Beyond the canon...

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Mewto55555 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:37 pm

TheBulgarSlayer wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:
TheBulgarSlayer wrote: I don't desire a dichotomy, ... tournaments geared for top level teams.
I don't understand! How do you have some tournaments geared for top level teams, some tournaments geared for not-top teams, and still not have a dichotomy?!?
Because, my idea of a "dichotomy" is where bad teams answer questions on Moses and George Washington, while top teams are asked the Battle of Dara and the black army. That is NOT what I am advocating. The things tossuped in the better sets would include a majority of things in the less so good set, but would have a few more things added to it to keep things interesting.
Edit: added stuff
Wait, where are you going with this? You already agreed that HFT was a bad choice to be mirrored in your area, but this post sounds like a call for more of the same.Also, as Daniel touched on, don't call the sets "better" and "less so good", since that implies that the less difficult set is less legitimate than the other one; more appropriate would be to label them "regular difficulty" and "above regular difficulty -- WARNING DON'T LET MOST TEAMS PLAY" You still, however, seem to be completely missing the point that tossups on Moses and George Washington can distinguish between better teams if they have good lead-ins, and that the Battle of Dara could be used as an early clue for a tossup on "Byzantine empire" (ooooh and if we write that we can include a lot of your other ideas mentioned up-thread!).

EDIT: whoops part of my post was addressed while I was typing.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Smuttynose Island » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:41 pm

TheBulgarSlayer wrote: In my perfect world, a lower quality team could still reasonably play the harder sets, but there would be things they would need to study too.
In this "non-perfect world" weaker teams already need to study things! Even good teams need to study things on today's sets. It's not as if every team, good or bad, are getting questions on the first line. Heck, even top 25 teams don't power every question on a regular difficulty set. I think that you are drastically underestimating the amount of studying that people have to do to do well on today's sets.
TheBulgarSlayer wrote:I believe people are overestimating what I mean when I think a set should be "hard."
If the sets include TUs on Charles the Bold, Irene, and other things of that difficulty, then I think you are underestimating just how "hard" you think hard should be.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:43 pm

Mewto55555 wrote:
TheBulgarSlayer wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:
TheBulgarSlayer wrote: I don't desire a dichotomy, ... tournaments geared for top level teams.
I don't understand! How do you have some tournaments geared for top level teams, some tournaments geared for not-top teams, and still not have a dichotomy?!?
Because, my idea of a "dichotomy" is where bad teams answer questions on Moses and George Washington, while top teams are asked the Battle of Dara and the black army. That is NOT what I am advocating. The things tossuped in the better sets would include a majority of things in the less so good set, but would have a few more things added to it to keep things interesting.
Edit: added stuff
Wait, where are you going with this? You already agreed that HFT was a bad choice to be mirrored in your area, but this post sounds like a call for more of the same.Also, as Daniel touched on, don't call the sets "better" and "less so good", since that implies that the less difficult set is less legitimate than the other one; more appropriate would be to label them "regular difficulty" and "above regular difficulty -- WARNING DON'T LET MOST TEAMS PLAY" You still, however, seem to be completely missing the point that tossups on Moses and George Washington can distinguish between better teams if they have good lead-ins, and that the Battle of Dara could be used as an early clue for a tossup on "Byzantine empire" (ooooh and if we write that we can include a lot of your other ideas mentioned up-thread).

EDIT: whoops part of my post was addressed while I was typing.
I never said it couldn't! What I am saying is that along with tossups on George Washington, let's throw in things like Charles the Bold, especially since he is a major figure in European history, and has a lot of information on him to make high quality tossups.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:44 pm

Man, it's a good thing we have infinite resources like question writers and time to make these sets! Also, it sure is great that everybody is equally good at writing accessible, pyramidal questions!
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:48 pm

In the world that exist now, a lot of knowable, interesting information on "Charles the Bold" can be used in tossups on the name "Charles", or as "One rival to a king of this name" type clues in tossups on the name "Louis," or in tossups on the "Valois," or in tossups on "France," or in bonus parts on "Burgundy," or in a standalone bonus part, and all of those options would make for higher-quality questions. I use the term higher-quality to mean that they're not only pyramidally-arranged, but also to mean that they're difficulty-appropriate for teams across the whole spectrum of skill levels and "I-study-just-for-quizbowl" levels. The status quo is working to present that interesting information about our buddy Charles right now, and changing it to make sets harder will be a bad thing for participation. I fail to see how changing it to incorporate "interesting" (by which I only interpret "hard") high-school tossups is less harmful or in any way desirable given the constraint that the highest-quality sets must be playable across the whole spectrum of teams in their fields.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:49 pm

Fortitudo Bologna wrote:Man, it's a good thing we have infinite resources like question writers and time to make these sets! Also, it sure is great that everybody is equally good at writing accessible, pyramidal questions!
Matt Weiner wrote:There are already more sets being produced than weekends to run them on
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:51 pm

TheBulgarSlayer wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:There are already more sets being produced than weekends to run them on
Yeah, and those sets are all of equal quality and difficulty.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:53 pm

Fortitudo Bologna wrote:
TheBulgarSlayer wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:There are already more sets being produced than weekends to run them on
Yeah, and those sets are all of equal quality and difficulty.
Good thing they aren't, because as stated in previous posts, I really like varying difficulty of different sets.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Smuttynose Island » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:59 pm

