Question-specific discussion

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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Unicolored Jay » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:50 pm

It seems like the American History was a category that was endemic of a lot of the problems this set had. The examples brought up so far aren't even the only ones (there was a Blaine/Cleveland/Mulligan letters bonus that was also too easy to 30 and at least one other example I can't think of).
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by kdroge » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:19 am

grapesmoker wrote:I'm not saying you have to be aware of everything Posner writes; I'm saying that the way you phrased this question makes me buzzing at "The core of this man's thought was critiqued in a Richard Posner article" with "Antonin Scalia" indisputably correct. You cannot dodge this by pointing out that Posner is likely to have criticized many people, because that is exactly the point. I should be able to buzz there, given the information provided, and give the name of literally any person whose core thought has ever been criticized in a Posner article because that is the way the question is phrased.

There's a trivially simple fix for this problem! You need merely write "In an article titled for this man and Beethoven, Richard Posner noted the inconsistency between Commentary's praise of this man's 1990 book and Samuel Lipman's music criticism." Not only does this definitively point to "Bork" as the answer, but it gives you a wealth of contextual clues to work with. Who was writing books in 1990? What kind of magazine is Commentary and what sorts of things might it be praising? Who is Samuel Lipman? These are deep nuggets of information that give you a lot to think about, and eliminate alternative answers besides. That's the point of my response above to Saul, and it applies equally to this question as well.
I think I understand your point better, and I agree that adding better contextual clues would definitely have helped the question out. I still think there's got to be a better way than dropping the title of the article first before the description just because the way it was worded creates an ambiguity if you buzz super agressively, though. At a certain point, if the leadin is "one character in this novel," you can't expect to just buzz and say a random novel (an extreme example, I know).
grapesmoker wrote:spain
I actually think thought that this bonus was one of the hardest in the whole tournament
You cannot be serious. Again, this question is 30able with basic European history knowledge. "If you don't remember" the state that united with Castille to form modern Spain, then you don't know anything about European history! I mean, this is high school level stuff. Also, illuminated manuscripts are things that, while I have no idea how much they "show up in qb" (why is that even a criterion?) are a thing that is totally known by, again, people with a basic grounding in European history, i.e. people who went to a reasonably decent high school. You don't even need to know the Charlemagne clue to get Catalonia, you just need to know that it borders France.

None of these parts are bad in and of themselves, but you've got one damn easy bonus here. By contrast, this tournament included a number of much harder bonuses, including some I've posted here. The Ivanhoe bonus asked you to recall a Spanish word which appears (I checked) a total of 4 times in the book, which I think is much harder than getting "Catalonia" from "this Spanish maritime region with a notable independent streak." I really don't think those are commensurably difficult bonus parts (to say nothing of our friend Gunnar Gunnarson).
It's a little unfair to compare the hard part of the Icelandic literature bonus or the Ivanhoe bonus to the middle part of the history bonus (in my mind, illuminated manuscripts was the hard part, and I believe that was Libo's intention as well). I guess my high school history were woefully lacking, then- I'd never heard of illuminated manuscripts before this year's CO. I think that stuff having come up in quiz bowl is a big part of how difficult or easy it is- there are numerous examples of "once hard" but now easier stuff just because it's shown up a lot, and stuff that's really important but hasn't shown up much is better relegated to hard parts of bonuses or tossup leadins (outside of super high difficulty stuff, of course).
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You are a citizen of Austria-Hungary in the early 20th century. Answer these questions about your country’s last days, for 10 points each:
[10] Doubtless you were shocked and distraught when Gavrilo Princip assassinated this Archduke of yours while he visited Sarajevo.
ANSWER: Archduke Franz Ferdinand
[10] Lucky for your soldiers, the Germans decided to help out in this battle on the Italian Front that began October 24, 1917. Too bad your victory here led the Allies to create the Supreme War Council and get their act together.
ANSWER: Battle of Caporetto or 12th Battle of the Isonzo River or Schlacht von Karfreit [prompt on “Isonzo River”]
[10] Your belief in Central Power unity was probably shattered following this affair late in the war. In this affair, Clemenceau published Emperor Charles I’s correspondence with the namesake person asking for peace with the Allies.
ANSWER: Sixtus Affair
In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Contract Clause of the Constitution prohibits states from altering the obligations of a contract. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this 1819 case brought before the Supreme Court after the New Hampshire legislature tried to amend a 1769 charter issued by King George III.
ANSWER: Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward
[10] This then-lawyer argued on behalf of the Dartmouth trustees before the Supreme Court. Later, as secretary of state, he negotiated an 1842 treaty establishing the border between Maine and New Brunswick with Ashburton.
ANSWER: Daniel Webster
[10] The plaintiff in this 1837 Supreme Court case tried to cite the Dartmouth case in complaining that the state of Massachusetts violated a 1785 charter concerning the namesake architectural feature.
ANSWER: Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge
There's nothing wrong with either bonus on their own. They're perfectly fine, but I would suggest that they really don't belong in the same set. I think the Sixtus affair is quite hard, and the battle of Caporetto is not that much easier. I think this bonus is actually about the right level of difficulty for what I understood this tournament to be. On the other hand, the American history bonus is very, very easy because it touches on things that are covered in any reasonably decent high school history class. Dartmouth v. Woodward and Webster are just flat out basic, and Charles River Bridge isn't much harder, even if you know nothing about the actual details; I certainly didn't, but I know what "architectural features" means and I know such a case exists, so it's probably that.

I really don't think these are comparable. One of them draws on reasonably deep knowledge of the details behind WWI diplomacy and military actions; the other draws on things that are covered in most high school history classes (certainly covered in my AP US History class way back in the day). For the record, I think the difficulty level of the tournament as a whole is probably closer to the first bonus. And I also understand that there's going to be some inherent variability due to people knowing different things; I'm generally not going to convert hard (or even probably medium) parts of music bonuses but that doesn't mean they're inappropriate. But I think there's a real variance here that goes beyond just "you know this so it's easy" and that's rooted in some measure of objective difficulty regarding the material being asked and the contexts in which it's covered.
Maybe an overall takeaway is that people felt that the American history was just easier than some of the other topics in the set? When I edited it, I was more concerned about making sure stuff wasn't too hard rather than too easy, and maybe this resulted in too many easier middle parts of bonuses. I'm not sure how Mulligan Letters or Charles River Bridge aren't hard parts at anything near regular difficulty, though. I do think the two bonuses that you mention are disparate in difficulty, but I also think that this is comparing one of the harder bonuses in the set to one of the easier ones (I don't actually think Caporetto is a hard middle part, but Sixtus Affair requires some pretty deep knowledge).
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Ringil » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:22 am

I have to say that if you want to be guessing this Spanish maritime region near France that likes to be independent, you could just as easily guess Basque.

I wrote illuminated manuscripts intended to be the hard part as it was something that pretty much had never shown up in quizbowl and I felt was an important thing in European history. I have to disagree with learning about illuminated manuscripts in high school. My general feeling of high school European history is like this: "hey guys let's talk for a week about the crusades, okay let's actually start focusing on the Renaissance" with pretty much everything in between skipped. Perhaps I underestimated the number of people that know about illuminated manuscripts.

I'll probably change this bonus a bit either way.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:31 am

Illuminated manuscripts come up a lot in art history.

