Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How a quiz question is written

People often ask me if I write the questions, and how. "Where'dya get the questions?" they demand, mouth-breathing faces filled with wonder.

"D'ya write 'em yerself?" they ask credulously. "Is a bear Catholic?" I respond. "Does the Pope shit in the woods?" I continue, unnecessarily.

But it's all a lie... all a terrible, monstrous lie.

Let us take ourselves behind the scenes of the operation, and finally reveal all. Let this be Quizmasterchris Industries' holiday treat to you! Think of it as your Golden Ticket to get a once in a lifetime peek inside Quizmasterchris Industries' Obfuscation Factory and Smoke'n'Mirror Works!

Pictured above left find our receptionist, Samantha, who answers all calls at the American HQ on our new iDialPhone system provided as a promotional consideration by Comcast. It's Comcastic! We maintain this largely depopulated, benefits-free office with a 215 area code to retain the facade of a local, mom and pop operation, the one thing we are assuredly not.

Lining the wall note her laptop, powered by Windows Vista. Samantha has a lot of lap; she isn't well-paid and thrifts a lot of skirts from 1972.

First off, I couldn't possibly create the quizzes myself; this much is obvious, as I am barely literate and unusually lazy, even by quiz host standards.

Questions are developed by a desperate team of poor but bright teenagers who have been trained in Wikipedia usage - and have been assigned fake Anglo-Saxon names to no particular end - at our Question Outsourcing Center in Bangalore, India. We find this to be a cost-effective solution as the workers have few formal legal rights and union activity is essentially illegal. This is pretty much a lateral move on that front from our former New Jersey facility, but we found that fewer and fewer American workers could handle the grammar of shifting statements into questions. Little consideration is given to quality but much to quantity, as the managers tend to come from the our nation's poultry industry and have little or no direct trivia experience.

I like to think of the program as Slumdog Hundredaire.

These questions are transferred to microfilm and shipped home in swallowed condoms by homeless folks we pass off as vacationing well-to-do New Agers visiting the subcontinent, searching for inner peace.

After the questions are sifted stateside by our unpaid, abused high school interns in preparation for an American audience (to remove international cricket test scores, all reference to spices and other such things that would bewilder a Yank audience), we test the remaining questions for allergic properties on orphans, as pictured at right.
I am a mere figurehead, and the questions and their answers are printed for me phonetically (and, sometimes in the case of big words, in rebus form) on a series of coloful index cards specially designed to hold my attention. There is a small mic surgically implanted in my skull. If resultantly Quality Control (staffed by widow women out of Jogjakarta, Indonesia) can hear that I readed the questions real good at the quiz I get extra mealloaf ration that upcoming weekend at the halfway facility where I was originally recruited, and where the conditions of my parole still require I live, and continue to introduce myself to and review my transgressions with any new neighbors.

We hope that this clears up any lingering confusion about the origin of the quizzes and the nature of their preparation. Next week we'll take a look at how many of your favorite cookies really were baked by elves. Happy Holidays to you and yours from the people of Quizmasterchris Industries, its parent company Dow Chemical and our outsourced/externalized labor pool, both in and out of the reserve army of the unemployed!
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your blog (for the politics, not the quiz) so I thought it was about time that I chimed in with this important point: Samantha's hot!