Search found 38 matches

by Ken Jennings
Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:53 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2011 ICT Question-specific discussion
Replies: 150
Views: 20265

Re: 2011 ICT Question-specific discussion

Magister Ludi wrote:(As an aside, people should stop writing questions on Harold Bloom because he is a mediocre critic who has managed his career so that he happens to be famous. He is kind of like the Ken Jennings of literary criticism, but thats an issue for another thread)
I eagerly await that thread.
by Ken Jennings
Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:35 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions
Replies: 55
Views: 5687

Re: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions

What about the reasons I presented that have to do with the way that these questions--from a competitive standpoint--cause the distribution of rounds to be variable in yet another way beyond the editors' control? I really liked your post, which seemed like a good constructive start at discussing ac...
by Ken Jennings
Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:19 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions
Replies: 55
Views: 5687

Re: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions

Why do we need the Comedy Central clue there? I've put almost no input into the NAQT distribution, but I imagine the official answer is "Because we believe our audience, in general, likes pop-culture material in about the proportion we currently include it." And we extend that philosophy to a small...
by Ken Jennings
Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:10 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions
Replies: 55
Views: 5687

Re: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions

My argument is not circular in any sense. It's about differentiating, to the extent possible, between legitimate academic topics and things that are not so. To reprise my ridiculous example that I never thought anyone would defend, to answer a question on various Stellas in literature, one has to b...
by Ken Jennings
Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:51 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions
Replies: 55
Views: 5687

Re: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions

I think you are wrong. Is Charlie voicing a widespread opinion? Are there lots of players who, independently of what they think about pop culture in the NAQT distribution, think that mixing academic and non-academic material in the same question is an inherently bad idea for different reasons? What...
by Ken Jennings
Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:40 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions
Replies: 55
Views: 5687

Re: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions

I currently edit stuff in NAQT's popular "mixed" (i.e. miscellaneous) category, so I appreciate the feedback. I'll keep an eye on this thread, so please comment away. It's a tricky category to edit, for obvious reasons, so your notes are helpful. I edited most of the questions referred to above, tho...
by Ken Jennings
Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:57 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: 2009 NAQT HSNCT
Replies: 349
Views: 80752

Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Similarly, NAQT correctness rule B.5, which I quote below: If an underlined section includes a generic word (e.g., "war" in Korean War) and that generic word appears in the question itself, then a player need not repeat that word if he or she is answering after it has been read seems to make the is...
by Ken Jennings
Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:49 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: 2009 HSNCT question discussion
Replies: 262
Views: 34604

Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

I don't really like either of those tossups, because both seem like easy powers for teams that know what they are (I hear that Guatemalan authors would write about issues for bannana farmers and that Portugal had a King named Sebastian), but not gettable at all for people who don't know what they a...
by Ken Jennings
Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:38 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: 2009 HSNCT question discussion
Replies: 262
Views: 34604

Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

My kneejerk answer on lit, mainly the American lit, is that a lot of it was too hard That was part of our post-mortem analysis as well: much lit appears at NCT not because someone thought it would make a great NCT question, but because it was a submitted question that was clearly too hard for an IS...
by Ken Jennings
Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:31 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: 2009 NAQT HSNCT
Replies: 349
Views: 80752

Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Yeah, I would say in this instance, a better arrangement might have been to "NOT" accept Brahma and then if the team was genuinely befuddled and under the Britannica-inspired idea that Brahma was the same as Brahman, let them protest it into being accepted. More likely, the team who said "Brahma" a...
by Ken Jennings
Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:10 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: 2009 HSNCT question discussion
Replies: 262
Views: 34604

Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

combined with some good hard lit questions Speaking of which...I haven't seen too much lit discussed in this thread. I'd be happy to hear feedback on the lit in the set, either on this thread or via email. (I also edited myth, film, and mixed/general knowledge. Mixed/general-knowledge coded as such...
by Ken Jennings
Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:41 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: 2009 NAQT HSNCT
Replies: 349
Views: 80752

Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Yeah, apparently the post I tried to make to this effect made phpbb throw up, so here's my argument: if I have the opportunity to say (brahma), which means -brahma- in English and -brahma- and -brahman- in Sanskrit, or (brahman), which means -brahman- in English and -brahman- in Sanskrit, then it's...
by Ken Jennings
Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:18 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: 2009 NAQT HSNCT
Replies: 349
Views: 80752

Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

the three mentioned game-deciding errors (Breughels, Brahma/Brahman, waiting too long on a buzz) essentially screwed up the tournament once it was down to the final four. The moderator-best-guess stuff (Breughels and the stammering on Zardari) aside, I didn't know there was a consensus that the Bra...
by Ken Jennings
Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:16 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2009 ICT discussion
Replies: 173
Views: 21983

Re: 2009 ICT discussion

I will say that the Izanami question was not very good (the "died giving birth to the god of fire" lead-in is a mid-level clue at even a Regionals-level tournament; I won't debate whether it should still be power, but it should definitely not be the first clue). Also the Coatlicue question seemed l...
by Ken Jennings
Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:20 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2009 ICT discussion
Replies: 173
Views: 21983

Re: 2009 ICT discussion

If you'd gone on to, I don't know, respond to the issues at hand, then you'd be a NAQT member doing his job and being funny. You didn't. As above, I didn't understand what the actual issue with this tossup was (and it turns out there really wasn't one; Mike's post about Advise and Consent turned ou...
by Ken Jennings
Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:41 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2009 ICT discussion
Replies: 173
Views: 21983

Re: 2009 ICT discussion

Well, I certainly don't understand what you were trying to say in response to Mike's post - it doesn't communicate anything to him (particularly, it gives no indication that, as you say, you were perplexed by what he was asking), and really, how can "Yeah! Pulitzer Prize-winning trash lit!" possibl...
by Ken Jennings
Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:36 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2009 ICT discussion
Replies: 173
Views: 21983

Re: 2009 ICT discussion

Ah, got it. I read Jeff's comment before he added that parenthetical edit about trash lit. I can't think of any other "borderline" cases from the lit in the ICT, but I'll take a look.
by Ken Jennings
Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:21 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2009 ICT discussion
Replies: 173
Views: 21983

Re: 2009 ICT discussion

I think this is terrible reasoning to outright classify questions. I'm pretty sure NAQT has no policy of using Pulitzer Prizes to classify its literature questions. I was just pointing out an obvious counter-argument to the possible argument that Advise and Consent shouldn't fill a lit distribution...
by Ken Jennings
Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:30 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2009 ICT discussion
Replies: 173
Views: 21983

Re: 2009 ICT discussion

Cheynem wrote:I have no idea if there was more, but the bonus on "Allen Drury and Advise and Consent" in the final packet of the day could also be considered trash lit.
Yeah! Pulitzer-winning trash lit!
by Ken Jennings
Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:25 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2009 ICT discussion
Replies: 173
Views: 21983

Re: 2009 ICT discussion

I feel bad about my editing of the Dryden tossup in hindsight, knowing how it affected the outcome of the undergrad title. I did ponder changing the answer to "Dryden" at the time, wondering if the current format would lead to "Is that all they wanted?!?" reactions at the end of the tossup. (Not sur...
by Ken Jennings
Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:03 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: NAQT vice president for communication
Replies: 55
Views: 6943

Re: NAQT vice president for communication

While this is true, I do wonder if dropping Ken's name (provided he would be ok with such a thing) would be a useful marketing ploy... I'd be willing, but I'm not optimistic that it would work very well as marketing. Even back in 2004, when I was getting asked about quiz bowl in national interviews...
by Ken Jennings
Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:13 am
Forum: College area archives
Topic: SCT Private Discussion Forum
Replies: 129
Views: 15824

Re: SCT Private Discussion Forum

Just registered.
by Ken Jennings
Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:07 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

In my mind, Ken, if you're the literature editor for the high school level, I think you should be responsible for the quality of every high school literature question produced by NAQT. Since your stated principles of what makes a good question seem solid, my conclusion is that you should do more ed...
by Ken Jennings
Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:57 am
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

I also wanted to address Jonathan's question way upthread, which boiled down to, "Hey, if you can write a perfectly cromulent Man Who Was Thursday question on cue, why are NAQT lit questions so crappy?" I think there are a few possible answers to that. In reverse order of non-flatteringness to NAQT:...
by Ken Jennings
Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:30 am
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

