Tournament Discussion

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Tournament Discussion

Post by Tanay » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:38 am

Thanks to everyone who played this tournament. I'd appreciate discussion of any sort, but especially some input on the categories for which I chose to write.

After seeing some of the discussion about the way current events questions were written, I decided to work with the idea of a "Modern World" subdistribution (which Bruce Arthur has mentioned in the past), which comprised several of the questions within the "Geography/CE/Your Choice" category. That category had the following questions:
Indonesian wildlife bonus, Trillion-dollar coin tossup, Arab Spring bonus, Tennessee tossup, Election publications bonus, Ethanol tossup, Italian elections bonus, Foreign aid tossup, Afar Depression bonus, pre-K education tossup, Salt March bonus, Antarctic geography bonus, Yosemite tossup, Scotland bonus, Delaware River tossup, Austria bonus, Wisconsin tossup, Labour Party bonus, Venezuela tossup, Israeli politics bonus, France tossup, Oligarchs bonus, Chris Christie tossup, Relations between Greece and Turkey bonus, Aboriginal Australians tossup, Kony bonus, Canary Islands tossup, South American food bonus, New Zealand tossup, Cuban politics bonus, Montreal tossup, Incumbency advantage bonus, The Hague tossup, House Republicans bonus

I'd classify several of these questions (Greece-Turkey bonus, Foreign aid tossup, Oligarchs bonus, Ethanol tossup) as "Modern World", in that they engaged a combination of current events and some post-1980 history. I'm curious to know how some of these questions played.

Besides that, I wrote all the European and "Other" literature. Discuss away. Thanks!
Last edited by Tanay on Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Unicolored Jay » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:52 am

I edited all Fine Arts and Mythology. Before you ask, yes, I noticed a few repeats within those categories, and they will be fixed before the mirrors next weekend.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:33 pm

It's odd: I enjoyed playing this tournament (more than I enjoyed playing VCU Closed), but there were definitely a lot of problems.

To start with the positives: tossups and bonuses were a very good length, there were no obvious difficulty outliers among tossup answers, and it looks like this set had above-average copy editing and clarity of language.

At the beginning of the day, I asked the moderators whose packet we were reading before each round, just to keep track for myself as to which packets I hadn't heard when it came time to read through the set on my own. By the second half of the day, I was asking the moderators the same question, but now to find out whether the questions were going to be good that round, and the editors' packets tended to be in the bottom half. The correlation between the submitting team's writing skill and the quality of the final packet was very strong throughout, and this should not be the case. The worst problem was with bonus variability, which was quite extreme, and this problem was actually worst in the editors' packets, even within categories.

Looking at Editors' Packet 1, compare these two history bonuses:
The battles of Winchester and Lincoln occurred during this period, which saw one party land at Arundel with a company of knights.
For 10 points each:

[10] Name this period of strife following the death of William Adelin. It ended with the Treaty of Wallingford, which stipulated the accession of Stephen of Blois to the throne over the other major claimant, Empress Matilda.

ANSWER: The Anarchy [or Nineteen Year Winter]

[10] During the Anarchy, Matilda's husband Geoffrey V of this house subdued Normandy. This house became the namesake of an empire that encompassed large parts of Britain and France.

ANSWER: House of Anjou [or Angevins]

[10] The Treaty of Wallingford also provided for the eventual accession of Henry II of the Plantagenet line, which itself split into the feuding York and Lancaster factions during this 15th century war.

ANSWER: Wars of the Roses
Name these personages from the American Revolution who fought in South Carolina, for 10 points each.

[10] This Scottish major and sniper did not shoot George Washington just before the Battle of Brandywine because he had his back turned. He later wrangled Loyalist forces in South Carolina and died at Kings Mountain.

ANSWER: Patrick Ferguson

[10] This winner of the Battle of Saratoga idiotically squandered his new command position in 1780 by ordering a frontal assault on a British fortification at Camden, matching an inexperienced militia against British Regulars. 

ANSWER: Horatio Lloyd Gates

[10] This Patriot, known as the "Swamp Fox," became the adversary of the ruthless Banastre Tarleton. He specialized in guerrilla warfare and commanded Nathanael Greene's right wing at the Battle of Eutaw Springs.

ANSWER: Francis Marion
All three parts of the British history bonus are easier than all of the parts of the second bonus except Gates. The hard part of the the British lit bonus was The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (missing the author as a clue, but with the plot intact); the hard part of the European lit bonus was Toliers to the Sea (without Hugo given)!

Editors Packet 2 had Hart Crane's The Bridge and James Ensor as hard parts of two bonuses, but also had Carl Schurz and Liber Abaci (the math textbook by Fibonacci) as hard parts of two others bonuses.

A history bonus that went: Baron Haussmann / Paris / Battle of Sedan (no hard part in sight, and easy middle parts) was in the same packet as a bonus that went De Soto / Vicksburg / Revels (no easy part and a genuine hard part) and a bonus that went Kansas / Crittenden Compromise / Corwin Amendment.

I could go on, but suffice to say, this problem was rampant and extreme.

The music editing was not good: the proportion of music clues that were either unhelpfully vague or just plain wrong was higher than usual. I have sent Auroni a list of errata (which includes problems with questions in other categories too) for the packets that I heard that I hope will be fixed before subsequent mirrors.

There were lots of misplaced clues, and very frequently, extremely famous titles or buzz-words were still within power. I won't list all of the tossups that had this problem but two prominent ones that definitely need to be fixed: The Auden tossup starts with a prominent quote from his most famous poem. I heard loads of complaints about this our site. The Revenge Tragedy tossup triggered a four-way buzzer race on the very first clue among the seven players in the room where I played it. That match was won by the margin of one tossup.

I don't know how I feel about this tournament overall: it seems fairly polished in some respects, but is lacking in basic bonus and tossup construction skills in other places.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Cody » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:53 pm

I thought maybe this tournament was a little easier than regular difficulty (we don't normally get that close to 20 PPB on regular sets), but I was completely fine with that and had a pretty okay time. It also seemed very well proofread, which was appreciated. I also thought it was, on the whole, pretty consistent.

I guess I mentioned most of these things to Auroni already, but:

Wow, the lit in that Ottawa/Rutgers packet was really a step above the rest of the set (I think two went dead in our room, where that basically didn't happen the entire rest of the day). It was quite jarring. I'm given to understand this is a result of the submissions, but perhaps the packets should be have combined more appropriately if this was the case. On that note, I felt that a few of the math bonuses (not all of them) skewed much harder than many of the other bonuses. I can't remember any examples off the top of my head, but it was also somewhat jarring at times.

I believe I said I don't mind the distribution of questions before, but I've definitely changed my mind after this tournament. There were 6 packets with two science questions next to each other and another packet with a pair of two science questions next to each other (thankfully in separate halves). There was also one packet with like 3 science questions by question 7 and another with all 4 in the first 10 questions. It was intensely frustrating at times (especially the latter bit). As I've said in the past, distributing your packets so that things like this (and things like trash tossups being #20) takes no extra time, and it also avoids players being upset--even if you don't see it as a big deal. This has been hashed out well enough elsewhere, so I'm not sure it's worth a discussion (and obviously if you tried to do it now it would be a waste of/a lot of extra time), but it's something to consider in the future.

