Thanks and general discussion

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Thanks and general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:49 am

Thanks again to Ike, Gautam, Gaurav, Jacob, and Austin for helping me edit. Ike edited lit, myth, and other science. Gaurav and Gautam edited biochem. Austin edited physics. Jacob edited music. I did the rest.

Thanks also to Cody Voight, Nick Jensen, and Ted Gioia for helpful editorial consulting work, and to Rohan Nag, Nicholas Karas, and Kirk Jing for kicking in some questions. Apologies if I forgot anyone.

Please feel free to discuss general impressions about the set here, or to start other threads to discuss specific aspects.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:08 am

I also want to thank everyone who worked on the set, for being fun and pleasant to work with, and also helping spare me from some rather bad ideas in the music questions—I hope the final results ended up, mostly, rather accessible, "real," and "exciting." Definitely welcoming comments if people have strong feelings about those questions.

[EDIT: If you are one of the many people who submitted a Mendelssohn question, I'm so sorry that your question didn't make it in—I too would have loved a music distribution of just Mendelssohn questions]
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Gautam » Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:51 am

It was fun to edit the tournament with Andrew, Austin, Gaurav, Ike, and Jacob. Many thanks for Rohan, Nick, and Corin from LASA, who gave feedback/contributed questions. Also many thanks to Victor P and Adam S, who playtested and provided valuable feedback on ~60% of the submissions.

If you have feedback on the bio/chem, feel free to send it my way or Gaurav's way - gkandlikar@gmail.com or gaurav.kandlikar@gmail.com

In the original announcement, Andrew expressed a vision of focusing on core concepts -
theMoMA wrote: Focus on core people, concepts, and events

In conjunction with the thoughts on difficulty above, I'd like to see us ask tossups about things that are more than just long bonus parts. So I'm asking that you focus on core people, concepts, and events that players are likely to have more than just cursory knowledge about. If you're dying to ask about that very important novel by the preeminent 18th-century Peruvian authoress, see if you can write a conceptual tossup on "Peru" focusing on clues from that time period, or work it into a bonus.
I think we managed to do that with the bio and chem at least, and from what I saw while editing/packetizing/reading the set, the other editors did a good job of that, too.

I goofed up on the anti-depressants tossup; didn't realize people knew to fill in the blank on tricyclic _______.

EDIT: A thing I forgot to add to this - at times the science was slightly uneven. I think we did a pretty good job of policing each other, but we never got around to doing a comprehensive review of difficulty. I had tried a couple of times to get Ike, Austin, and myself together to even things out, but it never panned out. I hope it didn't adversely affect anyone's experience of the science in the set.
Last edited by Gautam on Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Galadedrid Damodred » Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:01 am

I want to thank Andrew Hart for agreeing to take me on as an editor for Chicago Open when I had literally zero quizbowl editing experience. It was a real eye-opener for me in terms of just how much effort goes into producing a tournament set. I'll definitely think twice in future before criticizing question quality on the forums, now that I appreciate the time investment on the part of the editing team and the laboring over minutiae that goes on behind the scenes. I'd also like to thank Ike Jose, Gautam Kandlikar, and Cody Voight for their comments, advice, and general mentoring, which were very helpful to me as a first-time editor.

I wrote 3/4 of the physics questions from scratch, so if you're not happy with how they turned out, the blame rests solely with me and not with the people who wrote submissions. I wasn't initially planning to write such a large percentage of the physics myself, but since I began working on the tournament in January, I ended up with a sizeable stockpile of questions written and edited before I ever received any submissions. That enabled me to pick and choose what to include based on (a) what areas of physics needed more representation and (b) what gelled with my vision for the physics category as a whole.

Generally speaking, I had two major goals as physics editor. The first was to cover core topics across the breadth of the discipline. This meant favoring tossup answerlines on things like coherence, magnetic moment, and gluons as opposed to random doubly eponymous effects (except Ramsauer-Townsend, which I do not regret including). It also meant emphasizing the math behind different theories instead of listing a bunch of named things that are "associated with" the answer. I hope this didn't devolve into equation bowl and that people could parse the denser tossups without too much difficulty. I was a bit less rigid with regard to bonuses, where I was willing to include less mainstream topics as long as they adhered to the following paradigm: (1) Easy part is a fundamental thing that is accessible to non-scientists, but not just word association; (2) Medium part is an important thing that a good science player will be able to get and a top generalist might be able to pull; (3) Hard part is gettable by a great physics player who has deep knowledge of that particular sub-field. I would very much appreciate feedback from everyone, not just physics experts or science specialists, as to whether I succeeded in these goals.

In addition to editing physics, I wrote the raw material for 20 non-physics questions in Andrew and Ike's categories. I've listed below the ones that are in the first 15 packets, since I imagine the editors' packets will be read sometime in the near future. EDIT 7/24: Added the questions from packets 16-18.

British Literature: Biron / Love's Labour's Lost / Nine Worthies
American History: Wilson-Gorman Tariff
European History: Picts, General Strike of 1926, Battle of Varna
World History: Khereids / Sorghaghtani / Baghdad
Other Science: voids, geomagnetic reversal / excursion / Glatzmaier-Roberts, Enceladus / albedo / Hapke, rocket equation / Hohmann transfer orbit / de Laval nozzle
Religion: Borobudur, Surah 9, filial piety, Brazil, conciliarism / Lateran / Unam sanctam, Hoa Hao / Vietnam / Falun Gong, Beta Israel / Ethiopia / Bilal
Mythology: Phoenix
Philosophy: Wang Yangming / Great Learning / idealism
Painting: landscape / Qingming / Xie He

I don't know what exactly happened with the adiabatic theorem vs. adiabatic approximation protest, but it sounds like at least 3 people with physics Ph.Ds were involved in the decision, so I'm happy to defer to their judgment. If you have comments on the physics or my other questions, please post here or send me a PM.
Last edited by Galadedrid Damodred on Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:18 pm

I had a fine time and appreciate the hard work the editors put into the set, as well as the folks who came out to staff.

One interesting outcome in the fine arts distribution is that only one of the visual arts questions had an answer that was a named work; that was the question on the sculpture called "The Scraper" (a new one to me). So there were no toss-ups in which the answer was a painting, for instance. I don't mean this as a criticism; it's just odd that it worked out that way.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Gautam » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:41 pm

I had intended for the tossup on Paul Revere to be on the portrait itself rather than the person. But I think the changes Andrew made to that TU made it a much better question overall.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:50 pm

Thanks to Andrew and co. for a fun set. A few science-related comments:

The physics was a decent improvement from last year, if memory serves, but it was still kind of uneven. I thought the general goal of focusing on the mathematical substance worked well, but there were a few weak questions. The Ramsauer-Townsend tossup in particular struck me as egregious; it's basically a footnote in most texts, if it's mentioned at all (I don't see it in either Shankar or Sakurai). It's a very exotic sort of thing that to me makes little sense to ask about. I thought the best questions were on things like high-temperature superconductors, Minkowski space, gluons, and so forth; wasn't a fan of the Wu experiment tossup (I generally don't think experiments make good questions; no one knows the details of the setup so it just goes until you get to the meat at which point everyone is buzzing).

The bonuses struck me as harder than they should have been; I thought the middle parts in general tended to shade much harder than in other categories and the phrasing was sometimes confusing. There was also one particularly egregious bonus that was like something out of graduate GR; we picked up 10 points on "Bianchi identities" and I honestly couldn't figure out what the easy part was supposed to be there.

The computer science and math were very good. Lots of good answer choices and clues there; the Voronoi diagram and Bullet cluster tossups were personal favorites.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:09 pm

grapesmoker wrote:The bonuses struck me as harder than they should have been; I thought the middle parts in general tended to shade much harder than in other categories and the phrasing was sometimes confusing. There was also one particularly egregious bonus that was like something out of graduate GR; we picked up 10 points on "Bianchi identities" and I honestly couldn't figure out what the easy part was supposed to be there.
I'm guessing it was supposed to be torsion? We managed to pick up Frenet-Serret and Bianchi identities but not that one though.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:14 pm

Jerry wrote:There was also one particularly egregious bonus that was like something out of graduate GR; we picked up 10 points on "Bianchi identities" and I honestly couldn't figure out what the easy part was supposed to be there.
That was the one that went Frenet-Serret/torsion/Bianchi, right? Frenet-Serret and torsion are topics covered in some multivariable calculus textbooks (at least Stewart and whatever I used in high school) when curvature and the tangent/normal/binormal vectors are introduced, which is the context in which I'd heard of those things. Quoth Wikipedia, "The Frenet–Serret formulas are frequently introduced in courses on multivariable calculus as a companion to the study of space curves such as the helix."

