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Quizmaking Tips

Posted: 10:00AM Oct 1, 2007
Posts: 16362

As proposed by Hrsemn, here is a topic for our quiz makers to share tips for good quiz making. Feel free to post suggestions and tips for other Brainglers on how they can make their quiz submissions more effective and get good quiz creator grades.

To keep the topic clean and easy to read, I request everyone to kindly not post anything other than tips. Don't post thank you notes to people whose tips worked for you, for example. This will only clutter the topic and will not help quiz makers to read information quickly.

A big thanks in advance to all who will contribute to this topic, and in doing so, will contribute to making the Trivia section bigger and better.

And of course a big thanks to Hrsemn for coming up with the idea.

The tools of the mind can be wrongly used, but the mind possesses no wrong tools.
Posted: 10:48AM Oct 1, 2007
Posts: 513

Thanks brainster, for taking the head of this. I hope this will make the QMs job a little easier.

The first tip I can offer is to include a site for verification of each and every question. Seems simple, but it makes thing go more smoothly.

As an addendum to this, in the "comments to the QM" section, I also include the area on the reference page where the facts I used can be found. I was told by a QM that this makes things extremely easy for the QMs.

I'm happy to offer tips (the few I know) to anyone, and answer any questions that I'm able.

---This message was edited on 11:04AM Jan 16, 2014---

The difference between poison and medicine is usually a matter of dosage.
Posted: 11:00AM Oct 1, 2007
Magical Sorceress Frog
Posts: 9571

Hrsemn, that is a great tip! I receive so many quizzes that do not include any reference sites at all. This adds on lots of extra time needed for these quizzes to be verified and processed out of the QM queue. Many times, I have been unable to locate sufficient information to even verify the questions/answers and have to return it to the submitter with a request for reference links.

I have had the pleasure of reviewing some of your quizzes and commend you on your references and the ease of verifying your information. Keep up the fantastic work!

SMILE and people will wonder what you are up to!
Posted: 02:40PM Oct 1, 2007
Posts: 513

If Brainster will allow me a brief rant, I will give my suggestions for new quiz makers that may be a little wary of starting to write quizzes.

1) Go to the quiz making guidelines and PRINT THEM OUT, it's nice to have them handy without navigation to other pages.
2) Pick a topic you like and already know a little about. For me, that was movies like "The Matrix", amongst other things.
3) See what quizzes have already been made on your topic. This will tell you what information has NOT been written about.
4) Wikipedia is a great start for research, but by no means, the only option. Try simple keyword searches in google, for a start, then whittle down your results by being more specific.

That should give new authors a good leg up on the process, of course the QMs are around to help, and occasionally you will find other users that can offer their own advice.

The next steps involve WRITING the quiz...I'll drop some tips in a few days.

---This message was edited on 11:04AM Jan 16, 2014---

The difference between poison and medicine is usually a matter of dosage.
Posted: 03:55PM Oct 1, 2007
Posts: 1192

This is really just common sense and not even an actual quiz making tip, but I just thought I'd mention it. When you submit your quiz, it's never a good idea to have rude comments in the Note to QM section, even ones asking them to please hurry up and get your quiz approved. Of course, good comments (such as thank-yous for finding mistakes and working diligently to help Braingle) are always a nice touch; they don't get your quiz approved faster or anything, but it's nice when a QM receives a short and friendly note in recognition of their efforts. Try to think about what you're saying to the QM before you send the quiz.

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however." - Richard Bach
Posted: 04:11PM Oct 1, 2007
Posts: 965

Also, always preview your quiz before submitting. You find so many grammar and spelling errors it will really help to reduce the chances of it getting returned.
Posted: 04:17PM Oct 1, 2007
Posts: 867

Use the proofreading tool to your advantage. There are many friendly Brainglers willing to assist you if you need help.

---This message was edited on 04:17PM Oct 1, 2007---
Posted: 05:18PM Oct 1, 2007
Posts: 501

Also common sense... I think?

Remember that trivia quizzes are NOT to be written in "chatspeak" - so submiting quizes that are all lowercase w/ speling errors and poor punctuation will not get your quiz accepted no matter how much you beg in the comments section even if your facts are all extremely accurate ok

Back to normal formatting... you cannot believe the amount of quizzes that come on site with worse mechanics than the above (as you might see, I'm not that great at faking it...) If I may give an example: There was one quiz that came completely shorthand and grammar-free. It was returned, asking the creator to check spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. The submitter fixed most of the spelling and sent it back. It was returned again, asking the creator to check spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. The submitter fixed some of the punctuation and sent it back... and it has been returned again.

The point? Listen to what the QMs say, and don't rush to get your quiz back in the queue, because that's just a week that you could have spent touching up your quiz.

Off to bigger and better things... ta-ta! ♪♫
Posted: 07:00PM Oct 1, 2007
Posts: 1192

Also, be sure to make sure you're submitting to the proper category and subcategory if applicable. I got a quiz about a movie in History, which I sent back (but it also had numerous spelling/grammar errors, which goes back to what's been said above). If you're unsure of a category or stuck between two or more reasonable possibilities, post in the Ask Ed or Trivia forum.

