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jokergirl
2010-Feb-10, 09:07 AM
I have a question about the scenario...

Since everybody knows this is unwinnable, wouldn't the cadets know too?
And if they did, wouldn't that change the rules of the game?

Rather than dealing with an unwinnable life-or-death-scenario you are dealing with guessing what it is the examiners want to see in you and do it for high marks.

So what is it the examiners DO want to see, from a military point of view? Much of the extended universe deals with numerous other characters in the series taking the test and their solutions. What do you get points for?

;)

Tog
2010-Feb-10, 09:59 AM
It may not have been known to be a "no-win" situation. There may have been rumors that there was a valid solution to the problem. Remember, it was something that could be done multiple times. Once the first failure had occurred, the Cadet knew what the scenario would be and could plan accordingly.

If it were true that there might be a way to beat it, then I think that the testers would want to see how far the cadets would be willing to go to try and win. How many different solutions would they try? Would they stay in at all costs, sacrificing themselves in the hope that they had finally hit upon the correct solution? Would they turn and fight on the assumption that if they win, they would have time to effect a rescue? Would they save themselves to escape with the proof of what really happened? Would they give in to frustration and quit because they truly felt they could not win?

As I recall, Savvik did think there was a possibility that the test could be passed. When it came up in Kahn that Kirk had beaten it, her question was "How?" rather than a statement that it was not possible given the nature of the test.

Romanus
2010-Feb-10, 10:57 AM
Not to mention that if one wanted to be really anal, they could question whether the *only* scenario is the no-win one; that is, are there different simulations of varying difficulty to test various skills?

Moose
2010-Feb-10, 11:17 AM
I like Scotty's solution. He exploited a theoretical weakness in the Klingon's shields to take out several waves of cruisers before he was finally brought down. The weakness didn't pan out on real Klingon warships, but the simulator accepted it as a valid attack.

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2010-Feb-10, 11:53 AM
I have a question about the scenario...

Since everybody knows this is unwinnable, wouldn't the cadets know too?
And if they did, wouldn't that change the rules of the game?

Rather than dealing with an unwinnable life-or-death-scenario you are dealing with guessing what it is the examiners want to see in you and do it for high marks.

So what is it the examiners DO want to see, from a military point of view? Much of the extended universe deals with numerous other characters in the series taking the test and their solutions. What do you get points for?

;)

How you behave under pressure. A test of character. Remember Kirk was (as far as we know) the only one to come up with the idea of cheating- he didn't like to lose. The question is: why cheat if the situation is futile? If that were a real scenario, he wouldn't be able to reprogram what happened next.

jokergirl
2010-Feb-10, 12:19 PM
I like Scotty's solution too, it's very hackerish.


How you behave under pressure. A test of character. Remember Kirk was (as far as we know) the only one to come up with the idea of cheating- he didn't like to lose. The question is: why cheat if the situation is futile? If that were a real scenario, he wouldn't be able to reprogram what happened next.

My point was that if you know/detect that it's a scenario supposed to make you show how you behave under pressure, the premise is already broken.
So my question was: "How do they want you to behave under pressure?"
If I were a better politician and less of a Scotty-fangirl, I would find that out, get high marks and proceed to rapidly rise in the Starfleet ranks. (Seeing as I'm not, I'd try to find a way to exploit the system like he did, and end up in engine bay)

;)

NEOWatcher
2010-Feb-10, 06:34 PM
Since everybody knows this is unwinnable, wouldn't the cadets know too?
And if they did, wouldn't that change the rules of the game?

True; What's to say that a cadet wouldn't act the way that Kirk did in the hacked version* in ST-11?

If it were me designing the test, I would make it a dual purpose test. Yes; it's a no win situation, but why not give points for certain unknown accomplishments or knowledge of protocol in relation to the sub-situations.

That way you could distract the cadet from the psychological aspects and still observe them from it.

*The version where he was eating the apple and beat the scenario.

