I know it’s frustrating to put so much time into a competition and not win due to a very small issue. We’ve seen it before and it’s always such a great source of disappointment for everyone. We have enormous respect
for your efforts and how close you’ve come and hope you’ll be back for future competitions, including Flight Quest 2.
We’ve taken your concerns very seriously and conferred with GE regarding the same, and I believe it will be helpful to review the rationale for our decision, including the history from the log files, for you to better
understand our conclusion.
The submission page stated: “Note: You can select up to 1 submission that will be used to calculate your final leaderboard score. If you do not select them, up to 1 entry will be chosen for you based on your most recent
submissions. Your final score will not be based on the same exact subset data as the public leaderboard, but rather a different private data subset of your full submission. Your public score is only a rough indication of what your final score might be. You
should choose an entry that will most likely be best overall, and not necessarily just on the public subset.”
During the course of the competition, you made 23 submissions of which 3 were selected for leaderboard scoring. First you selected submission 242748 on January 7, 2013 (all times UTC). You unselected that submission
on January 24, 2013 and selected submission 250852. You unselected that submission on January 26, 2013 and selected submission 252143. You did not revise that selection at the time of your final submission. It seems logical to conclude that you understood
the process of selecting submissions.
Three of the other winners selected their final submission for scoring. The two that did not select the final submission had not previously made a manual selection or had unchecked prior submissions and the software
worked as designed and selected the final submission. One participant (but not a winner) made 3 final submissions and selected one for scoring - which was the case the software for selecting a response was intended to handle. There was no bug in the software.
On April 3, you sent Ben Hamner an email in which you stated “I was looking back at the 'My Submissions' page and I am guessing this might be related to the fact that I didn't hit the checkbox next to the final submission.
Any chance that might be correct? Obviously I should have checked that box, but I guess I didn't think it would be necessary since there really is no ambiguity (i.e. I only had one submission for the final set).” As noted above, other participants did not
have this same issue.
That being said, no competition is perfect and we always strive to improve our procedures and user interface. We appreciate your input into the areas you found confusing and will incorporate appropriate changes into
future competitions. As a company populated with past competitors, we genuinely do sympathize with your frustration and disappointment on this issue
Lastly, the rules of the competition state:
"By participating in the Competition, each Entrant agrees to release, indemnify and hold harmless GE, Kaggle Inc., and their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotions agencies, as applicable,
and each of their respective agents, representatives, officers, directors, shareholders, and employees from and against any injuries, losses, damages, claims, actions and any liability of any kind resulting from or arising out of your participation in or association
with the Competition. GE is not responsible for any miscommunications such as technical failures related to computer, telephone, cable, and unavailable network or server connections, related technical failures, or other failures related to hardware, software
or virus, or incomplete, late or misdirected Entries. GE reserves the right to cancel, modify or suspend the Competition should any computer virus, bug or other technical difficulty or other causes beyond the control of GE corrupt the administration, security
or proper play of the Competition, and to determine winners from among Entries not affected by the corruption, if any, in its sole discretion."
We genuinely wish that this issue had not arisen and your otherwise impressive efforts could have been recognized as you wished. However, in order to be fair to the other participants who followed all the rules and
instructions, we cannot modify the final standings.
I know this is hugely disappointing for you and we sympathize with your situation. We sincerely hope that you will be able to get past your disappointment and participate in future competitions with results you are
clearly capable of achieving.
Anthony Goldbloom / @antgoldbloom
/ Kaggle Founder & CEO