MCMNT 2008 Discussion

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MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by millionwaves » Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:29 pm

Hey, all.

As of the conclusion of the Saturday tournament of DACQ's Weekend of Quizbowl, all of the mirrors of this tournament have been played and it is ok to discuss specifics about the questions.

Having said that, I'd like to take time to publicly thank Mike Sorice and Steven Canning, who provided two excellent house packets, Mike Sorice again for editing the science, and James Sanner for editing the biology. In a similar vein, Jonathan Magin, Charlie Dees, Fred Morlan, and Steven Canning all contributed some freelanced questions to fill in some categories, which I sorely needed and appreciate deeply. In addition, I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to UCLA for sending a timely freelanced packet (that's two this year!), and to the people at St. Olaf, Harvard, UNC, and DACQ for mirroring this tournament. Also, thank you to Andrew Hart and Eric Kwartler, who provided outside feedback which helped me improve the set after its first sites ran.

Further feedback is of course welcome. If you'd like to give me some, you can get me at trygvemeade [at] gmail [dot] com. Having had a reasonably good experience this time around, I'm planning on editing in the future, so any advice is welcome and solicited.

The final and complete packets are freely available at this link. Please feel free to host them on the packet archive of your choice. (This means you, Christian Carter)
Last edited by millionwaves on Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by cdcarter » Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:36 pm

Symphony in Slang wrote: The final and complete packets are freely available at this link. Please feel free to host them on the packet archive of your choice. (This means you, Christian Carter)
I will be updating the site tomorrow!
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:54 am

While I think there are a number of things that made this set slightly less than ideal (and it was still a good set, don't get me wrong), the one thing that was the most detrimental was the way that bonus leadins, and also bonuses in general, were written.

In general, unless otherwise impractical, writing substantive clues in your bonus leadin is a hallmark of good quizbowl. Too often at MCMNT, the format was something like this: "Name stuff about an author, for 10 points each." This was often compounded in awkwardness by having a work by the author as the first bonus part, leading to lots of bonuses that went "Name stuff about an author, for 10 points each: / [10] This work by that author features..." Another compounding factor was that useful clues were not always given for the bonuses, so I often found myself frustratingly unable to answer bonus parts on things I know most of the clues about.

There is really no reason to have a leadin without substantive clues. It detracts from the quality of the set, and I don't think there's any questions that it lowers bonus conversions.

Take this bonus and first part:
18. Answer these questions about an author and his works, F10PE.
[10] In this work, the titular 12-fingered protagonist lives with another family, but at the end of the novel, ultimately is able to build the titular object.
ANSWER: A House for Mr. Biswas
Now I consider myself to be fairly well-versed in A House for Mr. Biswas, but I was unable to get this bonus part (despite knowing Naipaul and Miguel Street). The only specific, unique clue is the twelve-fingered part, which is quite honestly a trivial clue for Biswas anyway. The bonus leadin does nothing to help you, and the rest is non-specific.

Here's what I would like to see:
18. The title character of this novel depends on his daughter Savi and eventually moves away from the Hanuman abode of the badgering Tulsi clan. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this novel in which the title character, Mohun, builds the titular edifice in Port of Spain.
ANSWER: A House for Mr. Biswas
(Some things in that may be slightly wrong due to imperfect memory). Anyway, you get the idea...instead of having one specific clue, you have five. And instead of rewarding people for trivial knowledge like twelve-fingeredness, you've got clues that reward broad knowledge of the work itself.

The clueless bonus leadins weren't isolated (in the packet that contains the Biswas bonus, I count 15 of 17 humanities bonuses with this problem). Neither was the problem of giving information that was either too unspecific or too esoteric so that people with pretty good knowledge of the answer could not answer the bonus. There were a lot of times I was going "Claude McKay...I know works by him, how am I not getting this bonus part at a novice tournament?"
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:11 am

Could it be that they intend that to be the hard part? Or just make it not ridiculously easy.

I mean all over the world of mACF there are bonuses like this:

<obscure clue about famous work>
ANSWER: famous work (middle part)
<famous work> is by this author of <lesser works>
ANSWER: famous author (easy part)
<famous author> also wrote this really obscure work
ANSWER: really obscure works (hard part)

It's part of the same trend that results in "hard" tossups about "easy" answers at tournaments like ACF Nationals.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:19 am

DJ Shadow wrote:Could it be that they intend that to be the hard part? Or just make it not ridiculously easy.

I mean all over the world of mACF there are bonuses like this:

<obscure clue about famous work>
ANSWER: famous work (middle part)
<famous work> is by this author of <lesser works>
ANSWER: famous author (easy part)
<famous author> also wrote this really obscure work
ANSWER: really obscure works (hard part)

It's part of the same trend that results in "hard" tossups about "easy" answers at tournaments like ACF Nationals.
I really doubt it's that. And even if it is, it's even worse quizbowl than before. First off, you should pick a topic appropriate for the level of difficulty so you can actually use a few clues to reward people who know things about it. Second, who are these hypothetical novices who know so much about A House for Mr. Biswas that the only clue that's appropriate for them is that Mohun has twelve fingers? I'd be willing to bet that conversion on that part, even given Naipaul, "title structure" and "Mohun," would be less than 75% among the audience that this tournament was written for.

Finally, the purpose served by hard tossups on easy answers for tournaments like ACF Nationals is not at all analogous to using obscure clues for easy works in bonuses. Writing hard tossups on easy answers helps teams who don't know Nats-level clues, but have heard of easier answers. Writing bonuses on easy answers with sparse, difficult clues caters only to teams who know hard clues, and frustrates everyone else. Bonuses with hard clues (or very few clues) about easy things are just about the most frustrating thing in quizbowl, especially for younger teams, so I really hope that's not what's going on.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:51 am

This set was fun to play, for sure, and there was a core of well-written questions. I'm glad Harvard put on a solo division for some of us older kids, though I'm a little sad more teams didn't show up. Anyway, on to the comments.

1. Dude, copy editing; its a good thing. I feel like one of the biggest problems with this set is it lacked this basic polish.

2. In general, I feel like the questions averaged a little short, and the leadins were pretty easy, even for a novice level event. In general, I feel like the transparency issues in the set could have been dealt with better.

3. There seemed to be a core of hard (eg Fenske equation), well-written science, with some minor exceptions; I don't feel like the rest of the set matches this. I found myself 30ing art bonuses while simultaneously 10 or 20ing chemistry and physics all over the place; I got the feeling this really shouldn't be happening. This variance is pretty well documented in the round report with Harvard; you'll see some rounds as low as 15 and some as high as like 22, I believe.

