General Discussion

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General Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:07 am

General comments about the set go here

I wrote and edited the lit, aural arts, non-film visual arts, computer science, economics, and linguistics. I would appreciate any comments about those subjects. Eric or Patrick will probably explain their division of labor at some point
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Re: General Discussion

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:11 pm

On the whole, I thought the social science at this tournament was good. The tossups on "organizational psychology" and "cliometrics" were the only two exceptions to this that come to mind--they just seemed fairly vague and figure-it-outy. I also thought the music/auditory arts were pretty good--there was a torrent of ballet bonuses toward the end, though.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by t-bar » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:52 pm

I enjoyed reading this tournament. I'll let more knowledgeable people than me comment in more detail, but it seemed to me that while there were lots of accessible tossups and answerable easy and middle bonus parts, the hardest parts of this tournament could get pretty crazy at times.

One of the most consistent issues, from a reader's perspective, was a lack of full answer lines and alternate answers. I recall a bonus part whose answer line was literally just "Diels-Alder," not "Diels-Alder reaction," and I initially negged Matt Jackson for saying something like "Master Mo" on the Mozi tossup because I don't know anything about that dude. If you're fixing the set up for future mirrors, it should be a fairly straightforward exercise to go through each question in the set and just spend 15 seconds thinking about what other answers people might plausibly give--for example, I made the judgment call to prompt someone for saying "population growth" on the overpopulation tossup, but explicit prompts for that sort of stuff would be helpful.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:19 pm

I edited and wrote the non-CS science, about 1/4-1/3 of the history, about half the RMP, and about half the SS. Special thanks to Stephen Eltinge, Auroni Gupta, Mike Cheyne, Evan Nagler, and Ike Jose for contributing some much needed questions, and to those people plus Susan Ferrari and some others I'm forgetting for playtesting help.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by The Kirk Store Called » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:21 pm

I thought a lot of the "description acceptable" tossups had answer-lines that led to a lot of moderator and player pain.

The "secret pass of Thermopylae" tossup was egregious on this. I saw someone buzz in the second-line, repeatedly say the Thermopylae pass, repeatedly get prompted, and finally get a neg. The other "description acceptable" questions weren't as egregious, but it wasn't uncommon to hear a groan on them. I also saw an almost-debate on the E. Coli experiment tossup (we were okay with giving it to the other team for saying e. coli experiment because seriously, they clearly knew what was going on).

What I find problematic about a lot of these problems is that people can clearly know what the answer is but simply don't buzz because they don't know what to answer with or they answer with something slightly off and it's wrong. It's also problematic for readers because they have to make a lot of judgement calls on what to prompt for and what to accept because it's so open-ended.

Admittedly, these were pretty cool things to toss-up, but I don't understand why these tossups needed such problematic answer-lines. If one wanted to write about Ephialtes's pass or the E. Coli experiment, one could write about "a location at this battle" or an "experiment featuring this".
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cody » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:21 pm

While there are situations where having the pronoun at the end (or towards the end) of the first sentence makes sense, the quantity of such questions in this tournament was somewhat frustrating.

Questions where the giveaway allows you to figure out the answer with minimal knowledge (some of the description acceptable ones, for instance) seemed to be used as a crutch to shoehorn more difficult topics into the set. I'm actually not sure if this is a problem, per se, since it allows you to implement the bell-curve difficulty ideal and still allow middling/bad teams to convert more tossups, but having a lot of these tossups be the ones that shaded harder seemed a little unbalanced.

There were also a few things that were weirdly overrepresented for a housewrite. I think we heard three bonuses on World War I poetry, for instance.

Aside from these rather minor complaints, I thought this tournament did a pretty good job of being accessible for the lower teams. I had a pretty good time and none of the teams I talked to in the lower brackets were overwhelmed or anything.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:32 pm

I wrote and edited 2/3 of the history (almost all the European history, half of the World, and some American), all the Geo/CE/Academic Other, and a 1/3 of of the myth (mainly Greco-Roman). I also wrote one or two questions in each of World/Other Lit, Painting, Other FA, Philosophy,and SS).
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:28 pm

I thought this set was a fair bit more difficult than last year's iteration of Penn Bowl, and I think the stats bear me out on this one - UVA topped 25 PPB last year, while an improved UVA team (with MattBo getting more 15s than 10s) got about 24 PPB on this one. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, just the set didn't really match the target difficulty very well. If anything, this set felt pretty similar to last year's Regionals in terms of difficulty. The mean answerline difficulty seemed fairly high in general - again, not that this was a problem, just an observation.

I had no problems overall with the history questions in this set (though I played very badly on them) but for the most part they seemed pretty uninspired to me. The clues were pretty good, but at no point did I think "hey, that's an interesting approach to this topic" except for the secret Thermopylae pass question, which was just terrible for reasons that Kirk has already explained.

I'd like to echo the call for better answerline prompts and instructions; I got negged for saying "population growth" on "overpopulation". I'm pretty sure that answer is outright correct, but at the very least I should have been prompted.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:00 pm

I think my perception of the tournament is skewed with respect to what rounds my team played well in, but overall I think there was a weird concentration of tossups in some rounds either written on topics that either shouldn't be asked in a regular-difficulty tournament, seemed extremely niche or relatively unimportant, or was answerable at regular difficulty but had no early/middle clues that anyone should be expected to know. These questions, in my opinion were:

R1 - history tossup on Edward Teller, bladder, the Yazoo land scandal, Thermopylae's secret pass
R2 - Kruskal's algorithm, Curzon
R3 - organizational psychology, Timurid dynasty
R4 - Carter-Reagan debate
R5 - caryatids
R11 - Ganges river in myth, Lenski experiment, firebombing of Tokyo
R12 - End of History and the Last Man
R13 - Dominica, Daniel Burnham, Mo Tzu, cliometrics, twinning, battle between the Horatii and Curiatii, Illyrians

