Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

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Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:51 pm

I'm very happy to announce the public release of QuizDB!

Image

QuizDB is a new searchable Quizbowl database and the designated modern successor to Quinterest. I'll answer the most important question first:

Why should I use QuizDB instead?

  • A rapidly improving feature set, limited to not just search but planned features like stats, a question reader, and minor improvements like multiple filter selection.
  • A continually growing question dataset, already with over 110K questions and quickly improving thanks to a dedicated portal, with all Quinterest admins already switched over.
  • Mobile-first design philosophy, meaning the site and all features will function and look good on any size device. (Except maybe a 2-inch spy phone.)

If you enjoy the site, please consider donating! According to my stats, I've spent a little over 24 hours directly just typing code, and all server hosting fees are paid for out of pocket right now (edit: I have since received initial funding from PACE. Thank you!). And of course, if you have any feedback please post in this thread or PM me through my forum account :)

Here's a quick list of the best features so far:
  • A compiled Resources guide, linking to all the best resources needed to get a new player hitting the ground running.
  • Multiple filter selection, meaning you can now do things as crazy as search for Science AND Literature at the same time! (I know, right?)
  • Native mobile app: if you're visiting QuizDB on certain mobile browsers, you can select the "Add to Home Screen" option to create a native app! When offline questions arrive, that means you can use QuizDB features without internet!
  • Quick search links: all questions have embedded links to search Google, Wikipedia, etc., so you won't even have to laboriously open a new tab!
  • In question error reporting, so that you(!) can help us improve question coverage!

If you'd like to see future features, you can visit this page. A drive-by list: statsmoxonadvancedsearchofflinequestionsstarredquestionspersonalsitepreferenceswoah!

Thank you for checking my site out!

<QuizDB is sponsored by PACE. Thank you for your support!>
Last edited by UlyssesInvictus on Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:51 pm

Updates

  • 9/10/17: 1.0.1. Updated site meta-info.
  • 9/12/17: 1.0.2. Minor bug fixes.
  • 9/12/17: 1.1.0. Stats page! More minor bug fixes and feature improvements.
  • 9/17/17: 1.1.1. More encoding fixes and appearance improvements.
  • 9/23/17: 1.2.0. Offline/cached settings + more minor appearance improvements.
Last edited by UlyssesInvictus on Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:17 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby vinteuil » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:56 pm

Hey, just popping in here to say that I've been super excited by QuizDB, which looks and works a dream (as both a user and an admin), and Raynor has been fantastically responsive to suggestions as well as putting in a huge coding effort. It's great to know that the Quinterest DB is in a more sustainable and even better setting now.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:48 pm

Thanks for the praise Jacob! I also want to thank Jacob here for helping me migrate all of Quinterest's questions over to QuizDB. In addition, I'd like to thank Rohit (Quinterest creator) and Jerry (QBDB creator) for their feedback while creating QuizDB, as well as all of the admins who were instrumental in testing during the beta period or who have already signed up since I've announced the site. Thank you!
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby Neggman » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:08 pm

Hey Raynor this looks awesome!

I know nothing about coding, so I'm really not sure how simple this is, but the only suggestion I would have is to have the "wikipedia search" button search only for the actual answer line and not the entirety of the answer line (including prompts and whatnot). Having it search the entire thing leads to things like "Great Wall of China [or Wanli Changcheng; or Wan-li Ch'ang-ch'eng; prompt on "Mongolia," "Inner Mongolia," "China," "Northern China," or "Manchuria"]" in the wiki search box, which turns up nothing (I just tried). Obviously this can be resolved easily on the user's part who just has to delete all the extra stuff, but figured I would let you know.

Overall thanks so much this! (also does Venmo work for donations since I have money in venmo but not my account and am feeling especially lazy about transferring it back and waiting a few days?)
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby tksaleija » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:11 pm

A beautifully-working interface mixed with high question quality AND content is an excellent way to start off the year. Great job!!

On another note, I took a look at the future projects area and noticed the Moxon question reader was a pending idea. How high on your priority list is that update?
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:27 pm

Neggman wrote:Hey Raynor this looks awesome!

