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Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box)

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Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 1:24 PM (edited 4/30/09 9:24 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
We briefly discussed the possibility of converting Cuzzdog's Don't Forget the Lyrics style of trivia quiz posting into a self-supported module. This would allow a number of improvements, including a better UI, better handling of scoring, better integration with the overall point system, etc. I have some ideas on how to do it, which I will be posting here. What I'm looking for is feedback, suggestions, and ideas for the module. This is basically going to be a full design written as I think of it, so it will likely be long and disorganized. So have fun! Wink

The Interface
This is probably the easiest part. Trivia would be its own module (probably called that, unless someone comes up with something better). There would be a new user right to determine who could create questions (which all users here would have by default), and any user could answer them.

The question posting interface would be a lot like making any other post. I'm not sure if there would be some equivalent to a "subject" line - probably not, as it won't really be necessary for listing them. More likely there would either be a free-form category or a predetermined "game name" (more on that later). The main post would be the question. I'm assuming all questions are free-form, since that's how they've been so far, and including an alternate method (like multiple choice) would be too confusing because these will have to be manually "graded" regardless. There will also be a place to post the answer, which will be visible to the question writer and usable as a reference. It will also be revealed to the user at some point. Finally, the creator will have to assign some kind of "point value" to the question, but more on that later.

For answering questions, things are pretty simple. Questions will be shown in a list like all the other modules (well, links to questions), which will note which ones you haven't answered. Clicking on one shows you the question, and then you submit an answer. You will also be able to "give up" on the question, submitting no answer but allowing you to see things as if you had. Specifically, you can't see anyone else's answers until you answer yourself. At this point you probably also get access to the correct answer.

How to handle the showing of the correct answer is a bit tricky. I don't know whether to hard-code when it happens or what. I'm thinking the author should have a choice: show users the correct answer immediately, never show them correct answers, or show users (who've answered the question) the correct answer after some time period. This time period could also determine how long the question is "open" though I see no reason not to let people answer very old questions. (Maybe after a question is closed, the author will not be notified of answers and cannot award points?)

Scheduling
One feature I've always thought about adding to the site is scheduled posts - i.e., you write a post but it doesn't get posted until the time of your choosing. This seems like the perfect opportunity to implement that, so you can enter several days' worth of trivia questions ahead of time, post them at a particular time of day, and keep a daily game going even if you're away.

Grading
Whenever someone answers one of your questions, you get to "grade" it. Basically, you can mark it correct or incorrect (or possibly "partially correct," though I'm not sure if it's worth having that as a choice), and hand out points appropriately (see below). You can also delete an answer if its inappropriate, obscene, or you just want to be a dick. These answers would not appear to other users, and can only be viewed by you or a site admin.

Game Organization
One of the benefits of having this module is statistics. I'll definitely be able to break down stuff based on question author, but a dedicated "game" system might be nice to break it down some more. For instance, Cuzzdog might create a "Don't Forget the Lyrics (Rap)" game, a "Don't Forget the Lyrics (Rock)" game, etc., and I could use these later. Or maybe each question should have a free-form category. I kind of like the game idea just for the convenience of browsing, since they are likely to be similar to free-form categories anyway. Perhaps a very simple UI for this, like a drop-down of any categories you've written with an "enter new..." option to add more.

Points
And now we come to the part of the design which everyone will probably accuse me of making overly complicated. And that's probably true. But one problem with DFtL is that it uses post ratings in a way they weren't intended to be used. This system would help to alleviate that. (For one thing, you'd only be able to rate questions, not answers.) The idea is that your trivia quiz performance will be reflected in your site score. However, since that's putting one guy in charge of handing out points, there need to be a lot of protections in place. Add to that the fact that DFtL sort of requires the ability to hand out multiple points for different answers, and you get a complex system.

The basic tenet of the system I've come up with is that each question you write is assigned a "point value." This is the maximum total number of points that can be handed out for answering that question. For example, let's say you made a DFtL question worth five points. You might hand out two points to whoever gets the next line, one to who gets the artist, and one to who gets the song title. The fifth point would be awarded to a second person who got the next line. Once there's no points left, you can still mark answers correct or incorrect, you just can't hand out points. (Correct answers may be used statistically, but only points will be reflected in your site score.) And yes, the question poster will still get points for posting questions, though not as many as getting them right.

