General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

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General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:38 pm

Hello!

I would like to thank all of my co-editors (Rob Carson, Patrick Liao, Saajid Moyen, Chris Chiego, Ike Jose, Eddie Kim, and Rebecca Maxfield) for their contributions to this set, esp the last three who I asked for help almost at the last minute. I would also like to thank my co-writers Jinah Kim, Sarita Jamil, Jaimie Carlson (who between the three of them wrote the bulk of the set), Max Smiley, Ben Cushing, and Carol Wang. A further thanks to Matt Bollinger for several helpful comments on the classics, and to IRC playtesters. I believe this is the last Penn Bowl that I will be head-editing, so it was good to have a solid staff to work with.

Our aim with the set was, as usual, to write deeper questions on easier answers and occasionally throw in harder answers that we found interesting. I believe we mostly succeeded in capping tossups at 8 lines with power (though a few went slightly over due to formatting changes with google docs).

Feel free to post general comments on the set here.
Last edited by Sima Guang Hater on Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Sam » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:54 pm

This set would have benefited from more thorough copy-editing. Moderators probably have a better sense of specific issues, but numerous times people had to stop reading to find a subject that wasn't there or to make the tenses agree.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by sonstige » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:56 pm

Overall, I thought the answerlines were all accessible for the target difficulty. But I do agree with the previous comment: moderators at the UMN site commented a few times regarding the final editing of the set and how a few questions had some wording issues. Probably would need to talk to those folks for the specifics of which questions could be touched up before next weekend.

Overall, I enjoyed the set. Thanks for the work in putting it together.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by theMoMA » Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:48 pm

Sam wrote:This set would have benefited from more thorough copy-editing. Moderators probably have a better sense of specific issues, but numerous times people had to stop reading to find a subject that wasn't there or to make the tenses agree.
I'll echo this; it's usually pretty easy for me to smooth over minor mistakes, but I found myself having to read ahead significantly of the words I was saying to have any chance with this set. One of the biggest difficulties was that the set rarely put commas before the word "and" when "and" started an independent clause; picking up the correct cadence in that situation is nearly impossible without reading a clause ahead of your voice with your eyes, which is tough to do for an entire day.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:41 pm

I should mention; if you want a copy of this set for criticism purposes (which will be further edited for this Saturday's mirrors), please email me at eric dot mukherjee at gmail dot com.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by gyre and gimble » Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:17 pm

I wasn't very impressed with this set. It was generally just not very exciting or creative, although this got better as the rounds went on. My main issues with the questions were (through 13 packets, I haven't seen the last two yet):

6 tossups on lyric poetry, appearing across 5 packets (my contention here is that epic or narrative poetry questions play like fiction questions because they are plot based, or like drama questions because they are "speech" based)
0 tossups on Greek myth (3-4 on Western myth, depending on how you count "underworlds")
painting tossups that weren't really careful about using clues people would actually know
a Stieglitz tossup leading in with his second most famous photograph, title and all!
very erratic bonus difficulty (Gates of Hell/Rodin/Francesca (given Paolo) or Luncheon of the Boating Party/Renoir/Caillebotte compared to that bonus with the Vulgate as the easy part)

So obviously my crticisms are only 13/15 valid, but come on, tournaments should be a lot more balanced than this.

That said, this tournament was "not that good" only relative to the high standard set by previous editions of the tournament, so many thanks to Eric and others at Penn for their hard and mostly excellent work over the years.