I'd caution getting a bit too reactionary with the history difficulty from this conversation, though. I don't agree with Jerry that the Sixtus Affair bonus is the difficulty this tournament should have been aiming for, as I think that bonus would be much more appropriate at a tournament like Minnesota Open than this tournament. I think Charles River Bridge is a perfectly fine middle part for this tournament, but I agree that the bonus in question probably lack a real hard part.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:53 am

kdroge wrote:I still think there's got to be a better way than dropping the title of the article first before the description just because the way it was worded creates an ambiguity if you buzz super agressively, though.
I'm genuinely curious to know why you think this. I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that the chances of someone "filling in the blank" on "Bork and Beethoven" are slightly greater than epsilon. The way I parse this sentence is that you don't think that a disambiguating title is worth giving "just because" otherwise an ambiguity is created. But I don't see what the tradeoff is. The whole point is to disambiguate between possible answers, and in this case you are giving up nothing. What's more, if you're really that concerned about it, you could just rearrange the clues in my example first sentence.

I feel like this is possibly a consequence of people taking the "don't drop known titles" rule of thumb too far. Of course, you don't want your whole question to be a trivial fill-in-the-blank exercise, but if the title is not well known (as "Bork and Beethoven" is not), then giving it is fine.
At a certain point, if the leadin is "one character in this novel," you can't expect to just buzz and say a random novel (an extreme example, I know).
That is, indeed an extreme example. The difference of course is that almost every novel has characters, but the cardinality of the set of people whose core philosophy has been panned by Posner is, while greater than one, substantially smaller than that of the set of all novels. In other words, "a character in this novel" is not a plausibly substantive clue, whereas the Posner clue is. What's more, if you apply a little thought to the Posner clue (Posner doesn't like originalism, there aren't that many liberal jurists who could be plausible answers) you're much more likely to come up with Scalia than you are with, say, Akhil Amar (I have no idea if Posner and Amar ever got into it, but let's assume it for the sake of argument).

Incidentally, while I'm at it, the description of the article in the question itself is flatly incorrect. I've now read the original article twice, and here's how the question describes it: "The core of this man’s thought was critiqued in a Richard Posner article that compares him to Beethoven and deems him a pragmatist." This is just not the case; the pragmatism thing is correct, but the comparison is not. Posner is not comparing Bork to Beethoven at all; indeed, the comparison makes no sense in the context of the article. What Posner is doing is using the discrepancy between Commentary's approval of legal originalism and its simultaneous disapproval of musical originalism as a kind of frame story about the philosophical underpinnings of originalist thinking in general. If Bork is being compared to anyone at all in the article, it's to conductors who practice musical originalism, not Beethoven himself (I guess the correct parallel to Beethoven here would be the Constitution). That's a lot of words about a possibly trivial point, but I think it's important to get these things right.
It's a little unfair to compare the hard part of the Icelandic literature bonus or the Ivanhoe bonus to the middle part of the history bonus (in my mind, illuminated manuscripts was the hard part, and I believe that was Libo's intention as well). I guess my high school history were woefully lacking, then- I'd never heard of illuminated manuscripts before this year's CO.
I'm sorry you had such a terrible historical education. I absolutely guarantee you that the overwhelming majority of educated people would be able to say "illuminated manuscript" from a description of a medieval scroll covered in fanciful renderings of letters than would be able to identify either a single work of Laxness, or Laxness himself, or a character of middling importance from Ivanhoe. This is about as close to an objective fact about the relative difficulty of things as you're going to find in quizbowl.
I think that stuff having come up in quiz bowl is a big part of how difficult or easy it is- there are numerous examples of "once hard" but now easier stuff just because it's shown up a lot, and stuff that's really important but hasn't shown up much is better relegated to hard parts of bonuses or tossup leadins (outside of super high difficulty stuff, of course).
I feel like I've been fighting this view for some time now, unsuccessfully it seems. Look, I know quizbowl has weird love for various writers, but Haldor Laxness and his works are not "easy." In my room, I got the Iceland bonus and my opponents got the Spain bonus. I got 20 and they got 30. If the reverse had occurred, I would have gotten 30 and my opponents would likely have gotten 10, and I don't say that because I'm slighting them, but because it's just not a thing that a lot of people know much about. I'm sorry to keep picking on that bonus but I think it's a good example of why some things in this tournament were much harder than other things; it's because a lot of the people writing the questions for this set have a kind of inverted view of difficulty where something that's a major phenomenon of European cultural history is obscure while the works of an Icelandic author no one reads are moderately gettable.
Maybe an overall takeaway is that people felt that the American history was just easier than some of the other topics in the set? When I edited it, I was more concerned about making sure stuff wasn't too hard rather than too easy, and maybe this resulted in too many easier middle parts of bonuses. I'm not sure how Mulligan Letters or Charles River Bridge aren't hard parts at anything near regular difficulty, though. I do think the two bonuses that you mention are disparate in difficulty, but I also think that this is comparing one of the harder bonuses in the set to one of the easier ones (I don't actually think Caporetto is a hard middle part, but Sixtus Affair requires some pretty deep knowledge).
I definitely thought the American history was substantially easier overall, but again, that you don't think Caporetto is a hard middle part kind of concerns me. It's not that Caporetto is objectively very hard for the good teams, but it's definitely harder than the middle part of, say, the Blaine bonus. Actually, I'm not sure the Blaine bonus had a middle part, as the two parts were Blaine himself and Cleveland. Caporetto is much, much harder than either of these things, being a relatively obscure battle on the Italian front rather than one of the major battles of the Western front.

Again, I have no problem with a tournament in which Caporetto is a middle part. I might even prefer such a set. The problem is with the wild variance that comes from people not having a good handle on what players actually know.
Ringil wrote:I have to say that if you want to be guessing this Spanish maritime region near France that likes to be independent, you could just as easily guess Basque.
So, at worst, you're saying I have a 50/50 chance of converting the hard part of this bonus (and it is the harder part, contrary to your assertion that "illuminated manuscripts" are a thing that people don't know about). Do I have a 50/50 shot at getting a bonus part on Tenrikyo or the POUM? Or maybe I've got a coin-flip going on Alice Munro's Too Much Happiness?
I wrote illuminated manuscripts intended to be the hard part as it was something that pretty much had never shown up in quizbowl and I felt was an important thing in European history.
It is an important thing that has come up plenty of times. It's so important that regardless of how often it has come up, people will know it.
I have to disagree with learning about illuminated manuscripts in high school. My general feeling of high school European history is like this: "hey guys let's talk for a week about the crusades, okay let's actually start focusing on the Renaissance" with pretty much everything in between skipped. Perhaps I underestimated the number of people that know about illuminated manuscripts.
People know about them because they are a really famous thing! I'm sorry that apparently both you and Kurtis seem to have had really awful educations in European history, but I assure you that people really do know about this. This is a tournament that had tossups on the Byzantine navy and Jan Sobieski (both of which I have no problems with) but by your own argument, at least one of those should be pretty much ungettable until the end. If you'd like to make a convincing case for why people know more about Byzantine naval exploits or Queen Tomyris than they do about illuminated manuscripts, I'm all ears.

I think that overall this was a pretty decent set. I know I've written a lot of words about a lot of questions that I found unsatisfying, but I'm doing it because in every round I felt like there were about 3 or 4 questions that were just either plain weird or flat-out badly written. By "badly written" I mean that they had clues in basically pyramidal order but they contained a lot of text that was either just unhelpful or possibly even misleading. So I'm writing about all of this to hammer on the point that you have to pay attention to how the question sounds and its basic flow ("Is this information useful? Does it offer the right amount of gradation? Does it give appropriate context?") in order to write good questions. There were a lot of questions in this set that were just fine (the very first tossup, on US presidents in literature, was one of my favorites of the tournament) but there were plenty that weren't, and I think it's important to point out why. For the same reason, I'm harping on the discrepancy in bonus difficulty, because those discrepancies stem, I think, from a failure to understand what people actually know. That's fine, that happens to all of us, and no tournament ever in the history of the game has had perfect balance. But if you keep writing bonuses under the impression that obscure Icelanders are better known than major cultural achievements of European civilization, you're almost guaranteed to keep producing those discrepancies, whereas if you don't do that, you might make a mistake occasionally but it won't be a major feature of your tournaments.
Last edited by grapesmoker on Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:54 am

Mike Bentley wrote:Illuminated manuscripts come up a lot in art history.

I'd caution getting a bit too reactionary with the history difficulty from this conversation, though. I don't agree with Jerry that the Sixtus Affair bonus is the difficulty this tournament should have been aiming for, as I think that bonus would be much more appropriate at a tournament like Minnesota Open than this tournament. I think Charles River Bridge is a perfectly fine middle part for this tournament, but I agree that the bonus in question probably lack a real hard part.
Sorry, again, I didn't mean to imply that "the Sixtus affair is a thing that should come up" or anything of the sort. I'm just saying, I have no problem playing a set in which that's a hard part. I also have no problem playing a set in which it's replaced by an easier part.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:13 am

To add to the pile-up on illuminated manuscripts, I'm pretty sure every person in our room (us vs. House A, I think) knew the answer to that question. I don't think knowing what illuminated manuscripts are is something people necessarily learn from a history class, so much as just pick up from outside sources. (Like Hark, a Vagrant! http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=254) I always just thought of it as something that "everything knows," although I may be anomalous in that respect.

Like Jerry says, it's kind of odd to say that because something hasn't come up very often in quiz bowl, it must be hard, and inversely, that because something does come up a lot (Haldor Laxness), it's not that hard. There's a sense in which that is true (most quiz bowlers probably know who Edwidge Danticat is), but to expect people to know a work by Haldor Laxness as a middle part is unfair to people who weren't around for Laxness-mania a few years ago, and it just feels like this is perpetuating a big quiz bowl inside joke, even if that wasn't the writers' intention.

Anyway, I enjoyed this set mostly because of how eccentric it was. I appreciate the writers' willingness to experiment a bit, even if a few of those experiments fell flat. Like others have said, I think bonus consistency was probably the biggest problem.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by kdroge » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:37 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
kdroge wrote:I still think there's got to be a better way than dropping the title of the article first before the description just because the way it was worded creates an ambiguity if you buzz super agressively, though.
I'm genuinely curious to know why you think this. I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that the chances of someone "filling in the blank" on "Bork and Beethoven" are slightly greater than epsilon. The way I parse this sentence is that you don't think that a disambiguating title is worth giving "just because" otherwise an ambiguity is created. But I don't see what the tradeoff is. The whole point is to disambiguate between possible answers, and in this case you are giving up nothing. What's more, if you're really that concerned about it, you could just rearrange the clues in my example first sentence.

I feel like this is possibly a consequence of people taking the "don't drop known titles" rule of thumb too far. Of course, you don't want your whole question to be a trivial fill-in-the-blank exercise, but if the title is not well known (as "Bork and Beethoven" is not), then giving it is fine.
At a certain point, if the leadin is "one character in this novel," you can't expect to just buzz and say a random novel (an extreme example, I know).
That is, indeed an extreme example. The difference of course is that almost every novel has characters, but the cardinality of the set of people whose core philosophy has been panned by Posner is, while greater than one, substantially smaller than that of the set of all novels. In other words, "a character in this novel" is not a plausibly substantive clue, whereas the Posner clue is. What's more, if you apply a little thought to the Posner clue (Posner doesn't like originalism, there aren't that many liberal jurists who could be plausible answers) you're much more likely to come up with Scalia than you are with, say, Akhil Amar (I have no idea if Posner and Amar ever got into it, but let's assume it for the sake of argument).

Incidentally, while I'm at it, the description of the article in the question itself is flatly incorrect. I've now read the original article twice, and here's how the question describes it: "The core of this man’s thought was critiqued in a Richard Posner article that compares him to Beethoven and deems him a pragmatist." This is just not the case; the pragmatism thing is correct, but the comparison is not. Posner is not comparing Bork to Beethoven at all; indeed, the comparison makes no sense in the context of the article. What Posner is doing is using the discrepancy between Commentary's approval of legal originalism and its simultaneous disapproval of musical originalism as a kind of frame story about the philosophical underpinnings of originalist thinking in general. If Bork is being compared to anyone at all in the article, it's to conductors who practice musical originalism, not Beethoven himself (I guess the correct parallel to Beethoven here would be the Constitution). That's a lot of words about a possibly trivial point, but I think it's important to get these things right.
I think that the easy solution here would be to have a more substantive set of clue(s) to open the question and then name drop the title of the article afterwards, which I think would solve both of our problems. My point is more that I don't think that the question has to lead with a title (even if it is obscure) just to fix this problem, and that there are better ways to do it. I acknowledge that the novel/character thing is an extreme example, but even with a more moderate one, like "This thinker attacked Kant by..." there's really no way that I can see justifying buzzing at that point in the question and expecting to be able to protest if you're wrong, but, by the same token, I don't think that the lead-in is necessarily bad if it follows by properly grounding the clue (I think that that's a far more important point about this question than the wording issue, to be honest, in that the clues were not precise / substantive enough).
grapesmoker wrote:
It's a little unfair to compare the hard part of the Icelandic literature bonus or the Ivanhoe bonus to the middle part of the history bonus (in my mind, illuminated manuscripts was the hard part, and I believe that was Libo's intention as well). I guess my high school history were woefully lacking, then- I'd never heard of illuminated manuscripts before this year's CO.
I'm sorry you had such a terrible historical education. I absolutely guarantee you that the overwhelming majority of educated people would be able to say "illuminated manuscript" from a description of a medieval scroll covered in fanciful renderings of letters than would be able to identify either a single work of Laxness, or Laxness himself, or a character of middling importance from Ivanhoe. This is about as close to an objective fact about the relative difficulty of things as you're going to find in quizbowl.
I think that stuff having come up in quiz bowl is a big part of how difficult or easy it is- there are numerous examples of "once hard" but now easier stuff just because it's shown up a lot, and stuff that's really important but hasn't shown up much is better relegated to hard parts of bonuses or tossup leadins (outside of super high difficulty stuff, of course).
I feel like I've been fighting this view for some time now, unsuccessfully it seems. Look, I know quizbowl has weird love for various writers, but Haldor Laxness and his works are not "easy." In my room, I got the Iceland bonus and my opponents got the Spain bonus. I got 20 and they got 30. If the reverse had occurred, I would have gotten 30 and my opponents would likely have gotten 10, and I don't say that because I'm slighting them, but because it's just not a thing that a lot of people know much about. I'm sorry to keep picking on that bonus but I think it's a good example of why some things in this tournament were much harder than other things; it's because a lot of the people writing the questions for this set have a kind of inverted view of difficulty where something that's a major phenomenon of European cultural history is obscure while the works of an Icelandic author no one reads are moderately gettable.
Obviously there's a tenuous balance between stuff that's quiz bowl famous and stuff that's real world famous and how easy/hard the two things are, and usually it's much harder to be able to pin down difficulty of the real world famous stuff versus the quiz bowl world (at least for me). The Laxness work was the middle part of that bonus, and I don't think that asking for the most famous work of a solidly canonical author (even if no one reads him, which I'm not sure is entirely true either), is too onerous. My opinion about Caporetto is mainly because it's the most famous battle of the Italian front and because it's gettable if you have knowledge about A Farewell to Arms, so it's not only just "you have to have studied the Italian front of WWI" in order to get points. With regards to illuminated manuscripts, I guess I underestimated how well known that is. To me, there would be a much greater chance that someone would have read / studied Herodotus or Cyrus the Great (for Queen Tomyris), whereas I can't think of a single topic that I would study that would lead me to know what an illuminated manuscript is (much less remember the name in a match). A problem that you (and others) are pointing out is that some of the American history bonuses had middle parts that were too easy, and, compared to many of the other bonuses that have been posted so far, I definitely agree with you- even if I don't think Caporetto or Laxness are too hard for middle parts, they're still way harder than Woodward or Blaine.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:13 pm

kdroge wrote: To me, there would be a much greater chance that someone would have read / studied Herodotus or Cyrus the Great (for Queen Tomyris), whereas I can't think of a single topic that I would study that would lead me to know what an illuminated manuscript is (much less remember the name in a match).
I am in no way any kind of medievalist and I've encountered illuminated manuscripts multiple times in my academic career, starting as early as middle school. Any good class covering the Middle Ages would mention them, whether it is a medieval history class, a medieval art history class, or a medieval literature class, because they are important to all three fields. Most major museums have some on display in their medieval art wings. I'm also pretty sure I've heard multiple quizbowl questions also about specific illuminated manuscripts (like the Limbourg Brothers' Tres Riches Heures and The Book of Kells), which are much less famous and more difficult in any real-world context than just knowing what an illuminated manuscript is.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:28 pm

kdroge wrote:I think that the easy solution here would be to have a more substantive set of clue(s) to open the question and then name drop the title of the article afterwards, which I think would solve both of our problems. My point is more that I don't think that the question has to lead with a title (even if it is obscure) just to fix this problem, and that there are better ways to do it.
I still don't understand what your objection is to leading with the title. I mean, sure, it doesn't have to, but it can! It wouldn't be wrong to do so! I'm not laying it down as a universal rule, I'm just pointing to one particular way that you could resolve this problem. Your other solution is fine too, but neither of these things happened in the actual question.
I acknowledge that the novel/character thing is an extreme example, but even with a more moderate one, like "This thinker attacked Kant by..." there's really no way that I can see justifying buzzing at that point in the question and expecting to be able to protest if you're wrong,
I really think the difference between attacking Kant, which was something done by almost every philosopher who followed him, and an article by a specific individual attacking practitioners of a specific philosophy is that you can, actually, plausibly derive an answer from the second one, whereas you can't from the first one. But the secondary problem is that if you end up writing a question that penalizes people for knowing stuff, the right thing to do is to not write questions like that anymore, rather than basically say "well, sucks to be you."
but, by the same token, I don't think that the lead-in is necessarily bad if it follows by properly grounding the clue (I think that that's a far more important point about this question than the wording issue, to be honest, in that the clues were not precise / substantive enough).
How can you separate clue precision from "wording issue?" I literally do not understand how that distinction can be sustained. Clue precision is all about wording issues! That's what I've been getting at throughout this thread.

[quote]The Laxness work was the middle part of that bonus, and I don't think that asking for the most famous work of a solidly canonical author (even if no one reads him, which I'm not sure is entirely true either), is too onerous.[/quote]

I don't understand in what world Haldor Laxness is "solidly canonical." Or rather, I do understand it: it's solidly canonical in the world where people just look at what's come up in packets before. Which isn't ideal, but I'm perfectly happy to play a set in which Haldor Laxness' most famous novel is a middle bonus part; it just shouldn't be the same set in which James G. Blaine is one too.

"Haldor Laxness has come up and therefore you have to know things that have come up before" is a terrible argument. It's quizbowl solipsism.

[quote]My opinion about Caporetto is mainly because it's the most famous battle of the Italian front and because it's gettable if you have knowledge about A Farewell to Arms, so it's not only just "you have to have studied the Italian front of WWI" in order to get points.[/quote]

Caporetto is not "ungettable." But it's difficult by comparison to being able to say Pennsylvania from the fact that lots of Germans lived there in colonial times. These things are not of equal difficulty, at all.

[quote]With regards to illuminated manuscripts, I guess I underestimated how well known that is. To me, there would be a much greater chance that someone would have read / studied Herodotus or Cyrus the Great (for Queen Tomyris), whereas I can't think of a single topic that I would study that would lead me to know what an illuminated manuscript is (much less remember the name in a match).[/quote]

Illuminated manuscripts aren't necessarily things that one studies per se, but they're definitely part of the consciousness of most educated people. Whether people pick it up from watching Sister Wendy or just as part of the general culture I don't know, but just because not that many people sit down and explicitly read about it in a book doesn't mean they can't tell you what it is. I sure as shit haven't read any Haldor Laxness novels, and yet here I am answering bonus parts on Independent People. There just is not a great chance that someone will have read Herodotus to begin with, much less remember Tomyris from that reading, and if you think that's comparable in difficulty to getting people to say "illuminated manuscript" then you really need to run your questions by someone else.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Auroni » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:39 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
kdroge wrote: To me, there would be a much greater chance that someone would have read / studied Herodotus or Cyrus the Great (for Queen Tomyris), whereas I can't think of a single topic that I would study that would lead me to know what an illuminated manuscript is (much less remember the name in a match).
I am in no way any kind of medievalist and I've encountered illuminated manuscripts multiple times in my academic career, starting as early as middle school. Any good class covering the Middle Ages would mention them, whether it is a medieval history class, a medieval art history class, or a medieval literature class, because they are important to all three fields. Most major museums have some on display in their medieval art wings. I'm also pretty sure I've heard multiple quizbowl questions also about specific illuminated manuscripts (like the Limbourg Brothers' Tres Riches Heures and The Book of Kells), which are much less famous and more difficult in any real-world context than just knowing what an illuminated manuscript is.
I'll back John up here. I bet that there are pictures of illuminated manuscripts or short blurbs on them in any high school world history textbook.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:10 pm

I too would appreciate a copy of the set, ideally the version I played. Thanks in advance!

Until I can give more detail, I'll note that I agree with Jerry's criticisms of the set. The biggest general issue I had was that too often--not all the time, by any means, but often enough to be noticeable--it felt like questions were written with no idea how they would play to people other than their authors. I don't really want to get too deep into psychoanalyzing the Michigan team or whatever, but the functional result was a general feeling of inconsistency.

I'll have more to say when I can critique questions, but I do want to clarify beforehand that overall the tournament was a very solid, competently put-together production--even the most consistent problems were minor enough to not seriously impede enjoyment of the set.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:19 pm

Could you please post the Hinduism tossup?
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Ringil » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:36 pm

The Eighth Viscount of Waaaah wrote:Could you please post the Hinduism tossup?
QUARK Round 3 wrote:4. One sacrament in this religion is a naming ceremony which takes place on the twelfth day after birth, and adherents of this religion also celebrate a baby’s first intake of food other than milk. In one ritual performed by practitioners of this religion, a flower represents solidarity, water represents liquidity, and a peacock fan represents movement. That ritual occurs eight times a day in temples and features five (*) oil lamps made from a special type of butter rotated around a central figure. In this religion, people who have renounced worldly pursuits, called sannyasins, are not required to be cremated, although as in similar religions, cremation is generally mandated. Practitioners of this religion worship divine images called murti in a ceremony called aarti, as part of puja. That ritual often occurs in temples called mandirs. For 10 points, name this Indian religion which worships gods like Shiva and Brahma.
ANSWER: Hinduism
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Gautam » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:08 am

Ringil wrote:
The Eighth Viscount of Waaaah wrote:Could you please post the Hinduism tossup?
QUARK Round 3 wrote:4. One sacrament in this religion is a naming ceremony which takes place on the twelfth day after birth, and adherents of this religion also celebrate a baby’s first intake of food other than milk. In one ritual performed by practitioners of this religion, a flower represents solidarity, water represents liquidity, and a peacock fan represents movement. That ritual occurs eight times a day in temples and features five (*) oil lamps made from a special type of butter rotated around a central figure. In this religion, people who have renounced worldly pursuits, called sannyasins, are not required to be cremated, although as in similar religions, cremation is generally mandated. Practitioners of this religion worship divine images called murti in a ceremony called aarti, as part of puja. That ritual often occurs in temples called mandirs. For 10 points, name this Indian religion which worships gods like Shiva and Brahma.
ANSWER: Hinduism
<Libo>
I didn't like this. Pretty sure the following are true:

* the naming ceremony tends to happen on pretty much any day within a reasonable amount of time after birth, depending on how superstitious (i.e. influenced by astrology) the people planning the ceremony are. I've seen one on 21 days, pretty sure there are some which happen a month or so later too.
* I have absolutely no idea what the second/third sentences are talking about. Care to explain? Also, if you're using "central figure" in "oil lamps made from ghee rotated around a central figure" to describe a murti, note that it can also happen to you, a living, breathing human being on your birthday, Rakhi purnima, or other days.
* Brahma is notably not worshipped often.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Gautam » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:44 am

In general I thought most of the questions were decent and I had a good time playing them. However, I agree with my teammate when he says that questions were written with little idea of how they would play to a more general field. I was miffed when things like "the winter of our discontent" was marked as unacceptable (literally every single tournament in the past has accepted it, and people refer to it as such as well) ... or, looking back, how equivalents are marked unacceptable for "representations" in that Fischer bonus.

Most science was decent; there were a few questions which lacked in giving useful clues early on, leading to confused play. The lit and the arts were pretty good, even though they didn't play to my strengths as much. Wasn't as big a fan of the econ in this set.

Ultimately I had fun heading over to Michigan, hanging out with quizbowlers. I would play another edition in the tournament in the future.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:11 am

QUARK Round 3 wrote:In one ritual performed by practitioners of this religion, a flower represents solidarity, water represents liquidity, and a peacock fan represents movement. That ritual occurs eight times a day in temples and features five (*) oil lamps made from a special type of butter rotated around a central figure.
ANSWER: Hinduism
<Libo>
I was a bit baffled by the part about "five oil lamps made from a special type of butter," not because this doesn't happen in Hinduism, but because it could apply equally well to, say, Jainism, where people will sometimes rotate a tray containing 3-5 oil lamps, as during aarti and mangal divo. (Not a practice I particularly care for, but whatever.) It would take a rather deep knowledge of Jainism to know that, but for somewhat with that level of knowledge, it can be a bit confusing.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Ringil » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:20 pm

Gautam wrote:
Ringil wrote:
The Eighth Viscount of Waaaah wrote:Could you please post the Hinduism tossup?
QUARK Round 3 wrote:4. One sacrament in this religion is a naming ceremony which takes place on the twelfth day after birth, and adherents of this religion also celebrate a baby’s first intake of food other than milk. In one ritual performed by practitioners of this religion, a flower represents solidarity, water represents liquidity, and a peacock fan represents movement. That ritual occurs eight times a day in temples and features five (*) oil lamps made from a special type of butter rotated around a central figure. In this religion, people who have renounced worldly pursuits, called sannyasins, are not required to be cremated, although as in similar religions, cremation is generally mandated. Practitioners of this religion worship divine images called murti in a ceremony called aarti, as part of puja. That ritual often occurs in temples called mandirs. For 10 points, name this Indian religion which worships gods like Shiva and Brahma.
ANSWER: Hinduism
<Libo>
I didn't like this. Pretty sure the following are true:

* the naming ceremony tends to happen on pretty much any day within a reasonable amount of time after birth, depending on how superstitious (i.e. influenced by astrology) the people planning the ceremony are. I've seen one on 21 days, pretty sure there are some which happen a month or so later too.
* I have absolutely no idea what the second/third sentences are talking about. Care to explain? Also, if you're using "central figure" in "oil lamps made from ghee rotated around a central figure" to describe a murti, note that it can also happen to you, a living, breathing human being on your birthday, Rakhi purnima, or other days.
* Brahma is notably not worshipped often.
*I'm sure it can happen on any day, depending on how strongly one adheres to one's religious precepts. This can be seen in pretty much any religion and doesn't make whatever custom in question not part of that religion. For example, Jewish people are supposed to rest on Saturday, but many ignore that rule, though some follow it. The 12 days was picked because it seems that there is a lot of variance (10, 11,12), but 12 days pretty much shows up in every description of the event I saw (while 10,11 only show up in some).
*My major source for this was: http://books.google.com/books?id=WuVG8PxKq_0C&pg=PA195. I use "central figure" because like you said it could be a number of things that aren't just an image of a deity, though it often appears to be a murti. I didn't know it could a real person though. Still, I don't see how that's particularly confusing.
* I'll change that.

@ Shan: I didn't know Jainism performed a similar ritual. I'll see what I can do to perhaps remove that confusion.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:34 am

Ringil wrote:@ Shan: I didn't know Jainism performed a similar ritual. I'll see what I can do to perhaps remove that confusion.
Thanks. To be clear, the clue isn't actually non-specific, since Jains don't do any of that stuff with various objects representing various abstract qualities in connection with the oil lamps (and the oil lamp thing doesn't happen eight times a day, etc.). I just thought it was somewhat confusing.

I'm doubtful that a question on Hinduism that goes into this level of detail could actually work. This is not a terrible question, but the practice of Hinduism varies so wildly between different groups of Hindus that I don't know that this question necessarily represents most Hindus' experience. But you'd have to ask Hindus to know that.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:45 pm

You should accept raising and lowering operators (both for credit) for the ladder operators bonus part.

On the Penrose tossup you should probably include a pronunciation guide or something that tells the moderator that A+ is actually said "A-dagger" as I was wondering what A+ was supposed to be (because that + sign is not supposed to be a +, it's supposed to be a dagger!). I had to wait until the next clue to know you were talking about Moore-Penrose pseudoinverses.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Ringil » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:30 am

The Ununtiable Twine wrote:You should accept raising and lowering operators (both for credit) for the ladder operators bonus part.

On the Penrose tossup you should probably include a pronunciation guide or something that tells the moderator that A+ is actually said "A-dagger" as I was wondering what A+ was supposed to be (because that + sign is not supposed to be a +, it's supposed to be a dagger!). I had to wait until the next clue to know you were talking about Moore-Penrose pseudoinverses.
Fixed both. Thanks
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Fond du lac operon » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:46 pm

This is a pretty minor quibble and I doubt it would make much of a difference in any actual match, but it's bad practice so I'll mention it anyway: You have an art tossup on Ophelia that mentions her drowning herself and then a bonus part on committing suicide that mentions Ophelia.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by touchpack » Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:06 pm

Hey, Illinois was playing the last packets in practice the other day, and there was a tossup on histones that basically began "these proteins that form octamers..." The octameric structure of histones is one of the most well-known things about them, and should be right before "nucleosome."

Example: ACF Regionals 2010

10. A 2010 study showed that G9a, which methylates one of these proteins, is downregulated after cocaine use. In 1990 the Grunstein lab at UCLA caused yeast mating efficiency to decrease by replacing a lysine at position 16 of one of these proteins with either arginine, glycine, or glutamine. That study showed that mutations in SIR3 could partially allow mutated forms of these proteins to repress the transcription of HML-alpha and HMR-alpha. The lysines on the tails of these proteins are reversibly acetylated by proteins such as GCN5. An octamer consisting of two each of the 2A, 2B, 3, and 4 members of this family of proteins forms the protein core of a nucleosome. For 10 points, name this family of proteins around which DNA is packed in chromatin.
ANSWER: histones
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:38 pm

women, fire and dangerous things wrote:
QUARK wrote:This type of reaction can be used to test for the presence of a methyl ketone, with a positive result giving a pale yellow substance. The Wohl-Ziegler reaction is an example of the radical allylic type of this reaction. When this type of reaction is performed on alkanes, it is typically initiated by UV radiation or heat and proceeds via a free-radical chain mechanism. One example of this type of reaction has a variation named for Simonini; that reaction operates on silver salts of carboxylic acids and is named for (*) Hunsdiecker. This type of reaction is particularly easy to perform when the element being added is the most electronegative element on the periodic table. For 10 points, name this process of reacting a compound with an element like fluorine or chlorine.
ANSWER: halogenation [accept haloform reaction or iodoform reaction before “Wohl-Ziegler,” and prompt after]
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So I have problems with this question, and the problem is that none of these things, as named, are called "[eponym] halogenation", which makes this very confusing. The leadin is about the Iodoform reaction, which is also technically an oxidation, the free radical halogenation clue also refers to polymerization, the Hunsdiecker reaction is just called the Hunsdiecker reaction and not the Hunsdiecker halogenation, etc, etc. A better way to ask that question may be to say "one reaction that adds this functional group..." instead of requiring "halogenation"
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Smuttynose Island » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:55 pm

Would someone please post the TUs on shale and Silk? Thank you.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Ringil » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:38 pm

QUARK Packet 10 wrote: 18. Albertite is a type of asphalt formed from this type of mineral. The Green River formation of this mineral is a potential source of crude oil. Types of this argillaceous mineral include the “black” type, which contains a large amount of carbonaceous material and is also especially rich in organic material. It is similar in composition to marl and (*) mudstone, containing clay minerals and silt-sized fragments of other minerals, but unlike mudstone, it is highly fissile, splitting easily along cleavage lines. Over the last decade, the use of fracking to obtain natural gas from formations of this mineral has become increasingly common. Metamorphism can turn this mineral into slate. For 10 points, name this flaky sedimentary mineral, which makes up a fossil field in British Columbia named for the Burgess Pass.
ANSWER: shale
<WN>
QUARK Packet 2 wrote: 10. Amoghavjra was a frequent recipient of gifts of this commodity from Emperor Taizong. The city of Lucca was known for their production of this commodity. Peter Barsymes created a government monopoly on this commodity. Workers in the city of Lyon that produced this commodity rose up in the Canut revolts. Going up the River During Qingming Festival was a work painted (*) on this medium. The technology necessary for its production was smuggled into the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Justinian. Sogdians were important traders in this resource, which was necessary for the vestments of clergy. Its production requires mulberry trees and this commodity gave its name to a trade route stretching from China to Rome. For 10 points, name this fiber produced by certain “worms.”
ANSWER: silk [do not accept paper if they buzz on this medium because Chinese art is notably mostly on silk!]
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:42 pm

Could you post the tossups on Harding and Mary Magdalene?
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:44 pm

Can someone please post the bonuses with parts on Mussolini's "battles", "broken window theory" and the tossup on Russia that mentioned the "return to the soil" group in the first line? Thanks!
Last edited by Masked Canadian History Bandit on Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Ringil » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:02 pm

merv1618 wrote:Could you post the tossups on Harding and Mary Magdalene?
QUARK Round 5 wrote:17. This President signed the Sheppard-Towney Act, which provided federal funding for child care. A con artist and bootlegger associated with his administration wrote a book claiming that he was murdered by his First Lady. That man, Gaston Means, was a member of a so-called “gang” of partisans of this President, which also included Thomas W. Miller, Edwin C. (*) Denby, and his Attorney General, Harry M. Daugherty. His administration saw the Logan Defenders face off against striking coal miners in the Battle of Blair Mountain. He called the Washington Naval Conference, and his Secretary of the Interior leased the Elk Hills fields to Edward Doheny. For 10 points, name this President from Ohio who promised a “return to normalcy” and suffered the Teapot Dome scandal.
ANSWER: Warren Gamaliel Harding
<WN>
QUARK Round 6 wrote:6. This figure “came with springing tears to the spring of mercy” according to a prayer by St. Anselm. In one story, this person presented an egg to Tiberius, which turned red after he denied Christ’s divinity. An apocryphal gospel generally attributed to this person describes a vision about the ascent of a soul, which encounters four powers that try to stop its ascent. This person became a believer in Jesus after being (*) cleansed of seven demons, and, according to three of the gospels, this person was the first to witness the Resurrection. It was a proclamation by Pope Gregory I that led to this figure’s conflation with several similarly named persons and with the “Sinful Woman,” which may have in turn led to her being labeled as a prostitute. For 10 points, name this female follower of Jesus, sometimes said to have been the lover of Christ.
ANSWER: Mary Magdalene [prompt on partial answer]
<KD>
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:Can someone please post the bonuses with parts on Mussolini's "battles", "broken window theory" and the tossup on Russia that mentioned the narodniks in the first line? Thanks!
QUARK Round 1 wrote:15. For 10 points each, name some stuff about Italy under Fascist rule:
[10] Mussolini loved to use this term to describe his initiatives, such as one “for Grain” that sought to increase farm production, one “for Land” that reclaimed the Pontine Marshes, and one “for the Lira” that curbed inflation.
ANSWER: battles
[10] This socialist was stabbed in a car during a kidnapping attempt just days after he denounced the fascists in two speeches. He also wrote a book about The Fascisti Exposed.
ANSWER: Giacomo Matteotti
[10] Mussolini began an initiative to collect this precious metal and melt it down, replacing it with Fatherland-themed cheaper pieces of jewelry. It was often used as a standard for currencies during the early 20th Century.
ANSWER: gold
<KD>
QUARK Round 1 wrote:13. This thinker described artistic genius as a kind of hereditary insanity in his book The Man of Genius. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this thinker, who is most famous for his theory that criminals can be identified by their physical characteristics, including prognathism and a sloping forehead.
ANSWER: Cesare Lombroso
[10] Another criminological theory is this one, developed by Wilson and Kelling, which states that the key to reducing crime is to maintain a well-ordered urban environment.
ANSWER: broken windows theory
[10] This school of criminology counted among its members Ernest Burgess and Robert E. Park. It shares its name with a school of economics which included George Stigler and Milton Friedman.
ANSWER: Chicago School
<WN>
QUARK Round 6 wrote:A nativist movement in this country’s political philosophy in the 19th century had a name meaning “return to the soil.” A related movement in this country advocated finding common ground between opposing viewpoints; that idea was supported by the author of The Crisis of Western Philosophy. Another philosopher from this country argued for the self-sufficiency of individual communities in Fields, Factories and Workshops. This country was home to a philosopher who coined the term “invisible (*) dictatorship” and wrote a fragmentary anarchistic work called God and the State. That philosopher is not to be confused with one with a similar name who introduced the concepts of the chronotope, the carnivalesque, dialogism, and heteroglossia. For 10 points, name this country home to the Narodniks and the Slavophiles, which produced philosophers like Mikhail Bakunin and Mikhail Bakhtin.
ANSWER: Russia
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:17 pm

QUARK Round 6 wrote:A nativist movement in this country’s political philosophy in the 19th century had a name meaning “return to the soil.” A related movement in this country advocated finding common ground between opposing viewpoints; that idea was supported by the author of The Crisis of Western Philosophy. Another philosopher from this country argued for the self-sufficiency of individual communities in Fields, Factories and Workshops. This country was home to a philosopher who coined the term “invisible (*) dictatorship” and wrote a fragmentary anarchistic work called God and the State. That philosopher is not to be confused with one with a similar name who introduced the concepts of the chronotope, the carnivalesque, dialogism, and heteroglossia. For 10 points, name this country home to the Narodniks and the Slavophiles, which produced philosophers like Mikhail Bakunin and Mikhail Bakhtin.
ANSWER: Russia
<WN>
This is not a good question.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Smuttynose Island » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:32 pm

Ringil wrote:
QUARK Packet 10 wrote: 18. Albertite is a type of asphalt formed from this type of mineral. The Green River formation of this mineral is a potential source of crude oil. Types of this argillaceous mineral include the “black” type, which contains a large amount of carbonaceous material and is also especially rich in organic material. It is similar in composition to marl and (*) mudstone, containing clay minerals and silt-sized fragments of other minerals, but unlike mudstone, it is highly fissile, splitting easily along cleavage lines. Over the last decade, the use of fracking to obtain natural gas from formations of this mineral has become increasingly common. Metamorphism can turn this mineral into slate. For 10 points, name this flaky sedimentary mineral, which makes up a fossil field in British Columbia named for the Burgess Pass.
ANSWER: shale
<WN>


Maybe there is some odd technicality that makes what I am about to say wrong, but rockslike shale are NOT minerals. They are conglomerations of minerals and other substances, which means that they do not have an explicit and consistent chemical structure. That made playing this question very confusing to say the least.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:53 pm

Smuttynose Island wrote:Maybe there is some odd technicality that makes what I am about to say wrong, but rockslike shale are NOT minerals. They are conglomerations of minerals and other substances, which means that they do not have an explicit and consistent chemical structure. That made playing this question very confusing to say the least.
No technicality - that was just ignorance on my part, I guess.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by touchpack » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:46 pm

women, fire and dangerous things wrote:
Smuttynose Island wrote:Maybe there is some odd technicality that makes what I am about to say wrong, but rockslike shale are NOT minerals. They are conglomerations of minerals and other substances, which means that they do not have an explicit and consistent chemical structure. That made playing this question very confusing to say the least.
No technicality - that was just ignorance on my part, I guess.
Furthermore, mentioning "crude oil" so early made the tossup a HUGE game of chicken in our room.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by the third garrideb » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:17 am

Did the tossup on Ramadhan really begin with clues about people whose last name is "Ramadhan"?

Can the tossup on resistivity also be posted? My teammate had a complaint about the phrasing of one of the clues in the middle of that question.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:53 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
QUARK Round 6 wrote:A nativist movement in this country’s political philosophy in the 19th century had a name meaning “return to the soil.” A related movement in this country advocated finding common ground between opposing viewpoints; that idea was supported by the author of The Crisis of Western Philosophy. Another philosopher from this country argued for the self-sufficiency of individual communities in Fields, Factories and Workshops. This country was home to a philosopher who coined the term “invisible (*) dictatorship” and wrote a fragmentary anarchistic work called God and the State. That philosopher is not to be confused with one with a similar name who introduced the concepts of the chronotope, the carnivalesque, dialogism, and heteroglossia. For 10 points, name this country home to the Narodniks and the Slavophiles, which produced philosophers like Mikhail Bakunin and Mikhail Bakhtin.
ANSWER: Russia
<WN>
This is not a good question.
Could you elaborate?
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Ringil » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:20 pm

the third garrideb wrote:Did the tossup on Ramadhan really begin with clues about people whose last name is "Ramadhan"?

Can the tossup on resistivity also be posted? My teammate had a complaint about the phrasing of one of the clues in the middle of that question.
QUARK Round 7 wrote:8. Margaret Hasluck commented on the prevalence of this holiday being used as a last name for children born during it, and one scholar with this name wrote What I Believe and The Quest for Meaning. The practices of this holiday were syncretized with the Sabian customs of worshipping the disappearance and then reappearance of the Moon. According to one source, on this holiday “the Gates of Heaven are thrown open and the Gates of Hell are shut.” This holiday includes the eating of a (*) meal that begins with the consumption of dates, and it includes the Night of Power or Laylat al-Qadr, which is held on an odd-numbered day. With a name derived from a word representing the scorching heat of the ground, it includes the reading of special prayers called Tarawih and it culminates in the Eid-ul-Fitr. For 10 points, name this holiday known for its daytime fasting, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
ANSWER: Ramadan
<KD>
QUARK Round 9 wrote:4. In ballistic transport, the contribution to this quantity from scattering is negligible because the material is smaller than the mean free path. The Bloch-Gruneisen formula says that at low temperatures, this quantity depends on a power of temperature and that at a large range of temperatures, it increases linearly with temperature. Doping a semiconductor (*) reduces this quantity, which can be added to the imaginary reactivity to get impeditivity, the complex extension of this quantity. It is proportional to area and inversely proportional to length. It is defined as the ratio of electric field and current density and has units of ohm-meters. The inverse of conductivity is, for 10 points, what quantity that measures a material’s opposition to electric current?
ANSWER: resistivity [accept resistance because we’re nice even though none of the clues talk about that]
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:06 pm

I'll have something more substantial later but this one caught my attention during the day:
QUARK Packet 6 wrote: [10] Escherichia coli and species of the genus vibrio use these signaling molecules to communicate during quorum sensing.
ANSWER: autoinducers
I said homoserine lactones, which fits the description in the question. I suppose at the very least you could include an anti-prompt since AHLs are a type of autoinducer.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:28 pm

women, fire and dangerous things wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:
QUARK Round 6 wrote:A nativist movement in this country’s political philosophy in the 19th century had a name meaning “return to the soil.” A related movement in this country advocated finding common ground between opposing viewpoints; that idea was supported by the author of The Crisis of Western Philosophy. Another philosopher from this country argued for the self-sufficiency of individual communities in Fields, Factories and Workshops. This country was home to a philosopher who coined the term “invisible (*) dictatorship” and wrote a fragmentary anarchistic work called God and the State. That philosopher is not to be confused with one with a similar name who introduced the concepts of the chronotope, the carnivalesque, dialogism, and heteroglossia. For 10 points, name this country home to the Narodniks and the Slavophiles, which produced philosophers like Mikhail Bakunin and Mikhail Bakhtin.
ANSWER: Russia
<WN>
This is not a good question.
Could you elaborate?
Sure. Here are some of the problems with it. First of all, I'm not sure that there's any reasonable way to get anything useful from the first clue. When I punched "russia return to the soil" I got a wiki reference to a small subset of the Slavophile movement that I had no idea existed. That's not a problem in itself, but I think "this country had a nativist movement" (considering that there are few Russian-speakers in qb and fewer still who are going to reverse-translate "return to the soil" I think this clue has very little utility. "A viewpoint in this country advocated finding common ground" sounds like complete filler, and I guess "The Crisis of Western Philosophy" is supposed to be a Solovyov drop. I'm not sure why Solovyov goes completely unmentioned in this question (a common problem with this tournament in general) or why you don't mention his other reasonably famous work (like his work on the Sophia philosophy). Why is "Field, Factories, and Workshops" the clue for (the also unmentioned anywhere in the question) Kropotkin, and not, say, his much more famous "Mutual Aid?" Finally, the content of Bakhtin's "Rabelais and His World," (ALSO UNMENTIONED IN THE QUESTION SERIOUSLY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU GUYS HERE) is the pre-FTP clue? What?

Look, this question was just badly constructed, stuffed full of weird references, and lacking almost any semblance of gradation. There's a good way to write this question and I liked the idea, but the execution was just awful.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:14 pm

I don't want to defend this question per se as I think Jerry's critiques are in general solid, but I'm not sure if Solovyov (or even Kropotkin) has to be mentioned by name even if he is clued. As long as you're putting good descriptions and their famous works in the question (which apparently this question didn't), it doesn't seem like you have to mention their name unless you're just advocating listing their names at the end in a list.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:19 pm

Cheynem wrote:it doesn't seem like you have to mention their name unless you're just advocating listing their names at the end in a list.
I don't want to speak for Jerry, but I personally think its helpful if all of the names are listed at the end.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Ringil » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:28 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:I'll have something more substantial later but this one caught my attention during the day:
QUARK Packet 6 wrote: [10] Escherichia coli and species of the genus vibrio use these signaling molecules to communicate during quorum sensing.
ANSWER: autoinducers
I said homoserine lactones, which fits the description in the question. I suppose at the very least you could include an anti-prompt since AHLs are a type of autoinducer.
You're correct. I've added that.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:46 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
Cheynem wrote:it doesn't seem like you have to mention their name unless you're just advocating listing their names at the end in a list.
I don't want to speak for Jerry, but I personally think its helpful if all of the names are listed at the end.
Yeah, this is what I meant to say. I know that it's not going to help anyone that much because if the question got there, you'd go, "oh, Russian name, buzz" but it does help for afterwards. Like, if I were reading that question in practice, it would be confusing to me as to who wrote what, for example. I just think it's generally good form to mention your authors and works at the end if you've mentioned their content previously in the question. It might not help a great deal for this particular tossup, but it does help generally, and I found a lot of questions in this set didn't do that, to the questions' detriment.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:57 pm

I mean I generally agree with that; it's just that sometimes when writing questions for length and smoothness of question's sake, I may have to eschew dropping the names or titles of everything I've clued before.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:09 pm

To be clear, I wasn't expecting people to back-translate "return to the soil." I was expecting that people who had read about the Pochvenniki would have likely learned what the name meant, Russian speakers or not. Maybe that's too hard for a leadin, but that's another question.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:42 pm

women, fire and dangerous things wrote:To be clear, I wasn't expecting people to back-translate "return to the soil." I was expecting that people who had read about the Pochvenniki would have likely learned what the name meant, Russian speakers or not. Maybe that's too hard for a leadin, but that's another question.
It's entirely possible to know all of those things and fail to buzz on the clue simply because it's not obvious that the information given is in any way uniquely identifying. It's not that I think the clue is too hard as I think that it provides very little actual information because the information that is provided is pretty ambiguous.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:39 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Finally, the content of Bakhtin's "Rabelais and His World," (ALSO UNMENTIONED IN THE QUESTION SERIOUSLY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU GUYS HERE)
Normally I agree with you on the "name the things you've clued" policy, but it seems unnecessary here--the list of concepts is just "stuff introduced by Bakhtin", who the question does later name, and they're not all from Rabelais and His World (the latter two, at least, are from The Dialogic Imagination), so adding all the titles would make the question as it is rather unnecessarily bulky.

(Whether "concepts introduced by Bakhtin" should be the pre-FTP clue is a different matter, of course.)
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by the third garrideb » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:07 pm

QUARK Round 7 wrote:8. Margaret Hasluck commented on the prevalence of this holiday being used as a last name for children born during it, and one scholar with this name wrote What I Believe and The Quest for Meaning. The practices of this holiday were syncretized with the Sabian customs of worshipping the disappearance and then reappearance of the Moon. According to one source, on this holiday “the Gates of Heaven are thrown open and the Gates of Hell are shut.” This holiday includes the eating of a (*) meal that begins with the consumption of dates, and it includes the Night of Power or Laylat al-Qadr, which is held on an odd-numbered day. With a name derived from a word representing the scorching heat of the ground, it includes the reading of special prayers called Tarawih and it culminates in the Eid-ul-Fitr. For 10 points, name this holiday known for its daytime fasting, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
ANSWER: Ramadan
<KD>
Thanks! I suspected (correctly) that this question sounding weird was just a case of me not hearing/paying attention properly.
QUARK Round 9 wrote:4. In ballistic transport, the contribution to this quantity from scattering is negligible because the material is smaller than the mean free path. The Bloch-Gruneisen formula says that at low temperatures, this quantity depends on a power of temperature and that at a large range of temperatures, it increases linearly with temperature. Doping a semiconductor (*) reduces this quantity, which can be added to the imaginary reactivity to get impeditivity, the complex extension of this quantity. It is proportional to area and inversely proportional to length. It is defined as the ratio of electric field and current density and has units of ohm-meters. The inverse of conductivity is, for 10 points, what quantity that measures a material’s opposition to electric current?
ANSWER: resistivity [accept resistance because we’re nice even though none of the clues talk about that]
<Libo>
The bolded clue is the one that my teammate took issue with. What I understood from what he said was that this clue is only true of resistance, not resistivity. (I.e., two differently sized pieces of the same material will have the same resistivity. irrespective of their area or length.) If someone can clarify this, that would be appreciated.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:30 am

Your teammate is right, resistivity is intrinsic to the material.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:40 am

Ukonvasara wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:Normally I agree with you on the "name the things you've clued" policy, but it seems unnecessary here--the list of concepts is just "stuff introduced by Bakhtin", who the question does later name, and they're not all from Rabelais and His World (the latter two, at least, are from The Dialogic Imagination), so adding all the titles would make the question as it is rather unnecessarily bulky.

(Whether "concepts introduced by Bakhtin" should be the pre-FTP clue is a different matter, of course.)
You're right, only the "carnivalesque" comes from Rabelais. But I think that if you're writing a question in which you're going to mention Bakhtin's work, there's almost certainly no need to cover every concept he introduced; you could easily rework this question to have the contents of one of his major works somewhere earlier on and then give the title later. Part of the issue with this question is that it tries to pack in nearly everything about Russian philosophy, so obviously at some point you are going to have to leave certain info out or the question becomes unwieldy. If that's happening though, that's a sign that the question probably needs a major rewrite.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Ringil » Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:43 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:Your teammate is right, resistivity is intrinsic to the material.
Ya, I've changed it so it is less ambiguous/confusing.
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