Accepting a too specific answer

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Accepting a too specific answer

Post by pblessman »

What is the general consensus on accepting a too specific answer right after a hint mentions that type? Example from last year's LIST tournament:

7. Demeter punished Erysichthon for destroying one of these sacred to her. In the Volsung Saga, Sigmund pulled a sword out of one named Barnstokkr. Hermes and Zeus rewarded Baucis and Philemon by having them turn into two of these objects instead of dying, and in Egyptian mythology, Isis finds Osiris’ coffin stuck in one of them. (*) Ratatoskr relays insults between an eagle sitting on one of these and a dragon named Nidhogg gnawing on it. Spirits of these in Greek mythology were known as dryads, while Daphne was turned into one to escape Apollo’s pursuit. Yggdrasil is among the “World” type of, for ten points, what objects exemplified by the ash and the oak?
ANSWER: trees [accept ash, oak, laurel, or more specific types of trees]

Here types of trees are accepted, even though the question is designed to ask for "trees" in general. I have seen this happen on a pretty regular basis, but somehow it strikes me as wrong (i.e. not ALL of these trees are ash, oak, etc., so this is TOO specific). Two questions on this subject:

1. Should too specific answers ever be accepted?
2. If yes to 1., are their conditions for accepting that answer, e.g. does it have to be right after that specific type is mentioned (even though other types were mentioned earlier)?
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Cody »

In some cases, it is not possible for a player to know precisely what the question is looking for in a common-link question, and care should be taken to accept more specific answers that are clues in the question. This is such a case (atrocious pronoun usage aside, the question would likely still have this problem). You wouldn't expect every player to intuit that the specific answer you're looking for is a tree. Compare this to a tossup on "Henry" with a pronoun that identifies it as a "regnal name" - one would be justified in not accepting a more specific answer (i.e. the inclusion of a regnal number) in such a case.

Including specific conditions for when to accept an answer would balloon the answerline to unreasonable proportions (and what about thinking about an earlier clue and buzzing during a later clue having figured it out from the earlier clue? It's just too complicated and is more likely to penalize players). It's better to just include the specific cases used in the question as alternate answers because if someone does have enough knowledge of the clue(s) to answer with a more specific tree (in this case), then the chances of them saying the totally wrong tree species is acceptably low that you wouldn't want to worry about it.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by vinteuil »

The general principle here is that if a player hasn't buzzed on a clue, we can assume that it meant nothing to them and shouldn't factor into their thought process—so we can't assume that a player would know anything but a specific instance of a specific kind of tree, and it's fine for them to buzz with that kind. Worded another way, people shouldn't be punished for knowing things.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Corry »

The way I've always seen it, common-link questions like this should always accept specific answers. That's just how pyramidality works: the fact that I'm buzzing at a certain clue in the question implies that I didn't know any of the earlier clues before it. Otherwise, I would have buzzed at those earlier clues instead. If the clue where I buzz happens to refer to an oak tree, there's no reason why the answer "oak" shouldn't be acceptable, even if the previous clues don't apply to oak trees. I didn't know the previous clues, and I shouldn't be expected to.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by pblessman »

Thanks, for those explanations, they are helpful. Does the same distinction apply to Work/Part of Work distinctions such as Divine Comedy/Inferno? If there were hints from "Paradisio", should "Inferno" be acceptable? I have seen that NOT given, although that seems analogous.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Helmuth von Moltke »

pblessman wrote:Thanks, for those explanations, they are helpful. Does the same distinction apply to Work/Part of Work distinctions such as Divine Comedy/Inferno? If there were hints from "Paradisio", should "Inferno" be acceptable? I have seen that NOT given, although that seems analogous.
I don't personally think you can accept Inferno for clues pertaining to Paradisio or Purgatorio. Usually, the packet should have "Accept -Insert component work- until the point of clues expanding into the whole of the works."
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by pblessman »

vinteuil wrote:The general principle here is that if a player hasn't buzzed on a clue, we can assume that it meant nothing to them and shouldn't factor into their thought process—so we can't assume that a player would know anything but a specific instance of a specific kind of tree, and it's fine for them to buzz with that kind. Worded another way, people shouldn't be punished for knowing things.
I am OK with that, however that seems to be applied inconsistently. In particular, I asked above about the Divine Comedy/Inferno/Paradisio distinction, the only reply here agrees with it NOT being given, so now I am REALLY confused.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Cheynem »

I'm not sure I understand your Divine Comedy example. If the question is referencing JUST Inferno, then it should be on Inferno or the Divine Comedy, and so then Paradisio is not acceptable. If the question is referencing both Inferno and Paradisio, then I would prompt on either for Divine Comedy. It would be nonsensical for a tossup on Inferno to use clues on Paradisio unless you specifically say "it is followed by..." (yes, I know that's not quite right).
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by pblessman »

Helmuth von Moltke wrote:
pblessman wrote:Thanks, for those explanations, they are helpful. Does the same distinction apply to Work/Part of Work distinctions such as Divine Comedy/Inferno? If there were hints from "Paradisio", should "Inferno" be acceptable? I have seen that NOT given, although that seems analogous.
I don't personally think you can accept Inferno for clues pertaining to Paradisio or Purgatorio. Usually, the packet should have "Accept -Insert component work- until the point of clues expanding into the whole of the works."
SCENARIO: A question is on "Inferno," with hints about all parts, and a player buzzes on a hint about Inferno (but previous hints are about Paradisio and/or Purgatorio).

