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#836849 - Mon Nov 05 2012 05:28 PM duplicate question in New Question game
Julia103 Offline
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Registered: Thu May 15 2003
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Loc: Baltimore Maryland USA       
In set 6 today:

1. The whale shark is the the world's largest living fish. What's the second largest living fish?

Megamouth shark
Lemon shark
Great white shark
Basking shark

and

2. The whale shark (Rhincodon typus)is the biggest fish in our oceans, but what is the second biggest fish in the ocean?

Blue Whale
Yellowtail Kingfish
Megamouth Shark
Basking Shark


The questions were submitted by different people, but it struck me as odd that they would both be accepted and show up on the same day in the same set.

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#836851 - Mon Nov 05 2012 05:52 PM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: Julia103]
guitargoddess Offline
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It is coincedental that they showed up in the same set, but not that unusual that both were accepted. Probably each one was accepted by a different editor and the editors didn't know the other one had accepted the same question. We try not to have duplicates, sure, but it's impossible to not have any. We don't know every single question that's been accepted. Often you'll see duplicates or near-duplicates about an event that just happened so several people submit a question about it around the same time (but doesn't really explain this particular example)
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#836857 - Mon Nov 05 2012 06:32 PM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: guitargoddess]
ssabreman Offline
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Hopefully this happened during a short time frame where the second person submitting did not purposely ignore the qualifier - Is your question, or one very similar to it, displayed above? that appears when creating a question for NQG.

If there was sufficient time between question submissions, one of the questions should be removed. I've noticed other questions that very closely duplicate questions I've seen repeatedly in the hourlies. Some must be ignoring the qualifier.

I also notice a double 'the' in the first question above.

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#836872 - Mon Nov 05 2012 07:57 PM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: ssabreman]
mehaul Offline
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There are two different answers to those questions too!
Wikipedia says that the Basking Shark is the second largest fish in the world at 12.5 meters long. Under the entry for Megamouth Shark you will find its length to be 18.5 meters, clearly bigger than number 2! So did the questions have different answers? How was either even allowed to be posted with ambiguous possible replies? Why wasn't one of the two possibles removed as a possible answer? The only way we saw these discrepancies was because of the coincident posting in the game.
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#836873 - Mon Nov 05 2012 08:00 PM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: mehaul]
guitargoddess Offline
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Originally Posted By: mehaul
How was either even allowed to be posted with ambiguous possible replies? Why wasn't one of the two possibles removed as a possible answer?


Because the editors that see questions don't know the answer to every single question an author can come up with nor do we have time to research every question. As a long as a question doesn't look obviously incorrect, we trust that the author researched the correct answer and that the incorrect answers are indeed wrong.


Edited by guitargoddess (Mon Nov 05 2012 08:01 PM)
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#836883 - Mon Nov 05 2012 08:18 PM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: mehaul]
TimBentley Offline
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Originally Posted By: mehaul
There are two different answers to those questions too!
Wikipedia says that the Basking Shark is the second largest fish in the world at 12.5 meters long. Under the entry for Megamouth Shark you will find its length to be 18.5 meters, clearly bigger than number 2! So did the questions have different answers? How was either even allowed to be posted with ambiguous possible replies? Why wasn't one of the two possibles removed as a possible answer? The only way we saw these discrepancies was because of the coincident posting in the game.

The megamouth shark is longer, but the basking shark weighs more.

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#836889 - Mon Nov 05 2012 08:37 PM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: TimBentley]
mehaul Offline
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So there's more ambiguity in the questions when the terms 'biggest'/'largest' are used?


Edited by mehaul (Mon Nov 05 2012 08:39 PM)
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#836949 - Tue Nov 06 2012 01:23 AM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: mehaul]
kyleisalive Online   FT-cool
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Quote:
So there's more ambiguity in the questions when the terms 'biggest'/'largest' are used?


If a question is too ambiguous to be answered an editor will typically use their best judgment and either change it to make it answerable or it will be sent back to the author to get more substance.

If these questions appear in the game and there's not enough information for you to make an answer/the question is too vague or unclear, don't hesitate to send a correction notice.

In regards to the answer, GG is completely right. The editors are humans and humans can be wrong, even if they edit for that category on an international trivia site. In fact, they weren't the only ones-- the author of the question was wrong too! It happens.


Edited by kyleisalive (Tue Nov 06 2012 01:25 AM)
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#836984 - Tue Nov 06 2012 06:08 AM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: kyleisalive]
mehaul Offline
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" In fact, they weren't the only ones-- the author of the question was wrong too! It happens."

