TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

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Kimahri
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TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) »

Hi everyone!

This is an announcement for Teterboro's Academic Packets of Intellectual Rigor (TAPIR), a high school housewrite set which will be available for mirrors after January 1, 2020. The set will contain 11 packets as well as a finals packet and replacement half packet, each of which (except for the replacement packet) will consist 20 powermarked tossups and 20 3 part bonuses. The tossups will be between 525 and 600 characters long, or about 5-6 lines in size 10 Arial. The overall difficulty will be slightly harder than a "regular" difficulty housewrite (yet still slightly easier than Regs+ sets like HFT and Prison Bowl).

A sample half packet will be added soon for reference.

Writing/Editing:

TAPIR is nearly completely written and is now in the editing phase, during which it will be heavily playtested and edited. This set is written entirely by me, Nicholas Zhang from Teterboro, and the editing of the set will be based on rigorous playtesting and feedback by a team of highly experienced college students and high school graduates: Felix Wang, Anson Berns, Mazin Omer, Jamie Faeder, Will Yaeger, Jason Lewis, Michael Li, Aidan Leahy, and Hari Parameswaran. If you are a high school graduate or college student and would like to playtest and give feedback, pm me or email me, your help will be greatly appreciated!

Distribution:

This set will place a greater emphasis on other science, ancient history, and mixed/other content compared to other housewrites. The hope is that this content will gain more exposure than they are usually awarded.

>5/5 Sci (1/1 each of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, "Environmental" Science and Math/Construction/Engineering/Astronomy)
>4/4 Literature (1/1 each American, British+Canadian, European, and World)
>4/4 History (1/1 each of Ancient, Medieval, Post Industrial Revolution and American)
>2/2 Fine Arts (1/1 each of Auditory and Visual, with Other FA being categorized by discretion)
>2/2 RMPSS (0.5/0.5 of each of Religion, Mythology, Philosophy, and Social Science, with a focus on non classical myth and thinkers)
>1/1 Trash
>1/1 Miscellaneous, Mixed, or Other Academic
>1/1 Geography

Fees:

The mirror fee will be $2 per team, although if you would like to negotiate the price you can do so through my pms or email. Please do not reveal unclear set content until the set is posted on the archives.

Mirrors:

TBD NJ Mainsite @ TBD

If you would like to mirror this set or have any questions, please email me at [email protected]
Nicholas Zhang
River Dell Middle School
Teterboro

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Santa Claus
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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by Santa Claus »

So when you say the editing of this set will be based on the feedback of various experienced players, most of whom I note do not have significant writing or editing experience, will they actually be performing the editing or will that also be undertaken by you? If you are indeed doing it on your own, why does this group of people not just directly edit questions?

EDIT: I see now you have an open call for feedback. My points on the specific group you chose are not fully relevant anymore but the question about what level of involvement they will have remains.
EDIT: I would like to apologize for being fairly dismissive of this initially posted group of playtesters, who do have a fair amount of experience between them - my intention was less to single them out for any perceived faults, but more to highlight problems with the way the set is currently structured.

While I’m glad there’s greater than one pair of eyes on this set, the fact that it is entirely written by one person gives me pause, especially if there is no direct involvement from anyone else. In general this is a difficult proposition, but considering the individual in question is you, can you confidently say you have a grasp on the entirety of the high school canon well enough to produce quality questions in any category? Is there any reason you have decided to do this entirely on your own?

There is a reason that sets typically have more than one writer/editor and it’s not just to divvy up work, it’s to ensure that no one person’s perspective gets out of hand. On top of that, maintaining a consistent difficulty across all categories as a head editor is something even very experienced editors struggle with and that’s when they have subject editors helping to moderate their own categories.

Some other questions:
What is meant by “environmental” science? Is this supposed to be earth science, ecology, zoology? Is this a veiled attempt to include more animal-themed questions, a topic that is generally considered to be inappropriate to write significant numbers of biology questions on? Why a whole 1/1, instead of 0.5/0.5 or removing part of other science?

If you’re subdividing history by time period, why is American also its own category? Is that exclusively pre-Industrial Revolution or is there potential for there to be two of those per round? Have you also subdivided the category by region, and will that be per packet or across the whole set?

When you claim other fine arts is categorized by discretion, do you mean within the audio or visual distributions or in a different one like other?

You claim the difficulty will be between regs and regs+ - is there a set we could compare this target to, because that seems like a very narrow window. Considering you are also solo writing an entire set and changing several categories, do you expect to actually hit this target without any sort of editorial oversight?
Last edited by Santa Claus on Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:07 am, edited 3 times in total.
Kevin Wang
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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by High Dependency Unit »

If any tournament is seriously considering mirroring this set for $2 a team, I recommend they try to find another housewrite and raise entry fees $10 instead. Kevin made some great points about why the setup of one person writing/editing everything just might be a bad idea, and teams are much better off with some of the sets with large, established editing teams (WAIT, BHSAT, RAFT, CALISTO, BLAST, LOGIC, HFT).
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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by TheScientists »

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:39 pm
This set is written entirely by me, Nicholas Zhang from Teterboro, and the editing of the set will be based on rigorous playtesting and feedback by a team of highly experienced college students and high school graduates: Felix Wang, Anson Berns, Mazin Omer, Jamie Faeder, Will Yaeger, Jason Lewis, Michael Li, Aidan Leahy, and Hari Parameswaran. If you are a high school graduate or college student and would like to playtest and give feedback, pm me or email me, your help will be greatly appreciated!
This is quite a massive feat writing 200+ Tossups and corresponding bonuses and while I commend the effort, it might be for the best to make sure the group of play-testers also get copies of the set as playtesting alone isn't sufficient.
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:39 pm
4/4 History (1/1 each of Ancient, Medieval, Post Industrial Revolution and American)
I would recommend having it be Ancient, European, World, USH.
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:39 pm
The mirror fee will be $2 per team
Having a $2 mirror fee is way too low. It definitely has a predatory nature pricing-wise as most mirrors range from $10-25.
Avinash wrote: Nick basically said the reason he isn't charging as much is because the writing team is much smaller
Even then, the mirror fee is too low considering the amount of time/effort Nick has put into this. And as Kevin pointed out, a solo writing team means there won't be as much consistency as with a group writing team.
Jason wrote: I'm pretty sure Nick isn't trying to undercut other sets in making this
Josh wrote: i still doubt his vision is to undercut other HS sets
more of a combination of having 1 writer to pay and it not being on the same stature as other tournaments
Regardless of Nick's intentions (which I don't believe are anything malicious), his super-low mirror rate posted onto the open market sets a bad precedent as now there is a major monetary incentive to mirror TAPIR as opposed to a more established question set (WAIT, BHSAT, CALISTO, BLAST, GSAC, LOGIC, HFT, Prison Bowl, RAFT, STASH). Not to criticize TAPIR (or Nick and the playtesters) but it would be more beneficial for teams to play well-regarded sets made by more experienced writers and editors. Undercutting on an open market, regardless of intention, is still undercutting and it shouldn't be cutting away from the already relatively inadequate compensation of writers.
Karan wrote: actually
in the past nick has talked about how he thinks hs tournaments should be cheaper
he's carrying out his vision
This is a noble point. However the lion-share of tournament fees are to recoup the costs of using the tournament sites. Reducing the compensation of question set writers should definitely not be the solution or way of reducing the cost of a tournament.
Jason wrote: Well it sounds like the if the forums people have their way it wouldn't be mirrored at all so why would that be a problem
Regardless of the success of TAPIR, expect to see at least some mirrors. If we normalize the $2 rate, what's stopping bad quizbowl writing teams (*cough* Avery Enterprises *cough*) from having super cheap mirrors? Lower mirror rates don't reduce the costs enough where it actually makes an impact and it opens the door for bad quizbowl sets to be competitive in the open mirror market through undercutting.
William wrote: Sets are $10 bc the Cartelish reason of that it's best for set writers as a whole
$10 mirror fees (as the norm) still grossly under-compensate writers, but it's low enough for it to be accessible for mirror events and have enough (although low) compensation for writers. At the current rates - events can decide between a set's quality, not price. Bottoming out mirror fees to $2 hurt larger mirrors more. And it's also a tad hypocritical that you claim decent compensation of writers is cartelish considering your involvement in numerous sets which follow the $10-25 mirror fee norm. The current fee norms are at a satisfactory equilibrium.

