Developing a Bureau 42 Geek Test

I want to experiment with creating a computerized adaptive test. To do that, I’m going to need statistics. LOTS of statistics. I have a first draft of five questions produced on a Google form. They are very quick, and can be completed here. More details below.

When I say “LOTS” of statistics, I mean I need a number of people getting everywhere from 0% to 100%, so please do NOT worry about “bombing” the questions. Long term plans include turning this into an advanced geek test for Bureau 42, broken down by various categories of geekdom. As a first test of Google form output quality, I put together a basic quiz with five questions from five such areas. I believe everyone will get at least one question right, but few will get all five right. Please answer as you see fit, and share this link with everybody and anybody who would be willing to help out. Ultimately, I want to not only provide our readers with another “geek” stamp, but also measure the geek interest levels in different areas of geekdom. In the long term, I plan to open things up to reader submitted questions, but only once I’m confident I have a way to screen questions for accuracy.

16 replies on “Developing a Bureau 42 Geek Test”

  1. Jethro says:

    Just trust us we’re all geeks.


    • Yeah, but wouldn’t you be extra geeky if you had a statistically valid measure of how geeky you are, both overall and in different aspects of geek culture? I’m thinking of categorical axes aligned with Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, math, physics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Douglas Adams, Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein, etc. etc. etc. It’ll take time and a lot of (honest) responses, but the first 29 responses are in and look promising. Things are going as I’d hoped in terms of question difficulty and discrimination, too.

      • Jethro says:

        You mean like this?

        Version: 3.1
        GCS/E/MU/O d–(+)@ s(-): a C++$ UBLAVIOSCX*++++(++++)[email protected] P+++(++++)$ L++++(+++)$ E$ W+++(+++)$ N>$ !o !K– w() !O M+ V PS(+) PE(-) Y+(++) PGP++(+++) t(+) 5++ X-(+) R>+* tv+() b++(+++)>++++$ DI(++) !D G(+) !e? h—(–)> r++>+++ y+

  2. Kiersten says:

    I didn’t know the last one..
    Has my geekness title been revoked?

    • If your uniquely identifying string was what I think it is, you got that question right anyway. That was designed to be the hardest question on the test.

    • Jethro says:


      Did you not know it cause you forgot, or because you haven’t read Ringworld?

      • Kiersten says:

        I haven’t read Larry Niven in YEARS!!

        I moved more into fantasy than Sci-Fi over the past 15 years…

        • Jethro says:

          Niven has quite a bit of Fantasy. I recently read The Burning City and it’s sequel, Burning Tower. Both very good fantasy, an expansion of his “The Magic Goes Away” universe, which is also good.

          But I really just can’t get enough Niven, especially Niven+Pournelle, which is what these were.

  3. Fez says:

    Never been too fond of these kinds of tests… I like plenty of geeky things, but I never got into Dr. Who or Ringworld, despite the large number of other TV/Movies/Books I do like. Not liking or following a certain item shouldn’t weigh too heavily on the final score.

    So at the very least what it needs is more diversity. And at best, a “don’t know/don’t care” option for certain questions so that a dislike for a certain franchise wouldn’t count against someone too badly. :-)

    • Kiersten says:

      ooh yes, do like the don’t know / don’t care option…
      We geeks are all very opinionated and that’s yet another option that defines us. When we don’t care we REALLY don’t give a damn. :)

      *evil grin*

      • The plan is to have a multiaxial test, so we can say “my Star Trek geek level is x, and my Doctor Who geek level is y” and the like. More details shortly.

        • Fez says:

          That sounds good, though for extra fun the questions should be neigh impossible to Google for answers.

          If math and math history are fair game, computers/networking/firewalls/programming/etc should also be in there, too. :-)

  4. Vulch says:

    Being Mr Pedantic, the fourth person to play The Doctor isn’t actually available as an answer! You’ve got the fourth person to play the character in the TV series, but missed and

    I can haz extra point?

Comments are closed.