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#989497 - Wed Jun 19 2013 09:29 AM Hints That Are Not Hints
nautilator Offline
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Registered: Mon Jan 09 2012
Posts: 217
Loc: Pennsylvania USA
I just got a question in a game that included this, in part:

"Clue: It has something to do with books"

It then proceeded to give four choices, all of which had something to do with books (Chapter, Content, Paragraph, Plot) thereby completely nullifying the usefulness of this 'hint.'

I see questions like this every so often around the site. Does Funtrivia have any policies regarding such questions? Can/should I send any sort of notice regarding such questions?

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#989503 - Wed Jun 19 2013 09:47 AM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
Buddy1 Offline
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Registered: Wed Oct 15 2008
Posts: 750
Loc: Arkansas USA
Which quiz is it? Perhaps it was a quiz from years ago when standards weren't what they are now.

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#989514 - Wed Jun 19 2013 10:05 AM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
Chavs Offline
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Registered: Fri Jul 15 2011
Posts: 969
Loc: Ireland
It's from Question Quest.

And 54% of players have got it right! Me included laugh but I did enjoy the irony of the lack of a hint.

Edit: although now I think of it, the hint helped me pick because I chose the one that was most book specific. So... it worked!



Edited by Chavs (Wed Jun 19 2013 10:07 AM)

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#989586 - Wed Jun 19 2013 06:58 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3631
Loc: Norwich England UK            
It would be perfectly in order to send a correction stating that the hint doesn't work and explaining why.


FT Editor, History and People

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#989618 - Thu Jun 20 2013 12:10 AM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: bloomsby]
nautilator Offline
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Registered: Mon Jan 09 2012
Posts: 217
Loc: Pennsylvania USA
Yes, that one was a QQ that appeared in an hourly game.


Originally Posted By: bloomsby
It would be perfectly in order to send a correction stating that the hint doesn't work and explaining why.


FT Editor, History and People

Thanks, I'll do that from now on.

There are worse ones out there, like one that goes Person XYZ is from what band that has a multiple of 10 in its name? *lists 4 bands with multiples of 10 in their names* -- if I come across ones like that again I'll be sure to send a note.

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#989642 - Thu Jun 20 2013 04:18 AM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
guitargoddess Offline


Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 34080
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
But something like that may not necessarily be meant to be a clue. If they only gave one option that has a multiple if 10, then the question being asked is pointless, all you need to know is what a multiple of ten is. I agree if it actually says 'clue:' or 'hint:' and the hint is useless, then that's silly. But your multiple of 10 example, I wouldn't consider needing a correction.

As a side note, I can't speak for everyone but I much prefer (and will often ask authors to do this) hints to be incorporated into the question, not have 'hint:' tacked on after the question.
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#989648 - Thu Jun 20 2013 05:01 AM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
Chavs Offline
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Registered: Fri Jul 15 2011
Posts: 969
Loc: Ireland
I wrote a question very similar to the Multiple of 10 one, in that I mentioned that a name was apt and then listed four apt names. All I can say in my defence is that it was my first attempt at a question, and that I'd started it meaning to give a gentle clue and then got carried away when finding "wrong" answers. It didn't score very highly in the ratings!

So now the "apt" part of it is more a point of interest than a clue. But it's not an inappropriate question, just a difficult and annoying one. laugh

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#989672 - Thu Jun 20 2013 06:43 AM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: guitargoddess]
Snowman Offline
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Registered: Wed Oct 31 2007
Posts: 1580
Loc: London England UK            
Originally Posted By: guitargoddess
As a side note, I can't speak for everyone but I much prefer (and will often ask authors to do this) hints to be incorporated into the question, not have 'hint:' tacked on after the question.


I do the same, as I think the question should always end with the actual question.
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#989711 - Thu Jun 20 2013 10:55 AM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
Midget40 Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 27 2008
Posts: 5053
Loc: Perth Western Australia       
I absolutely DETEST questions that say HINT: ...

It has always been a huge annoyance for me when I see one - and is guaranteed to get a poor rating from me.

