Pointless Series 2

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Bob De Caux
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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Bob De Caux » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:07 pm

Not one but TWO ex-Countdowners on the show today!

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Chris Corby » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:33 am

I like the show but "before the show we asked 100 people to name... in 100 seconds" I find totally unbelievable. A few recent examples "Name countries where they drive on the left" and the top answer was Australia - not even the UK, that had about 58 or something.

But a couple of weeks ago, they asked people to name artists who had had Top 40 hits with "Unchained Melody". Now pop is my specialist field and I was struggling to get past Jimmy Young, Robson & Green, The Righteous Brothers and Gareth Gates. I thought Jimmy Young (from the 50s) might be pointless. But even Al Hibbler (1955) and Liberace (1955) weren't pointless and although I know of Liberace I had never heard of Hibbler, and indeed, research shows that it was his only hit. I think one person in 5000 (if that) would have named Hibbler in answer to the question.

So if the polls are not genuine, isn't the whole thing a bit pointless?

Having said that, Racoon Boy was awesome on it.....

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Phil Reynolds
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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Phil Reynolds » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:19 am

Chris Corby wrote:I like the show but "before the show we asked 100 people to name... in 100 seconds" I find totally unbelievable. A few recent examples "Name countries where they drive on the left" and the top answer was Australia - not even the UK, that had about 58 or something.
I suspect people under pressure to come up with a list of things will often forget about the most obvious or closest-to-home answers.
But a couple of weeks ago, they asked people to name artists who had had Top 40 hits with "Unchained Melody". Now pop is my specialist field and I was struggling to get past Jimmy Young, Robson & Green, The Righteous Brothers and Gareth Gates. I thought Jimmy Young (from the 50s) might be pointless. But even Al Hibbler (1955) and Liberace (1955) weren't pointless and although I know of Liberace I had never heard of Hibbler, and indeed, research shows that it was his only hit.
What counts as 'obscure' often depends on things like your age as well as your personal interests. Al Hibbler might well be obscure to someone like you who counts pop as a 'specialist field', but it only needs one person among the 100 polled who was of record-buying age in 1955 and remembers it being a hit for it not to be pointless. Being charitable for a moment Chris, I suspect you might be a couple of years too young. ;)

In a way it's akin to the questions on shows like Are You Smarter Than A 10-Year-Old? (sorry Kirk). Some topics are not hard to answer questions on if you studied them in school yesterday, but are a lot tougher if you haven't thought about them for 30+ years. It's all about personal context.

FWIW, especially given some of the TV 'scandals' of the past couple of years, I would be extremely surprised if the polls on Pointless are faked.

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Charlie Reams
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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Charlie Reams » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:11 am

Phil Reynolds wrote: In a way it's akin to the questions on shows like Are You Smarter Than A 10-Year-Old? (sorry Kirk). Some topics are not hard to answer questions on if you studied them in school yesterday, but are a lot tougher if you haven't thought about them for 30+ years. It's all about personal context.
I'd call this sleepsuiting (because I don't know any other term for it), the bias that assumes that knowledge which you possess is common, while knowledge you don't possess is obscure. I don't see why they'd bother cheating TBH, given how easy it is to gather survey data online, although I wouldn't be surprised if their methodology was a bit ropy.

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:30 am

Charlie Reams wrote:
Phil Reynolds wrote: In a way it's akin to the questions on shows like Are You Smarter Than A 10-Year-Old? (sorry Kirk). Some topics are not hard to answer questions on if you studied them in school yesterday, but are a lot tougher if you haven't thought about them for 30+ years. It's all about personal context.
I'd call this sleepsuiting (because I don't know any other term for it), the bias that assumes that knowledge which you possess is common, while knowledge you don't possess is obscure. I don't see why they'd bother cheating TBH, given how easy it is to gather survey data online, although I wouldn't be surprised if their methodology was a bit ropy.
Nah - sleepsuiting.

