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#254707 - Sat Jan 22 2005 01:37 PM Culturally specific quizzes
CarlasPal Offline
Learning the ropes...

Registered: Mon Aug 09 2004
Posts: 4
I am wondering if Fun Trivia editors have ever addressed the problems inherent in editing culturally sensitive and culturally specific quizzes. I submitted a US specific quiz a while back on a culturally sensitive but important AMERICAN Constitutional issue, only to have it edited by a foreigner who was by his/her admission quite unaware of the American system of government. While I do not believe the editor intended to be rude, his/her lack of understanding of the basic issues related to the topic certainly had that effect.

While I mean no offense to any of the fine work done by Fun Trivia editors, I do believe it is incumbent upon the editors to acknowledge this problem. My Gold Membership expired today, and this issue leaves me not wanting to renew.

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#254708 - Sun Jan 23 2005 12:49 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
crisw Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Mon Feb 21 2000
Posts: 5745
Loc: California USA
I am unsure what, exactly, your problem is. It seems that your Quizzyland name must be different than your Forums one, as I cannot find any entries for "CarlasPal" in Quizzyland.

The job of an editor is primarily to check for structural errors in a quiz- grammar, spelling and the like- and to ensure that the quiz follows specific guidelines for a category. We are not required (nor is it possible!) for us to be experts on every category of every quiz that we edit.

Given these strictures, I am not sure from your message how having a non-American editor negatively impacted the process of getting your quiz online. If you can be more specific as to what the problem was, perhaps I can address it a bit better.
_________________________
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"I'd rather make one dog happy than please all the dogmatists in the world."
P. Z. Myers

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#254709 - Sun Jan 23 2005 02:19 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
ladymacb29 Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Mar 15 2000
Posts: 15897
Loc: The Delta Quadrant
Also, I'd want to add one thing about international editors in general: Sometimes it's actually better to have someone who is a non-American edit your quiz as they are able to see when things aren't very clear for those who don't live in the US.
_________________________
"Without the darkness, how would we see the light?" ~ Tuvok

Editor for Television Category

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#254710 - Sun Jan 23 2005 02:51 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
agony Offline

Administrator

Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 14800
Loc: Western Canada
In some very important ways, in an international site, there can not be such a thing as a 'foreigner'. The US is no more the norm here than is the UK, or Canada, Australia, Israel ... Quizwriters need to be aware that they are writing for an international audience, and must not assume that there is such a thing as 'our' Constitution, 'our' history, 'our' way of life. An editor with a different background is more likely to catch these assumptions.

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#254711 - Mon Jan 24 2005 12:29 AM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
CarlasPal Offline
Learning the ropes...

Registered: Mon Aug 09 2004
Posts: 4
Crisw writes:

"I am unsure what, exactly, your problem is. It seems that your Quizzyland name must be different than your Forums one, as I cannot find any entries for "CarlasPal" in Quizzyland."



When one initially signs up for the Fun Trivia Community Forums they are told that their "Fun Trivia ID (used for quizzes etc.) will not work in this section of the website." For that reason, I did not try to open up a forum account using my Fun Trivia ID. In retrospect, I see that Fun Trivia ID's indeed work in the Community Forum. All one needs to do is re-register them. That is not at all clear however from the current instructions.


Crisw also writes:

"I am not sure from your message how having a non-American editor negatively impacted the process of getting your quiz online. If you can be more specific as to what the problem was, perhaps I can address it a bit better."


In a quiz that I wrote I specifically wanted to quote from the dissenting opinion of one of America's greatest supreme court justices.regarding the Eight Amendment to the American Constitution. The words of this opinion are available in all public schools, and were explicitly intended by Justice Brennan to reach the hearts and minds of school aged children. When the editor objected to the Supreme Justice's quote, I respectfully responded that I would consider it both irreverent and un-American to censor a Supreme Court justice's opinion to the American people, and that I would sooner withdraw my quiz that do that. Instead of responding to me in a way that acknowledged my feelings, the editor simply responded that I needed to fix the question.

I do believe that if the editor understood the cultural context of the quote, he/she might not have been so quick to edit it.

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#254712 - Mon Jan 24 2005 09:39 AM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
ladymacb29 Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Mar 15 2000
Posts: 15897
Loc: The Delta Quadrant
Quote:


When one initially signs up for the Fun Trivia Community Forums they are told that their "Fun Trivia ID (used for quizzes etc.) will not work in this section of the website." For that reason, I did not try to open up a forum account using my Fun Trivia ID. In retrospect, I see that Fun Trivia ID's indeed work in the Community Forum. All one needs to do is re-register them. That is not at all clear however from the current instructions.




