Hints That Are Not Hints

Posted by: nautilator

Hints That Are Not Hints - Wed Jun 19 2013 09:29 AM

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?
Posted by: Buddy1

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Wed Jun 19 2013 09:47 AM

Which quiz is it? Perhaps it was a quiz from years ago when standards weren't what they are now.
Posted by: Chavs

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Wed Jun 19 2013 10:05 AM

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!

Posted by: bloomsby

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Wed Jun 19 2013 06:58 PM

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
Posted by: nautilator

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Thu Jun 20 2013 12:10 AM

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.
Posted by: guitargoddess

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Thu Jun 20 2013 04:18 AM

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.
Posted by: Chavs

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Thu Jun 20 2013 05:01 AM

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
Posted by: Snowman

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Thu Jun 20 2013 06:43 AM

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.
Posted by: Midget40

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Thu Jun 20 2013 10:55 AM

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?
Posted by: salami_swami

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Thu Jun 20 2013 10:58 AM

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.
Posted by: agony

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Thu Jun 20 2013 10:58 AM

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.
Posted by: zippolover

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Thu Jun 20 2013 03:46 PM

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.
Posted by: bloomsby

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Thu Jun 20 2013 04:32 PM

If you use that box for anything other than an FITB question it can wreak havoc, so please don't.

Editor, History and People
Posted by: nautilator

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Thu Jun 20 2013 10:35 PM

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.
Posted by: gracious1

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 01:31 PM

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.
Posted by: salami_swami

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 01:34 PM

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.
Posted by: guitargoddess

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 02:01 PM

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.
Posted by: jonnowales

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 02:31 PM

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
Posted by: agony

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 02:32 PM

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.
Posted by: agony

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 02:34 PM

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.
Posted by: rossian

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 02:44 PM

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.
Posted by: skunkee

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 10:21 PM

There doesn't have to be a picture for every question - I hate to see good questions go to waste!
Posted by: Midget40

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 10:43 PM



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.
Posted by: mehaul

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 11:14 PM

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.
Posted by: looney_tunes

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Fri Jun 21 2013 11:19 PM

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.
Posted by: salami_swami

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sat Jun 22 2013 12:38 AM

Yes, as authors, we do appreciate those corrections. Sometimes, we only put a 4-letter word as an answer. Then someone gives us a 5-letter alternative, and we forget to amend the hint.

At least, that happens to me. wink
Posted by: nautilator

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sat Jun 22 2013 03:58 PM

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

Most FMI questions regarding people accept either their full or last names. There are however a few that accept their full names only, should correction notes be sent for those?
Posted by: Jakeroo

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sat Jun 22 2013 04:06 PM

Can I ask what the "big deal" is?

Either you got the question wrong or you got it right. Simple.

If the answer choices are UB20, 30, 40 or 50, which one would you pick (regardless of hints)? If you didn't pick 40, then don't shoot the piano player lol.

A player's relative "annoyance" tolerance factor MAY reflect in their rating of a quiz, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the question itself was improper according to the rulez.

And why is it that the people who generally complain the most about quizzes have written none (or few) themselves? lol

Corrections are a different topic altogether. Let's not try to compare apples to oranges.

I suspect there isn't a single (caring) quiz writer who WOULDN'T want to know that either facts or spelling/grammar were incorrect. "STYLE" of writing should rarely be a valid complaint. Have you been to an art gallery lately? lol
Posted by: reeshy

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sat Jun 22 2013 04:26 PM

I actually think that separating the hint off is even worse. That definitely reads to me as though the question is now "Which country is known for Mounties?", whereas incorporating the hint into the question means that players can answer it based on a few parameters. I try to supply hints in my questions that can eliminate one or more answers, but not always. Sometimes, like the "band with multiple of ten" example, it just pads the question out to make it a bit less dry. I believe it makes things interesting for people if they have a few angles from which to answer the question, but without making every question a "giveaway". But as Jakeroo says, it's everyone's 2c and is every author's choice.
Posted by: gracious1

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sat Jun 22 2013 06:23 PM

Originally Posted By: reeshy
I actually think that separating the hint off is even worse. That definitely reads to me as though the question is now "Which country is known for Mounties?", whereas incorporating the hint into the question means that players can answer it based on a few parameters. I try to supply hints in my questions that can eliminate one or more answers, but not always. Sometimes, like the "band with multiple of ten" example, it just pads the question out to make it a bit less dry. I believe it makes things interesting for people if they have a few angles from which to answer the question, but without making every question a "giveaway". But as Jakeroo says, it's everyone's 2c and is every author's choice.


Well, that's fair, reeshy. It occurs to me now, in fact, if you give almost any hint at all, the question basically becomes more about the hint than about the main point of the question, no mstter how you structure it. I have noticed the same thing with "Jeopardy!" too. It's not a criticism of this site; it's just the trend with trivia in general. If you can get your hands on clips from the old "Jeopardy!", you'll see they don't add hints the way the current "Jeopardy!" does.

I think I tend to avoid hints unless I really think the question is so obscure that no one can answer it. Sometimes I will make a hint really subtle, though, and I'll append something like:
(Hint: read the question carefully!)

I suppose stylistically that will cost me ratings, but I think it makes sense to do it that way when the hint is subtle. My hope is that the player who doesn't know the answer will reread the question and figure out the hint rather than just make a wild guess.
Posted by: LadyCaitriona

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sat Jun 22 2013 06:39 PM

Honestly, I've done questions a few ways myself. With a hint in or out of the question sentence, or without a hint at all. Whichever way my mood strikes me at the time.

I think it's obvious just reading through this thread that some players prefer one way and other players prefer the exact opposite. As with many things on FT, you can't please 100% of the players 100% of the time.

If you don't like a question (or quiz) by all means rate it as such. It's honest feedback. Other players will be rating the question excellent for the same reasons you're rating it poor, so it will balance out in the end, I think.

However, please don't send correction notes on things that are a matter of personal preference or opinion. If it's something that hinders your ability to answer the question (the hint is wrong, e.g. number of letters in the answer) then please send one and the author or editor will correct it. For corrections that are sent on things that are opinions, however, we tend to keep things the way the author originally wrote them unless there is a very strong case for changing it.
Posted by: kyleisalive

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sat Jun 22 2013 06:41 PM

Quote:
I think I tend to avoid hints unless I really think the question is so obscure that no one can answer it. Sometimes I will make a hint really subtle, though, and I'll append something like:
(Hint: read the question carefully!)


See when I look at that I think to myself that either the question was written for me to be confused by, or I'm reading something redundant. Either way, I don't care for the hint. :p

One way I circumvent this sort of thing is by adding (Note: ...). It's not a hint, per se, and isn't presented as one, but if there's anything necessary that needs to be added to the question for context that isn't already in there, that's my alternate opportunity.

I'm not a fan of the hint-- I think a well-constructed question doesn't need the superfluous stuff.
Posted by: nautilator

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sat Jun 22 2013 07:07 PM

Originally Posted By: gracious1
I think I tend to avoid hints unless I really think the question is so obscure that no one can answer it.

If it's a 'mounties-style' question, you could take the point as a "I've learned something new" question rather than a "Yeah I totally knew where baseball gloves were invented" question. I've written a number of questions like that for QQ.


Originally Posted By: LadyCaitriona
However, please don't send correction notes on things that are a matter of personal preference or opinion. If it's something that hinders your ability to answer the question

Does a FMI which only accepts a person's full name rather than last name only fall under the former or the latter?
Posted by: looney_tunes

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sat Jun 22 2013 07:31 PM

If a question clearly states that the full name is required, then players should expect to have to give the full name. (I know I feel irritated when I didn't know for sure how to spell someone's first name, for example Elizabeth or Elisabeth), and discover later that I could have just used the surname I knew.)

Confusion arises, however, because some newer questions, all of which are expected to have both full name and surname set as accepted correct answers, still ask for the full name within the question. Players get used to being able to enter only the surname, no matter what the question states is required. On that basis, it is worth bringing to the attention of an editor. We don't get many of this type of question in the categories where I edit, but when I do see one I try to make sure that the hint space indicates that either full name or surname is acceptable.
Posted by: nautilator

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sat Jun 22 2013 07:51 PM

Originally Posted By: looney_tunes
Players get used to being able to enter only the surname, no matter what the question states is required. On that basis, it is worth bringing to the attention of an editor.

Thanks -- this is in fact exactly what happpens on (rare) occasion in the hourly games. I'll keep that one in mind as well.
Posted by: skunkee

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sun Jun 23 2013 01:36 PM

I try to encourage the format of full name or last name only but ask that the hint reflect that.
Posted by: guitargoddess

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Sun Jun 23 2013 04:02 PM

Depends on the context of course though. If the question is "Which member of the Kennedy family did..?", accepting 'Kennedy' as the answer is a bit silly. In this case, full name or just first name would work better.
Posted by: skunkee

Re: Hints That Are Not Hints - Mon Jun 24 2013 01:14 PM

Quote:
Depends on the context of course though.


Absolutely!