EDIT: spelling
Last edited by gyre and gimble on Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Ike » Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:36 pm

gyre and gimble wrote: 6 tossups on lyric poetry, appearing across 5 packets (my contention here is that epic or narrative poetry questions play like fiction questions becauae they are plot based, or like drama questioks because they are "speech" based)
Is this too little or too much? I think 6 lyric poetry tossups across five packets is actually about right. If it was six poetry tossups across 13 packets, we have an issue.
a Stieglitz tossup leading in with his second most famous photograph, title and all!
I apologize for this, I was quickly trying to rewrite this tossup from scratch since it was originally a tossup on Paul Strand, and all I really cared about was making it answerable. It will be fixed for future mirrors.
very erratic bonus difficulty (Gates of Hell/Rodin/Francesca (given Paolo) or Luncheon of the Boating Party/Renoir/Caillebotte conpared to that bonus with the Vulgate as the easy part)
I could have sworn I edited that Rodin bonus to be much, much, harder - I'll look into it. Caillebotte was intended to be the hard part given he's in Luncheon, Bridge of Europe and description of Floor Scrapers. If you still think that's too easy, I might just cut out the Floor Scrapers description.
0 tossups on Greek myth (3-4 on Western myth, depending on how you count "underworlds")
I'll let Eric defend this if he wants, but I'll point out that I agree with this. ACF mandates that no more than 1/1 of the RMP be non-Western, so that means that there should be at least 6/6 Greco-Roman in the myth distribution if you ask me. Which I am almost positive that there wasn't.
painting tossups that weren't really careful about using clues people would actually know
I'll partly cop to this. When Eric had me look at the painting, I complained to him that every tossup he had edited had clues that were incredibly hard to power - if I were playing, I'd have the same frustration. If a tossup seemed impossible for me to power I tried to rewrite every tossup so that people with deep arts knowledge could power stuff. Of course, I was also concerned that there was absolutely no Renaissance art in the tournament before i stepped on board, so I just ran out of time while trying to fix subdistribution issues.

However, the final product includes a lot of stuff that I think painting players should know - this included stuff on Joshua Reynolds so that you got 15 for having basic understanding of the grand style, to being able to get 15 for knowing a couple of "famous" Ernst paintings. I'm not saying what I did turned out perfect, but I did a cut an enormous amount of lead-in from virtually every painting tossup to the point where it felt that to me, as a reasonably good arts player, I'd be powering the majority of these tossups. If you'd like to point out specific examples of stuff that's hard to know about, please let me know.

EDIT - clarification
Last edited by Ike on Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Oct 19, 2015 3:37 pm

gyre and gimble wrote:0 tossups on Greek myth (3-4 on Western myth, depending on how you count "underworlds")
Your other comments aside, there were three greco-roman tossups in the set; unfortunately the packets you heard only had one (Dido). We'll rectify this for future mirrors.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by gyre and gimble » Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:27 pm

Ike wrote:Is this too little or too much? I think 6 lyric poetry tossups across five packets is actually about right. If it was six poetry tossups across 13 packets, we have an issue.
Sorry about the spelling errors, I was typing on my phone. What I meant was 6 tossups on lyric poetry total (bees, Spoon River Anthology, Gitanjali, Plath, Housman, Kipling) and that these appeared in 5 packets (Plath and Housman were in the same round), leaving the other 8 (including rounds 9-13) without lyric poetry tossups. I'd also liked to have seen some questions on individual poems.
Ike wrote:I could have sworn I edited that Rodin bonus to be much, much, harder - I'll look into it. Caillebotte was intended to be the hard part given he's in Luncheon, Bridge of Europe and description of Floor Scrapers. If you still think that's too easy, I might just cut out the Floor Scrapers description.
I wouldn't drop the title for Bridge of Europe either. Top teams playing this set are getting between 20-25 ppb, but every single one of them would 30 this if well-known titles are being dropped.
Ike wrote:I'll partly cop to this. When Eric had me look at the painting, I complained to him that every tossup he had edited had clues that were incredibly hard to power - if I were playing, I'd have the same frustration. If a tossup seemed impossible for me to power I tried to rewrite every tossup so that people with deep arts knowledge could power stuff. Of course, I was also concerned that there was absolutely no Renaissance art in the tournament before i stepped on board, so I just ran out of time while trying to fix subdistribution issues.

