Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: Test Your Culture – What's your (English-speaking) cultural knowledge? (testyourculture.com)
37 points by crazygringo 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 50 comments

I was a little unsure about the criterion of "can uniquely identify". I left a bunch of things blank if I felt that I had little or no idea "who someone is" even if I had certainly heard the name before.

For example, I left actors and singers blank if I didn't know any works involving them or what genres they work in (or whether they're still alive), and I left sports figures blank if I didn't know what country or team they played for or whether they're still active, even if in each case I had heard that there was such a person. Is that the intended approach? Is what consistent with what other people did?

Similarly, I left movies blank if I had no idea what the movie was about or what kind of movie it was, or what story it was based on, even if I'd heard that there was such a movie.

Thanks! Yes, deciding how to define whether you know something or not wasn't easy. Eventually I settled on "uniquely identify" and I'm happy you understood it correctly -- it's not enough just to have heard of somebody or something, but you need to be able to name one (any) unique fact about them.

Does it count if I can uniquely identify the person/thing after having seen the Wikipedia overlay? For example, I saw a name that sounded vaguely familiar, but once I saw their picture, I recognized who they were and what TV show I knew them from. But I couldn't necessarily have drawn that connection from just the name.

Put another way: are you testing that I know of the entity itself, or that I know the entity and its/their name?

EDIT: another example: For a given novel title, I could probably have recalled who the author was (which would seem to be "a unique fact about [it]") but not anything about the plot. However, you listed the author right under the title, so... did I "know" that novel?

I think it might be helpful to find some way to clarify what kind of knowledge is expected so that people's results are a little more comparable.

That's what I did too. If I had heard of the person, even if I've heard of them a lot (example: Niki Minaj... all I knew was a hunch that she's in the entertainment industry) but had no idea who they are or what they look like, I left it blank.

Hey HN! 7 years ago you helped launch my site Test Your Vocab... and now I was inspired to do something similar, only for cultural knowledge. Would love any/all feedback.

Edit: sorry about the 5 min database outage! I'm keeping an eye on server memory and will upgrade my instance if it happens again, but it's all back to normal now, and reloading the page for whatever step you got stuck on should work.

Edit 2: resized to a much larger droplet, apologies again, should be no more out-of-memory. Again, reloading the page will let you continue in the quiz where you left off.

Thanks showing this! I scored 78%, which I guess is pretty good considering I spent a lot of time reading on reddit lol

I found it kinda interesting that i got quite a few Indian and Asian American musicians/actors. I'm guessing Bollywood is very popular in the UK and in certain sections of the US.

I would also like to know how you selected the criteria of what is popular.

This definitely took me back to the days when Facebook quizes were novel and were all the rage.

I just took the vocab test and I scored around 9800 words, I've been thinking on improving my vocabulary but it was difficult to know how bad or good I was. Now thanks to your site I know where I am and how far should I aim to, thanks!

How does testyourvocab.com determine which language to display in the initial page?

Even in incognito mode it chooses my native language.

Its definitely still erroring out.

My test crashed after step 4. Oh well it was fun. Also is it normal Nazi was a category, on the same level as say, boxer?

I am disapointed that much of the Culture is actually Pop culture, as so few items are relating to people or event before the '80s. As a 33 yo person, I recall the general knowledge quizzes I went through as a teenager (french school). Most of it was about literature and science, and it would end with just a few questions about contemporary stuff.

Internal error Sorry, but something went wrong with our code. Retrying may or may not fix it. (19284)

(Retrying does not fix it.)

(url: https://testyourculture.com/step_three?u=zmtPIg)

Thanks! The database was running out of memory, but I upgraded to a much larger droplet and I'm monitoring it, so it's back up now.

Still down for me

> Good job! You know 2,950 out of the top 10,000 items. > This means you know more than 36% of Americans aged 18+:

Not too bad, seeing as there's never been a time of my life that I ever cared about pop culture.

I just reran the test having ticked none of the boxes and still entering the same data at the end, and it gave me a 0% score, so at least the test is "real". I was skeptical that the tick boxes were just a red herring.

I strongly suspect that a lot of quiztakers aren't going by "could you identify" but just "did you know of".

It's not English-speaking, it's American

The quiz is adaptive, so perhaps you got more American specific questions than I did?

For me there were plenty of British specific questions. I also saw a fair amount of Bollywood questions, and there were plenty of non-American athletes as well. Considering the relative dominance of American and British cultural exports on the English speaking world, the mix seemed about right.

