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#685661 - Tue Jan 31 2012 03:05 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
guitargoddess Offline


Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
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Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
Quote:
"Bruce Willis, while married to Demi Moore, (made the movie XXX)took office (with so-and-so) in which country in October 1999"
Again same as
xxxxx, married to internationally known Name, took office of which country in ddmmyy?


The point was that just adding "married to" doesn't keep it from time dependant.

Sue has the best, no chance of becoming wrong, way of phrasing it. "While married to" isn't the same as "married to". It's perhaps not the first way you'd think of phrasing it when you're talking about a couple who are currently married because it somewhat implies they're no longer married, but it won't become incorrect in the future, whereas just saying "married to" may (actually definitely will at some point in time, even if it takes until the eventual death of one of the partners).

Of course if you say "Name was married to Mrs. Name in 1997", that's fine. But "Name, married to Mrs. Name, did X event at Y time" will not read correctly in two years if they are no longer together.

Your original point is valid though, that "is married" is definitely time dependent.
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#685664 - Tue Jan 31 2012 03:12 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Online   content
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Here's a Q from the current Newest Mixed Quizzes for Celebrities that seems to have mucked up the attempt to avoid time stamping:
"Which former Czechoslovakian tennis player, who later became a citizen of the USA, has an autobiography titled, "Being Myself"?"

She is not a former Czechoslovakian, she is a former tennis player. The stamping should have been in the order: former tennis player Czechoslovakian Name.
Though now a US citizen, Czechoslovakian still applies, it is not a thing of the past (former).
It could better read:
"Which former tennis player, a Czechoslovakian who later became a citizen of the USA, has an autobiography titled, "Being Myself"?"

This same thing exists on an Anna Kournikova question that is out there. The grammar makes her currently a professional tennis player while she actually is a former professional tennis player.
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#685665 - Tue Jan 31 2012 03:12 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
dg_dave Offline
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Originally Posted By: mehaul
DG,
Jane Doe, who married John Doe in (insert past year here), took office of which country on (insert date here)?
says Jane was the office holder


Right, and there is no problem with a date as it was in the past. I also posted that example before 6:30am (my brain doesn't function the greatest at that time of day), and also italicized the word "past" intentionally. No one can change past events. The editors are more than welcome to correct me, but as far as I know, that wording would be acceptable, since it will not change in the foreseeable future.

Originally Posted By: mehaul
Bruce Willis, married to Demi Moore, took office of which country in (example) October 1999?"
Exactly matches
xxxxx, married to internationally known Name, took office of which country in ddmmyy?


OK...using your words, are those two married now? The answer is no, hence there would be the need for a correction notice, even though they were married at the time listed above. Those two actors divorced in 2000, some twelve years ago. This question worded like that would be kicked back to you for that reason.

Originally Posted By: mehaul
Bloomsby,
It is a question of matching person (xxxx) to place (country) at a certain time (mmddyy), no competition involved. The addition of a wife into the mix adds a second level of time stamping to the question which should never have been allowed and is corrected by placing the relation into a stand alone clause (married to) which eliminates the need to time stamp the relationship.


Sorry to say, but I don't agree with what you are telling the staff member that I am quoting above. Are you saying that someone who is married on January 31, 2012, will still be married on January 31, 2017, five years from now? I would like to say the answer is "yes," but it's not always the case.

Filling in names, the way I worded it is as follows:
"Queen Elizabeth, who married Prince Philip in 1947, took office of which country in February 1952?"

Queen Elizabeth is still married to Prince Philip, yes, and has been since 1947...that cannot change, but it also eliminates the possible future divorce or death of either of them, so no correction notice is needed.

Yours would be as follows:
"Queen Elizabeth, married to Prince Philip, took office of which country in February 1952?"