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Michael Wallace » Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:18 pm

Yeah, I've often been pretty astonished by results and thought "are these polls really genuine?", some of the comparisons you can get (98 people had heard of Ozzy Osbourne, but only, like, 55 could name Wannabe as a Spice Girls song - there are probably better examples). But I'm with Phil and Charlie here - it would real surprise me if they thought they needed to bother fiddling it, especially given how much of a storm it could cause.

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Chris Corby » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:35 pm

I'm not budging here. Charlie, I am not so arrogant as to think that things I know are common knowledge and if I don't know then it's obscure. I was "Pop The Question" champion on Radio Victory in 1976, so I know my stuff... :roll: No one has ever heard of Al Hibbler, yet it scored 3 or 4 if I remember correctly. Which begs the question, if it is an accurate poll, who did they ask? Did they omit to say "We asked 100 pop chart experts..." And perhaps the poll about driving on the left was done in Australia....The BBC fiddle figures and they still deceive big time. Try getting tickets for the 5 minute show on Wednesday night when the lottery numbers are drawn. The audience are eccstatic throughout. Their explanation? "An audience appreciation track is added to enhance the viewing experience.." Bollox.

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Charlie Reams » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:24 pm

Chris Corby wrote:Charlie, I am not so arrogant as to think that things I know are common knowledge and if I don't know then it's obscure.
It wouldn't be arrogant to think that things you know are common knowledge :? Anyway I'm not criticising you, it's just a normal part of how everyone understands things. If you look through the list of conundrums I passed as "reasonable" for apterous purposes, you'd probably find many of them distinctly unreasonable, and vice versa for many of the ones I excluded. I find it pretty much impossible to imagine what other people know without reference to what I know myself. Do you not have this problem?

To return to the point, neither of us know whether they actually fabricate the data, but what would be the benefit? It would save them a trivial amount of money. Given that it would spell instant death for the show if they were found to have cheated on something so fundamental, why would they risk it? It's more like fixing the lottery numbers than adding some applause over the top of them. Perhaps they tweak the figures a little in one direction or the other, which would be a bit upsetting, but it's not something any of us could hope to find out, and for the most part it doesn't affect the game either.

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:34 pm

In a real-life situation a really obscure question is quite likely to score 7 Pointlesses out of ten and nothing scoring more than 20, but I haven't seen it happen yet. And is it the same 100 people every time? Or 100 people cherry-picked out of a few thousand?

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Charlie Reams » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:39 pm

Rosemary Roberts wrote:In a real-life situation a really obscure question is quite likely to score 7 Pointlesses out of ten and nothing scoring more than 20, but I haven't seen it happen yet.
{{citation-needed}}

Even if you're right, they would just avoid putting degenerate questions like that on the show.

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:06 pm

Charlie Reams wrote: {{citation-needed}}
I wasn't planning to field a formal proof or carry out a survey of my own, but it's my contention - based on my observations of myself and others - that most people don't know most facts (and many of those who do cannot remember stuff under pressure).

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Chris Corby » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:12 pm

Just to come back to my original point about several people in a hundred knowing that Al Hibbler had a hit in 1955 with 'Unchained Melody' it occurs to me that the only people on this forum who would have had a chance of knowing this are myself, Howard Somerset and George Jenkins - and even then I was only 8 years old at the time, so anyone under 60 (unless they learnt the Guinness Book of Hit Singles) would have had no chance. Anyone younger would not appreciate how obscure this was... so I thought of a question for the 20-35 year olds that I think would be almost comparable:

"We asked 100 people to name in 100 seconds as many original members of the band The Cure as possible."

Go on then - try it......................







Wouldn't you then be amazed if all band members scored at least 5?