A good question has the hint incorporated into the question itself and I don't quite understand why they are so readily accepted into the Question Quest and there are more and more of them coming through!

I'm not trying to criticise the editors here but I really don't get how they can be considered 'up to standard' or are the standards lower for the QQ questions?

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#989712 - Thu Jun 20 2013 10:58 AM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
salami_swami Offline
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Registered: Thu Nov 01 2007
Posts: 8189
Loc: Colorado USA
I try to avoid using the word "hint". I've had several go through recently that are rated well; they have a high percentage correct because I incorporate the hint, but I try to avoid actually using the word. Though I have before used the word.


Edited by salami_swami (Thu Jun 20 2013 10:59 AM)
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#989713 - Thu Jun 20 2013 10:58 AM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 11619
Loc: Western Canada
It's a question of personal style, not of meeting or not meeting a standard. As an editor, I consider this to be one of the things that is up to the author, not to me.

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#989740 - Thu Jun 20 2013 03:46 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
zippolover Offline
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Registered: Fri Nov 16 2012
Posts: 5717
Loc: Norfolk UK
On the quiz template, there is a "hint" box for the questions, but it does say in small print that it is for FITB questions. Some quiz writers seem to use it willy-nilly and annoy quiz takers.
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#989751 - Thu Jun 20 2013 04:32 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
bloomsby Offline
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Registered: Sun Apr 29 2001
Posts: 3631
Loc: Norwich England UK            
If you use that box for anything other than an FITB question it can wreak havoc, so please don't.

Editor, History and People

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#989806 - Thu Jun 20 2013 10:35 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: guitargoddess]
nautilator Offline
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Registered: Mon Jan 09 2012
Posts: 217
Loc: Pennsylvania USA
Originally Posted By: guitargoddess
But something like that may not necessarily be meant to be a clue.

Possibly. When I see questions like that, I try to see what is the point of of adding a bit like that to the question. If the something that it is noteworthy in some way other than as a hint that's reasonable, but if not I take it to be a failed hint.

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#989948 - Fri Jun 21 2013 01:31 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: Midget40]
gracious1 Offline
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Registered: Tue May 01 2012
Posts: 668
Loc: New York USA
What I like about a separate "hint" is that it gives the reader the opportunity to answer the question put. If you incorporate the hint, then you end up answering a different question.

For example, take the sample question given in the Question Quest:
"What country, known for its 'Mounties' and maple syrup, was home to the inventor of the baseball glove?"

Now the whole question about the baseball glove becomes irrelevant. The question has become, "Which country is known for Mounties and maple syrup?" You can just ignore the baseball glove query. In fact, you can stop reading before you even get to the baseball glove, and answer the question without even knowing it was about gloves.

If you wrote it this way:
"In which country was the baseball glove invented?" (Hint: think Mounties!)

Then at least the reader has the opportunity to stop reading at the question mark and try to answer the more interesting trivia question, and only rely on the hint if necessary.

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#989949 - Fri Jun 21 2013 01:34 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
salami_swami Offline
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Registered: Thu Nov 01 2007
Posts: 8189
Loc: Colorado USA
While that may be true, Gracious, and I agree on several points, the first example is much more interesting. It is still about the baseball glove, but the hint is incorporated into the question. Yes, the question can be answered before getting to the baseball glove part, but the alternate option, with hint in quotations, can be answered without even reading the question at all.

I think either of the ways it is written is good, but for the purpose of "flair", the first option is the most appealing question.

Although, I like the other way too. I'd be fine with seeing the question either way in a game.
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#989950 - Fri Jun 21 2013 02:01 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
guitargoddess Offline


Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 34080
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
The flow of the question is much better if you incorporate the hint though .Think of Trivial Pursuit questions, or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire questions. No separate hints tacked on the end there. Ok sure it's a style thing more than a hard and fast right vs. wrong way, but it reads much better when it's incorporated.
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#989964 - Fri Jun 21 2013 02:31 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
jonnowales Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 30 2006
Posts: 1518
Loc: Swansea,UK
You raise a good point gracious and I think the way around it is to make sure the handles given in a question are of similar difficulty to the question you're asking. Gimmes aren't much fun (I have penned my fair share of them!) and I am finding the photo quizzes are turning what would be good questions into gimmes quite frequently. I'll make up an example here:

----------------------

Q) Count Dracula was first encountered in which of the following forms of entertainment?

