Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

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Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:12 am

This is your specific-question discussion for the 2016 DI SCT.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Muriel Axon » Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:51 pm

I did not like the tossup on reading music. The first clue referred to a study by Ole Irving Jacobsen (who?) on the pattern of fixations and saccades while reading music. Your eyes can move in saccades when looking at nearly any scene with attention; the fixation-saccade pattern is one of the most common forms of eye-movement. Saccades were discovered in studies of text reading, although Wikipedia tells me this was done by a dude named Louis Emile Javal and not Jacobsen. In any case, the saccade-fixation pattern is perhaps best studied in the case of normal text-reading. If I'm remembering the clue correctly (and I admit -- I might not be!), the only thing to distinguish this clue from "reading" (or more generally, "looking at things") is if you know the name "Ole Irving Jacobsen" (again, who?). I submit that this may be true of most potential upper-level clues for a tossup on "reading music."

I tried to trace down the Jacobsen study; it seems to refer to "An analytical study of eye-movements in reading vocal and instrumental music," which has 25 citations on Google Scholar. Assuming for the moment that Google Scholar isn't totally wrong (which is rare, but happens), a paper with 25 citations that was published 75 years ago does not seem like good material for a tossup, especially if it's the only distinguishing material in the clue. It felt that the tossup then proceeded to extremely famous clues almost immediately, which was jarring.

I would appreciate it if someone would post the tossup so we can see if there are actual problems with the tossup, or if I'm just misremembering.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:07 pm

DI SCT round 3 wrote:In the 1940s Ole Irving Jacobsen published a pioneering study of eye movement during this action that discussed changes in the proportion of saccade to fixation. Instead of this skill, emulation of a teacher and working "by ear" are taught in the (*) Suzuki method. People acquiring this skill often learn "every good boy does fine" as a mnemonic for the lines of the treble clef. For 10 points--name this activity in which people interpret such {symbols} as notes and rests.

answer: _read_ing _music_(al notation) (accept variations that include the underlined ideas; accept An Analytical Study of Eye-movements in _Reading Vocal and Instrumental Music_; accept _sight-reading_; prompt on "read(ing)"; prompt on "playing music" or similar answers before "method")
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:19 pm

The question on George Zimmerman's paintings was a terrible, terrible idea.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Corry » Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:29 pm

The Stately Rhododendron wrote:The question on George Zimmerman's paintings was a terrible, terrible idea.
Oh yeah, this. Probably not a super great idea.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:39 pm

Corry wrote:
The Stately Rhododendron wrote:The question on George Zimmerman's paintings was a terrible, terrible idea.
Oh yeah, this. Probably not a super great idea.
Please tell me that was in the pop culture distribution.

The tossup on Diane Arbus struck me as transparent, as it told you quite quickly that it was a female photographer who took pictures of strange people. Could somebody post that, please?
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by vinteuil » Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:45 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote: The tossup on Diane Arbus struck me as transparent, as it told you quite quickly that it was a female photographer who took pictures of strange people. Could somebody post that, please?
American, too.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by jonah » Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:48 pm

Muriel Axon wrote:I did not like the tossup on reading music. The first clue referred to a study by Ole Irving Jacobsen (who?) on the pattern of fixations and saccades while reading music. Your eyes can move in saccades when looking at nearly any scene with attention; the fixation-saccade pattern is one of the most common forms of eye-movement. Saccades were discovered in studies of text reading, although Wikipedia tells me this was done by a dude named Louis Emile Javal and not Jacobsen. In any case, the saccade-fixation pattern is perhaps best studied in the case of normal text-reading. If I'm remembering the clue correctly (and I admit -- I might not be!), the only thing to distinguish this clue from "reading" (or more generally, "looking at things") is if you know the name "Ole Irving Jacobsen" (again, who?). I submit that this may be true of most potential upper-level clues for a tossup on "reading music."

I tried to trace down the Jacobsen study; it seems to refer to "An analytical study of eye-movements in reading vocal and instrumental music," which has 25 citations on Google Scholar. Assuming for the moment that Google Scholar isn't totally wrong (which is rare, but happens), a paper with 25 citations that was published 75 years ago does not seem like good material for a tossup, especially if it's the only distinguishing material in the clue. It felt that the tossup then proceeded to extremely famous clues almost immediately, which was jarring.

