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#491417 - Tue Aug 18 2009 03:44 PM Tips for Authors: Time Dependency
Terry Offline

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Registered: Wed Dec 31 1969
Posts: 17689
Loc: USA
Time Dependency & Date Stamping

A great deal of an editor's time goes into working with authors to fix the problems of Time Dependency and Date Stamping. Let's first detail what these are, and why we care about them.

Before we start, let begin out with this:

Our goal is for future submissions to abide by these rules. At points in the past our rules may have been looser, and I am sure you can point to a number of questions and quizzes that have "time dependency" issues. Just because you can point to such questions in the past does NOT mean we want to continue that in the future. Our goal is to always improve. Thank you for understanding.

1. Time Dependency is Not Allowed
    With over 1,000,000 questions online, it is difficult enough to deal with reports of inaccuracies and fix stylistic errors. The last thing that we want is to have a large number of well-formed questions becoming incorrect as time passes.

    It would create an enormous amount of extra work on our part if we had to update questions like "Who is the president of the United States?" every few years.

    Therefore, all questions on FunTrivia must be written in such a way that they will remain accurate as written for the foreseeable future.

    Other examples of poor, time dependent questions:

    Who holds the record for the most NHL goals?
    Who is Madonna married to?
    How many movies has George Lucas directed?

    Almost any question can be asked. You just need to think very carefully about your wording.

2. Date Stamping is Not Allowed
    It is very easy to turn any "time dependent" question into one that will never become stale by adding the words "As of 2002," or whatever the date is in front of it. "As of 2002, who was the president of the United States?" clearly won't go stale.

    While it is not stale, it is an awful sounding trivia question! Imagine how silly that will sound in 2013. A question like "As of 1987, how many records had Michael Jackson made?" sounds very strange in 2009.

    Date stamping like this is not allowed on FunTrivia, because it creates awkward sounding questions that are awkward to answer. Instead of using words to the effect of "As of," we try to find better ways to word questions to ensure that they will be enjoyable for years to come.

    Solutions

    * Use Past Tense to Avoid Many Problems

    Questions written in the present tense are most likely to cause time dependency problems. All of the following can cause problems:

    1. "Who is Bill married to?"
    2. "Which of these shows is running on the ABC network?"
    3. "What is the tallest building in the world?"

    By putting these into the past tense and finding some sort of event to peg their timing to, you can write better questions:

    1. "Who did Bill meet on the set of his movie, "Bill in Hawaii", and subsequently marry in 1988?" [Fixes the time problem AND is a lot more interesting!]

    2. "Which of these shows premiered on the ABC network?"

    3. "This skyscraper was completed in Dubai in 2009, overtaking the "Taipei 101" building by over 300 meters to become the tallest building in the world. What was this Dubai building called? "

    * Avoid Relative Time References

    "Next year", "last season", "currently", "in the last few years", "last year" are all disallowed because they will all be stale in the future.

    Questions like these should be rewritten to specify a specific year, or event pegged in time.

    Bad: "Who scored the most goals last season?"

    Rewrite: Better, but boring: "Who scored the most goals in the 2008 season?"

    Rewrite: Much Better: "This player scored a remarkable 30 points in the 2008 season while dealing with a serious leg injury. Which player was this?"

    * Change a Problematic Word:

    Time ticks on, and words such as "all-time", "best ever", "the only", "the record holder", "the man who" etc can quickly become stale. That all-time record can be broken. The only person to do it may soon share the distinction with someone else. Often these questions can be fixed with a simple change of the problematic word to allow the question to be enduring:

    If someone is the "only" someone to do something, then they are logically the first person to do it.

    Bad: "Who was the only player to score X goals in a game?" (may change)

    Rewrite: Good: "Who was the first player to score X goals in a game?"

    Bad: "Who is the all-time holder of the X record?" (may change)

    Rewrite: Good: "When he retired in 1988 from the New England Patriots, he held the record for X. Name the player."


Some Examples of Good and Bad Questions

    Bad: Who is the president of the USSR?

    Bad: As of 2003, what is the best selling album of all time?

