Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

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Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by millionwaves » Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:40 pm

Hey guys,

Remember that the University of Minnesota is going to use these questions at a tournament on March 28th. Until then, no public discussion of the questions is allowed. However, I'm always interested to hear your thoughts on the set, and I hope you choose to e-mail them to me at trygvemeade@gmail.com.

I hope everyone who played today enjoyed the questions; I'm honored to have been able to work on the set for such quality teams. I think we managed to catch the vast majority of the (surprisingly prevalent) repeats, but I apologize for the ones that passed me by.

I'd be seriously remiss if I didn't thank the following people, all of whom provided really well-timed and much appreciated help last night:

All of the writers who wrote packets for this tournament.
Andy Watkins, who edited a bunch of the science on really short notice.
Mike Sorice, Eric Mukherjee, Evan Nagler, Anurag Kashyap, and Donald Taylor, who wrote packet 14.
Fred Morlan, who did some really much needed question sorting and copy-edting.
Chris Ray, who stuck it through til it was done despite some extraordinary circumstances.
Mike Bentley, Aaron Cohen, Jonathan Magin, Jonah Greenthal, Mike Bentley, Rob Carson, Zhao Zhang, Charlie Rosenthal, Donald Taylor again, Evan Nagler again, and anyone else I may have missed for writing questions last night to fix repeats.

Thanks guys, the tournament wouldn't have happened were it not for you.

Again, I hope you all enjoyed it, and I appreciate feedback at trygvemeade@gmail.com.

EDIT: As soon as I hit submit, I remembered that I really need to thank the editors of MUT, who let me cannibalize one of their packets for a tiebreaker.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:16 am

Is this set posted somewhere? If not, is it safe to post now that the Minnesota mirror is over?
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by cdcarter » Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:39 pm

RyuAqua wrote:Is this set posted somewhere? If not, is it safe to post now that the Minnesota mirror is over?
Trygve has indicated to me that he will send me the full set very soon.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by cdcarter » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:12 pm

cdcarter wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:Is this set posted somewhere? If not, is it safe to post now that the Minnesota mirror is over?
Trygve has indicated to me that he will send me the full set very soon.
http://quizbowlpackets.com/archive/09woq.zip
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by millionwaves » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:13 pm

Hey,

My computer is down for the forseeable future, but I should still be able to get Chris the set pretty soon for him to post. Look for that tonight. (*)

I apologize for all of the repeats that remained in the set, and for the other problems that it undeniably suffered from. I certainly wasn't as proactive about preventing them as I could have been, but I did do my best to get rid of them Friday night (and, indeed, got rid of about twenty-five.)

Basically, the problems with this set can be traced to two things that I personally did wrong while I was overseeing this set. I'd encourage people who are editing sets like this in the future not to fall into two traps that I'm guilty of falling into:

1) Just because all of the writers that are helping you are really good and usually punctual doesn't mean that you aren't going to need their packets in time to work on them. It's obvious, but assuming that you aren't going to need to edit people's packets and therefore it's ok to get them a couple of days (or less!) before the tournament runs will almost certainly produce a poor playing experience.

2) Do not wait until late in the process to introduce the answer sheet and assume that things will be ok. That was really negligent on my part, and led to a lot of time spent fixing repeats (a process that unfortunately ultimately went incomplete) which could have been spent improving other things, like bonus evenness or clue placement.

I feel like if I'd kept myself from succumbing to those two instances of stupidity, the set would have been a lot more fun to play on. I hope everyone had a good time anyway, and that you enjoy playing the questions in practice.

(*) The set that's going to get posted was the one played at Minnesota, and has thirteen of the packets, in addition to a giant file of extra questions, but doesn't have the second finals packet. I'll add that one when I can access my computer again. There was a tiebreaker packet present for the George Mason site that was adapted from an MUT packet (thanks guys!). I didn't include it because it's basically packet fifteen of the excellent MUT set, which I certainly encourage everyone to check out.

