What is the best way to design a user-generated trivia game? Some thoughts:
You could create one massive wiki-style database of questions and answers that anyone could edit and revise. Using this model, any developer or game-player could use the database any way they saw fit. The problem with this - besides the assumption that the questions and answers are properly researched - is that there would be no consistency or style standard. One of the things that makes questions in Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, etc. good is that they have a particular style and they stick to it. Perhaps there would be a way to filter unpopular questions/answers. If there is giant scale, I suppose you could do just about anything.
Anyway, a second way to do this - and I’m just spitballing here, i haven’t thought this all the way through - is what I’ll call the Apples to Apples model. If you haven’t played Apples to Apples do so in a group with a good sense of humor. The game is all about the people who play it. You play by drawing a number (5, it think) of noun cards. These cards might say “Elizabeth Taylor” “My Closet” “Snakes” and so on. Once everyone has drawn their noun cards the dealer draws an adjective card and reads it aloud. It might say something like “Horrendous.” Now, the trick is for everyone to select the card in their hand that they think the dealer will think most closely matches the adjective. If you’re a sophisticated Apples to Apples player your strategy will depend on who the dealer is - while you might say “snakes” are “horrendous,” I might pick “my closet.” The deal passes clockwise from person to person throughout the game. The goal is to collect seven adjective cards, which you get as your noun is picked above the others.
User-generated trivia could ostensibly work the same way. If an obstacle to creating a large-scale reliable database of questions is the veracity of the person who wrote the questions, perhaps there’s a way to literally bring that person into question. Jeff Beil from Brooklyn New York asks… Then you have to imagine what I think is the correct answer to the question I asked…
As I said, it’s not a fully-hatched idea but I think there’s something there.