Peaceful Resolution Discussion

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Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:24 pm

This is an open thread to discuss Peaceful Resolution. Please let me know if you'd like to see the text of a particular question.
Last edited by Tees-Exe Line on Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by ryanrosenberg » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:25 pm

This should probably be in the Collegiate Discussion forum.

edit: moved
Last edited by ryanrosenberg on Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by I'm a goff (in case you couldn't tell) » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:26 pm

It already is.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Auroni » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:44 pm

It might be helpful if someone could email me with the question set. auronigupta AT gmail
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Papa's in the House » Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:28 pm

Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:It might be helpful if someone could email me with the question set. auronigupta AT gmail
No one gets access to this set!
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:49 am

This was a decent set--it certainly was an improvement over both Sack of Antwerp and IO from last year, especially in terms of accessible answers (it didn't really play to my strengths, but I also didn't feel continually puzzled either).

Rather than get to what I liked, let me start off with what I didn't like.

1. The history felt like one of the weakest portions. What the frick was that tossup on Frederick the Great? Why is a tossup on "California missions" dropping Junipero Serra at seemingly in the middle portion of it? Why is a tossup on the Belgian independence struggle putting The Mute Girl of Portici so early? There were a lot of other tossups in which the answer space contracted very quickly.

2. Bonuses were extremely, extremely erratic. There were a lot of bonuses with no discernable easy part (again, mostly in the history).

More later.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:10 am

I mainly agree with Mike Cheyne about the set. I thought it was an improvement over Sack of Antwerp and IO from last year, but still had some problems, especially in the history, which seemed like the weakest part of the set. I'll post some specific issues I had with the history tomorrow, but for now here are some general comments:

For the most part, I liked the visual art in this tournament. One exception was the tossup on playing cards, which suffered from a non-specificity problem that several other questions throughout the set had. The second clue of the tossup was along the lines of, "It's not descending the Missouri, but boatmen engage in this activity in a Bingham painting". I guess you're talking about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Georg ... _Cards.jpg, but there's an equally valid answer of dancing, as seen by http://www.nga.gov/education/classroom/ ... oatmen.htm. This could have been avoided by more carefully describing the card playing painting.

Another thing I noticed throughout the set was a lot of dropping of specific dates early in tossups. While this isn't always a problem, this often times narrows down the potential answers significantly and adds an element of transparency to questions, by which I mean you can come to the conclusion that "well, you just said this person wrote this thing in 1890 and gave German sounding names, so I can, without knowing the specifics of the work, reasonably guess that you've limited the answer space to X".
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Ringil » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:20 am

I felt like some of the pronoun usage was pretty suboptimal. Also, many of the bonuses seemed to lack an easy part. The bonus (that we did not hear) of Shapur/Khosrau I/Khosrau II seems to exemplify the lack of easy parts in many bonuses, perhaps moreso in American History.

Also, I agree with Mike Cheyne that the tossup on Frederick the Great was pretty abysmal.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:25 am

Oh yeah, pronouns. I usually don't have this problem at tournaments, but i did numerous times at this one. Please NEVER say "This ____" unless it refers to what you want people to buzz in and answer with. Maybe I just heard moderators wrong all day, but I swear I heard tossup construction like this several times: "This country was led by a figure who dressed all in black. This man smoked a cigar every day and had red underwear. This country he led..."
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Papa's in the House » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:09 am

Can you please post the moral hazard tossup?
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:34 am

I agree that the set was an improvement over last year's, but honestly it was kind of bad overall. Some of the recurring problems:

--Unhelpful clues. There were two variants of this issue. The first is exemplified by that Philip K. Dick tossup, which went on and on about some speech he gave at Disneyland that nobody had ever heard of, and then threw a couple easier clues at you. This style is pretty much guaranteed to lead to a buzzer race, as it did many times. The other variant was when tossups gave you clues that really narrowed it down pretty early on, but then didn't give you anything specific after that. The Hockney tossup, for instance, gave you "This British artist who is still painting things" in the first couple lines, then went blithely on about his brushstrokes and flower-painting for a while. You basically had to go in off of what the question sort of sounded like it was attempting to get at, which led to a lot of negs when the question was misleading.

--Seemingly no effort was put into making bonuses even. I will say that a large number of the bonuses were very reasonable, which was good. However, this made the "cute" and "clever" bonuses on Khosrau's and Artaxerxes's stand out, not to mention that bonus on that existential psychologist.

--Very, very clear biases from the writers. James Frazer and Mircea Eliade must have been mentioned 6 times each; every packet seemed to have a theme, like the one with two bonuses that asked for a contemporary Marxist literary critic from the UK; and bonuses that tried to make a point, like the question on "dowry," were not uncommon. Unless you were playing a huge Mircea Eliade fan, this didn't hugely impact play, but it got pretty grating after a while.

There were some improvements from last year's set. Other than the occasional awful tossup on the Corinthian War, tossup answerlines seemed to be mostly sane, and not too much was going dead. There were a lot of reasonable bonuses, despite the contrast this made with the not-so-reasonable ones. Lit seemed to focus too much on really random, trivial things, but overall it was written competently. I had fun, despite my frequent frustration. The main areas to focus on for the future are: using clues that people have a chance at knowing, writing those clues specifically enough that people don't have to guess what you're trying to get at, and figuring out a coherent vision for bonuses.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Gautam » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:42 pm

Speaking on the science part (really, only the biology, chem tossups, and about 60% of the physics, and earth sci/astro) as someone who only saw the production of the set, didn't see it get played:

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this was the first time writing for some of the science writers. Given that, I think they did a pretty good job. They addressed my comments quickly and did a fairly good job digging up interesting clues and ideas. George had a couple of interesting physiology questions, Zach had some neat astro and Sam had solid physics questions. They all had fairly good judgement of the level of technical detail to provide in the clues. Marshall wrote all of the earth science, I think... most of the questions for that had little Gautamification. Only the writers were involved in the assembly of the set so they'd be the ones to ask about specifics.