TheBulgarSlayer wrote:
Fortitudo Bologna wrote:
TheBulgarSlayer wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:There are already more sets being produced than weekends to run them on
Yeah, and those sets are all of equal quality and difficulty.
Good thing they aren't, because as stated in previous posts, I really like varying difficulty of different sets.
You are missing the point which is that many of those sets are of sub-par quality and shouldn't be run.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:08 pm

Colin, it sounds like you haven't really thought through, well, pretty much anything you've said. I would suggest that you take a little time to consider what would happen to your play experience if the difficulty level was similarly vamped up for areas that you don't know as much about--i.e. 99% of quizbowl. I suspect you would not answer very many questions, and your playing experience would be significantly less enjoyable. If you develop some perspective, you will not want the game to change in the way you're advocating right now.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:14 pm

Cernel Joson wrote:Colin, it sounds like you haven't really thought through, well, pretty much anything you've said. I would suggest that you take a little time to consider what would happen to your play experience if the difficulty level was similarly vamped up for areas that you don't know as much about--i.e. 99% of quizbowl. I suspect you would not answer very many questions, and your playing experience would be significantly less enjoyable. If you develop some perspective, you will not want the game to change in the way you're advocating right now.
Im not advocating increasing the difficulty of 99%. I'm advocating a moderate increase of difficulty for tournaments that attract teams of a national caliber. I'd love it if every tournament was like Pace, but alas, bad teams need to play too.
Last edited by Kilroy Was Here on Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Cheynem » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:15 pm

Alas.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:58 pm

TheBulgarSlayer wrote: Im not advocating increasing the difficulty of 99%. I'm advocating a moderate increase of difficulty for tournaments that attract teams of a national caliber. I'd love it if every tournament was like Pace, but alas, bad teams need to play too.
I really don't see why it is necessary to make tournaments that attract national caliber teams to be any harder, as proper pyramidal questions with significant length should be able to distinguish between national teams, whether the tossup is on Charles the Bold or it is on George Washington.

As someone who only discovered pyramidal quizbowl about 2 years ago and only started doing quizbowl-oriented studying this year, I find the notion of "throw in hard topic X, then people will study it and perform well on it." I believe that if quizbowl is supposed to truly be an academic competition that tests teams' knowledge and not the oft-cited "echo-chamber," it should not be to a great degree more helpful to study old packets and their answerlines than it would be to study a topic in depth without a mind towards quizbowl. If quizbowl asks about what is important and you set off to study history, history should evince to you what is important, not "oh, they tossed up Charles the Bold, so he is important and I should study him."

Similarly, the original intent of the thread was with regards to canon expansion with important things, as some examples, some of which have already been cited: Christianity is both important AND well known, Math is both important AND well known, but contemporary Chinese literature, while it surely can be argued to be important, is not very well known. It seems to me that we should generally seek to test on things that are both important and well known, and be very careful when we lose either of those adjectives.

As a last note, this is a sort of dichotomy between top teams in that the top teams do not care so much about what is "well-known" in a not quiz-bowl sense, only what is important, especially for quizbowl, and thus they want more obscure things that they can study and thus improve. On the other hand, "bad" teams would prefer things that are well known that they can get, whether or not they are important, and that is trash, something that seems to appeal very much to worse teams and very little to top teams.

And despite these difference in wants, I do find it ridiculous to try to overly discriminate tournaments, and say "this is a novice tournament, only novice teams should go, and it is written in a way that novices will like it." and similarly for tournaments for top teams: there should be a medium so everyone can have fun playing quiz-bowl, at the same time, on the same questions.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:07 pm

SrgtDonow wrote:as proper pyramidal questions with significant length should be able to distinguish between national teams, whether the tossup is on Charles the Bold or it is on George Washington.
I suppose this comes down to width or depth. What you advocate is longer tossups with harder subject material early in them, while I instead advocate shorter questions without as many difficult early clues but on a much broader amount of subjects. I understand your position, nobody wants tossups on the battle of the Gates of Trajan. Conversely, I personally (and I assume other people), dont want to read louis XIV tossups where the initial clues are obscure facts involving one of his consorts.
Edit: added stuff, and I suck at proofreading
Last edited by Kilroy Was Here on Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Auroni » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:11 pm

What happened to tossups of acceptable length that start out with challenging clues for Top Teams, then progress down to clues for a greater and greater amount of teams, on answerlines that result in an acceptable range of convertibility for the entire high school spectrum?

EDIT: What happened to writing tossups on "Trajan" that lead in with a description of that battle so people can get their fix of Bulgar-slaying knowledge through non-stale means while the vast majority of teams isn't done a disservice by a dead tossup at the end?
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:15 pm

Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:What happened to tossups of acceptable length that start out with challenging clues for Top Teams, then progress down to clues for a greater and greater amount of teams, on answerlines that result in an acceptable range of convertibility for the entire high school spectrum?

EDIT: What happened to writing tossups on "Trajan" that lead in with a description of that battle so people can get their fix of Bulgar-slaying knowledge through non-stale means while the vast majority of teams isn't done a disservice by a dead tossup at the end?
I hope you mean Dacian-slaying or Parthian-slaying!
EDIT: I see what you did there, in the "One geographical feature named for this leader was home to a battle...; that was his namesake Gates" sense.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:17 pm

RyuAqua wrote:
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:What happened to tossups of acceptable length that start out with challenging clues for Top Teams, then progress down to clues for a greater and greater amount of teams, on answerlines that result in an acceptable range of convertibility for the entire high school spectrum?