Can you now see where the problem lies? The two are married today, but they may not be tomorrow, and that is what bloomsby and I are trying to say.
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#685687 - Tue Jan 31 2012 04:39 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: dg_dave]
mehaul Online   content
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Dg,
Take out the clause between the commas (who married John Doe in (insert past year here)) and you are left with 'Jane took office' which is not the question at all. The question is about the husband who took office. Ignoring the switch in gender, you are left with my first solution:
"xxxxx, married to internationally known Name, took office of which country in ddmmyy?" So where's the beef?

Next an example:
Ick and Eck, attached at the waist, were a draw to the circus in the 1800s.

That is all true and even if they are separated, the fact they were in the TIME STAMPED 1800s will never change. In the same way, thecouple were married at the time stamped into the question and that fact may not change in the future.

Here:
"Filling in names, the way I worded it is as follows:
"Queen Elizabeth, who married Prince Philip in 1947, took office of which country in February 1952?""
you've changed the question from he served to she served and is beyond the time stamping issue while you just try to prove a point.
A version of my example would be:
JFK, wedded to Jackie, served as president for which country in 1962?"
which matches the boilerplate I presented exactly and will always be true.
I will agree that Sue's 'while married to' is also one of several correct ways it could be worded, but, not the only correct way. In my JFK citing you can see that the past tense is used (as it is with to marry). It's the same as saying was married to only shorter and is now and will always be true.


Edited by mehaul (Tue Jan 31 2012 04:53 PM)
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#685703 - Tue Jan 31 2012 04:51 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
guitargoddess Offline


Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 33943
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Mehaul, your particular JFK example works because he was wedded to Jackie for the rest of his life. That can't change.

However if you to ask

Bill Clinton, wedded to Hillary, served as president for which country?

it won't read correctly if someday they're not still married. Yes he was married to her for the whole length of his presidency but it still won't be quite right in the future if they are no longer together.
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#685723 - Tue Jan 31 2012 04:58 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: guitargoddess]
mehaul Online   content
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GG, your example leaves out the time stamp of ".... at the close of the 20th century" and when you add that tidbit, the stated fact is put into a specific time and will not change in the future.
Okay, all agreed that the original was WRONG and the exact wording of the correct way can be done later?
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#685742 - Tue Jan 31 2012 05:13 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
kyleisalive Offline
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Quote:
GG, your example leaves out the time stamp of ".... at the close of the 20th century" and when you add that tidbit, the stated fact is put into a specific time and will not change in the future.


But time-stamping is something else we try to avoid-- it makes questions go very stale very fast. Sure, it solves time-sensitivity, but it makes for really dry questions which become more and more arbitrary for future players. There's nothing worse than a 'How old was so-and-so in 2005?' question. It's not 2005 now; you're going to make me do math?


Quote:
"Queen Elizabeth, who married Prince Philip in 1947, took office of which country in February 1952?"


This looks fine to me. 1947 is long-past. Even if they did/do divorce, they didn't in 1947.

Quote:
"Queen Elizabeth, married to Prince Philip, took office of which country in February 1952?"


Time-sensitive. Needs the word 'who' or 'while' in there before 'married'.


Edited by kyleisalive (Tue Jan 31 2012 05:16 PM)
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#685749 - Tue Jan 31 2012 05:16 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
dg_dave Offline
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Loc: Dallas, TX USA              
Originally Posted By: mehaul
you've changed the question from he served to she served


In my example, Elizabeth is Queen, and Philip is not King, so yes, she did serve, and still currently is. I've not changed anything, save the gender of the person. Any Brit, etc., if I am wrong about that, please let me know! She will hit 60 years next Monday as Queen of the United Kingdom! Are you telling me a woman cannot serve as head of state? That would mean the (current) longest serving monarch did not serve as a head of state either...Queen Victoria. So the gender changed, does that make it an invalid question?


Edited by dg_dave (Tue Jan 31 2012 05:17 PM)
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#685752 - Tue Jan 31 2012 05:19 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: kyleisalive]
dg_dave Offline
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Originally Posted By: kyleisalive
"Queen Elizabeth, who married Prince Philip in 1947, took office of which country in February 1952?"

This looks fine to me. 1947 is long-past. Even if they did/do divorce, they didn't in 1947.

"Queen Elizabeth, married to Prince Philip, took office of which country in February 1952?"

Time-sensitive. Needs the word 'who' or 'while' in there before 'married'.


Thank you, Kyle. That was the exact point I was trying to make; they also didn't divorce in 1952, though. wink


Edited by dg_dave (Tue Jan 31 2012 05:19 PM)
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#685757 - Tue Jan 31 2012 05:34 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: dg_dave]
flopsymopsy Offline
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The Queen did not "take office", she ascended to the throne.

And seriously, sticking in a bit about who someone was married to seems to me to be totally irrelevant unless the point of the question relates to the marriage; if it doesn't, leave it out.

"Who did the Princess Elizabeth, later Elizabeth II, marry in 1947?" is a valid question. However her marriage has no relevance to her becoming monarch, she is The Queen and and only she is The Queen.

The rest of this discussion seems like a pointless waste of time, time-stamped time or otherwise.
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#685761 - Tue Jan 31 2012 05:39 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: flopsymopsy]
guitargoddess Offline


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I think the marriage bit was a little more important to the original question being asked about because the spouse was more famous than the subject of the question.

The rest of the marriages used in this discussion were just for examples...
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#685763 - Tue Jan 31 2012 05:50 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: guitargoddess]
flopsymopsy Offline
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I'm sure you're right GG but once real examples start being used to illustrate a pedantic point about semantics - or a semantic point about pedantry - then the fallacy of arguing a theoretical point until the point is lost becomes apparent. There should be general rules but the application of them may vary according to circumstance. If I write a quiz with a date-related question I might discuss the best phrasing in that instance with the editor - but a lot of the recent posts, though not all, simply obfuscate matters. People who have common sense will do the right thing, people without it won't.
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#685770 - Tue Jan 31 2012 06:54 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: flopsymopsy]
agony Offline

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Can't speak for other editors, but I'll allow a certain amount of date stamping, if the date referenced is a logical end-point. "During the 20th Century" is likely to be OK, "until May, 2003" isn't. In order to accept date stamping, I need to be convinced that the date used has some significance; it can't just be the date the quiz happened to be written on. It's a case by case basis - I believe it's a mistake to assume that there can be some general, always correct rule that every quiz, every time, will abide by.

And, yes, if there's something you'd like to ask but aren't sure if it will be accepted, discuss that individual question with your editor.

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#685772 - Tue Jan 31 2012 07:06 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: agony]
guitargoddess Offline


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I agree fully with agony on certain date stamping being acceptable and some not. e.g. "During the first ten seasons" rather than "As of season ten". It's "as of" that we REALLY want to avoid; there are better ways to phrase a question so that it won't become incorrect.

One thing that I see a lot in TV quizzes is something like "This was a great show and it still airs in reruns in today". 'Today' is a no-no. Something like "The show was so popular that reruns continued to run into the 21st century" is better.
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#685773 - Tue Jan 31 2012 07:07 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: agony]
kyleisalive Offline
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I agree with Agony on this. Very specific dates can be very banal for players, but general dates (ie. 'In the 20th Century' or 'In the Middle Ages' or 'During her teens', etc.) are typically fine. It may also depend on subject matter. Quizzes about online games are very difficult to write because of their time-sensitivity, and no amount of time-stamping will make a quiz about games with patches and builds any easier to follow.
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#685775 - Tue Jan 31 2012 07:35 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: kyleisalive]
dg_dave Offline
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I apologize, flopsy, if I have offended you or any other British citizen. frown frown frown Like gg said, it was only used as an example.
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#685819 - Wed Feb 01 2012 01:49 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: dg_dave]
rossian Online   content
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Can I be offended, Dave? Can I claim compensation? The point is that there is a way to word questions which avoids problems of time dependency. It just needs a bit of thought and rewording to tie the question to a date which can't change, like the date on which a couple married.
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#685835 - Wed Feb 01 2012 06:08 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: rossian]
dg_dave Offline
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That was the point I was trying to drive home, and the Queen was the first person I could think of. As I stated above your post, I do apologize if I gave a bad example.
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#685837 - Wed Feb 01 2012 06:16 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: dg_dave]
flopsymopsy Offline
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No offence taken at all, Dave, and I'm pretty sure The Queen wouldn't care either. wink

I was only trying to make the point that the whole discussion was futile once it had got past a certain stage because generalisations are only useful as guides and individual cases will still need working out.
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#685843 - Wed Feb 01 2012 07:49 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
Snowman Offline
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Originally Posted By: mehaul
She is not a former Czechoslovakian, she is a former tennis player.


