Underwhelmed

This is the holding pen for the best threads containing quiz bowl talk.

Postby mattreece » Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:13 pm

ezubaric wrote:I enjoyed the barbershop question, although I think that people would be better served by questions on better known bands than "Arctic Monkeys."


But everyone knows that the Arctic Monkeys have the fifth best British album of all time, right? The Beatles barely make the top ten, so the Arctic Monkeys must be famous.
mattreece
Lulu
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:06 am

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:31 pm

ikillkenny wrote:But doesn't this go back to that silent majority thing that NAQT likes to bring up?


"Silent majority" is the quizbowl equivalent of a Republican talking point. It's unfalsifiable nonsense used to automatically marginalize all feedback of any kind. After all, if the majority is silent than anyone who expresses any opinion whatsoever must be in the minority, and we can't let a small group of extremists hijack the will of the people! NAQT has convinced itself that the so-called "lesser" teams who continue to patronize the ICT do so out of a heartfelt rational preference for the ICT over any possible alternative. The reality is that NAQT has better market penetration, better polish on its presentation, and the status of "the" national championship, so the so-called "lesser" teams go to it. If ACF was in that position it would have the 32-team field instead, even if the questions produced by the two groups didn't change at all. Most teams in quizbowl are not partisans of anything question-wise; rather, they just don't care.

And I'm not sure what's up with the "too difficult" thing. If we were talking about a local invitational, then of course it would be very important to keep the questions within the knowledge base of even the worst team there. But this is a national championship. The point is to determine who is #1 as distinguished from #2. The questions need to be made for those teams, and in fact they are--the bottom bracket at the ICT seemed to be having just as hard a time of it as the bottom bracket at ACF. Furthermore, as ACF Fall and the like have demonstrated, it's not that much of a challenge to to achieve tournament accessibility by writing good tossups on things like "Tchaicovsky" (a fairly decent example from the actual set this year) instead of such topics as Kenji Johjima, Arctic Monkeys, whatever the hell that board game nobody had ever heard of was, and other trash that I'm sure we all had a lot of FUNN! not answering.
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
 
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Postby Mike Bentley » Tue Apr 11, 2006 4:21 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
ikillkenny wrote:But doesn't this go back to that silent majority thing that NAQT likes to bring up?


"Silent majority" is the quizbowl equivalent of a Republican talking point. It's unfalsifiable nonsense used to automatically marginalize all feedback of any kind. After all, if the majority is silent than anyone who expresses any opinion whatsoever must be in the minority, and we can't let a small group of extremists hijack the will of the people! NAQT has convinced itself that the so-called "lesser" teams who continue to patronize the ICT do so out of a heartfelt rational preference for the ICT over any possible alternative. The reality is that NAQT has better market penetration, better polish on its presentation, and the status of "the" national championship, so the so-called "lesser" teams go to it. If ACF was in that position it would have the 32-team field instead, even if the questions produced by the two groups didn't change at all. Most teams in quizbowl are not partisans of anything question-wise; rather, they just don't care.

And I'm not sure what's up with the "too difficult" thing. If we were talking about a local invitational, then of course it would be very important to keep the questions within the knowledge base of even the worst team there. But this is a national championship. The point is to determine who is #1 as distinguished from #2. The questions need to be made for those teams, and in fact they are--the bottom bracket at the ICT seemed to be having just as hard a time of it as the bottom bracket at ACF. Furthermore, as ACF Fall and the like have demonstrated, it's not that much of a challenge to to achieve tournament accessibility by writing good tossups on things like "Tchaicovsky" (a fairly decent example from the actual set this year) instead of such topics as Kenji Johjima, Arctic Monkeys, whatever the hell that board game nobody had ever heard of was, and other trash that I'm sure we all had a lot of FUNN! not answering.


My question then would be, why does ACF not position itself to be that tournament? What is NAQT doing that ACF is not and why are they not doing this? It seems clear that the Quizbowl brass at least on this forum overwhelmingly supports that tournament over ACF.

As for difficulty, I personally find NAQT Div I easier than ACF Nationals. I think saying that the lower teams at ICT compared to the lower teams at ACF is just inaccurate. Excluding Brown, the lower 1/3 of the field averaged less than 100 PPG. At ICT, only three teams averaged lower than 100 PPG. Once again, I think one of the problems with ACF Nationals (and even Spring) is that it is very heavily catered for the top teams at the expense of the weaker teams. This is an even greater problem than the stats reflect at ACF Nationals since most of the weaker teams do not attend. If think if the same teams that attended the ICT attended the ACF the percentage of teams with under 100 PPG even larger.

Also, I realize that a typical NAQT round is probably 3 more questions than an ACF round, resulting in slightly higher PPG's because of that. But that gets to another issue of having more questions in a shorter period of time. ACF Packets generally take much longer to read the same number of questions as an NAQT Packet. This gets back to that clue dense philosophy of ACF that I think puts a lot of people off. Answering only a handful of toss-ups per round is even more frustrating when it takes so long to get through questions you do not have the ability to answer.

Edit: I realize the better stat to look at would be Points per tossup heard. In general, PPTH was higher for the lower brackets in the ICT than at ACF Nats.

And does the easier difficulty of NAQT ultimately impact competition between the better teams? The standings of this year's ICT look very similar to those of this year's ACF Nationals. And in the process, the lesser teams were not left by the wayside.

Once again, I'd like to reiterate that I do agree that NAQT had problems and that ACF does certain things very well (the tournaments are always well edited and maintain a consistent difficulty). But as long as ACF caters mainly to the top few Quizbowl players in the nation, it's going to remain populated only by those players. NAQT, even with its faults, will continue to see a much broader field.
User avatar
Mike Bentley
Auron
 
Posts: 5441
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:03 pm
Location: Bellevue, WA

Postby your mom » Tue Apr 11, 2006 5:23 pm

If ACF was only catering to the so-called "top few quiz bowl players" in the nation, then I can't think of any reason why I would enjoy that format so much. I've only been playing college quiz bowl for a brief two years now, I'm nowhere near any sort of "top player" status, and yet still I manage to enjoy going to ACF tournaments and playing those sets. I find that format appropriately tough, and sometimes frustrating when it reveals how much I don't know, but it spurs me to improve and learn more, while tournaments like ICT just make me feel terrible about quiz bowl. I doubt I'm alone in these feelings about ACF. There are generally a number of b teams at ACF events (michigan and chicago almost always field them, for one, and I've been playing them from the very start when I knew absolutely nothing), as well as many other teams composed of plenty of young or otherwise non-elite players, who despite not being the "top few players in the nation," still like to compete on that format. Running the very ACF-like MLK tournament this year, I noticed a great many average or even weak teams still playing ok on the questions and seemingly enjoying them. ACF does not automatically equal a bad experience for weaker teams, because a lot of things are determined by attitude. If teams don't want to play that format, that's their prerogative, but I doubt that anyone in ACF is trying to scare them away.

Is ACF nats harder than ICT? Yes, but I think it's also in some ways easier to improve at, and I think it is definitely more rewarding, because you can write questions, read old packets, and study appropriate materials, and you will get better at ACF tournaments, even if it comes along slowly. I tried it this year, and remarkably enough, it works. There is a definite canon for ACF that you have to work with, and while almost all the sets are challenging, there really is nothing insurmountable in any set for teams willing to put some work in. By contrast, with ICT, I find it very hard to prepare. No amount of increased practice or quiz bowl skill is going to keep me from losing games on packets filled with board games, baseball, and food. I always feel like my studying and the things I try to learn become almost pointless at times with NAQT because of their distribution. And when people do seem to make vast improvements at ICT, it's often because they do things like memorize all of NAQT's old lead-ins, because they know that the question writers don't care enough to write new ones. What does that say about the format?

