The Test's Success
The Dante's Inferno Test was born in March, 2003. Since then, literally millions of people have taken the test and had their souls damned to hell. Links to the test sprung up immediately after it was put up. Sites like fark.com sent thousands of people to see which level of hell they would spend eternity in. During the first few days, the server ground to a halt under the volume of test-takers. The code had to be quickly revised to allow only 28 people to take the test per minute. Beyond that number, server performance would begin to degrade (keep in mind we have other things running on this server as well). In those early days, that quota would be maxed out within the first 10 to 15 seconds of each minute.
After the first month, traffic began to drop and then level off. The test now averages about 4,000 takers each day. Links to the test appear on countless blogs and message boards. Many people paste their results into online profiles. The test ranks number one in Google for "dante" and "dante's inferno" and number two for "divine comedy." Test takers hail from all around the world, including such countries as Denmark, Germany, Brazil, India, and Malaysia.
In December 2005 a companion test was created, the Seven Deadly Sins quiz, so that you can see which of these mortal sins you are guilty of.
How the Test Works
The Dante's Inferno Test is written in a (now-outdated) server-side scripting language called Mivascript. The questions were chosen after a careful study of the text of Dante's Inferno. No fewer than 16 variables, which are adjusted depending on your answers, are used to calculate your results. As many as six different variables can be manipulated based on a single answer. Furthermore, the test looks to spot trends in your answers -- Are you gay? Are you suicidal? Are you religious? -- and adjustments are made to your final score. It even attempts to detect conflicting answers to multiple questions, and factors that in. The process has been obsessively tweaked in order to give you the most accurate results possible.
Is the Test Biased?
Some have wondered whether the test has an agenda -- Is it pro-Christian? Is it anti-gay? Is there a political bias? The only agenda the test has is to stay as loyal to Dante's Inferno as possible. Anything less would not do justice to this important literary work. For example, in Dante's version of hell, gays are cursed to spend eternity in Level 7. In order to stay loyal to the text, the Dante's Inferno Test has to consider a person's homosexuality and then potentially damn them to Level 7 hellfire. However, no single issue will decide one's fate. Extenuating circumstances could land a gay test taker in Limbo, for example. Other factors might result in a different level being the most appropriate.
About the Creator
The creator of the Dante's Inferno Test is twenty-something computer programmer living in New Jersey, USA. He is a former Episcopalian who no longer identifies as Christian but still seeks religious knowledge. The questions and results presented in the Dante's Inferno Test do not necessarily represent his personal beliefs. In his spare time, he runs the sites 4degreez.com, 4thKingdom.com, Dating Diversions, and Quotations @ wellofwisdom.com.
About the Test's Parent Site
The site that hosts the Dante's Inferno Test is 4degreez.com -- an online community for teenagers and college students founded in 1998. This community grew in popularity because of it's special and quirky mix of people who were interested in debating political issues, exchanging philosophies, writing poetry, and forming friendships. 4degreez.com has now closed its doors with the completion of 4thKingdom.com, which is version 2.0 of the 4degreez.com community. 4thKingdom.com offers more advanced features for the members of the community. We continue to grow and thrive to this day. If you are interested in joining us, we are accepting new members. Our age range is no longer focused on teenagers. We are looking for 18 to 30 year olds interested in science, the arts, religion, politics, sports, travel, cooking...you name it. Come see what we're about.
Have You Ever Thought About Making a Site Like This?
It's not difficult to make an interactive site. If you have a great idea for a test or you want to run a forum or have some other wild idea, but think it's too difficult - let me tell you, it's not. You don't have to be some kind of genius to create web pages like this. All you need to do is buy a virtual hosting account for your site and pick a domain name: whateveryouwant.com. The cost is ridiculously low. A hosting company like StartLogic (click for more info) offers free setup and domain and PHP with packages as low as $7.50 per month. What's PHP? It's a scripting language that you mix in with html code to get web pages to do stuff that basic html can't do, like tabulate quiz results. It's real easy to learn and there are tutorials all over the place for how to use it. There are also free scripts out there for creating forums and things like that (actually, StartLogic, the hosting company I mentioned before, comes pre-configured with forum and blogging scripts). If you create your page and put some advertisements on it, you'll definitely make more money than the $7.50 it costs to host your site. I'm not going to say how much money this Dante test makes, but it's a bunch more than $7.50 per month. ;)