(repeating my reply to another similar comment)

You'll actually see a fair amount of footballers, British royalty, and Bollywood stars... it's according to popularity on en.wikipedia.org, so it not's just the US.

I'm not sure - there were quite a few answers that I thought were British-specific: Harold Shipman, David Jason etc.

Shakespeare is not American.

Hmm, when "English-speaking" actually just refers to the United States.

You'll actually see a fair amount of footballers, British royalty, and Bollywood stars... it's according to popularity on en.wikipedia.org, so it not's just the US.

15th percentile :| (from north EU)

Weird, I'm somewhat sure I know more than most of my peers. It would be cool if they showed average stats by region / country.

Thanks! I definitely will show that in the future, posting here to HN is the first step in collecting that data. :)

I did the same thing a long time ago for English vocabulary scores per country:


I'm from the US and you are higher than me. But there are reasons I was low (see my other post).

> You know 1,980 out of the top 10,000 items. This means you know more than 13% of Americans aged 18

I'm pretty happy about that, given that:

1. I'm italian

2. I don't have a good memory at all

3. Many items were out of my area of interests (wrestlers, superhero movies...)

Site is down but crossword puzzles also do this... I used to do the LA Times one as it seemed proximal to the NY Times, but free to play.

> Good job! You know 2,100 out of the top 10,000 items.

> This means you know more than 13% of Americans aged 18+:

I was born and raised in the USA, but I grew up without a television, 5 miles up a dirt road in a house built by my parents with hand tools. Kerosene lamps, outhouse, generator, etc.

Mine crashed just before showing the results, but reloading worked.

> Amazing knowledge! You know 7,200 out of the top 10,000 items. > This means you know more than 98% of Americans aged 18+

I guess it helped that I'm Indian and could get some of the Bollywood stuff off the bat!

- I detest sports and don't follow sports people

- Very not interested in celebrities

- When I see movies, I enjoy the movie, but don't ever bother to learn the names of the actors/actresses

- Not that into music, especially rap

- Not into TV, never owned one

Got a very low score :D

It would be interesting to see this kind of test with, shall we say, less superficial topics. Maybe more politics, current events, history, geography, technology, law, business, etc. So about general knowledge instead of about what is being called culture here.

Mine worked fine - I received a score of 58%. Somewhat surprising, I felt as if I was doing very well! Cool tool OP, hope you get the errors sorted out.

Got a consistent 'Something went wrong, please reload' between step 3 and 4. Reloading didn't help.

Site is dead

Internal error Sorry, but something went wrong with our code. Retrying may or may not fix it. (19284)

48% I'm happy with that cause I'm pretty bad at actor names and such. There were a few that when I hovered over the tooltip I was like 'Oooooh yeah, I know that person' but I only clicked the checkbox if I knew without double checking.

Interesting although I would bet cash that the anonymous part is total bull given the request for zip code. I'm not sure how I should feel about the 89%. I don't have cable, so I only watch some podcasts and TV when I visit the relatives.

I know it can feel that way but I promise you it's not. :)

I'd like to do a blog post showing which cultural interests have the most geographic variation in the US together with maps (and which areas of the US are "most culturally distinctive"), and asking for zip codes is just an easier UX than asking for cities or counties. And all survey questions are optional to answer.

(To sibling commenter: zip code only appears if you select United States as nationality.)

I didn't get any request for ZIP code. Just an optional request for age, gender, and nationality.

All I got was

    WHOOPS :/
    Internal error
    Sorry, but something went wrong with our code. Retrying may or may not fix it. (19284)
(and retrying did not fix it).

Is anyone suspicious of this as an information collecting site?

I understood "culture" to be, as defined on the Webster, "enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training".

37%, I'm almost as culturally illiterate as I expected.

Looks interesting but I am getting a lot errors, on step 2 I retried and it worked but can't really get to step 3.

Site was a bit slow to load (anywhere from 4-15 seconds between pages), but this is pretty cool. Good work.

54th percentile

Sounds like average? Though I don't have much time to be "in tune" with modern pop culture

This was fun. You should do it for other topics like HN buzzwords and acronyms.

Apparently not at all knowledgable, I got 7% on my first run and 6% on my second.

89th percentile. Too much TV in my childhood i guess.

I got 2% on the test and 25k on testyourvocab.

English is my second language and I don't have a TV.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact