ACF Nationals discussion

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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Tower Monarch » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:09 am

Cheynem wrote:
Birdofredum Sawin wrote: that the first day's packets were only finished a few hours before the tournament was scheduled to get underway, and the second day's packets had to be finished Saturday night; and that so many people had to be exhorted at the last minute to pitch in just so the set could be finished. I don't know whether Matt was overconfident, or delusional, or what, but this is absurd.
Can I ask where this idea is coming from? I have heard of some people chipping in some freelance questions down the stretch, but I was unaware that the packets were finished right on Saturday and Saturday night (at least to the extent this is suggesting--Matt has admitted a handful of tossups were written on Saturday night for the finals on Sunday). I mean, this idea has been repeated by a few people, but I hadn't even heard of it until these posts.
When I volunteered Friday night to help finish writing everything Saturday evening, all rounds through Editors 3 were getting locked for packet randomization and Editors 4 and 5 followed soon enough so that when I was actually available to write (around 10:00 Saturday night) there were at most 5/5 left, so I wrote my 1/2 about an hour before Editors 6 and 7 (the last two packets) were complete. To me, a vast majority of the last couple packets as well as everything else done by midnight the night before is satisfactory. As far as I could tell, all of the non-editors packets had already been locked and therefore were in the randomization step before the first day's games, but I could be wrong.
EDIT: I started before Carsten's post, but it looks like we agree.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:12 am

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:2. Insouciant tournament direction. Matt has been involved with a lot of tournaments, and he's known that he was going to be editing this year's nationals for quite some time. Given those facts, I don't really understand how it can be the case that the tournament was apparently substantially unwritten as recently as a couple of weeks ago; that the first day's packets were only finished a few hours before the tournament was scheduled to get underway, and the second day's packets had to be finished Saturday night; and that so many people had to be exhorted at the last minute to pitch in just so the set could be finished. I don't know whether Matt was overconfident, or delusional, or what, but this is absurd. Similarly, it boggles my imagination that someone with as much experience as Matt would just presume that teams would spontaneously provide all the buzzer systems the tournament would need, which resulted in ACF nationals games being played as "slap bowl." (And if Mike Sorice hadn't saved the day by showing up at the last minute with a bunch of buzzers, there would have been no choice but to have half the games be played without buzzers.)
As much as I've been on Matt's case throughout this thread regarding logistics, I think this is a somewhat inaccurate portrayal of the situation. My communication with various editors prior to the tournament leads me to understand that the tournament was substantially done the night before, with only a few questions in the playoff packets outstanding.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:13 am

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:1. Question difficulty which was so variable that it significantly influenced the outcome of games. This is a fundamental problem of packet quality, and is inexcusable in an event of the caliber of ACF nationals.
I really don't see how this was such a systematic problem, at least to a higher degree than in any other tournament. There were some tossup choices that were quite hard (The Boor!) and a couple that were unexpectedly easy (The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp!), but the former is to be expected in the case of a national tournament, and overall the difficulty was about as uniform as can reasonably be expected. Some bonuses occasionally had much easier easy parts than other bonuses, but again this wasn't an issue in more than a few cases. Further, I thought the editors did an amazing job in avoiding repeats; I can't think of a single substantial clue or answer repeat that was more than just a passing mention of something that had previously been mentioned.

Further, no one should have the impression that we the players were ever waiting for questions to be done. For better or for worse, the vast majority of tournaments get done the night before they're played. As far as I know, all the Saturday packets were 100% complete before Saturday morning and the remaining ~10 questions to finish the Sunday rounds were completed before Sunday morning. Whether or not tournaments should be done early is completely immaterial to the matter of whether or not this tournament was finished and ready to be played. It was, and suggesting that because tournaments "should" be written earlier than they are, this tournament was somehow not finished on time, is absurd.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:14 am

I never asked a single person to write a single question beyond the areas they signed up to edit. Zeke graciously volunteered to take over writing playoff lit for me and many other people offered questions here or there on their own initiative. It is categorically untrue that any person whatsoever was "exhorted at the last minute to pitch in." Having people who were not at the tournament write the 10 remaining questions for Sunday during the day on Saturday prevented the need for me to write them on Saturday evening. For that, and all the other free questions people gave us, I am appreciative. However, the effect of the Saturday work was to let me go to sleep an hour earlier on Saturday night; it did not affect whether the tournament got done.

I am inexpressibly angry at the trend of me putting in weeks of sweat and fatigue into finishing tournaments, showing up with finished packets to have them played, and then people just pretending that the tournament was cancelled because I didn't finish it and posting accordingly. I see no reason for me to continue bothering with tournament editing if I could literally have just shown up at WUSTL and said "ACF Nationals is off, I forgot to do the questions again!" and gotten the same response that this set did.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:17 am

grapesmoker wrote:
Birdofredum Sawin wrote:2. Insouciant tournament direction. Matt has been involved with a lot of tournaments, and he's known that he was going to be editing this year's nationals for quite some time. Given those facts, I don't really understand how it can be the case that the tournament was apparently substantially unwritten as recently as a couple of weeks ago; that the first day's packets were only finished a few hours before the tournament was scheduled to get underway, and the second day's packets had to be finished Saturday night; and that so many people had to be exhorted at the last minute to pitch in just so the set could be finished. I don't know whether Matt was overconfident, or delusional, or what, but this is absurd. Similarly, it boggles my imagination that someone with as much experience as Matt would just presume that teams would spontaneously provide all the buzzer systems the tournament would need, which resulted in ACF nationals games being played as "slap bowl." (And if Mike Sorice hadn't saved the day by showing up at the last minute with a bunch of buzzers, there would have been no choice but to have half the games be played without buzzers.)
As much as I've been on Matt's case throughout this thread regarding logistics, I think this is a somewhat inaccurate portrayal of the situation. My communication with various editors prior to the tournament leads me to understand that the tournament was substantially done the night before, with only a few questions in the playoff packets outstanding.
Eh, this tournament was still way behind schedule (almost none of Matt's questions for the editors packets were written as of a week before the tournament, Kwartler's freelance packet was abandoned, Evan didn't end up writing most of the CS for the playoffs, etc.) and the quality suffered because of it. Sure the time frame in which the questions were written wasn't quite as bad as some recent efforts and I certainly understand how hard it is produce 22 high quality packets, but for the most important tournament of the year I was not thrilled with the time given to edit the questions.

I would not be happy if next year's tournament also was produced on a similar time scale.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:22 am

I see what you're saying, Mike, but can you provide a little more detail into how "the question quality suffered because of it"? I mean, it would be great if all tournaments were completely finished days before they were set to run, but no major tournament this year, if I can recall, had that happen.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Gautam » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:24 am

I thought of this on Sunday as we were waiting for buzzers to come by, but it seems to me like ACF could benefit from setting aside some of the revenue from Fall 2009, Winter 2010, and Regs 2010 towards buying some buzzers and smooth out supply shocks like this. If I am understanding the situation correctly, the tournament wasn't short 6 or 7 buzzers; the number was more like 1 or 2, which is certainly very manageable.

This particular tournament was run in the best possible manner, I thought, given the circumstances. The buzzer shortages could have been prevented, but hindsight won't help us change the outcome I surely do think that it is important for Matt and future ACF Nationals host to be more aware of possible buzzer shortages and do whatever they can to ensure smoothing supply shortages (borrow some from local teams, beg/plead all teams to bring buzzers, etc.)

As for the discussion regarding packets being done too late, I really don't understand why being mostly done by Friday night and using Saturday night to filling up the editors packets (as opposed to starting to write the 5 or 6 editors packets) is all that sub-optimal. The three tournaments I have been involved with this year have finished at 1:30 on the Saturday of, 3:30 PM the Friday before, and 8:30 PM the Friday before the tournaments. Most of the final work similarly involved finishing up gaps in editors packets and not starting on editors packets from scratch. I really don't think whatever last minute work was put in to the question set hurt the quality of the tournament; it seems to me that Matt has realized that the community has definitely lowered its tolerance for hasty last-minute efforts, and mostly used all the best resources he could to ensure that a fine set of packets was produced for ACF Nationals 2009.

I thought that the editors' packets were among the most solid packets of this set, and had all kinds of interesting clue selection. For that matter, I thought the first few packets of the tournament (minus the Brown packet) were among the weakest ones.

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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:35 am

If I am understanding the situation correctly, the tournament wasn't short 6 or 7 buzzers; the number was more like 1 or 2, which is certainly very manageable.
I think just contacting local high school teams should be enough to deal with this in the future for nationals. There aren't many places I can think of that would be suitable national hosts that aren't already in active high school circuits, and this would save ACF more money.
Also, I had no problems with the way this set was written, and am looking forward in the future to playing more that are like this one (and reading them in practice). Maybe it's just because I'm a new player who doesn't know enough to be sensitive to editing problems, but it seems to me Andrew's criticisms aren't the problems he's making them out to be. Maybe I'll revisit it in a few years, but it feels to me like this set did its job for an ACF Nationals.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:02 am

Parson Smirk wrote: The Burmese history question had a part about SLORC, which seemed well below "Chicago or beyond" difficulty. SLORC has been a tossup answer at past tournaments, I believe.
Violating my own rule about sidetracking threads: Jerry's QBDB yields a single mention of SLORC (it isn't an answer, but a clue dropped in a Burma bonus). Compare that with, again, something like the same round's Browning bonus (where "My Last Duchess" is cake for most any nats team, and both the other poems asked about came up as ACF nats bonus answers in the past two years) and it seems possible that they are of significantly different difficulty.

My general point is that there were lots of bonuses in the playoffs for which nobody seems to have given any thought to the question "Does this approach having an easy, middle, and hard part? And do those gradations of difficulty roughly align across all of the bonuses in this round, or are the 'easy' parts in bonuses A and B orders of magnitude harder than the 'easy' parts in bonuses C and D?" A yet more general point would be: If a tournament which is scheduled to start on Saturday morning is only getting finished on Friday night, then there will be no time for anyone to look over the set as a whole and say "You know, some of these bonuses don't really seem to break into easy, middle, and hard parts -- maybe we should rework those so that they will play more fairly."

I never said that the packets weren't done -- in the sense of "the requisite number of questions have been placed in randomized packets prior to the start of the day's games" -- prior to the tournament. But I wouldn't have thought that being "done" in that sense constituted much of an accomplishment for ACF nationals: that's setting the bar awfully low.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:20 am

QBDB has most good tournaments from the last 3 years but it doesn't go back farther than that so I'm not sure how complete it is. I don't know that the Burmese history bonus is a good example of the difficulty variation in the bonuses in that round, but as someone who watched it, I definitely thought that there were several other bonuses on which Stanford definitely got the short end of the stick (desert varnish?!). On the other hand, Chicago's bonuses broke on the easy side a couple times; there was a bio bonus that seemed about high school level and the Browning bonus was definitely much easier than most of the other ones.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by recfreq » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:33 am

I don't have the questions, so these are necessarily rough impressions.

Contrary to two previous posts, I thought attention was a very good question. While I agree that mentioning the Stroop effect is a bit wierd because of the confound of verbal and visual attention, I thought the Anne Treisman clue was solid. If you do research on attention, you pretty much can't avoid reading a paper by Treisman, and that clue was very specific in my mind for attention. I didn't hear the other stuff, but the gorilla thing is played in most intro perception classes as a canonical example, and to be honest, I don't see how this question suffers in comparison to the emotion question. If it wasn't for the qb-canonicity of emotion, we might be criticizing it for "vagueness" too; but it wasn't vague.

GTPases should be acceptable for G proteins.

While there were some great TUs on fringe topics (Star Route, Entropy, Adams Memorial, Voltaire's Zaire, Samurai come to mind), some answer choices were, I feel, a bit questionable (New Democrats, fermionic condensate--there was BEC too!, Red river war), because it seems only a cute giveaway could rescue them from obscurity. I'd much rather have nationals be decided on a few more "how well do you know obscure clues about regionals difficulty TU answer" than "how well can you fraud an answer at the end because no one in the room will have heard of this."

I'm pretty convinced it's not a good idea to write a TU on retention sequences. It's pretty clear what they were talking about very early with COPI, KDEL, M6P, etc., but what standard term is it asking for? Is there a section in a book on retention sequence? To see how it's a bad idea, just look up retention sequence in pubmed. You get garbage, because it's just not a reliable term. My knowledge in cellular trafficking and the way ER, Golgi, and lysosomes work was completely useless as I sat until the end of the question for the cutesy giveaway. The way this tournament was going, I would not have minded seeing a TU on mannose-6-phosphate; one has a concrete idea about what the answer is. More difficult is better than more nebulousness at this tournament.

Concur that some of the bonuses from Stanford-Chicago's play-in game were ridiculous, and happened to fall to Stanford (who out tossuped Chicago). No finals packet should have this degree of variability in bonuse difficulty.

In terms of logistics, the only thing I can say is that it'll be a minor miracle to convince anyone from our school to attend this tournament next year. While some of the problems were unavoidable, waiting 2.5 almost 3 hrs to start the 1st round was just unacceptable. I don't care if we had schedules on the blackboard and multiple byes as long as we start more or less on time, especially given the tone of the email update, and we people from the west coast waking up at more or less 5AM our time to make it on time. The last 5-6 rounds from Saturday was pretty much adrenaline bowl.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:17 am

Yeah, I was only able to find a handful of references to SLORC in the Stanford archives, usually as a clue. Perhaps it came up as an answer at an NAQT event and that's what I'm remembering. Of course, I can't do an archive check for that...

That surprises me, actually. SLORC is pretty fundamental to any understanding of Burma in the last 20 years, so I would have thought it was more canonical. I still think SLORC is a reasonable middle-easy answer for an ACF nats finals bonus, though I'll admit it's a heckuva lot harder than My Last Duchess.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Susan » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:45 am

recfreq wrote: GTPases should be acceptable for G proteins.
I'd be curious to see the text of the question here.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by MLafer » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:51 am

myamphigory wrote:
recfreq wrote: GTPases should be acceptable for G proteins.
I'd be curious to see the text of the question here.
This class of molecules shares its name with a protein that associates with BiP and calnexin in the endoplasmic reticulum after being produced in the secretory pathway of the vesicular stomatitis virus. One protein in this class induces membrane ruffles upon injection into fibroblasts, and another mimics the effects of the chemokine LPA. In another one, replacement of the glycine at position 12 keeps it in the active state, leading to uncontrolled cell growth. Effectors associated with this class include adenylyl cyclase and phospholipase C, and the trimeric form breaks into a beta-gamma dimer and an alpha subunit, which activates a second messenger to begin a signal transduction cascade. For 10 points, name this class of proteins, monomeric forms of which include Rac and Ras, which, when active, hydrolyze guanosine triphosphate.
ANSWER: G proteins [accept early GTPase switch proteins]
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by sds » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:41 am

recfreq wrote: Contrary to two previous posts, I thought attention was a very good question. While I agree that mentioning the Stroop effect is a bit wierd because of the confound of verbal and visual attention, I thought the Anne Treisman clue was solid. If you do research on attention, you pretty much can't avoid reading a paper by Treisman, and that clue was very specific in my mind for attention. I didn't hear the other stuff, but the gorilla thing is played in most intro perception classes as a canonical example, and to be honest, I don't see how this question suffers in comparison to the emotion question. If it wasn't for the qb-canonicity of emotion, we might be criticizing it for "vagueness" too; but it wasn't vague.
I'd love to see this question, if someone wouldn't mind posting it for me.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by fleurdelivre » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:48 am

Kenshiro wrote:Tintin was a great idea for a tossup
I missed a question on Tintin? :(
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:56 am

Parson Smirk wrote:I was only able to find a handful of references to SLORC in the Stanford archives, usually as a clue. Perhaps it came up as an answer at an NAQT event and that's what I'm remembering. Of course, I can't do an archive check for that...
NAQT hasn't used the SLORC as an answer either, which kind of surprises me because we do ask for more current events, and I would have guessed that this was solidly canonical.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:00 am

Interesting. Thanks for checking, Jeff.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by MLafer » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:03 am

sds wrote: I'd love to see this question, if someone wouldn't mind posting it for me.
Hans Phaf created a connectionist model of this concept, SLAM. Eriksen and St. James developed the zoom-lens model of this concept in contrast to the spotlight model of it. Daniel Kahneman developed a model of this concept based on the allocation of mental capacity. According to Anne Treisman's model of this concept, selected features are assimilated into a saliency map. That model is known as feature integration theory. The Stroop effect occurs because of interference with this concept. Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris demonstrated this concept's "blindness" in an experiment in which fifty percent of subjects did not perceive a person in a gorilla suit because they were counting the number of times that teams passed a basketball. For 10 points, name this psychological concept which William James defined as the mind's possession "of one out of...several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought," whose deficit leads to a disorder found in hyperactive children.
ANSWER: attention [accept word forms]
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by marnold » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:13 am

recfreq wrote:Concur that some of the bonuses from Stanford-Chicago's play-in game were ridiculous, and happened to fall to Stanford (who out tossuped Chicago).
This isn't true: by my scoresheet, both teams got 9 tossups. That said, I probably do agree with the more general point that the few really hard bonuses in the packet ended up with Stanford and we ended up with the packet's easiest bonus. I wouldn't go so far (admittedly, perhaps for obvious reasons) as to question the legitimacy of the match, but more consistent bonus difficulty would have been nice.

Anyway, in general I found the set pretty good. I'm not convinced that the method of pointing out individual questions is that useful an approach, so for now I'll just leave it at overall solid. I have nothing new to contribute to the logistics issues either: almost all the problems came from the buzzer shortage, and I'm sure Matt, WUSTL, and whoever is responsible for ACF Nats next year will learn from this fiasco and handle the situation better in the future.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by suds1000 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:23 am

In the summer of 2008, I was approached by Matt Weiner and asked to edit science as part of the team for ACF Nationals 2009. When I noted my weakness in physics and especially the "other science" category, Matt and I decided that I would edit the biology and chemistry, which certainly seemed reasonable to me. I don't check this board that often anymore, so I didn't know what the status was with the tournament, but I started writing my editors' questions slowly in order to lessen the inevitably high workload that I knew would result around the time that people started sending their packets in (late, generally, given how I've been forced to edit in the past).