Doodler
2010-Feb-10, 08:49 PM
In the New Frontiers series, MacKenzie Calhoun beat the scenario without cheating.


He ordered his tactical officer to blow up the K.Maru. The exploding fuel on board nailed the first wave of attackers and allowed the ship to escape intact.

His justification: The people on the freighter were already dead by circumstances, being used as bait in a trap. His first duty was to keep his ship intact and protect his crew from a blatant trap set for them.

THAT was an impressive take, hat's off to Peter David for it.

Swift
2010-Feb-11, 02:55 AM
So my question was: "How do they want you to behave under pressure?"

http://www.booktalks.org/forums/images/smilies/panic.gif

Van Rijn
2010-Feb-11, 08:24 AM
I like Scotty's solution too, it's very hackerish.



My point was that if you know/detect that it's a scenario supposed to make you show how you behave under pressure, the premise is already broken.
So my question was: "How do they want you to behave under pressure?"
If I were a better politician and less of a Scotty-fangirl, I would find that out, get high marks and proceed to rapidly rise in the Starfleet ranks. (Seeing as I'm not, I'd try to find a way to exploit the system like he did, and end up in engine bay)


In Star Trek II, Saavik didn't seem to expect the test, and asked questions about it later in the movie. From that, I assumed that no-win scenarios would be thrown in from time to time during simulations, and while they might all be called "Kobayashi Maru tests," the actual details would vary dramatically. The cadets wouldn't know they were walking into a no-win scenario, or be able to work on a plan before going in. I also assumed that cadets would be told, after they went through a no-win scenario, that they were not to discuss it with others, at great penalty (perhaps something like being thrown out of the academy). That would mean there would at least be a chance that not everyone would be aware they would be facing such a test.

Given that, it might be an interesting test. That's also why I didn't like how they handled Kirk's cheating in the recent movie. It seemed like everyone knew all about the test, so the idea of a hack should have been obvious. I would have expected there to rules against it already, unless a hack was considered so difficult to pull off that there was no need for a rule.

That's what would have been worthy of Kirk: Not the idea of cheating (that's trivial), but doing the (nearly) impossible.

jokergirl
2010-Feb-11, 08:30 AM
If it were me designing the test, I would make it a dual purpose test. Yes; it's a no win situation, but why not give points for certain unknown accomplishments or knowledge of protocol in relation to the sub-situations.

If it were me, I'd chose one of two ways:

- let it be known that in any training scenario, the examiners *could* sneak in lose-lose situations. Therefore, the students have to always be on their toes and use their heads like in a real situation; no way to prepare for one single simulation. They could train on any simulations an infinite number of times to hone their skills, but they'll be tested on different, non-retakeable simulations anyway. This is the easier way.

- The harder way would be to prepare the simulation taking into account the personality of the student. Hard to do in a school with many pupils, but we can probably assume that by command school that number has shrunk quite a lot. In that way we can still have a known unwinnable scenario, but actually re-introduce the pressure that is removed by knowing that the scenario is not supposed to have one clear winning outcome.

;)

SeanF
2010-Feb-11, 02:32 PM
I also assumed that cadets would be told, after they went through a no-win scenario, that they were not to discuss it with others, at great penalty (perhaps something like being thrown out of the academy). That would mean there would at least be a chance that not everyone would be aware they would be facing such a test.
That seems to be the implication in "The Wrath of Khan," at least, but the later references to the test seemed to ignore that. Without considering the problems created by ignoring it.


- The harder way would be to prepare the simulation taking into account the personality of the student. Hard to do in a school with many pupils, but we can probably assume that by command school that number has shrunk quite a lot. In that way we can still have a known unwinnable scenario, but actually re-introduce the pressure that is removed by knowing that the scenario is not supposed to have one clear winning outcome.
In the "Next Generation" episode in which Wesley Crusher is testing for simple entrance to the Academy, he is subjected to a simulated test which is tailored to his specific psychology. Not only that, but the test is administered such that he doesn't realize it is a simulation or a test.

