2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

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2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:22 am

NAQT's Invitational Series questions from 2008-2009 are now clear for question-specific discussion.

To jog people's memory, I'll link to some of the non-specific discussions from the past winter:

Non-question-specific criticisms of IS-80A

Non-question-specific criticisms of IS-85
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by cdcarter » Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:24 am

IS 85, packet 7. wrote:8. Sometimes when two or more words are joined they form a third word unrelated to the other two. For instance,
“his” plus “Tory” combine to form “history.” For 10 points each—
A. What word is formed by joining a “title for a Spanish nobleman” to “a locking or unlocking device”?
answer: donkey

B. What word is formed by joining a synonym for “damage or spoil” to a word naming a “version of the card game
rummy for two players”?
answer: margin

C. What word is formed by joining “the line marking the division between two measures of music” to a word that
can refer to “the bottom of a river”?
answer: barbed
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:32 am

Since I have no notes on NAQT sets I played, the first issue that comes to mind is the Orwell tossup from IS-80whatever that has Shooting an Elephant in the leadin. Am I the only person who thinks that's not a good leadin?
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:38 am

Anti-Climacus wrote:Since I have no notes on NAQT sets I played, the first issue that comes to mind is the Orwell tossup from IS-80whatever that has Shooting an Elephant in the leadin. Am I the only person who thinks that's not a good leadin?
No.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:48 am

It wasn't: and indeed we replaced it in subsequent uses of IS #80A.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by JackGlerum » Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:06 am

the infamous:
IS-79 Round 1 Tossup 11 wrote:Though the full title of this work limits its scope to 1660 to 1783, its introduction refers to common histories of Scipio and Wellington that fail to mention the main factor leading to their victories. This work advocates building coaling stations at choke points and prompted (*) Theodore Roosevelt to dispatch the Great White Fleet. For ten points -- name this Alfred Mahan work on the effect of naval might upon world events.
answer: The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783
At Northwestern, I remember turning to Joe and quietly laughing when this question finished.

While I think it is an interesting work and cool tossup answer, an IS set is probably not the place for a tossup like this.

Also, difficulty aside, this is a good example of a question in which the 425 character limit (right?) doesn't do the question justice. This question has 3 sentences and 7 clues at the most, and that is being extremely generous. It could be expanded to be a much better tossup, in my opinion.

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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:55 am

Speaking of the character limit, I noticed a lot of fluff in several questions. Looking at the Greece tossup from one IS set:
IS-79, Packet 1 wrote:22. The Battle of Lepanto was fought off the coast of this country whose soil absorbed the blood spilt during the battles of Pharsalus and Philippi. The Battle of Actium was fought near its Ambracian Gulf, but it is better known as the site of the slaughter of the (*) Sacred Band at the Battle of Chaeronea. For 10 points—name this country wherein invading Persians came to grief at Plataea and Marathon.
It takes up 403 characters. However, without rearranging any clues or leaving anything out, I can give you the same tossup in 350 characters.
The Battle of Lepanto was fought off the coast of this nation which saw the battles of Pharsalus and Philippi. The Battle of Actium was fought near its Ambracian Gulf, and it is the site of the slaughter of the (*) Sacred Band at the Battle of Chaeronea. For 10 points—name this nation where invading Persians were defeated at Plataea and Marathon.
If you're going to have a character limit, at least fill it up with actual clues and not poetic nonsense.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:09 am

Also, one reason people don't like math calc is because of tossups like these:
IS-79, Round 2 wrote:24. Pencil and paper ready. Nate's fruit stand has 123 apples, 456 oranges, and 789 pears. The total number of fruits is just the sum of those numbers, an exercise in addition that requires carrying the 1 into both the tens place and the hundreds place. Alternatively, one could multiply 456 by three, since there are on average 456 of each type. (*) For 10 points—Nate has how many total fruits?
Answer: 1,368 pieces of fruit
IS-79, Round 3 wrote:6. Pencil and paper ready. Six investors make a $411,000 profit and decide to split it equally. One way to solve for each investor's share is to divide 411,000 by six; as it happens, a cleaner way is to divide by three, then divide the quotient by two. Each of the six investors receives (*) —for 10 points—how much profit?
Answer: $68,500
What makes it worse is that these tossups took place in consecutive rounds.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:13 am

