Image: Facebook illustration
Duane Hoffman  /  msnbc.com
Look, dude. I, too, am pretty sure you're not on a boat. But unless you take this Facebook quiz, how can we be certain?
Helen Popkin
By
msnbc.com
updated 11/13/2009 8:57:37 AM ET 2009-11-13T13:57:37

Unlike the immersive social network games making all the news and money these days, you don’t need any special skills to build a one-off Facebook quiz. And it shows. America’s favorite social networking site is chock full of homemade quizzes with the kind of egregious spelling and grammatical errors that would make your fifth-grade language arts teacher positively apoplectic.

“They are all pointless and dumb,” observes one disgruntled Facebook member. “I’m sure most are created by semi-literate, bored teens.” It’s a speculation shared by many. In fairness to semi-literate, bored teens everywhere, however, Facebook’s rising age demographic means it’s more than teens who are taking the tests/quizzes.

No need to hide your shame! Most of these quizzes are themed on the one subject we all find irresistible: Ourselves. Are we cheese? Which Brady Bunch brat would we be? Which plastic army guy are we? These personality tests provide the categorizing we all so desperately desire, squishing us into cozy little boxes. And while the questions may be crazy, the quizzes all fit into at least one of five categories. And here they are ...

What fictional and/or famous person (or persons) are you?
Alas, quizzes within this category are as close as most of us will ever get to being Princess Jasmine or sharing an attic room with our “sister,” Marcia.

Academics, please note: Standards and accuracy are rarely paramount. Regarding “Which historical couple are you,” Facebook user Laura Courtney reports, “I think I got Jackie and John Kennedy or something but a friend got Ross and Rachel! Ross and Rachel are a famous historical couple?”

What’s more, the results can haunt you. “I guess I answered all the correct answers, because it told me I was lying and pretending to be Chuck Norris and he was going to come kick my arse,” says “Are you Chuck Norris?” quiz-taker Anthony Polakos. “I'm still watching the door four months later.”

What non-human entity are you?
Weaker quizzes, such as “Are you cheese?” or “Are you a potato?” leave an opening for positive results as to whether you’re a human or say, a spud. “What tire fire are you?” takes for granted that you are, in fact, a tire fire, and clears away any doubt by telling you your eco-unfriendly specifics: "The 1983 7 million tire burn in Winchester, Va., for nine months." Mark Kaufmann recently learned about himself, "You like nostalgia. You're pretty good at polluting rivers with lead and arsenic. You may take 19 years to clean up but ultimately you are giving back to the community."

Same with the “What kind of dog are you,” of which there seems to be more variations than all the breeds within the American Kennel Club. “Apparently I'm a Rottweiler,” Pete Shove says he learned. “The questions made no sense, but I guess it's possible I'm SOME type of dog — after the quiz, I went outside, ate some grass, and threw up in the yard.”

What do you like?
There are the G-rated versions of these tests that help you figure out what you should absolutely already know. You know, like “What is your favorite color?” (Blue! No, yellow!)

But more than a few are of an adult nature, such as “What is your favorite sexual position?” “Come on!” complains Shannon Oakes, cutting to the chase. “What does a dumba** Facebook quiz know something about your sex life that you haven't already figured out?”

Sometimes the answers can be perplexing. “I rarely take quizzes, but couldn't resist ‘What's your animal love style?’ ” claims Christine Kroeger Jeffson. “It called me a pig. While it was undoubtedly dumb, I did get a good laugh out of it.”

So there’s that …

Where do you belong?
Race, creed or color, you name one and someone’s built a questionable quiz to determine if, or how much, of that race, creed or color you happen to be. Note, however, that the answers may not match what you see in the mirror. Despite spending her entire life faltering under the belief that she was Asian, an msnbc.com editor received a shock when, after taking a Facebook “How Asian are you?” quiz, she learned that she is, in fact, not at all!

Imagine Janine Boe's surprise upon learning the results from another quiz claiming to divine which of these United States she belongs. “It kept putting me in South Dakota, when I specifically noted in the answers that I loved the ocean,” Boe pointed out. “Oh wait! Maybe they are taking global warming into consideration!”

What does the future hold?
It is here that Facebook quizzes most resemble the notebook paper fortune tellers (aka “cootie catchers”) of our youth. There is certainly no shortage of quizzes that foretell the first initial of the person you’ll marry (including “Who from ‘Twilight’ will you marry?”), when you’ll have babies, how many babies you’ll have (umm … do vampires have babies?), and what clique your daughter will join (probably the one with the vampires).

Then there are the quizzes that already know something about your miserable future and only need you to punch in a few multiple-choice responses to let you in on the rest. Why, the two-dimensional morbidity of “How” or “When will you die?”  and even “Are you dead?” pale in comparison to “How will you die from McDonalds?” or, for that matter, “Why will you be banned from Wal-Mart?”

(Note: “If you worked at Wal-Mart, what job would you have?” is not a prerequisite for taking the latter, but it can’t hurt!)

Friend Helen A.S. Popkin on Facebook, where a quiz claims she's “Disney Princess Mulan,” which is hooey! Everyone knows she's Tinkerbell! Follow her magic pixie dust on Twitter.

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