EDIT: What happened to writing tossups on "Trajan" that lead in with a description of that battle so people can get their fix of Bulgar-slaying knowledge through non-stale means while the vast majority of teams isn't done a disservice by a dead tossup at the end?
I hope you mean Dacian-slaying or Parthian-slaying!
It's a joke on my name aswell. If you can't tell by every example I've mad, I'm a HUGE Byzantophile.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:21 pm

Though I suppose misonceptions about Bulgars are more common than I thought:
2011 DCCAT Final Tiebreaker Round wrote:Bonus: For ten points each, answer the following about a Roman Emperor:
Bonus 1: This Spanish emperor, the namesake of both a forum and an arch, led his armies to extend Rome’s borders to its farthest ever.
Answer: Trajan
Bonus 2: Emperor Trajan fought in this series of wars in and around Romania, the result of which was a huge gain of land in Eastern Europe.
Answer: Dacian Wars
Bonus 3: Trajan’s generals defeated this Byzantine leader, who was known for slaughtering a certain ethnic group.
Answer: Basil the Bulgar-Slayer (Also accept Basil II)
On a more serious note, I once again reiterate that the status quo is the best way for teams to get what you want, Collin. NAQT sets have a character cap of 425 characters and get plenty of exciting stuff into shorter tossups on harder things. HSAPQ has a cap of (I believe) about 500 characters, and has some slightly harder tossups on top of a huge base of normal ones. Not all tossups are equally easy, due to the sheer need to write hundreds of them for a given set.
Last edited by Adventure Temple Trail on Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:25 pm

RyuAqua wrote:Though I suppose misonceptions about Bulgars are more common than I thought:
2011 DCCAT Final Tiebreaker Round wrote:Bonus: For ten points each, answer the following about a Roman Emperor:
Bonus 1: This Spanish emperor, the namesake of both a forum and an arch, led his armies to extend Rome’s borders to its farthest ever.
Answer: Trajan
Bonus 2: Emperor Trajan fought in this series of wars in and around Romania, the result of which was a huge gain of land in Eastern Europe.
Answer: Dacian Wars
Bonus 3: Trajan’s generals defeated this Byzantine leader, who was known for slaughtering a certain ethnic group.
Answer: Basil the Bulgar-Slayer (Also accept Basil II)
On a more serious note, I once again reiterate that the status quo is the best way for teams to get what you want, Collin. NAQT sets have a character cap of 425 characters and get plenty of exciting stuff into shorter tossups on harder things. HSAPQ has a cap of (I believe) about 500 characters, and has some slightly harder tossups on top of a huge base of normal ones. Not all tossups are equally easy by the sheer need to write hundreds of them.
Don't worry, I shall immediately stone whoever wrote this when I get to school tomorrow.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Chandragupta Maurya » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:27 pm

College Park Spyders wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:
jonah wrote:In most sets I have read recently, the religion distribution seems to give about equal weight to all religions. While this makes sense from the standpoint of inclusiveness, and while I have certainly enjoyed learning a bit about some unfamiliar religions, I think that newer players' enjoyment of the game and conversion rates across the board could be improved by asking more questions on Christianity (including the Bible). The fact is, most people know way more about Christianity than they do about Zoroastrianism, so there is much more that can be asked about Christianity and related topics without making questions inordinately hard.
I actually don't know how accurate this is. I can tell you that I know very little about Christianity, while I know much more about other world religions. Granted this is a pretty small sample size. I would be interested in hearing what other people say about this matter.
Uh, most people playing quizbowl are raised Christian, you do know that right? By default that sort of means a lot of people are going to know that stuff, and most people aren't going to know things about other religions.
I know I'm really late in posting this, but judging by the HSNCT distribution (http://www.naqt.com/hsnct/distribution.jsp), it seems like the religion distribution is fairly balanced given what people know.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:46 pm

When people advocate for things related to top teams, I think people make some pretty severe misunderstandings about the number of "top teams" that there are in quizbowl, and what a "top team" even is. We aren't an activity like debate where there are a ton of teams in every state who can all contend strongly against each other at every tournament and could all do really well at nationals. There are something like 10 teams total in the world who are astoundingly incredible and ready to play tournaments of much higher difficulty than a standard high school set, then if you look to the 11-25 range, they are teams who are all also very excellent and could keep a close game with someone ranked above them. Take a look at Fred's ranking blog as you get further out. The 51st ranked team (Latin) got 22+ ppb on an HSAPQ set, which I think are a pretty good set of standard questions, shaded a little easy. Their PPB went down to 20.56 on the BDAT set, which is a good example of a set that asked about a lot of easy things but also sprinkled in some very much harder material. In other words, the 51st best team in the world is missing about 1/3rd of the bonus parts on a set that's kind of similar to what you seem to be calling for. The 76th best team didn't break 19 PPB when they played IS 107, did break 19 on IS 109, which are sets that are easier than BDAT. The 101st best team didn't even average 3 powers per game on an A-set. Team 150 got 16 ppb on an IS set. Out of all the teams within this range, how many of them do you really think would get much that much utility out of playing a set that approaches nationals difficulty more than once or twice a year, especially instead of playing something like an IS set? Maybe the top 50 total? Alright, now think about the fact that geography precludes most of these teams from attending any given tournament using these harder questions. It's not like half of these teams live in DC, and another half of them live in Illinois. These teams are scattered all over the country - California, New York, Georgia, Texas, Illinois, South Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, and Missouri are all the states in the current top 10. If a host really were to want to run a hard set, the odds say they would be lucky to attract 1 team in the set's audience, much less enough to fill out even one playoff bracket, as opposed to running an easier set that would ideally appeal to most of the teams in their area. Quizbowl isn't even an activity where winning a state championship in a lot of places actually means you are a great team. Until we reach a point where there are multiple teams in most states that could potentially make the top brackets at nationals, and where so many teams are talented that winning a state championship anywhere is a really meaningful statement that your team is excellent, the way it is in so many more entrenched activities, then maybe we could consider looking at the idea of producing some kind of harder set without it being a big problem. Otherwise, in light of those numbers, do you really think this would be a good use of quizbowl's resources, or a smart idea for any prospective host to run the kinds of sets you're asking for?
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:18 am