POSSIBLE RULINGS:
NEG: I have seen this NOT given plenty of times, as the answer is TOO specific. (And Helmuth von Moltke agrees with this here, I believe)
GET: The main logic of this discussion implies it should be just straight up accepted (don't punish the player for knowledge, those Paradisio hints made no sense to him/her...)
PROMPT: Cheynem is saying to prompt it, but in general prompting is for answers not specific enough, not TOO specific, right?

So... the same scenario SEEMS to lead to all THREE possible rulings. But (assuming the question is well written) we SHOULD be able to agree on this.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Cheynem »

Well, there is a thing as "reverse prompt," in which a player gives a too specific answer. I'd reverse prompt here.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by jonah »

Cheynem wrote:Well, there is a thing as "reverse prompt," in which a player gives a too specific answer.
As far as I can tell, no such thing actually exists in ACF or NAQT rules.

(I know that it has been used informally in some cases.)
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by t-bar »

pblessman wrote:SCENARIO: A question is on "Inferno," with hints about all parts, and a player buzzes on a hint about Inferno (but previous hints are about Paradisio and/or Purgatorio).
Do you mean "A question is on The Divine Comedy, with hints about..."? I don't think your various cases make sense if it's a tossup on Inferno (that happens to contain clues like "in a sequel, the narrator climbs a mountain with seven terraces" or whatever), and the player buzzes on a clue about Inferno with the answer of Inferno--such an answer would obviously be acceptable outright.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by pblessman »

Yes, sorry and thanks... So to restate it:

SCENARIO: A question is on "The Divine Comedy," with hints about all parts, and a player buzzes on a hint about Inferno (but previous hints are about Paradisio and/or Purgatorio).

POSSIBLE RULINGS:
NEG: I have seen this NOT given plenty of times, as the answer is TOO specific. (And Helmuth von Moltke agrees with this here, I believe)
GET: The main logic of this discussion implies it should be just straight up accepted (don't punish the player for knowledge, those Paradisio hints made no sense to him/her...)
PROMPT: Cheynem is saying to prompt it, but in general prompting is for answers not specific enough, not TOO specific, right?

So... the same scenario SEEMS to lead to all THREE possible rulings. But (assuming the question is well written) we SHOULD be able to agree on this.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by The Polebarn Hotel »

I do agree that a "reverse prompt" should be given in this situation. For all the player knows, the past clues were about Inferno, and not the other parts of the Divine Comedy. It wouldn't be fair to neg them because of that.
It's the same thing as the trees thing. To be honest, I think a reverse prompt would be in order there too, because of A) consistency, and B) it's not exactly correct, but the player shouldn't be negged.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Helmuth von Moltke »

pblessman wrote:Yes, sorry and thanks... So to restate it:

SCENARIO: A question is on "The Divine Comedy," with hints about all parts, and a player buzzes on a hint about Inferno (but previous hints are about Paradisio and/or Purgatorio).

POSSIBLE RULINGS:
NEG: I have seen this NOT given plenty of times, as the answer is TOO specific. (And Helmuth von Moltke agrees with this here, I believe)
GET: The main logic of this discussion implies it should be just straight up accepted (don't punish the player for knowledge, those Paradisio hints made no sense to him/her...)
PROMPT: Cheynem is saying to prompt it, but in general prompting is for answers not specific enough, not TOO specific, right?

So... the same scenario SEEMS to lead to all THREE possible rulings. But (assuming the question is well written) we SHOULD be able to agree on this.
I think if the clues are pertaining to Inferno, you can't accept Paradisio or Purgatorio. The packet (I hope) would say to prompt on or accept Inferno until the clues no longer pertain to Inferno.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! »

What happened on a television show we may or may not have appeared on was there was a question on "Inferno" and a notably good quiz bowl player on the other team had buzzed in with "The Divine Comedy". Because the person who wrote that question must not have envisioned someone buzzing that early on the question, there wasn't a moderator note indicating to "prompt on the Divine Comedy if the buzz occurs before it's indicated we want a section of the work". Said good quiz bowl player was promptly ruled incorrectly. I don't see anything wrong with just being as general as reasonably possible when it's not indicated whether or not they want a section or the "book", and let prompts take care of themselves.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Helmuth von Moltke »

Mr. Scogan wrote:What happened on a television show we may or may not have appeared on was there was a question on "Inferno" and a notably good quiz bowl player on the other team had buzzed in with "The Divine Comedy". Because the person who wrote that question must not have envisioned someone buzzing that early on the question, there wasn't a moderator note indicating to "prompt on the Divine Comedy if the buzz occurs before it's indicated we want a section of the work". Said good quiz bowl player was promptly ruled incorrectly. I don't see anything wrong with just being as general as reasonably possible when it's not indicated whether or not they want a section or the "book", and let prompts take care of themselves.
As previously stated, a reverse-prompt could be given, in accordance with any such rules, of course, if you say The Divine Comedy and it's too early to tell if it just wants Inferno. My issue arises when you give an answer of say, Purgatorio, when the clues were only pertaining to one of the other parts. You shouldn't be prompted whatsoever, in my opinion, because the answer you gave was blatantly wrong with the information provided when you buzzed in.