However, the final product includes a lot of stuff that I think painting players should know - this included stuff on Joshua Reynolds so that you got 15 for having basic understanding of the grand style, to being able to get 15 for knowing a couple of "famous" Ernst paintings. I'm not saying what I did turned out perfect, but I did a cut an enormous amount of lead-in from virtually every painting tossup to the point where it felt that to me, as a reasonably good arts player, I'd be powering the majority of these tossups. If you'd like to point out specific examples of stuff that's hard to know about, please let me know.
Both Reynolds and Ernst were fine. I was thinking about the Bar at the Folies Bergere and Turner questions. I don't have the set though, so I'll have to wait until I see the questions again to see if my criticism was reasonable. (I actually thought I'd deleted my complaint about the painting clues from my post, sorry.)
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Ike » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:00 pm

14. An X-ray of this painting revealed that its subject was originally crossing arms at the waist, and Malcolm Park photographically re-enacted this painting to show that its vanishing point does not actually lie behind its main character. In the background, a woman wearing yellow gloves and a gold-rimmed hat sits in front of another in a gold wrap below several globe-shaped (*) lights on pink walls. A pair of green boots on a trapeze hang in this painting’s top left, while the painting’s subject wears a black-ribboned necklace and stands below a chandelier. Red and green wine bottles sit next to oranges on a marble countertop in this painting, where a deceptive optical illusion in this work appears to show Suzon talking to a man in a top hat to her right. For 10 points, name this Edouard Manet painting showing a disillusioned waitress standing in front of a mirror.
Upon second thought, I could see why you would complain about this tossup. I'm going to rework it so that its descriptions are more concrete.
7. The destruction of this artist's house and the four sketches he made of Virgil's decaying tomb inspired this his painting Pope's Villa at Twickenham. In 1798, this artist made what many think to be his first mythological scene, a depiction of Aeneas and the Cumaean Sibyl at Lake Avernus. Another of his paintings shows the Cumaean Sibyl with the title The Golden Bough. One of this artist's paintings was first displayed with an excerpt from a Thomas Campbell poem which said "The flag which braved the (*) battle and breeze / no longer owns her." That painting by this artist shows a square-rigger and the title object being moved by a vessel with a large smoke stack. This artist, who showed a vessel being tugged to her last berth to be broken up in The Fighting Temeraire depicted the Maidenhead Bridge in one of his landscapes. For 10 points, name this English artist who showed the "Great Western Railway" in his Rain, Steam, and Speed.
Am I misjudging the know-ability of Turner's relationship with Virgil;s work? I thought these would be pretty salient upper middle clues.

Obviously email Eric for the set.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Guile Island » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:50 pm

I definitely noticed a few bonuses that seemed oddly easy in this set: the Wuthering Heights/Heathcliff/Thrushcross Grange bonus comes to mind as one that wouldn't be out of place at a high school national, and I could probably find a few more when I get the packets.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:49 pm

I don't really like making this complaint since it sort of sounds like "oh I've played lots of quizbowl look at how I figured things out," but I did think the "fraudability"/figure-it-out-bowl of a couple questions were really egregious--I felt rewarded for taking a chance and assuming the least rather than actually knowing something.

To clarify through examples:

-Palmer raids question that mentioned "namesake," a controversial practice, and immigrants in the first few clues
-Coriolis force question that used "force" as the primary identifier and dropped atmospheric descriptions soon as well
-Korean invasions question that used distinctive Japanese names and references to a repeated military endeavor early on
-Defenestrations of Prague that described a famously repeated European, middle-of-the-millenium event that had a name
-underworlds question that described a "location" ubiquitous to all myth systems

And quite a few others that I can't recall off the top of my head, though I'm sure I already have errors in recall for these few. I don't want to engage in an argument about these specific questions, since I'm sure if you examined each individually you could argue I was more making educated guesses than doing something in the category of "frauding"--but I felt like it added up, and these were representative of a larger trend in the set.

It just felt like the questions were either very canonical--which I'm happy with, no argument there--or poorly executed in creativity. Like, I like the idea of a Palmer raids question, it just seems questionable how that particular one was written. And, it should be fine to write a Coriolis force question, but when the questions shoves "force" and "currents" in your face, what am I supposed to do except outright guess Coriolis force? Maybe it's feasible to touch up a few of these questions so that they weren't so ostentatious; maybe it's just embedded in the set; maybe it's nothing and I'm making mountains out of molehills.