I would appreciate it if someone would post the tossup so we can see if there are actual problems with the tossup, or if I'm just misremembering.
My research indicates that that study is actually quite well known. I think I first came across it in an issue of Mental Floss, the subject editor had independently heard of it, and I found plenty of other references to it. I agree that the specific study's author was necessary to uniquely identify that clue, but I think the study is notable enough that I'm okay with that. (As you suggest, someone who knows what fixations and saccades are but not about that specific study would likely realize that without knowing the specific study, the clue is not unique.)
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Corry » Sun Feb 07, 2016 5:16 pm

As I mentioned in the general discussion thread, I liked this set a lot. However, here are a few particular tossups that I didn't think worked very well:
  • Decline and Fall: I'm not a lit player, but this answer line seemed unusually difficult.
  • 1793: This might just be a personal preference of mine, but I really don't like tossups on years. When you study history in an academic context, specific years don't really matter. Chronology? Sure, that's important- so write a question on the origins of the Committee of Public Safety. Specific decades? Yeah, sometimes that's important too- so write a question on the 1790s. But why does it matter that the Vendee Revolt specifically happened to start in the year 1793? (For the record, I got this question on the Vendee clue, but I wasn't particularly happy about it.)
  • Devon: Honestly, I just don't think this question (or most questions on counties, for that matter) played very well. I imagine most people would buzz at the FTP.
  • San Francisco Bay Area: I guessed you guys opened with "this nine-county region" so you could preclude alternate answer lines from being correct, but that's just sidestepping the main issue here: the Bay Area is a nebulous pseudo-geographical designation that really shouldn't be its own standalone answer line.
  • Curtis: Geez this question was tough.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Muriel Axon » Sun Feb 07, 2016 5:33 pm

jonah wrote:My research indicates that that study is actually quite well known. I think I first came across it in an issue of Mental Floss, the subject editor had independently heard of it, and I found plenty of other references to it. I agree that the specific study's author was necessary to uniquely identify that clue, but I think the study is notable enough that I'm okay with that. (As you suggest, someone who knows what fixations and saccades are but not about that specific study would likely realize that without knowing the specific study, the clue is not unique.)
I've been searching on the Internet for any indication that this is a well-known study, and I'm running up empty. Most of the Google hits I'm getting ("'Ole Irving Jacobsen' music" or "'O I Jacobsen' music," and variants) are from Amazon, WorldCat, and various archived material about Jacobsen (most from the Shurtleff Pioneer) that has little to do with eye-tracking. "'mental floss' jacobsen saccades" and variants also yield no real hits. Of course, there's some academic literature that mentions it in passing, but I'm having a hard time finding much support for the idea that this is a notable study, and I might suggest that the fact that you and the subject editor had both heard of it might be a very weird fluke.

(Upon further inspection, the Google Scholar citation count I provided above is probably an underestimate, perhaps related in some way to the age of the paper. I think the point still stands.)
Last edited by Muriel Axon on Sun Feb 07, 2016 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by vinteuil » Sun Feb 07, 2016 5:38 pm

Muriel Axon wrote:
jonah wrote:My research indicates that that study is actually quite well known. I think I first came across it in an issue of Mental Floss, the subject editor had independently heard of it, and I found plenty of other references to it. I agree that the specific study's author was necessary to uniquely identify that clue, but I think the study is notable enough that I'm okay with that. (As you suggest, someone who knows what fixations and saccades are but not about that specific study would likely realize that without knowing the specific study, the clue is not unique.)
I've been searching on the Internet for any indication that this is a well-known study, and I'm running up empty. Most of the Google hits I'm getting ("'Ole Irving Jacobsen' music" or "'O I Jacobsen' music," and variants) are from Amazon, WorldCat, and various archived material about Jacobsen (most from the Shurtleff Pioneer) that has little to do with eye-tracking. "'mental floss' jacobsen saccades" and variants also yield no real hits. Of course, there's some academic literature that mentions it in passing, but I'm having a hard time finding much support for the idea that this is a notable study, and I might suggest that the fact that you and the subject editor had both heard of it might be a very weird fluke.
Google scholar gives 41 citations for the more well-known of the two papers (I'd never heard of any of the papers or authors that cited it). By comparison, several hugely influential, but absolutely still too-hard-for-quizbowl papers by music cognition people like like David Huron get hundreds, and his book gets thousands. This clue wasn't a good idea (and I don't think the question was).
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2016 5:52 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Corry wrote:
The Stately Rhododendron wrote:The question on George Zimmerman's paintings was a terrible, terrible idea.
Oh yeah, this. Probably not a super great idea.
Please tell me that was in the pop culture distribution.
Current events (social).
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by theMoMA » Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:24 pm

I apologize that the tossup on "reading music" didn't play well as written. In retrospect, I should have gone through the first clue a bit more carefully to make sure that it pointed unambiguously to the answer line. (Although obviously it was was specific to the answer line, given Shan's critique, I can understand why it was confusing as written.) Perhaps, as Jacob seems to suggest, it would have been better off as a bonus.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by sonstige » Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:19 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:The tossup on Diane Arbus struck me as transparent, as it told you quite quickly that it was a female photographer who took pictures of strange people. Could somebody post that, please?
So this question went through some iteration as to where to best place the first reference to the gender-specific "her" (to explicitly get to female photographer)...which doesn't occur until just before "Mexican Dwarf in his Hotel Room" is dropped. That's not until 2/3 through the question or so. Note that the power marker was pretty generous on this one (whenever it's posted), which is why one might think that "female" was mentioned early.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Valefor » Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:24 pm

The Stately Rhododendron wrote:The question on George Zimmerman's paintings was a terrible, terrible idea.
I wrote this question; I'm curious to know what made it play badly in-game. Given the furor over the amounts of money Zimmerman has made auctioning off his paintings and the controversy over their content, I felt it might be an interesting way to approach a tossup on him.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:54 pm

Vissi d'arte wrote:
The Stately Rhododendron wrote:The question on George Zimmerman's paintings was a terrible, terrible idea.
I wrote this question; I'm curious to know what made it play badly in-game. Given the furor over the amounts of money Zimmerman has made auctioning off his paintings and the controversy over their content, I felt it might be an interesting way to approach a tossup on him.
The point of painting tossups is to reward people who study important painters, their important paintings and why those paintings are important (content, context, etc) and the point of current events tossups is to reward people who follow important figures, trends, policies, and events in modern politics. This tossup filled neither of those roles. George Zimmerman is not really an important person these days and his paintings have had no serious impact other than to make some people on the internet angry. As has been pointed out in other threads, filling the first half of a tossup with material that very few people will buzz on creates a frustrating question with buzzer races. The fact that this material was not only stuff people don't know, but also dumb, uninteresting, and unimportant, made this a terrible question to put at one of the most important tournaments of the year.

I'm sorry if my tone is overly harsh, but that tossup was eye-roll-generating groanworthy.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by gettysburg11 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:06 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Vissi d'arte wrote:
The Stately Rhododendron wrote:The question on George Zimmerman's paintings was a terrible, terrible idea.
I wrote this question; I'm curious to know what made it play badly in-game. Given the furor over the amounts of money Zimmerman has made auctioning off his paintings and the controversy over their content, I felt it might be an interesting way to approach a tossup on him.
The point of painting tossups is to reward people who study important painters, their important paintings and why those paintings are important (content, context, etc) and the point of current events tossups is to reward people who follow important figures, trends, policies, and events in modern politics. This tossup filled neither of those roles. George Zimmerman is not really an important person these days and his paintings have had no serious impact other than to make some people on the internet angry. As has been pointed out in other threads, filling the first half of a tossup with material that very few people will buzz on creates a frustrating question with buzzer races. The fact that this material was not only stuff people don't know, but also dumb, uninteresting, and unimportant, made this a terrible question to put at one of the most important tournaments of the year.

I'm sorry if my tone is overly harsh, but that tossup was eye-roll-generating groanworthy.
I'll agree that this was an eye-roller (this was one of the ones edited down to DII). As an art player it felt like a "sike!" kind of question. And I too wondered to myself afterward "that guy's still relevant?"

I do appreciate the effort that obviously went into trying to make something creative like this, but I also did not like this question much at all. Sorry.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by theMoMA » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:49 pm

Some more follow-up to specific discussions:

Everyone is, of course, entitled to their own opinion about what constitutes a good or bad idea for a question. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I disagree with Will's proclamations of the worthiness of Zimmerman as a current events topic. In my judgment, that tossup was whimsical and perhaps not the way I'd like to see every current events question written, but it was ok as one of the many current events questions in the set. To be totally clear (although perhaps this is obvious), it filled the distribution as a current events question and not an arts question.

The same reasoning--it's not how I'd like to see every question written, but I think it's fine as the conceit of one question--goes for the tossup on 1793. I generally don't think that questions should require knowledge of individual years, but as an occasional way to test for knowledge of meaningful dates, I'm ok with including them. It's worth noting that this is, I believe, the first time there's been a history tossup on a year (that wasn't a U.S. election year) in any SCT I've edited.

I think it's possible to have a reasonable difference of opinion about the Devon tossup. I certainly recall tossups on English and Irish counties from my playing career. It was perhaps on the difficult side of the geography answer lines, but I thought it was a legitimate and interesting thing to ask about.

I don't think that the Bay Area is a nebulous answer line at all; it's the concrete name of a distinct region. It's perhaps worth noting that you could have said "San Francisco (region)" at any point before the words "San Francisco" and received points.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Cody » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:58 pm

In my opinion, George Zimmerman's paintings is a good idea for a question (though I didn't see the question). And it seems obvious to me that it's a CE question - you can't and shouldn't attempt to apply any standards for painting questions to it.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:03 pm

Whimsy is fine if it's not determining who gets to go to nationals and who doesn't. I'm glad to hear that Jason wrote the tossup as an "interesting approach" to the subject instead of on account of any notion of potential humorous value, but in any case it was neither humorous nor interesting. We got the tossup, for the record, since the opposing team negged (with an actual painter, to my recollection) - this isn't sour grapes or anything. If it had been during a key, close game then I would have felt rather dirty.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Cody » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:41 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Whimsy is fine if it's not determining who gets to go to nationals and who doesn't. I'm glad to hear that Jason wrote the tossup as an "interesting approach" to the subject instead of on account of any notion of potential humorous value, but in any case it was neither humorous nor interesting. We got the tossup, for the record, since the opposing team negged (with an actual painter, to my recollection) - this isn't sour grapes or anything. If it had been during a key, close game then I would have felt rather dirty.
This is a bullshit argument and you know it. Just because you (or even many people!) don't like a question doesn't mean it's inherently bad, unfair, or is sending the wrong team to nationals.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Ike » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:45 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Whimsy is fine if it's not determining who gets to go to nationals and who doesn't. I'm glad to hear that Jason wrote the tossup as an "interesting approach" to the subject instead of on account of any notion of potential humorous value, but in any case it was neither humorous nor interesting. We got the tossup, for the record, since the opposing team negged (with an actual painter, to my recollection) - this isn't sour grapes or anything. If it had been during a key, close game then I would have felt rather dirty.
Yeah, this is a pretty thin argument. If two teams are so close to the cutoff that this tossup makes or breaks their D-value, I guess I would take the team that fared better on this tossup, since people who were a bit unattentive to the point they are negging the question with a real painter should probably go learn more anyway.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by armitage » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:35 pm

Corry wrote: 1793: This might just be a personal preference of mine, but I really don't like tossups on years. When you study history in an academic context, specific years don't really matter. Chronology? Sure, that's important- so write a question on the origins of the Committee of Public Safety. Specific decades? Yeah, sometimes that's important too- so write a question on the 1790s. But why does it matter that the Vendee Revolt specifically happened to start in the year 1793? (For the record, I got this question on the Vendee clue, but I wasn't particularly happy about it.)
I wrote this. In my mind (maybe only in my mind) the names of the various French revolutionary assemblies and factions are less memorable than years in which many important, related events occurred. The answerline "1790s" feels like it would have transparency issues. And as you said, it doesn't seem like this question style barred you from being rewarded for knowing the clues; the D2 version also played fine for the teams I read it to. I'd rethink this type of question if it turns out to have generated lots of negs elsewhere; otherwise I don't think year tossups are invalid in principle.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Panayot Hitov » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:52 pm

armitage wrote:
Corry wrote: 1793: This might just be a personal preference of mine, but I really don't like tossups on years. When you study history in an academic context, specific years don't really matter. Chronology? Sure, that's important- so write a question on the origins of the Committee of Public Safety. Specific decades? Yeah, sometimes that's important too- so write a question on the 1790s. But why does it matter that the Vendee Revolt specifically happened to start in the year 1793? (For the record, I got this question on the Vendee clue, but I wasn't particularly happy about it.)
I wrote this. In my mind (maybe only in my mind) the names of the various French revolutionary assemblies and factions are less memorable than years in which many important, related events occurred. The answerline "1790s" feels like it would have transparency issues. And as you said, it doesn't seem like this question style barred you from being rewarded for knowing the clues; the D2 version also played fine for the teams I read it to. I'd rethink this type of question if it turns out to have generated lots of negs elsewhere; otherwise I don't think year tossups are invalid in principle.
I got this question wrong, but in the french revolution class i took, specific years were used a lot. I would say that revolutionary calendar years were more common, as in "Year III radicalism."
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Corry » Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:06 am

