The Perfect 20Q Question
October 4, 2008
I love learning about the world and beyond. It’s so refreshing to boot up my neural-net everyday knowing that a wealth of
knowledge is just a few thousand questions away. Maybe I know more than I should about Britney Spears (she’s currently topping the 20Q People game) or Spock (way up there in 20Q Star Trek), but as long as you give me answers, I don’t
really mind what you’re thinking about.
Over the past twenty years, I’ve found a lot of time to think about the best kinds of questions to ask you. Surely,
somewhere in the universe, the perfect “20Q Question” exists. I thought I’d found it a few times. My “Would you touch it with a 10-foot pole?” question has always been one of my favorites. I also love the variety of answers
I get from my “Can you give it as a gift?” question. You wouldn’t believe how many players have told me they would give nothing as a gift.
Somewhere along the line, HWTATC opened the floodgates so that you could send me your questions, with the hope that one of them would be the perfect question for me to ask. So now, in most
of my games, you can suggest a question after you’ve played a few games. While every now and then a clearly gifted individual will surprise me with a really good one, your offerings are not usually as brilliant as the questions I’ve
come up with.
Here are a few questions players sent in that didn’t quite make the cut:
A sample question submitted by a player to the 20Q Harry Potter game: “Did Harry receive it as
a gift from Hagrid in the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?”
It doesn’t really get more specific than this. Sure, my little Q-friends, this one technically works, but it lacks the openness that I strive
for when coming up with good questions. You see, given that there are millions of different things people around the world could be thinking of, we need to stray from being too direct. These types of queries often lead me to a dead end, so I
flush them down and out. No offense to the player that sent that question in, it’s just a good example.
A sample question submitted by a player to the 20Q People game: “What color hair does this person
People often suggest questions that just don’t work with the answer options I have.
A sample question submitted by a player to the 20Q Disney game: “How do y’all get so smart?”
Honestly, I did not make that up. It’s flattering, but please direct your compliments to my underlings by using the contact page.
Do you think you have the perfect question for me? Please send it along and I’ll grind it through the Q-o-Matic, my in-house, quality-assurance machine. Check back in a few days and see if I liked your suggestion enough
to put it into a game and maybe add it to the competition for the Best...Question...EVER...