Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Search Challenge (May 25, 2011): Make a great question, win a great t-shirt!

Okay, so technically speaking, today's Search Challenge isn't a challenge of the kind we've had traditionally.  Nope.  Today's challenge is for real stakes!  

As you know, the daily search puzzle has been running since April 11th.  We're really happy with the way it's going, but it's a bit of a black hole, consuming lots of time and energy as we race to write questions well ahead of publication date.  

So I'm hoping you can help out.  

The challenge is simple:  If you write a question that we can use on AGoogleADay, we'll send you one of our very rare, very limited edition AGoogleADay t-shirts!  

You've already seen the AGAD puzzles, so you know how they work.  Short, easily understood problem; an answer that's easily verifiable and (to fit into the master plan!) teaches something about how to search along the way.  

Turns out that writing these questions/answers isn't exactly easy.  While it's easy to write really trivial (but uninteresting) questions, it's harder to make questions that are verifiably correct via a search engine AND have an answer that's succinct and to-the-point.  The puzzler needs to be able to recognize a correct answer when they see it, and our automatic "correct answer" code needs to be able to determine that what someone enters is in fact the same as the right answer.

Thus, questions like:  "Give three causes of the Spanish-American war" aren't great--both because it's difficult to actually tell if you've got the right answer, AND it's hard to know if what you typed into the tiny answer box actually IS a correct answer.  

See what I mean?  

If you have a question and answer you think will work, please send it to me at drussell+AGAD@ work.  (The +AGAD will let me filter your answers into a labeled file so I won't get overwhelmed with emails.)  

Make sense?  If so, send me your questions (and answers--while I love to search, I can't spend ALL my time checking your answers).  

Anyone sending homework problems will be severely reprimanded!  

Start writing!  

On Friday I'll comment on some of the problems I've received, and talk about how to improve the questions.  

Good luck! 

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