Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Blahhunter »

ValenciaQBowl wrote:
There were 2/2 American history and 2/2 world history in each packet. I don't see any packet where this is not the case; however, the good news is that the packets are available at the collegiate archive, so I encourage anyone who thinks this is not so to point out actual instances.
I believe that the standard distribution for history is supposed to be 1/1 American, 1/1 World, 1/1 British/Euro , and 1/1 Other (ancient, etc.) ? Why should European history be left out of the set?
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love »

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:
Edward Elric wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
gkandlikar wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:Time Transfixed is what, Magritte's fourth most famous work?
WRONG. What are you, Andy Watkins learning chemistry differently?

Try "first " or "second" most famous works and we'd be talking.
Just from talking to various people (not necessarily quizbowlers) and reading articles and stuff, I was always under the impression that The Son of Man, The Treachery of Images, and Golconda were his three most famous paintings. I guess I could be wrong.
Most of my non-quiz bowl friends who view art tend to recollect Time Transfixed (How can someone forget a train coming out of a fireplace!) more commonly than The treachery of Images and Golconda. Obviously the Son of Man is the most popular.
I'd say The Treachery of Images is the most popular (the "Ceci n'est pas une ______" thing is a semi-common joke) followed by Time Transfixed.
I'd say Time Transfixed is 3rd or 4th. Son of Man, then a big gap, then Treachery of Images, then a bigger gap, then Golconda or Time Transfixed. Either way, I don't think too many people got this before the giveaway.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill »

Blahhunter wrote:
ValenciaQBowl wrote:
There were 2/2 American history and 2/2 world history in each packet. I don't see any packet where this is not the case; however, the good news is that the packets are available at the collegiate archive, so I encourage anyone who thinks this is not so to point out actual instances.
I believe that the standard distribution for history is supposed to be 1/1 American, 1/1 World, 1/1 British/Euro , and 1/1 Other (ancient, etc.) ? Why should European history be left out of the set?
I'm assuming he included Euro in the "World" history part of the distribution.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Blahhunter »

Inkana7 wrote:
Blahhunter wrote:
ValenciaQBowl wrote:
There were 2/2 American history and 2/2 world history in each packet. I don't see any packet where this is not the case; however, the good news is that the packets are available at the collegiate archive, so I encourage anyone who thinks this is not so to point out actual instances.
I believe that the standard distribution for history is supposed to be 1/1 American, 1/1 World, 1/1 British/Euro , and 1/1 Other (ancient, etc.) ? Why should European history be left out of the set?
I'm assuming he included Euro in the "World" history part of the distribution.
I'm not too big of a fan of that idea... I mean, they are players out there who are much better at European history than American, and puts them at a heavy disadvantage. What was the reasoning behind making this tournament set follow a strange distribution as opposed to the regular one?
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Gautam »

Wurzel-Flummery wrote: I'd say Time Transfixed is 3rd or 4th. Son of Man, then a big gap, then Treachery of Images, then a bigger gap, then Golconda or Time Transfixed. Either way, I don't think too many people got this before the giveaway.
Hey, so, I want to iterate that these "xth most famous metrics" that you're invoking are really arbitrary. Time Transfixed has been (for many years) and will continue to be a tossupable work of Magrette. That it was not converted early across many rooms may just be part of quizbowl zeitgeist; we keep hearing people keep saying "harder things are more awesome and should keep coming up as middle parts of bonuses," etc. i.e people know The Menaced Assassin or The Empire of Lights but not something reasonably fine such as Time Transfixed. Alternatively it could just have been a hard tossup on Time Transfixed.

Also, since most of the "why would you toss this up" complaints are being followed by "there was this easier thing you could ask about" argument, I'll reiterate that there's nothing wrong with a few challenging tossups. Like I've said earlier, tournaments are increasingly being written such that 95-99% of the tossups (clue choice, ordering, and answer choice) will correspond to the advertised/expected difficulty. A few times editors make some errors judging difficulty, possibly from personal-knowledge bias or from past experience, but really this has been minimal. Sure, there were a handful of tossups that could have been made a little easier, probably because C-Borg et al thought the audience could convert them. It's just fine to have a couple of these scattered about.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Yeah, all this discussion of Time Transfixed is showing some really fundamental misunderstanding of how you are supposed to judge difficulty in quizbowl. It's really really famous, trying to figure out through a concrete ranking mechanism if it's "more famous" than other really really famous Magritte paintings is a fool's errand, and using such a ranking to inherently write it off as an answer is even sillier.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I'm with Gautam here. Quibbling over answer lines is one of the least interesting parts of tournaments. Dr. Borglum chose a variety of answer lines. Some of them are harder than others. Some perhaps were ideas that didn't work. But tournaments would be kind of dull if everyone always used the most basic answer lines for their questions.

I've had people quibble with my answer lines for questions several times. Sometimes they're right. Sometimes I think they're just using the "I wouldn't have written that question that way." The former is informative (although nothing the writers can do now). The latter is not particularly generative.

Also, Dees and Charlie AND Gautam are absolutely correct. What is this "ranking the most famous/important" rubric? Who came up with it? Why should I trust high schoolers' opinions on it anyway? If we're going to just make up rubrics, I'll make up a rubric for Henry James works and confound you all with HS school tossups on "The Wings of the Dove."
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Also, so my position is clear on the actual tossup, Time Transfixed happens to be too hard for a high school tournament in my opinion. It just doesn't happen to be too hard for any of the reasons people like Raynell are arguing, and the reasons they put forth are pretty riddled with holes of logic. The reason it's too hard is because lots of high schoolers can't possibly be expected to name any Magritte paintings. He suffers from a particular answerability problem where lots of people can recognize his works from a description because things like a man in a bowler hat with an apple in front of his face or a pipe with the words "this is not a pipe" underneath it are of course very recognizable by anyone who pays attention to culture. However, unlike works like Starry Night, people rarely discuss those paintings in the context of their titles, so you could easily go through life encountering many famous Magritte works in all kinds of places without ever once learning that the picture about a pipe is called "The Treachery of Images." Of all Magritte's works, Time Transfixed actually happens to be the one that probably more players will be able to name. However, there simply are not enough people who can do that to justify tossing it up in high school. All these other arguments being put forth are sort of absurd.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

To be fair, this wasn't explicitly a high school tournament. That said, I think your point holds for easy collegiate tournaments. So, good point again, Charlie and Dees.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region »

I'm a little bit confused about the discussion, and since I'm something of a veteran quizbowler, I wonder if perhaps some of the younger players trying to discuss tournaments are also confused. It seems like oftentimes when people say, "X is too hard," lots of posters, especially more experienced posters, start expressing annoyance about the practice of complaining about specific answer lines as being "uninteresting" or "bad discussion." Like, I get that posters sometimes make really bad arguments against specific answer lines, and some of the discussion can get silly when you start going back and forth about about how to rank the works of Faulkner by difficulty or whatever. And I get that it's fun to have a few tough outlier questions that reward those who really know their stuff. But I also think it's perfectly fine to just make a post saying, "I think Time Transfixed was too hard," and then make an attempt to logically explain why you think that. And making a potentially helpful suggestion along the lines of, "Perhaps you could write instead just a tossup on Magritte," can also be helpful. As a question writer, I know such discussion has helped me better judge question difficulty and hopefully made my answer lines more accessible.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

That's a good point. I have nothing against people talking through questions they thought to be too hard or answer lines that seemed frustrating. I was just expressing my objection to discussions in which people tried to use arbitrary "ranking" systems of notability or merely threw out objections to answers with little explanation. What Eric says is definitely correct though.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Cheynem wrote:That's a good point. I have nothing against people talking through questions they thought to be too hard or answer lines that seemed frustrating. I was just expressing my objection to discussions in which people tried to use arbitrary "ranking" systems of notability or merely threw out objections to answers with little explanation. What Eric says is definitely correct though.
Yeah, I agree with Eric as well. Reading discussions, both new and old, of the flaws of specific questions has helped me immensely as a writer. This inexplicable rash of random people making nonsensical assertions about the relative fame of Magritte paintings, though, is not the way to go about that.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by DumbJaques »

Rob is correct here, and I'd even take it a step further. It's not that I find it inherently unhelpful when someone posts "X was too hard, ask Y instead," it's that listening to people just randomly toss out such opinions with little basis is irksome. It's not just the Magritte Anti-Anti-Relativism, either - saying stuff like "nobody really knows a lot else about Zimbardo" or "ahimsa is too hard because some dude in my room gave a joke answer" is just wrong. In the former case, it's just an opinion without an argument, so at best it doesn't really add anything to the discussion and at worst it leads readers to assume it's unassailably correct (since people are tired of having to assail this stuff every time it happens).