Paisley Park wrote:
armitage wrote:
Corry wrote: 1793: This might just be a personal preference of mine, but I really don't like tossups on years. When you study history in an academic context, specific years don't really matter. Chronology? Sure, that's important- so write a question on the origins of the Committee of Public Safety. Specific decades? Yeah, sometimes that's important too- so write a question on the 1790s. But why does it matter that the Vendee Revolt specifically happened to start in the year 1793? (For the record, I got this question on the Vendee clue, but I wasn't particularly happy about it.)
I wrote this. In my mind (maybe only in my mind) the names of the various French revolutionary assemblies and factions are less memorable than years in which many important, related events occurred. The answerline "1790s" feels like it would have transparency issues. And as you said, it doesn't seem like this question style barred you from being rewarded for knowing the clues; the D2 version also played fine for the teams I read it to. I'd rethink this type of question if it turns out to have generated lots of negs elsewhere; otherwise I don't think year tossups are invalid in principle.
I got this question wrong, but in the french revolution class i took, specific years were used a lot. I would say that revolutionary calendar years were more common, as in "Year III radicalism."
That's fair. However, of 15-ish history classes I've taken at Amherst, I've personally never had a class where specific years were an important concept.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by setht » Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:08 am

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:The tossup on Diane Arbus struck me as transparent, as it told you quite quickly that it was a female photographer who took pictures of strange people. Could somebody post that, please?
DI SCT round 7 wrote:Susan Sontag stated that the true subject of this person's work is "the unhappy consciousness" in "America, Seen Through Photographs, Darkly." This artist showed the diminutive Lauro Morales wearing a porkpie hat and a blanket over his lap in one piece, while a couple cranes up at their hulking son Eddie Carmel in another of her works. ~Mexican Dwarf in his Hotel Room~ and ~Jewish Giant at Home with his Parents in the (*) Bronx~ are photographs by--for 10 points--what New York artist of the grotesque?

answer: Diane _Arbus_
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by theMoMA » Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:13 am

I obviously continue to disagree with Will. I think it's important to realize that, although a question might not be to everyone's taste, not every question can be. Part of the fun of editing SCT is that the other writers bring their expertise and ideas to the table, and come up with questions that I probably never would have written myself. While of course my goal is to avoid including questions that draw ire from wide swaths of the players, I recognize that it's difficult to please everyone all the time and also produce a set that's lively and diverse.

If some of the questions didn't live up to some people's standards or ideals, I honestly apologize for that, because I really would like to please everyone all the time. But failing that, please do realize that we're just trying our best here, as writers and editors, to produce a good, interesting set.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:02 am

Cody wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Whimsy is fine if it's not determining who gets to go to nationals and who doesn't. I'm glad to hear that Jason wrote the tossup as an "interesting approach" to the subject instead of on account of any notion of potential humorous value, but in any case it was neither humorous nor interesting. We got the tossup, for the record, since the opposing team negged (with an actual painter, to my recollection) - this isn't sour grapes or anything. If it had been during a key, close game then I would have felt rather dirty.
This is a bullshit argument and you know it. Just because you (or even many people!) don't like a question doesn't mean it's inherently bad, unfair, or is sending the wrong team to nationals.
I think this question is, in fact, inherently bad and unfair. Why unfair? It's a CE TU on a small detail of the public life of a (obviously terrible) man who's a bit beyond relevance. A TU on Zimmerman himself wouldn't be my first choice for an answerline (for reasons I'll explain later), but it's certainly gettable. However, the TU was (to my memory, at least) entirely about his paintings, inevitably leading to a buzzer race. Like Will said, this was a very, very minor story in terms of affect on anyone (I certainly paid no attention to it). I really doubt more than a small fraction of teams got it w/i power. Now, I don't think the fact that it kind of sounds like art is a bad thing. The snowmen from C+H TU was fantastic. However, anyone whose read C+H (aka a fair amount of people) will know about these snowmen. To expect people to exclusively know about Zimmerman's paintings? nahhh

Why is it bad? It is using up a US CE answerline that could be used by much more meaningful topics. Protests around campus climate were certainly a major event in the lives of US college students this past year (personally took up a large part of my attention/life this year), but I heard nothing about it in SCT (ok, maybe the Atlantic TU). For the amount of CE NAQT has, that's inexcusable. The list goes on: Fossil fuel divestment, prison divestment, sentencing reform, etc., etc. Instead you chose to write about a minor detail of the life of a terrible dude.

