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#253901 - Mon Jan 10 2005 11:39 AM Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
d2407 Offline
Participant

Registered: Mon Jan 03 2005
Posts: 31
Loc: Rochester New York USA    
This relates to one specific thing for me, but it's actually two separate questions:

1. What is the best way to deal with different editors who have their own different preferences for how a question should be phrased?

2. What is the most effective way (in terms of both being courteous and getting a prompt response) to dispute a correction to a quiz I've submitted for review?

QUESTION PHRASING: I've recently been preparing a number of quizzes built around completing a song lyric. See this Bob Seger quiz, and these quizzes on Rolling Stones lyrics from the 1960s and 1970s and since for three recent examples. All were approved on the first submission.

After approval of those quizzes, I then prepared a number of other quizzes using the same format, right down to the phrasing of the questions. The musical queue had gotten quite full last week, so no action happened for several days on my submission. No problem. I finally received a friendly and positive note from the editor, saying he liked my quiz, but asking me to please rephrase the way the questions were posed.

What I was being asked to do was modify each question to add a question mark immediately after my quoted lyrics, and to remove the quotation marks from each possible answer (this description makes more sense if you refer to the approved quizzes I listed above).

Although doing so would have been simple, probably no more than 10 minutes of work, I messaged the editor back and politely made my case for phrasing the questions as I did (resting heavily of course on the "three other quizzes in exactly the same format were approved the first time" argument), and asking for a response. So far I've not heard back. More on that below.

I'm asking the above about my own situation, but the "bigger picture" question here pertains to an issue I've encountered on multiple occasions before.

I have seen some editors absolutely positively insist that every question is phrased as a question: "What US President was the first President from the state of Georgia?" Personally, I prefer to not always ask questions that way - for example, "This man was the first person from the state of Georgia to be elected President of the United States" - and I know many, maybe most, Fun Trivia editors accept either way.

So again, as the question asked, what should happen here? Should editors be instructed to, if a question's intent is 100% clear, leave it phrased as is? That would be my preference. This isn't Jeopardy; it's just for fun, and no money is supposed to be at stake here. Or should quiz writers be allowed to point to other recent quizzes that have been accepted to appeal the different preferences of another editor? Or something else?

DISPUTING A CORRECTION: As I already mentioned, when the quiz I described was put back in my court with a nice note from the editor telling me what I wanted changed, I immediately replied back, politely stating my case and asking for clarification.

When I heard nothing back for 48 hours, I then used the "dispute the correction," hoping that doing so would get someone to reply back to me. It's a day later and I've still heard nothing.

My top goal is to not offend an editor or waste his/her time. So I absolutely want to be courteous in my contacts with them, and I absolutely want to submit quizzes that are so clearly right the first time that they're a cinch to be approved. Just my opinion, but I think I do fine on that count.

BUT... when communicating with someone, I do always hope that simple communications I send will be answered quickly, and that's not happening here, so I must be doing something wrong.

Although I know the Music category editors are swamped right now - the current queue status is 4-20 days when I had been seeing under 24-hour turnaround before and through the Christmas holidays - I assume that, once an editor has given me some direction (and therefore has looked at my quiz), my communication on that topic can be answered quickly.

So, again, might I have done something wrong here, and what suggestions could be offered for the "best" way to dispute a quiz correction or communicate with an editor in general?

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#253902 - Mon Jan 10 2005 11:55 AM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
dragonfly3544 Offline
Explorer

Registered: Mon Dec 27 2004
Posts: 80
I have done several music quizzes, lyrics in particular, and have also found that certain editors have their own ideas on the quizzes. In regards to a question having to have a question mark, I too had witten several quizzes that were not phrased this way. Later, after another submission I was told that all questions now had to be phrased with a question mark, or have explicit direction such as "Finish these lyrics", because of the "Who's the smartest" games. I was told that if a question was chosen and it did not expressly have directions, or was not asked in question mark format, the players may not know what was being asked of them. As for disputing corrections, I have had to do this before also. I have found that most editors are more than willing to explain themselves. The time frame does differ because that particular editor may not have time to get on the website and see that you have sent them a message for a few days. I'm not sure, but I don't think disputing the correction through the "please ignore option will work well, I don't think it would be very expedient either as a different editor would have to become familiar with your quiz. I have found that there are times when a particular editor has his or her own style. Sometimes in the interest of good will and getting your quizzes in quickly afterwards, it is best to re-format the quiz as the editor wishes, even if your way is also correct.
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#253903 - Mon Jan 10 2005 11:57 AM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
dragonfly3544 Offline
Explorer

Registered: Mon Dec 27 2004
Posts: 80
I looked at one of your quizzes, and I do not believe that lyrics in the answer choices need to have quotation marks if the answer is the lyrics exclusively.
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All of life is NOT a workout!

