TRASH regs discussion

Old college threads.
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MLafer
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Post by MLafer » Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:11 pm

QuizbowlPostmodernist wrote: I guess I really can write a tossup on Keane (4,246,801 plays scrobbled on Last.fm) and Muse (15,683,750 plays scrobbled on Last.fm), or I could if I had British Aspiration Syndrome. I guess I'll have to settle for writing questions on Air (6,154,304 plays scrobbled on Last.fm)
All three of those bands are quite well known and I see no problem with a tossup on any of them.

Yay for metrics that give us numbers like:

System of a Down - 20,733,394 plays scrobbled on Last.fm
The Rolling Stones - 5,781,136 plays scrobbled on Last.fm

or

James Blunt - 3,677,981 plays scrobbled on Last.fm
Elton John - 2,147,704 plays scrobbled on Last.fm

or

Ben Harper - 2,013,918 plays scrobbled on Last.fm
Average White Band - 64,608 plays scrobbled on Last.fm

or

Sugababes - 1,207,027 plays scrobbled on Last.fm
Chuck Berry - 473,898 plays scrobbled on Last.fm

or

Sigur Ros - 7,616,921 plays scrobbled on Last.fm
ABBA - 1,346,817 plays scrobbled on Last.fm
I think any group in the millions of plays or more is ripe for a tossup answer, so just because SoaD has 20 million and Rolling Stones a "mere" 5 million doesn't seem too significant to me when determining whether an answer is tossup-worthy. There's also the problem of tagging with the Rolling Stones since they may be counting "Rolling Stones" and "The Rolling Stones" as two different bands. And FWIW I've never heard of Average White Band (or Sugababes, but it doesn't exactly sound like a genre I'd be interested in).
Thanks for introducing me to another useful tool in answer selection. Of course, popularity is just one answer selection criterion. Other things to consider include historical importance and critical acclaim (although the highest rated album of 2006 on metacritic right now is Ali Farka Toure).
Yes, I think we can agree that Chuck Berry is more historically significant than say, the BoDeans, or Jermaine Jackson. He also has about 20 times as many listens.
I'm also unsure that the internet-savvy audience should be allowed to weigh heavily. I'm not sure that I would want the video game subdistribution to be influenced by what I can read on Slashdot. It's sometimes easier to do so, but so is writing questions solely out of Wikipedia. And sites like last.fm probably have a disproportionate number of indie music fans relative to the entire universe of internet-savvy people, since those are the people who are most likely to seek out sites like last.fm to find more music.
I don't think a site of indie music fans would have accumulated over 3 million plays of James Blunt. I'd simply say "music fans", which are the people who should also be able to answer music tossups.

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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist » Fri Nov 24, 2006 8:57 pm

MLafer wrote:
QuizbowlPostmodernist wrote:
I think any group in the millions of plays or more is ripe for a tossup answer, so just because SoaD has 20 million and Rolling Stones a "mere" 5 million doesn't seem too significant to me when determining whether an answer is tossup-worthy. There's also the problem of tagging with the Rolling Stones since they may be counting "Rolling Stones" and "The Rolling Stones" as two different bands. And FWIW I've never heard of Average White Band (or Sugababes, but it doesn't exactly sound like a genre I'd be interested in).
Oh, the numbers are just for fun, although it does seem to suggest that a threshold number for askability may need to be lowered for older acts.

Average White Band is a Scottish '70s funk band that did have a #1 among its several hits. I suspect that it's one of those bands where people will recognize a tune as familiar (in this case, "Pick Up the Pieces") but not necessarily recall who it is by.

Sugababes I just threw in because I suspect that the site may have a large pool of Brit/Euro-pop listeners.

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Post by theMoMA » Sun Nov 26, 2006 6:49 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:The equally subjective sense I got from TRASH regionals was that there was a category called 1975-1990, and a category called 2003-2006, and that's what got asked. The 90s and the really old stuff (which, by the way, is equally accessible or equally inaccessible to all age groups--no reason not to ask about Yogi Berra or The 39 Steps, is there?) didn't appear very much at all.
I agree completely. And it makes me cry to think of all the Harriet the Spy and Duncan Sheik questions we missed out on as a result.

