A typical Sporcle quiz layout, for the quiz 'US Presidents'.
Type of site
|Created by||Matt Ramme|
|Slogan(s)||Mentally stimulating diversions|
|Alexa rank||2,646 (May 2017[update])|
|Launched||January 30, 2007|
Sporcle is a trivia quiz website launched on January 30, 2007. Anybody with a Sporcle account is able to create a quiz. According to website founder Matt Ramme, the name of the site is inspired by the words sports and oracle. Offices for the website are located in Seattle, San Francisco, and Southfield, Michigan.
The website was founded in response to Ramme's desire to learn trivia and his accompanying frustration that there was no existing website suitable for his needs. Sporcle's mission statement is, "We actively and methodically search out new and innovative ways to prevent our users from getting any work done whatsoever."
Many games on Sporcle require the user to name all of the items within a given subject — such as presidents of the USA, Best Picture Oscar-winning movies, or countries whose names are also legal words in Scrabble. Items can be named in any order and the user has a preset time limit. In some games each answer corresponds to a specific question or hint from a list, and in many such cases they must be answered in order unless the user explicitly skips to a different question. In other games questions are not revealed until previous ones have been answered, and there are other variations as well. Quiz times can range from 30 seconds to 20 minutes. After 7 seconds, under the timer the words, "give up?" appear. The player can then click it and it will reveal all the answers but the quiz then ends.
In most quizzes, wrong answers are ignored for scoring purposes but must be deleted by the user from the answer box before another answer can be typed, whereas a correct answer clears the box automatically. Two alternative formats were introduced in April 2011, suitable for questions or quizzes with a limited range of answers (e.g. US states, multiple-choice questions): a wrong answer to a specific question can prevent a second try, or any wrong answer can end the quiz (nicknamed a "minefield").
In March 2012, Sporcle released the "clickable" quiz, which is played by selecting the correct answers from a given set of choices, all displayed continuously, rather than typing. When specific questions or hints are used, they appear one at a time in sequence after the user selects the answer to the previous one. In this case only the answer corresponding to the specific question is accepted; buttons marked NEXT and PREV allow the player to postpone or return to a question, but a wrong answer prevents a return. In other quizzes the correct answers must be selected in a particular order without specific hints. Still other quizzes allow the correct answers to be clicked in any order, but some of the choices offered are wrong answers. If the quiz is not a "minefield," then the number of clicks is limited to the number of correct answers. Still another variant, introduced later in 2012, requires choices from two or more different lists to be correctly associated.
In June 2013, Sporcle released the new "slideshow" feature, which is played sequentially with each question displaying a different picture. Each picture may also have a string of text below it.
In February 2014, game creators received the ability to make "map quizzes."
In November 2015, The Picture Click format was introduced, which is played by clicking shapes, such as outlines of countries, on an image.
In September 2016, Multiple Choice format was introduced. Multiple Choice is in the clickable format but each question has 2-4 possible answers and only one of them is correct.
The games in Sporcle fall into 15 categories: Entertainment, Gaming, Geography, History, Holiday, Just for Fun, Language, Literature, Miscellaneous, Movies, Music, Religion, Science, Sports, and Television. Each category has a number of sub-categories as well, such as Europe, which is located under the geography category, and NFL, which is located under the sports category. Each category has an "editor," who chooses high-quality quizzes that fall within their category to be featured on their category's home page. Each subcategory also has a "curator," who, similar to the editors, chooses quizzes to be featured on the subcategory's home page. Quizzes chosen by Editors and Curators are called "Editor's Picks" and "Curator's Picks," respectively. As of November 3, 2016, Sporcle has about 35,000 games (both published and user created) that have been played a total of 2.5 billion times (between both online plays and mobile app plays as of January 2018). The 500,000,000 milestone was reached on April 23, 2011, the 1,000,000,000 milestone was reached on April 12, 2013, and the 2,000,000,000 milestone was reached on October 15, 2016.
In 2017, the most popular quiz on Sporcle was "US States" which had been played over 17 million times. Other popular games with over 10 million plays included "Find the US States - No Outlines Minefield," "Countries of Europe," "Countries of the World," "US Presidents" and the non-quiz game "Clickable 1-100 Mines," where the player must click randomly numbered buttons in the correct order within a time limit.
Despite Ramme's expectation that Sporcle would appeal to older users, the website has become particularly popular among students, with many admitting to checking the website frequently for recently added material. As the slogan "mentally stimulating diversions" suggests, the website is often used to procrastinate; however, the website also has educational value. Some frequent users have been known to use the word as a verb – "Sporcling" – to describe their use of the site. Students often use the site to study as well, mentioning quizzes relating to anatomy, the periodic table of elements, languages, geography, and other academic subjects as useful for their learning.
Since October 2010 to 2017, Sporcle has featured a 'College Rankings' competition on the site's home page, which tracks students registered on the site from a variety of universities, and ranks the top 100 schools according to their weekly usage of Sporcle.