My role was mostly limited to the advisory role a la what Seth T did with Fall 09. I gave suggestions on clue placement, phrasing, and commented on transparency issues if I saw any. I did not make any changes myself. A lot of my comments were in the form of "move this clue down a couple of lines" or "don't drop this name here." On some other occasions, I advised adding harder/easier clues when I didn't see as much difficulty gradation as I would have liked, or suggested reconstructing sentences to flow better in quizbowlese.

Besides that, I went through some of the questions, providing similar comments re: difficulty, clue placement, sentence construction. I only wrote one question for this tournament (the TU on great lakes.) I'm not sure if any changes were made after I sent it over. If you have any qualms about that TU, fire away, I guess!

EDIT: will someone with a good packet archive search for the number of occurrences of Mihalyi Czikszentmihalyi? If he were a staple at ACF, my dad would own the hell out of qb Social Science
Last edited by Gautam on Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Sam » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:49 pm

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the set and also those like Jonathan Magin, Gautam Kandlikar, and Jeremy Eaton who offered their writing/editing/advising services with very short notice. I'm curious to hear specific complaints people had about the non-economics social science, physics, and math, which were the subjects I wrote the bulk of my questions in; my email is smbailey1 snail uchicago dot com.
Cernel Joson wrote:
--Very, very clear biases from the writers. James Frazer and Mircea Eliade must have been mentioned 6 times each; every packet seemed to have a theme, like the one with two bonuses that asked for a contemporary Marxist literary critic from the UK; and bonuses that tried to make a point, like the question on "dowry," were not uncommon. Unless you were playing a huge Mircea Eliade fan, this didn't hugely impact play, but it got pretty grating after a while.

There were some improvements from last year's set. Other than the occasional awful tossup on the Corinthian War, tossup answerlines seemed to be mostly sane, and not too much was going dead. There were a lot of reasonable bonuses, despite the contrast this made with the not-so-reasonable ones. Lit seemed to focus too much on really random, trivial things, but overall it was written competently. I had fun, despite my frequent frustration. The main areas to focus on for the future are: using clues that people have a chance at knowing, writing those clues specifically enough that people don't have to guess what you're trying to get at, and figuring out a coherent vision for bonuses.
I think you may be seeing too much into biases. Frazer and Eliade both came up twice, which is not ideal but also what happens when different writers are covering similar topics. I don't remember a bonus on "dowry;" there was one on "bride price" which I wrote not to make a point but because it seemed like an easy part that was still relevant to the rest of the bonus. I bring this up not to defend those individual bonuses, but because I know Ike at least made a concerted effort to avoid vanity questions and I think succeeded. (Marxist literary critics maybe being an exception.)
Bonus variability was a huge problem overall, and I apologize to any teams who narrowly lost a match because their last bonus was on R.D. Laing or tertiary conquistadores, as happened at least once at our site.

EDIT: Gautam is correct in that this was the first time many of the writers wrote science, and so I'm especially interested in what people thought about that as it's less likely I'll already know what things worked and what things didn't in those categories.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:03 pm

Hmm, can the dowry bonus get posted? We definitely answered "dowry" and got 10 points after the question said "opposite of bride price," so I'm not sure if that got changed last minute or something went wrong or what.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Sam » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:10 pm

Cernel Joson wrote:Hmm, can the dowry bonus get posted? We definitely answered "dowry" and got 10 points after the question said "opposite of bride price," so I'm not sure if that got changed last minute or something went wrong or what.
Whoops, you're completely right. The question in its entirety:
19. Thousands have been displaced by the fighting between its White Army and the Murle tribe. For 10 points each:
[10] Name these people of Africa who are the subject of a book about their Kinship and Marriage. Their feuds are
settled with cattle, traditionally forty.
ANSWER: Nuer people
[10] Forty cattle are also used for bride price, the opposite of this practice. It involves a woman’s family paying a
groom in order to offset the cost of adding the bride to the groom’s household.
ANSWER: dowry
[10] Aside from Kinship and Marriage, Evans-Pritchard’s other works include a study of these people’s witchcraft,
oracles, and magic. One of their notable rituals was poisoning a chicken in order to ascertain the truth of a situation.
ANSWER: Azande
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:13 pm

I'm happy to have people's criticism. I'll say a couple of things in response to what's here:

1. It just isn't true that "no effort" was put into correcting bonus variability. The problems are purely due to my lack of sense of what answers are easy/medium/hard, because I assure you that I thought a lot about making sure bonuses were uniform. For instance, both the Achaemenidian and Sassanian (not to mention the Russian) emperors bonuses consisted of answers that I considered easy, medium, and hard. So I definitely need to work on correctly assessing that, but there was no intention to be misleading or clever or cute in any of that.

2. I would say it's interesting to see how pre-conceptions impact assessment. I guess Matt is referring to the "dowry" bonus because in this forum we've discussed a dowry question I wrote, but I had very little to do with that bonus in this tournament. I certainly didn't feel as though it "tried to prove a point," and I think that Ike changed a different answer line to "dowry" late in the game because what had been there was too hard.

3. I agree that some tossup answer lines were just badly chosen, with "Corinthian War" heading the list. My object was to vary the types of history questions so that some sub-distributions (like Ancient) where I have a definite, probably minority opinion did not excessively reflect my way of doing things. I didn't know jack about the Corinthian War; apparently, no one else does either.

4. On Hockney, I agree that tossup wasn't quizbowl-optimal for essentially the reasons Matt gives. All the early clues were taken from his recent work, which based on searching the archive didn't seem to have come up much before, but I agree the way it was written made the early parts pretty transparent.

5. I'm sorry that pronouns were not deployed to great effect. I will edit extensively for that before the set goes into archives.