Around December, I contacted Matt to ask him about the status of the tournament and about how much I would need to produce (as I had no idea how many packets were anticipated), and he told me that, given the rigors of medical school, he had assumed that I wouldn't be available, and instead contacted someone else to edit these two categories. So, I stopped writing, and simply noted to Matt and this individual that they could have my questions (of which there weren't a ton, granted, but it was something) if they were needed. As it turned out, this other individual was "sent on his way" as Matt puts it, and I was contacted again in March (I believe), asking if I could take over this editing. I knew that if I had kept working through those several months and had stepped it up a bit, I could have probably produced enough on my own to have time to do the editing. However, with a couple of time-if-not-work-intensive clinical rotations coming up, I knew that I wouldn't be able to contribute that much in the months of March or April, so I told Matt as such and wished him best of luck with the tournament.

Now, I'm not in any way upset with Matt or anyone else about this (it seems like he's taken enough flak for this tournament as it is), because while I haven't seen the questions, it appears from a general consensus that Dwight did a pretty good job with these two categories, so I'm very happy about that. But there is a lesson to be learned here, namely that whenever one has a team of editors working on a tournament, the head/chief editor should communicate as much as possible with the other members of his/her team to ensure that people are writing/editing as they're supposed to be and meeting deadlines as they've been set up. I agree with Seth's comment in the other discussion that only with a larger editing team can one attain the true depth required for a difficult academic tournament to be excellent in all portions of the distribution. So, that said, if a team approach is necessary, perhaps tighter editors' control/coordination is something to keep in mind when attempting to produce a large-scale tournament such as this one. Indeed, I think also that it's only tighter and closer collaboration that can prevent what some folks referred to as "wild swings" in bonus difficulty when a tournament is edited by multiple individuals. All in all, more communication = better tournament.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by pray for elves » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:25 pm

Jeremy Gibbs-Donnan Effect wrote: I missed a question on Tintin? :(
MIT packet wrote: One polity featured in this series remembers the fourteenth-century defeat of Baron Staszrvitch with the motto, “Eih bennek, eih blavek.” That place uses Cyrillic orthography but has a language closely resembling the Marols dialect of French. Mineral water near Klow and uranium around Sprodj figure into this series, which at one points depicts an elaborate plot by the Iron Guards to depose King Muskar XII in favor of Müsstler, the dictator of Borduria. King Ottokar’s Sceptre is protected by the title character during an adventure in Syldavia, while his other adventures often involve the detectives Thomson and Thomson, the near-deaf Professor Calculus, or a man with a repertoire of nonsensical insults, Captain Haddock. For 10 points, name this comic series created by Hergé in which the dog Snowy also tags along with the namesake teenage Belgian reporter.

ANSWER: The Adventures of Tintin [or Les Aventures de Tintin]
The reason for many of those clues is that the original submission was on the fictional country of Syldavia from the specific story King Ottokar's Sceptre. For obvious reasons, that answer line was deemed too hard.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:45 pm

Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs-Donnan Effect wrote: I missed a question on Tintin? :(
MIT packet wrote: One polity featured in this series remembers the fourteenth-century defeat of Baron Staszrvitch with the motto, “Eih bennek, eih blavek.” That place uses Cyrillic orthography but has a language closely resembling the Marols dialect of French. Mineral water near Klow and uranium around Sprodj figure into this series, which at one points depicts an elaborate plot by the Iron Guards to depose King Muskar XII in favor of Müsstler, the dictator of Borduria. King Ottokar’s Sceptre is protected by the title character during an adventure in Syldavia, while his other adventures often involve the detectives Thomson and Thomson, the near-deaf Professor Calculus, or a man with a repertoire of nonsensical insults, Captain Haddock. For 10 points, name this comic series created by Hergé in which the dog Snowy also tags along with the namesake teenage Belgian reporter.

ANSWER: The Adventures of Tintin [or Les Aventures de Tintin]
The reason for many of those clues is that the original submission was on the fictional country of Syldavia from the specific story King Ottokar's Sceptre. For obvious reasons, that answer line was deemed too hard.
Syldavia is one of the best fake countries ever. I am sad I wasn't paying attention during this question, but it looks pretty great.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by fleurdelivre » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:00 pm

The dog is named Milou, not Snowy! Anyway, that's awesome, even if it uses the translations.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:23 pm

Well, I'm mostly on Yaphe's side when it comes to getting tournaments done in a reasonable time. I think the way that most people (both these days and in the past, though what's relevant is now) tend to procrastinate and not properly plan out what they're doing is straight fucking nuts. Now, I think it's their prerogative so long as the event gets done and the quality doesn't suffer - but that's untrue most times, the quality does suffer a lot. I can sympathize with Weiner being frustrated with criticism in the wake of an exhausting tournament, but I'm very skeptical that any time stuff happens his answer tends to be "well, the tournament got done, didnt it! what do you want!" Yeah, this tournament got done, but it wouldn't have been nearly the quality it was without a lot of people pinching in and doing stuff they didn't sign up to do. I'm with Yaphe on the notion that there is a ton of general irresponsibility going around with writers and editors these days, and a ton of "magical thinking" in the planning and execution of tournaments, to use a Weinerism. I don't think there's much we can do about this except exhort people to be more responsible. You can threaten to fire people or enforce deadlines or create absurd fines or install enforcers or do whatever else you want, it ain't gonna help.

Now, are people really saying that my playa lakes/desert varnish/pedocal bonus was one of these crazy unfair hard ones? Playa lakes have been tossed up at least twice and are, you know, the lakes in deserts. Desert varnish is a basic term in most intro geology books and pedocal is one of the three main soil types - not to mention it sounds a lot like pedalfer, which I give you in the prompt. Now, I'm with people on the Burmese bonus mostly because after Pagan it's damn tough, and I'm with people on stuff like the real linguistics, and I'm with you that there were some bonuses like My Last Duchess which dropped you 30. But, people are gonna need to start posting some more of this egregiously unfair bonuses, or I'm going to say again that it's being a bit overblown.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:39 pm

Yeah, I was only able to find a handful of references to SLORC in the Stanford archives, usually as a clue. Perhaps it came up as an answer at an NAQT event and that's what I'm remembering. Of course, I can't do an archive check for that...

Well, one reason might be because it is (possibly more) often referred to as the State Peace and Development Council, I suppose. I didn't hear the exact bonus - if for some reason it requried you to say SLORC and did not accept SPDC (or used the latter as a clue), that was a terrible decision and accounts for why the bonus was too hard. I certainly know SPDC has shown up countless times in NAQT questions (off the top of my head, it was a clue in the 2006 HSNCT championship match between RM and State College), and I agree that it's really important in contemporary history and Burma in general. That said, Andrew has a pretty valid point that it's not on the same level as My Last Duchess or things like that, and especially at a tournament where hard parts are going to be *very* hard, having inconsistencies in easy/middle part application can cause even more amplified problems.

I also do support the idea that naming Burma given a very obscure kingdom is much more reasonable for a hard part than asking for that kingdom, as very few people study Burmese feudal history with great detail and are likely to be unable to pull it even if they know what the question is talking about. Again, didn't see the question, but that's more of a general rule opinion, and it applies only to very obscure things, not important things that might be hard, which are ideal Nationals bonus material.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:52 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
Yeah, I was only able to find a handful of references to SLORC in the Stanford archives, usually as a clue. Perhaps it came up as an answer at an NAQT event and that's what I'm remembering. Of course, I can't do an archive check for that...

Well, one reason might be because it is (possibly more) often referred to as the State Peace and Development Council, I suppose. I didn't hear the exact bonus - if for some reason it requried you to say SLORC and did not accept SPDC (or used the latter as a clue), that was a terrible decision and accounts for why the bonus was too hard. I certainly know SPDC has shown up countless times in NAQT questions (off the top of my head, it was a clue in the 2006 HSNCT championship match between RM and State College), and I agree that it's really important in contemporary history and Burma in general. That said, Andrew has a pretty valid point that it's not on the same level as My Last Duchess or things like that, and especially at a tournament where hard parts are going to be *very* hard, having inconsistencies in easy/middle part application can cause even more amplified problems.
So I wrote that bonus, but the answers were selected already. I remember hearing a bonus part on SLORC in practice a few years ago (and remembered it because I thought the name was funny). I thought using the clue that its also known as the SPDC and stating it was headed by Saw Mung would be enough, but I suppose I didn't account for the fact that more people know it as the SPDC, if what Chris is actually saying is true. Also I don't think asking for Tonguoo is really that egregious, considering its probably the second most important Burmese kingdom after Pagan, and I believe I gave Burma as a clue for Pagan. At a regular difficulty tournament, I'd probably write this bonus something like Pagan/Burma/Than Shwe, but I don't think this was necessarily crazy for ACF nationals. I'd have been fine with Chris' version of the bonus, though.

That being said, I'm of two minds when it comes to selecting hard parts for an event like ACF nationals, and quite frankly I don't know if it can be done with any kind of real consistency. On one hand, yes, bonuses should be consistent, and yes, the third part should be gettable by someone who's conversant in the subject. This is why I objected so strongly to using SANT domains as a bonus part at HI, for example. But on the other hand, it seems like at that level there's just too many confounding factors going on. As an example, last year's nationals featured a bonus in the final that went something like photosystems/cytochrome b6f/something easy; cytochrome b6f was most certainly something I learned the year before in biochemistry, and while I carried around my class notes quite a bit and am probably still conversant in them, its not something that came to mind that day at that moment. On the other hand, someone like Mehdi or Arnav who's probably took the class more recently than me would have stood a better chance of answering, but even then there's no guarantee. To use us 3 as an example, if the two of them got it and I didn't, would the bonus be considered appropriately hard? What about a bonus part where none of us got it despite it being on the tips of our tongues? Its really hard to make these judgments, and I have no way of really measuring how well this set, or really any set, does in its bonus answer selection unless its simply egregious across the board.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by theMoMA » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:07 pm

I'm sure we would have converted desert varnish and playa lakes had Dartmouth not gotten that bonus. I don't think it's reasonable to disagree that the Browning bonus was way too easy ("Porphyria's Lover" from a description and no author, and "My Last Duchess" from the easiest clues possible, and "Love Among the Ruins," which is something that most good teams should get and is probably too easy for a third part). The first two parts are both easier than playa lakes, I think. So I'll agree with Andrew that there were some bonus fluctuations, but I don't think it's fair to say that the Burmese history bonus (we actually 20d this even though we inexplicably didn't get SLORC, which is definitely the easy part) and the desert science bonus were too hard (though maybe the desert varnish part should have been desert pavement, which would make playa lakes the second part).

