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Problematic OR

Problematic OR

Problematic OR

(OP)
I just got back from giving blood (you all should, it saves lives). Anyway, there was a screening questions I struggled with. Regardless of who you are or where you've been, it only has one valid answer. Yes.

Quote (Red Cross Screening Question)


In the last three years, have you ever been outside the United States or Canada?

During the period of time in question I've only been in the US, therefore I have to answer "Yes", since I've been outside Canada.

Due to the sentence structure, the only valid answer is "Yes".

One other take-away is that overworked nurses have very little patience for smart alec programmers explaining boolean logic. They also can get their revenge in a micro-aggression called "find the vein".

RE: Problematic OR

I got the first taste of programmer humor years ago in college. I asked one of my fellow students a question about how to program something. Of course I said should I do this way or that way and his response was 'Yes'

RE: Problematic OR

bugeyed

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Problematic OR

My father, though no programmer, often jokingly answered 'Yes' to questions like 'Do you want tea or coffee?'

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Problematic OR

(OP)

Quote (OlafDoschke)

My father, though no programmer, often jokingly answered 'Yes' to questions like 'Do you want tea or coffee?'

When getting a response like that, I usually just pick one and go with it. Make the Tea and tell them I had a 66% chance of giving them something they wanted. Which immediately degrades into an argument over probability and percentages.
  1. Wants neither tea nor coffee = Reply "No"
  2. Wants tea only = Reply "Yes"
  3. Wants coffee only = Reply "Yes"
  4. Wants both tea and coffee = Reply "Yes"
Of the three options that would come from a "Yes" reply, "Tea" is an acceptable response for two of them (66%).

Now if the question was "Do you want tea xor coffee?", it would be much different.

RE: Problematic OR

@ SamBones

"Of the three options that would come from a "Yes" reply, "Tea" is an acceptable response for two of them (66%)."

Really? If that is True then the same can be said for Coffee. Both cannot be 66%

You Need to break it down further in that Tea is both 1/3 and (1/2 of 1/3) correct or 3/6 correct (50%)

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Problematic OR

Quote (kwbMitel)

Really? If that is True then the same can be said for Coffee. Both cannot be 66%

I see no inconsistency in both tea and coffee having a 66% chance. SamBones is apparently thinking of a scenario where in a group of 100 people, 25 dislike both tea and coffee, 25 like both, 25 like tea but dislike coffee, and 25 like coffee but dislike tea. Having already gotten a "yes" reply, we know we're not talking to someone who dislikes both, so we're talking to one of the 75 who likes one or the other, or both. In this group of 75, 50 of them like tea and 50 like coffee, so 66% would be satisfied to be served tea, as also would 66% be satisfied to be served coffee.

RE: Problematic OR

Quote:

My father, though no programmer, often jokingly answered 'Yes' to questions like 'Do you want tea or coffee?'

He probably understood that 'tea or coffee' is not a true dichotomy :)

Chris.

Indifference will be the downfall of mankind, but who cares?
Time flies like an arrow, however, fruit flies like a banana.

Never mind this jesus character, stars had to die for me to live.

RE: Problematic OR

@ Karluk

I guess it comes down to how you define satisfaction.

  • If you want Tea and Coffee (4th option) and you only receive tea then are you satisfied?
  • For me I am only 1/2 satisfied as I only got 1/2 of what I wanted.
  • You and/or SamBones are calculating 100% satisfaction even though you didn't get something you wanted.

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Problematic OR

>the same can be said for Coffee. Both cannot be 66%
Results of a random experiment don't need to be mutually exclusive. So their probabilities don't need to sum up to 100%.

As another example , rolling a dice you can ask for probabilities of getting 1 or 2, 2 or 3, 3 or 4,...,5 or 6,and 6 or 1. Each of these results would have a probability of 1/3 and these are 6 different results with a sum of probabilities of 6/3=2. The results overlap so always 2 are happening at the same time.

The result tea and coffee overlaps with both only tea and only coffee, so the 2/3 probability Sam talked about is totally in conjunction with that.

I would even put it simpler: My father said yes and each tea and coffee satisfy to be tea or coffee, so any can be served.

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Problematic OR

Olaf - I'm not sure what I'm missing here logically. The 4th item in the list says "Wants both tea and coffee"

By my assessment that means that Only Tea or Only Coffee does not satisfy that result. Receiving a tea only satisfies 1/2 of the requirement. As I said to Karluk. If I want both and only receive 1 or the other, I would not be satisfied. Although you guys seem to be ok with that.

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Problematic OR

Quote:

I'm not sure what I'm missing here logically. The 4th item in the list says "Wants both tea and coffee"

It's a probability of satisfaction rather than an exact measure. :)

Chris.

Indifference will be the downfall of mankind, but who cares?
Time flies like an arrow, however, fruit flies like a banana.

