Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

This forum is for discussing tournament formats, question styles, strategy, and such.
Post Reply
jij03
Lulu
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:49 pm

Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by jij03 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:07 pm

Greetings,

I am currently a Sophomore player affiliated with a team involved in MOQBA. I am a Generalist for sure, but fall under the "Specialist Level Knowledge in Multiple Subjects" type. Those would include Geography, History, Music, and Neuroscience" The issue is, Geography and Neuroscience rarely come up, and Music is a 50/50 thing for me. We already have a History specialist and he gets pissed whenever I steal points from him. My strong-suit is definitely geography (Power frequently within 1-2 lines). It is frustrating to be so specialized. So i'd like to hear a recommendation on subjects to branch out on to improve my PPG and be a more value-able asset to my team.
Aidan "Hàn" McWilliams
Fort Osage High School '21

jonathanshauf
Lulu
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 12:25 am

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by jonathanshauf » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:24 am

You can definitely have two history specialists on the same team. On my team, our lead two scorers are primarily history players (one of which is me). It does work well, though, if you can subdivide the History cannon, as I'm mainly US and our other lead scorer does mostly world. However, if there is an area that you would enjoy studying and your team is weak in, then go for it.
Jonathan Shauf, TJ Classical 2020

The Billiards Fool
Wakka
Posts: 199
Joined: Wed May 06, 2015 2:09 pm

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by The Billiards Fool » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:55 am

Overlap is a good thing! If you have subject overlap (even within the same subcategory) it helps alot both on bonuses—big help for converting hard parts where one of you can help lead the other by providing helpful context—and for covering each other's bad games. I know that this requires convincing your teammate not to get mad but I would try and explain why it's helpful and how it'll help you win.
Emmett Laurie
East Brunswick '16
Rutgers University '20

joshxu
Lulu
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:25 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by joshxu » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:16 am

Unlike geography, in which one specialist can rather easily power half the questions, history is a subject that you can always have multiple specialists in, due to its distribution and other factors. Even if your teammate gets the lion's share of history questions, there will always be gaps on tossups or bonuses that you can fill. In general, if you feel there is a subject that you are interested in (especially if it's one of your team's weaknesses), that would be a good subject to branch out to.
Josh Xu

Santa Monica High School (Class of 2021)
Quiz Bowl Captain
De Facto "Club President"

User avatar
A Very Long Math Tossup
Rikku
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:02 pm
Location: Boulder, CO
Contact:

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by A Very Long Math Tossup » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:39 am

jij03 wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:07 pm
We already have a History specialist and he gets pissed whenever I steal points from him.
It's great that you want to branch out more, but this really needs to be addressed. Unless you're wantonly negging him out of things he's likely to know, he should be happy that the team is getting tossups earlier than it otherwise would have: there's always the chance that your opponent could buzz on the next clue. The only place that individual points matter is for PPG rankings, and everyone who looks at PPGs knows that they're an imperfect measure of skill anyway.

If this keeps happening, either you, your coach, or your captain needs to have a talk with him and tell him that shadow effects exist and he's not entitled to points.
Matt Mitchell
Colorado '20
Treasure Valley '16
QBNotify creator, Colorado Quiz Bowl founder, PACE member

User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by vinteuil » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:05 am

There's no such thing as "stealing" points. Whoever buzzes first gets them. That's always good for your team—you increase your chance of beating another team to the question.

(It's of course fair for your teammate to think that your efforts would be better spent in another part of the distribution. Opportunity cost.)
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

alexdz
Rikku
Posts: 381
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:29 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by alexdz » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:20 am

The above advice all holds true - there should be nothing wrong with you also specializing in history.

To provide a more direct answer to your original question, based on your interests, it seems like other aspects of fine arts might be an easy access point for you (art and history are interwoven in interesting ways), and also perhaps the social science parts of the distribution - sociology, poli sci, and economics in particular are tied into history in fairly direct ways, while psychology has obvious connections to neuroscience. Perhaps these fields would start to give you an identity for your team outside of what you have mentioned while not being so different than your existing interests.
Alex Dzurick
====
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
Coach, Harcum College (PA)
====
Former midwesterner (South Callaway - Mizzou - UIUC) coping with life on the east coast.