6. I think the California Missions tossup put Junipero Serra in the right place (squarely in the middle)--though I could be wrong. Is his name all that well known? My feeling about that question was "either you'll get this early because you're from California and studied this in fourth grade, or you'll wait until 'architecturally-significant' and 'San Diego'." Here's the question:
One controversy in the history of these organizations concerned Andres Quintana, who was possibly tortured to death in 1814 as revenge for prior cruelty. He presided during the precipitous decline of the local Ohlone, so he resorted to recruiting far afield, thus creating an ethnically-mixed population in his institution. Gaspar de Portola was charged with carrying out Carlos III’s Pragmatic Sanction of 1767 to suppress the Jesuits, and as part of that task he conveyed the leader of this overall endeavor, Junipero Serra. Thus the most famous of these, which was founded by Juan Batista de Anza, was named for Serra’s patron and is not called San Ignacio. For 10 points, name this architecturally-significant network of foundations designed to entrench Spanish interests and convert natives along the west coast of North America, which include San Diego de Alcala and San Francisco de Asis.

ANSWER: Spanish Missions in (Alta) California (prompt on partial answer)
7. The Frederick the Great tossup was intended to be abysmal. Sorry if you don't appreciate using actual tournaments for point-scoring in quizbowl debates; I appeal to your humanity to excuse one instance. I will say, however, that when we had that debate over military tactics I reached for "On War," looked for Frederick in the index, and wrote this question. While that's a ludicrous way to write a question on Frederick the Great, questions that reward knowledge of "On War" with a difficulty gradient are, as far as I'm concerned, fair game. It's a great book and this question definitely ranges from "minutiae mentioned in passing" to "the heart of Clausewitz's argument." Here's the question.
This military commander withdrew from a failed siege in three columns rather than en masse, which is regarded as an expedient to cover an army that was at large. This commander created what was, in effect, a line of circumvallation in two sieges separated by two years, the latter of which resulted in the loss of an entire siege train. The tactic for which this commander is best known later plunged the army he commanded into the “open jaws of disaster” according to this commander’s most influential critic, who noted that this commander could afford to be innovative since he had no superiors to second-guess him, unlike most generals. That tactic is the concentrating of forces on a single flank to make up for inferiority in numbers by defeating the enemy in detail and is known as the “oblique order.” For 10 points, name this military commander, the most frequently mentioned in Clausewitz’s On War, who reigned as King of Prussia from 1740-1786.

ANSWER: Frederick the Great (or Frederick II; accept “Old Fritz”)
8. Here's the moral hazard tossup.
In a paper on labor coercion in a model of this concept, Acemoglu and Wolitzky show that coercion is complementary with effort since high effort means that a rent associated with this concept must be paid more often, hence employers will use coercion to reduce this type of rent. That model is construed to apply to share-cropping, which Joseph Stiglitz showed is constrained-efficient in a principal-agent setting where this economic concept is in play, and this concept explains why efficiency wages are paid in order to prevent shirking in a model by Stiglitz and Shapiro. This concept is also the reason for the Volcker Rule. For 10 points, name this type of asymmetric information in which actions are hidden, which explains the willingness of financial institutions to take on risk when they are likely to be bailed out.

ANSWER: moral hazard
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:19 pm

2. I would say it's interesting to see how pre-conceptions impact assessment. I guess Matt is referring to the "dowry" bonus because in this forum we've discussed a dowry question I wrote, but I had very little to do with that bonus in this tournament. I certainly didn't feel as though it "tried to prove a point," and I think that Ike changed a different answer line to "dowry" late in the game because what had been there was too hard.
OK, that's fair enough. I think we all assumed that it was some kind of joke about your dowry tossup earlier on, and you were trying to make a point with that. Sorry, that's our bad.
The Frederick the Great tossup was intended to be abysmal.
So like, beyond the fact that writing an intentionally terrible tossup is inexcusable, I'm not sure what the point of this one was. You could probably write a perfectly fine tossup on Frederick the Great using tactics clues. The issue with this one was that sentences like "The tactic for which this commander is best known later plunged the army he commanded into the “open jaws of disaster” according to this commander’s most influential critic, who noted that this commander could afford to be innovative since he had no superiors to second-guess him, unlike most generals," are completely meaningless to players who don't have the answerline in front of them. If you had used actual tactics clues it would have been perfectly worthwhile.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:24 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:7. The Frederick the Great tossup was intended to be abysmal. Sorry if you don't appreciate using actual tournaments for point-scoring in quizbowl debates; I appeal to your humanity to excuse one instance.
The number of acceptable instances of "intentionally writing an abysmal tossup" is _zero_. (There's nothing at all wrong with using clues about military tactics for Frederick the Great; it would have been very easy to remove the unbuzzable introduction to this and insert late-middle clues between "oblique order" and the giveaway.)
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:31 pm

Yeah, I agree. The Frederick the Great tossup is a reasonable idea that could just needed some concrete, buzzable (and well, middle clues) before the end. We played that tossup in a room full of pretty good history players, and I recall that none of us could even tell what time period we were in until finally Jerry negged after "unlike most generals." I actually was thinking Hannibal or Scipio for a while, Jerry negged with Napoleon, I think Libo had some other idea. I'm also not sure what the point was--that terribly vague clues don't make for good questions?

