Monday, January 12, 2004

Continuing Niranjan's Primer on organizing a good quiz - "Setting a Quiz"

1. Go for infinite rebounds rather that direct-and-passed questions method. it is a great way to eliminate the inconsistencies caused by the d&p method.

2. Do not comment a lot on the content of the answer (other than witty remarks, of course), as it provides unfair hints to others.

3. Never provide hints in the middle of a round. it is unfair to the earlier teams.

4. Keep spare questions handy in case of a tie. use the same questions (preferrably best of three) for all the teams involved in a tie.

5. Do not assume a stiff posture in contesting an argument by a participant/audience. settle the issue quickly, either by an (assumed) authoritative gesture or by a corrective action such as cancelling the question. (authority is generally mistaken for rudeness, which is not among the best interpretations of the word).

6 This one is a recent addition. many times, it so happens that due care is not taken by the quizmaster in using his/her discretion when it comes to accepting an answer or crediting team(s) with partial points. I myself have been guilty of causing such scoring discrepancies and also of objecting to such discrepancies in the middle of a quiz. the quizmaster, most of the times, is trying to be fair, but may not succeed every time, unless he/she is well prepared. probably, it is best to formulate a strategy for each individual question and decide a priori on the acceptable contents of an answer and respective scoring. i myself have not adopted such a strategy upto this point, but would certainly be practicing it the next time I get an opportunity to set a quiz.

6. According to me, quizzing is an intellectually satisfying activity, the prime purpose of which is to have fun, and NOT to make money, get recognition, satisfy egos, taunt other participants and so on. so, it is better to leave our egos at a suitable place and not let them interfere in these 'trivial' pursuits, especially in a live quiz. newsgroups always come in handy for all flaming and 'impolity'..;-))

7. At the end of the quiz, you have every right to be pleased /displeased to hear the comments of the participants /audience, to ponder over why little went right and so much went wrong. but the feeling that stands out, is that of intellectual satisfaction that you derived out of the whole activity.

8. After setting a quiz, cast a retrospective glance on the quiz. treat all the constructive criticism - by yourself and by others - with respect, try to incorporate what you can in the next quiz. use your own discretion in separating the comments to be incorporated from the comments to be ignored. after all the quizmaster's decision is final! and it would be helpful to remember what ghalib said: 'ghalib, buraa na maan, agar vaaiz (preachers) buraa kahen duniyaa mein koii hai, jise achchhaa kahe sabhii???'

I refuse to claim that these are decrees or even guidelines. these are merely some experiences that I had the fortune of sharing with you.

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