The worst teams at any tournament are always going to do badly on any questions, so I wonder how much analysis of that variable really proves. I don't mean to say that I think that poor teams should just be cast aside, but you can't craft a set where every team is going to do well, there's just no way. ACF comes just as close at least with the fall tournament as NAQT does with any of their sets.

I'll stop because I'm rambling, but to say that ACF only caters to an elite few players is just wrong. That wouldn't make sense or benefit the organization, there'd be little point to it, and if that were the case why would the editors put so much energy into crafting sets like ACF fall, which is made to be accessible for all teams? Why would this year's nats have gotten easier since last year, perhaps in response to a weaker field?

Arguments like that just irritate me.

I'm out.
your mom
Lulu
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 9:06 pm

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:37 pm

I don't see why some general ACF v. NAQT discussion is really needed. The reality is that anyone who thinks there is an "ACF difficulty" or "NAQT difficulty" is being either dishonest or stupid; compare ACF Fall to the Division I set for proof. And none of the complaints about the ICT revolved around it being "too easy." This whole tangent is a distraction from the main problem, which is NAQT's imperious and out-of-touch nature. Hiring competent people to edit has done a noticeable quantity of good for this in terms of many of the questions, but the NAQT people seem genuinely befuddled at complaints about things like the distribution, the protest procedure, ethical lapses, and certain styles of questions written by lesser lights in the NAQT galaxy. This is an inevitable result of having an organization whose policy-making positions are entirely dominated by people who rarely if ever play mainstream tournaments and have not been really active in five or more years.

People who can't defend NAQT from the real accusations levied against it like to mischaracterize them as "NAQT isn't ACF so it sucks" and then put up some time-tested horrible arguments against ACF. I for one have never said that NAQT needs to be ACF; it's perfectly possible to write good questions in under 5 lines, put in some power marks and more trash than normal, and read the resultant packets on a clock. The problem is not that NAQT tries to do that well, the problem is that they fail to do that well.

And really, what the hell is up with this sort of comment?

The things that many people on this forum champion such as clue dense questions, stringent cannonical distribution, and even things like playing from 8 AM to 8 PM to get your "money's worth" turn a lot of people off from ACF.


Too many clues in questions are bad? Seriously, where are you going with this?
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
 
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Postby PO3899 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:53 pm

Well, this finally got my goad enough for me to open my long-silent mouth.

After a particularly frustrating Sectionals a few years back, I sent a feedback e-mail to NAQT decrying the lack of actual science questions and the poor quality of those that were included. I was reassured that this was a concern of NAQT as well and that they were working on it.

Well, apparently it's taking longer than planned because the science overall at sectionals and nationals IMO was pretty mediocre. I understand that we may not have gotten to some of those quality questions in our games, but of the chem answers I heard (nitrogen, viscosity, 2nd Law of Thermo, nickel, chelators, ionic radius, kinetic theory of gases, and carbon monoxide), most could be answered by a high school student with quality chemistry knowledge. When I asked why there were no questions on equations, reactions, etc, I was told those questions are "too hard." Right. A question on the Nernst equation is too hard, but Arctic Monkeys is not.

In my view, the big problem with NAQT is not its distribution, but what is considered to fulfill that distribution. Much of the science at Nationals would have been completely appropriate in a high school packet (ice, tornadoes, magma, nebula, etc).

I also have a problem with the perceived notion that NAQT is the type of competition where hard work, studying, and personal academic enrichment can help you improve. To a certain extend, yes, this is true, but I echo the comments of Dave (your mom) when I say that for a team willing to work, ACF is certainly the path to take.

When I started college, I was a pretty mediocre quiz bowl player. I've worked my butt off to get better at this. So has my team. The first time A&M went to NAQT we finished 33rd in Division I. When A&M first tried ACF, we finished dead last in our region. We kept working and improving, but with NAQT we hit a ceiling.

It's frustrating (and unpredictable) to work all year and then lose on questions about Christina Aguilera, hovercraft, or random things for which other team has a geographical advantage (lots of geography and politics questions tend to have that effect). With ACF, when you get beat on literature questions, you study literature. You write literature questions. You (shock) actually read a book or two.

I used to be an optimist and think that feedback would help NAQT "change," but I've wised up in my grizzled old age. What you see is what you get. I don't so much have a problem with what NAQT is (the new CBI -- quiz bowl for all! The average Joe can answer 50% of our questions!) -- I have a problem with it trying to advertise itself as something it's not. I think NAQT is great for Division II and high school -- it's just difficult to be academically rigorous when anything outside of a basic chemistry class is considered "too hard."

Susan (the one from Texas A&M)
Last edited by PO3899 on Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
PO3899
Kimahri
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 2:04 am

Postby QuizBowlRonin » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:03 pm

I'm not quite sure whether or not to believe that one cannot prepare to do well at NAQT. I think there are already a few examples whereby the converse is true - Subash owning the field at the 2003 ICT, Sudheer's (ack!) power runs in the last two are suggestive that one can prepare to do well and even dominate in NAQT, given that one knows how to prepare.

I wasn't at the ICT this year, but I also need to point out that pointing to potentially gross egregious lapses in answer selection as seen above may not be indicative of the quality of answer selection in the rest of the questions (or are they?). One should never judge a tournament purely on its worst questions.
Last edited by QuizBowlRonin on Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jason Paik
retired

Washington University 1998-2002
University of Alabama School of Medicine 2002-2011
Residency in Internal Medicine, Stanford Hospital and Clinics 2011-2013
Fellowship in Hematology and Oncology, Stanford Cancer Institute 2013-2018
User avatar
QuizBowlRonin
Wakka
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Fri May 30, 2003 2:21 am
Location: San Mateo, CA

Postby cvdwightw » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:04 pm

ezubaric wrote:I certainly have seen improvement in the quality of questions over the years ... pick up an old ICT if you want to be convinced. I think because NAQT is more of a monolithic entity with few voices that it's hard to get that sense.


We played the 2003 ICT at practice last night. The 2006 ICT was superior. Jordan speaks the truth.

I'm going to echo some of Susan's comments. I think people tend to forget that there's no such thing as "ACF Nationals Division II Packet Set". Division II teams play on the same set of questions as Division I. To me, it seems that several of the questions people are complaining about would be (not exemplary but) decent at a high school or novice tournament (i.e., people who haven't necessarily heard the stock clues or taken upper division/graduate courses on the topics). This leads me to think that the creation of a slightly easier Division II set leads to some questions that would be more acceptable in the Division II set being left in the Division I set. If NAQT is going to go through the trouble to create separate packet sets, would it be that much work to make some of the Division II questions "harder" for Division I instead of just deleting or modifying some of the Division I questions for Division II?
User avatar
cvdwightw
Auron
 
Posts: 3447
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Southern CA

A Modest Proposal

Postby LKos » Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:37 pm

As someone who has attended every ICT from 2000 to 2006 except for 2004, I've enjoyed following this three-day discussion about the strengths and weaknesses (mostly weaknesses) of NAQT and have some comments/suggestions of my own.

Many (if not most) of the people who have been posting their complaints about the quality of the questions at this year's ICT are graduate students who, in their many years of practice, have learned all the obvious lead-in clues (trial of a dog for eating piece of cheese, etc.) and instead enjoy playing on questions with more abstruse information. Thus, they have a preference for ACF style density.

Newer, less experienced players, enjoy the thrill of getting power and getting tossups from early clues with little or no knowledge, something which is nearly impossible in ACF. I certainly remember enjoying that when I was an undergrad. These players constitute the "silent majority" which prefers NAQT to ACF and account for the fact that ~64 teams came to NAQT's championship and only 21 teams came to ACF's championship.