Just for the record, they are:

Robert Smith
Lol Tolhurst
Simon Gallup
Porl (sic) Tompson
Boris Williams


Alexander Armstrong always says, "before the show we polled 100 people.." which suggests it sounds like the studio audience before they took their seats, but in questions about cricket for example they could be polling 100 county cricketers. Or the question about driving on the left, 100 Australians. We don't know, but what I am saying is that it is obviously not a random selection of 100 people and therefore the integrity of the quiz is questionable.

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Michael Wallace » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:25 pm

Chris Corby wrote:Alexander Armstrong always says, "before the show we polled 100 people.." which suggests it sounds like the studio audience before they took their seats, but in questions about cricket for example they could be polling 100 county cricketers. Or the question about driving on the left, 100 Australians. We don't know, but what I am saying is that it is obviously not a random selection of 100 people and therefore the integrity of the quiz is questionable.
We were told at the filming that the polling is outsourced to some company who do it online. Why they would bother to tell us this detail if it was all a fabrication is beyond me. It might help answer the "how could more than a few people come up with $obscure_answer" point, since if it really is done on a website, there is a chance a handful of people will do a Frank Rodolf.

I find your repeated mention of the driving on the left question peculiar - do you simply not accept the point that if you were quizzing people in this way it's fairly conceivable participants would forget about the country they live in (or indeed, misinterpret the question so that they wouldn't have even thought the answer was valid)? There have been similar questions on the show where I myself have forgotten the incredibly obvious answers (and not just because I was trying to think of pointlesses - I often find myself just trying to think of as many as I can whilst I wait for the 'banter' to finish). Edit: In fact, just look at us and the elements beginning with S question - we couldn't remember sodium for the life of us, and that was the worst answer.

Sure, you get some surprising results to questions, but a selection of 100 people is not very many, so you're going to get a lot of noise in there.

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Chris Corby » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:29 am

Michael Wallace wrote: We were told at the filming that the polling is outsourced to some company who do it online.

Wish you had said this before because it explains everything. Reading through this topic it is not just me who is bewildered by some of the answers and scores given, but we now know that the BBC can blame an outside company if anything untoward is ever discovered. But even more significant is the fact that if people are answering questions online, they have the opportunity to answer after internet searching, consulting an atlas, Guinness Book of Hit Singles (where in the Unchained Melody question, all hit versions are listed one after the other in the index) and any other reference book you may care to mention. I am now happy that the reason for the perverse answering is revealed.

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Michael Wallace » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:18 am

Chris Corby wrote:
Michael Wallace wrote: We were told at the filming that the polling is outsourced to some company who do it online.
Wish you had said this before because it explains everything.
It doesn't explain the driving on the left question...

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Phil Reynolds » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:32 am

Chris Corby wrote:if people are answering questions online, they have the opportunity to answer after internet searching, consulting an atlas, Guinness Book of Hit Singles and any other reference book you may care to mention.
They'd have quite a job to do all that in 100 seconds. :?

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Jon Corby » Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:37 pm

Phil Reynolds wrote:
Chris Corby wrote:if people are answering questions online, they have the opportunity to answer after internet searching, consulting an atlas, Guinness Book of Hit Singles and any other reference book you may care to mention.
They'd have quite a job to do all that in 100 seconds. :?
Really? Are you still on dial-up or something?

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Phil Reynolds » Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:50 pm

Jon Corby wrote:
Phil Reynolds wrote:
Chris Corby wrote:if people are answering questions online, they have the opportunity to answer after internet searching, consulting an atlas, Guinness Book of Hit Singles and any other reference book you may care to mention.
They'd have quite a job to do all that in 100 seconds. :?
Really? Are you still on dial-up or something?
How would the kind of internet connection I have affect the speed with which I can look up something in one or more reference books?

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Jon Corby
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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Jon Corby » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:46 pm

Phil Reynolds wrote:How would the kind of internet connection I have affect the speed with which I can look up something in one or more reference books?
Ah I see, it was because of the terribly confusing use of the word "and" instead of "or" which completely changed the point being made.

You may have been quiet for a while but you certainly haven't lost it!