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however." - Richard Bach
Posted: 07:39PM Oct 1, 2007
Posts: 5505

If you feel that a series of quizzes are beginning to reduce in quality or enjoyment of the quiztakers, quit making them. Don't keep making a series just because there's more information to be quizzed about if they aren't maintaining a good rating.

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. - Gloria Steinem
Posted: 07:48PM Oct 1, 2007
Posts: 965

Or, opposite dolphingurl, if they're doing well continue a series. Or just do it because it's what you like!

---This message was edited on 07:48PM Oct 1, 2007---
Posted: 03:24PM Oct 2, 2007
Posts: 1192

Actually, I suggest a balance between dolphin and solar's arguments. If you're starting a series, continue it as long as the ratings are reasonably good (a rating below 1 probably isn't a good sign) and if you enjoy it. DO NOT MAKE A LONG SERIES JUST FOR POINTS/AWARDS - that's never a good idea, especially since it probably won't result in great ratings. Also, if the ratings aren't too good, try to ask in the Comments section why. Maybe the topic's pretty interesting, but the quiz is just too hard or it lacks good explanations. Those small things make a difference.

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however." - Richard Bach
Posted: 12:50PM Oct 4, 2007
Posts: 513

Here's another long one about actually writing the quiz, please remember, these are only my opinions and these entries are not mandated, nor endorsed by Braingle:

Writing the quiz:

I recommend writing your quiz initially in a word processing program like MS Word. This will "help" in eliminating spelling and grammar mistakes. It's not perfect but it is a start.

Titles should be simple but descriptive. Your quiz may be the favorite subject of many users, but if the title doesn't tell what the quiz contains, it may be accidentally passed over.

The description is your first chance to show your personality. Be fun and descriptive. If your quiz is for the "serious movie fan", say so. I know I will take almost every quiz no matter what, but I appreciate knowing what I'm getting into. Also if your entire quiz involves the same "goal", i.e. matching movie quotes to their characters, say so. There is nothing quite as frustrating as not knowing what the author wants you to do.

Now to the questions, please bear in mind that much of this is my OPINION formed from what I have observed taking other quizzes and writing my own.

Question types:
Multiple choice – This should be your standard question type; it is usually the favorite for even the casual user.

Fill in the blank – A tougher type of question, should only be used with easy to spell words. Rarely if ever should you use this for extremely obscure facts and data, the casual user may feel alienated and your quiz might not be as popular. Even the most obscure topics can be popular if the quiz is easy for the novice to approach.

True or False – Please be sure your "question" is stated in the T/F format (look in the guidelines). Essentially you need to make a statement, the user then decides if that statement is true or false.

BIG OPINION: Be specific about what part of your statement is under scrutiny. I.e. "In March, 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog was released in America for the Sega Genesis." I see 4 different things that could come under fire..."March", "1991", "America", and "Sega Genesis". If you wanted the user to know the year of release, a better question might be "Sonic the Hedgehog was released in 1991." Again this is only MY opinion, but I know I've been frustrated by T/F questions that are "asking too many questions".

Easy vs. Hard: A good thing to keep in mind is, you are either trying to teach the user something they did not know before or test the user on what they may think they know. I don't believe you should ever try to trick them.

A quiz does not have to be "easy" to be popular, but excessively detailed or nitpicky quizzes are almost universally unpopular. Check out my "Gone in 60 Seconds" quiz if you need proof.

On the same note, don't make things too easy either; I call these "softball questions" because they're easy for most people to knock out of the park. A good knowledge of your topic will help you here, finding that fine line between easy and hard questions is not an exact science, and can take a while.

ALWAYS include a reference, I know it's not mandatory on the quiz pages, but it makes things easier for the QMs and thus makes things easier for you. Using Wikipedia as a reference is very common anymore, but be aware that ANYONE can edit those pages, as such, your info can change DAY TO DAY, be sure to check back often. In addition, I have found that pointing out the location of the information on the page for the QMs helps things along; I put this in the "notes to quizmaster" area.

Explanations make the quiz fun and interesting. Explain your answers or share some additional information about your topic. (Remember, all info in your explanation must be verifiable, too) Please do NOT simply explain why other answer choices are wrong, I find that boring, I always want to learn more, the explanations can do that.

Notes to Quizmaster:
As I have said before, I usually use this area to point out the specific location on a web page where my reference info can be found. Other ideas come from experience. If you know that some manner of spelling is unusual, but you know it to be correct, say so in this area. Let the QM know you have already worked hard to make this quiz as error-free as possible. They should and will double check, but it shows that you are making a real effort at making good quizzes.

Spell check:
USE OFTEN, 'nuff said. If you also used a word processing program, you now have a backup spelling helper. Spell check does NOT correct punctuation or grammar; so don't rely on it for that purpose.

