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Re: Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:44 pm

Some other thoughts will be forthcoming but one thing I must say is that as a heathen atheist Jew, I can quite easily identify Humanae vitae. It's one of those important things quizbowl doesn't seem to know much about and is actually a fine hard part for this tournament.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Ike » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:55 pm

Charbroil wrote:On a more general note, am I the only one who thought that there was quite a bit of bonus variability in this set? I figured it was because it was because it was merged with the MCMNT set, but I was just curious as to whether it was a real issue.
Even though I think there is bonus variability in every set, I think this one had more than what I would like. Part of the reason was what you pointed our Charles, but the even bigger issue is the difference between me (I'm quite sure I edited almost everything to my standard on Illinois side) and just the differing visions / styles of Brown. Just so I'm clear, this is definitely not a defect on their part.

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Re: Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:15 pm

Ike wrote:Guys, its Dark Night of the Soul - sorry it really irks me that we are all so good at thinking that it's way to hard for a tournament, but no one knows what the title is (and perhaps a lot more.) For what its worth, It was thirtied in my room, and I heard other compliments about it, but I haven't heard anyone say to me that bonus is downright too hard until the thread.

The other thing I want to mention briefly is that I certainly didn't consult packet archives for clues.
The Dark Night of the Soul is definitely one example of something that you either know or you don't. I'm not sure it's the best thing to come up at an easier tournament like EFT, since it's not a super famous Catholic text (whether you learn about it in school seems to depend on what kind of Catholic school you went to - Matt did, I didn't). I'm not too broken up about it, however, because it can be difficult to tell which sort of Christian auxiliary texts are important and notable enough to come up if you weren't raised to be aware of such things. (Also, there are lots and lots of what essentially are personality cults around saints, like St. Jude, that cause there to be a lot of information on the web regardless of their overall impact on the Church.)
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Re: Discussion

Post by ... and the chaos of Mexican modernity » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:25 pm

Not to digress too much here, but I do want to praise the current events in this set. They seemed very well done in my opinion especially the Hu Jintao tossup, and I also felt the Israeli-Gaza Flotilla Raid was also a cool answerline despite it maybe being too guessable at some points.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Auroni » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:56 pm

Cheynem wrote:I don't really see the point of, say, making that Paz part easier. Maybe it was a bad idea, maybe not, but as long as it's accurate and not a hose, I don't like arbitrarily making these decisions to change tournaments.
I'm not saying "make that Paz part easier," I'm saying "make that Paz part into something non-trivial but still interesting, all while staying within the range of bonus difficulty that you're supposed to adhere to."
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Re: Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:59 pm

Eh, I still don't like that, unless you're suggesting adding more clues for "poplar." For better or for worse, poplar is what the writers went with, and it's not a hose, it's not a lie, it's just sort of hard.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Auroni » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:02 pm

Yeah, they could just as easily have gone with where he was born or was educated. No hoses or lies there either!
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Re: Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:11 pm

I guess my point is that they chose to go with "poplar." Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't, but they did, and so I think the tournament in future iterations should preserve that, warts and all.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:02 pm

That's silly. Why would you choose to run a tournament that is going to be less properly written and possibly less enjoyable when you have the ability to know what to fix to make it better, when the whole purpose of you making the set is to let teams get the most for their money. If a tournament runs over multiple weekend and they find flaws the first time around that they can fix, that's too bad for the people who had to play with the flaws, but at least now you have a chance to make the set closer to what it should be for the next iterations, and there is no reason not to take that chance.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Auroni » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:09 pm

I agree with Dees. The last time that this issue came up, at SCT, it was because SCT stats were used to qualify teams for ICT and that minor edits such as this could actually accumulate to throw things off (which I'm still not completely sold on, anyway).