Regarding Charlie Dee's post...it is true that these top teams are few and far between, though i think that Texas Invitational was a singular example of a tournament that brought together a lot of the best teams on a harder-than-normal question set ... so is it really necessary to push the limits of High School difficulty, when participating in collegiate events is always an option? (whether truly participating on those events with colleges, or in TI's case, using collegiate questions with top high school teams)
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:22 am

Chandragupta Maurya wrote:
College Park Spyders wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:
jonah wrote:In most sets I have read recently, the religion distribution seems to give about equal weight to all religions. While this makes sense from the standpoint of inclusiveness, and while I have certainly enjoyed learning a bit about some unfamiliar religions, I think that newer players' enjoyment of the game and conversion rates across the board could be improved by asking more questions on Christianity (including the Bible). The fact is, most people know way more about Christianity than they do about Zoroastrianism, so there is much more that can be asked about Christianity and related topics without making questions inordinately hard.
I actually don't know how accurate this is. I can tell you that I know very little about Christianity, while I know much more about other world religions. Granted this is a pretty small sample size. I would be interested in hearing what other people say about this matter.
Uh, most people playing quizbowl are raised Christian, you do know that right? By default that sort of means a lot of people are going to know that stuff, and most people aren't going to know things about other religions.
I know I'm really late in posting this, but judging by the HSNCT distribution (http://www.naqt.com/hsnct/distribution.jsp), it seems like the religion distribution is fairly balanced given what people know.
I don't think that using HSNCTs distribution is all that good of a way to state his. HSNCT is a hard nationals set for HS, so the answer lines are going to emphasize less on the obvious things that people know, which would be more along the lines of other religions. I guess my previous statement was made because I, myself am an atheist, and where I've grown up, there's a pretty large atheist population, and those that are religious are often very low-key and only go because their family goes, not because they believe in it or anything. I see that this is probably different for areas like the South and Mid-West, although I still doubt the validity of the previous statement.

*if this discussion is going to continue, it would probably be better off split into another thread, so that it's not lost in the back and forth between whatever this thread has developed into
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:26 am

SrgtDonow wrote:Regarding Charlie Dee's post...it is true that these top teams are few and far between, though i think that Texas Invitational was a singular example of a tournament that brought together a lot of the best teams on a harder-than-normal question set ... so is it really necessary to push the limits of High School difficulty, when participating in collegiate events is always an option? (whether truly participating on those events with colleges, or in TI's case, using collegiate questions with top high school teams)
TI was used specifically for the top teams, and was marketed as such. What's been described here, is adding in harder answers into normal sets to have some sort of a trickle down effect (which is a terrible idea, by the way). TI is special, it was using harder questions, for the best teams. These questions weren't produced for high school, but for college, so what was described doesn't really apply. TI was just a very specific and rare case, that shouldn't be used as a model for these kinds of discussions.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:48 am

TheBulgarSlayer wrote:I've always thought that Byzantine History is completely underrepresented.
Says The Bulgar Slayer. Also, though, back to the point I was making about Chinese and Indian lit. I know that this is relatively obscure right now, but if we're going to have a canon, it seems like including, say the 5 most important writers from the past 500 years of the two countries that together represent more than 1/3 of humanity, might not be a bad idea. Arguments of current obscurity aside, one would think that by sheer dint of the size of India and China this is stuff worth knowing.
Other stuff I think is underrepresented includes anything about business and finance, current events in mACF (I don't really understand why this doesn't make the cut), cultural geography, and foreign languages. Also, more "historical trash" - but that's then where the National Sports History Bee and National Entertainment History Bee are there for, eh? Sorry for the shameless plug.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:56 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:current events in mACF (I don't really understand why this doesn't make the cut)
Current events + packet submission = bad news. (ie, swarms of repeats on whatever was in the headlines immediately prior to the packet deadline)
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:58 am

Cheynem wrote:Isn't that exactly what Dave intended it to be? (which, no, I don't think is a good thing)

