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Guidance for Question Setters

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Submission and Fotmatting

Guidance for Question Setters 2019–20


For each of the eight Specialist rounds, eight questions plus two supplementaries are required. For the General Knowledge Round, twelve rounds of eight questions are required, plus six supplementaries. The teams setting the questions should be identified on the night.

For most weeks this season seven sets of questions are required for League games: six for the games and one for the archive. On some weeks nine sets are required. If this applies to you, you will be notified in good time.

All sets of questions must be at Waters Green Tavern in Waters Green in individually sealed envelopes on the day before the game (Monday).

As each League now has eight teams, there will normally be three games per week in each league with one team asking questions and the remaining team having a "bye". All A League teams asking questions must thus normally provide three Question Masters to cover the games being played. The exception to this will be the two weeks of the season in each League where all eight teams play each other and thus there is no team left to act as Question Master. On these occasions, the "Home" team in each game will be obliged to provide a Question Master, thus ensuring that each League team only has to do that once in the season.

All teams asking questions must provide Question Masters to cover the games in their League. The league is run by the teams for the teams. When you sign up, you commit not just to completing your fixtures, but also to setting a quiz once a season, and asking questions twice a season.

In Cup games, anyone wanting to reserve a particular game or venue may do so in consultation with the Secretary and all other teams affected beforehand. The Secretary will administer this.


The Specialist round question categories are as follows:
Arts and Entertainment
All Question Setters are advised to read through these notes prior to setting their questions, and again when their set of questions has been completed.
Please heed the advice of Haydn Thompson in respect of the formatting and submission of the questions for 2023–4, and comply with that advice as much as possible.
Do not include questions with more than one, or indeed multiple, answers. Make sure each question you have written only has ONE correct answer.
A quiz is a quiz: it's made up of some questions that you will know the answer to, and some you will not. Provided there are no 'trick' questions, there shouldn't be too much room for moaning.
Make sure you understand the question before you write it, and that the question is grammatically correct and punctuated. Don't be longwinded and make sure the Question Master knows the answer you want. It is a good idea to include supplementary information with the answer. It often makes for a clearer understanding of the question, and adds to the evening.
Always make sure you can give references in case a question is challenged. If you use reference material, make sure it is up to date. Most current facts and figures can be easily checked. If you are not sure, don't ask that question.
Questions should preferably be typed, and each Specialist subject should be on a separate sheet. Hand–written sets are acceptable providing they can be read! Make sure there is the right number of questions and they are numbered correctly, e.g. the General Knowledge should be numbered from 1 to 96.
If the answer to a question is a year or number, always include some leeway unless it is reasonable to expect an exact answer.
All Specialist rounds should contain a variety of questions within the general heading. Likewise make sure the General Knowledge has a good variety.
Specialist Rounds are designed to include questions which fall under the broad subject heading, not questions that require a level of specialist knowledge denied to most of the population on any given topic.
Don't ask obscure and difficult questions just to show how smart you think you are. If your own team colleagues can't answer the question, throw it out. If you use technical or foreign phrases, indicate how the word should be pronounced.
Try and balance the questions so that the standard of difficulty is as equal as it is possible to make it for both teams. There is nothing wrong with easy questions as well as hard ones, as long as they are the same in proportion for both teams.


Teams setting questions MUST ensure that the questions they provide are vetted by the other teams who are available for that purpose.
A League teams setting questions should use the B League teams as vetters, and vice versa.
The vetting process should involve a thorough examination and evaluation of the questions in terms of both suitable content and balance of difficulty. All reasonable changes suggested by the vetters should be taken into effect.
It will be made clear to all teams setting League game questions who their vetting team(s) are and question setting teams MUST provide a copy of their questions to the vetting team(s) no later than two weeks before the game is due to be played. This date will be made clear to all teams in the letter to question setters issued by the League Secretary.
The above rule will apply to all teams setting questions from Week 4 onwards. It is recognised that teams setting questions in the first three weeks of the season do not have as much notice of question setting as do teams in the remainder of the season.
This means that the team(s) setting questions in Week 4 will have around five weeks' notice of what is required of them whilst teams setting questions in subsequent weeks will have many weeks (and often many months) of notice.
In terms of Cup question setting, the two teams setting questions should use each other for vetting purposes as above. Each team should provide a copy of the questions they have set to the other setting team no later than one week before the game is due to be played.
If any of the above vetting procedure is not complied with, the Committee should be informed at the earliest opportunity.

Submitting and Formatting of Questions

Please send the questions to Haydn Thompson (haydn@maccql.com) as soon as possible after the quiz, and no later than mid–day on the following day (Wednesday) if at all possible, so that he can upload them to the website.

Haydn has asked that the questions be formatted, as far as possible, in the standard format as used on the website. This would save a considerable amount of work in converting them to html format.

The following standards are in decreasing order of importance:

1.Please continue to send the questions in Word or Excel format, if you can. PDF (as I've pointed out many times) is a nightmare to convert!
2.Try to be consistent in formatting the questions – i.e. put every question, and every round in the Specialist section, in the same format as far as possible. (This allows me to use global edits when converting to html.)
3.Don't type answers in capital letters. If you do, they all have to be retyped. (IF YOU POST CAPITAL LETTERS ON A WEBSITE, IT LOOKS LIKE SHOUTING!) Having the answer on a different line from the question (or in a different cell, in Excel) should be enough to mark it out as separate from the question.
4.If all the questions are numbered (which they should be!), it shouldn't be necessary to number the answers as well. If you do, it prevents a global edit.
5.Use bold type (not underlining or capital letters) to identify the parts of the answers that are essential.
6.Don't use apostrophes, inverted commas or speech marks, to emphasise parts of the question, including titles (of books, films, TV programmes, etc.). Only use speech marks for actual quotes from a person, book, or suchlike.
7.For titles, please use italics.
8.Only use initial capitals for proper nouns (names, etc.), and in titles. Please resist any temptation to use them for anything else that might be the most important word in a question.

Thank you for your help!

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