I think you misunderstood the meaning of that note. It means that you cannot just login to this side of the site with the same userID and password as the QL part - you need to register here as well.

Quote:

In a quiz that I wrote I specifically wanted to quote from the dissenting opinion of one of America's greatest supreme court justices.regarding the Eight Amendment to the American Constitution. The words of this opinion are available in all public schools, and were explicitly intended by Justice Brennan to reach the hearts and minds of school aged children. When the editor objected to the Supreme Justice's quote, I respectfully responded that I would consider it both irreverent and un-American to censor a Supreme Court justice's opinion to the American people, and that I would sooner withdraw my quiz that do that. Instead of responding to me in a way that acknowledged my feelings, the editor simply responded that I needed to fix the question.




Would you share with us (by PM if you wish) your QL ID so we can find this quiz and give you a better idea on why the editor asked for the quote to be changed?
_________________________
"Without the darkness, how would we see the light?" ~ Tuvok

Editor for Television Category

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#254713 - Mon Jan 24 2005 10:47 AM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
Bruyere Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18792
Loc: California USA
I have to reiterate that the concept of 'foreigner' isn't valid here and that unfortunately, it's more likely to have to remind people that you can't assume that you can use 'our' and 'we' when writing a quiz. This is the very nature of the site and we have editors from all over the English-speaking world.

Normally, as editors we tend to look for how to reach a larger audience with your quiz and even a US or UK or Canadian or Australian specific quiz would be checked for its potential to include people from other countries.

Your question appears to be very specific to your quiz so LadyMacbeth's advice is necessary to look into it, however in general for others, if you've done a quiz on specific brand names or something that is specific to your country's way of life, then please label it that way so that those who want to give it a try know from the outset.
If you've done a quiz on fast food available only in the UK or Australia or North America, then please say so in the title or at least the introduction. (the title is the best place as if your question is on the daily quiz, the person taking it will only have that information).

When I edit this type of quiz, I zoom in and out to see if it could be reworded to get you more players and include the audience a bit more. This isn't just the 'we' or 'our' wording but the whole view of it.

Also, as a rule of thumb, if we foresee a quiz engendering endless correction notes and debates over things that might be reworded we sometimes ask you to reword it before it goes online. As we've seen the results of this time and time again, we will ask you to reword it if we feel it's going to be an endless process. Sometimes the quiz goes online and then gets messages debating one thing or another.
In general, a quiz should be reasonably airtight and shouldn't get debated over and over.

So in general, when editors do ask you to change something, it rarely matters where they come from if they see that rewording something might make your quiz more inclusive.

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#254714 - Mon Jan 24 2005 12:14 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
picqero Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Tue Dec 28 2004
Posts: 2813
Loc: Hertfordshire<br>England UK
Quote:

Also, I'd want to add one thing about international editors in general: Sometimes it's actually better to have someone who is a non-American edit your quiz as they are able to see when things aren't very clear for those who don't live in the US.




I've found that sending polite correction notices to authors who've used terms such as 'our president', etc usually works quite well.
Incidently, I don't believe LadyMach that you really do live in the Delta Quadrant! I'll bet yoiu live on earth somewhere, just like the rest of us.

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#254715 - Mon Jan 24 2005 02:25 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
CarlasPal Offline
Learning the ropes...

Registered: Mon Aug 09 2004
Posts: 4
A better name for this topic would be culturally sensitive quizzes.

I did not give more descriptive detail, as I did not want to identify any specific editor. I only wanted to bring attention to a situation that I personally found problematic. My purpose in writing here is not to have my quiz accepted (I have already deleted it), but rather to point out to the editors what can happen when culturally sensitive quizzes are edited by editors unfamiliar with the culture they are editing. Admittedly, not that many topics are vulnerable to such strong cultural sensitivities, but this topic clearly was, and should have been recognized as such.

The quiz was on capital punishment. This is an issue of great importance to the world community. America is very much a "foreigner" on this issue when contrasted with the rest of the developed Western world that has outlawed this form of punishment. While it may be easy for a Brit, an Aussie, a Canadian or a Dutchman to label this very topic as barbaric or reprehensible or something that we just don't talk about; those sentiments do nothing to educate the American public who must live daily with this issue.