Also, almost every post here is sarcastic, I think.
And no, the idea of this thread was not for people to simply advocate things they like, it was to try and identify certain topics that probably should be asked about more. Case in point, my initial example. Not that I play much at all, but Asian lit isn't exactly my wheelhouse, and it's not what I would enjoy hearing more of. It's more that I think it probably should get mentioned more. Also, I'm not convinced that expanding the canon by use of things that are currently obscure beyond quizbowl (i.e. Byzantine history, Asian lit) is a bad thing. But - there's a time and place for this, and that is the hard part of a 3 part bonus, a set written to be challenging, or perhaps initially as a passing mention in a tossup (though not the answer line). While this may place qb newbies at a disadvantage, the idea is not that they should be 30ing bonuses anyway. I think there's a happy medium between having too much Italo Calvino type answers and not being able to toss up him, or other answer lines that are significant, but currently beyond the canon. Otherwise, it's hard for quizbowl to ever adapt to new topics.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by gyre and gimble » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:01 am

Matt Weiner wrote:And, lest any of my "acolytes" or "disciples" pre-empt me, one of the many reasons that the Harvard approach to high school quizbowl is not going to work (in addition to ignoring the very reason that pyramidal tossups and progressive-difficulty bonuses exist and failing to explain where the money for a national quizbowl circuit of 30 teams is going to come from) is that it doesn't understand the concept of time. There are already more sets being produced than weekends to run them on. Deciding that there are going to be more of these "novice" sets isn't going to work when there's no place to have novice tournaments.
Right, our elitist-minded questions are designed to drive every team outside of the Top 30 away from quizbowl. Even though every single site that ran our questions this year, with the exception of the one that was literally filled with novice teams, produced agreeable stats. Come on man, if you keep saying stuff like this then the less knowledgeable people will actually believe you.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:02 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:current events in mACF (I don't really understand why this doesn't make the cut)
Current events + packet submission = bad news. (ie, swarms of repeats on whatever was in the headlines immediately prior to the packet deadline)
True, though at the high school level there aren't many packet submission tournaments. Schools or companies writing mACF sets on their own ought to be able to handle this. Also, this could be circumvented by assigning fields of current events to write on (one school writes on US politics, one on Asian affairs, one on Europe etc.). Finally, I think in terms of current events, I meant not necessarily stuff culled from yesterday's headlines, but more stuff like recent political and international relations developments over the past 5-10 years (so a bit broader time horizon, but still beyond what most kids get in high school history classes).
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Smuttynose Island » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:06 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:
TheBulgarSlayer wrote:I've always thought that Byzantine History is completely underrepresented.
Says The Bulgar Slayer. Also, though, back to the point I was making about Chinese and Indian lit. I know that this is relatively obscure right now, but if we're going to have a canon, it seems like including, say the 5 most important writers from the past 500 years of the two countries that together represent more than 1/3 of humanity, might not be a bad idea. Arguments of current obscurity aside, one would think that by sheer dint of the size of India and China this is stuff worth knowing.
Other stuff I think is underrepresented includes anything about business and finance, current events in mACF (I don't really understand why this doesn't make the cut), cultural geography, and foreign languages. Also, more "historical trash" - but that's then where the National Sports History Bee and National Entertainment History Bee are there for, eh? Sorry for the shameless plug.
Important Chinese literature that is also well-known does get included in sets, such as Journey to the West, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Water Margin, and Dream of the Red Chamber. These aren't known as the Four Classical Novels of China for nothing! Similarly important and well-known text's from India, such as major Hindu texts, along with the works of Rushdie (for the purpose of this exercise I'm including him) among others get asked about. The issue with many modern works from these countries it that they simply aren't read enough in America for them to merit being TUs answerlines or in most cases non-hard parts on bonuses. Also just because something is necessarily worth knowing (how in the world do you decide this universally) doesn't mean that people do know it, which is what matters when it comes to writing accessible quizbowl questions!
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:10 am

The obvious flaw with this argument is that Italo Calvino, and pretty much everyone else mentioned in this thread, is extremely canonical and already comes up at higher levels.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:23 am

gyre and gimble wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:And, lest any of my "acolytes" or "disciples" pre-empt me, one of the many reasons that the Harvard approach to high school quizbowl is not going to work (in addition to ignoring the very reason that pyramidal tossups and progressive-difficulty bonuses exist and failing to explain where the money for a national quizbowl circuit of 30 teams is going to come from) is that it doesn't understand the concept of time. There are already more sets being produced than weekends to run them on. Deciding that there are going to be more of these "novice" sets isn't going to work when there's no place to have novice tournaments.
Right, our elitist-minded questions are designed to drive every team outside of the Top 30 away from quizbowl. Even though every single site that ran our questions this year, with the exception of the one that was literally filled with novice teams, produced agreeable stats. Come on man, if you keep saying stuff like this then the less knowledgeable people will actually believe you.
Which of these is your idea of agreeable stats?
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:37 am

gyre and gimble wrote:Right, our elitist-minded questions are designed to drive every team outside of the Top 30 away from quizbowl. Even though every single site that ran our questions this year, with the exception of the one that was literally filled with novice teams, produced agreeable stats. Come on man, if you keep saying stuff like this then the less knowledgeable people will actually believe you.
HFT does currently have the third lowest average ppb (12.97, above BDAT at 11.69 & DAFT at 12.63) and second lowest 1st quartile value (7.87, above BDAT at 7.23) of this year's housewrites.

