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Quiz Making Guidelines


If you want to give yourself the best chance of getting your quiz approved, please take a moment to read through these entire guidelines. Keep in mind that these rules may change and evolve as time goes on, so you should check back here from time to time. Just because something was acceptable in the past does not mean that it is still acceptable.


Copying & Plagiarism

Do not plagiarize. Plagiarism is copying something from another source and passing it off as your own. It doesn't matter where you copy it from (Braingle, Wikipedia, another website, a book, a magazine, etc.). Everything should be in your own words. Plagiarism will cause your account to be blocked from creating quizzes.


Spelling

Please make sure that you have used proper spelling in your quiz (IM speak is not proper spelling).

If your answer is long or difficult to spell, you should avoid the fill-in-the-blank type question, because people taking the quiz may get the question wrong, just because of poor spelling.

Regional variations in spelling, such as "color and colour" are perfectly acceptable.


Grammar

Please make sure that you have used proper grammar in your quiz. It is always a good idea to have a friend, parent, or spouse proof-read your quiz prior to submitting it because it's sometimes difficult to see your own mistakes.

Some common grammar mistakes:

Which vs. What - "What" is used to ask a question when there are an unknown number of possible answers. "Which" is used to ask a question when there are a fixed number of possible answers, or if you are asking the person to choose from a list.

Just because you are using a multiple choice question, does not mean that you must always use "Which". The wording of the question is what is important, since the question doesn't know that you are about to list some possibilities, unless you explicitly say so. In order to use "Which", the question must specifically ask you to choose from the list that follows.

Examples: What is the capital of Germany? Which of these cities is the capital of Germany? In the first example, you use "what" because as far as the question is concerned, the answer could be any name. The question doesn't know about choices A, B and C. In the second example, you use "which" because the question knows that you are about to list a few possible answers.

Who vs. Whom - "Who" is used as the subject of a verb. "Whom" is use as the object of a verb. Who is that? To whom am I speaking? In practice, "Whom" is seldom used, especially when asking a question.

Then vs. Than - "Then" is used either as a time marker or with a sequence of events. Examples: "I'm going to eat a cookie, and then I am going to brush my teeth. Back then we didn't even have computers." "Than" is used in comparative statements. Examples: "He is smarter than I am. We have fewer apples than they do."

Possessives / Its vs. It's - To make a noun possessive, you add an 's. You can omit the final s and just use a trailing apostrophe if - and only if - the noun is plural and already ends with an s. "Is that Jane's book, Les's book, or the boys' book?" One important exception is "its" which does not have an apostrophe. If you add an apostrophe, "It's" becomes a contraction of "it is".


Punctuation

Please end sentences with a period and questions with a question mark. Short non-sentence answers and titles do not need to be punctuated. If you are asking someone to complete a sentence or fill in a blank, please use ... or ____.

All of these are valid: What is the capital of California? The capital of California is... The capital of California is _____. The capital of California is:

Quotes - When referring to the title of a movie/song/video game/etc, please capitalize the title and put it in quotes, when necessary, to distinguish it from the rest of the sentence. Example: Who wrote the song "Jingle Bells"? If the title is standing alone, or is distinguished from the other words in some other way, the quotes can be omitted.

Punctuation around quotation marks can be confusing. Here are a few simple rules that will help.

  • Periods and commas always go inside conversational quotes: Bob said, "I want a cookie."
  • When the quoted phrase is itself a question, the question mark goes inside the quotes: Bob said, "What time is it?"
  • When the overall sentence is a question, but the quote is not, the question mark goes outside the quotes: Who said, "I want a cookie"?
  • When there is a question both inside and outside the quotes, use one question mark on the inside: Who said, "What time is it?"

All of the above rules apply when the quoted phrase is part of a conversation. In other words, it is being spoken or written by the subject of the complete sentence. If the quotation marks are used to distinguish a non-conversational phrase from the rest of the sentence (as in a song title), then the punctuation always goes outside the quotation marks: Who wrote the song "Jingle Bells"?