Lastly, there seemed to be a wide consensus at our site that the falsifiability question was a hose for induction with the "black swan" clue. I'll let others comment on it as I don't know philosophy, but I'm given to understand that it is quite hard to differentiate between "induction" and "falsifiability" with the black swan argument and the question did not do so. (I mention this mostly because there are further mirrors) edit: Also that F-15 question was easily the worst question of the tournament. What was up with that? I thought quizbowl had gotten over its fetish with aircraft, tanks, and other military vehicles as tossup answers? Not only that, but it seemed like half the question (slight exaggeration) was on the kill record of the F-15 in various conflicts! While this would make a great tossup to play drunk and make fun of, it was really out of place in this set, which had nothing else approaching the absurdity of this question.

@John Lawrence: Obviously I have no ability to comment on most of your post, but you seem to be quite off base. For instance
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:A history bonus that went: Baron Haussmann / Paris / Battle of Sedan (no hard part in sight, and easy middle parts) was in the same packet as a bonus that went De Soto / Vicksburg / Revels (no easy part and a genuine hard part) and a bonus that went Kansas / Crittenden Compromise / Corwin Amendment.
I'm clueless about European history, but as someone who took US History in high school, I have no idea how you could claim that either de Soto or Vicksburg isn't an easy part (I actually assume de Soto is the easy part, but I remember my explorers a lot better than my Civil War). I also have no idea if you're claiming the Kansas bonus didn't have an easy part, but it definitely did, and Crittenden Compromise is a fine middle part.

As for your comment on the Liber Abaci part--I'm not sure if you're saying that part was much harder or much easier than the others parts you mention, but if it is the former, that's not true at all. (Of course, you may wonder how I can make this pronouncement without really knowing what the difficulty of the other parts is, but it's simple: Liber Abaci is simply not that hard. It's a very famous book that people know about because it introduced the Arabic numeral system to Europe and also introduced the Fibonacci sequence.)
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:18 pm

SirT wrote:@John Lawrence: Obviously I have no ability to comment on most of your post, but you seem to be quite off base. For instance
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:A history bonus that went: Baron Haussmann / Paris / Battle of Sedan (no hard part in sight, and easy middle parts) was in the same packet as a bonus that went De Soto / Vicksburg / Revels (no easy part and a genuine hard part) and a bonus that went Kansas / Crittenden Compromise / Corwin Amendment.
I'm clueless about European history, but as someone who took US History in high school, I have no idea how you could claim that either de Soto or Vicksburg isn't an easy part (I actually assume de Soto is the easy part, but I remember my explorers a lot better than my Civil War). I also have no idea if you're claiming the Kansas bonus didn't have an easy part, but it definitely did, and Crittenden Compromise is a fine middle part.

As for your comment on the Liber Abaci part--I'm not sure if you're saying that part was much harder or much easier than the others parts you mention, but if it is the former, that's not true at all.
To me, the question is not "Is there a conceivable acceptable level of difficulty by which Answer X could be considered an easy/middle/hard part?" (which seems to be how you're judging this), but rather "Are these bonuses operating under the same criteria of difficulty", especially since the point I'm making is about bonus variability. At a tournament at which Paris and Kansas are the easy parts of other bonuses, neither De Soto nor Vicksburg is a comparable easy part (which would be something like Mississippi River from De Soto clues for the former, and Mississippi or Grant for the latter). There is a tournament in which the Crittenden Compromise is a fine middle part; it is not the same tournament in which the Battle of Sedan is also a middle part. I do not know have the math expertise to say whether Liber Abaci is a fine hard part or not in abstract terms; I do know that it is not equivalent to Hart Crane's The Bridge.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Cody » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:33 pm

de Soto as an easy part is operating under the same difficulty criteria as Kansas and Paris, though. Obviously, it's not exactly the same difficulty, which is an impossible benchmark to meet, but it is well within the range of what I would expect of this tournament. Either you are severely overestimating the difficulty of de Soto or you are simply not looking at the tournament as a whole (or both). The same goes for Crittenden Compromise & Battle of Sedan as well as Liber Abaci (which was well within the range of what I was expecting of a hard part of this tournament after playing 10 rounds of it).
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Tanay » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:44 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
The battles of Winchester and Lincoln occurred during this period, which saw one party land at Arundel with a company of knights.
For 10 points each:

[10] Name this period of strife following the death of William Adelin. It ended with the Treaty of Wallingford, which stipulated the accession of Stephen of Blois to the throne over the other major claimant, Empress Matilda.

ANSWER: The Anarchy [or Nineteen Year Winter]

[10] During the Anarchy, Matilda's husband Geoffrey V of this house subdued Normandy. This house became the namesake of an empire that encompassed large parts of Britain and France.

ANSWER: House of Anjou [or Angevins]

[10] The Treaty of Wallingford also provided for the eventual accession of Henry II of the Plantagenet line, which itself split into the feuding York and Lancaster factions during this 15th century war.

ANSWER: Wars of the Roses
Name these personages from the American Revolution who fought in South Carolina, for 10 points each.

[10] This Scottish major and sniper did not shoot George Washington just before the Battle of Brandywine because he had his back turned. He later wrangled Loyalist forces in South Carolina and died at Kings Mountain.

ANSWER: Patrick Ferguson

[10] This winner of the Battle of Saratoga idiotically squandered his new command position in 1780 by ordering a frontal assault on a British fortification at Camden, matching an inexperienced militia against British Regulars. 

ANSWER: Horatio Lloyd Gates

[10] This Patriot, known as the "Swamp Fox," became the adversary of the ruthless Banastre Tarleton. He specialized in guerrilla warfare and commanded Nathanael Greene's right wing at the Battle of Eutaw Springs.

ANSWER: Francis Marion
All three parts of the British history bonus are easier than all of the parts of the second bonus except Gates.
I feel like Francis Marion (especially when "Swamp Fox" is provided) is a perfectly defensible easy or middle part, and not really harder than The Anarchy or Anjou. That being said, I understand the criticism that Ferguson is a tougher hard part than The Anarchy. I appreciate a lot of the comments about bonus variability, which I will evaluate when I re-examine the set for further editing.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by magin » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:35 pm

Editors Packet 2 had Hart Crane's The Bridge and James Ensor as hard parts of two bonuses, but also had Carl Schurz and Liber Abaci (the math textbook by Fibonacci) as hard parts of two others bonuses.
I didn't play WIT, but I don't think this is a problem at all. As long as the clues are appropriately difficult, there's no reason that The Bridge or Ensor can't be hard parts at this level.

Also, John, I sympathize with your desire for bonuses to be the same difficulty, but I agree with Cody that your examples don't seem well-chosen. Until I played quizbowl for many years, I would have only gotten 10 points on the Anarchy bonus, while getting 20 points on the Revolutionary War bonus from my high school US history class. I'd guess that a lot of people (at least, in the US) know about Francis Marion.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Tanay » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:37 pm

magin wrote:
Editors Packet 2 had Hart Crane's The Bridge and James Ensor as hard parts of two bonuses, but also had Carl Schurz and Liber Abaci (the math textbook by Fibonacci) as hard parts of two others bonuses.
I didn't play WIT, but I don't think this is a problem at all. As long as the clues are appropriately difficult, there's no reason that The Bridge or Ensor can't be hard parts at this level.
For context, the Ensor bonus part mentioned the title Skeletons Fighting over a Pickled Herring and described The Vile Vivisectors without dropping the title.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Ringil » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:29 pm

This tournament was good, but certainly easier than the advertised regular difficulty. I actually thought it did a good job in achieving this goal in a coherent way in the whole tournament. It seemed the most consistently even tournament this year since MO. I felt the editors packets tended to have uhh.. more experimental tossup ideas than average though such as temperature as a biological variable and the caste system, but it was okay since it wasn't like every tossup.