But then again, I am rather picky, I suppose.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

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Helmuth von Moltke wrote:
Mr. Scogan wrote:What happened on a television show we may or may not have appeared on was there was a question on "Inferno" and a notably good quiz bowl player on the other team had buzzed in with "The Divine Comedy". Because the person who wrote that question must not have envisioned someone buzzing that early on the question, there wasn't a moderator note indicating to "prompt on the Divine Comedy if the buzz occurs before it's indicated we want a section of the work". Said good quiz bowl player was promptly ruled incorrectly. I don't see anything wrong with just being as general as reasonably possible when it's not indicated whether or not they want a section or the "book", and let prompts take care of themselves.
As previously stated, a reverse-prompt could be given, in accordance with any such rules, of course, if you say The Divine Comedy and it's too early to tell if it just wants Inferno. My issue arises when you give an answer of say, Purgatorio, when the clues were only pertaining to one of the other parts. You shouldn't be prompted whatsoever, in my opinion, because the answer you gave was blatantly wrong with the information provided when you buzzed in.

But then again, I am rather picky, I suppose.
Helmuth von Moltke wrote:
Mr. Scogan wrote:What happened on a television show we may or may not have appeared on was there was a question on "Inferno" and a notably good quiz bowl player on the other team had buzzed in with "The Divine Comedy". Because the person who wrote that question must not have envisioned someone buzzing that early on the question, there wasn't a moderator note indicating to "prompt on the Divine Comedy if the buzz occurs before it's indicated we want a section of the work". Said good quiz bowl player was promptly ruled incorrectly. I don't see anything wrong with just being as general as reasonably possible when it's not indicated whether or not they want a section or the "book", and let prompts take care of themselves.
As previously stated, a reverse-prompt could be given, in accordance with any such rules, of course, if you say The Divine Comedy and it's too early to tell if it just wants Inferno. My issue arises when you give an answer of say, Purgatorio, when the clues were only pertaining to one of the other parts. You shouldn't be prompted whatsoever, in my opinion, because the answer you gave was blatantly wrong with the information provided when you buzzed in.

But then again, I am rather picky, I suppose.
Was this actually an issue in this thread? Only pertaining to the other parts? If you buzz in on a clue about Purgatorio and say Inferno, you're 100% wrong with no argument. That argument hasn't actually happened in this thread. The argument is whether or not Inferno should be accepted/prompted/negged when given a clue about Inferno later in a Divine Comedy question when they've already had clues that pertain to Paradiso and/or Purgatorio earlier in that question. A quiz bowl player might not know those past clues, but would buzz in on a clue from Inferno and assume that the previous clues were just clues from Inferno that he/she didn't know. It's illogical to neg a player for that.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! »

Helmuth von Moltke wrote:
Mr. Scogan wrote:What happened on a television show we may or may not have appeared on was there was a question on "Inferno" and a notably good quiz bowl player on the other team had buzzed in with "The Divine Comedy". Because the person who wrote that question must not have envisioned someone buzzing that early on the question, there wasn't a moderator note indicating to "prompt on the Divine Comedy if the buzz occurs before it's indicated we want a section of the work". Said good quiz bowl player was promptly ruled incorrectly. I don't see anything wrong with just being as general as reasonably possible when it's not indicated whether or not they want a section or the "book", and let prompts take care of themselves.
As previously stated, a reverse-prompt could be given, in accordance with any such rules, of course, if you say The Divine Comedy and it's too early to tell if it just wants Inferno. My issue arises when you give an answer of say, Purgatorio, when the clues were only pertaining to one of the other parts. You shouldn't be prompted whatsoever, in my opinion, because the answer you gave was blatantly wrong with the information provided when you buzzed in.

But then again, I am rather picky, I suppose.
OK, you totally missed the point it's a television show and they aren't going to reverse prompt on tv (let alone prompt on tv, which I think you're totally not understanding what a "prompt" vs a "reverse-prompt" is). The idea is there's nothing wrong with being general and have them ask for specifics, because "Divine Comedy" was a better give than "Inferno" because there wasn't any indication they want specifics vs saying "Inferno" in place of "Divine Comedy". I'm just using the TV example because it just happened in the recent future and it happened to pertain to the Divine Comedy. Let prompts take care of themselves.

Edit:
crazyflight wrote: Was this actually an issue in this thread? Only pertaining to the other parts? If you buzz in on a clue about Purgatorio and say Inferno, you're 100% wrong with no argument. That argument hasn't actually happened in this thread. The argument is whether or not Inferno should be accepted/prompted/negged when given a clue about Inferno later in a Divine Comedy question when they've already had clues that pertain to Paradiso and/or Purgatorio earlier in that question. A quiz bowl player might not know those past clues, but would buzz in on a clue from Inferno and assume that the previous clues were just clues from Inferno that he/she didn't know. It's illogical to neg a player for that.
What?! No it isn't illogical at all to neg a player for that. That is analogous to a situation where a hypothetical player buzzes in and says "Gospel of John" on a hypothetical tossup on the "canonical Gospels" when the earlier hypothetical clues talk about say, Jesus' healing of the man with the withered hand (which does not appear in Gospel of John).
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Corry »