I think there's always going to be some bonus anisotropy, if you will, and just like the integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect, some of that will be produced by the nature of the incoming bonus parts, and some will be produced by the position of the observer. Which is to say, the perceived unevenness of bonuses depends as much on gaps of knowledge that exist in the team answering the bonus as it does on the "objective difficulty" of the bonus parts themselves.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:20 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Well, I'm mostly on Yaphe's side when it comes to getting tournaments done in a reasonable time. I think the way that most people (both these days and in the past, though what's relevant is now) tend to procrastinate and not properly plan out what they're doing is straight fucking nuts. Now, I think it's their prerogative so long as the event gets done and the quality doesn't suffer - but that's untrue most times, the quality does suffer a lot. I can sympathize with Weiner being frustrated with criticism in the wake of an exhausting tournament, but I'm very skeptical that any time stuff happens his answer tends to be "well, the tournament got done, didnt it! what do you want!" Yeah, this tournament got done, but it wouldn't have been nearly the quality it was without a lot of people pinching in and doing stuff they didn't sign up to do. I'm with Yaphe on the notion that there is a ton of general irresponsibility going around with writers and editors these days, and a ton of "magical thinking" in the planning and execution of tournaments, to use a Weinerism. I don't think there's much we can do about this except exhort people to be more responsible. You can threaten to fire people or enforce deadlines or create absurd fines or install enforcers or do whatever else you want, it ain't gonna help.
I entirely agree. In fact, never have I felt so in tune with Ryan Westbrook. Assembling tournaments which will meet modern criteria of excellence is an incredibly painstaking process, as must be known to everyone participating in this discussion. When I start working on one of my goofy Chicago Open trash tournaments, I start planning and writing months in advance; maintain constant contact with my co-writers; and make sure the tournament is written with plenty of time before the actual date on which it's scheduled to take place, so we have time to revise questions and fine-tune the set. Is it really so unreasonable to expect the people who are working on ACF Nationals to attempt something comparable? I genuinely do not understand the "every question got written before the round in which it was scheduled to appear, so you have no possible grounds on which to complain about the editing" argument which seems to be presented.
No Rules Westbrook wrote:Now, are people really saying that my playa lakes/desert varnish/pedocal bonus was one of these crazy unfair hard ones? Playa lakes have been tossed up at least twice and are, you know, the lakes in deserts. Desert varnish is a basic term in most intro geology books and pedocal is one of the three main soil types - not to mention it sounds a lot like pedalfer, which I give you in the prompt. Now, I'm with people on the Burmese bonus mostly because after Pagan it's damn tough, and I'm with people on stuff like the real linguistics, and I'm with you that there were some bonuses like My Last Duchess which dropped you 30. But, people are gonna need to start posting some more of this egregiously unfair bonuses, or I'm going to say again that it's being a bit overblown.
I'm not really interested in a protracted debate over the precise "difficulty" of SLORC or "desert varnish" or "Tool Academy" or whatever. Here's what I'm saying about that playoff game: Going into the last question, we had out-tossuped Chicago. However, they had clinched the game, in significant part because they had gotten 30s on bonuses that my team would also have 30d (e.g. the Browning poems and the C4 bonus), whereas we got a string of zeroes and 10s on bonuses which seemed significantly harder. Maybe Burmese history and desert geology and lesser-known VH1 programs and "real linguistics" all just happen to be among my team's blind spots, but that variance strikes me as having had a meaningful and unfortunate impact on the outcome of the game. (Especially since we appear to have had a higher playoff PPB than Chicago or Brown, which suggests that we weren't just a bunch of ignorant hicks who stumbled into the play-in game and couldn't have been expected to get bonus points anyway.)
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:50 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Now, are people really saying that my playa lakes/desert varnish/pedocal bonus was one of these crazy unfair hard ones? Playa lakes have been tossed up at least twice and are, you know, the lakes in deserts. Desert varnish is a basic term in most intro geology books and pedocal is one of the three main soil types - not to mention it sounds a lot like pedalfer, which I give you in the prompt.
This was, to use your own words, an egregiously unfair bonus. I realize that noted earth science enthusiast Andrew Hart would have done well on that bonus, but I think he and perhaps Seth would be the only candidates to get even 10 on it.

This is a problem that I see time and again especially in science. Consider that when you write physics, the top several teams all have physicists (including some graduate students) among them. The same holds for chemistry and bio, less so but still somewhat true for math and computer science. On the other hand, earth science is a niche topic in quizbowl. Maybe we should be trying to improve that state of affairs, but currently, if you're writing an earth science bonus you need to have at least one part that non-experts can get. Just because something has come up once before doesn't mean anything; a team of non-experts, especially in a playoff game, shouldn't be getting screwed because they didn't read the correct old packets or whatever.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by setht » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:23 pm

I had a good time at the tournament. The delays and buzzer mishaps were aggravating, but as Michael and a number of other people have said here and in the question discussion thread, the set was pretty good, and I'll add that the competition was great. We had several exhilarating matches against teams from all over, which made for a great Nationals experience.

I very much appreciated being given the opportunity to play our way into the title match (I don't know how we ranked vs. Stanford at the end, but I certainly would have been unhappy with being passed over or with Stanford being passed over in choosing the team that got to face Brown), and I know the Chicago B team very much appreciated getting a chance to play for a spot in the top bracket. That required 21 packets (and I gather the 22nd packet was required for the DII title match); I think it's great that the editors found the time and energy to produce that many packets without running into any repeats that I can remember. I'm also very glad that we didn't try to get through 21 (or 22) rounds of play in one day.

It was easier for Chicago to deal with getting to/from the tournament than it was for most clubs, plus it's easier for me to shuffle work around to free up time for a full weekend of quizbowl than it is for many people, so I liked the two-day format. If the post-tournament consensus is that the two-day ACF Nationals model should be abandoned in favor of returning to a single-day event, I'll understand, but I'll go ahead and say that I was a fan of the two-day tournament and would be happy to see it happen again next year. If it does happen again, evidently the announcement should give more of a cushion on the ending time and people should give themselves more time to get to airports for Sunday flights.

Moving on to logistics: WUStL has run several ICTs (without hitches, as far as I can recall), and they did a fine job running SCT this year. I'm not really clear on what all happened on Matt's end or on the local staff side of things. I strongly suspect many of the problems would not have occurred if Matt had delegated more responsibility early on--for instance, assigning one of the many experienced WUStL people the task of coordinating staff, buzzers, etc. My impression is that the head editors for the 2003-2007 ACF Nationals handed off most or all of the logistical responsibilities to local people after picking a host site. I don't know how much last year's editors relied on the Brandeis folks to deal with logistics and how much they dealt with on top of editing/writing. My own experience (which admittedly includes editing/running 0 national events) is that trying to serve as logistics czar/TD as well as head editor is almost always a bad idea.

Anyway, I'm confident that Matt can do a fine job of organizing and running an ACF Nationals event. I am also confident he can do a fine job of writing/editing a large chunk of an ACF Nationals set (even a gargantuan 22-packet submission set). However, I am not confident he can do a good job on both those tasks and also write two full tournament sets for use 1 month before ACF Nationals and also cover whatever HSAPQ/other responsibilities he had looming over him. I don't think anyone could do a good job on all of that. For next year, I'd like to see Matt scale things back a bit from the overwhelming workload he took on this year, and I'd like to see the next ACF Nationals head editor delegate early and often--tournament direction/logistics seems like one of the more obvious pieces to hand off to someone else.

Matt mentioned earlier in the thread that he had some thoughts on how to avoid the problems of this tournament going forward. I'd certainly be interested in hearing them, and I'd be interested in hearing from anyone else with experience in running this sort of event--for instance, Zeke has plenty of experience with running Nationals and presumably has a much better idea of what went on with this year's event than I or any of the players do.

