You have probably noticed something new popping up on your Facebook News Feed over the last week or so. For me it started with, “Which is better: Coke or Pepsi?” This seemed innocent enough, so I delightfully clicked the “Coke” button.
I had originally thought it was some type of advertising – as often seen on the right side of the page – but after a little examining I realized that it was a question posted from an actual person. This intrigued me, but not enough to care to investigate further.
Then it started. Which Backstreet Boy is the hottest? What state is the best? Which Arena Football team east of the Mississippi, but South of the Mason Dixon Line has the best cheerleaders?
Wait, what? Who could possibly care about any of these questions? Furthermore, why are they popping up on my news feed? Thinking I had accidentally downloaded some obnoxious Facebook app, I went to my settings to delete or block it. It wasn’t there to be deleted or blocked. Ugh…
Since I have yet to come up with a way to stop the ridiculous questions from polluting my news feed, I figured I would at least write up a guide on how to ask said questions less ridiculously.
Step 1 – Deselect the “Allow anyone to add options” box
The vast majority of questions are undone by the simple fact that the creator of the question doesn’t deselect this box. For example, a simple, legitimate question such as, “Which Big Ten College is the best?” was completely undone by the creator not deselecting this box. Of the 30,000+ votes that question received, close to half were for colleges not in the Big Ten. The question ended up having over 100 options to choose from.
There are some questions that benefit from user submitted choices. One such question I saw was “What is the best small town in North Dakota?” The results were many and there were only a few indiscretions.
But the overwhelmingly large percentage of questions have become pointless and annoying because the “Allow anyone to add options” box was not deselected.
Step 2 – No middle ground
If your question is a choice between Yes or No, stick to Yes or No. Any middle ground, unless it’s well defined in the answer – “Yes, but with this restriction” – is really quite pointless and doesn’t show any real information. Leave the maybe’s out.
Step 3 – Don’t bother with the obvious
“Which state is the best?” California.. Shocker.
Step 4 – Lose the bias
“Hockey or Basketball?” Everyone in the United States knows the answer to this question (basketball). But, lo and behold, the vast majority of the popular vote is hockey. How could this be? Oh wait, the question was posted by someone living in Minnesota at the start of the NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament. I can count five legitimate, perennially good hockey teams in that area, and one or two sometimes good basketball teams.
True, over time this question could spread to the rest of the world, but the overall best answer will probably end up being football or baseball. See Step 1.
Step 5 – Leave the hilarity for someone who cares
“What is your favorite book?” Regardless of the choices presented, if one of them is, “I never read books in high school I just watched the movies”, “LoLZ I Luv Fluffy BuNnIes”, or “One that is on fire” guess who wins. My faith in the human race is quickly waning.
So there you have it. Follow those 5 steps and hopefully your Facebook questions will not make most people want to facepalm themselves into an early grave.