I think maybe one of these per packet might be acceptable, but this is way too many. I hated this tournament until the start of Round 6, but I loved it until Round 11. I'll post question-specific comments in the other thread.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:23 pm

gyre and gimble wrote: R1 - history tossup on Edward Teller, bladder, the Yazoo land scandal, Thermopylae's secret pass
R2 - Kruskal's algorithm, Curzon
R3 - organizational psychology, Timurid dynasty
R4 - Carter-Reagan debate
R5 - caryatids
R11 - Ganges river in myth, Lenski experiment, firebombing of Tokyo
R12 - End of History and the Last Man
R13 - Dominica, Daniel Burnham, Mo Tzu, cliometrics, twinning, battle between the Horatii and Curiatii, Illyrians
There was a history tossup on the Illyrians? I'm SO sad I never got to hear that. Kind of sad that it's spoiled for me now, but the Illyrians are one of the important "barbarian" groups that never come up, and I'm really happy they're getting some love.

From my limited knowledge of Indian myth, the Ganges river is definitely important. My problem with that question was more of that it seemed too obvious (I think Nick had the same problem) - the question mentioned the descent fairly early, so I hesitated.

I don't know what your problem with the Timurids question is, because the clues to me seemed fine and well-ordered. I was able to figure out where this was and buzzed on the clue referring to the astronomy tower that Shahrukh's son built (I think it was his son, at least). I think that was actually one of my favorite questions in the set. For the Curzon question, I reflex-buzzed on the Younghusband expedition clue and was surprised that Curzon came up, but I don't really think either of these answerlines were bad choices for the difficulty this tournament ended up being (similar to last year's Regionals). I didn't hear the Mozi question, but the same reasoning applies. If this tournament was meant to be like Penn-ance in terms of difficulty, though, then I agree that all of these were probably not the best answerline choices.

I agree with you about the Yazoo Land Fraud, Edward Teller, and the Carter-Reagan debate (not unimportant but debate tossups imo rely on exceedingly trivial clues), but my lack of American history knowledge probably skews my perspective on the first and last of these.

I'll post more later.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by The Kirk Store Called » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:30 pm

I would say that the End of History and the Last Man is both exceedingly important and tossup-able on normal difficulty, though I would not extend that latter judgement to replies and commentaries on it. So I would strongly disagree with you there, unless you're saying that it was just tossed up poorly.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cody » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:38 pm

gamegeek2 wrote:I agree with you about the Yazoo Land Fraud, Edward Teller, and the Carter-Reagan debate (not unimportant but debate tossups imo rely on exceedingly trivial clues).
Actually, these questions were the some of the ones in Stephen's post that were definitely fine in terms of answerline/clue space as regular difficulty answers (disregarding for a second the bell-curve idea of difficulty). While some of the questions Stephen mentioned were poor ideas for other reasons, having harder or easier answerlines is part of the pretty widely accepted bell-curve idea of difficulty and (aside from the unfortunate convergence of them in Round 13, which is a problem), Stephen's list isn't a problem and doesn't really say anything about the tournament.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:57 pm

Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:
gamegeek2 wrote:I agree with you about the Yazoo Land Fraud, Edward Teller, and the Carter-Reagan debate (not unimportant but debate tossups imo rely on exceedingly trivial clues).
Actually, these questions were the ones in Stephen's post that were definitely fine in terms of answerline/clue space as regular difficulty answers (disregarding for a second the bell-curve idea of difficulty). While some of the questions Stephen mentioned were poor ideas for other reasons, having harder or easier answerlines is part of the pretty widely accepted bell-curve idea of difficulty and (aside from the unfortunate convergence of them in Round 13, which is a problem), Stephen's list isn't a problem and doesn't really say anything about the tournament.
Right, my problem with the tournament was that these questions weirdly converged on specific rounds and I only listed all of them to demonstrate how I thought they were distributed.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:59 pm

gyre and gimble wrote:I think my perception of the tournament is skewed with respect to what rounds my team played well in, but overall I think there was a weird concentration of tossups in some rounds either written on topics that either shouldn't be asked in a regular-difficulty tournament, seemed extremely niche or relatively unimportant, or was answerable at regular difficulty but had no early/middle clues that anyone should be expected to know. These questions, in my opinion were:

R2 - Kruskal's algorithm
This is a basic algorithm in computer science, is very important, and had powers on the first clue at our site. This may be better suited for question specific discussion, but I think at a tournament where other answers in CS are compilation and factorization, we can definitely have a tossup on an algorithm that is probably in every single introductory data structures/algorithms text.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:18 pm

This set definitely seemed pretty hard to me, and it also seemed to get harder as the day went on (although perhaps some combination of sleep deprivation and other external factors might explain why it felt like that to me). I also remember a lot of bonuses seeming to have structures like "easy-easy-VERY HARD," but without anything concrete to back them up, I guess these aren't the most useful comments.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:34 pm

Ras superfamily wrote:
gyre and gimble wrote:I think my perception of the tournament is skewed with respect to what rounds my team played well in, but overall I think there was a weird concentration of tossups in some rounds either written on topics that either shouldn't be asked in a regular-difficulty tournament, seemed extremely niche or relatively unimportant, or was answerable at regular difficulty but had no early/middle clues that anyone should be expected to know. These questions, in my opinion were:

R2 - Kruskal's algorithm
This is a basic algorithm in computer science, is very important, and had powers on the first clue at our site. This may be better suited for question specific discussion, but I think at a tournament where other answers in CS are compilation and factorization, we can definitely have a tossup on an algorithm that is probably in every single introductory data structures/algorithms text.
I should clarify that I don't actually have a problem with that round since that's the only one I thought was at the highest end of the bell curve in that round. The same goes for any of the other rounds where I've only listed one tossup. I do, by the way, agree with what you've said.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:50 pm

Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:Actually, these questions were the ones in Stephen's post that were definitely fine in terms of answerline/clue space as regular difficulty answers (disregarding for a second the bell-curve idea of difficulty). While some of the questions Stephen mentioned were poor ideas for other reasons, having harder or easier answerlines is part of the pretty widely accepted bell-curve idea of difficulty and (aside from the unfortunate convergence of them in Round 13, which is a problem), Stephen's list isn't a problem and doesn't really say anything about the tournament.
I thought Yazoo Land Fraud was rather hard, but my main problem with the other two questions is more of the unimportant clues problem, not the answerline-difficulty problem. I don't have much of a problem with answerlines being consistently hard, but this doesn't really jive with "Target difficulty is equivalent to Penn-ance last year", at least not in my book.

I agree with Jacob's criticism of the bonuses, which were quite often rather MFT-like in going "somewhat easy-easy-very hard".
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Chimango Caracara » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:10 pm

I, for one, enjoyed the zany answerlines at this tournament. I thought answerline selection was one of its best features. In most subjects, questions were interesting, which to me is a very important element of a good tournament.

I thought a lot of bonuses in some of the subjects I like seemed to have systematically differing difficulties while playing. For example, world literature and mythology seemed to be very 30able most of the time (in fact most world literature bonuses seemed quite easy), but biology and sometimes chemistry often seemed to be an easy 20 and then something I had never heard of, or was only vaguely aware of. Actually, I will echo the sentiments that this was true of many subjects, but from my perspective, I feel like I should have that perception for something like philosophy that I don't study, and should not have it for something like bio that I do. In other words, if I were playing this tournament solo my bonus conversion should probably be around 15 on philosophy but 25 on biology, and it would probably end up being around 20 for both subjects. I looked up the bio parts I missed and they generally seem important so I'm completely fine with them being chosen as answerlines, but I do think that many science bonuses were harder than non-science bonuses and perhaps difficulty could have been better matched between categories. (Hopefully this was a more substantive/useful opinion than "bonuses were variable in difficulty."

I did think there was a lot of military history. I'm not at all a "history player" and I've only taken one history class in college, but do many historians really study battles and wars in the depth that this tournament went into? Most quizbowl tournaments have a strong emphasis on military history, but it seemed especially pronounced here. I recognize that it is probably easier to write a tossup on the Battle of Kadesh than a tossup on Ramesses II with clues about the Sed festival or what have you, but the latter strikes me as more interesting and more relevant to our understanding of the people of ancient Egypt. Could some people who actually study history offer their opinions on this?

I mostly enjoyed this tournament a lot. It was harder than Penn-ance, but (with some qualifications) that's a good thing in my opinion.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by tiwonge » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:01 am

Speaking as a player on a lower-tier team, I was a bit disappointed at first in the difficulty. It was advertised as Penn-ance level difficulty (and that's what I told my teammates), but I think it overshot that.

Other than that, I enjoyed the set. Except for a few games, I felt that we were competitive, even when the scores didn't indicate it. We lost some buzzer races, and the inexperience on our team meant that often we waited too long to buzz in, even when we thought we knew it. Looking over the tossups, I was mostly happy with the answer selection.

We also finished with 11 ppb, so as a lower tier team, we were essentially getting the easy part of the bonus pretty consistently. We had some 20s and a few 0s, but I think that it was mostly fair for us as a lower tier team. I can't speak about the ridiculously hard bonus parts, because for the most part, we wouldn't have gotten them if they were just hard.

I don't know if we were getting used to the difficulty at the end (the first round was a bit tough for me because I wasn't attuned to the difficulty), or if we just saw our hardest teams at the start, or if the packets got easier, but we did better as the tournament progressed.

As far as the answerlines went, I enjoyed the tossups. I thought there were a lot of new, fresh ones (I particularly liked the tossup on Adam, even though I didn't get it). I can't think of any bonuses that I really enjoyed. One of my teammates really liked the 2nd round bonus about weapons in WWII, but we didn't get that one. I did like the chess bonus, I guess.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:43 am

Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:I think we heard three bonuses on World War I poetry, for instance.
There was a bonus on Wilfred Owen and one on WWI poetry in general, so there were two such bonuses
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Re: General Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:05 am

Ras superfamily wrote:
Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:I think we heard three bonuses on World War I poetry, for instance.
There was a bonus on Wilfred Owen and one on WWI poetry in general, so there were two such bonuses
There was also a Paul Fussell bonus, I think?
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:43 am

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:There was also a Paul Fussell bonus, I think?
You're right. We can replace one of these. Fussell was in academic other, but it's still probably too much.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Victor Prieto » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:28 pm

tiwonge wrote:Speaking as a player on a lower-tier team, I was a bit disappointed at first in the difficulty. It was advertised as Penn-ance level difficulty (and that's what I told my teammates), but I think it overshot that.
I also told my teammates this, and was similarly dismayed to find it was harder than Penn-ance. I think I have a different perspective looking on a lower-tier team too, though. I did not think it was as accessible as last year. I would agree with Stephen in that there were a number of questions that pushed the definition of regular difficulty, or the boundaries of the canon, but I wouldn't go so far as to say there should be a maximum of one per packet. I think two or three is okay, but there were definitely some packets that had more than that.

In addition to the ones that have already been pointed out, I think packet 3 had more than just I/O psychology and the Timurids (Dworkin and zebrafish). My philosophy knowledge is limited, but I still think Dworkin is not really accessible. Zebrafish is perfectly accessible at the end, but I think that a lot of the field would have buzzer raced on "stripes on its flank."

I guess these aren't really things you can change too much by the next mirror, but just my observations on the difficulty of the tournament.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Ringil » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:03 pm

Strangely, unlike everyone else, I felt that this tournament was easier than Penn-ance. Maybe that's just a function of me playing with weaker teammates than before, but I felt like bonuses were fairly convertible and quite a few tossups had easy leadins (for example in Round 5). I too enjoyed some of the interesting answer lines and of course the East Asian content :). However, I do agree that many bonuses seemed to be fairly easy to 20, as even in our relatively weak field, I felt that many of the bonuses were 20ed.

I personally didn't feel the physics at least in bonuses was that hard, but that might be because the parts chosen did tend to reflect the physics curriculum more than is usual. So, good job there, Eric. Also, although the Ephialtes thing was dumb, the other description acceptable questions seemed pretty cool.

I don't think the Timurids are too hard for this level. Tossups on Tamerlane tend to get really similar really quickly...
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Re: General Discussion

Post by The Kirk Store Called » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:14 pm

Wasabi wrote:
tiwonge wrote:Speaking as a player on a lower-tier team, I was a bit disappointed at first in the difficulty. It was advertised as Penn-ance level difficulty (and that's what I told my teammates), but I think it overshot that.
I also told my teammates this, and was similarly dismayed to find it was harder than Penn-ance. I think I have a different perspective looking on a lower-tier team too, though. I did not think it was as accessible as last year. I would agree with Stephen in that there were a number of questions that pushed the definition of regular difficulty, or the boundaries of the canon, but I wouldn't go so far as to say there should be a maximum of one per packet. I think two or three is okay, but there were definitely some packets that had more than that.

In addition to the ones that have already been pointed out, I think packet 3 had more than just I/O psychology and the Timurids (Dworkin and zebrafish). My philosophy knowledge is limited, but I still think Dworkin is not really accessible. Zebrafish is perfectly accessible at the end, but I think that a lot of the field would have buzzer raced on "stripes on its flank."

I guess these aren't really things you can change too much by the next mirror, but just my observations on the difficulty of the tournament.
I agree that the tournament was harder than expected, which was unfortunate since we also advertised it to several members of our team as uh, easier than it actually became.

I disagree on Packet 3. As unfortunate as I may find it, Dworkin is horrifying influential and someone you can hear about by reading the news (his recent death being one, but he was also pretty prolific in writing newspaper columns and having public debates).

I-O Psychology wasn't totally inaccessible because they thankfully accepted scientific management/management theory as acceptable answers. It's certainly not something people ask about a lot, but I do remember a mass buzzer-race on Taylorism. The answer line amusingly doesn't actually take I-O psychology though, which was an uh...yeah, problem.

The Timurids are pretty history-notable. If anything, I thought the question was transparent. I buzzed in on White Sheep Turkomans and almost 15'd it with almost no knowledge about the Timurids since I could go "well, it's clearly in Central Asia, Muslim, and a dynasty. Only tossupable ones are the Mughals or Timurids so..." I chose poorly, but still. I don't think it was too hard. Certainly loads easier than the Yazoo land scandal.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:24 pm

krojeaueluo wrote:The Timurids are pretty history-notable. If anything, I thought the question was transparent. I buzzed in on White Sheep Turkomans and almost 15'd it with almost no knowledge about the Timurids since I could go "well, it's clearly in Central Asia, Muslim, and a dynasty. Only tossupable ones are the Mughals or Timurids so..." I chose poorly, but still. I don't think it was too hard. Certainly loads easier than the Yazoo land scandal.
FWIW I barely avoided negging with the Safavids on that clue and had the good sense to wait until the observatory clue (probably the only time this tournament I avoided making such a mistake). This is because I've mainly heard their confederacy discussed in the context of the rise of the Qizilbash. I sort of agree with your criticism in that there aren't a lot of tossupable Central Asian Muslim dynasties at this level, but that's just a sad result of quizbowlers not knowing enough about the Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Khwarezm-shahs, and whatever other genetically Turkic, Persian-speaking lineages you'd like to name.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Victor Prieto » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:45 pm

What constituted the "other" category in this tournament? I recall seeing that cheese bonus (which was stupidly easy) and the chess bonus (which was also pretty easy).
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Ike » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:00 am

Okay, I want to give a few notes about this tournament from the brief look at what I saw.

I thought it ended up pretty solid, though I thought a lot of the answer lines were too wonky, and a lot of the bonuses that I saw before hand were really hard. (Did that bonus with Danticat as a medium part make it into the set?) Even after the set was edited I think a lot of the bonuses were too hard for my taste, and I hope future iterations of the tournament actively try to tone down hard parts a little bit more and truly ensure that bonus parts have easy parts for the worst of teams.

As an example of my point about easy parts: I saw a bonus where Mabinogion was an easy part. That's probably fair, but that's a very hard easy part. If you're writing for the whole field, you will want to make your easy part easier than that. Originally, the Dido easy part only tangentially hinted at her affair with Aeneas, and that was the original easy part of that bonus, if you truly want 90% of your teams to be able to convert that bonus, you can't coyly describe who Dido is, you have to either give a straightfoward description of who she is e.g. "Carthaginian Queen who killed herself" or the easiest clue buzzword (she loved _Aeneas_.)

The other thing I wanted to briefly mention is that I thought a lot of the tossups I saw had early clues that were very tough. I think one line of lead-in is fine, but this tournament seemed to overload at times at the expense of middle clues. As an example:
The mythology of the Philippines includes a monster that resembles a humanoid form of this animal; that beast is the Tikbalang. In Chinese mythology, the third son of the Dragon King of the West Sea is best known for taking the form of this animal. In Korean mythology, the Chollima is one of these animals. (*) Balius and Xanthos were two of these animals owned by Achilles that appear in the Iliad, a work that describes many heroes, but most notably Hector, as a “breaker” of these animals. In a story from Norse myth, a ploy to delay some construction work at Asgard leads to Loki giving birth to one of these animals. For 10 points, name these this species that includes Odin’s eight-legged Sleipnir and Bellerophon’s winged Pegasus.
ANSWER: horses [or Equus Ferus Caballus; or ma before “Chollima”]
This tossup is a pretty good example. The first two sentences are really hard. I'm willing to bet a lot of money no one buzzed before Tikbalang, and at most 1 person, if any, buzzed on Tikbalang. The Chinese myth clue is the first place where I can see someone weirdly knowledgeable taking the buzz, like maybe a Libo off of his childhood bedtime stories. But knowing which specific son of which specific dragon king is absolutely insane. The one upper middle clue in this tossup is the Chollima clue, but it's not a clue that you can 100% expect a great myth player to buzz on.

