TRASHionals Discussion

Old college threads.
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grapesmoker
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Post by grapesmoker » Sat Apr 28, 2007 12:42 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
MLafer wrote:I hate so much about the things that you choose to be.
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The best part about the ICT was watching Matt Lafer power a tossup on "Blossom."
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Post by Tim Young » Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:40 pm

Hoss Cartwright wrote:
mrmaguda wrote:This sort of relates back to my original complaint. I don't think question writers should focus on stuff that is "good" or not. That's why there was too much indie music and not enough questions on bands that people hate but at least they have heard of them. It's trash for a reason. There should be questions on 2 and a half men, Good Charlotte, the NBA, Wild Hogs, and other crap no one likes. You're limiting yourself if you just ask questions on "hipster" stuff because the last time I checked, a lot of us aren't cool.
So, according to you, limiting the music distribution to what's "good" would lead to so-called "indie" music, right? Doesn't this mean you "like" Indie music? And yet, you claim that "a lot of US aren't cool." How does this fuck you I'm different but wait no I'm not attitude make you not a hipster douchebag? Just wondering.
The trash distribution isn't ultimately going to mirror anything other than the trash universe. The preferences of the playing writing universes don't match the broader culture; never have, never will. While I'm sure that a massive number of people watch "Two And A Half Men," went to see "Wild Hogs," or never listen to anything other than the local Top 40 station, they're not [generally] at trash tournaments. Now one might say that if a QB "muggle" were to show up at this thing, he/she would prefer to hear questions about material that they're more likely to have a familiarity with, though does it make sense to appeal to theoretical players as opposed to real ones?

As far as music goes, a few interesting variations on this theme:

Hip-hop sells a lot more than it gets asked about. Now since I'm seemingly allergic to most forms of it, this isn't a bad thing for my stats. From what I can gather, the question writing and answering population seems to be less fond of it in general than the rest of the country; perhaps those of us who are a bit younger may want to hear it asked about more often. I find it more difficult to write quality questions about the form since there are seemingly fewer web-based resources that could be used in question writing, and there's seemingly less to ask about when it comes to most artists. But I've seen little clamoring for more of it despite the obvious disconnect between its share of the market and its share of the TRASH/trash canon.

For that matter, you could say roughly the same thing about country.

At the opposite end of the scale one would find the Modest Mouses or Arcade Fires (and their older equivalents) of the world. If we're talking about a game being organized and played by who it's being organized and played by, these people are going to know more about acts like this than the general population.

The "old versus new" quandary is an eternal one for an organization like TRASH pretty much across the board, particularly in music and TV. Probably always will be. Only TRASH can answer for themselves who it makes sense to target and what's within their ability to cover. I don't write for them, but I can speak for myself as a writer when I say that it's easier to write about things that have stood some sort of test of time as to its continued relevance and/or what aspects of it are memorable or askable.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:37 pm

Tim Young wrote:...The trash distribution isn't ultimately going to mirror anything other than the trash universe.
That's kind-of begging the question, isn't it? The whole point is that most of us know what's asked about now and some of us wish it were (more or less) different.

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Post by Tim Young » Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:16 pm

ImmaculateDeception wrote:
Tim Young wrote:...The trash distribution isn't ultimately going to mirror anything other than the trash universe.
That's kind-of begging the question, isn't it? The whole point is that most of us know what's asked about now and some of us wish it were (more or less) different.

MaS
I wrote the above in response to someone who seemed to be arguing that a distribution should in some way mirror raw sales/exposure. There are a number of reasons why "Black Eyed Peas sell 10x the number of CDs/downloads as Arcade Fire; ergo BEP should come up 10x as often as Arcade Fire" isn't a workable proposition. Aside from the repeat issue, there might even be more interest in the latter than the former amongst the field.

In a related vein, if it's true that some high percentage of teams get zero points or use their bonus lame on every single, say, comic book or video game or hockey or "indie" rock bonus they get, it suggests a widespread lack of interest in those subjects. Not having that data in front of me, I have no idea what the numbers say. I played on a pretty balanced team that happened to make the top bracket (and thus faced a lot of high-level competition) so my experiences are not really representative of the field overall.

Another random observation I've made is that nearly every other pop culture trivia game or quiz or contest (pub trivia, NTN's Spotlight, etc.) I've ever seen devotes much more time to of-the-minute celebrity gossip than trash/TRASH does. And this topic is probably discussed way more often in offices and bars even among educated types, and probably in college dorms as well, than even most mainstream things that comprise the trash/TRASH canon. Aside from the structural reasons for this that likely exist (questions like this have a short shelf life, which makes stockpiling them for a tourney set problematic) I've also never heard a single complaint about it.

So when I ask wonder aloud why something in the distribution is the way it is, I also wonder to myself to what extent my arguments are self-serving.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Sun Apr 29, 2007 9:18 pm

Tim Young wrote:...Aside from the repeat issue, there might even be more interest in [one thing] than [another] amongst the field.
That's kind-of begging the question, isn't it? The whole point is that most of us know what's asked about now and some of us wish it were (more or less) different.

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Post by Tim Young » Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:02 pm

ImmaculateDeception wrote:
Tim Young wrote:...Aside from the repeat issue, there might even be more interest in [one thing] than [another] amongst the field.
That's kind-of begging the question, isn't it? The whole point is that most of us know what's asked about now and some of us wish it were (more or less) different.

MaS
It's only question begging on my part if it's stripped of its context.

Everyone has their own hobbyhorse when it comes to trash distribution. (The same is true for academic distribution, for that matter.)

There's lots of people wishing that X were asked about more often and Y were asked about less often. I'm looking for some framework by which these pet causes can be evaluated. Some will say that X is more popular with the public at large than Y, and they might be right. Others will claim that X is of more relevance and askability among younger (or older) players than Y, and they might be right. "I like X better than Y" isn't especially compelling by itself.

There are reasons that some things come up and others don't. They may be good reasons, or bad reasons, or they may just be inertia.

My previous posts conjectured about some topics that seemingly are much more in the public eye than they are in TRASH packets and why that might be the case. As far as tabloid celebrity gossip goes, it's largely absent from TRASH packets. Some of this is probably due to their poor shelf life (a problem if you're trying to write a bunch of rounds over a long period of time for a big tournament) but my own experience with editing trash packets says that they're largely absent from submitted rounds as well, which at least suggests that at least the portion of people at these things who write rounds don't care much about who's bedding Lindsay Lohan this week.

Is the same true for other topics? The numbers for these questions can tell us some things.

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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist » Tue May 01, 2007 8:36 pm

Rothlover wrote: blah blah blah. It is entirely about quality. Good comedy Central programming should, and often does, come up. Mind of Mencia is NASCAR comedy and should come up about as often as racing comes up at a real trash tournament (read: never.) There is near limitless space for the good programs on tv. The reason HBO and showtime should be cited its basically a fact that The Wire, Big Love, Dexter, Weeds, This American Life, Bullshit, Rome, Sopranos, Curb, Six Feet Under and Entourage are all among the top 20 shows on air. Even crap like Cathouse, Debbie Does Dallas Again, Louis C.K.'s show and Real Sports are better than most of what you get on prime time. Its about giving most of the question space to good things as far as I'm concerned. You can always make things accessible. I am sure a wholly pyramidal and non-confusing tu could be written on "HBO" or "Showtime" based on programming and you wouldn't even need to reference fucking veronica mars.
Slamming Veronica Mars, which seemed to make many critics' lists of best shows on TV, especially during its first season, is not useful in making the claim that things that are good should come up more often. The same thing happened when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was on the air. It consistently earned critical acclaim while some trash players slammed it whenever it came up just because they didn't care for the show and didn't recognize its quality.

Now, I'm not saying that you are guilty of this, but in the past, I have seen people argue that X is not sufficiently popular to be asked about even if it is judged to be good by some objective measure like Rotten Tomatoes, while Y is not sufficiently good enough to be asked about, even if it is judged to be popular by some objective measure like ratings or box office numbers, as a way of trying to narrow the universe of askable things to a field biased to that particular person's tastes. I do happen to believe that things that are "good" should come up, but I prefer using critical consensus opinion tabulated by places such as Metacritic (Neon Bible by The Arcade Fire is the third-best reviewed album of 2007 by the way), rather than my own personal judgement if I ever have to determine whether or not a question should be counted as fulfilling part of the "quality" quota.

I'll probably make a post to theory folder eventually, since I have more thoughts on this that applies to more than trash (Matt Weiner just shuddered, I am sure), but ideal answer selection should have a bit of a pseudo-random feel of being sampled from the universe of possible answers (with some constraints). What might some of those constraints be in trash? In addition to temporal, geographic, and genre considerations, possibly that one portion of the questions has to deal with decidedly high-brow stuff and that another portion of the questions has to deal with decidedly low-brow stuff.

--Anthony, whose words such not be construed as being official TRASH policy

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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist » Sat May 12, 2007 5:28 pm

With the usual caveat that scoresheets are never 100 percent accurate and sometimes questions get read out of order or marked on the wrong line.

Also, I'm not going to open the door to a ton of requests for how many people answered which question. There were 19 rooms on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. I hope this data and some of the trends I notice are useful to people in future question-writing endeavors.