Number of teams who have played BDAT, DAFT, & HFT in my most recent set of rankings, and the percentage of total statlines for these sets that are from those ranked teams:

BDAT: 28, 25%
DAFT: 12, 28.6%
HFT: 40, 34.8%

I don't know if I'd definitively say HFT is the hardest housewrite of this year, but it sure has an argument for it.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:10 pm

Cernel Joson wrote:
gyre and gimble wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:And, lest any of my "acolytes" or "disciples" pre-empt me, one of the many reasons that the Harvard approach to high school quizbowl is not going to work (in addition to ignoring the very reason that pyramidal tossups and progressive-difficulty bonuses exist and failing to explain where the money for a national quizbowl circuit of 30 teams is going to come from) is that it doesn't understand the concept of time. There are already more sets being produced than weekends to run them on. Deciding that there are going to be more of these "novice" sets isn't going to work when there's no place to have novice tournaments.
Right, our elitist-minded questions are designed to drive every team outside of the Top 30 away from quizbowl. Even though every single site that ran our questions this year, with the exception of the one that was literally filled with novice teams, produced agreeable stats. Come on man, if you keep saying stuff like this then the less knowledgeable people will actually believe you.
Which of these is your idea of agreeable stats?
I'm guessing the "except for one" was referring to the first. Gotta love Michigan.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:20 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:current events in mACF (I don't really understand why this doesn't make the cut)
Current events + packet submission = bad news. (ie, swarms of repeats on whatever was in the headlines immediately prior to the packet deadline)
Oh the joys of trying to keep a libyan civil war tossup current when you wrote it in june.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by gyre and gimble » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:48 pm

Cernel Joson wrote:
gyre and gimble wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:And, lest any of my "acolytes" or "disciples" pre-empt me, one of the many reasons that the Harvard approach to high school quizbowl is not going to work (in addition to ignoring the very reason that pyramidal tossups and progressive-difficulty bonuses exist and failing to explain where the money for a national quizbowl circuit of 30 teams is going to come from) is that it doesn't understand the concept of time. There are already more sets being produced than weekends to run them on. Deciding that there are going to be more of these "novice" sets isn't going to work when there's no place to have novice tournaments.
Right, our elitist-minded questions are designed to drive every team outside of the Top 30 away from quizbowl. Even though every single site that ran our questions this year, with the exception of the one that was literally filled with novice teams, produced agreeable stats. Come on man, if you keep saying stuff like this then the less knowledgeable people will actually believe you.
Which of these is your idea of agreeable stats?
I guess agreeable is a relative term. The first one was the exception I was talking about. The second, I think, are "agreeable" enough to make a statement that we are ignoring the point of pyramidal tossups questionable. Either way, it's a lot of exaggeration to claim that HFT is going to somehow result in a national quizbowl circuit of 30 teams.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:34 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:
bt_green_warbler wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:current events in mACF (I don't really understand why this doesn't make the cut)
Current events + packet submission = bad news. (ie, swarms of repeats on whatever was in the headlines immediately prior to the packet deadline)
True, though at the high school level there aren't many packet submission tournaments. Schools or companies writing mACF sets on their own ought to be able to handle this. Also, this could be circumvented by assigning fields of current events to write on (one school writes on US politics, one on Asian affairs, one on Europe etc.). Finally, I think in terms of current events, I meant not necessarily stuff culled from yesterday's headlines, but more stuff like recent political and international relations developments over the past 5-10 years (so a bit broader time horizon, but still beyond what most kids get in high school history classes).
To follow on this, why don't the editors just have people write 23/23 and write the CE themselves or contract it out, if it's such a problem category? It seems odd to simply not include (or at least severely under-include) an important category just because it can only be written well if it's centrally written. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that the quality and enjoyability of ACF and mACF tournaments would be higher if they contained a greater amount of current events questions, and as someone who is interested in and fairly knowledgable about what is happening in the world, I'd be willing to write the CE for any packet submission tournament that contacted me (gerten AT wisc DOT edu) since I only attend about half of the tournaments that are held anyway.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:57 pm

I think that, if done properly, you could get decent CE in packet submission. Make a policy that each packet should have at least one history part that references the 21st century or use its Your Choice as CE. Also, clarify what types of CE you're looking for--namely, something that will still be relevant in a few months. During election season, you might want to add that names of presidential candidates aren't good, since if they are you'll get a lot of overlap.

I generally would like to see recent history and current events become more significant, as well as issues that impact our national budget (which I realize is kind of the same thing).
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:08 pm

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:I think that, if done properly, you could get decent CE in packet submission. Make a policy that each packet should have at least one history part that references the 21st century or use its Your Choice as CE. Also, clarify what types of CE you're looking for--namely, something that will still be relevant in a few months. During election season, you might want to add that names of presidential candidates aren't good, since if they are you'll get a lot of overlap.

