Listory 2016: General Discussion

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kdroge
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Listory 2016: General Discussion

Post by kdroge » Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:19 am

Please post anything about general discussion of the Listory set here.

The breakdown by category was that I wrote a significant majority of the literature and the American history, as well as a smattering of other history. Jason Golfinos and Vasa Clarke each wrote about half of the European and world history. Jason Golfinos also contributed a decent amount of literature and the rest of the American history. Jason Cheng contributed the rest of the literature, primarily in the drama subcategory. My editing of the literature was a bit more heavy-handed than I was with the history, especially with the Euro and world history.

My goal was to have a set that was accessible to anyone who enjoyed playing either literature or history questions at regular difficulty or above; I really tried to enforce the difficulty prescriptions set out in the original post of having 2/3 of tossup answer lines be things that should be answered in most if not all rooms, bonuses to have an easy part that wasn't off the deep end, and I also tried to make questions have middle-late clues before the FTP that I expected people to be able to buzz on. I think that this led to an easier set than a VCUO in some regards (and certainly than CO), but also led to a lot of bonus parts that were gimmes and middle clues that ended in mashes, especially between the top teams.

My approach to the literature was to use a wide variety of types of answer lines, with the idea of having a fresh feel to the early content but then being able to clue well-known works and plot points towards the end. I also ended up using many of the "hard answer line" space to ask about some more contemporary works and authors that I thought people with general literary interest would have some knowledge about (several drama tossups, Mein Kampf, etc.). I guess this reflects somewhat on my enjoyment of literature but not having much of a literature background, in that you'd be more likely to get points by having read The Casual Vacancy or The Paris Review rather than knowing the name of a literary critic. For bonuses, I was more likely to ask something about a work- I wrote several description acceptable hard parts- than to ask for a character name. A good example of this is the bonus part that asked for "finishing his play" from "The Secret Miracle"- since a lot of people read Borges in a collection or an anthology, I think the plot point is more memorable than the dude's name of even the name of the story. I'd appreciate any feedback on these ideas.

I don't have too much to say about the American history other than that I really tried to avoid impossible answer lines (Cortelyou was the hardest I wrote, maybe?) and that in hindsight I probably focused too much on social/economic history rather than military or political history. I'll let the other authors speak to their approach to the Euro and world history.

I have mixed feelings about the two-part bonuses. They were a fun addition to the set, and length control meant that they didn't slow up the games too much. However, it's really tough to pin down difficulty sometimes when you only have two parts rather than three. And, if one of the parts is misjudged, it's far easier to end up with a total clunker. I did like how they provided a forum to ask about some harder topics without writing a whole tossup on them, and it's nice to have a bit of a different format just to mix things up every now and then.

A final note: I'm currently trying to figure out how to get my backpack back from Michigan. Until then, I don't have the scoresheets, nor do I have my laptop, so please be patient if you've emailed me a request for the set or a request to see stats from the Michigan site!
Kurtis Droge
East Lansing 08, Michigan 12, Louisville 17

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Cheynem
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:12 am

This set was enjoyable, and I especially liked the tossups that intersected literature and history. I think for an open type event in the future, the overall difficulty could go up a few ticks (maybe not as much as Cortelyou, which was indeed a hilarious tossup).

What I might suggest for future sets like this is to just make the bonuses one part and make it a related "hard" part, which is far easier to calibrate. There were a few times where the bonuses were very erratic in difficulty--sometimes you got a bonus where the easy part was almost out of ACF Fall ("This Ernest Hemingway novel about an elderly man and a body of water"), sometimes where the easy part was more like a Nats easy part (and for the record, I think the harder stuff was more interesting and neat).
Mike Cheyne
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Jason Cheng » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:55 pm

Thanks for putting this set together, Kurtis! I didn't get to write as much for it as I wanted to (partially because I was busy in June/July and partially because Kurtis is a monster who had the entire lit distro completed when I opened the spreadsheet again a couple weeks before CO), but I really did enjoy writing out some spontaneous ideas and seeing the feedback and discussion that went on during the production side.

Since this is the first time I've written hard or even colleges stuff besides ACF submissions, so I appreciated Kurtis' willingness to work around our weirder/harder to execute ideas rather than just killing them straight off the bat. Most of my few contributions were more tenuous things that I figured would be good to ask about (ex. Amoretti/mutability theme, Christopher Durang, that Japanese folk history leadin for the suicide notes tossup, etc). I think this set was overall pretty pretty fun and/or interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing what people thought of it.
Jason Cheng
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Re: General Discussion

Post by RexSueciae » Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:56 pm

I had fun writing! If anybody has specific feedback on the Asian history (of which I wrote everything but the question on the Meiji Restoration) -- or, for that matter, my part of the European history, the Xhosa question, the Lord Byron question, I forget what else -- let me know!

The hardest question that I wrote was probably on 2012 in Hong Kong history, which, upon reflection, may have been a bit much. I'm interested if anybody converted it, and would like to note that the answerline was a massive outlier from anything else I wrote, especially once I hit my stride.