I felt the two examples chosen about bonus conversion was pretty poor, but in general I felt this tournament had a lot of reasonable bonuses to get 20 points in, which is good. I'm not sure about how well the hard parts worked out though. Also, maybe it was just because we suck at trash, but that baseball bonus seemed pretty hard haha.

Also, can the tossup on Kievan Rus be posted?
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Tanay » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:34 pm

Ringil wrote: Also, can the tossup on Kievan Rus be posted?
Editors Packet 3 wrote: 1. The Tale of the Bygone Years recounts a siege of this state’s capital by the Pechenegs. To forestall blood feuds, murderers here were made to pay 80 vira to the families of their victims. One of its rulers gave his daughter in marriage to Casimir the Restorer. One ruler of this state married Anna, the sister of Basil II. Another ruler of this state was called “the Accursed Prince” for murdering his younger brothers, and he was defeated at the Alta River by its eventual greatest ruler, (*) Yaroslav the Wise. This state was established when its capital was relieved from Khazar tribute by the Varangian Guard; it later converted to Orthodox Christianity. For 10 points, name this 9th to 13th century state ruled by the Rurik Dynasty, whose capital is in modern-day Ukraine.
ANSWER: Kievan Rus
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:09 pm

I edited the American and British Literature, American History, half of the European History and Trash for this tournament.

Re: that F-15 tossup. Yeahh, this was a replacement for a submission on "guns," which I tried to make into a tossup on specific guns before giving up and writing a tossup on the F-15. In retrospect a lot of the clues I chose weren't that helpful, and I definitely won't be writing a tossup like that again.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:43 pm

Apparently, my high school history education was extremely odd in its choice of emphasis. So, those particular examples are therefore respectfully withdrawn and I apologize. It's odd that even with those debunked, I can't shake my general impression, which none of the other tournaments I've played without Matt Jackson over the years have given me to quite this degree. But if no one else had similar problems with bonus variability, maybe the bonuses in this tournament just happened to hit the peaks and valleys of my personal knowledge base, and you can discount my experience as anomalous.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Beevor Feevor » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:11 pm

Although I don't remember it too well due to Maryland A quickly 30-ing it, could I see the bonus on Okri?
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Auroni » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:11 pm

I edited this tournament's biology, chemistry, science history, and social science, besides doing a once-over head edit of all questions before sending the set to hosts. I would like to thank my coeditors Tanay, Jarret, Jasper, Ankit, and Sam for their work. I will make a longer post about various things related to the set when I get home.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Auroni » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:10 pm

So because some editors had trouble meeting my editors' deadline, I ended up doing a lot of significant work making questions more readable, adjusting power marks, cutting things down to size, adding easy parts, etc, starting the Wednesday before the tournament and continuing through Saturday morning. I needed more time to make this perfect, and I think that it showed in some of the unevenness of the tournament that various people have commented about. I needed to do a lot more. This is my fault, and will be fixed in time for the mirrors next weekend.

I want to talk a little bit about my philosophy and vision for this tournament. I wanted this to be a quizbowl tournament playable by all teams. This meant that I used easy parts that were easier than what many are accustomed to in tournaments such as ACF Regionals or Penn Bowl, and it means that I wasn't afraid at all to use clues that have been used many times in previous tournaments, even early on in the question. I respectfully disagree with John's critique of the Auden tossup, for instance. This question was originally 10 to 11 lines long, so I ended up doing significant editing on it. It is precisely because "Funeral Blues" is so well-known in real life that I decided to use that leadin. This particular poem appears much less in quizbowl than its corresponding importance to Auden's body of work, so using lesser-known lines from it as a leadin, just like you'd use lesser known details from The Grapes of Wrath to lead in a tossup on Steinbeck, is perfectly fine. I playtested my revision of this question among several decent quizbowl players; it wasn't buzzed upon until "he was my north.." What I think precipitated the buzzer race at the UK site is Auden is much more culturally prevalent over there than it is in the US, so there's less general knowledge of him over here than over there. I didn't write with a British audience in mind, but had I had more time, I could have had someone "Britishize" the set, and an Auden tossup more appropriate for the UK site would have resulted.

The same thing can be said for bonuses. Again, if I had more time to do head-editing, I might have changed the bonus part on Horatio Gates into something easier still. But I think that that bonus was pretty straightforward in the difficulty of its parts for a US audience, but probably much harder for a British one.

Apart from that, I'm sure there was a lot of errata related to the set; it would have been impossible to do any additional fact-checking while racing against the clock to send the set out. So I would appreciate any comments related to things that were incorrect or misleading.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Red Panda Cub » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:18 pm

Overall I really liked this set and, like John, found it more enjoyable than VCU.
Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:...just like you'd use lesser known details from The Grapes of Wrath to lead in a tossup on Steinbeck, is perfectly fine.
I'm not sure that is really true. While The Grapes of Wrath is comparable in importance to Steinbeck as "Funeral Blues" is to Auden, one is a 500 page novel and the other is a 16 line poem. That's surely the same reason that novels get tossed up more often than important but short poems. If you've spent, like, 15 minutes with Auden's poetry, you should first line the tossup. It would take many hours to get the same proportion of The Grapes of Wrath in your head.

Similarly, I'm not sure that knowing that Wittgenstein wrote a work based around 7 propositions is worthy of power. That seems to me like something you ought to learn within about half an hour's reading about Wittgenstein.

I also have an issue with the Athol Fugard tossup. I rather like Fugard and own two collections of his plays. I've never heard of anything in the tossup until we get to the plot from Blood Knot. I don't really see why cluing some obscure plays or a novel of his is more worthwhile than having deep clues from important things he wrote.

There is an error in the Robot Jews tossup. The line is that Jesus was a "very well programmed" one of these, rather than a "very well built" one as the question currently claims.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Auroni » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:32 pm

I happen to like Auden quite a bit. Before reading "Funeral Blues" a few times, the only thing I knew about its poem was the opening line. I suspect this is true for many players who don't know much about Auden, but are good at quizbowl and have heard many questions that mention "Stop all the clocks" in other Auden tossups. So it was reasonable of me to assume that there's a gradient of "Funeral Blues" knowledge out there among quizbowl players. While it is true that you could first line this tossup upon reading the poem, it might not be as true if you've only read the poem once and a long time ago.