Mr. Scogan wrote: Edit:
crazyflight wrote: Was this actually an issue in this thread? Only pertaining to the other parts? If you buzz in on a clue about Purgatorio and say Inferno, you're 100% wrong with no argument. That argument hasn't actually happened in this thread. The argument is whether or not Inferno should be accepted/prompted/negged when given a clue about Inferno later in a Divine Comedy question when they've already had clues that pertain to Paradiso and/or Purgatorio earlier in that question. A quiz bowl player might not know those past clues, but would buzz in on a clue from Inferno and assume that the previous clues were just clues from Inferno that he/she didn't know. It's illogical to neg a player for that.
What?! No it isn't illogical at all to neg a player for that. That is analogous to a situation where a hypothetical player buzzes in and says "Gospel of John" on a hypothetical tossup on the "canonical Gospels" when the earlier hypothetical clues talk about say, Jesus' healing of the man with the withered hand (which does not appear in Gospel of John).
Actually, that does seem pretty illogical to me. I touched upon this earlier, and I definitely agree with Casey Wetherbee. You don't neg a player for giving an answer that's correct for the clue that he buzzed on. It's kind of mean to tell a player, for instance, "Oops, your answer is technically correct where you buzzed, but I won't give you points because the first line of the tossup makes it incorrect." Well, the player obviously didn't know what the first line was talking about; otherwise, he would have just buzzed there instead.

Essentially, you don't want to penalize players for actually knowing things.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Cody »

Tom is right; it isn't illogical to neg a player for that, and all the major rulesets recognize this in a basically analogous situation: if a clue in a tossup is ambiguous and could refer to two separate answers, you cannot be ruled correct (on protest) for saying an answer that does not match ALL the previous clues in the question. It's perfectly logical to neg someone for saying an answer that doesn't fit all the clues; to claim otherwise is to seriously misunderstand the most basic aspect of quizbowl (saying the correct answer to get points).

The question here is really one of what some people call player empathy - do you expect players to realize from your question text that you are talking about the Divine Comedy or Inferno? The burden is on the question writer to make this clear in the text of the question or provide for such a situation in the answerline [and preferably the former].
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! »

Corry wrote:
Mr. Scogan wrote: Edit:
crazyflight wrote: Was this actually an issue in this thread? Only pertaining to the other parts? If you buzz in on a clue about Purgatorio and say Inferno, you're 100% wrong with no argument. That argument hasn't actually happened in this thread. The argument is whether or not Inferno should be accepted/prompted/negged when given a clue about Inferno later in a Divine Comedy question when they've already had clues that pertain to Paradiso and/or Purgatorio earlier in that question. A quiz bowl player might not know those past clues, but would buzz in on a clue from Inferno and assume that the previous clues were just clues from Inferno that he/she didn't know. It's illogical to neg a player for that.
What?! No it isn't illogical at all to neg a player for that. That is analogous to a situation where a hypothetical player buzzes in and says "Gospel of John" on a hypothetical tossup on the "canonical Gospels" when the earlier hypothetical clues talk about say, Jesus' healing of the man with the withered hand (which does not appear in Gospel of John).
Actually, that does seem pretty illogical to me. I touched upon this earlier, and I definitely agree with Casey Wetherbee. You don't neg a player for giving an answer that's correct for the clue that he buzzed on. It's kind of mean to tell a player, for instance, "Oops, your answer is technically correct where you buzzed, but I won't give you points because the first line of the tossup makes it incorrect." Well, the player obviously didn't know what the first line was talking about; otherwise, he would have just buzzed there instead.

Essentially, you don't want to penalize players for actually knowing things.
Buzzing on a Hawthorne tossup that mentions The Marble Faun in the second or third clue doesn't make an answer of William Faulkner, who also wrote a collection known as "The Marble Faun", a right answer (particularly when the prior clues on the Hawthorne tossup are specific to Hawthorne himself, such as "The Birthmark").
You don't neg a player for giving an answer that's correct for the clue that he buzzed on.
Let's just scrap lead-ins that uniquely identify a certain work or certain individual because it's more "fair" and less mean to a kid who doesn't know enough about a topic to get it early to get points. Hey, this sounds like the whole reason we don't play questions that have beginnings such as "This state's city of Portland".
Essentially, you don't want to penalize players for actually knowing things
- Therefore, we should not penalize players who wrongly assume Faulkner writes a short story called "The Birthmark" and a novel called The Marble Faun, or someone who thinks the story of the Man with the Withered Hand appears in the Gospel of John, or someone who thinks an action that occurs in "Paradiso" actually happens in "Inferno". Right? No, fix that, they don't *wrongly assume*, they just *don't know*.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by vinteuil »

I think we're discussing two separate scenarios here:
1. Player buzzes on ambiguous or general clue ("this composer wrote a work nicknamed pastorale" or something) that could apply to more than one thing. They get negged, rightly so, if they give an answer that fits none of the above clues.
2. Player buzzes on a uniquely identifying clue ("the memory of the narrator of this work is triggered by a starched napkin and the paving stones outside of a house" or something) that applies to a part of a whole (In Search of Lost Time). If all the other clues applied to Swann's Way, that doesn't make this buzz wrong.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Corry »

Mr. Scogan wrote: Buzzing on a Hawthorne tossup that mentions The Marble Faun in the second or third clue doesn't make an answer of William Faulkner, who also wrote a collection known as "The Marble Faun", a right answer (particularly when the prior clues on the Hawthorne tossup are specific to Hawthorne himself, such as "The Birthmark").
You don't neg a player for giving an answer that's correct for the clue that he buzzed on.
Let's just scrap lead-ins that uniquely identify a certain work or certain individual because it's more "fair" and less mean to a kid who doesn't know enough about a topic to get it early to get points. Hey, this sounds like the whole reason we don't play questions that have beginnings such as "This state's city of Portland".
Essentially, you don't want to penalize players for actually knowing things
- Therefore, we should not penalize players who wrongly assume Faulkner writes a short story called "The Birthmark" and a novel called The Marble Faun, or someone who thinks the story of the Man with the Withered Hand appears in the Gospel of John, or someone who thinks an action that occurs in "Paradiso" actually happens in "Inferno". Right? No, fix that, they don't *wrongly assume*, they just *don't know*.
Perhaps you're misunderstanding my examples. I think the example we were originally using was this: there is clue on Inferno in a question where the answer is The Divine Comedy. The player buzzes on that clue and says "Inferno", which is essentially correct-- after all, the clue refers to Inferno. And yet, he gets a neg anyways, because the previous clues referred to other parts of The Divine Comedy (which he had no way of knowing). I'm not talking about ambiguous clues; the player in this example recognizes that the clue is referring to Inferno by Dante. Therefore, if he buzzes on "Inferno", he should get the points. Because he really knows it.

I think Jacob Reed gets the point correctly. We're talking about different things here. Honestly, I'm not sure if we actually even disagree on anything.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Helmuth von Moltke »

In my previous posts, I was attempting to state that you can't reward someone for only partial knowledge. If the clues given nullify an answer you can't prompt (formally), or if it partially applies, or applies when you buzz and if you're at an informal, yet versed venue, apply a reverse-prompt (which, yes, I'm well aware of that it is). (i.e. UK Fall, perhaps, as this is the last instance where I witnessed this. Someone gave an answer of really specific answer when it gave clues for entity and the answer simply wanted more general answer.)

Please don't post answers from uncleared sets. --Mgmt.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Cody »

situation A: <several clues unique to Hawthorne> "This person also wrote The Marble Faun." - sans context, this clue could refer to either Hawthorne or Faulkner. You don't know any of the earlier clues and answer Faulkner. You are wrong and there is no situation in which you could be ruled correct [given that the other clues are correct] because the previous clues are not correct for Faulkner.

situation B: <several clues unique to Paradiso and/or Purgatorio> "Another section of this work describes traitors encased in a great lake of ice in the ninth circle of hell." - sans context, this clue could refer to either the Divine Comedy or Inferno [Inferno can be considered a section of the Divine Comedy and, likewise, Inferno can be considered to have sections]. You don't know any of the earlier clues, and answer Inferno. You are wrong and there is no situation in which you could be ruled correct [given that the other clues are correct] because the previous clues are not correct for Inferno.

Obviously there's some assumptions here, but they're mostly there to make the similarities in the situations clearer; they can be removed to no ill effect. There is no difference in the situations, and it is logical and accepted practice to neg the player in both. You are trying to draw a distinction that does not exist.

What you are really questioning here is player empathy - the question writer should put himself in the player's shoes, think about what a player is hearing/would say, and adjust clues/answerlines accordingly in order to reduce/eliminate the possibility of a player being negged despite having appropriate knowledge of the clues. This means examining your clues with the assumption that a player does not know the clues preceding it.

Does this mean you should be awarded points for an answer that fits one or a few clues later in a tossup, but none of the earlier ones because the "player didn't know them"? No.
Last edited by Cody on Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by The Polebarn Hotel »

Mr. Scogan wrote:
crazyflight wrote: Was this actually an issue in this thread? Only pertaining to the other parts? If you buzz in on a clue about Purgatorio and say Inferno, you're 100% wrong with no argument. That argument hasn't actually happened in this thread. The argument is whether or not Inferno should be accepted/prompted/negged when given a clue about Inferno later in a Divine Comedy question when they've already had clues that pertain to Paradiso and/or Purgatorio earlier in that question. A quiz bowl player might not know those past clues, but would buzz in on a clue from Inferno and assume that the previous clues were just clues from Inferno that he/she didn't know. It's illogical to neg a player for that.
What?! No it isn't illogical at all to neg a player for that. That is analogous to a situation where a hypothetical player buzzes in and says "Gospel of John" on a hypothetical tossup on the "canonical Gospels" when the earlier hypothetical clues talk about say, Jesus' healing of the man with the withered hand (which does not appear in Gospel of John).
Yes it is. Absolutely. It would be most logical to (reverse) prompt in a situation like that. I'm not endorsing that points be rewarded immediately following the response, because of course they wouldn't exactly be correct. The situation you provided is pretty much the same as the Divine Comedy one, and I still stick to what I said. I believe that the only acceptable response to this would be to do a reverse prompt of sorts. You can't punish a player for being too specific. The Gospel of John is actually promptable because it is a canonical Gospel. Prompting on Faulkner when looking for Hawthorne is illogical, because they aren't related. Faulkner is not a more-specific form of Hawthorne. No one said it was, and we weren't talking about that in the first place, although I understand why you brought it up.
Mr. Scogan wrote: Buzzing on a Hawthorne tossup that mentions The Marble Faun in the second or third clue doesn't make an answer of William Faulkner, who also wrote a collection known as "The Marble Faun", a right answer (particularly when the prior clues on the Hawthorne tossup are specific to Hawthorne himself, such as "The Birthmark").
You don't neg a player for giving an answer that's correct for the clue that he buzzed on.
Let's just scrap lead-ins that uniquely identify a certain work or certain individual because it's more "fair" and less mean to a kid who doesn't know enough about a topic to get it early to get points. Hey, this sounds like the whole reason we don't play questions that have beginnings such as "This state's city of Portland".
Essentially, you don't want to penalize players for actually knowing things
- Therefore, we should not penalize players who wrongly assume Faulkner writes a short story called "The Birthmark" and a novel called The Marble Faun, or someone who thinks the story of the Man with the Withered Hand appears in the Gospel of John, or someone who thinks an action that occurs in "Paradiso" actually happens in "Inferno". Right? No, fix that, they don't *wrongly assume*, they just *don't know*.
With the Faulkner/Hawthorne example, I don't think that a reverse prompt should be given. I've seen clues that would say things like "He's not Faulkner, but..." that would eliminate that whole argument.

If a person buzzes in early on a "Divine Comedy" tossup, where the only clue given is on Purgatorio, and they answer "Inferno," they are wrong. We can all agree on that. However, later in that same tossup, a clue about Inferno may come up, and they might buzz and say "Inferno." Why would you neg the player on knowing something about Inferno and not knowing that the clues before it weren't?

I'm not even going to address the comment about eliminating all tossups that contain "uniquely-identifying" clues, because no one said it and it isn't even remotely related to the topic at hand.

No one said that was "fair," so I don't know why you're putting that in quotes. I certainly didn't, and Corry didn't either.
The ones who don't know that a certain clue about Purgatorio isn't in Inferno... Yes, they don't know. You're right.

Really, in conclusion, we shouldn't be looking for opportunities to neg people. We should be finding as many reasonable opportunities for people to get tossups. Not letting someone be less specific than they should have is unreasonable, and I still haven't heard a good argument in favor of doing so.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by dtaylor4 »

Crazyflight wrote:If a person buzzes in early on a "Divine Comedy" tossup, where the only clue given is on Purgatorio, and they answer "Inferno," they are wrong. We can all agree on that. However, later in that same tossup, a clue about Inferno may come up, and they might buzz and say "Inferno." Why would you neg the player on knowing something about Inferno and not knowing that the clues before it weren't?
No one said that was "fair," so I don't know why you're putting that in quotes. I certainly didn't, and Corry didn't either.
The ones who don't know that a certain clue about Purgatorio isn't in Inferno... Yes, they don't know. You're right.
In the DC example, I would neg that player in a heartbeat. Assuming that the question is written fairly, the burden is on the player to know things. If a player thinks he/she knows something but does not, then there is the risk of a neg. I fail to see what is so troublesome about this.

If I negged a player in that situation, I would later take time to explain why the answer is wrong, and encourage that player to go learn about the other parts such that that player is in a position to not make that neg again.

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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Corry »

dtaylor4 wrote:Assuming that the question is written fairly
I suppose this was the main point of contention. When Phil Blessman posed the "Inferno" example, I assumed he was talking about a tossup that didn't sufficiently distinguish whether it was asking for Inferno or The Divine Comedy as a whole. If the clue went something like "The first part of this work blah blah blah something about Inferno" (which clarifies that it's asking for the whole work as opposed to just the Inferno section), I would be fine with it.

Anyways, it seems like the simplest resolution to this issue is just more proactive tossup writing. (I think this was more or less the conclusion we came to in the "reverse prompt" thread a while back, too.)
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by The Polebarn Hotel »

dtaylor4 wrote:
Crazyflight wrote:If a person buzzes in early on a "Divine Comedy" tossup, where the only clue given is on Purgatorio, and they answer "Inferno," they are wrong. We can all agree on that. However, later in that same tossup, a clue about Inferno may come up, and they might buzz and say "Inferno." Why would you neg the player on knowing something about Inferno and not knowing that the clues before it weren't?
No one said that was "fair," so I don't know why you're putting that in quotes. I certainly didn't, and Corry didn't either.
The ones who don't know that a certain clue about Purgatorio isn't in Inferno... Yes, they don't know. You're right.
In the DC example, I would neg that player in a heartbeat. Assuming that the question is written fairly, the burden is on the player to know things. If a player thinks he/she knows something but does not, then there is the risk of a neg. I fail to see what is so troublesome about this.

If I negged a player in that situation, I would later take time to explain why the answer is wrong, and encourage that player to go learn about the other parts such that that player is in a position to not make that neg again.
If the player absolutely knows that a certain clue is about Inferno, so they buzz and say Inferno, it's not logical to neg them.

You make it sound like learning the other parts is so easy. As if all of the previous clues of the question would be simple if the player just studied every single clue that could possibly be asked about any part of the Divine Comedy. Inferno frequently gets tossed up on its own. It's not the player's fault for thinking that they were just clues that they didn't know to Inferno, and not clues they didn't know to any other part. We don't know what we don't know.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Joshua Rutsky »

Explain to me, please, how this differs from the following situation:

A question begins "Diwali, Samhain, Pausha Dashmi, Pesach...".

I buzz in at that point and answer "Jewish Holidays."

By your logic, I shouldn't be given a neg on this if I didn't recognize the first three holidays as something other than Jewish. This makes no sense. Not only does it require that the moderator prompt on what is clearly an answer that doesn't fit with earlier clues, but it also requires that the moderator know WHAT IS IN MY HEAD at the time I buzz. How can the moderator know whether or not I have had contact in the past with the information in question? To say "we know what we know" is a nice truism, but how many times have we watched a teammate blank on something they know, or had someone read an answer line only to think, "Oh, yeah! That's the one I was trying to pin down. I knew that." In such a case, we do know the answer is wrong--we just forgot something at that moment that makes it wrong. We shouldn't penalize someone for saying what they know is wrong?

This argument doesn't make sense to me.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Corry »

Joshua Rutsky wrote:Explain to me, please, how this differs from the following situation:

A question begins "Diwali, Samhain, Pausha Dashmi, Pesach...".

I buzz in at that point and answer "Jewish Holidays."

By your logic, I shouldn't be given a neg on this if I didn't recognize the first three holidays as something other than Jewish. This makes no sense. Not only does it require that the moderator prompt on what is clearly an answer that doesn't fit with earlier clues, but it also requires that the moderator know WHAT IS IN MY HEAD at the time I buzz. How can the moderator know whether or not I have had contact in the past with the information in question? To say "we know what we know" is a nice truism, but how many times have we watched a teammate blank on something they know, or had someone read an answer line only to think, "Oh, yeah! That's the one I was trying to pin down. I knew that." In such a case, we do know the answer is wrong--we just forgot something at that moment that makes it wrong. We shouldn't penalize someone for saying what they know is wrong?

This argument doesn't make sense to me.
I'm not too sure about the example first-line clue you presented. It seems like that sort of first line would just be testing players' knowledge of how many random holidays from different denominations that they've heard of.

A more common example of pyramidal quiz bowl would probably go like this: "During one day of this type, something something about Diwali. Another day of this type involves something something about Passover."

In which case, yes: I'd be fine with accepting "Jewish holidays" instead of just "holidays".

The idea behind accepting overly specific answers in a common-link tossup is to reward knowledge. If a player knows a whole lot about Passover, he should be able to get the tossup. It shouldn't be the player's job to read the tossup writer's mind. Of course, like you said, it's not the moderator's job to read the player's mind either. In fact, the best solution here would probably be just to have a more proactive answer line, like this: "answer: holidays (accept Hindu holidays; accept Jewish holidays; etc. etc.)"

I don't really understand your second point.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by quizbowllee »

Corry wrote:
Joshua Rutsky wrote:Explain to me, please, how this differs from the following situation:

A question begins "Diwali, Samhain, Pausha Dashmi, Pesach...".

I buzz in at that point and answer "Jewish Holidays."

By your logic, I shouldn't be given a neg on this if I didn't recognize the first three holidays as something other than Jewish. This makes no sense. Not only does it require that the moderator prompt on what is clearly an answer that doesn't fit with earlier clues, but it also requires that the moderator know WHAT IS IN MY HEAD at the time I buzz. How can the moderator know whether or not I have had contact in the past with the information in question? To say "we know what we know" is a nice truism, but how many times have we watched a teammate blank on something they know, or had someone read an answer line only to think, "Oh, yeah! That's the one I was trying to pin down. I knew that." In such a case, we do know the answer is wrong--we just forgot something at that moment that makes it wrong. We shouldn't penalize someone for saying what they know is wrong?

This argument doesn't make sense to me.
I'm not too sure about the example first-line clue you presented. It seems like that sort of first line would just be testing players' knowledge of how many random holidays from different denominations that they've heard of.

A more common example of pyramidal quiz bowl would probably go like this: "During one day of this type, something something about Diwali. Another day of this type involves something something about Passover."

In which case, yes: I'd be fine with accepting "Jewish holidays" instead of just "holidays".

The idea behind accepting overly specific answers in a common-link tossup is to reward knowledge. If a player knows a whole lot about Passover, he should be able to get the tossup. It shouldn't be the player's job to read the tossup writer's mind. Of course, like you said, it's not the moderator's job to read the player's mind either. In fact, the best solution here would probably be just to have a more proactive answer line, like this: "answer: holidays (accept Hindu holidays; accept Jewish holidays; etc. etc.)"

I don't really understand your second point.
This argument confounds me. If in your hypothetical tossup someone buzzed in with "Jewish Holidays" after "Diwali" but before "Passover," you would have to give them the points. That's absurd.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Corry »

quizbowllee wrote:This argument confounds me. If in your hypothetical tossup someone buzzed in with "Jewish Holidays" after "Diwali" but before "Passover," you would have to give them the points. That's absurd.
Yeah, pretty much-- that's a well-recognized flaw in the workaround. Theoretically, you would avoid this problem by having an even more detailed answer line ("accept Jewish holidays after something something"), but at a certain point, the answer line just gets too long. I think the current answer line in my example is a reasonable compromise.

Surprisingly, I will defer to Cody Voight for explanation of why this is reasonable:
Including specific conditions for when to accept an answer would balloon the answerline to unreasonable proportions (and what about thinking about an earlier clue and buzzing during a later clue having figured it out from the earlier clue? It's just too complicated and is more likely to penalize players). It's better to just include the specific cases used in the question as alternate answers because if someone does have enough knowledge of the clue(s) to answer with a more specific tree (in this case), then the chances of them saying the totally wrong tree species is acceptably low that you wouldn't want to worry about it.
On a side note, having a common-link tossup on "holidays" is probably just an iffy idea in general. No matter how you spin it, the answer line is going to be unsatisfactory for one person or another.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Cody »

I don't think this discussion of a potential tossup on "holidays" is very illuminating. The answerline is untenable and neither of the proposed tossup examples really illustrates anything but a poor question. Debating this point based on a pathological example that you'll never encounter in good quizbowl just muddles the issue.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by The Polebarn Hotel »

I do see the point that's trying to be made. However, the tossup example is pretty bad. What would be the answer line? Plain old "religious holidays?" If so, I do think that "Jewish holidays" would deserve a prompt at that point. It doesn't require that the moderator know what's going on in your head. To me, the only reason that there are previous clues are to reward people who are very educated in certain subjects (and to tell the player what the moderator is actually looking for in an answer, and maybe to use to narrow down your response). It shouldn't necessarily be used against players who don't know that much.

If someone "knows" that they are wrong when buzzing in on a Divine Comedy question and says Inferno, then I guess they're getting lucky. But it's not even luck, because chances are, they will know Divine Comedy if they know Inferno and are given a reverse prompt. And if they don't, then they can get the neg. It's a really simple solution.

So for the hypothetical poorly-written holidays tossup, if someone buzzes in after a clue about a Jewish holiday has been mentioned, they should get a reverse prompt on it. As I've said about three times already, answer lines should be reasonably rewarding to knowledge. Just accepting Jewish holidays at that point, if a clue about a Hindu/Zoroastrian/etc. holiday has been read, would be illogical, and I didn't endorse that anywhere. If they can't come up with religious holidays after a reverse prompt, then they'd get the neg.
Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:I don't think this discussion of a potential tossup on "holidays" is very illuminating. The answerline is untenable and neither of the proposed tossup examples really illustrates anything but a poor question. Debating this point based on a pathological example that you'll never encounter in good quizbowl just muddles the issue.
I agree; it's just a barely-mediocre version of our Divine Comedy dilemma.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by Joshua Rutsky »

My apologies if I've muddied the water with an inferior example. The point I was trying to make was more along the lines of "here's why I don't understand the logic behind example A--if I replace example A with example B, it doesn't make sense to me." I grant you that a random list of holidays isn't an ideal example, but I have certainly heard NAQT tossups that involve lists of things with a common thread. Are these good tossups? That's an entirely different question, I think. I'm more interested in understanding the theory behind saying that we should accept an answer that has been contraindicated by previous information on the grounds that a player doesn't know that it has been contraindicated. Yes, I understand that you have said multiple times that the reason you feel this way is that you believe answer lines should be reasonably rewarding to knowledge, and I think I follow the reasoning for allowing a prompt on this; perhaps I was confusing the idea that someone should be prompted with the idea that the answer should be accepted, which is obviously a completely different thing. As the rep for our state QB organization at all our major events, though, I need to be able to explain this sort of thing to our membership and make sense of it, and that's why I asked for the clarification. Again, sorry for the confusion.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

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Joshua Rutsky wrote:My apologies if I've muddied the water with an inferior example. The point I was trying to make was more along the lines of "here's why I don't understand the logic behind example A--if I replace example A with example B, it doesn't make sense to me." I grant you that a random list of holidays isn't an ideal example, but I have certainly heard NAQT tossups that involve lists of things with a common thread. Are these good tossups? That's an entirely different question, I think. I'm more interested in understanding the theory behind saying that we should accept an answer that has been contraindicated by previous information on the grounds that a player doesn't know that it has been contraindicated. Yes, I understand that you have said multiple times that the reason you feel this way is that you believe answer lines should be reasonably rewarding to knowledge, and I think I follow the reasoning for allowing a prompt on this; perhaps I was confusing the idea that someone should be prompted with the idea that the answer should be accepted, which is obviously a completely different thing. As the rep for our state QB organization at all our major events, though, I need to be able to explain this sort of thing to our membership and make sense of it, and that's why I asked for the clarification. Again, sorry for the confusion.
Well, this is still an informal thing, so I believe it's moderator's discretion whether or not to provide a reverse prompt. I'm all for making reverse prompts formal, because the more comprehensive the rules are, the less room there is for confusion and misinterpretation.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by quizbowllee »

I have used the line "Can you be more vague?" on a few occasions as a moderator.
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Re: Accepting a too specific answer

Post by The Polebarn Hotel »

quizbowllee wrote:I have used the line "Can you be more vague?" on a few occasions as a moderator.
Yeah, that's what I'm saying. And if it's acceptable informally but not every moderator knows about it, it would be best to write a rule on it (either allowing them [reverse prompts] or not allowing them).
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