Also, maybe Serra is placed right in that missions tossup, maybe not (I'd argue he could still be moved down a little). But when I was hearing it live, I guess I was more annoyed that the second sentence just keeps saying "He" and "he" and not having heard the first pronoun very clearly, I began thinking of a person.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:32 pm

You could probably write a perfectly fine tossup on Frederick the Great using tactics clues. The issue with this one was that sentences like "The tactic for which this commander is best known later plunged the army he commanded into the “open jaws of disaster” according to this commander’s most influential critic, who noted that this commander could afford to be innovative since he had no superiors to second-guess him, unlike most generals," are completely meaningless to players who don't have the answerline in front of them. If you had used actual tactics clues it would have been perfectly worthwhile.
No, the passage you quoted DOES use actual tactics clues, and the part about Clausewitz is what, if anything, is significant about Frederick the Great's tactics. The whole point of "On War" is to answer the question "Why did Prussia get its ass kicked in 1806 when the same strategy and tactics scored huge wins in the eighteenth century?" To answer that question, Clausewitz wrote a masterful monograph about war as an empirical phenomenon, and from that excellent assessment drew informative conclusions about why Prussia got its ass kicked. As far as I'm concerned, that's one of the great, early achievements in the social sciences. The clues given in that question are about that, precisely.

Your criticism supports the point Marnold made in that thread on tactics, which is basically that tactics alone make for terrible quizbowl clues. Here I denuded the question of anything you could get from playing Silesia: Total War, and you're saying I should use "real" tactics clues, presumably meaning what you would know from playing Frederick's battles as a video game. That's fun, but it isn't history.

It would, perhaps, not be most productive to derail a discussion of this tournament with another round of this argument, so if you would like to continue this let's do it either later or elsewhere.

[edited for grammar/punctuation]
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:43 pm

A lot of the clues after Serra are harder than Serra, who should definitely be in the FTP area in a tournament of this difficulty. Also, that's a pretty jackass response to people saying that your question needs some kind of external context clues to make it playable. Just because you have a retarded obsession with making sure people can't score points from playing video games doesn't mean you should take it out on the world by foisting unplayable questions on us and taking actual requests to maybe do something like mention a location, time period, whatever, so poorly.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:43 pm

For the sake of my own improvement as a writer, I will list the questions to which I contributed (noting where significant editing took place). Please mercilessly critique:
Round 1: Cepheids / Kappa Mechanism / RR Lyrae-type stars; J-psi meson / isospin / hypercharge
Round 2: Carnot cycle / adiabatic / Clapeyron
Round 3: cyclotron radiation / cross product / Lienard Formula (in the end, only the second part was mine, because of a repeat with a tossup)
Round 4: Venus; Kaluza-Klein / Yang-Mills / string theory
Round 5: small-angle approximation / elliptic integral / cycloid; Modified Newtonian Dynamics / Bullet Cluster / axion
Round 6: action / Maupertuis / Hamilton-Jacobi Equation
Round 8: Magellanic Clouds; SpaceX; Stark Effect / Zeeman Effect / Darwin Term
Round 9: Schiaparelli / Mars / Tempel-Tuttle; Varus / Arminius / Battle of Cannae
Round 10: Wien / Planck / Lambertian surface (the first two parts were mine)
Round 11: Hall Effect; William the Silent; Fresnel lens / scattering / Mie scattering; Ti'kal / Palenque / ball court
Round 12: speed of light; Oort Cloud; selection rules / magnetic quantum number / spin-orbit coupling
Round 13: symmetry breaking (this was pretty extensively edited); Yukawa potential / Earnshaw's Theorem / Born approximation; SN1054 / synchrotron radiation / Fritz Zwicky
Finals 1: Poiseuille's Law / laminar flow / Darcy-Weisbach Equation
Finals 2: CMB; CP Violation / kaons / pions

Let the criticisms begin...
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Papa's in the House » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:10 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:
This concept is also the reason for the Volcker Rule.
ANSWER: moral hazard
I went and looked up the Volcker Rule to see how, exactly, moral hazard applies to it and found the following:
Wikipedia wrote:The [Volcker] rule is often referred to as a ban on proprietary trading by commercial banks, whereby deposits are used to trade on the bank's personal accounts
Financial Times Lexicon wrote:[Under the Volcker rule, b]anks that take retail deposits would not be allowed to engage in proprietary trading that is not directly related to the market making and trading they do for customers. These banks would also be prohibited from owning or sponsoring hedge funds or private equity funds.
Wikipedia wrote:In economic theory, moral hazard is a tendency to take undue risks because the costs are not borne by the party taking the risk... Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not take the full consequences and responsibilities of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to hold some responsibility for the consequences of those actions.
Looking at these definitions, I might be tempted to say that the Volcker Rule attempted to correct bank trading that produced moral hazard. However, if a bank uses its customers' deposits to make trades on its own accounts, the bank will need to eventually replace its customers' deposits even if the trade causes a loss because a deposit represents a liability to the bank. You cannot simply use the money given to you by your creditors (customers) to make a trade, lose money on the trade, and then tell your creditors (customers) that you aren't going to repay what you owe them because you didn't make as money as you thought you would. Since banks must ultimately replenish the customer accounts from which they temporarily borrowed deposits to make a trade, they have the ultimate responsibility for the cost of the trade (risk). Thus, you cannot claim that moral hazard is the reason for the Volcker Rule.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:15 pm