The whole point of this thread is that TWO authors are involved, not that one was errant in an answer offerring. Did you mistype authors, plural? Unlikely because you used 'was wrong' rather than 'were wrong'. The issue isn't about whether the answers, which aren't revealed here, are exactly right or wrong but that they are ambiguous, two possible correct replies. It's about duplicating Qs and the instance which brought it to light which has the other issues of verifiability of the answers as a second point. Any Q based on extreme values should be handled like a time stamp one. Who's to say that in five years the Biggest Fish, a whale shark, doesn't go extinct? That would change who's second biggest. Some are fairly safe to ask like the tallest mammal, the biggest mammal... but far too many are either questionable as to veracity or arbitrary in who makes the decision.
And, when you say one was wrong, how did you determine that when two answers in each of the examples are correct (depending on interpretation of "big")? What criteria in the Q allowed you to decide one answer was right and the other answer was wrong? None of us can do that. If the Q asked longest or heaviest only, one of the answers would be right; but, they don't, they ask about "bigness". One's weight is given in lbs/Kg and the other is given in tonnes/short tonnes. The values given for the basking make it 10,000 lbs (a rough conversion from tons) and we are to believe a creature (megamouth) half again as long, is only one fourth the weight (2,500 lbs)? Seems one of the weights is off severely.


Edited by mehaul (Tue Nov 06 2012 06:55 AM)
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#836999 - Tue Nov 06 2012 07:09 AM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: mehaul]
Snowman Offline
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As Kyle said, sometimes editors and authors make mistakes. If you spot them send in a correction note and it will be attended to. There's no need to harangue anyone about it.
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#837004 - Tue Nov 06 2012 07:59 AM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: Snowman]
kyleisalive Online   FT-cool
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Quote:
The whole point of this thread is that TWO authors are involved, not that one was errant in an answer offerring.


Was it? I thought the point was that two were both accepted and showed up on the same day in the same set...and then you brought up the issue with errors.

Quote:
It's about duplicating Qs


Then why is my point any less valid? Multiple editors in a category, as GG noted, can result in us overlooking questions. Heck, one editor in a category can accidentally overlook questions-- some of us edit several quizzes and single questions daily. We try to avoid duplicates (and even restrict some of them explicitly in the guidelines) but we are human and humans can be wrong or forgetful or what-have-you.

Quote:
Any Q based on extreme values should be handled like a time stamp one. Who's to say that in five years the Biggest Fish, a whale shark, doesn't go extinct? That would change who's second biggest. Some are fairly safe to ask like the tallest mammal, the biggest mammal... but far too many are either questionable as to veracity or arbitrary in who makes the decision.


And that's at the discretion of the editorial staff.

Quote:
And, when you say one was wrong, how did you determine that when two answers in each of the examples are correct (depending on interpretation of "big")? What criteria in the Q allowed you to decide one answer was right and the other answer was wrong? None of us can do that. If the Q asked longest or heaviest only, one of the answers would be right; but, they don't, they ask about "bigness". One's weight is given in lbs/Kg and the other is given in tonnes/short tonnes. The values given for the basking make it 10,000 lbs (a rough conversion from tons) and we are to believe a creature (megamouth) half again as long, is only one fourth the weight (2,500 lbs)? Seems one of the weights is off severely.


If every editor fact-checked every question in every quiz on the site, we'd see very few questions make it to the front page. If a question asks for 'which animal is the biggest', the editor(s) must have figured that the context provided enough info for it to be answerable otherwise they would have asked for it to be clarified. We can't be expected to have all of this info recorded for ourselves in any capacity (let alone specific weights in different unit systems, etc. etc. etc.).

This isn't the first time we've started moving towards the topic of editor consistency on these boards either. If that's where this is headed, I'll refer you to my previous post, last paragraph. tongue We aim for consistency but it's impossible to achieve complete, perfect consistence when we run such a dynamic site; it just doesn't work that way. Even if a quiz follows every guideline.

No big deal.
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#837006 - Tue Nov 06 2012 08:05 AM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: Snowman]
rossian Offline
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To return to the original point, it seems probable that both questions were submitted at around the same time, due to the wait before they appear in the game. It is unlikely that one author copied the other. One of my recent questions was similar to one I played myself just before mine appeared, although not close enough to cause a problem and with a different answer, but it could be inferred that I had 'copied' the other one. It wouldn't be true, though, as my question had been submitted for around a month before I saw the other one.
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#837008 - Tue Nov 06 2012 08:07 AM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: rossian]
flopsymopsy Offline
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I blame David Attenborough. There's usually a slew of natural history questions when a new series comes out. And given that the programmes are shown at different dates in different countries it happens quite often. wink
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#837009 - Tue Nov 06 2012 08:09 AM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: rossian]
kyleisalive Online   FT-cool
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Originally Posted By: rossian
To return to the original point, it seems probable that both questions were submitted at around the same time, due to the wait before they appear in the game. It is unlikely that one author copied the other. One of my recent questions was similar to one I played myself just before mine appeared, although not close enough to cause a problem and with a different answer, but it could be inferred that I had 'copied' the other one. It wouldn't be true, though, as my question had been submitted for around a month before I saw the other one.