4. Andrew has a really good point about the bonus leadin structure; they could have stood to be a little more clue dense.

5. That USC-UNC packet was absolutely horrible. There were 3 science tossups, for starters, one of which was on Calcite (SCIENCE). There was a tossup on Gulliver's Travels that was absolutely transparent, a vaguely worded tossup on Jung (come on, you could at least give me Psychological Types before you say Swiss), a tossup on Firefly where the first clue about the show was four lines in, a fairly difficult War of 1812 Bonus (Lundy's Lane as a middle part? Really?). Bonus 16 was sports trash - bad idea late in the packet. And to top it off, a tossup on wrestling. WRESTLING, for crying out loud! Its like getting kicked in the nuts when you have a hernia.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by vandyhawk » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:36 pm

theMoMA wrote:In general, unless otherwise impractical, writing substantive clues in your bonus leadin is a hallmark of good quizbowl. Too often at MCMNT, the format was something like this: "Name stuff about an author, for 10 points each." This was often compounded in awkwardness by having a work by the author as the first bonus part, leading to lots of bonuses that went "Name stuff about an author, for 10 points each: / [10] This work by that author features..." Another compounding factor was that useful clues were not always given for the bonuses, so I often found myself frustratingly unable to answer bonus parts on things I know most of the clues about.

There is really no reason to have a leadin without substantive clues. It detracts from the quality of the set, and I don't think there's any questions that it lowers bonus conversions.

Take this bonus and first part:
18. Answer these questions about an author and his works, F10PE.
[10] In this work, the titular 12-fingered protagonist lives with another family, but at the end of the novel, ultimately is able to build the titular object.
ANSWER: A House for Mr. Biswas
Now I consider myself to be fairly well-versed in A House for Mr. Biswas, but I was unable to get this bonus part (despite knowing Naipaul and Miguel Street). The only specific, unique clue is the twelve-fingered part, which is quite honestly a trivial clue for Biswas anyway. The bonus leadin does nothing to help you, and the rest is non-specific.

Here's what I would like to see:
18. The title character of this novel depends on his daughter Savi and eventually moves away from the Hanuman abode of the badgering Tulsi clan. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this novel in which the title character, Mohun, builds the titular edifice in Port of Spain.
ANSWER: A House for Mr. Biswas
I agree the leadin is awkward in this case, but I don't see the problem in having some bonuses be "Answer the following about x for 10 points each." I mean, it wasn't that long ago that every leadin was in that form. Some bonuses don't really lend themselves to having clues in the leadin. If most of the bonuses in a round are in that form, I agree it could get annoying, but I don't think we need to abolish the clue-less leadin.

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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:41 pm

Yeah, I tried to make it clear that "unless otherwise impractical" this should be done. It doesn't work for some bonuses, so I'm not arguing for it in the extreme.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:09 pm

ToStrikeInfinitely wrote:3. There seemed to be a core of hard (eg Fenske equation), well-written science, with some minor exceptions; I don't feel like the rest of the set matches this. I found myself 30ing art bonuses while simultaneously 10 or 20ing chemistry and physics all over the place; I got the feeling this really shouldn't be happening. This variance is pretty well documented in the round report with Harvard; you'll see some rounds as low as 15 and some as high as like 22, I believe.
I pose to you that the other bonuses were too easy, but you're right that this is non-ideal. Also, to clairfy, the Fenske equation was the hard part of a bonus with easy part distillation and medium part azeotropes (both from easy clues; the text follows.)
Northwestern Packet wrote: 5. A Kugelrohr is used in the vacuum form of this procedure. The mass flow rate in it determines whether it is batch or continuous. For 10 points each:
[10] Identify this chemical technique, the separation of a mixture into constituent parts based on boiling points.
ANSWER: distillation
[10] A solution is known as this if it cannot be separated by fractional distillation. One example of these substances, in which the vapor has the same composition as the liquid, prevents Mike Sorice from making alcohol of greater than 192 proof, to his unending chagrin.
ANSWER: an azeotrope [accept word forms]
[10] This equation named for an American chemist gives the number of stages to effect fractional distillation as a logarithmic function of the feed and product mole fractions and average relative volatility.
ANSWER: the Fenske equation
That may be a slightly harder hard part than normal, but I think the easy and medium parts are easier than is normal. I also know for fairly certain that the Fenske equation is important and in current use.
ToStrikeInfinitely wrote:5. That USC-UNC packet was absolutely horrible. There were 3 science tossups, for starters, one of which was on Calcite (SCIENCE).
While you may share my opinion on minerology (i.e. that it isn't really hard science,) I don't find anything "SCIENCE" about the calcite question at all (I wrote it; it is quoted below.) The fact is that, our opinions of the subject aside, earth science is fair game for the other science question and should be asked to some extent regardless of what we might think about it. I can't speak to their being only 3/3 other than to say that I prepared the 3/3 science I did for every packet.
USC-Brice Russ Packet wrote:Bartholin was examining this material when he discovered birefringence. This chemical’s namesake type of sea occurs during warming periods and predominated in the early Paleozoic and late Mezozoic. This mineral’s hydrates include ikaite and it is polymorph of vaterite and aragonite. It exhibits three-fold perfect rhombohedral cleavage. A common component of limestone, it is the major constituent of marble. It is perhaps best known for its appearance in shells of marine animals. For 10 points, name this mineral, the most stable form of calcium carbonate.
ANSWER: calcite [prompt on calcium carbonate or CaCO3]
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by wd4gdz » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:19 pm

I've read through all the packets and I figured I'd share some comments.

