Illinois '07-'08

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Post by cornfused » Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:03 am

I own "Has Been."

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Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:30 am

styxman wrote:Shatner > Mr. T (mostly on the strength of Billy's seminal album Has Been)
I would personally go with a push there, as there's a pretty good debate to be made for both people.

There is no debate about the commercial, though. Absolutely none.
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Post by mlaird » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:18 am

Now that the holiday lull is over, we can jump right back into results:

Kaneland Varsity, from what I hear:
1.) Wheaton North
2.) Loyola Academy
3-4.) WWS and someone else

I hear the Kaneland questions were, well, Kaneland questions. I can't say much else though, since I wasn't there. Someone to fill in the blanks would be nice, though.

Rockford Auburn F/S
1.) Loyola Academy
2.) Rockford Auburn
3.) Rockford Boylan
4.) Moline

Interestingly, no team went undefeated at this tournament, as Loyola opened up with a cross-over loss to Auburn and Auburn was later defeated by Loyola in the finals, leaving both teams with a 6-1 mark.

I can only comment on the Auburn tournament, which had some pretty dang good questions. House written, and very competently. They had some of the most creative interdisp. questions I've heard all year. Kudos to their Varsity Team for writing them.

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Post by RSido » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:23 am

What was the field for each tournament?
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Post by harpersferry » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:26 am

Since you asked:
Field for Auburn F/S

Loyola
Harlem
Rock Island
Aurora Central Catholic
Auburn A
LaSalle-Peru
Woodstock
Sterling Newman
Rockford Boylan
Sterling
Winnebago
St. Bede's
Byron
Moline
Dixon
Christian Life
North Boone
Auburn B

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Post by JackGlerum » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:53 am

Matt's correct, Wheaton North beat Loyola in the finals, Byron and Wheaton Warrenville played in 3rd/4th, don't know who won.

As for the questions, I'll just give some samples.

The Executioner's Song - Mailer came up twice
The capital of Taiwan - Taipei came up twice
The capital of Bangladesh - Dhaka came up twice
^(same bonus mind you but with two other additional different Asian country-capitals the second time)^
Chester Arthur came up thrice

As for (non) pyramidals, the most memorable one was, "English, Grammar... Name one of the two indefinite articles."

Now that my question rant is over, the tournament was not terrible, there were a few pyramidals, the food was good, the pools were well distributed etc.

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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:59 am

I've got a tirade on Kaneland's questions brewing. (Of course, this tirade's been brewing since I was a junior, because Kaneland's questions are the same questions used at Winnebago's tournament, the Big Northern Conference, and at least one other tournament that I can't remember well enough to publicly damn)

Kaneland's field was almost as weak as the questions. WN, WWS, Loyola, and Maine South were the only "good" teams, and then after the usual area teams (Byron/Bago/Sterling/Moline/etc.) there was no one of note. The only team to surprise me was Geneva beating Sterling in a close match on crappy questions in morning pool play.

All Tournament team for the four prelim games - Greg Gauthier had 36 for Wheaton North. Second place was Madeline Dillner with 21 for Winnebago. Curt Peterson was third, and other names that I can remember include Joe Ahmad of Loyola and Aaron Deets of Byron.

ETA: After seeing John's post, I'll add a few more details on specific questions - my rant on theory and general problems with the questions will come later.

"Minor" repeats were common. A match would have multiple questions on the same topic - for example, one morning match had a bonus on the 4 countries that border Latvia, then had a bonus on the "history" - really currency, language, and more geography - of Albania. There were a surprising number of "repeated" math topics - including combination/permutation bonuses in two consecutive rounds. These sort of things are really minor nitpicking things, but taken as a whole, gaah. Also, errors in the text of the question ("convert the following radian measures to degrees. Part 1 - 1 degree. Part 2..." ... "Fine Arts, Visual Art. Identify the composers of the following works (which were visual art works)" made it hard on moderators and players alike.

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Post by JackGlerum » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:16 am

Personally I can't wait to hear this tirade.

By the way, who wrote them?

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Post by RSido » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:19 am

*ducks and covers*

So what about them rankles you most?
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:24 am

JohnGlerum wrote:Personally I can't wait to hear this tirade.

By the way, who wrote them?
Coach Dentino mentioned a name in the coach's meeting that I did not recognize - they were, however, the "exact replica" of questions used in Big Northern and Winnebago Invitationals past. (I'll define exact replica in my tirade.) I want to say he named a writer's name, and I know them by the company name.

