from the word-play dept.
Oliver Roeder writes at 538 that for living-room players, Scrabble is a test of vocabularies but for world-class players, it’s about cold memorization and mathematical probabilities which is why top player are often computer programmers or mathematicians, not poets or novelists. Think of the dictionary as a giant rulebook of valid text strings not as a compendium of the beauty and complexity of the English language. A good competitive player will have memorized a sizeable chunk of the 83,667 words that are two letters to eight letters long. Great players will know a lot of the 29,150 nine-letter words as well.
To the uninitiated, a scrabble game played by top players looks like they had played in Martian. Here’s a taste: In a single game in last year’s Nationals, Nigel Richards, the champion of the 2010 National Scrabble Championship, played the following words: zarf (a metal holder for a coffee cup), waddy (to strike with a thick club), hulloed (to hallo, to shout), sajous (a capuchin, a monkey), qi (the vital force in Chinese thought), flyboats (a small, fast boat), trigo (wheat) and threaper (one that threaps, disputes). Richards has a photographic memory and is known for his uncanny gift for constructing impossible words by stringing his letters through tiles already on the board. "He is probably the best Scrabble player in the world at this point," says John D. Williams, Jr.. "He's got the entire dictionary memorized. He's pretty much a Scrabble machine, if such a thing exists." So, really, how does he do it? As Richards said in an interview posted on YouTube, “I’m not sure there is a secret. It’s just a matter of learning the words.” All 178,691 of them.
Now that the latest release of slashcode has settled, and we're moving ahead towards towards getting the site self-sufficient, it's time to look at our longer term plans. I have talked about the direction I want SN to go, as well as some of the trouble getting from here to there. With the help of the staff, what I present here is a more unified plan on how we get from here to there for the community to evaluate. This should however be considered a draft, so, as usual, feel free to rip it to shreds, etc. In short, here's what I want to get done over the next six months:
- SoylentNews PBC reaches self-sufficiency
- Beginnings of a major "port and polish" on both content and the site itself
- Build a more uniformed sense of community throughout the site
- Compilation and completion of a "style and policy" manual
- Preparations for running a crowd-funding campaign to get initial capital
- Define, with assistance and input from the community, a mechanism for community governance
- If possible, try and reach out to other not-for-profit journalist organizations for advice and guidance
- Bootstrap the NFP umbrella from the B-corp's funds
- Define a framework for which original content will be used on SoylentNews
- Identify people who may be willing to work in a journalistic capacity with us
- With the above frameworks in place, fundraise
- Original content launches on SN
As usual, I'm going to go through these one by one, so check past the break