Friday, January 4, 2008

The L&TM5K Quiz FAQ

There's been some mild confusion of late over the rules of the L&TM5K Quizes. That won't do. Therefore, this post will henceforth be the controlling document for all quizzy issues. It may be changed or added to in order to reflect changes in quiz practice.


General Questions

Q: When do the quizzes happen?
A: Weekly. The Monday quiz happens on Monday; the Thursday Quiz happens on Thursday.

Q: Are they the same?
A: No. The Thursday Quiz (TQ) has twelve questions in an "is-it-or-isn’t-it format," with questions tending to be at a more-or-less uniform, moderately challenging level of difficulty. The Monday Quiz (MQ) has five image-based questions that tend to become progressively more difficult in sequence.

Q: Can I look answers up?
A: Absolutely not. Once you’ve seen the quiz questions, it is strictly forbidden to check any online or offline reference, to consult a spouse, child, coworker, or any other human being, or in any other way to educate yourself on the subject at hand. No peeking at the entries of others. Intentional violation of this rule would be really depressing.

Q: How does the scoring work?
A: Oddly, it is quite different for the two quizzes.

Thursday Quiz: Contestants are ranked by the number of correct answers; ties are broken by the order of submission. The winner receives a virtual Gold Star, the second place winner receives a virtual Silver Star, and the third place winner receives a virtual Blue Star. If there are any subsequent responders with the same number of correct answers as the third place winner, they receive a virtual Green Star.

Monday Quiz: Contestants are ranked by the number of correct answers only. The winner or co-winners will earn a virtual Exclamation Point.

Q: What are the implications of all that?
A: On Thursday, you want to hurry to get your answer submitted first. On Monday, you can take your sweet time.

Q: Shouldn't third place be a Bronze Star?
A: Bronze looks too much like gold.

Persnickity Complaints

Q: Hey it’s not Monday/Thursday yet! / Hey, it’s still Monday/Thursday!
A: Indeed. MQ will generally (but no promises) be posted sometime between 10 p.m. Sunday and 1:30 a.m. Monday; TQ between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 1:30 a.m. Thursday. The quiz is considered “live” as soon as it has been posted. Submissions can be accepted for competition until the correct answers are posted, which may be anytime after 6 p.m. on Monday or Thursday. Oh, and we run on Pacific Time around here.

Q: There is a problem with a quiz question!
A: Oh, I doubt it. But let me know. If you are the first one to notice a significant error in the quiz, you will be awarded the cherished Big Purple Asterisk.

Q: You made an error in scoring, such that I did not receive the award I deserved!
A: You have until the next quiz of its type is posted – ie. roughly six days – to post your grievance, preferably in a flamboyant and witty fashion. The review committee must see decisive evidence in order to overturn the original judgment. If a decision is made in your favor, everyone’s stars will be adjusted accordingly, and everyone who lost a star or was downgraded to a lower star will forever afterwards regard you with barely-disguised resentment. It will add a delicious frisson to the proceedings.

(added 10/27/08) Q: But my second guess was right!
A: If a contestant provides more than one answer, or more than one answer-like statement, and does not clearly indicate which is their REAL answer, the first one is the one that counts. So there.


Q: Why do you do this, anyway?
A: I get a kick out of it. A small but really fun group of people seem to enjoy it.

Q: I think blogs are stupid.
A: O.K.

Q: I don’t really like quizzes.
A: O.K.

Q: I like quizzes, but I don’t like to submit my answers.
A: O.K. As long as a handful of other people are submitting answers, I’ll keep making quizzes. If no one submits, though, I’ll start feeling like an idiot.

Q: What’s the next subject going to be?
A: I will never tell.

Q: I’ve got an idea for next week’s quiz!
A: Cool, Thanks! But not for next week. I plan topics out months in advance, and write the questions at least a couple weeks out.

Q: I think this week’s quiz was too hard/easy!
A: Sorry. In general, I aim for a quiz that is hard enough so that only one or two people will get all the answers right. That keeps the Thursday Quiz from being a horserace and the Monday Quiz from being a roll call. Sometimes I don’t get the calibration quite right.

