No, that's pretty wrong. There's the case-specific way in which it's wrong, and then there's just a more general common sense way in which it's also wrong. Let's look at the specific examples first:Ringil wrote:Uhh... there are plenty of examples where English translations are NOT always acceptable. For example, Nats 2011 Editors 6 TU 19: prompts on the English translation of kafir, namely infidel. I don't see any difference between this tossup and say a tossup that required Hibakusha and prompted on atomic bomb survivors as kafir from what I can find is just an Arabic word that means infidel. It is a general description, just one that is in Arabic. It seems stupid to force players to have to guess whether the tossup will be kind and let you get away with English translation or whether the tossup is hardcore and wants the original language term.Matt Weiner wrote:"Comfort women" is the term that is used (though the protest on this was denied on simple factual grounds--the answer given of "Korean prostitutes" was wrong because most of the question to that point was about a specific person who was not Korean). "Hibakusha" is just a Japanese word that means "atomic bomb survivors"; English translations are always acceptable.kdroge wrote: This was a problem not only in a couple religion tossups but also in history; the tossup on comfort women required that exact term, but the tossup on atomic bomb survivors didn't require Hibakusha.
I don't know why Michigan as a team consistently has problems with this, but: when things have a name, that is the name you need to give. When they don't, you don't. Knowing whether something has a name is part of having knowledge about that thing, and sometimes when you don't have complete knowledge about a thing you don't get questions on it, which is how quizbowl works. I don't think increased use of pre-question flags that tell you what kind of answer we are looking for will solve this, for two reasons. One is that questions which don't tell you what kind of answer we are looking for OR use clues that make it impossible to give a right answer in a different category are bad questions and should not be written, and this is going to become an excuse to write ambiguous questions if we start doing it. The second is that saying "general description acceptable" or "specific term required" would not change anything about either of those questions you mentioned--"Hibakusha" IS a general description, just one that is in Japanese, and "Swiss Catholics" IS the specific term used for Swiss Catholics, so it can actually be misleading to say that one is a "term" and the other a "description" when it's just as true to say the reverse. You're not adding anything for people who don't already know what the answer is and you're opening the door to a lot of problems, so I oppose this idea.
So, the term "kafir" is not "an Arabic word that means infidel." At all. "Infidel" is one of several words you could use to translate "kafir," but it's problematic because kafir is a proper term that identifies a certain group mentioned in the Quran who are precisely defined by their relationship to Islam. This is why you might see other terms used to translate it as well (unbeliever, apostate, etc.). So the question should certainly prompt on all of those. Now, the term has been used by assorted historical assholes in a way that's largely synonymous with "non-Muslim," but that's not remotely what it means for a whole laundry list of reasons.
The key here is that all of the words you might use for "kafir" are problematic. "Apostate" defines a related but distinct concept in Islam. "Unbeliever" could be used to imply a similar concept, but it could also just be used to describe a bunch of random dudes living beyond the spread of Islam who had never heard of the Prophet, and living in jahiliyyah certainly doesn't make you a kafir (sorry, Sayyid Qutb).
And here's where we run into the more general issue. Scholars tend not to translate kafir for the reasons I just mentioned, or when they do they include the original (or for some reason the distinctions aren't necessary for their particular purposes). Buzzing in on that tossup and thinking the answer is "infidels" (in, let's say, the "non-Muslim" definition of the term) is flat-out wrong. But it's possible they could just be translating a concept they do understand into English, so we prompt. That's fine.
Now, I don't speak Japanese, but assuming Wikipedia is right hibakusha just means "explosion-affected people." It literally describes people who survived the atomic bombing of Japan during World War II. It does not mean bomb survivors, it does not mean Japanese people who survived bombings in WWII, etc. When someone buzzes in and says "Japanese atomic bomb survivors," it's expressing literally the same concept that "hibakusha" expresses. The same is just not true of "infidel" for "kafir."
But really, it kind of doesn't matter on the practical level, because dude, "comfort women" is such a precise term that's use all the fucking time in history, politics, and dinner conversations with Shinzo Abe. It's absolutely ludicrous to assert "I know enough about comfort women to deserve points on this question, but I don't know the term 'comfort women.'" Kurtis, aren't you earning a Master's in history? How on earth can you not understand this?
Maybe you guys are just trying to point out that it's a problem when someone with knowledge can't be sure if a buzz will be unfairly negged. That's a good point! But it's not being made the right way. What people DO need to take away from this is that you have to take a long, hard look at whether your "exciting" answerline needs some kind of weird modification in instructions/prompting to avoid boning people. And, if the answer is "yes," if you're just being stupid and need to JUST WRITE A GODDAMNED TOSSUP ON SWITZERLAND GOD BRUCE WHY DO YOU KEEP DOING THIS SHIT.