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Post by JackGlerum » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:26 am

RSido wrote:So what about them rankles you most?
Inconsistency, very F/S at times.

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Post by rjaguar3 » Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:10 pm

I wish to add my two cents. And while I do not intend at all to demean Mr. Dentino (since he is a logistical genius at running the Kaneland tournament so well), I just compiled a few suggestions for improving the question quality at the tournaments in future years, so that a well-run tournament might become one of the best tournaments in Illinois. This is not a laundry list of complaints (at least I hope it doesn't come off this way), but rather a list of suggestions that might make the tournament better in the years to come.

1. Bonuses should almost NEVER be plain title-author, capital-country, composer-work, etc. There is no reason why the bonus can't include some details about the work and why it's important. For example...

Question from Kaneland (slightly rephrased): "Identify the composer of: ... Tales of Hoffman."

Better question: "This composer of Tales of Hoffman never got to see the performance of his opera about Hoffman encouraging his love, Antonia, to sing despite the fact that it would cause her death."

(Please excuse me if that question sucks, but I'm writing it very quickly.)

While a simple title-author bonus is very uninformative to people unfamiliar with the work, a better-written bonus can at least give a team that doesn't know something more to latch onto than a simple title.

Furthermore, it seemed that many of the lit questions seemed to be written right from the Triad lists we study (as in: "I'll take a (1), (3), and two (5)'s randomly, and there's a bonus"). This is a bad way to write questions, especially since this ensures that NO team will sweep a bonus, since there is bound to be some obscure title from somewhere that no one bothers to learn because it is not important (ex: George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London [a 5 on the list, by the way])

2. Making the same answer appear multiple times in a bonus once is cute. Doing that multiple times causes the cuteness factor to decrease quickly. It also reduces the scope of knowledge a bonus can cover, and it disproportionately rewards a team who happens to know the author/country/composer/etc. that appears multiple times.

3. The bonuses were severely disproportionate in difficulty throughout the day. The literature and fine arts were consistently obscure, while the math and science tended to be more towards the easy side. (I don't think it has to do with the fact that I know math and science better--I think NO ONE could have swept many of the lit/arts bonuses). Furthermore, bonuses seemed to swing from easy sweeps to difficult bonuses where good teams could, at best, hope for 5 points. Also, the sports questions were VERY HARD, even for fans [ex: Name the ALCS runners-up in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.]

4. There were at least 3 bonuses with "Determine the values of four trig functions given the value of one of them," multiple "determine the equivalent resistance" questions, and many more repeats, which again reduce scope and disproportionately reward players who happen to know those repeated areas.

5. For the last time, recent TV series and movies are NOT fine arts. Ever.

6. There were some factual errors in the later rounds [Hawthorne's "The House of Seven Gables"--with no "the" before "seven"; TR being president when Haley's comet was seen in 1910]

7. I'm take-it-or-leave-it with the "Super Happy (insert at least 3 ebullient adjectives) Bonus." But I really would have hated to see movie knowledge be the deciding factor in a close match, which is why I would prefer that it not be included.

8. The toss-ups were fine for what they were (buzzer-beaters). However, some of them were very vague, but not uniquely-identifying until the very end of the question [one question started talking about a non-metallic element that is lethal in large enough amounts but necessary for the human body, which could describe a whole bunch of elements]. Also, the length seemed to vary wildly between questions [some toss-ups were one sentence, others were five or more]. Moreover, there were too many "shares the same name" clues, which basically rewarded players for knowing something else BESIDES the answer of the toss-up. Finally, the math/science problems didn't mention a constraint until the end of the question, which meant that we actually had to apply the "hose rule" on those questions. If a question has a constraint, then it should be at the START of the question.

Overall, the tournament was a completely different story. It has consistently been one of the best-run tournaments we attend. The TD, Mr. Dentino, is great at keeping things moving smoothly and putting together all the knowledgeable moderators and staff. Furthermore, the food provisions were well-done. While I loved attending the well-run tournament, I certainly that the suggestions above can make the questions better, so that the tournament is no longer just one of the best-run tournaments but also one of the best tournaments in Illinois.

--Greg from WN

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Post by cornfused » Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:17 pm

Brad, I'll help you rant if you want - this was probably the worst set of questions I'd seen in a while. I'd rank them below Masonic Regionals of last year and quite a bit below Kaneland of last year.

Three specific complaints before I go back to Appleton:

House moderators who were, in fact, noticeably worse than coaches would have been as readers. Including one in my last round that refused to hear what I was saying (not ...to listen to what I was saying, to HEAR it) because I wasn't the head coach. The same moderator also used the it's-on-the-page-so-it-must-be-right-and-that-is-final argument, which I'm not sure I've ever seen outside of Masonic before.

Fine Arts: Performing Arts questions on MOVIES, in a tournament with 50 points of movies guaranteed in every round thanks to the godawful SuperHappyFuntimeWonderBonus.

Fine Arts: Dance. "Name the composers of the following ballets" is NOT a dance question. NOT.

Oh, and by the way, Maine South was 5th, Sterling either 7th or 8th.

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Post by rjaguar3 » Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:22 pm

Just pulled out the full results by the way...

1. Wheaton North
2. Loyola
3. Wheaton Warrenville South
4. Byron
5. Maine South
6. Quincy
7. Sterling
8. Rockford (Boylan)

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Post by the return of AHAN » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:09 pm

cornfused wrote: The same moderator also used the it's-on-the-page-so-it-must-be-right-and-that-is-final argument, which I'm not sure I've ever seen outside of Masonic before.
Welcome to the IESA! Our association has a printed set of instructions for mdoerators that specifically says to not accept an answer other than what is printed on the page unless you are 100% sure the alternate answer is correct. Many mods take this as a license to not listen to challenges, unfortunately. :sad:
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Post by Deviant Insider » Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:06 pm

I'm not sure what the exact circumstances were with the Maine South protest, but it is possible that the Moderator may have acted correctly. To keep things under control, the rules clearly state that appeals need to be initiated by a Head Coach (though other people are allowed to signal to the head coach to make a protest). The Head Coach is supposed to make his/her team's case or select a single student on the team to make the case.

This rule was made to balance out the need to get pertinent information to the Moderator with the need of the Moderator and opposing team to be able to hear everything that is said so that they can question (or agree with) it. The Head Coach is allowed to say that there is an expert in the room who is not on the team but can clearly explain the problem, in which case my expectation is that the Moderator would listen or at least ask the other coach if there is a good reason not to listen (though my reading of the rules doesn't obligate the Moderator to do anything in such circumstances).

Greg is usually reasonable, so it's possible that what happened in the room negates my entire post here--I just want to point out that protests from the audience or even an Assistant Coach are supposed to be ignored.
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Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:35 pm

cornfused wrote:Fine Arts: Performing Arts questions on MOVIES, in a tournament with 50 points of movies guaranteed in every round thanks to the godawful SuperHappyFuntimeWonderBonus.

Quick question: was this like, Casablanca movies, or I Am Legend movies?
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:39 pm

I Am legend was truly a work of fine arts Fred.
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Post by JackGlerum » Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:56 pm

leftsaidfred wrote:
cornfused wrote:Fine Arts: Performing Arts questions on MOVIES, in a tournament with 50 points of movies guaranteed in every round thanks to the godawful SuperHappyFuntimeWonderBonus.

Quick question: was this like, Casablanca movies, or I Am Legend movies?
It was both. I actually remember Casablanca in a lead-in to one of the Super Happy Bonuses. There was also a "Identify the Bond actor given a Bond movie" and a "Identify the actor from the show Friends given a movie," however.

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Post by JohnAndSlation » Sun Jan 06, 2008 9:34 pm

ReinsteinD wrote:I'm not sure what the exact circumstances were with the Maine South protest, but it is possible that the Moderator may have acted correctly. To keep things under control, the rules clearly state that appeals need to be initiated by a Head Coach (though other people are allowed to signal to the head coach to make a protest). The Head Coach is supposed to make his/her team's case or select a single student on the team to make the case.

This rule was made to balance out the need to get pertinent information to the Moderator with the need of the Moderator and opposing team to be able to hear everything that is said so that they can question (or agree with) it. The Head Coach is allowed to say that there is an expert in the room who is not on the team but can clearly explain the problem, in which case my expectation is that the Moderator would listen or at least ask the other coach if there is a good reason not to listen (though my reading of the rules doesn't obligate the Moderator to do anything in such circumstances).

Greg is usually reasonable, so it's possible that what happened in the room negates my entire post here--I just want to point out that protests from the audience or even an Assistant Coach are supposed to be ignored.
The correctness or incorrectness of the mod's actions hinge upon whether Egan was in the room or not...was he?
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Post by harpersferry » Sun Jan 06, 2008 9:46 pm

Does anyone from Kaneland actually read these boards? Because if nobody does, somebody needs to write a respectful but strong e-mail to the coach outlining the concerns that are perennially risen by members of these forums.

I wasn't at Kaneland yesterday, as I was reading for Auburn F/S. But I have been there before they moved their date, and I personally disagree with the Super whatever bonus. It simply destroys the distribution of a round, As I remember, each team gets a chance to go first on one Super whatever bonus per round. But if the bonus difficulty is skewed, the difference could be huge. I am not against adding something to the tournament outside the normal TU/Bonus format, we do it our own tournament. However, I am against adding something that clearly favors one category and often is asymmetrical in fairness.

We at Auburn F/S have tried out the past two years in morning rounds a worksheet of 50 points (10 questions, 5 per) that is themed and covers as many subject areas as we can muster. Granted unconventional, we include it to give weaker young teams more chances to answer questions. It rarely, though, makes a large swing because the difference in the points earned by relatively closely matched teams is small. This is because both teams are answering the same questions. Often only a 5 or 10 point swing arises from the worksheet. Thus we believe this worksheet is consistent with our philosophy of giving young players as much opportunity to score points as possible, without impairing the legitimacy of the competition. Thus, we run a 22/20 format in the morning so that more bonuses are heard by the F/S, and we try to incorporate some fun into the questions themselves.

We already received some overall feedback on the questions from Mr. Laird, but I was wondering what other people on this board, not necessarily those who attended Auburn F/S, think about our alterations to the format to increase the fun had by F/S teams. Note that the afternoon rounds are standard 20/20 to also increase the legitmacy of the results between stronger matched teams.

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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:01 pm

JohnGlerum wrote:
leftsaidfred wrote:
cornfused wrote:Fine Arts: Performing Arts questions on MOVIES, in a tournament with 50 points of movies guaranteed in every round thanks to the godawful SuperHappyFuntimeWonderBonus.

Quick question: was this like, Casablanca movies, or I Am Legend movies?
It was both. I actually remember Casablanca in a lead-in to one of the Super Happy Bonuses. There was also a "Identify the Bond actor given a Bond movie" and a "Identify the actor from the show Friends given a movie," however.
Still working on the giant rant, but I'll note that the "Fine Arts: Performing Arts" movie tossups were on something called "The Spiderwick Chronicles" and the 2007 film version of Sweeney Todd. The Sweeney Todd tu would have been defensible if it included clues relating to the musical, which it didn't. (It named Sondheim, but all the "clues" were about the film.)

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Post by RSido » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:15 pm

For F/S tournaments I think it's reasonable to do a handout, since the most important thing is to have fun and learn the ropes. The handout doesn't prevent one team from getting points if the other does, so it's a nice way for teams to avoid being shut out (which stinks, especially in F/S where the players haven't had much experience) and a good way to boost morale. Can you provide a sample for the board to look over and enjoy?
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Post by cornfused » Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:03 pm

JohnAndSlation wrote:
ReinsteinD wrote:stuff about Greg
stuff about Egan
Remember, Coach Egan isn't coaching this year, meaning that I was actually the more experienced of the two MS coaches in the room. I was, admittedly, not the head coach, so according to the letter of the law, my protests were invalid.

But here's what happened:
A question asked for the only pentahedron besides the triangular prism There was no constraint that it had to be regular - if you named a solid with 5 faces and it wasn't a triangular prism, your answer fit the question.

"Square pyramid" is on the page.

MS's math guy buzzes in, says "pyramid," can't think of anything else when prompted. Moderator rules him incorrect.

Quincy's captain buzzes in, says "rectangular pyramid," and is ruled incorrect. But rectangular pyramids exist and have five faces, so his answer is correct.

Before the next question, I speak up, even starting with "Excuse me, sir," and not my usual "Protest!" Halfway through my first sentence, the moderator cuts me off, asking if I'm a coach. When I try to explain - I'm an acting MS coach, but not THE coach for this match - he cuts me off again, asking the same question to Mr. Dutmers, the head coach. Dutmers explains that I'm not, but he WOULD like to protest, and he'd like to defer to my judgement. And the moderator won't even acknowledge that I'm speaking to him.

Mind you, this is all while I'm trying to give the OTHER TEAM the points.

Just about then, the scorekeeper speaks up, remarking that all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. The moderator agrees with said statement, says, "It appears we're in agreement," and moves on to the next question.

By now, both Mr. Dutmers and Quincy's coach are both trying to figure out what is going on. Both players who rung in know that Quincy was right, and South's player even tries to indicate as such to the moderator. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the scorekeeper's non sequitur, which, if anything, proves the answer on the page WRONG, as a square pyramid is not the "only pentahedron."

Luckily, the match was decided by enough of a margin that it didn't matter. But with Illinois format's rebounding bonuses, a close match EITHER WAY (MS losing by 10 through Quincy losing by 30) could've been thrown off by this incident.

--
Let me mention, though, that my moderator for rounds 1-4 (a UMinn student about my age) was very good. She had a few pronounciation issues, but she spoke clearly and handled the matches extremely well. It's just two sets of moderators - a couple of college students who clearly didn't want to be there, plus this guy - that spoiled my opinion of the entire group.
Last edited by cornfused on Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:30 pm

The situation you describe would have been common ten years ago. Perhaps now you understand why Coach Egan put in many hours to drag us out of the Dark Ages, though there is still some way to go.

This is why we were able to get rid of buzzer beater questions--the people who write them are unprofessional. A lot of coaches prefer single-clue questions, but no coach defends questions that seem to be designed to encourage arguments. As one coach told me about a bad writer: "I didn't mind the questions overall, but it's crazy to have a bonus based on given the constellation, name the star."

The correct answer to "Name the only pentahedron" is "What do you mean? An African or European swallow?"

The moderator initially handled the situation correctly, but then did not. A Head Coach has the right to protest a question. Additionally, the Rules state, "Moderators are encouraged to defer to the concurrent opinion of the head coaches from opposing teams, if such a consensus can be reached, in the event that they themselves are unsure."
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Post by Wall of Ham » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:29 pm

Well, there is also the triangular prism, which has 5 faces. That question was just wack.

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Post by JackGlerum » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:44 pm

cornfused wrote:all rectangles are squares, but not all squares are rectangles
Am I being an idiot, or is that mixed up?

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Post by rjaguar3 » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:48 pm

Modestly Sized Wall of Ha wrote:Well, there is also the triangular prism, which has 5 faces. That question was just wack.
The question wanted one BESIDES the triangular prism.

That question should NEVER have made it to a well-edited set.

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Post by RSido » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:53 pm

I can still think of 3 other shapes, none of which are prisms nor pyramids.
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Post by cornfused » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:30 pm

Edited my rant post for truth.

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Post by cornfused » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:34 pm

RSido wrote:I can still think of 3 other shapes, none of which are prisms nor pyramids.
I'm stumped. The triangular frustrum is one, I assume. Or, I suppose, some other truncated triangler pyramid. But... hmm... yeah, I give up.

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Post by RSido » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:39 pm

yes, the frustum is one of them... the other two are indeed truncated prisms, one of which has parallelograms and a rectangle connecting the triangles, the other has two trapezoids and a rectangle connecting the triangles.
Even though it's doubtful anyone would come up with them in a match, it's not unlikely enough to rule out. At any rate, it's still a bad question and worse moderating.
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Post by Tegan » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:42 pm

JohnGlerum wrote:
cornfused wrote:all rectangles are squares, but not all squares are rectangles
Drat! Glerum gives me the perfect opening, and all I can say is ...

<sigh>

John is right.

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Post by Tegan » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:53 pm

OK ... OK .... with due respect: I'm not disagreeing, per sé, with anything being said .... on the other hand, you know what you are getting from year to year at just about any tournament.

I'll throw this out: When we ran the Hawk Fr-Soph Classic at Maine South, we had something akin to the Super Terrific Happy Fun Bonus. However, I also had a problem with such a huge chunk of points being rooted in pop culture. There was only one handout, both teams got the same ten questions, and we divided them as two each in: science, lit, SS, Arts, misc. This kept the distribution fair, still provided a little fun(n), and also kept the scoring up. The best team still always won, and I felt it was fair because the two teams got the same set of questions to play on, while keeping the emphasis academic.

This is something similar to what they do at Panasonic, though at Panasonic, I'm not sure they try to respect a distribution.

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Post by Siverus Snape » Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:01 am

Yeah, I remember those worksheets. We tried to go for something similar at the Auburn Knights' Challenge (our f/s tourney). I was busier writing the regular questions, so I didn't see too much of the worksheets, but I'm pretty sure we did the same thing. I remember being kind of dismayed when I was a wee fresh-soph player (so last year) about not being able to pull much of a lead out of those worksheets because both teams got points, but in retrospect, it is a great method to keep a weaker team more interested in a match perhaps above their caliber or for two more well-matched teams to both have fun.

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Post by Tegan » Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:17 am

cornfused wrote: Before the next question, I speak up, even starting with "Excuse me, sir," and not my usual "Protest!" Halfway through my first sentence, the moderator cuts me off, asking if I'm a coach. When I try to explain - I'm an acting MS coach, but not THE coach for this match - he cuts me off again, asking the same question to Mr. Dutmers, the head coach. Dutmers explains that I'm not, but he WOULD like to protest, and he'd like to defer to my judgement. And the moderator won't even acknowledge that I'm speaking to him.
Not the first time we've seen this (and there will be zero mention of where we have seen this earlier!). This is why it is so critical to have moderators know what the intent of the rules are in addition to the actual rule.

The intent of the "Head Coaches only" rule is that a moderator should never be put into a situation where they can be ganged up on .... that is where a coach feels they can unleash their two assistants on the moderator to win arguments through intimidation.

A good moderator .. .a strong one, should always be willing to bring in learned opinion. Moderators who don't do this get reputations ... and not the good ones.

This is why I always implore tournaments hosts: when in doubt, don't use a house moderator; let the coaches moderate, even in playoff games: No moderator is better than a bad one. In all my years, I have never really had a problem with coaches sharing. The problems have always been egotistical or novice moderators who don't know the rules.

That is why the IHSSBCA's moderator certification program is such an important deal. If you are going to use a house moderator: ask them get certified. Sadly: the tournaments in Illinois most likely to use in house moderators have some of the fewest certified moderators on staff. That's something that either needs to be remedied, or more schools need to take their business elsewhere.

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Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:24 am

There is a lot of room for variety. You could have a Super Happy Question worth 50 points in each match using movies, and if you wanted to approximate a normal distribution, then you could make all the other questions academic. Additionally, you would have to make sure that each Super Happy Bonus had questions that varied widely in difficulty so that any team scoring 40+ points would be demonstrating superior knowledge rather than luck, and any team scoring 10- points would be demonstrating inferior knowledge rather than luck.

I always thought worksheets should be worth more points. I don't understand why Panasonic has the whole team work for a few minutes for a possible total of 10 points, and usually a gap of 1 or 2 points from the competition, and then gives you a lot of questions worth ten points each all or nothing.
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Post by RSido » Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:25 am

These house moderators- who exactly are they? Do you mean parents and/or teachers who are pressed into service but don't really know how the game is played or do you mean varsity players who are drafted into moderation duty? Granted, not many tournaments have varsity players handy to moderate.
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Post by Tegan » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:44 am

RSido wrote:These house moderators- who exactly are they? Do you mean parents and/or teachers who are pressed into service but don't really know how the game is played or do you mean varsity players who are drafted into moderation duty? Granted, not many tournaments have varsity players handy to moderate.
This is what I mean. Frankly, I find varsity players at frosh-soph tournaments to be better than most adult house moderators I have met. That is not a universal truth, but it is a trend I note. The problem is at the varsity tournaments because there is (as you note) no option other than letting the coaches read or get other moderators. If a tournament host could get just 2-4 good moderators .... 2 could handle the semis and finals .... 4 could handle the quarters, and could step in to read for slower coaches (coaches who should not be reading because they hold up the tournament). I think with that few good moderators, you help keep the tournament moving, and keep nonsense issues out.

Good news: as more and more former players get into college, they become great moderator candidates. I strongly encourage any players with good reading skills to get certified and contact local tournaments to get jobs. Any players in the Chicago area would be great for reading at New Trier, Wheaton North, or the other Chicago area tournaments.

Northern Illinois = Kaneland and Rockford area tournaments

UIUC/ISU and the area: sadly not as many opportunities, but there are leagues and a few Bloomington area tournaments that are good to get experience at. (by fewer opps, I exclude the UIUC tournaments, because the ABT generally handles them, and unlike another major Illinois school, their moderating is strong.)

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Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:14 am

Topologically, there are two pentahedra, so the question does have a shred of credibility, though it is still a bad question. One pentahedron, equivalent to a square-based pyramid, consists of any quadrilateral whose vertices are connected (directly with a single edge) to any point noncoplanar to the quadrilateral. The other pentahedron, equivalent to a triangular prism or tetrahedral frustrum or some of the shapes Robert describes, consists of any pair of noncoplanar triangles whose corresponding sides are coplanar and whose corresponding vertices are connected by edges.

Edit #1: Changed 'corresponding sides are parallel' to 'corresponding sides are coplanar' for correctness.

Addendum #1: There are decent websites that contain sentences which back up the question. Let this be a warning against writing math questions that are over your head--the context in which a statement appears can impact its truth value.
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:37 pm

OK, the tirade.

Part 1: What's Wrong With These Questions?
I would like to say, first off, that Kaneland and Coach Dentino are not the main victims of this tirade, which I will more fully explain later. This is entirely directed at the question writer(s) responsible.

These questions exhibited several faults present in bad quizbowl. Repeats from questions in previous rounds (or even in the same round) were rampant throughout the day, and the most egregious ones have already been noted. What has not yet been noted is the tendency for questions to be repeated or partially repeated from previous years/tournaments. While I do not have hard copies of questions in my possession, I do have the experience of having played these questions at Big Northern Conference meets, the Winnebago Invitational, and other matches. Many bonuses, especially in (but not restricted to) spelling, literature, music, and history, were word for word repeats of bonuses from games in years past. (I was able to correctly identify the fourth part of a bonus given the first two parts based on my memory of past games and practices.) One jilted former player's memory cannot be enough to indict anyone for repeats, of course - I do, however, posit that the tendency for "lazy" question writing will present itself further as I continue.

Other bonuses broke conventions that have been gaining recognition as good quizbowl. Every math bonus was of the form "Repeat one method of calculation 4 times," regardless of the difficulty of the method involved. The “find the first four derivatives of f(x)â€

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Post by David Riley » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:18 pm

Re (incompetence of) in-house moderators: I pushed for the head coach rule some years ago after a certain coach, his wife (the assistant coach) and his son (captain of the team) would granstand at every opportunity. I agree that a good moderator will respect an acknowledged "expert" in the room yet would assert his/her authority in the above situation.

Re pyramidal questions: another argument often given by some tournament hosts is "if I have pyramidal [which they read as "hard" as well as long] questions at my tournament, then they won't come". Until pyramidal questions take root, I'm not sure there's anything we can do about this.

Re distribution: maybe it's just me, but I've noted a lot more "trash" in tournaments lately. I don't mean (for example) questions like the Barry Bonds math bonus that was at the Auburn Knights Challenge, but pop culture disguised as academic (e.g. a bonus on Adam Sandler movies categorized as "Fine Arts" rather than "Miscellaneous").

Now, having said all of this, I do note one issue. For better or worse, many of us who espouse pyramidal questions come from schools with strong academic curricula, and the writers of pyramidal questions tend to use these curricula as the basis of their questions. This was one reason I came up with my tournament classification scheme. As Mr. Egan pointed out above, know thy tournament! Anyone who attends a tournament at Auburn or New Trier (for example) should know that the questions will me moderate to difficult and that a number of competitive teams will be in attendance, yet I've seen a number of "deer in the headlights" teams at such tournaments. Likewise, a Loyola or a Stevenson shouldn't attend a "turnabout" tournament, even if it isn't labeled as such.

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Post by cornfused » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:41 pm

Re: Martin Eden. That came up at Kaneland, too: MS's best list-based player actually remarked to be that he hadn't seen that one on any of his lists.

Re: Pyramidality. The first line of almost every question ended with a question mark, and sometimes they were only one line, prompting moderators to say "Um, go," to the players.

But other times, the first-sentence question was simply a definition of the answer - the other lines were circumstantial clues. Two examples (written by me for demonstration porpoises:)

What is the name for a regular four-sided polygon? This shape appears on the left of a PlayStation control pad and is a synonym for someone who is "uncool."

Answer: a square

What is the name for the technique for redrawing legislative districts to disproportionally represent the incumbent party? Discussed in 1962's Baker v Carr, this technique is named after a former governor of Massachusetts whose first name was Elbridge.

Answer: gerrymandering

So the easiest of the other clues is last, but if you know what the answer is, then you just buzz at the end of sentence 1.

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Post by First Chairman » Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 pm

David Riley wrote:Re (incompetence of) in-house moderators: I pushed for the head coach rule some years ago after a certain coach, his wife (the assistant coach) and his son (captain of the team) would grandstand at every opportunity. I agree that a good moderator will respect an acknowledged "expert" in the room yet would assert his/her authority in the above situation.
A good in-house moderator also knows he/she is not the final authority and will defer to the tournament director appropriately. The final arbiter is the tournament director or an appropriate committee that rules of question challenges. Go to tournaments that have such a structure set up. Or maybe IHSSCBA should pass some resolution "requiring" some sort of committee at each tournament for which a challenge committee is required to be seated, with the TD acting ex-officio.
Re pyramidal questions: another argument often given by some tournament hosts is "if I have pyramidal [which they read as "hard" as well as long] questions at my tournament, then they won't come". Until pyramidal questions take root, I'm not sure there's anything we can do about this.
There is no great answer to this other than what you said: be picky about the tournaments you compete at. If a tournament does not use pyramidal questions, don't go. If it's a tournament that you've had some affinity for but always has a history of hosing good teams, don't go. Just because your best friend is a chef at a one-star restaurant should not obligate you to go there every day to eat.
Re distribution: maybe it's just me, but I've noted a lot more "trash" in tournaments lately. I don't mean (for example) questions like the Barry Bonds math bonus that was at the Auburn Knights Challenge, but pop culture disguised as academic (e.g. a bonus on Adam Sandler movies categorized as "Fine Arts" rather than "Miscellaneous").
Yes, I admit I have fallen into this trap in my early question-writing days. Were the questions in-house also? What is the method of feedback? Adam Sandler is not on the AP fine arts curriculum... it's not fine arts.
Now, having said all of this, I do note one issue. For better or worse, many of us who espouse pyramidal questions come from schools with strong academic curricula, and the writers of pyramidal questions tend to use these curricula as the basis of their questions. This was one reason I came up with my tournament classification scheme. As Mr. Egan pointed out above, know thy tournament! Anyone who attends a tournament at Auburn or New Trier (for example) should know that the questions will me moderate to difficult and that a number of competitive teams will be in attendance, yet I've seen a number of "deer in the headlights" teams at such tournaments. Likewise, a Loyola or a Stevenson shouldn't attend a "turnabout" tournament, even if it isn't labeled as such.
Many times I have been approached with some sort of "quality standard" that PACE should use to "certify" tournaments with. It has been something I have entertained, while it is very hard to come up with a standard BEFORE a tournament is run. I don't want to be the only one to come up with those standards, of course, but maybe a discussion at a future PACE Bootcamp might be worthwhile. We would of course giving the highest-quality tournaments or question providers our "four-pyramid" rating. :)
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Post by STPickrell » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:19 pm

Tom, I like that standard. I would hope that competent speed question providers be awarded 2-pyramids, so that they not be shut out entirely.

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Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:22 pm

STPickrell wrote:I would hope that competent speed question providers be awarded 2-pyramids, so that they not be shut out entirely.
We need to develop a standard for rating the pointiest unicorn horns first.

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Post by JackGlerum » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:53 pm

Normally I don't like getting picky on specific questions, but I think we might be over-doing the obscurity of Martin Eden. Past The Call of the Wild and White Fang, and maybe To Build a Fire, Martin Eden would be one of the next ones one would memorize. I'm not saying it is ok to simply have a "Given Novel, Name Author" bonus involving Martin Eden, but saying it is too obscure to have in a varsity tournament probably isn't right either.

That said, I totally agree with Brad, a pyramidal question would fix this, as it would be towards the front end of the question with one of the aforementioned titles at the back end.

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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:09 pm

JohnGlerum wrote:Normally I don't like getting picky on specific questions, but I think we might be over-doing the obscurity of Martin Eden. Past The Call of the Wild and White Fang, and maybe To Build a Fire, Martin Eden would be one of the next ones one would memorize. I'm not saying it is ok to simply have a "Given Novel, Name Author" bonus involving Martin Eden, but saying it is too obscure to have in a varsity tournament probably isn't right either.

That said, I totally agree with Brad, a pyramidal question would fix this, as it would be towards the front end of the question with one of the aforementioned titles at the back end.
In the instance outside Kaneland, it was actually given author and description, name work.

Out of curiosity, was it a tossup at Kaneland?

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Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Jan 08, 2008 9:12 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
STPickrell wrote:I would hope that competent speed question providers be awarded 2-pyramids, so that they not be shut out entirely.
We need to develop a standard for rating the pointiest unicorn horns first.
Moh's scale of hardness that unicorn horn.
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Post by the return of AHAN » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:29 pm

Tegan wrote: Any players in the Chicago area would be great for reading at New Trier, Wheaton North, or the other Chicago area tournaments.
DUDE! Where's the Barrington love?? I'm always on the prowl for more moderators, especially this year when I have 38 teams (and counting).

I'm gonna need a bigger cafeteria...
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