It's nice to see innovative CE questions and answer lines, but c'mon! This was in no way worthy of a SCT CE TU! This is something I'd hear in a vanity packet or a end-of-the-semester party, a question about an in-joke that I don't find that funny.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by theMoMA » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:23 am

I don't want to hammer this point too hard, because it seems like the discussion is getting a bit sidetracked, but obviously the way a quizbowl subdistribution is filled is not by having X slots, making a list of the X most-important topics in that particular area, and then writing X questions on those topics. Yet under Isaac's reasoning, it seems like that's the only acceptable way to go, because including any topic outside of the top X would necessarily crowd out an entry on the list. Obviously, as I've said, reasonable minds can disagree about whether Zimmerman is still a good subject for a question, but I don't think that Isaac's approach above bears any real relation to how questions are or should be written.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:42 am

theMoMA wrote:I don't want to hammer this point too hard, because it seems like the discussion is getting a bit sidetracked, but obviously the way a quizbowl subdistribution is filled is not by having X slots, making a list of the X most-important topics in that particular area, and then writing X questions on those topics. Yet under Isaac's reasoning, it seems like that's the only acceptable way to go, because including any topic outside of the top X would necessarily crowd out an entry on the list. Obviously, as I've said, reasonable minds can disagree about whether Zimmerman is still a good subject for a question, but I don't think that Isaac's approach above bears any real relation to how questions are or should be written.
Sorry, I wasn't very clear about this part. What I meant was that a TU on Zimmerman should be framed as a TU about a figure in contemporary dialogues about racial justice.I think that, for CE, you should strive to ask about important stuff. Nothing wrong with fun answerlines, but you couldn't bother incorporate one of the defining parts of college life in 2015 into SCT? Really?

This goes back to why people complained about Geo. You were asking about, basically, :capybara: no one cared about. I think QB decided, for the better, that asking about folk music of Armenia is more important than the 4th largest river or whatever of Armenia.

Look a bonus part on Zimmerman's paintings? fine (maybe link it to GWB's paintings or whatever) But a full TU on Zimmerman filled with :capybara: no one cares about? nahh
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:11 am

The genetic linkage tossup's leadin confused me. Two SNPs can definitely be in LD with each other.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by armitage » Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:42 am

The Last 21 Stanley Cup Winners wrote:The genetic linkage tossup's leadin confused me. Two SNPs can definitely be in LD with each other.
Sorry, it looks like I didn't research enough / know what words mean, and ended up garbling a source that claims "Whereas QTL contain many linked genes, which are then challenging to separate, GWAS produce many unlinked individual genes or even nucleotides, but these studies are riddled with large expected numbers of false positives...". This clue should ideally have just said something distinguishing linkage and association studies; I apologize if this leadin screwed over you or anyone else.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Ike » Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:17 am

theMoMA wrote:I obviously continue to disagree with Will. I think it's important to realize that, although a question might not be to everyone's taste, not every question can be. Part of the fun of editing SCT is that the other writers bring their expertise and ideas to the table, and come up with questions that I probably never would have written myself. While of course my goal is to avoid including questions that draw ire from wide swaths of the players, I recognize that it's difficult to please everyone all the time and also produce a set that's lively and diverse.

If some of the questions didn't live up to some people's standards or ideals, I honestly apologize for that, because I really would like to please everyone all the time. But failing that, please do realize that we're just trying our best here, as writers and editors, to produce a good, interesting set.
Just want to step in for a second and say I agree with this. One of the strengths of SCT over Regionals is that you have about a dozen people + more who know what they are doing contributing all of their ideas into the set, with three people (Andrew, Trevor and Richard) tempering the set so that there aren't "too many cooks." It's unlikely that every tossup is going to align with your personal tastes or that you will find them to be your cup of tea. Hopefully there is some middle ground here - I'm not sure if I like the Zimmerman tossup either* but Andrew's and Jason's reasoning tells me that it wasn't just an "F*** Y*** TU."

*As a reader I found this tossup pretty funny. I think it could have used one more pre-FTP clue so that it wasn't just "painter painter painter, killer" but watching people neg this with Jackson Pollock is pretty amusing.

EDIT: I mean Jasper Johns
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Cody » Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:45 am

I didn't see the question on Zimmerman's paintings, but I've read a couple of articles (at different times) about them and seen headlines for more. I would indeed argue that there was plenty of coverage and that a question writer could reasonably expect people to know things about the answerline.

