March to Three Billion: Content Updates

March to Three Billion: Content Updates

Sporcle passed the two billion quiz play mark on October 15th, 2016. Now here we are, less than three years removed from that milestone, on the verge of another – three billion plays!

Though it might seem like a short span of time, a lot has changed in the world since October 2016. And changes in the world usually mean one thing for Sporcle: quiz updates. What are some of the biggest content related updates we’ve had to make since two billion? Let’s recap some of our more noteworthy changes.

Sports Updates

We start in the world of sports, which is also our most frequently updated category from a content standpoint.

Shortly after the two billionth Sporcle quiz was played, the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series 4 games to 3. This ended a 108-year World Series drought for the Cubs. Whether the Cubbies were inspired to win by our site’s own accomplishment is open for debate, but we do know the Cubs weren’t the only team to recently end their championship woes.

The Houston Astros won their first ever World Series the very next year in 2017. The Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII, their first in franchise history. And the Washington Capitals won their first ever Stanley Cup in 2018. All teams that we had to remove from this quiz: Big 4 Teams Without Titles.

In addition to all these firsts, the 2018 Winter Olympics were held in PyeongChang, South Korea. Noteworthy from these Olympics was the participation of North Korea, who took steps to ease relations with their neighbor to the south, even fielding a unified women’s ice hockey team. It also meant Winter Olympics quizzes needed updates.

But the biggest sports updates always come when an expansion team is added to a league, or when a franchise relocates, and that happened twice in the months following our two billionth play. First, the San Diego Chargers decided to move to L.A. for the start of the 2017 NFL season, becoming the Los Angeles Chargers. That same year, the Vegas Golden Knights began play as a new NHL expansion team. In both cases, hundreds of published quizzes needed updating.

Geography Updates

Geography related updates occur less frequently than sports updates, but can be massive undertakings when they do need to happen. We can plan for sports updates, but we have less warning when a king decides to change his country’s name overnight. When these sort of geopolitical changes do occur, it often requires a huge effort on the part of staff to make sure relevant quizzes get updated in a timely manner.

The first of our big geography updates came in 2017. That year, a referendum was passed in Mauritania to alter their national flag. We were initially hesitant to update quizzes though, as President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz also decided to abolish the senate and other constitutional amendments – which made us take a step back to see how things played out. Eventually, however, even the United Nations came to accept Mauritania’s flag change, which now features two red stripes. Sporcle quizzes, like Flags of the World, were updated accordingly.

The next big geography update came in April of 2018, when King Mswati III of Swaziland announced that he would be changing the name of his country to the Kingdom of eSwatini. King Mswati III is an absolute monarch who rules by decree over his subjects, and his announcement was unexpected but definitive. This was a particularly tough update to make given the scope and nature of the quizzes affected. Some quizzes, like ‘S’ Country Logic Puzzle, were broken beyond repair.

Finally, Macedonia officially changed their name to North Macedonia in February 2019. This ended a decades old naming dispute with Greece. Because this issue played out on an international stage, we were able to track the developments around the change closely. The day after North Macedonia began to change road signs in their country, we began updating Sporcle quizzes.

Political Updates

When we passed the two billion quiz play mark back in 2016, President Obama was still in office. It’s safe to say the political world has changed a little since then.

Updating US Presidents quizzes is usually a pretty straightforward task. The issue lies in the sheer volume of them. After President Trump was inaugurated, there were no less than 600 quizzes in need of updating. While that might not seem like a ton, think about it from a staffing standpoint – that’s 12 different staff members each updating 50 quizzes!

Of course, there are other political related changes that can bring about large-scale updates. Since taking office, President Trump has appointed two new Justices to the Supreme Court: Judge Neil Gorsuch in 2017, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. In both cases, all Supreme Court quizzes needed to be checked for potential updating.

It’s also no secret that President Trump has shaken up his staff a lot. This quiz in particular has required a true team effort to keep up-to-date: Trump’s Cabinet.

But President Trump wasn’t the only world leader in the news since our two billionth quiz play. In 2018, Angela Merkel was sworn in for her fourth term as German chancellor, Vladimir Putin was elected to a new six-year term as Russia’s President, and China changed its constitution to remove presidential term limits, essentially allowing leader Xi Jinping to remain in power for life.

The world of politics is always in flux, and we do our best to accurately reflect these major political changes in our content.

Updates on Sporcle

While we’ve highlighted some of our bigger content updates since two billion, it’s worth noting that Sporcle actually updates quizzes daily. As the world changes, so does Sporcle. We’ll always strive to keep our content accurate, relevant, and up-to-date. But doing so requires the help of the entire community, from staff, to site Moderators, Editors, and Curators, and even down to the regular users who report quizzes or help point out quiz mistakes.

Part of the reason Sporcle has even been able to approach a milestone like three billion plays is because of the product we put out. And our product is constantly being improved upon with the help of users like you. You keep us honest, accurate, and fun.

So cheers, Sporclers. Here’s to another billion quiz plays!

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Mark Heald
About Mark Heald 175 Articles
Mark Heald is the Managing Editor of Sporcle.com. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and bemoaning the fact the Sonics left Seattle.