I had fun playing the set, despite this complaint, so thank you all for writing/editing it.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Oct 25, 2015 12:19 am

So I'm going to preface by noting that I played this tournament after getting a single hour of sleep the night before, after which I drove myself and my teammates to play the set; however I'll note that I've played other tournaments before under similar (or worse). But if you think the following is a bunch of sour grapes then you're probably not entirely off-base.

This was my worst overall quizbowl tournament experience since 2013 SCT. The major contributing fact to this was that the history questions were, by and large, not good - or at least extremely skewed in the type of historical knowledge they chose to reward in a way that was detrimental to my ability to not just play the set, but enjoy it and learn from it. This is admittedly based on my initial "feel" of the set but most of the history tossups seemed to fall into three categories:

1) Figure-outable/"played out" ideas as discussed by Raynor: Defenestration of Prague (ugh), Palmer Raids (Penn Bowl 2013 did Palmer too, if I recall correctly), the zillionth question on Theban history, invasions of Korea, etc.
2) Military history (overlapping with #1 in many cases)
3) Questions reliant on super-specific knowledge of one-off events, almost to the point of trivia, as opposed to general historical trends

I'll admit that I'm terrible at the third of these things and okay at the third and the second, so the fact that the prevalence of these kinds of questions affected my performance definitely has some bearing on my opinion (our music and painting bonus conversion were both higher than our history bonus conversion, with almost all our points in these categories being generated by me, and I'm definitely way better at history than either of those categories). I obviously don't think these kinds of questions are illegitimate - they're definitely things worth asking about, and I think I've made an effort to reward knowledge of them in questions I've written before as well. That said, writing questions solely like this I think misses the forest for the trees in the history category in many ways, ways I think Jordan Brownstein outlined best in his discussion of his editing for STIMPY.

Overall, my feeling after getting a history question in this set was generally "got another one - good" or "welp, thank goodness I figured that one out" instead of "sweet, that came up!" My enjoyment of quizbowl has greatly been enhanced by adopting the latter attitude towards more questions and this tournament basically forced me back to the former attitude the majority of the time. It was kind of lame.

To leave some positive comments, I thought that the music was very well executed and enjoyable and I generally thought the same of the visual arts; both rewarded a large number of ways of engagement with the arts. I liked the non-classical myth a lot, though I recognize that its prevalence in this set - more than any other I've ever seen - was probably a bit excessive. I thought the religion questions similarly had a nice level of variety to them, and the philosophy questions did a good job of attempting to reward conceptual understanding - though this was to the point that a large number of them were probably extremely hard to buzz on for most players.

Having spoken with a number of this set's writers, I respect the large amount of honest work that went into this set. Overall, it was a reasonably good tournament - tossups in particular felt pretty fair and consistent across the board and it definitely felt like there was a good effort made to create a good distribution of buzzes throughout. However, it just felt like this tournament simply didn't care about balance in many ways outside of that - bonuses were wildly inconsistent (compare the bonus on Kundera with the bonus on Argentina in the same packet), huge important topic areas seemed untouched and ignored, and there was an imbalanced treatment of many subjects - not just in history, since I heard a couple literature players complain about the style of questions there too, though I'll leave them to articulate these themselves.

