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Old May 21st 04, 02:03 PM
Bill Smythe
 
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Default A modest proposal for the electronic rating supplements

At present, the rating supplements downloadable from the USCF website come
in one of two formats, Supplement and Golden.

Both formats have the following fields:
1. player name
2. USCF ID
3. membership expiration date
4. state
5. regular rating
6. quick rating

The Golden format has the following additional field:
7. supplement date (year and month)

In addition, there are differences in the rating fields. They consist of 7
characters in both cases, but they're different.

Supplement format:
A. rating (4 digits)
B. slash if provisional
C. number of games (2 digits) if provisional

Golden format:
A. rating (4 digits)
B. P if provisional, E if established, U if unrated
C. norm data (no longer used) (2 characters)

There is one further, less important, difference. The name field is 27
characters long in the Supplement, 17 in the Golden.

The supplement-date field in the Golden format is useful in determining how
old a rating is. In Supplement format, only current ratings are listed, so
this field is (supposedly) unnecessary, as tournament software can simply
use the file date in this case.

We were thrown for a loop, however, when the last Golden file appeared in
February. It was in Supplement format! This confuses tournament software,
and makes it impossible to determine how recent any rating is.

___________________________________________


My modest proposal? Create a single, common format, and use it for future
Supplement AND Golden files. Give advance notice to authors of tournament
software, so they can prepare downloadable program updates for their
customers.

The new format should incorporate the best of both worlds:

1. Use Supplement format, not Golden format, for the rating fields. The
Golden format lacks the number of games on which provisional ratings are
based.

2. Include the supplement date (year and month) in all files. For a
Supplement file, this could simply be the file date. For Golden files, it
would be last-published date, as is the case presently.

3. Allow 27 characters for the name, as in Supplement format presently.

Tournament software could figure out which format (old Supplement, old
Golden, or new combined) is being used by looking at the file headers.

___________________________________________


Interested parties, please comment on this proposal. I am especially
interested in hearing from Mike Nolan, Tom Doan, and Thad Suits.

Bill Smythe



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Old May 21st 04, 10:34 PM
John Fernandez
 
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Default A modest proposal for the electronic rating supplements

My comment - do it. Please. Thank you.

John Fernandez
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Old May 22nd 04, 12:47 AM
Bill Smythe
 
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Default A modest proposal for the electronic rating supplements

"John Fernandez" wrote:
My comment - do it. Please. Thank you.


Thank you. I'm still waiting to hear from Mike Nolan on this one.

Bill Smythe



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Old May 22nd 04, 01:07 AM
Mike Nolan
 
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Default A modest proposal for the electronic rating supplements

"Bill Smythe" writes:

"John Fernandez" wrote:
My comment - do it. Please. Thank you.


Thank you. I'm still waiting to hear from Mike Nolan on this one.


I don't see any technical issues in generating a common format, I would
have to know if there are issues at Tom's or Thad's end , and then
I would have to find time to change and test that program.

On a scale of 1 to 10 priority scale, (10 being do it NOW!!),
that's probably about a 2--after I get the OK from both Tom
and Thad.
-
Mike Nolan
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Old May 23rd 04, 04:21 AM
Bill Smythe
 
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Default A modest proposal for the electronic rating supplements

"Mike Nolan" wrote:
I don't see any technical issues in generating a common format, I would
have to know if there are issues at Tom's or Thad's end , and then
I would have to find time to change and test that program.


Before it slips any further back on the burner, let me make an additional
suggestion.

If the new format includes a field for the supplement date in which the
rating occurred, make it the last date in which the rating WOULD have
appeared if all supplements were 2-month supplements only (no 6- or 12-month
supplements). For example, if a player is in the December annual list, but
only because he last played in an event rated for the April list, make the
date for that player April rather than December.

This doesn't really make a whole lot of difference, but it's interesting to
know sometimes.

Bill Smythe





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Old May 24th 04, 04:31 PM
Bill Smythe
 
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Default A modest proposal for the electronic rating supplements

I just got another idea, too. (Horrors, I'm full of them lately.)

The paper supplements come in 12-month (December), 6-month (June), and
2-month (February, April, August, October) versions.

This makes sense for paper, but there's no inherent reason why the exact
same scheme needs to be used for electronic downloads.

Here's my latest suggestion:
_______________________________

1. The downloadable supplement would be available every 2 months, just as
it is now.

2. Every 2 months, the downloadable supplement would be available in 4
different versions.

2a. The 2-month version would include only players whose data has changed
since the last 2-month version.

2b. The cumulative version would include players whose data has changed
since the last December supplement.

2c. The super-cumulative version would include players whose data has
changed since the second-to-last December supplement.

2d. The golden version would include everything.
_______________________________

When an organizer requests a download from the Member Services area, he
would be asked which version he wants. If his database is up to date, he
could request version 2a (the shortest). If he has missed an issue or two,
he could request 2b. If he missed the most recent December list, he could
request 2c. If he missed the last two December lists, or if he is a newbie,
he could request 2d (the longest).

In December, there would be only three versions -- 2b, 2c, 2d -- in an
effort to make sure organizers are up to date.

In February, there would be only three versions, because 2a and 2b would be
the same.

In all other months, there would be four versions as above.

All four would be in a common format (described in my other post).
Tournament software wouldn't even have to know which of the four versions
the incoming file was, since all four would contain the "last supplement
date" field.

One more suggestion (ho hum). The phrase "data has changed" in the above
should mean ANY data, not just ratings. Examples: Name change (marriage or
spelling correction), expiration date change (the player renewed), state
change (the player moved), etc. By the same token, unrated players should
be listed in all four versions as well, under the same conditions (new in
this supplement, expiration date change, etc).

The suggestion in the above paragraph is for the electronic version only, as
the paper version might become unwieldy and excessively large if this were
done.

Bill Smythe



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