Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.

Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Sniper, No Sniping! » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:10 am

As the two subjects in the title of this thread would indicate, I've written this thread to highlight two important facets of quiz bowl we often overlook. The former deals with material, while the latter concerns our interaction with our peers and how that behavior can serve as a make-or-breaker for some students, advisors, and teams. I've considered these topics recently, in part because I will more likely than not in a position where I'll be spreading quiz bowl in areas they may not know quiz bowl even exists.

The first thing I will touch on will probably be the more controversial of the two topics, but I think it is definitely something us in the quiz bowl community should give consideration towards. I am talking about the perceivably difficult topics that are heavily prevalent in "regular" good quiz bowl. The topics I am deliberating are world literature, philosophy, and comparative religions/mythologies.

Let's first start with world literature. World Lit is definitely a popular topic in regular difficulty quiz bowl tournaments, however, it is also bordering on the realm of obscurity. How many schools actually teach authors such as Allende, Coetzee, Gordimer, Keneally, Pamuk, Soyinka, and Tagore? How many high schoolers take English courses with assigned readings such as Journey to the West, Blood Knot, Betrayal by Rita Hayworth and Temple of the Golden Pavilion? It's one thing to read more classical and academically revered authors such as Dostoevsky and Tolstoy in class, which I am almost assured those two authors are two of the most popular non-British, non-American authors students will read in the classroom. My problem here is that in terms of the quiz bowl that we want lesser experienced teams to enjoy at local weekday tournaments and even a few Saturday tournaments is how can we seriously expect they're going to get these tossups on the obscure authors I just mentioned? Perhaps one of the biggest influences towards the obviously ill-formed misconception that "mACF/good tossup, bonus quiz bowl is too hard" is that 1/4 of literature in a packet deals with stuff many students have never heard of and will probably never learn in school. I see this problem way too much in our local league: even the schools who perform well academically to begin with surely know the Compson family, East of Eden, and Portrait of a Lady, but they just can't rattle off the author of The Golden Notebook or that darned Peruvian poet. One set I played on this year that is usually prided as "a very high-quality" set annually had a world literature tossup that definitely pushed the edge of obscurity. There's no doubt in my mind world lit has a place in quiz bowl, but I question whether or not that place is at local and regional levels. Since it's inherently more difficult, it'd be perfect at state and national tournaments.

The other topics I am going to dissect here fall in R/M/P. In terms of tossups, comparative world religions/myth is usually cool, although it's worth being reasonable here. Ahura Mazdah is not as well known as Lao Tze. Similarly, deep Hinduism questions generally are easier to be not-converted than questions that concern figures from Christianity and Judaism. Like I said with world literature, certainly these aren't bad topics for state and national competitions, but these could be giant black holes in local tournaments that could spurn away interest in further activity. They would make excellent hard parts of a bonus for tournaments that are meant to be "easier" and for lesser experienced teams, certainly. Lastly, I'm going to briefly touch about philosophy. The problem I see with philosophy in quiz bowl is generally, philosophy is not a course offered in high school. In fact, contrary to quiz bowl writing trends, the study of philosophy is not nearly as much binary association of books and authors as it is analyzing classical texts, and studying topics such as religion and morality. Most academically curious students already know the classical thinkers (and arguably, the most important ones) such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and may know some of the more modern ones such as Friedrich Nietschze, Rene Descartes, or William James. But when the easy part of a philosophy bonus from a regular difficulty Saturday tournament is Martin Heidegger and not something more general and accessible (such as existentialism), perhaps the writing trend should be reconsidered for philosophy - at least that particular tournament. Like world lit and comparative religion, the more obscure stuff should definitely be alright for state and national level tournaments.

To sum up the earlier point, good quiz bowl =/= harder quiz bowl, at least in answer selection. A pyramidal tossup on A Tale of Two Cities will be better received than a pyramidal tossup on House of the Spirits in the eyes of a newer team that is just trying to get their feet wet with good quiz bowl, let alone quiz bowl at all.

Which ties into a briefer topic that I don't recall has been discussed in a public forum before, but certainly should be considered, and that is deportment. Deportment is particularly important when you around "new" teams, because not only are you around "new" players, you're potentially around "new" advisors who are probably not as seasoned in the game as you are. You may sit here and think, "well yeah, swearing a storm is obviously bad". Indeed, but that's not even half of the problem here. A very experienced and good team could have a literature bonus that goes Chekhov/Gogol/Gorky (using an example, here). Comments like "wow, that was easy", "where was the hard part in that bonus" etc admittedly are natural thoughts that can come across a seasoned lit player's head. However, think before you speak. The team you're playing against probably hasn't heard of Gogol or Gorky, and your editorial comments only make you look exceptionally arrogant and condescending. Not only does it hurt your reputation, it hurts the game of quiz bowl as well. Some may take those comments and think that is how the majority of quiz bowlers conduct themselves and just become disinterested in an activity they'll think is full of pompous nerds. Yes, I know sometimes its hard not to "grail" a team you're simply better than in terms of experience and knowledge, and when the opportunity presents itself, we all wanna take it. The worst thing you can do is be an [blank]-hole while you're during it. Instead, if you realize this team hasn't had much experience with quiz bowl, perhaps wait and don't power that Calvino tossup off the "Pin steals a Nazi's gun" clue, wait towards the end a bit. Try to be personable and encouraging about the activity and explain how you got so good in the first place (saying you were that good to begin with is a load of crap and does more harm than good), and in a non-patronizing way offer tips on how to improve and be as seemingly good as you were.

Related to conducting yourselves in game, this should be a no-brainer but its still sometimes a problem because this activity always seems to bring out the most obnoxious people ever, but don't say racist and sexist stuff. Don't get too political either, yes it's easy to espouse how much you think Fox News is a not-credible news station, but this is quiz bowl and not politics bowl.

