Monday, January 10, 2011

A story about being QRANKy

I need a blogging break. The whole argument over political rhetoric has reminded me of why my political malaise arrived in the first place. So, a diversion is in order. This is a story I planned on posting over the weekend (it was going to be a Weekend Diversion) until events took over.

Last week I woke up and found Twitter and Facebook messages from folks commenting on a question I submitted to QRANK, a trivia game available on Facebook as well as for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. The photo with this post is a screenshot of that question and the five possible answers (click on it to embiggen).

Naturally, there’s a bit of a story behind this.

I started playing QRANK (pronounced “crank”) sometime last year and at first found it fun and even challenging. Then one day everyone on Twitter who played QRANK was on my game "friend” list, and the odds of me finishing a game in first place were reduced. Winning isn’t everything, but achieving it now and then keeps the game interesting. It frustrated me that almost no matter what kind of game I’d had—good, bad or indifferent—I was almost always in the middle of the pack.

As this went on, I became annoyed at the US-centric focus of the questions, often about things that someone outside the US has very little chance of knowing. Also, sports questions are often my weakest category, and they seemed to come up frequently (in fact, they don’t, maybe a few days a month).

One of my online buddies, Satyr69, kept telling me to submit questions (as he’s done). Finally, one day I played a game with questions that were especially heavily US-based AND had sports questions. So, that day I set out to write a question that Americans were unlikely to get right—yeah, a bit mean, but I was tired of being in the opposite situation.

At the same time, one other thing happened: I stopped caring where on the list I finished, or even if I played on a given day, and the game became fun again. I have to admit, though, that having my question used was a small thrill. I submitted two others and plan on submitting more.

And that’s the story of how I came to write that question. I guess you could say that in this case, being cranky was a good thing. Or is that QRANK-y?

By the way, the correct answer is India.

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