Actually, as she became a US citizen she is both. And technically speaking, no-one is a current Czechoslovakian and hasn't been since 1993. She does, however, remain Czech-born.

There is a point when splitting hairs like this becomes irrelevant. As long as the question is comprehensible and will remain so regardless of the time at which it is read then it passes muster.
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#685853 - Wed Feb 01 2012 08:54 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: Snowman]
agony Offline

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Quote:
individual cases will still need working out.


I feel that this really must be kept in mind. Some authors, I think, are looking for a hard and fast rule book, where there is one right way to do things that will always be right.

Of course, there are rules, and following them will mean your quizzes are seldom rejected. But there is always that odd question, just hovering on the edge of acceptability, and we have to look at the whole picture to make a decision. That's why authors with hundreds of well rated quizzes still get the occasional rejection, that's why editors must put their quizzes through the editing process just like everyone else (and sometimes get rejected).

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#802744 - Sun Jun 17 2012 09:56 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: ozzz2002]
nautilator Offline
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Originally Posted By: ozzz2002
A 'trick' that I recommend- read your quiz as if the current date is sometime in the year 2030. Questions like 'Where will the 2020 Olympics be held?' will look rather silly and will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Is something like this -- a 10 year rule? 20 year rule? -- the official policy for such facts?

Because if not, an absolute ban on time dependency seems way too stringent. It seems like it would be a lot better to have a 'time dependent' button under reporting errors for low-potential time dependency issues, rather than avoiding every possible thing that has to do with anything living/currently existing entities/all absolutes and so forth.

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#802745 - Sun Jun 17 2012 09:59 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: nautilator]
kyleisalive Offline
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The problem we try to avoid is needing to fix things in the future. If we ask a question like 'when is this movie coming out?' or 'when will the next election be held?' or even 'where are the Olympics twelve years from now?', we end up needing corrections on it later on, regardless of how far ahead it is. We've been a site for upwards of twelve years, so it's entirely possible we'll get to that date.

Besides, things can change. Say the Olympic Committee chooses Brazil one year and, by chance, Brazil has an epidemic and cancels the games. We can't foresee these types of things.

Also, letting some slip though for leniency's sake may only encourage more people to submit these types of questions. There are plenty of ways to work around this type of thing though, and many questions out there that could be asked in its place.


Edited by kyleisalive (Sun Jun 17 2012 10:01 PM)
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#802924 - Mon Jun 18 2012 12:15 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: kyleisalive]
JanIQ Offline
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The Category Guidelines for the Sports category have quite useful tips to avoid time dependency.
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#802978 - Mon Jun 18 2012 02:20 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: JanIQ]
guitargoddess Offline


Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 33943
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
Quote:
rather than avoiding every possible thing that has to do with anything living/currently existing entities/all absolutes and so forth.


There is a point though where we do take the chance with something not becoming incorrect in the future. Facts do change, sometimes. There are things that we KNOW will become stale (like the stamping things with "as of 2012" - in 2020, chances are no one will care about the state of something as of 8 years previously; or "later this year" - it's not going to be 'this year' forever), things that there's a fairly likely chance will become stale or incorrect (like how many children someone has or who they're married to). But then there are other things that MAY possibly become incorrect in the future, but the chance isn't great enough to be preventive about it - like how many planets are in the solar system or what the capital of a certain country is. Can change, sure, but it's likely to be safe for a fair while and we can deal with these things down the road if need ever be.
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