I'm sure I'm missing something, but yeah, if you only take away one thing from this post, always mind your deportment especially if you're trying to be an ambassador of the game. Let's all do our part towards making quiz bowl a welcoming activity that doesn't spurn anyone away, and let's spread the game in whatever way we can.
Thomas Moore
Lancaster Fisher Catholic HS c/o 2014
Ohio Wesleyan University c/o 2018
User avatar
Sniper, No Sniping!
Tidus
 
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:25 pm
Location: Pickerington, OH

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby vinteuil » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:16 am

I like a lot of this post, but I will note that I don't think that the "harder topics" argument is at all controversial; numerous discussions in the past have recognized that good high school sets substantially trim back the world lit and philosophy, to pick too examples from last year.
Jacob Reed
Yale '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens
User avatar
vinteuil
Yuna
 
Posts: 983
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Cheynem » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:25 am

I agree that deportment is good, but the "wait to buzz on things" is not a good idea and is somewhat patronizing--competitors, no matter the skill level, want people actually competing against them. Now, I think it's extremely unclassy to like be up 600-0 and protest minor things or become infuriated at losing one buzzer race and start badmouthing the question--that's bad. But to hold off on buzzing, that's not very enjoyable--in fact, all I can see this doing is aggravating the other team more, when they finally may recognize an answerline only for the other team, which has been sitting on it for some lines, to buzz in anyway.

In short, I would say play a game normally, as all games should be played with good spirit, but play to the best of our skill level no matter the competition. There are obvious differences in a game played when you are up by 300 and a close game, but I don't think intentionally not buzzing should be one of them.
Mike Cheyne
The Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah
User avatar
Cheynem
Auron
 
Posts: 5978
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Adventure Temple Trail » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:26 am

Mr. Scogan wrote: 1/4 of literature in a packet deals with stuff many students have never heard of and will probably never learn in school.


If it's actually true that teams are still writing HS sets where a fourth of the literature is World, they should stop. (Same with 1/1 philosophy.) No high school packet ought to feature more than .5/.5 world literature or philosophy for the reasons you point out. Any high school set which attempts to ask a full 1 tossup and 1 bonus of world literature every packet, or 1/1 philosophy, is attempting to imitate the surface features of college quizbowl (such as its distribution) without understanding why those surface features are there (people in college have more exposure to those subject areas.) What's more, in the case of world lit, the mandating of 1/1 per packet is actually mistaken in its attempt at imitating college quizbowl, since even ACF requires only 1 world lit question total per packet, not 2!. That said, neither NAQT nor HSAPQ has [ever? certainly not in a long time] had 1/1 of either subject per packet, and many of the best independent sets have already reduced their share of both these categories so as to avoid scraping for overhard material. Which current regular-season high school sets are you thinking of which still have that much of either subject?

A very experienced and good team could have a literature bonus that goes Chekhov/Gogol/Gorky (using an example, here). Comments like "wow, that was easy", "where was the hard part in that bonus" etc admittedly are natural thoughts that can come across a seasoned lit player's head. However, think before you speak. The team you're playing against probably hasn't heard of Gogol or Gorky, and your editorial comments only make you look exceptionally arrogant and condescending. Not only does it hurt your reputation, it hurts the game of quiz bowl as well.


I don't believe that great teams ought to go easy on their opponents (good-but-not-quite-great teams certainly shouldn't go easy on any prelim opponents, especially if points per game is being used as a tiebreaker into the playoffs), but the general sentiment about behavior is probably right. Personal: For too long, these sorts of comments were basically second nature to me and came out without filter. I've been called out for making just these kinds of unproductive editorial comments in really non-close games ...a lot of times before, and it's very easy to get a negative reputation to stick to you by chatting away about how bad the questions are while sitting next to a team which isn't getting any of them. In general, during a game setting, it's better to keep all non-answer-giving commentary to a dead minimum. Not just for politeness reasons, either -- it minimizes your chance of talking over some crucial words of the question as the moderator continues.
Matt J.
ex-Georgetown Day HS, ex-Yale
member emeritus, ACF

Sailing away on my copper boat
Adventure Temple Trail
Auron
 
Posts: 2630
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:52 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby The Polebarn Hotel » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:10 am

I'm a freshman. Almost all of my quiz bowl knowledge has not been taught to me in school. I learn things for the fun of learning about them. I love reading books (and Sparknotesing them), and I love looking at art and listening to music. I have almost no educational background in my specialties (philosophy being one of them), but I still manage to get a wide variety of tossups. I'm also kind of biased in this particular discussion because I really like world lit and philosophy. But needless to say, those were not taught to me in school (although I took a World Lit course at ACE).

With that being said, I don't really like the idea of quiz bowl being limited to what people are exposed to in school because, again, I have no exposure to anything in school. And as for new teams... I just don't understand the logic here, and if someone could explain it to me, I'd probably be convinced easily. I don't hold very strongly to my opinion on this. It's only that I feel that good teams shouldn't go easy on mediocre-to-pretty-bad teams, and those same good teams would probably get tossups regardless of whether the answer line is "Haruki Murakami" or "Jane Austen" against those same mediocre-to-bad teams.

Also, as a result of how I learn things, I really don't know what hard actually is. That might be one of my problems; I'd probably define it by how hard the stock clues are to memorize or how many times the answer line comes up in ProtoBowl. So I really don't know.
Casey Wetherbee
Ithaca '17
Georgetown '21
NAQT Writer
User avatar
The Polebarn Hotel
Wakka
 
Posts: 219
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:51 pm
Location: Ithaca, NY

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Theodore » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:33 am

Mr. Scogan wrote:How many schools actually teach authors such as Allende, Coetzee, Gordimer, Keneally, Pamuk, Soyinka, and Tagore? How many high schoolers take English courses with assigned readings such as Journey to the West, Blood Knot, Betrayal by Rita Hayworth and Temple of the Golden Pavilion?

