Math Just Got Weird

TreeCardGames, the rogue Spider Solitaire company that started it all, is resembling the number 3, back in the spotlight and losing its religion. This time the subject is manipulating reviews.

We’ve all seen a number of game companies that were somehow born to suck, could never release a half-decent game, and figured the only way to make a presence is to fudge the reviews and make them look better than they really are.

There are many ways to game the system, terrible pun notwithstanding. You can cherry pick the good reviews and hide the bad ones. You can write a review for your own game by posing as a customer. You can create bots to sing the praises of Hero Wars or whatever your rot13(cvrpr bs fuvg) happens to be called. You could give players chance to give a 5-happy-star review for 10 extra coins after beating every single level. If you were the CEO of Shay Dee Games, then you could demand your employees do one or more of the above. It’s been done before, and googling is left as the proverbial exercise for the reader. The possibilities are endless – you can pretty much do anything, provided it obeys the laws of physics.

Treecardgames has a small number of reviews that can literally be counted on the fingers on a single human hand. We can see the scores are 1,1,1,2,3 and yet the overall score happens to be 2.6.

I’m not sure where the 2.6 comes from. It certainly ain’t the mean or median. I doubt it would be the skew or kurtosis. It might be some fancy formula I’ve never heard of, such as computing the arithmetic and geometric mean, calling them foo and bar, then computing the arithmetic/geometric mean of foo and bar, rinsing and repeating until you converge to the limit. Maybe some of the scores are “doublers”, an idea borrowed from Cracking The Cryptic. Then the math would actually work, if you apply doublers to the right scores.

Maybe TreeCardGames was thinking if there were about 500 reviews with an average score of 1.6 then they could pretend the average score was in fact 2.6 and then the average reader will be too lazy to verify the math were correct/incorrect. But as you can see, this is not a viable dodge.

Unless I hear back from TreeCardGames explaining how to derive an overall score of 2.6 given individual scores of 1,1,1,2,3 this is one more entry to the list of reasons why rot13(GerrPneqTnzrf fhpxf!!!!!). For what it’s worth, I think the overall score should be -11123 out of 5 and deriving the number -11123 is left as an exercise for the reader.

Have you come across similar examples of hilariously bad calculation of overall scores? Bonus points if the correct overall score is LOWER than the given overall score 😊 Let me know in the comments!

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