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Birdofredum Sawin
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Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:13 pm

leftsaidfred wrote:Moved topic due to gimmickness of account. Feel free to AHAN up in dis hizzy.
I don't understand: does the so-called "gimmickness" of the original account mean that the criticism advanced in this thread is invalid? Or that it isn't of sufficient interest to merit inclusion in the "discussion" section?

This is a board that has no problem with incredibly lengthy attacks on tournaments like VETO, and yet it has no space for a little humorous critique of IO? I think there should be room for a little criticism of the criticizers, even if that criticism is couched in the form of an amusing spoof rather than a mind-numbingly verbose, point-by-point discussion of tossups on minor Canadian subjects. One would also think that the moderators of this board would want to extend extra latitude to discussions that are critical of themselves, lest they be suspected of trying to quash debates that might cast them in a negative light.

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Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:33 pm

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:I don't understand: does the so-called "gimmickness" of the original account mean that the criticism advanced in this thread is invalid? Or that it isn't of sufficient interest to merit inclusion in the "discussion" section?
Okay, first of all: the move of topic was done by myself. Since I didn't have a damn thing to do with IO outside of about seven sports questions. If you want to rip on those, have fun and go for it. As far as I know, IO really did suck like a barely legal teen on an adult pay site. I wasn't there and have no dog in that race. If you want to criticize the work of any moderators here, I have no issue with that.

The reason for the move is primarily because of the fact that the criticism was done behind a gimmick account. To me, the discussion section is for civil or at least pretend-civil discussion of quiz bowl. Using a secondary account moves past pretend-civility by denying those your criticize of the mere knowledge of who is doing the criticism. I think that's a necessary factor for a discussion of something to be considered civil.

Too long, didn't read version: I'm not busting your ass because you dared to criticize people that I really only know through this room and have no real connection with. If you want to criticize anyone with a gimmick, that's fine at this time. Just understand it's being moved to the bottom forum and AHAN rules will be employed in that thread. If you want to criticize on your primary account, then it will stay in the discussion section as long as the criticism makes sense and tries to stay civil.

And finally, stepping from the role of board administrator to mere board user, if you're going to make a gimmick account, at least make it interesting. Pretending to be MaS by tossing a few "dudes" around in a post is not interesting. Compared with past Chicago gimmicks, this is disappointingly boring.

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Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Sun Nov 12, 2006 7:08 pm

leftsaidfred wrote:
The reason for the move is primarily because of the fact that the criticism was done behind a gimmick account. To me, the discussion section is for civil or at least pretend-civil discussion of quiz bowl. Using a secondary account moves past pretend-civility by denying those your criticize of the mere knowledge of who is doing the criticism. I think that's a necessary factor for a discussion of something to be considered civil.

And finally, stepping from the role of board administrator to mere board user, if you're going to make a gimmick account, at least make it interesting. Pretending to be MaS by tossing a few "dudes" around in a post is not interesting. Compared with past Chicago gimmicks, this is disappointingly boring.
First: This "it isn't civil if we don't know who you are" excuse seems like nonsense to me. Anyone who would be affected by or interested in this thread probably has a very good guess of who was responsible for the post (or which of three or four people it might be). It's hard to see how this spoof is less "civil" than a lot of the abuse that gets spewed on this forum. This post has generated more serious discussion already (e.g. it seems to have inspired Jerry's follow-up about recent problems with editing tournaments) than a lot of the stuff that appears in the "discussion" section.

Second: This "yawn, it's not interesting" thing also seems silly to me. If you don't like the Demonax avatar, too bad; some of those who were subjected to the Demonax question at IO found it funny. I personally find lots of stuff that appears on this forum completely "boring," but if I were moderator I wouldn't be meddling with threads on account of my personal opinions about what is funny. By the way, giving people whimsical pseudonyms? Now that's hilarious!

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Post by grapesmoker » Sun Nov 12, 2006 7:30 pm

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:some of those who were subjected to the Demonax question at IO found it funny.
I had a terrible flashback from that avatar and am now using the information I learned about torts yesterday to sue for intentional infliction of emotional damage or whatever the hell that was.

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Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:49 pm

Sorry that we disagree on the identification of who's posting thing. And also, my non-entertainment with the gimmick had nothing to do with the move.
Birdofredum Sawin wrote:By the way, giving people whimsical pseudonyms? Now that's hilarious!
Oh snap I just got surrrrrrrved. My apologies for offending your sense of quiz bowl humor aesthetics.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Sun Nov 12, 2006 10:33 pm

As the actual version of me, I really am sorry if my tournament sucked. Everything in that set, I edited, so I am responsible for it. I gave it my best effort for as long as I could. As with every set I've worked on, there are things I was happy with and things that I know I should have done better; ultimately, the most important of these is making my field happy so, if I didn't do that, then I failed. I feel awfully about that.
I don't mean to quibble or compound the verbosity of discussion of tournaments so, if, like Demonax, this doesn't get answered, I'll understand. If I get more pith back, I'll understand and probably laugh.
That said, I do want to know, did IO reach IS set levels of suck, as I myself recently claimed? If it did suck, did it suck systematically, everywhere, or was okay in the mean and then made bad by some things that I ill-advisedly left in or wrote? If the latter, I... suppose I would say I have a tendency to want to keep things that people write me but, if that's producing bad results, I'd better reconsider how I'm doing things.
Finally, with regard particularly to the (apparently universally reviled) Demonax part, I put it in my tournament (and, apparently, will next year) understanding that it was a part on an obscure and probably unimportant figure, etc. I did so because it was written as the third part of a bonus with two parts on topics of unquestionable accessibility and, if nothing else, canonicality (Anaxagoras of Clazomenae and Zeno of Citium, as I recall.) Is that practice to be considered contemptuous in general, or just in this case, or did the question fail some other way? Is the problem perhaps just that it was employed too often at IO?

Thanks dudes,
MaS

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Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:16 pm

Hey, maybe this thread could be returned to the "discussion" section, seeing as how we're having a bona fide discussion of the tournament, and further seeing that Mike, the target of the thread's criticism, is obviously a good-natured person who doesn't feel threatened by this kind of critique.

I'll go on the record and say that I thought this tournament had the worst questions of any I've played since last fall's WIT (or whatever that Berkeley tournament was called). I excoriated that tournament on this board, even though I didn't really expect it to be any good. I expect better things of Mike, since I know him to be an intelligent and generally competent editor; as such, it's hard not to criticize this tournament, first in drunken spoof form and now in more sober fashion.

The packets were bad in most of the ways packets can be bad. Those ways include . . .

* questions on absurdly obscure figures. Here the "William Temple Franklin" tossup stands out, but there are many other examples I could cite. Bonuses varied from "name these three very well-known Stephen Crane works from descriptions" to "name these works by Richard Sheridan, TWO OF WHICH ARE POEMS" (I only vaguely knew that Sheridan even wrote poetry). The Demonax bonus fell into the latter category, because at least as read to us the first part was incomprehensible (and didn't seem to be on Anaxagoras, though perhaps the moderator just mangled both the clues and the answer).

* inattention to distribution. I'm not just talking about aesthetically displeasing things like putting all the science tossups in the last half of the packet, or putting two classical music tossups in close proximity to each other. I'm thinking of things like the packet in which we lost to Chicago, in which all the science tossups were on the "hard sciences" (and as such were gobbled up by Seth Teitler), while all the lit seemed to be on plays.

* questions that weren't proofread. I lost count of the number of questions that were incomprehensible because the sentences were mangled or missing key words.

* tossups that were poorly written and thus immediately guessable. Here I'm thinking of things like "They're talking about a wacky guy who did stuff with houses and coined scientific-sounding words; let's say it's Buckminster Fuller" or "They're talking about a group who did political stuff in 17th-century England; let's say it's the cabal."

I could go on, but I'll stop. Basically, the packets from the (very competent) teams who were in attendance at the tournament seemed more or less untouched, which was fine since they didn't really need any work. The rest of the packets (written in-house or obtained from California) also seemed more or less untouched, but were desperately in need of serious work.

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Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:02 am

Grrrr, post was moved while my reply was in progress...damned activist moderators. Anyway -




I don't really want to write an actual critique, but I'll just go on record as saying that I think Andrew overestimates the suckiness of IO by a decent bit. His criticism is certainly valid, but I found the tournament more enjoyable than plenty of other stuff (ECSO and Wirt for example - not to pick on those).

Also, I guess I don't really get the whole Demonax joke. For what it's worth, Kemezis did 30 that bonus.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Nov 13, 2006 1:46 am

Some of your criticisms are valid, I admit. There were some bad questions, both ones on weird, out-there stuff and ones that admitted guesses much too quickly. The difficulty was all over the place. That's on me; it's my job to see that that doesn't happen and I fucked that up.

As for incomprehensible questions, I'll say that I proofed everything before it was printed, but perhaps not as thoroughly as I ought to have. But then, if there were difficult-to-understand things before the proof, that means I didn't see them to begin with, so perhaps it's just a problem with me. We had good moderators so, if a lot of questions weren't clear, it must have been my fault. I will make sure to employ careful proofreading by people other than me in future.