I agree that a lot of world lit (and philosophy, as Matt pointed out) is too difficult for regular high school difficulty, and should be 0.5/0.5 at that level.

However, I don't think I necessarily agree with the logic that "if we don't teach it in schools, we shouldn't ask about it". This can apply to other subjects, such as RMP, philosophy, social science, geography. Like Casey, most of my Quizbowl knowledge was not taught to me in school. Also, incoming grade 9s and 10s seem to always be strongest in geography and mythology, even though there is little to no instruction on this in middle school (well of course there's geography courses in middle sschooll, but I don't THINK kids are taught to memorize capital cities, countries, and prominent features of foreign countries). I can't necessarily explain the strength in geography, but I presume kids are learning a lot of this mythology from popular culture (e.g. Percy Jackson, Disney, films, etc.).

I'm not saying that we should ask lots of questions on stuff way beyond the high school curriculum. I just don't think it should be a significant limiting factor.
Ted (Zefeng) Gan

Carleton University, 2019
Colonel By Secondary School, 2015

Former Executive Member of the Ontario Quizbowl Association (ONQBA), 2015-16
Former NAQT Writer, 2013-2016
User avatar
Theodore
Lulu
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:40 pm
Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Sniper, No Sniping! » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:38 am

TedGan wrote:However...This can apply to other subjects, such as RMP, philosophy, social science, geography.
Point taken, however (you already mentioned philosophy as being too prevalent in quiz bowl in the sentence before?) generally these subjects are either hit or miss. Religion and myth - usually mythology is a common topic students read up on their own if their school doesn't offer a course in it. Social science - this has been discussed before, but social science isn't inherently unaskable, there just isn't a huge canon of answers to it to where you can do 1/1 of it for a tournament, and probably half of what is in quiz bowl's social science canon are generally learnable in a typical high school (honors) psychology course. Geography - generally this come out of a student's own academic interest (because learning where places are and what they are is still pretty cool!) but it can be supplemented by stuff you learn in school.

TedGan wrote: Like Casey, most of my Quizbowl knowledge was not taught to me in school. Also, incoming grade 9s and 10s seem to always be strongest in geography and mythology, even though there is little to no instruction on this in middle school (well of course there's geography courses in middle school, but I don't THINK kids are taught to memorize capital cities, countries, and prominent features of foreign countries). I can't necessarily explain the strength in geography, but I presume kids are learning a lot of this mythology from popular culture (e.g. Percy Jackson, Disney, films, etc.).
A generally good understanding of history can be indicative of geography understanding.

TedGan wrote:I'm not saying that we should ask lots of questions on stuff way beyond the high school curriculum. I just don't think it should be a significant limiting factor.
Perhaps the context of my post wasn't clear, I'm not advocating quiz bowl at the "regular" Saturday tournament level should be purely canonical and "stuff you learn in school", but definitely it should be a lot more prevalent vs the topics I just mentioned. Harder answerlines =/= better quiz bowl. Adam Silverman's set this year showed us that.
Thomas Moore
Lancaster Fisher Catholic HS c/o 2014
Ohio Wesleyan University c/o 2018
User avatar
Sniper, No Sniping!
Tidus
 
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:25 pm
Location: Pickerington, OH

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Adventure Temple Trail » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:58 pm

Mr. Scogan wrote:Social science - this has been discussed before, but social science isn't inherently unaskable, there just isn't a huge canon of answers to it to where you can do 1/1 of it for a tournament, and probably half of what is in quiz bowl's social science canon are generally learnable in a typical high school (honors) psychology course.


Social science shouldn't be asked about at a 1/1 per packet level in high school sets either, and when it is, the preponderance of the questions should be on psychology or economics. Again, though, I'm not sure which sets you're referring to which actually still do contain 1/1 social science per round -- from what I can tell, NAQT never had anywhere close to 1/1 social science per round (it's actually 0.6/0.7 per 24/24), HSAPQ hasn't for ages, and almost every well-regarded high school set has cut down that distribution for the sake of necessity. It's not good to have collegiate or skewed distributions in high school quizbowl, but it's also not good for people to spread false beliefs about what distributions question sets actually use.

EDIT: Looking through some of the mirror requests threads this year, it looks like some sets are still making these distributional mistakes. I agree that insofar as they are, they should stop doing so, to provide a better experience for non-elite teams.
Matt J.
ex-Georgetown Day HS, ex-Yale
member emeritus, ACF

Sailing away on my copper boat
Adventure Temple Trail
Auron
 
Posts: 2630
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:52 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Theodore » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:17 pm

Mr. Scogan wrote:Perhaps the context of my post wasn't clear, I'm not advocating quiz bowl at the "regular" Saturday tournament level should be purely canonical and "stuff you learn in school", but definitely it should be a lot more prevalent vs the topics I just mentioned. Harder answerlines =/= better quiz bowl.

I misunderstood your initial post to some degree; I apologize. I strongly agree with what you're saying here.
Ted (Zefeng) Gan

Carleton University, 2019
Colonel By Secondary School, 2015

Former Executive Member of the Ontario Quizbowl Association (ONQBA), 2015-16
Former NAQT Writer, 2013-2016
User avatar
Theodore
Lulu
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:40 pm
Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby The Polebarn Hotel » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:30 pm

I think that Prison Bowl's distribution of RMP and social science is somewhat absurd; 2.5/2.5 and 1/1, respectively. However, I also believe that philosophy and social science are better grouped together than apart. They're both fundamentally similar, and they're also fairly easy to learn. There are only so many people/works in those two categories in the typical high school canon. And again, I don't really know how hard the two are and how hard certain people/works are in respect to others. That's part of the problem with my quiz bowl knowledge, but I digress.