However, if a bank uses its customers' deposits to make trades on its own accounts, the bank will need to eventually replace its customers' deposits even if the trade causes a loss because a deposit represents a liability to the bank. You cannot simply use the money given to you by your creditors (customers) to make a trade, lose money on the trade, and then tell your creditors (customers) that you aren't going to repay what you owe them because you didn't make as money as you thought you would. Since banks must ultimately replenish the customer accounts from which they temporarily borrowed deposits to make a trade, they have the ultimate responsibility for the cost of the trade (risk). Thus, you cannot claim that moral hazard is the reason for the Volcker Rule.
This argument reveals that you misunderstand both the Volcker Rule and moral hazard. Having done so, your last sentence is one of the best examples of a non-sequitur I've ever seen. I don't have time to explain what's wrong in detail now, though the pedagogue in me rebels. The jackass in me does, however, request that I remind you that you criticized my "adverse selection" tossup on substantive grounds last year, and it did not go well for you.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Papa's in the House » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:26 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:
However, if a bank uses its customers' deposits to make trades on its own accounts, the bank will need to eventually replace its customers' deposits even if the trade causes a loss because a deposit represents a liability to the bank. You cannot simply use the money given to you by your creditors (customers) to make a trade, lose money on the trade, and then tell your creditors (customers) that you aren't going to repay what you owe them because you didn't make as money as you thought you would. Since banks must ultimately replenish the customer accounts from which they temporarily borrowed deposits to make a trade, they have the ultimate responsibility for the cost of the trade (risk). Thus, you cannot claim that moral hazard is the reason for the Volcker Rule.
This argument reveals that you misunderstand both the Volcker Rule and moral hazard. Having done so, your last sentence is one of the best examples of a non-sequitur I've ever seen. I don't have time to explain what's wrong in detail now, though the pedagogue in me rebels. The jackass in me does, however, request that I remind you that you criticized my "adverse selection" tossup on substantive grounds last year, and it did not go well for you.
True, which is why I'd love to hear your take on the Volcker Rule if what I read elsewhere makes me misunderstand it so that I don't confuse anything about it in the future.

EDIT: While not always the best source, Wikipedia mentions moral hazard exactly 0 times in reference to the Volcker Rule. However, the NY Times mentions moral hazard in relation to the Volcker Rule by stating
Gretchen Morgenson on January 23, 2010 wrote:Still, singling out proprietary trading, hedge funds and private equity units does make sense for a couple of reasons. First, the proposal moves us closer to resolving pieces of the “moral hazard” issue, that uncomfortable state of affairs that occurs when companies don’t worry about bet-the-ranch risks because they know that someone (usually the taxpayer) is waiting in the wings to save them if they blow it (as they so often do).
... and The Big Picture (a website I only found using a Google search of "volcker rule moral hazard")
Barry Ritholtz on May 2, 2010 wrote:"The Senate is considering writing into law what Mr. Obama calls 'the Volcker rule,' which would effectively bar banks from the risky and often lucrative practice of trading for their own accounts. The Volcker rule is aimed at undoing a side-effect of the bailouts of 2008 and 2009: An assumption that government will always rescue big financial institutions, and thus make it easier for them to borrow heavily to make risky bets."
And now back to reading...
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by jonah » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:57 pm

gkandlikar wrote:EDIT: will someone with a good packet archive search for the number of occurrences of Mihalyi Czikszentmihalyi? If he were a staple at ACF, my dad would own the hell out of qb Social Science
In 6.34 GB (19,047 files, some of which are whole tournaments but most of which are individual packets) I got 3 hits: Peaceful Resolution, Minnesota's 2009 Sun 'n' Fun packet, and the "Theory Heads" packet from 2004 TTGT11.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by kdroge » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:04 pm

I thought this tournament was okay, with most of the issues being things that people have already pointed out, such as the inclusion of tossup answer lines in history that no one knows anything about and a couple of misplaced earlier clues (I agree Serra should be around the FTP). I did think that this tournament did a good job of being difficult but still having reasonable tossup answer lines. At our site, the vast majority of tossups were answered every round, with those that weren't usually due to mishaps or holes in knowledge rather than the difficulty being too obscene.

I think that the history bonus difficulty variance was especially pronounced, and Libo and I both thought that the U.S. history was frequently more difficult than the non-U.S. history. I seem to remember bonuses where Forrestal, Tom Watson, and James Watt were the easiest parts, and those are all middle parts if not hard parts (Watt was a hard part at MO). I can understand some level of variance, or misconception of difficulty, but this is especially pronounced. On the Frederick the Great TU, both Libo and I were buzzing with Epamonidas off of the description of a strong and weak flank, but Jerry beat us by negging Napoleon. I agree that providing some contextual or more specific clues would have been helpful- I'm not saying names of famous battles, even, but just something so that the clues are made meaningful and not just ambiguous.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Auroni » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:33 pm

Cheynem wrote: Also, maybe Serra is placed right in that missions tossup, maybe not
Nope. As the founder of the missions, he has no business being earlier than the giveaway.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:34 pm

Having said that I don't want to get into the tactics debate again, let me promptly re-open it, since based on a conversation I just had with Jonathan my point may have gotten lost in my argumentation/confrontation:

I think that question is a good question about ****Frederick the Great's tactics**** as a historical phenomenon. It gets to the crux of why they're important in a pyramidal way. The intended lack of context was meant to show that in questions that you think you're getting because you know about military tactics, you're actually getting because of what I've derisively referred to as "video game knowledge," or off of other context clues. There was a long debate about the historical importance of military tactics in that Pennbowl discussion thread, which concluded with everyone celebrating the importance and relevance of tactics as they roasted my corpse on a spit over the campfire. The idea of tossing up "crossing the T" was even brought forward. Well, I agree that real tactics, as opposed to video game knowledge, are a historically important phenomenon, and I wrote a question about that. But it's not a good quizbowl question.

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:46 pm

Hey, I don't like tactics tossups. Maybe you should have flung that terrible tossup at the people who were calling for questions on MOAR TACTICS, none of whom were actually at this tournament. I would have PREFERRED you write a bunch of good history tossups to show that you can ask about non military stuff or non battle stuff or whatever, but that didn't really happen either, so I'm not sure what use your gambit was.

To be clear, I enjoyed this set and I'd play the tournament again, but that tossup cannot be justified especially when the history questions were erratic as they were that an intentionally bad one had no place being there.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:05 pm

To address Kurtis' point on bonus variability, I'm surprised to hear that the bonuses for American were systematically harder. I guess that because I spend a lot of time thinking about American political history, I erroneously tend to imagine that others do as well. FWIW, in every case you mentioned what you said was the easy part was intended as the medium part. Here are the questions:
The history of the US military immediately following World War II was highly turbulent. Answer three questions about politics in that period for 10 points each.