So torsion was probably supposed to be the easy part. I'm guessing you haven't had to touch a multivariable calculus textbook in centuries, which I guess may be why that bonus seemed out of left field to you.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:23 pm

Excelsior (smack) wrote:I'm guessing you haven't had to touch a multivariable calculus textbook in centuries
At least a few hundred years for sure. I guess that was supposed to be math? I know about the Bianchi identities from GR which is what made me think that was a GR bonus. Still seems a bit rough to me, since there's no clear easy part here for someone who hasn't taken multivariable.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Galadedrid Damodred » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:32 pm

grapesmoker wrote:The Ramsauer-Townsend tossup in particular struck me as egregious; it's basically a footnote in most texts, if it's mentioned at all (I don't see it in either Shankar or Sakurai). It's a very exotic sort of thing that to me makes little sense to ask about. I thought the best questions were on things like high-temperature superconductors, Minkowski space, gluons, and so forth; wasn't a fan of the Wu experiment tossup (I generally don't think experiments make good questions; no one knows the details of the setup so it just goes until you get to the meat at which point everyone is buzzing).
I included the Ramsauer-Townsend and Wu tossups for two reasons. The first was their historical importance - explaining Ramsauer-Townsend was one of the first major triumphs of quantum theory, while the Wu experiment led to a Nobel Prize and a lot of further study of the weak force. The second was that I wanted to have at least a couple of tossups that were experiment-based instead of theory-based. The undergraduate QM textbook that I used for reference (Griffiths) had about a paragraph on Ramsauer-Townsend IIRC; also, I found many links to an undergraduate physics lab experiment on Ramsauer-Townsend, so I thought some people would have come across it in class. Not being a physics major (EE), I had to make educated guesses in some areas to keep the questions as grounded in the curriculum as possible. I think it's safe to say these were the hardest tossups I edited outside of the finals, so if you pegged them as outliers, you're right.
grapesmoker wrote:There was also one particularly egregious bonus that was like something out of graduate GR; we picked up 10 points on "Bianchi identities" and I honestly couldn't figure out what the easy part was supposed to be there.
Yeah, I messed up on this one. The general idea was Frenet-Serret = medium, torsion = easy, Bianchi identities = hard. I meant to go back and add a sentence on the torsion balance in order to make the second part easier, but I forgot to do so during the rush to finish the set. Also, for some reason my most vivid memory of taking Calculus III is memorizing the Frenet-Serret formulas, which skewed my perception of how difficult the first two parts were. I think my attempt to increase the mathematical physics sub-distribution worked out fairly well overall, but definitely not in the case of this question.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:48 pm

Just to be clear, I don't think the tossup on the Wu experiment is that hard. The problem with experiment questions is that they tend to talk about the setup, and most of the time, if you do the experiment in a lab you tend to have a more modern setup. So the question tends to just run to the point where it talks about the actual physics.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:54 pm

This tournament was great to play and I'm glad I chose a trip to Chicago as a way to spend my post-birthday weekend. Highlights included getting the one question that mentioned the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea in the tournament, getting a bunch of the wackier myth questions ("fate" comes to mind), and playing with an awesome team. Lowlights include negging the one tossup that mentioned Hobsbawm's social banditry (Lampiao) after previously stating "there goes my chance at a Hobsbawm question" after he got mentioned earlier in the round.

Thanks to all the editors for putting together a great set. Perhaps this is a result of personal improvement, but I think this set was overall more "reasonable" than last year's iteration of CO in terms of tossup answer choices, which made it a more enjoyable experience to play.

I'm happy to see that the editors used most of the questions that Nick and I wrote for my team's packet for this tournament - I really appreciated this. I hope everyone enjoyed those submissions, especially the tossups I wrote on Lithuania, Igor, Isabella, Rohingya, and Hillarycare and the bonuses on Petra, philosophy of science, and the Ghaznavids.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:09 am

I enjoyed the set. in particular, I thought the American history questions were very well done, with some really neat answerlines.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Ike » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:24 am

Now that I am done with work, I wanted to extend my thanks to a bunch of people and discuss a couple of things that I tried to do as an editor.

First of all, thank you to Andrew Hart for letting me category edit CO under his supervision. I'm glad that he was able to trust me to help produce a quality set, and I'm quite proud of the way the set turned out. Thanks must also be given to my co-editors, who repeatedly commented on my questions and let me comment on theirs. My categories wouldn't have come out as well as they did if it weren't for them. Also, Cody Voight was instrumental in proofing and checking over a lot of the questions. Also, special thanks to Ted Gioia, who read through the lit questions I wrote / edited and provided single question commentary on all questions that he read through, his tiny changes made the lit more even and consistent.

In addition to producing a set that played well, I wanted to write questions that made people happy or just felt awesome to buzz on. That meant little things like tossing in the incredibly insane poem Altazor by Huidobro into a good Chile poetry submission, to writing a tossup on sachertorte for trash. If I had to model my tournament's philosophy on one work of literature, it would be Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, where numerous curiosities are put into one experience. I also tried hard to make sure later packets were just as easy as the earlier ones - as the day drags on you almost just want to finish the tournament and there's no reason to make CO even more psychologically grueling by having harder questions after lunch in the round robin, with the exception of the finals.

So I'll explain my approaches to the different categories. For literature, I decided that I wanted to ask mostly about either important or exciting topics that played well. This lead to some harder answers with saner ones mixed in: I considered even a question as simple as John Keats exciting because it used clues from "On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again." Even if the answer was hard, like JG Farrell, I tried to provide clues that one, a reasonably literate person would know about - like the Lost Booker Prize, and two, be exciting enough for someone to buzz on. In terms of curbing the submissions, I cut tossups that I thought didn't have a good buzz distribution even if it was exciting. Examples include: John Fante's Ask the Dust (made into the dust question) and Anouilh's Eurydice (made into Anouilh) because those questions' early middle, middle middle and late middle clues seemed above the heads of most of the field. Other submissions I cut were ones that I personally deemed too hard to make exciting, (one team's packet contained a tossup on The Garden of Forking Paths, I cut that because you can play that tossup next year at any regular difficulty tournament.) Also, I didn't care if literature cut across various categories. For example, I didn't want to constrain the Cannibal Manifesto bonus to be on just Brazil, I was more interested in providing it with a sense of unity by asking about Montaigne given "Of Cannibals" so that there was some thematic cohesion. In terms of my favorite submissions, I really liked Jonathan Magin's packet, John Lawrence's packet, and Will Alston's and Nick Jensen's packet. I think those packets went above and beyond to produce usable, quality literature. If you're not one of those writers of the three packets, don't feel offended or even left out, pretty much every packet had some gems in it that I was delighted to use in the literature category.

Heh, mythology. So I have made the mythology a little harder on the bonuses than appropriate - I apologize for that. By and large, you all submitted me a bunch of Asian mythology (I think 75% of packets contained a non-Indian Asian mythology question) and that made me sad. I cut down a bit on Greco-Roman since I wanted to give a bit more precedence to Celtic and Arthurian myth, which I feel is under asked relative to their importance in understanding much of English literature. I tried to clue most of the Greco-Roman submissions from stuff that people still read as usual. I also tried to clue in many mythography terms and ideas into questions (maimed kings, macanthropy, Nostoi, using The White Goddess clue for Gwydion, etc.) It seemed to work out okay, but if anyone has any comments about that, I'd be more than happy to listen. I'll call out my favorite submissions in this category to be Rob Carson's Prose Edda bonus, Matt Jackson's fate tossup, and the well researched Protesilaus question that I think Ben Zhang wrote in the Dees packet.

Other science was the category that I put a lot more time into per question. The main goals of my attempts at writing other science were to expand some of the mathematics into more applied math disciplines and integrate more kinds of engineering into other science. I basically cut any other science that wasn't usable and didn't seem exciting to people playing - for example one packet contained a tossup on sedimentary basins - that's going to generate 0 excitement. I'm hoping for example that some people may go out and look up more about earthquake prediction or swarm intelligence based on the questions that I wrote. Submissions I enjoyed include Ashvin's or Saajid's Voronoi diagram tossup, their traffic bonus (which just needed to be tone down in difficulty) Libo's Laplace tossup that was made into a physics tossup, Sriram's online algorithms bonus, Sorice's Frobenius bonus, and Eric's homotopy bonus.

Sorry if I left your name out if you submitted me a good question, the point isn't to not call people out, it's to call out those who submitted good questions so that they get some praise, and to hopefully give others some goalposts as to what I think good submissions look like. If someone wants explication as to why I singled out a particular submission for praise, post here / email me and I'll explain why.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:55 am

Echoing the above - this set was quite fun to play on the whole. Also it ran very smoothly - I wasn't there in 2011 or 2012 but logistically I thought this was the best CO I've been to, so thanks to the excellent readers as well as Joe Su and co. for that.

I expect others will have more to say later, but I'll start the ball rolling on the music discussion. I think this was Jacob's first time editing at the collegiate level, and I thought the questions showed a lot of potential, especially the instrument tossups. I'd like to draw special attention to the well-executed bagpipe tossup:I'm glad ethnomusicology made one and only one appearance here, because it's one of those niche disciplines that is important but which very few quizbowlers have been exposed to.

That said, I thought the music had many problems. I don't have the set in front of me to discuss the clues right now so I'll focus on the answer selection, which seemed extremely vanity to me. I've never seen a packet sub tournament that skewed so heavily towards pre-1800 music, or had so many tossups on instruments, which leads me to believe that most of the submissions were just tossed out and replaced. All of the answerlines were on important topics and pieces that are widely listened to (e.g. Vivaldi's Gloria). But it felt like the only way to get an exciting* submission through was to write on early music. I appreciate the fact that open tournaments are the rare opportunity to delve deeper into that era, which is often too difficult for the lower levels. But this tournament had an unrelenting tide of it. One packet had 1/1 Mozart, and the Mendelssohn tossup that did make it into the final set appeared in our packet -- when we didn't even submit a Mendelssohn question. It may be that I'm biased by my own tastes here - I thought 20th century music got shafted outside the occasional hard tossup on an easy answer - but from talking with other players at the tournament I know I was not alone.

And now for a more aesthetic, stylistic point, not so much about question quality as about quiz bowl itself. The music tossups had a lot of deep theory clues, some of them very good, but at the expense of the many other types of clues out there. The tournament barely mentioned recordings, performers, or history (save the Frederick the Great TU). The style was, on the whole, almost puritanical. On the individual question level, writing a question composed entirely of theory clues is a perfectly legitimate approach, one I've used myself. But I'd hate for that to become the gold standard of music questions, (a) because music isn't just music, it's history, (b) because it locks out non-specialists. I wasn't angry at this tournament's style because it was just one tournament and a very hard one, and quizbowl should explore new styles. But no one, especially up-and-coming writers, should feel compelled to use only the "purest" clues in every single question. Other people at the tournament expressed similar views.