The main problem with this tossup is that right out of power you get a very easy clue to anyone who has extensively studied The Iliad or has a decent knowledge of mythology. I can see a plentiude of really good players like Bollinger or Dallas, buzzer racing against a myth nothing-burger on that clue Balius and Xanthos. That's not because I hate common links or whatever, it just needs some more upper middle clues.

Lastly, I think this tournament had too many tossups that pushed the envelope. To borrow Bollinger's expression, it's good to use hard tossups to "keep teams honest." But having more 2 per round is pushing it, and I saw more than 2 per round. As an example, I edited a lot of the philosophy to make it easier, originally the answer document called for tossups on Philosophical Investigations, Mohi, and some other hard things. I wrote most of my stuff on easier things, like Nietzsche or Searle. But what ended up in the tournament struck me as pretty hard still: knowing real stuff about al-Ghazali or the Euthyphro is pretty daunting for a good player. More importantly, I wish there were more tossups on something like "The Republic" or "Karl Marx" so that even weaker teams who don't know the canon that well can get an early buzz on stuff they learned for class or whatever to show how you can bring real knowledge to the game.

~This last sentence is just a reminder that we all like to talk about what's bad about a tournament and never really what's good. If this post contained paragraphs about what the tournament got right, this post would be much, much, longer.~
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Ringil » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:32 am

Ike wrote: This tossup is a pretty good example. The first two sentences are really hard. I'm willing to bet a lot of money no one buzzed before Tikbalang, and at most 1 person, if any, buzzed on Tikbalang. The Chinese myth clue is the first place where I can see someone weirdly knowledgeable taking the buzz, like maybe a Libo off of his childhood bedtime stories. But knowing which specific son of which specific dragon king is absolutely insane. The one upper middle clue in this tossup is the Chollima clue, but it's not a clue that you can 100% expect a great myth player to buzz on.
Although your post on the whole is pretty reasonable and I too felt that there were some really strange first clues such as that one about Philippines and Korean horses (!), that clue is actually pretty famous (it's one of the top tier famous things that happen in Journey to the West). Someone on the other team raced me to that, so I don't think it's just me who thinks that.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:46 am

Ike wrote: I saw a bonus where Mabinogion was an easy part.
I think this was edited down to Wales for the final version, but Ike's general points are very much on-point, particularly about the difficulty of powering early, perhaps not-too-important clues in specific categories (I noticed it most in mythology and classics more broadly).
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Brian McPeak » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:33 am

I can't comment on the whole set, but the science was very good. The physics questions in this tournament were the most fun I've ever played.

The bio and chem in Eric's tournaments usually seem noticeably harder than the physics and other science. This may just be because Eric tries to reward classroom/textbook knowledge instead of quizbowl/wikipedia knowledge, and I haven't taken many classes on those things. Maybe a bio or chem major can comment more.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Auroni » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:43 pm

Brian McPeak wrote: The bio and chem in Eric's tournaments usually seem noticeably harder than the physics and other science. This may just be because Eric tries to reward classroom/textbook knowledge instead of quizbowl/wikipedia knowledge, and I haven't taken many classes on those things. Maybe a bio or chem major can comment more.
Yeah, this seems right, from playtesting at least. But noted physics-class-taker Stephen Eltinge also playtested and powered most of the physics tossup from some of his QM courses.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:05 pm

Ike wrote:
The mythology of the Philippines includes a monster that resembles a humanoid form of this animal; that beast is the Tikbalang. In Chinese mythology, the third son of the Dragon King of the West Sea is best known for taking the form of this animal. In Korean mythology, the Chollima is one of these animals. (*) Balius and Xanthos were two of these animals owned by Achilles that appear in the Iliad, a work that describes many heroes, but most notably Hector, as a “breaker” of these animals. In a story from Norse myth, a ploy to delay some construction work at Asgard leads to Loki giving birth to one of these animals. For 10 points, name these this species that includes Odin’s eight-legged Sleipnir and Bellerophon’s winged Pegasus.
ANSWER: horses [or Equus Ferus Caballus; or ma before “Chollima”]
at most 1 person, if any, buzzed on Tikbalang
Ian Torres of Stanford: please collect your prize.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:18 pm

Aside from the fluctuating difficulty, my biggest criticism of this tournament is a number of the tossups had poor lead-ins or early clues--they were in general clues that if one reads the writer's mind or if one knows the answerline to begin with, they make sense and you realize what they are talking about, but I have a hard time believing they would leave anyone to necessarily buzz on. For example, who buzzes on the clue about "fire" being a wedding gift from that lead-in description? Of the clue about Austria-Hungary's Chief of the General Staff encountering his "worst nightmare"? (this was more about just wasting tossup space as it did describe what was going on) The clue about the Zenger attorney asking the jury to "examine their daily lives"? I taught the Zenger case and read over Hamilton's closing statement pretty closely and knowing what the answer was recognized what was going on, but it seems very difficult to expect people to parse this at quizbowl speed.

Tossups seemed on the whole very difficult to power, which seems more like a philosophy of writing and editing than anything else. For the most part, they were fairly consistently applied, though.

Bonuses were inconsistent. There were a number of bonuses that just seemed unnecessarily difficult in terms of easy parts--is Three Places in New England an easy part now, for example?
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Re: General Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:52 am

Overall, I think this tournament was a good way to start the season for those of us who didn't play MFT. Bonus fluctuation seemed less rampant than I've seen at many recent tournaments. Answer selections for tossups seemed generally of appropriate difficulty. Aside from the fact that there seemed to be an unusually high proportion of Islam questions in the religion distribution, there seemed to be a good spread of topics. There was a slight roughness in execution (e.g. a lot of lead-ins that were unhelpful due to poor clue selection or vague wording) that prevented this from being a great tournament, but I think this tournament seemed generally well-conceived and in line with its stated objectives.