I wouldn't consider geography a strong point of mine, although I do know most world capitals and I'm trying to learn more on my own, mostly out of self-interest, but also for quiz bowl. I don't think quiz bowl should be more canonical than it currently is.
Casey Wetherbee
Ithaca '17
Georgetown '21
NAQT Writer
User avatar
The Polebarn Hotel
Wakka
 
Posts: 219
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:51 pm
Location: Ithaca, NY

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby The Stately Rhododendron » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:27 am

Doesn't having a special conduct code when playing against new teams make quizbowl seem even more foreboding and esoteric?
Oakland Mills '14 - The Most Unpredictable Team in Quiz Bowl
Yale '18 - Majoring in X Studies
"Field Commander" Isaac KD, "The Savior of the Forest"
User avatar
The Stately Rhododendron
Rikku
 
Posts: 404
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:18 pm
Location: Heart's in the woods

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Joshua Rutsky » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:43 pm

Conduct when playing a new team should be a little different than when playing old hands, but I think the person who should be most aware of this is the coach. When you're playing a team that is new to you or your circuit, you really should make an effort to walk over, shake the hand of the coach for that team, and wish them good luck. Find out where they are from. Offer your e-mail address or an invitation (with discount!) to your next hosted tournament. After the match, if your team just beat the snot out of that other team, don't be a jerk about it. Wish the coach luck in the next rounds, offer a polite "good game" to players, and if one or two of them had some good answers, take a moment to say, "hey, that was a great buzz on that tossup. Keep working!" Don't be patronizing, but be encouraging. Getting beaten by 400 in every round you play at your first tourney is a depressing experience, but it can be an eye-opening one that gets you encouraged or one that pushes you out of the game.

I personally try to remind my kids to "play like you've been there" and to remember that they represent more than themselves--they represent our school and our state, and we have enough negative associations out there about Alabama thanks to Two-A-Days, Honey Boo-Boo, and, well, everything before 1970. Teams that joke around during a match when they are up 200 points on us just feel classless. I remember one match at a national event where we were clearly overmatched (we lost 600-150 or some near version) by a team that was national championship caliber. The moderator basically had an ongoing conversation with two players from the opposing team for the entire match about how the questions were using clear power clues early and what a good job they had done recognizing them. We sat there as the match was drawn out, trying not to feel like we were being insulted by the in jokes about how easy the clues were. It didn't work very well.

Bottom line for me: Coaches need to lead on this. Students need to help. Good post, Tom.
Joshua Rutsky
Coach, Hoover High School, Hoover, AL
Joshua Rutsky
Rikku
 
Posts: 478
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2005 9:59 am
Location: Hoover, AL

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Capitoline » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:07 pm

I agree completely with your thoughts on quizbowl sportsmanship. With regard to World Lit and more obscure RMP topics, I agree that their distributions should be reduced in regular-season sets relative to Nationals, but I'm not sure by how much. Since the amount of this material that students are exposed to varies so greatly from school to school, I worry about the slippery slope of saying "not everyone knows this topic, so we'll cut it completely."
Ben Cushing
Phoenixville '14
Penn '18
Capitoline
Lulu
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:33 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby RexSueciae » Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:59 pm

World literature, as a subject, is not a monolith. There are answerlines that would be impossible for decently experienced teams, let alone novices, but there are also works and authors that should be appropriate for most teams. It's true that most high school literature classes focus on American and British lit (with maybe some of Chekov, a bit of Things Fall Apart, etc.), but the fact is that the amount of literature knowledge that anyone can absorb from a classroom is insufficient to actually play quizbowl on. The only difference between American or British literature and World lit is that with the former two, after negging out or watching the other team make a spectacular power, the average novice team is more likely to think something along the lines of "huh, I've heard about that before," but unless they're playing against a team of comparable experience it's almost as unlikely that they'll get Herman Melville as they would get Nadine Gordimer. In order to get tossups and win games, any team must study. As long as players must study in order to get better at this game, it's certainly worth avoiding an overly Eurocentrist approach to literature distribution by adding stuff that isn't in the "average" high school curriculum. (GSAC adulterates its annual 1/1 World Lit with Ancient Lit, which should be somewhat accessible to people who at least read Oedipus in high school.)

The same applies to social sciences and philosophy--people new to quizbowl might be able to recognize some prominent economists or ancient Greeks at the giveaway, certainly, but unless playing against another team that's just as new they are still going to be crushed. Furthermore, while social science/philosophy is not typically offered at the high school level (neither, usually, is music or religion or much of art, since most basic art classes seem to focus more on creating it than going in-depth into the history), that doesn't mean that colleges are overflowing with classes on the two. Yes, there are a larger number of disciplines to study, and some people actually learn this stuff in college (either through taking a class on a lark, having to fulfill some inane requirement, or through a very poor choice in major), but the assumption that college is a magic quizbowl land where philosophy and social science suddenly become okay is misleading at best. There is also the question as to what will happen with all of the charming young quizbowlers who get their start in highschool, encounter the college game, and immediately hit a wall and quit because they're unused to the sudden influx of two areas that haven't been asked about until now. In order to stay competitive, they'll have to start studying--but why couldn't they have started doing that in high school?

You are absolutely correct that good quizbowl and hard quizbowl are not necessarily the same thing, and that one can have the former along with the latter (PACE's certification program is also open to novice sets, with the added criterion that difficulty must be even more tightly controlled). However, outside of novice tournaments, there is little reason to neuter high school quizbowl by eliminating perfectly good subjects, especially given the fact that this will indirectly affect the college game. (Speaking of novice tournaments, as far as I can tell the ones to be held in recent memory are the following: Minnesota High School Novice, Fall Novice,Triton Novice, IHSSBCA Novice, and SCOP Novice. Of them, I have only found concrete evidence that the latter two, possibly three, are still active. Are the legions of newly-created teams unable to find sufficient novice sets to play on? Should Fall Novice be resurrected? It's worth noting that even at Fall Novice, there were world lit questions being asked, albeit with novice-level clues that were appropriately accessible for a tournament of that level.)