Lastly, NAQT refuses to (or can not profitably?) put out two disjoint sets of questions, and instead has to share some questions between the sets causing one to be too hard or the other too easy. The latter is usually the case. I am fairly sure that all the questions that people complained about are ones that were designed for Div II but moved to Div I for filler.

A solution is obvious. I propose that NAQT make its tournaments only open to undergrads (in their first four years) and combine their two divisions into one. Freshment/CCs would play with everyone else but be eligible for separate awards (as undergrads are in Div I nowadays). This solution would solve the ongoing problems and:

1) Grad students would still be able to play in ACF where the questions are more tailored for such experienced players anyway.
2) More attention can be placed on making one quality set instead of two inferior sets. Questions could be written specifically for this set instead of being written for one division and then being used for another one.
3) NAQT could reuse leadins as much as they want since the set of players would rotate every four years.
4) Non-freshman undergrads (who aren't going to grad school) would have a chance to compete for a national tournament instead of having to compete with players in their 9th or 10th years of play. This may encourage more undergrad players to attend and compensate for the loss of graduate players.

This proposal would be a win-win for NAQT as they would save the money that goes into writing 1.5 sets and it may allow them to focus on the part of the quiz bowl community which actually enjoys their style of questions thus increasing turnout. Grad students might be initially angry but would be saved from going to NAQT, powering a bunch of questions from often-heard clues, and then complaining about it. Undergrads would enjoy questions tailored to their liking and would actually be able to win the Div I crown.

As for my own personal opinion, I though there was a bit of improvement from earlier years especially in literature. As for other areas, I still can't understand why NAQT has questions on shadows, beehive, tusk, magma, ice, picayune, lottery, etc. I just don't get who is the target audience of those questions. Lastly, I did not enjoy playing one game without a buzzer system (even though one of the two buzzers that broke was supposedly ours) at a national tournament. My prize for worst tossup goes to Arcadia. (First clue shouldn't refer to Poussin paintings)

-Lenny
LKos
Kimahri
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:46 pm

Re: A Modest Proposal

Postby Birdofredum Sawin » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:10 pm

LKos wrote:
I propose that NAQT make its tournaments only open to undergrads (in their first four years) and combine their two divisions into one.

Freshment/CCs would play with everyone else but be eligible for separate awards (as undergrads are in Div I nowadays). This solution would solve the ongoing problems and ...

3) NAQT could reuse leadins as much as they want since the set of players would rotate every four years.
4) Non-freshman undergrads (who aren't going to grad school) would have a chance to compete for a national tournament instead of having to compete with players in their 9th or 10th years of play. This may encourage more undergrad players to attend and compensate for the loss of graduate players.
-Lenny


This seems really misguided to me. Who has powered more questions at ICT over the last two years than anyone? Noted non-grad student Sudheer Potru. As long as the old question sets are out there, anyone -- a grad student, an undergrad, a 12-year-old -- can cram facts from previous SCTs and ICTs into his head. Said players will then be rewarded with bunches of powers, if new tournaments keep recycling previously-heard lead-ins. In fact, undergrads who cram old and recurring clues into their heads will have a distinct advantage over grad students who may be good, but who have other things to do than memorize previous NAQT sets.

Also, I'm always dubious of the whole "undergrads are discouraged by competing against grad students" hypothesis. My own personal experience as an undergrad was that I wanted to play the best players out there, whoever they were. In fact, I would have valued my undergrad titles less if I hadn't beaten players of the caliber of John Sheahan and Jeff Johnson to win them. Do younger players who are good enough to compete for an ICT title really say to themselves "Well, I'd like to go; but there's a chance the title will go to a team with grad students, so I guess I might as well stay home"? (I fail to see why it would matter to mediocre undergrads whether they get smacked around by all-undergrad teams or by teams with grad students, so I leave them out of consideration.)

Andrew
User avatar
Birdofredum Sawin
Rikku
 
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 11:25 pm
Location: Mountain View

Postby MikeWormdog » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:21 pm

First off, I think the topic of this thread shouldn't be underwhelmed but perhaps just "whelmed". The questions were NAQT, and there were some good ones and some not so good. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the lit questions; there were many in other fields I didn't really care for.

Lots of trash, current events, etc. Did anyone really expect different? Yeah, there were problems, I also was screwed on the Arminius question by answering "Hermann" . The brackets seemed unevenly distributed. The price was high, we got out early, etc. These are valid concerns, but were any of them unexpected? Was this different from last year?

Also, (this might be my main point) I fail to see how the question on the Arctic Monkeys was so difficult and is now so maligned. They're the most hyped band out of Britain since at least Oasis, possibly the Beatles, and the most hyped hipster/indie band over here since the Strokes and White Stripes in 2002. They've been on Saturday Night Live in the last month. They've been a cover story and/or prominently featured in every major music magazine in the past few months. Their album is at the top of the college music charts. I would wager that many more people got that question correct than the one on Roseanne Cash (Johnny's daughter). Arctic Monkeys was powered by a kid on my team--undergrads know about them. Perhaps it's just the silly name of the band that makes them seem irrelevant. Whether they will have any lasting influence can't be said, but they're certainly big right now (check out their google hits) , which is more than enough for them to be considered NAQT question fodder.
MikeWormdog
Lulu
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 4:09 pm
Location: Yale University

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:29 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Kenji Johjima


Yes, god forbid that people should be expected to know one of the most hyped free agent signings in America's national pasttime.

Perhaps Johjima should have been a bonus part, and not a tossup. If that's what you're saying, I agree. But to say that he should not have come up is absurd, unless you're arguing that Trash should not come up at all.
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source
User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
 
Posts: 3135
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:36 pm

Bruce wrote:Yes, god forbid that people should be expected to know one of the most hyped free agent signings in America's national pasttime.

Perhaps Johjima should have been a bonus part, and not a tossup. If that's what you're saying, I agree. But to say that he should not have come up is absurd, unless you're arguing that Trash should not come up at all.


Yes, by saying "a tossup which, surely, went dead in at least 75% of rooms is too hard" I am absolutely saying "the broad subject reflected by that tossup should never come up." That's a perfectly valid inference. I also dropkick puppies into piles of burning American flags, as one can clearly see by my opposition to dead tossups.
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
 
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Postby Ulugbek » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:49 pm

So much of the same complaints from the same people as we have every year after every NAQT tournament. This was my first ICT since 2002, and I enjoyed it greatly. True, not all of the questions were perfect, but I think that people need to differentiate between questions that are poorly written and those about which they do not have knowledge. I have a certain affinity for questions that reward more than so-called canonical knowledge, especially those that mix various fields of knowledge. It is in this that I find the greatest difference between NAQT and ACF styles of questions. As to those people who persist in complaining about the distribution, I value the variety that one encountered at the ICT, and would rather have questions about things of questionable 'importance' than packets that are entirely devoid of non-western subject matter (which is, along with the preponderance of classics questions, my primary complaint with ACF).

I think that my biggest complaint about the ICT would have been that there didn't seem to be enough rounds-- when we finished the final round on Saturday I would gladly have played another four or five rounds, possibly of ladder rounds as in previous ICTs.

Gabriel
Ulugbek
Lulu
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:09 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:53 pm

Ulugbek wrote: I value the variety that one encountered at the ICT, and would rather have questions about things of questionable 'importance' than packets that are entirely devoid of non-western subject matter (which is, along with the preponderance of classics questions, my primary complaint with ACF).


I am 100% confident that there is more "non-western" subject matter in an average ACF tournament than any other format. In fact, some people have complained about there being too much. Not that you would know; when was the last time you went to an ACF tournament?

Having these discussions based on stereotypes that probably weren't accurate when people acquired them 10 years ago and most certainly are not accurate now is very nonproductive.
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
 
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: A Modest Proposal

Postby Aaron Kashtan » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:53 pm

LKos wrote:A solution is obvious. I propose that NAQT make its tournaments only open to undergrads (in their first four years) and combine their two divisions into one. Freshment/CCs would play with everyone else but be eligible for separate awards (as undergrads are in Div I nowadays). This solution would solve the ongoing problems and:

1) Grad students would still be able to play in ACF where the questions are more tailored for such experienced players anyway.


I think this proposed rule is rather arbitrary. I'm a grad student, but I didn't play as an undergrad; the NAQT ICT was the second quiz bowl tournament I've competed in since high school, the other being the NAQT SCT. So despite being a graduate student, I'm not experienced enough to be bored by the alleged obviousness of some of the clues. In general I enjoyed the tournament, and I would have been very disappointed if the mere fact of my being a grad student had limited me to competing in ACF, where I would have felt totally out of my depth.

If you really think that over-experienced people should be disqualified from competing in the ICT, then there are better ways to ensure this-- perhaps by limiting everyone to 4 or 5 years of eligiblity. But I don't think that it's fair to deprive rookie grad students of the opportunity to compete.
Aaron Kashtan
Lulu
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:07 pm

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:58 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
Bruce wrote:Yes, god forbid that people should be expected to know one of the most hyped free agent signings in America's national pasttime.

Perhaps Johjima should have been a bonus part, and not a tossup. If that's what you're saying, I agree. But to say that he should not have come up is absurd, unless you're arguing that Trash should not come up at all.


Yes, by saying "a tossup which, surely, went dead in at least 75% of rooms is too hard" I am absolutely saying "the broad subject reflected by that tossup should never come up." That's a perfectly valid inference. I also dropkick puppies into piles of burning American flags, as one can clearly see by my opposition to dead tossups.


When did I accuse you of wanting to shut out a broad subject? I specifically defended Johjima, not baseball or Trash in general.

BTW Johjima is hitting .333 and leading the Mariners in homeruns.
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source
User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
 
Posts: 3135
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Postby alkrav112 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:09 pm

On a quick side note, does anyone know when the recorded matches will become available? There are some interesting matches so I hear, and I'm eager to hear them...
User avatar
alkrav112
Rikku
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:12 pm

Upon quick research I have discovered two things:

1) Mr. Lyon did indeed play ACF Regionals this year

2) Every single one of the 16 ACF Regionals packets this year had at least one question on something that was unquestionably "nonwestern." By this I mean that one does not have to count questions on west-east interactions like Amritsar massacre or on things that may or may not be western like Sumerian myth in order to find nonwestern material. Rather, even if you only count questions exclusively about the history, literature, and art of Japan, India, Latin America, and other places that fall under the "nonwestern" banner, still every single packet had something "nonwestern" in it. So, it is simply untrue to allege that "packets that are entirely devoid of non-western subject matter" were present at the only ACF tournament that Mr. Lyon can judge. I also think there was probably a higher percentage of said subject matter at ACF than at NAQT Sectionals or ICT, but I don't have those sets so I can't find out.
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
 
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Postby Ulugbek » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:15 pm

Matt Weiner wrote: Not that you would know; when was the last time you went to an ACF tournament?


I played at ACF regionals this year, and this was my impression from that tournament. Looking through the questions, most packets had 1-2 non-western subject matter tossups, and Texas' and one of the editors' packets had none.
Ulugbek
Lulu
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:09 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Postby vig180 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:15 pm

As a freshman playing in my first national tournament ever, I thought the ICT went fairly well. We had some mediocre moderators, some of whom struggled to get 18 tossups in and one who read so fast I still couldn't understand him even by the last question, but otherwise had excellent reading. Overall, the questions seemed to have a fairly good distribution though I noticed several odd semi-repeats (i.e. the aforementioned Australia thing and a bonus on the french revolution with a tu on the Directory in the next round). In many cases, the questions were rather short but they did make the rounds move faster.

I think it's very possible to study C/Es for NAQT; it's always good to just see who was elected, where there was a revolution, and who the major terrorists in the world right now are. C/Es make NAQT a bit more exciting by making players keep up with what's happening rather than studying the same canon all the time. Trash is just, well, trash and I would like to see less of that in the future; though I do enjoy the questions, I wouldn't like to see a match determined on a "Guns and Roses" song TU- that's why TRASH is a separate circuit.

NAQT has a lot to like about it with a wide variety of questions, timed matches, and powers that reward advanced knowledge. Though it may have had its flaws, this ICT made me want to come back for more next year.
vig180
Wakka
 
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Athens, GA

Postby Rothlover » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:20 pm

Bruce, I read Baseball Primer every day, check Hardball Times for updates etc, and I recall just a couple of articles this season related to the wooing/signing of Johjima, and then a subsequent couple of online articles attempting to project how his stats would translate here. Remember, I am not some Joe sixpack qb player who just reads the transaction notes every day, or who sees the people getting hyped on baseball tonight (this is one of the few areas I can claim such knowledge.) In terms of the size of the deal, Johjima's was the 16th biggest FA contract last off-season, and on a per year basis, his $5.5 mil puts him around 30th, with a bunch of people within 500k of him (this doesn't look into extensions and arb figures either, MANY of which were higher.) Just because he flew across an ocean doesn't mean he was particularly askable, even as a bonus part. Reggie Sanders, with incentives, will get as much per year as Johjima, it doesn't make him a worthy or interesting or particularly gettable answer selection. Arctic monkeys is much more "defendable," and I am not here defending it. I don't play academic so that I can barely pull a decent catcher, I play it so that I can get interesting/important things, or (the more often result) lose to those who can.
Dan Passner Brandeis '06 JTS/Columbia '11-'12 Ben Gurion University of the Negev/Columbia '12?
Rothlover
Yuna
 
Posts: 816
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 8:41 pm

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:20 pm

[quote:d35990a8f4=\"Ulugbek\"]I played at ACF regionals this year, and this was my impression from that tournament. Looking through the questions, most packets had 1-2 non-western subject matter tossups, and Texas\' and one of the editors\' packets had none.[/quote:d35990a8f4]

Look, you\'re full of shit. Just stop.

Texas:

Answer the following about the Mexican revolution FTPE.
[10] This plan was drafted in November 1910 by Francisco Madero, who was then a political exile in Texas. It called for a revolution to overthrow the Diaz regime.
ANSWER: Plan de San Luis Potosi
[10] This revolutionary leader and ally of Pancho Villa formed the Liberation Army of the South and drafted the Plan de Ayala. A guerrilla group in modern Chiapas is named for him.
ANSWER: Emiliano Zapata Salazar
[10] Along with Venustiano Carranza, this man led the Constitutionalist faction that overthrew Victoriano Huerta in July, 1914. However, he later overthrew Carranza and became President of Mexico from 1920 to 1924.
ANSWER: Alvaro Obregon Salido

Editors 1 of 3:

He blinded and imprisoned his brother-in-law and ordered his father-in-law and prime minister, Asaf Khan, to murder the rest of the royal princes. He had to quell several rebellions, such as those of the Orchha chief Jujhar Singh in the region of Bundelkhand, and of the governor of the Deccan, Khan Lodi, whom he killed at Shihonda. At his death, he had been imprisoned by his son, who warred with Dara Shikoh, Shuja, and Murad Bakhsh over the succession. His greatest military success was probably the pacification and conquest of Bijapur, but he is better known as a patron of the arts, supporting the painters Govardhan and Bichitra and building the Red Fort in Delhi and the Jami Masjid. FTP, name this son of Jahangir and father of Aurangzeb, best known for building a mausoleum for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
ANSWER: Shah Jahan (prompt on Prince Khurram)

Editors 2 of 3:

The creator of inada, the sight of this creature at birth was unbearable, which lead to banishment via the Celestial Ladder. This deity’s main holy place, which contains a mirror in its inner sanctum and is pulled-down and rebuilt every two decades, is at Ise-Jingue. Enraged by the noise of her brother, she had to be lured from hiding by the antics of Uzume. As Tamayori is the son of Owatatsumi, her brother, Jimmu is a lineal, not direct descendant of this goddess. With a name meaning “shining heaven,” this eldest daughter of Izanagi and Izanami is antagonistic to Susanowa. FTP, name this Shinto goddess of the sky and sun.
ANSWER: Amaterasu

Editors 3 of 3:

On February 4, 1703, forty-six of the forty-seven members of a famous group of masterless samurai committed seppuku to atone for avenging the death of their leader. Answer these questions regarding the incident FTPE.
[10] That group of forty-seven was referred to by this term, generally used to refer to masterless samurai.
ANSWER: ronin
[10] The plot of the Forty-Seven Ronin was to avenge the seppuku necessitated of their leader after his non-lethal attack on a Tokugawa official. Name either that leader or that official.
ANSWER: Asano Takumi-no-Kami Naganori or Kira Kozuke-no-Suke Yoshinaka
[10] The seppuku the Ronin and of Asano for attacking Kira was required by this samurai code.
ANSWER: Bushido
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
 
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Postby Ulugbek » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:23 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
Ulugbek wrote:I played at ACF regionals this year, and this was my impression from that tournament. Looking through the questions, most packets had 1-2 non-western subject matter tossups, and Texas' and one of the editors' packets had none.


Look, you're full of shit. Just stop.

Note, I was referring to tossups.
Ulugbek
Lulu
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:09 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:26 pm

Ulugbek wrote:Note, I was referring to tossups.


As to those people who persist in complaining about the distribution, I value the variety that one encountered at the ICT, and would rather have questions about things of questionable 'importance' than packets that are entirely devoid of non-western subject matter (which is, along with the preponderance of classics questions, my primary complaint with ACF).


This is a ridiculous digression. You're wrong and you're wrong in spectacular fashion, in that you are accusing the tournament with the MOST nonwestern material of having the LEAST.
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
 
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Postby NoahMinkCHS » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:28 pm

Not to get into it, but is Mexico really considered "non-western"?
NoahMinkCHS
Yuna
 
Posts: 827
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Athens, GA / Macon, GA

Postby Susan » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:30 pm

Gabe, are you claiming that NAQT had much more nonwestern content than ACF did? Leaving aside current events, I just don't think that's true.
Susan
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 1790
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:43 am

Postby Chris Frankel » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:34 pm

NoahMinkCHS wrote:Not to get into it, but is Mexico really considered "non-western"?


I'm a history major, and taking a Latin American history class allowed me to fulfill the "non-Western" distribution requirement for my department. I can't imagine Princeton is unique in this aspect.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."
User avatar
Chris Frankel
Rikku
 
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:52 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Postby Ulugbek » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:39 pm

myamphigory wrote:Gabe, are you claiming that NAQT had much more nonwestern content than ACF did? Leaving aside current events, I just don't think that's true.


That was my impression. As far a current events go, I consider them to be just as valid of questions, perhaps more so than ones about mythology (but this is part of a more general critique of quizbowl's generally Orientalist perspective on the non-European world, NAQT included).
Ulugbek
Lulu
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:09 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Postby jackflaps » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:39 pm

NoahMinkCHS wrote:Not to get into it, but is Mexico really considered "non-western"?


The ACF Fall distribution thinks so:

"Literature 5/5: 3/3 should be American or British Literature, while 2/2 should be European or World Literature.

"History 5/5: 2/2 american, 2/2 european, 1/1 nonwestern."
jackflaps
Kimahri
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 2:26 pm
Location: State College, PA

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:40 pm

Ulugbek wrote:That was my impression. As far a current events go, I consider them to be just as valid of questions, perhaps more so than ones about mythology (but this is part of a more general critique of quizbowl's generally Orientalist perspective on the non-European world, NAQT included).


This sounds like an interesting subject for a separate thread. Warning, citing Edward Said may lead to me calling you names.
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
 
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Postby rhentzel » Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:06 pm

In light of feedback on this (and past) year's Intercollegiate Championship Tournament, NAQT has prepared a survey of player and coach opinions on the distribution, difficulty, and style of our questions. This survey is intended for everybody who plays quiz bowl at the collegiate level, regardless of whether or not they competed in the SCT or ICT this year.

We would greatly appreciate it if you would pass this link on to club members who don't frequent this message board and encourage them to provide feedback:

http://www.naqt.com/2006-collegiate-survey.html

We hope that the results show a clear way for us to change our championship sets so that they are more to the liking of today's teams!

If you have any questions about this survey, or any aspect of NAQT, please don't hesitate to e-mail me personally or to contact the company as a whole at feedback@naqt.com.

-- R. Robert Hentzel
President and Chief Technical Officer,
National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC
rhentzel
Rikku
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 4:20 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

More specific feedback

Postby rhentzel » Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:10 pm

NAQT also intends to provide specific responses to the concerns that have been aired in this thread (and in private e-mails), but the tabulation of answerability data and other business matters that were shunted aside as the ICT approached have forestalled that for several days. Starting tomorrow [Thursday], I hope to be able to start making some replies.

We appreciate the constructive criticism!

-- R. Robert Hentzel
President and Chief Technical Officer,
National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC
rhentzel
Rikku
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 4:20 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Postby grapesmoker » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:39 am

It seems like R. Hentzel's post about the survey has pretty much ended all discussion on the ICT. It certainly saved me the trouble of figuring out NAQT's distribution; finally, the terrible secret is revealed! However, as much as I appreciate NAQT taking the step of setting up this survey, I can't say that I don't have a problem with it. If you consider many of the complaints I and others have made in this thread and then look at the survey questions regarding those complaints, it becomes obvious that the answers to the survey that you are allowed to select if you disagree with NAQT's current position on some questions is very unsatisfying. In fact, the "answer" does not include the explanations that people have painstakingly laid out to, for example, list bonuses, or questions which are essentially verbal riddles. Instead, the choices offered are "I just hate these questions" and "They offend my sense of quizbowl esthetics," neither of which is an accurate reflection of the position of NAQT's critics. In short, I think the survey questions are quite unbalanced. Furthermore, given that the survey is an online submission, the results should be available instantaneously and should not require tabulation. If some people have already responded to the survey, why haven't we been able to see any of the results?
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
 
Posts: 6359
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Postby Howard » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:56 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Furthermore, given that the survey is an online submission, the results should be available instantaneously and should not require tabulation. If some people have already responded to the survey, why haven't we been able to see any of the results?


Remember the Carter-Reagan election where people on the west coast didn't vote? Providing early results can change whether someone actually submits a survey (typically because they find their view underrepresented, and they hence desire to alter the result to favor their view). It's very important that if NAQT wants reasonably reliable results that they not allow anyone to see said results until the survey period is complete.

I agree that upon looking at the questions I often didn't find my views adequately expressed in the included choices. Areas to add comments for individual review would have been nice. But my opinion doesn't particularly matter anyway since I'm not a collegiate player.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred
User avatar
Howard
Yuna
 
Posts: 967
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 5:42 pm
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Postby Matt Weiner » Fri Apr 14, 2006 5:11 pm

I'm quite befuddled by the survey entirely. It seems like none of the actual complaints people have raised this year are reflected in the survey, and almost every one of the questions boils down to "should NAQT return to using a certain style of question that we thankfully stopped using recently because it sucked." Between that and the ridiculous disparity in the tone of the answers, this looks like another self-serving and out of touch means for pseudo-feedback whose results no one can verify because they are not publicly available.
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
 
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Postby your mom » Fri Apr 14, 2006 6:12 pm

I agree wholeheartedly. Something about the general tone of that thing struck me the wrong way.
your mom
Lulu
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 9:06 pm

Postby NoahMinkCHS » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:30 am

They haven't yet said that they won't be publicly available once the thing is done. They really shouldn't release anything yet, as Howard's post explains.

