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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:05 pm
by grapesmoker
DumbJaques wrote: To balance this post out a bit with the Power of Heart, whoever wrote that Arthashastra tossup gets a big hug from me (even if it's Marshall).
This should balance out the glare I'm going to give that person, I guess, because that question blew ass.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:27 pm
by mhayes
MathMusic wrote: I wrote most of the Classical Music for the set, feel free to comment with any criticism.
I thought the classical music was generally good. However, the one tossup that sticks out to me was "The Magic Flute". From what I can remember, the tossup lacked a discernible pyramidal structure; it seemed like the clues were of constant difficulty until the giveaway. Also, I don't recall any mention of characters like Sarastro or Pamina, though I could understand if the writer felt that such clues are overused.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:36 pm
by Tees-Exe Line
Rather than heighten the invective, let me make a few points about this that are at least intended to improve this discussion in a non-confrontational, constructive direction.

Because I like to argue and do so in a particularly slashing way, the contributions of everyone else are being ignored here. Obviously that applies most to Ike, but also to Matt, Zach, and my Chicago teammates. I don't particularly care whether you persist in thinking that I'm trying to inflict pain on everyone, but those people certainly weren't and don't deserve to be harnessed to how my work is received.

I think it's interesting that my history questions are by far more controversial than every other category I write in--because history is the only subject in quizbowl where I had both a substantial body of knowledge and definite views before I became involved in this activity. To an extent, it's fine that quizbowl people dislike approaches that are at odds with accepted quizbowl ways of doing things, but it does betray a certain insularity. Since it absolutely isn't true that I don't care how my questions are received and that I'm impervious to criticism, my history questions will probably converge (as they already have) toward the quizbowl steady state... but I think both I and everybody else should not imagine that means they are becoming "better" by some external criterion.

I will have more to say about this tournament in awhile, perhaps not tonight. But insofar as people have a finite attention for post-tournament bull sessions, I don't want this to be all about me (and especially about one question). If what I've said here has brought about that state of affairs, then I deeply regret that.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:45 pm
by Tees-Exe Line
On "California Missions," the straightforward reason I arranged it as I did was that prior to my visit to the San Luis Obispo mission over the summer, I had no idea who Junipero Serra was, but I did know that Juan Batista de Anza had explored California in the 18th century. I'm sorry if that was an unrepresentative sample of knowledge of California Missions, but that's where I was coming from. I also thought that the anti-Jesuit background to the whole endeavor was particularly interesting.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:47 pm
by Cheynem
Marshall:

I believe aside from your time in Oxford playing quizbowl, you and I basically began playing collegiate quizbowl at the same time, 2008. I have a degree in history and know a bit about it. I didn't like a number of your questions not because I'm some insularist who has distinct views on history-as-a-quizbowl-category (I got my history undergrad and masters degrees before I ever picked up a college buzzer). I didn't like them because I thought they were too hard, had some problems in clue structure, and were occasionally confusing. I don't see how this has anything to do with being "insular" or not. Putting aside the Frederick the Great tossup, it wasn't like I looked at these questions and were like "What a terrible idea" or "The knowledge Marshall was testing for was weird," it was just more like the clues were frustratingly placed or the bonus was way too hard. To wit, I have no problem with writing bonuses on the Reagan administration or Georgia politicians or tossups on California Missions or Belgian Independence--all of those are okay. This is in fact about encouraging you to improve as a writer and not about (at least for me anyway) getting you to write more insular quizbowl-style. Certainly my own historical interests clash with quizbowl interests as well at times.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:51 pm
by Fond du lac operon
Shorter Jerry Vinokurov: The Junipero Serra clue was way too easy because I know it; the Georgia politics bonus was "impossible" and "stupid" because I didn't know it.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:53 pm
by Cheynem
Come on man, that's an over simplification. As you yourself admitted (and you're from Georgia, right?), the Georgia bonus was too hard. And Jerry wasn't the only person who thought Serra was misplaced there. I know way more 20th century political history than stuff about the CA missions and I was also trying to buzz on Serra and I (yes, badly) 10'ed the Georgia bonus, so yeah, I think Jerry is right.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:56 pm
by Down and out in Quintana Roo
As a former History major, and current AP U.S. History teacher, i can attest that those American History bonus questions that were posted were, quite simply, real damn hard.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:58 pm
by grapesmoker
What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:Shorter Jerry Vinokurov: The Junipero Serra clue was way too easy because I know it; the Georgia politics bonus was "impossible" and "stupid" because I didn't know it.
Actually, if you'd read carefully, you would have noticed that I wasn't even the one who answered the question; it was either Ryan or Matt, I don't remember which, but whichever of them it was, they aren't even Californians, they're from Michigan. And it was a roomwide buzzer-race with me and Mike Cheyne (I think) also participating. Noted non-Californian Matt Bollinger likewise noted the inappropriate earliness of the clue.

The correct comparison is not between Serra and three Georgia congressmen; the correct comparison is something like Serra ~ Oglethorpe, since they play a sort of commensurate role in the colonization of their respective territories. If there were a question that asked you to identify three California congresspeople, that too would be stupid and impossible, whether I knew it or not.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:01 pm
by Tees-Exe Line
I would also like to return to the Georgia politicians bonus because my total lack of insight into what was easy and hard DOES seem to have an external lesson in that case: Vinson spent his entire career maximizing Defense, and particularly Naval, appropriations, so I thought "that guy's totally unimportant; nobody's heard of him."

Whereas Russell was probably the most powerful Senator for a good chunk of the time he was there, and of him you could actually say that the United States spent longer shitting on black people than it would have had he not existed. Yet--probably because we wouldn't like to remember that such a thing was an actual political end that popularly-elected officials pursued--Russell is (apparently) unknown.

This at least suggests an explanation why "get shit named after yourself" is a goal that powerful officials historically serve, notwithstanding that it appears beside the point in their own day.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:02 pm
by The King's Flight to the Scots
Yeah, I'll amend my position to say that literature and myth seemed largely ok. They weren't perfect by any stretch but they were playable, certainly.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:05 pm
by Fond du lac operon
Jerry may well be right, but his position is poorly argued. I'm not going to claim that statistics are the final arbiter of what is good and true in quizbowl, but I think they're a decent first approximation, and Junipero Serra appears on the Stanford packet archive barely more than Mircea Eliade. If you're not from California, or a very good quizbowl player, you probably aren't going to know who he is.

I actually do think the Georgia bonus was poorly-written -- if three different people think three different parts of a bonus were the easy part, you probably needed to clue someone better. (Like a clue on the Vinson Massif would've been nice). But that doesn't make Jerry's reasoning any less stupid.
grapesmoker wrote: Actually, if you'd read carefully, you would have noticed that I wasn't even the one who answered the question
That doesn't preclude you from making the "that clue is too early because I know it" argument.

And I don't think bonuses about congresspeople are bad of necessity. I could write a bonus on Nixon/Gary Condit/Duke Cunningham, about California Congressmen who left political office in disgrace, even!

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:06 pm
by TulaneKQB
For what it's worth, I'm a History/American Studies/Political Science major also from Georgia; I would have gotten Watson and Russell (there are statues of at least one if not both of them in front of the Georgia State Capitol Building and they were both mentioned a lot in 8th grade Georgia history), but would have known Vinson only from the previously mentioned tidbits about the aircraft carrier, Osama bin Laden, and the college basketball game. Again, I'm not sure how much that actually contributes to the discussion, but for someone from Georgia with what has been a pretty sustained interest in general/Georgia political history I probably would have only gotten those two.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:06 pm
by Matt Weiner
What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:Jerry may well be right, but his position is poorly argued. I'm not going to claim that statistics are the final arbiter of what is good and true in quizbowl, but I think they're a decent first approximation, and Junipero Serra appears on the Stanford packet archive barely more than Mircea Eliade. If you're not from California you probably aren't going to know who he is.

I actually do think the Georgia bonus was poorly-written -- if three different people think three different parts of a bonus were the easy part, you probably needed to clue someone better. (Like a clue on the Vinson Massif would've been nice). But that doesn't make Jerry's reasoning any less stupid.
grapesmoker wrote: Actually, if you'd read carefully, you would have noticed that I wasn't even the one who answered the question
That doesn't preclude you from making the "that clue is too early because I know it" argument.

And I don't think bonuses about congresspeople are bad of necessity. I could write a bonus on Nixon/Gary Condit/Duke Cunningham, about California Congressmen who left political office in disgrace, even!
You have no idea what you're talking about, here or in general.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:09 pm
by grapesmoker
The problem of gauging difficulty is to ask yourself what other people would know about the topic at hand. I don't dispute the historical relevance of Russell, of course; the problem isn't that he was in the question, the problem was that the entire bonus was really hard. We wouldn't have even gotten Vinson if Mike Cheyne hadn't remembered that the Antarctic mountain was named after a Georgia politician. With those answers, this question becomes of a sort where you must be an expert in mid-century Georgia politics to get even 10 on it, and that's just bad.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:12 pm
by Fond du lac operon
Matt Weiner wrote:You have no idea what you're talking about, here or in general.
Probably true, but horribly unhelpful if you want me to actually know anything.

Anyway, I don't dispute that the Georgia bonus was hard, and I might even be wrong in thinking that the Serra clue was mostly fine, I just wanted to point out that "my team didn't know this" is a terrible reason to call it "impossible." (I'm obviously biased, but I'd have 20ed it, and I'm a worse history player than I am a player in general.)

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:15 pm
by grapesmoker
I'm going to respond one last time and then I'll stop because this is shitting up the thread:
What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:Jerry may well be right, but his position is poorly argued. I'm not going to claim that statistics are the final arbiter of what is good and true in quizbowl, but I think they're a decent first approximation, and Junipero Serra appears on the Stanford packet archive barely more than Mircea Eliade. If you're not from California, or a very good quizbowl player, you probably aren't going to know who he is.
This is objectively untrue. Lots of people really do know who Serra is; he is literally the single most important person when it comes to the Christianization of California. This doesn't depend on how many times he shows up in packet archives or whether or not Matt Bollinger is good at quizbowl. It's just true for reasonably objective (pre-emptive "let's not go there") historical reasons.
I actually do think the Georgia bonus was poorly-written -- if three different people think three different parts of a bonus were the easy part, you probably needed to clue someone better. (Like a clue on the Vinson Massif would've been nice). But that doesn't make Jerry's reasoning any less stupid.
Your disinterest in divining my actual reasoning, despite my all my handholding, is commensurate with my disinterest in carrying this any further.
That doesn't preclude you from making the "that clue is too early because I know it" argument.
If only there were some way for you to figure out what argument I was actually making, like maybe reading words that I wrote... what a crazy world that would be!
And I don't think bonuses about congresspeople are bad of necessity. I could write a bonus on Nixon/Gary Condit/Duke Cunningham, about California Congressmen who left political office in disgrace, even!
I invite you to ponder the difference between your selected answers and the ones in the question at hand. You may find this exercise illuminating.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:27 pm
by Fond du lac operon
grapesmoker wrote:This is objectively untrue. Lots of people really do know who Serra is; he is literally the single most important person when it comes to the Christianization of California. This doesn't depend on how many times he shows up in packet archives or whether or not Matt Bollinger is good at quizbowl. It's just true for reasonably objective (pre-emptive "let's not go there") historical reasons.
See, this is a better argument than "I lived in California, and half the things there are named for him!" So I'll shut up, because as much as I love arguing (even when I'm wrong), apparently Matt Weiner has decreed that since I'm not part of his narrowly-defined set of Virginians I am incapable of contributing to this discussion.

(Unless I see a math tossup that leads in by naming some random thing from Mathworld. Then I will be pissed off.)

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:33 pm
by cornfused
What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:Jerry may well be right, but his position is poorly argued. I'm not going to claim that statistics are the final arbiter of what is good and true in quizbowl, but I think they're a decent first approximation, and Junipero Serra appears on the Stanford packet archive barely more than Mircea Eliade. If you're not from California, or a very good quizbowl player, you probably aren't going to know who he is.
But that's just not true! I learned about him in middle school (Chicago suburbs) and again in high school (Chicago suburbs)... the only easier clues than Serra on California missions would be, from my perspective, names of California missions! And even then, they'd have to be ones that share their names with cities.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:33 pm
by Cheynem
I have no idea if you're serious about the "Matt Weiner Hates Me and Stole All My Lunch Money" concept, but dude. You call Jerry stupid for saying the same thing that lots of other people in this thread have said. You didn't play the tournament. You weren't at the tournament. This is your first year in collegiate quizbowl (yes, I am playing that card--I'm a jerk). I am not from Virginia and Matt Weiner doesn't like me very much, but you were really annoying the hell out of me in this thread. Look, I don't want you to not play quizbowl or state your opinions. But when you post in discussion threads, you should really reconsider how you're coming off. Because it's not just some Virginia cabal that doesn't like you calling people who have played way more quizbowl than you stupid for expressing an (accurate) opinion on a question.

(Sorry if this is meta-posting, none of this is intended as a moderator's opinion)

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:43 pm
by Fond du lac operon
FWIW, I never called Jerry stupid, because he's a fantastic player with a Ph.D. in astrophysics, and I am not (completely) insane. I said he made a dumb argument, and I stand by that -- or at least, I think he presented his argument shittily. Maybe that's not worth pointing out if I agree with someone's conclusions (which I do, basically), and almost certainly I should learn not to pick fights for the sake of fighting.

Anyway, I'll stop meta-posting, because it's not contributing anything.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:10 am
by DumbJaques
FWIW, I never called Jerry stupid, because he's a fantastic player with a Ph.D. in astrophysics, and I am not (completely) insane. I said he made a dumb argument, and I stand by that -- or at least, I think he presented his argument shittily. Maybe that's not worth pointing out if I agree with someone's conclusions (which I do, basically), and almost certainly I should learn not to pick fights for the sake of fighting.
Oh man, Harrison Brown, JUST WHAT THIS THREAD NEEDED! Look dude, like every thread you do this in ends with you making some pathetic self-pitying remark about Matt Weiner being mean to you or whatever, inevitably followed by some half-baked fauxpeal to reason and promise that you'll stop doing. . . whatever it is that you do here. Of course, like your pledge to retire from quizbowl, these vows disappointingly never seem to come to fruition. That's why we're all back here once again, wondering how we could have been so upset at Marshall Steinbaum's stupid posts, when all the while you were lurking in the shadows, ready to rush in and provide an arresting reminder of how good we've got it with Marshall.
Anyway, I'll stop meta-posting, because it's not contributing anything.
Since all you ever do is meta-post and contribute nothing, I hope this will be the "Harrison Brown Retirement from Shitposting" that finally sticks.*

*But I bet it won't be!

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:21 am
by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat
I generally enjoyed this tournament, and my biggest complaint of bonus variability has already been discussed. I also had a really hard time judging how specific an answer many of the science tossups were looking for, and I don't think that was entirely from lack of QB-playing rust. Could someone post the hydrogenation tossup?

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:12 am
by Sam
Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat wrote:I generally enjoyed this tournament, and my biggest complaint of bonus variability has already been discussed. I also had a really hard time judging how specific an answer many of the science tossups were looking for, and I don't think that was entirely from lack of QB-playing rust. Could someone post the hydrogenation tossup?
2. The Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is an example of one of these reactions, which proceeds using iron in a
water-gas shift reaction. The Bergius process uses molybdenum sulfides to accomplish this process, and the
Dobereiner’s lamp was the first commercial device to utilize this reaction. One of these reactions in which a
ruthenium-BINAP catalyst facilitates this process on ketones earned its discoverer one half of the 2001 Nobel,
and is known as the Noyori asymmetric type. Wilkinson’s catalyst is a homogenous catalyst for these reactions,
and the opposing reaction to this class of reactions converts saturated fats into trans fats. Commonly promoted by
metal reagents like Raney nickel or poisoned palladium, for 10 points, name this reaction class where the namesake
element is used to reduce or oxidize, ultimately being added to another compound.
ANSWER: hydrogenation

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:32 pm
by Mike Bentley
To give a more specific example of what I mentioned in an earlier post about dropping names very early, the Millet tossup instantly narrowed the answer space down to a very limited number of answers by beginning along the lines of "this artist's first significant painting, exhibited at the salon of 1848". This tells you instantly that it's a French painter, probably of either the Realist or (less likely) Early-Impressionist school. Offhand, I can only think of maybe 2 or 3 reasonable answers this could be at this point. Certainly knowing the dates of when people painted stuff is some form of knowledge, but I'd argue that it's much easier to learn the general time periods of artists than deeper works in their ouvre. Another example of this was the Castlereigh question which made it very clear he was an early 19th century British prime minister from a very early point in the question.

Another thing I noticed is that sometimes this tournament was very stingy about giving a giveaway. The Cyprus tossup in particular comes to mind. I don't think a ton of people have knowledge of the history of Cyprus during Greco-Roman times, but this tossup used exclusively clues on that period of time until the end, where it gave some giveaway about its name being derived from copper or something. Why not use a few clues near the end of this question to talk about stuff like the recent division of the island?

On the flip-side, I did think there were some good ideas in the history questions. There were several tossups on things that I hadn't heard used much as answer lines before that were pleasant to hear. Among these include the tossup on the Russian coup in the early 90s, Bermuda, and Pepys' Diary (although this question in particular was pretty badly executed, as it made it clear that it was a first-person account of English things from the get-go).

I thought the poll tax question was pretty poor. When writing a tossup on a tax, it's generally not a great idea to use the words "regressive" and "progressive" throughout the early parts of a question.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:46 pm
by Cheynem
There seemed like too many questions in which you had to mildly read the question writer's mind in order to figure out what was being looked for. I can think of megaliths as one example. The New Jersey question that called it a polity and seemed to use questions about when it was attached to colonial New York was really confusing. I'm pretty sure there were more. My frustration with these is that while there is assuredly a clue at some point that rules out other answers or makes things more specific, if you don't know that clue or didn't hear it right, it becomes really difficult to know what to say.

Can someone post the invasion of Norway tossup? I said "Nazi invasion of Scandinavia," got prompted, and like a moron said "Nazi invasion of Denmark," but I thought the clues applied to Operation Weserubung, which was the Nazi invasion of Denmark and Norway on the same day. Obviously tossing up the invasion of Denmark would have been a poor idea and I'm pretty sure all the clues applied to Norway, but I'm curious.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:01 pm
by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat
2. The Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is an example of one of these reactions, which proceeds using iron in a
water-gas shift reaction.

ANSWER: hydrogenation
This leadin is a good example of the confusion I had with what type of answer was requested. For reference, the Fischer-Tropsch process is a reaction of hydrogen + CO to make straight chain alkanes and water. The net reaction does include hydrogenation (I don't think the mechanism is known), but other reasonable answers are "polymerization," "reduction," "alkane synthesis," "reactions using a heterogeneous catalyst," "cobalt - catalyzed," "iron-catalyzed (before mentioned)," and probably a few others. It sounds like Jerry had a similar problem on the "equivalence principle" tossup, and I'm sure I could find more examples if I had a copy of the set [As I was writing this, Mike also cited the megaliths tossup]. It's really important to make clues point clearly to one specific answer, or to at least accept the other alternate answers before more specific clues are given.

On a related note, I'm pretty sure the phrase about the water-gas shift reaction is wrong. That reaction can be used to control the feeds into a Fischer-Tropsch process, but is not a component of the Fischer-Tropsch process itself, and I don't think making water from carbon dioxide qualifies as hydrogenation. It certainly is not the important hydrogenation that occurs to make alkanes.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:31 pm
by grapesmoker
I didn't have too much of a problem with the part of the Castlereagh tossup where it told you he was an early-19th century Brit. There are lots of possibilities there, including Pitt the Younger, Charles Fox, and others, all of whom I considered buzzing with. The larger problem with that question, and many other questions in this set, was that it seemed to not really provide any differentiation of clue difficulty. My memory may be faulty, but I thought that most of the clues came from the Irish phase of his career, which runs the risk of either being really obvious (if you know Castlereagh is Irish, just buzz) or incredibly hard (if you don't know clue N, clue N + 1 is unlikely to help you). I thought the Philip K. Dick and the poll tax questions (among others) had the same problem.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:37 pm
by Tees-Exe Line
Alright, after 60 comments lambasting me and another 20 lambasting some guy from Alabama, let me put down some retrospective thoughts on this experience, both as editor and writer:

First, in the interest of assigning blame and credit accurately, the breakdown was essentially that Ike took responsibility for Lit, RMP, and Other Academic, and I handled History, Arts, Social Science, and Geography/CE, with Gautam looking over Science, especially Bio and Chem. In the event, Ike did most of the constructive editing on Music since he knows way more about that than I.

My own writing and editing philosophy for this project was, in essence, to make it as straightforward as possible. Obviously I didn't succeed across the board, but (with the exception of the political cartoons bonus) there were literally no questions of which I thought in advance "this is an interesting idea and skirts the boundaries of quizbowl or received wisdom; let's see how it plays." That was definitely not true for Sack of Antwerp--so to the extent it isn't received that way, that's a failure in execution, not intention.

Now to thanks:

1. The first and most important is a huge thank-you to Ike, who worked his ass off for this tournament and put out what I consider a very worthwhile product. I don't think the fact that he knows a ton of stuff that spans lots of subjects is doubted by anyone. But he's also a great collaborator, useful sounding board for ideas, disciplined writer and editor, patient and foregiving co-editor when I incompetently locked myself out of my office at midnight the night before the tournament, and all-around great guy.

2. Thanks also to Gautam Kandlikar and Jonathan Magin, who both provided useful advice and constructive criticism on many questions. The science would simply have been impossible without Gautam, and they both took it upon themselves to contribute across the tournament simply out of benevolence--and their contributions were very helpful.

3. In addition, Jeremy Eaton and Jimmy Ready both joined up at the end and contributed when we had severe writing problems, filling important gaps where the editors couldn't really help out.

4. Matt Hill and Zach Pace did a great deal for this, in both cases more than they initially signed up for and they worked promptly and methodically. They are definitely welcome, constructive members of this community.

5. Sam noted above the science was largely written by newcomers (which include me), and I think we'd all like to hear specific feedback on questions. In my case, see below.

6. Although the criticism so far has focused on my history questions, I'm interested in hearing feedback especially about my writing in other categories since I'm already acquainted with how my history writing is received. For economics, I tried to tone it down but still keep the clues and answer lines "real" and related to actual economic research and ongoing debate. On art, Mike Bentley already pointed out problems with the "card-playing" and "Hockney" questions; on the card-playing one, I'm guilty of something I've criticized in the past, which is the indiscriminate inclusion of clues that are misleading if you know something, so I apologize for that.

In particular, here is a list of questions I wrote that I'd especially like to hear about.

Earth Science
ocean acidification
Caldera
Tethys Ocean
outer core

Painting
Filippo Lippi
Domenico Ghirlandaio
Rogier van der Weyden
Toilette of Venus
bonus on professions of portrait subjects: astronomer/journalist/artist

Economics
devaluation
migration
creative destruction
suicide (cross-disciplinary)

History
child labor
North Carolina
Battle of Ayn Jalut
Act of Union
killing a son
standing stones
translating the Bible into English

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:38 pm
by Auroni
What on earth is the organometallics tossup doing naming several metals and using clues like "ones containing iron?"

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:46 pm
by Cheynem
I don't have a whole lot to say about the history questions Marshall wants feedback on (although the "killing a son" tossup kind of turned into "hmm, what is Ivan the Terrible noted for doing?" quickly), but I really liked the political cartoons bonus. While kind of long-winded, it was a reasonable attempt at constructing an easy/medium/hard construction using context and goofy clues--I had no idea what the first part (Pitt the Younger?) was talking about, but Nelson was a fine easy part, and if you're familiar with George IV, you know he's a disgusting fatty that would get mocked in a cartoon like that (although probably some sort of better contextual clue would have been nice to have). This is the sort of whimsical stuff I was expecting to see more of in this set and that I really didn't have a problem with.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:53 pm
by Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen
On the megaliths question, the other team negged fairly early and I was sitting there thinking "OK, when this tossup is over, I'm going to buzz and say 'dolmens'…oh, hey, the question just said 'dolmens'." But n=1 and I don't actually know anything about dolmens.

I enjoyed the music in this tournament; I thought that the common link on Ave Marias was a cool idea, I liked that the Arutiunian concerto came up, and it was interesting to be asked to identify piano trios from clues about what the different instruments were replaced with. (Among other things, of course, which I'm sure I'll remember later, or upon seeing the set.) It's just unfortunate that the distribution was such that there was so little opera (I think there was maybe 1 opera tossup in the entire thing?…I've since forgotten what it was). This might just be my particular bias talking, but I got the impression that there was a lot more visual art than auditory in this tournament. Maybe that's as it should be, though, or as it should arguably be.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:59 pm
by Tees-Exe Line
To answer a couple of these points:

1. Jerry's right about the Castlereagh question--the first half was written about part of his career that I think is less-well-known, though important. If you know nothing about his Irish phase, then successive clues aren't getting easier until you get to the foreign policy part, but I submit that the Irish part is indeed written in a pyramidal way. Unfortunately, I believe it was Lafer who negged with "Cornwallis" right before he was mentioned--for one thing, that's some good Cornwallis knowledge, but it also suggests that Irish politics just after the uprising of 1798 is not completely fogged over in quizbowl and a series of pyramidal clues about it isn't crazy.

2. The New Jersey question called it a "polity" precisely because it talked about the early colonial history of New Jersey, before it became a well-defined political entity. Maybe it's just not a good idea to wrap that all together in a "New Jersey" question, but I think any other language would have been more misleading and/or inaccurate than helpful.

3. On the Cyprus question, it surely could have used a shallower gradient, but is that the right choice when the question is about the classical (in particular Hellenistic) history of Cyprus? I mean, if you don't know about the Battle of Salamis and Cyprus as a battleground between the Ptolemies and the Antigonids, I'm comfortable saying you don't know about Hellenistic Cyprus, which is what the question is about.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:18 pm
by The King's Flight to the Scots
Tees-Exe Line wrote:To answer a couple of these points:

1. Jerry's right about the Castlereagh question--the first half was written about part of his career that I think is less-well-known, though important. If you know nothing about his Irish phase, then successive clues aren't getting easier until you get to the foreign policy part, but I submit that the Irish part is indeed written in a pyramidal way. Unfortunately, I believe it was Lafer who negged with "Cornwallis" right before he was mentioned--for one thing, that's some good Cornwallis knowledge, but it also suggests that Irish politics just after the uprising of 1798 is not completely fogged over in quizbowl and a series of pyramidal clues about it isn't crazy.

2. The New Jersey question called it a "polity" precisely because it talked about the early colonial history of New Jersey, before it became a well-defined political entity. Maybe it's just not a good idea to wrap that all together in a "New Jersey" question, but I think any other language would have been more misleading and/or inaccurate than helpful.

3. On the Cyprus question, it surely could have used a shallower gradient, but is that the right choice when the question is about the classical (in particular Hellenistic) history of Cyprus? I mean, if you don't know about the Battle of Salamis and Cyprus as a battleground between the Ptolemies and the Antigonids, I'm comfortable saying you don't know about Hellenistic Cyprus, which is what the question is about.
As someone who literally just covered the Diadochi and the Hellenistic period in great depth in class, I've never heard of this other Battle of Salamis. Cyprus as a battleground between the Ptolemies and Antigonids? OK, I'm aware of that, but that requires some very deep knowledge of the politics of the period after Alexander's death, which is not nearly what a giveaway is. I don't mean this to come off as "I AM AN EXPERT IN THIS AREA, HOW DARE YOU USE SOMETHING I DON'T KNOW," because I'm not, and I'm fine with missing questions on this period, but Jesus, that's just a very hard battle.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:18 pm
by Tees-Exe Line
Here are some questions:
According to Strabo, this place fell into Roman hands after its king failed to ransom a young Publius Clodius Pulcher from pirates. That man took revenge when he became tribune, sending Cato the Younger to annex this place as a Roman province. The latter offered to spare that offending king, a Lagid like his brother, but he preferred to die a king than a priest. An earlier ancient king from this place, Evagoras, consolidated power based on an Athenian alliance that was destroyed at the Peace of Antalcidas, in which Athens recognized Persian authority over this place, and Evagoras ended his life as a puppet. This place provided critical aid to (*) Alexander the Great’s effort at the Siege of Tyre. After a successful 312 BC invasion, this place fell under Ptolemaic control, but Demetrius of Macedon successfully conquered this place by winning the Battle of Salamis, totally destroying the Egyptian navy. For 10 points, name this eastern Mediterranean island named for its historically significant copper deposits.

ANSWER: Cyprus
In at least one case, these items take on distinctly humanoid forms, with clasped hands, a foxtail loincloth, and wearing a necklace with a bull’s head, which may even indicate a specific portrait. Nearby are carved bas-reliefs of visibly male animals, some naturalistic and some geometric, indicating a technical repertoire.There is evidence that those examples of these items were ritually and periodically buried and excavated. At least one find of these items indicates that it was their construction that brought about agriculture, division of labor, and urbanization through the need to secure a large labor force in one place. That find is Gobekli Tepe. A large labor force would certainly have been necessary for one of these items located in Locmariaquer in Brittany since it weighs 300 tons, but there are no local contemporaneous urban settlements. For 10 points, what are these pre-historic items that, in many cases, were transported great distances and erected in groups with dolmens, such as at Stonehenge?

ANSWER: standing stones (accept “megalith” or “menhir,” anti-prompt on “stone circles”)
This politician vowed that he would not return to office unless the ministry of which he formed a part passed an emancipation bill that he had used to garner support for the Act of Union of 1800, which he had successfully pushed through as Chief Secretary. That promise, along with bribery, had convinced members of the Irish Parliament to support this man’s policies even after his brutal crackdown on the United Irishmen’s rebellion in 1798, a crackdown this man led along with Lord Cornwallis. But this man did return to office despite George III’s steadfast opposition to Catholic emancipation, serving as Secretary for War after 1804, in which capacity this man feuded over military strategy with the Foreign Secretary, who became this man’s chief political rival and successor. For 10 points, name this realist Anglo-Irish politician and antagonist of George Canning whose eventual tenure as Foreign Secretary between 1812-22 saw the design and implementation of the Congress system.

ANSWER: Robert Stewart, Earl of Castlereagh (pronounced CASTLE-RAY; accept Marquess of Londonderry)

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:21 pm
by Tees-Exe Line
As someone who literally just covered the Diadochi and the Hellenistic period in great depth in class, I've never heard of this other Battle of Salamis. Cyprus as a battleground between the Ptolemies and Antigonids? OK, I'm aware of that, but that requires some very deep knowledge of the politics of the period after Alexander's death, which is not nearly what a giveaway is.
Okay, so here's my question: is there anything I could have said about the ancient history of Cyprus that would have made a better giveaway than what's there? And if the answer is "no," does that simply mean that a question about the ancient history of Cyprus should not be asked?

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:26 pm
by The King's Flight to the Scots
Tees-Exe Line wrote:
As someone who literally just covered the Diadochi and the Hellenistic period in great depth in class, I've never heard of this other Battle of Salamis. Cyprus as a battleground between the Ptolemies and Antigonids? OK, I'm aware of that, but that requires some very deep knowledge of the politics of the period after Alexander's death, which is not nearly what a giveaway is.
Okay, so here's my question: is there anything I could have said about the ancient history of Cyprus that would have made a better giveaway than what's there? And if the answer is "no," does that simply mean that a question about the ancient history of Cyprus should not be asked?
I think there are a lot of good clues from ancient history that you could use for a tossup on "Cyprus" that had a giveaway with more modern clues. This Battle of Salamis does sound relevant, even though I don't know it, and there may be some people who do. It just might play better if you mentioned like, enosis, the split, etc. The tossup doesn't have to be 100% ancient history.

I don't mean to be totally negative here, either--I thought the Clodius clue was really well-chosen and enjoyed the tossup.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:34 pm
by grapesmoker
That anti-prompt on "stone circles" was pretty confusing. I guess I understand why that was written that way, but it was hard to figure out. I liked the idea and the question in general, but if it could have been done so as to include stone circles as a reasonable answer that would have been nice.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:44 pm
by Tees-Exe Line
Jerry, the problem is that I don't think it's accurate to refer to Gobekli Tepe as a "stone circle," and everything in the question before that site is mentioned is about Gobekli Tepe. The reason I thought it was possible to write this question, which is essentially archaeology and thus prone to transparency, is that Gobekli Tepe is such an unusual site that you're not just going to intuit "these are big rocks on the Atlantic fringe of Europe." Perhaps "stone circle" should just have been acceptable from a "close enough" perspective, but I thought the question should reward knowledge of Gobekli Tepe because that's an interesting, recent find.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:58 pm
by grapesmoker
Tees-Exe Line wrote:Jerry, the problem is that I don't think it's accurate to refer to Gobekli Tepe as a "stone circle," and everything in the question before that site is mentioned is about Gobekli Tepe. The reason I thought it was possible to write this question, which is essentially archaeology and thus prone to transparency, is that Gobekli Tepe is such an unusual site that you're not just going to intuit "these are big rocks on the Atlantic fringe of Europe." Perhaps "stone circle" should just have been acceptable from a "close enough" perspective, but I thought the question should reward knowledge of Gobekli Tepe because that's an interesting, recent find.
So, I'd recently read Elif Batuman's article about Gobekli Tepe in the New Yorker which is how I was able to make that buzz; I will be sure to check whether her reporting includes mention of circles, but for the nonce, it seems that the Archaelogical Institute of America definitely thinks there are stone circles there.

edit: From Batuman's article: "One face of the hill had been almost completely excavated, exposing four stone circles, each made up of a dozen or so pillars with two large pillars in the middle."

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:04 pm
by grapesmoker
While I'm here, I would like to encourage people to adopt the "accept word forms" answerline direction when reasonable. For example, we gave "tautomerism" as an answer to a bonus part, but were not given the points because the provided answer was "tautomerization." Maybe I'm really off-base here, but it seems to me that these are basically equivalent (undergoing tautomerization <=> the property of tautomerism) and it seems quite pedantic to ding people for that.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:04 pm
by Tees-Exe Line
Okay then; I stand corrected, and thanks for linking that.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:08 pm
by Tees-Exe Line
While I'm here, I would like to encourage people to adopt the "accept word forms" answerline direction when reasonable.
I tried to put that in as often as possible; I think the problem I have as a non-science person is that what sound like word forms to my ear are, in fact, critical distinctions, so (at least when reading other people's questions) I tend to be stingy with science buzzes, and probably as well when editing my own tournament.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:12 pm
by MLafer
For what it's worth, I never got the impression that that battle of Salamis was very important at all, and the clue only seems helpful to me by saying 'there is a place called Salamis on this island' which some people might know. Better-known cities would be Citium or Paphos, though I agree there still needs to be a giveaway that people can buzz on even if it doesn't relate to ancient Cyprus.

On the Corinthian War, yeah this was a hard tossup but I don't think it's so hard that it should be an exemplar of an outlier in this set, certainly there were questions harder than this one. It's something that's important, and I thought it was pretty well written.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:17 pm
by grapesmoker
I kind of dug that Gershom Sholem tossup, not gonna lie.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:54 pm
by touchpack
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:What on earth is the organometallics tossup doing naming several metals and using clues like "ones containing iron?"
Yeah, that tossup pretty much sucked. From what I remember (don't have the set...), it was basically a cascade of "this one contains kerfuckium" "this one contains blabstanium," without actually discussing the chemical properties of any of the reagents involved, or what organometallic reagents in general are actually useful for (creating a partial negative charge on carbon, allowing for reactions such as alkylation). In addition, the pronoun at least once referred to the carbon-metal bond itself, which just made things very, very confusing. Sethlene, Sorice, and I were sitting there confused until nearly the end of the tossup.

Also, the tossup on bases basically defined a Bronsted base on the second clue--that's not so good either.

On the flipside, I thought the hyperconjugation TU was really awesome--it was a good way of talking about fundamental orgo concepts.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:01 pm
by Ondes Martenot
Yeah, I've heard a couple of tossups whose answer lines were "organometallics" and they've all pretty much sucked since organometallics don't have much in common except for the fact that they all contain a carbon-metal bond. So yeah, people should instead write about specific organometallic reagents rather than continue to confuse people with vague tossups.

For what it's worth though, I actually thought the chem and bio in this set was pretty good aside from one or two clunkers. So kudos to whoever wrote that.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:23 pm
by Gautam
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:What on earth is the organometallics tossup doing naming several metals and using clues like "ones containing iron?"
I think this tossup was a bit different originally had an answerline of "forming a _bond with carbon_" or something like that (George, please correct me if I'm wrong.) I remember being confused about the intent of the question and asking George to clarify... but I don't think I ever reviewied it.

My mistake.

--GK

PS. Post #1000!

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:19 pm
by Auroni
Ondes Martenot wrote:Yeah, I've heard a couple of tossups whose answer lines were "organometallics" and they've all pretty much sucked since organometallics don't have much in common except for the fact that they all contain a carbon-metal bond. So yeah, people should instead write about specific organometallic reagents rather than continue to confuse people with vague tossups.
Well, I don't quite agree here. I have learned about organometallics in two different contexts now (from their use in ochem reactions and from their importance in main group and transition metal chemistry.) There are certainly commonalities between the different organometallics that might be worthwhile to explore in a tossup, and I have indeed submitted a tossup on them to either regs or winter 2010 (with a generous answeline to cover all potential answers). I just thought that this particular question, which basically namedropped all the metals that can form organometallics, was suboptimal.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:36 pm
by Tanay
grapesmoker wrote:if you don't know clue N, clue N + 1 is unlikely to help you
This was true for the current events tossup on Guatemala, which went like this:
Tossup wrote:One recent event in this country’s politics was investigated by Carlos Castresana, who was appointed to look into the assassination of Rodrigo Rosenberg. Shortly before his violent death, Rosenberg created a video predicting he would die at the instigation of this country’s president, just as had Marjory Musa, but Castresana uncovered an improbable conspiracy linking Rosenberg to his own death in a bid to embarrass the president. That president of this country was recently thwarted in his attempt to work around a constitutional prohibition on hereditary rule by divorcing his wife, Sandra Torres so that she might succeed him. For 10 points, name this drug-violence-afflicted Central American country currently led by Alvaro Colom.
The second sentence of this tossup goes from the middle of the second line well into the fifth line in the packet, but doesn't really offer that much new information that would help someone narrow down answer choices. While the story with the videos is certainly interesting, it doesn't offer that many buzzable clues, instead expounding on the incident. If you don't know the specific names of the figures mentioned mentioned earlier in the tossup, it seems like that whole sentence, which is over a third of the tossup, would just be dead weight.