Of course, I fully agree with your sentiments regarding sportsmanship in quizbowl.
Vasa Clarke
Maggie Walker '14
Virginia '18
RexSueciae
Rikku
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:24 am

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:34 am

If you start with the premise that quizbowl rewards knowledge that you learn in school or are likely to learn in school, then you must perform rhetorical twists, turns, and contortions to justify the inclusion of things being argued about in this thread.

If you start with the premise that quizbowl rewards intellectual curiousity, with going to class being just one of the things that intellectually curious people do (they also read books independently in their spare time, attend concerts and plays, etc.), then this problem goes away entirely. It also fits much, much more nicely with the empirical reality of what quizbowl actually tests today!

Fetishists of the classroom interior, you make talking about quizbowl more complex than it has to be! Quizbowl is greater than your classes!
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source
User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
 
Posts: 3093
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Cody » Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:56 am

There's a place to apply the intellectual curiosity argument wholesale – college quizbowl. High school quizbowl is not such a place, and it's why most people fail to produce good, appropriate-difficulty high school sets.
Cody Voight – CBGS ‘09, VCU ‘14. I write lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
VCU Tournament Director ‘13-pres. HSAPQ President ‘15-16.
Hero of Socialist Quizbowl Labor (NSC ‘14). “esteemed colleague” of Snap Wexley, ca. 2016. Stats Hero (Nats ‘16).
Quizbowl at VCU
User avatar
Cody
2008-09 Male Athlete of the Year
 
Posts: 2006
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:57 am
Location: Richmond

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Cheynem » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:27 pm

I'm not entirely sure if I agree with that--intellectual curiosity is a thing in high school too.

Also, I agree with Bruce (shocking!). I think the veneration of "back to the classroom" is a particularly onerous thing in quizbowl.
Mike Cheyne
The Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah
User avatar
Cheynem
Auron
 
Posts: 5978
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Cody » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:34 pm

Cheynem wrote:I'm not entirely sure if I agree with that--intellectual curiosity is a thing in high school too.
Note the keyword wholesale. Obviously you strive to reward intellectual curiosity in high school – else, how would you ever fill a tournament's worth of literature questions? Applying it wholesale leads to the incorrect propagation of college quizbowl distributions to the high school level where they aren't appropriate. World literature and philosophy are subjects that Tom correctly notes should not be represented at the 1/1 level for regular difficulty high school sets, and any argument about "intellectual curiosity" is completely missing the point: these are subjects that high schoolers simply are not acquainted with.
Cody Voight – CBGS ‘09, VCU ‘14. I write lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
VCU Tournament Director ‘13-pres. HSAPQ President ‘15-16.
Hero of Socialist Quizbowl Labor (NSC ‘14). “esteemed colleague” of Snap Wexley, ca. 2016. Stats Hero (Nats ‘16).
Quizbowl at VCU
User avatar
Cody
2008-09 Male Athlete of the Year
 
Posts: 2006
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:57 am
Location: Richmond

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Adventure Temple Trail » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:42 pm

This "curriculum" issue seems pretty simple to me, actually, if we think about it in even more basic terms.

Quizbowl question sets, particularly high school question sets, should not ask about any given topic unless the editors could justify why and how a large swath of the set's target might learn about that topic and consider it important. "This topic is taught in many high school classrooms" is one such justification, and a totally fine justification, for asking many things. There's no reason to shy away from saying, in specific cases, that the widespread teaching of a given subject in high school classes nationwide is sufficient reason for those subjects to come up a lot (examples: The Great Gatsby, polynomials). But other possible justifications exist, and shouldn't be shied away from in cases where an important thing isn't necessarily curricular. Examples: From what I gather, Journey to the West (which Tom mentioned above) isn't taught super-regularly in high school classes, but it's an extremely central part of Chinese culture which basically everyone of Chinese descent learns about, and many other folks learn about it through its influence on other (pop) culture phenomena. Outside literature, the Vikings, a common subject of high school history questions, aren't often taught super-rigorously in high school history classes (if only because AP European History set the norm for European history classes starting their chronology in 1492), but they're a very notable presence in historical fiction/entertainment and history-like books for younger kids.

A question is too difficult for a given question set when its apparent justification doesn't hold water. Embarrassing personal anecdote: I once head-edited a regular high school set which included a tossup on Russian/Soviet author Maxim Gorky. It was way too hard (and later changed to a lit tossup on the USSR for future mirrors). In this case, there wasn't enough reason to claim that Gorky was a major high school curricular staple, even though a select few high schoolers and highly-voracious readers will have read something by him, and there wasn't another justification to reach for either.

I hope we can all agree that "it came up in a lot of packets before" is one totally illegitimate form of justifying the existence of a question.
Last edited by Adventure Temple Trail on Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Matt J.
ex-Georgetown Day HS, ex-Yale
member emeritus, ACF

Sailing away on my copper boat
Adventure Temple Trail
Auron
 
Posts: 2630
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:52 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Auroni » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:18 pm

Cheynem wrote:Also, I agree with Bruce (shocking!). I think the veneration of "back to the classroom" is a particularly onerous thing in quizbowl.


I agree, but make an exception for science, where sticking to classroom curricula is a much better option at the high school level than just asking about things from Wikipedia.
Auroni Gupta
Michigan '17
"I love Milf Money" - Will Nediger
User avatar
Auroni
Auron
 
Posts: 2878
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: ann arbor

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby samus149 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:11 pm

Kenneth Widmerpool wrote:
Cheynem wrote:Also, I agree with Bruce (shocking!). I think the veneration of "back to the classroom" is a particularly onerous thing in quizbowl.


I agree, but make an exception for science, where sticking to classroom curricula is a much better option at the high school level than just asking about things from Wikipedia.


