General set discussion

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Steeve Ho You Fat
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General set discussion

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:45 am

General thoughts on the set can go in this thread.

I'd like to thank the other people who helped with the completion of the set, especially Ben Herman, who took on the writing assignments for a lot of people who vanished, and Shan Kothari, who wrote excellent questions, particularly in music and biology where I know nothing. I'd also like to thank everyone who helped playtest - there are too many people to list individually, and they helped a lot in modulating difficulty of third parts, in particular.

My thoughts on the set: I think we did a pretty good job of picking appropriate tossup answers. Looking at the stats, it looks like nearly every game hit 18 or more tossups (except in round 3, where apparently more harder questions got stuck accidentally; some questions will be moved between packets to fix this). I think the most systemic problems were too hard lead-ins, too hard hard parts, and too much focus on less important works of people, such as author tossups that don't mention the author's most famous works until fairly late. Hopefully a lot of this was caught and fixed in playtesting, but I'm sure that too much of it survived. I think that we had some issues with bonus variability, especially in the hard parts, although looking at the stats, where no team was under 9 ppb in North Carolina, it seems like we were successful with keeping easy parts truly easy, something we made a serious effort to do.
Joe Nutter
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Michigan State University '14
Walnut Hills High School '11

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Re: General set discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:05 pm

The length ended up being a timing issue for us, but I personally loved the increased range of difficulty over the length of the tossup.

The power marking felt overly generous in many cases.

Yes, the bonuses were fairly variable. Also, either our teams have improved enormously since last year (which is true), or the bonus conversion for this set tends to be high (almost 25ppb). A few bonuses (American 1930s Nobel Prizes in Literature) did not really seem to have "hard" and "easy" parts.

We saw some of duplication (Sartre), and a few anomalies, but our team, at least, enjoyed the set.
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

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Re: General set discussion

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:29 pm

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Sartre was a known thing; one was in lit and the other in philosophy and I don't think any clues repeated between them.

Regarding the length, I'm surprised you found the questions long as we were pretty strict about sticking to our announced limits of six lines of 12 point for TNR before powermarking and pronunciation guides, which to my knowledge is less than most non-NAQT sets.
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Re: General set discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:09 pm

Yes, there was no duplication of clues in that case (I don't recall hearing the word "existential" in the fiction question—although Camus should properly be called "Algerian," not "French"). Perhaps the rather slow reading that we often got exaggerated the perceived length.
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
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Euler's Constant
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Re: General set discussion

Post by Euler's Constant » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:40 pm

Maybe I'm not remembering correctly but it seemed like there was a dearth of world lit questions; was there a reason for this?

Also there seemed to be about 3 or 4 question with the answer of Egypt, which was sort of weird.

On a whole I liked the set quite a bit, and I think the rest of the team did as well.
Nicholas Wawrykow
Saint Joseph('s) High School (IN) '13
Yale '17

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Kilroy Was Here
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Re: General set discussion

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:56 pm

Despite the lack of Master of the Universe Brandon Roach, DCC enjoyed this quite a bit. The only complaints I remember my team mentioning were the really steep difficiulty cliffs for art questions, and how it felt powers could have gone a but longer in a few cases (the only one I remember in particular is the Cambodia tossup). Otherwise, this was a fantastic set.
Collin Parks
University of Michigan '18

"Aragorn was the famed king of Gondor, while the Iberian kingdom was Aragon. Both parties were aware of this coincidence: we have a journal entry from Aragorn that expresses his anger at receiving mail meant for King Peter IV of Aragon for the umpteenth time."~ CommodoreCoCo

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Re: General set discussion

Post by Windmill Tump » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:12 pm

So there were a few questions in this set where I think something along the lines of an anti-prompt would've been useful. For example, on the suicide tossup, I buzzed on the clue from The Awakening, said "drowning, " and was negged. I know that the clues before didn't refer to drowning, but my argument is basically in this post. Perhaps the same thing applies to the pH tossup (I stupidly said acidity on the hemoglobin clue, but what if I had said basicity...)?

There were also some really misplaced clues; the Milgram tossup comes to mind.
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Re: General set discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:30 pm

Euler's Constant wrote:Maybe I'm not remembering correctly but it seemed like there was a dearth of world lit questions; was there a reason for this?
Yes; most world lit is hard for most high school teams. We wanted most of our answer lines to be easy enough for a vast majority of teams to convert them by the end.
Also there seemed to be about 3 or 4 question with the answer of Egypt, which was sort of weird.
Yeah, we noticed that a bit two late. I think there were two bonus parts with answer Egypt and a tossup on Ancient Egypt. No clues overlapped, but we still tried to avoid things like this, and evidently did not entirely succeed.
it felt powers could have gone a but longer in a few cases
A few people commented that powers on certain questions were a bit stingy, while those on others were generous. I think we did end up being stingier than we needed to be on some questions. I don't view this as a huge problem, but if you remember specific questions (such as the one on Cambodia you mentioned), we will probably take a look.
There were also some really misplaced clues; the Milgram tossup comes to mind.
Although you're right that the lost-letter clue was easy for a lead-in, causing buzzer races in top-bracket rooms, it was not misplaced, since everything else in the question was easier. You are right that that was a problem - a bigger one than we had anticipated. If you can think of any others either like this, or with more difficult clues after less difficult clues, let us know. As for your question on anti-prompting, I'll leave that to Joe, as he is more qualified in those matters.

Thanks for your comments everyone; we appreciate the feedback.
Shan Kothari

Plymouth High School '10
Michigan State University '14
University of Minnesota '20

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Re: General set discussion

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:09 pm

Euler's Constant wrote:Maybe I'm not remembering correctly but it seemed like there was a dearth of world lit questions; was there a reason for this?
As Shan said, world lit is really hard to do in high school, and there's no way we could have had 14/14 while keeping with our goal of having tossups and easy parts be really, really easy. We used 1/1 for world lit, and other literary things we wanted to ask about but that don't have a clear home elsewhere in the distribution, like The Little Prince, or ancient Greek lit.
Weighted Companion Cube wrote:powers could have gone a but longer in a few cases (the only one I remember in particular is the Cambodia tossup).
Yeah, I'll admit that the powermarking wasn't great, largely due to it being done in a really short amount of time. My thought process was frequently to put the powermark immediately after a word that I thought people would buzz on; as it turned out, in practice, due to moderator overflow and nonzero reaction times, this led to a lot of people missing power by filler words. I'll try to take a look at it for the future. I'm vaguely surprised, however, that the Cambodia one seemed hard - I expected it to get powered a lot this weekend because Norodom Sihanouk just died and was in the news a lot.
Seram Friarbird wrote:So there were a few questions in this set where I think something along the lines of an anti-prompt would've been useful. For example, on the suicide tossup, I buzzed on the clue from The Awakening, said "drowning, " and was negged. I know that the clues before didn't refer to drowning, but my argument is basically in this post. Perhaps the same thing applies to the pH tossup (I stupidly said acidity on the hemoglobin clue, but what if I had said basicity...)?
Yeah, you probably should have been anti-prompted on the suicide one, sorry about that. I normally support anti-prompting (and generally don't care for common link questions), but hadn't thought to put it in that answerline and didn't want to overrule the answer right then. For the pH one, I think you still would have been wrong if you said basicity because the question asked for "this quantity" and I've never seem a numerical representation of basicity besides pH, although I could be wrong on that. For reference, here's the question, Sid buzzed a couple words before the powermark:
Round 4 wrote:1. The value for this quantity at which a molecule has no charge is called the isoelectric point, and an increase in this quantity allows hemoglobin to carry more oxygen in the Bohr effect. The relation between this quantity and a(*) dissociation constant is described by the Henderson- Hasselbalch equation. Compounds such as Bromothymol Blue can indicate the value of this quantity, and a solution’s value on this scale is the negative log of its hydrogen ion concentration. Water’s value of 7 is neutral on, for 10 points, what scale that classifies solutions as acidic or basic?
ANSWER: pH
<Herman><ed. Kothari><ed. Nutter>
There were also some really misplaced clues; the Milgram tossup comes to mind.
I'll admit that the lead-in for that was likely too easy; I was concerned about it, but people in playtesting said it was fine so I didn't change it. I'm not really sure what Shan's talking about though. Nobody's brought up anything that's been blatantly anti-pyramidal (with easier clues before harder clues) yet, but if half the field buzzes on a lead-in, that's still probably not a good place for that clue.
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Re: General set discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:17 pm

Plan Rubber wrote:I'll admit that the lead-in for that was likely too easy; I was concerned about it, but people in playtesting said it was fine so I didn't change it. I'm not really sure what Shan's talking about though. Nobody's brought up anything that's been blatantly anti-pyramidal (with easier clues before harder clues) yet, but if half the field buzzes on a lead-in, that's still probably not a good place for that clue.
I meant that it wasn't misplaced in the sense that switching that clue with any later clue in that question would be even worse. If this was an easier set with a weaker field, the lead-in would probably have been fine. I agree that we should make a harder lead-in and probably just cut some of the extra details on the shock experiment, since if I recall correctly there was a lot of that.
Shan Kothari

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Re: General set discussion

Post by btressler » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:09 pm

perlnerd666 wrote:The power marking felt overly generous in many cases.
I wanted to comment on this. I have to disagree. This set was supposed to be a little easier than NAQT's IS sets. To that end, I thought that powermarks could have been more generous. We had top teams (Richard Montgomery for example, or DCC at MSU) powering about 1 in 3. But they are a top 25 team, while the bottom half of the field powered less than 1 question per round. I think for an early season set, we could be more generous to those teams and not worry if RM is powering everything.

The powermarking was a little strange. Take this for example:
2. One section of this work says that a man that sleeps with another man's slave must offer him a Ram. It tells of Nadab and Abihu making an unauthorized sacrifice and being consumed by divine fire, and names for its sections include Emor and Vayikra. This work, named for the tribe whose members were priests,(*) has directions on the observance of Yom Kippur and contains Priestliness and Holiness Codes, as well as a prohibition against lying “with mankind as with womankind.” For 10 points, name this third book of the Old Testament, which lists the Israelites’ laws.
ANSWER: Leviticus [or Leuikitos, or Viyiqura]
The theory of powermarking is that the first word not in power is a word that makes the question easier. You know you've powermarked the question correctly if people are buzzing on that word. In the above question, the word "has" is not a clue -- it's a word that is there for grammatical reasons. This question could have placed the mark before Yom Kippur, or even, since this was a question that went unaswered in my room, as late as "lying with."

Otherwise, difficulty was right on. Hardly any tossups went dead in my room and everybody had at least 10 PPB.

This was an example of a good housewrite, and I am going to post in the main forum a compliment to those involved because it will make a point I want others to see.
Bill Tressler,
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Re: General set discussion

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:03 pm

Any idea when we'll see stats?
Collin Parks
University of Michigan '18

"Aragorn was the famed king of Gondor, while the Iberian kingdom was Aragon. Both parties were aware of this coincidence: we have a journal entry from Aragorn that expresses his anger at receiving mail meant for King Peter IV of Aragon for the umpteenth time."~ CommodoreCoCo

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Re: General set discussion

Post by Yeah, that's a thing » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:04 pm

Weighted Companion Cube wrote:Any idea when we'll see stats?
This is where you discuss the set. This isn't where you ask this.
Connor Teevens
Detroit Catholic Central '11
Michigan State University '15

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