*Yeah, Andrew mentioned in the announcement thread that he wanted to focus on core concepts and people. But, in my personal opinion writing ONLY on those defeats the purpose of open tournaments (I expect others may disagree, but I know plenty of quizbowlers share this view). And for the most part, this tournament did a fine job probing fringe topics.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:47 am

The Superfluous Man wrote:I'd like to draw special attention to the well-executed bagpipe tossup
Seconding Aaron's verdict (this is the first, and also probably the last, time I've answered a music tossup at CO).
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:27 pm

Many thanks to Andrew, Ike, Los Hermanos Kandlikar, and Jacob for a very enjoyable set. It must have taken a lot of hard work to produce a set as polished and accessible as this one. I especially liked the classical myth/lit, such as the well-written and well-timed tossup on Phoenix. I'm going to register a small philosophical disagreement with some of the editing, but I want to clarify that this does not detract from my overall positive perception of the set, and only hope it serves as a useful reference for future editors.
Ike wrote: This lead to some harder answers with saner ones mixed in: I considered even a question as simple as John Keats exciting because it used clues from "On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again."
Ike wrote: (one team's packet contained a tossup on The Garden of Forking Paths, I cut that because you can play that tossup next year at any regular difficulty tournament.)
Although I think I see where you're going with this, your points seem a little confused. I didn't write the Garden of Forking Paths tossup for our packet, but I did put a whole lot of work into a hard Death of Artemio Cruz tossup submitted as the fifth lit question. It was pretty disappointing to see that and my myth question, the two best tossups I wrote for our packet, just replaced wholesale. I would normally allow for editor's license in making those replacements except that the substitutes, particularly that diffuse Aztec Myth question, were just not as good. Several of the bonuses we submitted were also changed to be too difficult (welfare states in social science as a middle part), too easy (mark-to-market accounting as a hard part), or too incomprehensible ("metaphors based on conceits").

So, the activist editing style you chose had many advantages, but also had a few correctable drawbacks. I appreciate the hard work you did to balance out your categories by subdistribution and difficulty. Playing 11 Asian myth tossups in a tournament would have been painful; playing 11 Euridice-hard tossups per packet would have been worse. Since my Chicago Open suffered from those two issues, I'm happy you avoided both. However, I would also have liked to seen my Lords of Xibalba tossup, Chris Ray's Halabjah gas attack tossup, and other cool submissions make it into the tournament, since so much of Chicago Open is about seeing disparate writers' unique contributions to one monumental set. I just think that in sculpting that monument to fit your vision, you sometimes chipped off a couple cool bits of decoration.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:26 pm

Matt, I agree with your take. I think that, as an editorial crew, we sided firmly in the "activist" camp, occasionally to the detriment of well-written submissions. On the whole, however, I'm happy that we did, because I think it produced a very consistent tournament that stuck to the core principles I outlined in the submission guidelines. But as you allude to, I think there's no real right way to do it, and I've enjoyed COs past, definitely including yours, that have taken a more submission-driven approach. I certainly hope that future editors can learn from both and hopefully synthesize the approaches into a tournament that incorporates their best elements.

(As a side note, I went through the scoresheets and calculated conversion stats; I don't have them in front of me right now, but if I recall, teams did very well on the "welfare states" bonus and below average on the mark-to-market bonus, so I'm not sure those are the best examples. I'll follow up with the actual numbers when I get home.)
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:32 pm

theMoMA wrote: (As a side note, I went through the scoresheets and calculated conversion stats; I don't have them in front of me right now, but if I recall, teams did very well on the "welfare states" bonus and below average on the mark-to-market bonus, so I'm not sure those are the best examples. I'll follow up with the actual numbers when I get home.)
Interesting - if that's the case, I'll certainly retract those criticisms.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:49 pm

I'll let Jacob respond at length if he's so inclined, but I just wanted to drop a quick response to Aaron (and a bit to Chris's comment about the arts distribution a bit farther upstream).

As a non-music person, I was a fan of the direction that Jacob took the classical music distribution. I've always thought it was a bit unfortunate that higher-level quizbowl tends to focus on 20th-century composers and obscurer named works over the classical and baroque pieces that people are much more likely to have played, seen performed, or listened to. In my layman's opinion, I thought Jacob did an excellent job testing for knowledge of those works in a way that was interesting, thematic (i.e. bassoons in Handel), and empathetic (asking about instruments or composers is a great way to get around the barrier of people having a hard time remembering the names of untitled works). I saw John, Aaron, Jonathan, and others rewarded with excellent early-clue buzzes on musical description clues all day, so from my perspective, the clues appeared to be successful.

I'm willing to allow that, as Aaron argues, Jacob slanted too far in the direction of 18th- and 19th-century stuff to the detriment of modern music, or that his emphasis on music theory was too heavy to the detriment of historical or other clues. But I do think it's really cool that he wrote/edited an appropriately difficult CO's-worth of questions on answers like bassoons and Mendelssohn, and I hope that writers and editors take note (and take a look at John's stuff from Cane Ridge as well) when producing their own questions for higher difficulty levels.

Finally, I want to loop in Chris's comment about fewer arts tossups whose answer was a work. The decision to limit that kind of answer wasn't really a conscious one on my part, but I did find myself cutting out a lot of works tossups when editing submitted packets. A lot of them were just really hard and required knowing minutiae about the corners of the painting or similarly trivial things. I found myself gravitating toward more person- and theme-based answers, simply because you can fill those up with cool, difficult clues at this level. I don't advocate for an abolition on works tossups by any means, but I think person tossups offer you so much more flexibility and a chance to explore a cool theme in a particular person's work.

(For example, I turned a pretty cool submitted tossup on "Sartre's preface to The Wretched of the Earth" into a tossup on "Sartre" [from his postcolonial thinking] that drew mostly from the preface. That shift allowed me to work in clues about Colonialism and Neocolonialism and to sew up any ambiguities in a potentially confusing answer line. For someone who knows Sartre's preface well, the tossup tests for the exact same knowledge, but the slight difference in answer line has big implications for clue flexibility and ability to say a concrete answer.)
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:12 pm

I scorekept in Cody's room when the control room was quiet, and I really enjoyed listening to the music tossups. It was probably the my favourite music of any tournament I've staffed or played at. I thought the instrument tossups were very well done because it didn't just reward knowledge of one piece. Rather than tossing up individual obscure works, these tossups allowed for the recall of individual portions of more well known works. I think these tossups allowed all fans of a certain genre to answer the tossup regardless of what specific pieces in that genre they like. For example, the bassoon tossup awarded widespread deep knowledge of classical orchestral works without only restricting to a specific work. I felt these tossups made the music a lot more accessible as it didn't require the knowledge of a specific work. However, the timespan of these tossups were quite narrow (A Weber and a Brahms based instrument tossup?)
The Superfluous Man wrote: I thought 20th century music got shafted outside the occasional hard tossup on an easy answer - but from talking with other players at the tournament I know I was not alone.
As much as I don't really like many things past Beethoven, I thought this was the case too.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by vinteuil » Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:52 pm

The Superfluous Man wrote: I expect others will have more to say later, but I'll start the ball rolling on the music discussion. I think this was Jacob's first time editing at the collegiate level, and I thought the questions showed a lot of potential, especially the instrument tossups. I'd like to draw special attention to the well-executed bagpipe tossup:I'm glad ethnomusicology made one and only one appearance here, because it's one of those niche disciplines that is important but which very few quizbowlers have been exposed to.
I really wish I could take credit for this question, but it was in other arts and I had nothing to do with it. It is indeed fantastic, though.
The Superfluous Man wrote: That said, I thought the music had many problems. I don't have the set in front of me to discuss the clues right now so I'll focus on the answer selection, which seemed extremely vanity to me. I've never seen a packet sub tournament that skewed so heavily towards pre-1800 music, or had so many tossups on instruments, which leads me to believe that most of the submissions were just tossed out and replaced. All of the answerlines were on important topics and pieces that are widely listened to (e.g. Vivaldi's Gloria). But it felt like the only way to get an exciting* submission through was to write on early music. I appreciate the fact that open tournaments are the rare opportunity to delve deeper into that era, which is often too difficult for the lower levels. But this tournament had an unrelenting tide of it. One packet had 1/1 Mozart, and the Mendelssohn tossup that did make it into the final set appeared in our packet -- when we didn't even submit a Mendelssohn question. It may be that I'm biased by my own tastes here - I thought 20th century music got shafted outside the occasional hard tossup on an easy answer - but from talking with other players at the tournament I know I was not alone.
So, I don't think that too many tossups on instruments is a problem—I would honestly be ok with having just about all the orchestral music tossups in a tournament be "excerpts bowl," because it's a great way to test knowledge of pieces. It seems that other people also don't mind this emphasis, but I'd love to hear if other people were really bothered by this.

I also don't think that having, e.g. 4/3.5 Classical-era music is a problem, in particular; I'm willing to concede that my emphasis on Baroque and earlier music is a personal preference, and perhaps a little bit heavy. I'd like to counter the assertion that this is pure vanity though—my vanity topics in music being pretty heavily centered on things that barely showed up (e.g. late nineteenth-century French music esp. Franck, Schubert songs, Messiaen, Elliott Carter). In particular, I know that the 20th century music I like is relatively off-the-beaten path, so I tried to minimize the amount of writing on various Darmstadt-school and somewhat related people, while also avoiding having to put my name to questions about music that I find disinteresting or distasteful. I will admit that there was a large amount of organ music, mostly thrown in gratuitously in easy parts, but I don't think that should have affected the outcome of anything.