[10] This legislation was a compromise between the unification position, supported by George Marshall, and the Navy, which thought it would suffer and instead proposed this act’s namesake council rather than a unified command structure. This act created both.

ANSWER: National Security Act of 1947

[10] This was the Secretary of the Navy who resisted unification, but ultimately came to advocate for the 1949 amendment to the National Security Act that consolidated the military establishment even further.

ANSWER: James Forrestal

[10] After Forrestal was forced from office for opposing President Truman’s defense cuts more-or-less openly, this man succeeded him. He was zealous in imposing military economies, but was ultimately undermined as Truman came to embrace containment at the advent of the Korean War.

ANSWER: Louis Johnson
For 10 points each, name these politicians from Georgia.

[10] This man reached office representing the Farmers Alliance, then became a Populist and William Jennings Bryan’s running mate on that ticket. As a Senator, he supported the lynching of Leo Frank.

ANSWER: Tom Watson

[10] This highly influential Senator was the leader of the anti-Civil Rights faction for many years, though he began his career as a New Dealer while serving as governor in the early 1930s and generally supported the foreign policy of Democratic administrations.

ANSWER: Richard Russell

[10] This extremely-long-serving Congressman chaired the Naval Affairs and Armed Services committees with a notorious deference to seniority in doling out goodies. His major accomplishment was huge appropriations for the Navy, which is why there’s an aircraft carrier named after him.

ANSWER: Carl Vinson
Identify the following figures from the Reagan administration for 10 points each.

[10] This UN Ambassador delivered the “blame America first” speech at the 1984 Republican National Convention, and she’s known for a doctrine that says supporting right wing dictators is consistent with spreading democracy while supporting left-wing dictators isn’t.

ANSWER: Jeanne Kirkpatrick

[10] This OMB Director and former Congressman called the 1981 Kemp-Roth tax cut a “Trojan Horse” to reduce the top marginal tax rate, and he was quoted as saying “none of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers.”

ANSWER: David Stockman

[10] This Secretary of the Interior and enthusiast for private natural resource exploitation said “my responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns.”

ANSWER: James G. Watt
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by MathMusic » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:13 pm

Guys,

I wrote most of the Classical Music for the set, feel free to comment with any criticism. This was the first tourney in which I have written as a subject mater "expert."
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:13 pm

And Mike, I saw plenty of history tossups played and answered straightforwardly when a clue that one of the players knew caused him or her to buzz and say the correct answer. I also thought that given the different writing styles, the outcome was a tournament that rewarded a variety of ways of knowing about history.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by marnold » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:25 pm

PROCLAMATION: For meritorious service in (1) making a very wrong argument, (2) trying to post-facto justify that argument by hurriedly skimming the Wikipedia article on the topic you've pronounced upon and (3) then asking for the person you're arguing with to explain the substance to you, I do hereby induct you, Charles Martin, into the HSQB Hall of Fame.

Also, I appreciate Marshall proving my point about dumb tactics clues, though I think we can all agree that ironic tossups are a bridge too far (except that one time at CO Lit with the Japanese stuff which actually was kind of funny).
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Cody » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:29 pm

marnold wrote:Also, I appreciate Marshall proving my point about dumb tactics clues, though I think we can all agree that ironic tossups are a bridge too far (except that one time at CO Lit with the Japanese stuff which actually was kind of funny).
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:32 pm

Marshall, I'm not denying that there weren't plenty of history tossups which resulted in a straightforward clue-response answer, but I also saw a number of history questions that did not play well due to difficulty, were being frauded, went over cliffs, had buzzer races, etc., more so than I remember seeing at other tournaments.

Let me say that in terms of answer selection, most of the answers were fine--it mixed events and states and people and battles up pretty well. My point is not to impugn the history in this set as being completely illegitimate--it wasn't. I liked a number of the history tossups. But I found a good chunk of it frustrating. That I guess is my overall point.

I will agree with Marshall that I felt the history bonuses did try to do some interesting things that I appreciated. I liked the political cartoons bonus quite a bit (even if it was wordy, perhaps necessarily so). Similarly, the American history bonuses frequently did hit some areas that I think are sort of unexposed and important, but probably at the expense of difficulty. Kirkpatrick, Stockman, and Watt are all important, and I'd be okay with either Kirkpatrick and Watt as a middle part, but I think for accessibility something like Haig or Iran-Contra or something easier would be nice to distinguish. Same with the Georgia politicians bonus--I just don't see any of those guys as both being studied or accessible enough to justify being called an easy part.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Fond du lac operon » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:38 pm

The set wrote:For 10 points each, name these politicians from Georgia.

[10] This man reached office representing the Farmers Alliance, then became a Populist and William Jennings Bryan’s running mate on that ticket. As a Senator, he supported the lynching of Leo Frank.

ANSWER: Tom Watson

[10] This highly influential Senator was the leader of the anti-Civil Rights faction for many years, though he began his career as a New Dealer while serving as governor in the early 1930s and generally supported the foreign policy of Democratic administrations.

ANSWER: Richard Russell

[10] This extremely-long-serving Congressman chaired the Naval Affairs and Armed Services committees with a notorious deference to seniority in doling out goodies. His major accomplishment was huge appropriations for the Navy, which is why there’s an aircraft carrier named after him.