Stage play
Book
Film
Television programme

PICTURE: An open book

----------------------

The picture has rendered the question totally redundant. I know it is still early days for photo quizzes on the site but I think there should be more restrictive guidelines in place on the use of photos. Don't get me wrong, there are some really good photo quizzes out there and they are usually the ones which have the pictures as an integral part of the question, not just as an illustration or as a gimme. I apologise if this has been covered elsewhere. smile

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#989965 - Fri Jun 21 2013 02:32 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 11619
Loc: Western Canada
Personally, I'd never do it - I don't write that way. I've got no problem with authors choosing this method though, if it pleases them. It's like the authors who preface their info sections with "Fun fact!" - you'd never see this in one of my quizzes, but if authors want to go that route, let 'em. The players who don't like it will rate the quizzes more poorly, the players that do like it will rate the quizzes more highly, and it will all work out.

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#989967 - Fri Jun 21 2013 02:34 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 11619
Loc: Western Canada
jonnowales, the editors have definitely done some discussing of just that issue, and pretty much agree with you. We have to give some leeway to the difficulty of finding suitable photos, though.

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#989969 - Fri Jun 21 2013 02:44 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
rossian Offline
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Registered: Sat Jun 10 2006
Posts: 1502
Loc: Merseyside UK 
As a relative newcomer to writing photo quizzes, I have found that it is hard to get a good balance, where the photo acts as an additional hint rather than a complete giveaway. As Agony has touched on, there are a lot of restrictions on which photos can be used, and I've had to jettison good questions because there simply wasn't a usable photo available. I've found other options, but there are times when the photos you are able to use force the questions rather than the other way around.
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#990053 - Fri Jun 21 2013 10:21 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: rossian]
skunkee Offline
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Registered: Thu Oct 16 2003
Posts: 8914
Loc: Burlington Ontario Canada  
There doesn't have to be a picture for every question - I hate to see good questions go to waste!
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#990056 - Fri Jun 21 2013 10:43 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: gracious1]
Midget40 Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 27 2008
Posts: 5053
Loc: Perth Western Australia       


If you wrote it this way:
"In which country was the baseball glove invented?" (Hint: think Mounties!)

Then at least the reader has the opportunity to stop reading at the question mark and try to answer the more interesting trivia question, and only rely on the hint if necessary. [/quote]

I don't quite understand your differentiation on this Gracious. The above example means you don't even need to read the question - the hint itself will give you the answer. This question really is asking what country the mounties come from in my opinion.

Obviously we are all different but there is nothing that will get me to give questions with a blatent "Hint:..." as anything other than a poor rating which in inself is a shame because some of the questions could be made quite interesting if written with the hint incorporated into the question itself.

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#990059 - Fri Jun 21 2013 11:14 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: nautilator]
mehaul Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 5189
Loc: Florida USA
There are some fill in the blank questions which use the hint box and give a misleading hint such as: 'Four letters' and then you find out a five letter word was an acceptable answer. Yes, the 4 letter was good, but if there are more than one amount of answer letter amounts that will be accepted, players who are thinking of the five letter won't put it in because of the misleading 4 letter hint, which makes it a verboten trick question.
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#990060 - Fri Jun 21 2013 11:19 PM Re: Hints That Are Not Hints [Re: mehaul]
looney_tunes Offline
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Registered: Tue Jan 20 2009
Posts: 2982
Loc: Briar Hill Victoria Australia 
Originally Posted By: mehaul
There are some fill in the blank questions which use the hint box and give a misleading hint such as: 'Four letters' and then you find out a five letter word was an acceptable answer. Yes, the 4 letter was good, but if there are more than one amount of answer letter amounts that will be accepted, players who are thinking of the five letter won't put it in because of the misleading 4 letter hint, which makes it a verboten trick question.

When you see one of those, you should always send a correction, so that the hint can be amended.
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