I'm glad they're at least putting something out. I thought D-II was fine, but from this thread I see that was not the case in D-I for a lot of people. At least they are soliciting feedback, in a reasonably quantitative way, to see how they can better serve their customers. True, not every answer's tone is ideal or neutral; I think that could possibly have been done better. And perhaps the survey should have been done from the beginning, rather than after tons of complaints have already been aired. But look at like this: You finally have a chance to vote against the NACuties, the list bonuses, etc. We'll see if others agree or if NAQT even cares, but it's a start.

FWIW, I wonder if someone would post here what they think the ideal NAQT feedback mechanism would have looked like, i.e., what questions/answers you would have liked the NAQT community to be able to respond to.
NoahMinkCHS
Yuna
 
Posts: 827
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Athens, GA / Macon, GA

Re: Underwhelmed

Postby rhentzel » Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:21 pm

The tournament wasn't especially well run. It certainly wasn't bad, but it could have been better. The whole deal with emergency room changes, room number switches, extended walks through the rain to compete in multiple buildings is all understandable in a sense, but really not optimal for a tournament charging as much as NAQT does. Yeah, that's right, I think the ICT is too expensive- I'll echo previous sentiments on that subject. I also had a moderator's cell phone go off in the middle of a round, which was very unprofessional. I'm sure I could think of some more things, but in total I mean to say that for an organization like NAQT that prides itself so much on atmosphere and pizazz and all the cute little touches, it fell short of what one might call, say, "a sound tournament with good questions."


I'm a little surprised to see that NAQT has managed to project the image that it prides itself on "atmosphere and pizazz and all the cute little touches"; if you had asked me, I would have said that we pride ourselves on running a fair, fun tournament that efficiently pack a lot of quiz bowl into the weekend." In our opinion, NAQT makes no attempt to provide atmosphere or cute touches...as a high schooler (and to a lesser extent, a college student), I went to a lot of tournaments for a lot of different things that offered bags of swag, meals, self-important speakers, dressed-up rooms, and the like. It's never been NAQT's goal to replicate this; merely to run a lot of first-rate quiz bowl matches. In fact, it's hard for me to imagine that the ICT could be have fewer frills than it does. Other than trophies and my double-breasted suit, what pizzazz do we have that impresses/fails to impress you?

That said, the room fiasco (for those of you not there, NAQT failed to actually secure room reservations in the DI building necessitating moving the tournament to a different building--in the rain--on short notice) was about as bad a logistical problem as there can be and I was, personally and professionally, extremely embarrassed for it. We are going to make some changes next year to try to avoid the possibility of that happening. Players have every right to expect that that won't happen at any tournament, much less a national championship.

I believe that we instructed moderators to turn off their cell phones during matches this year, but I'll make sure that is more prominently mentioned next year. You're correct--that's something that shouldn't happen.

-- R. Robert Hentzel
President and Chief Technical Officer,
National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC
rhentzel
Rikku
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 4:20 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Underwhelmed

Postby rhentzel » Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:34 pm

Yeah, that's right, I think the ICT is too expensive- I'll echo previous sentiments on that subject.


The NAQT ICT is an expensive tournament, but I assure you that we are not getting rich off of it. The accounting isn't done for this year's tournament, but last year's [2005] was a money-loser for NAQT.

In fact, we have very little financial incentive to run the ICT; we do it because we love quiz bowl and enjoy seeing the nation's (and Canada's and Britain's) best teams playing quiz bowl at its highest level.

Where does the money go? Almost completely to transporting and housing staff at the tournament, though copying and trophies are not insignificant.

One person who sent feedback by e-mail complained that, unlike at ACF, a team does not have the chance to submit a packet to reduce its cost to play. This is true, but if you enjoy writing questions--or are willing to do so to play more cheaply--we encourage you to become a writer for NAQT; submitting a packet of 25/25 to us would earn you $87.50 which you can think of as an ICT packet discount if you want.

In addition, you can write high school questions, questions entirely in your favorite areas, or only tossups or only bonuses, aspects that we would hope would make writing such a packet go even faster.

For more information about becoming an NAQT writer, you can visit our website at:

http://www.naqt.com/jobs.html

-- R. Robert Hentzel
President and Chief Technical Officer,
National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC
rhentzel
Rikku
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 4:20 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Underwhelmed

Postby rhentzel » Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:52 pm

I too have my issues with the protest handling procedures. We had an early game with a bunch of protests in it, all of which were noted and then our moderator left the game at the half, came back and said that two of the protests (bonus parts) were left up in the air, while another protest (a tossup on carbon nanotubes) he claimed was resolved in favor of our team, and obviously we played on. As our team won by more than 20 (the total bonus points that were still supposed to be in question), we figured all was well and carried on. In the morning, we found that the results were switched around and we had our win taken away without ever being notified of this. This is kind of poor practice that we were explicitly told that a ruling had been made on a tossup (with a large point swing, obviously), only to have everything reversed later that night.


The two big operational disappointments for me, personally, with the 2006 ICT were the room reservation problem (read: "debacle") and this particular protest. Obviously other protests have become noteworthy, and I'll address them in turn, but NAQT dropped the ball on this one in a way that shouldn't have occurred and which our procedures, I would have thought, would have prevented.

For those that weren't there, the situation as I understand it, is that one team protested the acceptability of an answer ("carbon nanotubules" for "carbon nanotubes"), then the other team protested that they should have been prompted on a bonus part (when they weren't) and then the original team protested that they should not have been prompted on a second bonus part (when they were). At the half, the moderator took the protests to the main room where a person not on the protest committee declared the tossup answer unacceptable but, before reviewing the bonus parts, realized that the game was only at the half and told the moderator to finish the game. His decision was relayed to the players who finished the game (and left, not realizing that anything was still up in the air). After the game, the moderator returned and reported the result. For some reason (as yet unclear to me), the protest committee wasn't assembled to review the situation until after Friday night's games had been completed (the protest occured in round 4 of 6).

When we did so, we determined that "carbon nanotubules" was acceptable and accepted one of the bonus answers, thereby rendering the other protest moot (and reversing the game). By this time, both teams had left and I made a note to tell the first team what had happened in the morning. In the event, they found me before I found them and expressed (righteous) irritation at what had transpired.

In short, we had five failings:

1. The questions should have listed more alternate answers
2. The moderator should not have sought protest resolution at the half
3. Tournament staff who are not on the protest committee should not rule on protests
4. In the event that they do, moderators should not accept their word as final
5. The protest committee should be assembled immediately, if only to formally let the teams know the schedule for resolution

In the end, I feel that this particular protest was resolved correctly, in terms of the facts, but resolved horribly in terms of procedure, transparent or otherwise. While other protests at the ICT may or may not have been correct, I feel that, in general, proper procedure was followed. This one didn't and we deserve to be taken to task for it.

For next year NAQT will prepare a public, formal statement of its official protest resolution procedure and will make sure that moderators are familiar with it. We will also emphasize that only the protest committee members are authorized to rule on issues brought by moderators and will make sure that moderators know who the protest committee members are. I hope that will prevent this sort of thing from occurring again.

I would like to apologize to both Michigan and Vanderbilt for the sloppiness with with this protest was handled; I hope that you will be happier with the procedures we have in place for 2007.

We welcome comments from the community on how they think protest resolution should occur, or if there are details they think we are likely to overlook. Such thoughts can be sent to naqt@naqt.com.

