TRASHionals Discussion

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TRASHionals Discussion

Post by mrmaguda » Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:26 pm

Rather than merely quibbling over whether or not there were too many soccer and video games discussion, I'd instead like to focus on what I feel are the two biggest problems with TRASH.

The first is not a new trend but it's that TRASH still skews towards those in the mid-30s. It would be one thing if that stayed constant so that people like me in their early 20s would at least have a shot at winning a decade from now but by then, TRASH will likely skew towards those in their mid-40s meaning that me and my generation of quizbowl players likely have no chance of ever winning TRASHionals.

The bigger problem I had with this year's set, especially with music, was the too strong of focus on subjects that are "hip" and not necessarily trashy. Just off the top of my head, there were questions on Arcade Fire, !!!, Of Montreal, Modest Mouse, Tom Waits, and dozens of other popular indie bands. I just wish that the writers would write beyond their personal preferences. It's one thing if it is a house-written trash tournament but when you refer to yourself as a national tournament, I think it wold benefit TRASH to derive their questions from a larger spectrum of topics and not just what they like or hate.

Overall, it was a solid set but I just felt like airing my complaints.

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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:10 pm

It's worthwhile to note that the same team has won 5 of the 10 TRASHionals ever held, and has come in second at least one other time, possibly more. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is related to the fact that TRASH caters to this particular subset of its player base.
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Post by drollins » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:07 pm

[quote]It's worthwhile to note that the same team has won 5 of the 10 TRASHionals ever held, and has come in second at least one other time, possibly more. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is related to the fact that TRASH caters to this particular subset of its player base.[/quote]

.... Or it could be that they're just consistently better than everyone else.

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Post by ArloLyle » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:09 pm

I'd love to see TRASH not so skewed toward the older individuals in the TRASH community, but I agree with Dren. No matter what the distribution of questions, I have a feeling the usual suspects will remain the usual suspects. Though that doesn't change the fact that I've played in numerous TRASH tournaments where my team has lost to teams solely based on them having a player born at least 10 years before me. This includes high school teams plus a parent or teacher. I hate to complain though, because I really do love TRASH.

To span threads yet again, I think the best way of dealing with this is by setting requirements for questions of the same category to span a range of decades as is done at UTC tournaments (and probably others). In my experience this greatly evens the field and increases the fun had by the teams involved, no matter their age.

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Post by Mr. Kwalter » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:23 pm

ArloLyle wrote:I'd love to see TRASH not so skewed toward the older individuals in the TRASH community, but I agree with Dren. No matter what the distribution of questions, I have a feeling the usual suspects will remain the usual suspects. Though that doesn't change the fact that I've played in numerous TRASH tournaments where my team has lost to teams solely based on them having a player born at least 10 years before me. This includes high school teams plus a parent or teacher. I hate to complain though, because I really do love TRASH.

To span threads yet again, I think the best way of dealing with this is by setting requirements for questions of the same category to span a range of decades as is done at UTC tournaments (and probably others). In my experience this greatly evens the field and increases the fun had by the teams involved, no matter their age.
Now, do you love TRASH or do you love trash? There's a big difference. Trash encompasses a number of tournaments that may or may not attempt to even out their their temporal distributions. Pop culture tournaments with pyramidal questions and a regular, non-skewed toward old shit and indie music of the last 3 years, reasonable distribution such as Richler, Keller, and I'm sure some of Charlie's tournaments, count as trash, while TRASH is only responsible for the regularly-pilloried regional and national tournaments by that name. The distribution ideas you're putting forth are regularly adhered to by quality academic events including the two recognized national tournaments, so (like you) I don't see why the recognized pop culture nationals shouldn't be held to the same standard.

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Post by MLafer » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:52 pm

I think this is one of the better TRASHionals that I've attended. Some things that they've improved on:

-- more and better video game questions. They asked about games that people actually play, and seemingly a much wider variety than usual. Tossups on Time Crisis, .hack, Tecmo and Bionic Commando were all very welcome.

-- a willingness to go slightly more obscure on comic book stuff. I think this is a good thing, since there are probably very few "casual" comic book readers. I liked the tossups on Cage, Dazzler and Banshee.

-- Music questions seemed in general better. I don't think there were too many "indie" questions, because, well, I don't believe in "indie" as a genre so much. They were just questions. I don't really see how the list of bands given are closely related. Distribution across the years seemed right.



Things that I think they should work on:

-- sports questions pretty much suck. Most of them are just a bunch of stats from college, followed by a bunch of stats from pro, and then a giveaway. It's pretty damn hard to buzz on these. I don't know exactly how many tackles Adalius Thomas had in the 2003 season. I do know that he injured Michael Vick in the pre-season that year. Perhaps facts like that could be mentioned instead of shit that nobody is going to buzz on. I'd also like to institute a ban on asking about bowl games, whether it be a specific game ("1990 Sugar Bowl") or general ("Cotton Bowl"). Remembering the particular label that the game went under that year, which is pretty much arbitrarily decided, is ridiculous.

-- TV is another category that I feel needs an overhaul. It skews way too old. Why are there questions on "My Three Sons", "Peter Gunn" (which I believe is only famous for its theme song) and shows from a network that went defunct 51 years ago, but precisely one question on the current most acclaimed station (HBO; I recall no questions on Sopranos, The Wire (except for something about its theme song), Six Feet Under, Carnivale, Deadwood, Oz, Curb your Enthusiasm, Rome, or Entourage).

-- Too much country music. It's great that TRASH wants to appease the three players that listen to country, but I think they went a little overboard this time.

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Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:11 pm

As a moderator it was pretty hard to get an accurate sense on how difficult this tournament was, because things seem a lot more obvious to me when I read the answer before hand.

I think this was probably a more reasonable TRASHionals than some of the past sets that we've played, although there is obviously room for improvement. I would also like to congratulate TRASH on having a pretty good videogame set, asking mainly about significant games with pretty good clues to them. I think Bionic Commando may have been pushing it (the game has been remade once since the NES days), but other than that those questions were pretty good. It was also nice to finally see them reliably come up 1/1 per packet.

I think that the audio tossups could use some work. I like the idea of them, but they really need to be editted in such a way that they are pyramidal. Did any room not buzz on the theme song to 90210 on the first note or two? That question probably would have been better served by giving clips from different people talking on the show or something. I would also like to see more expansion into other areas besides just music for these tossups (and bonuses).

By the way, I'd like to apologize again for my multiple screw ups in the round that had the "Elvis" tossup.

By the way if you're looking for some younger skewed trash, check out the Chris McCray tournament referenced to my left.</plug>
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TRASHionals Review

Post by BMHight » Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:44 pm

MLafer wrote:I think this is one of the better TRASHionals that I've attended. Some things that they've improved on:

-- more and better video game questions.

-- a willingness to go slightly more obscure on comic book stuff.