I know nothing about coding, so I'm really not sure how simple this is, but the only suggestion I would have is to have the "wikipedia search" button search only for the actual answer line and not the entirety of the answer line (including prompts and whatnot). Having it search the entire thing leads to things like "Great Wall of China [or Wanli Changcheng; or Wan-li Ch'ang-ch'eng; prompt on "Mongolia," "Inner Mongolia," "China," "Northern China," or "Manchuria"]" in the wiki search box, which turns up nothing (I just tried). Obviously this can be resolved easily on the user's part who just has to delete all the extra stuff, but figured I would let you know.

Overall thanks so much this! (also does Venmo work for donations since I have money in venmo but not my account and am feeling especially lazy about transferring it back and waiting a few days?)


Okay, first of all, thank you so much for being willing to donate! Yes, Venmo works great, and if you can't find me on Venmo, feel free to PM me so I can give you the details. (Just trying to avoid spreading the username on the public internet.) Anything is super helpful :)

With respect to the Wikipedia thing, this is something I've thought about! This falls under the general header of "figuring out what the answerline really is," which is both easy and hard. (I'd also been thinking about this for Moxon stuff, where it'll be useful for the parser to figure out if your answer is right.)

The easy way to do this is to just parse the specified answerline when there's formatting (e.g. bold, underline) present. This is very easy but depends on humans being good about formatting. I'll probably push an update with this within the week. (And as a side note, the best way for people to get better coverage here is to sign up as admins or report errors so admins can track down these questions :)

The hard way is something similar to how Protobowl does it, which is tokenization of answerlines, and what will be used as a fallback when the parser can't detect a manually specified answerline. Having taken a brief look at the code, Protobowl has a semi-sophisticated, but not super advanced method, for doing this, which I'll probably borrow as a good start--if Protobowl is okay with that--but will want to supersede with some kind of Natural Language Processing based approach later. This will be discussed more when Moxon is a thing :) (see next post)
Last edited by UlyssesInvictus on Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:31 pm

tksaleija wrote:A beautifully-working interface mixed with high question quality AND content is an excellent way to start off the year. Great job!!

On another note, I took a look at the future projects area and noticed the Moxon question reader was a pending idea. How high on your priority list is that update?


It's moving up very quickly! I initially didn't really want to do it, but conversations with people who wanted it and the QANTA people about some cool ideas involving an actual AI (the name is a hint toward that :P) have increased my desire for making it.

Nevertheless, it'll still take a while, since I want to do it well. I'm planning the current release schedule:

- November 1: Basic, solo parsing/playing. Similar to what's on QuizBug right now.
- (sometime in between): Integrated study tools, also similar to what's on QuizBug right now.
- January 1: AI play!
- June 1: Multiplayer play.

It's all a little up in the air since there are other features I also want to work on at the same time and have to balance (and, you know, my day job). The reason the multiplayer stuff is coming out so much later than everything else is that (1) it's actually some of the web tech I'm least familiar with, so I'm saving time to research it (2) a lot of the initial backlash against Protobowl was because of bad community moderation, so I'm going to wait until I'm certain that won't be an issue.

As much as people have ragged on Protobowl at times, the code is actually quite good and advanced, so I'm going to try hard to meet their standards and produce something that's both fun to use and a sophisticated study tool.

So tl;dr: stay tuned!
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:30 pm

Just pushed a quick set of hotfixes for various issues I noticed. In the future I'll post these in the updates post (2nd from the top), unless they're major features, in which case I'll probably bring attention to them here.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby wcheng » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:09 am

One minor issue: it looks like some characters with diacritics aren't displaying properly right now. Besides that, though, this looks like an excellent resource and improvement on Quinterest!
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:34 am

The diacritics and other encoding issues are annoying since they actually come directly from the Quinterest database i.e. they're formatted that way in the original information. (I suspect that when people were pasting to Quinterest from PDFs, the copy/paste formatter just guessed on the character instead of actually knowing what it was.)

