Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

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Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by kayli » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:39 pm

Why does is still exist? Quizbowl is supposed to be academic. Yes? Then, why is trash dignified with a question? Why is it still in the distribution? Who thinks that it should be?

Burn the trash!
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:42 pm

No.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:44 pm

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:Quizbowl is supposed to be academic.
This is your faulty premise.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:44 pm

I've tried to cut trash from the distribution in every organization I've been a part of. I received almost no support in any of them. There is not any consensus among good quizbowl people on eliminating trash.

Let's work on people who claim to dislike trash as their reason for avoiding tournaments with 5 percent trash distributions, but then go to tournaments where 10 to 30 percent of the question are trash instead, before climbing the no-trash mountain.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by kayli » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:52 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:I've tried to cut trash from the distribution in every organization I've been a part of. I received almost no support in any of them. There is not any consensus among good quizbowl people on eliminating trash.

Let's work on people who claim to dislike trash as their reason for avoiding tournaments with 5 percent trash distributions, but then go to tournaments where 10 to 30 percent of the question are trash instead, before climbing the no-trash mountain.
I'm a little hazy as to what you're saying. Clarify, por favor?
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:57 pm

1) I agree with you that trash should not be present in, at least, the more important academic tournaments, and perhaps that it should be excised from all academic tournaments.

2) Very few people, even people with generally good ideas about quizbowl, agree with what you and I believe about trash.

3) Pushing to reduce the already small (2 to 5 percent) trash distribution to zero in academic tournaments will require a lot of time and energy for what will ultimately affect 2 to 5 percent of the distribution.

4) Some people who claim to dislike trash nonetheless attend tournaments such as the NAC where trash and trivia comprise the largest category in the distribution and make up one third to one half of the questions in some rounds. Some people also claim that their own tournaments are free of trash, but then write on trash and label it as other categories.

5) The best use of time and energy for trash-related matters in academic quizbowl is to explain why the people in category 4 are hypocrites and show them that if they really dislike trash, they will be going to tournaments with less trash and not substituting trash for nontrash in their own events.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:01 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:2) Very few people, even people with generally good ideas about quizbowl, agree with what you and I believe about trash.
You, me, Jerry, and Kay Li. Who needs additional people?
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:07 pm

Norman the Lunatic wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:2) Very few people, even people with generally good ideas about quizbowl, agree with what you and I believe about trash.
You, me, Jerry, and Kay Li. Who needs additional people?
Add one more. I've reached the point where i'm getting pretty sick of trash questions in actual tournament play. I don't want to see them anymore. Having fun reading trash questions in practice? All for it. Having a tossup about will.i.am count just as much as a question about William Wallace? No.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:19 pm

As much as trash is out of place, it's probably not a good idea for the future of the game itself if it is completely excised from the distribution. Since there isn't really a canon for trash, those with less exposure to Quizbowl (note: not necessarily less knowledgeable) would stand a better chance of being able to answer said questions. And if one can answer a question despite being new, then it makes him feel more like a participant. I know that I suddenly felt a lot more confident in myself after being able to first-line a tossup on The Who.

(I should probably state that sacrificing pyramidality is not worth trying to attract new people, and I don't like seeing trash in anything higher than regular-difficulty high school or novice-level college sets. I'm just saying that it does have some meta-game usefulness.)
Matt Weiner wrote:Some people also claim that their own tournaments are free of trash, but then write on trash and label it as other categories.
This. If people get rid of trash, then all the marginally trash questions or questions that one could remotely argue are part of some academic category (so, for example, boderline-art film or music or kiddy lit) will still find their way in.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by OctagonJoe » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:28 pm

Earthquake wrote:Since there isn't really a canon for trash
Despite trash expert Frank Firke's presence on my team, I don't get how trash figures into the distribution, especially given the above quotation.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by at your pleasure » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:43 pm

As little as I care for trash, 1/1(if that) is not nearly as harmful as stuff like kiddie lit shoving out academic lit. Our time would be better spent getting rid of that and related issues.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by ClemsonQB » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:45 pm

Doink the Clown wrote:As little as I care for trash, 1/1(if that) is not nearly as harmful as stuff like kiddie lit shoving out academic lit. Our time would be better spent getting rid of that and related issues.
Our time would be better spent getting rid of no more than a handful of questions per tournament than 1/1 per game?
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:55 pm

Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS wrote:
Norman the Lunatic wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:2) Very few people, even people with generally good ideas about quizbowl, agree with what you and I believe about trash.
You, me, Jerry, and Kay Li. Who needs additional people?
Add one more. I've reached the point where i'm getting pretty sick of trash questions in actual tournament play. I don't want to see them anymore. Having fun reading trash questions in practice? All for it. Having a tossup about will.i.am count just as much as a question about William Wallace? No.
Oh, so Braveheart is less trashy than will.i.am? Such racism in your quizbowl philosophy sets the game back years and proves what college bowl tells honda teams right, dude.