I thought >95% of the tossups were fine. I thought the leadins were appropriate for a novice level tournament, and most answer choices as well. Overall, I'd say the tournament was as good, if not better, than last year's version. The only really negative was the bonus wording, as Andrew already pointed out (i.e. Answer the following about an author... [10] This work by that author, etc)

Some of the Trash seemed hard to me, but that's probably because I suck at Trash. I think Trash is generally harder than the rest of the questions in academic tournaments because most people write Trash questions on topics they're really familiar with and (sub)consciously think that other people know a lot about those topics as well.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:50 pm

I'd like to hear some reaction to the classical music I submitted, so if you have any bone to pick with these questions please post them:
Tossups - Eine kleine nachtmusik, the Messiah.
Bonuses - The Planets, Schoenberg, Brandenburg Concertos, Alexander Borodin, The 4 Seasons, Pictures at an Exhibition, Symphony Fantastique, and the so-far disliked 16th-century composers bonus (FYI the last answer on that bonus should read "Gesualdo," not "Gesual").
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by wd4gdz » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:29 pm

Deesy Does It wrote: The Planets
Schoenberg
Brandenburg Concertos
Alexander Borodin
The 4 Seasons
Pictures at an Exhibition,
Symphony Fantastique
Gesualdo?!
One of these answers is not like the others.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:49 pm

Deesy Does It wrote:I'd like to hear some reaction to the classical music I submitted, so if you have any bone to pick with these questions please post them:
Tossups - Eine kleine nachtmusik, the Messiah.
Bonuses - The Planets, Schoenberg, Brandenburg Concertos, Alexander Borodin, The 4 Seasons, Pictures at an Exhibition, Symphony Fantastique, and the so-far disliked 16th-century composers bonus (FYI the last answer on that bonus should read "Gesualdo," not "Gesual").
Apart from the 16th-century composers, the bonuses were mostly good (although I found that 4 Seasons and Pictures at an Exhibition were both a little too easy). On the tossups, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik seemed fairly good (though I don't actually know enough about music theory to really speak decisively on this or not), but I think that that Messiah tossup was a little transparent-- if bible verses are in the libretto, and this is a novice tournament, what else is it going to be?
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:52 pm

wd4gdz wrote:
Deesy Does It wrote: The Planets
Schoenberg
Brandenburg Concertos
Alexander Borodin
The 4 Seasons
Pictures at an Exhibition,
Symphony Fantastique
Gesualdo?!
One of these answers is not like the others.
Gesualdo was the hard part in a bonus where the rest of the answers were Monteverdi (something which should be an easy 10) and Palestrina (which I find to be a totally appropriate middle part of a music bonus).
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by wd4gdz » Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:42 pm

I love canon expansion and I bet you think Gesualdo is really important, but as far as I know, he's never come up before in any legit quizbowl tournament (but I could totally be wrong), so a novice tournament isn't the best place to do it. All in all, a relatively minor issue considering the other bonuses you wrote were fine.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:47 pm

I'm just saying it's insanely misleading to list all of the easy parts of the bonuses in a category and then throw in a bonus's hard part and then criticize it for being an outlier.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:34 pm

ToStrikeInfinitely wrote: 5. That USC-UNC packet was absolutely horrible. There were 3 science tossups, for starters, one of which was on Calcite (SCIENCE). There was a tossup on Gulliver's Travels that was absolutely transparent, a vaguely worded tossup on Jung (come on, you could at least give me Psychological Types before you say Swiss), a tossup on Firefly where the first clue about the show was four lines in, a fairly difficult War of 1812 Bonus (Lundy's Lane as a middle part? Really?). Bonus 16 was sports trash - bad idea late in the packet. And to top it off, a tossup on wrestling. WRESTLING, for crying out loud! Its like getting kicked in the nuts when you have a hernia.
As someone who contributed some questions to the USC-UNC packet (4 tossups and 5 bonuses, I believe), I appreciate your criticism on two of my questions (Jung and Wrestling). I thought the Jung one was ok for a novice tournament, but in retrospect I wish I had kept the clue on Zurich out. I don't think it was too vaguely worded of a question, though. The first line had a substantive clue (the Mandala stuff), the second line listed 2 works that aren't terribly obscure, and then it got to Bleuler, the asylum, then Zurich, which is where it went bad for you. It's not a perfect question, and I would have edited out his nationality in retrospect, but I've seen worse.

The wrestling question was mine too. People were complaining about there being too many baseball questions at the mirror I was reading at, so I guess we all have our different cups of tea when it comes to trash.

Regarding stuff neither myself nor USC wrote, the Gulliver question looked fine to me for a novice tournament. Maybe a bit transparent, but it got pretty far in the round I was watching involving some good players (Chris and Brittany from Maryland and a very good VCU squad). I didn't think the War of 1812 bonus was difficult at all, even for a novice tournament. I would consider Lundy's Lane (a notable battle) to be the "hard" part of that one. Thames could have been easier, but it is the War of 1812 battle with which Harrison is well associated; perhaps Tecumseh dying there could have been mentioned. Ghent, of course, is a very easy 10.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading the MCMNT at the UNC mirror, and it looked like most teams (especially the novices) enjoyed playing in it.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:41 pm

I agree with much of what's been said; the 16th-century Italian composers bonus wasn't too hard in general, I thought, but for a novice tournament...perhaps. We had some serious complaints from our sports player, who answered "Royal Rumble" for Battle Royale and was very upset about it. I agree with the transparency issues ("Messiah" and "ethers" were some highlights.), and there were several tossups that seemed very light on gettable clues until the end, including the Samuel Barber tossup and to some extent the Jung tossup. Above all, the easiest thing to improve with these packets was the copy-editing. It makes questions more accessible if there are consistent, clear, and complete sentences in the majority of tossups. Also, a bonus part notably contained the answer in the prompt, which good copy-editing would have fixed.

Other than that...thanks for the fun tournament!
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:51 pm

ToStrikeInfinitely wrote:a fairly difficult War of 1812 Bonus (Lundy's Lane as a middle part? Really?).
Without knowing anything about the set, I have to say, yeah, really. Lundy's Lane is the single bloodiest battle of the entire war; I would consider that to be a relatively easy answer choice, very appropriate as the middle part of a War of 1812 bonus.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Red-necked Phalarope » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:26 pm

ToStrikeInfinitely wrote:5. That USC-UNC packet was absolutely horrible. There were 3 science tossups, for starters, one of which was on Calcite (SCIENCE). There was a tossup on Gulliver's Travels that was absolutely transparent, a vaguely worded tossup on Jung (come on, you could at least give me Psychological Types before you say Swiss), a tossup on Firefly where the first clue about the show was four lines in, a fairly difficult War of 1812 Bonus (Lundy's Lane as a middle part? Really?). Bonus 16 was sports trash - bad idea late in the packet. And to top it off, a tossup on wrestling. WRESTLING, for crying out loud! Its like getting kicked in the nuts when you have a hernia.
My contributions to that packet ended up being about 7/3, and of those you listed I can take credit for the Firefly tossup. My concern was that a show with such a short run and such a devoted following wouldn't have many uniquely identifiable events that would be pyramidally recognizable, but in retrospect it probably would have been better to toss the leadin I had and some up with something more germane. My apologies.

I can't respond to the lack of science tossups; our 26/26 as submitted had tossups on DDT, Europa, transposons and Joule (the former two being mine). I will admit that the core sciences are probably one of my worse areas for writing tossups, which may explain their exclusion from the final packet.