(I'm glad at least one person liked the Vivaldi Gloria tossup! I was a bit worried about that)

I will definitely cop to having gotten rid of almost everything I received. This is partly because I received very few exciting questions at all (John's Mendelssohns tossup was great, but I'd already killed both Felix and Fanny at that point), partly because people submitted questions on peripheral figures like Bloch and Weelkes (talk about jacobean vanity there!), partly because I tried to maintain a very balanced sub distribution by era, and majorly because I got the aforementioned absurd number of Mendelssohn questions from good writers.

(what was the 1/1 Mozart? And do you consider him "early music"—because, if so, we're just going to have to agree to disagree)
The Superfluous Man wrote: And now for a more aesthetic, stylistic point, not so much about question quality as about quiz bowl itself. The music tossups had a lot of deep theory clues, some of them very good, but at the expense of the many other types of clues out there. The tournament barely mentioned recordings, performers, or history (save the Frederick the Great TU). The style was, on the whole, almost puritanical. On the individual question level, writing a question composed entirely of theory clues is a perfectly legitimate approach, one I've used myself. But I'd hate for that to become the gold standard of music questions, (a) because music isn't just music, it's history, (b) because it locks out non-specialists. I wasn't angry at this tournament's style because it was just one tournament and a very hard one, and quizbowl should explore new styles. But no one, especially up-and-coming writers, should feel compelled to use only the "purest" clues in every single question. Other people at the tournament expressed similar views.
This is totally not true. A huge number of my questions were instruments questions with clues about the beginnings of pieces (is "opening" a technical term now? or "opening of the second movement"?). The vocal music questions (something I tried to have enough of!) very often only clued the texts, much to my chagrin, actually. I could go on, but I think that this is just a result of that somewhat miscalculated Rite of Spring tossup (idiosyncratic wording—I didn't realize that people would be thrown off by me cluing the individual numbers like that, sorry!), and possibly my having thrown out Charlie's very good questions on "music history" and "music current events"—I admit that I don't think that these belong in the music distribution; there's too much good music out there for me to waste space cluing minor figures.
The Superfluous Man wrote: *Yeah, Andrew mentioned in the announcement thread that he wanted to focus on core concepts and people. But, in my personal opinion writing ONLY on those defeats the purpose of open tournaments (I expect others may disagree, but I know plenty of quizbowlers share this view). And for the most part, this tournament did a fine job probing fringe topics.
I do agree that I might have been a little bit extreme (a total of around 2.5 questions on Beethoven, for instance, and if we'd stayed at 20/20, Bach would have been around the same). At the same time, in music, there are some great "fringes" of the extremely canonical repertoire that don't get explored because people write their one Beethoven question with the same clues and leave it at that. If that "bassoons" question (Andrew, I think you're mixing up your double reeds—the Handel/Bach choral music question was on oboes) caused anyone to go and actually listen to the two most famous Beethoven symphonies or (even better!) the Consecration of the House overture, I'll be very happy.
pandabear555 wrote: However, the timespan of these tossups were quite narrow (A Weber and a Brahms based instrument tossup?)
This was actually the intent for the clarinet and french horn tossups (the ones you're referencing)—I could do a classical-era (Weber/Schubert/Mozart) clarinet question (which has a VERY different flavor from one from any other era), or a question on Brahms/Schumann french horn bits (again, they have a very distinctive treatment of the instrument). And, it allows me to justify cluing, e.g. Schumann Op. 92 (again, if this gets anybody to listen to that piece, I'll happily take any criticism I get!)
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:04 pm

Yeah, I misremembered which instrument the Handel-centric tossup was asking for. Also, I wrote the bagpipes tossup from clues learned at Scottsdale's excellent Musical Instrument Museum.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:37 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:So, the activist editing style you chose had many advantages, but also had a few correctable drawbacks. I appreciate the hard work you did to balance out your categories by subdistribution and difficulty. Playing 11 Asian myth tossups in a tournament would have been painful; playing 11 Euridice-hard tossups per packet would have been worse. Since my Chicago Open suffered from those two issues, I'm happy you avoided both. However, I would also have liked to seen my Lords of Xibalba tossup, Chris Ray's Halabjah gas attack tossup, and other cool submissions make it into the tournament, since so much of Chicago Open is about seeing disparate writers' unique contributions to one monumental set. I just think that in sculpting that monument to fit your vision, you sometimes chipped off a couple cool bits of decoration.
I'd be up for a "CO Rejects" reading in IRC or a similar venue later this week, with people bringing the most exciting cut questions from their packets, if other people are. It's less satisfying that getting the question into the tournament for real, but could be a good way to get some of the more interesting stuff into the air.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:43 pm

vinteuil wrote:(I'm glad at least one person liked the Vivaldi Gloria tossup! I was a bit worried about that)
Well, I only got it near the end and I don't remember the early clues, but what I'm saying is that the answer choice itself was good.
vinteuil wrote:what was the 1/1 Mozart? And do you consider him "early music"
The packet with the tossup on "La Ci Darem La Mano" and then that bonus about symphony 25. And no.
vinteuil wrote:This is totally not true. A huge number of my questions were instruments questions with clues about the beginnings of pieces (is "opening" a technical term now? or "opening of the second movement"?). The vocal music questions (something I tried to have enough of!) very often only clued the texts, much to my chagrin, actually.


Sorry, I suppose 'score clues' or 'internal clues' would have been a better label for the clues I'm talking about.
vinteuil wrote: I'd like to counter the assertion that this is pure vanity though—my vanity topics in music being pretty heavily centered on things that barely showed up (e.g. late nineteenth-century French music esp. Franck, Schubert songs, Messiaen, Elliott Carter).
Well maybe it wasn't pure vanity, but based on the justifications you've given, there was definitely a strong emphasis on music you found interesting:
Jacob in the Nats discussion thread wrote:I have the impression that I like baroque music (and earlier stuff) quite a bit more than [John Lawrence] does, and I think that Classical (1750-1830) music is seriously underasked.
vinteuil wrote:And, it allows me to justify cluing, e.g. Schumann Op. 92 (again, if this gets anybody to listen to that piece, I'll happily take any criticism I get!)
vinteuil wrote:If that "bassoons" question (Andrew, I think you're mixing up your double reeds—the Handel/Bach choral music question was on oboes) caused anyone to go and actually listen to the two most famous Beethoven symphonies or (even better!) the Consecration of the House overture, I'll be very happy
vinteuil wrote:my having thrown out Charlie's very good questions on "music history" and "music current events"—I admit that I don't think that these belong in the music distribution; there's too much good music out there for me to waste space cluing minor figures.
I suppose this is just a difference of style and principles, but I strongly disagree with both of those points (the minor figures wrote plenty of good music too!). And if there is too much of what you think of as good music not by minor figures out there, remember: you'll have more than one tournament in your career to write about it. Look, I admit: I don't like Mozart or Haydn or really much of anything from before middle Beethoven, so of course I'm biased, but I also know I'm not alone. There is no question in my mind that quiz bowl should focus on the major figures, rather than the peripheral and obscure ones. I'm just saying that the peripheral figures are important enough to come up now and then. CO 2009 swung to a different extreme of its own: over 50% of the questions were on 20th century music, and quiz bowl wisely has not repeated that. But I sure don't want the next two open tournaments to follow the CO 2014 distribution either. I say this as someone who got all but two of the music tossups at this tournament. I suppose I can't change your mind about music history, so I'll just let you keep writing questions that exclude it, as long as the rest of us can keep it.

Shifting gears:
Ike wrote:Other science was the category that I put a lot more time into per question. The main goals of my attempts at writing other science were to expand some of the mathematics into more applied math disciplines and integrate more kinds of engineering into other science. I basically cut any other science that wasn't usable and didn't seem exciting to people playing - for example one packet contained a tossup on sedimentary basins - that's going to generate 0 excitement. I'm hoping for example that some people may go out and look up more about earthquake prediction or swarm intelligence based on the questions that I wrote. Submissions I enjoyed include Ashvin's or Saajid's Voronoi diagram tossup, their traffic bonus (which just needed to be tone down in difficulty) Libo's Laplace tossup that was made into a physics tossup, Sriram's online algorithms bonus, Sorice's Frobenius bonus, and Eric's homotopy bonus
So, Earth Science and astro (and to a lesser degree, math) are categories where I've been trying to improve my writing, and I've had a hard time picking answers. The answer selection at this tournament seemed to go over well (save the dinosaur eggs), so Ike, I'd like to hear more about how you approached these topics and selected reasonable but exciting answers. Was it relevance to real life? The ability to draw on gettable material with a new answerline? People don't take as many astro and earth sci classes as physics/bio/chem, so the canon in those areas is cloudier. Are there specific subfields of astro or earth that you think lend themselves particularly well or poorly to tossups? (As Seth once quipped: "Who else but me is going to write geophysics?")
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:59 pm

I should have spotted the "La ci darem la mano" issue; that tossup was in the other arts, and I didn't see the confluence of Mozart things until it was too late.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Ike » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:22 pm

The Superfluous Man wrote: So, Earth Science and astro (and to a lesser degree, math) are categories where I've been trying to improve my writing, and I've had a hard time picking answers. The answer selection at this tournament seemed to go over well (save the dinosaur eggs), so Ike, I'd like to hear more about how you approached these topics and selected reasonable but exciting answers. Was it relevance to real life? The ability to draw on gettable material with a new answerline? People don't take as many astro and earth sci classes as physics/bio/chem, so the canon in those areas is cloudier. Are there specific subfields of astro or earth that you think lend themselves particularly well or poorly to tossups? (As Seth once quipped: "Who else but me is going to write geophysics?")
Here's my general approach: I never thought about what would make a good answer line as opposed to what would be interesting to ask about. To figure that out, I recalled what mathematics classes I really wanted to take as an elective but didn't have the opportunity to, I then found a textbook on the topic and skimmed through the table of contents and found material with an answer line that was gettable. The same thing kind of happened with computer science, except I actually took most of the classes.

