May 7, 2016

How To Find Out About Anyone: Great Questions!

One of my favourite sites is Quora, where people pose questions and others post answers. It's a great different kind of social media, even if these days it is more overrun by marketers and promoters than it used to be (welcome to any social media platform, right?)

Tonight I was happily browsing my feed while procrastinating doing some work, and came across a set of really great 'meme' style questions, in response to a question that asked, "What 10 questions can tell you the most about a person?"

As of tonight, 11 people had responded with their lists of questions, but the best response to my mind was this one, from Barnard Law Collier, "anthropologist, journalist, writer, director":

"Dear Horatio," he begins,

"These 20 (ten is too few to be at all comprehensive) questions are meant to be asked of public figures and would-be or current politicians, but they work well with almost anybody. 
It's best to ask them without revealing them in advance. But even if the questions are known in advance, they are devilishly hard to "spin" even for the most slippery interviewee and her/his spin doctors. 
They have been tested extensively, and if they are all asked and their answers recorded IN FULL WITH ALL ASIDES AND REMARKS ON THE RECORD (make this stipulation crystal clear to the interviewee ahead of time: "Be careful, everything you say is on the record") results are often quite astonishing. 
Be sure to listen carefully and faithfully record all the asides; they are often priceless...."

The questions themselves are pretty great. They are different or deeper enough from the usual, that I can see some interesting responses - and asides - coming out of people's attempts to answer.

Perhaps one for a meme, Sunday Stealing?

What 10 (20) questions can tell you the most about a person?

Answers by Barnard Law Collier

Besides to your God, your family and your country and your constituents (if any), where do your loyalties lie?
In as much precise detail as you see fit, how does your mind work?
Have you ever been in love? If so, describe the experience.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be ~ other than human?
What did your father fail at?
Except for "nothing," what or whom do you hate?
In deadly peril, name three people you want in your foxhole with you?
Have you ever dealt a death penalty? If yes,please explain.
Describe your ability to dance.
What do you think your worst enemy really thinks about you?
On a scale of 0 to 250, where would you score your intelligence?
In eight words or less, please define intelligence.
What is the greatest weakness in your character?
How do you verify the truth of what you are told?
Name and define your favorite word.
Of the following, which gives you the most pleasure: a) Music; b) Money; c) Literature; d) Science; e) Spirituality; f) Golf; g) Food & Wine; h) Films.
Briefly describe your favourite hat.
Who is the best living lawyer that you know?
If you were made to live out the rest of your days as a famous fictional or non-fictional character, who would you select?

Source: Quora, 26 April 2016

What do you think - could you answer these?

The only ones I think I would be stuck on are 18 (whaaaat??) and 19 - though actually, for 19 I'd probably choose Julian Burnside.  But I don't know many lawyers.


  1. I really like the question about dancing - very revealing!

  2. Love, love, love Julian Burnside's asylum seeker solution.
    Dancing? I don't. Unless mad woman with camera gyrations count.

    1. I loved it too - thousand times better than what we're doing now.

    2. I loved it too - thousand times better than what we're doing now.

    3. I loved it too - thousand times better than what we're doing now.



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