-- Music questions seemed in general better.
I can't really speak for the music in general as much as two of my teammates, although I'd say that the video game and comic book questions may have helped level the field. Or at least it was kryptonite to me.
MLafer wrote: Things that I think they should work on:

-- I'd also like to institute a ban on asking about bowl games, whether it be a specific game ("1990 Sugar Bowl") or general ("Cotton Bowl"). Remembering the particular label that the game went under that year, which is pretty much arbitrarily decided, is ridiculous.
The sponsor changes are a conundrum, but I didn't see that being a problem for the 1994 Cotton Bowl game, since they didn't ask for the title sponsor and the Cotton Bowl is one of the more "traditional" games.
MLafer wrote: -- TV is another category that I feel needs an overhaul. It skews way too old. Why are there questions on "My Three Sons", "Peter Gunn" (which I believe is only famous for its theme song) and shows from a network that went defunct 51 years ago, but precisely one question on the current most acclaimed station (HBO; I recall no questions on Sopranos, The Wire (except for something about its theme song), Six Feet Under, Carnivale, Deadwood, Oz, Curb your Enthusiasm, Rome, or Entourage).
I agree on more HBO, although I'll take my chances on stars of the DuMont network versus a question about the more niche-oriented cable offerings.
MLafer wrote: -- Too much country music. It's great that TRASH wants to appease the three players that listen to country, but I think they went a little overboard this time.
As one of the three players (who are the other two?), I thought the offerings on the country side were widely enough known (Brooks and Dunn, an Alan Jackson album, Dolly Parton songs, Johnny Cash, George Strait, and Ronnie Milsap all come to mind). Pam Tillis may have been a little iffy in that she isn't the headliner that she was 10 years ago. Of course, I wouldn't mind a little more country (particularly Texas-laced), but I know that dog won't hunt very well.


In summary, I thought that TRASHionals tried hard to balance a very disparate group of interests, and that sometimes leads to having to throw things out to see what sticks. I didn't see a lot of wheelhouse questions either, and I flubbed a few that should have been there ('94 Cotton Bowl, Pam Tillis), but that's the balance of the game.
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Post by fizzball » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:44 am

ikillkenny wrote: I think that the audio tossups could use some work. I like the idea of them, but they really need to be editted in such a way that they are pyramidal. Did any room not buzz on the theme song to 90210 on the first note or two? That question probably would have been better served by giving clips from different people talking on the show or something. I would also like to see more expansion into other areas besides just music for these tossups (and bonuses).
The audio Qs did get away from music and into sports and quotes, with varying results. I don't have a problem with a buzzer race now and then in the form of a single-part "name that tune"-style audio TU, but the actual attempts to build pyramidality into audio tossups need work. Case in point: the Graceland multipart audio question. At least I assume it was multi-part, since it went in our room after four notes. A good idea in theory, but "Boy in the Bubble" is a particularly bad first part, being a Hot 100 single and the album's opening cut. Better in this case to go Gumboots(or other non-single track)/Boy in the Bubble/You Can Call Me Al/Graceland.

On the whole, I thought the music distribution was reasonable. Lit was more of a problem than it's been in recent years, with some of the SF/fantacrap being nigh-impossible, and containing at least one downright academic question.

TV was surprisingly low on reality-show questions, which benefits me, but still...odd. Definitely needed more HBO, and this from someone without even basic cable. Tournament-wide, bonuses got ass-hard during the second half.

The only question that really pissed me off was "German-style Board Games." Four Gen Con attendees on my team, and we get beat while trying to come up with a less vague answer. The other game questions (board and VG) were fine, I thought.


No 30-20-10s. Interesting.

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Post by fizzball » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:53 am

Kit Cloudkicker wrote: Pop culture tournaments with pyramidal questions and a regular, non-skewed toward old shit and indie music of the last 3 years, reasonable distribution such as Richler, Keller, and I'm sure some of Charlie's tournaments, count as trash...
Keller's music distribution skewed much older than TRASHionals X.

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Post by Rothlover » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:04 am

Prelim comments: All the usual stuff about having nothing against or liking almost all the TRASH staffers and appreciating the smoothness with which the tournament ran along with all the SWAG they tried to throw in.

That said, the music q's were the only remotely passable part of the big 4, and even that had problems like too many tus on lesser albums (spicegirls "forever" anyone?!?" Also, TRASH has a serious obsession with Baby Got Back, this feels like the 4th time in like 5 years of sets that its come up in some form. Its a fun song, but it sure as fuck ain't fuckin' Beethoven's Pastoral. Lots of one hit "wonders" again (Duncan Sheik, Bega etc, though Sheik at least did notable shit otherwise, just like Rupert Holmes.)

Movies q's seemed to be ok pyramidally on the whole, except I clearly recall a Dogma 95 tu that was as translucent as a size M Hanes on a TRASH player (myself included.) There was the whole "Adenoid Hynkel" tu, that was wonderfully worded in such a way that you would get fucked in the ass if you said "Der Fooey from the Great Dictator" eight words in, thereby getting a neg and a loss despite showing actual knowledge, which is something TRASH seems to not like, what with the seemingly 35%-40% of q's that were boring corporate/random/GK/CE/"puck" etc.

Sports dist sucked. I was only able to get Livan Hernandez and Barry Zito from actually having their stats memorized, and even that took half the q. The Hack Wilson tu was passable but had too much of a "figure it out" component, and the Mel Ott tu had that as well (I hear the leadin about him being a bench player for several years could've benefitted from an allusion to the fact that an incredibly famous manager who wouldn't have to be explicitly named kept him on the roster because of his potential, instead of it going, blah blah blah, hit some homers in 1929, buzz."

The "'Hutch' award 'Do not accept Fred Hutchinson award'" tu is honestly the sort of thing that shows up in the stool of a gay Austirian who has run out of things to put in his rectum. It was beyond laughable, and I talked to like 10 of the best classic baseball players at TRASH, and Lorin was the only other person who even knew of Fred Hutchinson, or that award, and he was negged for giving the fuckers name. Shit like that would occasionally be excusable if it weren't for tons of tus on fringe sports shit "HAY GUYS, PUCK TU IS GOOD IDEA, NO?" LETS ASK ABOUT SOME CURLER AND THE OTHER HORSE TRAINER AND THE OTHER FEMALE AMERICAN SKIIER." I hate non-baseball/football sports, but still could've done the minor sports dist better. The cricket tu was the biggest excercise in "chicken" in quizbowl. Whoever let TRASH cup their balls first (aka, buzzing in on an audio tu of "name the sport" with a dude with an obviously english accent when every minor sport played by English language speaking people had already come up to that point) got 10 wonderfully FUNN points.

Seriously, there is way too much, obscurrata crap in the dist. and the bonuses were way too variable from q to q.

I am guessing TRASH is trying, but they just don't seem to know how to operate the circa 2002 standards for all the aspects of question production.

Those are some preliminary thoughts, and again, its an indictment of the product, not the people, so please don't simply say, "OMG, MEANIE!" Pop Culture can be part of a much better set of q's, and I think we owe it to the players and competition to work towards that.

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Post by Rothlover » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:09 am

fizzball wrote:
Kit Cloudkicker wrote: Pop culture tournaments with pyramidal questions and a regular, non-skewed toward old shit and indie music of the last 3 years, reasonable distribution such as Richler, Keller, and I'm sure some of Charlie's tournaments, count as trash...
Keller's music distribution skewed much older than TRASHionals X.
noted 21 year old (at that time) "me," did MUCH better on Keller music than on this. Music isn't always about the year it was released either. I know tons of 19 year olds who could probably whoop the fuck out of most trash people on shit like "The Beatles" "Zepp" "Claptoniana" and even lesser old rock.

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Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:10 am

fizzball wrote:The audio Qs did get away from music and into sports and quotes, with varying results. I don't have a problem with a buzzer race now and then in the form of a single-part "name that tune"-style audio TU, but the actual attempts to build pyramidality into audio tossups need work.
The "name the sport" audio tossup that began with a guy in an English accent talking about something that was clearly not soccer and did indeed turn out to be cricket was...interesting.
MLafer wrote:-- a willingness to go slightly more obscure on comic book stuff. I think this is a good thing, since there are probably very few "casual" comic book readers. I liked the tossups on Cage, Dazzler and Banshee.
I didn't like that almost all the comic book tossups were on the origin stories of Marvel super-heroes, and the Dazzler one said something about comics, the late 70s, and disco before it even got to a pronoun. There are more comic companies than Marvel, more genres than superheroes, and x-1 better ways to write a tossup on a superhero than to tell me how and when his origin took place, where x = all possible ways to write a tossup on a superhero. The whole thing seemed like someone without a lot of background in comics spent a few minutes on Wikipedia writing each question. While it's admirable that the TRASH writers made an earnest effort to write outside of their pet areas, it's not good that their unfamiliarity showed in the questions.

Overall my biggest problems with the set were the deluge of minor sports and the consistent nonclues. I didn't know much about the movies or music they chose to ask, and probably didn't get a single TV q all weekend, but that's fine--other people seemed to be getting most of those questions, and I make no claim to being more than an average trash player at best, so it looks like that's just my own mismatch of interests with the general trash-playing population. But the CONSTANT questions on the World Football League, curling, minor league hockey, a female skiier who isn't Street or Dorfmeier, etc etc etc, were both frustrating to me and not apparently being answered by anyone in the games I was involved in. It honestly seemed like if you added up all the MLB, NFL, NBA, and D-I NCAA football and basketball, it would barely have equaled the amount of all other sports in the distribution. That seems really off to me. And it's not even like someone went crazy with golf or tennis or even soccer or hockey, which a lot of the people at the tournament presumably like--it was as if each round tried to outdo the last in terms of "ha ha look what we asked about, can you believe we got away with this!" nonsense. A tossup on a bicycle race that isn't the Tour de France or the Dupont, when there's already been around 45 questions on minor sports in the tournament, is basically like when Adult Swim runs an episode of Assy McGee or 12 Oz Mouse and the joke is that they actually got someone to pay to put this shit on the air.

And, no matter what you are writing on, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop using 'clues' like "he was born in such and such a year" "he was born in this city" "he graduated from this college" or "this business was founded by such and such a person in year and place." They are not clues, they are just frustrating wastes of toner.

A lot of my other issues with the set just boil down to the fact that I'm not much of a trash player, but "writing tossups that more than 2 people in the field can answer/bonuses that more than 2 teams in the field can 20" and "using specific, helpful, and interesting clues" are objectively correct methods of writing and should be used no matter what other philosophical decisions are made about the direction of TRASH.
Last edited by Matt Weiner on Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:21 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by Rothlover » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:14 am

Matt Weiner wrote:outside of pet areas,
3 Veronica Mars, 2 Friday Night Lights, 2 Studio 60 q's say hi.

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Post by Andy Saunders » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:14 am

On the whole, I liked a good portion of this year's TRASHionals set. I definitely think that it is important for the set to be diverse in eras and genders and not skew too young. Of course, I did have teammates that tended to do well in the "old person trash" and "female trash" part of the set, but I figure that 15-20% of the set should be about pre-1985 topics.

One thing, for discussion: With music nowadays returning more to a song-based (as opposed to an album-based), especially with the rise of downloading, might it be appropriate to shift the trash/TRASH music canon to put a little more emphasis on individual songs rather than albums? I could be completely off base here, but it seemed to me that a majority of the music tossups were of the "name the album" variety.

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Post by Andy Saunders » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:17 am

Rothlover wrote:The cricket tu was the biggest excercise in "chicken" in quizbowl. Whoever let TRASH cup their balls first (aka, buzzing in on an audio tu of "name the sport" with a dude with an obviously english accent when every minor sport played by English language speaking people had already come up to that point) got 10 wonderfully FUNN points.
I would like to kindly point out that the person in our room getting that tossup also happened to be the only person in the room at the time that lacked the spheres of which you speak.

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Post by Rothlover » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:22 am

Andy Saunders wrote:
Rothlover wrote:The cricket tu was the biggest excercise in "chicken" in quizbowl. Whoever let TRASH cup their balls first (aka, buzzing in on an audio tu of "name the sport" with a dude with an obviously english accent when every minor sport played by English language speaking people had already come up to that point) got 10 wonderfully FUNN points.
I would like to kindly point out that the person in our room getting that tossup also happened to be the only person in the room at the time that lacked the spheres of which you speak.
such women have Thatchers.

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Post by BigFlax » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:37 am

MLafer wrote:I think this is one of the better TRASHionals that I've attended. Some things that they've improved on:

-- more and better video game questions. They asked about games that people actually play, and seemingly a much wider variety than usual. Tossups on Time Crisis, .hack, Tecmo and Bionic Commando were all very welcome.

-- a willingness to go slightly more obscure on comic book stuff. I think this is a good thing, since there are probably very few "casual" comic book readers. I liked the tossups on Cage, Dazzler and Banshee.

-- Music questions seemed in general better. I don't think there were too many "indie" questions, because, well, I don't believe in "indie" as a genre so much. They were just questions. I don't really see how the list of bands given are closely related. Distribution across the years seemed right.



Things that I think they should work on:

-- sports questions pretty much suck. Most of them are just a bunch of stats from college, followed by a bunch of stats from pro, and then a giveaway. It's pretty damn hard to buzz on these. I don't know exactly how many tackles Adalius Thomas had in the 2003 season. I do know that he injured Michael Vick in the pre-season that year. Perhaps facts like that could be mentioned instead of shit that nobody is going to buzz on. I'd also like to institute a ban on asking about bowl games, whether it be a specific game ("1990 Sugar Bowl") or general ("Cotton Bowl"). Remembering the particular label that the game went under that year, which is pretty much arbitrarily decided, is ridiculous.

-- TV is another category that I feel needs an overhaul. It skews way too old. Why are there questions on "My Three Sons", "Peter Gunn" (which I believe is only famous for its theme song) and shows from a network that went defunct 51 years ago, but precisely one question on the current most acclaimed station (HBO; I recall no questions on Sopranos, The Wire (except for something about its theme song), Six Feet Under, Carnivale, Deadwood, Oz, Curb your Enthusiasm, Rome, or Entourage).

-- Too much country music. It's great that TRASH wants to appease the three players that listen to country, but I think they went a little overboard this time.
I think people tend to hear the set based on their own biases - which isn't unfair, but unless someone out there has an exact distribution, I didn't personally think there was too much country music; frankly I think there has been more at past tournaments. The hockey questions also seemed down to me, though I could be wrong. I felt there were way, way too many video game questions - but this is reflective more of the fact that I know dick about video games than it is their deserved place in the canon.

I can't totally disagree that TV skews old, or at least isn't dominated by currently-airing shows, but who hasn't seen shows like "My Three Sons" in syndication? Even the TRASH writing staff wasn't walking around when the Dumont Network was in its heyday; there's something to be said for working the history of television in there, I think, and I didn't feel that that section of the distribution overwhelmed. And anything that has aired in syndication in the last ten years should be as fair game as anything that aired, period, in the last ten years, more or less. I have far more of a problem with questions about 1990s shows that aired for less than one season than with well-known shows of the 60s.

My biggest complaint - aside from the idea of a tossup on a curling tournament, which I'm amazed no one has yet cited as evidence that TRASH works in pet topics to the dismay of most players - was the variability in bonus difficulty. I recall one round where we got four out of five tossups and received for our troubles four preposterously tough bonuses that we got maybe 40 points total out of; the other team got the fifth tossup and the accompanying bonus was basically a free 30. I know that bonus difficulty can vary based on what your team knows about the subject in question, but our team was pretty well balanced and yet was stymied by four consecutive bonuses, while in the middle of those was a bonus that probably anyone in the room could have 30d playing solo. I don't have the packets in front of me so I can't look specifically at what this one was, but I would wager someone out there knows what I'm talking about.

Other than that I had few problems, though. Considering that, unless I'm completely mistaken, an undergraduate finished first in scoring, I don't think this was the tournament to swing at TRASH for skewing old. Not that they never have, but I think they've made some effort to work on that and while it may not have been a total success right out of the gate, I would hope it heartened most people to see that changes were at least being attempted.

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Post by Leo Wolpert » Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:16 am

Having played a TRASH regionals, I won't say I didn't know what to expect when I played TRASHionals. I won't get into all the things that irked me, most of which stem from the distribution not going my way (i really shouldn't, anyway). If I really felt like it, I would have plenty to whine about. Weiner pretty much took care of

Anyway, the most egregious thing about TRASHionals is the audio tossup. 99% of the time, these tossups result in 4-8 players furiously mashing their buzzers within a quarter second of the moderator hitting "play," or all 8 players sitting around for the entire length of the audio clip. These questions, where you're going to get it immediately or not at all, are the polar opposite of pyramidality. They're the equivalent of FAQTP tossups. Why bother? What's wrong with just having audio bonuses?

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Re: TRASHionals Review

Post by I'm a goff (in case you couldn't tell) » Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:50 am

MLafer wrote: -- Too much country music. It's great that TRASH wants to appease the three players that listen to country, but I think they went a little overboard this time.
As one of the three players (who are the other two?), I thought the offerings on the country side were widely enough known (Brooks and Dunn, an Alan Jackson album, Dolly Parton songs, Johnny Cash, George Strait, and Ronnie Milsap all come to mind). Pam Tillis may have been a little iffy in that she isn't the headliner that she was 10 years ago. Of course, I wouldn't mind a little more country (particularly Texas-laced), but I know that dog won't hunt very well.[/quote]

I'm one of the other two. Don't forget the Garth Brooks albums bonus and I believe there was another bonus on the Highwaymen (though it may have been part of the Milsap bonus).

I think that for the most part they are widely known, but again, maybe skewed a little older. I didn't get the Tillis or Milsap questions, but they were definitely still well written.
BigFlax wrote: My biggest complaint - aside from the idea of a tossup on a curling tournament, which I'm amazed no one has yet cited as evidence that TRASH works in pet topics to the dismay of most players - was the variability in bonus difficulty. I recall one round where we got four out of five tossups and received for our troubles four preposterously tough bonuses that we got maybe 40 points total out of; the other team got the fifth tossup and the accompanying bonus was basically a free 30.
Our team's motto for the second half of the tournament: "We want a butter bonus."
Last edited by I'm a goff (in case you couldn't tell) on Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by pray for elves » Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:56 am

but who hasn't seen shows like "My Three Sons" in syndication?
I haven't, despite watching a fair amount of TV. I've never seen a single episode on the air, although I can't say I ever looked for it. A cursory web search shows the last time they were syndicated nationally was on Nick at Nite in the early 90s, when I (at age <10) would have had no interest in watching.

There certainly seemed to be fewer hockey questions than other sports, so hockey bashers shouldn't complain.

My biggest issue was with inconsistent bonus difficulty as well, as there were numerous bonuses that we failed to get any points on, including the first round of the tournament, when I believe we got either an equal number or one more or less tossup than the other team, but due to the bonuses not working in our favor they beat us by over 100 points. It simply worked out that they got (subjectively) easier bonuses from both of our points of view, plus the bonuses on our favorite topics went their way as well.

And, I definitely agree with Dan; more non-recent music would be great. I may be young, but I know a lot more about classic rock than any other genre of music, and I have a strong distaste for most current music. I don't think I got a single music toss-up all weekend, mostly because there were essentially zero classic rock questions (I can't remember any offhand).

That cricket question was complete stupidity; even if it's not a chicken-buzz, it's a buzzer race the first time the announcer says "wicket".

That's all I've got for right now, possibly more to come later.

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Post by ArloLyle » Tue Apr 24, 2007 8:25 am

Kit Cloudkicker wrote:Now, do you love TRASH or do you love trash?
I meant trash in general, no matter who is running it. Losing is better than not playing at all.

I wasn't at TRASHionals this year, so I'll shut now. I just wanted to throw in my two cents about more rigid distribution restrictions, which can be a bitch to meet when writing, but lead to better tournaments, imo.

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Post by clydeclod » Tue Apr 24, 2007 8:40 am

First, I thought the questions were good, overall. But I do have a few nit-picky quibbles:

1. From Regionals to TRASHionals, it seems many sports toss-ups are on people who are involved in some form of controversy. Just this year's cycle of two tournaments has seen questions on Albert Haynesworth, Chris Simon, Vivian Stringer and others. Why not write more questions on people like Mel Ott (who is a Hall Of Famer and deserves to have questions about him) or even people like Tyus Edney, who at least had one moment of glory on the college stage? Or, do what one of my teammates did this year and write a question on Mario Mendoza, a player so famous for his mediocrity there's a"Line" named for him. This I also find acceptable (and even interesting).

1a. I'll accept the non-tradional sports, because it's a national tournament and the questions are supposed to be hard. We all knew what we were getting into.

2. I agree with the criticism of the audio TU, but I'd like them to stay around. When we wrote this year's DUCK Bowl, we made a concerted effort to make our audio TU pyramidal (and I'll go so far as to say we succeeded in many cases). Leo is right that many of the audio questions came down to buzzer races, but maybe that benefits players with lower scoring averages who happen to know what the theme to Desperate Housewives or a cricket match sound like. I thought the audio bonuses were well done, and especially liked creative ideas like the songs as done by dictionaryoke.com.

3. I'll second Greg's criticism of literature. If you're gonna write a lit question, make it by an author who's famous (even if famous for something other than being a writer) or make it about a book which does not belong in the academic canon but is famous enough for people to have seen in on their local shelves (The Devil Wears Prada comes to mind as a good example, though it's probably now too canonical).

4. I liked the games questions. As Greg said, we had 4 gamers on the team, so we had a good time with them.

5. As far as skewing old, it should be expected. I don't think there's anyone younger than about 27 or 28 on the writing staff. TRASH should encourage current collegians to be writers in any way it can and should tell them to write about their niche likes and dislikes just like the current writing staff seems to. Do that and everyone can write well about things they know and editors can just distribute the packets accordingly.

6. The tournament organizers did a good job staffing the rooms with qualified people who ran things ahead of schedule for two days (very tough with 20 rooms operating) and adjudicated protests in a fair manner. We had our two post-match protests both denied and I don't have any quibbles with the way Phil and Alexis handled them. We were wrong, they explained why and we moved on.

In sum, like any organization, TRASH needs new blood from time to time. That new blood will need training, but it will also beget a new way of doing things. As long as the questions are still written so they are pyramidal and challenging but answerable, the game should still be fun. Hopefully it'll be fun for both the dinosaurs and the newbies.

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Post by Coelacanth » Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:50 am

Quickfire comments:

Firstly, full props to Phil, Alexis and the rest of the TRASH cabal for running a logistically very solid event. Coping with things like having two teams (with four buzzer systems) not showing up on time on Sunday is not easy, and yet we still all got out of there around 2 o'clock.

Question set: I agree with many of the comments about varying bonus difficulty. The notion of the 3-part bonus designed to differentiate between teams of very little (0 or a lucky 10)/solid basic (10 or 20)/deep (20 or 30) knowledge seems to be missing. Way too many bonuses that were 0 for everyone, 30 for everyone (the aformentioned "butter" bonus), or of the 0-or-30 type.

I like the idea of trying to add pyramidality to audio tossups by playing multiple tracks, but it just doesn't work. As someone pointed out, it's either the usual buzzer race on the first clue or the question goes dead.

Categories:

Sports distribution was way too skewed to minor sports. Sports should be equal parts football/baseball/basketball/other. Asking tossups about a skier nobody on our team had heard of or about the names of curling and bowling competitions is just a bad idea. I did think that apart from the abundance of soccer questions, the relative frequency of the "major minor" sports like golf, tennis, auto racing, and Olympic sports was about right.

I'm surprised to see so many calling for more HBO TV questions, since these are things that require people to spend money to know about. My preference would be for more questions about shows on the major broadcast networks and high-viewership cable channels like FX and USA. My pet peeve with TV continues to be tossups about minor characters or other elements that require watching the show regularly to even be guessable. For non-viewers, these boil down to "blah blah blah, name this character on (some show you don't watch)." How is anyone supposed to even come up with a guess for this?

No real complaints about the movies questions, since I don't know nearly enough about them to comment.

Music still skews too indie, too hip-hop and too recent for my tastes. There needs to be more questions about stuff played on mainstream radio. There are also still too many "name the album" questions.

There seemed to be fewer "name this author" or "name this recent bestseller" questions going dead, but that may be because my team had our lit player with us for a change.

Video games: enough already. 1/1 per round is plenty. I'm not looking at the question set, but some rounds seemed to contain 2/2 or even 2/3 either way. The problem with these questions is that unlike TV/Movies/Music (which you can learn about by watching E! or reading EW or whatever) and Sports (plenty of TV and print outlets), you can't learn about these things without actually buying the games or accessing extremely niche media sources. As someone whose last video game system was an Intellivision II, I literally have no way of knowing anything about games on the PSP or NES or GameCube or whatever. I recognize that these games have a place in the TRASH canon, but when more than 10% of the questions are about them it makes it very hard to compete.

There seemed to be a dearth (relative to past years) of "consumerama" questions about stores, restaurants, products, etc. This is regrettable.

I definitely noticed that the set overall was more PG-13. Perhaps this was in response to the feedback from last year's set. Regardless of the reasons, this change was appreciated.

I've blathered on long enough. Perhaps I'll have more comments later. Thanks again to the TRASH folks and to all the teams who made this a fun weekend for us.
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Post by mmb5 » Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:24 am

It's worthwhile to note that the same team has won 5 of the 10 TRASHionals ever held, and has come in second at least one other time, possibly more. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is related to the fact that TRASH caters to this particular subset of its player base.
Actually, it's 4 wins and 2 seconds. I'm also sure that if a very good academic team could have the same three core players for ten years, they could have a similar outcome.

TV is another category that I feel needs an overhaul. It skews way too old. Why are there questions on "My Three Sons", "Peter Gunn" (which I believe is only famous for its theme song) and shows from a network that went defunct 51 years ago, but precisely one question on the current most acclaimed station (HBO; I recall no questions on Sopranos, The Wire (except for something about its theme song), Six Feet Under, Carnivale, Deadwood, Oz, Curb your Enthusiasm, Rome, or Entourage)
HBO (and to a lesser extent, Showtime) has always been a sore spot for trash distributions. If you are properly skewing towards college students, you can't include a lot of it, because in theory they're not watching it. The DVD/Netflix explosion does rectify that somewhat, but you can't possibly expect to have too many questions on one network. The combined ratings of the shows above reach American Idol or Grey's Anatomy levels.

The cricket tu was the biggest excercise in "chicken" in quizbowl. Whoever let TRASH cup their balls first (aka, buzzing in on an audio tu of "name the sport" with a dude with an obviously english accent when every minor sport played by English language speaking people had already come up to that point) got 10 wonderfully FUNN points.
An English accent does not automatically mean cricket. It could have been rugby or darts. Since I only heard four words, buzzing in on the sound of the bat and a player mention (if you've been following the World Cup, the name mentioned is a very prominent one), I can't judge the rest of the question. I do realize I'm in a minority here, since I do follow cricket, but it was only one question. It's not like there was a 1/1 distribution of it.

But the CONSTANT questions on the World Football League, curling, minor league hockey, a female skiier who isn't Street or Dorfmeier, etc etc etc, were both frustrating to me and not apparently being answered by anyone in the games I was involved in
I don't remember a question on the World Football League. I guess your referring to the NFL Europa question. Anyway, all four of those questions were answered in the games I played. This may be surprising to some, but there are many people who do enjoy and have good knowledge of sports outside the core three or four (depending on your slant). I personally don't like basketball. It doesn't mean it shouldn't be asked.

And, no matter what you are writing on, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop using 'clues' like "he was born in such and such a year" "he was born in this city" "he graduated from this college" or "this business was founded by such and such a person in year and place." They are not clues, they are just frustrating wastes of toner.
I will agree that it is sometimes excessive, but there is a legitimate purpose in question writing, namely to relieve answer ambiguity early.

3 Veronica Mars, 2 Friday Night Lights, 2 Studio 60 q's say hi
And 24, Prison Break, the CSI triplets and Family Guy wonder why they weren't invited.

One thing, for discussion: With music nowadays returning more to a song-based (as opposed to an album-based), especially with the rise of downloading, might it be appropriate to shift the trash/TRASH music canon to put a little more emphasis on individual songs rather than albums? I could be completely off base here, but it seemed to me that a majority of the music tossups were of the "name the album" variety.
I concur. As someone who is sort of in the music business, this will only be more true in the coming years.


It boggles my mind year after year when people are complaining about minutia but missing the big picture. I didn't have an opportunity to do this when I was in school (late 80s). I would have killed for it. And when this finally sprung up in the mid-90s, we had to play horribly mis-distributed packets and such mentally taxing things as "For a quick 10 points, buzz in second".

The distribution we have now is in evolution and will always be. I wouldn't shed a tear if I never heard a video game, comic book or cult game question again, but I understand their necessity in making the game inclusive. And I'm sure someone else could substitute any number of topics: country music, hockey, drinks, foreign films, B&W TV. They all have their place in the world of trash. And just because you don't know it, doesn't mean it doesn't belong. I probably had never even heard of one-third of the tossup answers, and yes, some of the questions were not good, but it doesn't mean I didn't like the question set overall.


--Mike

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Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:26 am

Coelacanth wrote:Video games: enough already. 1/1 per round is plenty. I'm not looking at the question set, but some rounds seemed to contain 2/2 or even 2/3 either way. The problem with these questions is that unlike TV/Movies/Music (which you can learn about by watching E! or reading EW or whatever) and Sports (plenty of TV and print outlets), you can't learn about these things without actually buying the games or accessing extremely niche media sources. As someone whose last video game system was an Intellivision II, I literally have no way of knowing anything about games on the PSP or NES or GameCube or whatever. I recognize that these games have a place in the TRASH canon, but when more than 10% of the questions are about them it makes it very hard to compete.
Can you please provide an example of this? There was strictly 1/1 videogame questions in each packet, I don't think there were ever any more than this. Maybe because you don't like these questions it seems like they come up more often, but I think that's simply not correct. There were a few packets, that yes, maybe had 1/1 other questions that casually mentioned videogames (like that tossup on the actor who voiced the character from Kingdom Hearts), but I don't think these casual references creep in any more than other categories.

