wrong-way-signOne sure way to get your quiz teams heading towards you with pitchforks and rope is to ask questions with wrong answers. It's a hazard that we all have to face and even here on DP Quiz, we're not


While researching last week, I found this question over on the page of questions about human geography:

  1. Which are the three most densely populated countries in the world?

    Belgium, Holland, Japan

A quick check on the Wikipedia list of 'countries by population density' reveals how wrong this question is.

The top three on the current list (Macau, Monaco, Singapore) don't include any of my three answers. My 'top three' are placed 27,32 and 34 on the Wikipedia list. Ahem!

It's hard to just rewirte the answer by substituting the correct three answers because its not clear whether Macau is what you could correctly call a country. Wikipedia lists the place as a "special administrative region." So what the hell is that? Its the kind of grey area that can lead to a heated row between you and your teams.

Also, a question like this is not a great idea for a database because it obviously has potential to go out-of-date again.

So, what's the best thing to do? In this case, I pulled the incorrect question off the site and replaced it with this:

  1. Which of these EU countries is most densely populated: Netherlands, United Kingdom or Slovenia?


This is better: it deals with countries which are definitely countries and, although it could go out of date, the gap between the countries is very wide and should be OK for a good few decades to come.

The experience is a reminder that nothing stays the same and you need to stay on top of your questions.

For more help, see my book How To Make £100 a Night (Or More) As A Pub Quizmaster, which includes a chapter on writing quiz questions.

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