Never mind this jesus character, stars had to die for me to live.

RE: Problematic OR

Well, with the outset of only one beverage served "wants both coffee and tea" would never really be satisifed, if taken literally. But Sam said "I had a 66% chance of giving them something they wanted". Something they wanted also means partially fulfillment of a result. If you want tea and coffee, tea is in that. In that sense doing both would mean 100% satisfaction in all cases. Even if you only would want one, you can of course skip the other beverage, but that means more effort to get there.

If you take into account the result of the experiment will only be one beverage, I would interpret the question as a validity expression.
Is tea "tea or coffee": Yes
Is coffee "tea or coffee": Yes
Both drinks satisfy the answer "Yes" to the question "Do you want tea or coffee", 100% fulfillment.

Seeing it that way, my father is not withholding more specifications needed to serve him, what he will accept. So if the answer would be "no", no beverage would be the correct response, if the answer is "yes", any beverage is the correct response. Defining four results means you "accuse" my father of (impolitly) withholding informations/specifications.

Taking it to the context of IT project specifications, if I see specifications like that I most often ask for a better specification of customer demands, I sometimes try to not annoy and instead make assumptions I may or may not present as suggestion or recommendation and in the other case take as granted. Rarely, with customers I can do without I would implement the minimum and then let them either be satisfied or risc them leaving unsatisfied.

If you ever took part in a public tender you'd know how annoying it also can be to have very detailed specifications...Realistically there is a break even point for a good specification outlining the necessary solution and still staying assessible and not too long.

Getting towards total satisfaction the agile approach via iterations can save time on both ends, even if you implement something you need to scrap. You'll only stand out as a bad vendor or supplier, if you tend to only do minimum work and show no intererst to understand the gist of the needs and you're surely out, if you even fail to go at least in the right direction towards the goal. It's always easier to talk about the wanted solution when talking about partial solutions. In that sense my father could ask for the other beverage, if he really would want both and got one.

Back on topic of the real tea or coffee question of my mother, my father mostly meant to let my mother have the choice, obviously, besides to tease. Sometimes she wanted him to make the choice, but most important to state, perhaps: They are still married.

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Problematic OR

Ok, I was interpreting the word BOTH literally. I see now that you guys were interpreting it as EITHER.

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Problematic OR

That's not the point, the difference is if you interpret something as the full wish or just something of it, even if sb wanted both in the literal sense of it. If you want both tea and coffee (literally) and you get tea, you get something you want. Not all you want, but something.

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Problematic OR

I was out to lunch with some former colleagues. One guy was asked if he wanted a soup or salad with his meal. He thought the waitress asked if he wanted a super salad with his meal. His response was "Yes, that sounds great!"

RE: Problematic OR

I find the "I want both tea and coffee" group to be too poorly defined to conclusively decide whether they would really be unhappy to receive only one of their choices. In fact, I find kwbMitel's interpretation rather amusing - I have a vision of a bunch of multi-beverage aficionados aggressively turning themselves into two-fisted drinkers on social occasions, walking around with a mug of coffee in one hand and a cup of tea in the other, alternately sipping tea or gulping coffee as the mood strikes them.

My main reason for posting in this thread was to respond to kwbMitel's statement that "Both cannot be 66%". This is arguably true of the tea or coffee question, but is clearly false in general - you can only conclude that two probabilities can't add up to more than 100% if you know that the intersection of the two is empty.

RE: Problematic OR

(OP)
I love you guys! bigsmile

I posted the "66%" knowing it would generate this conversation. I was not disappointed. I love this kind of thread.

Some of you have added the word "both". Neither "both" nor "neither" were in the original sentence. Just "or".

As Olaf points out, my wording was carefully chosen, "I had a 66% chance of giving them something they wanted". If they wanted both coffee and tea, giving them tea would still be giving them something they wanted. Just not everything they wanted. I never mentioned "satisfying" anyone. After all, some people are NEVER satisfied (is it hot enough? Is it strong enough? It's not Earl Grey? etc).

RE: Problematic OR

(OP)
Just thinking through the whole satisfaction issue, the possibilities are...
  1. Wants nothing (replied "No" to original question, so not counted in percentages)
  2. Wants tea
  3. Wants coffee
  4. Wants either tea or coffee (wants a hot beverage, but doesn't care what it is)
  5. Wants both tea and coffee (pretty demanding, might not be invited over again)
So a response of tea is now...
  • 75% = giving them something they wanted
  • 50% = Satisfying them

RE: Problematic OR

Thanks SamBones, this is exactly what I meant by breaking it down a little further

And I guess I'm not invited next time. sad

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Problematic OR

From the programming truth tables: OR
True OR False = True
False OR True = True
True OR True = True
False OR False = False

AND
True AND False = False
False AND True = False
True AND True = True
False AND False = False

For more examples see Truth Tables.