I am not an expert in astronomy or earth science, but my approach was basically the same: figure out what sub categories of earth science and astronomy exist, acquire (by any means necessary!) the textbook / lecture notes and figure out what to ask about. There's also some amount of common sense that I used: would people be more interested in hearing a tossup on permafrost or attempts at earthquake prediction because one might kill me at any moment? (That is, which one has more relevance to my intellectual curiosity or day-to-day life?) I think using this method to evaluate the submissions is also key: one packet contained a tossup on the Madden-Julian oscillation that was so-so, but after doing enough research into it, I found it was quite interesting to be the subject of a tossup, even if it was Doubly-Eponymous.

That's slander by the way - dinosaur eggs are awesome!
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:58 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:
theMoMA wrote: (As a side note, I went through the scoresheets and calculated conversion stats; I don't have them in front of me right now, but if I recall, teams did very well on the "welfare states" bonus and below average on the mark-to-market bonus, so I'm not sure those are the best examples. I'll follow up with the actual numbers when I get home.)
Interesting - if that's the case, I'll certainly retract those criticisms.
I was remembering things half right:

Mark-to-market bonus: average was 11.4 points (distribution was 0, 0, 10, 10, 10, 20, 30 across seven rooms).
Welfare state bonus: average was 11.4 (distribution was 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 20 across seven rooms).

The average bonus conversion was 16.4 with a standard deviation of 4.9 (might be slightly skewed high because there are more bonuses read when two teams play each other, so the averages on bonuses 18, 19, and 20 tend to be higher because better teams are hearing them). Both of these bonuses were about a standard deviation away from the mean, so in the 66th percentile of difficulty, roughly.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by vinteuil » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:58 am

I'm going to try to let this not devolve into music-hijacked-discussion thread part CXIV (I think Aaron and I are largely on the same page, actually, so that seems unlikely)—I'll try to keep this short.
The Superfluous Man wrote:
vinteuil wrote:what was the 1/1 Mozart? And do you consider him "early music"
The packet with the tossup on "La Ci Darem La Mano" and then that bonus about symphony 25. And no.
I should clarify: I didn't have control (or really even look at...) anything except 1/1 "non-staged" music. But, I should have caught this too, and that's my fault.
The Superfluous Man wrote:
vinteuil wrote:This is totally not true. A huge number of my questions were instruments questions with clues about the beginnings of pieces (is "opening" a technical term now? or "opening of the second movement"?). The vocal music questions (something I tried to have enough of!) very often only clued the texts, much to my chagrin, actually.


Sorry, I suppose 'score clues' or 'internal clues' would have been a better label for the clues I'm talking about.
Sorry for being a bit pedantic there—the point being that NOBODY would complain about literature questions being all "internal," i.e. "clues that you could get by reading the book." I'm not sure why "clues you could get by reading/listening to the music" (more the latter) is so different, although I admit that I did expect people to know words like "recapitulation" (something you learn in very, very basic music theory or lessons) for earlier clues.
The Superfluous Man wrote:
vinteuil wrote:my having thrown out Charlie's very good questions on "music history" and "music current events"—I admit that I don't think that these belong in the music distribution; there's too much good music out there for me to waste space cluing minor figures.
I suppose this is just a difference of style and principles, but I strongly disagree with both of those points (the minor figures wrote plenty of good music too!). And if there is too much of what you think of as good music not by minor figures out there, remember: you'll have more than one tournament in your career to write about it. Look, I admit: I don't like Mozart or Haydn or really much of anything from before middle Beethoven, so of course I'm biased, but I also know I'm not alone. There is no question in my mind that quiz bowl should focus on the major figures, rather than the peripheral and obscure ones. I'm just saying that the peripheral figures are important enough to come up now and then. CO 2009 swung to a different extreme of its own: over 50% of the questions were on 20th century music, and quiz bowl wisely has not repeated that. But I sure don't want the next two open tournaments to follow the CO 2014 distribution either. I say this as someone who got all but two of the music tossups at this tournament. I suppose I can't change your mind about music history, so I'll just let you keep writing questions that exclude it, as long as the rest of us can keep it.
This tournament also had bonuses with Fanny Hensel (with Clara Schumann), Kozeluch/Dussek and Hummel, Boulez, etc. and tossups with Fauré, Alkan, C.P.E. Bach, Busnoys ("L'homme armé"), Maderna, etc. I'd hardly call my attitude entirely puritanical; I also didn't phrase the statement about minor figures very well—I meant that I didn't want to waste an entire question on a minor figure. And I should say that "Frederick the Great" (credit to Rob), "trills," "polytextuality/De Vitry/four/four" and "L'homme armé" are all very much "music history" questions, and the "England" and French Baroque organ music questions included several such clues, but they just aren't entirely "historical"—lots of music that people actually like/listen to in there—and I'd love more questions like that (also, if you don't like music before middle Beethoven, I can't imagine that you would have appreciated more of my take on "music history" questions! e.g. the bonus on printing/viols/frottola that I switched out for more Schubert :lol: ).

And, just to clarify, there's a huge difference between "music I like/find interesting" (which encompasses like 90% of the music that's askable, yes, including late 19th and early 20th century stuff) and "vanity areas"—one of those can encompass music that I genuinely think other people do know and like, and the other is more often stuff like obscure 17th century French harpsichord music that did not make it into this set, because I doubt anybody else cares about/for it to that extent. I think that questions are better and obviously more fun when people like what they're writing about, so I try to follow that; there's plenty of canon left for other tournaments, sure, but there was waaaaaaay too much "music I like" to fit into even this one.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Ike » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:19 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote: Although I think I see where you're going with this, your points seem a little confused. I didn't write the Garden of Forking Paths tossup for our packet, but I did put a whole lot of work into a hard Death of Artemio Cruz tossup submitted as the fifth lit question. It was pretty disappointing to see that and my myth question, the two best tossups I wrote for our packet, just replaced wholesale. I would normally allow for editor's license in making those replacements except that the substitutes, particularly that diffuse Aztec Myth question, were just not as good. Several of the bonuses we submitted were also changed to be too difficult (welfare states in social science as a middle part), too easy (mark-to-market accounting as a hard part), or too incomprehensible ("metaphors based on conceits").
To elucidate: I personally thought The Big Money and the Nathan the Wise questions were the best lit tossups in your packet. I honestly didn't think too much of that Artemio Cruz tossup, and I can explicate why I didn't like it if you really want: but the reason why I cut it wasn't just "it wasn't a WOWZERS, COOL NEW THING tossup," it was a combination of how much South American literature I've received and wanted to use, the entire literature submission as a whole, the fact that there was a random power mark in it (which actually made me think it was randomly appropriated from the NASAT set or something), and a couple of misplaced / transparent clues. The reason for cutting that question was a combination of many factors, not just one.

I personally didn't like the way the Lords of Xibalba question might have played out. I actually kind of like the idea of a deep question from the Popol Vuh since we can read that in translation, but the answer line seemed to me that potentially a bunch of people are just going to neg it with One Death and Seven Death. For example, the louse / toad / snake clue I remember pretty well, but in the version I have only One-Death and Seven-Death actually sent those messengers - I don't think all of them actually sent the messengers themselves. As for the Aztec myth question, I'm not sure what you mean by diffuse, except that it might be thematically spread out. It's actually focused entirely on Aztec afterlifes, so I don't think it's thematically diffuse. I think the tossup plays well for a question on Aztec myth: since there really isn't any primary source you can read on Aztec mythology, most of what people potentially know will be through historical or cultural material; one can potentially study Aztec afterlifes from either context. The point of that question was to avoid that canon expanding question on Xipe Totec since what anyone knows about him and most other gods of the Aztec pantheon will be from fragments as opposed to the potential of learning about some aspect of the Aztecs from a unified setting.

I apologize if I misused the term conceit in the sense of a metaphysical conceit - although I really can't see how that wording is confusing. I changed that last part because Edward Taylor is not an easy part at this level, at least in my opinion.
So, the activist editing style you chose had many advantages, but also had a few correctable drawbacks. I appreciate the hard work you did to balance out your categories by subdistribution and difficulty. Playing 11 Asian myth tossups in a tournament would have been painful; playing 11 Euridice-hard tossups per packet would have been worse. Since my Chicago Open suffered from those two issues, I'm happy you avoided both. However, I would also have liked to seen my Lords of Xibalba tossup, Chris Ray's Halabjah gas attack tossup, and other cool submissions make it into the tournament, since so much of Chicago Open is about seeing disparate writers' unique contributions to one monumental set. I just think that in sculpting that monument to fit your vision, you sometimes chipped off a couple cool bits of decoration.
I'm actually a little bit surprised by this: The Big Money tossup was cool, and you had an awesome bonus on The Line of Beauty in your packet, (and good other science!) If there was something that was a "cool submission," I felt that at times I bent over backwards to get into the set and to make sure it played decently, even if that means I have to common link "dust" to ask about John Fante.

I'll close by saying this: Jonathan Magin, Chris Ray, and Mike Sorice both approached me about their questions they wanted to see in the set - and I actually worked with of them to make sure that happened, - perhaps I should have posted this before the tournament, but if you're really concerned that your extra-cool question isn't going to make it into the final tournament, I would have been more than happy to work with you if you emailed me.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:12 pm

I'll get to the rest of your post later...but no, I'm not the kind of person who steals compromised questions from HSAPQ sets and puts them in my packet submissions. NASAT doesn't have powers, by the way.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:21 pm

theMoMA wrote:
Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:
theMoMA wrote: (As a side note, I went through the scoresheets and calculated conversion stats; I don't have them in front of me right now, but if I recall, teams did very well on the "welfare states" bonus and below average on the mark-to-market bonus, so I'm not sure those are the best examples. I'll follow up with the actual numbers when I get home.)
Interesting - if that's the case, I'll certainly retract those criticisms.
I was remembering things half right:

Mark-to-market bonus: average was 11.4 points (distribution was 0, 0, 10, 10, 10, 20, 30 across seven rooms).
Welfare state bonus: average was 11.4 (distribution was 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 20 across seven rooms).