Which would - in real life - create a whole different set of problems, of course. :)

Ilya
2010-Feb-11, 03:14 PM
In the "Next Generation" episode in which Wesley Crusher is testing for simple entrance to the Academy, he is subjected to a simulated test which is tailored to his specific psychology. Not only that, but the test is administered such that he doesn't realize it is a simulation or a test.

Which would - in real life - create a whole different set of problems, of course. :)
Assuming it can be done at all -- that is, academy knows enough about Wesley's personality to design such test, -- I don't see any "of course" about it. What potential problems do you see?

SeanF
2010-Feb-11, 03:31 PM
Assuming it can be done at all -- that is, academy knows enough about Wesley's personality to design such test, -- I don't see any "of course" about it. What potential problems do you see?
Because the next time he finds himself in such a situation, he may not react correctly because he will be thinking, "What if this is just another test? No big deal."

That's why fire drills, etc., are always announced as such. You want the people to know what to do when there's a fire, and to have practice doing it. But when there is a fire, you don't want them thinking it's just a drill.

That's the big one.

NEOWatcher
2010-Feb-11, 03:35 PM
Because the next time he finds himself in such a situation, he may not react correctly because he will be thinking, "What if this is just another test? No big deal."
For the most part I agree, but he did know he was going into a psych test, even if he didn't know that situation was the test.

So; the context of what's happening at the time probably would change the mindset enough.

Ilya
2010-Feb-11, 03:53 PM
That's why fire drills, etc., are always announced as such. You want the people to know what to do when there's a fire, and to have practice doing it. But when there is a fire, you don't want them thinking it's just a drill.

Fire drills in my office are announced. But if I remember correctly (maybe I don't, it's been over 20 years), fire drills in USAF were not announced. Fundamentally different mentality.

tdvance
2010-Feb-11, 06:22 PM
If it were me, I'd chose one of two ways:

- let it be known that in any training scenario, the examiners *could* sneak in lose-lose situations. Therefore, the students have to always be on their toes and use their heads like in a real situation; no way to prepare for one single simulation. They could train on any simulations an infinite number of times to hone their skills, but they'll be tested on different, non-retakeable simulations anyway. This is the easier way.


I know it's fiction, but I think it would be better to do your best to hide the fact that some situations are no-win. The idea is, if a person says,"wait this can't be won, THAT'S NOT FAIR" you eliminate the overgrown child from consideration for captaining a ship. I exaggerate the reaction of course: it is a test of how you deal with the reality you find yourself in, including the kind where you, your ship, etc. aren't to be alive much longer.

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Feb-11, 06:29 PM
Because the next time he finds himself in such a situation, he may not react correctly because he will be thinking, "What if this is just another test? No big deal."

That's why fire drills, etc., are always announced as such. You want the people to know what to do when there's a fire, and to have practice doing it. But when there is a fire, you don't want them thinking it's just a drill.

That's the big one.

I once worked in an old building in which the fire alarm would mistakenly go off with some frequency, and everybody took to ignoring it (one person even jammed some styrofoam between the bell and clapper to quiet it). One day the alarm was going off for awhile, longer than usual, and somebody wondered if it might actually be real. So someone called security to ask if there was a fire, and they said "No, if it was an actual fire we could call in person because we assume everybody ignores the alarms."

Nick

Tog
2010-Feb-11, 07:06 PM
We had the fire alarm go off in the hotel one night at about 2:30 in the morning. A leak in the roof caused a drop of water to fall about every 90 seconds. The alarm would go off, I'd reset it and run to check that there really was a fire. Just as I got close, it would go off again. It went off a total of four times.

We had about 24 rooms in house that night, 3 called, and about 10 came down to the lobby to find out what was going on. A few others asked what the noise was about the following morning.