Oh, also this is a terrible idea. I mean, yes a portion fo the reason i am amused by trash questions is that I can actually get them. Hey while we're at it lets just take everything out that someone doesnt enjoy. Think the earth is the center of the universe? Hey that's less science I have to forcefully endure being bludgeoned over the head with! Think religion questions wrongly reinforce crazy people's belief in magic? Hey, now i never have to write another tossup on Bahai! Awesome! This is exactly the same as those stupid geography threads, where everyone really just argues back and forth about nothing until everyone looks stupid.
Last edited by Frater Taciturnus on Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Cheynem » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:03 am

I am okay with having trash at tournaments, but I'm not wedded to it either. I especially think it's okay at novice level stuff like ACF Fall to ease things in.

My biggest problem with trash in academic tournaments is the lack of canon, which leads to odd situations basically depending on the writer's predilections, a logical event that nevertheless would not be tolerated in other disciplines. The comic book character Polaris and the Simpsons character Sideshow Mel, for example, appeared at ACF Regionals. Neither are very important even within their universes, and since there's no real way to "study" for these things, you basically could wander into a round where some deep or even casual knowledge of Simpsons stuff wins a match. For that matter, it's also hard to identify in my opinion what are "hard" and "easy" clues for trash topics because there are a lack of old packets to consult. This, in fact, did happen at Chicago Open, where our team won a match by 30'ing a fairly easy Donald Duck bonus and keyed victory in another one by powering Don Rickles, based on what I considered an easy clue (I'm not saying it was a bad tossup).

Now I'm not saying this either because I'm bad at trash or I don't like writing it. I enjoy writing it. I enjoy hearing it. To toot my own horn, I've done very well individually at the trash tournaments I've played.

I would like to see some academic tournaments take up more of a Your Choice rubric, where trash is not guaranteed part of the distribution. This would perhaps allow some of the "softer" trash elements to still get in, such as the less academic literature or oddball cross distributional things or current events or whatever. Writing a surplus of Your Choice would also allow editors to throw out bad or poorly conceived trash questions in favor of other questions.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by JackGlerum » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:10 am

I too do not think top tier tournaments should include trash. By that, I mean Nats, ICT, and other stuff where "champions" are crowned. Losing by 10 because you couldn't pull a 2 Live Crew album (a great question, by the way) is brutal (and un-academic, unfair, etc.)

Having 1/1 for circuit events is fine with me.

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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Nick » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am

Its called trash for a reason. Take it out.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Mettius Fufetius » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:20 am

So when I first saw this thread I wanted to sign my name up like a colonist for Crustumerium, but I do want to make the caveat that I don't agree with Kay's actual argument:
Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:Why does is still exist? Quizbowl is supposed to be academic. Yes?
Academic quizbowl is supposed to be academic. For example, NAQT and ACF have "academic" in their names and talk a lot about how academic they are; and they both claim to crown national champions in academic quizbowl. By contrast, vanity hybrid events such as Gunpei Yokoi and my CCMO market themselves as pointless but hopefully entertaining and interesting tournaments, and therefore have arbitrary distributions. Subject tournaments market themselves as opportunities to demonstrate one's knowledge in a specific area; TRASHionals markets itself as an attempt to crown a champion in pop culture knowledge. All these things are quizbowl, and they can coexist; but for any tournament explicitly marketing itself as an opportunity to demonstrate general academic knowledge, including trash in the distribution seems as disastrous as TRASHionals including orgo reactions and ancient military history in its distribution. Such a thing seems to alter the point of the tournament.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:25 am

JackGlerum wrote:I too do not think top tier tournaments should include trash. By that, I mean Nats, ICT, and other stuff where "champions" are crowned. Losing by 10 because you couldn't pull a 2 Live Crew album (a great question, by the way) is brutal (and un-academic, unfair, etc.)