ANSWER: Carl Vinson
Was Watson really meant to be the easy part on that? It could just be a function of being from Georgia, but when I hear "long-serving Georgia Congressman," I think Vinson. (Also, I'm not sure that saying "this Democrat from Georgia opposed civil rights" is that great of a clue, but that's a nitpick, and it's presumably meant to be the hard part, so whatever.)
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:38 pm

Well, I guess this outrage explains why the following question was not used at MO this fall:
This organization allegedly provided assault weapons to a circle of Islamist militants who immigrated to the United States and planned a shooting rampage at Fort Dix, New Jersey, in 2005. This terrorist organization also provided surveillance equipment and instructions on its use to Russell Defreitas and Abdul Kadir, who were convicted of plotting to blow up a pipeline providing jet fuel to Kennedy Airport. Farooque Ahmed collected video and photographic surveillance footage and made drawings of Washington DC metro stations on behalf of this organization, as part of a bombing plot that came to nought in 2010. Most recently, a plot by this organization to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US was uncovered by this organization in October 2011. For 10 points, name this organization which has an unblemished record of foiling its own terror plots on US soil.

ANSWER: Federal Bureau of Investigation
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:44 pm

There were a few reasons why that tossup didn't get used, yes (I actually kind of like the idea in principle, but come on, you can see that question would not play out that well). Also, if I recall, you submitted the question as a social science tossup.

To again clarify though, I am certainly not outraged. I liked the set as a whole. I had fun. The history was disappointing to me, but there were a number of good questions and ideas. I am a bit miffed that you tried to give us an intentionally crappy history tossup, but that's about it.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:02 pm

Actually, I believe that was submitted as Current Events/Other. I wrote it the week of those screaming headlines about WE SAVED THE SAUDI AMBASSADOR FROM A DEFUNCT IRANIAN-AMERICAN USED CAR SALESMAN.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:07 pm

As for Georgian politicians, actually I thought Richard Russell was the easy part. Vinson is nearly impossible for anyone not from Georgia or currently serving aboard the USS Carl Vinson, or unless you're very familiar with Lyndon Johnson's congressional career (which is why I know who he was).

Russell was very much the leader of the Southern Democratic faction in the Senate during the Civil Rights movement. That's why I thought he was more well-known than he apparently is.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:09 pm

I went back and looked at the submission and while that presumably was your intent, it was classified as "Social Science" in the packet (I'm not sure if that called for current events I guess). Your "other" tossup was on Pope John.

Trivia mavens will note the submitted packet contains a Mircea Eliade bonus.

Regarding the Georgia stuff: I knew Vinson because he names a massif in Antarctica (which the question did not mention). Russell is indeed very important and I should have remembered his name, but I just don't think he's easy or well known enough to be an easy part. We hilariously got Vinson and not the other parts.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Fond du lac operon » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:16 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:As for Georgian politicians, actually I thought Richard Russell was the easy part. Vinson is nearly impossible for anyone not from Georgia or currently serving aboard the USS Carl Vinson, or unless you're very familiar with Lyndon Johnson's congressional career (which is why I know who he was).
Or familiar with the naming history of Antarctica mountains (weirdly, a perfunctory Google search indicates that that's about the only time Carl Vinson comes up in quizbowl). I'll grant that he's probably not as well-known outside of Georgia as I imagined, but Richard Russell probably isn't either (certainly not on those clues, which describe Russell pretty well, but don't do a lot to point to him uniquely), and I think if you're familiar with Georgia political history -- although God knows why you would be unless you were actually from Georgia -- Vinson would be the easy part there, with Watson slightly harder and Russell hardest.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:26 pm

Actually, if you must know I wrote that Georgia politicians bonus after the Georgia mirror for this tournament was announced, since I wanted to throw a bone to quizbowl's friends in that part of the world. In retrospect, that should have been changed to a William Tecumseh Sherman bonus.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:29 pm

I probably know more about Frederick the Great's tactics than anybody else on this forum. Who else here has led a recreation of a battle from the 1740's? There is video footage of me leading an oblique attack on an army led by William Dix on YouTube if you know where to look.

I gained exactly 0% of this knowledge from video games. To the contrary, I gained all of this knowledge from history books, and history books checked out from the University of Chicago's main academic library to boot. Marshall Steinbaum may consider such knowledge ahistorical, but this seems to be a very unique definition.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Kyle » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:29 pm

Cheynem wrote:We hilariously got Vinson and not the other parts.
Since I wasn't there, I can't say how hilarious this was when it happened, but I can say Vinson is the only part I would have gotten. The USS Carl Vinson is in the news all the time. Osama Bin Laden was dumped into the Indian Ocean off of it, and then in November it was where the North Carolina-Michigan State basketball game was played. Both of these events got a lot of press coverage.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:31 pm

By hilarious I mean sad because we lost the game in question by less than 30 points.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:39 pm

Ok, having gotten home from Chicago, I'd like to offer some general feedback on this tournament. Preliminarily, I should say that I really wanted to like it and there were some things in this set that justified that position. But there were other things that really kind of ruined the experience of playing this tournament.

First of all, difficulty-wise this set was all over the place. Most of the time it's not worth it too much to gripe about bonus variations, but in this case they were extreme. There were lots of bonuses that reduced to "did you go to high school? If yes, collect 30 points." There were other bonuses, like that stupid Georgia congressmen bonus, which were nearly impossible. I don't think I'm a complete ignoramus when it comes to American political history, but there was literally no easy part in that bonus. There were many bonuses like this; I take Marshall at his word when he says he tried to do the right thing and misjudged the difficulty of such questions, but some third party really should have taken a look at this and made some corrections. Also, this might be my Californian bias, but Junipero Serra is, literally, the single most famous mission founder in the history of founding missions in California. Like, every other thing there is named for him. So he really doesn't belong in the middle of that question, which incidentally was picked up by either Ryan or Matt in their round against us.

The physics in this set was... not good. The problem was a lack of proper explanations of things and a real mishmash of random names doing the work that's supposed to be done by proper descriptions of things. I knew it was going to be a long day when I got negged on the first question of the day by answering "general relativity" very early on for "equivalence principle." I'm pretty sure that I was technically correct (the best kind of correct) at the point where I buzzed, but since the ultimately the protest did not have change the outcome, it didn't end up being resolved. There were lots of examples of very confusing formulations in this set and if I had the questions I could tell you where the problems were. I believe I may have answered more music tossups than physics tossups in this tournament, and while I recognize that "person X answered tossup Y" is not necessarily a great argument for anything, I will nevertheless note that 1) I have a Ph.D. in physics, and 2) I know fuck-all about music. So something feels a bit off to me there.