There are a lot of factors which may contribute to seeing similar/identical questions in quick succession. For example, if corrections place the question back in rotation and an editor happens to place a similar one online, it'd be a close call. Additionally, we don't know how many questions from ages ago are clanking around in the bottom of the 'to-be-played' pool, waiting to go on. If some of these are from weeks or months ago, perhaps some have sneaked in in the meantime. I can imagine someone writing a question about cats two months ago and another person writing about cats a couple of weeks ago and both of them appearing at the same time because the game needed some Animals quizzes at random. tongue
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#837016 - Tue Nov 06 2012 08:42 AM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: kyleisalive]
mehaul Offline
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I can accept the fact of two nearly identical questions being put on-line at the same time. If two editors are involved there is no possible filter applied. If there was a single editor involved and had returned one Q for work and then saw the second one, it'd be possible to think it was the same Q coming back fixed even though it's actually a different one. I try not to place blame. I see a system that might benefit from catching errors and finding ways to keep them from happening again (a central maxim of Quality Improvement). Maybe a reading routine that found numbers of coincident words in both the Q&As already existing in the database and giving a match value to the editors might curb repeat questions? Aren't we now just relying on the author to say "My question is new"? Seeing those other questions may also reveal to an editor that there might be issues with the answer set offerred.

Can't submitting CNs on this type of problem (two correct answers) lead to the CN being found deficient because a correct answer was given and that event of CN deficiency leading to the removal of CN privileges? One editor might see that the correct answer was given and not accept that the other answer is possibly correct too, especially if fact checking isn't an editorial task. One person gets their question aired while dozens get bad CN gigs. That's not the editor, it's the system.
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#837018 - Tue Nov 06 2012 08:53 AM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: kyleisalive]
agony Offline

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We do have a rough idea how many are waiting - today it is around 1200. I'm guessing that the problem is that the system doesn't put "accepted" questions in the pool to be checked when looking for duplication, only "online" questions, but I may be wrong about that.

On the issue of "what editors should be expected to do", well, it's a lot like wanting lots of government services at the same time as wanting low taxes; you just can't have both, perfectly. We are constantly getting the message from authors that long and complex guidelines about what we will and will not accept in quizzes is intimidating, and we also frequently hear complaints about wait times. We strive to keep a reasonable balance between "fast", "easy" and "good", and sometimes will put a foot wrong while doing that.

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#837043 - Tue Nov 06 2012 12:14 PM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: mehaul]
looney_tunes Offline
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Originally Posted By: mehaul

Can't submitting CNs on this type of problem (two correct answers) lead to the CN being found deficient because a correct answer was given and that event of CN deficiency leading to the removal of CN privileges? One editor might see that the correct answer was given and not accept that the other answer is possibly correct too, especially if fact checking isn't an editorial task. One person gets their question aired while dozens get bad CN gigs. That's not the editor, it's the system.

Checking for factual correctness becomes part of the editor's job once a correction note is sent. Of course, the correction note needs to provide a reasonable (and brief) explanation of the perceived problem, not just say that there are two correct answers or that the question is ambiguous. The problem of a question asking which is the biggest when that term is ambiguous disappears if the incorrect options do not include any of the potential alternative candidates. If you ask for the largest fish, there will be no ambiguity if the alternatives are blue whale, minnow and rainbow trout - none of these are going to be debated as possibly correct. The potential ambiguity disappears, and no correction is needed. That doesn't make it a good question, but it is certainly acceptable as it only has one correct answer.
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#837558 - Thu Nov 08 2012 03:40 PM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: looney_tunes]
guitargoddess Offline
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As an FYI, both questions were flagged with CNs, I've reviewed both and they're both fine. They both list the same correct answer and I fail to see any ambiguity. I am not sure where anyone found that the megamouth shark is longer than the basking shark. I've checked several sources and all agree that the basking shark is longer.
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#837568 - Thu Nov 08 2012 04:36 PM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: guitargoddess]
mehaul Offline
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I was first here to state a length of the two and I misread the units of the megamouth as 18.5 meters when the real units for that number is feet. That makes the Megamouth half the length of a Basking Shark. I apologize for that error and thank you Guitar Goddess for posting the correct situation. I was not a correction note submitter.
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#837569 - Thu Nov 08 2012 04:37 PM Re: duplicate question in New Question game [Re: mehaul]
salami_swami Offline
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Aah, meters and feet, that makes sense. Bleh, that's so tricky. Why couldn't the US be metric like the rest of the world? It's better, anyway. Sigh.
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