Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

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Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Progcon » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:14 pm

I am pleased to announce the 2019 Spartan Housewrite, a regular difficulty tournament to be available for mirrors starting January 2019. The tournament will be written and edited largely by members of the Michigan State Academic Competition Club, with assistance from Michigan's Conor Thompson and Saul Hankin and lastly, Joe Su, who has graciously decided to help with science and music and others who will be mentioned here. I will be the head on this set and you can direct any questions about difficulty, eligibility, mirroring, etc. to me. Jakob Myers will be in charge of question quality control.

Editing and writing staff:
Jakob Myers: History, Current Events and Geography
Conner Reynolds: Literature
Joe Su: Auditory Arts and some Science
Tony Incorvati: Physics, Chem
Briana Magin: Bio, Chem
Saul Hankin: Some Religion, Myth, Auditory Arts from the MCAT set. If you have seen these questions you can't play.
Harris Bunker: Philosophy, Social Science and Trash
Conor Thompson; Other Science, Religion
Erik Bubolz: Myth and Auditory Arts
Evan Suttell: Visual Fine Arts

If you wish to help out with this set—particularly to be a second set of eyes on literature or difficulty control, please email me.

Difficulty and Eligibility: This tournament will be regular difficulty and will aim to be of similar difficulty to past editions of Penn Bowl and 2017 ACF Regionals. “Canon-busting” answerlines will be minimized and this set will be written to have teams of all skill levels able to get most answerlines. No, this set will not be as hard as WAO II.

This will be a closed tournament, with the exception of an online playtesting mirror to be announced later. Teams must consist of players from one institution, which can be a high school, college, or any other well-defined educational institution. ”Chimera teams” will not be allowed. If there are special circumstances that you believe warrant an exception to the eligibility rules, such as an open mirror in smaller circuits such as Canada or UK, email me at harrisbunker AT gmail.com with your request. There will be an open Discord mirror of this set in December 2018 that is made to elicit feedback and criticism, so if you are no longer in school, this is your best chance to play. Please email me if you wish to use the set for NASAT tryouts or any other reason.

Distribution:

4/4 Literature
1/1 American
1/1 British
1/1 European
1/1 World, Ancient, Cross-category Lit
4/4 Science
1/1 Biology
1/1 Physics
0.75/0.75 Chemistry
0.5/0.5 Math 0.75/0.75 Other, split between Astro, CS, Earth, and miscellaneous
4/4 History
1/1 American
1/1 European
1.5/1.5 World
0.5/0.5 Other
3/3 Arts
1/1 Classical Music
1/1 Painting
0.5/0.5 Other Auditory
0.5/0.5 Other Visual
3.5/3.5 RMPSS
1/1 Religion
1/1 Social Science
1/1 Philosophy
0.5/0.5 Myth
1.5/1.5 Other
0.75/0.75 Geography
0.25/0.25 Other Academic
0.25/0.25 Current Events
0.25/0.25 Trash

This distribution is standard except for the .75/.75 chemistry because we felt that much of collegiate chemistry has significant overlap with physics and biology, so there will be some cross disciplinary questions there. We also felt that there are some under explored topics in the Other Science sub-distribution.

We are seeking mirrors in each of the following regions. The mirror fee will be $40 per non-house team. If you are interested in hosting a mirror, email me at harrisbunker AT gmail.com; if you are not in one of the listed regions or believe that your region could support multiple mirrors, we would still like to hear from you -- this is not an exhaustive list! Please know that I expect at least information on payment for the mirror within a month of your mirror’s completion. Checks for mirror fees can be made out MSU Academic Competition Club and will be mailed to an address I will supply.

List of Mirrors:
Northeast: New York University (Date TBD)
Mid-Atlantic: University of North Carolina (March 2 with announcement forthcoming)
Midwest: Michigan State University January 19
North:
Lower Midwest: Iowa (Date TBD in March)
Canada: Carleton University (Date TBD)
South Atlantic:
Southeast: University of Florida January 19 (date tentative)
South:
Southwest:
Northern California:
Southern California:
Northwest:
United Kingdom:
High School Only (VA): Thomas Jefferson HS May 4
The Internet [open] Discord December 22
Last edited by Progcon on Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:40 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, Janaury 2019)

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:37 pm

Progcon wrote: This distribution is standard except for the .75/.75 chemistry because we felt that much of collegiate chemistry has significant overlap with physics and biology, so there will be some cross disciplinary questions there. We also felt that there are some under explored topics in the Other Science sub-distribution.
Why isn't it that collegiate biology and physics have significant overlaps with chemistry?
It's not like there aren't unexplored topics in chemistry
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, Janaury 2019)

Post by heterodyne » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:59 pm

I would, generally, prefer for announced sets to have a designated literature editor. I'm also a bit confused by specifically pointing out that you will be writing the entirety of the philosophy and social science. Why is this true for you and not for the other editors? Frankly, given the quality of these categories in WAO 2, this act of personal claiming worries me a bit.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, Janaury 2019)

Post by Progcon » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:09 pm

heterodyne wrote:I would, generally, prefer for announced sets to have a designated literature editor. I'm also a bit confused by specifically pointing out that you will be writing the entirety of the philosophy and social science. Why is this true for you and not for the other editors? Frankly, given the quality of these categories in WAO 2, this act of personal claiming worries me a bit.
I do not quite understand your concern. To me, it makes very little difference in a housewrite between just having someone write the lit and then have someone look it over and have someone "edit the lit". I guess you could say that we don't have one person as the "lit editor" but I feel confident that we will produce a good product in the literature category. As I said before, if someone wants to help on literature, I'd be happy to have them and am willing to pay for quality work. Because of grad school app deadlines, the categories I will assuredly be writing are Phil/SS though I will definitely contribute elsewhere.

I am sorry that you didn't enjoy the flavor of those categories in WAO II. I spent a lot of time on them and it's important to be able to separate packet submission editing that I did there (on a harder tournament) to this endeavor. If you have a problem with a specific aspect of the questions from WAO II, please PM me or bring it up on the WAO II discussion board. I feel I can improve as an editor and writer and feel that my knowledge of philosophy and social science relative to other members of the MSU team means that I have a decent chance of producing quality content. My hope is that given the extended time to write questions and the Skype mirror, the questions will be of the highest quality.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Victor Prieto » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:01 pm

heterodyne wrote:I would, generally, prefer for announced sets to have a designated literature editor.
This is a good opportunity to find and initiate a new literature editor, or even more than one! Consider talking to people at schools which will host the set, and would have people that would be staffing and automatically not be playing.
Progcon wrote:This distribution is standard except for the .75/.75 chemistry because we felt that much of collegiate chemistry has significant overlap with physics and biology, so there will be some cross disciplinary questions there. We also felt that there are some under explored topics in the Other Science sub-distribution.
This is actually the exact reason I would use to defend keeping chemistry at 1/1. The fact that chemistry questions can take clues from multiple scientific fields is an advantage, to make your questions more gettable (and more interesting!) to your audience. As always, I am unsettled by the fact that chemistry seems to be targeted for downsizing first, when collegiate science players are much more likely to have studied chemistry than other science (besides the ubiquitous courses of multivariable calculus and differential equations).

Cross-disciplinary questions are great, but please don't reduce the core 3/3 in favor of the other science (if you want to have a small number of questions that are common link across all the categories of science, that's a more amenable idea). Looking over the conversion rates from ACF Regionals, chemistry tossups mostly hit above 90% conversion with several at 100%, while math, computer science, and earth science averaged around 84%. Of course, those numbers might indicate that the questions in those categories were too difficult at ACF Regionals, but I still question how expanding the other science sub-distributions is a good idea for your field.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by 100% Clean Comedian Dan Nainan » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:16 pm

Progcon wrote:
4/4 History
1/1 American
1/1 European
1.5/1.5 World
0.5/0.5 Other

This distribution is standard except for the .75/.75 chemistry because we felt that much of collegiate chemistry has significant overlap with physics and biology, so there will be some cross disciplinary questions there. We also felt that there are some under explored topics in the Other Science sub-distribution.
Amidst the reduced chemistry discussion, I think it's also worth noting that this history distribution is quite different than other regular difficulty tournaments of this and next year. For example:
WAO II (5/5):
1/1 US
1.5/1.5 Continental Europe
.5/.5 Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada,
1.5/1.5 World
.5/.5 Other

Penn Bowl 2017:
1/1 American
1/1 Continental Europe
1/1 Britain + Classics
1/1 World + Other

Sun God Invitational 2018:
1/1 US
1/1 Continental Europe
1/1 World
1/1 Classics, Commonwealth, Other

Personally I'm biased towards a Eurocentric distribution, but I can certainly see the argument for this distribution. I just figured it was worth pointing out since several others were discussing the Chemistry distribution.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by heterodyne » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:23 pm

The reason I made my point about literature editing is that I think there is a substantial difference between someone committing to "look over" questions and someone committing to edit questions. The latter implies a greater commitment of time and effort, and the former seems (to me) to suggest a mostly finished product being presented to those "looking over" it. If you are seeking an editor, you shouldn't have posted your announcement. If you aren't, then you are presumably capable of editing the category yourselves, somehow. Which would you say is the case?
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Victor Prieto » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:50 pm

heterodyne wrote:If you are seeking an editor, you shouldn't have posted your announcement. If you aren't, then you are presumably capable of editing the category yourselves, somehow. Which would you say is the case?
I think it's okay to post an announcement with an editing team short one or two editors, with an open call attached. The number one vote in the poll in the other thread is that quizbowl is too insular, after all. Instead of asking established editors until you find one that agrees to help, you use the opportunity to give experience to someone new by posting an open call. I will agree that a regular difficulty tournament without a dedicated literature editor isn't ideal, so maybe reword that sentence to "we're searching for an up-and-coming literature editor to join our team?"
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Charbroil » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:30 pm

Yeah, wasn't a major issue with WAO II the fact that no one was explicitly responsible for religion, myth, and trash? Conor, you specifically wrote in the discussion thread for that tournament:
The WAO II thread wrote:Like, who thought it was a good idea to take 3/3 of the distribution and just decide it would be "collaborative"?
Given your comment, it's a little surprising that you've now taken 4/4 of the distribution and essentially decided that it will be collaborative.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that a team that hasn't produced a college housewrite in the past will now be doing one this upcoming year. That said, I did want to point out this contradiction between your current plans and the recent experiences of several people on the editing team.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Beast Mode » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:59 pm

Progcon wrote:The tournament will be written...with assistance from...Saul Hankin...

Editing and writing staff:
...
Saul Hankin: Some Religion, Myth, Auditory Arts from the MCAT set. If you have seen these questions you can't play.
...
More on this:

When I was last in New York, I confirmed once and for all with Ben Zhang that the Michigan/Columbia Academic Tournament [MCAT] won't be happening, ever. I therefore donated the 30/30 I wrote for MCAT to this tournament for the editors to use as they will. (This will be the extent of my contribution to the set.) All the Michiganders and most of the Columbians who've seen these questions have already graduated, or will be graduating this year. Before donating my questions, I confirmed with each Columbian who's seen them and will still be in school next year that they're okay sitting this tournament out.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by An Economic Ignoramus » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:00 pm

The modification to a more standard history distribution was definitely intentional; the prevalence of Europe and especially Britain in normal history distros is in my opinion largely unjustified. Hopefully once it's demonstrated that 1.5/1.5 World history is perfectly viable at regular difficulty more tournaments will begin adopting a similar distributional philosophy.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by CPiGuy » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:07 pm

Hi! I'm excited to be working with MSU on this set. To address some of the people's concerns:
heterodyne wrote:I would, generally, prefer for announced sets to have a designated literature editor. I'm also a bit confused by specifically pointing out that you will be writing the entirety of the philosophy and social science. Why is this true for you and not for the other editors? Frankly, given the quality of these categories in WAO 2, this act of personal claiming worries me a bit.
Conner Reynolds will be overseeing literature writing and editing that category. The first post has been edited to reflect this, and also to remove the personal claiming -- that was an artifact of Harris's being the one to write the post. (He will probably still write most of that category, but it's by no means set in stone.)

More broadly, I'm sympathetic to Harris's point that writing and editing are less different in housewrites than packet-sub tournaments, but that's probably a discussion for its own dedicated thread so I won't go on about it here.
people wrote:stuff about chemistry
At least one other tournament this or last year (I don't remember which one) had 1.2 Physics and 0.8 Chemistry, so this isn't really a revolutionary change. It's also literally 4/4 across the entire set.
Charbroil wrote:Yeah, wasn't a major issue with WAO II the fact that no one was explicitly responsible for religion, myth, and trash? Conor, you specifically wrote in the discussion thread for that tournament:
The WAO II thread wrote:Like, who thought it was a good idea to take 3/3 of the distribution and just decide it would be "collaborative"?
This is correct; as noted above Conner's going to be doing lit and that was just left out of the announcement.

More pertinently, the biggest issue with WAO II was that stuff didn't get done on time, and quality suffered. We're planning on having a playtesting mirror at least a month before the first time the set is run, plus it's not packet submission, plus we're already producing questions more than 9 months in advance. I hope we can produce a set as cool and interesting as WAO 2 without any of the systematic issues that marred it.

(Also, since there was confusion about this on the Discord, nobody else at Michigan is involved with producing the set right now. This is MSU's endeavor, plus me and Joe.)

That's all I have for now -- if anyone has any questions or concerns about the set, I'd love to help you out and answer them.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Charbroil » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:31 pm

Glad to see so much detailed information about who's going to be responsible for each category. Thanks for addressing everyone's concerns!

Just one more question:
CPiGuy wrote: More pertinently, the biggest issue with WAO II was that stuff didn't get done on time, and quality suffered.
Wasn't a big part of this because the set didn't have a head editor? In fact, Harris specifically said:
Harris Bunker, in the WAO II thread wrote:I will never work on another set without a head editor
In that context, who is head editing this set?
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Progcon » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:46 pm

Charbroil wrote:Glad to see so much detailed information about who's going to be responsible for each category. Thanks for addressing everyone's concerns!

Just one more question:
CPiGuy wrote: More pertinently, the biggest issue with WAO II was that stuff didn't get done on time, and quality suffered.
Wasn't a big part of this because the set didn't have a head editor? In fact, Harris specifically said:
Harris Bunker, in the WAO II thread wrote:I will never work on another set without a head editor
In that context, who is head editing this set?
I'm the head on this specific set. I'm only editing a few categories so I can 1) deal with logistical things like sending out the set, communicating with teams, handling payment, etc. 2) deal with what will probably be a lot of grad applications. Any specific questions can be directed to me by PM or email.

I apologize for not listing info on literature in the OP. That was an oversight.

I appreciate all the comments and feedback on the distribution, but I think it is more than okay for a regular season tournament to experiment with the distribution a little bit. The distribution has been static for a long time, and I think we can all agree that more data on what works and doesn't work is not a bad thing. The distribution is not some unbreakable law of nature or whatever. The people on this set have all agreed to this distribution, and teams can expect a quality product.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Progcon » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:29 pm

Just an update on this set: It is more than 50% written. Nour from Wright State has been brought on as a lit and religion writer and has done a great job so far. However, we are looking for an experienced science editor to help out with physics and chemistry (especially physics). If you would like to help, PM or email me and we can discuss compensation.

Also, we still need mirror sites for this. As of this moment, I anticipate the online mirror will be the weekend of Dec. 15-16 and the first in-person mirror will be on January 19, 2019. Please reach out to me ASAP if you would like to mirror the set especially if you can do on 1/26.

Please contact me with any other questions you may have.
Last edited by Progcon on Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Milhouse » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:48 pm

Progcon wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:29 pm
the first in-person mirror will be on January 26, 2019.
This is the day of ACF Regionals.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Progcon » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:49 pm

Milhouse wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:48 pm
Progcon wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:29 pm
the first in-person mirror will be on January 26, 2019.
This is the day of ACF Regionals.
This has been corrected. Thanks. I knew there was some reason I hadn't picked a date in January.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Progcon » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:02 pm

Several mirrors were added to the announcement. NYU and Toronto are still picking a date for their regions. I'd like to hear from people from the Northern Plains or Minnesota or Wisconsin for a second Midwest mirror out there, and I'd also like there to be mirrors in the South, UK, Plains and somewhere in California. I have emailed teams some teams in these regions, but I would appreciate it if club leaders emailed me about who will host in those regions. The set can be mirrored from January to early March.

Additionally, Eric Mukherjee has graciously stepped up to help with science writing and editing. As of writing this post, the set is 80 percent written which is well-within our timeframe.
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Re: Spartan Housewrite (Regular difficulty, January 2019)

Post by Progcon » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:45 pm

Iowa has decided to mirror the set in March so this will serve as the Plains + Upper Midwest mirror and the Canada mirror will take place at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON.

Additionally, registration for the MSU site is now open. See its announcement.
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