High Dependency Unit
Rikku
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:45 pm

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by High Dependency Unit » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:32 pm

Hey, so I also started out as a geography specialist and expanded from there (though I was a generalist once I reached high school). I'd strongly encourage you to study history (what grade is your teammate in? If he's a senior then you'll need to replace those points next year), and as people have already said, there's room for multiple history players on one team. If you like neuro, you could look at expanding in biology or chemistry a little bit, and I'd second Alex's suggestion to look at fine arts.

I'd also recommend at least considering literature to some extent. I'm not saying you need to go out and sparknote Jane Austen novels, but if you enjoy reading certain prose or poetry I would encourage you to read novels, novellas, short stories, and poems that come up in quiz bowl. There's no way for one individual to read everything, so you can definitely have a positive contribution to your team in this area as well.
Michael Borecki
Middlesex Middle '13,
Darien (co-captain) '17,
Bowdoin College (club president) '21
NHBB Regional Coordinator
www.ctquizbowl.org

jij03
Lulu
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:49 pm

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by jij03 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:42 pm

If this keeps happening, either you, your coach, or your captain needs to have a talk with him and tell him that shadow effects exist and he's not entitled to points.
Oh trust me, I have had various talks with my coach. I've got 2 teammates who are quite "Pissy" with me, every "wrong" move i make they pointlessly bring up for hours on end on the bus rides to tournaments (as we live in the KC area and all the good stuff is in Columbia and st. louis area) I think it's an issue of arrogance. My coach and I are at the point that we can joke about it. The history guy in question is our lead scorer and as one would expect, someone with a large amount of talent is more likely to posses a level of arrogance. The other issue guy is one of A-team's co-captains. The other captain is the most laid back guy EVER. and when I'm just with him quiz bowl is actually enjoyable. If FOHS wants to have any chance at making nationals this year (As we've lost our Top 3 players) I have to be on a team with those folks. After a while I've just learned to ignore it. Another theory I have is that they view me as a threat to their talent. Who knows. Maybe my study in psychology will give me an answer to that :wink:

Thank you very much for you concern! Nice to branch out from "Middle a' nowhere Missoura"
Aidan "Hàn" McWilliams
Fort Osage High School '21

jij03
Lulu
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:49 pm

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by jij03 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:44 pm

joshxu wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:16 am
In general, if you feel there is a subject that you are interested in (especially if it's one of your team's weaknesses), that would be a good subject to branch out to.
I have taken this advice to heart! thank you.
Aidan "Hàn" McWilliams
Fort Osage High School '21

jij03
Lulu
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:49 pm

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by jij03 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:47 pm

vinteuil wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:05 am
There's no such thing as "stealing" points. Whoever buzzes first gets them. That's always good for your team—you increase your chance of beating another team to the question.

(It's of course fair for your teammate to think that your efforts would be better spent in another part of the distribution. Opportunity cost.)
I see your name quite a bit when it comes to QB. Thanks for the reply!
Aidan "Hàn" McWilliams
Fort Osage High School '21

jij03
Lulu
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:49 pm

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by jij03 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:52 pm

alexdz wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:20 am
The above advice all holds true - there should be nothing wrong with you also specializing in history.