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Re: Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:09 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:That's silly. Why would you choose to run a tournament that is going to be less properly written and possibly less enjoyable when you have the ability to know what to fix to make it better, when the whole purpose of you making the set is to let teams get the most for their money. If a tournament runs over multiple weekend and they find flaws the first time around that they can fix, that's too bad for the people who had to play with the flaws, but at least now you have a chance to make the set closer to what it should be for the next iterations, and there is no reason not to take that chance.
I'm with Charlie. It's INFINITELY preferable for as many people to play as good a tournament as possible--the worst thing that could happen is that bonus conversion statistics won't be perfectly comparable across sites. At most it'll be a 1% difference, or thereabouts. Doesn't matter.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:11 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:That's silly. Why would you choose to run a tournament that is going to be less properly written and possibly less enjoyable when you have the ability to know what to fix to make it better, when the whole purpose of you making the set is to let teams get the most for their money. If a tournament runs over multiple weekend and they find flaws the first time around that they can fix, that's too bad for the people who had to play with the flaws, but at least now you have a chance to make the set closer to what it should be for the next iterations, and there is no reason not to take that chance.
I'm with Charlie. It's INFINITELY preferable for as many people to play as good a tournament as possible--the worst thing that could happen is that bonus conversion statistics won't be perfectly comparable across sites. At most it'll be a 1% difference, or thereabouts. Doesn't matter.
Regardless of the outcome of this debate, this tournament will be edited before being mailed out in two days.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Ike » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:18 pm

Eric's right. I can't promise everyone has ever said in this thread will be changed, as I have my own editing preferences (and so does Aaron and Eric I imagine) but yes, anything not satisfactory will be fixed.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:40 pm

I guess my point was that "poplar" seemed to be an editors' decision. Stuff like Mesopotamia is a major hose. Stuff with errors and incorrect answer lines and terrible lead-ins can all be changed. But I guess I feel like "poplar" was what the editors wanted to test knowledge of. Maybe it worked and maybe it didn't, but that was their decision. But I appear to be on the wrong side of history here.
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Re: Discussion

Post by The Schopenhauer Power Hour » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:33 am

I really enjoyed this tournament, having a bye during the Passover tossup notwithstanding.

Speaking of Jewish stuff, though-- I also liked the bar-mitzvah tossup. I think it was a really appropriate-difficulty tossup on a subject that I, in my admittedly not-that-large-at-all experience in quizbowl, hadn't encountered much before. However, I'm curious to see if anyone sees a distinction (or if it's been discussed before) between the cultural and religious aspects of celebrations like that. I don't remember the entire tossup, but for example, the lead-in about replacement of the ceremony in the Reconstructionist (Reform?) movement certainly seemed to be more on the "religion" side than the clue about giving money in denominations of $18, which as far as I understand at least is a tradition based solely on the alphanumerology of the Hebrew word for life, rather than an aspect of Jewish law or the ceremony itself.

I don't think such cultural clues should necessarily be excluded from religion tossups, but I'm curious to see if anyone else thinks there's at least a distinction, or if I'm just crazy.
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Re: Discussion

Post by jonah » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:39 am

The Schopenhauer Power Hour wrote:Speaking of Jewish stuff, though-- I also liked the bar-mitzvah tossup. I think it was a really appropriate-difficulty tossup on a subject that I, in my admittedly not-that-large-at-all experience in quizbowl, hadn't encountered much before. However, I'm curious to see if anyone sees a distinction (or if it's been discussed before) between the cultural and religious aspects of celebrations like that. I don't remember the entire tossup, but for example, the lead-in about replacement of the ceremony in the Reconstructionist (Reform?) movement certainly seemed to be more on the "religion" side than the clue about giving money in denominations of $18, which as far as I understand at least is a tradition based solely on the alphanumerology of the Hebrew word for life, rather than an aspect of Jewish law or the ceremony itself.

I don't think such cultural clues should necessarily be excluded from religion tossups, but I'm curious to see if anyone else thinks there's at least a distinction, or if I'm just crazy.
I agree there's a distinction. I'm guessing the inclusion of those clues (as well as other ones like "lifting on a chair") stemmed from an effort to include clues that non-Jews are more likely to have encountered. While that's definitely an important thing to consider while writing a question, I think it's somewhat questionable whether and to what extent such clues belong in a religion tossup (assuming the tossup in question was indeed so categorized), since they seem a little trashy. On the other hand, they are related to the practical observance of a religious topic. I don't have a strong objection, but I definitely see where you're coming from.

Incidentally, the whole sentence "This ceremony is traditionally followed by a sponsored kiddush and a party where the celebrant is lifted on a chair", as well as the multiples of $18 clue, is true of many other simkhot (celebrations), notably Jewish weddings.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:49 am

Cheynem wrote:I guess my point was that "poplar" seemed to be an editors' decision. Stuff like Mesopotamia is a major hose. Stuff with errors and incorrect answer lines and terrible lead-ins can all be changed. But I guess I feel like "poplar" was what the editors wanted to test knowledge of. Maybe it worked and maybe it didn't, but that was their decision. But I appear to be on the wrong side of history here.
Oh, you were talking about that specific bonus part? I want to keep that specific bonus part. So maybe I agree with you more than with Dees. WHO CAN SAY
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Re: Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:39 am

Yeah I thought it was kind of cool that the bar mitzvah tossup included clues about modern traditions. This is the Religion distribution equivalent of, say, writing a history tossup on Bill Clinton or 9/11.

All religious traditions were, at some point, a modern innovation.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:33 am

Hi All,

I edited all the fine arts for this set, so I'd like to hear comments on that area.

Also, a question for the people who played this at VCU. As some of you probably heard, I went through the packets last Sunday to correct the typos and make a few stylistic changes. How did that version play at VCU?
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Re: Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:02 pm

So, my general impression of this set is that it was a little schizophrenic, perhaps as a consequence of being produced by several different writing groups across multiple universities. I don't quite have the time to do question-by-question analysis right now, but here are some general comments:

* The science was very good (from what parts of it I knew) but also very long. I think it's safe to say that every bio question could have had two lines cut from it and it would have been fine. That's a minor quibble.
* Besides having problems with the copy-editing that caused words to be left out and clauses to be moved around inappropriately and such, this set also had some basic grammar problems due to what seemed like a misunderstanding about how to use the word "that." I'm not a grammarian, but if you're going to use "that" to refer to something mentioned previously, it has to be placed in such a way that the referent is obvious. You can't refer back across two or three sentences; this produced such weird effects as the apparent assertion that Maggie Tulliver and Rosamund Vincy are in the same George Eliot novel. This has been pointed out and fixed, but people really need to watch out for these things.
* There were many, many questions in the 5 rounds that I read at Brown that were just full of filler. Before putting the proverbial pen to paper (keyboard to screen? whatever) ask yourself whether a particular statement provides any useful information for the players. I thought the awful "Talleyrand" question was a good example of this: telling people "this guy was involved in 18th Brumaire" is damn near useless. There were plenty of other situations where this happened and I found myself asking "what is this sentence doing here?"
* This is more of a stylistic directive, but I think it's important: if you describe something in sentence n, then please, please, go ahead and name it in sentence n + i, where n and i are both small integers. I find it frustrating as a player when references are just dropped but are not explicated in any way, and even more so as a reader, since I actually see what's on the page. Writing this way makes your questions incoherent.
* Speaking of coherent writing, I think it's a good idea to maintain a kind of understandable flow within your question. That means you can't just randomly drop something without any context. When you do that, you question sounds like a list tossup. Likewise, if you're writing a bonus, don't link it together with something superficial like "people who won Pulitzers." I'm thinking here of that Michael Chabon bonus that randomly had Alice Walker as the third part. Huh?

As I said before, once the mirrors are done, I'm going to spin off this post into a longer discussion on these topics. I think this is an underdiscussed area of writing that really needs to be addressed.
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Re: Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:14 pm

Also, who the hell is Heinrich Muller?!

edit: I believe this was supposed to be Heiner Muller.
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Re: Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:25 pm

grapesmoker wrote: * This is more of a stylistic directive, but I think it's important: if you describe something in sentence n, then please, please, go ahead and name it in sentence n + i, where n and i are both small integers. I find it frustrating as a player when references are just dropped but are not explicated in any way, and even more so as a reader, since I actually see what's on the page. Writing this way makes your questions incoherent.
I'd like to hear more on this point. I'm not an experienced writer, but there are definitely situations where you might not want to namedrop what you've described immediately. Regarding author tossups,
Andrew Hart wrote:There really is no need to say the title of a work right after you describe it.
I don't mean to come off as a "real knowledge" partisan or whatever, but by restricting titles to the second halves of questions, we can avoid rewarding list-memorization unduly. Moreover, I think questions can be perfectly comprehensible without name-dropping something immediately after its description. In many cases, then, it seems like dropping titles early might harm the buzz distribution of a tossup, without really providing much in return. Can you expand on that part of your post, Jerry?
Last edited by The King's Flight to the Scots on Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Auroni » Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:29 pm

If I describe an obscure plot clue from a very well-known work in the leadin, there are obvious reasons that I wouldn't want to drop the title of it in the very next clue.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:23 pm

I could be reading Jerry wrong, but I think Jerry is complaining more of the overuse of this phenomenon. There are times where it's arguably necessary, but there's no reason not to mention the title of the work at all for the rest of the tossup.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Nicklausse/Muse » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:09 pm

Likewise, if you're writing a bonus, don't link it together with something superficial like "people who won Pulitzers." I'm thinking here of that Michael Chabon bonus that randomly had Alice Walker as the third part. Huh?
Third part was originally a detail from Kavalier and Clay, though I admit to using occasionally superficial categories myself. (NY Philharmonic music directors, for example.)

I don't have as much of a problem with describing things and then naming them some time later, as long as they are named at some point later. I noticed a few questions where things were described and never named, and it was quite puzzling.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Ike » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:45 pm

I can think of many tournaments where there are things that are described but not named. I just simply felt that dropping the title wasn't really doing that much in terms of pyramidality. I've seen many questions do this before and have assumed it is common practice.
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Re: Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:46 am

Cernel Joson wrote: Can you expand on that part of your post, Jerry?
Sure, I think I might have been unnecessarily confusing here. What I'm saying is, if you describe the plot of some work in the first clue, you should at least mention that work at some point. It doesn't have to be the next clue, as Andrew observes, and usually shouldn't be, but if you've described the plot of Redburn in your Melville tossup, go ahead and mention Redburn at some future point in the same question. I think this is a good practice if only because someone interested in learning something from the question will be able to do so without having to guess which Melville novel your clue comes from (or hunting you down online and asking you or whatever). It's also nice because stylistically it constitutes a sort of closure to the question; without it, it feels a little like you're just dropping random titles. Of course, the converse isn't true; if you mention Typee, you don't need to necessarily have described it beforehand, although it wouldn't be at all a bad thing if you restricted yourself only to titles previously described.
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Re: Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:51 am

Nicklausse/Muse wrote: Third part was originally a detail from Kavalier and Clay, though I admit to using occasionally superficial categories myself. (NY Philharmonic music directors, for example.)
I think Chabon may be harder than you think; my room blanked on it, which is why I suspect your plot point bonus part was changed. Regarding your example, I think NY Philharmonic directors is an ok category. It's a sort of "natural kind" for quizbowl and there's something pretty narrow linking them. Just to give some other paradigmatic examples, I think German Nobelists in literature are a sufficiently narrow category; Pulitzers by themselves aren't, since there are just too many of them (and Nobel laureates in literature just by themselves aren't a great category either). But the point here is that you should announce what you're doing in the leadin, if you're going to do that. It makes no sense when your question has two parts of one thing and one part of another and the only connection is something like the Pulitzer.
I don't have as much of a problem with describing things and then naming them some time later, as long as they are named at some point later. I noticed a few questions where things were described and never named, and it was quite puzzling.
Yes, this is exactly what I was referring to.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:36 pm

Just curious, what was the Fine Arts distribution for the set?

If it was 2/2, just from what I felt, it seemed that there was a consistent 1/1 Music in every packet, with the remaining 1/1 split between paintings and "other" art. Is this the case?
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Re: Discussion

Post by Ike » Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:18 pm

3/3 FA
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Re: Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Oct 17, 2010 5:14 pm

Very minor error, but unless this is a retcon I'm unaware of, Captain America was not a founding member of the Avengers. He was encased in a block of ice while the Avengers were being formed.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:20 pm

Cheynem wrote:Very minor error, but unless this is a retcon I'm unaware of, Captain America was not a founding member of the Avengers. He was encased in a block of ice while the Avengers were being formed.
He joined a few weeks after it was formed and is considered a founder. But its a dicey issue.

So for the MN mirror this weekend, I made some edits. I'd love to hear comments on the updated version of the set.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Kwang the Ninja » Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:16 pm

I'm slightly disappointed to discover that two someones had already complained about the Fugard leadin and it was still not excised from the set.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:44 pm

When I get a chance this week I'll post about the reaction I had to the set after having read it. HINT: :-/
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Re: Discussion

Post by Ike » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:41 am

I'm slightly disappointed to discover that two someones had already complained about the Fugard leadin and it was still not excised from the set.
I'm not going to listen to just two people say what they want and go ahead and cut it. There is nothing factually wrong with the lead-in, and I really don't find it egregious that it happened to be used in some tournament X some five or six years ago. If you want to argue all about why you don't like it feel free to - I probably won't partake in that discussion unless you personally email me.
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Re: Discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:21 pm

Ike wrote:There is nothing factually wrong with the lead-in, and I really don't find it egregious that it happened to be used in some tournament X some five or six years ago. If you want to argue all about why you don't like it feel free to - I probably won't partake in that discussion unless you personally email me.
I don't particularly care if you respond, since this is more of a didactic post than an argumentative one, but you're missing a very important point. The problem with the Fugard lead-in is not that it was used in some tournament several years ago. The problem with the lead-in is that really the only way to answer the question off the lead-in is to have read the several-years-old packet (a quick glance at Wikipedia reveals that one could, in fact, answer this question by following the relevant links from Fugard's page and memorizing the relevant works, though I don't know why anyone would want to do that). The question as I remember it does not bother to attempt to explain why the works mentioned in the lead-in are at all important, or equivalently for the purposes of a lead-in, relevant to the answer, so there's really no way that anyone who has any interest in Fugard (scholarly or otherwise) could answer the question from the lead-in. That's 100% rewarding "derived" knowledge and is a really bad idea at any tournament, let alone a "novice" or "novice-friendly" tournament.
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Re: Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:34 pm

Ike wrote:
I'm slightly disappointed to discover that two someones had already complained about the Fugard leadin and it was still not excised from the set.
I'm not going to listen to just two people say what they want and go ahead and cut it. There is nothing factually wrong with the lead-in, and I really don't find it egregious that it happened to be used in some tournament X some five or six years ago. If you want to argue all about why you don't like it feel free to - I probably won't partake in that discussion unless you personally email me.
This author's daughter Lisa has written the novel Skinner's Drift while his wife Sheila has written Rite of Passage. One of this author's works sees the pastor Marius Byleveld come help Miss Helen, who has created a bunch of sculptures that point to the titular holy site, while another of his works features two character argue Jesus Christ is a "Man of Magnitude." In that drama, Sam and Willie begin talking about a ballroom dance, only for the title character, Hally to come and interrupt them. Many of this author's works are set in Port Elizabeth, critiquing the injustices of apartheid. For 10 points, name this South African dramatist of Master Harold and the Boys.
That question blows and it should be obvious why. That first "clue" is anything but useful; you could be a Fugard scholar and not know that. Are the novels of his daughter and wife particularly important? My intuition says no. And then the next clue has a very stereotypical Afrikaans name in it, so based on that fact alone one could probably figure it out. The way this whole question is phrased is really awkward and does a bad job of conveying interesting things about Fugard's work. Also, if you're going to give the plot of "Road to Mecca," would it kill you to actually mention it somewhere along the way?
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Re: Discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:40 am

Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast wrote:
Ringil wrote: Lastly, how many people negged Seven Against Thebes with Antigone? I did due to similar plot lines between the two works, so if I could get the leadins and early clues used in that tossup it would be great.
That question was negged in every room I've asked (3). I suspect that it was negged in several more. I think that question was pretty much designed to get negs from less-experienced teams.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Duncan Idaho » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:18 pm

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote:
Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast wrote:
Ringil wrote: Lastly, how many people negged Seven Against Thebes with Antigone? I did due to similar plot lines between the two works, so if I could get the leadins and early clues used in that tossup it would be great.
That question was negged in every room I've asked (3). I suspect that it was negged in several more. I think that question was pretty much designed to get negs from less-experienced teams.
I don't feel like there's anything intrinsically wrong with that tossup. If someone had read Antigone, I can't see him or her negging it, because the question up until that point doesn't match the plot. If someone didn't know it, his or her fake knowledge was rewarded with negative points, unless players listened carefully and heard, "the title characters."

On the other hand, I guess you could argue that if EFT is intended to be marketed as a tournament for easier teams, then questions shouldn't penalize the limited knowledge of new teams. (This is not necessarily my position.)

Out of curiosity, did people who have read Antigone more recently than me (five years ago) neg that tossup?
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Re: Discussion

Post by Ringil » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:38 pm

Ben Cole wrote:
Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote:
Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast wrote:
Ringil wrote: Lastly, how many people negged Seven Against Thebes with Antigone? I did due to similar plot lines between the two works, so if I could get the leadins and early clues used in that tossup it would be great.
That question was negged in every room I've asked (3). I suspect that it was negged in several more. I think that question was pretty much designed to get negs from less-experienced teams.
I don't feel like there's anything intrinsically wrong with that tossup. If someone had read Antigone, I can't see him or her negging it, because the question up until that point doesn't match the plot. If someone didn't know it, his or her fake knowledge was rewarded with negative points, unless players listened carefully and heard, "the title characters."

On the other hand, I guess you could argue that if EFT is intended to be marketed as a tournament for easier teams, then questions shouldn't penalize the limited knowledge of new teams. (This is not necessarily my position.)

Out of curiosity, did people who have read Antigone more recently than me (five years ago) neg that tossup?
I did. I read Antigone 2 years ago, and got totally bamboozled by that tossup as I had no clue what the lead-in was about. So, I just buzzed when they mentioned character names.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Nicklausse/Muse » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:44 pm

What was the question?
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Re: Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:36 pm

I've only ever read Antigone, but I don't think any of the events described (like, the clues containing the character names) happen in Antigone. So making that neg only happens if you don't actually know things about Antigone but are trying to answer a tossup that you think is on it anyway; that's a risk that you take. If the tossup just had a clue, like, "One character in this play has a brother named Polynices" then there would be trouble.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Auroni » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:40 pm

I haven't read Antigone, but I've written questions on it and on Sophocles. Using that knowledge, I realized that what was going on wasn't from Antigone and figured out the correct answer. I'm fairly bad at remembering things from works, but if you have more than just trivial knowledge of Antigone, it should be easy to rule out as an answer.
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Re: Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:15 am

I don't feel like there's anything intrinsically wrong with that tossup. If someone had read Antigone, I can't see him or her negging it, because the question up until that point doesn't match the plot. If someone didn't know it, his or her fake knowledge was rewarded with negative points, unless players listened carefully and heard, "the title characters."
I can certainly see it happening, in significant part because I've read Antigone (twice) and negged the tossup. I haven't looked at it and can't seem to find at, so I'm not sure if the question was grossly negligent or anything, but let's presume it wasn't.

Either way, I'd like to caution younger (and older, really) players away from getting caught up in this regrettable "fake vs. real knowledge" metanarrative that has dominated the quizbowl community in recent years. I'm not arguing here that this question in particular was/wasn't a hose, but rather am arguing against drawing the highly incorrect conclusion that negging a tossup on a possibly confusing clue is inherently demonstrative of fake knowledge getting justly punished, since you can tell by re-reading the question that the negged-with answer is technically excluded by clues.

There are a number of problems with this conclusion, including:
-Tossups are not read over visually, they are heard by a moderator who might be mediocre, in a room that might have crappy accoustics, at a pace that might be prohibitive to careful processing. If you've written a clue that could obviously be a hose if the players do not recall this one word in line 2 and integrate it with a clue in line 5, you might want to consider how that will play. Or, you might not, it could be fine - I'm saying you shouldn't inherently conclude that because your tossup would parse correctly in a logic engine, it will play just as smoothly.
-"Real knowledge" seems to be assumed here to be synonymous with "complete knowledge." For some reason certain people in quizbowl have promulgated this idea that you can't have real knowledge about, say, a book unless you've read it cover to cover, etc. That's nonsense. Sure, you can have fake list-based knowledge you've built up by amassing an incomprehensibly large cache of index cards, but you can also have read a discussion of a book in an academic paper about an author, listened to a lecture on it, or any number of a hundred other viable ways to encounter knowledge that are distinct from studying for nothing more than quizbowl's sake.

If your question describes one incident that happens in one work and then three incidents that sound exactly like things that also happened in a different work (again, note that I'm not saying that's what this question did, necessarily), you should probably expect people to neg the question in significant numbers. I don't know that I can imagine an argument for why a question that you knew would trigger such mass negging shouldn't be altered in some way.

This is sort of analogous to my argument that you can't go around negging people for answering "scimitar" on myth common link tossups on "swords" because the clues before they buzzed referred to other kinds of swords. The tenets of pyramidal quizbowl dictate that if a clue goes unbuzzed-upon, people didn't know it; if you've lazily written a tossup whose middle clues are hoses if the person doesn't know the leadin clues, I don't think you've stayed within the logical bounds of those tenets.

-Most importantly, one has a responsibility when putting together a tournament to write questions for their expressed purpose - that is, being played live in a quizbowl game. Whether or not you could defend your tossup on technical grounds as not strictly misleading when it's broken down in a post-tournament thread, you should still feel like you fucked up if everybody negged it, just as you should feel bad if your tossup went dead across every regular season tournament site because it was hard as balls. In fact, I think a significant problem with some editors is that such a thing doesn't seem to bother them.

This isn't directed to anyone in particular (and certainly not towards Ben, who has just happened to provide context for this quote rather than inspiring it), but please people: stop using "real knowledge" and other stuff as excuses for questions that didn't get the job done. Again, I haven't seen the tossup, but I don't remember hearing something that yelled at me "this can't be Antigone." Maybe that's because I screwed up (probably, actually), but it could also be because the contextual clues ruling out such an answer didn't get across as clearly as they might when the author was reading and re-reading his tossup on the page. And really, the idea that a leadin at this EFT could have been garbled and incomprehensible doesn't exactly require the world's biggest leap of faith.
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Re: Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:12 am

Chris is spittin' truth. Questions are read and processed quickly. The internal structure needs to acknowledge this reality. Questions have to be more than technically correct or unique or logical; they must play as problem-free as possible.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:17 pm

Yeah, Chris makes a lot of really good points.
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Re: Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:27 pm

Could somebody post the text of the tossup?
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Re: Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:24 pm

EFT Round 8 wrote:15. At one point in this work, one character tells how a bull was slaughtered over a black shield, and dipped their hands in its blood in honor of Mars, Enyo and Fear. This play begins with one character learning about a surprise attack during nighttime from a seer. The title characters never speak any lines on stage, and it forms a trilogy with its author's Laius and Oedipus. This drama ends with a herald telling a woman not to disobey the newly passed law, but she insists that she will bury her brother. Its cast includes an unnamed spy, Ismene, Antigone, and her brother Eteocles. For 10 points, name this play by Aeschylus whose titular group includes Amphiaraus and Adrastus.
ANSWER: Seven Against Thebes
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Re: Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:36 pm

What a terrible giveaway, by the way.
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Re: Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:08 pm

Morraine Man wrote:What a terrible giveaway, by the way.
That was the part that made me the maddest!
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