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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:25 pm

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:When I start working on one of my goofy Chicago Open trash tournaments, I start planning and writing months in advance; maintain constant contact with my co-writers; and make sure the tournament is written with plenty of time before the actual date on which it's scheduled to take place, so we have time to revise questions and fine-tune the set. Is it really so unreasonable to expect the people who are working on ACF Nationals to attempt something comparable?
Just stepping in here -- the editors cannot edit a packet that they have yet to receive. I know that doesn't apply to the editors packets, but it's impossible to have all the questions ready when the last packet submission didn't come in until two days before the tournament started (correct me if I'm wrong).
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by BuzzerZen » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:29 pm

hwhite wrote:Just stepping in here -- the editors cannot edit a packet that they have yet to receive. I know that doesn't apply to the editors packets, but it's impossible to have all the questions ready when the last packet submission didn't come in until two days before the tournament started (correct me if I'm wrong).
Harry, from what I hear from compatriots who have edited submission tournaments, prudent editors will, oftentimes, begin writing questions for editors' packets and as possible replacement questions well in advance of submissions coming in. If a question, somehow, turned out not to be needed, presumably it could devolve to the editor's personal stockpile.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by setht » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:33 pm

hwhite wrote:Just stepping in here -- the editors cannot edit a packet that they have yet to receive. I know that doesn't apply to the editors packets, but it's impossible to have all the questions ready when the last packet submission didn't come in until two days before the tournament started (correct me if I'm wrong).
Well, Evan beat me to it, but I'll go ahead and post this anyway.

Harry, you're right that the editors of a packet-submission set can't finish the set until the last packet comes in--unless they're willing to cut things off at some point. I don't really know what happened with packet submissions for Nats this year, but as a general rule I would recommend that editors of packet-submission tournaments try to start writing editor's packet questions and replacement questions early on. If very few or no packets come in by the very early deadline, the appropriate thing to do is to write more editor packet/replacement questions with the time that the editors would have spent editing submitted packets. If a bunch of packets come in super-late and the editors have lots of spare questions, they can start throwing out large chunks of packets as needed. If people complain, I think it's fine to say, "Get your damn packet in on time, next time, and we won't throw most of it away." This is probably straying rather far afield from ACF Nationals discussion.

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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:35 pm

theMoMA wrote: I think there's always going to be some bonus anisotropy, if you will, and just like the integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect, some of that will be produced by the nature of the incoming bonus parts, and some will be produced by the position of the observer.
This is why you are just so gosh darn loveable, Andrew Hart!

This re-appropriation of science for the purposes of understanding social and epistemic processes is both sexy and constructive despite what that hata Alan Sokal says. There is a little bit of Kristeva and Bruno Latour in you Andrew, just let them out!

Okay, back to this, the GREATEST POST-TOURNAMENT DISCUSSION EVER, no seriously, I love you all.

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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:38 pm

hwhite wrote: Just stepping in here -- the editors cannot edit a packet that they have yet to receive. I know that doesn't apply to the editors packets, but it's impossible to have all the questions ready when the last packet submission didn't come in until two days before the tournament started (correct me if I'm wrong).
Yeah, but you can have all the editors' questions squared away well in advance. And I've been talking about what (I'm claiming) was wildly variable bonus difficulty in those playoff editors' rounds.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:38 pm

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:Yeah, but you can have all the editors' questions squared away well in advance.
Not if you're bringing in a science coordinator as packets are coming in and a social science editor the week before the tournament. We can debate all we want about why these circumstances occurred (poor communication, irreconcilable personality conflicts, poor time management), and we probably should because this type of stuff really shouldn't be happening for the flagship tournament of the year, but as far as I know getting seven Editors packets done a month before the tournament wasn't feasible.

Seth: you can see in the first ACF Nationals Announcement post (updated) the dates on which every packet was submitted. Generally most packets came in the first week of April, around ICT.
Eric Mukherjee, after 2008 ACF Nationals wrote:I'm sure at least part of this is due to idiosyncracies in our playing style, but there were more than a handful of bonuses that were either easy enough that both teams would have thirtied or either team would get 10 or zero (The Radha and Butler bonus are example of the former, superfluidity the latter).
I'm not using this as a justification for some of the bonus inconsistency concerns, I'm just pointing out that the same exact observation occurred last year (when the science and arts people bailed). I'd be interested to see people's reactions to this set vs. last year's Nationals, since this year's complaints seem quite similar to those from last year.

It may be a good idea for next year's editing crew to have no other commitments after mid-February, so they have a month to write most of their questions and a month to edit the stuff that comes in without worrying about other tournaments. I think we can all agree that Matt was overconfident in his writing and editing abilities and his attempts to finish off 2 HSAPQ sets (neither of which he should have needed to finish in the first place), write a whole FICHTE tournament, and write/edit over half of ACF Nationals (while serving as tournament director) did not turn out as well as he, or anyone else, hoped.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by recfreq » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:28 pm

marnold wrote:
recfreq wrote:Concur that some of the bonuses from Stanford-Chicago's play-in game were ridiculous, and happened to fall to Stanford (who out tossuped Chicago).
This isn't true: by my scoresheet, both teams got 9 tossups. That said, I probably do agree with the more general point that the few really hard bonuses in the packet ended up with Stanford and we ended up with the packet's easiest bonus. I wouldn't go so far (admittedly, perhaps for obvious reasons) as to question the legitimacy of the match, but more consistent bonus difficulty would have been nice.

Anyway, in general I found the set pretty good. I'm not convinced that the method of pointing out individual questions is that useful an approach, so for now I'll just leave it at overall solid. I have nothing new to contribute to the logistics issues either: almost all the problems came from the buzzer shortage, and I'm sure Matt, WUSTL, and whoever is responsible for ACF Nats next year will learn from this fiasco and handle the situation better in the future.
woops my bad, I mistakenly thought B tree was gotten.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:17 am

recfreq wrote:While some of the problems were unavoidable, waiting 2.5 almost 3 hrs to start the 1st round was just unacceptable.
Exactly 2 hours (asked to show up at 8:45, round 1 started at 10:45) is really fucking bad, but it is not "2.5, almost 3." It is, in fact, 2. Once again I ask people to stop making up things that never happened.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:03 am

Matt Weiner wrote:
recfreq wrote:While some of the problems were unavoidable, waiting 2.5 almost 3 hrs to start the 1st round was just unacceptable.
Exactly 2 hours (asked to show up at 8:45, round 1 started at 10:45) is really fucking bad, but it is not "2.5, almost 3." It is, in fact, 2. Once again I ask people to stop making up things that never happened.
Perceptions may vary from room to room based on what rooms started later because they didn't think they had buzzers or power or a host of things.

It's important to keep things in perspective. Yaphe's concerns about bonus difficulty are probably founded; I had the same observation. But really, that's a problem that has plagued every tournament ever (to what degree is of course another issue) and if that's the most (save a few problem questions, maybe) that we have to complain about, the actual questions I wouldn't damn too much.

The logistics blew chunks for various reasons, and ultimate responsibility for logistics must necessarily lie with ACF. We can talk about white hot rage against Matt and barring him from eating ice cream sandwiches and tournament directing too all we want, but I guarantee you that if I were to TD (for example) I'd do at least as bad a job. What I mean to say here is that it's really, really important that we follow Gautam's path and start proposing constructive solutions for how to ensure that this never happens again. We may have lost teams from ACF due to the bullshit that happened at the tournament. We now have to play the endgame and make sure that we don't lose any more.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:08 am

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:I never said that the packets weren't done -- in the sense of "the requisite number of questions have been placed in randomized packets prior to the start of the day's games" -- prior to the tournament. But I wouldn't have thought that being "done" in that sense constituted much of an accomplishment for ACF nationals: that's setting the bar awfully low.
I will be happy to release the unedited packets along with the final ones so you can judge for yourself whether I Steinheicedly randomized a bunch of crap and called it a day, or in fact put a large amount of effort into this tournament (and I think Zeke put in more still, and the science editors performed valiantly).
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:04 am

Apropos to not a whole lot: Please do not throw and break other people's buzzers, especially if you then go on the Internet and castigate a tournament for not having enough buzzers. Whether you posted in this thread or not, the several (!) people who caused measurable destruction of property at this tournament after getting angry at an inanimate object for their negs should voluntarily pay up to WUSTL and any other affected buzzer-owners for it, lest they be sent a bill.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:35 am

More relevantly: Do not barge in to rooms and demand to read games on your packet without asking the TD first, especially if the TD is timing how long readers take in order to try to swap out the slower people and get the tournament back on track, and especially if you, yourself, are an incompetent or slow moderator.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by recfreq » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:45 am

In our room, we started well past eleven due to computer/questions/staff issues, but I suppose it just seemed worse due to the compounding of one delay after another. Anyways, I'm not saying that that caused me to hate the tournament, and I do remember that we left more or less on schedule on Sunday. Let's just make the start better next time; if the printer won't print, just put the sched on the board. I very much wanted to talk to you about this during the delay, but a lot of the staff were congregating outside the room, and I didn't know if you were talking about questions or what not.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:26 am

More relevantly: Do not barge in to rooms and demand to read games on your packet without asking the TD first, especially if the TD is timing how long readers take in order to try to swap out the slower people and get the tournament back on track, and especially if you, yourself, are an incompetent or slow moderator.
Well, I think we can all agree that you should not be asking (much less demanding) to read your packet if you suck balls at reading, especially if the tournament has already overcome unrelated delays. I'm not clear what this comment really refers to, however - it seems like it's pretty common for people to wander around during their bye rounds and see if anyone would like them to read a game - I don't see this as egregious behavior and the two times I personally read, the readers seemed happy to take a break and I'm positive the game moved faster than it would have. I don't really know that it's reasonable that, in order to offer to read your packet during a bye in round 3 or something, you need to sprint following round 2 to find the TD, whose location you probably don't even know, in order to receive permission to run back to a room and then read the game.

I guess I just don't see a problem with people who know they are qualified reading a game, especially if they wrote the packet or if they know the reader would appreciate it/reading quality would be improved by it. It surprises me that anyone would so abuse the sacred art of barging in the manner you described, but that's sort of a separate matter, and a someone reading a game at nationals should be able to respond to good reader requests, handle bad reader demands, and discern the difference. Really, I think that there's a perhaps excessive amount of polite deference involved in quality of reader issues - if I'm listening to somebody back alley-abort a packet by telling me about the poetry of Go-ethe at slothlike speeds, and Jerry or Andrew Hart or somebody is sitting in the corner counting ceiling tiles, I'm going to beg the reader to switch off rather than just let it fly at a national tournament. If teams felt that my reading job was butchering their tournament experience and told me so, I'd want to correct that rather than view it as an impugning of my personal worth, and I continue to not understand why people sometimes react that way.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by shlack » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:24 am

people wrote: ...Tintin...
Wait, how has Captain Haddock not been tossuped at Nats yet? Robert Flaxman is turning is his self-imposed quizbowl grave.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:10 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:More relevantly: Do not barge in to rooms and demand to read games on your packet without asking the TD first, especially if the TD is timing how long readers take in order to try to swap out the slower people and get the tournament back on track, and especially if you, yourself, are an incompetent or slow moderator.
This is a great thing to tell people before the tournament begins. How the hell is anyone to know that you're actually clocking people? People read during their bye rounds all the time without asking the TD; certainly as TD I would have no objection to any decent reader doing so without notifying me first.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:13 pm

"Decent" reader being the key. The post is not about you; the people in question know who they are.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by fleurdelivre » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:40 pm

I always defer to packet-writers requesting to guest read on byes. Only once have I regretted it (and in that match, subbed in another guest reader at the half). I don't always know who's a good reader or not, but it's generally worth trusting people to be self-aware about their abilities than being rude about it.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:38 pm

Due to a comedic lack of staff, ACF Fall West had entire teams moderating/scorekeeping in one room (at one point, in two rooms). Several teams said it was among the most enjoyable experiences of the day, and it did not noticeably delay the tournament as there were other delays that made the tournament run longer. Having me moderate in the hallway outside that room and giving teams the password to the packet as they came down to moderate made it much faster than it would have otherwise been.

I too will usually defer to a player who wants to read on a bye round; I believe this is customary. However, either when TDing or after checking with the TD to find out which rooms are the rate-limiting rooms, I will sometimes ask the player to replace a slower moderator rather than a faster moderator.
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