of the test Sunday night?

Ward Elliott

S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
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