The average bonus conversion was 16.4 with a standard deviation of 4.9 (might be slightly skewed high because there are more bonuses read when two teams play each other, so the averages on bonuses 18, 19, and 20 tend to be higher because better teams are hearing them). Both of these bonuses were about a standard deviation away from the mean, so in the 66th percentile of difficulty, roughly.
Andrew, would you kindly (heh) post these stats somewhere accessible?
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:42 pm

Sure. I need to do some more data coding to get the answers into the spreadsheet, but once I do that, I'll post everything in a Google spreadsheet. By the way, I don't know where I got 66th percentile from. The empirical rule states that a standard deviation should be about 34% away from the mean, not from 100%, so it should be 84th percentile. Whoops.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:20 pm

Ike wrote: perhaps I should have posted this before the tournament, but if you're really concerned that your extra-cool question isn't going to make it into the final tournament, I would have been more than happy to work with you if you emailed me.
In general, this is bad policy, since it lets some people know they can safely expect the topics they wrote on to not come up elsewhere. Our team had at least four (maybe five) originally-submitted topics come up elsewhere in the final tournament, and part of playing a packet sub event is being prepared for that to happen.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Ike » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:46 pm

Matthew Jackson wrote:
Ike wrote: perhaps I should have posted this before the tournament, but if you're really concerned that your extra-cool question isn't going to make it into the final tournament, I would have been more than happy to work with you if you emailed me.
In general, this is bad policy, since it lets some people know they can safely expect the topics they wrote on to not come up elsewhere. Our team had at least four (maybe five) originally-submitted topics come up elsewhere in the final tournament, and part of playing a packet sub event is being prepared for that to happen.
Sorry, I should have clarified: basically the discussion went like this: Jonathan asked if I would use a tossup on Wittgenstein's Mistress, I said yes, but why not write it on Wittgenstein instead? If whoever submitted the John Fante related question had asked "would I have used a tossup on John Fante's Ask the Dust?" I would have said, "no, that's not going to play well." In no way does it guarantee I'm using your question for repeats - I would have the same conversation and response regardless of any repeats.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Ike » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:52 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:I'll get to the rest of your post later...but no, I'm not the kind of person who steals compromised questions from HSAPQ sets and puts them in my packet submissions. NASAT doesn't have powers, by the way.
I'm not accusing you of stealing other writers' questions; I actually thought these were your (collective adjective "your") questions you had intended to use in NASAT, the set got completed and now you had these questions leftover. Your original packet had underlining like ANSWER _sfesd_ for some of the questions and random power marks put in, so to me, the fact that the formatting isn't right led me to conclude the packet was hastily written and assembled.

Eric now tells me that your power marks were put in there as a subtle hint to get us to power mark the set. Amusing, but you can see how I read into the situation.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:10 pm

I enjoyed the set. I'd have liked to hear art tossups on individual works but didn't have a problem with the questions I heard. My favorites were probably Gwydion, Marsden Hartley, Academic painting, and Isabella of France so thanks to whoever wrote those if I haven't thanked you already.

I wanted to note that I was a bit disappointed the tournament wasn't powermarked because part of the novelty of CO for me is being able to 15 occasional questions on very difficult clues. While a similar gratification is awarded when you first- or second-line a tossup, when you get it somewhere in the middle it's nice knowing whether you got it at a point where the editors would tacitly say "good buzz" by giving you an extra 5 points. Obviously it's all very artificial but I do think powers are more appropriate at CO than at any other tournament for these reasons. So I hope they come back next year.

Lastly, I wanted to ask how the editors reacted to my tossup on David Benioff. It was a literature tossup with the last two-or-so lines on Game of Thrones, submitted as the Trash/Misc tossup in our packet. I thought it was a pretty cool thing, but it seems like it was replaced for a politics question on India, which I must say is not as exciting as those excellent, excellent stories from When the Nines Roll Over! I strongly recommend that collection by the way. And thanks for keeping the Community bonus.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:40 am

To be clear, NASAT tossups are almost always written directly into QEMS - it's not really possible for that to happen, which is why I read more into your post than you'd meant. Sorry.

It looks like there's one clue early in the Artemio Cruz tossup that comes up a bit - I forgot to search my hard drive for "Artemio Cruz" in addition to "The Death of Artemio Cruz." Not disastrous but I can see how you'd think it's a sloppy effort. The Lords of Xibalba question, posted below, I'll still defend:
Members of this group reveal their names after being stung in turn by a mosquito made from a human hair. This group pranks its guests by asking them to address wooden statues and then inviting them to sit on a hot bench. This group perishes when it asks some magic dancers to dissect and resurrect them, but the dancers don’t bring them back to life. After losing its owl messengers, this group sends a message with a louse, which gets (*) eaten by a toad, which gets eaten by a snake, which gets eaten by a hawk. They give pine sticks and cigars to heroes who survive a night of darkness with the help of fireflies. This group, led by Hun-Came and Vucub-Came, summons a pair of brothers to hell to account for their noisy ball games. For 10 points, name these collective rulers of the Mayan underworld.
ANSWER: the Lords of Xibalba [or Lords of Hell; or Mayan Death Gods; prompt on One-Death and Seven-Death or Hun-Came and Vucub-Came]
It does specifically note to prompt on "One-Death and Seven-Death;" in general, you're probably being overzealous about unusual answerlines if you think players could come up with those two gods but not the well-defined group to which they belong. I totally believe that you cut it because you didn't think it would play well, but I still think it plays just fine.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:24 am

So since it's been used as an example a couple times by Ike, I'll happily fess up to being the author of the "Ask the Dust" toss-up. I don't play the regular circuit anymore, and I'm more likely to read novice up to "regular" difficulty packets to my players at Valencia, so I'm not always clear on what is considered "known" at our masters' level. As an English prof and quiz bowl dinosaur, I'm often baffled by a small number of literature answer lines at CO, which is certainly my problem, not the circuit's. They're just not works that I see in the academic literature or the snooty magazines like NYRB or The New Yorker. Meantime, I think of a TU like "Ask the Dust" and figure that's a reasonably well known, though hard, answer.

So this question does perhaps provide an example of the distinction that sometimes (sometimes!) occurs between QB-known and discipline-known. Among a group of my professor peers at a conference, especially if these are American lit people, I'm confident many would be aware of the Fante novel. It's a "classic" of old LA, and its status as Charles Bukowski's oft-stated major inspiration for becoming a writer make it known to those who study the Beats and other mid-century writers. And there was a 2006 movie adaptation with Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell, though I reckon it didn't make that big a splash.

Anyway, I write this not to complain about Ike's decision; I came in late to a reading of our packet and didn't get to hear the "dust" question but think that's a smart way to include the novel (and introduce it to the canon! Mark my words, it will be tossed up at Delta Burke 2018 after 20 previous uses down the canon!!!). So I have no beef with that choice at all and say the above only to point out that sometimes there's a difference between what is discussed in the discipline and what is canonical in QB.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Cody » Fri Jul 25, 2014 3:26 pm

Ike wrote:Your original packet had underlining like ANSWER _sfesd_ for some of the questions
I'll note that this happens fairly often to me & other HSAPQ editors / heavy writers since we do so much of our quizbowl work in QEMS. Normally, you catch it though, or the person who is submitting the packet reviews it for formatting before submitting.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:49 pm

I hopefully just made this discussion forum public.

CO editorial control passes in a somewhat informal process. If you want to head edit next year, send me an email. Jerry and Eric told me that they'd like to do it, and I'm more than fine with that, but I want to make sure everyone else has a chance to contact me before I pass the baton officially. If you're not interested in head editing, but want to be a part of whatever editorial team emerges (or write questions or whatever), you should wait and contact whoever ends up head editing.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:28 am

The music unfortunately had multiple glaring factual errors that I told Jacob about after the tournament, which came up in the pre-lunch rounds and I think predisposed people to be annoyed with you, because you talk quite a big game about how much more you know about music than other writers, so it was a little surprising to see you flub basic details like not knowing what the second-to-last movement of Monteverdi's Vespers is. The rest of the day's music was in my opinion fine, although I wanted to bring up something that I noticed - Schubert's Schwanengesang had been very enthusiastically praised on your facebook not too long before CO, no? If I'm not remembering wrong and you did in fact write about something that was a future clue on your wall, like, come on now.

I think Aaron is wrong - modern music has had its day in the quizbowl sun and people abused the shit out of it, and early music is proportionally very rare outside of some core Baroque writers and Palestrina, and I have 0 qualms with one tournament deciding to delve into those topics, because Dufay, Josquin des Prez, and Machaut are frankly all writers with DRASTICALLY more import to music history than all but a handful of moderns. Having to learn about the people who invented polyphony and created modern church music from which all other music mostly sprang won't kill you.

However, I agree with the critique of Jacob being puritanical and not understanding that music doesn't exist in a vacuum. I wrote the following questions for my packet:
A cantata parodying this event was written for chorus, solo singers, and piano, with the characters Yedinitsin, Dvoikin, and Troikin, who represents Dmitri Shepilov. That work is called a “Rayok.” Lidya Timashuk wrote a letter arguing that the man who issued this declaration was assassinated by his medical team, which became part of the evidence used to instigate the Doctor’s Plot. A lack of folk songs from the northern Caucasus was cited as a problem with the opera The Great Fellowship, for which composer Vano Muradeli wrote a new “Lezginka” dance, annoying an audience member at the premiere and prompting this decree. In the wake of this event, Tikhon Khrennikov was installed as the head of the Composer’s Union, and Miaskovsky, Kabalevsky, and Khatchaturian were among those targeted for “perversions” and “anti-democratic tendencies.” It was prompted by an embarrassing 30th anniversary of the October Revolution concert that Stalin attended. For 10 points, name this 1948 decree from the head of Cominform who had previously led a namesake “-schina” targeting writers like Akhmatova, which accused Prokofiev and Shostakovich of “formalism.”
ANSWER: Andrei Zhdanov‘s Decree Opposing Formalism in Music [or Anti-Formalism Decree]
I actually playtested this question with Jacob, and was rather obnoxiously told that this is not music, it's history. This question was then replaced with a very boring Shostakovich tossup. I'm aware this is the hardest thing in my packet, so I was only half hoping it would make it through to the main set more or less untouched, but to me, the reasons to cut it are because it's too hard or because there are problems with the way it's written. Having the reason it was cut simply be because it isn't strictly about a piece of music, an instrument, or a composer, thus it's not "music" is all kinds of ass-backwards thinking. The Zhdanov Decree was the single most important event to dictate the course of Soviet music - when Shostakovich was earlier attacked in the more famous decree about Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, that was very specifically aimed at him, and other composers like Prokofiev got to keep on doing what they were doing with no questions asked. The Zhdanov decree, on the other hand, broadly denounced every single important Soviet composer, as you can see from the question, and it forced them all to change their writing style and lose influence. There is a strong case to be made that pre-1948 Soviet music was the best in the world at the time, but after this happened, nothing was the same, and the only music afterwards from the Soviet Union anybody cares about now are the later symphonies of Shostakovich. So how is this not an important fact about music?

I'm more shocked to hear this question be similarly consigned to the dustbin because it is "music current events:"
This man developed a method of musical instruction that is predicated on having children observe then copy their teacher and learn music by ear from recordings, rather than teaching them to read music. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this popular but controversial violin pedagogue, whose first student to complete his program was Takako Nishazaki. The fourth book of his method includes Vivaldi’s A Minor concerto, Opus 3 No. 6, and the 2nd violin part of the Bach double violin concerto, while the first volume opens with the “Twinkle Variations.”
ANSWER: Shinichi Suzuki
[10] The final two books of the Suzuki Method for violin are simply the 5th, then 4th of these compositions. The third, in G major, had cadenzas written by Sam Franko that have been performed by Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern.
ANSWER: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concertos [or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concerti]
[10] Jose Antonio Abreu pioneered this other music education program, which is sponsored by the Venezuelan Government. The Simon Bolivar Orchestra is one outgrowth of this program, whose most successful product is Gustavo Dudamel.
ANSWER: El Sistema [or Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar; or FSMB]
Music current events? Famous methods of pedagogy, one of which was probably taught to a large chunk of the field, the other of which produced the most famous young conductor in America, are "current events?" Again, music doesn't exist in a vacuum, and I wanted to take the chance with CO to write about other ways we can interact with music besides simply listening to pieces and reading scores. It's disheartening to see a young editor who professes to have so many ideas about music not understand why more questions like these deserve a place in the music distribution.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by vinteuil » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:02 pm

Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:The music unfortunately had multiple glaring factual errors that I told Jacob about after the tournament, which came up in the pre-lunch rounds and I think predisposed people to be annoyed with you, because you talk quite a big game about how much more you know about music than other writers, so it was a little surprising to see you flub basic details like not knowing what the second-to-last movement of Monteverdi's Vespers is.
This is one error, not multiple. I have already apologized to you for it, and Aaron has very nicely reconstructed what went wrong in the other thread. Again, my bad.
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:The rest of the day's music was in my opinion fine, although I wanted to bring up something that I noticed - Schubert's Schwanengesang had been very enthusiastically praised on your facebook not too long before CO, no? If I'm not remembering wrong and you did in fact write about something that was a future clue on your wall, like, come on now.
If you took every piece of music I talk about on Facebook and removed it from the quizbowl canon, there would, like, not be a canon! Besides, that one clue asked for relatively deep knowledge of Schwanengesang, unrelated to what I was posting about. Also, that clue was added last minute to the barcaroles question; if I'd thought about it more, so might have excluded it.

Did this really affect play? I can't imagine that anybody takes my Facebook wall seriously enough to have learned this particular clue without having a prior interest. In general, I did try to be careful to avoid things I'm known to like from coming up too much.
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote: I agree with the critique of Jacob being puritanical and not understanding that music doesn't exist in a vacuum. I wrote the following questions for my packet:
A cantata parodying this event was written for chorus, solo singers, and piano, with the characters Yedinitsin, Dvoikin, and Troikin, who represents Dmitri Shepilov. That work is called a “Rayok.” Lidya Timashuk wrote a letter arguing that the man who issued this declaration was assassinated by his medical team, which became part of the evidence used to instigate the Doctor’s Plot. A lack of folk songs from the northern Caucasus was cited as a problem with the opera The Great Fellowship, for which composer Vano Muradeli wrote a new “Lezginka” dance, annoying an audience member at the premiere and prompting this decree. In the wake of this event, Tikhon Khrennikov was installed as the head of the Composer’s Union, and Miaskovsky, Kabalevsky, and Khatchaturian were among those targeted for “perversions” and “anti-democratic tendencies.” It was prompted by an embarrassing 30th anniversary of the October Revolution concert that Stalin attended. For 10 points, name this 1948 decree from the head of Cominform who had previously led a namesake “-schina” targeting writers like Akhmatova, which accused Prokofiev and Shostakovich of “formalism.”
ANSWER: Andrei Zhdanov‘s Decree Opposing Formalism in Music [or Anti-Formalism Decree]
I actually playtested this question with Jacob, and was rather obnoxiously told that this is not music, it's history. This question was then replaced with a very boring Shostakovich tossup. I'm aware this is the hardest thing in my packet, so I was only half hoping it would make it through to the main set more or less untouched, but to me, the reasons to cut it are because it's too hard or because there are problems with the way it's written. Having the reason it was cut simply be because it isn't strictly about a piece of music, an instrument, or a composer, thus it's not "music" is all kinds of ass-backwards thinking. The Zhdanov Decree was the single most important event to dictate the course of Soviet music - when Shostakovich was earlier attacked in the more famous decree about Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, that was very specifically aimed at him, and other composers like Prokofiev got to keep on doing what they were doing with no questions asked. The Zhdanov decree, on the other hand, broadly denounced every single important Soviet composer, as you can see from the question, and it forced them all to change their writing style and lose influence. There is a strong case to be made that pre-1948 Soviet music was the best in the world at the time, but after this happened, nothing was the same, and the only music afterwards from the Soviet Union anybody cares about now are the later symphonies of Shostakovich. So how is this not an important fact about music?
Charlie, I didn't think it was necessary to tell you absolutely everything that was wrong with your question! I thought one reason for excluding it was enough--but yes this question is way too hard.

Also, Charlie, you say that I told you "obnoxiously" told you that this is not a music question. I, in fact, told you that this was an interesting idea. I also said "well, if it's between that and making...enormous works of major composers that don't come up, come up, i'd pick the latter". I stand by this statement in light of a Shostakovich question on his concerti, which are incredibly major works (unlike that Rayok) that do not come up at all in quizbowl (to my knowledge! sorry if that's not the case!). I'm sorry that it bored you or anyone else. I admit that I was very excited by a lot of the clues in that question.
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote: I'm more shocked to hear this question be similarly consigned to the dustbin because it is "music current events:"
This man developed a method of musical instruction that is predicated on having children observe then copy their teacher and learn music by ear from recordings, rather than teaching them to read music. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this popular but controversial violin pedagogue, whose first student to complete his program was Takako Nishazaki. The fourth book of his method includes Vivaldi’s A Minor concerto, Opus 3 No. 6, and the 2nd violin part of the Bach double violin concerto, while the first volume opens with the “Twinkle Variations.”
ANSWER: Shinichi Suzuki
[10] The final two books of the Suzuki Method for violin are simply the 5th, then 4th of these compositions. The third, in G major, had cadenzas written by Sam Franko that have been performed by Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern.
ANSWER: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concertos [or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concerti]
[10] Jose Antonio Abreu pioneered this other music education program, which is sponsored by the Venezuelan Government. The Simon Bolivar Orchestra is one outgrowth of this program, whose most successful product is Gustavo Dudamel.
ANSWER: El Sistema [or Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar; or FSMB]
Music current events? Famous methods of pedagogy, one of which was probably taught to a large chunk of the field, the other of which produced the most famous young conductor in America, are "current events?" Again, music doesn't exist in a vacuum, and I wanted to take the chance with CO to write about other ways we can interact with music besides simply listening to pieces and reading scores. It's disheartening to see a young editor who professes to have so many ideas about music not understand why more questions like these deserve a place in the music distribution.
OK, look: El Sistema is just not the biggest deal. Again, I replaced this bonus with one entirely on Mozart, because he's a pretty big deal.

As someone who suffered through eight books of Suzuki cello before switching teachers, I may or may not have been biased about removing that. However, a bigger reason I got rid of it is because I wrote a "violin" tossup in BHSAT this year that was straight from Suzuki, and I don't like repeating myself.