Sporcle also features games that engage the ears with sound and music clips. There are speed challenges, word scrambles, and word ladders that are posted on a daily basis. Users may also create quizzes. Games can be found easily as they are filtered by category but also ranked by most popular, most played, newest, and favorites. Each game comes with recommended links to games in the same category. Users may also search for games with key terms and are presented with a list of user-created quizzes as well as those that have been published by Sporcle. All but a few published quizzes are made by users and verified by Sporcle administrators.
Quizzes can be played on Sporcle without registering as a member; however, score tracking, commenting, quiz creation, and some other features are only available to members. Users must have an account and must also be logged in to see quiz results. Registration to become a member is free.
Members can comment on games with critiques, suggestions for improvements, to announce their scores, or as an attempt on humor. The only catch is that once a comment has been made, it cannot be deleted by the user at any time. However, comments can be reported to the administrators and deleted if thought unacceptable. Other Sporcle members can rate these comments positively or negatively. Each week, Sporcle picks five comments that they enjoyed on their blog.
Members also can partake in challenges either against other members or the Sporcle computer, which will give you a score to beat before you begin the quiz. Badges are also awarded to members who achieve certain feats. These badges are displayed on the user's page. Some badges can be earned for playing a quiz on a certain day, playing a number of a type of quiz, or getting 100% on certain quizzes. For example, "The Ring-bearer" badge can be earned by playing 25 or more Lord of the Rings quizzes; the "Nifty Fifty" badge is earned by getting 100% on a quiz where the user has to name the fifty states in the USA, or play a certain amount of quizzes in most Subcategories.
On October 13, 2016, Sporcle announced a "Sporcle Orange" premium service, where users can pay a monthly fee for additional functionality and the removal of advertising. Sporcle's Vice President, Derek Pharr, said in a forum comment that "all the features currently offered will remain free."
Since September 2009, Sporcle has allowed all members to create quizzes. User-created quizzes are shown on the User Contributed Games page. On weekdays, 12-16 quizzes are published. 8-12 of these are full-length quizzes and four are the Daily Dose (see Daily Dose below). These quizzes are all User-Created, save a few Daily Dose quizzes that SporcleEXP (the Sporcle Admin) creates.
Sporcle created something known as the Quizmaster Score, an algorithm designed to rate users on their quiz-making prowess. The Top 100 users based on their Quizmaster Score are shown on the User Created page under the tab Top Contributors. The Quizmaster Score is derived from several factors, which include (but are not limited to):
- The number of games created since the public launch of Sporcle's game creation tools
- Total number of times aforementioned games have been played
- The average rating attributed to those games by the Sporcle community
- The number of times the quizzes have been favorited
The Quizmaster Score may fluctuate each day as a user's games are played more, rated higher or lower, and favorited. The Quizmaster Score rankings are updated daily.
Sporcle Live is the pub trivia part of Sporcle. This consists of live-hosted trivia games typically played in teams and hosted in bars and restaurants. Over 300 weekly events take place in over 10 states. Each game of Sporcle Live is free to play and consists of general knowledge trivia questions with a wagering format. Teams can play casually for gift card prizes or can join the free Pub Champions Trivia League which awards larger cash prizes each season. Before 2013, Sporcle Live shows were run by the company Great Lakes Trivia. Sporcle acquired Great Lakes Trivia in January 2013 and thus re-branded all the shows under the Sporcle brand.
On February 23, 2010, Sporcle released a $2.99 iPhone application with 250 games, with a lite version available for free. On July 1, an update came out that added new games daily. As of February 2014, the game had a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Apple Store. Later in 2010, Sporcle released a similar app on the Android Market.
On October 22, 2010, the Sporcle administration launched a new daily series called The Daily Dose. Each day, three new games are published in addition to the normal daily publishings. There are four categories of Daily Dose games. The first type is the Mixed Word (previously known as Word Scramble), in which players are asked to unscramble a set of words (generally 10-15 words). These sets can be related by an unknown bond (known as Mixed Word: Common Bond quizzes), or by a bond specifically stated (i.e. unscramble the dog breeds). The second category is the Missing Word, a fill-in-the-blank quiz that focuses on a specific category (i.e. movies, adages, sports teams, etc.) The third is the Word Ladder, a quiz in which users are asked to change one letter from the previous answer to fit the answer to the next clue. These are often themed, though not always. There was also a Minute Morsel that is featured every day; it was a sixty-second sampling of an already-published quiz that is available only for that day. This was done to promote the replaying of old quizzes that may have fallen off the radar. Daily Dose quizzes are always published under the 'Just for Fun' category.
Daily Dose quizzes are shown beneath the daily publications beside their respective categorical icon, rather than an icon representing the quiz itself. On May 20, 2012, Sporcle discontinued the publication of a Mixed Word quiz as part of the Daily Dose. The Minute Morsel has also been discontinued. On February 10, 2016, Sporcle introduced a new, third Daily Dose type, called "Quick Pick." The Quick Pick is a fast-paced game, with a timer of 90 seconds or less, in which answers are to be selected by clicking buttons. On February 13, 2017, Sporcle released the "On This Day" Daily Dose game type. This game presents questions, in a multiple-choice format, concerning historical events that occurred on the day the quiz was published. On This Day differs from other Daily Dose games in that they are made only by Sporcle staff, and not other users.
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