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#253904 - Mon Jan 10 2005 12:00 PM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
ertrum Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Wed May 19 2004
Posts: 2062
Loc: Cary North Carolina USA      
If a question is complete in itself, and not referring to other questions in the quiz (No "the person in Q3 also said..." questions), I can't really see why it would make a difference for the hourly quiz.
"This Virginian was the first leader of the Army of Northern Virginia" is pretty much the same as "Which Virginian was ...", except that the latter question ends with a question mark.

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#253905 - Mon Jan 10 2005 12:01 PM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
Leau Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Sun Jun 16 2002
Posts: 5337
Loc: Nijmegen/Brisbane
Quote:

When I heard nothing back for 48 hours, I then used the "dispute the correction," hoping that doing so would get someone to reply back to me.




Using that option is fine when dealing with other players' correction notes, but I'd advise you not to use it with editors. What you initially did is the best way to respond if you don't agree with what an editor asked you to do: send them a message. It's very well possible that the editor who dealt with your quiz hasn't been around for a day or two. I'm sure that has happened to you as well from time to time. They'll get back to you, just have a little patience.
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#253906 - Mon Jan 10 2005 03:44 PM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
ladymacb29 Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Mar 15 2000
Posts: 15897
Loc: The Delta Quadrant
I just want to expand upon what Leau wrote...

All of the editors on this site are volunteers, so this site isn't our life's priority. Sometimes we'll be unable to visit the site for a few days or we may go on vacation.

Using the 'dispute error' is not to be used with rejection notices. If the editors reject your quiz, it means there is an error in it therefore 'not an error' is wrong. Also, the editors do not see the 'not an error' message - we only see it when we go look at that specific notice, we don't get the note as a new message that needs our attention.

If you are concerned about a quiz and that an editor has not responded, go ahead and send another reply to the editor - it could be that the note was accidentally deleted. Or, you can also send a note to the head editor of the category or one of the admin saying "I was just wondering if ___ is away as I'm waiting for a response."
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#253907 - Mon Jan 10 2005 03:54 PM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
Bruyere Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18792
Loc: California USA
Sorry for the delays but as the music section tends to get a young crowd and the school holidays are universal for Christmas and New Years, we got swamped during the break. Plus as everyone says, real life does encroach on our 'hobby' here in an annoying way.

We have had to try several methods to get people to give us a bit more than a lyric floating there without anything else as we get so many of these types of quizzes from first time writers that they need something more.
The daily quiz is particularly hard to deal with for first time quiz writers who may not have in fact heard about it or taken it themselves.

There are some sentence structures that really don't work like the dreaded dropped in space ones. These are the : Madonna sang.....
you get the picture.
This is why from time to time we simply ask people to turn their sentences around and please end them with question marks.
If I were editing your quiz, I would accept the varied style however if I felt it was clear enough what you were asking a person and would it be clear out of context.

The daily quiz is great for the site and people enjoy it, but for editors, it means we have to step up and then step back and step up again before we ok a quiz.
It takes more time now than it did before.

I've been working six days a week at my 'real job' so haven't gotten in a nice editing session where I clear out the music queue with a coworker. Oh, and one thing you might bear in mind is that even if you see only one in the queue, it might be something waiting for a specific editor's subject area, or else, perhaps it's something that will take more time to deal with.
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#253908 - Mon Jan 10 2005 04:00 PM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
agony Offline

Administrator

Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 14801
Loc: Western Canada
I'm not going to address the specific question here, but I would like to point out that the editors are not a monolithic block of trained employees, but are a fairly disparate group of volunteers. We were selected for our quiz making abilities, and our writing and communication skills. Although we make a real effort to work from the same page, there is no absolute "Funtrivia Style Book". We each bring our own personalities and strengths to the table. Some editors will insist on perfection from quizmakers on all tiny punctuation and style points, some will make small corrections themselves, and some (gasp) will let small errors go.
It's also important to remember that this site is a work in progress - changes to requirements are being made all the time, and something that was fine six months ago may no longer be accepted.
The "reply to this note" button is the right one to use for any disputes about a specific quiz. That way, the note will stay attached to the quiz, so it is easy to refer back, and the editor is sure to see your reply. The 'not an error' button doesn't work well for this application - no one may notice your note for some time.
I'd also like to repeat what Leau said - we don't all get here every day. A few days wait is not unlikely.

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#253909 - Wed Jan 12 2005 11:08 AM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
d2407 Offline
Participant

Registered: Mon Jan 03 2005
Posts: 31
Loc: Rochester New York USA    
For the sake of completion, I figured I'd post how this turned out.