Again, none of this was an attack on you personally Charlie, and I thought I was as friendly on Facebook to you as I am to anybody; I'm a little bit surprised to find that I've antagonized you so much here.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:33 pm

This is a point I've perhaps made before, but one of the perks of being an editor is that you get to edit. When you don't like something, you can change it or delete it. I totally get that people put a lot of time into their questions and are annoyed when editors burn their work without using it in the tournament. But realize that editors have responsibilities beyond ensuring that your cool questions are used. Complaining about your questions getting cut is essentially complaining that the editors edited.

I told the other CO editors that it was entirely up to them whether they used submitted questions, and I was happy to see each of them chart their own course. Jacob wrote a lot of the musical questions, and like I said, I was pleased that they seemed to ask about important topics using clues that were deep, conceptual, thematic, and best of all, buzzable. I suggest that anyone with a different vision of what a good classical music subdistribution should look like should advocate for their position in a discussion thread, or better yet, edit a tournament with that vision in mind.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:43 pm

theMoMA wrote:But realize that editors have responsibilities beyond ensuring that your cool questions are used. Complaining about your questions getting cut is essentially complaining that the editors edited.

I told the other CO editors that it was entirely up to them whether they used submitted questions, and I was happy to see each of them chart their own course. Jacob wrote a lot of the musical questions, and like I said, I was pleased that they seemed to ask about important topics using clues that were deep, conceptual, thematic, and best of all, buzzable. I suggest that anyone with a different vision of what a good classical music subdistribution should look like should advocate for their position in a discussion thread, or better yet, edit a tournament with that vision in mind.
This is a ridiculous position. The issue here is the well-trod territory of people in the music mafia insisting that they do not believe that "score clues are the only legitimate form of music knowledge" and then repeatedly writing and editing tournaments in such a way that it is clear that they do believe this, combined with the fact that such a position is the wrong one. "If you don't like my provincial and unsustainable editing decisions, edit your own Chicago Open instead of criticizing my quizbowl ideas on the quizbowl board" is utter nonsense.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by vinteuil » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:21 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
theMoMA wrote:But realize that editors have responsibilities beyond ensuring that your cool questions are used. Complaining about your questions getting cut is essentially complaining that the editors edited.

I told the other CO editors that it was entirely up to them whether they used submitted questions, and I was happy to see each of them chart their own course. Jacob wrote a lot of the musical questions, and like I said, I was pleased that they seemed to ask about important topics using clues that were deep, conceptual, thematic, and best of all, buzzable. I suggest that anyone with a different vision of what a good classical music subdistribution should look like should advocate for their position in a discussion thread, or better yet, edit a tournament with that vision in mind.
This is a ridiculous position. The issue here is the well-trod territory of people in the music mafia insisting that they do not believe that "score clues are the only legitimate form of music knowledge" and then repeatedly writing and editing tournaments in such a way that it is clear that they do believe this, combined with the fact that such a position is the wrong one. "If you don't like my provincial and unsustainable editing decisions, edit your own Chicago Open instead of criticizing my quizbowl ideas on the quizbowl board" is utter nonsense.
I'd again like to note that I used a variety of clues and that I strongly dislike the use of the phrase "score clues" to mean "clues about music", which is basically all it means. I'm honestly a little aggravated by the fact that my clues on instrument construction, music publication, music in history, texts and music, etc are being so completely ignored here.

Also, Matt, I have not said anything like "all tournaments need to be edited like CO 2014 music," just that these are the kind of clues way I use. And no, my way is not the only way! But I see absolutely no reason not to use these clues if you can and choose to do so. I was not trying to be groundbreaking in the kinds of clues I used here, and I have nowhere committed myself to editing a tournament using mostly "non-score" clues.

I'll repeat my literature analogy: lots of tournaments have literature questions only from primary texts. Nobody complains. If you don't want clues that you learn from listening to music (a lot of these clues were designed to NOT require having seen the score or knowing more details than you could find in the cd track info), I don't see why I'm writing music questions for you. Other kinds of knowledge of music seem wholly secondary to me--Quizbowl is not a piano competition.

I do not believe that the purpose of CO is to educate future editors. I have been and am more than happy to work with editors on what does and doesn't work in music questions, and I don't see why everything I do in quizbowl must do that as well.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:41 pm

Based on my editorial overview, I don't believe that this tournament was written from the perspective that "score clues are the only legitimate form of music knowledge." As Jacob said, there were numerous historical, publication, and instrument-based clues in the set. When I looked over the questions (as I'm sure Jacob can comment), I had lots of comments from a layman's perspective about the specificity, usefulness, and difficulty of various musical clues, and Jacob was very patient with my ignorance and receptive to changes. I tried to make sure that the questions had appropriate middle clues for music enthusiasts with little technical knowledge. I thought they did.

As I've said throughout this discussion (and I haven't heard much in the way of dissent), I thought that Jacob's music questions tested on the core of the music canon with clues that were thematic and buzzable. Given my guidelines for writing and editing this tournament with a focus on core principles, I found his editorial tack entirely appropriate. And given that it's an editor's job to come up with an editorial plan and execute it, I thought it was entirely appropriate for him to excise questions that he felt didn't fit, especially (in the case of the above Zhdanov Decree tossup) questions that he perceived to be too difficult. That's what editing is. I have no qualms saying that people who disagree should do so by advocating for a different sort of music distribution, or by editing a tournament themselves to show how implementing such a distribution can be done. It's unproductive, in my mind, to say that "my question was cool; it shouldn't have been cut!" Editing requires judgment calls, and criticizing those judgment calls isn't helpful unless there's an idea behind it other than "I thought my question was okay but you didn't."

As discussed above, it's possible for different editors to approach the same categories with entirely different plans. I don't doubt that a music distribution more focused on historical or performance-based clues could also be successful. And what I told Matt Bollinger above also applies: I don't doubt that a more submission-driven approach to populating the tournament, including the music distribution, could produce an enjoyable event. But I completely stand by Jacob for what I thought was an excellent conception of the music distribution and a very diligent job executing it.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:44 pm

vinteuil wrote:Charlie, I didn't think it was necessary to tell you absolutely everything that was wrong with your question! I thought one reason for excluding it was enough--but yes this question is way too hard.
...no it's not? If anything, the early clues are a little too obvious/to-the-point, but certainly not unfixably so. I'm certainly not trying to argue that you don't have the right to edit your category as you see fit, but I for one would've enjoyed a bit more variety, especially in the form of more questions like this and fewer impenetrable, top-heavy tossups on instruments.
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Re: Thanks and general discussion

Post by Ike » Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:05 pm

I'll repeat my literature analogy: lots of tournaments have literature questions only from primary texts. Nobody complains. If you don't want clues that you learn from listening to music (a lot of these clues were designed to NOT require having seen the score or knowing more details than you could find in the cd track info), I don't see why I'm writing music questions for you. Other kinds of knowledge of music seem wholly secondary to me--Quizbowl is not a piano competition.
Jacob, I agree with Andrew Hart's view of the editorship, in that an editor has the right to do as he sees fit, but that doesn't mean "nobody complains" if the editor's taste is repetitive, eccentric or bonkers. To use your literature example, I actually kind of like the core-minded, primary-text driven approach to a lot of literature in tournaments, especially for lower levels, but I would be driven nuts if every tournament took such an approach. To say that "nobody complains" is a misunderstanding of a lot of people's positions: I would complain if literature in every tournament were core driven, E.G.: I don't mind playing your tossup on Thomas Sutpen, but I don't want to have fucking play a Thomas Sutpen question every tournament at the cost of playing your question on Donald Barthelme's Snow White because people with real knowledge of literature don't read Snow White (not saying anyone actually subscribes to that exact thought, but it sure feels like it!). One of the reasons why I agree with Yaphe's editorial choices for ICT even though other core-minded writers openly disagree with him is that Yaphe is still rewarding legitimate knowledge, and his material is intellectually entertaining to those anyone. I think a lot of your music questions were interesting, Jacob, but a lot of them were also white noise to me, as I'll talk a bit about down below.
Ukonvasara wrote:...no it's not? If anything, the early clues are a little too obvious/to-the-point, but certainly not unfixably so. I'm certainly not trying to argue that you don't have the right to edit your category as you see fit, but I for one would've enjoyed a bit more variety, especially in the form of more questions like this and fewer impenetrable, top-heavy tossups on instruments.
I agree with Rob on Zhdanov, I actually think the Zhdanov degree isn't too hard to be asked about, and I also think that the tossup is quite transparent as presented but that it is fixable. I also agree that it uses cultural history, but that's okay - some of my literature for example used history and myth to name a few subjects that I waded into.

But that last paragraph I wrote is secondary to my point: the part of Rob's post that I think you should take away is the fact that the music for this tournament is very dense to intellectually curious "musical amateurs," whose interaction to classical music is some combination of listening at concerts + listen to music appreciation lectures + read program notes, but not actually study scores. I think of Mike Sorice and Rob Carson, for example, as great players who do this: I have fond memories of Sorice playing a bunch of music appreciation lectures or podcasts about the great composers on the radio on the way back from many tournaments. As an example of a bonus part that is accessible to them, I cite the Eliot Carter 3 symphonies bonus part - I have listened to enough about Carter to know he uses big orchestral ensembles. To someone like Rob who didn't get the bonus part, he will no doubt find it interesting to learn from that bonus that Carter uses big ensembles. However, if you contrast that bonus part with what you did for The Rite of Spring tossup, you have to understand that most of that question to someone like Rob or Mike is going to be white noise.

Again, that's not to say what you did for this tournament was illegitimate (I can't really musically judge that), it's just that the way you wrote questions isn't going to gel well with the quizbowl populace's generalist music knowledge, and you have to acknowledge that you are cutting these people off from the question. I personally like music editors like Jonathan Magin or Rob who will find ways of incorporating these clues that I am able to parse over someone who goes for specialist only knowledge.

Edit1: for grammars
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