I generally would like to see recent history and current events become more significant, as well as issues that impact our national budget (which I realize is kind of the same thing).
I tried to do this with my tossup on Egypt for ACF Regionals - I don't know what people thought of it, but I made an effort to use clues that were important and current, but wouldn't be outdated by the time the tournament came around a month and a half after I wrote it. I think I succeeded (the only change from my submission was the addition of the first sentence), but I don't know how other people felt. I don't remember if I mentioned this in the Regionals discussion or not, but I don't remember a single other CE tossup in that tournament, which made me sad.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:51 am

TheBulgarSlayer wrote:It's hard right now because it's not part of the cannon. There aren't that many important people in it (Heraclius, Irene, and the other Komnemus emperors). If they were to be introduced initially as bonus parts, people would learn them and boom, a major part of European history is in the cannon. I disagree with you on importance though. Important things, in my opinion, should receive a great proportion of toss ups, as opposed to toss ups on things like the War of Jenkins ear, which in reality had little affect on the greater war and only receives toss ups because of it's unusual name and a possible mention in a AP Euro class.
You're saying that people will only learn history because it'll come up in quiz bowl. Could the fact it comes up more in quiz bowl motivate someone to learn it? By all means, sure. But Byzantine history is something that I doubt anyone has a burning desire to learn more about anyways. To say we need more tossups on things that are less asked about is dumb. I have never seen a tossup on the War of Jenkins Ear (unless History Bowl?) before, (I don't know if there are any written at the high school level, I can't check because qbcentral is down right now). I have, however, seen The War of Jenkins' Ear and King George's War used as clues for tossups on The War of the Austrian Succession. I have also seen them used as bonus parts. Instead of wondering why there's tossups written on The War of Jenkins' Ear, why not ponder why the Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle doesn't come up more as a tossup?
TheBulgarSlayer wrote:That's another thing. I don't think we should be bending over backwards to makes things accessible to not so good teams. We have A packet and novice tournaments for that.
I don't think it's bending over backwards at all to "not so good teams" to make things answerable. Hence the pyramid -- you start with a hard clue on a topic; like Ivan IV/The Terrible, the better team/the good team is going to know his 1552 capture of Kazan and get it at that clue before the "not so good team" gets it at the giveaway of "identify this Russian tsar known for his dreaded behavior", (if they do get it, that is). There's going to be 20 teams (from 11 different schools) at Ohio State's Buckeye Spring Tournament tomorrow, and only about four of them; Olmsted Falls, St. Charles, Warren G. Harding and us are active on the quiz bowl circuit. Since it's a housewrite, I have no idea what to expect of how the other seven schools will do. Of course, the answer to those teams problems is yes, play more quiz bowl. Go to more tournaments and learn more things. Five of these eleven schools are from Franklin County (where Columbus is), and aside from St. Charles, this is the first or second ever tossup/bonus tournament for any of the other four Franklin County teams. Now these are schools that have excellent academics, and they generally bode well on the television show, but they don't exactly know enough to be strongly competitive because of their lack of knowledge in the canon, and thus, they don't translate into teams that qualify for PACE on a regular basis. A sets and novice tournaments? Yeah, in some places, like in Ohio, the last A-set is in November. So of course its stupid to say their schedule should only be one or two months long. Of course, harder tournaments should appeal to the good teams, i.e. DAFT and HFT. But now, somehow, the idea of "regular" difficulty is being doubted.

The idea that quiz bowl is too easy because "you're too good" is narrow-minded and arrogant. If you didn't go to a powerhouse program like DCC, where your coaches more than likely tell you the canon, what comes up, and how they build off that to make you a stronger player, I'm sure you wouldn't hold the elitist mentality you currently do.
tintinnabulation wrote:And I don't think we should be basing canon on things we learn in HS classes. I've barely learned anything in quizbowl from classes I've taken.
Things in high school quiz bowl are tossed up because they are in fact things you should get a general idea of in high school, particularly literature and history. There are reasons why The Great Gatsby and Great Expectations are tossed up; for one it's expected that a typical high school student would read those two works, and they are classic works of literature. AP classes generally should do a better job of teaching you the basics of a particular event that comes up in quiz bowl as opposed to the synopsis (if at all) of the same thing you'd hear in European History 101, such as the Peace of Westphalia or the (2nd) Defenestration of Prague [disclaimer; I haven't taken AP European History yet (seniors only class at my school), but I imagine Peace of Westphalia and the Defenestration of Prague would be relevant in such a class considering their relation to the Thirty Years' War, and thus further in depth study of said topic]. Unless someone has a strong desire to learn and are heavily interested in a particular subject, you can ask any random high school student if they've ever heard of Charles XII of Sweden or the Great Northern War and odd are they'll probably be like "what? duhh".

tl;dr - If your motivated to learn more, you'll be better at quiz bowl. Play more, learn what comes up, appreciate the significance of whatever it is you're learning about and have fun playing quiz bowl. These are my personal thoughts, I don't consider myself Godly at quiz bowl but I'm telling it like it is from my perspective as I'm deep into my second year of quiz bowl.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:59 am

TheBulgarSlayer wrote:I don't think we should be bending over backwards to makes things accessible to not so good teams. We have A packet and novice tournaments for that.
I'm a bit late to this, but I just saw this and have to say that by your logic, the vast majority of teams in the US are "novice"- which shouldn't be. Instead of viewing "regular difficulty" from the perspective of a team in the 99th percentile, it might do good to see how the median team does and shift the definition of "regular" closer to that team.
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:33 am

Tommy Tutone 2 wrote:
TheBulgarSlayer wrote:I don't think we should be bending over backwards to makes things accessible to not so good teams. We have A packet and novice tournaments for that.
I'm a bit late to this, but I just saw this and have to say that by your logic, the vast majority of teams in the US are "novice"- which shouldn't be. Instead of viewing "regular difficulty" from the perspective of a team in the 99th percentile, it might do good to see how the median team does and shift the definition of "regular" closer to that team.
This is pretty much a much more succinct and better stated version of the point that I and others have been trying to make: some teams are good at quizbowl, go to lots of tournaments, play lots of good teams, study a lot, and have good coaches. The vast, vast majority don't, and by appealing only to the former group of teams we will drive ourselves to extinction in part by making it more difficult for teams to become good, or at least competent.