I still find it hard to accept that about half of the people in a hotel would ignore a fire alarm at 2 AM.

jokergirl
2010-Feb-11, 08:47 PM
In my school, we had both announced and unannounced fire drills...

;)

LaurelHS
2010-Feb-11, 09:35 PM
We had the fire alarm go off in the hotel one night at about 2:30 in the morning. A leak in the roof caused a drop of water to fall about every 90 seconds. The alarm would go off, I'd reset it and run to check that there really was a fire. Just as I got close, it would go off again. It went off a total of four times.

We had about 24 rooms in house that night, 3 called, and about 10 came down to the lobby to find out what was going on. A few others asked what the noise was about the following morning.

I still find it hard to accept that about half of the people in a hotel would ignore a fire alarm at 2 AM.
I heard that was happened during the Seton Hall fire; there had been several false alarms in Boland Hall and when there was a real fire, people ignored the alarm. They didn't feel like going outside at 4:30 a.m. in January for a "false alarm" and this probably contributed to some of the deaths and injuries.

And the TNG episode SeanF mentioned is called "Coming of Age," just to get back on topic.

jokergirl
2010-Feb-12, 07:00 AM
I know it's fiction, but I think it would be better to do your best to hide the fact that some situations are no-win. The idea is, if a person says,"wait this can't be won, THAT'S NOT FAIR" you eliminate the overgrown child from consideration for captaining a ship. I exaggerate the reaction of course: it is a test of how you deal with the reality you find yourself in, including the kind where you, your ship, etc. aren't to be alive much longer.

Well, it just reflects real life. I think I'd disclose it, for the reason of teaching people that sometimes they must compromise in their actions.

"Life's not fair, highness. Anybody who says different is selling something."

;)

SeanF
2010-Feb-12, 02:49 PM
Well, it just reflects real life. I think I'd disclose it, for the reason of teaching people that sometimes they must compromise in their actions.

"Life's not fair, highness. Anybody who says different is selling something."

;)
Which is basically what Kirk told Saavik.

But, then, Kirk himself took the "It's not fair!" response to its logical conclusion, and got commended for it, didn't he? :)

Doodler
2010-Feb-12, 06:41 PM
Which is basically what Kirk told Saavik.

But, then, Kirk himself took the "It's not fair!" response to its logical conclusion, and got commended for it, didn't he? :)

Which played into the scene in the Genesis cave, and later when Kirk confronted Spock's death.

Do as I say, not as I..D'oh!

TrAI
2010-Feb-13, 12:07 AM
In the New Frontiers series, MacKenzie Calhoun beat the scenario without cheating.


He ordered his tactical officer to blow up the K.Maru. The exploding fuel on board nailed the first wave of attackers and allowed the ship to escape intact.

His justification: The people on the freighter were already dead by circumstances, being used as bait in a trap. His first duty was to keep his ship intact and protect his crew from a blatant trap set for them.

THAT was an impressive take, hat's off to Peter David for it.

That seems like a bit of a cheat really, probably by the author writing the reality to match his/her moral views.

Seems to me, from my understanding of the Kobayashi Maru scenario, this captain actually fails all possible outcomes, the Kobayashi Maru is lost, the zone is violated and the treaty is broken, and his ship will be lost since the opponent has an infinite fleet of faster ships, and with the treaty broken, they are free to follow(though the simulation is probably not going to let him leave the zone anyway). In addition there is a large difference in failing to save civillians and to actualy shooting on them with the intention of killing them, but as he never will get back to argue his case in court, it isn't an important point.

TrAI
2010-Feb-13, 12:17 AM
Well, it just reflects real life. I think I'd disclose it, for the reason of teaching people that sometimes they must compromise in their actions.

"Life's not fair, highness. Anybody who says different is selling something."

;)

Hmmm... I would say that it is people that are unfair, life is fair, the universe is fair, the same rules apply to everyone, we may not like them but that is something else.

