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Quizzes - Time Dependency in Quizzes

Fun Trivia : Quizzes : Movies : Quiz Creation Notes for Movies : Time Dependency in Quizzes

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These are the most common errors after typos, spelling and punctuation. Time reference questions (and answers), which may change their meaning as time goes by, are not acceptable. As quizzes will be online for months and years, some types of 'normal quiz questions' simply do not work in Quizzyland - please draft your questions carefully so that the answer is fixed, and cannot change. These errors generate the 2nd highest number of correction notes, after FITB questions. Some examples of time-based or time-specific questions:

When was the last time the 49ers won the Super Bowl?
Who is the Prime Minister of Canada?
Which parts of Afghanistan are controlled by the Taliban?
Yes or No: will he be the host of next year's Grammies?
How many children does she have?
Who won last week's match between Sampras and Agassi?
What album did they release last month?
Which city will host the next Summer Olympics?

Accordingly, please avoid using the following words or phrases anywhere in your quiz ... now, at the moment, this year, last year, next year, currently, next season, last season, will be, recently, latest etc. The use of any of these words or phrases (in the introduction, in a question or answer, or in the field 'Interesting Info about answer') will, in all likelihood, make your quiz time dependent. Similarly, questions written in the future tense are not acceptable.


Usually, the cause of an outdated question is that the question is written in present tense. For example:

-o- Have Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts ever starred in a movie together?

In 2002, this would be answered 'no', but it could very easily change in the future, and as it is worded, the question would become invalidated. The very simple way to fix this problem is to phrase the question in past tense:

-o- Had Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts ever starred in a movie together?

This still sounds a bit strange and could still be invalidated by changing facts, because it needs a date marker. The simplest (and most elusive for players to make sense of) is a date:

-o- In 2002, had Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts ever starred in a movie together?

This solves the problem of the answer changing in the future, but a date is difficult for players to make sense of because it is so abstract. What is usually better is to give a date marker in the world of the subject. For example:

-o- At the release of 'Erin Brockovich', had Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts ever starred in a movie together?

-o- When Tom Cruise did 'Minority Report', had he and Julia Roberts ever starred in a movie together?

Questions like this are ideal because they give the player a mile marker that refers to the work you're asking about.


Finally, please note that date stamping these type of questions by adding the words 'as of November 2001', so that the answer is a constant, is no longer acceptable. Questions which are date stamped in this manner will become stale.


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