This is true, but even with science there's some topics that are common, like game theory or the fundamental forces, that are definitely not a part of a high school curriculum, but are an integral part of spending an hour skimming science articles on Wikipedia out of boredom. There's nothing wrong with rewarding a little outside knowledge that enough people interested in science come across as part of their studies. This is also how you can justify a tossup on, say, general relativity, even though most students don't learn enough about it in high school to buzz before hearing that it's not special relativity.

Information learned outside the classroom is fair game, as long as there's a decent chance that people will know it from a source besides random packets on Protobowl.
Sean M.
High Technology High School '14
Cornell University '18

The opinions presented in this user's posts have not been approved by High Technology High School Quizbowl Team. Viewer discretion is advised. - Patrick LeBlanc, Captain
User avatar
samus149
Wakka
 
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby RexSueciae » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:36 am

samus149 wrote:Information learned outside the classroom is fair game, as long as there's a decent chance that people will know it from a source besides random packets on Protobowl.

This. With things like, say, world lit, I'd assume there's at least one person out there who actually likes reading books. You get all sorts of people in quizbowl.
Vasa Clarke
Maggie Walker '14
Virginia '18
RexSueciae
Rikku
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:24 am

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Nine-Tenths Ideas » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:54 am

Matt Jackson's post is the post I agree with the most in this thread, by a wide margin. A lot of the other posts make me kind of uncomfortable for reasons I'm not exactly sure I can articulate, but here's an attempt.

RexSueciae wrote:However, outside of novice tournaments, there is little reason to neuter high school quizbowl by eliminating perfectly good subjects, especially given the fact that this will indirectly affect the college game.

I don't think reducing the amount of World Lit or social science in the distribution of a regular high school set to less than 1/1 is "neutering" quizbowl. People keep bringing up intellectual curiosity [or intellectual curiosity's inbred cousin, "spending an hour skimming science articles on Wikipedia"] as a complete rationale for keeping social science and world lit as substantial parts of the quizbowl distribution, but my impression is that even intellectually curious people are going to be less familiar with, say, Asturias than they are with Upton Sinclair. That's not being Americo-centric, necessarily-- it's just people are more likely to heard have heard of more American authors, for that is where you and I have spent our lives. The answer space for stuff that high schoolers have a good chance of coming across outside of quizbowl packets is just smaller for world literature, I think. This could be a point of contention, I guess, but I would not have heard of most world literature outside of quizbowl [beyond the stuff I've read in my college English courses].

RexSueciae wrote:The only difference between American or British literature and World lit is that with the former two, after negging out or watching the other team make a spectacular power, the average novice team is more likely to think something along the lines of "huh, I've heard about that before," but unless they're playing against a team of comparable experience it's almost as unlikely that they'll get Herman Melville as they would get Nadine Gordimer. In order to get tossups and win games, any team must study. As long as players must study in order to get better at this game, it's certainly worth avoiding an overly Eurocentrist approach to literature distribution by adding stuff that isn't in the "average" high school curriculum.

One problem I have here is that that is a big difference. For novice teams, not getting a tossup on something they've heard of is a little less discouraging than not getting a bunch of tossups on a bunch of German philosophers and Japanese authors they've never heard of. The latter fosters an impression that quizbowl asks about impossible. Furthermore, I don't think that "teams have to study at some point, so they'll study things that come up in quizbowl regardless of what they are" is a good justification for asking about things, at least partially because this could be used to justify asking about anything.
It's important to keep in mind that most teams that play a high school set are not quizbowl powerhouses like the teams represented in this thread; most teams are composed of smart kids who might "actually like reading books" but still shouldn't be expected to immediately get tossups on Athol Fugard. There's plenty of room for this stuff at upper-level high school tournaments. Having tossups on things that, realistically, high schoolers should not reasonably be expected to have encountered outside of quizbowl is not a good way of retaining teams.

I also think a preoccupation with how the high school distribution effects the college game is misguided. College quizbowl is just much harder than high school quizbowl all-around; a slight change in distribution isn't going to tip the scales against a new player sticking around one way or the other.

Finally, I have no idea what this means:
RexSueciae wrote:Yes, there are a larger number of disciplines to study, and some people actually learn this stuff in college (either through taking a class on a lark, having to fulfill some inane requirement, or through a very poor choice in major)

Are you defending having stuff in quizbowl that you don't even think is worth majoring in? What's with the dig at art, music, social science majors?
Isaac Hirsch
University of Maryland '14
Never Gonna Play Again
User avatar
Nine-Tenths Ideas
Auron
 
Posts: 1547
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:14 pm
Location: MD

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby AKKOLADE » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:12 am

Emily Krok wrote:Finally, I have no idea what this means:
RexSueciae wrote:Yes, there are a larger number of disciplines to study, and some people actually learn this stuff in college (either through taking a class on a lark, having to fulfill some inane requirement, or through a very poor choice in major)

Are you defending having stuff in quizbowl that you don't even think is worth majoring in? What's with the dig at art, music, social science majors?

STEM OR GET OUT JOB CREATORS WEB 2.0 21ST CENTURY ECONOMY LIVESTREAM TO BLOGOSPHERE
Fred Morlan
PACE Vice President of Outreach, 2017-18
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, PACE member (former President and At Large member of Board), NAQT writer (former subject editor), HSAPQ freelance writer, former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT Tournament Director
User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
 
Posts: 14527
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Big Y » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:15 am

RexSueciae wrote:The only difference between American or British literature and World lit is that with the former two, after negging out or watching the other team make a spectacular power, the average novice team is more likely to think something along the lines of "huh, I've heard about that before," but unless they're playing against a team of comparable experience it's almost as unlikely that they'll get Herman Melville as they would get Nadine Gordimer.


I could use some clarification on what this is implying. Is the assumption that teams don't play opponents of comparable experience? Is the assumption that when teams play opponents of comparable experience, then it doesn't matter unless those comparable experiences include having heard Gordimer tossups?
David Reinstein
PACE President, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT, IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)
User avatar
Big Y
Auron
 
Posts: 4141
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:08 am
Location: Chicagoland

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby RexSueciae » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:30 pm

Emily Krok wrote:I don't think reducing the amount of World Lit or social science in the distribution of a regular high school set to less than 1/1 is "neutering" quizbowl. People keep bringing up intellectual curiosity [or intellectual curiosity's inbred cousin, "spending an hour skimming science articles on Wikipedia"] as a complete rationale for keeping social science and world lit as substantial parts of the quizbowl distribution, but my impression is that even intellectually curious people are going to be less familiar with, say, Asturias than they are with Upton Sinclair. That's not being Americo-centric, necessarily-- it's just people are more likely to heard have heard of more American authors, for that is where you and I have spent our lives. The answer space for stuff that high schoolers have a good chance of coming across outside of quizbowl packets is just smaller for world literature, I think. This could be a point of contention, I guess, but I would not have heard of most world literature outside of quizbowl [beyond the stuff I've read in my college English courses].

A quick jaunt over to quinterest shows that Miguel Ángel Asturias and/or his works have come up in the following tournaments: Terrapin Invitational, MELD (for El Señor Presidente), Chicago Open Literature, Chipola Lit + Fine Arts, HSAPQ NASAT Tryout Set (for "Guatemala"), and Mahfouz Memorial Lit. Asturias is a terrible answerline choice for highschool not because he's world lit, but because he's excessively obscure world lit that one wouldn't expect high schoolers to know about, and comparing him with Upton Sinclair seems rather unfair. In regular-difficulty high school quizbowl, I'd expect people to maybe know something of Rushdie, Achebe, Paton, Neruda, García Márquez, Tale of Genji, and/or most of the notable ancient Greek or Chinese works, just to name a few, even without excessive studying. Writing 1/1 world lit with answerlines that one could reasonably expect high schoolers to know should be possible.

Emily Krok wrote:One problem I have here is that that is a big difference. For novice teams, not getting a tossup on something they've heard of is a little less discouraging than not getting a bunch of tossups on a bunch of German philosophers and Japanese authors they've never heard of. The latter fosters an impression that quizbowl asks about impossible. Furthermore, I don't think that "teams have to study at some point, so they'll study things that come up in quizbowl regardless of what they are" is a good justification for asking about things, at least partially because this could be used to justify asking about anything.
It's important to keep in mind that most teams that play a high school set are not quizbowl powerhouses like the teams represented in this thread; most teams are composed of smart kids who might "actually like reading books" but still shouldn't be expected to immediately get tossups on Athol Fugard. There's plenty of room for this stuff at upper-level high school tournaments. Having tossups on things that, realistically, high schoolers should not reasonably be expected to have encountered outside of quizbowl is not a good way of retaining teams.

Do you think that high school quizbowl tournaments should have greater diversity of difficulties? More novice/low-difficulty tournaments, and question sets written all along the scale from "dead easy" to "pre-nationals" in order to satisfy everyone? I get your point that there is, indeed, a difference, but restricting answerlines solely to topics that we can expect novices to have heard of is a big step towards creating a novice tournament. As regards to Fugard, quinterest shows him being tossed up at ACF Fall, ACF Nationals (for The Road to Mecca), ACF Winter (for Master Harold...and the Boys), EFT, NASAT (for Master Harold...and the Boys), Penn Bowl (for the same), Sun n Fun (for The Blood Knot), Chicago Open Literature (for Boesman and Lena), Mahfouz Memorial Lit, PACE NSC, Prison Bowl, and THUNDER, not to mention several instances of "South Africa" common link using him or his works. The only "regular difficulty" tournament here that tossed him up was the 2009 Prison Bowl, with the remainder being nationals or college-level tournaments. Fugard doesn't seem like a regular-difficulty tossup answerline.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think one of the problems here is lack of consensus on what constitutes "regular difficulty" for high school quizbowl in the first place.

Emily Krok wrote:I also think a preoccupation with how the high school distribution effects the college game is misguided. College quizbowl is just much harder than high school quizbowl all-around; a slight change in distribution isn't going to tip the scales against a new player sticking around one way or the other.

"A slight change in distribution" is exactly what kicked off this thread. Would social science, philosophy, and world lit alone be enough to drive off new high school players?

Emily Krok wrote:What's with the dig at art, music, social science majors?

My wording was unclear. I have great respect for people who major in the arts, and social science is too broad a category for me to condemn altogether (incidentally, the very fact that we categorize economics, psychology, anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, etc. under the same roof is one of the reasons that I feel social science is worth having a 1/1 distribution: even new players might have contact with one or more of those subdivisions). The point I was trying to make was that conforming to the average curriculum of whatever level of quizbowl one is playing is rather silly, because the average college student doesn't study much philosophy in college, but philosophy is included in college quizbowl anyways.
Vasa Clarke
Maggie Walker '14
Virginia '18
RexSueciae
Rikku
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:24 am

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Dominator » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:17 pm

RexSueciae wrote:In regular-difficulty high school quizbowl, I'd expect people to maybe know something of Rushdie, Achebe, Paton, Neruda, García Márquez, Tale of Genji, and/or most of the notable ancient Greek or Chinese works, just to name a few, even without excessive studying. Writing 1/1 world lit with answerlines that one could reasonably expect high schoolers to know should be possible.