EDIT: Clarity
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:46 am

Ulster Clay Pigeon Shooting Association wrote:The idea that quiz bowl is too easy because "you're too good" is narrow-minded and arrogant. If you didn't go to a powerhouse program like DCC, where your coaches more than likely tell you the canon, what comes up, and how they build off that to make you a stronger player, I'm sure you wouldn't hold the elitist mentality you currently do.
It's not an "I'm too good for these plebian tossups" argument. If you consider "hey, let's tossup really important people in history" to be elitist, you are entitled to your opinion .I never intended to sound "arrogant" or "elitist." I'm not even in the top 6 at my school. Our coaches don't spoon feed us the cannon, we do it ourselves. Anyways, I would formulate some sort of legitimate response, but I really have no desire to continue this conversation, as it' seems to have gotten out of hand (name calling and all).
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:56 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:Current events + packet submission = bad news. (ie, swarms of repeats on whatever was in the headlines immediately prior to the packet deadline)
What if mACF tournaments had CE distributions but asked teams specifically not to include questions on CE in their packets, i.e. the editors could write that particular portion of each packet to ensure that there are no repeats?
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Francis the Talking France » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:54 pm

TheBulgarSlayer wrote:
Ulster Clay Pigeon Shooting Association wrote:The idea that quiz bowl is too easy because "you're too good" is narrow-minded and arrogant. If you didn't go to a powerhouse program like DCC, where your coaches more than likely tell you the canon, what comes up, and how they build off that to make you a stronger player, I'm sure you wouldn't hold the elitist mentality you currently do.
It's not an "I'm too good for these plebian tossups" argument. If you consider "hey, let's tossup really important people in history" to be elitist, you are entitled to your opinion .I never intended to sound "arrogant" or "elitist." I'm not even in the top 6 at my school. Our coaches don't spoon feed us the cannon, we do it ourselves. Anyways, I would formulate some sort of legitimate response, but I really have no desire to continue this conversation, as it' seems to have gotten out of hand (name calling and all).
Not being top six at your school doesn't mean anything when your teams are ranked 9th and 73rd (it should probably be a better rank) respectively. You could and probably would be the 1st or 2nd best player at any school at the tail end of the top 150 and below. Your coaches may not spoon-feed you the canon, but your school has a dynastic legacy type thing where every single year, you can come up with two or more balanced teams that get sent to nationals and beat almost everyone they face. Obviously, your school is doing something that almost no others are, and this is simply because your teams as a whole have more experience than almost any other school in the country. The goal is to make quiz bowl accessible for crappy/novice/inexperienced teams, while still challenging even the best team in the nation, and those without the experience obviously A. Don't know what to study and/or B. Are discouraged to study or try more because they were beat by a team that dominated them. I'm not saying that every team in the country needs to go to nationals or be able to compete closely with the best teams in the nation, because obviously that would defeat the point of what Quiz Bowl is about: Having better knowledge than the other team and scoring points. I think the main focus of quiz bowl is to play easier sets more frequently, but of course limit who can go to those tournaments so that no one is discouraged, but encouraged to develop and learn.
Matt Duchan
Chapel Hill High School '12
University of Denver '16
Director of the 2013 Colorado State History Bowl

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Sir Thopas
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Sir Thopas » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:53 am

Ulster Clay Pigeon Shooting Association wrote:But Byzantine history is something that I doubt anyone has a burning desire to learn more about anyways.
Speak for yourself!
Guy Tabachnick
Hunter '09
Brown '13

http://memoryofthisimpertinence.blogspot.com/

Black-throated Antshrike
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Re: Beyond the canon...

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:37 am

TheBulgarSlayer wrote:
Ulster Clay Pigeon Shooting Association wrote:The idea that quiz bowl is too easy because "you're too good" is narrow-minded and arrogant. If you didn't go to a powerhouse program like DCC, where your coaches more than likely tell you the canon, what comes up, and how they build off that to make you a stronger player, I'm sure you wouldn't hold the elitist mentality you currently do.
It's not an "I'm too good for these plebian tossups" argument. If you consider "hey, let's tossup really important people in history" to be elitist, you are entitled to your opinion .I never intended to sound "arrogant" or "elitist." I'm not even in the top 6 at my school. Our coaches don't spoon feed us the cannon, we do it ourselves. Anyways, I would formulate some sort of legitimate response, but I really have no desire to continue this conversation, as it' seems to have gotten out of hand (name calling and all).
If you honestly just want to play harder questions, because you "wish every tournament could be like PACE," about things that you think are "more important and relevant," then, why don't you just stop playing the regular difficulty tournaments, and only play the events like HFT, TI, and ACF? If for some reason the highschool canon is too narrow for you, you're more than welcome to play in the litany of very hard college tournaments, where I'm sure you can here all of the Byzantine history you want, while getting mercilessly crushed.
Sir Thopas wrote:
Ulster Clay Pigeon Shooting Association wrote:But Byzantine history is something that I doubt anyone has a burning desire to learn more about anyways.
Speak for yourself!
agreed
Joe
Delaware

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