Saturday, 23 June 2012

Compiler's Dilemma

It’s my turn to produce the quiz for the rugby club this coming Thursday, and that’s what I’ve been working on today. I know that I’ve written about this before. Time was , when I was an eager young(ish) quizzer about 17 years ago when I wanted to set the quiz there every week, but thankfully for all concerned wiser heads prevailed , and I took my place within the rotation. Every year there comes a time when nobody else is volunteering their services, and then Brian and I take turns until somebody else wants a go, and I’m perfectly happy to do this. But I can also go four or even five weeks without doing one now, and it really doesn’t bother me at all. I’m happy to fit in as and when.
When I do put a quiz together, though, I do often find myself on the horns of a dilemma. After all, I could easily fill a quiz with old chestnuts which I’ve asked twenty or more times before. But that’s not really satisfying to anyone. On the other hand, with time and effort I could put together a set the majority of which would never have been asked down the club before. Which sounds good, but then brings into question the level of difficulty. As a rough rule of thumb, nobody ever complains that a quiz is too easy down the club – well, actually, I do sometimes, but I don’t count for the purposes of this discussion. I compile a set of questions. Then I look at the phrasing to make them a bit easier. Then I combine them into rounds in a way that I think should guarantee almost every team a decent score. Then I feel sure as I go into the quiz that everyone is going to score a full house on every round. Then I start reading them out, and I realize that a lot of them are still too hard for the average teams.

Using connections I find at least gives me a chance to ask one harder question out of a three question connected set, at least, and I have put some connections into this quiz for Thursday. If I’m honest, I’m talking about how difficult it can be sometimes to get the balance of questions right for the club, but it’s really not the worst thing about putting a quiz together. No, that dubious distinction belongs to the picture handout. Cards on the table – I hate picture handouts. I’m a straightforward question and answer guy, when you get right down to it. But – and it’s a big but – the majority of teams in the quiz love them, and there are people who go every week who are far more interested in the picture quiz than in the proper stuff. It’s a free country. So you have to put a bit of effort into it. It comes down to basic principles – the one person who you’re not putting the quiz together for, is yourself. You’re doing it go give people an evening’s entertainment, not to show off what you yourself know, and what you yourself are interested in.

It’s not quite finished yet, but I’ve already used 8 separate questions sources, and that’s not a bad sign. Mind you, I do have it in the back of my mind that sometimes, you can spend all the time and trouble in the row on putting the quiz together, and it still goes down like a lead balloon. On the other hand sometimes you’re short of time, so you just throw it together as quickly as you can, and it goes down a storm.

Funny old world, isn’t it ?

1 comment:

DanielFullard said...

I wouldn't mind seeing this quiz if you are typing it up