Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

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Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by theattachment » Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:54 pm

The only real other crises that happened were pretty doable. For anyone I read for during the playoffs (no one here, but it probably snowballed) I apologize for being a room behind. Though I don't blame myself for that one (Their coach was following them! WTF?!?) I should have caught it as well.
This totally rocked: In general, the sets were really well written and nothing got screwed up, save for repeats and a stupid B-team from a town around a ginormous lake that wasn't named Mound Westonka.
We'll do this next year: We probably should have had an extra 20/20 instead of just a 20/0 in case of screwups with packets or teams. That would have made things easier.
Anyhow, anyone else complaining over the Goatse reference or the lack of a fashion distro (which, in the words of the original female complainer, was a lack of "girl stuff," thereby making her point ironic in the context of the modern feminist movement)?
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by klwalton33 » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:20 pm

OK... so... I want to believe I'm pretty tuned into most pop culture-related things, in particular internet memes and the like, but I did not know what Goatse was. So I googled it. And if anyone thinks that is appropriate for high school consumption, you're kidding yourself. I don't care if the question itself wasn't vulgar, the subject matter certainly is. So slap on the wrist for this guy for not catching that.

Apart from that I see the "not enough girl questions" argument as well. While Quiz Bowl is (right or wrong) traditionally male-dominated, I would say that this particular tournament had a higher proportion of females than any tournament I can remember. So I do think there needs to be a concerted effort to have one whole topic dedicated to "E!" or "US Weekly" or something that can be argued to be more "girl-ish." (and I realize I'm painting with an awfully broad brushstroke with everything I've just said, please forgive me for that)

The one thing I have heard over and over again is "there were too many video game questions." Certainly I can see the argument for (teens play LOTS of video games) and against (10% of the question distribution? really?) but I do think it might be wise to set a distribution of 3/3 combined Video Games / Internet Culture / Technology/Gadgets for next year.

So perhaps a better distro would be:
4/4 Sports
4/4 Music
4/4 Movies
2/2 TV
3/3 Video Games / Technology / Internet stuff
1/1 E! / Us Weekly
2/2 Miscellaneous (included in this would be comics which we needed more of, popular / contemporary literature which we needed more of, current business-related things that can be argued to be pop culture, and everything else
2/0 Tossups for sudden death (from the Big 3 categories)

Please comment at will. It will help EPIC to be even better next year.
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:30 pm

Wow, there was a goatse question on the high school level? I have mixed feelings on this - for one, it's a question about a guy artfully manipulating himself. On the other, I was introduced to goatse as a high school sophomore. So, I don't know.

Oh, and if you don't know what goatse is, don't look it up. Please. I'm just trying to help here.
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:50 am

klwalton33 wrote:OK... so... I want to believe I'm pretty tuned into most pop culture-related things, in particular internet memes and the like, but I did not know what Goatse was. So I googled it. And if anyone thinks that is appropriate for high school consumption, you're kidding yourself. I don't care if the question itself wasn't vulgar, the subject matter certainly is. So slap on the wrist for this guy for not catching that.

Apart from that I see the "not enough girl questions" argument as well. While Quiz Bowl is (right or wrong) traditionally male-dominated, I would say that this particular tournament had a higher proportion of females than any tournament I can remember. So I do think there needs to be a concerted effort to have one whole topic dedicated to "E!" or "US Weekly" or something that can be argued to be more "girl-ish." (and I realize I'm painting with an awfully broad brushstroke with everything I've just said, please forgive me for that)

The one thing I have heard over and over again is "there were too many video game questions." Certainly I can see the argument for (teens play LOTS of video games) and against (10% of the question distribution? really?) but I do think it might be wise to set a distribution of 3/3 combined Video Games / Internet Culture / Technology/Gadgets for next year.

So perhaps a better distro would be:
4/4 Sports
4/4 Music
4/4 Movies
2/2 TV
3/3 Video Games / Technology / Internet stuff
1/1 E! / Us Weekly
2/2 Miscellaneous (included in this would be comics which we needed more of, popular / contemporary literature which we needed more of, current business-related things that can be argued to be pop culture, and everything else
2/0 Tossups for sudden death (from the Big 3 categories)

Please comment at will. It will help EPIC to be even better next year.
Although I would agree that there may have been too many video game questions in this past year's incarnation of EPIC, I would say that 3/3 VG, internets, and tech is not enough. I would rather see 4/3 or 3/4 if you are going include the gadgets (gives more space) and then have 1/0 or 0/1 for the E!/Us Weekly. I think 1/1 is just too much there.
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by Canadajin » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:04 am

The main complaint I heard regarded the overuse of the word "titular."
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by OctagonJoe » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:31 am

Anyone know what the field is looking like for RATRACE? I know that Wayzata is (hopefully) sending one depleted team, Minnetonka may be sending a team, and Eden Prairie is not sending a team.

Also, any complaints regarding the word titular should be stopped, as it makes the quiz bowl go round.
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by theMoMA » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:47 am

See, I disagree completely about the idea that subject matter is what makes something appropriate or inappropriate. Lots of paintings, movies, books, and other examples of culture that are tested for in quizbowl contain vulgarity that you'd never want to explicitly state in a high school quizbowl question. Yet we still ask about things like Olympia, Midnight Cowboy, Tropic of Cancer, etc. If you ask me, it's about staying within the limits of appropriateness in terms of answer selection (what you're going to make the high schoolers say directly from their mouths) and clue selection (what you're going to make them hear).

The leadin to the bonus asked players to name naughty internet things, and contained very benign descriptions of the Vanessa Hudgens incident, Goatse, and Ogrish.com (the text of the Goatse prompt is as follows: Formerly hosted on the dot-cx domain extension of the Christmas Islands, this granddaddy of all internet shock sites featured the infamous hello.jpg image.)

This is well within the limit of appropriateness. The players are not required to say inappropriate words in their answer, and they aren't subjected to vulgar information in the text of the question. To go beyond these rules seems to get into a kind of censorship of answers as thing that high schoolers "shouldn't" know, or that shouldn't be worth points in quizbowl. I don't think proclaiming certain answers as intrinsically inappropriate is the right way to go about picking what to ask questions on.
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:08 am

theMoMA wrote:See, I disagree completely about the idea that subject matter is what makes something appropriate or inappropriate. Lots of paintings, movies, books, and other examples of culture that are tested for in quizbowl contain vulgarity that you'd never want to explicitly state in a high school quizbowl question. Yet we still ask about things like Olympia, Midnight Cowboy, Tropic of Cancer, etc. If you ask me, it's about staying within the limits of appropriateness in terms of answer selection (what you're going to make the high schoolers say directly from their mouths) and clue selection (what you're going to make them hear).

The leadin to the bonus asked players to name naughty internet things, and contained very benign descriptions of the Vanessa Hudgens incident, Goatse, and Ogrish.com (the text of the Goatse prompt is as follows: Formerly hosted on the dot-cx domain extension of the Christmas Islands, this granddaddy of all internet shock sites featured the infamous hello.jpg image.)

This is well within the limit of appropriateness. The players are not required to say inappropriate words in their answer, and they aren't subjected to vulgar information in the text of the question. To go beyond these rules seems to get into a kind of censorship of answers as thing that high schoolers "shouldn't" know, or that shouldn't be worth points in quizbowl. I don't think proclaiming certain answers as intrinsically inappropriate is the right way to go about picking what to ask questions on.
QFT. When editing I let this through without a second thought. Frankly, high schoolers do know what goatse is, whether they "should" or not, and this was a perfectly tame question on the subject.
Canadajin wrote:The main complaint I heard regarded the overuse of the word "titular."
Eh. It's the best grammatical way to use an adjective to refer to the title of something. If things stop having titles, I'm sure the quizbowl world will do something different.
kwalton33 wrote:4/4 Sports
4/4 Music
4/4 Movies
2/2 TV
3/3 Video Games / Technology / Internet stuff
1/1 E! / Us Weekly
2/2 Miscellaneous (included in this would be comics which we needed more of, popular / contemporary literature which we needed more of, current business-related things that can be argued to be pop culture, and everything else
2/0 Tossups for sudden death (from the Big 3 categories)
See, the thing about devoting 1/1 to the kind of "girl stuff" you're talking about here leaves that 1/1 much more unanswerable by the majority of the field. That's not to say the tournament shouldn't have that type of question--in fact, it's why a larger "miscellaneous" distribution is everyone's friend. If we the writers make a concerted effort to get a bit more of that into the miscellaneous section, I'm sure we'll have fewer complaints (and we won't have 1/1 being read for the sole benefit of <25% of the field). Those arguing for more "girl stuff" ignore the fact that even these hypothetical girls that are sighing and rolling their eyes at video game and internet questions watch TV and movies and listen to music too.

Here's my proposed distribution:
4/4 sports
3/3 movies
3/3 music
3/3 TV
3/3 video games/internet
4/4 miscellaneous (this includes everything else: consumerama, comic books/newspaper comics, trash lit, "girl stuff," etc.)
0/0 HARRY POTTER
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by Pilgrim » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:17 am

strifeheart wrote:0/0 HARRY POTTER
It's all I ask.

Anyway, I don't think "gossip" is the answer to making the set more girl accessible - I know an awful lot of people of the female persuasion that don't care about that stuff. I think a better solution would be to bring the TV quota back up to standard and just balance the categories better - for example, have a set section of the movie distribution be for romantic comedies or something.