Q: This quiz makes me feel stupid.
A: Well, it shouldn’t. First of all, when I write these things, I use references, but I don’t let you use references to answer them. Second, you wouldn’t be coming to this site and trying your hand at these quizzes in the first place if you weren’t an intellectually inquisitive person – which is to say, smart.

Faux Legalism

Q: Shouldn’t an enterprise of this magnitude have a legal statement?
A: Oh mais oui.

By competing, participants in the quiz consent to waive any responsibility by The Life and Times of Michael5000, michael5000, his family, or his cat, for any damages sustained to their property, pride, social standing, career, or feelings of self-worth, incurred through participation. Participants certify that they are over the age of 5, more or less sober unless legally intoxicated, and not prohibited from participating in recreational online quizzes by the laws of their country, district, locality, clan, or clique.

Participants further acknowledge that failing to submit answers due solely to a lack of knowledge or expertise on a given topic is to be a big chicken and a major killbuzz.

Personal attacks and expressions of racism, sexism, and other stupid crap will be dealt with severely. Michael5000 knows people you don’t want to have mad at you.

WARNING: Quizzes are intended for use only in an environment suitable for normal computer operation. Attempts to complete the quiz underwater, at extreme temperatures, in a full or partial vacuum, or while exposed to high levels of radioactivity can result in injury or death.

(Added 1/5/08): WARNING: Quizzes should not normally be taken while driving, unless (a) you are extremely tired and taking the Quiz will help you stay awake, (b) you are an awesome driver and can handle doing two things at once, or (c) it's getting late in the day and you are afraid that you are running out of time to get your answers in.


d said...


but you didn't answer the really important question about whether mrs5k thinks this whole quiz thing is taking too much time away from your love life.

Rebel said...

Also... Seattle isn't a suburb of Portland. ;)

Anonymous said...

Why call it FAQ? It seems to be half-a-name, as answers are supplied as well. How about FAQaA?

fingerstothebone said...

But can I take a quiz while I'm driving?

gl. said...

"Participants further acknowledge that failing to submit answers due solely to a lack of knowledge or expertise on a given topic is to be a big chicken and a major killbuzz."

it's true! i am! but i was hoping you hadn't noticed. darnit!

Chance said...

mais has an s at the end.

De rien.

Anonymous said...

Glad we got that all cleared up.

Michael5000 said...

@d: It took Mrs.5000 about a week to go from puzzled about the Quiz to hooked on the Quiz, so I don't think it's going to be a problem. Plus, she knows it keeps me off the street.

@Rebel: Says you.

@karma: It's an excellent point. But yet.

@fingers: Excellent Question. The FAQ will be amended to address it.

@gl.: Hey, ~I~ didn't name names.

@Chance: Merci.

@mydog: I'm here to help.

Bridget said...

I have not laughed this hard in a long time - at least 2 or 3 hours. The Sweetie enjoyed it, too . . . thanks again! And it took me awhile to get the part about not reading other people's answers until after I'd submitted mine - I wasn't consciously cheating, it was just like reading more of the post, but then I realized it was cheating.

And I felt very bad. Definitely impacted my self-esteem.

Unfortunately, my plans to pay for my retirement by suing you and the MK5 blog empire for emotional damages have now been slashed by this confounded legal notice! Curses! Foiled again!

Jessica said...

Ha! Love the legalese bit. Very nice.

The [Cherry] Ride said...

If this is an attempt to get me to start participating more in your quizzes, well, it still isn't working.

Anonymous said...

What kind of medal do you get if you get to the quiz too late and then, as you read the answers, realize you would've totally gotten a 100% given the chance? Do you have a sour grape colored medal?

Anonymous said...

Have you considered "Rarely Asked Questions"?

Anonymous said...

Bronze does look too much like gold. There should be a song about that. It could be called "Door Knocker."

Will heed the guidelines and play, but not at work.

Michael5000 said...

Curses, all this work and [Cherry] still won't participate in my quizzes.

@Chuckdaddy: You don't get a medal for that, actually. Instead, you get a hard reminder to enter the quiz as a recurring appointment on your work, personal, or portable time management software, or, if you are keepin' it Old School, your "calendar."

@karma: Conceding that a question was "rarely asked" might damage the carefully fostered illusion that this blog has an actual readership.