On the other hand, if you raise these points and make a coherent, quizbowl-relevant argument, then everyone can judge your logic for themselves. Appeals to some kind of remote authority are tenuous even if you somehow had a perfectly accurate understanding of what's askable and what isn't. And sorry, but people very infrequently do, so you can probably be safe betting that you don't either. Instead, explain your reasoning and see it raised up as peerless by a harmonious choirs of clown buzzers, or consumed along with your soul in the fires of Mt. Vinokurov.

Here, I'll try to provide an example for what I mean in regards to those two questions: Zimbardo is actually experiencing a huge resurgence in relevancy in the wake of prisoner abuse incidents, and is in the midst of by far the most productive period of his professional life. I've heard his new book sucks (and its title sounds like an infomercial), but he wrote a bestseller just a few years ago. It's just not right at all to say that nobody knows anything else about him. Additionally, in a quizbowl sense there's a great deal of reason to not write the world's ten millionth tossup on the Stanford Prison Experiment (it's difficult to make neither obfuscated nor fraudable, the clues are beyond stale, etc). Hell, at this point, I think Zimbardo clues themselves are getting a bit stale.

Ahimsa is harder than "Jainism," but not all that much - the specific Jain angle aside, it's a big deal if you study Gandhi and is a key religious/philosophical concept in a number of Eastern religions. And Jainism has been coming up absolutely forever - I'm sorry that kid didn't know what the word was, but I guarantee you it's in at least 5 hs tournaments a year going back as long as I've been around. I think you could actually make the case that quizbowl mocks itself every time we expand that Jainism canon (I know I'm going to see a tossup this year on a non-Mahavira tirthankara and it won't end well for the author) and that we should stop doing that crap. But that's not the same as decrying it as too hard with no explanation except literally "two teams plus me didn't know it."

I don't really mean to pick on Andrew here because some of his points are correct and well-articulated - I actually will disagree with Jerry, for example, that "psychoanalysis" is functionally equivalent to asking about "Freud." I think it's entirely possible to know Freud on a number of different levels without being able to generate "psychoanalysis" as a term, and I don't just mean titles. You can have a basic awareness of the role of The Interpretation of Dreams in the history of western thought, or you can be familiar with Freudian theories without knowing the term (or perhaps more likely, simply being unaware that it properly describes Freud's school rather than being just a generic term). You could even just know something really basic, like what the Oedipal complex is and Freud's connection to that. I think one can argue that it's fine for a tossup to be uninterested in rewarding a level of knowledge that basic, though I don't know that I agree in this case. But I think there are a number of plausible ways - few of them explained by list memorization - that players at the Valencia DB site, for instance, could produce the answer "Freud" without being able to answer with "psychoanalysis."
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region »

Cheynem wrote:That's a good point. I have nothing against people talking through questions they thought to be too hard or answer lines that seemed frustrating. I was just expressing my objection to discussions in which people tried to use arbitrary "ranking" systems of notability or merely threw out objections to answers with little explanation. What Eric says is definitely correct though.
I knew that's what you were getting at, and I agree. I mainly wanted to defend answer-line criticism as being potentially helpful. Thank everyone for the clarification.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Dr. Borglum
Thanks, Mike, but Dr. Borglum is my wife; I may be a "professor," but I only have a master's.

I'm happy to have folks say what they think is too hard for the field; sometimes I agree (as in "Time Transfixed, which, still, had a pretty good conversion rate at my site, and with some other answers noted upthread), and sometimes I don't (as with "Prairie Style"), but the discussion is fruitful for me.

Our field is a little weird, as I've repeatedly noted, since we have a few top teams who regularly compete for the CC national title and once in a while make deep runs in the DII ICT (as I expect Dallin Kelson to do this spring), but we have lots of very, very inexperienced teams, too. And in the meantime I've got to come up with, for example, 13/13 in religion, which means that as I try to vary answers, I'll throw in a couple that will be too far out there for many teams but will be fine for the top 5-7. As to DB's appropriateness for HS teams, my recollection of 2008 is that the Penn HS field (or at least those who posted here and ran it) found the questions too easy. Maybe I've overcompensated for that, and I'll definitely try to pull back a bit in the future. But take a look at the Harvard mirror teams' bonus conversion--they seemed to do pretty well. So it's hard to find a happy medium.

Interestingly, I've been laboring under one completely wrong assumption for a while: I thought most mACF type tournaments (not ACF specifically, mind you) had 2/2 American history. So now I understand why one poster thought there was too much of that--he's right as accepted tournament distro goes! Still, having learned this, I don't think I'll change. I don't feel that every tournament has to be exactly the same, and my focus for DB will always be on my field of players in Orlando.

I greatly appreciate all the feedback and will continue to try to write good novice-level questions which people can avail themselves of if they wish. But like its real-life counterpart, Delta Burke will have warts and idiosyncracies, so beware!
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Also, just for fun, note the answer lines from two bonuses submitted for DB:

"Most famous" book by Kenneth Waltz (sorry, can't remember and don't have it in front of me)
Kenneth Waltz
Realism (in its IR iteration)

Christology
Nestorianism
Soteriology (!!!)

I mean absolutely no harm to those who submitted those, but they did amuse me in their implicit assumptions of what CC players might know. I'm sure there are novices around the country who could do well on that first one, as its writer insisted, but I'm confident that it wouldn't have gone over well at my DB site. So anyway, be glad for what didn't come up!
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region »

Yeah, thanks for putting Delta Burke (the tournament!) together. I always find it a good tournament to read at practice for novices, and this year's version (of the tournament!) looks good as well.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

My, my, what I would pay to play a tournament full of soteriology.

I don't have much meaningful to add to this discussion, except to echo the sentiment expressed by Eric, Rob, and Mike about the usefulness of well-constructed arguments over difficulty of specific questions. For me, specific discussion has always been more helpful since it illustrates not only the exact problem with the question at hand but also gives examples of how to solve that problem. To construct a very crude example, it is far more helpful to hear "that tossup on Machiavelli was too difficult for Delta Burke because it was 90% about Discourses on Livy. It could have been made easier for this field by adding some more clues about The Prince, which is more widely-read and influential blah blah blah"* than to hear "this tournament contained some questions that should have been made easier".

*To be fair, this (rightful) need to back up one's reasoning is often where discussion becomes over-specific and devolves into pointless bickering over ranking Magritte paintings. I'm all for everyone participating in tournament discussion, but perhaps people need to consider their knowledge about the subject being discussed and the validity of their reasoning before complaining about the faults of certain questions.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

As to DB's appropriateness for HS teams, my recollection of 2008 is that the Penn HS field (or at least those who posted here and ran it) found the questions too easy.
To explain the trap you fell into, since you aren't involved in high school, in 2008 high school quizbowl was squarely in the middle of an insane ramping up of difficulty driven by the very top teams, so the board was chock full of people from top teams whining when they got a lot of first line buzzes and 30ed a lot of bonuses on sets. There was a pretty fundamental lack of understanding in those complaints that 1) high school tournaments are full of teams a lot worse than them who people have to actually try and make fair games for too, and 2) top teams are good for a reason and should be getting lots of first line powers and 30ing lots of bonuses. You weren't the only one to listen to them, lots of high school events were loaded to the top with questions that were way too hard as a result (including many IS sets, to give you an idea of just how widespread the complaining was). There is starting to be a backlash though, since obviously these sets left the vast majority of high school teams in the dust completely and people are figuring out that that's not good, so we're moving to a point where we are trying to have the very top teams power the bulk of the tossups they hear and get bonus conversion stats numbers that are as high as 28 or even more. In other words, the people complaining about that last Delta Burke mirror were an incredibly biased representation of high school quizbowl, and you shouldn't strictly listen to Naren Tallapregada's opinion when he and others start making posts that amount to "I know lots of things so they must be too easy." Hopefully that will help you turn this into a better high school set in the future if you mirror it again.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Here are the stats for that 2008 tournament by the way: http://results.scobo.net/SQBS.aspx?org= ... =standings

The playoff stats were never completed, despite my 4 or 5 posts in the thread asking for them.

The questions were most certainly not too easy at that tournament.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots »

To be fair, there are limits to how much you can use reasoning to determine difficulty. In this case, either Time Transfixed is more famous than Son of Man, or it isn't, and if someone disagrees with your evaluation, no amount of unaided logic can convince him. You can say something like "Time Transfixed is in more textbooks/museums/Tom + Jerry cartoons," but those arguments don't really further your point. If somebody believes Son of Man is more famous, they'll believe that Son of Man is found in more textbooks/museums/Tom + Jerry cartoons, rendering your arguments unconvincing without further evidence. The only way to make an effective argument, in this case, would be to cite specific data on the relative fame of each; unfortunately, those data are usually unavailable.

Perhaps instead of making ostentatious snap judgments on subtle nuances in difficulty, we should spend more time on individual, weak tossups indicative of general trends.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Cernel Joson wrote:In this case, either Time Transfixed is more famous than Son of Man, or it isn't
See, this is the sort of thing that prompted me to post in the first place, even though I calmed down and ended up not talking about it. There's no divinely-ordained Great Chain of Fame for clues or works, and asserting otherwise isn't particularly productive. Would you assert definitively that Tom Sawyer is more (or less) famous than Huck Finn? No*.

Yes, some things are more famous than others; that much should be obvious. Often, though, you have to work with a number of clues of relatively equal fame that you just have to mess around with until you produce something workable. The same principle applies when you're using these things as answerlines: speaking in terms relevant to the discussion at hand, there's generally going to be a set of works of any given person that are tossupable at a given level. Sometimes that set is empty, sometimes there's one thing in it, and sometimes there's several. Discussion can help elucidate this, if you (the general you) aren't sure, but think before you post "no, this is the exact ranking of the difficulty of Jane Austen works".

*Please don't.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Auroni »

I can second that, even if say Time Transfixed usually appears a clue after Son of Man in a typical Magritte tossup, that doesn't mean that there's a difficulty gradation between them. If clue order in tossups implied that one thing is necessarily "easier" than another, then how would a typical low-level tossup on Jane Austen, which assuredly is going to use clues from at least two of her six major novels, be ordered? When I write tossups on authors with multiple works, I often pay attention to the details; if I were to write that tossup on Austen, it would make sense to me to describe a secondary character from Pride and Prejudice before a primary character from Sense and Sensibility, arguments about differentiating between them in difficulty be damned.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Hope you're applying your tough standards to your THUNDER questions right now.

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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots »

Ukonvasara wrote:
Cernel Joson wrote:In this case, either Time Transfixed is more famous than Son of Man, or it isn't
See, this is the sort of thing that prompted me to post in the first place, even though I calmed down and ended up not talking about it. There's no divinely-ordained Great Chain of Fame for clues or works, and asserting otherwise isn't particularly productive. Would you assert definitively that Tom Sawyer is more (or less) famous than Huck Finn? No*.

Yes, some things are more famous than others; that much should be obvious. Often, though, you have to work with a number of clues of relatively equal fame that you just have to mess around with until you produce something workable. The same principle applies when you're using these things as answerlines: speaking in terms relevant to the discussion at hand, there's generally going to be a set of works of any given person that are tossupable at a given level. Sometimes that set is empty, sometimes there's one thing in it, and sometimes there's several. Discussion can help elucidate this, if you (the general you) aren't sure, but think before you post "no, this is the exact ranking of the difficulty of Jane Austen works".

*Please don't.
It sounds like we're saying the same thing in different ways, perhaps with some differences in how we got there. Any set of answers can, theoretically, be objectively ordered as to their fame, and it's somewhat absurd to declare otherwise; to take your example, there is an objective number of people who have heard of Tom Sawyer, and another objective number of people who have heard of Huck Finn, and one of those numbers is larger than the other. However, you seem to be misinterpreting me as saying something like, "Since there's a clean-cut ordering of difficulty between any number of subjects you could imagine, we should just go find that ordering and everything will be fine." In fact, I am saying nearly the opposite.

While either Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn is more well-known than the other, no one on this board, least of all me, can definitively say or reason out which is the case. Only some kind of omniscient being (or Andrew Yaphe) could make that declaration. I'm using the idea of objective fame not to encourage the creation of some hyper-detailed ordering, but to discourage any attempt to reason out this ordering in a vacuum. Any attempt to reason out the most subtle differences in notability (i.e. Time Transfixed vs. Son of Man) would have to take into account a million small factors, inherent in the real world, which all contribute or detract from an answer's objective fame; arguments on the boards will always necessarily avoid these, rendering this a fairly barren avenue for reasoning.

Like you said, then, it's pointless to spend too much time trying to reason out a perfect ordering of Jane Austen works, when in many ways, their fame is dependent on a number of factors outside the immediate grasp of our intellect. Some combination of research, intuition, and satisficing must be employed to "produce something workable."
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Yeah, I didn't mean to make that sound like such a direct response to your post; rather, it was inspired by the earlier posts that were making me mad. In general I do agree with your conclusions, especially that it's not particularly helpful to try to reason out minute differences in "objective fame", and I certainly don't mean to interpret you in the way you suggest I do.

I guess what I am suggesting is that it's better, for quizbowl purposes, to take a wider, more common-sense view of things like this. I tend to consider clues like, again, for an easy example, works of an author, as arranged in rough tiers rather than in the aforementioned Great Chain of Fame; sometimes a tier will have only one thing, and that's okay*, and sometimes I'll get something wrong, and in the grand scheme of things that's okay too. I think the primary point where my thoughts differ from yours is that I would prefer if people (both when writing and when criticizing) completely ignore the fact that yes, technically there's some minute difference between Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and be willing to accept a little variation. Not every tournament needs its difficulty calibrated to the micron; if Delta Burke 2011 has a tossup on "The Awful German Language", sure, something has gone wrong. If it has a tossup on Pudd'nhead Wilson or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court...maybe that's not such a big deal.

So, uh, in short: I agree with you nearly completely, but the small differences in our opinions lead to some more detailed thoughts that aren't actually disagreeing with anything you've said.

EDIT (forgot to footnote the footnote): *This is most common in the "easiest" tier, where a lot of things have one thing that is widely considered to be "the most famous" about them.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots »

Ukonvasara wrote:Yeah, I didn't mean to make that sound like such a direct response to your post; rather, it was inspired by the earlier posts that were making me mad. In general I do agree with your conclusions, especially that it's not particularly helpful to try to reason out minute differences in "objective fame", and I certainly don't mean to interpret you in the way you suggest I do.

I guess what I am suggesting is that it's better, for quizbowl purposes, to take a wider, more common-sense view of things like this. I tend to consider clues like, again, for an easy example, works of an author, as arranged in rough tiers rather than in the aforementioned Great Chain of Fame; sometimes a tier will have only one thing, and that's okay*, and sometimes I'll get something wrong, and in the grand scheme of things that's okay too. I think the primary point where my thoughts differ from yours is that I would prefer if people (both when writing and when criticizing) completely ignore the fact that yes, technically there's some minute difference between Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and be willing to accept a little variation. Not every tournament needs its difficulty calibrated to the micron; if Delta Burke 2011 has a tossup on "The Awful German Language", sure, something has gone wrong. If it has a tossup on Pudd'nhead Wilson or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court...maybe that's not such a big deal.

So, uh, in short: I agree with you nearly completely, but the small differences in our opinions lead to some more detailed thoughts that aren't actually disagreeing with anything you've said.
Yeah, that's an interesting point I've been thinking about recently. The different levels of difficulty have served as useful constructs, but they create a kind of scientific aura that's really not supposed to be implied. To add to that, historical decisions on where to place a certain answer in the "canon" aren't necessarily infallible...so yeah, even if Pudd'nhead Wilson has usually been a middle or hard part, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's out of the question for it to be a tossup once in a while (though I'd probably find something else, first).
Last edited by The King's Flight to the Scots on Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Aren't necessarily infallible? They ain't infallible period, I'd argue.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
We done did that toss-up a few years back, I reckon, mmm-hmm.
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