-- R. Robert Hentzel
President and Chief Technical Officer,
National Academc Quiz Tournaments, LLC
rhentzel
Rikku
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 4:20 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Postby Kechara » Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:59 pm

With regards to the protest committee, is everyone (players and moderators) supposed to know who is on the committee? If it hasn't been standard practice to announce that, you might want to make it standard practice just to make sure people know for sure whether or not they're getting an answer from or asking a question to someone on the committee.
Jessie Francis
User avatar
Kechara
Wakka
 
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2003 1:28 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Postby No Rules Westbrook » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:45 pm

Excuse me while I yawn...

Those are some touching apologies; it's a shame that they don't mention anything that really matters. The way the tournament was run, moderators with cell phones, logistics, cost, allocation of that cost, protest procedures...all very secondary concerns that make for a pretty easy mea culpa. Almost easy enough that people might forget about a particularly vital cog in this great game we play...questions! Can we see that no matter how these quasi-issues are resolved, we're still playing on the same defective questions (for reasons that people above and elsewhere have cited). We're still left with 2 percent philosophy, the Damoclean possibility of computation and wordplay questions, and a host of other things. And players are still left with the question - is this product worth my time, interest, and money?

Tell you what, promise me interesting quality questions...and I'll play qb on the arctic tundra as moderated by illiterate eskimos, with any protests I may have resolved by a pack of agitated Yetis.
User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
 
Posts: 1221
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm

Postby Mr. Kwalter » Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:23 am

Ryan Westbrook wrote:Those are some touching apologies; it's a shame that they don't mention anything that really matters. The way the tournament was run, moderators with cell phones, logistics, cost, allocation of that cost, protest procedures...all very secondary concerns that make for a pretty easy mea culpa. Almost easy enough that people might forget about a particularly vital cog in this great game we play...questions! Can we see that no matter how these quasi-issues are resolved, we're still playing on the same defective questions (for reasons that people above and elsewhere have cited). We're still left with 2 percent philosophy, the Damoclean possibility of computation and wordplay questions, and a host of other things. And players are still left with the question - is this product worth my time, interest, and money?

So, R did in fact address this issue. If we are so damn pissed about the quality of NAQT's questions, and we (we being myself and anyone else who feels that they are part of "we") are, then maybe we should write some. Having a Yaphe or Subash as editor clearly isn't enough. Distribution aside, I don't think it's fair to NAQT for us to keep complaining without offering a real solution. Guess what...good tossups don't grow on trees, and goblins don't mine good bonuses. Maybe much of NAQT's ICT writing staff is out of touch with current quizbowl mores. If that's really so, how can you sit here and demand higher question quality from them? ACF editors take years off from playing to edit...why can't current experienced players take a year off to write a crapload of questions for the ICT. That would make it better. I mean, If you're so eager to jump ship on ICT anyway, why don't you help the rest of the circuit AND make some money? This would also be a positive occupation for players that might patronize the proposed masters circuit but will no longer be eligible to play the ICT. Just a thought.
Eric Kwartler
Alumnus, University of Texas School of Law
User avatar
Mr. Kwalter
Tidus
 
Posts: 617
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 1:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Postby grapesmoker » Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:42 am

ekwartler wrote:So, R did in fact address this issue. If we are so damn pissed about the quality of NAQT's questions, and we (we being myself and anyone else who feels that they are part of "we") are, then maybe we should write some. Having a Yaphe or Subash as editor clearly isn't enough. Distribution aside, I don't think it's fair to NAQT for us to keep complaining without offering a real solution. Guess what...good tossups don't grow on trees, and goblins don't mine good bonuses. Maybe much of NAQT's ICT writing staff is out of touch with current quizbowl mores. If that's really so, how can you sit here and demand higher question quality from them? ACF editors take years off from playing to edit...why can't current experienced players take a year off to write a crapload of questions for the ICT. That would make it better. I mean, If you're so eager to jump ship on ICT anyway, why don't you help the rest of the circuit AND make some money? This would also be a positive occupation for players that might patronize the proposed masters circuit but will no longer be eligible to play the ICT. Just a thought.


One relevant question here is whether one can influence the quality of questions as merely a writer. The fact remains that the people who edit NAQT are the very ones with whom people like myself have a divergence of philosophy. So what guarantee do I have, not being an editor, that my questions will be preserved in the appropriate form and not modified into "nacuties"? That's an important sticking point with me, because I don't want to write 25/25 only to have them changed in a way that I strongly disagree with. Furthermore, unless something like 5 good writers jump on board with NAQT for the sole purpose of producing a good ICT set, I just don't see the overall quality of the tournament changing into something that I would find acceptable.

Offering people the chance to become writers is good for someone who just wants to contribute casually, but it's inadequate for someone like me who wants to see fundamental changes in ICT questions. I think that NAQT's current strategy of approaching senior players and writers such as Subash and Andrew and asking them to edit ICT has a lot of promise if implemented properly. More specifically, I'd like to see those outside head editors have the option of simply rejecting anything not up to current standards. I got the impression from this set that Andrew did a lot of this with categories he is an expert in, but let in a lot of bad questions in categories that he doesn't cover, like science.

I've volunteered my services to NAQT as ICT editor. Perhaps others have as well, though I'm not aware of it. If NAQT is really interested in conforming to current standards of question writing, perhaps they'll seriously consider my offer.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
 
Posts: 6359
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Postby Chris Frankel » Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:03 am

ekwartler wrote:ACF editors take years off from playing to edit...why can't current experienced players take a year off to write a crapload of questions for the ICT. That would make it better. I mean, If you're so eager to jump ship on ICT anyway, why don't you help the rest of the circuit AND make some money? This would also be a positive occupation for players that might patronize the proposed masters circuit but will no longer be eligible to play the ICT. Just a thought.


Well, I think there's a good reason for this, and I hope posting it will be another push towards leading NAQT to seriously consider changes in the distribution and question length guidelines.

Speaking for myself, I like writing questions. I like the challenge of doing extensive research, finding a wide array of clues, and packing them as densely as possible to create a detailed and well-constructed tossup or bonus. That aspect and the learning experience aspect are the main reasons I enjoy writing.

As a writer, I feel like NAQT's current guidelines have some arbitrary and nonsensical restraints. It's incredibly difficult to put a satisfactory amount of clues in a tossup given the length restrictions. For instance, I remember being met with a response to my complaint about the lack of musical clues in opera tossups (all 2-3 of them that may appear in a whole NAQT set) to the effect that aria clues could not be used because they took up too much of the word space. That's simply unreasonable; NAQT really should consider expanding the length requirement to allow for more clue space.

Likewise, I hope the distribution does actually change. $90/packet sounds like great money for QB standards, but it seems a lot more tedious to write a packet when over a quarter of the content has to be filled with current events, geography (this constitutes a lot of the so-called "pizzaz" and "cute little touches" that people are griping about), and sports as opposed to barely over 10% combined for major academic disciplines like arts, social science, and philosophy.

Finally, there's the editing process. I don't profess to know how it works, but as Jerry beat me to saying, all the serious writing efforts may come to naught if they're thwarted in the editing phase due to fundamental diversions in philosophy. I'd like to work towards effecting some sort of positive change in NAQT, but I'm worried about running into a stone wall in the form of an editor who's been entrenched for the past years and has no intent of budging. Likewise, I'm well aware that it's unrealistic for people to outside the organization to come in and expect editing power on the company's biggest tournament right off the bat. There's an impasse here, and I don't know what can be done about it.

