|>| Faulty Scoreboard Pattern Recognition

Faulty Scoreboard Pattern Recognition

Thoughts about an example Stephen Downes used when answering a question at the very end of “How I Know What I Know About The Web” (see URL at bottom of post) led me to create the following group of images and a brief statement.

A paraphrased version of Stephen’s example:

Recognition of a number on a broken scoreboard.  You see a dot here and a dot there (perhaps four dots) but recognize that it’s the number six. However, the six is distinct from the dots. It’s the organization that leads to the recognition of the pattern that is seen as a six.

The images

All  the numbers when the lights are functionining

All the numbers

Each score increases the number by 10 points. it is easily recognized that the number is always a zero. This remains true even if none of the lights are functioning.


Each score increases the number by 5 points. One of four non-shared lights must be functioning to recognize the number that is meant to be displayed.


Each score increases the number by 2 points. Non-shared lights become far less common. Some patterns require careful examination to recognize the number.


When each score increases the number by 2 points, patterns become much more demanding to recognize.

zero or eight Because of the missing row,  there is no way to derive whether the number is an eight or a zero.

To recognize complicated or incomplete patterns requires that information be more accurately/carefully interpreted. When the pattern is very complicated there is the potential to form conclusions based upon what the viewer would like to be true.

The complete unedited answer to the question is at the very end of the following presentation.
Stephen Downes
How I Know What I Know About The Web
September 9, 2008
Delivered to iPED International Conference 2008, Coventry, UK, via Skype.

Audio URL