I would like to be clear that this post isn't to badmouth or say that TAPIR is an inferior set. I am just concerned about the low mirror rates setting a bad precedent and under-compensating Nick. Even if the intentions for this set aren't as serious, it undercuts serious endeavors in set writing and can allow for questionable sets in the future to be successful by bottoming out their fees.

Nick, if you are reading this I would recommend you raise your rates and bring on some more writers or have some of your playtesters be full-fledged editors.
And for those who feel that tournament fees are high, consider lobbying for a low flat-rate for new teams and distance/shorthanded team discounts (something that Westview HS in San Diego has done in their events to help with tournament accessibility).

(If you reached here, thanks for reading this wall of text.)
Last edited by TheScientists on Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

Is there 0/0 non-US history between the medieval and post-Industrial Revolution periods? I assume there's something I'm missing here...
Daniel, Hunter College High School '19, Yale '23

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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) »

Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:31 am
Is there 0/0 non-US history between the medieval and post-Industrial Revolution periods? I assume there's something I'm missing here...
This was indeed bad phrasing on my part. Medieval should just be "between Ancient and post-Industrial Revolution" but I didn't have a good way to phrase this in a short way, and I apologize for the confusion. As another clarification for the history sub categories, American history includes all of American history starting from the colonial era, while the other subdistros all include world history.

I appreciate the concerns expressed by individuals here and on discord and will be looking into addressing them in the coming days.
Nicholas Zhang
River Dell Middle School
Teterboro

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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by vinteuil »

The $10 mirror fee norm is a holdover from quite a long time ago, and really should have gone up to $15 by now. If you believe that sets should be cheaper than that, you either believe that producing good questions doesn't deserve even remotely fair compensation, or you don't believe that sets need to have good questions.
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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by UlyssesInvictus »

vinteuil wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:03 pm
The $10 mirror fee norm is a holdover from quite a long time ago, and really should have gone up to $15 by now. If you believe that sets should be cheaper than that, you either believe that producing good questions doesn't deserve even remotely fair compensation, or you don't believe that sets need to have good questions.
Heartily agree with this as an addendum to anything else gained from this thread.

Nicholas, I know a lot of people have left some pretty harsh feedback in this thread, but wherever you end up going with this set, have you considered asking if any other housewrite sets would like to have you on as a writer? Given how motivated you seem to be in writing a set, and how many housewrites already exist for the upcoming season, it seems like the perfect way for you to contribute questions, while also getting editorial feedback AND making those sets even better! (I'd even potentially recommend contributing to more than one set, if you have the time! After all you were originally willing to write an entire tournament yourself.)
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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by High Dependency Unit »

UlyssesInvictus wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:19 pm
Nicholas, I know a lot of people have left some pretty harsh feedback in this thread, but wherever you end up going with this set, have you considered asking if any other housewrite sets would like to have you on as a writer? Given how motivated you seem to be in writing a set, and how many housewrites already exist for the upcoming season, it seems like the perfect way for you to contribute questions, while also getting editorial feedback AND making those sets even better! (I'd even potentially recommend contributing to more than one set, if you have the time! After all you were originally willing to write an entire tournament yourself.)
Nick is on the writing team for RAFT; however, he's only written six questions.
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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by Scottietodd »

vinteuil wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:03 pm
The $10 mirror fee norm is a holdover from quite a long time ago, and really should have gone up to $15 by now. If you believe that sets should be cheaper than that, you either believe that producing good questions doesn't deserve even remotely fair compensation, or you don't believe that sets need to have good questions.
So....our mirroring of the Scottie at $10 locks us into one of those two considerations? We either do not believe in fair compensation or our questions are not good?....or are an attempt to undercut other sets?
Todd Garrison
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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by Cheynem »

I think Jacob meant mirror fees at less than $10, of which your set isn't doing.
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Re: TAPIR Set Available for 2020 Mirrors

Post by Scottietodd »

OOOhhhhh. Cheaper than $10. I apologize. We have reasons for pricing ours that low that I won't get into. I regretted posting as soon as I sent anyway. There wasn't really any need for me to be sensitive. A set is good or bad. Thanks for clarifying Mike and apologies again Jacob.
Todd Garrison
Glasgow High School

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