Edit: Set has been posted REALLY QUICKLY. Thanks, Chris.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by millionwaves » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:23 pm

RyuAqua wrote:Is this set posted somewhere? If not, is it safe to post now that the Minnesota mirror is over?
Oh, I should have mentioned this before, but yeah, all the mirrors are done and it's ok to say whatever you want now. Go at it!
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:25 pm

Hey, after reading this set (and even playing one round), I have the following comments:

-First of all, congrats to all the editors and writers, who should be commended for writing a lot of good quiz bowl in a format that, at least in my uneducated opinion, seems a little difficult to write for.
-Obviously, as Tryg has commented, there were repeats.
-It's probably not fair for me to comment on difficulty as this set was written for a very very strong national field. There were a few parts that I found a little eccentric to ask high schoolers for ("Profumo affair"), but on the whole, difficulty actually seemed okay.
-As usual, "Category Quiz" reminds me of that Carmen Sandiego TV show bonus game where people had to guess random parts on a board to see if they could find Carmen. In this case, it's like the quest to find the "free 15" points. The major offenders in this regard seemed to be the "Current Events" category, in which 15 points could be had for identifying such oft-discussed news figures as Bobby Jindal or Roland Burris.
-Trash questions seemed rather highly stacked in favor of music.

SPECIFIC COMMENTS
Round One
*The Romans tossup seems really confusing. Romans is one of my favorite Pauline epistles, but the wording is just so vague ("hypocritical Jews," "Gospel can transform believers") that I have no idea where, if at all, I would have buzzed. The question would have benefited from using specific verses or more direct quotations.

Round Three
*MST3K. Awesome. Awesome. If only the tossup could have referenced "pissed Minutemen."

Round Five
*Four Japanese questions?

Round Six
*Dang, that seems like a hard Solomon tossup, as it mainly asks about his political policy innovations. Some information about the temple, him asking for wisdom, the rebellion of Jeroboam, etc. would have helped.
*California seemed really easy, mentioning "water-transfer," Aimee McPherson, Chico, Central Valley, and Riverside in the first three lines.
*I don't know I feel about the Holy Roman Emperor tossup. At least for me, it seems a touch difficult to figure out what is wanted.

Round Seven
*The Jay-Z tossup seemed vague and should have used more clues about his actual songs. The clue "a shy child" is not helpful.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:39 pm

Cheynem wrote:-Trash questions seemed rather highly stacked in favor of music.
This is a good point, and it's something that's always worried me about the model where all the writers are collaborating, but they've divided things up by packets (so it's a little different from packet sub). That is: it makes much more sense to tell people to write specific categories for their trash (and ditto for social science, say, since that's very subdistribution-important) than to just let them write whatever they like. But if you're doing that, what if you incidentally assign TV to all the worst TV writers, et cetera? It seems silly to make them trade questions or whatever. In any event, it'd then seem that you're better off having a few people write less of other categories and each be given 3/0 or 4/0 trash of a given category, to be spread throughout the packets. And THEN, it just seems like you might as well do the same for other categories.

In short--I feel like problems like this illustrate why having subject editors, rather than packet editors, is a better model.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:42 pm

I wrote the California tossup, and in particular the water transfer leadin seems like something that is sufficiently obscure to be a leadin, and in general for a tournament that had 0 west coast teams play it, I think it's reasonable to expect that tossups to play out like any other. It's not like Chico and Riverside (which is a common name for cities) are exporting music or culture out to the masses on a regular basis.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:22 pm

Cheynem wrote:-As usual, "Category Quiz" reminds me of that Carmen Sandiego TV show bonus game where people had to guess random parts on a board to see if they could find Carmen.
Dude, that's "The Loot," "The Warrant," and "The Crook." Also, I don't think that's a fair analogy. I understand the Category Quiz is as much strategy as anything else - the idea is that teams can either pick categories in which they are strong (to earn bonus points) or in which their opponents are strong (in the hope of getting a question they can answer and thus more-or-less stealing those bonus points). Now, if you're comparing it to the "catch Carmen" finale, wherein one kid's list might start Morocco-Madagascar-Egypt-Sudan-South Africa-Nigeria-Tanzania and another kid gets Botswana-Senegal-Equatorial Guinea-Benin-Djibouti-Rwanda-Swaziland, then maybe you've got a point - the difficulty is somewhat dictated by category (continent - I've always believed "The United States" was far easier than the "Africa" or "Asia" maps), but within the category, you have no idea how difficult the actual question (subset of the "list of places Carmen may have traveled" that the kid has to track her through) will be.

That said, I think you are right in that the difficulty for the category quiz bonuses needs to be strictly standardized across categories and rounds.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:36 pm

Yes, your Carmen Sandiego analogy is far better than mine. The easiest continent was when a kid got South America and maybe Europe if the producers didn't play the Eastern European country card too much. But, yes, the central problem is that the difficulty among the bonuses needs to be standardized.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:47 pm

Cheynem wrote:Yes, your Carmen Sandiego analogy is far better than mine. The easiest continent was when a kid got South America and maybe Europe if the producers didn't play the Eastern European country card too much. But, yes, the central problem is that the difficulty among the bonuses needs to be standardized.
I feel that not having current events as part of this CQ round would help this a lot, since current events causes a lot of problems. It is difficult to pick someone who is well known enough that teams could potentially answer that is not extremely famous; current events questions on random political figures who may or may not be important in a year or so really suck.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:51 pm

What do people think about including recent but not in the last year stuff for current events? For instance, my question was an Aung San Suu Kyi, who seems to me to be a hard part in an HS bonus difficulty and who is pretty important, but who hasn't really been in the news in the last couple of years.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:56 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:What do people think about including recent but not in the last year stuff for current events? For instance, my question was an Aung San Suu Kyi, who seems to me to be a hard part in an HS bonus difficulty and who is pretty important, but who hasn't really been in the news in the last couple of years.
In retrospect, going outside of the US and concentrating on lesser-known figures who are important like foreign heads of state/political figures would have been a better choice for current events, but I personally believe that keeping things within the past couple of years would be better than expanding the horizon to those figures who haven't made the news lately. I agree with you, Charlie, that she is important, and that's probably a borderline case since she's a very prominent figure in Burma, but again, I think that there are enough figures that are in the news now that could be asked about.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by cdcarter » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:35 pm

So the biggest issue I had with this set (besides the repeat) was the wild inconsistency, both with difficulty and (sub)distribution. The science seemed very biochem heavy and very light on physics, and having 1/3 Japan material in a packet is always a bad idea.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:02 pm

Yeah, like besides the packet I mentioned above (Japanese history, Japanese literature, Japanese current events, Japanese film), there was another packet with three Japanese-related questions (blanking on what the topics were, but it was the Oe bonus, a Basho bonus, and something else). Japan is really cool and full of neat things to ask about, but share the wealth a little bit, people. At the very least, don't make two questions in the Category Quiz about Japan.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by master15625 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:39 pm

What I found unfortunate was that some of these questions had Powers at information that were fairly stock clues.

For instance, in Packet 4, the Oliver Wendell Holmes question had Autocrat at the Breakfast Table for power.

but overall, these were great packets.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by The Laughing Man » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:37 pm

Cheynem wrote: I don't know I feel about the Holy Roman Emperor tossup. At least for me, it seems a touch difficult to figure out what is wanted.
Yeah this was not good. It started out with an overly famous clue about the lombard league which is basically the most famous thing about one of the most famous H.R.E. . So it was basically immediately clear that they were talking about frederick barbarossa, but based upon the phrase "one of these" the answer really could have been hohenstaufen, h.r.e. or even Fredericks I suppose.

I was also pretty frustrated when I negged on "Cairns and Miller published a paper which offered a description of these contrary to the results of the Delbruck-- buzz" with E-coli. I guess in retrospect it is pretty obvious that the question would be talking about mutations rather than E-coli since the point of the experiments wasn't to establish whether mutations in E-coli specifically are directed or spontaneous, but rather to gather information about mutations in general. Still, I know that saying "this phenomenon" might narrow the answer space, but it might have been a good idea?
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:50 pm

Hey, again with the Frederick Barbarossa - you know things and can buzz off of them. This is not the case for necessarily every team playing this set. Perhaps him creating the peace of Constance after fighting the Lombard league is more well known than a leadin, but to say it's the most famous thing about him is an out and out lie, or at best is an example of you perpetuating the "I know it, it's too easy" fallacy, considering there's the whole fact that the vast majority of players will only be able to tell you that Frederick I was red beard/was on the crusade with Richard the Lion Hearted. As such, I certainly don't see that clue as anywhere near as misplaced as you claim to describe him.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:09 pm

To clarify, Charlie, my problems (if that's the word, that seems a bit harsh) with the tossup were not the clues or the clue ordering, it was just that it seemed a little tricky to know if you wanted "Holy Roman Emperors" or some other group right away. It's tricky, though, to write give a specific pronoun without making it really really transparent.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:15 pm

Yeah, I wasn't addressing that criticism, which I'm much more willing to buy as probably accurate.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:12 pm

I'm pretty sure that getting his arse kicked by the Lombard league is one of the most famous unique things that Barbarossa did-- as many others accompanied the Third Crusade. He is also the most famous HRE, bar none. That said, I first gained knowledge of Barbarossa from AoE II, though I think that many other players may have obtained their knowledge from the same source...
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:39 pm

A.B.C.D E.F. Godthaab wrote:I'm pretty sure that getting his arse kicked by the Lombard league is one of the most famous unique things that Barbarossa did-- as many others accompanied the Third Crusade. He is also the most famous HRE, bar none. That said, I first gained knowledge of Barbarossa from AoE II, though I think that many other players may have obtained their knowledge from the same source...
Yeah, I was going to say that outside the narration from the Barbarossa campaign, he's better known for other things.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by manary » Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:27 pm

Also Charlemagne is pretty famous as HRE, not to mention the first one. But yeah, Frederick I is the 2nd most famous.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:01 am

Here's a fun tossup:
Round 8 wrote:Itch and Drill are among this band’s EPs. Originally named On a Friday, one song by this band laments “You have not been paying attention/paying attention/paying attention” while another ends “God loves his children, God loves his children, yeah!” This band included “2+2=5” on the album Hail to the Thief and “Paranoid Android” on OK Computer. Fronted by Thom Yorke, for 10 points, name this British alternative rock band who’s “Creep” appears on Pablo Honey and whose newest album, In Rainbows, is available for download at whatever price the customer chooses.
ANSWER: Radiohead [accept On a Friday before “Itch” is read]
Check out the answer line. I guess if you're telepathic, you can get points on this one.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by ClemsonQB » Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:22 am

Haha. If I remember correctly, the tossup had clues about demos by Radiohead before editing.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:52 pm

That's not a very well-written question about Radiohead. Their most famous, best-selling, and most award-winning album O.K. Computer is named halfway through the question, immediately after what many fans consider to be their greatest song, "Paranoid Android."
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:30 pm

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:That's not a very well-written question about Radiohead. Their most famous, best-selling, and most award-winning album O.K. Computer is named halfway through the question, immediately after what many fans consider to be their greatest song, "Paranoid Android."
Clue order for college, here, is different; I think you can expect high schoolers to know a more recent album (especially if there's a gimmick) better than an otherwise-better-known less recent album. I don't know about Creep, though; that's a tough song to place in how well known it is.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:49 pm

I disagree - if you know who Radiohead is, you will in all likelyhood know they made OK Computer no matter how old you are, and I don't think that In Rainbows necessarily has that status, even though it's more recent.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Wall of Ham » Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:50 pm

everyday847 wrote:
Caesar Rodney HS wrote:That's not a very well-written question about Radiohead. Their most famous, best-selling, and most award-winning album O.K. Computer is named halfway through the question, immediately after what many fans consider to be their greatest song, "Paranoid Android."
Clue order for college, here, is different; I think you can expect high schoolers to know a more recent album (especially if there's a gimmick) better than an otherwise-better-known less recent album. I don't know about Creep, though; that's a tough song to place in how well known it is.
Creep is in Rock Band, which is probably why it's so late.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by cdcarter » Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:03 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I disagree - if you know who Radiohead is, you will in all likelyhood know they made OK Computer no matter how old you are, and I don't think that In Rainbows necessarily has that status, even though it's more recent.
I mean, I disagree. I had never heard of OK Computer but I totally knew that Radiohead did a thing where people paid whatever for their rainbow album. I'm pretty sure a lot of people who don't follow Radiohead but do read the news and such heard more about In Rainbows than other one...
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by cornfused » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:55 am

cdcarter wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I disagree - if you know who Radiohead is, you will in all likelyhood know they made OK Computer no matter how old you are, and I don't think that In Rainbows necessarily has that status, even though it's more recent.
I mean, I disagree. I had never heard of OK Computer but I totally knew that Radiohead did a thing where people paid whatever for their rainbow album. I'm pretty sure a lot of people who don't follow Radiohead but do read the news and such heard more about In Rainbows than other one...
Same here.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by OntarioQuizzer » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:50 am

Wall of Ham wrote:
everyday847 wrote:
Caesar Rodney HS wrote:That's not a very well-written question about Radiohead. Their most famous, best-selling, and most award-winning album O.K. Computer is named halfway through the question, immediately after what many fans consider to be their greatest song, "Paranoid Android."
Clue order for college, here, is different; I think you can expect high schoolers to know a more recent album (especially if there's a gimmick) better than an otherwise-better-known less recent album. I don't know about Creep, though; that's a tough song to place in how well known it is.
Creep is in Rock Band, which is probably why it's so late.
If Creep is in Rock Band, what is Rock Band's video game rating?
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:28 am

If you're referring to the f-bomb, I'm pretty sure it's been edited out.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:32 am

Yeah they play the radio version that says "you're so very special."
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