Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

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Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Gaterion »

The long-awaited article about quizbowl for Slate has arrived!

Personally, I think it's the best and most accurate article about quizbowl ever written.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Cheynem »

This is a pretty good article. It tries to cover a lot of the history of the game and sort of the overriding concerns of both players and writers/editors (the latter is a perspective almost unseen in quizbowl articles). I do think that it lacks the delightful "nuts and bolts of play, character portraits" that made, say, Christian Flow's article so compelling, but it does address a lot of interesting points.

At some points, the article probably defers a bit too much to the people Siegel interviewed, which is understandable. I'm not sure if his audience really needed a three paragraph analysis of the "Danticat issue," and some more context could have been given to the links to this forum and the Wiki. I liked the generally respectful glimpses into the characters of quizbowl, even if I would have loved to see more of a character portrait analysis. Then again, this article seemed more about the game as opposed to characters, which I guess is good for the outside world if not quite as compellingly juicy for us.

I should also say that the references to the forums come off kind of strange. Like Tommy, who wrote a very good post about film questions, is said to have "written a screed," and some odd 2006 thread is trotted out as well. I thought those could have had more contextual explanation (I'm assuming someone told Siegel about those posts).
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by AKKOLADE »

Anyone have a link to the Christian Flow one, aka the other really good qb article (from what I've heard)?

I liked this one a lot. Overall positive view of qb that did a good job describing the game in a reasonable amount of depth.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis »

Scrounging around QBWiki reveals the following: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2008/ ... vard-quiz/
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by cchiego »

Pretty good overall. The Danticat digression was useful in illustrating the conflict over triviality though I think the author got a bit too critical towards the end in claiming that "testing for 'real knowledge' is impossible." The brief history of College Bowl's demise was pretty funny. I'm also bemused by the constant references to the lack of real prizes. Is it that stunning that people compete for something other than prize money?

The Flow article did a better job getting into the atmosphere of a match but the sheer number of links and the youtube video here are pretty good substitutes. There's also a nice focus on pyramidality (wish I could've played on that Utah question!), which might be useful in differentiating it from trivia.

Too bad the article just kind of ended rather than go anywhere. I was expecting at least some lament that there weren't corporate sponsors lining up to endow teams with cash. He could've easily tied in the conflicts within quizbowl to the larger question of the purpose of higher education and learning, but instead we're left with a yet another lighthearted reference to the lack of prizes.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by The Ununtiable Twine »

Regarding the now famous Dana Gioia clue: I had asked Dargan to send me his questions for Nationals and come to find out he used Ted's dad as a clue to one of his bonuses. Of course, I was wondering why he would write such a clue. "You do realize that you just wrote about Ted Gioia's dad, right? Where did you get this clue?" I asked. He never thought about the fact that the two could be related. It appears that he once read some of Gioia's poetry at a meet somewhere, so this was no attempt by me to create some sort of awkward question. According to Mr. Ware, Gioia nearly became an answerline.

I have three questions:

1. What were the editors' thoughts on this clue?
2. What were Ted's thoughts on this clue?
3. Would the editors have let Gioia pass as an answerline if Dargan had written it as one?
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by bmcke »

Emotionally invested as I am in this stuff, I'm a bit embarrassed by the storm of nerdery in their comments section, and kind of disturbed by how quickly the article went beyond just saying "here's a neat thing some people do" and found the dark corners of list knowledge. Maybe this is the effect of covering ACF Nationals instead of some fall tournament. I also winced at the idea of a ten-page essay assignment being a good way to test for real knowledge.

Regarding the inherent fakeness of quizbowl, my sense is that (most) people can only "absorb" lists and keywords as extensions of stuff they've actually read and learned about. Like, John Lawrence can learn Supper at Emmaus by cramming paintings in the weeks before Nationals, but that trick only works if he has some baseline of familiarity with Caravaggio and/or the Gospels to make that fruit-bowl clue tangible and memorable. Does this sound right?
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I'm a bit embarrassed by the storm of nerdery in their comments section
Where? I see a total of 2 posts from quizbowlers, out of 8 total, one of which is a 100% justified rebuttal to some jackass using this as a chance to grandstand for Chip Beall. I'm about to hop in too, so I guess that will make it 3 out of 9?

edit: hurr math
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by bmcke »

Horned Screamer wrote:
I'm a bit embarrassed by the storm of nerdery in their comments section
Where? I see a total of 2 posts from quizbowlers, out of 8 total, one of which is a 100% justified rebuttal to some jackass using this as a chance to grandstand for Chip Beall. I'm about to hop in too, so I guess that will make it 3 out of 10?
Heh, I was including the Chip fan and the World Trivia Night guy. I figured a layperson wouldn't know the difference.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

This really is a great article. It's true that it's a little skewed by solely the people interviewed, but what do you expect when the columnist was seeing something for the first time that most people in the country honestly have never really heard of (the "real quizbowl" that is)?

The comments about the forums were a little weird... it makes me wonder if he was directed towards that thread (the post about films, etc.) or if he randomly found it. I assume it was pointed out by someone.

Either way, this article definitely blew up my Facebook. It was a really enjoyable read, even from somebody who's been involved with the game in some way for about 15 years, and consumed by "good quizbowl" for many years as well.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

The Jerry Vinokurov and Ike Jose quotes really make this article for me. It's not as good as Christian B. Flow's article, but Christian had much more space to work with.

Ultimately, the article presents quizbowl accurately: an interesting, sometimes wacky game played by interesting, sometimes wacky people.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by magin »

The Ununtiable Twine wrote:Regarding the now famous Dana Gioia clue: I had asked Dargan to send me his questions for Nationals and come to find out he used Ted's dad as a clue to one of his bonuses. Of course, I was wondering why he would write such a clue. "You do realize that you just wrote about Ted Gioia's dad, right? Where did you get this clue?" I asked. He never thought about the fact that the two could be related. It appears that he once read some of Gioia's poetry at a meet somewhere, so this was no attempt by me to create some sort of awkward question. According to Mr. Ware, Gioia nearly became an answerline.

I have three questions:

1. What were the editors' thoughts on this clue?
...
3. Would the editors have let Gioia pass as an answerline if Dargan had written it as one?
I thought New Formalism was a fine ACF Nationals hard part, and since Dana Gioia is a fairly prominent New Formalist, I didn't have a problem with the clue. However, I think that asking players to name any New Formalist, including Dana Gioia, would have been too hard for ACF Nationals, so if the bonus had included him as an answer, I would have changed it to something easier for that reason.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by AKKOLADE »

I do love that comments on the article and elsewhere have already gone to the various "ACF so impossible/lengthy/etc , signed, someone from 1994" things.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Frater Taciturnus »

Fred wrote:I do love that comments on the article and elsewhere have already gone to the various "ACF so impossible/lengthy/etc , signed, someone from 1994" things.
Hey man this is a GAME not a DISSERTATION DEFENSE. Also, doorstops are long now? What the hell doorstops is this guy using?
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas »

Even worse than those "ACF is impossible" posts is seeing my father "like" them for some reason.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

cchiego wrote:Too bad the article just kind of ended rather than go anywhere. I was expecting at least some lament that there weren't corporate sponsors lining up to endow teams with cash. He could've easily tied in the conflicts within quizbowl to the larger question of the purpose of higher education and learning, but instead we're left with a yet another lighthearted reference to the lack of prizes.
Too bad Slate articles never have points.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Charbroil »

Frater Taciturnus wrote:
Fred wrote:I do love that comments on the article and elsewhere have already gone to the various "ACF so impossible/lengthy/etc , signed, someone from 1994" things.
Hey man this is a GAME not a DISSERTATION DEFENSE. Also, doorstops are long now? What the hell doorstops is this guy using?
I think this is what they're trying to get at.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

My favorite thing about the comments section is that somebody is posting as "Tertullian", and somebody posting as "Spawn of Satan" is liking his posts.

Take that, Montanists!
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by tabstop »

The Ununtiable Twine wrote:2. What were Ted's thoughts on this clue?
I am of course not Ted, but Ted made the comment at the time that he wondered whether he never heard any questions about the subject because it was actually hard, or because people wouldn't write the question for a tournament he was at, and that now he knew.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by DumbJaques »

Dude, I wrote that tossup before the Great Danticatastrophe - just check the date in the link, it's the FIRST question written! And it's entirely about Krik? Krak! and Breath, Eyes, Memory, the only two Danticat things I'd ever want to see show up in quizbowl. That question is the exact opposite of what the article says it is. Incredibly, it seems I am fated to be eternally misquoted in quizbowl articles - even when I'm not actually quoted at all.

This is just AvP all over again. Not even the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf is worth this.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity »

I'm curious; how did the Slate reporter come to find out about ACF Nats and what inspired them to examine collegiate quiz bowl in the first place?
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Mike Bentley »

Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:I'm curious; how did the Slate reporter come to find out about ACF Nats and what inspired them to examine collegiate quiz bowl in the first place?
Mike Pesca on the Slate Hang Up & Listen podcast mentioned about two years ago that he played College Bowl in college. I sent a letter to the podcast with info about the current collegiate quizbowl scene. A few weeks ago, I got a letter from Alan saying he was working on the story.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant »

I really like the latest comment expressing surprise that the game has changed since 1998.
Player from 1998 wrote:I could probably read an ACF packet from my playing days and it probably would still hold up today at most ACF tournaments.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Kyle »

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant wrote:I really like the latest comment expressing surprise that the game has changed since 1998.
Player from 1998 wrote:I could probably read an ACF packet from my playing days and it probably would still hold up today at most ACF tournaments.
I think the part of this comment we should find enlightening is that a current college-level NAQT subject editor is surprised that Yale has a team.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant »

Oh my. You're right.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Margo »

Someone wrote an article in response to the slate article.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/20 ... gyny_.html

I really hope everyone reads this article and then explains that the lack of women in quizbowl has something to do with fragile lady egos because there was nothing sexist or offensive about that the first time.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by dyetman89 »

Margo wrote:I really hope everyone reads this article and then explains that the lack of women in quizbowl has something to do with fragile lady egos because there was nothing sexist or offensive about that the first time.
To judge solely from this article, the paucity of XX-chromosomed persons in quizbowl can be explained by 1). Women's collective unwillingness to "show off [their] knowledge" (apparently the BC Calculus exam is an oasis from such misgivings!) and 2). The tendency of male quizbowlers to make ambiguously sexist comments about mythological events.

Women have fragile egos = sexism. Women are afraid of showing off = good sense. I've got it now.

Look, I think the article was mostly snake oil (I'll try to put together a more comprehensive critique in the next couple days), but I'd love to hear others' impressions.

By the by, Margo, I couldn't agree more forcefully with your disdain towards the "women are porcelain-fragile creatures who flee from competition" brand of argument about these matters - but simply because there is so much evidence to the contrary, as I pointed out rather snidely in the locked thread.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Cheynem »

If this thread turns into a rehash of the locked threat, I'm going to be Hulk-like angry.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Matt Weiner »

Cheynem wrote:If this thread turns into a rehash of the locked threat, I'm going to be Hulk-like angry.
I'm always angry. Thus:

Women in quizbowl threads have been unmitigated disasters in the past. This did not change in the recent thread, and it seems all the staff agree. Therefore, I'm issuing an edict as an administrator that this topic is off-limits until people grow up and/or the staff discusses and issues a rigid instruction on how it is to proceed.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Margo »

dyetman89 wrote: To judge solely from this article, the paucity of XX-chromosomed persons in quizbowl can be explained by 1). Women's collective unwillingness to "show off [their] knowledge" (apparently the BC Calculus exam is an oasis from such misgivings!) and 2). The tendency of male quizbowlers to make ambiguously sexist comments about mythological events.

Women have fragile egos = sexism. Women are afraid of showing off = good sense. I've got it now.
I didn't say that I agreed with the article, I knew it was relevant to the community so I wanted to head off any discussion of it with stated distain for the last women in quizbowl related thread. That said, the strategy of just not talking about it anymore will also prevent irritating sexist discussions so I guess that works too.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

I'm not sure if Matt's message above forbids a further post regarding the whole "women in QB" topic, but I'm going to toss in, as I always do, that the situation is so different in the CC game. 50 of the 130 players at Delta Burke in 2011 were female, and Valencia's Red team featured three females this year, and only half of our 12 players were male. Why is this? If the relative dearth of women players in the four-year game really is an issue for people, it may be worth thinking about.
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Margo, who is the band in your profile picture?
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Re: Article in Slate about ACF Nationals

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Horned Screamer wrote:Margo, who is the band in your profile picture?
http://fuckyeahbandboyswithkoalas.tumbl ... /the-cribs - The Cribs.
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