Thanks for writing this tournament. I'm genuinely sorry I couldn't enjoy it, but given the circumstances and the content I don't think it was in the cards. I'm going to hit the books and packet archives again (for real, now that most - though certainly not all - of my Missouri Open work is done), work hard, and hope for better luck at the next regular tournament I get to play.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Victor Prieto » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:04 am

Hey, I had a blast playing this tournament, and so did all of my teammates at Penn State. I thought nearly every answerline for the tossups was picked with a decent amount of thought put into it, and was very much accessible for all teams. Except for a couple pretty transparent questions which I already mentioned in the IRC (abortion and nuclear testing), I thought this was a really solid set, particularly the science.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Milhouse » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:22 am

I can't speak for the first clue in the Turner tossup, but his Golden Bough is the subject of the first sentence of of Frazer's, so I would guess that it isn't obscenely too difficult.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Sun Oct 25, 2015 12:10 pm

I'm no one's judge of question quality, but I personally enjoyed reading the set and the questions seemed to play well at the UGA mirror from my vantage point. There were some interesting answer lines that I thought deserve recognition because I don't remember seeing them in previous tournaments: Finest Hour speech (I don't ever remember seeing a tossup on that), German POWs, Soviet space program, Navy SEALs, and the uranium history question. I just thought those answer lines were fresh and good examples of accessible but challenging places history questions can go.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Sun Oct 25, 2015 12:56 pm

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote: Finest Hour speech (I don't ever remember seeing a tossup on that), German POWs, Soviet space program, Navy SEALs, and the uranium history question. I just thought those answer lines were fresh and good examples of accessible but challenging places history questions can go.
These are interesting example, since I agree that they're interesting and novel answerlines, but I felt like at least two were written in the fraudable style I described--the SEALs question made it clear we were talking about a special forces military organization early on and you only had to wait to until location-determining nouns were dropped until you had a relatively certain idea of the answer; and the uranium question can only be one of a few things the moment you mention "mine," and then you mention Australia and the thing being mined being capable of contaminating an entire site.

To reiterate, I really liked the answerlines when they were executed well--German POWs and Soviet space were novel but not plainly obvious. Finest Hour was just a fun question to hear played. But the experience of playing novel questions is really sapped when sometimes they just felt terribly transparent.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by vinteuil » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:10 pm

I agree with Raynor that transparency was an issue in many of the tossups in this tournament—and I don't mean "I vaguely remembered these clues so I'm calling it transparent"; there were lots of early descriptive clues that I had absolutely never heard before and that nonetheless were almost certainly about a specific thing (Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 comes to mind on top of that Coriolis force tossup). I also agree with Will and Steven that the history and literature had very particular subdistributional and stylistic slants (maybe this was our site, but was there no American drama?) that made those categories often not very fun to play. Otherwise, I thought the tossup execution was pretty good, if not hugely creative. (I actually thought that the music might have been the best-executed, aside from the ambiguous leadin to the "3" tossup.)

The biggest issue was with the bonuses. Maybe a third of the bonuses in each round just did not have 90%-of-teams easy parts, and another quarter (or more?) had very hard middle parts; on top of this, several bonuses had absolutely and unnecessarily insane hard parts (Borges, numerical integration stuck in my mind), while, as pointed out above, many of the literature (and some of the arts) bonuses were substantially easier than even the MAGNI or DRAGOON conception of regular difficulty. Variance between categories like that can absolutely swing games. (Again, the music questions seemed the most consistent about difficulty.)
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by cchiego » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:26 pm

SEALs question made it clear we were talking about a special forces military organization early on and you only had to wait to until location-determining nouns were dropped until you had a relatively certain idea of the answer
Is this really "fraudable" then? Getting an early buzz required uniquely specific knowledge of things the SEALs specifically did, and these things--from the Panama clue to the Tanker War clue to the Achille Lauro hijacker clues--seemed important and interesting to me. Sure, it's clear it's some kind of military unit early on, but I'm not sure why narrowing something like that down early makes it "fraudable" considering there are plenty of other special forces orgs that are all relevant. Just because something has a relatively narrow answerline from the start (like "this myth system" or "this key" or something) doesn't make it inherently fraudable.

In contrast, I'd agree the "Panipat" TU was problematic because there's pretty much no other famous site of multiple battles in a place with Indian-sounding names involved from the very start of the question.