As for the ordering, I guess I'm unclear on what people really want in that. I do it algorithmically by assigning each question to a position in the packet with the constraint that a distribution in the category isn't repeated. I then tweak this by hand by swapping questions in the same area around the packet. If this isn't making acceptable packets, I'll have to find another way.

I didn't think that the distribution was that skewed, but I suppose I'd have to take a closer look when I have time.

I will say that having all "hard" science doesn't really sound that bad to me, hard understood in the sense of real, quantitatively rigorous stuff (which, I assume, is what you mean.) Should it be essential to have Rutherfordian stamp collecting stuff like names of bugs and know your elements, in your opinion? I don't see why that should be, but I suppose differences can exist. Conversely, having all lit be plays would have been a fuck-up on my part for which I apologize if it happened. However, the fact that I'm not absolutely sure about this means I didn't do my job right to at least some extent, whatever the result.

I know that, to differentiate teams both as good and as close in skill (on account of being so good) as the ones at IO requires better than that. In that sense, I don't think I did very well and I apologize for that. I hope I can do better next time.

MaS

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Post by NatusRoma » Mon Nov 13, 2006 2:11 am

Could someone post results, even brief ones?

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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Nov 13, 2006 2:52 am

Stats will be posted in literally minutes and full results tomorrow. In brief: Chicago B (Arthur, Austin, Ferrari, Teitler) defeated Team Kannan and "Michigan" in a somewhat unique final to claim the IO 2006 final.

MaS
Last edited by Captain Sinico on Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:07 am


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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 13, 2006 1:52 pm

ImmaculateDeception wrote: I will say that having all "hard" science doesn't really sound that bad to me, hard understood in the sense of real, quantitatively rigorous stuff (which, I assume, is what you mean.)
I suspect Andrew was referring to the "hard sciences" like physics and astronomy and such, not hard as in difficult. Possibly there were more of those to the exclusion of other science questions? I can't really remember, to be honest.

Yeah, I too was disappointed. The first round-robin was pretty decent, and then after that it all went downhill. The whole thing is basically a blur for me, but obviously the bizarre answer choices and the wacky question phrasing were the major problems I saw. Many of the packets in the latter half of the tournament appeared to have come from inexperienced question writers on the Illinois team, and it showed. We lost a close game to Andrew's team when, needing 10 points to tie, we had to name various types of rhymes, none of which we'd ever heard of. Now, it's not that I thought we somehow deserved to win that round (the questions were so bad that the victory wouldn't have meant much anyway), but it's frustrating to be on a team with competent players who can usually expect to convert at least 10 points on almost any bonus and getting shafted by a shitty question.

I'm not sure it's worthwhile to go into a detailed critique here (especially as I don't have the questions on me and can't remember too much of anything). However, I don't think it'll stop me from coming back to IO next year, given assurances that this won't happen again.

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Post by setht » Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:42 pm

ImmaculateDeception wrote:As the actual version of me, I really am sorry if my tournament sucked. Everything in that set, I edited, so I am responsible for it. I gave it my best effort for as long as I could. As with every set I've worked on, there are things I was happy with and things that I know I should have done better; ultimately, the most important of these is making my field happy so, if I didn't do that, then I failed. I feel awfully about that.
I don't mean to quibble or compound the verbosity of discussion of tournaments so, if, like Demonax, this doesn't get answered, I'll understand. If I get more pith back, I'll understand and probably laugh.
That said, I do want to know, did IO reach IS set levels of suck, as I myself recently claimed? If it did suck, did it suck systematically, everywhere, or was okay in the mean and then made bad by some things that I ill-advisedly left in or wrote? If the latter, I... suppose I would say I have a tendency to want to keep things that people write me but, if that's producing bad results, I'd better reconsider how I'm doing things.
Finally, with regard particularly to the (apparently universally reviled) Demonax part, I put it in my tournament (and, apparently, will next year) understanding that it was a part on an obscure and probably unimportant figure, etc. I did so because it was written as the third part of a bonus with two parts on topics of unquestionable accessibility and, if nothing else, canonicality (Anaxagoras of Clazomenae and Zeno of Citium, as I recall.) Is that practice to be considered contemptuous in general, or just in this case, or did the question fail some other way? Is the problem perhaps just that it was employed too often at IO?