Every tossup was answered in at least one room, so there were no impossible tossups. Three people can claim Charlie Steinhice-style bragging rights as the only people to answer a specific tossup. Nate from ASU is Hot Hot Hot was the only person to get Midkemia. Michael from ABDCABP got John Scalzi. Snake Plissken from the Last Buzz got Possible Side Effects.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts was answered in six rooms. I was shocked because I didn't think we had five Canadian teams in the field. The entire answer was underlined on the paper, so a partial answer shouldn't have been accepted. So, while I would never have written that question and probably would have chucked it or made it a bonus part if I were editing sports, I now don't feel as bad about it appearing in the set. I tend to think that it is acceptable to have 0-1 tossups per round that get answered in a third of the rooms. 2 is bearable, especially if the rest of the questions are easy. 3 is when a round starts to feel harsh. None of the rounds at TRASHionals fell into harsh territory.

Neon Bible by The Arcade Fire was answered in 15 rooms. For comparison, some other album tossups. Sam's Town by the Killers went in every room, while Surfer Rosa by the Pixies was answered in 13 rooms. So, I think that writing a tossup on Neon Bible was probably not "needlessly screwing over the majority of the field", or at least less an act of screwing over the field than writing a tossup on Surfer Rosa instead of the Pixies.

For comic book questions, Luke Cage (why, yes, I did write that lead-in) was answered in 13 rooms, while Dazzler and Thor (despite the Mjollnir giveaway at the end) were answered in 16 rooms. I am pleased that Luke Cage was actually answered in a bit more rooms than I thought it would be. Given what I stated above on how many difficult questions per round is acceptable, I don't think that I personally will write very many comic book tossups that are harder than Luke Cage, but I make no claims about what anyone else in TRASH might write. Thor was my attempt to write that elusive comic book tossup answered in every room that doesn't have Superman or Batman or a movie tie-in as the answer. It seems like anything else is probably going to max out at being answered in around 3/4 of rooms.

To give you an idea of video game tossup difficulty, Ocarina of Time=every room, Time Crisis=13 rooms, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.=6 rooms. I'm not one for playing a lot of video games, and I lean toward playing PC games rather than console games when I do play something. I can usually judge when something is going to be Time Crisis or easier, but I have a harder time judging relative difficulty for games harder than Time Crisis. I suspect that a tossup on pretty much any video game is going to get answered by at least a few teams unless you delve into "released only in Japan" territory (and even then....). It does get a bit difficult to write tossups on the games everyone knows. I've given up on trying to find a good approach to writing a tossup on the NBA 2K series, although other people are welcome to try. But video game questions are here to stay, and this may help people figure out which games they should be asking tossups on.

Anyways, I hope this is some useful stuff for people writing or editing trash tournaments.

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Post by Mike Bentley » Sat May 12, 2007 5:34 pm

I think part of the reason the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. question was answered in so few rooms is for some reason the subtitle was underlined. While I haven't paid that much attention to the game, I had never heard that "Shadow of Chernobyl" thing before. The team in my room at the very least got S.T.A.L.K.E.R. but couldn't come up with the subtitle.
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Post by pray for elves » Sat May 12, 2007 5:56 pm

Yes, as Mike pointed out (to some extent), some of the hardest questions were as hard as they turned out to be because of what was underlined. Had I not been playing against Andy Saunders, who beat me to it, I would have buzzed in with "Tournament of Hearts", and been either prompted or negged. I don't know if I'd have come up with Scotties as the sponsor.

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Post by Bigfoot isn't the pr » Sun May 13, 2007 12:01 am

ikillkenny wrote:I think part of the reason the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. question was answered in so few rooms is for some reason the subtitle was underlined. While I haven't paid that much attention to the game, I had never heard that "Shadow of Chernobyl" thing before. The team in my room at the very least got S.T.A.L.K.E.R. but couldn't come up with the subtitle.
I agree that the subtitle should not have been underlined. In games seris like the Legend of Zelda, the subtitle is necesarry but in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (a game obscure enough already) I felt that needing the subtitle was just overkill. Luckily I was able to pull out the subtitle when I was prompted (I was one of those six) though I would've been PO'ed had I missed that tossup due to missing a subtitle.
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Post by pgroce » Sun May 13, 2007 10:44 pm

Sasquatch wrote: I agree that the subtitle should not have been underlined. In games seris like the Legend of Zelda, the subtitle is necesarry but in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (a game obscure enough already) I felt that needing the subtitle was just overkill. Luckily I was able to pull out the subtitle when I was prompted (I was one of those six) though I would've been PO'ed had I missed that tossup due to missing a subtitle.
I am, soup to nuts, responsible for this oversight, and I apologize. I wrote the question, edited the video games questions, and oversaw final packet printing. You would think that, in one of those roles, I would have noticed that this was way too much underlined information.

What got my attention about this game was the fact that it ostensibly took place in Chernobyl's hot zone; I suspect that's part of the reason for that blind spot.

(FWIW, I agree with Mike; movies/games/etc. without sequels or ambiguity problems shouldn't ask for subtitles.)

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