I attempted to keep my quiz impartial and educative, but I did end it by quoting directly from the dissenting opinion on this issue from one of America's greatest Supreme Court Justices. If the editor had known anything about who Supreme COurt Justice Brennan was, he/she would have known that Justice Brennan was an adamant opponent of capital punishment, who felt a strong need to educate children about the barbarism of this practice. Justice Brennan very much wanted to see American in line with the rest of the developed world on this issue. If the editor had known that Supreme Court Justices were the only people entrusted to interpret our COnstitution, then the editor might have realized that censoring Justice Brennan's exact quote might be, in the very least, controversial. Afterall, the words of America's Supreme Court Justice's opinions belong to the American people, and are a part of American history taught in American schools.

The exact quote was a graphic description of execution by electrocution where Justice Brennan described the condemned man's eyeballs popping out of his sockets and the sizzling of his skin like bacon frying. (Sadly, there would probably have been no editing if this were a description of a video game!) In the very least the editor could have referred the quiz to Terry for final decision, but this editor was just too ignorant of the issues to see a need to do that.

As I said, it wasn't the censorship itself that was so bothersome, it was the attitude on the part of the editor that bothered me. After a lengthy explanation, he/she still refused to acknowledge that I would rather delete the whole quiz than censor the words of one of the nine people entrusted to interpret the American Constitution.

There was no long bantering back and forth. I edited my quiz in response to the editor's first correction notice, but indicated to him in that response that I personally considered it both un-American and irreverent to censor the quoting of a Supreme Court Justice's opinion. I told the editor that if he/she still felt that they needed to do so that, that I would prefer to withdraw the quiz entirely. If I had gotten acknowledgment from the editor that he/she understood my sentiments, I would have felt a lot different. Instead, the editor responded in a way that totally ignored my explanation and my feelings.


I know that I would have felt differently if the editor had been American, as I know that at least my opinions would have been understood.

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#254716 - Mon Jan 24 2005 03:20 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
ladymacb29 Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Mar 15 2000
Posts: 15897
Loc: The Delta Quadrant
Well, in that case I believe I would have asked for the more graphic part of the quote to be left out. It's like how the criminals category walks a fine line between describing the way someone died and being too graphic.

Video games are something different - they're not real.
_________________________
"Without the darkness, how would we see the light?" ~ Tuvok

Editor for Television Category

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#254717 - Mon Jan 24 2005 03:39 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
SilverMoonsong Offline
Moderator

Registered: Sun Nov 07 1999
Posts: 3976
Loc: Durham, North Carolina USA
As a former quiz editor, knowing that there are children on this site who take these quizes, I would also have asked for that quote to be modified. I personally do not want to read something that graphic, and had I been taking the quiz with no knowledge that quote was included in the quiz, I would have been offended. I also would not want my children to read something like that.

I understand you have strong feelings about not using the quiz without that quote, but also keep in mind that many parents would not want their child to read something like that. In this case, I would side with the editor.
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#254718 - Mon Jan 24 2005 04:58 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
agony Offline

Administrator

Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 14800
Loc: Western Canada
I come from a country where Constitutional wrangling is practically a national sport, and, were I to write a quiz about one of these arguments, I wouldn't dream of assuming that the editors, or my players, would understand all the background to the issue. You say "if the editor had known" - well, you have to assume that people DON'T know. You must assume, on an international site, that your audience are not aware of the details of the Constitution of your country, and of the names of the major players in your internal matters. One of the reasons that this site is so popular is that people can take quizzes on matters that they don't know anything about, and learn something. If the issues are too complex, or the background too extensive, to be explained in the context of a quiz, then perhaps the subject is just not really suitable quiz material. Not everything is.
On the issue of 'offensiveness', and censorship, one thing to keep in mind are the daily and hourly quizzes. Not everyone who encounters your question will have been warned, so to speak, by the title and subject of the quiz. I constantly have to remind quizmakers in the Literature category of this, when they complain that certain quotes from the book at issue are not allowed. "But it's in the book", they say. "No one will be taking this quiz who hasn't already read it!" However, because of the daily and hourly quizzes, any question from any quiz can be put to anybody. No unsuspecting person should be faced with a graphic passage from a Stephen King novel with her breakfast coffee. And, much as I may agree with Justice Brennan's feelings about capital punishment, I don't want to come upon the details unexpectedly.