There was a general problem with a lot of the questions having words that were really not helpful. Again, I can't tell you specifics without the set in hand, but it felt like there was a lot of verbiage in many questions that did not provide additional unique information; sometimes, questions seemed to be restating things they'd said earlier. I'd be particularly curious to see the poll tax question.

There were also a lot of things in this set which I really liked; I thought the RMP, literature, and "other science" ranged from solid to really good. There were some history questions that I also thought were excellent (the Soviet generals' coup was a particular favorite).

It's not like this set was uniformly bad, but it seriously needed some outside editing to even out the inconsistencies and to rewrite things that were really unclear. On a scale of zero to "would drive seven hours each way in gale-force winds" I would give it a "would drive three hours each way in mild spring rains."

P.S. I'm loath to resurrect the tactics debate, but what I like even less is having invented positions attributed to me. As can be seen from the previous thread, where I ended up agreeing with marnold on this issue, I think that tactics can be useful in context. That's all, and that's all I, or anyone else, really claimed. No one held the position that "you should denude a question of all historical context and just write a tossup that mentions nothing but tactical maneuvers." No one held that position because it's a stupid position to hold and is guaranteed to produce a terrible question, so I guess thanks for showing us that this is indeed the case. So good job nuking a strawman that represents no one's real position; I'm not sure why you wanted to do that but it was super irritating.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
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DumbJaques
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:54 pm

7. The Frederick the Great tossup was intended to be abysmal. Sorry if you don't appreciate using actual tournaments for point-scoring in quizbowl debates; I appeal to your humanity to excuse one instance.
God, Marshall Steinbaum, why are you wasting everyone's time with this bullshit? If you really wanted to prove your point and make people sincerely consider the absolute nonsense you sometimes spew in these threads, the way to do it would have been to make the best possible effort to write a GOOD version of that tossup. If a skilled writer dedicated only to writing a great question made a valiant effort that still just ended up playing poorly, that would be a strong (perhaps the strongest possible) argument against those kind of tossups.

However, since you're actually a pretty crappy writer who prizes auto-fellating his own smarmy, bizarre, and frequently wrong-as-fuck worldview over the experience of those playing your questions, the only thing you've accomplished with this tossup is reminding all of us of the dangers of taking you seriously. So, good job on meeting your personal goals, I guess.

I could say a lot about this tournament (that in fact was better than last year), and it did seem like people had put a lot of effort into it. I wouldn't at all agree with the assertion that no effort was made to balance bonus difficulty; rather, I would suggest to those making this critique that they consider what amount of effort could possibly have solved this problem when an editor posts a Kirkpatrick-Watt-Stockman bonus as an exemplar of a balanced easy-medium-hard question on an accessible topic. Yeah, it did feel a bit like this tournament just didn't give a fuck, but I don't at all want to lump all the editors in with Marshall's callous disregard for player experience (or even Marshall all the time with Marshall in those specific instances, if I take him at his word on that point). I know Sam Bailey, and Ike Jose, and most other people who worked on this tournament care very much about the experience of those playing. But I think the editing team needed to do a much better job in general with player empathy and in particular with not running the kind of enterprise where one of your co-editors writes a history question as a meta-commentary on a forum debate.

To balance this post out a bit with the Power of Heart, whoever wrote that Arthashastra tossup gets a big hug from me (even if it's Marshall).
Chris Ray
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University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
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Matt Weiner
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:01 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
7. The Frederick the Great tossup was intended to be abysmal. Sorry if you don't appreciate using actual tournaments for point-scoring in quizbowl debates; I appeal to your humanity to excuse one instance.
God, Marshall Steinbaum, why are you wasting everyone's time with this bullshit? If you really wanted to prove your point and make people sincerely consider the absolute nonsense you sometimes spew in these threads, the way to do it would have been to make the best possible effort to write a GOOD version of that tossup. If a skilled writer dedicated only to writing a great question made a valiant effort that still just ended up playing poorly, that would be a strong (perhaps the strongest possible) argument against those kind of tossups.

However, since you're actually a pretty crappy writer who prizes auto-fellating his own smarmy, bizarre, and frequently wrong-as-fuck worldview over the experience of those playing your questions, the only thing you've accomplished with this tossup is reminding all of us of the dangers of taking you seriously. So, good job on meeting your personal goals, I guess.

I could say a lot about this tournament (that in fact was better than last year), and it did seem like people had put a lot of effort into it. I wouldn't at all agree with the assertion that no effort was made to balance bonus difficulty; rather, I would suggest to those making this critique that they consider what amount of effort could possibly have solved this problem when an editor posts a Kirkpatrick-Watt-Stockman bonus as an exemplar of a balanced easy-medium-hard question on an accessible topic. Yeah, it did feel a bit like this tournament just didn't give a fuck, but I don't at all want to lump all the editors in with Marshall's callous disregard for player experience (or even Marshall all the time with Marshall in those specific instances, if I take him at his word on that point). I know Sam Bailey, and Ike Jose, and most other people who worked on this tournament care very much about the experience of those playing. But I think the editing team needed to do a much better job in general with player empathy and in particular with not running the kind of enterprise where one of your co-editors writes a history question as a meta-commentary on a forum debate.

To balance this post out a bit with the Power of Heart, whoever wrote that Arthashastra tossup gets a big hug from me (even if it's Marshall).
Post of the year. Chris Ray is now an honorary member of the "narrowly-defined set of Virginians."
Matt Weiner
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