2012 NAC

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Ithaca Cricket Ump
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Re: 2012 NAC (or, Part 1 of Why I Staffed the DC Phase)

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:42 pm

My one-fiftieth of a dollar on what Sam said about the DC portion of the NAC, from the perspective of a recruited-at-the-last-possible-moment mercenary staffer follows. BTW, Sam, if you want to specifically discuss the questions from the playoff rounds that should be okay (in fact, I‘m going to do so below)…I was given to understand that while the preliminary round questions are the same at all sites (and therefore shouldn‘t be discussed till the Chicago phase is over), the playoff questions are different at each site. Also, I very much appreciate your comments regarding my role at the tournament and am glad that some people noticed that I was trying, as much as I could, to serve as a buffer between Chip and the attending teams and make the tournament as enjoyable and fair as possible for those teams, to the extent of playing Ardsley B in my room in a scrimmage (ended by fire alarm at halftime :/) on questions I hadn’t seen, so that they could get the sixth game that they paid for in despite the fact that their 0-5 opponents decided to sightsee and bail on the last prelim match (which especially sucked considering that Ardsley B had a playoff berth on the line in that last match). As much as possible, I tried to moderate in this tournament in the same manner I did at Atlanta…in an unbiased, no-extraneous-commentary-during-the-game or “I saw you on Jeopardy!” Beallish commentary to players, fashion where we got through the games in a timely and enjoyable manner. Only the players who I moderated for can say if I really succeeded at this, so they’d be the people to ask.

Here, in a nutshell, are the four reasons I staffed this tournament (for the people who have contacted me privately and have, in most cases politely, asked me why the hell I would consider doing such a thing):

1. Brooks Sanders, a close friend and colleague of mine, asked me to do so as a personal favor. (Apparently, last year’s quiz bowl-host contest winner from DC who was supposed to moderate fell ill at the last moment, Chip asked Brooks for advice, and Brooks recommended me.) I didn’t have a whole heck of a lot else planned for the weekend and enjoy moderating quiz bowl tournaments, and Arlington, Virginia is right on the edge of the distance that I will drive to moderate. Plus, on the way I dropped my wife and kids off in southern Pennsylvania and they were able to visit for the weekend with family members of hers that they hadn’t seen in forever. I didn’t staff New Orleans and will not staff Chicago.

2. Without going into specific detail, I’ll say that I was given quite a few more reasons to staff this tournament during the Thursday afternoon phone conversation, all of which had the pictures of Presidents and other prominent figures from early American history on them. All of my expenses were covered on top of that, which, btw, is practically unheard-of for any NAC staffer that is not currently married to Chip Beall. (They are generally paid a stipend, unlike at other national tournaments, but he generally does not pay travel or lodging expenses for his staff, and would probably not have done so for me if he hadn’t been desperate. Similarly, I think he was nicer and more social to me this weekend than he generally is with people for the reason that he knows that I bailed his butt out of a tough situation.) Does that make me a mercenary, even a whore, you might ask? Certainly, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Thanks at least in part to this tournament, my four young children will now be enjoying their first-ever Disney cruise this summer, and their opinions of Daddy, when it comes down to it, are really the only ones I care about. So I will freely admit that $$$$ had something to do with my attendance at this tournament. As the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase used to opine on countless WWF broadcasts, everybody has a price, and NAC met mine.

Look, next year, if the dates work out, I am fully planning to moderate at every major national tournament - NAQT HSNCT, PACE NSC, National History Bee and Bowl (Dave Madden, if you’re reading this, please drop me a line at scottblish@gmail.com so we can discuss some NHBB matters - for one thing, I’d like to help set up an upstate NY qualifier for next year as well as moderate at your national finals), HSAPQ NASAT (Matt Weiner, same thing…there’s a few things I’d like to discuss with you regarding questions for our upstate tournaments in more detail than we were able to do when we talked in Atlanta)….and NAC. The first four, I do or will do out of love for quiz bowl, and possibly expenses. The NAC…slightly different story, especially after a few things I saw in DC this weekend that I will deal with in Part 2 of this screed.

3. I had written some of the questions used in this year’s tournament. In fact, if you heard a question in the DC playoff phase (Chip told me, without saying why, that he didn’t use any of my stuff in the preliminary rounds) that sounded even vaguely pyramidal, it’s about 80-90% likely it was one of mine…although, when I saw them in their final form, a decent percentage of them had been edited almost to the point that they were unrecognizable.

Some of the ones that I was responsible for (not an exclusive list, since I don’t have a copy of the question sets) at least the original forms of were the playoff questions on (it seems upon looking at the list that they put most of the trashier stuff I wrote at this site rather than the other 2, for some reason…the stuff I submitted that I didn‘t see used in DC and that will be presumably used at other sites was much more academic, as a rule):
- The Death of Ivan Ilyich
- Fyodor Dostoevsky
- Claude Debussy (the one with the lead-in clue about how he was on the French 20-franc banknote before France converted to the Euro)
- Poland (with the lead-in on the Jasna Gora Monastery)
- the question used in the final on Japanese-American internment camps
- the “Losers” bonus in the final - although the 15-point part that High Tech missed about Cy Young having the most career pitcher losses wasn’t my original query…it was originally a 20-point part reading “within 10%, what is the major league record for career pitcher losses”?
- “The Clouds” (semifinal question)
- Ayatollah Khamenei (semifinals)
- Robert Burns
- Falkland Islands (Malvinas) War
- kanji
- Pre-Raphaelite movement
- Kublai Khan (final)
- surfactants (semifinal)
- the warmup round question on prostitutes…the full original version of that one, btw, was “The four main female characters in the 1982 film Doctor Detroit, Kitty Warren in a play by George Bernard Shaw, the five women who appear in a Picasso painting set in Avignon and, according to one controversial public figure, a Georgetown Law student named Sandra Fluke, all share or allegedly share what profession?”
- Ivanhoe
- kiss (used in the final) - “Robert Burns wrote a poem about a “fond” one of these. The longest one in movie history is three minutes and twenty-four seconds, and is found in the 2010 film Elena Undone. It is the action that immediately precedes the movie line, “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.“ Sculptures by Brancusi and Rodin feature what action, as well a prominent painting by Gustav Klimt?”
- Rochester Royals / Syracuse Nats NBA question, used in the middle school final. BTW, to the guy who protested that St. Louis wasn’t accepted…when the question leadin includes the phrase “1951 NBA Champions”, that automatically eliminates the St. Louis Hawks, who won their only title in 1957. Rochester, at that point, was the only acceptable correct answer until the clues on Syracuse came in a second or two later, and in fact the moderator was instructed to only accept “Rochester” or “Rochester Royals” until he said “1955” (the year the Nats won the NBA title).
- Tchaikovsky (semifinal)
- a bonus round tossup on M*A*S*H that would have been used in the final but wasn’t gotten to: “ In a strange coincidence, the two actors who played the same character in this franchise both died of heart attacks within 24 hours of each other in 1986. One major character in the movie, Duke Forrest, never appears at all on the television show, and another important film character, Oliver Jones, mysteriously disappears after only four episodes of the television series. A mock funeral for a dentist in the film is the only occasion on which we ever hear the lyrics to its famous theme song. What is this franchise based on a novel by Richard Hooker that lasted eight years longer on television than the event it portrays?”
- another unused bonus-round tossup on agnosticism: “A common bumper sticker claiming that the driver is a “militant” one of these exclaims, “I don’t know and you don’t either”. This term was coined in a Metaphysical Society speech by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1869, but precursors of the philosophy behind it are found in the work of Hume, Kierkegaard and Kant. What is this term, from the Greek for “without knowledge”, which posits that the existence or non-existence of a deity is unprovable or unknowable?”
- Mossad (semifinal)…which was edited to make the Stuxnet worm the lead-in clue, and Jason Russell didn’t have the word “Stuxnet” completely out of his mouth in the Ardsley-High Tech semifinal before 8 fingers vigorously hit buzzers, all waiting to answer “Mossad”. The original lead-in as I wrote it was “A technical guru named David Peled in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six book and video game series is a member of this organization”, which while trashy was at least not the giveaway that “Stuxnet” was.
- United Nations Secretary-General (final)
- View of Delft (semifinal)
- the early-playoff-round tossup on “Guernica” that had the lead-in on the description of it in Our Dumb World. (“accurately depicts the brutal assault on a group of flat-faced weirdos by an army of vicious triangles”)
- and finally, Betty White. (used in the semifinal) They requested trash, so I figured I’d at least try to give them well-constructed trash: “She ranks second all-time to LeVar Burton in number of Winner’s Circle wins on the Dick Clark Pyramid gameshows. She is also the only person to have appeared on all four versions of Password, which is not too surprising since she is the widow of the man who was the original host of that show, Allen Ludden. Name this actress who turned 90 in 2012, a former “Golden Girl” who is also the oldest person to ever guest host Saturday Night Live.”

Would many of these have passed muster at HSNCT or NSC? Almost certainly not. But for the tournament they were actually being used in, I’d like to think they represent at least a small step forward. Ryan Rosenberg and Grace Liu, who certainly would have voiced their opinions to me if they thought the questions completely sucked and who of course are welcome to weigh in here with their impressions, didn’t seem to have a problem with them. As Sam said, though, an unacceptably-large percentage of the questions were still one-or-two line speed checks, though I will say that for the most part they were confined to the early warm-up (5 or 10 point) rounds. None of those, however, were mine. I was also told that Chip, rather than Jason Russell, did most of the editing of my questions, which in a perfect world I wouldn’t have wished for, but once Chip’s check cleared (which it did), they’re his questions to do what he wants to with.

I had nothing to do with any of the audio, visual or mathematics questions - in fact, I was specifically instructed not to write any questions on mathematics or Norse mythology…yeah, I know…I decided I‘d really rather not know and decided not to ask. Although as it turns out maybe I should’ve had a lot to do with the latter, since they were the subjects of the two major protests of the tournament, both of which I was asked to “rule“ on, although in Irvington‘s case my ruling was not accepted by Beall, and the reason that Irvington lost that protest was not because their protest was incorrect - in fact, I ruled in their favor on the substance of the question since their point was 100% valid - but because Beall screwed up logistically in not properly adjudicating the protest before the teams were allowed to leave the room and the result was finalized. (Full disclosure: the reason I was asked to rule on them is because I have mathematics degrees - bachelor’s from Cornell, master’s from Flinders University of South Australia - and was therefore really the only staff member present at the time competent to rule on the facts of the questions themselves, although Ariel Schneider has the proper science and math background where she could have made a competent ruling if it had been brought to her.) I’ll talk more about this in an upcoming post (since I really have to go get some lunch first). The other one, which was lodged by High Tech B, I will not go into detail on since it is a preliminary round question that will be used next weekend in Chicago (with my recommendations for acceptable alternate answers appended to it), but it concerned an acceptable alternate answer to a pyramidal non-computation calculus question that I immediately ruled in their favor on since they were indisputably correct, and in this case, for whatever reason, Chip approved my ruling despite the fact that he would reject the later one involving Irvington. BTW, something many of you might find humorous is that Chip specifically instructs people who write for him to never use the word “namesake” in a question, for the sole reason that he thinks NAQT and PACE NSC overuse the word. I wish I was kidding.

4. Ithaca High School sent 2 teams to this tournament and, being friends with the guys (and girl) on the team, I wanted to see how they’d fare. After Ithaca A finished at 3-3 and out of the playoffs, I heard them muttering that they should have attended NAQT HSNCT (which they qualified for) since the questions suited them better (I told ya, guys ;)), and in future NAQT I think will be their national tournament and format of choice, although since there are tournaments up here that offer free NAC entry to the winners I think they’d come back to NAC so long as they didn’t have to pay for it. Also, Cooperstown, who won a tournament that Brooks and I staffed this winter, unexpectedly showed up and finished a very creditable 3-3 despite the fact that Ithaca A would’ve toasted them and swallowed them whole on a HSAPQ or NAQT set. Again, this speaks to the completely-fair assertion that NAC questions are not a good predictor of who would do better on a “real quiz bowl” set. They’re not -exactly- two different games, but they’re close. The correlation coefficient is much closer to 0 than it should be, let’s just say, although it’s also not negative.

5. Morbid curiosity. Before this weekend, I had never actually met Chip Beall and had never been to an NAC (my high school team, Thomas Edison from Elmira Heights, NY, attended the 1987 and 1988 ASCN tournaments and made the quarterfinals of the latter, where we went out by 5 points to the eventual champions Savannah (MO), and qualified and intended to attend the 1989 NAC, but our school board was being a sack of ahems and wouldn‘t allow us to go), and I wanted to get a firsthand view of what this tournament was really all about. Part 2 of this overly-long post will contain those more detailed impressions and complaints.

Lunch time. I'll have Part 2 coming up later, probably sometime today.

--Scott
Scott M. Blish
Cheval, FL
Cornell 1990-92, 1997
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Scaled Flowerpiercer
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:34 pm

So, as it has been confirmed that this question won't be replayed, the Irvington protest:

Question: "If a polygon has 6 faces and 8 vertices, how many edges does it have?" (Answer: 12)
The question was answered by a member of Watson Chapel before I could reach the buzzer, as the many things wrong with the question made it rather hard to work through - thus Watson Chapel ended 15 points ahead of Irvington, and this was a 15 point question.