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#254719 - Mon Jan 24 2005 07:14 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
Bruyere Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18792
Loc: California USA
Thanks for explaining as I'm American, not a 'foreigner' by your definition, know something about this issue and would have acted accordingly and have in the past.
I understand your viewpoint and why you were emphasizing this, but there are ways of presenting it that might be acceptable.

Now, as a teacher and parent, I'm wondering if that particular quote would be used with anyone but seniors as when you consider what you have to do to show anything remotely controversial without getting sued or brought up in front of the principal's office these days, would it be worth the job? The school is a pretty hard place to express oneself in these days and with the pressure on the teacher to watch kids' language each day, I'm wondering if this would actually be something used in that context.

Now, as to the censorship issue. If someone finds that our rules are too objectionable and strict, then perhaps it's not the best format in which to express their viewpoint and the quiz not the way to go.

As we said earlier, if a quiz is going to engender too much debate, then perhaps it isn't made to be a quiz but a piece of writing in another format.

There are ways of indicating his strong opposition to capital punishment without the quote.
_________________________
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#254720 - Mon Jan 24 2005 09:15 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
d2407 Offline
Participant

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

There are ways of indicating his strong opposition to capital punishment without the quote.




(Not that anyone asked, but) for example, one could say "Justice William Brennan reinforced his dissent in Glass v. Louisiana (1985) with a vivid description of what happens in an execution."

100% accurate statement, something I can read while eating my lunch, yet provides enough specifics that I can easily go online and research exactly what Brennan said, should I care to.

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#254721 - Mon Jan 24 2005 10:41 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
Bruyere Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18792
Loc: California USA
That would be acceptable in this context.
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I was born under a wandering star.

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#254722 - Tue Jan 25 2005 09:50 AM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
Exit10 Offline


Registered: Fri Sep 28 2001
Posts: 4253
Loc: Brisbane Queensland Australia
Aah the things that happen on the other side of the world when the other half are asleep.

This editor (I am a she btw) rejected your quiz for good reason and it was NOT for the constitutional reasons that you have mentioned.

As I tried to explain to you, it was the language and description of the content of the quote that was unsuitable for a family site, not the fact that a statement had been made. The rest of your quiz was very interesting and I know a lot of players would have enjoyed playing it.

For those who aren't aware of Justice Brennan's statement, there is a lot more contained in it than just the references a few posts above.



Quote:

I know that I would have felt differently if the editor had been American, as I know that at least my opinions would have been understood.





What is your basis for saying that? Does the fact that I am not American means I wouldn't understand your opinions?

I find this extremely offensive.

The role of an editor is NOT defined by their nationality. It is defined by checking for good grammar, that quiz guidelines are being met, that people don't copy the work of others and a myriad of other things. Not least of this is judging the suitability of a quiz to be put online. Apart from that one quote your quiz was fine and could have gone up immediately.


I think d2407 has it all perfectly summed up.

Quote:



Quote:

There are ways of indicating his strong opposition to capital punishment without the quote.





(Not that anyone asked, but) for example, one could say "Justice William Brennan reinforced his dissent in Glass v. Louisiana (1985) with a vivid description of what happens in an execution."

100% accurate statement, something I can read while eating my lunch, yet provides enough specifics that I can easily go online and research exactly what Brennan said, should I care to.




If you wish to discuss this further please PM or message me. This forum is not designed for whingeing at players or editors.

Exit10
Senior Editor

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#254723 - Thu Jan 27 2005 02:32 AM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
Terry Offline
Head Honcho

Registered: Wed Dec 31 1969
Posts: 20539
Loc: USA
"[T]he cords of the neck stand out like steel bands.. 7he prisoner's limbs.. and face are severely contorted.. the prisoner's eyeballs sometimes pop out on his cheeks... the prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool.. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire.... There is a sound like bacon frying and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh... when the post-electrocution autopsy is performed the liver is so hot that doctors said it cannot be touched by the human hand ... "

Now really. Do you honestly think that is appropriate for a TRIVIA website?

Perhaps if you were writing a paper on capital punishment it would be an interesting quote to add, but you're honestly surprised that an editor finds this quote inappropriate for a family-oriented entertainment trivia site?

Seriously?

Terry

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#254724 - Fri Jan 28 2005 07:16 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
CarlasPal Offline
Learning the ropes...