On a somewhat related note, my teammates here at CMU have expressed interest in mirroring this tournament next year and thus helping with the writing.
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:27 am

Pilgrim wrote:
strifeheart wrote:0/0 HARRY POTTER
It's all I ask.
I enforced this and will continue to enforce it to my last breath.
Anyway, I don't think "gossip" is the answer to making the set more girl accessible - I know an awful lot of people of the female persuasion that don't care about that stuff. I think a better solution would be to bring the TV quota back up to standard and just balance the categories better - for example, have a set section of the movie distribution be for romantic comedies or something.
I didn't specify this in my above post but a little more genre mixing would definitely help. It's not really advantageous to specifically enforce this in numbers; a concerted effort to diversify a little is really what's needed.
On a somewhat related note, my teammates here at CMU have expressed interest in mirroring this tournament next year and thus helping with the writing.
Awesome, dude.
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:18 am

Pilgrim wrote:
strifeheart wrote:0/0 HARRY POTTER
It's all I ask.
I will apologize for my previous breachings of such sanctions. :lol:
Pilgrim wrote: Anyway, I don't think "gossip" is the answer to making the set more girl accessible - I know an awful lot of people of the female persuasion that don't care about that stuff. I think a better solution would be to bring the TV quota back up to standard and just balance the categories better - for example, have a set section of the movie distribution be for romantic comedies or something.
My favorite part about this whole "girl topic" issue is that there was a comment regarding the apparent lack of "girl stuff" after the third bonus of the first packet after a bonus that a girl wrote. That was quite early for a complaint regarding that, I think, and it just goes to show that there is little to no distinction between gender and topics chosen. For the record, I know Gautam went out of his way to view some romantic comedies to further his knowledge for this tournament, and the Clueless question (a topic many would consider "girly") was written by a male. I wholeheartedly agree with Trevor's assessment in that most girls don't give a damn about gossip at all, and frankly, I think it's horribly silly, stupid, and a bit degrading to assume that we do. His and Rob's combined solution of more diversity within existing categories seems to be the best way to approach creating accessible answers based on any criteria, whether it be gender oriented or not.

As for comments regarding the appropriateness of certain topics, I can only echo Andrew's statements. There are many things that are included in the academic canon that may be considered too vulgar, violent, or what have you for "proper human consumption" and yet are asked about anyways in ways that are usually clean and appropriate, especially at the high school level. If we are to create a trash tournament that is attempting to be on par in quality with normal mACF academic tournaments, we should abide by these same guidelines in creating the tournament. Finally, it is not, never has been, and never will be Quiz Bowl's place to dictate a player's morality and what is appropriate for them to know. Like Andrew pointed out, high schoolers know material that many adults would find inappropriate. High school trash asks about what high schoolers know. As long as the questions are kept clean and as non-offensive as possible, there should be no problem in allowing one bonus or a tossup regarding such material.

I also would like to suggest that next year there be some guidelines for newer writers to follow in writing questions and selecting material to write about in order to further their development and also to (hopefully) give the head editors a bit less work to do. I feel that it may be especially helpful to communicate with high school writers on an individual basis regarding one or two of their questions and walk them through the process of improving upon their preliminary draft. This way, they not only come out with a better question, they then know how to create them for themselves in the future.

(Edited for late night stupidity.)
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by cdcarter » Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:17 am

It's really awesome to see all this discussion about this. FWIW, I thought the distribution was very good, but there was a lot of sports. I really don't think sports should have a higher weight than TV.

Also, regarding girly things, and girls in general. First up I think every team we played except one had at least one girl, many having more than one. I definitely think at the high school level that more than 25% is girls. It is for sure not equal, but there are a lot of girls out there. Also for girly things, I know what my female teammates would have liked more of was tv and music. A few good Office tossups and they are happy for the rest of the day. I think it wasn't the lack of girly things that was being complained about, but the overarching testosterone distribution.

I would also lobby for the Internet and Gadgets distro to be separate, and larger, but that's my knowledge base.
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by klwalton33 » Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:38 am

RE: "Appropriateness" --
Allow me for a moment to be "The Voice of the Adult" (though, even at age 31, I will use that term loosely) -- yes, I do see every argument you have about how some subject matter could be perceived as inappropriate but makes it in anyway. We'll use the Godfather for example. I'm guessing there are a dozen Godfather questions written for NAQT competition during the course of the year. It is that way because it's one of the finest movies ever made. But the subject matter of the Godfather is not exactly something you're going to cover in a high school class, yet we still ask questions about it. Is that OK? I suppose so, because of the historical aspects of the movie. We can assume that when we ask a question about a particular quote from the Godfather that someone age 15-16 (who *technically* should not have even seen the Godfather yet because they are under the age of 17, thus, they are not supposed to see an "R"-rated movie) might know the quote without having seen the movie. But if we dwell into the subject matter of the movie, shouldn't we "adults" almost assume that those under the age of 17 haven't seen the movie, and think twice about writing the question a particular way? Maybe.