Your quiz is now done, but NOT ready to be submitted. Next I'll share my thoughts about proofreading.

---This message was edited on 11:05AM Jan 16, 2014---

The difference between poison and medicine is usually a matter of dosage.
Posted: 10:37AM Oct 15, 2007
Posts: 513

OK, another big entry, I hope this forum has been of some use to new authors. Please remember that these are MY opinions only and do not reflect the opinions of Braingle or any other users.

The Proofreading stage:

Having other users proof your quiz can do wonders for your quiz creator grade. The real drawbacks to proofing are that proofreaders can't see your sources, so they can't verify your facts as easily and there isn't a huge incentive to proofread in the first place.

We know that many users lie in wait for chances to rack up big points for little work, but, unfortunately, proofing offers no points, per se. According to the FAQ, being a proofreader does raise your karma and help your quiz creator grade, but it's not as instant a payoff as the points.

Nevertheless, I encourage everyone to proofread quizzes often. When you do, try and take it seriously (as serious as you can on a site meant for FUN). You are helping the author of that quiz to eliminate minor errors and oversights by lending them your perspective; two heads are always better than one. When you proof, always leave comments, give your opinion of the overall fun and quality of the quiz, and leave details of any errors you found. If you find nothing wrong (unlikely) still drop a note to the author so they know that someone has read the quiz.

As the author, nothing is more frustrating that not having anyone proof your quiz, or THINKING no one has proofed it, which is why I recommend ALWAYS leaving comments. Your other option as an author is to ask people on your buddy list, or other users you trust to proof your quiz. I imagine most of them are happy to offer assistance. You might even be fortunate enough to get a QM to proof your quiz. They are VERY busy, but occasionally have some spare time, and if it helps them do their job later on, I'm certain they will offer advice.

I advise leaving your quiz in the Proofreading stage for at LEAST a week, preferably two weeks. During this time, you should revisit your quiz or quizzes in proofing and take them yourself, and re-read them often. Often, the light of a different day will help you see things errors you may have overlooked before. If proofreaders have left any comments, be certain to read them carefully and make suggested changes. DO NOT take criticism personally. I've had trouble with this too, but I truly believe that no one wants to hurt anyone else's feelings. It can be difficult when you have worked very hard on a quiz that you feel confident about only to have someone grammatically rip it apart. We are all human and capable of errors, fix them and move on, you'll be thanking your proofreaders in the end.

Proofreaders make mistakes too, if you disagree with a proofreader you do not HAVE to make their suggested changes, but it might be a good idea to get in contact with them and see if they can explain further what they were saying.

After some time in the proofing stage, and hopefully after several proofreaders have read your quiz, you can submit it. In that last area for comments to the QM, you can briefly explain any issues you've had, or overall questions specific to your quiz (many of these you can have answered on the forums). Otherwise, a nice note thanking them for their work is always appreciated, they do work VERY hard to produce a constant supply of quality material for Braingle.

So, now your quiz is submitted and all that's left is the waiting game. Next time I'll talk more about what can happen after the quiz gets submitted.

---This message was edited on 11:05AM Jan 16, 2014---

The difference between poison and medicine is usually a matter of dosage.
Posted: 09:23PM Oct 18, 2007
Posts: 728

Proofreading is very important, but it doesn't always work perfectly.

This signature is better than your signature. It's true.
Posted: 08:16AM Oct 29, 2007
Posts: 16362

I saw this comment while I was reviewing a quiz, and thought I should clarify why this happens:

While I agree that all the mistakes found were in need of correcting, it would be to everyone's benifit if the quizmasters worked together to find ALL mistakes the first time around. I don't understand why all mistakes aren't found at the same time.

Mistakes are not all found on the first instance because -

1. The quiz leaves the queue as soon as enough QMs have reviewed it. It might be that the QM who is sending you comments on the second round didn't even get a chance to see it when your quiz made its first round.

2. Because of the same issue listed above, the same set of QMs is not reviewing your quiz at every return. Also, we don't see the past comments sent to you and need to treat each review as a fresh one, unless we did a review earlier ourselves, and remember it.

3. Lastly, it is very possible that we missed something out the first time, and on finding it, are telling you about it the second time.

The tools of the mind can be wrongly used, but the mind possesses no wrong tools.
Posted: 08:50PM Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 9

You should always use proofreading, but remember that if u don't want to make a certain change. Remember to always double-check your quiz before submitting it.

Finding a friendship like our is like nailing jello to a tree...Impossible! =]
Posted: 12:18PM Dec 29, 2007
Posts: 1192

If your question is in multiple choice format, please double-check to be sure you have selected the correct answer. Sometimes, quiz creators may forget to select the correct answer, and the first answer is selected by default, even if that's not the right answer.

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however." - Richard Bach
Post from dswilborn deleted on 09:33AM Feb 13, 2008.
Posted: 04:08PM Mar 27, 2008
Posts: 6441

For lyric quizzes, always look at others to make sure you get a gist of the right format (don't copy anything though).
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