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Chris Corby » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:08 pm

Michael Wallace wrote:
Chris Corby wrote:
Michael Wallace wrote: We were told at the filming that the polling is outsourced to some company who do it online.
Wish you had said this before because it explains everything.
It doesn't explain the driving on the left question...
I'm gonna butt out now cos I am happy - but it took me 20 seconds to Google and come up with this... which I now copy and paste: (Phil : Total time 35 secs)
________________________________________________________________________________________________

List of left-driving countries

The following is a list of countries of the world whose inhabitants drive on the left-hand side of the road. Most of the drivers of these countries use right-hand-drive vehicles.

1. Anguilla
2. Antigua and Barbuda
3. Australia
4. Bahamas
5. Bangladesh
6. Barbados
7. Bermuda
8. Bhutan
9. Botswana
10. Brunei
11. Cayman Islands
12. Christmas Island (Australia)
13. Cook Islands
14. Cyprus
15. Dominica
16. East Timor
17. Falkland Islands
18. Fiji
19. Grenada
20. Guernsey (Channel Islands)
21. Guyana
22. Hong Kong
23. India
24. Indonesia
25. Ireland
26. Isle of Man
27. Jamaica
28. Japan
29. Jersey (Channel Islands)
30. Kenya
31. Kiribati
32. Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Australia)
33. Lesotho
34. Macau
35. Malawi
36. Malaysia
37. Maldives
38. Malta
39. Mauritius
40. Montserrat
41. Mozambique
42. Namibia
43. Nauru
44. Nepal
45. New Zealand
46. Niue
47. Norfolk Island (Australia)
48. Pakistan
49. Papua New Guinea
50. Pitcairn Islands (Britain)
51. Saint Helena
52. Saint Kitts and Nevis
53. Saint Lucia
54. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
55. Samoa
56. Seychelles
57. Singapore
58. Solomon Islands
59. South Africa
60. Sri Lanka
61. Suriname
62. Swaziland
63. Tanzania
64. Thailand
65. Tokelau (New Zealand)
66. Tonga
67. Trinidad and Tobago
68. Turks and Caicos Islands
69. Tuvalu
70. Uganda
71. United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
72. Virgin Islands (British)
73. Virgin Islands (US)
74. Zambia
75. Zimbabwe

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Charlie Reams
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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Charlie Reams » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:13 pm

Chris Corby wrote: I'm gonna butt out now cos I am happy - but it took me 20 seconds to Google and come up with this... which I now copy and paste: (Phil : Total time 35 secs)
So they cheated to get the list of countries and still didn't think of the UK?

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Jon Corby
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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Jon Corby » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:04 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Chris Corby wrote: I'm gonna butt out now cos I am happy - but it took me 20 seconds to Google and come up with this... which I now copy and paste: (Phil : Total time 35 secs)
So they cheated to get the list of countries and still didn't think of the UK?
Maybe the online answer sheet didn't allow pasting (to try and avoid cheating), and the cheaters were having to key them manually. UK is quite low down the list and they didn't make it that far in the 100 seconds. :D

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Re: Pointless Series 2

Post by Karen Pearson » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:19 am

Michael Wallace wrote: I find your repeated mention of the driving on the left question peculiar - do you simply not accept the point that if you were quizzing people in this way it's fairly conceivable participants would forget about the country they live in (or indeed, misinterpret the question so that they wouldn't have even thought the answer was valid)? There have been similar questions on the show where I myself have forgotten the incredibly obvious answers (and not just because I was trying to think of pointlesses - I often find myself just trying to think of as many as I can whilst I wait for the 'banter' to finish). Edit: In fact, just look at us and the elements beginning with S question - we couldn't remember sodium for the life of us, and that was the worst answer.
Quite right Michael. When James was on Who Dares Wins, he and Dan did a list of EU capital cities and completely forgot about London! And they had plenty of time to think about it!

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