The Kobayashi Maru scenario is unfair since it is programmed to skew the rules in favor of the simulated opponent, but that is the point, it is not a test of winning, but sort of like a psychological test.

marsbug
2010-Feb-13, 05:07 PM
I think it worth mentioning that a number of cadets realised the trap and refused to attempt a rescue (like Sulu). As a result the enterprise wasn't destroyed. They never had to face death in the simulation, so it's value as a test of character might arguably be diminished, though it doesn't seem to have hurt their careers.

Going through the wikipediea entry for the test, there are a few true winning solutions available. Kirks nephew comes up with one where the freighter is rescued, the enterpise is safe, but he himself is left for dead.

In the novel dreadnaught the main character reprograms the test computer from inside the scenario to make it fight itself, and the test computer crashes. The instructor admits that if it hadn't crashed the cadet might actually have won- presumably because she started off with a true version of the test, and so technically didn't cheat.

I think, as a set scenario which is the same for everyone, it would be better as a test of inventive thinking

AstroRockHunter
2010-Feb-13, 05:53 PM
... [SNIP] ... I think, as a set scenario which is the same for everyone, it would be better as a test of inventive thinking

True.

Remember, Kirk's commendation for 'beating' the no-win scenario by re-programming the simulation, was for 'original thinking'.

Ara Pacis
2010-Feb-21, 09:38 AM
In the novel dreadnaught the main character reprograms the test computer from inside the scenario to make it fight itself, and the test computer crashes. The instructor admits that if it hadn't crashed the cadet might actually have won- presumably because she started off with a true version of the test, and so technically didn't cheat.

Ahh, the Joshua Maneuver.

tdvance
2010-Feb-21, 05:13 PM
ah, but even computerized tic-tac-toe is winnable, if one computer player has root privileges and the other doesn't :) (that's "admin" for Windows. I have no idea what it is for Mac, maybe, "call Apple Tech Support")

Delvo
2010-Feb-21, 11:50 PM
If the choice not to attempt a rescue means the ship and captain come out fine in the simulation, then it's not a no-win scenario. It's one that you win by showing the wisdom not to bite off more than you can chew. The only way to count that as a no-win scenario then is to define that kind of win as somehow a loss anyway, I guess on the basis of the people aboard the bait-ship not getting saved. And that just doesn't make sense. (And it contradicts Starfleet's own thinking in other comparable cases, such as Tuvok's simulation-lesson for some previously Maqui trainees in one Voyager episode, in which the lesson was to remember to consider the option of not fighting but staying away from the fight for the sake of your own preservation.)

HenrikOlsen
2010-Feb-22, 12:16 AM
From what I remember of the book, not rescuing the Kobayashi Maru was Sulu's choice and that was also a fail in the scenario.

Ara Pacis
2010-Feb-22, 07:04 AM
If the choice not to attempt a rescue means the ship and captain come out fine in the simulation, then it's not a no-win scenario. It's one that you win by showing the wisdom not to bite off more than you can chew. The only way to count that as a no-win scenario then is to define that kind of win as somehow a loss anyway, I guess on the basis of the people aboard the bait-ship not getting saved. And that just doesn't make sense. (And it contradicts Starfleet's own thinking in other comparable cases, such as Tuvok's simulation-lesson for some previously Maqui trainees in one Voyager episode, in which the lesson was to remember to consider the option of not fighting but staying away from the fight for the sake of your own preservation.)

But that was some decades or centuries after the events depicted in Star Trek. Maybe they changed the rules for some yet-to-be-explained reason.

marsbug
2010-Feb-22, 01:05 PM
I think it's reasonable to expect that a win is a completed mission, so saving the kobyashi maru. Refusing to intervene is just the least devastating 'lose' scenario. I bet if you had to stand by helplessly and watch several hundred innocent people get killed you wouldn't feel like you'd won anything!

Moose
2010-Feb-22, 04:30 PM
As Klingons prefer live Gagh, they also prefer live bait.