Saturday, June 08, 2013

Questions with a preconceived answer

Recently , on the facebook group, Jobships, someone posted this puzzle . here is the copy-paste of the puzzle and the responses it received.
Below that is my analysis of what is the social impact of this puzzle on our collective consciousness.
A Japanese ship was en route in the open sea. The Japnese captain went for a shower removing his dimond ring and Rolex watch on the table. When he returned, his valuables were missing. Captain immediately called five suspected crew members and asked each one where and what he was doing for the last 15 minutes.
        The Phillipino cook (in a heavy overcoat) : I was in fridge room getting meat for cooking.
       The Indian Engineer (with a torch in hand) I was working on generator engine.
       The Shrilankan seaman: I was on the mast correcting the flag which was upside down by mistake.
       The British Radio officer: I was messaging to company that we are reaching next port 72hrs. from now that is wednesday morning at 1000hrs.
      The British navigation officer: I am on night watch, so sleeping in my cabin.
              The captain caught the liar. So who is the thief?

here are the responses
LS : I am Not
RT : It's a Riddle, Kindly give logical answers
SI : srilankan chor saaaala,...jap flag is same upside down ..
RT :absolutely, you hit the bulls eye
VM :Japanese flag whatever way u c it's the same
MFH :dont b so racist, mentioning nationality!!! ranks would have been better option !!!    
MS:highly presumptive riddle. such riddle do more of damage than helping people improve their skills.
VN: why would u fly a flag in open sea ?? anyway 1000 is chai ka time .. so everyone lying lol except the 2nd mate !
MS :Even when the Srilankan is 'caught', nonetheless the Indian *Engineer*, and the British *Radio Officer* and British *navigating officers* were the ''suspects'' atleast. . And The Japanese think it to be so. What message will the world community receive.
KK :It's d British radio officer, bcoz he says 72 hrs from now v r reaching port at 1000 hrs on Wednesday. Prbly d lost Rolex watch ad a wrong time which matches d radio officer's timing.
PB: Cadet. Cadet sold both items n found it was American Diamond in the ring n fake Rolex- Drank n abused the Cheapo 101 times

This question is designed with a pre-conceived answer in the mind. This design fault is causing the readers to 'jump to conclusion'. Infact that is one seductive training this kind of puzzle does to its readers -- training of 'jumping to conclusions'. In the haste to reach to a specific pre-conceived answer, the question bears tendency to make the readers cross many red signals on the way. Signals such as identity , evidencing procedures, administrative pressures, HR management, leadership, etc.
        This question mainly hinges on the observation related to symmetry of Japanese Flag about all the bisectors. But does it succeed in inspiring us to think of this observation in general on other places, and flags? Like, have we noticed anything about the Hong Kong SAR flag ? What would happen if there was an Italian ship? Italian flag is symmetrical about the horizontal line. What other observation characterstics exist about other flags ? Did we ever think about this.
      So what was the success of the question among its readers? To create a rote-learned logic , a kind of closed-mind 'smartness'. Indeed some of the haphazard answer reflect better on the people than answers from those who directly appear to be hitting the bull's eye.