Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education. -Bertrand Russell
Question #90846 posted on 01/18/2018 4:54 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I am a student here at BYU and I am a huge fan of The Board. What are the chances that I've run into one of you guys without knowing it? I'd love to meet you (not in a creepy stalkerish way, just in a I-think-you-guys-are-fantastic way.

-Emma

A:

Dear Emma,

The answer can be determined by simple probability:

According to our Active Alias Stats page, there are 40 active Board aliases writing. However, some of those aliases are secondary (though we won't tell you which), and a number of the writers listed no longer attend BYU (they used to, but have since moved on and we allow them to keep writing for however long they feel). So, the number of current Board writers who still attend BYU is much smaller than that; for our purposes, we'll say it's 15. 

According to Google, last year the total enrollment of BYU was 33,363 students. So, the probability that a person you meet on campus is a current writer for the 100 Hour Board is 15/33,363 = 0.0004496, or 0.04%. Put differently, there is a 1-in-2,424 chance that a student picked at random is a current Board writer. So, if you're really determined to meet one of us, go out and introduce yourself to 2,424 people, and chances are you'll find at least one.

(In actuality, the close-knit nature of the BYU community means you're probably far more likely to run into one of us through mutual friends or classes, but that's hard to quantify, so we won't get into that.)

-Frère Rubik

A:

Dear M&M,

Frère layed out the general probability, but your personal probability could be totally different. I'd say the biggest factor is whether or not you're taking classes in the same buildings. Because of class schedules I probably bumped into Sherpa Dave 2-3 times a week last semester and this semester I haven't bumped into him at all. Personally, I think the odds of running into one of us at random is probably higher than the calculated amount. I'm always running into people from middle school and my freshman ward. Maybe I just remember it more because of the awkwardness, but BYU is smaller than you think.

The second caveat is that regardless of the odds of bumping into us, the odds of not knowing who we are is really high. Most of us are really careful about our identities. You'd have no way to recognize us. Heck, I saw Frère at a devotional a few weeks ago and I didn't even know it was him. We have mutual friends on Facebook so I knew who he was. I just hadn't met him in person so I didn't recognize him.

So, your odds of running into us is a little low, but not unlikely. Your odds of recognizing us though are close to none. I hope you do run into us though. Readers are the bomb and I'd love to meet people who care about the Board like I do.

Peace,

Tipperary