Even though it looks like many questions have been fixed since the set was played at Penn and MIT, there were still plenty of assorted clunkers. I'll leave it to others to talk about most of them, but in the "individual questions" I definitely want to talk about the approach to the music questions, which was pretty systematically lackluster, and I may talk about some individual lit questions that illustrate general cluing problems that this tournament occasionally suffered from.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:34 pm

This is my Username wrote:Aside from the fact that there seemed to be an unusually high proportion of Islam questions in the religion distribution, there seemed to be a good spread of topics.
Looking at the set, there were 28 tossups and bonuses on religion, of which I counted the following:

Christianity: 9
Islam: 4
Minor: 4
Judaism: 3
Bible (Christianity/Judaism): 3
Hindu: 2
Buddhist: 2
Common Link: 1

I don't see how this is an "unusually high proportion of Islam questions".
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Re: General Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:51 pm

gamegeek2 wrote:
This is my Username wrote:Aside from the fact that there seemed to be an unusually high proportion of Islam questions in the religion distribution, there seemed to be a good spread of topics.
Looking at the set, there were 28 tossups and bonuses on religion, of which I counted the following:

Christianity: 9
Islam: 4
Minor: 4
Judaism: 3
Bible (Christianity/Judaism): 3
Hindu: 2
Buddhist: 2
Common Link: 1

I don't see how this is an "unusually high proportion of Islam questions".
That's odd. I was not alone in this impression. At our site, three other people mentioned to me that they thought the religion was skewing towards Islam. But those figures suggest a perfectly sensible distribution. I'd have to look through the packets to see if a just the spread of these questions across packets was what created that impression. (We had heard seven rounds at the point when we were discussing this.)
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:01 pm

I think the Islam questions were front-loaded. If anything, Islam seems underrepresented in this distribution given that 23% of the world is Muslim and it's becoming a lot more prominent in Western society.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by bag-of-worms » Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:32 pm

gyre and gimble wrote: I hated this tournament until the start of Round 6.
I hold a similar impression. I like a lot of the same things that Stephen likes, however.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:29 pm

echhsquizbowl wrote:On the whole, I thought the social science at this tournament was good. The tossups on "organizational psychology" and "cliometrics" were the only two exceptions to this that come to mind--they just seemed fairly vague and figure-it-outy.
The Org psych tossup was replaced for the second iteration. I'd like to hear more about people's reaction to the cliometrics tossup, as I attempted to make that one of my brighter ideas.
While there are situations where having the pronoun at the end (or towards the end) of the first sentence makes sense, the quantity of such questions in this tournament was somewhat frustrating.
These things were fixed as much as humanly possible for the second iteration.
There were also a few things that were weirdly overrepresented for a housewrite. I think we heard three bonuses on World War I poetry, for instance.
This was fixed.
Brian McPeak wrote:
The bio and chem in Eric's tournaments usually seem noticeably harder than the physics and other science. This may just be because Eric tries to reward classroom/textbook knowledge instead of quizbowl/wikipedia knowledge, and I haven't taken many classes on those things. Maybe a bio or chem major can comment more.
Yeah, this seems right, from playtesting at least. But noted physics-class-taker Stephen Eltinge also playtested and powered most of the physics tossup from some of his QM courses.
So this is the criticism I take the most seriously. We can bin the tossups in bio, chem, and physics into "easy", "medium", and "hard" categories.

So, to normalize difficulty between science categories, I like to think about classes or reading in which people have encountered the answerline. An "easy" or "medium" question should be something that most everyone in the field has seen in an introductory-level class or in high school, whereas a "hard" question will be something that actively requires more advanced knowledge of a field to have seen. That being said, here's how I see difficulty panning out

EASY
bio (7) - # bladder # ferns # UV Light # nucleolus # muscle tissue # rod # Kidney
chem (8) - # flouride # Enthalpy # mercury # ammonia # Ideal gas #Hydrogen Bonding #isotope # nitrogen gas
physics (7) - # diffraction # resistance # scattering # power # cosine # drag # index of refraction

MEDIUM
bio (4) - # lysozyme # GABA # ATP synthase # trp operon (I'll defend this last one as something that's taught in AP biology quite extensively)
chem (4) - # elimination # Aromatic # Wittig reaction # C60
physics (3) - # boson # parity # Weak interaction

HARD
bio (3) - # zebrafish # Hox gene # Longterm evolution experiment
chem (3) - # extraction (being generous with this one - intro chem classes do it, but the name may not be particularly memorable) # gas chromatography (being generous with this one also) # Hartree-Fock method (this one is obviously hard)
physics (4) - # Fine structure constant # Vector potential # Lev Landau # poisson equation

So, just by the naked eye, it doesn't seem like the difficulty distribution differs between categories (in fact, two-way chi square gives a P-value of .97 and Fisher exact test gives .96 - you're supposed to use the latter one since there are fewer than 5 entries in some category). Let me know if there's something else that I'm missing.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:47 pm

It seems like the answers you're claiming are analogous between categories are not remotely equivalent in difficulty. Lysozyme seems much harder than something really basic like "the weak force."
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:07 pm