Commas - Commas are frequently misused. Here are the correct ways to use commas:

  • Commas are used to separate independent clauses when joined by a conjunction (and, but, so...). An independent clause is something that can stand by itself as a complete sentence. "I like apples, and I like oranges."
  • Commas are used after introductory clauses. "After dinner, I will sit on the couch."
  • Commas are used to separate nonessential clauses from the rest of the sentence. "The apple, which is red, tasted very good."
  • Use commas to separate three or more words or phrases written in a series. Don't forget the last comma before the conjunction; it isn't optional. "I like grapes, apples, and oranges."
  • Use a comma to introduce a quotation. "Jon said, 'I like apples.'"

Songs/Lyrics/Poems - Songs lyrics or poems may have unique punctuation (or lack thereof) for artistic reasons. If this is the case, it is OK for these to be grammatically incorrect.


Capitalization

Please capitalize sentences, proper names, and titles to songs/movies/etc. Multiple choice answers and proper names should also be capitalized. You should capitalize all the major words in your quiz title. Do not use ALL CAPS unless you are using it to emphasize ONE word.


Complete Sentences

Quiz summaries and explanations should be complete sentences.

Questions should be complete sentences that can stand alone if taken out of context.

NOT a valid question: "Forrest Gump"

Reworded to make valid: "Name the actor that played Forrest Gump."


True/False

If you are creating a true/false question, please make sure that your statement can be answered with true or false. If you are asking a yes/no question, you will need to make it multiple choice with yes/no as possible answers.

Examples: Is the sky blue? (Yes/No) The sky is blue. (True/False)

Please do not write "True or false: " in your question. The website will take care of that for you.

If the answer is false and it is not obvious from the question what the correct answer is, please put the correct answer in the explanation.


Fill-in-the-blank

Keep in mind that a quiz taker must type an answer that exactly matches (letter for letter) the correct answer that you have listed.

If your answer is long or difficult to spell, you should not use the fill-in-the-blank type answer. It is not fun to miss a question because you spelled it wrong.

Questions with lots of alternate answers should also not be made into fill-in-the-blanks. For example, "He ate the candy" is a poor fill-in-the-blank answer because there are lots of other possibilities (ate candy, candy was eaten, ate the candy, etc).

If your fill-in-the-blank answer is a person's name, please include their full name, first name, and last name as possible answers.

You do not need to enter different capitalizations for answers, as case is ignored when checking answers (dog, Dog and DOG are all the same). Please do not punctuate fill-in-the-blank answers.


Veracity

All of the facts in your quiz should be factual and verifiable. If possible, please provide a URL where the Quizmasters can verify your fact. Joke or Humor websites do not make good factual references. If you got your information from a book or TV show, please state this in the "Note to QM" field. This will greatly speed up the process of getting your quiz accepted.

Examples of poor questions: What is my favorite color? How many people eat turkey at Christmas?


Dates & Time Sensitivity

All questions should be able to stand the test of time and be accurate for at least 5 years. If your fact is likely to change in the near future, please modify the question.

Examples of poor questions: Who is the president? When will the band's next album be released? Who holds the record for most points scored?

Ways to fix the above questions: Who was the 40th president? When was the band's first album released? Who set a record for most points scored?

You should not add a phrase like "as of March 2nd 2006" to make your question no longer time sensitive. This makes the question confusing and will become dated in a few years. Would this question be interesting to you: "As of Feb 3rd, 1956 how many cars had Ford produced?"

In general, questions that ask for the exact date that something occurred are boring and should be avoided.


References to Other Sources

Every question should be self contained. It should not refer to other questions, other quizzes, or any place that is likely to change. It is safe to assume that the quiz taker remembers the title and summary of your quiz, so you do not need to repeat everything in each question.

Examples of what NOT to do: Who wrote the song from question #4. What do all of these questions have in common? What is the answer to question #6 in my other quiz?