For the record, my questions as used in the final packet were as follows:
Tossups: Roberts, The Persistence of Memory, Firefly, villanelle, Cat's Cradle, Pei (leadin edited), Grant (first two sentences edited)
Bonuses: Odyssey characters, Doric order, mobile
I recognize the Roberts tossup was a bit transparent and the bonus leadins were a bit sparse, but I'd appreciate any criticism in general.

For those of you who attended the MLA Open, a slightly different packet was used that included my tossup on DDT and my bonus on lunar features. If you attended our tournament and really want a copy of that (or, heck, our original 26/26, which had some questions I particularly enjoyed writing), let me know and I'll send it on.

Thanks again to Trygve for putting the tournament together.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by sabine01 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:36 pm

HKirsch wrote:I agree with much of what's been said; the 16th-century Italian composers bonus wasn't too hard in general, I thought, but for a novice tournament...perhaps. We had some serious complaints from our sports player, who answered "Royal Rumble" for Battle Royale and was very upset about it.
If I correctly recall, Royal Rumble refers to a specific Pay-Per-View event (WWE/WWF) in which the main event is generally a battle royal of 30 men (though a given Royal Rumble will have other matches on the card). I've never heard of a royal rumble being called a diva royal rumble, either.

(chalk this knowledge up to having brothers who love this stuff...)
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:27 pm

Fenske equation
I WROTE THAT
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:34 pm

Ok, reverse chronological order
Grapesmoker wrote:Without knowing anything about the set, I have to say, yeah, really. Lundy's Lane is the single bloodiest battle of the entire war; I would consider that to be a relatively easy answer choice, very appropriate as the middle part of a War of 1812 bonus.
I've heard Lundy's Lane come up as a middle clue in several contexts, and its the trigger word for many War of 1812 buzzes. But I'd still say something like Bladensburg would have been better here. Anyway it doesn't matter, we're just splitting hairs; since I respect your opinion, I should just go learn more shit and stop embarrassing myself.
Light Eric wrote:Stuff about Jung
I just feel like there was a huge dropoff right after the FTP, which could have been eased into; there was no mention of archetypes in the question at all, and the only two works mentioned were pretty obscure as far as Jung works go.
Light Eric wrote:The wrestling question was mine too. People were complaining about there being too many baseball questions at the mirror I was reading at, so I guess we all have our different cups of tea when it comes to trash.
Granted; I still find it difficult to believe that anyone non-ironically enjoys wrestling. I also remember the trash skewing a bit away from my preferences in general (at least four sports bonuses that I zeroed vs. one on Final Fantasy IV), but in general I was fine with that, given that sports will invariably be a bigger part of college popular culture than Captain Kirk or Emma Frost for whatever stupid reason.
Light Eric wrote:Regarding stuff neither myself nor USC wrote, the Gulliver question looked fine to me for a novice tournament. Maybe a bit transparent, but it got pretty far in the round I was watching involving some good players (Chris and Brittany from Maryland and a very good VCU squad).
packet wrote:The title character of this novel spends time aboard the Antelope on its journey to the South Seas, and later, he sails for India aboard the Adventure. At one point in the book, the protagonist talks to Thomas More and Pompey, in addition to Julius Caesar and Hannibal, who tell him that the history books are wrong. Earlier, that character had spent time with the daughter of a Brobdinag, and at the end of the novel, he’s unable to kiss his wife due to her resemblance to the Yahoos, who are the inferiors of the Houynhms. For ten points, identify this novel by Jonathan Swift, whose title character Lemuel visits lands with various non-human inhabitants.
What I heard wrote:There's this title dude, and he went on several ships. It can't be Billy Budd because he was on only one ship, and this a novice tournam...*buzz* AHFUCK RUSHEDOUTBYADAMHALLOWELLTIMETOTHROWMYNOTEPAD


I've already talked to Trygve about this question, and he agrees that keeping the title character out of the first line probably would have saved it. And with all due respect to Chris and VCU, I'm sure they were sitting on it long before they buzzed.
Casanova wrote:Roberts, The Persistence of Memory, Firefly, villanelle, Cat's Cradle, Pei (leadin edited), Grant (first two sentences edited), Bonuses: Odyssey characters, Doric order, mobile
Fine, As fine as a question on that can be, ehh, good, fine, good, good, and good, respectively.
Mike Sorice wrote:That may be a slightly harder hard part than normal, but I think the easy and medium parts are easier than is normal. I also know for fairly certain that the Fenske equation is important and in current use.
You're right, I believe. I was just surprised it would come up at a novice tournament at all; I think I used it as a leadin for EFT.
Mike Sorice wrote:Calcite
I guess I'm confusing SCIENCE with what you're suggesting (lack of respect for mineralogy). Are minerals still a good thing to write earth science tossups about? I thought they were kind of shoved in the same category as chemical element tossups.

Also, now that I have the packet open again, two more issues: I'm not sure forest exile is a great first clue for Rama, and that 10th federalist paper is probably the most famous one.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:38 pm

Without having seen questions, some reactions to what's been said.

Jerry's right, there's nothing hard about Lundy's Lane, it's famous. I would think of it as a fairly easy/gettable middle part for a regular-difficulty tourney, so I think it's a fine hard part for a novice event - and it is the hard part there, since Thames is easier and quite famous too.

Speaking as someone who rather likes earth science, calcite is legit and so are mineralogy questions if they're kept to a fairly small number and filled with good clues - i.e. not trivial empirical facts like cleavage angles and luster values. Calcite is a rather important mineral which gets studied in introductory geology and beyond.