So I hope the criticism of this year will seriously make NAQT consider tweaking its format (read: not making it ACF lite necessarily) to fall closer in line with current circuit norms and standards. If so, I too will put my money where my mouth is and say right here that if NAQT could use any help from me on ICT, they're more than welcome to e-mail me and ask. I have a feeling that my inbox will remain empty, but on the pleasant surprise that it isn't, I'd be happy to work in good faith in the hopes of a better of ICT.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."
User avatar
Chris Frankel
Rikku
 
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:52 pm
Location: Houston, TX

NAQT Modifications

Postby Phil Castagna » Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:44 pm

After reading this discussion thread, I have a question for Jerry, Chris, Matt...(I don't mean to say you all think in lockstep on everything, this is more of a general query to anyone)

Aside from the centrally-written vs. team written and playing on a clock, and if NAQT took all of your suggestions to heart (regarding lengthening tossups, removing wordplay or acrostic type-questions, and tweaking the distribution to lower trash/current events/geography content) what would be the difference between ACF and NAQT (assuming these modifications are made).

I don't mean this post as an attack, I'm just trying to further my understanding.

Thanks,
Phil
Phil Castagna
Lulu
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:07 pm

Re: NAQT Modifications

Postby Chris Frankel » Sat Apr 22, 2006 1:46 am

Phil Castagna wrote:After reading this discussion thread, I have a question for Jerry, Chris, Matt...(I don't mean to say you all think in lockstep on everything, this is more of a general query to anyone)

Aside from the centrally-written vs. team written and playing on a clock, and if NAQT took all of your suggestions to heart (regarding lengthening tossups, removing wordplay or acrostic type-questions, and tweaking the distribution to lower trash/current events/geography content) what would be the difference between ACF and NAQT (assuming these modifications are made).

I don't mean this post as an attack, I'm just trying to further my understanding.

Thanks,
Phil


Sure. I'll shape the bulk of my post by throwing out ideas on what I would do if given carte blanche to reshape the format with only the guidelines that I not utterly compromise it.

1. Allow tossup length to be extended by 1-2 lines. Not knowing the character limit makes it harder for me to make an accurate suggestion, but I will throw that out as a general range (NAQT uses a different font and size than ACF, so it's not like a 6 line NAQT tossup is the same as a 6 line ACF one in 10 point Times New Roman). It would be nice if bonuses had some more wiggle room, but I'd let that pass in favor of tossups, since those questions are where issues of pyramidality and middle clues become prominent. Accordingly, I would allow for an extra minute in each half to accomodate this extension: I see it as enough to make room for more clues without distorting the speed and pace of the games.

2. Adjust the distribution so that fine arts (both music and visual art), social science, and philosophy questions each have an equal or greater ratio to geography, general knowledge, trash, and sports questions. I think that this change is necessary to remain true to the "Academic" in NAQT, as the first list of subjects encompasses a vast amount of the existing college-level academic curriculum, and it does a disservice to people who major in or study those fields to be given less priority than someone who skims newspapers or memorizes maps regularly. General knowledge is the only category I would like to abolish outright: I think its lends itself to the bulk of controversial "NAcutie" questions like: is, crocodile tears, palindromes, etc., and that any interesting topics that may come up in GK could probably be rewritten in the vein of any other academic or pop culture/CE category. As for the remaining "lesser" subjects, I would be most prone to reducing the content of current events, geography, sports, and trash in order from most to least in terms of what would be pared down to make room for more academic content (based on my opinion of what comes up disproportionately high in terms of its significance).

3. Reshape the distribution to exist as a per round question quota rather than an overall percentage of the set quota. I think this method will allow more consistency across packets, and will prevent teams from having specialists arbitrarily shut out of or favored in rounds due to random luck of having none/more of the questions in the minor categories appear in a particular round's packet.

4. Enforce a higher degree of strictness in terms of how subjects count for their various categories. I'm in the dark on how your average NAQT question gets counted for whatever distribution subject, but I feel like questions should stay loyal to their subject categories. I don't like the idea of a children's book bonus counting for academic literature, a furniture tossup counting as visual arts, or a "hey check out this article I read in last month's Nature journal" tossup counting as biology. Similarly, I don't think trash or sports questions should double as current events (e.g. no tossups on flavor of the week bands or sports figures who just made ESPN headlines a few nights ago). A popular in-joke among NAQT critics is that you could look at one tossup and be able to guess that it counted for any of 3-5 different categories based on the ambiguities of the clues and answers (e.g. say a Benjamin Franklin biography tossup could fall into lit, history, science, or GK or a Samuel Morse biography tossup into history, science, art, or GK). I think a good goal for NAQT questions would be that they be written so that an experienced writer could pinpoint the category in which every question falls. My bet is that a lot of players wouldn't be as vocal over the (still-flawed) distribution status quo if it weren't the case that a lot of the GK/trash/current events elements seemed to spill over into the territory of academic subject matter.

In order of priority (from greatest to least great), I would place those goals as follows: 4, 2, 3, 1. I think it's fair to say that these changes would allow NAQT to remain a timed, fast-paced format with a healthy dose of "off the beaten path" questions on pop culture, current events, etc. and allow substantial improvement to the academic component that people find flawed. In my opinion alone, NAQT's unique identity seems to focus on the brisk pace, powers, the timed aspect, and the presence of the aformentioned "novelty" questions. My proposed changes would be designed to promote the additional goals of ensuring that rewarding the team with the most academic knowledge be a primary concern of games.

The central dilemma, however, is that, with NAQT's status as a large proprietary organization, it's hard to know what the consensus is on what constitutes NAQT's identity. If it so happens, for example, that the powers that be believe that pyramidality is overrated, or that luck and buzzer speed should trump knowledge in determining the outcome of games, or that nobody worthwhile cares that much about philosophy/arts/social science, then I would argue that NAQT does not just diverge from ACF, but from the current accepted norms of the circuit as a whole and the problems are indeed deep-rooted ones. If, however, our goals are in fact the same (i.e. pyramidal academic questions designed to reward knowledge before all), and there's just been trouble in keeping up with the pace of the circuit's evolution, then I don't why there need be such difficulty in tweaking the format to fit circuit standards without having to express concerns that vocal partisans are trying to twist NAQT into a clone of ACF.

I hope that at least makes clear what I've been ranting about all this time, and at least I don't think that the above changes I'd ideally like to see are unreasonable or implausible to implement without taking away NAQT's identity.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."
User avatar
Chris Frankel
Rikku
 
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:52 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: NAQT Modifications

Postby grapesmoker » Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:56 am

Phil Castagna wrote:After reading this discussion thread, I have a question for Jerry, Chris, Matt...(I don't mean to say you all think in lockstep on everything, this is more of a general query to anyone)

Aside from the centrally-written vs. team written and playing on a clock, and if NAQT took all of your suggestions to heart (regarding lengthening tossups, removing wordplay or acrostic type-questions, and tweaking the distribution to lower trash/current events/geography content) what would be the difference between ACF and NAQT (assuming these modifications are made).

I don't mean this post as an attack, I'm just trying to further my understanding.

Thanks,
Phil


I agree with pretty much everything Chris said in his post. I want to point out that the difference between NAQT and ACF would be exactly what you pointed out: timed rounds, shorter questions, slightly more non-academic stuff. I think it's worth pointing out that in almost every respect, it's not ACF which is the exception to quizbowl tournaments but NAQT; virtually all packet-submission invitationals are run on some sort of modified ACF rules and conform to an ACF-style distribution. The distribution, though, is only half the issue. The other half is question quality, which has to do with bringing ICT up to the standards of current tournaments as far as clues, pyramidality, and other factors are concerned.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
 
Posts: 6359
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Postby grapesmoker » Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:03 am

Incidentally, I'd like to note that despite NAQT's claims to the contrary, the Lense-Thirring effect has been observed. It took me about 10 seconds to find the NASA site listing this discovery in 2004.

http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookin ... _drag.html

Talk about lazy question writing and a sense of quizbowl aesthetics...
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
 
Posts: 6359
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

PreviousNext

Return to Best of the Best

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests