Search found 394 matches

by Birdofredum Sawin
Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:57 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2014 ICT: specific questions
Replies: 72
Views: 12054

Re: 2014 ICT: specific questions

I've probably posted about writing ICT philosophy tossups in some previous year's post-tournament discussion, but I'll post a quick recap anyway. In general, my approach in writing these is to try to provide a mix of tossups on works themselves; on people; and on concepts (which, in my practice, oft...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:23 pm
Forum: Quizbowl History Forum
Topic: Quiz Bowl Survivor: 50 Buzz, 49 Neg
Replies: 169
Views: 111258

Re: Quiz Bowl Survivor: 50 Buzz, 49 Neg

Most recently, I think, I discussed the subject in connection with the revised Martin Faber rankings (or some mysterious person known as "A" did it, but I endorse his reasoning). I believe I've made similar posts over the years, but I couldn't tell you where.
by Birdofredum Sawin
Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:55 pm
Forum: Quizbowl History Forum
Topic: Quiz Bowl Survivor: 50 Buzz, 49 Neg
Replies: 169
Views: 111258

Re: Quiz Bowl Survivor: 50 Buzz, 49 Neg

I've probably said this before, but I'll say it again. Obviously, the difficulty, consistency, and quality of quizbowl questions changed drastically between the first stage of my playing career (mid-'90s through around 2001) and the second stage (2004-2010). It is understandable that if your only ex...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:36 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2013 ICT DI specific question discussion
Replies: 73
Views: 20237

Re: DI specific question discussion

Oh hey, I was just about to edit my post to add that it sounded like a classic NAQT "well, it's in the title of this leadin thing that you didn't know, so no points for you" situation! I mean, I take the point generally (and the tone in which it's written), but I don't really see the appl...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:10 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2013 ICT DI specific question discussion
Replies: 73
Views: 20237

Re: DI specific question discussion

Here's the tossup on "objects," which I wrote: Terence Parsons identified five "extranuclear" properties of these in a 1980 book about a certain type of them. Alexius Meinong proposed a theory of these which suggested that there are types of them that do not exist. In ~Naming and...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:26 pm
Forum: Best of the Best
Topic: On Being a Fourth Scorer
Replies: 7
Views: 20269

Re: On Being a Fourth Scorer

I rarely if ever post just to say "the original post in this thread is outstanding, and everyone should take it to heart." But I want to make an exception for this one--the original post in this thread is outstanding, and everyone should take it to heart. From the opposite perspective to M...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:54 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: autobid thread split
Replies: 62
Views: 10769

Re: autobid thread split

So maybe this has swiftly degenerated into "argument for argument's sake"--i.e., it has become "a run-of-the-mill hsquizbowl thread"--but if this isn't an argument about fairness, I'm confused as to why it's even an argument at all. After all, Jeff has already explained that for ...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:50 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: autobid thread split
Replies: 62
Views: 10769

Re: autobid thread split

Andrew, I think that's an extremely unfair characterization of my argument. I'm not saying that ICT needs to become ACF Nationals. If you eliminate the clock, you don't have to give up anything that really makes ICT what it is, i.e. the style of questions and the distribution. You could run the exa...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:28 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: autobid thread split
Replies: 62
Views: 10769

Re: autobid thread split

I'm sure I sound like a broken record on this matter, but... the reason NAQT, fundamentally, has to limit the number of teams at ICT (whereby this problem arises at all) is because they can't get enough staff to run the tournament. And the reason they can't get enough staff is because the clock req...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:14 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Let's Talk About Science History
Replies: 44
Views: 9014

Re: Let's Talk About Science History

Ah, this thread is a blast from the past. For a quizbowl-historical perspective on this topic, I recommend a recap thread that followed ACF Nationals in 2005, in which I defended my decision to include some science history in the tournament, and was roundly attacked by people who felt that science h...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:45 am
Forum: College area archives
Topic: WELD discussion
Replies: 28
Views: 10702

Re: WELD discussion

Yes, I think there is something wrong with writing a Jerome K. Jerome tossup this way, even at a side tournament. As far as I can tell, none of the other works you're talking about are in print! In order to have read them, I'd have to have borrowed a battered copy from the library, gone hunting for...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:53 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Chicago Open 2012 - July 21, 2012
Replies: 113
Views: 73570

Re: Chicago Open 2012 - July 21, 2012

I would be all for starting earlier, but I want to make sure this won't be a repeat of the last Ryan CO where that was tried, only to have Ryan decide to hold up the tournament and waste the time of everybody who did the right thing and showed up on time because Andrew Yaphe couldn't be bothered to...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue May 08, 2012 7:12 pm
Forum: Quizbowl History Forum
Topic: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything
Replies: 41
Views: 35159

Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

It occurs to me that this thread is as good a place as any to post an explanation of why ACF games currently feature 20 tossups, as I'm not sure I've ever related this anecdote. Back in the day -- where "the day" is roughly the late '70s/early '80s -- quizbowl tournaments in the southeast ...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Mon May 07, 2012 1:45 pm
Forum: Quizbowl History Forum
Topic: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything
Replies: 41
Views: 35159

Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

First of all, it's good to hear a shout-out for the Virginia Tech teams of the late '90s. I still have fond memories of their leader, Jason Thweatt, exhorting them to "push, push!" no matter how many points they were down. Second, I would hate to see this thread come and go without commemo...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Fri May 04, 2012 10:01 pm
Forum: Quizbowl History Forum
Topic: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything
Replies: 41
Views: 35159

Re: Ask a Harvest Bowl survivor and ACF co-founder anything

The Khon Hoc tournaments are not celebrated enough nowadays. There was and has been nothing else like them. Khon was a C-team Maryland player who decided one day that he would write his own tournament. He wrote all the questions himself, with a distribution heavily skewed towards both his and his f...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:17 am
Forum: College area archives
Topic: History Bowl Discussion
Replies: 43
Views: 17114

Re: History Bowl Discussion

For the record, the Constitution and its constituent parts are not laws. "This amendment" would obviously be fine; if that makes a question on some amendment transparent in a different context, my choices would be "this document" or "this text." I don't know why I'm bo...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:35 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Writing for ICT
Replies: 1
Views: 578

Writing for ICT

I suspect that Seth may be planning on getting around to this topic eventually, but I wanted to broach the topic lest it get lost in the usual "rehashing of individual science questions" shuffle. Seth noted in another thread that "the distribution of questions per writer had a mode of...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:27 am
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Split topic on CO science
Replies: 104
Views: 19197

Re: Split topic on CO science

I've been following this discussion with some amusement, largely because it so neatly reprises the post-2005 ACF Nationals debate about science (and, in particular, the debate about whether there is any legitimate place in the game for questions on science history: I thought yes, for reasons which t...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:49 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: ANNOUNCEMENT: VCU Open Mirror at Stanford (08/13/11)
Replies: 30
Views: 4453

Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VCU Open Mirror at Stanford (08/13/11)

Also the Bob Loblaw Law Bowl? If you're not a law student this is not an interesting tournament to play. With all respect to Andrew Hart--and speaking as a former law student myself--I am forced to agree with Mike here. Having heard the questions, I find it hard to imagine taking much interest in t...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:10 am
Forum: College area archives
Topic: ACF Nationals 2011 thanks and discussion
Replies: 88
Views: 30228

Re: ACF Nationals 2011 thanks and discussion

But what's really important here for my point is how much of the material that people submitted was just really fucking hard. My policy with editing this tournament was to use good questions even if they were hard, and to try and salvage the answer lines if I could; otherwise, why would we even nee...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:47 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2011 ICT Question-specific discussion
Replies: 150
Views: 22574

Re: 2011 ICT Question-specific discussion

The role of a tossup is to fairly differentiate which player knows the most about a given subject and this tossup and many author tossups at the ICT failed in this regard. Strictly speaking, this isn't quite accurate. There is a huge aggregate pile of "knowledge about any given subject" i...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:15 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2011 ICT Question-specific discussion
Replies: 150
Views: 22574

Re: 2011 ICT Question-specific discussion

This tossup exemplifies the problems with many of the author tossups in the ICT. First of all, there are only four lines so there is very little space to waste to begin with to accurately determine who knows more about Isaac Babel. Of those four lines, one-and-a-half are devoted to criticism clues ...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:30 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2011 ICT Question-specific discussion
Replies: 150
Views: 22574

Re: 2011 ICT Question-specific discussion

Hey, I wrote that Babel tossup! Perhaps Seth's quoting of it is sufficient commentary on Ted's, um, impassioned response. Anyway, "Babel in California" is the first (and probably the best) essay in "The Possessed"; the Batuman thing is a one-sentence lead-in which is partly there...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:49 am
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Chicago Open thanks and discussions
Replies: 126
Views: 26706

Re: Chicago Open thanks and discussions

We can chat about which authors we think are underrated or overrated all day long, but in the end personal opinions like "The professors I've studied with think Merrill is important" or "Donald Justice is the most underrated American poet of the last few decades" don't help anyo...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:53 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Chicago Open thanks and discussions
Replies: 126
Views: 26706

Re: Chicago Open thanks and discussions

Hm, this discussion seems to have gotten contentious and unproductive since I last weighed in. Nonetheless, I'll jump back in. I think that some of this discussion has gotten a bit confused. It might be helpful to take a deep breath and make a pretty basic distinction between "value judgments&q...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:34 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Chicago Open thanks and discussions
Replies: 126
Views: 26706

Re: Chicago Open thanks and discussions

I haven't so much as glanced at the CO set, but I have glanced at this discussion thread, which prompted me to say a few things. Obviously, what I'm about to say is offered in total ignorance of the questions themselves; I'm just reflecting on what people are saying. First, I was struck by this stat...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:58 pm
Forum: High school area archives
Topic: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?
Replies: 58
Views: 11671

Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

I know NAQT uses a "use before" code for its current events questions to make sure they're not using "not-so-current-events" questions. Does NAQT use such a code on its pop culture? I suspect that a lot of the bad trash questions, e.g. Shawn Bradley, were either written by peopl...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Wed May 19, 2010 9:31 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Player Poll 2010: This is serious business
Replies: 66
Views: 14446

Re: Player Poll 2010: This is serious business

Having happened on this discussion, I thought I'd throw in my two cents and observe that my own experience tends to confirm Dwight's hypotheses. Certainly I feel that I "peaked" around my last year of undergrad and maintained roughly that level of play for my first two years of grad school...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:17 am
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Trash in ACF/NAQT, for the umpteenth time
Replies: 10
Views: 1836

Re: Trash in ACF/NAQT, for the umpteenth time

I actually wasn't trying to propound a universal standard, as my tentative language was meant to indicate. I was just trying to nudge the discussion in a different direction (in particular, away from the "we have all agreed that trash is intellectually bankrupt and doesn't belong in legitimate ...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:44 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Trash in ACF/NAQT, for the umpteenth time
Replies: 10
Views: 1836

Re: Trash in ACF/NAQT, for the umpteenth time

I would have thought the "science: technology" subdistribution arose from a completely different impulse (e.g. "we have so many science questions for bio/chem/physics majors, let's write a few for engineering students also"). It may well be an utter failure in that regard, but th...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:14 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Trash in ACF/NAQT, for the umpteenth time
Replies: 10
Views: 1836

Trash in ACF/NAQT, for the umpteenth time

I'm sort of wary of sitting down to write yet another post about the place of "trash" questions in "serious" quizbowl. For one thing, I wouldn't want to derail discussion of last weekend's ACF nationals. However, that discussion doesn't seem to be going anywhere, and perhaps will...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:37 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: ACF Nationals Comments
Replies: 52
Views: 8366

ACF Nationals Comments

I can't help but notice that nobody has said anything about the tournament yet. Perhaps all the discussion has been in the IRC, or some other venue I don't frequent. Anyway, I wanted to make a few remarks about it to get some sort of public discussion rolling. As I said in my post thanking the edito...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:26 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: ACF Nationals 2010 Thanks
Replies: 3
Views: 2029

Re: ACF Nationals 2010 Thanks

I'll probably have more to say about both the questions and the tournament later, once I'm more fully recovered from the weekend and my return flight, but I wanted to register my gratitude for all the work that went into this year's ACF nationals.. This was a fantastic set to play, full of excellent...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:15 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: A Very Special Event Following ACF Nationals
Replies: 3
Views: 1368

A Very Special Event Following ACF Nationals

It is my privilege to announce an exciting opportunity for quizbowlers who will be in the vicinity of College Park this weekend: Following ACF nationals on Sunday evening, there will be a roundtable discussion moderated by Paul Litvak. Ezequiel Berdichevsky, Subash Maddipoti, Andrew Yaphe, and a SPE...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:46 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2010 ICT discussion
Replies: 100
Views: 16522

Re: 2010 ICT discussion

I see that the discussion has simmered down from "this tournament was an abomination that made Dwight cry" to "perhaps the tossup answers could have been more 'adventurous.'" That being the case, I thought I'd wade in. First, on this recent point about "adventurous" tos...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:30 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: 2010 ICT discussion
Replies: 100
Views: 16522

Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Mixed impure academic is pretty obnoxious. A team in my room got all excited for a bonus when they knew the first part cold... and proceeded to 10 it because it changed directions twice. They were pretty bummed. While the bonus on horse parts was pretty dumb, GK questions on one theme are less gimm...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:32 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: History
Replies: 34
Views: 4405