Now, the first protest on this question, after I totally forgot about the confusion caused by polygon and I think if anything wrote it off as my own mistake for some reason, was that the object in question was not specified as being convex, and the Euler Characteristic is only necessarily 2 for a convex polyhedron, so if it is not convex v - e + f = 2 cannot be used. This protest, according to procedure, was filed at the end of the quarter, and it was adjudicated only by those officials who were in the room (Chip, Brick, and female-moderator-whom-I-forget-the-name-of). That protest was shot down (part of the argument against was "a non-convex 6 face polyhedron would need to be really bizarre / involve imaginary geometry / I can't visualize one" (somewhat legit I guess) and the other argument of "you should just assume its not that because that would be too hard to ask about"). Then it was ruled as a loss for Irvington and some middle schoolers came in to playoff the JNAC champtionsip.

We then used our allotted "Supreme Court" appeal - this notably would involve everyone making a decision, including Scott who actual knows things about math - on the more obvious protest after talking to some people who all agreed that it was a very legitimate argument and thought we were in the right (including one coach of Watson Chapel, who was very nice about the whole thing). We protested that the question said polygon when it clearly must be discussing a polyhedron, and despite the fact that Chip Beall's immediate response was (paraphrasing) that "there shouldn't even be an argument, the question is clearly wrong/ambiguous/confusing and should be thrown out and replaced!" the final judgment was against us partially because as Jason Russell said "can you expect us to ask those teams to come down from their seats now that they are up there?" (notably we attempted to deliver the super protest as quickly as possible, though it is hard when every NAC official is adjudicating the JNAC match).

Throwing out the question would have caused a tie game and we would have entered sudden death, but the question stood.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Hannibal » Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:03 pm

The horrors of :chip: land. While the questions were not great (to put it nicely) at JNAC last year, we had nothing this bad.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Ben Dillon » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:42 pm

Wow. The very purpose of the "Supreme Court appeal" is to correct grave injustices. And the purpose was defeated because it would be too much trouble to get at the truth of the situation and possibly reassemble the teams involved? How disheartening.

For me, this would have been simple as a judge. The question incorrectly implies two dimensions, therefore it is faulty. No amount of "you should have been psychic to figure out that, not only were we talking about three dimensions, but a convex polyhedron to boot" makes up for that.

Allow me to relay a similar situation from NAC:

In 2001, in one of our preliminary matches against a Kentucky team, there was a dispute about the difference between "longboats" and "longships" that was the deciding factor. The game ended in our favor and Kentucky protested that the two answers were equivalent. Chip did the research himself and ruled in their favor. My players wanted to counter the protest, but I decided against it and took the loss out of sportsmanship. Nearly a month after the tournament, he sent me email saying that he had researched it further and was reversing his ruling. He apologized profusely for the fact that the restored win would have qualified us for playoffs.

Perhaps your team will also be ex post facto beneficiaries?
Ben Dillon, Saint Joseph HS

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as
six impossible things before breakfast!"

Ithaca Cricket Ump
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Re: 2012 NAC (PART 2 of WHY I STAFFED THE DC PHASE)

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:15 am

The promised Part 2. Let’s start with an extremely shady piece of “ethical” advice that I was given by Chip Beall:

On day 1, I noticed that I was scheduled to moderate one of Ithaca A's games. I was in a game room with Chip at the time (he had me roving from room to room for most of the tournament), and asked him whether he thought I should recuse myself from the game since I know and am friends with the Ithaca players and coaches, and have moderated for them at other tournaments throughout the year. His response was that I should just not tell the other team that any conflict potentially existed!!!.... What???? How is THAT the answer you come up with on an ethical question like this if you're the TD of a national competition of any sort?!? So I did what I thought was right when game time came up....I ignored him. When both teams were seated for the match (not in a room with Chip, although I would‘ve done the same thing even if it had been), I turned to Ithaca's opponents and gave the following spiel..."Okay, there needs to be a disclaimer before this match starts. My name is Scott Blish, and I am from Ithaca, New York. You'll notice that your opponents over there are also from a place called Ithaca. It's the same place. I have lived there for 15 of the last 20 years of my life, I know these guys and girls and their coaches, and they qualified for this tournament from a tournament for which I am head moderator. In other words, we ain't strangers. I pledge to you that this will not affect my ability to be fair and impartial as a moderator and judge in this match. I am telling you this to avoid even the appearance of impropriety on my part. However, if you have any doubts as to the propriety or the ethics of my reading this match, Ernie Anderson, who is the scorekeeper for this match, will be happy to step in and switch places with me, and there will be no hard feelings whatsoever on my part. That said, it's your call." They thanked me for alerting them to the situation and said that they had no problem with my moderating the match, and the rest of the match went off without any hitches. I would’ve done the same thing with Ithaca B and Cooperstown, but did not work any matches involving them in the tournament. In retrospect, I should have just not mentioned the potential conflict to Chip at all, and just went ahead and did what I did. As a very wise man once said, it is far easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

The most positive thing about working this tournament for me is probably that, with the exception of Chip himself, I got along very well with all of the tournament staff. And I shouldn’t even really say that, because Chip was (unusually, from all accounts) nice to me as well, and in fact even went out of his way to compliment my moderating on a couple of occasions. Whether or not he was serious or just buttering me up I don’t know. Ernie Anderson, Ariel Schneider, Brick Barrientos and Jason Russell are all quality people whom I'm glad I got to know over the weekend, and I've of course known Brooks and Tina Sanders for years and count them among my closest friends. I actually have a theory as to why, to paraphrase the famous saying, “Chip is Chip” now that I’ve met him, but it’s not something that I’m willing to share in a public forum even though I’m about 80% sure I’ve got him pegged. If anyone’s interested in my take on this subject, PM me and I’ll tell you what I think.

Now for the 2-ton elephant in the room….the Irvington protest. The cluster-you-know-what that resulted due to that protest is due to one overriding factor: THE PROTEST WAS NOT DEALT WITH AND RESOLVED AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN -BEFORE- WATSON CHAPEL WAS DECLARED THE WINNER, and it was not the fault of Irvington that it was not dealt with in a timely manner. Jason and I were working the Ardsley-High Tech semifinal when all this was going on (Jason as moderator, me as scorekeeper), and in fact this same question was protested by an Ardsley player in our room (possibly Ryan, but I don’t remember who exactly). When I heard the word “protest”, I said “noted, we’ll move on and rule on it if it matters”, and the game continued. In the event, High Tech won 495-340, so the protest was moot and wasn’t dealt with in our room, although after I got a look at the question in a period break I whispered to Jason that Ardsley was going to win that protest if it was adjudicated. The next match (only Chip’s room was running for the JNAC and NAC title games) was the JNAC title game. The protest had been lodged by Irvington during their game, but I was still ignorant of the fact that it had been, and even more ignorant of the fact that it would decide a berth in the title game. I watched the entire JNAC title game without having the slightest idea that anything was wrong. The reason why it was important that I should know this was that Ariel Schneider and myself were the only 2 members of this tournament’s staff who were competent to rule on a protest regarding a mathematics question (I have a graduate degree in mathematics and Ariel is a biological scientist who has taken enough college-level mathematics to be a competent judge in these issues as well), and AT THE TIME THE PROTEST WAS MADE, neither of us were consulted or, indeed, were even aware that a protest had been made and had not been satisfactorily resolved. So the JNAC final finishes, the trophy is awarded, pictures are taken of proud middle schoolers and parents, and Watson Chapel sits down to play in the DC final. At THIS POINT, I am informed that Irvington still has a protest on the “polygon/polyhedron” question pending, and that my opinion is being sought. Yeah…nice timing. I tell Chip and Jason that the question, as written, is completely nonsensical and that the question should be tossed. Somewhat surprisingly to me, Chip immediately AGREES with me on this. I also told them that, in the interest of fairness, the Watson Chapel coach should be involved in this process as well (only Irvington people were in the general vicinity at the time, as Watson Chapel’s players were already on the panel.) He was nowhere to be seen at this point. I was not privy to the conversation that went on between them after that, as I had to return to my original game room to retrieve my cellphone which I had plugged into the wall to recharge and forgot to bring with me (I had already checked out and was leaving directly following the final). After retrieving the phone and calling my wife to give her an ETA on my arrival home, I return to see that my advice (to throw out the question and play an overtime) has been disregarded/overruled and Watson Chapel is about to play the final against High Tech. My theory is that Chip has had to deal with so many protests over the years due to badly-written and/or ambiguous questions (there was a bonus in one of the rounds entitled “Why?”, every question in which started with the word “why” and was subject to various, potentially-correct, interpretations…in other words, a protest just waiting to happen), that his attitude sours even more than usual when he hears the word. When he moderates or judges a game, his standard response to hearing the word “protest” from a player is to snap at them, “Now is NOT the time for a protest!” Um…excuse me? Yeah, it really is. Maybe not to ADJUDICATE it, but you damn well better note it and resolve it before you end the game if it would possibly change the winner, especially if a team’s tournament life is on the line. And lose the attitude while you’re at it. These are kids, and pretty damn remarkable ones at that who have full and productive lives, maybe even greatness, ahead of them. These kids did not come all this way to play in a national quiz bowl tournament to be barked at by you. You can disagree with people without biting their heads off in the process. One of the protests he dealt with in this way (I personally witnessed this response four times) was in a middle school game and resulted in the sixth- or seventh-grade girl who had the temerity to dare to register a protest being, if not nearly reduced to tears, greatly upset at being spoken to in that manner. I have a daughter who is about that age…if that had been my daughter on the receiving end, there would have been an extremely angry, extremely large dad in the offender’s face before he got the last word out of his mouth, asking him at approximately 125 decibels just who the hell he thinks he is. I saw a lot of things that I would have done differently if I had been in charge of this tournament from a logistical and question standpoint, but that incident on the last day really soured me on the whole experience.

My conclusion, after having had a day and a half to reflect? I feel sort of the same way about staffing NAC that David Foster Wallace felt about going on a cruise…it’s a supposedly-fun thing that I’ll most likely never do again. There are few things in the world that I find more enjoyable than being around quiz bowl and quiz bowl people, moderating quiz bowl tournaments, and even playing on the rare occasions when I get the chance. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it’s the thing in life that I look most forward to doing that doesn’t involve my wife, children and family, with the possible exception of reffing soccer and umpiring cricket. But I think that the limited amount of time that I have to do this activity that I love is much better spent in higher-quality tournaments, in higher-quality environments, and without the baggage that I now see firsthand that this tournament carries along with it. Note that I didn’t say anything about higher-quality PEOPLE, because, honestly, as people there’s nothing bad at all to be said about Ariel, Brick, Ernie, Jason, Brooks and Tina…in fact, Ariel will probably be coming up from Princeton to help moderate a few of our tournaments next year. But the PRODUCT is flawed, and just from what I saw this weekend I am forced to come to the conclusion that Chip thinks that “ethics” is defined as “an Englith cricket team from a county next to Thuffolk that uthed to be really good in the eightieth”.

While I was writing this tonight, I had my 50,000-song iTunes play list on shuffle in the background, and a half hour or so ago, the song “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” by the Charlie Daniels Band popped up and started playing, which was a huge country chart hit and a lesser-but-still-significant hit on the pop charts circa 1980. When I heard the chorus of the song, I realized that it summed up better than I could the question that Chip seems to favor in so many of his questions and that this two-part monstrosity has been attempting to answer…why?

“Well I couldn’t believe it / I just had to find out for myself
And I couldn’t conceive it / ‘Cause I never would listen to no one else
And I couldn’t believe it / I just had to find out for myself
That there’s some things in this world you just can’t explain.”

I hope that this is been at least somewhat enlightening for those of you who made it this far.

--Scott
Scott M. Blish
Cheval, FL
Cornell 1990-92, 1997
Tournament Director, BrainBusters Fall
HSNCT moderator 2012-, MSNCT 2013-, SSNCT 2014-, PACE NSC 2013-, NHBB Nationals 2014-

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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by etchdulac » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:48 am

Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:Note that I didn’t say anything about higher-quality PEOPLE, because, honestly, as people there’s nothing bad at all to be said about Ariel, Brick, Ernie, Jason, Brooks and Tina
Going 20 years back, the problem was certainly not to do with Ernie Anderson or Brick Barrientos (or for that matter, Mike Mastandrea), who gave consistently positive impressions of themselves. The other folks you list are newer, but it does not surprise me that the enduring problem is Chip.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:37 am

It should be noted for the sake of fairness regarding the protest that Irvington may have been slightly at fault because the initial protest after the game was slightly different from the second protest (though the "magnitude of wrongness" of the question shouldn't matter, the convex issue was as much an error in the question as the polygon/polyhedron question, but I think in my confusion I somehow wrote off the latter confusion as my own fault and protested only the first issue) and also the second issue, though we were prepared rather in time, was very difficult to protest when every staffer was behind the desk of the JNAC game) also when we spoke to the Watson Chapel coach before the (2nd) protest he seemed perfectly fine with its being lodged, but I don't believe he was consulted by the "panel" at any point after that.

Though I guess the quickest answer to what "should have been done" is that Scott, with his math knowledge (or if it hadn't been math, any person with authority on the matter being protested), should have been consulted after the initial protest and no second protest would have been necessary...even at local tournaments protest procedure is to consult a central protesting authority, not just to let the people in the room come to a conclusion.

Anyway, I think that the story of the protest has been told and its rather clear that it was not handled very well.

I also agree with Scott's conclusion regarding the people of the tournament - though there were a couple of times where as moderators they were not perfect, all of the other moderators in general contributed more to making the tournament more tolerable than they did to making the product the awful thing it is/was.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Maxwell's Sexual Relations » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:08 pm

etchdulac wrote:
Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:Note that I didn’t say anything about higher-quality PEOPLE, because, honestly, as people there’s nothing bad at all to be said about Ariel, Brick, Ernie, Jason, Brooks and Tina
Going 20 years back, the problem was certainly not to do with Ernie Anderson or Brick Barrientos (or for that matter, Mike Mastandrea), who gave consistently positive impressions of themselves. The other folks you list are newer, but it does not surprise me that the enduring problem is Chip.
I feel this is inaccurate particularly when considering Tom Egan's report from the 2005 NAC.
In the second match discussed in his report, the following was documented about the response by the game officials after a particular question:
“Name the four former presidents not buried in the United States”. (for those not immediately sure what the question was asking, the answer was “Ford, Carter, Bush, and Clinton”). I was mortified and embarrassed as a member of the quiz bowl community that such a question would be asked at any level, especially in a tournament professing to be a national tournament. The whooping by the team which answered the question correctly was uncalled for ... <sic> The team that did not answer the question looked utterly defeated. The situation was in no way helped by the snickering by the host and judge.
later in that same match:
a question (asked) for the name which the Republican Party used in the election of 1864. When no team could answer “Union”, the host responded “Our Rich Fat-Cat Friends.....I’m a Democrat and proud of it”. Irrelevant of political affiliation, these comments were unnecessary, and would not have been any less offensive if the politics were reversed.
The same moderator, in the third match Egan witnessed, went even further:
The most grossly unprofessional act that I witnessed was in this round. After a pop music question, the host joked about Whitney Houston, and then made a gesture that implied sucking on a crack pipe; further joking about Bobby Brown. It was utterly tasteless for someone who works with young students in a professional manner to make such jokes. Again, I was mortified, and noted that while most people were laughing, there were obviously some in the room who looked uncomfortable.
The perennial NAC moderator Ernie Anderson (or "Uncle Ernie" as he likes to be called) is known for making jokes throughout moderation, especially by comparing clues to "his ex-wife" and even making jokes in the middle of questions (such as a question beginning "There are 30,000 men in the Autralian military..." being interrupted by a comment of "name them all!" before the question could be finished)
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:46 pm

It's not a big deal to read a match at nationals when you know one team and not the other. I've seen it happen at HSNCT, MSNCT, and NSC.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by jonpin » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:09 am

I agree that it's generally not a big deal, but I also think it should be mentioned in advance, just so the other team knows in case there are any judgment calls that come up. At HSNCT last year, Steve Frappier and I were trading off, and Joel suggested that if either of our teams came in, just to have the other one read. Incredibly, we were one switched result away from having his team and my B team play each other in our room.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:44 am

Maxwell's Sexual Relations wrote:
etchdulac wrote:
Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:Note that I didn’t say anything about higher-quality PEOPLE, because, honestly, as people there’s nothing bad at all to be said about Ariel, Brick, Ernie, Jason, Brooks and Tina
Going 20 years back, the problem was certainly not to do with Ernie Anderson or Brick Barrientos (or for that matter, Mike Mastandrea), who gave consistently positive impressions of themselves. The other folks you list are newer, but it does not surprise me that the enduring problem is Chip.
I feel this is inaccurate particularly when considering Tom Egan's report from the 2005 NAC.
In the second match discussed in his report, the following was documented about the response by the game officials after a particular question:
“Name the four former presidents not buried in the United States”. (for those not immediately sure what the question was asking, the answer was “Ford, Carter, Bush, and Clinton”). I was mortified and embarrassed as a member of the quiz bowl community that such a question would be asked at any level, especially in a tournament professing to be a national tournament. The whooping by the team which answered the question correctly was uncalled for ... <sic> The team that did not answer the question looked utterly defeated. The situation was in no way helped by the snickering by the host and judge.
later in that same match:
a question (asked) for the name which the Republican Party used in the election of 1864. When no team could answer “Union”, the host responded “Our Rich Fat-Cat Friends.....I’m a Democrat and proud of it”. Irrelevant of political affiliation, these comments were unnecessary, and would not have been any less offensive if the politics were reversed. (emphasis mine: SMB)

The same moderator, in the third match Egan witnessed, went even further:
The most grossly unprofessional act that I witnessed was in this round. After a pop music question, the host joked about Whitney Houston, and then made a gesture that implied sucking on a crack pipe; further joking about Bobby Brown. It was utterly tasteless for someone who works with young students in a professional manner to make such jokes. Again, I was mortified, and noted that while most people were laughing, there were obviously some in the room who looked uncomfortable.


The perennial NAC moderator Ernie Anderson (or "Uncle Ernie" as he likes to be called) is known for making jokes throughout moderation, especially by comparing clues to "his ex-wife" and even making jokes in the middle of questions (such as a question beginning "There are 30,000 men in the Autralian military..." being interrupted by a comment of "name them all!" before the question could be finished)
According to this report, the same moderator was responsible for all three of these incidents at the 2005 NAC. Of the people I mentioned above, Ariel and I can be immediately eliminated...Ariel was involved in that tournament, but as a player for Harrison since she was a sophomore in high school at the time. Anybody who has had any sort of non-quizbowl-related conversation with Brooks Sanders knows that it would be asinine to accuse him of having made the second statement (and, therefore, either of the other two since the same moderator was responsible for all three), especially, since he is a very proud right-wing Republican. Tina Sanders does not read...she merely scorekeeps with Brooks at these national tournaments. Jason Russell is also conservative politically (he and I had a spirited political discussion during this year's NAC since we were roommates), though not to the extent that Brooks is, so he's out, as well. Having worked with Brick Barrientos extensively this weekend, I can say that the man rarely has an unnecessary or extraneous word, much less sentence, to say when he is moderating a quizbowl game...he is extremely laid-back and soft-spoken, to the extent that I wonder how he ever hooked up with an allegedly "show-bizzy" operation like Chip's in the first place, since there does not seem to be a hint of show biz personality in the man. I also doubt that it was Chip, for a couple of reasons. First of all, since the report was obviously written with the ulterior motive of exposing Chip and the NAA's malfeasance, I doubt that Egan would have declined to name names if Chip had been the person responsible for this. Plus, inappropriate as it was, the attempt to make the Whitney Houston joke implies both a familiarity with trashy popular culture and the existence of a sense of humor, neither of which were immediately apparent to me this weekend as traits that Mr. Beall possesses. This leaves the only real possibility, from the people who were at the 2012 tournament, as Ernie...

As far as the second quote about Ernie goes, this is absolutely true. I probably worked with Ernie this weekend more than I did any of the other staff members, and he does stick far too much extraneous commentary into the games, and I found myself wishing to myself by the end of the second game I worked with him that he would just cut it out and read the damn questions, already. I think he means well, and is most likely doing what he does, because he feels he needs to be entertaining because of his extensive TV and radio background (you can just tell that the man lives by the #1 radio rule of "never allow any 'dead air' in your broadcasts"), but it's not necessary for him to do that in quizbowl, and the games would be improved if he would just stop. He comes off, when he does this sort of thing, not as a jerk, exactly (although the man was anything but a jerk in his personal dealings with me), but as an occasionally-funny party guest who keeps cracking jokes, hoping that you'll laugh at one of them. It's almost like listening to a Dead Milkmen album, in fact.

Anyway, I don't think it was him that was being referred to, either, although I might be wrong here. Again, although he was mentioned by name in the report when describing his general tendencies, Egan did not come right out and name him as the perpetrator of the above injustices. Why would Egan name him in one part of the report, but not in another? Also, there was -another- (who knows, it was probably the same) Whitney Houston question that came up this weekend in a room I was working in with him at the time, and although the opportunity clearly existed for him to make an even more tasteless and inappropriate joke about her this year, for obvious reasons, he didn't comment. He also commented, in-game, on the unsuitability and inappropriateness of having an audio clue on Samuel L. Jackson (reciting Ezekiel 25:17 from Pulp Fiction) in a game involving middle schoolers, which would be a strange thing for him to say if he was in the habit of making inappropriately tasteless comments, ex-wife jokes aside, to young kids. Therefore, I'm forced to conclude that the person whom Egan was referring to in this report is one of the many former staff members who is no longer involved with Chip and the NAC.

In short, something doesn't jibe here, and I'm going to trust my own experience with these people over the findings a 7-year-old report with an obvious agenda (creditable as that agenda may have been), written by a person who didn't have anywhere near the inside access to the workings of this tournament that I had. I have to conclude that the problems with the NAC are due to Chip Beall, and/or people who are no longer associated with this tournament, not anyone I worked with this weekend. If anyone is willing to come right out and say that they were there in 2005, and it was Ernie, then I'll change my opinion on this. Until then, I'm sticking by what I originally wrote.

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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Remember-the-Alamo-Remember-Goliad » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:56 pm

Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:I was inspired by the Graph on the qbwiki page for NAC, this is a graph going up to this year showing the relative attendance of NAC, HSNCT, NSC, Junior NAC, and MSNCT

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/34972177/Natioa ... ndance.png
I think this graphic pretty much says it all!
And THANK YOU for putting this data in such a succinct and usable form!
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Maxwell's Sexual Relations » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:18 pm

On the subject of Ernie Anderson this may be interesting.
Fred Morlan 2006 While not a Chip tournament per se, I did attend Marshall SCORES as a high school senior. The tournament is organized by noted Chip flunkie Ernie Anderson. Other than the terrible questions, only one incident really comes to mind:

When listening in on a round, I heard a math question. Being good at quiz bowl math, my interest was heightened. As I listened, the question went along the lines of, "Add the number of points you get in Pac-Man for eating a pellet to (three other random things that also equal 50 that I can't remember)."

Because of the weird Pac-Man reference, I instantly recalled hearing that exact question years ago during my junior high days out of a Knowledge Master Open set. It wasn't phrased differently or anything; it was just blatant stolen from another set of questions.
On another note, as someone who has heard "Uncle Ernie" moderate at the 2010 JNAC, I found him extremely annoying, particularly when my team was trying to play a semifinal game.

EDIT: Ignore the quote.
Last edited by Maxwell's Sexual Relations on Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:19 pm

That wasn't an "Ernie" thing nearly as much as it was a "I think NAC plagiarized a question" thing.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:45 pm

This thread on the Facebook group (thank you search feature) does discuss Anderson's annoyingness, though.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Maxwell's Sexual Relations » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:55 pm

That wasn't an "Ernie" thing nearly as much as it was a "I think NAC plagiarized a question" thing.
Sorry, I realize now that Ernie wasn't the person writing the questions.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Susan » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:02 pm

Maxwell's Sexual Relations wrote: On another note, as someone who has heard "Uncle Ernie" moderate at the 2010 JNAC...
Wait--does this guy willingly go by "Uncle Ernie"? Yikes.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:31 pm

Susan wrote:
Maxwell's Sexual Relations wrote: On another note, as someone who has heard "Uncle Ernie" moderate at the 2010 JNAC...
Wait--does this guy willingly go by "Uncle Ernie"? Yikes.
yes, it is how he introduces himself.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:05 am

There is something that, out of decency, I need to post here that is not directly related to this year's tournament, but does have to do with insinuations I made in a previous post that, upon further reflection and conversations with others, have turned out to be false. Here are the statements that I made:
First of all, since the report was obviously written with the ulterior motive of exposing Chip and the NAA's malfeasance, I doubt that Egan would have declined to name names if Chip had been the person responsible for this.
In short, something doesn't jibe here, and I'm going to trust my own experience with these people over the findings (of) a 7-year-old report with an obvious agenda (creditable as that agenda may have been), written by a person who didn't have anywhere near the inside access to the workings of this tournament that I had.
Both of these statements make reference to Tom Egan's 2005 report on the NAC, and I made these statements without fully understanding the circumstances under which that report was produced. I do stand by the statement in the second quote that I had more inside access to the workings of the tournament than Tom Egan had, but after a private conversation with him and a couple of other people whose opinions I trust and who are in a position to know, I must redact what I said in the above statements. Tom had a perfectly reasonable position on why he decided not to "name names" in this report, which he shared with me but due to the privilege of a private conversation I am not going to share with the board. In the specific case of the second quote, in my zeal to defend people whom I like personally and whom I thought needed defending (including one who, after some other conversations with people I trust who are in a position to know, is probably not deserving of that defense), I improperly impugned Tom's motives for writing his report.

Therefore, I would like to offer a sincere public apology to Tom Egan for any slights he suffered or feels he may have suffered from my previous writings on this matter. I now realize that he had no ulterior motives in writing his report, and that he came to it with an open mind and open eyes, and that those eyes were indeed opened even more by the things that went on at the 2005 NAC, acts for which the people he names or refers to in the report have nobody except themselves to blame. As more of you on this board get to know me, you'll realize that I'm the kind of person who'll always admit when I'm right....but I'll also always admit when I'm wrong, and in this case, I was wrong.

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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by ProfessorIanDuncan » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:46 pm

So ummmm who won?
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Muriel Axon » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:31 am

Word on the street is University of Detroit Jesuit.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:13 pm

The Eighth Viscount of Waaaah wrote:Word on the street is University of Detroit Jesuit.
Facebook agrees.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:35 pm

Its rather pathetic that over 24 hours after the completion of this "national championship" tournament the only way to figure out the result is to look at Facebook for people who were there, and the tournament's actually website has yet to be updated...but oh well, just yet another flaw of the NAC to take note of.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill » Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:39 pm

I think it's perhaps the ultimate irony of quiz bowl that tournaments which lean towards the gameshow-esque have the worst publicity (unless they're actual TV shows).
EDIT/WARNING: I just used "publicity" incorrectly. I meant that people who run gameshow-y tournaments are usually really bad at letting others know what happens at their tournaments, or even that they exist.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:55 pm

Hopefully Detroit Jesuit will now be interested in playing real nationals now that they've won the fake one. Anyone in Michigan talked to them about this?
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:57 pm

Well, the word on the street was correct, Detroit Jesuit won this: http://qunlimited.com/national.htm

In a wonderful case of Chip being Chip, he has named Hastings small school champion with a 6-3 record and 308 ppg, though small school Irvington was 8-1 with 369 ppg.

Also, for whatever reason the information about the most recent stuff is at the bottom of the page, so...yeah.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Muriel Axon » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:34 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Hopefully Detroit Jesuit will now be interested in playing real nationals now that they've won the fake one. Anyone in Michigan talked to them about this?
Oh, we will. They keep trying to sign up for our tournaments a couple days before they happen, so they end up on the waiting list. They're definitely a more-than-competent team (placed 6/36 in a tough field at our March Madness tournament this year), so we'll be really pushing to try to get them to play more real tournaments (and sign up on time for them).
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by jonpin » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:36 pm

Les Roby brought White Plains to the National Academic Championship for the first time in 1990, when they finished 2nd in the nation. They’ve participated every year since then, a perennial playoff presence with at least one of their teams. In 2011 they finished 3rd in the nation; in 2012, 4th. It’s well known that Mr. Roby holds the all-time record for most protests. What may not be well-known is that he also holds the all-time NAC record for lifetime wins, coach. We’ve called him the Tsar of Westchester County, as he runs a number of tournaments at White Plains every year, and we see about a dozen of Westchester teams every year at Nationals, and most of them end up in the playoffs.
This, right here? :aaa: This is my shocked face.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Kyle » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:40 pm

Well, it takes a special kind of person to win that title. Most people who find themselves so frustrated with the questions that they need to keep protesting just go and attend a superior tournament.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:12 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Hopefully Detroit Jesuit will now be interested in playing real nationals now that they've won the fake one. Anyone in Michigan talked to them about this?
Short answer: yes. Long answer: we're working on it, but their coach is old.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:23 pm

jonpin wrote:
Les Roby brought White Plains to the National Academic Championship for the first time in 1990, when they finished 2nd in the nation. They’ve participated every year since then, a perennial playoff presence with at least one of their teams. In 2011 they finished 3rd in the nation; in 2012, 4th. It’s well known that Mr. Roby holds the all-time record for most protests. What may not be well-known is that he also holds the all-time NAC record for lifetime wins, coach. We’ve called him the Tsar of Westchester County, as he runs a number of tournaments at White Plains every year, and we see about a dozen of Westchester teams every year at Nationals, and most of them end up in the playoffs.
This, right here? :aaa: This is my shocked face.
As someone who knows Les Roby, yes, he definitely holds that record, and he is proud of it; White Plains protests things often (then again, by good quizbowl standards, almost all teams protest often when it comes to Chip questions). However, I think the most hilarious view of protesting is what I heard when talking to a coach from Watson Chapel (who certainly seemed against the question format). Apparently in Arkansas, the rules of their tournaments determine that all protests must be resolved in-room, and teams must provide evidence for their protests. So teams come to tournaments with stacks of textbooks in order to argue for their protests, and as the questions are pretty bad, he said there have been games when they are going into the textbooks after almost every question.

EDIT: though this is the first time I have heard him called the "Tsar of Westchester County," though I guess it makes sense.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:50 pm

Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:Apparently in Arkansas, the rules of their tournaments determine that all protests must be resolved in-room, and teams must provide evidence for their protests. So teams come to tournaments with stacks of textbooks in order to argue for their protests, and as the questions are pretty bad, he said there have been games when they are going into the textbooks after almost every question.
This is ridiculous. Does this happen anywhere else?
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by jonah » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:59 pm

merv1618 wrote:
Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:Apparently in Arkansas, the rules of their tournaments determine that all protests must be resolved in-room, and teams must provide evidence for their protests. So teams come to tournaments with stacks of textbooks in order to argue for their protests, and as the questions are pretty bad, he said there have been games when they are going into the textbooks after almost every question.
This is ridiculous. Does this happen anywhere else?
IHSA rules require this—and with a 3-minute time limit (changing to 10 minutes next year). Furthermore, protests have to be resolved before the next question can be read. It's not the case, however, that particularly many questions are protested.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by SunWukong » Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:55 pm

Now that NAC is over and the set is presumably clear for discussion, would anyone care to brighten my day by posting some egregiously terrible questions. The kind that make you cringe when you hear them, like audio tossups on blenders or "name the four presidents not buried in the US" and the answer being the living ones. I'm a little bummed over the end of my high school quizbowl career and could really use a good laugh :party: .
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:27 pm

jonah wrote:
merv1618 wrote:
Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:Apparently in Arkansas, the rules of their tournaments determine that all protests must be resolved in-room, and teams must provide evidence for their protests. So teams come to tournaments with stacks of textbooks in order to argue for their protests, and as the questions are pretty bad, he said there have been games when they are going into the textbooks after almost every question.
This is ridiculous. Does this happen anywhere else?
IHSA rules require this
:shock:
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:34 pm

SunWukong wrote:Now that NAC is over and the set is presumably clear for discussion, would anyone care to brighten my day by posting some egregiously terrible questions. The kind that make you cringe when you hear them, like audio tossups on blenders or "name the four presidents not buried in the US" and the answer being the living ones. I'm a little bummed over the end of my high school quizbowl career and could really use a good laugh :party: .
Here are some "favorites" I recorded soon after the tournament:


Audio tossup: Identify the favorite barnyard animal from this clip (answer: goat)

A question using only the identifier "this place" but after buzzing after the clues "site of the first stock exchange and religiously tolerant" an answer of 'Netherlands' was not even prompted for the answer line 'Amsterdam'

A visual bonus (in the finals, only part with visuals) asking to identify artists by self portraits or just portraits, with additional clues that made it painfully easy (dutch painter known for self-portraits (Rembrandt), Italian who did stuff other than art (Da Vinci), mexican artist (Kahlo), then "french american artist (Cassatt)

visual tossup also in the finals: identify the number of blocks in this figure (it was a pyramid of blocks...tested counting skills)

20pt Math tossup: identify a value of a that makes the following statement true for all theta: sin^2 theta + cos^2 theta = a

A tossup: Other than To Kill a Mockingbird, identify any full length work by Harper Lee. (answer: there are none)

A tossup on Habeus Corpus beginning "this writ..."

A tossup on John Paul II in one round mentioning his 2005 death and in the next round a tossup on 2005 mentioning John Paul II's death as the first clue - repeat clues even include specific bible quotes being repeated "they are the eyes of Jacob but the hands of ___" (Essau)

A question asking players to identify the type of memory in a "memory stick" (answer being "flash")

A spacial reasoning question: if you have six glasses in a line, and the first three are filled with water and the last three are empty, how would you make the glasses alternate full and empty by touching one glass? (pick up the 2nd, pour it into the fifth, and put it back)

A question on "malaria" that was an utter hose as the first 1-2 lines made it seem like the answer was Silent Spring

A bonus asking to identify actors who served in WW2.

A bonus asking to identify countries by their descriptions in the Onion.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by nadph » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:58 pm

Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote: Here are some "favorites" I recorded soon after the tournament:
These questions are disgusting and insult all the teams who wasted their money on the NSC NAC. I can't see how school administrators and coaches condone competition on these at any level.

EDIT: Very unfortunate typo.
Last edited by nadph on Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:01 pm

Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:A bonus asking to identify countries by their descriptions in the Onion.
That actually sounds pretty funny.
nadph wrote:These questions are disgusting and insult all the teams who wasted their money on the NSC.
An amusing typo, here.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:12 pm

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant wrote:
nadph wrote:These questions are disgusting and insult all the teams who wasted their money on the NSC.
An amusing typo, here.
Or a subtle endorsement of HSNCT... the plot thickens.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:23 pm

nadph wrote:
Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote: Here are some "favorites" I recorded soon after the tournament:
These questions are disgusting and insult all the teams who wasted their money on the N[A]C. I can't see how school administrators and coaches condone competition on these at any level.
Uh, I think you mean they're "pyramidal" and making incremental progress and teams who like them shouldn't be criticized for attending the National Championship of Having Fun!
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:37 pm

nadph wrote:These questions are disgusting and insult all the teams who wasted their money on the NSC.
HEY
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:46 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
nadph wrote:
Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote: Here are some "favorites" I recorded soon after the tournament:
These questions are disgusting and insult all the teams who wasted their money on the N[A]C. I can't see how school administrators and coaches condone competition on these at any level.
Uh, I think you mean they're "pyramidal" and making incremental progress and teams who like them shouldn't be criticized for attending the National Championship of Having Fun!
Neither I nor likely anyone else think that especially these are very good or pyramidal, and I never said that teams who like the questions shouldn't be criticized, they very well should be (at least if they know about the alternatives).

Also notably, even many of the forays into a pyramidal style ended up as very poor questions, for example the "Amsterdam" question I cited was multi-clue with the stock exchange and the religion and then some easier clues...but it was still atrocious because it did not indicate until the very end what it was looking for, and that in turn caused my knowledge (knowing the Dutch stock exchange was first, etc.) to be punished instead of rewarded.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by David Riley » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:44 pm

The goat question made my day :grin:
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by bmanzo44 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:51 pm

I remember very little, but here's what I've got.

A bonus asking for states from the Onion's descriptions.
A comp math t/u asking to find the area under a cubic polynomial between it's roots, where you had 15 seconds to find the roots and integrate.

And this wonderful quote from the chief himself, "It's not my responsibility to hear you, but yours to be heard."
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:02 pm

bmanzo44 wrote:And this wonderful quote from the chief himself, "It's not my responsibility to hear you, but yours to be heard."
Okay, now that you mention that, I think he said something like this at the southeast regional last year, but I can't remember exactly what it was.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:32 am

Geography Bowl once had a category round based on descriptions of places in the Onion atlas, which is apparently really funny and also pretty accurate.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:10 pm

Out of sheer curiosity, when/why did people start leaving the NAC? Did :chip: questions start getting bad? I guess what I'm trying to ask is why did people go to pyramidal and leave the NAC?
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:39 pm

something ambiguous wrote:Out of sheer curiosity, when/why did people start leaving the NAC? Did :chip: questions start getting bad. I guess what I'm trying to ask is why did people go to pyramidal and leave the NAC.
Though I did not experience this transition, I can say from experience of reading Chip packets from every year 1989-2012 that Chip questions did not just "get bad" at some point; they have remained largely the same: any changes are pretty small, and are more like baby steps in the forward direction than baby steps backwards. They "started getting bad" in the sense that there started to be more good tournaments for them to be worse than. The first NSC was in 1998 and the first HSNCT was in 1999, so that would be around the time that pyramidal tournaments caused people to leave NAC; before then teams wouldn't really have anywhere to go (the first NAC was back in 1983), but once better opportunities presented themselves, teams took advantage of them.
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:13 pm

Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:
something ambiguous wrote:Out of sheer curiosity, when/why did people start leaving the NAC? Did :chip: questions start getting bad. I guess what I'm trying to ask is why did people go to pyramidal and leave the NAC.
Though I did not experience this transition, I can say from experience of reading Chip packets from every year 1989-2012 that Chip questions did not just "get bad" at some point; they have remained largely the same: any changes are pretty small, and are more like baby steps in the forward direction than baby steps backwards. They "started getting bad" in the sense that there started to be more good tournaments for them to be worse than. The first NSC was in 1998 and the first HSNCT was in 1999, so that would be around the time that pyramidal tournaments caused people to leave NAC; before then teams wouldn't really have anywhere to go (the first NAC was back in 1983), but once better opportunities presented themselves, teams took advantage of them.
Alright, but that made teams think pyramidal was better, or was NAC just so bad that anything was better than :chip:bowl?
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Re: 2012 NAC

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:15 pm

Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:
something ambiguous wrote:Out of sheer curiosity, when/why did people start leaving the NAC? Did :chip: questions start getting bad. I guess what I'm trying to ask is why did people go to pyramidal and leave the NAC.
Though I did not experience this transition, I can say from experience of reading Chip packets from every year 1989-2012 that Chip questions did not just "get bad" at some point; they have remained largely the same: any changes are pretty small, and are more like baby steps in the forward direction than baby steps backwards.
The fact that the qunlimited website links to a game from 1994 attests to their lack of change.
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