I'm writing fixes that silently replace known broken special characterd with what they should be, so post here if you see more! (I already know about the random Angstrom symbols and some f's being Chinese characters instead.)
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby tksaleija » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:46 pm

Overall, I generally like the flashcard txt export but I've noticed that it always exports every question found under the search criteria, even if you only want a limited amount. By this, I mean that when trying to download the set of 10 hs history questions shown, it instead downloads all of the hs history questions in QuizDB. Not a huge issue, but I figured it important to mention in case someone wants to print off small packets.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:49 pm

Oh, I did that on purpose because I figured there'd never be a case where someone wanted to restrict how many they were downloading. Hmm...

I'll think about a compromise. The reason I'm not just having the download size match the number of search results shown is then you'd have to load all the search results, and that can actually crash your webpage for queries that are too big. (Too many things on the page.) Until I get a paging system implemented, downloading all the text and then having the user appropriately pare it down might be the compromise.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:11 am

About to push a big new feature: the Stats page! This page is pretty experimental with regards to most of the actual data inside of it, but IMO it's very pretty currently. (And should stay pretty even on mobile: let me know if it's not.)

I'll also be pushing multiple minor new features and bug fixes. The full changelog can be found by parsing the Git log.

As part of the push, the website may become sluggish or even go down for the next hour (around 2-3 AM Tuesday morning) or so. If it's still being weird after that, let me know.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby tksaleija » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:20 am

I am really impressed with the stats page as a whole. Not only does it give you an idea of how common a topic is, but also shows you what phrases come up most often (really good for narrowing down what to study). Overall, great stats page, flows well, and another great addition to an already good site.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:25 am

Account creation is currently borked--will try to fix it at lunch.

Also, because of some javascript fooey (service workers, if anyone cares for the technical minutiae), you'll either have to hard refresh or use incognito to see updates to the web portal. Eventually your browser should adapt and load updates regularly for you, but I'm working on a better system.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby Strongside » Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:14 pm

A few QuizDB items.

1. Some tournaments (specifically 2016 and 2017 ACF Nationals) have numerous questions with messed up characters. Various combinations including the letter f (fi, ft, ff) did that when they were entered on quinterest.

2. These tournaments are on quinterest and not QuizDB. The plan is for them to get added to QuizDB eventually. The reason is that these were added after the beta version of QuizDB was released.

2014 Chicago Open History
2010 Spring Offensive
2013 Urgent Call For Unity
2012 Chicago Open History

2008 Minnesota Open Literature
2007 Illinois Open Literature
2007 Chicago Open Literature

2017 Thought Monstrosity
2012 Questions Concerning Technology

2016 AVOGADROS NUMBER
2016 BONGOS
2014 Lederberg 2

3. It currently takes longer to enter a packet of questions on QuizDB than quinterest. I know Raynor is planning to make some changes to make entering questions faster.

4. Submitted errors have been corrected on a regular basis.
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:19 pm

Just a note on the encoding problem (i.e. the one that's especially egregious with "f" and Chinese chars appearing instead):

I've started using a strategy of quietly replacing these in the client side before they appear to users rather than bulk updating them repeatedly in the database. I'll probably collect all the cases I know about and then go through at the end of each month and fix them all.

So admins will still see them happening in the Admin portal, but they're going to be OK on the user end. It's still important to report them as errors, though, in case it's a case I haven't seen before.

(There are a lot of permutations of ligatures and Chinese, it seems.)
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Re: Announcing QuizDB: "Knowledge is Power"

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:16 pm

Just pushed a new update to QuizDB that should (hopefully, it was somewhat hard to test in development) deal with the issue of old code not being refreshed when updates are released...starting with updates after this one.

For now, if you're having issues with the page loading, you may need to do a hard refresh (shift-f5 in most browsers).

It also adds the beginning idea of locally cached settings, which you can find from the sidebar.

I'm going to move on to doing some parsing work on getting more questions in the DB, and then spending considerable time finishing editing for HFT, so this will probably be the last public website update for a while.

After that I'll get started on the reader everyone wants so bad...
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