I do appreciate the mentions of specific questions, though I'd prefer more specifics as to why things were "fraudable" or "uninteresting" besides it being someone's own personal taste in history. This was not a perfect set by any means (I agree with the bonus consistency issue in particular and would add too many pronoun issues in lines 3-6 of many questions), but I'm somewhat surprised by the "trivia" and "uninteresting" criticisms for the history.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by 1.82 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:34 pm

I enjoyed the religion questions in this set a great deal. In particular, the questions on Islamic prophets and funerals had clues that were both interesting and accessible. Bonus hard parts on religion questions required deep knowledge but certainly weren't impossible.
UlyssesInvictus wrote:the uranium question can only be one of a few things the moment you mention "mine," and then you mention Australia and the thing being mined being capable of contaminating an entire site
I don't understand what this means; I don't know why it's a problem that you could get the question if you knew the answer.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Mewto55555 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:40 pm

What was the intended length of questions? Some of them seemed pretty long, and I think (at our site, at least), the day really dragged on as a result.

EDIT: For example TU15 of Round 4 makes its way into the 10th line. Even though that includes pronunciation guides that seems a little unreasonable.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Ike » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:44 pm

A note about fraudibility:

Unless you are actually buzzing in on these questions and collecting fifteens left and right, you probably should stop complaining about fraudibility. It is one thing to have a hunch; it is another thing to act on the hunch. If someone else beats you to a question because you, as Little Prince Hamlet, decide to not act your hunch, well that is your fault. It is really easy to go back and write the equation "this force" + "atmosphere" = Coriolis. But honestly, it could have been many different answers, such as the pressure (gradient) force - you just have happened to make the right hunch. Yes, it does suck if someone else beats you to a question that you were sitting on, but whose fault is that?
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:46 pm

cchiego wrote:I do appreciate the mentions of specific questions, though I'd prefer more specifics as to why things were "fraudable" or "uninteresting" besides it being someone's own personal taste in history. This was not a perfect set by any means (I agree with the bonus consistency issue in particular and would add too many pronoun issues in lines 3-6 of many questions), but I'm somewhat surprised by the "trivia" and "uninteresting" criticisms for the history.
The epitome of this set's experience for me was the tossup on the umbrella assassination of Georgi Markov. A dissident from a second-tier Communist country was killed in a strange way. Sure, it's a pretty cool and notable event, but that should be one, or maybe two clues in a tossup on something like Bulgaria, London, the UK, or (if you're ambitious) Todor Zhivkov. I don't have the tossup in front of me, but I would classify in-depth knowledge of what happened on the streets of London that particular afternoon involving those a couple people to be "trivia."

Most questions weren't like this, but generally rewarded knowing lots about specifics of given one-off events. As you say, this is a stylistic concern, and I'm not in the same camp as most people (or frankly most other casual history buffs) in not finding these sorts of things rewarding or interesting, but having a tournament overwhelmingly reward this kind of knowledge to the exclusion of other forms of engagement is sorely disappointing.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:46 pm

Governor General's Foot Guards wrote:
UlyssesInvictus wrote:the uranium question can only be one of a few things the moment you mention "mine," and then you mention Australia and the thing being mined being capable of contaminating an entire site
I don't understand what this means; I don't know why it's a problem that you could get the question if you knew the answer.
Confused by what you mean here; I didn't know the answer, this was my thought process during the question.
Ike wrote:Unless you are actually buzzing in on these questions and collecting fifteens left and right, you probably should stop complaining about fraudibility. It is one thing to have a hunch; it is another thing to act on the hunch. If someone else beats you to a question because you, as Little Prince Hamlet, decide to not act your hunch, well that is your fault. It is really easy to go back and write the equation "this force" + "atmosphere" = Coriolis. But honestly, it could have been many different answers, such as the pressure (gradient) force - you just have happened to make the right hunch. Yes, it does suck if someone else beats you to a question that you were sitting on, but whose fault is that?
Personally, I wouldn't say that I'm complaining that I had to sit on questions; I understand that that's just the way the stones lay sometimes. Rather, I'm complaining that I was able to get questions like these at all--I certainly didn't recognize a single equation described for the Coriolis question, didn't recognize a single event named in the SEAL question, and had no knowledge of any of the uranium history events. And yet for each of those, before power, I was able to think in my head--and I distinctively remember thinking it each time--this is probably [answer] here, and now I have to decide, game-theory-wise, whether it's worth just throwing out the random buzz.