I had the same dilemma last year about writing any Borat questions. I didn't write any, even though the movie had just won a Golden Globe, and even though I pretty much assumed many of the competitors had seen the movie, because -- well, let's face it, it's not appropriate. As an "adult" do I want to promote something like that to someone who is under 17? No, I sure don't.

So I guess this creates a fine line -- do we take out all questions about R-rated movies? I don't necessarily think that should be the case, though I am not going to argue with someone that would want to. (yes, this is coming from the guy who wrote questions about "Old School" and "Anchorman" - and while they are two of my favorite movies ever, I probably shouldn't be promoting them to those under the age of 17. And yes, I realize this would be really, REALLY tough to avoid.)

And then we get to Goatse. FWIW, I've gotten complaints from 2 coaches about it so far and I think there could be more on the way. The main argument was that when the parents hand their kids over to us coaches for school sanctioned activities, they expect a certain level of dignity in the content that we present them with. We coaches are never so naive as to think that high schools don't know swear words or haven't seen stuff like this before obviously, but as authority figures (teacher, coach, college-age question writer) we have more responsibility than that. And you really can't argue that point (well, I can't at any rate). To be honest, I even worried a bit about the open mockery of Scientology in a very public setting right after we had done it... I mean, say what you will about the belief system, it is still a belief system that people hold....

So let's keep all this in mind for next year. I love the fact that there's quite a bit of edginess with the questions, but let's tone 'er down if we can?? And I'll hold myself responsible for not catching a lot of this while editing.


RE: "Girl-ing" it up a bit (and boy does that sound stupid)
In regards to a comment above, I was very cautious when I suggested that an "E! / Us Weekly" should be there to better represent the female population -- I absolutely didn't mean to be insulting / degrading / presumptuous by that -- I used it as an example because it was a direct quote from a coach who got it from one of her players (who was in fact female, FWIW). I still don't think it's a terrible idea but I also think that there are questions we can write in the Music, TV, and Movies categories that can be more diverse, as many of you have suggested. This same coach, who was really the most vocal about the "male-ness" of the questions, suggested that the music could have had more pop, less rock, and there could have been more prime time TV questions. I think she's right to an extent. Yet most of the writers (me especially) are firmly implanted in the rock world, so naturally it was easier for us. Something to keep in mind.


RE: Distro
I like Rob's last proposed distro -- I think it's dead on, with the possible suggestion of 4/3 and/or 3/4 for movies and music (since they could be weighed just a hair more) and 3/3 for miscellaneous, and expanding the video games / internet category to also contain a bit more about technology (which I think would be just fine).


RE: "Too much sports"
Another complaint we heard a little bit. To which I respond with this:

- Do they dedicate 6-7 minutes every news program to "Movies?" Or "Music?" Or any of the other categories above? No.
- When you open the Strib, or Press, or... any newspaper across the country, do you get a section solely dedicated to movie discussion? No - you get the Arts / Entertainment / Life / Scene / Whatever it's called section that generally covers popular music, movies, fashion, etc. It's all in one section, typically.
- When you get satellite radio, of course you get a boatload of music channels. You only get a handful of channels that discuss movies / television / sci-fi / video games / techy stuff.
- On the flip side of that, when you get satellite television, you get a boatload of channels that have "shows" (duh) but a handful of channels that play / talk about music, technology, video games, etc.

WHEREAS:
- They DO dedicate 6-7 minutes EVERY NIGHT on the news to sports.
- There is a section in every major newspaper dedicated SOLELY to sports.
- There are 65 Sports Channels on Dish Network, and a dozen different sports channels on Satellite radio.

You can't argue that sports isn't the biggest "pop culture" subject. Quite frankly, you'd be wrong. Should it be half the packet? Of course not. Should it be at least 4/4? Yes.


OK this is turning into a term paper so I'll quit. Please comment / rip away -- our goal with this tournament is to make it something that most every player can enjoy, while maintaining some responsibility of what we're teaching / promoting as discussed above -- I think if we keep a couple things in mind next year we can make everyone happy (hopefully that is not wishful thinking).

Thanks for the thoughtful discussion on this.
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by Gautam » Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:39 pm

klwalton33 wrote:RE: "Appropriateness" --
But the subject matter of the Godfather is not exactly something you're going to cover in a high school class, yet we still ask questions about it. Is that OK? I suppose so, because of the historical aspects of the movie. We can assume that when we ask a question about a particular quote from the Godfather that someone age 15-16 (who *technically* should not have even seen the Godfather yet because they are under the age of 17, thus, they are not supposed to see an "R"-rated movie) might know the quote without having seen the movie. But if we dwell into the subject matter of the movie, shouldn't we "adults" almost assume that those under the age of 17 haven't seen the movie, and think twice about writing the question a particular way?

[. . .]

So I guess this creates a fine line -- do we take out all questions about R-rated movies? I don't necessarily think that should be the case, though I am not going to argue with someone that would want to.
Er, experimenting with 0 R movies would result in 2/2 chick flicks and 1/1 disney movies crap, and 1/1 documentaries on the JFK assassination. Neither am I willing to write that, and nor am I going to allow anything like that to happen. EVER.
Girly stuff.
yeah. I'll try to explore my feminine side for this upcoming year. I made an attempt to, but clearly it wasn't enough. That said, I feel like this "E! and US Weekly" thing will easily devolve into 1/1 celebrities being bad role models (eg. J L Spears, et al.) YAY?!
Too much sports. Too little TV. TOO MANY VIDEO GAMES!
What. sports, movies and music were equally distributed, I don't know what you're talking about. Nobody wanted to write TV, so it was just easier for us to expand other categories like videogames and the internet. And seriously, too many videogames?! You hs kids are playing video games all the time!

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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:34 pm

I will say this, you are writing for a certain audience here, and it's one where adults (and possibly parents) are going to be monitoring kids in a school sanctioned environment. There are some edgy things that, while high schoolers know about them, you probably shouldn't bring up around teachers, parents, and the group of kids who don't know/are sheltered/are easily offended by something like Goatse. You wouldn't ask someone "who was the most recent playmate of the month" in high school, would you? So in this case I don't think that's OK for this audience.
That said, I think almost any mainstream film, no matter what the rating is, is OK to ask about. Borat certainly is, as is Old School or the Godfather. I don't like the generalization that "you're 17, you can't see an R rated movie" since 1) that's not accurate (I saw Shakespeare in Love in 3rd grade in the theater) and 2) that's insanely unrealistic - movies like American Pie are marketed towards high schoolers, not adults, and I don't know a high schooler that hasn't seen it. To tell someone "well we shouldn't be promoting R rated movies to high schoolers" is just ludicrous.
So in short, I agree msotly with what Andrew is saying about how this isn't a forum to dictate morality, it'sa forum to test how well people know popular culture, which certainly contains things like Borat, but with the caveat that you need to pay attention to the audience of coaches and parents and not go too overboard (Goatse).
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by klwalton33 » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:56 pm

Deesy Does It wrote:I will say this, you are writing for a certain audience here, and it's one where adults (and possibly parents) are going to be monitoring kids in a school sanctioned environment. There are some edgy things that, while high schoolers know about them, you probably shouldn't bring up around teachers, parents, and the group of kids who don't know/are sheltered/are easily offended by something like Goatse. You wouldn't ask someone "who was the most recent playmate of the month" in high school, would you? So in this case I don't think that's OK for this audience.
That said, I think almost any mainstream film, no matter what the rating is, is OK to ask about. Borat certainly is, as is Old School or the Godfather. I don't like the generalization that "you're 17, you can't see an R rated movie" since 1) that's not accurate (I saw Shakespeare in Love in 3rd grade in the theater) and 2) that's insanely unrealistic - movies like American Pie are marketed towards high schoolers, not adults, and I don't know a high schooler that hasn't seen it. To tell someone "well we shouldn't be promoting R rated movies to high schoolers" is just ludicrous.
So in short, I agree msotly with what Andrew is saying about how this isn't a forum to dictate morality, it'sa forum to test how well people know popular culture, which certainly contains things like Borat, but with the caveat that you need to pay attention to the audience of coaches and parents and not go too overboard (Goatse).
Good points. OK so as long as we aren't quoting Carlin's 7 Words or R-rated subject matter of a movie, but referencing the movie itself, I suppose it's ok. Again, I guess it's a fine line.

Another analogy if I may I thought of after my last post -- as an employee of the school district who put on this tournament, I'd be worried about the following phone conversation:

EPHS Activities Person: "Hello?"
Teacher at XYZ HS: "Hi, I was calling in regards to the tournament you hosted this past weekend. Did you hear about it?"
EPHS: "Well I heard it went well for the most part. Do you have a complaint?"
XYZ: "Well yes I do. I thought it had gone well too but then my kids were talking on the bus on the way back about this Goatse website. Apparently some knew about it and others didn't. So one of them went and found out information about the website. He looked it up and was shocked, so he shared it with me. And I was shocked."
EPHS: "I don't know anything about this site. But I suppose I should see it."
XYZ: "well you can find it at XXXXXXXX"
EPHS: "(after seeing site) YOU ARE KIDDING. They talked about this at the tournament?"
XYZ: "Yes. They didn't give the address of the site, but they did mention the name. And with the name, our kids were able to find out more about it pretty easily. You know, the INTERNET and all."
EPHS: "Well we just can't allow this to happen. I'm going to talk to the coach right away and tell him we can't host any more tournaments because of this. It's a big black eye for us. Wow, even after the whole facebook thing. That's terrible."

Not saying this conversation happened, but it's not implausible to think it could, right?

So by putting in questions about really foul content (and again, the buck stops here since I had last edit duties and I mistakenly let it through) we're putting the school in harm's way since they are officially stamping their name on the tournament, and ultimately they have to answer to any complaints (or me, as coach, would have to answer to any complaints).

We've beaten this topic to death I think, so I'll just say that let's be careful moving forward. Another coach emailed me today about a particular phrase that was unnecessary (to paraphrase... urinating on someone's spot of burial) so a concerted effort on just cleaning up the language in the actual questions is important too.

Thanks again for the replies to this discussion.

So switching gears -- RATRACE this weekend! Who's in? Eden Prairie may still be bringing a team, but it's not going to be a school-funded meet for us (trying to keep our activity fee from quadrupling next year)
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:01 pm

gkandlikar wrote: Er, experimenting with 0 R movies would result in 2/2 chick flicks and 1/1 disney movies crap, and 1/1 documentaries on the JFK assassination. Neither am I willing to write that, and nor am I going to allow anything like that to happen. EVER.
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Re: Minnesota '07-'08

Post by LeCoqRouge » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:09 pm

Just to give my 2 cents, whatever they're worth:

In the end I think that the whole "appropriate subject matter" discussion comes down to a pretty simple test: whether or not you would be comfortable explaining/elucidating on the topic to participants who aren't familiar with it. Contrast the following conversations:

1.)
Moderator: Answer please..? Sorry, time's up. The answer is The Godfather
Players: What the heck is that?
Moderator: It's a pretty famous movie about the inner workings of the mafia in America. It won 3 Academy Awards in 1972, and is AFI's number 3 on the list of all-time best movies.

2.)
Moderator: Answer please..? Sorry, time's up. The answer is Goatse.
Players: What the heck is that?
Moderator: It's this website online where there's this picture of a guy with his [edited for explicit content--you all get the point].


I think it's a pretty clear distinction. And to the argument that questions ask about things that students know: I have a feeling that more high-school-aged boys could get a Jenna Jameson TU than an Oakland Raiders one, but she still isn't asked about, for pretty obvious reasons.
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by First Chairman » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:35 pm

Not to be too much of a distraction on the topic. Yes, there should be some modicum of "class" and "decorum" when it comes to writing trashy questions for high school audiences. With Netflix soon to be streaming videos online, R-rated movies might as well be fair game, as I guess these really horrible websites. Students listen to rap songs with extremely suggestive lyrics, and believe me, while most of us adults have no "street cred," a HS trash tournament with student-written questions is going to have some of this.

But really, folks, there is a line that one cannot cross. Seriously, do you (talking to student writers) feel comfortable talking to your parents about this website? Do you want your parents promote those websites, movies, songs, or whatnot to you? In the college world, yes, it's a bit about how mentally screwed up we all are (society or individual knowledge), but high school trash games should consider at least recognizing the positive, ironic, or simply bizarre influences in popular culture on our lives. It should be an element that ought to be fairly common to most high school students, teachers, and the entire community... not how esoteric the writer is.

Sure, I would call for more of a diverse distribution: more Spanish-language soaps you see on Univision! No one would answer these questions, but hey...
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by theMoMA » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:42 pm

LeCoqRouge wrote:Just to give my 2 cents, whatever they're worth:

In the end I think that the whole "appropriate subject matter" discussion comes down to a pretty simple test: whether or not you would be comfortable explaining/elucidating on the topic to participants who aren't familiar with it. Contrast the following conversations:

1.)
Moderator: Answer please..? Sorry, time's up. The answer is The Godfather
Players: What the heck is that?
Moderator: It's a pretty famous movie about the inner workings of the mafia in America. It won 3 Academy Awards in 1972, and is AFI's number 3 on the list of all-time best movies.

2.)
Moderator: Answer please..? Sorry, time's up. The answer is Goatse.
Players: What the heck is that?
Moderator: It's this website online where there's this picture of a guy with his [edited for explicit content--you all get the point].


I think it's a pretty clear distinction. And to the argument that questions ask about things that students know: I have a feeling that more high-school-aged boys could get a Jenna Jameson TU than an Oakland Raiders one, but she still isn't asked about, for pretty obvious reasons.
Actually, this is a pretty terrible and contrived distinction that doesn't hold up under even the lightest scrutiny. Try your example with Tropic of Cancer or L'origine du monde, both things that have come up in high school quizbowl before, and will rightfully continue to come up.

Is there a line that must not be crossed? Certainly. That line is subjecting the player to either say or hear vulgar things in order to gain points. Nothing at EPIC crossed that line. Anything beyond that draws a distinction between what people "should" and "shouldn't" know because it is either appropriate or inappropriate. So there would be nothing wrong with a high school trash bonus part on Jenna Jameson, assuming that you don't have to subject the high schooler to hearing inappropriate words in order for them to answer the question. Example: This adult actress voiced Candy in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:13 pm

Obviously, we would not be asking about Goatse for the trash portion of a high school academic tournament, for the reasons described. But, if we're at the point where we're hosting trash tournaments for high schools anyway, I think appealing to "dignity" or the maturity of the participants is kind of a lost cause.
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:17 pm

I have never seen the Goatse image, but I know exactly what it is and what its used for on the internet, and could probably get a tossup on it against most of the quizbowl world.

Does somebody who has seen the Goatse image have an advantage over me? Perhaps if the tossup is a description of the image, then yes. But if it is about the social context of the image (that is, "x linked y to this image, resulting in hilarity", or "z got banned from his computer for viewing this image", etc.) then by no means is asking that tossup the same as encouraging people to view smut if they don't like viewing it.

In any event, it's 2008. You should be asking about rickrolling instead anyway.
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by Pilgrim » Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:21 pm

Bruce wrote:I have never seen the Goatse image, but I know exactly what it is and what its used for on the internet, and could probably get a tossup on it against most of the quizbowl world.

Does somebody who has seen the Goatse image have an advantage over me? Perhaps if the tossup is a description of the image, then yes. But if it is about the social context of the image (that is, "x linked y to this image, resulting in hilarity", or "z got banned from his computer for viewing this image", etc.) then by no means is asking that tossup the same as encouraging people to view smut if they don't like viewing it.
It was actually a bonus, and yes, I quite easily would have gotten it despite never seeing the image.
In any event, it's 2008. You should be asking about rickrolling instead anyway.
Oh, but we did.
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by AndyShootsAndyScores » Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:26 pm

While I agree that the Goatse image may not be appropriate for high school level, the term and the question don't seem to convey any sense of inappropriateness. If a student goes home and looks it up after hearing of it at a tournament, it is ultimately their fault, not a TD's, just like it's not any of yours faults that I just looked up Ogrish.
Bruce wrote:In any event, it's 2008. You should be asking about rickrolling instead anyway.
Don't you mean "2 girls, 1 cup/2 girls, 1 finger/4 girls, fingerpaint?"
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by lenius » Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:30 pm

So maybe this would settle it:

No matter which side of this debate you come down on, hopefully we can agree that people shouldn't be subjected to potentially objectionable content without knowing that it's coming. The fact that this discussion is happening shows that it's potentially offensive to some people, so just let everyone know about it.

If you think all of the language and content from the EPIC questions truly is appropriate for high school quiz bowl, here's your chance to let the free market determine the answer. It's the American way!

The next time you've got a high school tournament coming up, just send a quick note to the coaches of the teams attending. Something like this:

"The tournament directors are trying to determine the level of appropriateness that should be used for high school tournaments. We've determined that it's OK to use the phrases "pissing on the grave of..." and "rampant Mormonism" in questions. We've also decided that a question referring to the internet shock site goatse.cz is appropriate. At this our upcoming tournament, we'll use language and content similar to this. Please notify us if you have concerns."

If you do this and a majority of coaches/teachers agree with you and still want to come to your tournament, then you've shown that point. If you do this and most coaches/teachers decide not to come to your event, then you've learned something. If you don't do this, then it's pretty hard to stand by your earlier arguments.

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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:32 pm

I like how you propose emailing one of the answers to coaches beforehand, which, among other reasons, makes me think your plan won't work.
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by sam.peterson » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:18 pm

Athena Starwoman wrote:I like how you propose emailing one of the answers to coaches beforehand, which, among other reasons, makes me think your plan won't work.
I may have misinterpreted his post, but I felt that what Lenius wrote illustrated the fact that many coaches/teachers would not consider those references appropriate, if asked for their opinion. From my perspective, it was less of an actionable plan and more of a way of demonstrating what I just said. That being said, I don't see why such an email wouldn't be able to serve as a litmus test for appropriateness. I understand that revealing an answer could lead to cheating, but at an event where many of the readers wrote some of the tossups and bonuses being read, far more "useful" sources of cheating already exist beyond your coach telling you that "goatse" will be worth ten points in the middle of a bonus at some point (not to mention how awkward that would be...). Perhaps you could elaborate on the other faults you see in such an email, as they aren't apparent to me.

While I'm personally not offended by the goatse references (it was mentioned again in a "rickroll" TU), nor do I find a phrase like "pissing on [whoever's] grave" offensive (though I'm sure some people might be put off by both of these examples), I did feel awkward during the all-star game after the Scientology-related TU. Don't get me wrong, I thought the South Park episode was hilarious, but I found myself empathizing with the potential Scientologists (there is a church in Mpls.) in the audience after that one, no matter how unlikely their existence was. In my opinion, the bonus lead-in that read something like "Rampant Mormonism notwithstanding, Orson Scott Card did write some good books..." warrants even more notice. I realize that the writer probably considered this a joke and nothing serious, but consider something like "Rampant Judaism notwithstanding, Elie Wiesel managed to win the Nobel Prize". I doubt many people would come to the defense of such a lead-in, which leads to the question of "what religions are okay to joke about in a derogatory way?" The way I see it, it's hard to say that any faith would always be categorized as "safe to joke about". While talking with a Mormon I know I've had a number of times when I've thought "dude, you actually believe this?", but I'd be an ass to ever tell him that his faith was comical. Anyways, that's my two cents on the religion slams, which have been understandably overlooked in light of the far more initially shocking mentions of "goatse".
Last edited by sam.peterson on Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:49 pm

You gentlemen owe me one monocle.

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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by Pilgrim » Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:05 am

sam.peterson wrote:"Rampant Mormonism notwithstanding, Orson Scott Card did write some good books..." warrants even more notice. I realize that the writer probably considered this a joke and nothing serious, but consider something like "Rampant Judaism notwithstanding, Elie Wiesel managed to win the Nobel Prize". I doubt many people would come to the defense of such a lead-in, which leads to the question of "what religions are okay to joke about in a deragatory way?" The way I see it, it's hard to say that any faith would always be categorized as "safe to joke about". While talking with a Mormon I know I've had a number of times when I've thought "dude, you actually believe this?", but I'd be an ass to ever tell him that his faith was comical. Anyways, that's my two cents on the religion slams, which have been understandably overlooked in light of the far more initially shocking mentions of "goatse".
As the one responsible for that one, I do have to apologize, I should have realized that it would be interpreted that way. If it makes anyone feel any better, what I meant was not "haha, Orson Scott Card is a Mormon, they're a bunch of loonies" but more "haha, Orson Scott Card sure does REALLY likes Mormonism and in some of his books (namely the Homecoming series) he seems to completely sacrifice quality of writing in order to promote it."
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by theMoMA » Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:52 am

Maybe we should also tell them that we're going to test whether your son/daughter/student has seen movies that glorify underage drinking and depict lurid public sex scenes, has listened to artists whose lyrics advocate domestic violence and murder, has learned stuff about of celebrities who are famous mostly for doing obscene amounts of illegal drugs, etc etc. I mean, we did that at EPIC, and (rightfully) no one is up in arms over it. In fact, EPIC did the exact same thing last year (even asking people to name a lewd manatee-related site), and everyone came back!

It's a pop culture tournament, and the point is to test for knowledge of pop culture in a school-appropriate way. That means that we keep the text of the questions school appropriate, and the text of the answers themselves school appropriate.

I'll be the first to admit that the slams on Scientology and Mormonism were completely unwarranted, and I certainly wish that I had been the category editor of those questions, or had noticed them when I was helping to compile the final set, because I certainly would have removed them. High school quizbowl tournaments aren't about slamming someone's belief system. But to my knowledge the thing that we're discussing is whether or not knowledge of "inappropriate" things should be tested for or not.

Look, I don't really think this is a huge issue. I mean, we have to realize that the students who edited this tournament did a really fine job self-policing for appropriateness. Of the 220 tossups and 660+ bonus prompts, we're talking about like, three of them. And let me acknowledge that I at least partially sympathize with what's being said here, and I don't want this to escalate beyond a simple discussion of quizbowl theory and practice into a malicious argument. I just think that you're walking thin ice when you deem an answer (and not the words that make up the answer, or the words that refer to the answer) as inherently inappropriate to test for.
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by sam.peterson » Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:44 am

I think that the examples that were given as to what people should be notified of beforehand dealt with the part that you're saying is important - the text of the questions (direct quotes were given, "rampant Mormonism" and "pissing...", and one could argue that "goatse" is an inappropriate thing to say as an answer - I'm not saying I think it's inappropriate to say, but it's arguable...).

I didn't mean to stray from the topic by bringing up religion. I didn't see it as a major issue, I just thought it got a little overlooked in light of goatse.

Certainly, the questions as a whole were great (especially the academic bullfighting lit. bonus that somehow worked its way in). I don't think anybody felt that the event as a whole was offensive, and I'm sure nobody wrote questions with the intent of starting a discussion of appropriateness.
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Re: Appropriate answer space (from Minnesota HS discussion)

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:07 am

sam.peterson wrote:Certainly, the questions as a whole were great (especially the academic bullfighting lit. bonus that somehow worked its way in). I don't think anybody felt that the event as a whole was offensive, and I'm sure nobody wrote questions with the intent of starting a discussion of appropriateness.
Glad to hear you liked that. Andrew was pretty proud of his 1/1 sports academic distro over the course of the tournament. More of that could pop up next year, in other categories, perhaps. :)
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