I'm willing to believe my outlook on this is skewed; if someone else wants to sort, I'd be more than happy to hear it.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:31 pm

kroeajueluo wrote: The "secret pass of Thermopylae" tossup was egregious on this.
As I mentioned in the other thread, this was changed for future mirrors.
gamegeek2 wrote: I agree with you about the Yazoo Land Fraud, Edward Teller, and the Carter-Reagan debate (not unimportant but debate tossups imo rely on exceedingly trivial clues), but my lack of American history knowledge probably skews my perspective on the first and last of these.
Edward Teller is very important in the history of nuclear weapons. He was also in Other Academic, not history or science, as I've mentioned elsewhere.
Chimango Caracara wrote: I did think there was a lot of military history. I'm not at all a "history player" and I've only taken one history class in college, but do many historians really study battles and wars in the depth that this tournament went into? Most quizbowl tournaments have a strong emphasis on military history, but it seemed especially pronounced here. I recognize that it is probably easier to write a tossup on the Battle of Kadesh than a tossup on Ramesses II with clues about the Sed festival or what have you, but the latter strikes me as more interesting and more relevant to our understanding of the people of ancient Egypt. Could some people who actually study history offer their opinions on this?
This tournament probably did have more history questions that had military aspects than other tournaments, but I don't think this was a problem for several reasons:

1. War is one of the biggest catalysts for historical change, it's something that happens a lot, and it does get studied by historians in considerable depth. You won't get the deepest clues from tossups on wars and battles from a history course that isn't focused on it, but that's often the case with collegiate quizbowl tossups in general.

2. There are many important non-military aspects of wars/battles that can be used as clues and were used in this tournament (e.g. political history, diplomatic history, social history, the civics of foreign countries, etc.). There should be a distinction between questions on wars/battles that use these types of non-military clues and military history that purely depends on tactics/troop movements/weaponry/unimportant battles. I think the history in this tournament that could be seen as military leaned towards the former rather than the latter and the handful of times that clues of the latter type were used, they were key to the understanding of the thing being asked about. A higher than average amount of military history only be a problem if the latter was dominant over the former and crowded out other forms of history (which it didn't here).

3. I don't think that military history is ipso facto less relevant to the understanding of history. Mentioning the Sherden bodyguards in the Battle of Kadesh for example, seems to be military cruft, but the imagery of Sherdens in Egyptian monumentary art, especially in relation to the Sea Peoples and the Bronze Age collapse is something that is studied. The anniversary mentioned in the Franco-Prussian War tossup is Sedantag, which was only holiday that the constituent states of the newly-forged Germany were able to agree upon, and is cited as an example of the innate disfunction of the Second Reich's parliamentary system. These two things are both military in nature, but are also both relevant to our understanding of their respective histories in a non-military context.
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Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:I think we heard three bonuses on World War I poetry, for instance.
There was a bonus on Wilfred Owen and one on WWI poetry in general, so there were two such bonuses
There was also a Paul Fussell bonus, I think?
The Paul Fussell bonus was in Other and the parts dealt with: his literary and social criticism/cultural history of the First World War/Hiroshima, so it isn't really about Great War poetry.
Wasabi wrote:What constituted the "other" category in this tournament? I recall seeing that cheese bonus (which was stupidly easy) and the chess bonus (which was also pretty easy).
I don't think those two bonuses were incredibly easy for everyone. There was a 1/1 distribution for Geo/CE/Other and that was split as follows.

Geography: 6/3 (though many clues had CE/biodiversity/architecture clues)
Kerguelen Islands/France/New Caledonia (1)
Hong Kong (3)
New Guinea (4)
Swiss/Blue/Edam (5) - Though this could fall under other as well
Dallas (7)
Uruguay (9)
Hokkaido (10)
English Channel (12)
Big Bend/Rio Grande/Chihuahua (13)

CE: 5/4
Julia Gillard (2)
Commonwealth/Rajapaska/Tamils (3)
John McCain (5)
G8/EITI/Dodd-Frank (6)
NASA (8)
Li Keqiang/AIDS/Communist Youth League (9)
Kenya (11)
Croatia/EU/Romania and Bulgaria (12)
Daily Mail (14)

Other: 3/7
Edward Teller (1)
Paul Fussell/Great War/Hiroshima (2)
Drone/Lockheed Martin/Koh (4)
Shakespearean authorship question (6)
Karpov/draw/Boris Spassky (7)
Laestrygonians/Maids of Penelope/Odysseus (8)
Libraries/ISBN/Dewey (10)
Turkish Army/Deep State/Ataturk (11)
Aircraft carrier capability (13)
Niels Bohr/Fifth Solvay Conference/God does no play dice/ (14)
Ike wrote:
Penn Bowl wrote: ANSWER: horses [or Equus Ferus Caballus; or ma before “Chollima”]
This tossup is a pretty good example. The first two sentences are really hard. I'm willing to bet a lot of money no one buzzed before Tikbalang, and at most 1 person, if any, buzzed on Tikbalang. The Chinese myth clue is the first place where I can see someone weirdly knowledgeable taking the buzz, like maybe a Libo off of his childhood bedtime stories. But knowing which specific son of which specific dragon king is absolutely insane. The one upper middle clue in this tossup is the Chollima clue, but it's not a clue that you can 100% expect a great myth player to buzz on.

The main problem with this tossup is that right out of power you get a very easy clue to anyone who has extensively studied The Iliad or has a decent knowledge of mythology. I can see a plentiude of really good players like Bollinger or Dallas, buzzer racing against a myth nothing-burger on that clue Balius and Xanthos. That's not because I hate common links or whatever, it just needs some more upper middle clues.
This question was edited to have more context and more middle clues (namedropping Bailongma, Rhesus and the Doloneia, gifts at Peleus and Thetis's wedding without dropping Balius/Xanthus, etc.) for the later mirrors.
Cheynem wrote: For example, who buzzes on... the clue about Austria-Hungary's Chief of the General Staff encountering his "worst nightmare"? (this was more about just wasting tossup space as it did describe what was going on)
This was two just two extra words, and I did provide a description afterwards. I don't think this is a big deal.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:39 pm

Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:
Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:
Ras superfamily wrote:
Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:I think we heard three bonuses on World War I poetry, for instance.
There was a bonus on Wilfred Owen and one on WWI poetry in general, so there were two such bonuses
There was also a Paul Fussell bonus, I think?
The Paul Fussell bonus was in Other and the parts dealt with: his literary and social criticism/cultural history of the First World War/Hiroshima, so it isn't really about Great War poetry.
It's a bonus about a book about Great War poetry... so I think that counts.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:53 pm

Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:He was also in Other Academic, not history or science, as I've mentioned elsewhere.
I understand this and should have edited my previous posts accordingly.