I think that's my bigger complaint, that writing fraudable questions changes how the game is played. Instead of rewarding knowledge, you reward guts and "gaming" the question. I would certainly be unhappy if I was a history expert who lost buzzer races because someone else happened to care a little less about potentially negging. It's just fundamentally not fun to be playing "subconsciously weigh the risks" rather than "oh cool I'm so glad they asked about that thing that's really important!" Like, my playing style changed substantially by round 5, when I was actively realizing I should just sit on questions less.

I suppose it's fair to argue that such gamesmanship and risk-calcuating is just natural to quizbowl. (Of course it is!) But it did feel like there was a bit much of it.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Sun Oct 25, 2015 4:01 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:The epitome of this set's experience for me was the tossup on the umbrella assassination of Georgi Markov. A dissident from a second-tier Communist country was killed in a strange way. Sure, it's a pretty cool and notable event, but that should be one, or maybe two clues in a tossup on something like Bulgaria, London, the UK, or (if you're ambitious) Todor Zhivkov. I don't have the tossup in front of me, but I would classify in-depth knowledge of what happened on the streets of London that particular afternoon involving those a couple people to be "trivia."
I feel like this is something that you can do pretty well at NAQT length, where all you need is one or two interesting clues before getting into a more basic description of the event. At mACF events you don't want to have an incongruously short tossup so when you want to write on stuff like this you inevitably end up with a lot of padding.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Oct 25, 2015 4:44 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:The epitome of this set's experience for me was the tossup on the umbrella assassination of Georgi Markov. A dissident from a second-tier Communist country was killed in a strange way. Sure, it's a pretty cool and notable event, but that should be one, or maybe two clues in a tossup on something like Bulgaria, London, the UK, or (if you're ambitious) Todor Zhivkov. I don't have the tossup in front of me, but I would classify in-depth knowledge of what happened on the streets of London that particular afternoon involving those a couple people to be "trivia."
I feel like this is something that you can do pretty well at NAQT length, where all you need is one or two interesting clues before getting into a more basic description of the event. At mACF events you don't want to have an incongruously short tossup so when you want to write on stuff like this you inevitably end up with a lot of padding.
If you absolutely have to insert trivial clues in order to make your answerline work without the tossup seeming incongruous then, to my mind, that's an admission that you've chosen a poor answerline. It would not have been very hard to write a good seven or eight line tossup on several different things that use a couple important and interesting clues about that umbrella assassination. A hypothetical Bulgaria tossup could use the interesting, notable material from the assassination event and combine it with a different early clue about Bulgarian politics, some middle clues (perhaps the predanost cult of personality, the screwed up shit involving Turks) and later clues about the killing itself and Zhivkov.

Yes, Bulgaria would have been a "stale" sounding answerline compared with something "exciting" like the umbrella assassination, but the main distinguishing point and selling of quizbowl (especially mACF quizbowl) compared to other knowledge competitions is that you get a number of different clues that all point you to an answer and that these clues generally aren't supposed to be trivial.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by Everyman » Mon Oct 26, 2015 8:27 pm

Ike wrote:Am I misjudging the know-ability of Turner's relationship with Virgil;s work? I thought these would be pretty salient upper middle clues.
Not at all. If anything, "This probably-British painter was doing mythological scenes from the end of the 18th century" was probably one of the easier painting lead-ins.
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Re: General Discussion (Penn Bowl 2015)

Post by jinah » Sun Dec 20, 2015 6:33 pm

I think a few of the problems distributionally were that a lot of the topics people pointed out felt like were missing - someone mentioned American drama earlier and this was also an issue with Greco-Roman myth - were nearer the back end of the tournament, so people might not have heard them.

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