Finally, I remember being amused by the fact that two different questions used clues mentioning John Adams, neither of which were the tossup on his wife.
Vasa Clarke

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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:06 pm

Yeah, they were both classics tossups on what John Adams thought about something, and they were both in the same packet!
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

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Re: General Discussion

Post by Make sure your seatbelt is fastened » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:32 pm

This set was incredibly fun to play. Our site played the set as a shootout, and so everyone present was grateful for the related bonus format; even if a player only buzzed a few times throughout the entire day, they were guaranteed a bonus on a topic they were at least somewhat familiar with.

To echo Mike: bonus variability was pretty rough. For example: Packet 3 had bonuses on Stephen Douglas/"A house divided..." and Khosrau/Yazdegerd III in history, and Candida/Shotover and Shepard/Glass Menagerie in drama. The second of those drama bonuses, in particular, struck me as trivially easy, given that you had to know who Christopher Durang was to even hear the bonus.
Itamar Naveh-Benjamin
University of Missouri

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Re: General Discussion

Post by Jason Cheng » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:44 pm

Make sure your seatbelt is fastened wrote: ...Shepard/Glass Menagerie in drama. The second of those drama bonuses, in particular, struck me as trivially easy, given that you had to know who Christopher Durang was to even hear the bonus.
That's on me, sorry!

Part of it was because I figured the bonuses should be a bit easier to balance out the relative difficulty of the associated tossup (which is a horrifyingly bad reason now that I think about it), but most of it was because I didn't have a good grasp of how to target bonus difficulty in this (very cool) format since I didn't write as much for it.
Jason Cheng
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armitage
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Re: General Discussion

Post by armitage » Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:28 pm

RexSueciae wrote:2012 in Hong Kong history
I liked this question, and I blame myself for not converting it. It maybe could have been easier with some clues about mainland China CE like Bo Xilai / accession of Xi Jinping, but it's within your license to write the question this way.

Anyway I liked the set a lot and would be happy to play more summer opens at or around this difficulty
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jasongg17
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Re: General Discussion

Post by jasongg17 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:01 pm

So, this was my first time writing for...well, anything other than required packet submission tournaments, so my only goal was to write non-bad questions. I decided to write a few questions on clearly historically important people or things that don't get asked a lot like Philip V and Teotihuacan, but otherwise I can't really say I had a question-writing "approach" beyond "that's interesting, there should be a question on that" (or "here's a stupidly hard but really interesting thing I can't tossup on its own, so I'll do something like Arabic historians as the answerline").

Anyways, I hope people enjoyed the set.
Jason Golfinos
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Re: General Discussion

Post by armitage » Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:48 pm

One thing I noticed in this set is that it made a seemingly-conscious decision to include no foreign language alternate answers in literature, and even specifically asked for English titles in some questions (but not all). Was this actually a conscious choice? In any case I think it's definitely better to include alternate answers.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by jasongg17 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:55 pm

armitage wrote:One thing I noticed in this set is that it made a seemingly-conscious decision to include no foreign language alternate answers in literature, and even specifically asked for English titles in some questions (but not all). Was this actually a conscious choice? In any case I think it's definitely better to include alternate answers.
Kurtis, being the editor, would have a more authoritative answer, but I'm almost positive that this was accidental. In some cases, asking for English titles was an answer-line accessibility call. For example, the original answer-line for the hard part of the "Poland" tossup was the (in the original Polish) titular Pan Wolodyjowski himself, but decided that that would be too hard to pull and went with Fire in the Steppe instead.
Jason Golfinos
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kdroge
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Re: General Discussion

Post by kdroge » Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:23 pm

Yeah, this was mostly accidental- I didn't really provide foreign language answers unless it was something that I thought would be a common alternate answer (if someone had answered, say, the Russian for "How Much Land Does a Man Need," it would obviously have been acceptable). If this seemed like something that was a theme during editing, it was because of difficulty control rather than any other reason.

I'd be happy to fix any examples of questions that specifically asked for an English-language title in which people are getting hosed out of points because they only know the title in the original language something was written in.
Kurtis Droge
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Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:31 am

Thanks for putting this set together, folks - it was very enjoyable as a fun side event to play for a few hours from home. I thought the tossups were pretty solid overall; aside from having some variability in power generosity (geez that Malaysia question is tough to power, as was the tossup on, say, Irish people in Latin America) they seemed pretty fair overall. I liked the difficulty as well and would happily play more opens at this level.

As Kurtis suggested, two-part bonuses have some difficulty-judgment issues and this manifested many times in the set. I personally think the ideal approach is middle part - hard part, with a tossup being presumed an "easy" part, though sometimes admittedly tossups will be on things that are middle-part difficulty. You should be very careful about constraining middle parts if you take this approach, but I think it's probably fair given the logic Itamar suggested (i.e. people will have some familiarity with the topic, given that they got a tossup on it).
Will Alston
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Taper or die. Can you do any less? » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:08 pm

I really, REALLY enjoyed this set, even thought it had 10/10 too much history. Thanks for putting this together, VERY enjoyable :)
Aayush Rajasekaran (he/him or she/her)
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Re: General Discussion

Post by gettysburg11 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:59 am

Sorry to bring this up so long after the fact, but will this set ever be posted?
Ryan Bilger
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