Having 1/1 for circuit events is fine with me.
1) That tossup was awesome, especially since it rewarded "academic" knowledge.

2) That "losing by 10" argument is flawed.

3) I have no preference.

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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:28 am

Cheynem wrote: My biggest problem with trash in academic tournaments is the lack of canon, which leads to odd situations basically depending on the writer's predilections, a logical event that nevertheless would not be tolerated in other disciplines.
I see how this is a legit complaint against the idea of trash, but I argue that those wacky predilections are oh-so-very present in geography. Andrew Alexander's geography is basically social science with a place for an answer. Meigs' is... well, also very unique!
The comic book character Polaris and the Simpsons character Sideshow Mel, for example, appeared at ACF Regionals.
I see no issue at all with either of those things being asked at a high level tournament like Regionals.
Neither are very important even within their universes
um... that's.. not true?
For that matter, it's also hard to identify in my opinion what are "hard" and "easy" clues for trash topics because there are a lack of old packets to consult.
I believe this to be more an issue when you choose to write on a harder answer. If I write a tossup on wolverine, i know that his bones being coated in adamantium is a very easy clue and I know that his wife being killed by a mind controlled Bucky Barnes or how he is one of the only people to recover from the Hand's mind control are much harder clues. If I'm writing on his son Daken, for some bizarre reason, another decent hard clue for him, I have no idea if anyone knows anything about him, so it becomes much more like throwing darts and hoping it works out.
I would like to see some academic tournaments take up more of a Your Choice rubric, where trash is not guaranteed part of the distribution. This would perhaps allow some of the "softer" trash elements to still get in, such as the less academic literature or oddball cross distributional things or current events or whatever. Writing a surplus of Your Choice would also allow editors to throw out bad or poorly conceived trash questions in favor of other questions.
This is the best idea so far in this thread.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Mettius Fufetius » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:33 am

Earthquake wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:Some people also claim that their own tournaments are free of trash, but then write on trash and label it as other categories.
This. If people get rid of trash, then all the marginally trash questions or questions that one could remotely argue are part of some academic category (so, for example, boderline-art film or music or kiddy lit) will still find their way in.
So people write on marginal academic stuff now; so if trash is eliminated... people will continue to write on marginal academic stuff? That doesn't seem like a disaster.

Indeed, the only thing I might have a problem with is the reverse phenomenon -- someone wants to write a question on something plausibly but questionably academic, like Tolkien; but with the absence of trash he can't just write it in trash, so he writes it in literature and gets rejected by an editor who isn't buying it. There's a big difference in effect between something being extracanonical for the academic part of the packet and being extracanonical entirely; and, from what little I've observed, we don't really have actual well-defined standards about these things so much as judgment calls from editors. That's fine as long as we have a trash category; but the debate would surely get more intense if the appearance of Paulo Coelho in the tournament at all was at stake, and not just whether he replaced a TU on Machado de Assis or a TU on I Love Money.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Cheynem » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:43 am

Okay, Sideshow Mel is a notable Simpsons character. But I could think of like ten, twenty Simpsons characters that are more "important" to the Simpsons universe. Same with Polaris. I don't even know who Daken is. How would people react to to a tossup on the twentieth most notable F. Scott Fitzgerald book at ACF Regionals (which is actually a regular level tournament)?

The thing with trash is that there is no set canon of clues. Of those clues you list for Wolverine, I would consider some of them easy, some of them hard because I grew up on different Wolverine comic books than you.

Look, I'm not saying that Sideshow Mel and Polaris weren't well written trash tossups. They were. For like trash tournaments. In my mind, they should not appear in academic tournaments.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Mettius Fufetius » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:55 am

Cheynem wrote: I would like to see some academic tournaments take up more of a Your Choice rubric, where trash is not guaranteed part of the distribution. This would perhaps allow some of the "softer" trash elements to still get in, such as the less academic literature or oddball cross distributional things or current events or whatever. Writing a surplus of Your Choice would also allow editors to throw out bad or poorly conceived trash questions in favor of other questions.
Sure, I think this could work as a solution for the problem of a trash ban excluding worthwhile marginal stuff from academic tournaments, particularly if there's explicit emphasis on the fact that "hey, stuff that's on the trash borderline can go here in addition to the other things that have always been fine in Academic Your Choice," and some attempt to explain what sort of things are and are not on the trash borderline, i.e. would or would not be thrown out. Anything that more explicitly codifies the distinction and reduces the amount of clearly non-academic material in academic tournaments is fine by me.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:58 am

Marchbanks wrote:
Cheynem wrote: I would like to see some academic tournaments take up more of a Your Choice rubric, where trash is not guaranteed part of the distribution. This would perhaps allow some of the "softer" trash elements to still get in, such as the less academic literature or oddball cross distributional things or current events or whatever. Writing a surplus of Your Choice would also allow editors to throw out bad or poorly conceived trash questions in favor of other questions.
Sure, I think this could work as a solution for the problem of a trash ban excluding worthwhile marginal stuff from academic tournaments, particularly if there's explicit emphasis on the fact that "hey, stuff that's on the trash borderline can go here in addition to the other things that have always been fine in Academic Your Choice," and some attempt to explain what sort of things are and are not on the trash borderline. Anything that more explicitly codifies the distinction and reduces the amount of clearly non-academic material in academic tournaments is fine by me.
I've liked seeing this come up, and I agree with you two that it should happen more; but how do we more explicitly codify the distinction? Just rule on things as they come up, e.g. Tolkien is trash, T.C. Boyle isn't?
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:00 am

I just want to point out that, as the author of the As Nasty As They Wanna Be tossup, if you look, it actually includes two clues about the legal precedents revolving around that album that still have somewhat important repercussions today in legal matters like censorship and determining rights if you perform a parody. Whether or not you think 2 Live Crew is a good group, this has no real bearing on how these court cases seem to be pretty important, and are what I would consider to be the top end of pop culture playing an important role in society. I also take pretty great offense to the idea that somehow this tossup is automatically unfair. It rewards people who know about As Nasty As They Wanna Be, and it showed up at a really hard tournament so it is OK to get away with an answer selection of that difficulty. The tournament specifically allowed me to submit this tossup, and you knew going in that it wanted a non-academic tossup in every packet. The margin you lost a particular game by is no argument for anything.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by rylltraka » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:51 am

T.C. Boyle may not be trash per se, but it is garbage.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:16 am

rylltraka wrote:T.C. Boyle may not be trash per se, but it is garbage.
Hey now.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:01 am

I am in favor of trash at all tournaments. However, I am tired of bad trash questions. In an academic tournament, I would like the trash questions to be what I call important trash.

What is important trash? Important trash is trash that has a substantial effect on the culture of our country. For example, I would much rather see a toss-up on Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling than a tossup on Mayweather vs. Marquez. While one sold 1 million copies, I do not think it had a major impact on our culture. On the other hand, Louis vs. Schmeling II was an important source of national pride, and really had a sizeable impact on the culture.

I know people are going to post that this puts major limits on the size of the trash canon. Yes, it does. However, I believe that even with these restrictions, the trash canon will be larger than the high school lit canon.

For example, here are a list of people or things associated with the Chicago White Sox that are askable:
Black Sox Scandal, Kennesaw Mountain Landis (Commish at the time), Shoeless Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, Charles Comiskey, Bill Veeck, Bud Selig (clue about playing games in Milwaukee), Disco Demolition Night, Frank Thomas, Ozzie Guillen, Larry Doby

I think that similar lists could be made for just about every team. The same thing could go for trash music and even lit. Can trash be relevant? Absolutely. However, throughout high school, I felt like we were being asked about things that did not even matter. The classic example would be the "Foo Fighters" tossup from HSNCT. If we eliminated questions like these, and focused on culturally significant trash, the circuit would greatly be improved.


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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:27 am

"Culturally significant" is, of course, subjective. In fact, askability standards for all trash is subjective. Pretty exemplary of this was the Packet Exchange which was briefly run in the summer. There was a 1/1 distro of "whatever you want to ask, most likely trash," and it quickly showed that this was probably a bad idea. A tossup I wrote on The Mighty Mighty Bosstones went dead in practice. A tossup, I think, on some Asian pop star I had never heard of went dead also. A tossup on Michael Jordan was gotten.

The thing is, "culturally significant" is hard to define, and some things that may not be worth asking. After all, how do you classify one band as culturally significant? Are the Foo Fighters? What about Radiohead, who I see tossed up all the time? I could make the argument that the Toasters are culturally significant, but everyone would say, "Who are the Toasters?" Similarly, most non-sports players would scoff at the proposition that Kennesaw Mountain Landis is tossupable. Because, really, he isn't. He's got one thing he's noteworthy for and you can either throw in a bunch of stuff 1 dude will know or stretch out the one clue and make people "figure it out."
EDIT: grammar
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:59 am

Aldo Montoya wrote:Pretty exemplary of this was the Packet Exchange which was briefly run in the summer. There was a 1/1 distro of "whatever you want to ask, most likely trash," and it quickly showed that this was probably a bad idea. A tossup I wrote on The Mighty Mighty Bosstones went dead in practice. A tossup, I think, on some Asian pop star I had never heard of went dead also. A tossup on Michael Jordan was gotten.
Why did this thing stop? Keep doing it.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by JackGlerum » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:55 am

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I just want to point out that, as the author of the As Nasty As They Wanna Be tossup, if you look, it actually includes two clues about the legal precedents revolving around that album that still have somewhat important repercussions today in legal matters like censorship and determining rights if you perform a parody. Whether or not you think 2 Live Crew is a good group, this has no real bearing on how these court cases seem to be pretty important, and are what I would consider to be the top end of pop culture playing an important role in society. I also take pretty great offense to the idea that somehow this tossup is automatically unfair. It rewards people who know about As Nasty As They Wanna Be, and it showed up at a really hard tournament so it is OK to get away with an answer selection of that difficulty. The tournament specifically allowed me to submit this tossup, and you knew going in that it wanted a non-academic tossup in every packet. The margin you lost a particular game by is no argument for anything.
I liked the question and liked that it got into the CO set, all I was trying to say was that I wouldn't be happy if it showed up in an ACF Nats packet, for the reasons I stated earlier. Perhaps it was a bad example -- it was the first trash answer that came to my mind, that's all.

You and Donald have both said that the margin argument is bad. Can you fill me in?

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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Cheynem » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:12 am

I actually thought the "As Nasty As They Want to Be" tossup did a nice job of ferreting out some of the academic aspects that are important and related to that album. I would be okay with that making it into sort of a hybrid trash distribution, along with some of the CO trash topics like the tossup on William Brennan that utilized goofier clues than would be acceptable for a history tossup. And certainly, I'm not berating its inclusion--it was a well-written tossup for a hard event that specifically allowed trash. For summer opens, I think there could be a little flexibility here.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:18 am

Cheynem wrote:I actually thought the "As Nasty As They Want to Be" tossup did a nice job of ferreting out some of the academic aspects that are important and related to that album. I would be okay with that making it into sort of a hybrid trash distribution, along with some of the CO trash topics like the tossup on William Brennan that utilized goofier clues than would be acceptable for a history tossup. And certainly, I'm not berating its inclusion--it was a well-written tossup for a hard event that specifically allowed trash. For summer opens, I think there could be a little flexibility here.
This. I was actually re-reading a book on music censorship, which allowed me to buzz off of the case.

To respond to Jack: there are at minimum 20 tossups that decide a game. To single out a particular one is short-sighted.

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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:23 am

The reason why you saying you happened to lose a game by a particular margin because of the question is not an argument for anything is because it isn't. You very easily could have lost the game by 200 if you were playing somebody else, and you very easily could have won by 30 if you were playing somebody else. Whether or not it is a good thing for "As Nasty As They Wanna Be" to come up has exactly nothing to do with how many points your particular team lost a game by, because it was entirely possible that this particular set of circumstances could have never happened.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:27 am

Aldo Montoya wrote:"Culturally significant" is, of course, subjective. In fact, askability standards for all trash is subjective. Pretty exemplary of this was the Packet Exchange which was briefly run in the summer. There was a 1/1 distro of "whatever you want to ask, most likely trash," and it quickly showed that this was probably a bad idea. A tossup I wrote on The Mighty Mighty Bosstones went dead in practice. A tossup, I think, on some Asian pop star I had never heard of went dead also. A tossup on Michael Jordan was gotten.

The thing is, "culturally significant" is hard to define, and some things that may not be worth asking. After all, how do you classify one band as culturally significant? Are the Foo Fighters? What about Radiohead, who I see tossed up all the time? I could make the argument that the Toasters are culturally significant, but everyone would say, "Who are the Toasters?" Similarly, most non-sports players would scoff at the proposition that Kennesaw Mountain Landis is tossupable. Because, really, he isn't. He's got one thing he's noteworthy for and you can either throw in a bunch of stuff 1 dude will know or stretch out the one clue and make people "figure it out."
EDIT: grammar
One could make the same argument for art or lit. In most cases, the line is fairly clear. I judge culturally significant as "will this person or their precedent be important in shaping our future culture"? I have no idea if the Foo Fighters fit this criteria. However, I know for a fact that the Foo Fighters tossup that I was referring to does not, as it was not on the actual band, but on an obscure song of theirs. I will go through why each player/ occasion I listed is important enough to warrant a tossup:

Black Sox: Established long lasting cynicism on sports. Established relationship between sports and mob culture.
Kennesaw Mountain Landis: Established precident that star players could be banned for life for their actions.
Shoeless Joe Jackson & Eddie Cicotte: Basically the same as the first two
Charles Comiskey: Well known executive who helped to fuel growth of major leagues. Also seen as a key reason the Black Sox Scandal occured.
Bill Veeck: His ways to fill up seats for games using promotions has set the precident for todays promotions.
Bud Selig: Fairly obvious
Disco Demolition Night: Contributed to the demise of a popular type of music. Also, it drew the line in how far promotions can go.
Frank Thomas: One of the few Steroid Era stars not associated with steroids.
Ozzie Guillen: The first Hispanic Manager to win the World Series.
Larry Doby: 2nd black manager, 3rd American to play in Japan, 2nd Black in Majors


If you cannot see the differences between these answer choices, and say, Joe Crede, I really cannot help you. I see a pretty clear difference between what I deem as tossupable and what I do not. Certainly as clear as any other subject.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:31 am

How about we define "trash we should ask about (if we decide to ask about trash)" as "trash that stands a good chance to be answered" and stop arguing about Kennesaw Mountain Landis as if that's going to solve a single question presented in this thread.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Cheynem » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:46 am

Well, yes, perhaps signaling out one tossup as the one that "LOST THE GAME" doesn't quite work, but it's neither here nor there. The point is "Should this tossup be there in the first place?"
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:31 pm

BG MSL Champs wrote:
Aldo Montoya wrote:"Culturally significant" is, of course, subjective. In fact, askability standards for all trash is subjective. Pretty exemplary of this was the Packet Exchange which was briefly run in the summer. There was a 1/1 distro of "whatever you want to ask, most likely trash," and it quickly showed that this was probably a bad idea. A tossup I wrote on The Mighty Mighty Bosstones went dead in practice. A tossup, I think, on some Asian pop star I had never heard of went dead also. A tossup on Michael Jordan was gotten.

The thing is, "culturally significant" is hard to define, and some things that may not be worth asking. After all, how do you classify one band as culturally significant? Are the Foo Fighters? What about Radiohead, who I see tossed up all the time? I could make the argument that the Toasters are culturally significant, but everyone would say, "Who are the Toasters?" Similarly, most non-sports players would scoff at the proposition that Kennesaw Mountain Landis is tossupable. Because, really, he isn't. He's got one thing he's noteworthy for and you can either throw in a bunch of stuff 1 dude will know or stretch out the one clue and make people "figure it out."
EDIT: grammar
One could make the same argument for art or lit. In most cases, the line is fairly clear. I judge culturally significant as "will this person or their precedent be important in shaping our future culture"?

I see a pretty clear difference between what I deem as tossupable and what I do not. Certainly as clear as any other subject.
What makes your arbitrary criteria any better than mine, Isaac's, or those of any other distinct person or group?

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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Captain Sinico » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:50 pm

I'd like to see trash gotten rid of in academic questions. Frankly, I don't understand why there isn't a bigger deal made of this, either.

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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:58 pm

Well, I think everyone knows where I stand on this issue, so I'm not gonna go into too much detail.

I agree with what someone said upthread about eliminating bad trash questions. Case in point, a question about the Indianapolis Colts beating the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl a few years ago would be a bad question if you we just asking it for the sake of asking people to know who won and lost the Super Bowl XLI. But if you asked about the fact that the game featured the first two African-American coaches to coach (and in Tony Dungy's case, win) the Super Bowl, that would be a more significant question.

Also, there are people (including me) who believe that Pop Culture has academic significance, albeit probably less so than Science or Social Studies. Here's an example:

http://www.wku.edu/pcal/pop
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:10 pm

I don't think bringing up that some people think pop culture is worthy of academic study will have a whole lot of bearing on whether pop culture is a good thing to have in questions. Lots of the perspectives that people approach this stuff from in academia has nothing to do with how trash questions are asked. Also, in my humble opinion, lots of the stuff these courses teach is complete drivel. There are courses about things like Lil Kim's sexual politics (at Syracuse; humorously, the professor that teaches it got rated one of the most dangerous academics in America by that idiot David Horowitz, but I prefer to think he's probably harmless) that I certainly don't want to have any kind of influence on quizbowl.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:37 pm

The main reason I think trash should be kept around in regular difficulty high school is to help the lower end of the talent spectrum feel better about playing quiz bowl. They can serve as a confidence booster - hey, I finally got a question right! - and help them stick around so they can learn real stuff.

I have mixed feelings about its place at nationals, though lower level teams do attend both NSC and HSNCT.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:00 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I don't think bringing up that some people think pop culture is worthy of academic study will have a whole lot of bearing on whether pop culture is a good thing to have in questions. Lots of the perspectives that people approach this stuff from in academia has nothing to do with how trash questions are asked. Also, in my humble opinion, lots of the stuff these courses teach is complete drivel. There are courses about things like Lil Kim's sexual politics (at Syracuse; humorously, the professor that teaches it got rated one of the most dangerous academics in America by that idiot David Horowitz, but I prefer to think he's probably harmless) that I certainly don't want to have any kind of influence on quizbowl.
There are isolated absurd courses in every subject.

Anyway, the reason I brought it up is because Kay was referring to trash as explicitly being non-academic and therefore not worthy of membership in the canon. So, I responded by saying that some of us do feel it has some academic merit. However, I do think that trash questions should be posed from a better angle, emphasizing the impact (a lot of the Pop Culture classes here are Sociology or History based) of specific topics rather than asking about any old thing.

Most can agree that Lil' Kim is probably not very significant, and many contemporary artists are not. But questions about how Toby Keith helped drum up support for the Iraq War or how Oprah Winfrey helped raise the profile of Barack Obama have more significance.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:12 pm

FredMorlan wrote:The main reason I think trash should be kept around in regular difficulty high school is to help the lower end of the talent spectrum feel better about playing quiz bowl. They can serve as a confidence booster - hey, I finally got a question right! - and help them stick around so they can learn real stuff.

I have mixed feelings about its place at nationals, though lower level teams do attend both NSC and HSNCT.
This is essentially what I was going to say. This is the argument that's trotted out anytime someone says "Let's get rid of trash." It's a pretty valid argument, and one has to realize that there are players out there who are 1. not as good as you are at this and 2. trying to find some sort of reason for staying in this as better teams are beating them.
Whether or not it belongs in the college game is something else entirely for the college players to sort out.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by JackGlerum » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:32 pm

dtaylor4 wrote:To respond to Jack: there are at minimum 20 tossups that decide a game. To single out a particular one is short-sighted.
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:The reason why you saying you happened to lose a game by a particular margin because of the question is not an argument for anything is because it isn't. You very easily could have lost the game by 200 if you were playing somebody else, and you very easily could have won by 30 if you were playing somebody else. Whether or not it is a good thing for "As Nasty As They Wanna Be" to come up has exactly nothing to do with how many points your particular team lost a game by, because it was entirely possible that this particular set of circumstances could have never happened.
Cheynem wrote:Well, yes, perhaps signaling out one tossup as the one that "LOST THE GAME" doesn't quite work, but it's neither here nor there. The point is "Should this tossup be there in the first place?"

What I tried to say is what Mike said. I think the "should it be there in the first place" argument and the "lost by 10" argument are linked. When they come together (i.e. teams split academic tossups but one team gets the 1/0 trash and thus wins) at a national championship tournament, I think that is wrong. Thus, I don't think Nats or ICT should include trash.


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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by cvdwightw » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:54 pm

cvdwightw wrote:Perhaps the solution is to replace trash with "1/1 cultural studies." This would include such things as arts/literature that sit on either side of the "academic" line and additional social studies/RMP. Legitimately "important" pop culture could also go here. Again, the issue is that this is yet again another nebulously defined category with arbitrary restrictions on what is "important."
This is what I wrote in that thread that Matt linked to (it's a few posts down from his), and it's a view that I still take.

Let's face it, we don't know what will have staying power in 50 years. Several things that show up in the "academic" distribution (Jane Austen, Horatio Alger, Johann Strauss (both?)) would have been indisputably in the "pop culture" section of their respective time periods' quizbowl. I think the solution is for writers of "trash" questions to make a judgment call over "will this be legitimately important fifty years from now?" If there's not a good justification, then don't write on it. Obviously, this needs to be more fluid for things like sports and video games, where things can have legitimate cultural importance but not be "academic." If quizbowl truly wants to test "well-roundedness*," then I think that cultural awareness (geography, current events, social science, RMP, trash) needs to be a part of that. The question becomes whether social science/RMP can adequately cover "cultural awareness," and I don't think it can.

*I'm aware I just opened a giant can of worms.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:59 pm

If I could make judgments about what would be important in the future, I'd be in the money. Too bad neither I nor anyone else has such forecasting ability. Dumping trash altogether would completely eliminate this ambiguity.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:01 pm

FredMorlan wrote:How about we define "trash we should ask about (if we decide to ask about trash)" as "trash that stands a good chance to be answered" and stop arguing about Kennesaw Mountain Landis as if that's going to solve a single question presented in this thread.
Because that is not what I believe that trash should be, if I did not make that clear. I think that the trash that we should ask about is "trash about a person or event who, whether directly or indirectly, have helped to play a role in shaping future culture." I believe that this is trash worth knowing, and is the trash that should be asked about.

dtaylor4 wrote: What makes your arbitrary criteria any better than mine, Isaac's, or those of any other distinct person or group?
It isn't. My point was that I think that people who write trash should be able to justify everything they write about as important. Does this mean that everybody will have the same list? No. But hopefully this will eliminate questions on "Keyboard Cat" and "Times Like These".

So, how does this apply to the discussion? I support trash questions in sets, because I believe it fits in with one of the big themes of quizbowl: "How did we get to this place in our history and culture?" That said, I feel that many, no, most trash questions have nothing to do with this. They are instead written about pointless things that people view as interesting. My point is that if people stopped writing questions solely on quirky things they enjoy, that trash questions would be much more tolerable in academic tournaments. I think that if this happened and people continued to see problems with trash in sets, then getting rid of trash is fine. However, I am not in favor of getting rid of trash until trash is written in the correct way.

Note: the "correct way" is my opinion of what the correct way is. If you disagree with me, this is fine. I am just letting my opinions be known.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:08 pm

Yeah, this. The rebuttal to Glerum's argument is properly directed at people exclusively blaming one question--usually the last--as the game-deciding question, which is of course crazy. That doesn't mean that the trash question--which, in a purportedly academic game, could be equally decided by the moderator playing bubblegum, bubblegum in a dish--doesn't decide a game.
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Re: Proposition: Get Rid of Trash

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:18 pm

I love the idea Dwight is putting forth. Although, we could alter it to possibly take Current Events, RMP, Fine Arts, and Trash; then combine it into a "Cultural Studies" type deal and then work out the individual sub-distributions within that. This will effectively create 4 major subjects, and we'd have to stick Geography, Social Sciences, and History in together as Social Studies, and have the four main subjects be Social Studies, Science, Literature, and Culture.

To do this within 20 questions will be pressing however. I really think it's time for the quizbowl community (everyone, including NAQT, PACE, and the people at KAAC who think it's OK to have 100 questions a match even when they're more pyramidal) as a whole to settle on a number that allows for the best diversity of topics without creating absurdly long matches. For that matter, we need to figure out what the proper length of a match is. Maybe we could set a standard that matches shouldn't be longer than 30 minutes, although using a timed clock like NAQT would be a bad idea.



BTW, That second paragraph is really broad enough for about 3 separate threads. Hopefully you all can see what I'm saying in relation to the individual discussion going on. If not, just ignore it.



EDIT: Left out a few key words that made me look really stupid. Sorry.
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