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Problematic OR

I'm sure everyone has noticed that SamBones managed to magically transform a 66% chance of giving his guests something that they want into a 75% chance simply by adding additional granularity to the underlying assumptions behind the meaning of the "yes" responses. I would guess that this is a questionable application of the principle of indifference. Preferences for tea or coffee, or both, or neither, don't have the same feel of having inherently equal odds in the same way as a coin flip has equal odds of being heads or tails. Rather, I would say that beverage preferences are unknown, not equal. Hence it's probably not correct to come up with a lot of subcategories within the "yes" answers and automatically assign them all equal odds.

RE: Problematic OR

Hi 2ffat,

correct and how about Tea AND Coffee?

CODE

#Define Tea true
#Define Coffee false 
:)

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Problematic OR

(OP)
kwbMitel, you'll always be invited. I don't mind brewing beverages for Tek-Tippers. bigsmile

karluk, the percentages are based on the number of possible options only, not the desirability or possibility of the options. Like with a coin, I may really want "heads" badly, and the coin may be imbalanced and favors one face over the other, but there are still only two possible outcomes (assuming an edge balance isn't possible).

Looking at the truth tables, I think I missed a category. There are actually six...
  1. Wants nothing (replied "No" to original question, so not counted in percentages)
  2. Wants tea
  3. Wants coffee
  4. Wants both tea and coffee (AND)
  5. Wants either tea or coffee, both is OK (OR)
  6. Wants either tea or coffee, but NOT both (XOR)

RE: Problematic OR

This time the comparison is flawed, Sam. People do have a will and preference, coins not. People rather tend to not want tea and coffee at the same time, not even thinking of mixing them together. And in your new list, the 4 and 5 overlap, though it's a difference stance to accept both as OK or want both.

Anyway, it's not a categorization in the sense of equally probable choices. You can also split dice results in only two results 1 or higher than 1, but then need to attach different probabilites. Thinking in stereotypes, you would get almost 100% satifaction with tea in England and with coffee in Italy.

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Problematic OR

Can't you just serve beer and be done with it? smile
cheers

Have fun.

---- Andy

There is a great need for a sarcasm font.

RE: Problematic OR

Beer with scones? Yuck

RE: Problematic OR

Quote:

Wants neither tea nor coffee = Reply "No"
Wants tea only = Reply "Yes"
Wants coffee only = Reply "Yes"
Wants both tea and coffee = Reply "Yes"

The question was "Do you want tea or coffee?"

Should be:
Wants both tea and coffee = Reply "NO"

because it means:
I don't want tea OR coffee (NO)
I want tea AND coffee - not offered.

However, you left out the most obvious:
Wants either tea or coffee = Reply "YES"

Which brings us full circle back to Sam Bones correct determination that he had a 66% chance of providing satisfaction.
YES - wants coffee only - gets tea - not satisfied
YES - wants tea only - gets tea - SATISFIED
YES - wants either tea or coffee gets tea - SATISFIED

Randy

RE: Problematic OR

Randy,

welcome to the discussion.

If you take the or in the question as xor, all your inferences are okay to me. In natural language or typically is used as xor, which confirms what you say. Putting it back to three outcomes still doesn't take into accout the probabilities for them. Aside of that flaw, natural language OR is not limited to be an operator of booleans but could also be a conjunction of options and as such has nothing to do with the boolean algebra at all, as I indicated with my #Defines joke.

That would make this whole discussion moot, or put it in a new direction. The or in the tea or coffee question only becomes a boolean algebra or, if you expand to "do you want tea or do you want coffee?" as that connects two booleans.

Humans, right? They don't know what they want. Language is flawed, totally flawed...

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Problematic OR

Quote (OlafDoschke)


... how about Tea AND Coffee?

CODE

#Define Tea true
#Define Coffee false 
rofl2

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Problematic OR

Late to the party here.

The father wants tea. It's hard to answer two questions in one answer. My wife asks me multiple questions in one breath.
I answer the first question only, or only until a positive answer is provided.

Using normal conversation conditions, the 'tea' word was likely inflected to imply an interrogative. Then an incomplete sentence 'or coffee?' follows, making another question.
Do you want a tea? Or coffee?

Answers 'yes.' Get the man a tea woman
Answers 'no.' Man gets nothing
Answers 'no.yes' get the man a coffee woman

With my system it's 100% certain he wants tea and a 33% chance the missus doesn't have to go back to the kitchen after making my sandwich.

I've been scared of elevators for years, but I've been taking steps to fix the problem.

RE: Problematic OR

(OP)

Quote (holdmusic34)


...after making my sandwich.

rofl


RE: Problematic OR

The correct wording of the sentence is this:

Quote:

In the last three years, have you ever been outside (the United States or Canada)?

An unforeseen consequence of the information revolution has been the exponential propagation of human error.

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