    Good: "'21st Century Breakdown' was released in 2009. How many albums had Green Day released before that album?" This way, the question is pegged to an event that will be much easier for Green Day fans to remember than the year itself.

    Good: "The Chicago Cubs won two World Series championships in the twentieth century. When was the last of these victories?" The twentieth century is a natural time unit that players will have no trouble thinking in terms of, and is safely over -- so the question won't grow stale.

    Good: "Before the events of September 11, 2001, how many airplane hijackings ended in fatalities?" This is indeed stamped, but with a past event rather than with a current date. Furthermore, the past event is one that dramatically changed the way in which airplane hijackings were viewed; it makes intuitive sense to divide the field into a "before" and "after."

    Good: "In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which runner set a world record at 9.69 seconds in the 100-meter sprint?"

    Good: For a book: "This quiz deals with everything up to the end of book seven".


Edited by Terry (Tue Aug 18 2009 04:03 PM)

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#614810 - Wed Apr 13 2011 05:26 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: Terry]
Oidioid32123 Offline
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Good ideas Terry!

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#614821 - Wed Apr 13 2011 07:58 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: Oidioid32123]
skunkee Offline
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Registered: Thu Oct 16 2003
Posts: 8869
Loc: Burlington Ontario Canada  
While I concur wholeheartedly with everything Terry has said, I also want to point out that time dependency needs to be avoided in Interesting Information sections too.

In Movies we get a lot of comments like "He was nominated for seven Oscars but only won three." While that's not in the question, unless the actor in question is dead, he can always be nominated for and win another Oscar and then the quiz will invite Correction Notes.
If you want to name the movies he won Oscars for, that's great, because that's a fact that won't change.
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#615317 - Thu Apr 14 2011 12:14 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: skunkee]
shuehorn Offline
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Registered: Tue Jul 04 2006
Posts: 2993
Loc: Lawrenceville Georgia USA     
Good point, skunkee. Thanks for bringing this one up again as it is a good reminder for quiz makers.
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#615320 - Thu Apr 14 2011 12:49 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: shuehorn]
ladymacb29 Offline
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Posts: 15414
Loc: The Delta Quadrant
My favorite tip is instead of saying only, use first. Only can change with time but what was first can never change.
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#615350 - Thu Apr 14 2011 02:14 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: ladymacb29]
salami_swami Offline
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Registered: Thu Nov 01 2007
Posts: 8183
Loc: Colorado USA
May I also add, for movies or books or something...

If you write a question about a movie or tv show or whatever that is NOT already out, still pretend it already has.

For instance, if I were to write a question about the movie "Rio", which does not come out until tomorrow, I would NOT write the following...

"Rio" will arrive at theaters on April 15, 2011.

That will already be stale in a few days. Instead, you should write it like this...

"Rio" was released in theaters on April 15, 2011.

Notice that I used past tense, even though it hasn't happened yet. Yes, it may be a big awkward to read now, but for years and years after, it will be perfectly acceptable and fine to read.

Another huge example that I have often seen in quizzes; 'Where will the 2012 Olympics take place?" Since the location is known years ahead of time, this is often a fact used in quizzes. However, after these Olympics, it is nice to see it say "Where DID the 2012 Olympics take place?" It will seem odd until it has happened, but since, no matter how far ahead you go in the future to ask a question, there will always be more time AFTER the event than before. So it is ALWAYS best to use past tense.

smile Just my two cents.
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#615352 - Thu Apr 14 2011 02:23 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: salami_swami]
ladymacb29 Offline
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Posts: 15414
Loc: The Delta Quadrant
However, you still shouldn't put something in the past tense that hasn't happened yet in case it doesn't happen.

For the Olympics example, you should ask what country was awarded the 2012 Olympics.

For the movie, maybe say what year the movie was filmed?
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Editor for Television Category

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#615374 - Thu Apr 14 2011 04:56 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: ladymacb29]
salami_swami Offline
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Deleted so as not to confuse smile


Edited by salami_swami (Thu Apr 14 2011 07:18 PM)
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#615397 - Thu Apr 14 2011 05:36 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: salami_swami]
jmorrow Online   content
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Registered: Wed Oct 08 2008
Posts: 937
Loc: Singapore
Actually, the Movies category doesn't allow questions about films that have not been released yet, so this issue shouldn't arise.