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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist » Mon Nov 27, 2006 2:01 am

theMoMA wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:The equally subjective sense I got from TRASH regionals was that there was a category called 1975-1990, and a category called 2003-2006, and that's what got asked. The 90s and the really old stuff (which, by the way, is equally accessible or equally inaccessible to all age groups--no reason not to ask about Yogi Berra or The 39 Steps, is there?) didn't appear very much at all.
I agree completely. And it makes me cry to think of all the Harriet the Spy and Duncan Sheik questions we missed out on as a result.
I am not going to do this for the entire tournament because I just don't really feel like counting 15 packets by hand and I'm probably not going to go through the questions again and come up with more stats, but I have the TV questions in front of me all in one place. Doing a rough count to place shows by decade and assigning shows to the decade in which they had the most seasons (Full House='90s, Buffy the Vampire Slayer=2000s) and using fractional accounting of bonuses (one part each from the 80s, 90s, and 00's would count as 0.33 questions for each decade).

I come up with rough numbers of:
2000s-56.3%
1990s-23.6%
pre-1990-18.6%

The numbers don't add up to 100% due to rounding and a few questions not assigned to any particular era. The numbers are calculated based on questions from a state before the final product, so these numbers may have changed a bit due to replacements. These numbers also don't include fractions of multi-disciplinary questions. I also don't know if TV questions placed as tossup 21 or the late bonuses in a round skewed toward one particular era. But that should give you a rough idea of how the TV questions were distributed temporally.

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Post by mmb5 » Mon Nov 27, 2006 11:53 am

On the subject of using hit counts from music sites, be wary of using one site as a *sole* metric in determining popularity. QuizbowlPostmodernist gave numbers from last.fm which are very different from the hit counts at allmusic.com. I can't put the exact numbers up from allmusic because I would really like to keep my job, but the numbers can be very different:

Rolling Stones has 5x the hit count of System of a Down (last.fm had 4x for the latter)
Elton John has 5x the hit count of James Blunt (last.fm had 1.75x for the latter)
Chuck Berry has 2x the hit count of Sugababes (last.fm had 3x for the latter)
ABBA has 2x the hit count of Sigur Rós (last.fm had 5.5x for the latter)
Ben Harper has 4x the hit count of Average White Band (last.fm had 31x times for the former)

I wouldn't mind the use of last.fm as *a* metric, but don't have it be *the* metric. Same thing with allmusic.com. There's also another metric site, I can't remember it right this second, but it's really popular with those who like hip-hop. And there's many sites which don't list their metrics at all.

For those who care, allmusic.com does list their top album searches and top artist searches of the previous week: http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=am ... earch.html


--Mike

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Post by BigFlax » Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:35 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:The problem is not questions on old stuff per se, it's questions on specific old stuff that people in college today have no hope of knowing firsthand. Sure, ask as many questions about Stevie Wonder, Soylent Green, and the Immaculate Reception as you want--just about anyone who will be showing up at a trash tournament will get that stuff by the end. But asking about TV shows like Airwolf that went off the air in 1980something and don't regularly re-run today on cable? How are you supposed to know that without either being old, or studying some book of TV shows?
The current obsession with 80s pop culture being what it is, I don't think that those shows are nearly as obscure as they might have already been in the mid-90s. I'm not old and don't study, but I've certainly heard of Airwolf and various others like it.
Is trash really going to live up to the ACF straw man of "if you don't know it, study an almanac or write a question on it and stop complaining"? Just because it's trash doesn't mean you can ignore a fundamental principle of good question writing, which is that primary knowledge is to be rewarded over studying for quizbowl.
I don't consider question writing to be "studying for quiz bowl"; I merely noted that it tends to be beneficial. Most players considered the best across all three formats (not including CBI, for obvious reasons) have extensive writing experience. Do you suppose this is a complete coincidence? It doesn't mean that everyone's required to do so, but if one expects to be a top player one might want to consider what many of the top players do.
If it wasn't clear before I'll say it now: this point applies much more strongly to the TV category than anything else. Movies, sports, and music persist forever; TV doesn't.
Most askable TV persists just as much as movies do, and frankly even more so in some cases.
The equally subjective sense I got from TRASH regionals was that there was a category called 1975-1990, and a category called 2003-2006, and that's what got asked. The 90s and the really old stuff (which, by the way, is equally accessible or equally inaccessible to all age groups--no reason not to ask about Yogi Berra or The 39 Steps, is there?) didn't appear very much at all.
I'd be surprised to find that this was the case, but without the stats I won't bother assuming.
That's a really stupid thing to say.
Well, if the Alpha and Omega of quiz bowl discourse says so, it must be true. At any rate, I disagree. I wasn't specifically accusing anyone in the thread of doing it, but how often do we hear stuff like "too many NASCAR/hockey/country music/rap questions" after a tournament, said mostly because the people saying them didn't know about those subjects and not because there was actually objectively too much of those subjects.

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Post by BigFlax » Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:36 pm

Rothlover wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:
BigFlax wrote:

Still, whining about questions to which you didn't know the answer just comes off like sour grapes.
That's a really stupid thing to say.



Yeah, good trash players have no right deciding what seems reasonable or unreasonable. Once a set has been completed, its fucking shariaa. Nevermind that there was plenty of complaining going on about questions answered by the person registering a complaint.
Do you want to change your name to Weiner Junior? The kids could call you We-Ju!

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Post by Rothlover » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:37 pm

BigFlax wrote:
Rothlover wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:
BigFlax wrote:

Still, whining about questions to which you didn't know the answer just comes off like sour grapes.
That's a really stupid thing to say.



Yeah, good trash players have no right deciding what seems reasonable or unreasonable. Once a set has been completed, its fucking shariaa. Nevermind that there was plenty of complaining going on about questions answered by the person registering a complaint.
Do you want to change your name to Weiner Junior? The kids could call you We-Ju!
1. I really don't see how that would be an insult. That dude has turkey legs that have made more of a positive contribution to qb than you.

2. Insulting someone back when they just tersely call them "really stupid" for no reason is CLEARLY a horrid act. When you make legitimate points, you get legitimate responses.

3. I hear there is no more Evil/Weird/Bizarre distribution. Good job crying your way towards a distribution that doesn't OFFEND. Now TRASH is safe for the children.

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Post by grapesmoker » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:41 pm

Whether in TRASH or other formats, complaints about questions are not decided by whether the complainer answered the question or is a horrible person or by any factors other than the quality of the question itself. Stop making ad hominem arguments.

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Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:50 pm

BigFlax wrote:Do you want to change your name to Weiner Junior?
Wow, someone finally posted the TRASH survey.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:20 pm

BigFlax wrote:...how often do we hear stuff like "too many NASCAR/hockey/country music/rap questions" after a tournament, said mostly because the people saying them didn't know about those subjects and not because there was actually objectively too much of those subjects.
Not often. Define "objectively too much" in this context.

MaS

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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist » Sat Dec 02, 2006 6:18 pm

Ignoring the personal attacks for the moment (and, really, if you're going to resort to name-calling, can you at least come up with something more inventive than Wee-Jew) and getting things back to substantive matters, speaking only for myself and not for any organization.....

While I agree with Weiner's basic thrust that you should write about old shows with an eye toward whether or not a younger player could conceivable know it, its availability in re-runs is not the only criterion that can be used.

Is it available on DVD? Yes. Just as being available on video enhances the gettability of older movies, being available on DVD makes a TV series more answerable. Of course, there are gettable shows that will never be on DVD. For example, The Wonder Years will supposedly never show up because of music rights issues.

I don't know if Airwolf was previously rerun on cable, but has been taken off the market by its owner while they release DVD sets. I don't know if Airwolf was rerun on cable in the late '90s. It doesn't have to be rerun on cable right now to be gettable, just at some point in the last ten years or so.

Is it mentioned in VH1's I Love the 80s series? I don't know, but I do know that it's not only older folks who watch those VH1 shows, and being mentioned in those VH1 shows enhances a potential answer's gettability. I would be shocked if it hasn't been mentioned, though.

Is the show iconic? Knight Rider and Macguyver would be iconic 80s television shows. Airwolf is on a tier below them, so I'm not sure if I would call it iconic.

Of course, something can be iconically bad. For example, My Mother the Car will probably make the top three of any list of the worst TV shows ever and has become for television what Plan 9 From Outer Space is for movies or Custer's Revenge is for video games. I would guess that writers in the entertainment journalism biz make occasional Airwolf references.

Are there other reasons someone might know the show? Perhaps if they played the NES game Airwolf. Perhaps if they think Ernest Borgnine is a sufficiently important person to bother to know body of work.

Does Matt Weiner raise legitimate questions about the gettability of an Airwolf question? Yes. Is he correct in claiming that only fogeys and people who study for quizbowl can answer an Airwolf question? No.

-AdJ

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Post by theMoMA » Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:18 pm

I don't know if this echoes Matt's thoughts, but it seems to me that the 1980s questions had more nichey answer selection and the 1990-2000 questions were had more mainstream answer selection. 80s questions were more likely to be Airwolf, 90s questions more likely to be Full House...JMO

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Another example

Post by Coelacanth » Sun Dec 03, 2006 5:10 pm

theMoMA wrote:I don't know if this echoes Matt's thoughts, but it seems to me that the 1980s questions had more nichey answer selection and the 1990-2000 questions were had more mainstream answer selection. 80s questions were more likely to be Airwolf, 90s questions more likely to be Full House...JMO
Another example of generational differences. I watched Airwolf fairly regularly and have never seen even part of an episode of Full House. I consider the former to be mainstream and the latter to be more esoteric.

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Re: Another example

Post by theMoMA » Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:17 pm

Coelacanth wrote:
theMoMA wrote:I don't know if this echoes Matt's thoughts, but it seems to me that the 1980s questions had more nichey answer selection and the 1990-2000 questions were had more mainstream answer selection. 80s questions were more likely to be Airwolf, 90s questions more likely to be Full House...JMO
Another example of generational differences. I watched Airwolf fairly regularly and have never seen even part of an episode of Full House. I consider the former to be mainstream and the latter to be more esoteric.
Yeah...it's definately hard to try to figure out what is mainstream and what is esoteric to other age groups. I guess it seems to me like the 1980s questions were written from a first-hand perspective (a lot of them had a you-had-to-be-there vibe), while the 1990s and some of the current questions feel more like they're trying to guess that players who grew up and went to school in those time periods would be familiar with.

I'm not going to lie...I'm not a good trash player. All I'm saying is that trash would be way more enjoyable for me if there were more nostalgiac questions from time periods I actually remember.

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Re: Another example

Post by pray for elves » Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:36 pm

Coelacanth wrote:
theMoMA wrote:I don't know if this echoes Matt's thoughts, but it seems to me that the 1980s questions had more nichey answer selection and the 1990-2000 questions were had more mainstream answer selection. 80s questions were more likely to be Airwolf, 90s questions more likely to be Full House...JMO
Another example of generational differences. I watched Airwolf fairly regularly and have never seen even part of an episode of Full House. I consider the former to be mainstream and the latter to be more esoteric.
Just to add to this: I'd never even heard of Airwolf before it came up (mostly because it was cancelled around the time I was born), while Full House seems to be common knowledge among everybody I know, especially those my age. It seems strange to me that somebody would consider Full House more esoteric than Airwolf, since Full House was an omnipresent show in the 1990s. Was Airwolf really that popular? I looked it up, and it was only on from 1984 until 1986 on CBS and just 1987 on USA, so it seems unlikely to me that it was hugely popular on the scale of Full House.

Of course, perhaps Airwolf is a bad example, but regardless, I would guess it's completely ungettable for people my age. There were quite a few early to mid 80s questions that I never could have answered.

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Re: Another example

Post by Coelacanth » Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:14 pm

[quote="theMoMA
Yeah...it's definately hard to try to figure out what is mainstream and what is esoteric to other age groups.[/quote]

Perhaps I over-generalized. I have no idea where to put Full House and Airwolf with respect to each other on the Great Chain of Being. My point is this:

To a current undergraduate, Full House (which, I gather, was a family sitcom geared toward a young audience) was a show that was on when you were a kid, whereas Airwolf was a minor show that aired before you were born. To me, Full House was a show that debuted during the latter part of my college years and which I had no reason to ever pay attention to, while I was solidly in the teenage male demographic targeted by shows like Airwolf.

The challenge for TRASH is to somehow create a game that we can play against each other and both feel like we have a fair chance to win. That TRASH does this as well as they do is to their credit, but it's inevitable that in any given question set the content will wander away in one direction or another from a perfectly balanced medium. TRASH can't be all things to all people; the best it can do is be most things to most people, for a given definition of most.

Discussions like this help them to refine that definition and write better questions, which is a goal we can all agree on.

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Re: Another example

Post by MikeWormdog » Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:13 pm

Coelacanth wrote:
Perhaps I over-generalized. I have no idea where to put Full House and Airwolf with respect to each other on the Great Chain of Being. My point is this:
I have an idea where to put Full House and Airwolf. As someone who has a tv and has spent a great deal of time watching it, I can confidently say that Full House was both more popular in its time than Airwolf was and is much more relevant to the current pop culture landscape. You can watch Full House on Nick at Nite, and before that it was syndicated everywhere. Anything on Nick at Nite or TVland, or stuff that's widely syndicated is or can easily be known by a lot of people.

People in Full House were both huge at the time and are still quite popular. Look at the Olsen twins--they suck, but they're still easily recognizable and even hosted SNL a couple years back. I think a "Two of a Kind" tossup is easier than anything involving Airwolf. Bob Saget hosted America's Funniest Home Videos, and was the king of ABC for a while in the early 90s, and Dave Coulier hosted the not as popular but still popular America's Funniest People [sic]. John Stamos was huge and is now on ER, and several others who were on the show have been prominent in other stuff.

Airwolf? When was the last time that was syndicated? Has this show been on anywhere in the last 15 years? I've been watching tv for years, and I don't recall watching an episode. Jan-Michael Vincent didn't really rise to star status as far as I'm aware. I'm sure at least as many people remember Ernest Borgnine's career nadir as Manny the Doorman in the Jonathan Silverman vehicle The Single Guy as do his association with Airwolf. The quota for questions on "sorta-sci fi-hour-long lame shows popular among nerds" can easily be picked up by MacGyver, Quantum Leap, etc., with stuff spilling over into other 80s dramas/action shows that can still be watched on tv or at least better known...Matlock, Simon and Simon, Hunter, the A-Team, etc. I think Airwolf is the equivalent of Seaquest DSV but even less popular. I haven't been to many trash tournaments lately, so maybe there's a ton of Seaquest stuff getting asked about. People may not enjoy Matlock as much as I or Abe Simpson do, but they can at least watch it on cable (TBS and WGN at least used to show it regularly, and Hallmark has it on now) or see it locally syndicated.

I think I've heard about two Full House questions and both of them were way too easy. I think one from NAQT (a recent sectionals, I think)actually began with Jodie Sweetin, leading to buzzer races and groans.

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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist » Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:58 am

Just for the record, so far as I can tell, there were no actual questions on Airwolf in the 2006 Trash Regionals set. If there were, then either there was some sort of change made after the final printable version was sent out to hosts (since that is the copy I have), or else the question is in that version and Airwolf, Borgnine, and Vincent are all misspelled, or the search function built into Windows XP is flawed. (My search did turn up a tossup on Airwolf by Kelly McKenzie for the 2000 Chicago Open.)

So, criticism of Airwolf with regards to answer selection really has nothing to do with the tournament in question, just as harping about some question you saw in the archives from 1998 ACF Regionals is not a particularly good criticism of ACF. (But talking about it still has potential usefulness if you like discussing quizbowl theory.)

Were there any actual answers in the 2006 TRASH Regional set that would raise the same sort of objections that have been stated about Airwolf?

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Post by clydeclod » Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:31 am

Just a couple quick thoughts:

There's one aspect of this Airwolf discussion which seems to be lacking to me: The fact that the best trash teams are not usually composed of undergrads, but instead of older, veteran players. Therefore, shouldn't you write some harder questions to appeal to that clientele which is consistently giving your organization its hard-earned cash and would still like to be challenged when it plays? Just my two cents.

As far as this year's regional set goes, I don't recall having many problems with it. As usual, you can nitpick about any set of questions, but this set seemed fair and led to some fun matches at Illinois (including a few my team lost). It always seems to me there are fewer sports toss-ups than there are the other "Big Three" categories. I have no data to back this up, I just know I'll take as much sports as I can get.

Kudos also to TRASH for putting together a challenging set of questions even after many of its mainstay writers have gone on to other ventures. I'd be curious to see who the roster of writers is these days, if there's a list.

-- Stan J.

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Post by theMoMA » Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:59 pm

There's one aspect of this Airwolf discussion which seems to be lacking to me: The fact that the best trash teams are not usually composed of undergrads, but instead of older, veteran players. Therefore, shouldn't you write some harder questions to appeal to that clientele which is consistently giving your organization its hard-earned cash and would still like to be challenged when it plays? Just my two cents.
Seems to me if you write for older players (which is the way Trash seems to be written), older players will consistently make up the best teams and be the most interested in the game.

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Post by clydeclod » Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:44 pm

That's certainly one way to look at it. You could also argue that TRASH is looking to expand the canon of pop culture knowledge for younger players and also include toss-ups on material better-known by those people paying attention to TV, music, etc for the last ten years. That seems to be among the fairest ways of writing for everyone -- pyramidal questions which span a number of generations.

Seems to me the logical extension of this conversation might be dividing TRASH into sections in much the same way NAQT divides up its championships. I'm not sure anyone wants to have this discussion or this is something TRASH wants to consider. I was a fan of having the TRASH junior bird tournament which ran for a year or two, but seems to have died out because of the lack of participants. That seemed like a smart idea to try to engage younger players.

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Post by fizzball » Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:11 pm

theMoMA wrote:Seems to me if you write for older players (which is the way Trash seems to be written), older players will consistently make up the best teams and be the most interested in the game.
If you continue to find worth in buzzer competition after leaving academia, trash is the format you are most likely to succeed in. This is simply because pop culture will surround you the rest of your life, and you can't help but take a good deal of it in. Because of this, TRASH is the only major format that consistently has to contend with an audience from 18 to 45+. A balance has to be struck, and I don't know if it's there yet (if it ever was).

I disagree with Stan that the "appeal" of the mythical Airwolf question is that it's "harder" or "more challenging" for older players. The appeal is that it's right in the wheelhouse, and those free 10 points will offset the points I'll undoubtedly lose on the Salute Your Shorts tossup.

For TRASH to develop in the manner you suggest, one of two things needs to happen:

1. More young, preferably undergraduate, players need to consider stepping up and writing for TRASH. Most potential writers courted by the organization had the same refrain: "We'd rather play." (before this devolves into a Matt Weiner Popularity Contest: I don't even remember discussing the application as a staffer, and aside from whatever happened in the past, I think Matt is probably too old now as well).

2. TRASH could move to an ACF model of team packet submission and rigorous editing by staff. This would spread out the writing burden, and allow the players to better set the canon. A potential downside might be that the editors might not be equipped to vet needlessly obscure questions coming from the younger end of the range ("Easter eggs in Japan-only PS3 games? Okay, if that's what the kids are paying attention to...").

I've suggested #2 to some staffers. I have no idea whether it will come to pass, but IMO it's more realistic than #1. It'd be nice to be wrong on that.

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Post by fizzball » Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:27 pm

QuizbowlPostmodernist wrote:Were there any actual answers in the 2006 TRASH Regional set that would raise the same sort of objections that have been stated about Airwolf?
Have you made the regional set available for purchase/dismantling/pillorying, etc. yet?

I only have tossup answers written down, and from the 11 packets we heard, these are the television questions I could see undergrads having trouble with. They're all answerable without being old or consulting a book, though...

Pee-Wee's Playhouse (on DVD, was on Adult Swim in 2006)
Hillman College (ADW/Cosby reruns have aired for years since cancellation)
Have Gun will Travel (on DVD; led off with Eminem movie project; gettable if you've seen Stand By Me)
Carol Burnett (decades in syndication; reunions in the '00s)
The Saint (probably gettable on the Val Kilmer film)
Chico & The Man (on TV Land in the aughts to capitalize on Prinze Jr.)

Diefenbaker was probably the worst TV tossup.

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QuizbowlPostmodernist
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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:02 pm

clydeclod wrote:Just a couple quick thoughts:

There's one aspect of this Airwolf discussion which seems to be lacking to me: The fact that the best trash teams are not usually composed of undergrads, but instead of older, veteran players. Therefore, shouldn't you write some harder questions to appeal to that clientele which is consistently giving your organization its hard-earned cash and would still like to be challenged when it plays? Just my two cents.
Usually, but not always. Some teams have made the top playoff bracket at TRASHionals as all-undergrad squads and some players have been acknowledged as among the top ten while undergrads.

I also disagree with the notion that you should write questions for specific players. Your argument is as false as the idea that academic questions should be written to appeal to players who study. Questions should be written with an eye toward diversity within a chosen distribution (with an understanding that there is no single reasonable distribution, but there is a range of reasonable distributions).
As far as this year's regional set goes, I don't recall having many problems with it. As usual, you can nitpick about any set of questions, but this set seemed fair and led to some fun matches at Illinois (including a few my team lost). It always seems to me there are fewer sports toss-ups than there are the other "Big Three" categories. I have no data to back this up, I just know I'll take as much sports as I can get.
The number of sports questions equals the number of film questions equals the number of TV questions equals the number of music questions in TRASH packets. If your idea of "Big Three" means that TV/film is one category, then I suppose your perception is correct. If you meant "Big Four", then your perception is wrong. However, there exist "inter-disciplinary" questions counted as miscellaneous, and clues for these sorts of questions tend to not come from sports. Or a bonus on celebrity marriages may include parts on people primarily known for film roles, but not count as film because the substance of the question deals with celebrity gossip.
Kudos also to TRASH for putting together a challenging set of questions even after many of its mainstay writers have gone on to other ventures. I'd be curious to see who the roster of writers is these days, if there's a list.
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The TRASH roster is not secret. In no particular order, TRASH has James Dinan, Mark Coen, Phil Groce, Rebecca Golden, Alexis Mansfield, Fred Bush, Michael Philpy, John Kilby, and myself (Anthony de Jesus).

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AKKOLADE
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Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:10 pm

fizzball wrote:1. More young, preferably undergraduate, players need to consider stepping up and writing for TRASH. Most potential writers courted by the organization had the same refrain: "We'd rather play."
While I was not active in collegiate quiz bowl between '02 and '06, I have been active as an organizer in lower levels of tournaments and fall into the "would like to write questions" category. However, there's a definite lack of information on how to apply for a writing position in the TRASH organization. I can't recall seeing anything on this site and there is currently nothing on the official TRASH site that asks for new writers to apply. A cursory search of the Yahoo! group turns up nothing through February 10th.

Are writing roles offered only at TRASH tournaments or to certain past TRASH players? Like I said, I've never been able to attend one, but I have authored lower case trash questions in the past and think I can do it for the upper case tournaments.

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Coelacanth
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Post by Coelacanth » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:29 pm

fizzball wrote:Hillman College (ADW/Cosby reruns have aired for years since cancellation)
Hillman also has a current events angle, as it was the final, championship-determining question in the World Series of Pop Culture. I'm just guessing here, but I'm sure some TRASH players saw this. I know for a fact that one of the writers did.

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QuizbowlPostmodernist
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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist » Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:11 am

leftsaidfred wrote:While I was not active in collegiate quiz bowl between '02 and '06, I have been active as an organizer in lower levels of tournaments and fall into the "would like to write questions" category. However, there's a definite lack of information on how to apply for a writing position in the TRASH organization. I can't recall seeing anything on this site and there is currently nothing on the official TRASH site that asks for new writers to apply. A cursory search of the Yahoo! group turns up nothing through February 10th.

Are writing roles offered only at TRASH tournaments or to certain past TRASH players? Like I said, I've never been able to attend one, but I have authored lower case trash questions in the past and think I can do it for the upper case tournaments.
I guess TRASH is a more or less relaxed organization with a near lack of hierarchy. For one thing, there are no specific writing position and everyone is a member equally. Some write more than others. Some do other stuff more than write. So, it's not like NAQT, where you have members plus writers whose sole involvement is getting paid on a per question basis; you're either all the way in or all the way out.

At times, TRASH has called for people to apply. That's how I joined up as a member (as an undergraduate, even). At other times, there hasn't been a formal call for applications, but there has been discussion based on previous applicants or people individual members know. The latter group is probably going to be biased toward people who show up regularly to TRASH tournaments.

Consider this an open invitation to contact some member of TRASH (members listed in a previous post) for anyone interested in being considered whenever TRASH gets around to thinking about adding more people, although I don't know when that will be. If you don't know anyone in TRASH and want to go through me as a contact, then my email is my screen name here at yahoo.

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