On a more substantial note, I think Andrew raises a pretty good point about bonus structure, which is not all that important but interesting to discuss. Putting substantive stuff in leadins is good practice and is increasingly being done by people these days, especially at higher-level tourneys...for novice stuff, it's not such a big deal; it does tend to lengthen bonuses and make them denser/more involved which you may not want. But, to the person who responded to Andrew, the issue is not whether the part he cited was intended to be the difficult part - you should always give more than one trivial clue like twelve-fingered to people...if you don't want to give the more famous or most famous clues about something, that's fine, but you should still give a decent supply of clues.
I agree that it's generally bad practice to write a leadin that says nothing. If there's something important to say in the leadin, that's fine, like "Name these Nigerian authors" - there's no real substantive info there but you're telling people something helpful and introducing the bonus in a meaningful way, which is good. And, like I said before, the inclusion of substantive info in bonus leadins (as in Andrew's example) is becoming more and more popular among good writers, so it's good practice to try to do it if the situation calls for it, even though it does take a little more work to write bonuses like that.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:45 pm

HKirsch wrote:...transparency issues (..."ethers"...)
Really?
Indiana Packet wrote:19. One reaction that synthesizes these chemicals can react halohydrins in an “internal” form to yield a cyclic version of these. That reaction is typically preceded by conjugation of an alcohol and then proceeds via an S N two attack of an oxygen ion on a terminal carbon. That reaction between alkoxides and alkyl halides is a synthesis named for Williamson and can yield epoxides, the examples of these containing three-member-rings. These compounds in general contain an oxygen atom single bonded to two aryl or alkyl groups and thus have general formula R O R-prime. For 10 points, name these compounds probably best known for their diethyl variety, which is a noted anesthetic.
ANSWER: ethers
ToStrikeInfinitely wrote:I guess I'm confusing SCIENCE with what you're suggesting (lack of respect for mineralogy). Are minerals still a good thing to write earth science tossups about?
I agree with Ryan here that some important minerals can be okay to write about (of course, one must use real clues.) What do you think?

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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by AdamL » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:25 pm

I don't know how the other high school teams did, but our team struggled a lot with the science tossups and bonuses compared to the other subjects. I'm not sure if this is because the stuff that came up is stuff that you might learn in introductory college courses or something, but coming from a student that took AP Chem, Phys B, Phys C, etc., a lot of the stuff sounded entirely foreign to me. It's not like we were 0'ing everything, but for example, I had never heard of the Fenske equation. I can say that a lot of the teams we played against had similar complaints about the difficulty of the science.
theMoMA wrote: In general, unless otherwise impractical, writing substantive clues in your bonus leadin is a hallmark of good quizbowl. Too often at MCMNT, the format was something like this: "Name stuff about an author, for 10 points each." This was often compounded in awkwardness by having a work by the author as the first bonus part, leading to lots of bonuses that went "Name stuff about an author, for 10 points each: / [10] This work by that author features..."
Yeah, this affected us at times as well. For instance, we weren't listening very carefully, but because of the word choice, we ended up answering "Pinter" for "Dumbwaiter" on the first bonus part.

Also, this was a minor issue, and maybe I should've gotten it earlier anyway and/or known that my answer wasn't right, but the tossup on Queen Elizabeth mentioned "Act of Supremacy" and didn't give a year, and I buzzed with Henry VIII. Both monarchs had Acts of Supremacy, so I thought that was a little misleading (plus I'm bitter since that came in the middle of a streak of about 5 negs at the end of the round that basically threw the game away to the other team after leading by 150ish).
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:39 pm

Most people don't get to O-Chem until sophomore year, a few get it freshman year, that's a significant part of the college canon, even at this level. So is math well past calculus, computer science, earth science, and astronomy, most of which high schoolers don't have much coursework in, and I can't really remember how much biology I've picked up in higher level courses vs. introductory courses vs. AP Bio, so I'm not going to comment on that. So because of that, I'd say science is probably the area where the biggest expansion from the high school to college novice canon occurs, followed by RMP (because the easy parts of the "minor" stuff start coming up).

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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:45 pm

Overall I thought the set was decent, but as others have mentioned it needed some better copy editing.

Probably my biggest problem with the set was that there weren't enough packets for us to have a real playoff at the UNC mirror. We played 9 prelim rounds should have then done a 3 game playoff system, but there just weren't enough packets for this. It seemed that even the 11th packet was pretty sketchy, as the moderators had to piece together parts of different packets to avoid repeats and get a full packet when we were playing a scrimmage match at the end.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by cornfused » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:49 am

HKirsch wrote:tossups that seemed very light on gettable clues until the end, including the Samuel Barber tossup
That's one of mine, reproduced below. I'm a Barber fan so I might be wrong, but I was pretty sure that School for Scandal was a gettable mid-level clue (and that is in fact where Indiana's music guy got it.)

20. This composer used Finnegan’s Wake as the basis for an orchestral work beginning with a sweeping oboe solo, Fadograph of a Yestern Scene. This composer of Prayers of Kierkegaard produced many works based on British literature, such as his Dover Beach for string quartet and baritone, and his overture to School for Scandal. He is most famous, however, for an opera in which Erika sings “Must the winter come so soon?” and a string quartet that Arturo Toscanini allegedly memorized at first sight. For ten points, name this American composer of Vanessa and the Adagio for Strings.
ANSWER: Samuel Barber

For the record, the Lawrence packet was 7/6 me, 7/1 my team (edited by me,) and 7/13 editors. My biggest editing complaint is that...
"Packet by Lawrence University (Catherine Albright, Emily Koenig, Greg Peterson, Richard Wanerman)" was changed to
"Packet by Lawrence College (Greg Peterson)"...
which really goes to show that Tryg et al. did a solid job with the tournament.

For me, though, the issue packet was Cleveland State's, on which our PPB was 4 below the average of our other matches.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:05 am

I can't think of a good reason to exclude tossups on minerals; calcite is interesting (to me) because it's naturally birefringent, but I don't know if that was used as a clue. The problem with most elements tossups is that they are typically very poorly written. There are many elements that don't have particularly unique or well-known applications (tossups on selenium seem pretty misguided to me), and the questions end up being very vague and come down to buzzer races. But on the other hand, one could write a good tossup on something like helium, for example. I imagine the same thing must be true of minerals as well, but since I don't know enough about rocks, it's hard for me to have much of an opinion on which minerals make for good tossup material.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by sabine01 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:51 pm

It's probably just me (and a bit of this is intensified by having read for DIIers at a HS tournament), but what was up with all the Mike Sorice meta? To me, Once or Twice is fine... More is a bit much. Is there a cult I don't know about (and is it a cargo cult? :wink: )

A little more seriously... How much meta is tolerable? Opinions?

Let me also mirror the observations regarding copy editing -- while reading, I noticed a few bonuses with the instruction/lead-in wedged in between answer prompts. :shock: Bound to annoy (and screw up) even the most experienced of us mods. Hannah already referred to the bonus with an answer already in the lead-in. Stuff that easily would have been caught had someone taken a good look at it.

