BISB General Discussion

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BISB General Discussion

Post by BlueDevil95 » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:51 pm

Feel free to post any general comments you may have about the set in this thread.
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by adamsil » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:31 am

Some general things from our end:

The writing basically worked out like this. So now you know who to blame!

Literature was split pretty much evenly between myself, Mostafa, and Brady. So was history.
I wrote nearly every science question in the set, with the exception of a couple ecology/environmental science bonuses and the astronomy tossup in the finals that Mostafa wrote.
Mostafa wrote nearly all the painting, Brady wrote nearly all the music, and they split the "Other Art" roughly 50-50.
I wrote most of the myth and most of the religion. The philosophy was split roughly equally.
I wrote the geography. We split up the current events. Mostafa wrote most of the common link "social science" questions as well as the psychology, Brady wrote all the civics, and I wrote the economics.

A couple observations on my end, and I'd like to invite Mostafa and Brady to talk about their approaches to the questions that they wrote:

I was pretty satisfied with how the set turned out. Our goals were to try to avoid quizbowl-heavy topics and instead focus questions on things that people learn about in class. Hence, the relative absence of subcategories like World Literature, Anthropology, and Organic Chemistry.

In general, I'd say the set shaded toward having easy answerlines both in the tossups and bonuses--very few things would I consider "hard" as far as tossed-up material, and we tried to keep the hard parts both canonical and challenging--hard clues about easy answers, frequently. That said, I think most of the tossups were fairly top-heavy with difficult early clues. Hopefully this did a good job of distinguishing between teams. Many of the tossups in the tournament were right at 6 lines in 10 TNR, not powermarked, so I'm guessing they felt pretty "long" to play on.

I thought the lit was pretty exciting, and I feel like we did a good job keeping it on books that people are likely to have heard of/read, rather than listing off random Japanese authors and Honore de Balzac novels. This is pretty evident in bonuses like Don Quixote, 1984, and Anna Karenina, where the hard parts essentially required you to have very good familiarity with the work in question to get points. I also have a penchant for asking about quotes and symbols; that's why you got tossups on Joyce that didn't have any plot clues, or Ibsen without any titles before the giveaway. I hate title-bowl.

None of us are history players, so I suspect that was the weakest section of the distribution. I tried some new ideas for tossups, focusing on military/tactics rather than names of battles, for instance, in the Thirty Years War and Napoleon Bonaparte tossups.

I did the same thing with the science that I try to do whenever I write quizbowl science--focus on things that people learn in class but don't come up in quizbowl as frequently. Some of the answerlines might have been a bit odd, but I really tried my best to difficulty-cop this category. Still, a few snuck through: I think the tossups on _mice_ and _Raoult's Law_ might have been too hard, for instance.

I don't like toss-up-a-religion-bowl, so most of that category slanted toward Bible things, which is what most people know about. There was a relative dearth of Hinduism, I think. I thought the myth was pretty standard. We kept the philosophy at a very, very accessible level; I was very satisfied with this category, since I've read at too many tournaments for people not to know who Wittgenstein is, and HS-level philosophy should be made easier.

I'm curious what people thought about the CE; most tournaments don't have 1/1 CE and I'd like to know how/if it worked out well, or if you liked the questions, since I've never written an extensive amount of it before, either.

By the way, rejected subtitles for the tournament included things along the lines of, "A Trip to the Zoo" (owing to the ridiculous amount of common-link tossups on animals) and "A Tribute to Organized Crime" (owing to the high number of history questions about criminal activities/gangsters/cowboys/what have you).
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by snacksinthebasement » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:36 pm

First of all, I would like to say that I and everyone on my team loved this set. It was a great way to start off our season. The answerlines for tossups were all very gettable, and the questions, music in particular, I think were very well written.

However, one girl on my team did notice that it seemed very religion-heavy, and some bonus parts were way too hard for high school. I can't cite any specific examples right now, but I remember hearing some hard parts and having no idea what they were at all.

The science tossups seemed very equation-heavy, but I liked how they made you think. The tossup on spin was excellent, and the only "comp math" bonus was very well done, if a little easy because of the explanation of the Riemann Zeta function. I enjoyed hearing tossups on things like "atomic radius" because it's different and it's something most everyone knows about. Great job on science.

The fine arts. I LOVED the fine arts in this set! Great job! I loved the tossups with actual musical clues in them, such as the Schubert tossup or the West Side Story tossup. The bonuses had some very hard hard parts, but mostly were gettable. I liked the common link tossups on skulls and cathedrals, and the visual art overall was well done. Once again, great job!

We are a history weak team, so I can't comment much on that or the CE, but from what I could tell it was alright.

The lit was very good, and many of the books tossed up are standard high school reading material. Like with science, I enjoyed hearing things asked about that we read but aren't really tossed up like "The Lady or the Tiger". You asked about easy things in hard ways, such as Anna Karenina and Tolkien, and still asked some more obscure, harder authors. Great job on the lit too!

As much as I loved this set, I do think you could just figure out some tossups and get them without any real knowledge. Ellis Island was the big one, and I think fire was like that too. Same thing with bonuses, but it might just be me.

On the van ride back home, we talked and my coach thinks it could use more trash. It might not be in your philosophy to have trash, but it's something to think about.

Overall, the set was fantastic. Thank you for writing it, and I hope everyone else enjoys it as much as we did!
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by BlueDevil95 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 1:23 pm

snacksinthebasement wrote:However, one girl on my team did notice that it seemed very religion-heavy, and some bonus parts were way too hard for high school. I can't cite any specific examples right now, but I remember hearing some hard parts and having no idea what they were at all.
I don't believe the set had an overabundance of religion, as we had the same distribution of it among the other 18 tossups each round. There were a lot of Abrahamic religion questions, though, so that might have something to do with it. Also, I can send you the set if you want so that you can point out the overly-difficult bonus parts.
snacksinthebasement wrote:On the van ride back home, we talked and my coach thinks it could use more trash. It might not be in your philosophy to have trash, but it's something to think about.
We all love trash, except for maybe Adam, but we agreed to have no trash in this set. :)
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by heterodyne » Sun Oct 06, 2013 3:55 pm

My team appreciated the lack of trash. It really sucks to have trash decide a match. I felt that the religion was a bit too heavy on Christianity. It did not feel like even other abrahamic religions were getting much coverage. Was this intentional?
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by adamsil » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:32 pm

Here's the religion distro (8/7; philosophy was 6/7):

Job
meditation
Santeria
Shinto shrines
kissing
lions
Hinduism
kashrut
Confucianism/Tao te Ching/Falun Gong
Torah/Haftorah/Talmud
Moses/rock/Book of Mormon
Francis/Catherine/Christopher
memorizing the Koran/crown/surah
Matthew/"love"/"Word"
Book of Certitude/valleys/Israel

Of that, 4/6 is Abrahamic, so perhaps we overshot on the bonuses a bit, but I think more than half the religion tossups in a tournament being on religions that people playing the tournament actually practice isn't necessarily a bad thing (Here's looking at you, Zoroastrianism). As far as Christianity goes, again, that's going to be the predominant religion of most people playing this tournament, so adjust for that bias accordingly. Mostafa and I wrote these questions and we're Muslim and Jewish respectively, so go figure. And still, if you count Christianity as anything involving the Bible, including both Old and New Testaments, that still only works out to 2/4 in the tournament. Judaism specific content was 1/1, and Islam was 0/1. Kashrut was in Rd. 14, so perhaps you didn't hear it?

By the way, Mostafa wrote both kissing and lions; I thought these were very good examples of common link religion questions, and am interested to see how they played out. Religion is pretty conducive to these kinds of questions, I think.
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by bryant_cong » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:53 pm

Some bonus lead-ins were just amazing.
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by pajaro bobo » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:07 pm

bryant_cong wrote:Some bonus lead-ins were just amazing.
Congrats, Adam, someone out there appreciates your sense of humor!
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by Schroeder » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:20 pm

Personally, I liked the lead-in to the bonus about Feynman. ("A bonus on Richard Feynman? Surely you're joking!") Although that makes me wonder if it would be feasible to write a trash bonus about Richard Feynman using stories from his autobiographies. That man did some amazing stuff.

I also felt that the set did not have much East Asian history: the only ones I remember were the Tiananmen Square protests tossup and that bonus on the Opium Wars. Were there any that I just forgot? Reading the above, though, that's understandable.
I liked certain music tossups for not being too obvious with the name-dropping. I especially liked the tossup on Tchaikovsky's ballets where you talked about the choreography rather than the music.
adamsil wrote:"A Tribute to Organized Crime"
After the tossup on Stockholm, our moderator said something like, "They make it seem like such a bad place."
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:02 am

Schroeder wrote:Personally, I liked the lead-in to the bonus about Feynman. ("A bonus on Richard Feynman? Surely you're joking!") Although that makes me wonder if it would be feasible to write a trash bonus about Richard Feynman using stories from his autobiographies. That man did some amazing stuff.
Feats of Weakness wrote:The first work by this artist was that of a flower in a pot -- it was praised by this artist’s friend Jirayr Zorthian for using lines of different thicknesses. A later painting by this artist was titled “Madame Curie Observing the Radiations from Radium,” depicting the scientist as a blonde woman with bared breasts. Shortly before being arrested, a shady dude commissioned this artist, who signed his works as Ofey, to paint a nude toreador girl being charged by a bull with a man’s head, which this artist later converted into an image of a resigned slave girl massaging a Roman emperor; however, he was not able to sell that painting to a massage parlor. This artist learned how to acquire (*) nude models just by up-front asking them, similar to his approach for picking up girls at hostess bars. Many of this man’s sketches are of waitresses he saw at his favorite topless restaurant in Pasadena. For 10 points, name this artist, a physics professor from Caltech.
ANSWER: Richard Phillips Feynman [accept Ofey before mention]
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by adamsil » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:47 am

Schroeder wrote:Personally, I liked the lead-in to the bonus about Feynman. ("A bonus on Richard Feynman? Surely you're joking!") Although that makes me wonder if it would be feasible to write a trash bonus about Richard Feynman using stories from his autobiographies. That man did some amazing stuff.

I also felt that the set did not have much East Asian history: the only ones I remember were the Tiananmen Square protests tossup and that bonus on the Opium Wars. Were there any that I just forgot? Reading the above, though, that's understandable.
I liked certain music tossups for not being too obvious with the name-dropping. I especially liked the tossup on Tchaikovsky's ballets where you talked about the choreography rather than the music.
adamsil wrote:"A Tribute to Organized Crime"
After the tossup on Stockholm, our moderator said something like, "They make it seem like such a bad place."
Since I know nothing about ballet, I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

There was a tossup on China (ancient history) and a few CE and geography bonuses I think, as well as a history tossup on North Korea, a tossup on Hirohito, and a tossup on Cambodia. I don't know what the going rate is on East Asian history, but I thought it was pretty reasonable.Of course, if all those questions ended up in playoff packets or something, that's a different issue.
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by relaxationutopia » Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:35 pm

I enjoyed the science a lot, especially the biology and chemistry questions. I liked the way proper nouns are avoided - people couldn't just memorize something while not knowing its significance.

There was one round that asked for a color and had a chemistry cross over (dichromate); I liked the incorporation of lab-work into chemistry questions, because it is often not given as much attention despite it being a major part of a chemistry class.
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by blizzard » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:41 pm

I really enjoyed the set. I especially liked the number of common-link tossups; those are some of my favorite types of questions, but they can be hard to make pyramidal, and I felt this set did a really good job of finding hard, medium, and easy clues for a lot of them.

Although I am not a science player, I felt that those questions did a good job of asking about topics that are more likely to be covered in school. I noticed this especially for the chemistry.

In pretty much every round, readers had to decipher what some of the questions were asking, and many complained of the grammatical/syntactical errors that made it difficult to read.

Would it be possible to be sent the set? I had some question-specific critiques, but I don't remember a lot of them off the top of my head.

Overall, I really enjoyed the questions. Thank you for putting all the effort into writing a great set!
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by BuckeyeFan100 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:06 am

Could I possibly be sent a copy of the set?
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Re: BISB General Discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:23 am

It's been a long time since I looked at it, but I think I liked this set better than BHSAT (though I was a reader for that set and not this one, so).
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