JackGlerum wrote:Influence of Sea Power Upon History ... an IS set is probably not the place for a tossup like this.
No probably about it: I should have kicked this one up to SCT level, and there I would have had space for more clues as well.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:28 am

We talked about Influence of Sea Power Upon History in my AP US History class. While I probably wouldn't have powered it, I would have definitely gotten this TU on either Great White Fleet or Mahan. But I agree it's probably a tad bit too tough for an IS set, although a question on Mahan referencing the book would probably be more acceptable.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by master15625 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:46 am

Does anyone remember the tossup in IS-83 that Ike said had a bad leadin, and sent it to NAQT?
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Sir Thopas » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:11 am

soaringeagle22 wrote:We talked about Influence of Sea Power Upon History in my AP US History class. While I probably wouldn't have powered it, I would have definitely gotten this TU on either Great White Fleet or Mahan. But I agree it's probably a tad bit too tough for an IS set, although a question on Mahan referencing the book would probably be more acceptable.
A tossup on Mahan would have been equally absurdly hard, especially because he's not really famous for anything else, as far as I know.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:50 pm

Sir Thopas wrote:
soaringeagle22 wrote:We talked about Influence of Sea Power Upon History in my AP US History class. While I probably wouldn't have powered it, I would have definitely gotten this TU on either Great White Fleet or Mahan. But I agree it's probably a tad bit too tough for an IS set, although a question on Mahan referencing the book would probably be more acceptable.
A tossup on Mahan would have been equally absurdly hard, especially because he's not really famous for anything else, as far as I know.
I'll agree with this sentiment, although asking for "Mahan" gets a little easier because it's not coming up with the full, rambling title of a relatively obscure work. If the book were called "Mahan's Essay on Naval Power" it wouldn't have had the full shock value that hit most people. If I remember correctly when I read this question, a couple people in my room knew of Mahan and his work but didn't know the full title.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Unicolored Jay » Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:16 pm

master15625 wrote:Does anyone remember the tossup in IS-83 that Ike said had a bad leadin, and sent it to NAQT?
Which round was it from? I can look for it.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by theMoMA » Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:34 pm

Maybe I'm in the minority, but Mahan was a topic that came up in multiple school classes that I took, even a non-AP course. I think Mahan is someone important that is taught in high school who people know about, but for whatever reason, doesn't really come up in high school quizbowl. I'm fine with rewarding Mahan knowledge, but that same knowledge could be tested in a question on Mahan without requiring perfect knowledge of the difficult and long title. I disagree with Guy that he couldn't be a tossup because he's famous for just one thing, because you can just write all the clues on that work, essentially creating a tossup on the work without requiring the knowledge of the title; or if that's just too hard, a tossup on "navies," even, though that can get tricky.

This question is also written in a way that doesn't really reward consequential knowledge. If you have knowledge of the work's title, either you're buzzing off of trivial information, the subtitle, or you're lateralling or strongly considering lateralling it when it talks about famous naval dudes. If I recall correctly, a recent SCT featured a very similar question that I 15'd because it did the exact same thing.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:09 pm