To provide a more direct answer to your original question, based on your interests, it seems like other aspects of fine arts might be an easy access point for you (art and history are interwoven in interesting ways), and also perhaps the social science parts of the distribution - sociology, poli sci, and economics in particular are tied into history in fairly direct ways, while psychology has obvious connections to neuroscience. Perhaps these fields would start to give you an identity for your team outside of what you have mentioned while not being so different than your existing interests.
Hey Hey! an MOQBA man! Thanks for the advice. This all rings true for my attack at studying. Fantastic to see that my plan has some backing. As I am affiliated with FOHS, My coach had a conversation with Jeffery Hill in regards to me. JH recommended that I branch out and I get played in EVERY NAQT tournament. SO there's a little justification as to why I am posting this. Thanks again!
Aidan "Hàn" McWilliams
Fort Osage High School '21

jij03
Lulu
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:49 pm

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by jij03 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:54 pm

joshxu wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:16 am
Unlike geography, in which one specialist can rather easily power half the questions, history is a subject that you can always have multiple specialists in, due to its distribution and other factors. Even if your teammate gets the lion's share of history questions, there will always be gaps on tossups or bonuses that you can fill. In general, if you feel there is a subject that you are interested in (especially if it's one of your team's weaknesses), that would be a good subject to branch out to.
We are in the same class! Cool to get somebody close to an ocean being in Missouri. Thanks for the advice!
Aidan "Hàn" McWilliams
Fort Osage High School '21

jij03
Lulu
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:49 pm

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by jij03 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:59 pm

High Dependency Unit wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:32 pm
Hey, so I also started out as a geography specialist and expanded from there (though I was a generalist once I reached high school). I'd strongly encourage you to study history (what grade is your teammate in? If he's a senior then you'll need to replace those points next year)
Hi there, I see you quite a bit around the QB community. So having "High Profile" people means a lot

Unfortunately, the guy in question is my age (Sophomore) and I wont be able to shake him.

Thanks for the advice!
Aidan "Hàn" McWilliams
Fort Osage High School '21

User avatar
Jangar
Lulu
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:31 am

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by Jangar » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:26 am

I'd definitely agree that nailing down a solid specialty in one of the four major subjects (history, literature, science, or arts) could help both your team and PPG. Geography is probably the most similar to history, in my opinion, but depending on how good your history specialist (and how angry he gets when you take points away from him), it may be more worthwhile to go with one of the other three subjects.

That being said, as someone who was once in a similar position of being a semi-generalist forced out of majoring in history by a teammate, don't try to prohibit yourself from studying history. If it's something you're interested in, then you might as well put some effort into it. Plus, even if you take questions away from your teammate, points are points, and you getting those questions before him/her is a better alternative than losing them to the other team. In my case, the "history specialist" who forced me out of my spot ended up drifting away from history anyway, so I've ended up having to take over most of the history as well; this could happen to you, or you could be placed on a team that doesn't have that history specialist, so at least having a basic background in history may prove helpful.

Still, between the other major categories, arts is probably your best bet, given that you already have some background in music. However, arts questions also come up less than other categories in some sets, usually with around three arts questions for four science, literature, or history questions in every set. That's not to say it's not worth studying if your team lacks it; three questions is still a massive portion of the points in a game.

If you decide you want to go into literature or science, however, literature may be easier. Science is definitely the hardest subject to get started in, just because of the depth that can occur in so many areas. On low- to medium-level questions, for example, literature questions will generally only ask about the plots/characters/authors/etc of literary works, so if you read the work itself (or all of the works by an author, I guess) you have a nearly 100% chance to recognize at least one of the clues, and probably an early clue. With science, there's so much content to draw from that you could read an entire textbook on a subject and still not assuredly know all of the clues. I'm not a science major, though, so this might just be my perspective.

TL;DR: Study what you want, but arts and lit may be best.
Angus Maske
Paul Laurence Dunbar HS '19
Stanford '23

jij03
Lulu
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:49 pm

Re: Generalist/Geography Specialist Desiring to Branch Out

Post by jij03 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:45 pm

Jangar wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:26 am

TL;DR: Study what you want, but arts and lit may be best.
Thanks for the Input! I appreciate how in-depth. You were definitely in my shoes. I came to that conclusion as well. Hence why I created a thread for Art History Cannon.
Aidan "Hàn" McWilliams
Fort Osage High School '21

Post Reply