As far as the way I was phrasing my questions, I belatedly did something that is supposed be Step One in making a quiz: I read the category guidelines. There were some things in there - most specifically, the fact that standalone lyrics, when presented as answers, don't need surrounding quotes - that I had either not seen before (because, I swear, I had read the guidelines before!), or that I'd forgotten.

So between that, and my probably testing a few editors' patience with my several rounds of questions, I adjusted my understanding of things and got the quiz online.

The bigger issue is something that makes me feel sheepish.

I've read, and I believed anyway, that the best way to work with an editor was to just message the person directly with questions.

When I didn't hear back from the first editor after a couple days, I assumed he was busy, so I took several steps to "elevate" the issue, including posting here.

Although I did so in a way that I thought was respectful and polite, and I meant no harm, the editor, upon his return, did let me know that I should have been more patient. A good point. In the grand scheme of all facets of my life, it doesn't matter one bit whether a quiz I write gets online in 12 hours, 12 days, or maybe even never.

So I'm putting this here just to remind myself, or maybe a future quiz author who reads this in the archives, that the quizzes are meant to be fun, the editors are generous volunteers, and to just be patient! All quizzes have some room for improvement, and, with appropriate cooperation between editors and quiz authors, they get online eventually. Chill, be patient, let things move at their speed, and if your (my) quiz is worthwhile, it will be there for the world to enjoy, soon enough!

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#253910 - Wed Jan 12 2005 11:18 AM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
ladymacb29 Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Mar 15 2000
Posts: 15897
Loc: The Delta Quadrant
D2 - Nice post. But I wanted to add that asking questions never annoys the editors! We'd rather have someone ask every conceivable question than have someone never ask anything and just keep resubmitting a quiz without understanding what needs to be fixed.

The editors are here to help - so make us feel useful!
_________________________
"Without the darkness, how would we see the light?" ~ Tuvok

Editor for Television Category

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#253911 - Thu Jan 13 2005 09:25 AM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
Bruyere Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18792
Loc: California USA
Hi again, tried to post on this yesterday.
It looks as though several things happened from my standpoint. First thing is that most editors need a few days to respond at least. Looks as though you've figured that out. Lots of us check in on different computers and have jobs and family that don't allow us to be on all day.
If you do send several messages assuming the person hasn't seen yours, they would tend to stack up. In the busier categories, patience is a virtue. Music tends to get many things from first timers, so the queue you're seeing is actually a bit different than you might suppose.

Another thing I think is at play is that, we cannot possibly anticipate all the varieties of question form people might use. We allow for different styles but, sometimes need to zoom in and out to see if yours will work or fits in well. The guidelines cannot provide for every eventuality sometimes.

I think that your Seger quiz used one format and then the Stones used something a bit different. The next one was a slight variation on the first format therefore, took a bit more thinking.

Editors do have different things they look for though. I'll tend towards stylistic advice and some go for subject matter if it happens to be their subject.

So think of it, we have to allow for different usage in the various English speaking countries, consistent usage within the site, and prepare for every eventuality as best we can. It does take time.

Thanks for writing about your change of philosophy however.
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#253912 - Thu Jan 13 2005 04:13 PM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
bloomsby Offline
Moderator

Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 4071
Loc: Norwich England UK            
In addition to the advice you've already been given, please bear in mind that something at the back of editors' minds is that questions from (almost) any quiz may be randomly selected for the daily or hourly quizzes. This means that editors have to ask themselves whether the questions in a quiz would make sense *outside the context of your quiz*. (Quizzes in the categories are in some sense themed, though there may be some - deliberate - exceptions in the General category).

Personally, I have developed a preference for questions (with question-marks), as this tends to reduce the number of problems likely to arise if questions appear out of context in daily or hourly quizzes. I hope these comments are of some help.

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#253913 - Sat Jan 22 2005 06:00 PM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
Chippy Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Thu Jul 11 2002
Posts: 212
Loc: Oklahoma USA
Personally, I like questions in the "This man was the first person from the state of Georgia to be elected President of the United States" format. They make me feel like I'm on Jeopardy! haha

D2407, I have to tell you, in your picture (I'm assuming that's you?) you look a LOT like one of my college instructors!

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#253914 - Sat Jan 22 2005 10:08 PM Re: Phrasing a question & disputing a correction
d2407 Offline
Participant

Registered: Mon Jan 03 2005
Posts: 31
Loc: Rochester New York USA    
Quote:

In your picture (I'm assuming that's you?) you look a LOT like one of my college instructors!



1. It is me.

2. My college and grad student days were spent in a near-stupor, half slumped over a desk safely distant from the front of the room. Which unfortunately means that someone else, however wiser than I, walks the earth somewhere, cursed with a similar face.

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Moderator:  agony