Registered: Mon Aug 09 2004
Posts: 4
First off, I want to express my dissatisfaction that this topic ever regressed to being about a particular editor. It was never intended to be such. Nor was this thread intended to be about censorship at all. This post was a response to the feeling that I had at the time of not being understood by my editor. Nothing more. Nothing less. In my response back to the editor (the content of which was never acknowleged), I indicated my personal view that I would rather delete the whole quiz than to do something that "to me" felt both irreverent and un-American. I did not need the editor to agree with my perspective!. I only needed for the editor to acknowledge it. I initially thought that the lack of acknowledgement might have been due to cultural differences. As I read back over the two correspondences that I had with the editor (which I saved), I am more inclined to believe that my comments were probably never fully read.. I believe that happens from time to time with every editor, so I don't think this editor did anything that any other editor has not done.

I do not have a problem with any private site setting their own standards for editing, especially when those standards are equitably applied. With an internet lawyer in the family, I am well aware that such censorship is your right. Certainly my quote is not the stupidest thing that I have seen edited on the internet. I once had a post edited on a health care site where an individual was concerned that he might be infected with Hepatitis C, but he did not want that information appearing in his medical record. So I told him about Home Access testing where he could test himself anonymously. All that he needed to do was prick himself with the lancet provided, put a drop of blood on the test strip card, record the number on that card and mail it in. It took me a while to figure out why my post was flatly rejected on the basis of "vulgar language."

The fact that I very much respect and acknowledge the rights of any internet site to censor anything that they want should not be construed to mean that I am beyond any emotional reactions to censorship. Never in any of my previous quizzes did I have a strong response to any of the changes an editor requested of me. This quiz was surprisingly different. I felt the need to explain to the editor why I would rather delete the whole quiz than leave out the message of this very distinguished Supreme Court Justice; one of only nine people in the United States invested with the responsibilty of interpreting the American Constitution (Cruel and unusual punishment is forbidden by the Eight Amendment). THe quote itself had been discussed in my nephew's seventh grade history class. It was featured verbatin on all the major news networks at the time it made history. It is featured in the Presidential Medal of Freedom website which highlights the lives of Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients. I personally stand by my right to voice my feelings regarding the censorship of this very famous historical document. I don't however need anyone to agree with me. All I need is respect for the fact that I personally would never dream of keeping this type of stuff from my own kids, who can easily access it through the public library, see it on the national news, view it on the Discovery or History channels, see it quoted at the Presidential Medal of Freedom website, or learn about it their seventh grade classroom.


That leaves me back to you Terry. I have to assume that you would not object to the question of "What Supreme Court justice graphically described the barbarism of execution by electrocution?" I also suspect the quote would have been accepted if it had only mentioned one descriptive graphic like "the sizzling of bacon frying." As more descriptive graphics are added, I can see how the the quote becomes more objectionable to more people. In your public response, you give the Fun Trivia audience the impression that what you are quoting is what appeared in my quiz.

"[T]he cords of the neck stand out like steel bands.. 7he prisoner's limbs.. and face are severely contorted.. the prisoner's eyeballs sometimes pop out on his cheeks... the prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool.. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire.... There is a sound like bacon frying and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh... when the post-electrocution autopsy is performed the liver is so hot that doctors said it cannot be touched by the human hand ... "

Did you actually see the quiz? Clearly you didn't, as you would not have included content that did not appear there. If the objection that you have to my question does not concern the concept of a supreme court justice graphically describing capital punishment, but rather, concerns the specifics of that graphic description, you can only due me justice by quoting exactly what I said. What else Justice Brennan may have had to say on this issue is not relevant here. My quote did not include any mention of the cords of the neck standing out like steel bands, nor did it mention severe contortions of the limbs or face, nor did it mention any thing about the liver. You have led people here to believe that what you quoted was my question. You could at least have quoted my question accurately. I saved my quiz in HTML format when I deleted it from the Fun Trivia website. Please show me where it contained the words that you quoted.

You claim to be upholding moral standards here at Fun Trivia, so you should really be careful about how you embellish the truth to make your point. One commits libel when they use the written form to convey an unjustly unfavorable impression of someone. You have clearly added more to this question to make your point, but you did so at the cost of misrepresenting me. This is a very poor example to those that you want to impress with your higher moral ground.

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#254725 - Fri Jan 28 2005 08:48 PM Re: Culturally specific quizzes
gtho4 Online   FT-blank
Administrator

Registered: Sun Dec 26 1999
Posts: 50269
Loc: Sydney oz downunder           
This discussion has been terminated, it's finished.

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