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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cropped By The Numbers

I used to be a person who worked with numbers all the time. I thought it would be fun to look at the numbers for the Cropped competition, and compare this year and last year.

First, I compared the number of contestants participating in each round. For 2013, I counted 95 Round 1 entries in the gallery. For 2014, there were 109 entries in the gallery, but a few were play-alongs (I don't know the exact number). I estimated 105 contestants for 2014.  I found the number of contestants graduating to each successive Round on the P&Co blog: here for 2013 and here for 2014. Here is the graph I made:

What interesting things to do we see?
  1. 2014 had about 10 more contestants than 2013, but both are right around 100. Over in the P&Co Forum, Gennifer said that there were actually 172 people who registered in 2014. So quite a few registered but weren't able to participate, or maybe they only registered to get the free kit.
  2. In 2014, more people get to play in each round. For instance, both years started with about 100 contestants. In 2013 only 32 moved on to Round 2, but in 2014 50 moved on to Round 2. So it's more fun for more people in 2014!
I also considered the percentages of people getting cropped in each round. Since I know the number of people graduating to each round, I can use that to calculate a probability of being cropped.

For example, in 2014, 20 of 50 people from Round 2 will be cropped, so that represents a probability of 0.4 of getting tossed out of the competition. BUT that's assuming the 20 are chosen randomly. In reality, we are being judged based on how we complete the challenges, and that isn't random at all. The probabilities I'm calculating don't factor in the actual challenges, a scrapper's strengths and weaknesses, experience, photography skills, etc. So you could argue that these probabilities are meaningless.

But still, if you go just on the numbers alone, you can get a "baseline" expectation of how likely you are to be cropped in each round. Here is my graph:

What do we see here?
  1. In both years, contestants in Round 1 have a relatively high probability (more than 50%) of being cropped because there were a lot of contestants at the beginning and that first round narrows the field a lot.
  2. The probability of getting cropped in 2014 is generally lower for most of the Rounds because more people get to stay each time.
  3. In 2013, in each of Rounds 2-6, exactly half of the contestants were cropped each time. So based just on numbers alone (not on your actual layout), you would have a 50-50 chance of getting cropped in each of Rounds 2-6 (in 2013).
  4. But in 2014, they are keeping more contestants in each round. In Rounds 2, 3, and 4 you have only a 0.4, 0.4 and 0.44 probability of being cropped. That's better than 50-50! That means, in each of those rounds, based only on the numbers, you are actually more likely to stay than to get cropped.
  5. BUT then there is Round 5. Round 5 will have 10 contestants, and one of them will be chosen as the winner. That's a 90% chance of getting cropped in Round 5 and a 10% chance of being the winner.
So that last Round will really be the nail biter. But I think it is nice that it isn't just a one-on-one thing there at the end. It will still be a group of scrappers having fun, competing, winning prizes, scrapping layouts, learning new things, and supporting each other.


  1. Jeepers I am impressed Tiff, you're the numbers gal obviously he he. All I can say is right now I am biting my nails its been the longest 24 hours for me given here in Australia we are nearing the last 8 hours of the 9th October lol! Fingers are crossed to get the go ahead for Round 3 but I wonder if at this rate of nail biting what percentage of my fingers will be left by the time the judges decide who moves forward! ha ha

  2. OMG, I love this so much! While I loved last year's contest, it was really important to us that this year, it was more fun for more people. I'm glad to know that the numbers back it up. :)

  3. That's fabulous, Tiff! Thanks so much for breaking that down for us. I love me some statistics (but I confess I'm too lazy to have done the math myself).

  4. Ahh...you could be my new girl crush with your charts and stats. My inner engineer loves the techy representation. The event is (or should be) fun. No matter when we get cropped we each leave with at least one memory preserved or creativity session put in - the main reasons the majority engage in this hobby. Thank you for your positive blog post. :>)