The reason Will's post is a bad argument isn't due to the fairness of this question (which, again, I don't think was bad or unfair). Rather, it is impossible to apply it as a standard to any set because you can say that about any question. It's similar to deflecting complaints about a question being too hard by saying the answerline is "important" - it doesn't mean anything and appealing to some higher power doesn't make your case.

Also, Andrew is correct.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by sonstige » Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:25 pm

Just to chip in my two-cents on the Zimmerman question: at our site (in Orlando), we played the Div II set, where a slightly watered-down version of the Zimmerman question made an appearance.

Maybe the local bias (Sanford and Lake Mary, the epicenters of many Zimmerman headlines, are just north of Orlando) influenced how this question was played, but I had a player power it (again, the Div II version) in the room I was reading based on the painting clues.

I personally groaned when I saw the question, but didn't hate it since the paintings were covered on our local news quite a bit at the time...and ultimately, I thought it was a clever way to get to Zimmerman as an answerline.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:14 pm

Perhaps my argument about it being bad specifically because it's unfair for teams to qualify on it is specious. It is indeed impossible to take each and every tossup and say "oh there's something more important we can ask about, let's throw this out instead" because then you'd probably end up with the same exact stuff coming up every single time, and that would make this game no better than a crappy local quiz show where they reuse questions every 4 years. I do think that SCT is made a lot stronger by the fact that many more people contribute than on a standard housewrite, since there's no pressure for a single writer to fill out the tournament and just churn out acceptable, mechanically fine but unexceptional questions.

Aside from that, I agree with just about everything Isaac has said. We don't need to give terrible, irrelevant people any more attention than they already get. To my mind, this question is hardly better than a tossup on Kim Kardashian's personal life.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Cody » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:32 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Aside from that, I agree with just about everything Isaac has said. We don't need to give terrible, irrelevant people any more attention than they already get. To my mind, this question is hardly better than a tossup on Kim Kardashian's personal life.
Which there is nothing wrong with and which would make a fine trash question? It's fine if you don't like a question, or the concept of a question, or anything about a question, but c'mon dude -- value judgements don't reflect on whether something makes a good question!
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Cold Stone Steve Austin » Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:33 pm

I thought that the Dennett bonus was completely 30'able with pure title-author binary association.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:13 pm

Cody wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Aside from that, I agree with just about everything Isaac has said. We don't need to give terrible, irrelevant people any more attention than they already get. To my mind, this question is hardly better than a tossup on Kim Kardashian's personal life.
Which there is nothing wrong with and which would make a fine trash question? It's fine if you don't like a question, or the concept of a question, or anything about a question, but c'mon dude -- value judgements don't reflect on whether something makes a good question!
It would make a fine trash question. So would that Zimmerman tossup! Kim Kardashian's personal life, just because it's something that people follow on the internet these days and causes some annoyance, does not make for a fine current events question. The same logic applies.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Cody » Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:34 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Cody wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Aside from that, I agree with just about everything Isaac has said. We don't need to give terrible, irrelevant people any more attention than they already get. To my mind, this question is hardly better than a tossup on Kim Kardashian's personal life.
Which there is nothing wrong with and which would make a fine trash question? It's fine if you don't like a question, or the concept of a question, or anything about a question, but c'mon dude -- value judgements don't reflect on whether something makes a good question!
It would make a fine trash question. So would that Zimmerman tossup! Kim Kardashian's personal life, just because it's something that people follow on the internet these days and causes some annoyance, does not make for a fine current events question. The same logic applies.
So we've wittled down the problem of this question to it being Current Events instead of Trash (which is, like, barely an objection you can make and doesn't mean much!)? What's the argument that George Zimmerman's paintings is better placed in trash vs. CE? From my point of view, it makes far more sense to categorize it as CE.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by ryanrosenberg » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:17 pm

As someone who's very interested in current events, the "Zimmerman's paintings" question felt to me like the "Planet Nine" tossup some science players were annoyed about from Regionals -- it's a topic that bears no resemblance to serious analysis in the field, and seemed to have been picked primarily because a writer/editor thought that it would be amusing.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:23 pm

Very few people know or care that George Zimmerman painted things, as this is (at best) an obscure subplot to what actually made him notable. George Zimmerman post-acquittal is not incredibly relevant, although I suppose some of his activities (like re-tweeting things about the murder, etc.) could be stretched enough to leadin a real CE tossup. Zimmerman nowadays is basically just a D-list celebrity, and while this type of news is covered in certain ways by entertainment outlets and internet jokesters, I'm guessing that few other CE questions derive their content solely from Entertainment Tonight, Reddit, or whatever non-serious outlet where a person would go to learn about his shenanigans.

