Saturday, 17 July 2010

Opinions - Summer Set

Anonymous from Somerset has some advice for us Elo aficionados:

None of the top professionals use ELO ratings. You are heading down the wrong path especially at the start of a new season.
Well, that's good to know.

Except for a few things.

1) The guy apparently has a short attention span, and failed to make it to the end of my post where I pointed out that the ratings are actually called Elo, not ELO, so immediately some doubts as to his credibility as an expert are raised. When you profess expert knowledge of something, it's always good to know how to spell it - especially when it is comprised of just three letters.

2) No one can know as a certainty that "none" of the top professionals use Elo ratings. For this statement to be true you would need to know not only all the "top professionals", but also the methods of all the "top professionals", and I doubt that any "top professional" would reveal his methods too willingly. I suspect that customised Elo ratings are used fairly widely, albeit often with other filters. What does the term "top professional" mean anyway? Is it based on income? Am I a "middle professional"? Are there "bottom professionals" and if so, what is their line of work?

3) The statement, as a fact, that I am "headed down the wrong path" is equally absurd, and if he had read some of my other posts, would have seen that I am well aware that any rating system needs to be used with extreme caution at the beginning, and indeed the end, of seasons.

While a constructive debate on the merits or uselessness of Elo ratings, or indeed any subject, is to be welcomed, (the comment from my post a couple of days ago may have been anti-Elo, but the commenter did at least support his comments with some reasoning) anonymously knocking an idea without a single fact or counter-idea in support of your comments is just silly, but again, it does give me something to write about.

There are many ways to skin a cat, and while Elo ratings served me well last season, I am well aware that it could have been a statistical fluke. But then again, because the ratings were relatively new, it is possible (he says optimistically) that the ratings will prove even better in their second season. The rating algorithm, for want of a better word, will never be finalised, but an ongoing work-in-progress. The factors I use, and the weightings applied to each of them, will always be subject to adjustment.

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