Thanks dudes,
MaS
I don't think IO sucked systematically. I don't have the questions, I didn't write down answers throughout the day, and my memory is poor, but from what I can recall the first 5 rounds were good, the 6th round was okay, the next 4 rounds ranged from bad to almost-okay, and the two final rounds were okay to good. I really don't remember much from the last two rounds, but an Irish myth bonus sticks out in particular--the answers were Fergus, Finnabair, and Ferdiad. This seems unreasonably hard, even though Susan and I would have 30'd it (which doesn't make it an okay bonus, just as Adam 30'ing the Greek philosophers bonus doesn't mean that bonus was okay). I think Fergus is a middle-level answer, and Finnabair and Ferdiad are both hard. This seems like a bonus that most teams would 0, some teams would 10, and a very few teams would 30. I have trouble imagining a team that would put up 20 on this bonus, meaning that a bunch of teams with real differences in their knowledge of Irish myth end up getting lumped together at 0 or 10. I have pretty much the same criticism for the Demonax bonus (0, 10 or 30), which I don't think had parts on Anaxagoras and Zeno of Citium--I thought it had two harder parts, and only one of Anaxagoras or Zeno.

I don't think anyone's arguing against the concept of a hard third part to a bonus with an easy- and a mid-level part. I think the issue is that there were some bonuses (including, to the best of my recollection, the Demonax bonus) that did not fit that paradigm--usually these bonuses missed by having two hard parts, but sometimes they missed by having 3 easy/medium parts (e.g., the bonus on Blue Hotel/Maggie/Open Boat).

I think all editors of packet-submission tournaments want to make as much use as possible of the submitted material. Every editor's dream is getting a set of submitted packets that need zero editing, but that never happens. The question is then: when you go to a tournament and pay the entrance fee, are you paying to watch other people play on your questions, and to play on the questions written by other people, left pure and unblemished except for removing repeats? Or are you paying to play on as good a set of questions as the editors can produce, even if it means that they cut your beloved William Temple Franklin TU or mangled your great bonus on Demonax because they thought it wasn't appropriate? Personally, I prefer to have editors that are over-active on editing rather than editors that keep in dubious submitted material for the sake of keeping in submitted material.

-Seth

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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:37 pm

Seth's reply brings me to ask the following question: how much do people actually care about seeing their questions get used? Because oftentimes, as editors, we are faced with the following problem: we could conceivably start writing two months before the tournament; for three competent writers, two months is enough to put out 15 good rounds as demonstrated by EFT. However, if I write 5 packets because I expect to get only 6 or 7 usable ones and then end up replacing everything beyond the usable packets that I get with my own questions, would people be upset? Because I don't want to wait for last-minute questions to come in if I'm not 110% sure they're going to need minimal work, and getting 5 bad packets two weeks before the deadline just ruins my writing schedule, because instead of taking 2 months to write 5 packets, I now need to take 2 weeks to do the same.

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Post by MikeWormdog » Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:39 am

F5 for soccer posts wrote:Seth's reply brings me to ask the following question: how much do people actually care about seeing their questions get used?
People who write questions for tournaments want to see their questions get used, at least I do. Otherwise, there's no point in their writing, other than saving a few bucks. But the work that goes into writing (even writing a bad packet) usually outweighs whatever discount a packet would provide.

I think rewriting the hell out of a bad packet is best since it shows teams what the questions they submitted (if they're bad) should look like in a halfway decent packet. If you don't use a team's questions, it's hard for them to know what made their questions so bad (even if you offer feedback like ACF has done lately), since the bad (or too hard or too easy, too long, too short) questions aren't made into serviceable ones. Hopefully, they'll figure out how to write better questions for your next tournament.

Also, I think it's easier to rewrite questions than to think of entirely new ones, especially tossups. I don't tend to have five rounds of questions lying around, though, so maybe I'd replace more questions if I had a decent stockpile.

Of course, some questions aren't salvageable, and don't provide even an inkling of what might be a decent question, making replacement the only option.

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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist » Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:05 am

F5 for soccer posts wrote:Seth's reply brings me to ask the following question: how much do people actually care about seeing their questions get used?
People care most about seeing their questions on their favorite things and don't care too much about questions written to fill out the distribution which they didn't spend much time on. Of course, questions on one's areas of interest often end up as the hardest and/or longest ones in the packet.

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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:41 pm

QuizbowlPostmodernist wrote:
F5 for soccer posts wrote:Seth's reply brings me to ask the following question: how much do people actually care about seeing their questions get used?
People care most about seeing their questions on their favorite things and don't care too much about questions written to fill out the distribution which they didn't spend much time on. Of course, questions on one's areas of interest often end up as the hardest and/or longest ones in the packet.
The issue is not so much which ones are hardest or longest but when they get turned in. I'm starting to think that if your questions are so late that I've already written a replacement packet, you're not likely to see them used unless they're superlative.

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