SCT/ICT Distribution

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setht
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SCT/ICT Distribution

Post by setht » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:46 am

What do people think of the SCT/ICT distribution?

I'll start things off by saying I would like to see some small changes--a little less current events and geography, maybe also a little less pop culture and sports; a little more non-religious literature and maybe a little more in various smaller academic categories (fine arts, social science, philosophy, myth)--but overall I think the distribution is in a pretty good place. I kind of like having the miscellaneous category; I think it allows for some innovative questions of a sort that don't seem to come up in other tournaments almost at all (e.g. Charlie Dees's Andy Warhol bonus, Samer's "Peregrinus expectavi, pedes meos in cymbalis" bonus, Matt Bruce's Michael Pollan bonus). I'm sure not all of the miscellaneous questions came out great, and perhaps that category should shrink a bit on the theory that it's very hard to come up with that many really cool mixed-category ideas in each set. Or maybe we just need to get more writers involved so we have more people coming up with ideas.

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts.

-Seth
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Re: SCT/ICT Distribution

Post by Kyle » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:09 pm

My biggest problem with the distribution, both as a player and now as a writer, is the general underrepresentation of non-Western history within the history sub-distribution. Not counting "misc history," but counting things like "other North American history," the distribution calls for 17 non-Western history tossups out of a total of 79 history tossups in 18 rounds. My personal opinion is that a higher percentage of the history should be non-Western. At the very least, it seems like it would be reasonable to add 1/1 to make it a full 18/18 in 18 rounds, although I actually think it should be higher than that. The current rate of 20% of the history being non-Western strikes me as kind of low, given how big the world is and how many people live in it.

EDIT -- I should say that I have similar views about the preponderance of American geography.
Last edited by Kyle on Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SCT/ICT Distribution

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:11 pm

I agree with every opinion there, Seth.

On the topic of miscellaneous, I feel that the category itself isn't inherently bad, but is made so by poor questions, which can obviously be worked on. I don't know what percentage of the subpar questions fell in miscellaneous, so to that end, assuming there's a non-time-intensive method of finding out, which ones were the miscellaneous questions this year?
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Re: SCT/ICT Distribution

Post by jonah » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:48 pm

styxman wrote:On the topic of miscellaneous, I feel that the category itself isn't inherently bad, but is made so by poor questions, which can obviously be worked on. I don't know what percentage of the subpar questions fell in miscellaneous, so to that end, assuming there's a non-time-intensive method of finding out, which ones were the miscellaneous questions this year?
Hopefully this isn't posting "too much"; if it is, I'm sorry, and Jeff is well equipped to edit it out.

Division I mixed or GK tossups: Nicholas Kristof (packet 7), Brittany (16), pampas (17), Tibet (18)
Division I mixed or GK bonuses: people named Moses or variants thereof (11), stuff about the Galápagos (12), Donald Duck (15)
Division I mixed impure academic tossups: White Collar (7), [works based on] The Stranger (8), The Children's Hour (11), Michael Lewis (12), snakes (16), Eskimos (18)
Division I mixed impure academic bonuses: Peregrinus expectavi pedes meos in cymbalis (1), Big Bang Theory/Hybrid Theory/Chaos Theory (2), A Little Night Music (3), works about the KKK (4), Asterios Polyp/Isamu Noguchi/Orpheus (5), possible identities of Jack the Ripper (6), Shepard Fairey (9), phrases associated with countries (10), Ford (13), Sequoyah/Sequoia/BH Lidell Hart (14), Andy Warhol (17)
Division I mixed pure academic tossups: mirrors (1), Nixon (2), Moloch (3), Laocoon (4), Objectivism (5), Hamlet (6), Prester John (9), evil (10), Naxos (13), Adolphe/Adolph (15)
Division I mixed pure academic bonuses: Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way (1), Paraguay (2), works by people who died in Mexico (3), Song for St. Cecilia's Day/Wundt/Enola Gay (4), furutology (5), unifying space and time (6), Carlos Rojas (7), In Time of the Breaking of Nations (8), people from Latvia (8), Benghazi Handicap (9), "two worlds" (10), Peer Gynt (11), Hungarians (12), Alice Keppel (13), Age of Anxiety (14), people associated with grapes (15), Bloomsbury group (16), The Botany of Desire (17), Emily Dickinson/Thomas Higginson/Nat Turner (18)

Division II to come shortly.
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Re: SCT/ICT Distribution

Post by jonah » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:59 pm

Division II mixed or GK tossups: Thomas Kinkade (9), sexual revolution (16), Norman Mailer (17)
Division II mixed or GK bonuses: Seven Sisters (3), grammatical cases (12), Cleveland (17)
Division II mixed impure academic tossups: West Virginia (1), Reno (4), Portland, Oregon (9), Korean War (10), The Children's Hour (11), Isle of the Dead (13)
Division II mixed impure academic bonuses: Peregrinus expectavi pedes meos in cymbalis (1), things that have "sand" in their name or sound like "sand" (2), princesses (3), con artists (5), "black swan" (7), people named Moses or variants thereof (11), people whose last name is Smart (14), writing about education (16), Pasternak (17), people who have lines named for them (18)
Division II mixed pure academic tossups: Babylon (2), Isis (5), 1890s (6), snow (7), Guinea (8), Bulgaria (12), 1871 Chicago fire (14), lightning (15), Sacco and Vanzetti (18)
Division II mixed pure academic bonuses: words/phrases coined by people buried in the Pére Lachaise (1), movements named from a single work (2), disabled people on coins (3), people from Miletus (4), titles of ship officers (5), Anawrahta (6), journeys around the world (7), people who died in 1910 (8), linguistic innovators (9), Caroline Norton (10), Peer Gynt (11), places in rural New Hampshire (12), Machiavelli (13), Age of Anxiety (14), US national cemeteries (15), Bloomsbury group (16), Johnny Appleseed (17), Andy Warhol (17)
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Re: SCT/ICT Distribution

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:47 pm

My only true crusade is for the elimination of "Mixed_Impure_Academic" altogether as a category, with those 15 or so questions scattered around the distribution to slightly course-correct other small categories. Questions that mix academic and trash content are virtually always annoying (regardless of whether the hybridity ruins the tossup or a bonus) and are axiomatically bad questions by modern standards. I'm more indifferent towards "Mixed_Pure_Academic," especially in bonuses, but there seems to be zero excuse for adding a trash bonus part to two parts of an academic bonus or stuffing an insubstantially-academic tossup with a trash clue or two, especially with the given character limit.
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Re: SCT/ICT Distribution

Post by setht » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:20 pm

RyuAqua wrote:My only true crusade is for the elimination of "Mixed_Impure_Academic" altogether as a category, with those 15 or so questions scattered around the distribution to slightly course-correct other small categories. Questions that mix academic and trash content are virtually always annoying (regardless of whether the hybridity ruins the tossup or a bonus) and are axiomatically bad questions by modern standards. I'm more indifferent towards "Mixed_Pure_Academic," especially in bonuses, but there seems to be zero excuse for adding a trash bonus part to two parts of an academic bonus or stuffing an insubstantially-academic tossup with a trash clue or two, especially with the given character limit.
I'm not sure if this changes your feelings at all, but remember that film is grouped with pop culture in the NAQT distribution, so stuff like the Battle on the Ice/Symphony of Psalms/Vulgate bonus are classified as mixed impure academic. Also, the parts of the distribution that can go to general knowledge or to mixed impure academic can also go to mixed pure academic--there are maximum limits but no minimum limits for the general knowledge and mixed impure academic categories. It looks like this year's set had one GK tossup out of a maximum 4/3 and 4/10 mixed impure academic out of a maximum 6/11; I believe a fairly large fraction of the mixed impure academic was impure because of the inclusion of film clues, but obviously there were some exceptions.

-Seth
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Re: SCT/ICT Distribution

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:40 pm

setht wrote:I'm not sure if this changes your feelings at all, but remember that film is grouped with pop culture in the NAQT distribution, so stuff like the Battle on the Ice/Symphony of Psalms/Vulgate bonus are classified as mixed impure academic. Also, the parts of the distribution that can go to general knowledge or to mixed impure academic can also go to mixed pure academic--there are maximum limits but no minimum limits for the general knowledge and mixed impure academic categories. It looks like this year's set had one GK tossup out of a maximum 4/3 and 4/10 mixed impure academic out of a maximum 6/11; I believe a fairly large fraction of the mixed impure academic was impure because of the inclusion of film clues, but obviously there were some exceptions.

-Seth
The easiest workaround for this particular aspect is probably to begin considering commonly-considered "art film," which Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky probably is, as "Visual_Other" rather than "Pop Culture", reclassifying questions within the database as necessary. I actually considered the Nevsky/Symphony of Psalms/Vulgate question as a good example of how Mixed_Pure_Academic could work - oops!
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Re: SCT/ICT Distribution

Post by Cheynem » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:05 pm

I felt the mixed pure academic stuff wasn't THAT bad, although I guess you can quibble if knowledge of a movie version of The Children's Hour should ever get points over someone who has read the work (for what it's worth, I would argue that it's not like the movie versions are trash but semi-reasonable academic things in their own right).
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Re: SCT/ICT Distribution

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:15 pm

Cheynem wrote:I felt the mixed pure academic stuff wasn't THAT bad, although I guess you can quibble if knowledge of a movie version of The Children's Hour should ever get points over someone who has read the work (for what it's worth, I would argue that it's not like the movie versions are trash but semi-reasonable academic things in their own right).
This is exactly what I dislike the most about the mixed impure academic. I'm not maligning people's pop culture knowledge, but at a by-and-large academic competition, I can imagine that it's a little hypertension-inducing to see someone buzz off a pop culture clue on White Collar while you're busily plumbing the depths of your C. Wright Mills knowledge.
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