Oh, and also...I haven't really addressed a larger, implicit point: if you remove a small number of trash lit questions per set, will that make the NAQT "real" lit distribution disproportionately small in comparison to other important categories? Personally, I have no strong feelings either way. I s...
by Ken Jennings
Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:24 am
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

"Secretly part trash-lit" doesn't seem like a fair description to me. Since the NAQT distribution contains no line-item for "Pop Culture: Books," I would have thought the natural assumption was the correct one: that some small number of Literature question were permitted to be nonacademic in nature....
by Ken Jennings
Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:52 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

This thread may have run its course, but I hadn't checked it lately, and missed a few posts addressed to me. So... To rephrase/emphasize: most of the things I see as mislabeled lit and object to, I don't consider borderline. Rather, I consider them categorically mislabeled (not lit at all and well o...
by Ken Jennings
Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:47 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

Jonathan Magin: Ken, please provide some examples of your questions so we can talk about question writing. Ken Jennings: No. You are trying to trap me. Ok, maybe I will provide them, but I don't think that's a fair thing to ask. More like: Ken Jennings: Yes, as soon as I can, though I worry that do...
by Ken Jennings
Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:41 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

My posts here are "reams of evasive nonsense," huh? Yeah, I can't imagine why anyone would think twice about trying to engage you here, Jerry. Jonathan, I appreciate your follow-up and clarification. I have no problem providing quiz bowl bona fides to people who seem likely to be fair-minded about t...
by Ken Jennings
Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:52 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

In some circles, this is known as "discussion." The implication of using a word like "trap" is that you would rather not be "trapped" into discussing this topic. If I didn't want to be trapped into discussing the topic of tossup composition, I probably wouldn't have written Jonathan a three-paragra...
by Ken Jennings
Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:41 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

But aren't such marginal cases precisely what things like general knowledge, other, or interdisciplinary distributions are for? Is this in reference to a continuum of academic vs. nonacademic lit, above? No, I don't believe a "Murders in the Rue Morgue" or The Time Machine tossup should apply to NA...
by Ken Jennings
Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:21 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

Since the literature criticisms thread got merged back in here, I want to take on something about the distribution - Ken, why do you seem to think it is acceptable for "geek lit" as you put it to be counted as part of the literature distribution. Even if there are some borderline cases as to what i...
by Ken Jennings
Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:12 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

If there's a tradeoff between a strict length limit and the quality of a tossup, why not ease up on the length limit a little? I wasn't referring to that particular compromise, as there are plenty of others in question composition. Can I shoehorn in this awesome (but not so closely related) clue, o...
by Ken Jennings
Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:51 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

Just to add one more bit of constructive criticism to what I said that both of us alluded to but that I want to make very explicit--the key to literature questions is literary clues. The Kafka question above is not the worst question in the world by any measure, but it misses a great, and I think o...
by Ken Jennings
Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:46 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

I don't know much about the internal workings of NAQT with respect to editing practices, but this sounds like a testimony for having experienced editors write these questions instead of wasting the apparent time consumed through editing "even more unacceptable" submissions. Would that not also cut ...
by Ken Jennings
Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:28 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

Thanks for posting. If you're interested in having a discussion, I have a few questions for you: What do you consider the core tenets of a good question? That could be an hourlong conversation right there, but here's an abbreviated start at an answer...assuming you mean "tenets of a good tossup," I...
by Ken Jennings
Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:40 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

Thanks to David Reinstein for taking the time to go through an IS set to review some of his issues with NAQT lit (and "DumbJaques" for following up). In general, I think most of these are fair criticisms, and even the ones I don't agree with 100% seem well-intended and knowledgeable about nuances of...
by Ken Jennings
Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:01 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT
Replies: 175
Views: 18187

Re: High Schoolers and Writing for NAQT

I'm a longtime NAQT member and editor, though I'm typically too busy to spend much time being a public face of NAQT, on this forum or anywhere else. But someone pointed me to this thread, where I see that much of the discussion has centered around some imagined core of incompetent, out-of-touch NAQT...