Now that's all fine, if perhaps a bit weird. The overly complicated part comes in determining how many points you're allowed to hand out. The most basic way to do this would be give each person some number of points which resets each day, kind of like the number of ratings you can hand out per day. Optimally, this number would start low and increase based on how much people like your questions. I'd keep track of positive and negative ratings on questions, as well as how many times your questions get answered and how many different people answer them. You'd probably start at something like 3 points and can work your way up from there, indefinitely (though it would take longer and longer to get that next point).

An alternate aspect to this system which I like (and which is totally ripped off a number of FFXI systems) is saving points up. The idea here is that if you don't use points, they carry over, up to a predetermined limit. Most likely this limit would be three days worth of points, in order to allow you to use your weekend points in a 5-day game. (In other words, if you get 5 points per day, but only post M-F, you could post a 7-point question each day).

The big problem with the changing points system is how it interacts with scheduling. Scheduled posts would be editable until they're up, so if your points go up you'd have to fix that manually. I think if they go down the scheduled question would just be worth all available points. And each scheduled question would tie up ("commit" for all you Exalted fans) one point no matter what. You'd probably only be allowed to schedule a number of questions equal to the minimum number of points anyone ever has (meaning either 3 or 1, if I let it decrease) to avoid problems. And if you lose posting rights, all your scheduled questions are deleted.

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 1:40 PM (edited 4/30/09 9:40 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
I would probably let people schedule as many posts as they currently have points for but when it is supposed to post see if they actually have enough to do it. Limiting how many you can schedule seems to defeat the point of the schedule, and checking at post time will probably make the logic less buggy.

_________________________________________________
Why in the world is your title "Ambassador of Good Will"? Is it some attempt at the Guiness Record for Irony?
--Balerion
Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 1:43 PM (edited 4/30/09 9:43 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Actually scheduling based on current points would limit it a lot more. My limits would be per day, so you could schedule 3 (or 1) posts per day indefinitely if you wanted. Based on current points, you could only schedule 3 total, assuming the building-up points module.

I'm not worried about it being "buggy." The logic is easy, 95% of web bugs are just UI problems.

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 1:45 PM (edited 4/30/09 9:45 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Two points:

1) I like the outline for the interface, but why not just show the answer to the question as soon as a player posts their guess? As soon as the user posts an answer, show them the real answer as well as what everyone else guessed/was scored. You can also implement an "Opt Out" button that will prevent the user from putting in an answer, but will let them see the answers/other user's posts.

2) Your point system is crazy over thought. Since the interface is designed so that it looks like you're the only one to post an answer, no matter how many people have posted an answer before you, why would you restrict the number of points that can be given out on a first come first serve basis. It's a trivia contest, not a get lucky and be the only one logged on when the question was posted contest. If you like what you have stated out so far, then just reduce the amount of points any one question can be given, but allow everyone who answers that ability to get those points or:

- Let questioners hand out as many points as they like (throw out the Max Points concept)
- Create a Leader Board module that will tally points for users within a specific game. So, questions listed under "DFtL's" will have it's own leader board and "DFtVGQ" will have it's own leader board.
- Points awarded to the answers will not affect the site score, only the leader board score. Site points can be based on whether any answer was posted, if the answer received any amount of points, and possibly awards/ addition points can be based on leader board stats.

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 2:10 PM (edited 4/30/09 10:10 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
1.) Sometimes I wonder if you actually read my posts at all. I specifically said not only that it would be the question author's option to let people see the answers immediately (among other things), but also that you could choose not to answer the question and still see the answers. And more options is good!

2.) Basically, the reason you can't hand out unlimited points is because it could potentially screw up the scoring system. You're not going to single-handedly make anyone win, but if everyone who plays the game gets full points every day, those people are either going to have a huge advantage, or I'm going to need to make the points worth less. Having a total points limit allows me to make them worth a decent amount without worrying too much about point balance. Plus, it's a trivia game, speed should count for something! If you're worried about people not being on, start posting (or scheduling) at noon or something. Like I am. Sticking Out Tongue

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 2:46 PM (edited 4/30/09 10:46 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
First of all, I do read your posts and the last paragraph in The Interface section sounded very much more questioning as to how to handle showing the answers and when than an affirmation of how things are going to be. So double Sticking Out Tongue Sticking Out Tongue to you my good man.

And secondly, I understand having unlimited points could screw up the point system which is why I was much more interested in you implementing my second sugestion where points handed out for answers are not directly correlated to the amount of site points you earn. Also, lead boards are a lot more fun to see who's winning individual games rather than going for a more aloof goal of overall site points.

A problem with the system you've outlined is, what if a person wants to ask multiple questions in one day? Even with DFtL's, I sometimes post questions with bonus answers. That means, I could have 4 points for one day. If the baseline is 3, how could I dole out points appropriately? What if I wanted to post questions to two different games? It seems like limiting the max points a questioner can give out can also limit the amount of content they post.

Also, I'm not about to start second guessing when the majority of my audience is paying attention to when I post my game. You think posting at different times solves the problem, but people aren't constantly glued to this site. I eat lunch at noon so I'm not seeing your posts until 1, but now I'm penalized for playing because of that? Week sauce. The whole point of hiding who's given an answer as outlined in your interface is so that it doesn't matter when a user logs in to play the game because it will look as if they're the first person to answer it either way.

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 3:01 PM (edited 4/30/09 11:01 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Regardless of how these trivia points affect the site score, there will certainly be trivia-specific leaderboards. And they will have breakdowns both by number of correct answers and by points earned. So even with limited points, the "number correct" leaderboard is still worthwhile. Admittedly it doesn't fully support your multiple answer DFtL style, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to have you make. Wink

I don't see any safe way to let people just post questions willy-nilly. And would anyone want to anyway? One of the reasons I'd like to have a scheduler for this is so if you do have a bunch of questions, you can put them all into the system immediately. Even aside from score concerns, I think limiting the number of questions is a good idea in general.

That said, with the system the way it is, you certainly can ask multiple questions in one day, provided you make them worth less. In fact, with your concerns, my suggestion would be to not use every point on a day-to-day basis. Going with the 3 points per day/save up to 9 points model (which would be the minimum), you could ask a 3-point question each day and have 6 extra points for bonus questions, bonus points on a given question, or whatever.

As for time, my point is that you post before many users are even at their computers. And frankly you'd have to be a crazy person to want to get in early just so you can get the first stab at DFtL. Having a known post time, during the day, at least gives people the option of setting time aside without doing anything too crazy. Although you're probably right about noon being a bad time, so I'll change it to 11. Speaking of which...

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 4:32 PM (edited 4/30/09 12:32 PM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: /images/autobot.gif + 1
I think you need two different points concepts here: Site Points and Game Points. Within a given game, the game organizer should be able to give out as many points as they want, and they can worry about balancing it or not as they like. Then just give out site points weekly/montly/each game round for the top N scorers for that game period, in some standardized way. So being in first place in DFtL with 1,000,000 points will be worth the same amount of site points as being in first place in DFtVGL with 2 points (just to pick some arbitrary scaling numbers, not at all to imply the relative point liberalness of you various games)

_________________________________________________
Why in the world is your title "Ambassador of Good Will"? Is it some attempt at the Guiness Record for Irony?
--Balerion
Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 4:50 PM (edited 4/30/09 12:50 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Well first off, after careful consideration I'm siding with Cuzzo on this one after all (you know, against... myself). My main objection to giving everyone points in DFtL was because of how easy it was to cheat, and that's solved by hiding answers. And he's right, it's just more fun for all involved this way.

That said, I'm going to need to rethink the points system now. I'm still in favor of having a limited number of questions/points per day, to prevent clutter. And having a number of points to hand out is still good for multipart questions, questions of varying difficulty (e.g., "this is a five-point question because it's hard as hell!").

So the question is, do I take Tozzi's advice and allow arbitrary points that are converted to real points? I think the answer is "no" simply because it doesn't work well with the scoring. Unless they are calculated daily (which kind of defeats the point), they break the basic site rules for the monthly score totals. They'd be fine in overall score, but what fun is that? We need monthly score totals!

Maybe more to the point, why have arbitrary scores that are converted to be balanced when you can just balance the arbitrary scores to begin with?

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 5:17 PM (edited 4/30/09 1:17 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: /images/autobot.gif + 1
I'm still in favor of what I've suggested before, and is similar to what Tozzi said. Have the game points only count towards the leader boards, and award site points based on 1) If a person gives an answer at all, and 2) if the person gets any amount of game points. I know you're trying to also give more site points to people who answer harder questions than others, but using this model you can probably come up with a way of giving those addition points based on the leader boards. And even if you can't give out those additional site points, I'm not sure it's worth going with some closed game point system solution that could limit game play to solve that problem.



Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 5:20 PM (edited 4/30/09 1:20 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
I think you might be trying to solve a problem that doesn't really exist. In fact, I'm not exactly sure what problem you're trying to solve here. Can you think of an actual scenario where my proposed system wouldn't work? Maybe that would clarify it for me.

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 5:34 PM (edited 4/30/09 1:34 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I was trying to reconcile the ideas behind being able to hand out game points to everyone who plays as well as keeping things balanced so a questioner doesn't end up handing out a million-bajillion site points for a single question. I guess I'm not sure what your newly proposed point system is if you're allowing points to be handed out to everyone. Are you just planing on going with the original layout, but instead of the questioner having X points to hand out total, they have X points to hand out per question, per answer?

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 5:36 PM (edited 4/30/09 1:36 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Yeah, it may be a good idea to simplify how many points they can hand out (or maybe not, I'm really not sure), but if you put up a 5-point question, you can give everyone who answers 5 points. I'll just have to be a little more careful about how much these points are actually worth (i.e., you can expect it to be adjusted many times).

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 5:50 PM (edited 4/30/09 1:50 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I finally took the time to read through all this.

Here is what I think:

Site points were always designed (to the best of my understanding) to reward activity on the site. Not to award skill at games over lack of skill. Though I will grant that this is partially because there was no "skill" based module at the time points were initiated.

I therefore am in favor of Tozzi & Cuzzo's suggestion to have the game points be internal to each game and leave it up to the game moderator to police their own game and base the site score off of pure activity (whether or not you answered a question, whether or not people responded to your question, etc.). If you want to have site points be affected by success I would definitely choose an arbitrary number of site points maybe for the top three game leaderboard slots and award them each [period of time - probably end of month].

I also really don't even begin to conceive of why you feel the need to control how many questions people can ask each day. You say it's to avoid "clutter", but I don't really see clutter happening. If someone is making an ass of themselves and posting 800 inane questions each day you can just remove their rights.

Meanwhile limiting daily points required for posting questions is only going to restrict the amount of activity possible, which seems directly counter to everything else you've done on the site so far (i.e. play psychological games with users so that they increase your hit count on Google Analytics).

_________________________________________________
I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 5:52 PM (edited 4/30/09 1:52 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Follow up thoughts:

You might want to restrict the number of points you can hand out per game - so that if Cuzzo sets up DFtL as a five point game it's always going to be a five point break down of scores, thus ensuring consistency in the DFtL leaderboards.

On a useability front - the question askers definitely need some sort of "copy last question" feature if they need to assign point values to various parts of the question just to make it easier to set up something that's liable to be posted on a daily basis.

_________________________________________________
I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 7:35 PM (edited 4/30/09 3:35 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
The long and the short of it is, these games are worth points now. And people like that. If they suddenly weren't worth points, what would compel you not to just keep doing them as forum posts?

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 7:41 PM (edited 4/30/09 3:41 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I've never got the sense that anyone competes on these specifically to earn points, though I may be wrong.

But the answer to your question is - ease of use.

_________________________________________________
I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 7:43 PM (edited 4/30/09 3:43 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Well, theoretically, the better game interface would keep people coming back. But no one is saying to not give out site points, just keep it in line with how they are given out now instead of trying to tie the amount of game points to the amount of site points.

Site points should be:
Postings a question = starting a thread
Giving an answer = responding to a thread
Getting any amount of game points = getting a single positive rating

Done and done.

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 8:02 PM (edited 4/30/09 4:02 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
If I'm giving out site points anyway, why not hand them out in line with the points awarded?

Re: Trivia Module (i.e., More Stuff that Should Be in the Suggestion Box) – April 30, 2009 8:05 PM (edited 4/30/09 4:05 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Because apparently, handing them out based on game points doesn't work without getting complicated Smile

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