The Future

Now anyone can cheat at HQ Trivia

HQuack, the first publicly available HQ cheat, is sucking all the fun out of America’s favorite trivia app.

The Future

Now anyone can cheat at HQ Trivia

HQuack, the first publicly available HQ cheat, is sucking all the fun out of America’s favorite trivia app.
The Future

Now anyone can cheat at HQ Trivia

HQuack, the first publicly available HQ cheat, is sucking all the fun out of America’s favorite trivia app.

Meet HQuack. The first publicly available bot for cheating at HQ. Developed by Jake Mor, a software engineer and digital designer in New York, HQuack is a website that displays the correct answer to HQ questions in real time every day.

Unlike any of the other established HQ cheats, HQuack doesn’t require programming knowledge, sketchy downloads, or rapid fire Googling. It’s just a website that you can use while you’re trying not to groan at Scott’s awful dad jokes.

HQuack in action.

HQuack in action.

The whole thing works like this: As a new HQ question appears on your phone, it’ll also pop up on HQuack. Within a second or two, HQuack’s bot will Google the question asked along with the each of the possible answers and assign a “confidence interval” for each option based on the search results generated. Whichever answer has the highest confidence interval will be instantly highlighted in green, signifying HQuack thinks it’s most likely to be correct. However, if the question asked includes the word “NOT,” this whole system is essentially run backwards, and the answer with the lowest confidence interval will be highlighted.

As complicated as all that may sound, it’s actually surprisingly accurate. HQuack generally gets eight to nine questions correct a game — the site boasts “up to 82% accuracy!” — but they’re rarely sequential. Meaning, HQuack could get the first two (easy) questions wrong, then the next six right, then another wrong, then the last three right. The program works best as a companion to your own (human) knowledge and intuition, which can weed out HQuack’s most obvious mistakes.

Mor initially designed the program behind HQuack as a fun little personal project. He never intended for it to become a publicly available site.

“It was not a website; it was just a program that ran on my computer,” he explained over the phone. “My friends found out about it and they were asking how they could get their hands on it, so I decided to make a page on my website and I told like five or ten friends about it. I didn't link to it anywhere, so you could only get to it if you knew the link.”

“So then a few weeks goes by [sic] and out of curiosity I just check out the Google analytics on my site. And it was already getting a thousand unique visitors a week — this was a few weeks ago — I was like holy shit.”

Though Mor declined to give any concrete pageview numbers, he did say that over the last week or so the site had experienced “20 percent day over day growth.”

"NOT" exactly....

“It’s crazy how well it works,” said Mor. “It’s a pretty naive approach, but it works like eight out of twelve or nine out of twelve times per game.”

That’s not to say the program is without flaws. During my test run of HQuack, the website got eight out of twelve questions correct and had one minor technical glitch. On the question “For professional reasons, a phlebotomist should NOT be afraid of what?” — options: needles, thunder, snakes — HQuack incorrectly chose “thunder” as the right answer instead of “needles.” This was likely due to the question’s use of the word “not,” which can be tricky for the bot to understand.

75 beats 61, so SoundCloud it is.

75 beats 61, so SoundCloud it is.

Regardless, Mor says he’s won at least once with the app’s help, and believes HQuack is responsible for a sizable amount of HQ cashouts.

“We won once,” he explained. “The first [question] the website got wrong, but it was just such an obvious gimme that everyone got it right, and then every question after that [HQuack] got right. I think we accounted for like, half the winners that day.”

This post has been updated to correct a misstatement by Jake Mor. When he first created HQuack, his site was getting a thousand unique visitors a week, not a day.

In the media

Is HQ Trivia the future of TV?

An app that broadcasts a gameshow that anyone can participate in 12 times a week has gone viral.
Read More
Hey you! We want to know what you think about The Outline (and you can win some cool swag too). We know you love to answer questions, so take our 5 minute survey.