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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by setht » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:20 pm

I think we're seeing some not-so-good discussion in this here thread. I didn't play the questions, I didn't see any of the questions except the Chicago packets, and for all I know almost every single complaint registered in this thread is warranted. My problem with the discussion is that many of these complaints are based on useless/fallacious arguments, including the "if I don't know it it's hard/if I do know it it's easy" false dichotomy, the "if a question doesn't 'play well' in my room, it's not good" fallacy, and the "if a question lands in a subcategory I dislike, it's not good" fallacy. I think some of this may stem from the fact that a bunch of experienced, national-caliber players played on a novice set, and it's hard to judge the questions on their merits as questions for a novice tournament when you play them in a non-novice-tournament setting. Anyway, if you played the set and had complaints about it as a novice set, I urge you to present a substantive rationale to back up your complaints.

Some specific gripes:
ToStrikeInfinitely wrote:
packet wrote:The title character of this novel spends time aboard the Antelope on its journey to the South Seas, and later, he sails for India aboard the Adventure. At one point in the book, the protagonist talks to Thomas More and Pompey, in addition to Julius Caesar and Hannibal, who tell him that the history books are wrong. Earlier, that character had spent time with the daughter of a Brobdinag, and at the end of the novel, he’s unable to kiss his wife due to her resemblance to the Yahoos, who are the inferiors of the Houynhms. For ten points, identify this novel by Jonathan Swift, whose title character Lemuel visits lands with various non-human inhabitants.
What I heard wrote:There's this title dude, and he went on several ships. It can't be Billy Budd because he was on only one ship, and this a novice tournam...*buzz* AHFUCK RUSHEDOUTBYADAMHALLOWELLTIMETOTHROWMYNOTEPAD


I've already talked to Trygve about this question, and he agrees that keeping the title character out of the first line probably would have saved it. And with all due respect to Chris and VCU, I'm sure they were sitting on it long before they buzzed.
I don't agree with Eric's line of reasoning here, which seems to be "the only novice-friendly novel with title character on two or more ships is Gulliver's Travels." I can think of several other novels whose title characters travel on 2 or more ships, and which seem appropriate for a novice tournament, including Billy Budd (he was on the Rights-of-Man before the Bellipotent), Lord Jim, Robinson Crusoe, and Martin Chuzzlewit. There are probably more. If you start eliminating those alternatives using Antelope/South Seas/India/Adventure, I think you quickly reach the point where you're demonstrating good knowledge for a novice. If someone buzzed off of the second ship clue, I'd say they either had good knowledge (either knew the answer cold, or eliminated the multiple other possibilities), or they got lucky. It's unfortunate when an opponent randomly guesses the correct answer out of 5+ possibilities, but I don't think that signals a flawed tossup.
ToStrikeInfinitely wrote:
Mike Sorice wrote:Calcite
I guess I'm confusing SCIENCE with what you're suggesting (lack of respect for mineralogy). Are minerals still a good thing to write earth science tossups about? I thought they were kind of shoved in the same category as chemical element tossups.
I thought most people had agreed that a tossup on a chemical element is fine if the clues are good--that is, chemical element tossups are the same as all other tossups (also, just like all other tossups, you shouldn't fill a major category [e.g. chemistry] with lots of questions of a particular subtype [e.g. elements]). I know element questions have a history of being poorly-written (and prolific), but I don't think that's relevant. Moving on to minerals, I'd say they're generally better than elements: people that study geology take whole courses on mineralogy (whereas I've never heard of a chemist taking a class on elements). At UC Berkeley the geology undergrad degree requires a full year of mineralogy.

Having said that, I'm not a fan of mineralogy, and I'd like to see more questions on other aspects of earth science, but I can't see any valid reason to object to a tossup packed with useful clues on a scientifically-important, well-known mineral, which is how I would characterize Mike's calcite tossup.

Moving on...
cornfused wrote:For me, though, the issue packet was Cleveland State's, on which our PPB was 4 below the average of our other matches.
Again, I'm perfectly willing to believe that all or many of the bonuses in the Cleveland State packet were bad, but there's nothing useful here in terms of figuring out which ones were bad, why they were bad, and what people (e.g. the Cleveland State team, the editing squad, and novices reading this thread) can do in the future to avoid these mistakes. I'm taking your word for it that this wasn't just a statistical fluctuation, but was actually caused by problematic questions, but on the face of it it's not clear to me that a difference of 4 PPB signals a problem--that seems like something that could happen with randomly hitting bonuses in areas where your team is weak. In other words, the statistic seems pretty useless to me as a basis for discussion and improvement; some quoted questions and a critique of those questions would be much more useful.

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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:21 pm

And with all due respect to Chris and VCU, I'm sure they were sitting on it long before they buzzed.
For whatever not-so-great back and forth this serves, I'm pretty sure this question was negged really early rather than having us sit through most of the clues. As someone who read Gulliver's Travels a long time ago, I was sort of bummed that the clues seemed to reference peripheral novel stuff and all of the sudden LOOK OUT BROBDINAG. One legitimate critique of several questions might be that there were a few difficulty cliffs, mostly caused by a lack of quality middle clues. Carl Jung exemplifies what I'm talking about here. Still, it's worth noting that problems were not nearly so widespread that they caused this set to be problematic for its intended audience. Was it the admirable novice-appropriate/elite player playable fusion that EFT 2 was? No, but it was a perfectly fine novice set, and I think that's worth keeping in mind here.

Also, this:

Person 1: This set needed better copy editing.
Person 2: It sure did.
Person 3: Yeah, question A, B, and C were not copy edited well.
Person 4: Yeah the set needed copy editing.
Person 5: It sure did.

Is just plain unnecessary. I doubt there's really anyone out there who believes that copy editing is bad, and when tournaments aren't copy edited well, it's usually because of a time crunch and not because Trygve Meade hates moderators and is secretly plotting their downfall. Likewise, it's not really useful to note it over and over again here when we could be having a productive discussion about writing questions that people could benefit from reading.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:42 pm

One question that I thought may be factually incorrect was the one on HUAC. Here's the question:

20. This organization had a run-in with the founder of the National Negro Labor Council, which resulted in Coleman Young disbanding the organization. Its first chairman was Martin Dies, a Congressman from Texas, and Margaret Chase Smith gave a “Declaration of Conscience” in which she condemned this organization. Other notable targets included a spy, Alger Hiss, and a group of producers and directors who refused to name names, which later became known as the Hollywood Ten. In relation to its activities, a senator asked “Haven’t you gone far enough?” of Joseph McCarthy. For ten points, identify this committee, which was notable for blacklisting a bunch of people and whose main purpose was to root out Communism.
ANSWER: House Un-american Activities Committee (also accept “H-U-A-C”, “Hyew-ack”, “House Committee on Un-American Activities”, or “HCUA”)

Unless I'm forgetting something, I don't think Joseph McCarthy was ever on HUAC, him being a senator. Also, I think the guy who told McCarthy off wasn't a senator but a lawyer named Welch. No one else seemed bothered by this one, so if I'm wrong on this I'd like to know.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by cornfused » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:49 pm

setht wrote:
cornfused wrote:For me, though, the issue packet was Cleveland State's, on which our PPB was 4 below the average of our other matches.
Again, I'm perfectly willing to believe that all or many of the bonuses in the Cleveland State packet were bad, but there's nothing useful... it's something that could happen with randomly hitting bonuses in areas where your team is weak. Quote stuff.
-Seth
You have a point. Looking through the packet, it was generally just awful bonus performance on my part and not really a bad packet. It was one of those rounds where I got Chicago's pet bonuses and they got mine, I think. A couple of things, though...