theMoMA wrote:This question is also written in a way that doesn't really reward consequential knowledge. If you have knowledge of the work's title, either you're buzzing off of trivial information, the subtitle, or you're lateralling or strongly considering lateralling it when it talks about famous naval dudes. If I recall correctly, a recent SCT featured a very similar question that I 15'd because it did the exact same thing.
The more I think about this, the more I think we might all be better off putting Mahan and his book into bonuses rather than tossups.
2008 SCT wrote:This man's books included 1897's The Life of Nelson and an earlier biography of David Farragut. His best known work inspired an arms race between Britain and Germany that was chronicled in Robert Massie's (*) Dreadnought; it also inspired Theodore Roosevelt to send sixteen white-painted squadrons on a circumnavigation in 1907. For 10 points--name this author of The Influence of Sea Power Upon History.
which is as Andrew points out easily lateralable by "he's a 19th-century guy who wrote about some admirals." Any such tossup is likely to either have this flaw (how many works of naval history are tossupable at normal difficulty levels?) or leadin with non-naval trivia.

Mahan himself is a shade easier than his work (we asked for him as a tossup answer in IS #8, 9, and 27), but all of those tossups suffered from similar problems.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by OctagonJoe » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:44 pm

In IS 82A, I believe there is a tossup on Philo Farnsworth. While I'm sure he's an important dude and all, I really don't think an A set is the place for him to come up. Doing a quick packet search, the places he's come up most recently (and not always as a tossup or bonus answer) was VCU Open last year, Cardinal Classic in 2002, and ACF Nationals in 2001. If you don't buy into the whole defining the canon by what's already in the canon, I still don't think Farnsworth is a guy who needs to be introduced in a set meant for novices at the high school level. I think the worst part of this tossup was that it came with a Futurama giveaway, which, in my mind, only further shows that the writer did not expect good conversion off of actual clues about Philo Farnsworth and just wanted an excuse to write a science question with a cute pop culture giveaway. I believe A sets are the worst possible place for cross disciplinary giveaways. NAQT writers almost always uses trash or something "cute" for these giveaways, which further devalues the Stepping Stone Theory as A sets intended to improve novice teams end up teaching them little about subjects of academic importance and more about how witty writers can be when coming up with giveaways. So specifically, Philo Farnsworth seems to be a bad idea for an A set tossup unless you think most novice players can answer it by the end (especially by the end without the trash giveaway). Generally, I just don't see a place for cross disciplinary giveaways at this level since it almost always seems to take away from learning, which should be the most focused on part of this game. If the Stepping Stone Theory is to hold any water for NAQT to keep marketing A sets as novice events for colleges to play, I don't think the Farnsworth tossup and the cross disciplinary giveaway trend in general are helping any teams in trying to better themselves.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:50 pm

OctagonJoe wrote:In IS 82A, I believe there is a tossup on Philo Farnsworth.
IS #82A wrote:This man followed in the footsteps of the part-mechanical creation of John Logie Baird and the proof-of-concept device using cathode ray tubes of Vladimir Zworykin; he is now recognized as the father of electronic (*) television. For 10 points--identify this namesake of Futurama's professor.
Sometime soon I'll dig up some stats on how often cross-discipline giveaways appear in A-sets (since my previous two studies of that subject looked at SCT and a regular IS set).
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:53 pm

For the record, that same A-set had giveaways for "Lord Palmerston" that referenced the Simpsons and "Black Hawk" that referenced the NHL Blackhawks. The power mark placement in that Farnsworth tossup also suggests to me that it was written knowing it would basically be either "Do you know this or do you have to wait for the giveaway?"
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by master15625 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:24 pm

Bird Sonata wrote:
master15625 wrote:Does anyone remember the tossup in IS-83 that Ike said had a bad leadin, and sent it to NAQT?
Which round was it from? I can look for it.
I don't even know the question that he said had a bad leadin, I was wondering if anyone knew what question he was referring to.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by theMoMA » Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:25 pm

For what it's worth, A sets and NAQT's general knowledge category in general seem like good places to fit in invention history, which is something that a lot of intellectually curious people know when they come into quizbowl. I don't think Farnsworth is A set appropriate without a trash giveaway, but that doesn't mean asking about the history of television is a bad subject for GK; it's actually something that novice players are pretty likely to know.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:35 pm

Cheynem wrote:For the record, that same A-set had giveaways for "Lord Palmerston" that referenced the Simpsons
Man, that episode aired in February 1992. Anyone cognizant enough to remember a joke from TV then would not be playing high school quizbowl (A-sets or otherwise). Along with stuff like "Butthead" (from a show that went off the air in 1997) I'm going to have to repeat my constant, Cassandra-like call for NAQT trash writers to stop amusing themselves by writing about what they liked when they were kids and actually write on things that high schoolers like now. This might as well also extend to the "mystery person" who wrote five (5) questions on Detroit sports teams for the 2009 HSNCT. Trash is no different than any other category in terms of your obligation to write diverse questions that don't bias towards any part of the audience, not to mention the greater satisfaction you, the writer, will get out of writing on something that you don't already know everything about. I wish NAQT would get this message out to all of its trash writers.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:01 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:This might as well also extend to the "mystery person" who wrote five (5) questions on Detroit sports teams for the 2009 HSNCT. Trash is no different than any other category in terms of your obligation to write diverse questions that don't bias towards any part of the audience, not to mention the greater satisfaction you, the writer, will get out of writing on something that you don't already know everything about. I wish NAQT would get this message out to all of its trash writers.
I'll out the mystery person as five different writers over a period from August 2006 to April 2009. The blame goes to our set-editing process.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:01 pm

theMoMA wrote:Maybe I'm in the minority, but Mahan was a topic that came up in multiple school classes that I took, even a non-AP course. I think Mahan is someone important that is taught in high school who people know about, but for whatever reason, doesn't really come up in high school quizbowl. I'm fine with rewarding Mahan knowledge, but that same knowledge could be tested in a question on Mahan without requiring perfect knowledge of the difficult and long title. I disagree with Guy that he couldn't be a tossup because he's famous for just one thing, because you can just write all the clues on that work, essentially creating a tossup on the work without requiring the knowledge of the title; or if that's just too hard, a tossup on "navies," even, though that can get tricky.

This question is also written in a way that doesn't really reward consequential knowledge. If you have knowledge of the work's title, either you're buzzing off of trivial information, the subtitle, or you're lateralling or strongly considering lateralling it when it talks about famous naval dudes. If I recall correctly, a recent SCT featured a very similar question that I 15'd because it did the exact same thing.
You're at least in a two-person minority; while even I wouldn't dare write a tossup on that work for high school, I learned about it in seventh grade and didn't stop hearing about it for a while. It took a bit of a double-take for me to realize that the high school reaction was a chuckle of dismay at the difficulty, not at dismay over the fact that one of the least knowledge-rewarding tossups possible had been written on it.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:10 pm

I learned about Mahan in high school as well--it actually strikes me as something you learn more about in high school than college, as it fits perfectly in the high school way of learning (NAMES!) as opposed to the more thematically oriented college survey courses.

And 1992? Wow! I feel really old.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:30 pm

everyday847 wrote:
theMoMA wrote:Maybe I'm in the minority, but Mahan was a topic that came up in multiple school classes that I took, even a non-AP course. I think Mahan is someone important that is taught in high school who people know about, but for whatever reason, doesn't really come up in high school quizbowl. I'm fine with rewarding Mahan knowledge, but that same knowledge could be tested in a question on Mahan without requiring perfect knowledge of the difficult and long title. I disagree with Guy that he couldn't be a tossup because he's famous for just one thing, because you can just write all the clues on that work, essentially creating a tossup on the work without requiring the knowledge of the title; or if that's just too hard, a tossup on "navies," even, though that can get tricky.

This question is also written in a way that doesn't really reward consequential knowledge. If you have knowledge of the work's title, either you're buzzing off of trivial information, the subtitle, or you're lateralling or strongly considering lateralling it when it talks about famous naval dudes. If I recall correctly, a recent SCT featured a very similar question that I 15'd because it did the exact same thing.
You're at least in a two-person minority; while even I wouldn't dare write a tossup on that work for high school, I learned about it in seventh grade and didn't stop hearing about it for a while. It took a bit of a double-take for me to realize that the high school reaction was a chuckle of dismay at the difficulty, not at dismay over the fact that one of the least knowledge-rewarding tossups possible had been written on it.
Me three! In seventh grade, as well.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:23 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
everyday847 wrote:
theMoMA wrote:Maybe I'm in the minority, but Mahan was a topic that came up in multiple school classes that I took, even a non-AP course. I think Mahan is someone important that is taught in high school who people know about, but for whatever reason, doesn't really come up in high school quizbowl. I'm fine with rewarding Mahan knowledge, but that same knowledge could be tested in a question on Mahan without requiring perfect knowledge of the difficult and long title. I disagree with Guy that he couldn't be a tossup because he's famous for just one thing, because you can just write all the clues on that work, essentially creating a tossup on the work without requiring the knowledge of the title; or if that's just too hard, a tossup on "navies," even, though that can get tricky.

This question is also written in a way that doesn't really reward consequential knowledge. If you have knowledge of the work's title, either you're buzzing off of trivial information, the subtitle, or you're lateralling or strongly considering lateralling it when it talks about famous naval dudes. If I recall correctly, a recent SCT featured a very similar question that I 15'd because it did the exact same thing.
You're at least in a two-person minority; while even I wouldn't dare write a tossup on that work for high school, I learned about it in seventh grade and didn't stop hearing about it for a while. It took a bit of a double-take for me to realize that the high school reaction was a chuckle of dismay at the difficulty, not at dismay over the fact that one of the least knowledge-rewarding tossups possible had been written on it.
Me three! In seventh grade, as well.
I'll bite. Maybe it's because i suck... but i had literally never heard of the guy before. This coming from someone who took al the history courses i could in high school, majored in History Ed. in college, and generally considers himself "good" at history in quizbowl. But, yeah... didn't know it.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:32 pm

This doesn't actually excuse the question or imply that it's known at all; more like a joyfest of sorts, I guess, over our curricula.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by sageorator » Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:33 pm

I asked the Influence of Sea Power Upon History question at practice today and three people knew it , two before the power mark. It's rather poorly written question, but not terribly hard. I recall Mahan coming up in an old VHSL packet previously as well.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:49 pm

Sir Thopas wrote:I thought packet 5, bonus 12, was utterly inappropriate. It was entirely intentional, and rewarded teams for having a certain political or religious ideology (a stronger form, by the way, of NAQT's propensity for including specific Catholic rites and prayers, without analogous versions in any other language. I don't want to necessarily call NAQT discriminatory, but this is unfair for non-Catholics who won't have necessarily even heard of these, as opposed to others who work with them every day). Our moderator had only ever heard of one of the answers; everyone on our team, none of them. I submit that this was by far the hardest bonus in the entire set, and its apparent rationale for inclusion is repugnant to quizbowl as I know it. It was not about rewarding knowledge accumulated through the ways encouraged by quizbowl. Clearly I'm being opaque here, but for those who have the packets, my point should become rather clear.
Source
IS #80A wrote:For 10 points each--name these Christian groups:

A. The ex-gay ministry Love Won Out is a part of this group led by James Dobson; it is known for its radio programs and child-oriented message.

answer: _Focus on the Family_

B. In 1993 the Southern Baptist Convention started this group that stresses virginity pledges and waiting until marriage.

answer: _True Love Waits_

C. This men's group founded by former Colorado football coach Bill McCartney met in football stadiums and supported strong family leadership by husbands.

answer: _Promise Keepers_
Now, there are several problems one can identify with this bonus:

1. Only part A. is actually current events; C. is already history (because the subject was prominent in national politics in the late 1990s) and B., while hard to classify, is probably best off in "pop culture/other."

2. This is almost certainly too hard for an A-series packet, perhaps by about 10 ppb.

However: it does not indicate any intention on the part of NAQT's writers or editors to reward players for supporting the ideology espoused by these groups; it is quite possible for a player to thirty this question by reading coverage of these groups in, eg, the New York Times without subscribing to any of their beliefs.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:53 pm

Yeah, I think Guy's point got a little mired in silliness of presentation. What I see as the problem with this bonus is that you probably aren't going to be able to get 2 of the parts unless you either are very involved in fundamentalist religion (because Promise Keepers is no longer in the media, so we can't expect 10th graders to pull that, and I've never heard of true love waits) or are ultra involved in anti-religious research. Neither of these extremes fit the bill for the majority of your audience.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:39 pm

Promise Keepers was in the news this week thanks to John Ensign, though it hadn't been a big story for the previous ten years. It got a little coverage last year, though it is still fair to say that the bonus leaned too difficult.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:50 pm

Well, True Love Waits is mostly notable because A) It's rather creepy and B) Bill Meyers mentions it from time to time. Since creepiness does not make something important and I don't know how much of the target audience for A-sets watches Bill Meyers, I'd say that's not a very good bonus part.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:11 am

For the sake of this thread, I just read through one of your IHSA rounds from this past year and thought the questions generally were good. The last one, however, needed some work.
The man for whom this law is usually named was not the first to discover it; it was known to Arab physicists ibn Sahl and Alhazen in the 10th and 11th centuries. He was also not the man who proved it; René Descartes [day-kart] did that in 1637. It generally holds true only for isotropic [“eye”-soh-TROHpik] media, and gives the angle at which total internal reflection occurs. For 10 points—name this law that governs refraction.
By focusing too much on the history of Snell's Law and too little on the physics of it, the question turns into a buzzer race near the end. You could argue that the first sentence serves some purpose by clarifying that Refraction is not correct, but I would be surprised if somebody got this from the first or second sentence, and even the first half of the third sentence is doubtful, leaving two easy clues for the end. A good physics student might know that Snell's Law gives the same result as finding the shortest time to travel between two points and should know that its indices are calculated using a comparison to the speed of light in a vacuum, and I think those could be written as useful clues that would fall in between isotropic and total internal reflection.

There was also a Dumas question that started out "His son of the same name...", which is not a difficult enough lead-in if you have two experienced teams playing.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Ike » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:24 pm

Does anyone remember the tossup in IS-83 that Ike said had a bad leadin, and sent it to NAQT?
It was a tossup on Torricelli that began by mentioning his work De Motu.

Berkeley wrote a work called De Motu.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Unicolored Jay » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:47 pm

Ike wrote:
Does anyone remember the tossup in IS-83 that Ike said had a bad leadin, and sent it to NAQT?
It was a tossup on Torricelli that began by mentioning his work De Motu.

Berkeley wrote a work called De Motu.
The original tossup is as follows:
p7tu19 wrote: His work De Motu brought him to the attention of Galileo, whom he served as assistant for three months. His law describing the speed of fluid coming from a hole in the(*) bottom of a tank resulted from work begun when Galileo suggested he invert a tube of mercury in a bowl, creating at the top of the tube the first vacuum. For 10 points-identify this Italian inventer of the barometer and namesake of a unit of pressure.
Answer: Evangelista Torricelli
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:59 pm

Apparently we corrected this to:
IS #83 wrote:This man's work on gravity, ~De Motu Gravium~, brought him to the attention of Galileo, whom he served as assistant for three months. His law describing the speed of fluid coming from a hole in a (*) tank resulted from work begun when Galileo suggested he invert a tube of mercury in a bowl, thereby creating the first vacuum. For 10 points--identify this Italian inventor of the barometer and namesake of a unit of pressure.
I'm not sure that necessarily helps, since at least according to Wikipedia Berkeley's essay also deals with gravity.
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Re: HSAPQ: Fall Tournaments Sets Available

Post by ihavenoidea » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:57 am

Jeff, maybe this is ignorance speaking but is it historically significant/helpful to players to know that Visigoths converted to Catholicism? I don't see how this is a useful clue.
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Re: HSAPQ: Fall Tournaments Sets Available

Post by ClemsonQB » Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:54 am

ihavenoidea wrote:this is ignorance speaking
Its pretty important that some of the Germanic tribes (Goths, Vandals, Visigoths) converted to Arian Christianity, and not Catholicism right off because this created a good bit of conflict.
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Re: HSAPQ: Fall Tournaments Sets Available

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:16 am

Yeah but how many high schoolers playing an A set are going to know that?
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Re: HSAPQ: Fall Tournaments Sets Available

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:11 pm

I'll take the Visigothic stuff over to the NAQT thread.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:25 pm

all the Visigothic stuff that the mods moved over here while I was posting
Few; but that's why it's a leadin followed by four easier clues. Even if the answer is "none," I don't think there's a cliff in this question; and something similarly obscure (or at least named) needs to be at the beginning of the tossup to rule out lateral buzzes with "Vandals" and "Moors" on the theory "buzz in now and name a group that ruled medieval Spain for a while."

I think several of the middle clues in the HSAPQ tossup are (at least) as obscure as the Reccared conversion clue (Septimania, Ataulf, Euric's law code).
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:17 pm

Actually, I disagree, and think it is a pretty big cliff. You are basically going from something that should be a leadin at a regular or national tournament, and then dropping within 2 lines to the giveaway. This is the big problem with a lot of A-set questions, the fact that they are so short means you either need to decide to write them as if they were regular tossups with the first few lines excised and thus make them properly pyramidal but only appropriate for novices, or write them by piecing together a quite hard clue for a line that you can't expect anyone in an A-set's average field to get with a giveaway and some randomly chosen, not consistently difficult middle clue to string it together. The first method basically rules out any really talented teams from playing A-sets but is written much more appropriately, while the second method means that you can sort of justify advertising these sets to normal teams but you produce tossups that are missing all kinds of important differentiation. Randomly mixing the two writing styles like A-sets currently are is a very bad idea, and I would strongly suggest abandoning the reasoning you have given for defending those leadins that are so much wildly harder than many others in A-sets on the grounds that they make illogically written, highly inconsistent sets that end up appealing fully to neither the new teams that the shorter questions are geared towards nor the talented teams that the hard clues are for.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:20 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Randomly mixing the two writing styles like A-sets currently are is a very bad idea, and I would strongly suggest abandoning the reasoning you have given for defending those leadins that are so much wildly harder than many others in A-sets on the grounds that they make illogically written, highly inconsistent sets that end up appealing fully to neither the new teams that the shorter questions are geared towards nor the talented teams that the hard clues are for.
I thought about trying to find some data to figure how many A-series leadins are too hard (comparative power rates between A-series and regular IS?). But then I realized that:

1. Charlie's argument above is certainly true for *some* number of A-series leadins.

and

2. The exact prevalence doesn't really matter, because "prevalent enough to frustrate some number of novice teams" is still a problem.

I think the right policy solution for NAQT is to have our writers and editors crack down on overly difficult material in next year's A-series leadins.

In the interest of helping that process along, I'm going to start a new thread about pyramidality and novice leadins in which I rewrite some of the A-series history tossups I wrote last winter.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:34 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:I thought about trying to find some data
People might be interested in seeing the data anyway.

A-series: 75.3% of tossups answered. 16.8% of correct buzzes for power.

Regular IS: 70.8% of tossups answered. 13.9% of correct buzzes for power.

(Doesn't really answer Charlie's concern, because it wouldn't change power rates if, say, 25% of our A-series leadins were "crazy difficult" instead of "normal difficult.")
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Unicolored Jay » Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:08 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote: I think the right policy solution for NAQT is to have our writers and editors crack down on overly difficult material in next year's A-series leadins.
I'd like to point out that some tossups in A sets were too difficult for that level, such as the Strindberg tossup in IS 82A. How many novice teams are going to get that? I think during the editing process, questions with answers too difficult/obscure should be left out and replaced with something easier.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by master15625 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:28 am

Can you post the Strindberg tossup please?

Also, I believe that there were some questions/answers written that I felt needed to be edited better.

For instance in #79 Packet 2 Question 1.

The answer given was just 82.5 degrees, I said 165/2 degrees, and the moderator negged me for that and it took some thorough protesting to get my answer accepted. This goes back to equivalent answers should be accepted and there was no mention of decimal answer required, so next time please make sure that it says accept equivalents or what not.

#79 Packet 4 Question 1.
In a 1933 essay Arnold Schoenberg described this composer as "the progressive." In 1889 this composer was recorded playiog one of this Hungarian Dances. His other works include a (*) "Lullaby," the Academic Festival Overture, and four symphonies, the first of which is sometimes called "Beethoven's Tenth." For 10 points-name this composer who admired Clara Schumann, and wrote A German Requiem.

I was just wondering if "Lullaby" is given a little too early, because I thought that is one of his most well-known works and I felt that it was placed in the wrong location? Please correct me if "Lullaby" is not really one of Brahms well-known works.

I felt that this one has clue misplacement, but if I am wrong, please correct me.

Those are the two that I see having some problem. If I see more, I will post them.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Cheynem » Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:49 am

Yes, it is really famous, but so is the Academic Festival Overture. To me, this tossup basically becomes a series of giveaways after the power mark.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Brian Ulrich » Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:05 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:
IS #80A wrote:For 10 points each--name these Christian groups:

A. The ex-gay ministry Love Won Out is a part of this group led by James Dobson; it is known for its radio programs and child-oriented message.

answer: _Focus on the Family_

B. In 1993 the Southern Baptist Convention started this group that stresses virginity pledges and waiting until marriage.

answer: _True Love Waits_

C. This men's group founded by former Colorado football coach Bill McCartney met in football stadiums and supported strong family leadership by husbands.

answer: _Promise Keepers_
Now, there are several problems one can identify with this bonus:

1. Only part A. is actually current events; C. is already history (because the subject was prominent in national politics in the late 1990s) and B., while hard to classify, is probably best off in "pop culture/other."

2. This is almost certainly too hard for an A-series packet, perhaps by about 10 ppb.

However: it does not indicate any intention on the part of NAQT's writers or editors to reward players for supporting the ideology espoused by these groups; it is quite possible for a player to thirty this question by reading coverage of these groups in, eg, the New York Times without subscribing to any of their beliefs.
On B, NAQT considers currently active social movements as current events as long as they don't clearly fit better somewhere else. I hate to draw this comparison, so please don't read more into it than I intend with the narrow analogy, but al-Qaeda would also be CE on those grounds. That was really the swing part in terms of difficulty - I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that Focus on the Family would be widely known after the presidential campaign and because of its radio spot, and that PK would be hard for current high schoolers and frankly something I would have liked to replace if we had more "social current events" being written. The discussion over B's difficulty turned mainly on us trying to guess what current hs'ers might know. This guess may have been wrong.
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Re: 2008-2009 NAQT IS sets: question-specific discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:18 pm

master15625 wrote:Can you post the Strindberg tossup please?
IS #82A, round 7 wrote:He wrote about a woman named Alice and her husband Edgar, who live in a fortress on an island, in 1901's ~The Dance of Death~. This author of ~The Ghost Sonata~ wrote about a woman who kills herself in (*) ~Miss Julie~. For 10 points--name this pessimistic Swedish playwright.
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