This is a problem that all quiz masters will encounter. The “Googlers”!
In this article I can only advise the measures that I take to discourage teams from cheating. I use the word “discourage” because that is the method that I have found most successful.
Many would argue that speed-quizzing is the way forward (aka smartphone quizzes) by ruling out cheating completely.
The big debate is whether the “fastest finger to the buzzer” idea takes away one of the foundations of a successful quiz night. The social element. Groups of friends sat round a table collectively figuring out the correct answer. Team effort.
Not A New Problem
As much as I hate to admit, I presented quizzes before mobile phones were common place. (not smartphones – mobile phones). Even back then there were methods of cheating. So it can’t be stopped, it has to be discouraged.
If you let it go and turn a blind eye, numbers will quickly drop. People who genuinely want to come and take part in your quiz, will simply give up and stop coming. If you turn a blind eye to cheating, your night will fail. Simple.
Here are some tips to discourage cheating.
Announce that the round will be starting in a few minutes. If they have anything to do on the internet do it now because during rounds it’s “mobile phones away”.
This will strike a balance. Mention what the duration of the round is likely to be and during rounds there is a mobile phone blackout.
Get the audience to self-govern the rule. Drop in phrases such as “Keep an eye on tables around you, make sure there are no phones lit up and no-one is cheating you out of £50”.
Acknowledge The Leaders
If you do score updates between rounds, always acknowledge the leaders publicly. For example “Tequila Mockingbird” are 10 points ahead. “Who are Tequila Mockingbird, give us a shout or a wave”. “Ah you are there, well done, good score – keep it up”. Suddenly the whole pub know who they are. Better still, they know that everyone in the pub is keeping an eye on them.
Don’t use dead-end questions. If you are going to ask questions such as “What is the de facto capital city of Bolivia”? All you are doing is encouraging the Googlers. Whereas a question such as “How many countries in Europe start with an L”? Will have them engaging and chipping in answers around the table as part of a team effort.
If a question is incredibly difficult, give them a multiple choice.
The structure of your questions can discourage the Googlers.
Don’t Be Tight On Spelling
Never deduct points for misspelling. Unless it’s a spelling question. Insisting on correct spelling will encourage players to check their handsets. If they know the answer to the question and it looks right, give them a point.