6. Divided into three books, it was originally written in Arabic and is framed as a letter to a student. For ten points each:
[10] Identify this 12th century work of philosophy that argued for a more rational interpretation of Jewish law.
ANSWER: Guide to the Perplexed
[10] This Hispanic Jewish scholar wrote Guide to the Perplexed, as well as a Treatise on Logical Terminology and a fascinating Essay on the Calendar.
ANSWER: Moses Maimonides
[10] The first of Maimonides’ works was a commentary on this Jewish text, which records a compendium of Jewish legal decisions from about the 3rd century BC.
ANSWER: The Mishna

It's a novice tournament... am I wrong to have not heard of any of these three answers? That's not a rhetorical question. Seriously, is that bonus anywhere near:

15. Identify these plays by Anton Chekhov, F10PE.
[10] As this play opens, Lyubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya, the mother of Anya and adoptive mother of Varya, is returning to her estate, which includes the title object.
ANSWER: The Cherry Orchard
[10] Trigorin and Konstantin are two writers in this Chekhov play, which also features characters Nina and Arkadina. Konstantin eventually kills himself.
ANSWER: The Seagull
[10] Olga, Masha, and Irina are the title characters of this Chekhov work, which also includes Andrei and his wife Natalia.
ANSWER: Three Sisters

or:

10. Identify these American rebellions, F10PE.
[10] This early rebellion was in reaction to an excise tax on its namesake commodity. George Washington ordered Harry Lee to end it, and most of the rebels were released.
ANSWER: Whiskey Rebellion
[10] This earlier and more delicious rebellion was an attempt to take Jamestown by its namesake. He defeated some Indians at Bloody Run, but was crushed by Berkeley.
ANSWER: Bacon’s Rebellion
[10] This 1831 slave rebellion ended up killing 50 whites. Just about every rebel involved got hanged.
ANSWER: Nat Turner’s Rebellion

?


Which reminds me - it seems to be that too many of the lit bonuses were easily 30able. Yes, lit is my strength, but I just can't see Prometheus/Mnemosyne/Themis getting 20ed as often as Portrait of the Artist (with Stephen Daedalus in the clue)/James Joyce/Leopold Bloom (with the clues "protagonist of Ulysses" and "married to Molly") gets 30ed.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:29 pm

The Maimonides bonus is certainly appropriate for a regular-difficulty tournament (although an editor would have to make the "Guide to the Perplexed" clues slightly harder, like not revealing its approximate date); I find it at probably the outer edges of the novice canon, so it's not out-of-place, just on the hard side. FWIW I probably would have only 10'd the Chekhov bonus as a freshman, so everyone's knowledge is slightly different.

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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:52 pm

I'm pretty sure I've heard Maimonides/Guide to the Perplexed come up multiple times in high school, and it's more than fair game for college.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by cornfused » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:39 am

OK. That was the first time I'd ever seen Maimonides/Guide to the Perplexed come up in any packet - apparently I just haven't seen enough packets.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Gautam » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:02 am

cornfused wrote:OK. That was the first time I'd ever seen Maimonides/Guide to the Perplexed come up in any packet - apparently I just haven't seen enough packets.
What? Guide to the Perplexed surely came up as a tossup answer in a set I know you played...
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:40 am

novice-appropriate/elite player playable fusion
No such thing.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by cornfused » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:03 am

Gautam - maybe I just missed it. Which set?
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Awehrman » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:10 am

One question that I thought may be factually incorrect was the one on HUAC. Here's the question:

20. This organization had a run-in with the founder of the National Negro Labor Council, which resulted in Coleman Young disbanding the organization. Its first chairman was Martin Dies, a Congressman from Texas, and Margaret Chase Smith gave a “Declaration of Conscience” in which she condemned this organization. Other notable targets included a spy, Alger Hiss, and a group of producers and directors who refused to name names, which later became known as the Hollywood Ten. In relation to its activities, a senator asked “Haven’t you gone far enough?” of Joseph McCarthy. For ten points, identify this committee, which was notable for blacklisting a bunch of people and whose main purpose was to root out Communism.
ANSWER: House Un-american Activities Committee (also accept “H-U-A-C”, “Hyew-ack”, “House Committee on Un-American Activities”, or “HCUA”)

Unless I'm forgetting something, I don't think Joseph McCarthy was ever on HUAC, him being a senator. Also, I think the guy who told McCarthy off wasn't a senator but a lawyer named Welch. No one else seemed bothered by this one, so if I'm wrong on this I'd like to know.
Yes, this question is incorrect and misleading. I've had quite a few students make this mistake as well. HUAC was an investigative committee of the House of Representatives created in 1938. McCarthy didn't make his famous "205 names" speech until 1950. McCarthy had no direct involvement with the House committee. I do not recognize the anti-McCarthy quotation in the question. Lots of people tried to tell off McCarthy, though. I would guess that the quote is from Maryland Senator Millard Tydings or Vermont Senator Ralph Flanders. A better quote against HUAC is the one from Harry Truman who described it as "the most un-American thing in the country today." Margaret Chase Smith's 1950 "Declaration" was against McCarthy not HUAC. Also the "main purpose" of HUAC was not to root out communism exactly but to protect internal security. It was originally aimed at Nazi and KKK activities in the US and moved to communism after the war. All in all, it's a lazily written and edited question.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:32 am

Quote:
novice-appropriate/elite player playable fusion


No such thing.
I really do disagree. EFT this year, while clearly not meeting all of the requirements of a regular season set, basically consisted of all regular season tossups on easier answer selections. I think that qualifies as playable for top players, moreso even than tournaments like this year's allegedly regular season Parfait, which saw the pivotal match decided by a quickbuzz on the leadin "while in prison, he wrote The Man Died.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by millionwaves » Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:10 pm

Hey, guys.

Thank you all for playing this set, and thank you all for the feedback. As a first time head editor (my previous work is limited to the literature and visual art from Illinois Open this year), I really appreciate the opportunity to hear about what I can do to improve the next set that I work on. In my opinion, editing and writing is about the most important thing someone can do for our game, so learning to get better at it is a high priority for me.

I've read the comments with interest. Obviously, copy editing was a large problem for this set, and I apologize for that. I hope it didn't detract from your enjoyment of the set too much, and next time, I'll definitely save away more time at the end for that kind of thing. A bigger problem initially were the amount of verbatim repeats that players at the St. Olaf and UNC mirrors had to experience. I really regret that. That kind of thing isn't enjoyable to play on at all, but I think i was able to get them cleaned up for the most part for the other sets, and I've got an idea about how I'm going to avoid a similar situation in the future.

As far as what Andrew said about the bonus lead-ins, I agree. I'll make an effort to use that sort of bonus lead-in in the future. I think that clues in the lead-in can make the questions more interesting to play on and learn from later, so again, I'll try for more of those, or maybe all of them, next time. I think they'd also somewhat alleviate what I saw as another problem with the set, which was lack of clarity in what was being asked for in some bonuses.

As far as what Eric said:
In general, I feel like the questions averaged a little short
I suppose I thought the length was appropriate. Most things were between 5 and 6 lines, I believe, with perhaps one or two things shorter and a more significant portion longer. I think that an average of 5.5 is appropriate for new players, and that's what I was aiming for. As far as transparency, I tried to avoid it as much as possible, but perhaps some things slipped through. I agree with Seth that the Gulliver's Travels question wasn't as transparent as initially suggested, but I do wish I'd left title character out of the first line, I think it would have been better overall.

As far as the science-humanities dichotomy, that's probably the result of two different people working. As the thought of me editing science is laughable, I'm not sure what can be done about that in the future, except to say that I'll try to communicate better with Mike (or whoever) to standardize the difficulty.

Sorry about the UNC-USC packet. It had to be hastily edited to allow for an advantaged final the first day, and I didn't go back over it like I definitely should have. That was a big oversight on my part, and I'll make sure that sort of thing doesn't happen again.

As far as the bonus on Guide to the Perplexed, I'm under the impression that that is a relatively famous text, and it looks like other people agree with me. I'm fairly sure that I heard it come up as an answer at EFT2 or ACF Fall this year(I'm not looking at the sets right now, so I could be incorrect), and I definitely heard it as a tossup answer in another set that shall remain nameless for now.

In re the HUAC tossup: I wrote that, very quickly, and obviously screwed up many things factually in it. I apologize for that; I have notes here on the changes I was going to make, but I clearly never got to it. That's a big oversight on my part, and I'll do my best not to make similar mistakes in the future.

As far as ideal fusions between being appropriate for the top players and also for novices are concerned, while I think those tournaments are possible and very enjoyable (the most fun I've had all year so far was at EFT2), that wasn't really the goal here. At the Illinois site, of course, the tournament was open only to people who had played collegiate quizbowl for less than 2 years. I was aware that people like Erics Kwartler and Mukherjee would be playing on the set, but the vast majority of the people playing on the set were less experienced, and I had them primarily in mind.

Oh, and the Mike Sorice meta: I guess I didn't see this as a really big issue. I think some of the people at my site thought it was kind of funny (maybe I'm wrong?), and I think it's one of those things that you can kind of gloss over if you don't like it. For the high schoolers, I don't think it's good; I think there was a minor breakdown in communication about who was going to change the set to take out non-high school friendly stuff, and that didn't happen.

Again, thank you all for the feedback. I'll continue to read the thread with interest, and may have more to say later. If you'd like to talk about something privately, I'm frequently on AIM with s/n Atlantan10, and my e-mail is trygvemeade [at] gmail [dot] com.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by sabine01 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:22 pm

Gengangere wrote:
Oh, and the Mike Sorice meta: I guess I didn't see this as a really big issue. I think some of the people at my site thought it was kind of funny (maybe I'm wrong?), and I think it's one of those things that you can kind of gloss over if you don't like it. For the high schoolers, I don't think it's good; I think there was a minor breakdown in communication about who was going to change the set to take out non-high school friendly stuff, and that didn't happen.
.
Yes -- most of my question of appropriateness stems from reading the packets to high schoolers, who may or may not know who Mike is (which admittedly wasn't well articulated). Was tempted to substitute "Brittany Spears" for the cargo cult one, but had thought of it too late.

Anyhow... rock on.

~T~
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:30 pm

It's Guide for the Perplexed. That was my biggest problem with that question. (Maybe Charles can get in here and school us on how datives worked in medieval Arabic, but at the very least, under the possibility that either "for" or "to" are both legitimate translations, the answer line should have listed the far more common one and not just the one that is less often used).
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by millionwaves » Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:55 pm

Ouch, sorry. Looks like that was an unfortunate typo on my part. A quick google search reveals "for" and "of", but not "to". Interestingly, Guide to the Perplexed is a Gilad Atzmon novel.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by canaanbananarama » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:18 pm

In Arabic, the book's title translates most literally to Guide of the Perplexed (or Baffled or Bewildered), since it's an idaafa (construct state) and therefore the word "Guide" is in the "nominative" (marfu') and perplexed is in the "genitive" (majrur) [there is no dative per se in Arabic, but the mejrur form has dative, genitive, instrumentative and locative aspects]. Based on general understanding of what the book seeks to do, one could translate the title as "Guide for the Perplexed," as the literal translation suggests a possessive, and thus the book is "for them", but there would be no reason to translate as "Guide to the Perplexed," since that's not what the book seeks to do; otherwise the Arabic would be "Guide of the People Who Don't Understand Those Stupid Perplexed Schmucks." I would therefore accept of and for, but not to.
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by leapfrog314 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:00 pm

I've noticed that nobody's commenting on Indiana's packet. Indiana's team was only reincarnated this year, and this is the first packet we wrote, so I'd like all the advice I can get. It also represents the first college-level questions anyone on our team has written. If some kind nitpicker would like to send suggestions our way, you can direct them to carlo@carloangiuli.com. Thanks! (I generally take it as a good sign that only 2/5 in the final packet were written by the editors, and that nobody has complained about the packet yet.)
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Re: MCMNT 2008 Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:25 pm

I had a question on Maimonides at Scobol Solo this year. If only you had moderated.
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