Thursday, December 09, 2010

Beijing Boyce stuffs up

The essential - inescapable - bar blogger Beijing Boyce decided to do a 'live blog' of The Beijinger's Super Quiz last Sunday.

He was largely thwarted by crappy wireless Internet connectivity at the venue.  And, possibly, also by the limitations of his website (it's often very slow and glitchy to download at the best of times); I didn't try to access his page on the quiz on Sunday, but it seemed to be unavailable throughout Monday and the first half of Tuesday.

However, when I learned of this, I was gobsmacked that he would try to do anything so outrageously.... er, pointless, stupid, destructive of the whole essence of the event.  WTF????

OK, maybe - as a life-long trivia buff - I have an exaggerated reverence for the sanctity of the quiz.  And maybe - as a former lawyer - I have a sterner respect than many people for the importance of rules.  But, actually, I don't think these attitudes are that unusual, or at all unreasonable.  In fact, just about everyone I've spoken to about this has reacted far more violently than me - unleashing torrents of invective upon poor Mr Boyce's unfathomably dumb behaviour here.

Now, I think the whole 'live blogging' concept is terminally naff, anyway.  But OK - if he really thought this was in some way providing a service to his readers that some of them might find appealing, and if he'd got the blessing of the organisers first, then maybe it's not so bad (though there's no indication I can see in his post that he did get the organisers' permission; and I can't believe that they would have been daft enough to give it, if asked).  But in general.....  that was a very, very, VERY bad thing to do, JB.

Amongst the reasons why:

1)  It's probably rather pointless.  How many people, really, are going to be interested in reading the questions in a quiz they are not participating in?

2)  If not completely pointless, there's a danger that it could be damaging to the success of the event.  If there is a significant number of people whose competitive urges and curiosity might be sated just by reading the questions and the answers rather than showing up to the venue to take part, well, then you're discouraging people from attending. (I know, I just slagged the quiz off as ill-conceived and ill-executed, but.... I wouldn't have done that before or during the event.  It was for charity, for heaven's sake!)

3)  The organisers have a commercial interest - a species of IPR - in the concept of the event, and in the specific questions and answers to be used on the night.  By attempting to broadcast the quiz live over the Internet (without their permission?), you are abusing that right, damaging that interest.  The only thing dumber you could have done would have been to get access to the questions & answers ahead of time and publish them before the quiz even started.

4)  You are facilitating - practically soliciting - cheating.  In a serious quiz, it is essential to maintain the security of the venue and the security of the questions.  Taking the questions outside of the venue while the quiz is in progress is the most fundamental kind of WRONG.  With the proliferation of Internet-capable mobile devices, it's becoming almost impossible to police quizzes effectively.  But with a quiz of this magnitude, a serious effort should be made: allowing someone to openly use a laptop computer at the quiz venue is inevitably going to tend to seem to condone or encourage the use of i-Phones, mobiles and whatnot by the quizzers.  And even if the quizzers are ethically disciplined enough to refrain from accessing the Internet or attempting to contact friends outside the venue for help, there is a serious danger (if you make the questions available outside the venue) that friends may voluntarily contact them from outside - saying, "You do know that the answer to that one is ...... , right?"

Just unfathomably DUMB, JB.  You might have ruined the competition.  If there'd been that many people interested in taking part, anyway.  I don't think any of the quizzers I know bothered with it.

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