The only place where you should put a URL to another website is inside the citation field used for Quizmasters to verify your facts. URLs inside your question, answer, or explanation are not permitted.


Appropriate Material

Braingle is a family friendly website. Please do not submit quizzes with swear words or content that would not be suitable for children. This includes references to drug use, sexual acts, or extreme violence.


Explanation

Whenever possible, please write a brief explanation about the correct answer. This field is optional, but experience shows that quizzes with good explanations are ranked higher by players. In some instances when the fact is particularly obscure or confusing, the Quizmaster may require an explanation. True/False questions that are false, should always have an explanation explaining why, unless it is obvious.

Please do not repeat the correct answer at the beginning of your explanation. The answer will already be displayed for you, so you can use your explanation to add additional information.


Quiz Title & Summary

Please pick short descriptive titles. Putting the words 'Quiz', 'Test', or 'Trivia' in your title is redundant and should be avoided. You should capitalize all the major words in your quiz title. For example: Back of the Bus.

The quiz summary is a place where you can describe the quiz in more detail than is possible in the title. You should try to use this space to explain what the quiz is about to someone who may not have heard about your subject. If you have special instructions for quiz takers, this is a good space to explain them. Having a good summary makes quizzes more interesting and enjoyable.

Try to avoid repeating your title in the summary. The summary is for additional information. Also, try not to use phrases like "This is a quiz about cats." This simply states the obvious and gives no additional information. A better summary would be "Cats have been good companions to humans for thousands of years. There are over 400 different species of domesticated cats to choose from. How much do you know about our feline friends?"


Category & Subcategory

Please pick the most appropriate category for your quiz. Sometimes quizzes fit in multiple categories. If this is the case, try to pick the one that is most relevant. For example, a quiz about a Disney movie could go in Entertainment>Disney or Movies>Animation. It's probably more specific to put it in Movies>Animation.

If your quiz fits in a subcategory, you should place it there.


Personal References/Opinions

Questions and explanations should be factual. Please do not put yourself or your personal opinions into your quizzes.

Examples of what NOT to do: "What is Tom Hanks's best movie?" "Sleepless in Seattle is my favorite one of his movies." "This is a quiz about the sport that I play."


Duplication

If your subject already has some quizzes on Braingle, you should take those quizzes to ensure that you do not duplicate any content. If you duplicate a question, your quiz will be returned and you will be asked to make up another question.


Too Easy / Too Many Hints

You should avoid making your quizzes too easy by giving too many hints or making obvious questions. You should also avoid giving away the answer to one question in a different question in the same quiz.

Quizzes that are too easy will be rejected by the quizmasters.


Uninteresting Quizzes

Quizzes that are dull or uninteresting will be rejected by the quizmasters. This is a subjective quality, so you should try to make your quizzes as fun and interesting as you can.

For example: A quiz that contains nothing but quotes or song lyrics with a missing fill in the blank word is likely to be deemed uninteresting.


Obscurity

Braingle's trivia quizzes are intended to be fun and interesting. Picking extremely obscure or intentionally confusing questions is not fun for anyone. Example: On episode 23 of "Cheers" what was the 103rd word spoken by a female actress?

Quizzes that are too confusing, obscure, nitpicky, or uninteresting will be rejected by the quizmasters.


Brain Teasers / Non-Trivia

The trivia section is for trivia.

Braingle has an entire section for brain teasers. Please submit your brain teasers to the brain teaser section.

Questions that are non-trivia based should be avoided. Examples of questions that are not trivia based: "What is 4+5?" or "What is the third word in this sentence?".


Foreign Languages / Dictionary Quizzes

Braingle is an English website and only accepts quizzes intended for people who understand English. You may create a quiz that uses foreign words as long as the audience for the quiz is someone who speaks English.

Quizzes that simply ask people to translate words or phrases into other languages ("Translate X into Y") are not very interesting and should not be submitted.

Quizzes that simply ask people to define a word in any language (including English), are boring and should be avoided.




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