I think 1/1 videogames is a perfectly reasonable distribution for a trash tournament, especially given their status amongst the popular culture of the under-25 crowd. In fact, I would argue that videogames are even more relevant to the under-21 or under-18 crowd these days than television. I think the case could be made for tournaments aiming at younger players to increase the videogame distribution to 1/2 or 2/1 or even 2/2. I'm not saying that TRASH should do this since they obviously cater to a wide variety of age levels, but it certainly wouldn't be unreasonable.
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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:33 am

Coelacanth wrote:As someone whose last video game system was an Intellivision II, I literally have no way of knowing anything about games on the PSP or NES or GameCube or whatever. I recognize that these games have a place in the TRASH canon, but when more than 10% of the questions are about them it makes it very hard to compete.
From this information, I can deduce a couple of things.

First, you're old.

Second, people play these games. Seriously, this is a major part of popular culture today, and any attempt to pretend otherwise is just wrong. If you're going to write a pop-culture tournament, you absolutely have to include these things. I'm sorry you're too old to "properly compete" on questions about games (which are about the only thing besides soccer I would even have a chance of picking up at a trash tournament); I guess maybe now you have a better grasp on the complaints of people who think TRASH doesn't write enough for younger players.
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Post by pray for elves » Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:48 am

I remembered one more thing: I can remember only one question about LOST: the only question was the one bonus part about Mister Eko in the "People who died in 2006" bonus. You might think there could be a tossup, or a whole bonus on such a popular show, since its fanbase is significantly larger than, say, Veronica Mars or Studio 60 or Gilmore Girls, but apparently I'm wrong.

Anyone care to point out the question I'm sure I forgot?

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Post by Coelacanth » Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:59 am

Quick reply to Mike and Jerry:

I agree with many of your points (especially the one about me being old). As I said, I don't have the questions in front of me, but it seemed to me at the time that some rounds had more than 1/1 video games, or at least video game clues. I may be wrong.

I'm not arguing the point at all that 1/1 video games is appropriate. I am fully aware that I am as disadvantaged on these questions as a current undergraduate would be on some of the old school stuff that I get. The key is finding the right balance.

I think that for TRASH (all caps), as an OPEN competition, 1/1 video games (as a hard upper limit) is appropriate. For other small-t trash events geared toward current students, as much as 4/4 probably wouldn't be out of line. Dinosaurs like me know not to play in such events.
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Post by BigFlax » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:02 pm

DeisEvan wrote:
but who hasn't seen shows like "My Three Sons" in syndication?
I haven't, despite watching a fair amount of TV. I've never seen a single episode on the air, although I can't say I ever looked for it. A cursory web search shows the last time they were syndicated nationally was on Nick at Nite in the early 90s, when I (at age <10) would have had no interest in watching.
Nevertheless, many shows of its ilk have been syndicated for years and continue to be, and anyway I don't recall another tossup on a TV show that old. I think one in the entire tournament is probably not a bad distribution, especially when it's a show that most TRASH players have probably at least heard of.
And, I definitely agree with Dan; more non-recent music would be great. I may be young, but I know a lot more about classic rock than any other genre of music, and I have a strong distaste for most current music. I don't think I got a single music toss-up all weekend, mostly because there were essentially zero classic rock questions (I can't remember any offhand).
It's more than a little ironic, I think, that the same people complaining that TV skews too old are also complaining that music doesn't skew old enough. Yes, in most cases music is more easily preserved, but I think there's a general tendency to make the majority of the questions come from within the lifetime of the average player (certainly this is true of published guidelines like the Michigan distribution), and most "classic rock" doesn't really fall under this category. Offhand I can only remember the Clapton audio tossup (mostly because I got it) and the Santana bonus, but I would be shocked if there wasn't actually more than that. That said, while there are certainly people - myself included - who listen to a ton of classic rock, that doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't a ton of people out there who don't. I would like to see a list of the music questions because, except for indie rock, it seems to me that there has been a large amount of debate over whether there were too many or not enough questions in certain subgenres (Lafer thinks there was too much country, I thought there seemed to be less than usual, others have said to me that they didn't think there was enough modern rap/hip-hop, etc.). The period that I thought was kind of overrepresented was 1975-1990 pop, which sort of falls between classic rock and modern rock, so maybe that partially explains it, but this is only based on my vague remembrances of the set and not anything concrete. My suspicion is that an actual breakdown of the set will likely not turn out as unbalanced as anyone thinks it was.

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Post by BigFlax » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:08 pm

DeisEvan wrote:I remembered one more thing: I can remember only one question about LOST: the only question was the one bonus part about Mister Eko in the "People who died in 2006" bonus. You might think there could be a tossup, or a whole bonus on such a popular show, since its fanbase is significantly larger than, say, Veronica Mars or Studio 60 or Gilmore Girls, but apparently I'm wrong.

Anyone care to point out the question I'm sure I forgot?
There was also a bonus part on Oceanic Airlines. As a Lostie I was as "hurt" by the lack of Lost questions as anyone, but I'm sure there have been questions at previous tournaments. In any single tournament I think the lack of a full tossup or bonus on a given TV program is not really indicative of anything in particular.

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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:08 pm

mmb5 wrote:HBO (and to a lesser extent, Showtime) has always been a sore spot for trash distributions. If you are properly skewing towards college students, you can't include a lot of it, because in theory they're not watching it.
I don't understand this. Why are they not watching it? Also, who cares about what happens "in theory," when in fact a lot of college students do watch these shows, even if they get them via bitTorrent.
And, no matter what you are writing on, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop using 'clues' like "he was born in such and such a year" "he was born in this city" "he graduated from this college" or "this business was founded by such and such a person in year and place." They are not clues, they are just frustrating wastes of toner.
I will agree that it is sometimes excessive, but there is a legitimate purpose in question writing, namely to relieve answer ambiguity early.
These clues are never useful to anyone; they are just space fillers. This is true in academic questions, and it's equally true in trash.
It boggles my mind year after year when people are complaining about minutia but missing the big picture. I didn't have an opportunity to do this when I was in school (late 80s). I would have killed for it. And when this finally sprung up in the mid-90s, we had to play horribly mis-distributed packets and such mentally taxing things as "For a quick 10 points, buzz in second".
I don't really care about the trash distribution at all, but I'll say to you the same thing I said to Andrew in the NAQT thread: "it was so bad in my day" is not an argument. It's not even the beginning of an argument. It's just an attempt to divert discussion away from the issue at hand. Maybe the TRASH distribution is what it should be or whatever, but comparing quizbowl today to quizbowl 15 years ago doesn't counter any of the points people are making.
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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:41 pm

Coelacanth wrote:I think that for TRASH (all caps), as an OPEN competition, 1/1 video games (as a hard upper limit) is appropriate. For other small-t trash events geared toward current students, as much as 4/4 probably wouldn't be out of line. Dinosaurs like me know not to play in such events.
I don't really get this at all. In other formats, the regional tournaments reflect the distribution of the national ones. In other words, you know what to expect from ICT if you went to SCT, or what to expect at ACF Nationals if you've been to Fall or Regionals. Not only that, but invitationals typically conform to one of the two above formats, so you could have come to, say, EFT last year and have gotten essentially the same distribution you would get at any other tournament. But according to your reasoning, there would be no way for people to know what to expect from TRASHionals on the basis of their attendance of various other trash events. I know you probably don't mean it that way, but it sounds a little condescending; you're essentially saying, "you students can do whatever you like, but when it comes to the national championship, the distribution should be modified for the benefit of dinosaurs."

My point is that if something is popular, it's popular; why would you avoid it in a tournament explicitly dedicated to popular culture? I personally find that most of my friends are more readily familiar with computer games or console games than they are with sports or movies. Ok, that's just my social circle, but this is something that people definitely care about. I don't know if 1/1 per packet is the appropriate amount (I would think 2/2 is closer to accurate), but whatever that proportion is, it should be based on how popular this activity actually is, not how much or how little of it is demanded by TRASH regulars.
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Post by mmb5 » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:53 pm

grapesmoker wrote: I don't understand this. Why are they not watching it? Also, who cares about what happens "in theory," when in fact a lot of college students do watch these shows, even if they get them via bitTorrent.
I did not make my statement clear enough before, so let me try again. The problem is that even two years ago, very few college students would have access to pay cable, and many questions on pay cable would go unanswered by games that were primarily student-based. That's not the case anymore with DVD sets and to a lesser extent torrents, and questions should now start to creep in now that it is more accessible. It will probably take a few years before that will be corrected in a distribution, in the same way it took video games to become more prevalent and sci-fi lit to become less. However, I don't think they are still yet at par with a show that is on broadcast TV or even basic cable with the exception of The Sopranos, which does have at least viewership in the upper end of overall cable numbers. An entirely different issue that will creep once they become more canonical will be their limited runs, which will mean less askable questions opposed to a series that may have had a similar chronological lifespan on network TV.


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Post by squidpants » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:20 pm

I'm 27 and thought the tournament skewed a little old, as in too old for me. The 3rd round on the second day seemed especially old, though it didn't help that we played older folks in that match. The movies seemed older in general, but I think the music did well in trying to get younger - stuff like Panic! At the Disco and Gym Class Heroes are good for the youngins. I don't remember much recent rap, but I thought the amount of indie was fine.

I did think the bonuses were tough in general, but maybe that was just the makeup of our team. We had more bagels than Einstein Brothers.

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Post by Coelacanth » Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:03 pm

grapesmoker wrote: I don't really get this at all. In other formats, the regional tournaments reflect the distribution of the national ones. In other words, you know what to expect from ICT if you went to SCT, or what to expect at ACF Nationals if you've been to Fall or Regionals. Not only that, but invitationals typically conform to one of the two above formats, so you could have come to, say, EFT last year and have gotten essentially the same distribution you would get at any other tournament. But according to your reasoning, there would be no way for people to know what to expect from TRASHionals on the basis of their attendance of various other trash events. I know you probably don't mean it that way, but it sounds a little condescending; you're essentially saying, "you students can do whatever you like, but when it comes to the national championship, the distribution should be modified for the benefit of dinosaurs."

My point is that if something is popular, it's popular; why would you avoid it in a tournament explicitly dedicated to popular culture? I personally find that most of my friends are more readily familiar with computer games or console games than they are with sports or movies. Ok, that's just my social circle, but this is something that people definitely care about. I don't know if 1/1 per packet is the appropriate amount (I would think 2/2 is closer to accurate), but whatever that proportion is, it should be based on how popular this activity actually is, not how much or how little of it is demanded by TRASH regulars.
First of all, apologies to anyone if I came off as condescending.

I don't get your point about regional vs national tournaments. I expect the same distribution at ICT as SCT, at ACF Nats as Regionals or Fall, and at TRASHionals as TRASH Regionals. But I don't expect the same distribution at ICT as at ACF Nationals.

ACF and NAQT (also CBI, but no need to bring them into the discussion) are formats limited to academic teams; that is, teams comprised of current students. Much of the invitiational circuit is as well, including some small-t trash events. I expect the questions at those events to reflect things that current students can actually be expected to know. In the pop-culture side of the distribution, that definitely includes a lot of video games.

TRASH is an open format at both regionals and TRASHionals. Because of that, the questions must be structured so that a team of 20-year-olds can compete against a team of 40-(or 50-)somethings such that both teams have a fair chance to win.

So I wasn't trying to draw some kind of distinction between a national tournament, regional tournaments, and invitationals. I expect questions at nationals to be harder, yes, but otherwise similar in distribution to their corresponding earlier-in-the-year events. Which they are; the TRASHionals set was very similar, distribution-wise, to TRASH Regionals. The distinction I'm drawing is between student-oriented formats and open formats.

Whether it's actually possible to have an open national tournament that is not age-biased in one direction or the other is a separate issue. My own opinion is that TRASH does a pretty good job of walking this extremely treacherous tightrope.

TRASH is supposed to be about "popular" culture, as you say. But it's about what's popular in society as a whole, not what's popular among the very narrow demographic of quizbowl-playing college students. I do not doubt that the knowledge of and interest in video games among members of that group is very high. But considering the level of interest in video games among all Americans (oh, ok, and Canadians) between say 18 and 50, which is TRASH's target market as I understand it, I think 1/1 in the distribution is more than enough.
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Post by Andy Saunders » Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:20 pm

Coelacanth wrote:Quickfire comments:

Categories:

Sports distribution was way too skewed to minor sports. Sports should be equal parts football/baseball/basketball/other. Asking tossups about a skier nobody on our team had heard of or about the names of curling and bowling competitions is just a bad idea. I did think that apart from the abundance of soccer questions, the relative frequency of the "major minor" sports like golf, tennis, auto racing, and Olympic sports was about right.
I don't see how a single curling question and a single bowling question in a tournament makes it bad. In fact, both questions, IMO, were pretty accessible, especially if you consider that the Scotties Tournament of Hearts is probably one of the two most important tournaments in womens' curling worldwide, and the bowling question had "named after the founder of the PBA" in the giveaway. In fact, I think "one question per tournament" is about right for "minor" sports such as curling/bowling/skiing/cricket.

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Post by squidpants » Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:24 pm

Andy Saunders wrote:especially if you consider that the Scotties Tournament of Hearts is probably one of the two most important tournaments in womens' curling worldwide
I agree with your point, but hahahaha on that line

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Post by Coelacanth » Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:33 pm

Sorry to disagree with you, Andy, but here's a list of all the bonspiels I know by name:




Here's a list of all the bowling tournaments I know by name:




I suspect I'm not alone in this.

I did guess "Dick Weber Cup" on the giveaway clue for the bowling one, but was ruled incorrect.
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Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:51 pm

Perhaps TRASH (or another group / organization entirely) should consider running a Division 2 tournament a la NAQT. Division 2 would be open to all players affiliated with a university (or I guess a high school) and have a younger skewed distribution than Division 1 (open). This would hypothetically address some of the issues of having to cater to a huge difference in age groups attending the tournament and what they see as "popular culture".

This would, of course, require TRASH or whoever to write more questions, and would reduce the field size for each of the two divisions probably.

In summary, I think some sort of younger, national trash tournament would be pretty appealing, whether it is created by TRASH or just some de facto tournament during the year that draws teams from across the nation.
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Post by BigFlax » Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:05 pm

Andy Saunders wrote:I don't see how a single curling question and a single bowling question in a tournament makes it bad. In fact, both questions, IMO, were pretty accessible, especially if you consider that the Scotties Tournament of Hearts is probably one of the two most important tournaments in womens' curling worldwide, and the bowling question had "named after the founder of the PBA" in the giveaway. In fact, I think "one question per tournament" is about right for "minor" sports such as curling/bowling/skiing/cricket.
The problem I had with the curling question was that it was a curling question. Even among quiz bowlers, it seems to me that the percentage of people who know anything about curling is a pretty small one, and what's more it's not like you can really stumble across curling on television (like you could with, say, NASCAR, which not many people in quiz bowl may follow either but which is at least accessible to the vast majority). A bonus on curling is one thing - because at least then it could potentially be lamed by people who have no knowledge, i.e. everyone not named Sorenson or Burger (or, apparently, Saunders) - but a full tossup on something so arcane is just a waste of most people's time. I'd be willing to bet that the question was not answered correctly in more than 20% of the rooms (4 of 20, which frankly even sounds fairly generous) and moreover that few other tossups would have had so poor a response rate, particularly at a tournament featuring, ostensibly, the best TRASH teams in the country. When you reduce people to guessing stuff like "Kleenex Cup" based on your NAcutie, you haven't written a worthwhile question.

Of course this doesn't "ruin the whole tournament," and it would be silly to suggest otherwise, but it is something about the distribution that I think could stand to be pulled back. Yes, it's not like there were multiple questions on curling, but when a question on "one of the two most important tournaments" in a sport is as inaccessible as this one was, I question why it needs to be asked at all.

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Post by BigFlax » Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:07 pm

ikillkenny wrote:Perhaps TRASH (or another group / organization entirely) should consider running a Division 2 tournament a la NAQT. Division 2 would be open to all players affiliated with a university (or I guess a high school) and have a younger skewed distribution than Division 1 (open). This would hypothetically address some of the issues of having to cater to a huge difference in age groups attending the tournament and what they see as "popular culture".
TRASH did attempt a junior bird a couple years ago, I believe. It doesn't seem to have been particularly successful.

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Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:08 pm

Andy Saunders wrote:I don't see how a single curling question and a single bowling question in a tournament makes it bad.
Paired with the other 40 questions on minor sports, it's bad. It wasn't just the barrage of skiing and swimming questions, it was the fact that even when you got a football question it was likely to be on the AFL or I-AA. There seemed to be someone giggling as he constructed the packet set over how efficiently he screwed over those poor plebes who just watch the five or six biggest sports in America and don't study sports that may or may not actually exist for the benefit of their trash tournament performance. The notion of trash as "popular" culture was pretty well destroyed by the sports distribution in this tournament.
ikillkenny wrote:In summary, I think some sort of younger, national trash tournament would be pretty appealing, whether it is created by TRASH or just some de facto tournament during the year that draws teams from across the nation.
I think we have enough school teams as it is spending money on trash tournaments while eschewing the tournaments they should be going to. If TRASHionals wants to have a D2 then whatever, but do we really need another trash tournament, especially another trash tournament that people are expected to travel long distances to?
BigFlax wrote:TRASH did attempt a junior bird a couple years ago, I believe. It doesn't seem to have been particularly successful.
A lot of teams went to them, the idea died when they tried to run the last junior bird under a "people will give us packets for this on a freelance basis and in return will receive nothing" model.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:13 pm

Coelacanth wrote:...The problem with [video game questions] is that unlike TV/Movies/Music (which you can learn about by watching E! or reading EW or whatever) and Sports (plenty of TV and print outlets), you can't learn about these things without actually buying the games or accessing extremely niche media sources.
That is simply not right. Even if you don't play and haven't played video games (and, like, if you haven't noticed, pretty much everyone under 25 does and has...), there is any number of easily accessible, mainstream media sources that cover video games, probably because they comprise an industry larger than the film industry at the moment, what, with everyone under 25 playing them and all. If anything, there should be more video game questions in my view, but I do applaud TRASH for including a consistent 1/1. That's a long-due change welcomed by myself and many others.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:25 pm

Andy Saunders wrote:...especially if you consider that the Scotties Tournament of Hearts is probably one of the two most important tournaments in womens' curling worldwide...
That is the funniest premise I've seen in months.

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Post by mmb5 » Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:42 pm

BigFlax wrote:i.e. everyone not named Sorenson or Burger (or, apparently, Saunders) - but a full tossup on something so arcane is just a waste of most people's time.
For the record:

1. I was beaten to it by a teammate.
2. I would agree it's too obscure for a tossup. The only real tossup you can ask on curling in a U.S. tournament is one where the answer is 'curling'.


--Mike, probably the only person to attend both Trashinals X and the 2006 Tournament of Hearts

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Post by Bigfoot isn't the pr » Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:36 pm

ikillkenny wrote:Perhaps TRASH (or another group / organization entirely) should consider running a Division 2 tournament a la NAQT. Division 2 would be open to all players affiliated with a university (or I guess a high school) and have a younger skewed distribution than Division 1 (open). This would hypothetically address some of the issues of having to cater to a huge difference in age groups attending the tournament and what they see as "popular culture".

This would, of course, require TRASH or whoever to write more questions, and would reduce the field size for each of the two divisions probably.

In summary, I think some sort of younger, national trash tournament would be pretty appealing, whether it is created by TRASH or just some de facto tournament during the year that draws teams from across the nation.
As a member of a highschool team who enjoys TRASH I know that there would be significant interest. It might be slow at first but as word of mouth spreads I think you will find that more and more teams will be interested.

Until then, I will continue to play TRASH. Sure, I am not nearly the caliber of the elder players and I don't think I will place in the top half of the field for many years to come (though thanks to alot of luck and a little skill we placed in the 3rd bracket) but its the best we have right now.
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Post by pgroce » Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:43 pm

Coelacanth wrote:Quickfire comments:
Video games: enough already. 1/1 per round is plenty. I'm not looking at the question set, but some rounds seemed to contain 2/2 or even 2/3 either way....I recognize that these games have a place in the TRASH canon, but when more than 10% of the questions are about them it makes it very hard to compete.
FWIW, video games were capped at 1/1 for the tournament.

Edit: and I should read whole threads before posting.
Last edited by pgroce on Tue Apr 24, 2007 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by BigFlax » Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:18 pm

pgroce wrote:FWIW, video games were capped at 1/1 for the tournament.
This is interesting because, as Coelacanth's post confirms, I'm sure I'm not the only person who thought there seemed to be way more than that. As I noted above, however, this may simply have been because I don't know anything about them, although it does seem odd because 1/1 seems like little or no change from previous tournaments. Perhaps there were more questions than before that contained video game allusions, even while they may not have fallen into that category because of their exact answers? I'm just speculating, of course.

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Post by creed_of_hubris » Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:38 pm

Rothlover wrote: There was the whole "Adenoid Hynkel" tu, that was wonderfully worded in such a way that you would get fucked in the ass if you said "Der Fooey from the Great Dictator" eight words in, thereby getting a neg and a loss despite showing actual knowledge
I wrote the question right after watching the movie and didn't remember seeing or hearing "Der Fooey" anywhere in the film.

"Der Fooey" has 5 hits in google; "Der Phooey" has 6. I think it's a little much to expect us to catch a reference that obscure.

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