Re: History

Yeah, Jerry's exactly right -- the larger concern I'm trying to express is with coyness and what sometimes seems to be a perverse refusal to offer concrete clues until the very end of questions (perhaps out of fear that "unreal" knowledge may be rewarded "prematurely"). Using obl...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:55 am
Forum: College area archives
Topic: History
Replies: 34
Views: 4405

Re: History

Seeing it discussed reminded me of how bad that Earl Warren tossup seemed while I was playing it; looking at the question, I see that it is even worse than I remembered: One case during this man’ s time as Chief Justice ruled that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to cancel one’s ci...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:29 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Some thoughts on the difficulty of submissions
Replies: 8
Views: 1195

Re: Some thoughts on the difficulty of submissions

Say what you will about the merits of a tossup on Goldoni, I've always been of the view that it's in fact acceptable to submit (a few) tossups whose answers fall near the outer range of acceptability for a given tournament, so long as you balance out by making sure that the rest of your tossup answe...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:05 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Regionals discussion
Replies: 39
Views: 4718

Re: Regionals discussion

One other area I wanted to remark on was differential bonus difficulty. This isn't meant as a broadside, but as a question: Was the bio/chem in this tournament drastically harder than other bonus areas? My Stanford team was without Arnav, meaning that our grasp of those categories was somewhat rudim...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:48 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Regionals discussion
Replies: 39
Views: 4718

Re: Regionals discussion

I have some reservations and caveats about this set, but for now I'll just respond to the mention of that Bartok question. The first clue in that tossup was something like "It has been argued that this composer's [something] was influenced by the Treaty of Trianon." I have no idea what thi...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:51 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: a broader perspective on this discussion
Replies: 25
Views: 2728

Re: a broader perspective on this discussion

In the spirit of this discussion, I'll say what I like about NAQT in particular (not to be self-serving, but in hopes of explaining why I'm resistant to some of the criticism): 1. I like the clock. I liked it when I was playing, both because it created a different tempo to the game and because it ke...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:00 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: a broader perspective on this discussion
Replies: 25
Views: 2728

Re: a broader perspective on this discussion

Also, I think that it's less important for NAQT (or ACF, or any quizbowl organization) to worry about having "distinctive features" than to attempt to provide the best questions and tournaments possible. I suspect that calls for NAQT to make changes stem from the desire that NAQT have the...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:51 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: a broader perspective on this discussion
Replies: 25
Views: 2728

Re: a broader perspective on this discussion

I think you know, Andrew, that this isn't what I'm saying. If NAQT wants to tell me "We're going to have what we call non-academic at whatever level we like and then have a bunch of what the circuit would call non-academic on top of that and if you don't like it, that's too damn bad," tha...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:47 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions
Replies: 55
Views: 6134

Re: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions

I propose that NAQT partition its interdisciplinary questions into academic interdisciplinary questions, consisting of questions with only academic clues, and non-academic interdisciplinary questions, consisting of questions that contain any non-academic clues, and then count the latter against its...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:40 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: a broader perspective on this discussion
Replies: 25
Views: 2728

a broader perspective on this discussion

So in the course of this discussion, the following arguments have been made: 1. NAQT needs to eliminate the clock 2. NAQT would be better if trash were drastically reduced and perhaps eliminated from nationals-level tournaments 3. NAQT should remove cross-disciplinary questions that include trash, p...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:55 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions
Replies: 55
Views: 6134

Re: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions

I'm not sure I see the reason to start from your premise either. I guess any of these is a legitimate stepping-off point for an argument, but here's what I'm seeing: even people who defend the existence of these questions aren't saying that any number of academic questions can have trash clues inse...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:35 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions
Replies: 55
Views: 6134

Re: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions

I have no problem with trash questions, and provided they are well written, I'm actually okay with NAQT's distro having that proportion of trash questions. I think one of the aesthetic problems with cross-disciplinary things is just the sort of sickening feeling that real academic knowledge was not...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:13 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions
Replies: 55
Views: 6134

Re: Miscellaneous and Cross-disciplinary questions

This is a prevailing opinion among the decent-to-good players in the country, and has been for years. You'll notice for example that independent tournaments as well as ACF events do not do this. The basic reason for avoiding doing this is that academic knowledge should be rewarded in academic quest...
by Birdofredum Sawin
Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:49 pm
Forum: College area archives
Topic: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.
Replies: 228
Views: 28304

Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

I understand having an "other" category that does allow for some flexibility in writing cross distributional tossups, but questions on trivial topics like the real life Medusa or some dude who translated Plato into French's opinion on Abelard are entirely unnecessary and are taking up spa...