Saturday, 1 September 2012

Morally Deficient Numpties

I’ve held off writing this for a couple of days to see if I could just laugh it off, but I’m far too childish to be able to do this. Regulars will doubtless be heartily sick of my regular moans about the phone cheating which has gone on at times in the rugby club during the last 18 months, and I am sorry to everyone that I bring it up again. But I have to get it off my chest.

Thursday night’s quiz was not actually my first quiz since returning from Spain, since I tried the one in the Grand Hotel in Port Talbot on Wednesday night. That was just the appetizer, though, and as far as I know was all kosher and above board. On Thursday in the rugby club I turned up with my own quiz in the car, just in case it was my turn and I’d forgotten. As it turned out I hadn’t forgotten, and it was Clive’s turn to do the quiz. The team welcomed me back, and informed me that they hadn’t been doing very well in my absence. Question master was Clive. A few years ago Clive compiled the quiz which was the only occasion when a team has ever answered every single question correctly all evening – thankfully that was us. Well, the quiz that Clive produced on Thursday night was a far cry from that, and all the better for it. This was a tricky, testing quiz.

We top scored in the first round. Then we did the same in the second round. To give an idea of how tricky this quiz was, in just the first two rounds we played a blinder, and took no less than 4 pooints out of Lemurs. Lemurs are the usual legitimate winners in the quiz – they have a Brain of Britain runner up playing for them , and some other very good quizzers. Enough said. So it was a bit of a surprise that another team were only two points behind us, and two points ahead of Lemurs. Until I remembered that this was the team I’ve watched cheating before.

The shenanigans really began in the next round. They embarked upon a run of rounds in which they had every answer correct. In fact the only round when they didn’t score a full house in the rounds which were left was the one where they scored 9. The rest of us scored 6 , 5 or less. They are so obvious about it too. There’s two of them in the team who sit there, hunched over, with their phones in their laps, as if they think nobody can see them doing it. Still, just to make sure, when the last round came up I went and stood a yard or two in front of one of them, and watched him actually doing it. I passed a couple of loud comments along the lines of “What a f*7!!)g cheat !” , which they must have heard, but they just ignored me completely. And went on doing it. In the end they scored a good 6 points more than we did on the questions, while we had one of the best nights we’ve had this year, outscoring Lemurs by a single point on the questions. AS for the winners, I couldn’t bring myself to clap them.

I don’t know where I go from here with this. Every time I do the quiz I remind teams that using phones is cheating, it ruins quizzes, etc. etc. And to be fair every time that I’ve said this I haven’t seen them doing it, and they’ve provided some of their usual fairly run of the mill performances in different rounds. I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m the only question master who bothers to ever say anything about it. But I can’t force the other question masters to say or do anything, any more than I can force them to care about it. I know that members of my team certainly don’t want me trying to do anything more than I’ve already done about it. They don’t want a fuss, or a scene, being sensible, mature and decent people, and the rational part of my brain acknowledges the sense of their viewpoint.

I completely agree that life isn’t fair. This is the reason why people just turn a blind eye to the morally deficient numpties who sit there ruining a great quiz through their cheating. Nobody accuses them of taking it all too seriously. However , If I should confront any of them, make a fuss, or name names on the mike, then I know I would definitely be thought of as taking it all far too seriously. Doubtless they would be seen as the victims. So what do I do ?

The sensible answer is to do as Lemurs do. They are fully aware of what is going on, and if anything they have a much clearer view of it. I’ve no doubt that they feel every bit as angry about it as I do, but they don’t make a fuss, and just accept that it’s wrong, but it’s what those numpties are going to do. So I should just ignore the team in question, and rate ourselves against Lemurs, because that’s the real competition in the club every week. What I really want to do – what I really want to do is to take the mike next time I have a quiz, and say, “Look ( and give the name of the team, and especially the names of the two men who use their phones so much ) , many of us have watched you using your phones under your tables, and so you’re really not fooling anyone at all. You’ve been asked not to do it, you know that using your phones is cheating, but you’ve carried on. I find it difficult to stop you, but I think it’s a pretty shabby thing to do, considering that everyone who puts a quiz together for the club spends hours doing it just to give you an evening’s entertainment. “ But I won’t.

However, if by any chance you are one of those couple of people I'm talking about, or you do happen to play in the same team as them and you’re reading this, then here’s a few home truths : -
* Using phones during the quiz IS cheating, and it DOES matter
* Cheating to win a prize is fraud. Cheating to win a quiz where there is no prize may not be fraud, but it is PATHETIC.
* If you are that desperate to get wins against teams of the calibre of my team, and of Lemurs, then get good enough to do it properly. Go to the books and try to LEARN something.

6 comments: said...

Using phones (or anything else) to look up the answers makes the whole quiz pointless.
A quiz is meant to test memory and ability to put bits of knowledge together. Taking part in a quiz is a way of challenging yourself.

I'd react to cheats, especially such blatent ones, in the same way you do. Cheating, week after week, is making a mockery of the whole thing. They aren't making the effort to genuinely compete, so why should they be allowed to take part ? Would an athlete known to take drugs be allowed to compete time after time ?
When a quizmaster puts time and effort into coming up with a quiz intended to provide a pleasurable challenge for players, it's an insult to not play the game properly. Why bother going to the effort of devising a good quiz - which is a skill - when you might just as well pick a bunch of random statistics off the internet because all your players are going to do it look up the answers on the internet anyway ?

The cheaters aren't just dishonest, they are rude, too.

davidbod said...

QuizQuizQuiz did a nice long article about this:

Personally, I think it has to stem from the quizmaster. In the (monstrously difficult) quiz I do in central London, the QM basically bans all phones and says anyone caught with one in active mode will have 10 points added to their score. Sometimes hundreds of pounds are at stake as prize money.

I think if you see it going on, you have to raise it with the management rather than tackling these things head on. No-one has the right to be the Quiz Police other than the gaffer running the joint.

Ben Dutton said...

I did a quiz on Wednesday with some big cash jackpots (£20 a round over 4 rounds and an jackpot prize to whoever got the highest score of £30) at the end of the 2nd round a team had scored maximum on the 1st two rounds so I annoucned that once you'd won a round you couldn't win again and suddenly this team's score dropped to just 2 out of 10 and 3 out of 10. They obviously kept playing, so either they just didn't bother to write down any answers or didn't bother to think - or they were cheating and knowing that they couldn't win anything more, didn't bother to cheat.

I like the idea QuizQuizQuiz has - but it can't be policed in an ordinary pub where punters come and go - for a smoke, to the loo etc.

What I do if there is a team of known cheaters in now is put in a question that you can Google and get the correct answer for - but is a question you'd only get right if you Googled as nobody else would know it. Then if a team has it right, you can call them out on Googling.

Watergrass Jon said...

This is, of course, the reason I gave up on pub quizzes. It's especially annoying when you've slaved over setting a quiz to make it interesting, varied and balanced, and someone just googles the answers. Really, what is the point in that? It's like cheating at Patience, or filing the edges on a jigsaw to make it fit, especially if there is just a few pounds at stake. I suppose the only solution is to constantly name and shame the guilty, perhaps the public humiliation will work if it's done every week - peer pressure is a powerful thing.

Dave Bill said...

If you're trying to flush out the cheats, try this.

Put 2/3 questions in the quiz each week which ARE NOT going to count towards the final total, make them so obscure that nobody will question the answer.. DO NOT TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THIS.

THEN, the master stroke - for said questions, edit the Wikipedia pages with some wrong answers that people cannot possibly have guessed. For example, ask 'When Egghead Pat Gibson won Mastermind, he chose what subject his first round?'.. Plant the answer on his wikipedia page, something like The Life and Publications of Hugh Hefner or The Members of Blazin Squad. First team to put this as an answer = CHEAT. You'd have to be more creative than my topics above, but you get the idea..

Londinius said...

Hi Everyone

Thanks for all of your advice and comments. Davidbod - thanks especially for your calming words. Since then the next Qm actually made a point of mentioning the use of phones in the quiz last night and it did make a difference. We all know who's doing it - the thing we have to all do when we're QM is to let them know that it's not on.