Saying that since there are more than six answerlines in a subcategory THEREFORE we can make it 1/1 is a nonsequitur. A tournament needs roughly 15 tossups and 15 bonuses to make up a 1/1 subdistribution, which involves 60 separate answerlines. This is all not to mention that categories should have some variety from tournament to tournament instead of tossing up the exact same 6+ things every time. It is for this reason that most (all?) who have written several regular difficulty sets eventually give up on notions like World Lit and Philosophy appearing at 1/1.
Dr. Noah Prince

Normal Community High School (2002)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2004)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2007)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2008)

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy - Scholastic Bowl coach (2009-2014), assistant coach (2014-2015), well wisher (2015-2016)
guy in San Diego (2016-present)
User avatar
Dominator
Rikku
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:16 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby RexSueciae » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:31 pm

Dominator wrote:Saying that since there are more than six answerlines in a subcategory THEREFORE we can make it 1/1 is a nonsequitur. A tournament needs roughly 15 tossups and 15 bonuses to make up a 1/1 subdistribution, which involves 60 separate answerlines. This is all not to mention that categories should have some variety from tournament to tournament instead of tossing up the exact same 6+ things every time. It is for this reason that most (all?) who have written several regular difficulty sets eventually give up on notions like World Lit and Philosophy appearing at 1/1.

I could certainly have listed out a full tournament's worth of world lit answerlines beyond those examples. I figured it was unnecessary, though, since GSAC has written 1/1 World Lit, Philosophy, and Social Science since time immemorial.

Or, if I'm being prejudiced, I'd like to bring forth the counterexample of Prison Bowl VII, which is planned to deliver 1/1 World Lit, 1/1 Social Science, and 0.75/0.75 Philosophy, and which is one of the consistently cited "regular difficulty" sets out there.
Vasa Clarke
Maggie Walker '14
Virginia '18
RexSueciae
Rikku
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:24 am

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby AKKOLADE » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:37 pm

RexSueciae wrote:
Dominator wrote:Or, if I'm being prejudiced, I'd like to bring forth the counterexample of Prison Bowl VII, which is planned to deliver 1/1 World Lit, 1/1 Social Science, and 0.75/0.75 Philosophy, and which is one of the consistently cited "regular difficulty" sets out there.


Prison Bowl has actually switched from being one of the more accessible sets to being one of the more difficult housewrites; decisions such as that are probably a non-trivial part of that.
Fred Morlan
PACE Vice President of Outreach, 2017-18
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, PACE member (former President and At Large member of Board), NAQT writer (former subject editor), HSAPQ freelance writer, former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT Tournament Director
User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
 
Posts: 14527
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby RexSueciae » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:51 pm

...before we continue, could we take a moment to define "regular difficulty" and/or identify where specific question sets stand on the big scale?
Vasa Clarke
Maggie Walker '14
Virginia '18
RexSueciae
Rikku
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:24 am

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Big Y » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:56 pm

RexSueciae wrote:...before we continue, could we take a moment to define "regular difficulty" and/or identify where specific question sets stand on the big scale?


Fred keeps track of how difficult sets are. You can see his results here. You can use the links on the right to see recent years. The idea is that if you take a team's PPB on a particular set and add in the adjustment, you can find out how that team would do on an IS set. Sets probably should be between -1 and 1 to be considered more or less regular difficulty. GSAC is a -0.93 so far this year, so it is on the easier side of regular difficulty.

When looking at these, it is important to keep in mind that these are just bonus conversion. A set can be difficult because the tossup answers are difficult or many of the tossup clues are difficult, leading to, respectively, low conversion or consistently late conversion on tossups.
David Reinstein
PACE President, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT, IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)
User avatar
Big Y
Auron
 
Posts: 4141
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:08 am
Location: Chicagoland

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby pajaro bobo » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:24 pm

ether a go-go wrote:Fred keeps track of how difficult sets are. You can see his results here.

That's last year's conversions. This year's is here. (GSAC is -0.04 this year.)
Alex Liu
Georgia Tech '1X
Chattahoochee '13
User avatar
pajaro bobo
Wakka
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:12 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby at your pleasure » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:32 pm

RexSueciae wrote:A quick jaunt over to quinterest shows that Miguel Ángel Asturias and/or his works have come up in the following tournaments: Terrapin Invitational, MELD (for El Señor Presidente), Chicago Open Literature, Chipola Lit + Fine Arts, HSAPQ NASAT Tryout Set (for "Guatemala"), and Mahfouz Memorial Lit. Asturias is a terrible answerline choice for highschool not because he's world lit, but because he's excessively obscure world lit that one wouldn't expect high schoolers to know about, and comparing him with Upton Sinclair seems rather unfair. In regular-difficulty high school quizbowl, I'd expect people to maybe know something of Rushdie, Achebe, Paton, Neruda, García Márquez, Tale of Genji, and/or most of the notable ancient Greek or Chinese works, just to name a few, even without excessive studying. Writing 1/1 world lit with answerlines that one could reasonably expect high schoolers to know should be possible.

Yea, I'm not sure "1/1 world like that consists of the same 12/12 or so on the same things that are going to become functionally identical as writers exhaust the available clues, plus a few absurdly hard things to fill things out" is a massive improvement over "15/15 world that is entirely too damn hard. There's no shame in admitting that intellectually curious high schoolers are going to have an easier time running into a less famous Dostoyevsky book or reading the book of Psalms with a commentary that explains their cultural context than running into Asturias or reading the Vendidad.
Douglas Graebner, Walt Whitman HS 10, Uchicago 14
"... imagination acts upon man as really as does gravitation, and may kill him as certainly as a dose of prussic acid."-Sir James Frazer,The Golden Bough

http://avorticistking.wordpress.com/
User avatar
at your pleasure
Auron
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 7:56 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl: The Esoteric Subjects, Deportment, et al

Postby Auroni » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:31 pm

. Writing 1/1 world lit with answerlines that one could reasonably expect high schoolers to know should be possible.


Take it from someone who has written world literature for many high school sets: no.
Auroni Gupta
Michigan '17
"I love Milf Money" - Will Nediger
User avatar
Auroni
Auron
 
Posts: 2878
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: ann arbor


Return to High school area archives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests