HSAPQ Set 8

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HSAPQ Set 8

Post by DumbJaques »

This is reposted from my wrap-up post in the Maryland Fall Tournament thread, and inspired by comments people had made about powers being "easy" and subsequent reactions, which I found to be a misdirection both of critique and of response:
I wrote: In terms of the questions, while I do think that players should take some care not to use such imprecise language (ie "powers were too easy," which communicates something that I do not believe is reflective of how people were discussing the questions at the site today), it's simply objectively true that this tournament was filled with massive difficulty cliffs that led to numerous incredulous buzzes with little chance to separate knowledge levels among the playoff teams. However, focusing on this one issue is also not reflective of the real problem with the set.

Essentially, this set was schizophrenic, and not always in that somewhat quirky, can-I-put-some-equations-on-your-windows John Nash kind of way. There were tossups, most often with a quite accessible answer line or giveaway, that had 2/3 to 3/4 of material that nobody at this event - or in high school anywhere - had more than a fool's prayer of knowing. There were basic blunders in pyramidality and clue ordering, glaring transparency issues with some poorly-conceived or poorly-executed tossups (one such tossup was powered in like 60% of rooms on the same leadin clue), and no opportunities to get any real information on an answer before being pelted with a stock clue that often both top teams knew cold. There were tossups that were such unbelievably terrible ideas that I wonder how an editor could have let them into the set - almost all of these questions could have been transformed into fine, normal tossups with minimal tweaking, and all that I observed caused multiple hoses (some game-deciding). There were repeats all over the place, and of substantive information in a number of places. There were packets with two trash tossups, which I'm under the impression is not supposed to happen. This set's stab at bonus consistency was an absolute mockery. Some bonuses would have been 20ed by a well-educated elementary school player (and this is really, I swear, not something I'm exaggerating - the answers really did beat you over the head that much). I'm extraordinarily for higher conversion, but if you've got to say the main word of the answer in the prompt to hit your intended conversion rate, that means it's time to pick an easier answer, not reward teams for repeating the word I just said (or become confused and end up not answering correctly a question they would have converted). And some of these bonuses were just abusive - there was a third part in a playoff game between two of the top teams (perhaps, the two top teams) about a canonical figure whose works were well-known to multiple players, not to mention myself and Ian Eppler who were staffing the room. None of us had ever heard of anything remotely bordering on the answer. It was just absurd. More problematic than that was reading a round and watching a team that knew basically nothing about a category (and attested so during their bonus) limp to a 20 on handout prompts, while their opponents then receive a bonus on something they can handle just fine, but are ambushed by utterly difficult material for this kind of tournamen, and barely scrape out 10. Granted there were a solid amount of bonuses (perhaps around 50-60%) that hit a pretty decent median, which (lest we forget in making realistic critiques) is better than alternatives usually ever manage.

To be clear, the fact that a number of this set's writers really do get it and produced undeniably quality work is irrefutable; that this work read to everybody there like a frankentournament of wildly diverging concepts of the high school cannon, the specific tournament in question, and HSAPQ's presumed philosophy in general - that is similarly evident. I would really like to know if there were specifics about this tournament that led to such a result. Was there a central editor for this tournament (and if so, who was it)? I heard "not really," and looking at the set I can't imagine there really could have been. Is this a normal HSAPQ philosophy, or an emergency situation thing? How much of these problems (and I suppose that includes the typos, though personally I think they are eternally over-complained of) are the result of the mad dash to finish the tournament this week, and what steps is HSAPQ taking to remedy this problem? I'm asking this not because I want to discourage people from using HSAPQ; in fact, quite the opposite - I heard a number of coaches express concerns about confirmed or pondered tournaments they might be running using HSAPQ questions, given what the reaction to this set was. Even putting aside my more substantive critique, coaches are bothered by things like endless typos that really do affect readability, lots of repeats, and not getting the questions until the middle of the night, 30 hours before the tournament - they always will be, and should be. I don't want to have unresolved qualms, either about this set or about future HSAPQ tournaments. One of the organization's greatest strengths seems to be its willingness - and desire - to engage with its customers in meaningful discussion. I'd like to see that happen here, because the set wasn't what it could have or should have been, and I firmly believe is shortcomings will be improved (and really, even if they weren't, we're still talking about far and away the best option there is.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

I mean, Chris (and everyone), i think it's very evident what the answers/excuses to all of your questions/comments are: THIS SET WAS FINISHED LIKE THE DAY BEFORE OR DAY OF THIS TOURNAMENT.

When you have college/post-grad quizbowl players making a set, you are bound to get quality questions with great clues and a clear knowledge of what is askable on a set... IF AND ONLY IF the set has been carefully constructed and completed and edited over the course or a large amount of time. Yesterday's Set 8 was clearly not.

I still stand by my statement of thinking these were good questions, but a bulk of that feeling has to do with what you and i already talked about in person yesterday afternoon: the answer selection of the tossups was extremely accessible, and i was very happy to see the reactions of the teams to the questions. I don't care how many powers Matt, Aidan, or Raynell get... my "feelings" about tournaments are based largely on my perceptions of the middle to lower teams. This is why i'm happy to read during consolation rounds to non-playoff teams.

To put it another way, i know that there were a few shorthanded teams yesterday on the lower end. Howard and a few others come to mind. And while i know those Howard kids are going to improve very quickly with the great quizbowl exposure they're going to get under Mr. Gilbert, i paid great attention to their games yesterday while moderating and scorekeeping because i wanted to see what their competitors would do. For instance, i read matches between Howard and both Woodrow Wilson HS and Eleanor Roosevelt HS. I would not group ER or Wilson into anywhere close to the "elite" teams in the playoffs here today, but it's also pretty apparent that they were not "bad" or even "mediocre" teams whatsoever, regardless of what their preliminary round records may have showed.

Anyway, the point i'm getting at is i saw both Wilson and ER put up 300+ points in a game. Maybe we had a half dozen players who can do that on their own in their sleep yesterday, but this to me is impressive. When i read, i'm always trying to encourage teams and reinforce the positive while still having fun and going through packets at a fast pace. I think i've got it down pretty well. And when you see teams that most people wouldn't even rank in the top 10-15 of any tournament they ever go to scoring 300+ points in a game (and having 250-225ish games against one another), THIS tells me we have a quality set on at least some level... to me, actually a big level.

So, once again, we have the exact same argument that we've had i don't know how many times on this board: packet editors/writers, would you PLEASE get sets done in a timely manner so these points of criticism aren't brought up again every single time? HSAPQ is a company that, yes, is around to spread "good quizbowl" and expose teams to quality tournaments, but they're also here to make at least some money. I think HSAPQ really needs to think about what the word "professionalism" means in terms of getting these sets finished early, edited heavily (like NAQT, or, close), and bonus answers rechecked to affirm their accessibility to quizbowl teams in high schools.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Fucitol »

Also, there were numerous repeat answers with a few repeat clues. There were some answers that should have had partial name prompts that didn't and some that shouldn't have that did.

I don't know if this set is cleared yet, but then I will be more specific.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

Despite being a person who got several powers on this set yesterday, I entirely agree with Chris and Mr. Chrz - it's of paramount importance to have a manageable average difficulty of exactly the type that produces the 250-225ish games that Mr. Chrz cites between good non-playoff teams, and this set was at about the right difficulty for those teams to compete well and occasionally get a power. There's no reason to repeat what they said or what I've said about the set's other flaws, but I'll let it suffice to say that I've e-mailed a nearly-complete list of specific issues to Ted Gioia, HSAPQ's Communications Office, to request corrections before the set is hopefully used in the future.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Huang »

Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS wrote:I think HSAPQ really needs to think about what the word "professionalism" means in terms of getting these sets finished early, edited heavily (like NAQT, or, close)
From what I know, both HSAPQ and NAQT write/edit packets behind schedule a majority of the time. Unfortunately, this is how the real world works. A professional writer will sometimes choose to publish a book at a later date than previously announced because he or she simply ran out of time to finish a high quality book for his or her readers to read. Sure, it would be great if every single professional out there finished everything on time. But if this is unrealistic for professionals in big industries, can players/coaches really expect quizbowl writers to live up to that ideal? I guess a solution would be to hire more writers but, as mentioned elsewhere, college players aren't exactly thrilled to be writing the 38946th tossup on <insert common tossup topic>.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

Huang wrote:
Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS wrote:I think HSAPQ really needs to think about what the word "professionalism" means in terms of getting these sets finished early, edited heavily (like NAQT, or, close)
From what I know, both HSAPQ and NAQT write/edit packets behind schedule a majority of the time. Unfortunately, this is how the real world works. A professional writer will sometimes choose to publish a book at a later date than previously announced because he or she simply ran out of time to finish a high quality book for his or her readers to read. Sure, it would be great if every single professional out there finished everything on time. But if this is unrealistic for professionals in big industries, can players/coaches really expect quizbowl writers to live up to that ideal? I guess a solution would be to hire more writers but, as mentioned elsewhere, college players aren't exactly thrilled to be writing the 38946th tossup on <insert common tossup topic>.
This makes no sense. If HSAPQ, in this case, committed to writing a quality set for these 3 tournaments, and instead delivered the poorly edited, late set that was actually written, this is unprofessional. HSAPQ should make a company policy on when they deliver questions to the tournament host; if that deadline is the night before, that's their decision, but the hosts should be informed of that. Your analogy is faulty in many ways, and you use a moral equivalence statement that's outright wrong. No matter what professional writers do, we should be able to reasonably expect that HSAPQ deliver a quality question set that has been thoroughly edited by whatever time they tell the host they will provide it.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Huang »

AlphaQuizBowler wrote: If HSAPQ, in this case, committed to writing a quality set for these 3 tournaments, and instead delivered the poorly edited, late set that was actually written, this is unprofessional.
HSAPQ has already been in existence for a year. They had problems with deadlines for writing and editing last year. It shouldn't be surprising they would have problems again this year. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that this should continue. And I'm sure HSAPQ will try harder to be more punctual with their future sets. My initial post simply took issue with Mr. C stating that NAQT, unlike HSAPQ, got sets done on time.
AlphaQuizBowler wrote: Your analogy is faulty in many ways, and you use a moral equivalence statement that's outright wrong. No matter what professional writers do, we should be able to reasonably expect that HSAPQ deliver a quality question set that has been thoroughly edited by whatever time they tell the host they will provide it.
And we should reasonably expect everyone in America to have health care, to be employed, and to have a home. From what I've seen, any player/coach will soon find those expectations crushed. As long as quizbowl exists, there will still be tournaments written/edited the morning of a tournament.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Matt Weiner »

I'm going to break my usual silence on HSAPQ matters to note, on behalf of the HSAPQ editorial board, that we in no way consider the delivery of late or ill-proofread sets to be acceptable. The fact that we or any other group have been guilty of it in the past doesn't make it any less of a problem. We have been vigorously implementing internal reforms over the past week to prevent this from happening again, and are discussing further measures. Our major push over the summer in light of feedback from last year was to re-educate all of our writers on proper high school difficulty, especially in regards to the hard parts of bonuses and the first half of tossups. I am proud to offer my opinion that the sets we've published so far this year show great improvement in those areas. Clearly, the other half of the equation, which is the mechanics and timeliness of the sets, still needs a lot of work.

I am inviting all interested parties to attend an open online forum on the future of HSAPQ on Monday, October 5 at 8 PM eastern. I will provide technical details shortly.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Thanks Matt. Yes, question quality and answer selection was improved (it was already good, and it got better).
Huang wrote:
AlphaQuizBowler wrote: If HSAPQ, in this case, committed to writing a quality set for these 3 tournaments, and instead delivered the poorly edited, late set that was actually written, this is unprofessional.
HSAPQ has already been in existence for a year. They had problems with deadlines for writing and editing last year. It shouldn't be surprising they would have problems again this year. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that this should continue. And I'm sure HSAPQ will try harder to be more punctual with their future sets. My initial post simply took issue with Mr. C stating that NAQT, unlike HSAPQ, got sets done on time.
HSAPQ had an entire 5 extra weeks to get this set done on time. The first NAQT tournament was held in Alabama on August 22nd... the first HSAPQ tournament was held in more than one location, but all yesterday, September 26th. The comparison of you saying that NAQT had issues doesn't work when they had 5 weeks less time to get it right, and yet they still had almost no spelling, typing, or grammar errors in their questions... and i would say that 10-25% of the tossups i read yesterday from HSAPQ had at least one of those errors, yet they had 5 more weeks to get it right.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Huang »

Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS wrote: HSAPQ had an entire 5 extra weeks to get this set done on time. The first NAQT tournament was held in Alabama on August 22nd... the first HSAPQ tournament was held in more than one location, but all yesterday, September 26th. The comparison of you saying that NAQT had issues doesn't work when they had 5 weeks less time to get it right, and yet they still had almost no spelling, typing, or grammar errors in their questions... and i would say that 10-25% of the tossups i read yesterday from HSAPQ had at least one of those errors, yet they had 5 more weeks to get it right.
Again, I was addressing how HSAPQ and NAQT generally operated, not specifically how HSAPQ Set #8 or NAQT IS-86 were produced. Both companies have had instances of later than expected shipment dates.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Matt Weiner »

I'll reiterate that if anyone sees errors of any kind (difficulty, repeats, faulty clues, or grammar/spelling), you can help HSAPQ fix them for future uses of the set, as well as identify potential improvements to our general process, by notifying Ted Gioia at [email protected].
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Important Bird Area »

Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS wrote:HSAPQ had an entire 5 extra weeks to get this set done on time. The first NAQT tournament was held in Alabama on August 22nd... the first HSAPQ tournament was held in more than one location, but all yesterday, September 26th.
In addition to Sandy's point, I'll add that this kind of schedule math is comparing apples to oranges. (Among much else: it doesn't account for the non-trivial part of IS #86 written prior to the existence of HSAPQ.)
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

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Sandy wrote:From what I know, both HSAPQ and NAQT write/edit packets behind schedule a majority of the time.
I don't think that's true. Our HSAPQ event last year was delivered completely on time by my recollection, and I've neither personally experienced nor been told about NAQT IS sets coming in the day before a tournament. The only issue HSAPQ had with this last year, that I'm aware of, was directly related to the almost surreal actions of one individual.
Sandy wrote:A bunch of other stuff
Sandy, I'm not sure what in the world you're trying to do here, but your argument sure isn't very sensible. You're essentially saying that because some professionals in some fields do not always meet deadlines, nobody in quizbowl should ever be reasonably expected to do the same. Really?

For a minute, let's set aside issues like amusingly false analogies (for every one really successful writer in a position of relative invulnerability who can afford to stretch deadlines out on a whim, there are of course thousands upon thousands of people for whom such action would result in a swift firing) and basic incongruity with the obvious goals and character of the people who run HSAPQ. I very literally cannot understand the point you're trying to make. We both can and should expect quizbowl writers to live up to an "ideal" of being paid to provide a good or service, then providing it. That, not endless patience for not doing your job because Stephen King's new novel is being pushed back until December, is the way the world really works (and, the way it should work, for obvious reasons of functional society). If something is late, or is substandard because it was rushed through at the last minute, then it's a breach of the letter and spirit of the basic business agreement.

Even if you remain unconvinced of all of this, it's my perception that you care about good quizbowl, and care about it being available to everyone. Your viewpoint is not particularly compatible with the logic of this goal. The fact is, people are going to decide not to host tournaments that might not arrive on time, or at all, or in the correct form. HSAPQ losing viability would be a major problem, and even as I noted all the problems I noted above I lobbied vigorously for multiple coaches to use HSAPQ for their events because I believe in what they stand for, and I believe they can improve on the problems with this set. Saying that it's permissible for the people who are providing high-end quizbowl questions for use at tournaments to just slack off about these standards of professionalism is in fact arguing for the tangible replacement of many such events with questions from Chip Beall, Questions Galore, etc., because they do meet standards like delivering polished (editorially speaking) sets on time. Yeah, those are the only standards they really meet, but those things are justifiably important to people, and often more important than the question quality. For all the supposed "real-world" examples you're using to make your argument, I submit that you're completely ignoring the reality of this situation.

And this is somewhat irrelevant, but
Sandy wrote:And we should reasonably expect everyone in America to have health care, to be employed, and to have a home.
Actually, we shouldn't reasonably expect those things at all! There are numerous obstacles to everyone having health care even if you happen to believe everyone is automatically entitled (and while I do, lots of people don't agree to varying degrees, and your point is about communal expectations). Any economist will tell you that the complete elimination of unemployment - let alone in our open society and mixed economy - is neither possible nor particularly desirable. Hobos are similarly an inherent and flavorful part of living in a human society, and if someone is happiest spending 14 hours a day counting thimbles to prepare for the alien invasion*, I don't expect that person to play the real estate market particularly well.

Sandy wrote: As long as quizbowl exists, there will still be tournaments written/edited the morning of a tournament.
You just compared completing a tournament more than 24 hours before it takes place to (among other things) solving the present economic crisis. If we're being honest I can't say that I've personally taken on the latter, but I'll be heading down to DC tomorrow to give it a whirl - will let you know how it compares to that first thing.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Huang »

DumbJaques wrote: I don't think that's true. Our HSAPQ event last year was delivered completely on time by my recollection, and I've neither personally experienced nor been told about NAQT IS sets coming in the day before a tournament. The only issue HSAPQ had with this last year, that I'm aware of, was directly related to the almost surreal actions of one individual.
Well I'm not familiar with the inner workings of HSAPQ, but I am familiar with those of NAQT. I maybe slightly exaggerating how often the two companies are behind schedule but there have been enough cases (HSAPQ: Brookwood last year(?), RAQIT, and now Set #8; NAQT: TJ last year) for their lack of punctuality to be a noticeable problem.
DumbJaques wrote: I very literally cannot understand the point you're trying to make. We both can and should expect quizbowl writers to live up to an "ideal" of being paid to provide a good or service, then providing it. That, not endless patience for not doing your job because Stephen King's new novel is being pushed back until December, is the way the world really works (and, the way it should work, for obvious reasons of functional society). If something is late, or is substandard because it was rushed through at the last minute, then it's a breach of the letter and spirit of the basic business agreement.
Sure, the real world should work in that professionals must meet deadlines. Sure, it's a breach of the letter and spirit of basic business agreements to not be punctual. But it sure does happen a lot in many industries to not matter as much. Yes, we should expect packets to be at sites in a punctual fashion but it's not something I'll be expecting in the near future. Well, unless these past few years have been an anomaly.
DumbJacques wrote: Saying that it's permissible for the people who are providing high-end quizbowl questions for use at tournaments to just slack off about these standards of professionalism is in fact arguing for the tangible replacement of many such events with questions from Chip Beall, Questions Galore, etc., because they do meet standards like delivering polished (editorially speaking) sets on time.
Again, I'm not advocating this should be how it is. It's not permissible for this happen but it shouldn't be shocking. If I've been reading correctly, the main problem, according to Mr. C, with these sets was that there were multiple typos? As a player, I don't really care about typos. It doesn't really faze me when readers have to stop and figure out a word.
DumbJacques wrote: Any economist will tell you that the complete elimination of unemployment - let alone in our open society and mixed economy - is neither possible nor particularly desirable.
Oh well, that sentence was clearly a joke. Although, I thought the Army was looking for people to hire?
DumbJacques wrote: You just compared completing a tournament more than 24 hours before it takes place to (among other things) solving the present economic crisis.
I'm guessing this comment stems from my "joke?" Anyways, completing a tournament more than 24 hours before it takes place certainly happens a lot. But the number of times tournaments have been completed the day of is enough for me to believe this will always be the case as long as people are doing a million things in life. Don't get me wrong, habitual lateness needs to stop and packets should get done more than 24 hours before a tournament.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

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Huang wrote:Sure, the real world should work in that professionals must meet deadlines. Sure, it's a breach of the letter and spirit of basic business agreements to not be punctual. But it sure does happen a lot in many industries to not matter as much.
I've studied a number of individual companies as well as industries, and this is wrong. Good day.
Huang wrote:Again, I'm not advocating this should be how it is. It's not permissible for this happen but it shouldn't be shocking. If I've been reading correctly, the main problem, according to Mr. C, with these sets was that there were multiple typos? As a player, I don't really care about typos. It doesn't really faze me when readers have to stop and figure out a word.
As a reader, typos slow me down and make rounds I read that much longer. Longer rounds slow down tournaments.

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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Huang »

dtaylor4 wrote: I've studied a number of individual companies as well as industries, and this is wrong. Good day.
Right..
dtaylor4 wrote: As a reader, typos slow me down and make rounds I read that much longer. Longer rounds slow down tournaments.
See, I think that's a relatively lesser issue than let's say question quality. From when I've read at tournaments, typos have maybe caused at most a 1 or 2 second delay in the game for me as a moderator.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Sandy-as-strawman is fun and all, but I think it's just plain safe to conclude that "organizations sometimes screw up" is no argument to suggest "we should tolerate a specific organization screwing up."
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by dtaylor4 »

Norman the Lunatic wrote:Sandy-as-strawman is fun and all, but I think it's just plain safe to conclude that "organizations sometimes screw up" is no argument to suggest "we should tolerate a specific organization screwing up."
The problem is, we clearly are. Even if a TD can anticipate that a set will come late and riddled with errors/typos, he/she has little room to maneuver when it comes to using an alternate question source.

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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by AKKOLADE »

Being late sucks, stop being late, argument won.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by DumbJaques »

Even putting basic moral imperatives aside (which, lamentably, it seems like you're doing), there's a fundamental difference between your organization finishing a set you're writing for your tournament at the last minute, and a company that exists for the purpose of creating polished, professional, and amazingly-written quizbowl sets to be hosted by multiple parties around the country doing the same. The professional expectations are not the same, just as the situation with lots of college tournaments being finished late by people who know for a fact that it will be logistically manageable for them to do so is not comparable to high school events, which contrary to your assertions are not in fact incessantly finished the night before the tournament - say what you will about NAQT's 100+ tournament sets (I sure do), but "habitually late" is not one of their characteristics, nor to my knowledge is "late more than that one time in X years."

I mean really dude, you're saying that we shouldn't expect quizbowl packets to come in on time, because in the past they haven't always and places on the internet reference that something somewhere had its "date pushed back?" I get the point you're trying to make (well, kind of, the real world analogies stuff is kind of getting people a little hung up) - you're saying that nobody should be dropping their monocle because a set was delivered late. Well, we're not. We're saying there's a tangible problem here. HSAPQ is agreeing and promising to seriously address it as an organization. For the record, the typos in the set where not minor but more of the "this sentence no longer makes sense" variety, and if we were just dogpiling on a great tournament for OMG SO MANY TYPOS IT SHOULD BE QUETZACOATL NOT QUESTZACOATL, well, I'd agree with you (and I've made that argument before), but we're actually pointing out real problems with a great tournament that everyone would benefit from being aware of and avoiding in the future.

EDIT:
This argument carries authority because it's in blue text!
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Huang »

DumbJaques wrote:Even putting basic moral imperatives aside (which, lamentably, it seems like you're doing), there's a fundamental difference between your organization finishing a set you're writing for your tournament at the last minute, and a company that exists for the purpose of creating polished, professional, and amazingly-written quizbowl sets to be hosted by multiple parties around the country doing the same. The professional expectations are not the same, just as the situation with lots of college tournaments being finished late by people who know for a fact that it will be logistically manageable for them to do so is not comparable to high school events, which contrary to your assertions are not in fact incessantly finished the night before the tournament - say what you will about NAQT's 100+ tournament sets (I sure do), but "habitually late" is not one of their characteristics, nor to my knowledge is "late more than that one time in X years."
I have now realized that I've been conflating all non-HSAPQ and non-NAQT sets together with HSAPQ and NAQT sets. Possibly because many writers of those sets also wrote for HSAPQ and NAQT. So these late shipment issues aren't as habitual as I had initially exaggerated.
DumbJacques wrote: I get the point you're trying to make (well, kind of, the real world analogies stuff is kind of getting people a little hung up) - you're saying that nobody should be dropping their monocle because a set was delivered late. Well, we're not. We're saying there's a tangible problem here. HSAPQ is agreeing and promising to seriously address it as an organization.
Players/coaches certainly have a right to complain about typos caused by late shipment. I'm merely pointing out that these issues have been known for a long time and still haven't been fixed. As evidenced by Matt's post, HSAPQ is responding accordingly to their customers by implementing new internal procedures to prevent these problems from ever happening again. If HSAPQ delivers their next few sets in a timely fashion using these new internal procedures, I suppose my pessimism will be proven wrong.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Changing gears.

I found something borderline stunning while reading through the set today, just reviewing the answers and distribution.

I'm thinking that i'm allowed to say this and that it's not a type of discussion that's not allowed on the boards... but i already e-mailed Ted Gioia about this and am awaiting a response.

I guess the farthest i can go with this discovery that i made is this:

Anyone who has a paper copy of the questions, or Maryland people who still have the files electronically... please take a look at tossup #21 and bonus #21 from each packet (i only have the first 11 rounds, but, well, it's enough).

I didn't pay attention to them (the 21's) Saturday because i never had to read a single one (no mistakes in moderating and no tiebreakers). But, well, check them out... every single one (but one that i noticed) is from the same major category. I'm not going to say what category that is, because i fear that's saying too much and discussing things that shouldn't be discussed publicly about the set. But, okay, i guess the best way i can phrase it is that of the three major categories in quizbowl (history, lit, science), one of them basically had no more than 3/3 per packet because this major category was ALWAYS tossup 21 AND bonus 21 in just about every single packet. This really can screw with some results and skew the distribution since it was a mistake in every single round.

I can't say more than that obviously, but, again, if you have a local copy of these, please check for yourself and concur that this is a big problem that needs to be changed. I e-mailed Ted Gioia with the specifics; i hope my e-mail is taken seriously.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Matt Weiner »

Which questions go into the tiebreakers and which go into the 20/20 is neither random nor interdependent; there is a 20/20 distribution and a tiebreaker distribution (which is to say, the prevalence of a category in the tiebreakers implies nothing about its prevalence in the 20/20). Looking over the packets I'm only seeing one bonus section and no tossup sections that had less than 4 questions in the subject we're discussing; even that shouldn't have happened and I'm looking into why.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

I guess i meant 4 instead of 3. Still, this subject should not always be the last tossup (and extra tossup, at that, that's usually not read) in every packet... no subject should be relegated to the "last/extra question" status. That's not fair.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Matt Weiner »

Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS wrote:I guess i meant 4 instead of 3. Still, this subject should not always be the last tossup (and extra tossup, at that, that's usually not read) in every packet... no subject should be relegated to the "last/extra question" status. That's not fair.
I don't think I explained myself properly; there are supposed to be 4 questions from each major category in the first 20 tossups and first 20 bonuses of each packets. There are never supposed to be 3 or 5; the amount of questions from certain subjects used in tiebreakers does not affect this (eg, there ought never be 5 questions from this subject in the first 20, even if that subject does not appear in the tiebreakers). You're right, the same subject shouldn't always be question 21 either; we will determine and correct the cause of that aberration before this set is used again.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by DumbJaques »

Yeah Andrew, from what I can tell, you're misidentifying the problem; it's not that the same category is being moved from the 20/20 distribution into the 21st slot, it's that the tiebreakers simply are always from the big 3 (if I understand HSAPQ policy properly). Ideally I would imagine the breakdown of tiebreaker categories should be even so I guess there's a slight problem there, but it's not nearly in the same league as the standard 20/20 distribution being altered in every packet.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Deviant Insider »

Was there an effort to fix this set before it was used at Illinois yesterday?
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by dtaylor4 »

I have contacted HSAPQ concerning my comments, and have asked moderators to do the same.

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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by master15625 »

I don't know if this was ever asked, but do the Sets get progressively difficult as the year goes by?

I do not think that the sets do, but if it does, we should make sure that the power clues are truly deserving of power, in my opinion.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

How is set 9 coming along? Its debut is this Saturday at TJ, correct?
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by master15625 »

Set 9 and Set 8 will be in use at the same time? Or is Set 8 done?
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite »

master15625 wrote:Set 9 and Set 8 will be in use at the same time? Or is Set 8 done?
I believe there are no more tournaments that are planned to use Set 8, though there is a possibility that another tournament might use those questions in the near future.
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by master15625 »

Is there a time when HSAPQ thinks they will post this set on their website?
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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by New York Undercover »

All sets will be posted in July.

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Re: HSAPQ Set 8

Post by master15625 »

Oh, I didn't know that, thanks. Will there be a discussion on specific questions eventually though before that time?
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