I don't want to get bogged down too heavily in discussing this one question, though.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:24 am

Tokyo Sex Whale wrote: I don't want to get bogged down too heavily in discussing this one question, though.
I don't think three posts on a question is "bogged down" and I think this is worth discussing because you are articulating what I feel are destructive editing principles that need to be challenged.
Tokyo Sex Whale wrote: I wanted this to be a quizbowl tournament playable by all teams. This meant that I used easy parts that were easier than what many are accustomed to in tournaments such as ACF Regionals or Penn Bowl, and it means that I wasn't afraid at all to use clues that have been used many times in previous tournaments, even early on in the question. I respectfully disagree with John's critique of the Auden tossup, for instance. This question was originally 10 to 11 lines long, so I ended up doing significant editing on it. It is precisely because "Funeral Blues" is so well-known in real life that I decided to use that leadin. This particular poem appears much less in quizbowl than its corresponding importance to Auden's body of work, so using lesser-known lines from it as a leadin, just like you'd use lesser known details from The Grapes of Wrath to lead in a tossup on Steinbeck, is perfectly fine. I playtested my revision of this question among several decent quizbowl players; it wasn't buzzed upon until "he was my north.." What I think precipitated the buzzer race at the UK site is Auden is much more culturally prevalent over there than it is in the US, so there's less general knowledge of him over here than over there. I didn't write with a British audience in mind, but had I had more time, I could have had someone "Britishize" the set, and an Auden tossup more appropriate for the UK site would have resulted.
For the record, whatever shortcomings I apparently have in Revolutionary War generals knowledge, I was educated in America, and my knowledge of Auden is not driven by some kind of British approach to literary canon. I have no idea what poems of his are most read or least read over here.

The model of tossup in which the early clues are obscure clues from famous works is obviously one that I strongly support, but it is viable only if obscure clues exist. "Funeral Blues" is a very quizbowl-clue-flat work: not only is it short, but it is a single-idea poem. It is three stanzas of colorfully exaggerated displays of mourning and one stanza of professing love for the dead one. There is no secondary plot to this poem; there are no extraneous or obscure images.

The big three Auden poems in real-life are "Musée des Beaux Arts", "September 1, 1939", and this one. In a world in which one of the other two was the under-quizbowled poem, they would both be viable sources for lead-in clues. As a matter of fact, they might even still be in this climate. This is because they are multifaceted poems that make a lot of different points and draw on a wide range of imagery, and therefore naturally lend themselves to internal pyramidality of ideas in a way that a short, single-idea poem does not.

You place "Epitaph on a Tyrant" later in the tossup, which is just bizarre. You think more people have read that than have read "Funeral Blues"?

Practical pyramidally is arranging the clues in the order of relative knowledge for the intended field. Your post pretty much admits that you decided to apply criteria other than practical pyramidally in order to make it "playable by all teams". But the criteria you suggest are incoherent. Allowing clues that have appeared many times before to stay as early clues ignores the fact that quizbowl has artificially inflated how well known those clues are by pretending you don't know that too many of us know those clues, and arranges the clues in a way that corresponds more to real-world knowledge. Allowing clues that are incredibly famous in real life but under-quizbowled to stay as early clues does the exact opposite: it arranges the clues in a way that corresponds less to real-world knowledge. One ignores quizbowl reality in order to pretend quizbowl is the real-world while the other ignores the real-world to try to make up for quizbowl's gaps, and so they are logically incompatible means of bucking pyramidality. I think they are both bad ideas for how to structure an entire tossup because they monkey with buzz distribution, but if you picked one of these two strategies, it would at least be coherent. I should emphasize "an entire tossup" in that last sentence: you could easily have created a slight buffer by adding a genuine lead-in before dropping famous lines from "Funeral Blues" (you could cut "Epitaph on a Tyrant" if you need to make space). This would create a cliff when it moves to "Funeral Blues", but a cliff is better than no lead-in-level material at all.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:45 am

"Funeral Blues" is a very quizbowl-clue-flat work: not only is it short, but it is a single-idea poem. It is three stanzas of colorfully exaggerated displays of mourning and one stanza of professing love for the dead one. There is no secondary plot to this poem; there are no extraneous or obscure images.
What you're saying is true, but it doesn't suggest that there aren't different levels of knowledge that people have of the poem. I would like to instead suggest that there are people who have never heard of "Funeral Blues" at all, people who know that Auden wrote some work called "Funeral Blues" but don't know anything about it, people who know that the first line of the poem is "Stop all the clocks," (maybe also "cut off the telephone"), people who might know an additional line from the poem from having it read it one time, and people who have read it multiple times, internalized the poem completely, and know every line. By using a leadin from the last stanza of "Funeral Blues," you differentiate between these various bits of knowledge.
This is because they are multifaceted poems that make a lot of different points and draw on a wide range of imagery, and therefore naturally lend themselves to internal pyramidality of ideas in a way that a short, single-idea poem does not.
While you're right about the fact that you can use those other two poems as leadin clues, what you're not right about is the idea that whether or not a poem is "single-idea" or "multifaceted" should have any bearing on the fact of whether or not they are suitable for clues of multiple levels in an author tossup. This seems like a shaky distinction to make, too. For all you know, I could find that maybe James Wood thinks that "Funeral Blues" hearkens back to the tradition of carpe diem poetry (this is an entirely hypothetical example I just pulled out of thin air). I don't think it's up to quizbowlers to make categorical judgments about what poems are when using them as clues; I happen to be a fan of the images and lyricism in the poem, and I didn't feel as if the particular lines that I chose would be appropriate anywhere else in the tossup. Even if we buy your "single-idea" poem argument, that doesn't mean that details of that idea that are not as well known as other details are ill-suited to be clues.
You place "Epitaph on a Tyrant" later in the tossup, which is just bizarre. You think more people have read that than have read "Funeral Blues"?
No, but I do know that "Epitaph on a Tyrant" is a pretty significant poem in Auden's corpus, a memorable poem, and a poem that a lot of people think refer to Stalin/Hitler (a fact which I didn't mention directly, since they are not concrete clues). My logic was that I picked a detail nobody who read the poem could miss, whereas I picked a missable detail from "Funeral Blues."
Practical pyramidally is arranging the clues in the order of relative knowledge for the intended field. Your post pretty much admits that you decided to apply criteria other than practical pyramidally in order to make it "playable by all teams".


No, not really. What I suggested is that the people who knew about this poem that doesn't come up too often in quizbowl would get it early, whereas the unwashed masses who didn't would get it later. That's practical pyramidality.
But the criteria you suggest are incoherent. Allowing clues that have appeared many times before to stay as early clues ignores the fact that quizbowl has artificially inflated how well known those clues are by pretending you don't know that too many of us know those clues, and arranges the clues in a way that corresponds more to real-world knowledge. Allowing clues that are incredibly famous in real life but under-quizbowled to stay as early clues does the exact opposite: it arranges the clues in a way that corresponds less to real-world knowledge. One ignores quizbowl reality in order to pretend quizbowl is the real-world while the other ignores the real-world to try to make up for quizbowl's gaps, and so they are logically incompatible means of bucking pyramidality. I think they are both bad ideas for how to structure an entire tossup because they monkey with buzz distribution, but if you picked one of these two strategies, it would at least be coherent. I should emphasize "an entire tossup" in that last sentence: you could easily have created a slight buffer by adding a genuine lead-in before dropping famous lines from "Funeral Blues" (you could cut "Epitaph on a Tyrant" if you need to make space). This would create a cliff when it moves to "Funeral Blues", but a cliff is better than no lead-in-level material at all.
I think you are mistaking me saying "a clue that has come up many times" with hypothetical me calling it "a clue that's fake and artificially inflated." There's all sorts of clues that have come up all the time and are still important. What I said I refused to do was to move the clue in position X down Y notches just because it's been in position X for Z times (where Z is a lot of times). As for what I did with Auden, I used a leadin clue that hadn't been used in a question much before, but might be really accessible to a group that has really read Auden. In that case, the people who really read Auden got the points whereas the people who hadn't buzzed on the clues that have been used in questions before. So I'm not sure what you're arguing.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:37 am

I'm sorry, but all of these strike me as important points, so I'm going to harp on these:
Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:
"Funeral Blues" is a very quizbowl-clue-flat work: not only is it short, but it is a single-idea poem. It is three stanzas of colorfully exaggerated displays of mourning and one stanza of professing love for the dead one. There is no secondary plot to this poem; there are no extraneous or obscure images.
What you're saying is true, but it doesn't suggest that there aren't different levels of knowledge that people have of the poem. I would like to instead suggest that there are people who have never heard of "Funeral Blues" at all, people who know that Auden wrote some work called "Funeral Blues" but don't know anything about it, people who know that the first line of the poem is "Stop all the clocks," (maybe also "cut off the telephone"), people who might know an additional line from the poem from having it read it one time, and people who have read it multiple times, internalized the poem completely, and know every line. By using a leadin from the last stanza of "Funeral Blues," you differentiate between these various bits of knowledge.
This is because they are multifaceted poems that make a lot of different points and draw on a wide range of imagery, and therefore naturally lend themselves to internal pyramidality of ideas in a way that a short, single-idea poem does not.
While you're right about the fact that you can use those other two poems as leadin clues, what you're not right about is the idea that whether or not a poem is "single-idea" or "multifaceted" should have any bearing on the fact of whether or not they are suitable for clues of multiple levels in an author tossup. This seems like a shaky distinction to make, too. For all you know, I could find that maybe James Wood thinks that "Funeral Blues" hearkens back to the tradition of carpe diem poetry (this is an entirely hypothetical example I just pulled out of thin air). I don't think it's up to quizbowlers to make categorical judgments about what poems are when using them as clues; I happen to be a fan of the images and lyricism in the poem, and I didn't feel as if the particular lines that I chose would be appropriate anywhere else in the tossup. Even if we buy your "single-idea" poem argument, that doesn't mean that details of that idea that are not as well known as other details are ill-suited to be clues.
Let me explain this in more detail. Walter Raleigh's "The Lie" is a much longer poem than the "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd". But even in a world in which these poems were equally famous, I would be much more successful drawing multiple clues from the latter than I would be from the former. This is because most of the lines in "The Lie" are descriptions of telling a particular quality that is not all it is cracked up to be. They are all variations on a single idea. Some of these variations may be slightly more memorable than others, but it it is going to be extremely difficult for me to choose between them by anything other than which ones happened to appeal to me, because I do not have any criteria of their function/importance to the poem to guide me. With luck, I may produce a pyramid (though it will be kind of a shot in the dark), but it's going to be a very flat pyramid.

You are right that the "stop all the clocks" line is more famous than the rest of the poem. But after that, what do you do? How do you choose which variation on the single idea of this poem is more buzzable? What makes the clue you picked "missable"? Your final two categories that you claim to be distinguishing between are people who know "an additional line from the poem from having read it one time" and "people who have read it multiple times, internalized the poem completely, and know every line". But because there is little hierarchy of ideas in this poem, it is very difficult to distinguish which are the lines the person who has read it only once is likely to forget. I don't think I've read this poem since I was seventeen or eighteen, and that was probably the second time in my life, but I'm not going to forget the idea of dismantling the sun as a gesture of mourning, nor am I inclined to pretty much ever regard a poem's final stanza as unworthy of attention.

This was problematic over here in the UK not because lots more people here have read it multiple times and internalized every line, but rather simply because lots more people over here have just read it. (And I suspect many of them haven't even read it; they've just seen Four Weddings and a Funeral!) Obviously, single-idea works are not automatically condemned to being clue-flat, and I didn't mean to suggest such a thing, but they are inherently more likely to be clue-flat than multifaceted poems (as is the case in this instance), and this is something we should be aware of while choosing clues.
Practical pyramidally is arranging the clues in the order of relative knowledge for the intended field. Your post pretty much admits that you decided to apply criteria other than practical pyramidally in order to make it "playable by all teams".


No, not really. What I suggested is that the people who knew about this poem that doesn't come up too often in quizbowl would get it early, whereas the unwashed masses who didn't would get it later. That's practical pyramidality.
But the criteria you suggest are incoherent. Allowing clues that have appeared many times before to stay as early clues ignores the fact that quizbowl has artificially inflated how well known those clues are by pretending you don't know that too many of us know those clues, and arranges the clues in a way that corresponds more to real-world knowledge. Allowing clues that are incredibly famous in real life but under-quizbowled to stay as early clues does the exact opposite: it arranges the clues in a way that corresponds less to real-world knowledge. One ignores quizbowl reality in order to pretend quizbowl is the real-world while the other ignores the real-world to try to make up for quizbowl's gaps, and so they are logically incompatible means of bucking pyramidality. I think they are both bad ideas for how to structure an entire tossup because they monkey with buzz distribution, but if you picked one of these two strategies, it would at least be coherent. I should emphasize "an entire tossup" in that last sentence: you could easily have created a slight buffer by adding a genuine lead-in before dropping famous lines from "Funeral Blues" (you could cut "Epitaph on a Tyrant" if you need to make space). This would create a cliff when it moves to "Funeral Blues", but a cliff is better than no lead-in-level material at all.
I think you are mistaking me saying "a clue that has come up many times" with hypothetical me calling it "a clue that's fake and artificially inflated." There's all sorts of clues that have come up all the time and are still important. What I said I refused to do was to move the clue in position X down Y notches just because it's been in position X for Z times (where Z is a lot of times). As for what I did with Auden, I used a leadin clue that hadn't been used in a question much before, but might be really accessible to a group that has really read Auden. In that case, the people who really read Auden got the points whereas the people who hadn't buzzed on the clues that have been used in questions before. So I'm not sure what you're arguing.

I never said the word "fake". I said "artificially inflated". This means that it is a more well-known clue to quizbowl players than it would be to real-world people who know that subject. This happens to clues and sometimes they become too well-known to become lead-ins. I agree: the solution cannot be simply to move the clue down in a tossup, but the solution is also not to just ignore the fact that this has happened. There are two solutions: 1. Write a new lead-in so that you are once again rewarding deep knowledge and preserving the pyramid 2. If possible (this won't always be possible), rewrite the lead-in so that the buzz-word that makes it over-buzzed is removed but so that the content of the clue remains for those who actually possess knowledge.

To give an example of the latter, I obviously don't understand any science, but I've seen all kinds of players who can buzz on the Madeup Modification for the Hypothetical Reaction (even I can do some of these). This has effectively made the words "Madeup Modification" unusable in lead-in sentences because tossups are being frauded before the people with knowledge of the Hypothetical Reaction can buzz. However, most of these frauders don't actually understand what the Madeup Modification is. So, you can still include a lead-in on the Madeup Modification that describes it well, and rewards knowledge, provided you do not drop the words "Madeup Modification" right away.

My larger argument was that it is strange to say that it is fine to ignore quizbowl reality by including recycled clues that have lost some of their knowledge-distinguishing power, on the grounds that those clues are still hard in the real world, but then defend an Auden tossup that uses a lead-in that is (to quote you) "so well-known in real life" on the grounds that in quizbowl reality this poem is not as well-known. From these two statements, I can derive no coherent criteria for how you determined pyramidally.

It is also completely wrong to argue that doing this makes a tournament more accessible to less experienced players. It does the exact opposite. It makes it less accessible, because it increases the chances that they will be beaten to a question by someone using knowledge gained from quizbowl experience. Fresh lead-ins level the playing field by not granting the more experienced player any possible advantage on the basis of quizbowl experience alone and make the early clues actually a test of deep knowledge; recycled lead-ins confer advantages for having heard/read previous packets. In those instances where my quizbowl experience allows me to beat a novice to a subject he knows better than I do, it is invariably because the clue has been recycled and I have simply heard it before. The only way that replacing recycled lead-ins with fresh lead-ins hurts the less experienced players is when people end up writing overly obscure lead-ins in an overzealous attempt to avoid the recycled. But I refuse to believe that in most cases, there exists such a paucity of potential lead-ins that we face a dichotomy between recycled lead-ins or overly obscure lead-ins.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:15 pm

I talked to a few people at our site and the general consensus seemed to be that this tournament was perfectly acceptable-- some cool ideas, some clunkers, about evenly distributed. It was fine.

I actually really like the idea of a modern world distro. I thought that was neat,
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:00 pm

De Soto is a perfectly cromulent easy part, about on par with anything in that English history bonus. Why someone decided to have a part on Liber Abaci is a separate question, however.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:22 pm

John,
Allowing clues that have appeared many times before to stay as early clues ignores the fact that quizbowl has artificially inflated how well known those clues are by pretending you don't know that too many of us know those clues, and arranges the clues in a way that corresponds more to real-world knowledge. Allowing clues that are incredibly famous in real life but under-quizbowled to stay as early clues does the exact opposite: it arranges the clues in a way that corresponds less to real-world knowledge. One ignores quizbowl reality in order to pretend quizbowl is the real-world while the other ignores the real-world to try to make up for quizbowl's gaps, and so they are logically incompatible means of bucking pyramidality.
I'm trying and failing to understand exactly what you're trying to say here. Maybe I've got my analytical categories all wrong, but to me what you're describing doesn't seem like incoherence so much as it seems like a balancing act that editors have to do. So, in your example of "Modification X of reaction Y," the reason I don't put that in a question if I'm the editor is that I want to reward people who know something about chemistry besides just how to associate names with each other. I think we can all agree that this is reasonable. Likewise, when I write a tossup about Auden (and I'm not defending this particular tossup about Auden, which I haven't seen), I would like to reward someone who knows a lot about Auden over someone who knows not very much (say, many poems vs. few poems). So I wouldn't lead with lines from "Funeral Blues," but those seem like very plausible middle clues to me. But those strike me as disanalogous, because the proper mapping is not "modification X of reaction Y" -> "lines from an Auden poem" but "modification X of reaction Y" -> "names of Auden poems."

It sounds to me like you're trying to stretch the meaning of pyramidality so that it's uniform across various disciplines (apologies if I'm misreading you here). I don't think that's a useful thing to do; literature and science admit their own methods of learning, and what works in one domain doesn't necessarily work in another. If an early clue from "Funeral Blues" is a bad early clue because too many people know it, so be it. That seems like the most straightforward argument that can be made here, without any need to try and generalize across domains.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:29 pm

No, I think you have misunderstood me and maybe I wasn't clear enough. Here's what I was saying:

There are two kinds of approaches to pyramidality that strike me as potentially problematic:
1. Arranging the clues purely in order of their real-world pyramidality, without considering ways in which the recycling of certain clues has made said clues too well-known among quizbowl players to function any longer as viable lead-ins.
2. Arranging the clues purely in order of their relative frequency in quizbowl, not accounting for the fact that something that has not gotten much exposure in quizbowl could still be too real-world famous to serve as a lead-in.

It seemed to me that Auroni admitted that he had employed the first strategy in his editing when he said: "I wasn't afraid at all to use clues that have been used many times in previous tournaments, even early on in the question". I obviously disagree with this philosophy for reasons I hope I have outlined fairly clearly in the last paragraph of my previous post, but if that philosophy were applied throughout, it would at least be a coherent approach to editing. However, then including an Auden lead-in "precisely because [it] is so well-known in real life" struck me as an example of the second strategy, which is why I called this an incoherent position, which drew from two mutually contradictory problematic definitions of pyramidality.

The Madeup Modification clue was not meant to be at all analogous to the Auden clue, and was part of a different argument altogether. There, I was clarifying that not recycling clues does not necessarily have to mean a moratorium on all lead-in clues about Thing X. Rather, a logical solution is to zero in on the part of Thing X that has been become over-quizbowled or which is no longer serving the function of distinguishing knowledge, and then excise or move just that problematic part so that the rest of Thing X can still provide materials for lead-ins.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by kdroge » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:49 pm

I thought this tournament was mostly fine, and I enjoyed playing it. There was some bonus variability, but some of that comes from a variance of difficulty on hard parts that isn't to be unexpected. Sure, the Corwin Amendment is going to be much harder than some of the other hard parts in the set (like the Anarchy, though, to be honest, I thought House of Anjou was a harder part just because the wording made it seem like it gave its name to Britain), but there's nothing inherently wrong with that. The only other issue that I saw a couple times during the day was tossups that were transparent but didn't have many concrete clues until they got to really well-known stuff (tapestries and Lenin jump to mind here).

I will second the comment that the editors packets seemed to be much higher variance and have more problematic questions then some of the other packets throughout the set. I wish that some questions there had been more specific in their wording, like the tossup on France that talked about actor network theory but didn't specifically state that "the dude who developed it was from this country" so it was hard to buzz there.

On a random note, Libo and I both thought that the clue about the Pechenegs was a hose for saying Byzantines on the first sentence of the Kievan Rus tossup.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:22 pm

kdroge wrote:like the tossup on France that talked about actor network theory but didn't specifically state that "the dude who developed it was from this country" so it was hard to buzz there.
This was intentional; I tried (but mostly failed) to write a social science tossup "of France" instead of "thinkers from France." The clue was about the mass transit system in France described in Latour's book. (although wait, didn't I say "by an actor-network theorist from here") ?
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:43 am

I'd like to thank the editors for a tournament that was a lot of fun to play for the most part, despite a few frustrating little errors, most which have been pointed out already. I would also like to thank the editor of the math questions for writing properly structured math tossups with clues that we learn in class - I felt this was the most solid set of math tossups in quite some time.
kdroge wrote:On a random note, Libo and I both thought that the clue about the Pechenegs was a hose for saying Byzantines on the first sentence of the Kievan Rus tossup.
I happened to do the same thing when we were reading the packet on the ride back home, for what it's worth.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:48 am

kdroge wrote:tapestries
This tossup had many concrete clues, for what it's worth.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:40 am

kdroge wrote:On a random note, Libo and I both thought that the clue about the Pechenegs was a hose for saying Byzantines on the first sentence of the Kievan Rus tossup.
Sorry yeah, that was my bad. I totally forgot that the Pechenegs also besieged Constantinople while writing that question. But I think the solution should just be a little blurb saying "It's not the Byzantine Empire" at the beginning.

Also, how did my mysticism tossup and CE tossup on the American Dream go over?
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by kdroge » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:56 pm

Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:
kdroge wrote:like the tossup on France that talked about actor network theory but didn't specifically state that "the dude who developed it was from this country" so it was hard to buzz there.
This was intentional; I tried (but mostly failed) to write a social science tossup "of France" instead of "thinkers from France." The clue was about the mass transit system in France described in Latour's book. (although wait, didn't I say "by an actor-network theorist from here") ?
That was kind of my point that the wording makes it harder to buzz since there have been actor-network theorists in plenty of places after Latour; I actually thought the idea of the tossup was fine, and if you wanted to reward knowledge of that specific book, then sure.
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kdroge wrote:tapestries
This tossup had many concrete clues, for what it's worth.
I misspoke in that I meant that it seemed that people would be more likely to figure it out from medieval French art form that depicted stuff rather than have actual knowledge of the subject matter. This could have been just me though.
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kdroge wrote:On a random note, Libo and I both thought that the clue about the Pechenegs was a hose for saying Byzantines on the first sentence of the Kievan Rus tossup.
Sorry yeah, that was my bad. I totally forgot that the Pechenegs also besieged Constantinople while writing that question. But I think the solution should just be a little blurb saying "It's not the Byzantine Empire" at the beginning.

Also, how did my mysticism tossup and CE tossup on the American Dream go over?
So looking at the first clue for Pechenegs again, it is specific in that you drop the Tale of Bygone Years, but I doubt most people will be likely to know that, so it's probably a good idea to just say that it's not the Byzantines anyways. We played the tossup on the American Dream in the redraft room, and it was answered around the City on the Hill part, so people seemed to know what was going on.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by mhayes » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:14 pm

I enjoyed the computer science in this tournament, though the "support vectors" tossup probably should have just been a tossup on "support vector machines". The European history was also good, but I thought that Yaroslav the Wise was mentioned a tad early in the Kievan Rus' tossup.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:16 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:No, I think you have misunderstood me and maybe I wasn't clear enough. Here's what I was saying:

There are two kinds of approaches to pyramidality that strike me as potentially problematic:
1. Arranging the clues purely in order of their real-world pyramidality, without considering ways in which the recycling of certain clues has made said clues too well-known among quizbowl players to function any longer as viable lead-ins.
2. Arranging the clues purely in order of their relative frequency in quizbowl, not accounting for the fact that something that has not gotten much exposure in quizbowl could still be too real-world famous to serve as a lead-in.
Ah, I see what you mean. I can get behind that.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Cody » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:30 pm

mhayes wrote:I enjoyed the computer science in this tournament, though the "support vectors" tossup probably should have just been a tossup on "support vector machines". The European history was also good, but I thought that Yaroslav the Wise was mentioned a tad early in the Kievan Rus' tossup.
This was probably just on vectors in CS (and used clues about SV[M]). at least, that was how I submitted it.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by mhayes » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:39 pm

Ah ok. I remember answering with "support vectors", so I may have misunderstood.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by sbraunfeld » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:20 pm

I edited the physics and "other science" except science history. Comments, particularly on things that should be fixed before the next mirror, would be appreciated.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by sbraunfeld » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:23 pm

mhayes wrote:Ah ok. I remember answering with "support vectors", so I may have misunderstood.
This was a tossup on vectors, but "support vectors" was accepted.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by PeterB » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:31 pm

Without wanting to jump on the bandwagon and flog a dead horse (forgive the mixed metaphors), I'm going to have to agree with John on the Auden tossup - having spoken to others, there wasn't a room at our mirror in which that wasn't powered on the first line, often by people who have no idea of literature (I was moderating, but would have done so too, and NEVER get lit). Maybe that's just cause of Four Weddings, which is perhaps not so popular in the States, I don't know, but it did seem bizarre. Also, I think Joey's right about the Wittgenstein power - when I said it was still in power, everyone in the room was shocked. I have a feeling that happened a few times, though I can't remember any more specific cases.

I'm going to have to disagree with John though, in that he complained about bonus variability. While at times there were things that were a bit odd (I noticed especially amongst the music distribution, but I don't remember concrete examples now), I think it was a lot better than VCU Closed which I played the week before - there, there were bonuses which everyone could 30, and others where my team (granted, not a very good team) got 0. I don't think that was nearly as much the case here.

EDIT: I've been sent the sets, and thought I'd justify my saying the music bonus distribution was a bit odd. So I picked a packet at random, Editors 3, which has two classical music bonus sets in:
8. Name some composers of difficult piano music, for 10 points each:
[10] “Mazeppa” and “Feux Follets” are among the pieces in this composer’s Transcendental Etudes. He also wrote Three Concert Etudes and many Hungarian Rhapsodies.
ANSWER: Franz Liszt
[10] This Russian composer’s Etude in D sharp minor is also known for its technical difficulty. His other piano works include Vers la Flamme, and the unfinished Mysterium, a work that he wrote to precede the end of the world.
ANSWER: Alexander Scriabin
[10] This French composer wrote many difficult works, such as Etudes in All the Major and Minor Keys, the latter of which contains Aesop’s Feast. His other piano works include Grand Sonata: The Four Ages.
ANSWER: Charles-Valentin Alkan

20. New York’s Astor Place Riots began during a performance of this man’s opera Macbeth. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this Italian composer who created a vengeful jester in Rigoletto.
ANSWER: Giuseppe Verdi
[10] In 1919, civilians and servicemen rioted in Times Square to protest the Lexington Theater’s staging of this Richard Wagner opera that ends with Walther joining the namesake guild after Veit Pogner deems his voice worthy.
ANSWER: The Mastersingers of Nuremberg [or Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg]
[10] Another opera that sparked rioting was The Mute Girl of Portici, in which Masaniello leads a revolution in this city. This city’s musical tradition includes the popular songs “O Sole Mio” and “Funiculì, Funiculà”.
ANSWER: Naples [or Napoli]
Assuming both sets go easy-medium-hard, Alkan seems much much harder than Naples, which is pretty guessable for people without all that much knowledge anyway. Scriabin is also on the harder end of a medium part than a really famous Wagner opera where you give away pretty much everything about it.

On the whole though, the bonus variability was better than at VCU Closed.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:58 am

This was a solid tournament that I'm glad existed, and I was quite happy to see that a regular-difficulty tournament can shade a little easier without being terribly off-kilter. I did think that this tournament, in its desire to foster easier bonuses, created a weird trichotomy in which around a third of the bonuses were perfunctory 30s for an experienced player, a second third were what I'd expect from a regular-difficulty tournament (a pretty routine 20 for most good, balanced teams with a fair, gettable, but not perfunctory third part), and the rest something more difficult than that (with a few sticking out as very difficult indeed).

As far as the tossups went, I enjoyed or didn't have a problem with a good majority of them. I thought there were perhaps more misplaced clues than I'd like to see, and perhaps some questions that cut to the chase a little too quickly for my taste, but other than that, I didn't have any major systematic complaints.

My only real overarching issue with the tournament (which I think encompasses both trends mentioned above) echos some of the other comments upthread: the editors seemed to have had a lighter touch with the submitted questions. (In short, like John said, the packet authors seemed to matter more than they should.) A bit more uniformity, both in terms of laying out buzzable middle clues without dropping notable ones too quickly and keeping the bonuses uniformly in that sweet spot of 20able but not perfunctorily 30able for the best teams, would have been nice.

All in all, I had fun and the questions were pretty good. Thanks to Auroni for his work on the set, and kudos to Berkeley and Ohio State; I'm glad to see you guys editing tournaments, and I hope you keep doing it.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:45 am

The general consensus among our team was that this tournament was somewhat easier than what we imagine "regular difficulty" to be. I feel the bonuses were the major shortcoming of the tournament, with a lot of fairly easy 30s and instant-20s for players with a moderate amount of experience, particularly in literature. Despite this, I do think this tournament was appropriate for all the teams that played it, and I wish that more teams had the opportunity to do so.

The tossups were a mixed bag - I'll only comment on the history, since that's the area I generally concentrate on. I feel the history tossups did a generally good job of testing knowledge of the subject at hand, which I appreciated, but a lot of them dropped fairly obvious clues way too early. For example, the Kievan Rus tossup produced a buzzer race on the first line (NOTE: the moderator led in with "It's not the Byzantine Empire" as per Ankit's suggestion, which goes a long way towards alleviating the Pecheneg hose problem) and if I recall correctly the Manzikert tossup dropped the name of Erzurum, a rather important city in Eastern Turkey, in the first line. All of this seems to be in line with Auroni's intentions for the tournament, though, so I suppose I don't really have a major issue with these questions - the Revolutions of 1848 tossup was the only history tossup that I thought had major transparency issues.
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I enjoyed this particular aspect of the tournament and would like to see this done more often in the future.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:09 pm

Some protests that I noted were:

-Should an early buzz of "induction [the problem of induction]" be acceptable for the tossup on "falsification"?

-What about alternate answers for "cake"? The first clue seems to be referring to a meringue, to be specific.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Susan » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:48 pm

Cheynem wrote:Some protests that I noted were:

-Should an early buzz of "induction [the problem of induction]" be acceptable for the tossup on "falsification"?

-What about alternate answers for "cake"? The first clue seems to be referring to a meringue, to be specific.
Please post the cake question!
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:55 pm

13. One of this type of food is named for a woman famous for originating the Michel Fokine-choreographed Dying Swan. Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms in North Yorkshire is known for popularizing another type of this food featuring a “face” made of cherries and almonds, called the Fat Rascal. One French variety whose name translates as “crunch in the (*) mouth” is often served at baptisms and first communions. One German variety is made by rotating this food over a spit, lending it is characteristic tree-like cross section. The marjolaine variety is a variation of the almond and hazelnut flavored dacquoise. Varieties of this food include the croquembouche and the baumkuchen. For 10 points, name this food whose common forms include bundt and angel food.
ANSWER: cake
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Red Panda Cub » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:56 pm

Cheynem wrote:-Should an early buzz of "induction [the problem of induction]" be acceptable for the tossup on "falsification"?
This came up in the final match at our mirror, and I would be disinclined to say yes. Lakatos' work is pretty directly in response to falsification. His whole thing with the research programmes was, as I recall, an attempt to reconcile Kuhn's work with Popper's falsification. So the first clue pretty directly points just to falsification. In that context, induction is an incorrect, but probably promptable, answer.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Susan » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:02 pm

Cheynem wrote:13. One of this type of food is named for a woman famous for originating the Michel Fokine-choreographed Dying Swan. Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms in North Yorkshire is known for popularizing another type of this food featuring a “face” made of cherries and almonds, called the Fat Rascal. One French variety whose name translates as “crunch in the (*) mouth” is often served at baptisms and first communions. One German variety is made by rotating this food over a spit, lending it is characteristic tree-like cross section. The marjolaine variety is a variation of the almond and hazelnut flavored dacquoise. Varieties of this food include the croquembouche and the baumkuchen. For 10 points, name this food whose common forms include bundt and angel food.
ANSWER: cake
Neither a pavlova nor a croquembouche are cakes, really. and the marjolaine clue is a little odd--it's a cake incorporating almond and hazelnut dacquoises (dacquoises are the nut meringue layers, and sometimes a cake consisting of layers of dacquoise with cream or whatever in between is itself referred to as a dacquoise). But those are "almond and hazelnut flavored dacquoise" in the same way that a chocolate chip cookie is a chocolate-chip-flavored cookie.

CAKE MAFIA.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by mtimmons » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:21 pm

I also negged the falsifiability tossup with induction after the raven paradox clue. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy seems to associate the raven paradox with induction as well http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/induc ... em/#ParRav although there may be some subtlety in the question that I missed.

On the Diamond tossup I wonder if there might be better clues for Peter Diamond than MIT economist who won the Nobel in 2010 as that says nothing about why he is known and I'm not sure how helpful the MIT clue is in distinguishing Diamond from Mortenson and Pissarides for non-MIT students. There seemed to a general lack of economics questions in this tournament as well.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:33 pm

Joey wrote:
Cheynem wrote:-Should an early buzz of "induction [the problem of induction]" be acceptable for the tossup on "falsification"?
This came up in the final match at our mirror, and I would be disinclined to say yes. Lakatos' work is pretty directly in response to falsification. His whole thing with the research programmes was, as I recall, an attempt to reconcile Kuhn's work with Popper's falsification. So the first clue pretty directly points just to falsification. In that context, induction is an incorrect, but probably promptable, answer.
While this may be true, the next two clues point overwhelmingly to induction--the raven paradox and the black swan problem are hugely famous examples of the problem of induction, and there didn't seem to be any particular subtlety in the way the clues were written to discourage the obvious buzz.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Tanay » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:34 pm

mtimmons wrote:There seemed to a general lack of economics questions in this tournament as well.
Amartya Sen, national debt, trusts, demand, Paul Samuelson, Malthus, GDP, and firms are all things I can find on the answer document. Of the 36 social science questions, 8 of them are economics, meaning it made up about 22% of all social science. You may have ended up playing fewer of the packets that had economics questions.
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:43 pm

Odd question, but I noticed a number of tiebreaker questions were not from the "big three" of lit, history, or science. Was this intentional, and is this more of a common practice than I thought?
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Re: Tournament Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:46 pm

Cheynem wrote:13. One of this type of food is named for a woman famous for originating the Michel Fokine-choreographed Dying Swan. Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms in North Yorkshire is known for popularizing another type of this food featuring a “face” made of cherries and almonds, called the Fat Rascal. One French variety whose name translates as “crunch in the (*) mouth” is often served at baptisms and first communions. One German variety is made by rotating this food over a spit, lending it is characteristic tree-like cross section. The marjolaine variety is a variation of the almond and hazelnut flavored dacquoise. Varieties of this food include the croquembouche and the baumkuchen. For 10 points, name this food whose common forms include bundt and angel food.
ANSWER: cake
I'm glad to see that more people are starting to write food questions these days. Wholly out of self interest (playing the Culinary Arts packet from This Tournament Goes to Eleven during the BHSAT writing session of two years ago was my highest PPB playing solo), I support a 1/1 per tournament Culinary Arts subdistribution. I'm very sad, though, that my submitted food tossup presumably got cut in favor of this awful tossup where half of the desserts being described are not even cakes! (Had I been playing this, like Mike Cheyne, I would have buzzed correctly on the first clue with meringue and been negged for no good reason.)
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