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#615422 - Thu Apr 14 2011 06:44 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: salami_swami]
ladymacb29 Offline
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Registered: Wed Mar 15 2000
Posts: 15414
Loc: The Delta Quadrant
Originally Posted By: salami_swami
True, LadyMacB. Perhaps a quick edit could always be done... You could ask what country was AWARDED the 2012 Olympics, then later on, you could tweak it to say "who hosted"... wink lol.


Yes, but we don't encourage changes made to quizzes after they are online as the editors would then have to re-edit the quiz. And that's not even taking into account if the quiz is archived.
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Editor for Television Category

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#683195 - Sun Jan 22 2012 07:33 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: ladymacb29]
nautilator Offline
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Loc: Pennsylvania USA
Is there an official policy on potentially but rarely changeable time-dependent facts? Like 'what is the largest country in Africa?' -- that's that sort of thing that could (and does) change over time, but very rarely.

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#683199 - Sun Jan 22 2012 09:21 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: nautilator]
looney_tunes Offline
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Loc: Briar Hill Victoria Australia 
But it does change, and has meant that a number of quizzes have needed overhauls - both largest country in Africa and Libya's green flag are currently cropping up and needing correction. It is better to avoid anything that could be foreseen as possibly changing. Refering to a category in which I edit, Literature, an author who has died can probably have their body of work considered complete, and treated as such. (Note I say probably, as posthumous publication does occur.) A living author who says they have finished writing a series, however, cannot be trusted to do so.
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#683200 - Sun Jan 22 2012 09:27 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: looney_tunes]
ozzz2002 Offline
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Posts: 16980
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia        
On the other hand, the unforseen sometimes happens. When the planet Pluto was demoted, dozens of questions were immediately rendered as incorrect. Also, when Queen Elizabeth passes away, I can imagine that there will be many corrections needed.

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.
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#683204 - Sun Jan 22 2012 10:12 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: ozzz2002]
kyleisalive Offline
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Registered: Mon Mar 07 2005
Posts: 5599
Loc: Toronto, Canada, eh!
Quote:
A living author who says they have finished writing a series, however, cannot be trusted to do so.


Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' comes to mind. Expect an eighth book in the next year or so.
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#683292 - Mon Jan 23 2012 12:23 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: kyleisalive]
JanIQ Offline
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Belgium
Any question as "the first one to" will be fine forever. Unless HG Wells strikes with his Time Machine...
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#683294 - Mon Jan 23 2012 12:42 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: JanIQ]
salami_swami Offline
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Posts: 8183
Loc: Colorado USA
I had to look up the Libyan flag... I had no idea it has changed within the past year. That is a favorite fact for many; that Libya's flag is 100% green.... We'll have to start saying that it USED TO BE completely green. wink

And as far as posthumous works, Stiegg Larson's "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" series comes to mind. wink
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#683548 - Tue Jan 24 2012 10:34 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: JanIQ]
shuehorn Offline
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Registered: Tue Jul 04 2006
Posts: 2993
Loc: Lawrenceville Georgia USA     
Originally Posted By: JanIQ
Any question as "the first one to" will be fine forever. Unless HG Wells strikes with his Time Machine...


smile Let's hope that doesn't happen in our quiz-writing careers.
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#685457 - Mon Jan 30 2012 08:10 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: shuehorn]
elvis99 Offline
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Registered: Wed Dec 08 2004
Posts: 5
Loc: Fort St John BC Canada        
who ever reads this first i am wondering about old tv shows and old movies for example
i have wached a movie called the ghost train on youtube it is a full lenght feature on you tube there is another called the last days of the dinosaur on youtube

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#685458 - Mon Jan 30 2012 08:13 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: elvis99]
kyleisalive Offline
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Registered: Mon Mar 07 2005
Posts: 5599
Loc: Toronto, Canada, eh!
If the movie received a release way-back-when there should be no problems with it. The same goes for TV shows-- if it aired at some point, we'll likely be fine with it.

Since the shows were aired and the movies were released, there is no likelihood of them changing over time.


Edited by kyleisalive (Mon Jan 30 2012 08:14 PM)
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#685522 - Tue Jan 31 2012 02:56 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: kyleisalive]
mehaul Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 5134
Loc: Florida USA
A question in this form is in the current run of New Questions:
Name - known internationally - is married to xxxxx of which country, who took office in ddmmyy?

Doesn't that "is married" part violate the time dependency rule? At some point they may divorce or one may get widowed/widowered.

Wouldn't:
xxxxx, married to internationally known Name, took office of which country in ddmmyy?
make it right?


Edited by mehaul (Tue Jan 31 2012 05:56 AM)
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#685537 - Tue Jan 31 2012 04:16 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
looney_tunes Offline
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Loc: Briar Hill Victoria Australia 
Did you send a correction note about the time dependency? You are right that such a statement may change in the future, but the editors in the relevant category may be prepared to live with that, or it may be an oversight in the pressure of editing so much material. In either case, if you send a correction note an editor will take another close look at the question.
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That's all, folks!

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#685551 - Tue Jan 31 2012 06:24 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
dg_dave Offline
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Registered: Sun Oct 05 2003
Posts: 19386
Loc: Dallas, TX USA              
Originally Posted By: mehaul
Wouldn't:
xxxxx, married to internationally known Name, took office of which country in ddmmyy?
make it right?


I'd think that is still possibly time-dependent. A better way to write it would be:

Jane Doe, who married John Doe in (insert past year here), took office of which country on (insert date here)?

This way if they do divorce, we can't go back and say, "Oh, they got married in (example) 1991, and divorced in (example) 2011. Now the question doesn't read right since they are currently divorced." The year 1991, using the example, was 21 years ago, and no one can change what happened.

I'll add two names to the above to show what I am referring to:

"Bruce Willis, married to Demi Moore, took office of which country in (example) October 1999?"

Using the example date above, the two were married then. They are no longer together, and you'd be getting CNs on it as it is written above, saying they aren't married.
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#685567 - Tue Jan 31 2012 08:22 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: dg_dave]
shuehorn Offline
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Registered: Tue Jul 04 2006
Posts: 2993
Loc: Lawrenceville Georgia USA     
And if you want to avoid the start date for whatever reason, you could reword it as follows:


"Bruce Willis, while married to Demi Moore, made the movie XXX with so-and-so in October 1999"

The use of "while" just means that the two conditions overlapped at some time in the past and makes no claims about their still being married.


Edited by shuehorn (Tue Jan 31 2012 08:23 AM)
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#685621 - Tue Jan 31 2012 11:32 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: shuehorn]
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3614
Loc: Norwich England UK            
The simplest two tips are as follows:

1. Avoid anything that must become out-of-date in the foreseeable future, like 'Who holds the record for ...?' This is inevitable in any competitive activity.
2. Please look at all questions from the point of view of players and ask yourselves, 'What will this question look like one, two, five years from now?'

Editor, History and People


Edited by bloomsby (Tue Jan 31 2012 11:33 AM)

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#685652 - Tue Jan 31 2012 02:33 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: bloomsby]
mehaul Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 5134
Loc: Florida USA

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

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?

Sue (have to makesure it's not spanish liz he he he),
"Bruce Willis, while married to Demi Moore, made the movie XXX with so-and-so in October 1999"
There is no third so and so in the mix.
Did you mean:
"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?

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


Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 33874
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 Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 5134
Loc: Florida USA
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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Registered: Sun Oct 05 2003
Posts: 19386
Loc: Dallas, TX USA              
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.
_________________________
The way to get things done is NOT to mind who gets the credit for doing them. --Benjamin Jowett
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The day we lose our will to fight is the day we lose our freedom.

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#685687 - Tue Jan 31 2012 04:39 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: dg_dave]
mehaul Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 5134
Loc: Florida USA
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 Online   FT-cool


Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 33874
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
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 Offline
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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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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]
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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]
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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 Offline
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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 Online   FT-cool


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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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#802994 - Mon Jun 18 2012 05:05 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: guitargoddess]
bloomsby Offline
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Agreed, absolutely!

One major problem with questions like 'Who had the most [whatevers] as of 2011?' is that even a couple of years from now some players are likely to wonder, 'Why 2011? Has this already been overtaken by events? Was there something freakish about the situation in 2011? What was the quiz author's game?'


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#811301 - Sat Jul 28 2012 02:33 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: guitargoddess]
nautilator Offline
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Originally Posted By: guitargoddess
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.

Yes, and are questions of this sort acceptable?

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#811303 - Sat Jul 28 2012 03:28 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: nautilator]
bloomsby Offline
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Yes, such questions are in order: nobody expects you to predict every change of knowledge. After all, there have been cases of countries that have moved their capital cities, changed the names of provinces and so on. There have even been cases of countries unexpectedly breaking up.

Please avoid:

1. Things perfectly likely to change - a point that may have been given insufficient attention in past. For example, new questions asking about the British monarch who reigned longest are not acceptable as Elizabeth II may well reign for longer than Victoria. It is a distinct possiblity.

2. Things likely to become boring and obscure in the near future. Obviously, during a drought the local water bosses have their 'fifteen minutes [or even weeks] of fame', but when the drought is over their names and comments are forgotten. The same generally applies to the minor ailments of politicians, celebrities and so on.


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#811311 - Sat Jul 28 2012 04:14 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: bloomsby]
flopsymopsy Offline
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Originally Posted By: bloomsby
Elizabeth II may well reign for longer than Victoria. It is a distinct possiblity.


Not if she keeps jumping out of helicopters. wink



Sorry, couldn't resist. grin
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#811710 - Mon Jul 30 2012 03:14 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: bloomsby]
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Originally Posted By: bloomsby
Yes, such questions are in order: nobody expects you to predict every change of knowledge.

And is there an official or reasonable metric like a 10-year or 20-year rule, or is it more to the discretion of the writer and editor?

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#811714 - Mon Jul 30 2012 03:38 PM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: nautilator]
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There's no hard and fast rule. Ultimately it would be up to the editor's discretion but as a general guideline, just try to think of how likely it is that what you're asking/saying can change at ANY time in the future (I mean, no one is really thinking about 100 years ahead, but certainly 10-20 years, yes).
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#811827 - Tue Jul 31 2012 08:12 AM Re: Tips for Authors: Time Dependency [Re: guitargoddess]
skunkee Offline
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The likelihood of change has to be taken into account too. While the odds of discovering a new planet are slim (although it could happen), the possibility of a given celebrity divorcing and remarrying is not!


Edited by skunkee (Tue Jul 31 2012 08:21 AM)
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#1015701 - Mon Oct 14 2013 01:18 AM Time Dependency
mehaul Offline
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I looked and couldn't find the thread that used to discuss the subject matter. Wasn't it a pinned one? Did it get closed?
I would like to report a quiz I encountered in a private tournament that had the following question:

10. The ____ and the ____ are two of the most disputed areas in Israel?
Your Answer: West Bank, Gaza Strip
Israel is such a disputed land, even though its such a small area. In the year 2006, the size of New York equalled a little less then seven times the size as Israel.
Question by FunTrivia.com player Nochance174

My spell check says equalled (should be equaled?) is wrong and my grammar school teaching says "its" ought to be "it's" and "... less then..." should read "... less than ..." (a common mistake). What does the size of any of the places have to do with whether they are in dispute for some reason? National borders are a political debate not a geographic one. The area here is also an ethnic and religious dispute.
As to time dependence, I don't believe the Gaza strip is disputed territory any longer. The question comes from the author's sole quiz and is a "no longer a member" status. But the quiz is listed under the author's name and should be accessible for an editor (sorry the Q had no topic) to locate and repair.
Thanx
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#1015703 - Mon Oct 14 2013 01:59 AM Re: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
looney_tunes Offline
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It would have been more useful if you had clicked the Play This Quiz link, and could state the exact quiz from which the question comes.

I don't edit in that category, so cannot access the quiz in question, but I can state that
a) equaled and equalled are both accepted spellings of that word, depending on where you live
b) its should certainly be it's ,the contraction of it is
c) size is only pointed out, not stated as being the basis of the dispute; it is of some interest that such a small area could be the subject of such vitriolic dispute; stating that it is a small area does not in any way contradict the fact that the dispute is political, as are most disputes over regions
d) the Gaza Strip is still disputed at the end of 2013; it might be a good idea to change the question to state that these two areas are historically disputed - over the years, they have clearly been more in dispute than other areas in the same region (presumably what the incorrect options had to offer)

edited to remove a typo - '' instead of '


Edited by looney_tunes (Mon Oct 14 2013 02:33 AM)
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#1015704 - Mon Oct 14 2013 02:22 AM Re: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
mehaul Offline
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Originally Posted By: mehaul
...The question comes from the author's sole quiz ...

That ought to make finding the specific quiz easy enough.

From Wikipedia at Gaza Strip, first paragraph:
"From 2012, Gaza Strip is recognized by the UN as part of the State of Palestine..."
Wouldn't that mean it is no longer disputed territory? There are rockets fired from there and the Israeli Police intrude/impose to make arrests but those are civil disputes and not territorial. So, in 2006 the territory was in dispute but since 2012 it is no longer considered by anyone to be anything but Palestinian land.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_Strip

Might I suggest (edit: much as you have) that a good correction to the question would be to frame it as a past condition? Like: "___ & ___ were once very disputed territories..." and the I/I could indicate that "As of this date, the West Bank situation has yet to be resolved."?


Edited by mehaul (Mon Oct 14 2013 02:44 AM)
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#1015811 - Mon Oct 14 2013 01:55 PM Re: Time Dependency [Re: mehaul]
kyleisalive Offline
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Quote:
Might I suggest (edit: much as you have) that a good correction to the question would be to frame it as a past condition? Like: "___ & ___ were once very disputed territories..." and the I/I could indicate that "As of this date, the West Bank situation has yet to be resolved."?


Then that would make the question really odd for now-- the areas are still being disputed (although they also were as well, I guess), and saying something like this would be akin to saying 'The Walking Dead' was a popular TV show when its ratings are higher than they've ever been. It doesn't make sense to put it in the past tense in this way if it's in the present. This is why reworking a time-sensitive question is often difficult until you've had a few quizzes under your belt.

As for the Interesting Info there, that falls into a different trap-- time-stamping, which we also don't allow. Putting 'As of 2013 (or whatever date)' makes the question go extremely stale extremely fast as twenty years down the line, when the player takes the quiz, that date will be completely arbitrary and, in some cases (as have been seen in other quizzes), virtually irrelevant. And if something does change (ie. You say 'As of 2008, 'Futurama' is still off the air.') you fall into the possibility of it becoming extremely tacky ('Futurama' actually came back a couple years later, making that date particularly stale.)


This isn't the type of amendment we want to encourage.

You'd need to rework the question a deal more than you have to avoid the issue entirely. (ie. 'Which two areas of Israel have a history of dispute involving blah blah blah?' or 'The West Bank has been disputed by the Israeli government in the past. Which of these regions in the Middle East shares a similar history of political strife?')


Edited by kyleisalive (Mon Oct 14 2013 02:00 PM)
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#1015826 - Mon Oct 14 2013 06:09 PM Re: Time Dependency [Re: Terry]
mehaul Offline
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Thank you to whoever moved this from Feedback to Author Q&A.
How it is repaired is fine by me. Use any way that makes sense within the guidelines. Currently it has spelling, syntax and veracity problems that make it a poor question and that, at a minimum, makes the player stretch what is the situation to arrive at an answer.

The fact that hostilities exist between the Israelis and the Palestinians does not mean that the land is in dispute. It is rather the rest of Israel that is disputed by the Palestinians.
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