With all that being said, if the point of having Current Events (social) in the distribution is to ask about that specific slice of "news," then the question fits there I guess. If not, I can't imagine the justification reaching beyond aiming a question at the handful of people who consume news in a way that would grant them real knowledge about George Zimmerman's personal life. I won't object to either justification, but I don't think we can sit here and actually proclaim that the topic is cut from the same cloth as the rest of the CE distribution.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Wynaut » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:51 pm

I'm no lit expert, but the tossups on The Road and Les Miserables felt incredibly easy to power to me. EDIT: Oh yeah, and the Kerouac tossup title-dropped Visions of Cody way too early.

Could I also see the tossup on Micronesia, please? I want to look at the clues from before the namedrop of the four main islands; they seemed interesting.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:19 pm

Wynaut wrote:Could I also see the tossup on Micronesia, please? I want to look at the clues from before the namedrop of the four main islands; they seemed interesting.
DI SCT 3 wrote:In this modern-day country, sea turtles were sacrificed to sacred eels to represent the Saudeleur dynasty's power. A lagoon in this country houses over 50 sunken Japanese ships from World War II. The canal-laden ruined city of Nan Madol is on this country's island of Pohnpei. Yap, Kosrae, and (*) Chuuk are islands in this country, which is named for a region north and west of Melanesia and Polynesia. Palikir is the capital of--for 10 points--what western Pacific group of "federated states"?
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:23 am

The leadin to the tossup on expected value is Fatou's Lemma, which is more often written in terms of the Lebesgue integral of the limit inferior of the sequence of functions; it can be rewritten in terms of the expected value, which is obviously just calculated in the general case by taking an integral over the measure space of possibilites. Had I protested, that would have actually changed the entire outcome of that SCT.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by jonah » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:33 am

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:The leadin to the tossup on expected value is Fatou's Lemma, which is more often written in terms of the Lebesgue integral of the limit inferior of the sequence of functions; it can be rewritten in terms of the expected value, which is obviously just calculated in the general case by taking an integral over the measure space of possibilites. Had I protested, that would have actually changed the entire outcome of that SCT.
Division I SCT packet 11 wrote:The probabilistic version of Fatou's lemma states that this function of the limit inferior of a sequence of random variables is no more than by the limit inferior of this function of the sequence. The probability that a nonnegative random variable X is greater than c is bounded above by this function of X/c, according to (*) Markov's inequality. Variance equals this function of the square of a random variable's deviation from the mean. For 10 points—name this probability function abbreviated "EV."

answer: expected value (or expectation value; prompt on "EV" before "EV")
In my opinion, the first three words make it clear that the question is seeking an answer not found in non-probabilistic formulations. It's possible that could be tightened further, and it's also possible you would have won that protest (we'd look for specific references to probabilistic versions, naturally), but I don't think it's the case that this question is obviously flawed.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:52 am

Granny Soberer wrote:the "Planet Nine" tossup [is] a topic that bears no resemblance to serious analysis in the field
I'm not sure where this meme is coming from but I hope those poor Caltech researchers don't see it! The tossup may or may not have been great but there's nothing inherently wrong with some "current events"-type science coming up once in a while.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by gerbilownage » Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:53 am

Could I see the Art Nouveau question? I remember it had some early Gaudi clues and don't recall learning about Gaudi as part of Art Nouveau.
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:14 am

DI SCT round 3 wrote:A member of this movement, who included statues representing Industry and Peace in the Palazzo Castiglioni, was Giuseppe Sommaruga. Its aesthetics were exemplified by the Hotel Tassel, whose interior has exposed iron columns and detailing. Siegfried Bing's gallery gave its name to this movement, whose practitioners included Henry Van de Velde and Victor (*) Horta. Hector Guimard's entrances to the Paris Metro and Tiffany lamps exemplify--for 10 points--what decorative style with a French name?

answer: _Art Nouveau_ (or _Jugendstil_ ; accept _Stile Liberty_ or _Stile Floreale_ or _Reformstil_ or _Modern Style_ or _Sezession_ or _Secession_sstil)
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Re: Question-specific discussion: 2016 Division I SCT

Post by theMoMA » Sat Feb 13, 2016 9:43 pm

None of the clues in the Art Nouveau tossup reference Gaudi.
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