I also appreciated the fact that the Current Events were focused outside of America. It's refreshing to see questions about important world figures and institutions rather than trivialities from the Zimmerman case or which politician has come out with the latest brand of anti-gay idiocy.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:29 pm

Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:
Wasabi wrote:What constituted the "other" category in this tournament? I recall seeing that cheese bonus (which was stupidly easy) and the chess bonus (which was also pretty easy).
I don't think those two bonuses were incredibly easy for everyone.
The first part of the cheese bonus asked you to name the type of cheese that has holes ("swiss") and the second asked you to name the type of cheese that has spots or veins caused by mold ("blue"). Yes, not everyone will know the hard part ("Edam"), but that bonus basically had two extremely easy parts and one medium part.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:19 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:
Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:
Ras superfamily wrote:
Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:I think we heard three bonuses on World War I poetry, for instance.
There was a bonus on Wilfred Owen and one on WWI poetry in general, so there were two such bonuses
There was also a Paul Fussell bonus, I think?
The Paul Fussell bonus was in Other and the parts dealt with: his literary and social criticism/cultural history of the First World War/Hiroshima, so it isn't really about Great War poetry.
It's a bonus about a book about Great War poetry... so I think that counts.
It's a bonus about a literary critic/historian whose magnum opus is a book about the literature of the Great War (there's lots of diaries and letters in that book as well as poetry) that also mentions an article he wrote on Hiroshima. I agree that we needed to get rid of some Great War literature, but you can't say the entire Fussell bonus was a "World War I poetry" bonus because only one part actually deals with Great War poetry.
gamegeek2 wrote: I also appreciated the fact that the Current Events were focused outside of America. It's refreshing to see questions about important world figures and institutions rather than trivialities from the Zimmerman case or which politician has come out with the latest brand of anti-gay idiocy.
My CE writing philosophy is to avoid subjects that are essentially hyped-up, evanescent Internet phenomena. Those are often tragic and stupid, but not important in terms of current events.
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:
Wasabi wrote:What constituted the "other" category in this tournament? I recall seeing that cheese bonus (which was stupidly easy) and the chess bonus (which was also pretty easy).
I don't think those two bonuses were incredibly easy for everyone.
The first part of the cheese bonus asked you to name the type of cheese that has holes ("swiss") and the second asked you to name the type of cheese that has spots or veins caused by mold ("blue"). Yes, not everyone will know the hard part ("Edam"), but that bonus basically had two extremely easy parts and one medium part.
The part on blue cheese did not say "mold" but "penicillium". I also really don't think "Edam" is a medium part, and the stats from the Penn site seem to back me up. If bonuses were read correctly at the Penn site, the cheese bonus played as follows: 3x10, 8x20, 1x30. So blue was on the easy of a medium part, but not "extremely easy", and Edam may in fact be too hard. In fact, according to my scoresheet (Eric was the moderator, so the bonuses are read correctly), UVA A only got 10 on this bonus.

EDIT: Also, veins in cheese shouldn't a binary association with blue cheese. Many cheeses use veins of dark vegetable ash (e.g. France's Morbier cheese).
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Victor Prieto » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:47 pm

Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:
Wasabi wrote:What constituted the "other" category in this tournament? I recall seeing that cheese bonus (which was stupidly easy) and the chess bonus (which was also pretty easy).
I don't think those two bonuses were incredibly easy for everyone.
The first part of the cheese bonus asked you to name the type of cheese that has holes ("swiss") and the second asked you to name the type of cheese that has spots or veins caused by mold ("blue"). Yes, not everyone will know the hard part ("Edam"), but that bonus basically had two extremely easy parts and one medium part.
The part on blue cheese did not say "mold" but "penicillium ". I also really don't think "Edam" is a medium part, and the stats from the Penn site seem to back me up. If bonuses were read correctly at the Penn site, the cheese bonus played as follows: 3x10, 8x20, 1x30. So blue was on the easy of a medium part, but not "extremely easy", and Edam may in fact be too hard. In fact, according to my scoresheet (Eric was the moderator, so the bonuses are read correctly), UVA A only got 10 on this bonus.

EDIT: Also, veins in cheese shouldn't a binary association with blue cheese. Many cheeses use veins of dark vegetable ash (e.g. France's Morbier cheese).
While veins in cheese may not be a binary association with blue cheese, it is a binary association for people unfamiliar with Morbier cheese (which I'd say is most people). I also have an awful lot of trouble finding on the internet any other kinds of non-blue cheeses that have veins. On top of this, I don't think it is difficult for a non-biology or culinary arts specialist to make the jump from "penicillium" to "mold." Edam was not converted at the Texas site by any team (we were thinking Gouda), so yes, I would agree with you that Edam is too difficult, but I still believe blue is too easy, even with the statistics from the Penn site.

Also, I retract my assertion of the chess bonus as too easy. For some reason, I incorrectly remembered the third bonus part was Kasparov. I actually think that the difficulty of that bonus was perfect, although I think I am biased. EDIT: Forgot to insert the words "was perfect." Derp.
Last edited by Victor Prieto on Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:14 pm

As a reader, I thought this set was generally too difficult. I'll echo Mike in saying that the lead-in clues were often not very helpful, many times because they were coyly referring to things that, in reality, do not need to be couched in some kind of obfuscating or generalized language. I also thought that the lack of alternate answers, especially for questions with potentially confusing answers, was a big problem. It's one thing if you're not listing Patton's middle name or something like that (I always do it, and I think people should take a much more completionist view of answer lines than they currently do, but whatever). It's quite another thing to have a question on a confusing topic that doesn't tell the moderator what to do in the case of several easy-to-anticipate answers. I thought there were a lot of those.
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