Question Specific Discussion

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Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:08 am

Question specific discussion goes here
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by samus149 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:04 pm

I might be wrong, but I think that bed-measuring clue for The Marriage of Figaro should be later in the question, if only because I've powered it twice off of watching Amadeus.

There was a bonus on Virginia Woolf stuff in one of that later playoff rounds, and we didn't answer Jacob's Room for the third part because the question already name-dropped Jacob. Was that supposed to be like that?

For that enthalpy tossup, that fact that an adiabatic process does not change in enthalpy probably shouldn't be in power.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:12 pm

samus149 wrote:For that enthalpy tossup, that fact that an adiabatic process does not change in enthalpy probably shouldn't be in power.
This is a mistake on my part; I was trying to describe a throttling process, but forgot that all adiabatic processes are isenthalpic. Good catch.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Victor Prieto » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:39 pm

I really liked that 1980 Presidential Debates question, I can't believe I missed power for that.

The fluorine tossup is excellent, but I think you can cleave t-BOC from the polypeptide using any old acid, according to the internet. I'm not sure though, I've never done it myself.

I had perfect information on that CPK clue for skeletal muscle, and when I was prompted for "muscle," I was thrown off a bit, although I eventually gave the correct answer. There are three isoforms of creatine phosphokinase present in skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscle. If you want to point unambiguously at skeletal muscle, I recommend mentioning McArdle's disease (which I have) and saying something along the lines of "CPK leaks from this tissue."

Although I don't doubt the importance of Lenski's E. Coli experiment after reading about it, I think it would have been better off as a bonus rather than a tossup. At the same time, I think the execution was pretty good, though.

The aromaticity tossup is pretty good, too, although I didn't play it.

The titration bonus had a very difficult medium part, especially compared to four bonuses later, Parthia/Crassus/Surena, where there's no medium part in sight.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Steak and Kidney Pie » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:48 pm

I answered the skeletal muscle tossup with "striated muscle" and was ruled incorrect. I'm pretty sure they are the same thing. Also, as I said on discussion, "Kannon" should be acceptable for Guanyin/Avalokitesvara.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:52 pm

samus149 wrote: There was a bonus on Virginia Woolf stuff in one of that later playoff rounds, and we didn't answer Jacob's Room for the third part because the question already name-dropped Jacob. Was that supposed to be like that?
Jacob was not mentioned in the question, so this may have been a moderator mistake
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Cody » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:54 pm

The bonus part on Hana Hoch noted she was a Dada artist and the next part's answerline was Dada.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:10 pm

Steak and Kidney Pie wrote:I answered the skeletal muscle tossup with "striated muscle" and was ruled incorrect. I'm pretty sure they are the same thing. Also, as I said on discussion, "Kannon" should be acceptable for Guanyin/Avalokitesvara.
Cardiac muscle is also striated. It will be edited in the future to include a prompt. Also, Kannon should be fine as well.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:15 pm

The question on Messiah included a lengthy description of the first section of a generic french overture, which basically just says "this piece is a large baroque piece"—not incredibly helpful (maybe more helpful with the word "Sinfony" or something).

Could I see the Rachmaninoff question? The description of the piano concerto No. 2 included some very strange term instead of "pedal point" or similar for the opening.

I generally remember slight confusions like this being a staple of the auditory arts in the tournament, but otherwise, I liked it.

Also, this is a thread-derail, but people just need to stop pretending Menotti is a significant composer of opera. He's important only in the "history of media" sense (and then why aren't people writing about other TV musical productions? As a big fan of Stravinsky's The Flood...)
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:28 pm

Here's my round-by-round take on some of the tossups in this tournament. I thought the tossups were really where I had a lot of issues, and the bonuses were all right for the most part. Some of these criticisms are obviously much less important than others.

R1
Edward Teller - Was this science or history? Either way both science and history players got ripped-off on this one.
(secret?) pass at Thermopylae - I didn't know until I read this thread that you needed to say "secret" to get points, because Dartmouth's answer of "Thermopylae pass" was accepted. Was it not clear in the packet to prompt? This is also probably an idea to be saved for CO or something.
getting pushed off a cliff - So this common link is dumb because you have to buzz off of knowledge of two clues. For example, Myrtilus died because his chariot was sabotaged, and then he fell into the sea. Perdix didn't actually die but was changed by Athena into a bird after falling off a tower (and not a cliff) so it's very misleading to call it his "fate". There are so many answers you could give off of knowledge of any one clue. Common links on things like "changing into a tree" or "lions" or something are great, but maybe we shouldn't tossup up things on "one of the many steps different people underwent before dying or almost dying."

R2
Canterbury Tales - Is calling this a short story collection confusing, or am I just dumb?
Curzon - Too hard.

R3
organizational psychology - I'm sure this has important applications in the real world, but tossing it up doesn't work well with regular difficulty.
Timurid dynasty - Why not just write a tossup on Tamerlane? I mean I guess if you're really into the White Sheep Turkomans you'd care about some of his descendants?

R4
All the world's a stage - Should just be a tossup on As You Like It, because once you figure out what play it is, what other speech could it be?

R5
caryatids - Damn, these clues were hard!

R6
Fellini - Yeah, I'm just complaining here but it's a pretty tough power mark when buzzing on a description of Satyricon isn't good enough.

R7
Dallas - Love Field doesn't belong in the second line.
Fuseli - So this was a really tough powermark, because (I think) the writer of this question confused the famous Fuseli Lady Macbeth for another Fuseli Lady Macbeth. Here they are: http://www.backtoclassics.com/images/pi ... aggers.jpg, http://www.cgfaonlineartmuseum.com/f/fuseli1.jpg. I'm guessing the popularity of the Tate's website makes the sketch show up first on the Google image search.

R8
Great packet. I loved the tossups on blood and murals.

R9
Gainsborough - I can't find the reference to Gainsborough and peepholes anywhere, but that clue sounded a lot like this! I can't claim it was a hose without seeing the question again but it definitely felt like one.

R10
Another great packet. I especially liked how not-transparent the weak force tossup was.

R11
Lenski - Whoa, what?

R12
Another fun round. Byzantine emperor and Poussin were great.

R13
Dominica - This went dead between us and Yale. I'm sure there is a good number of normal regular difficulty things for which that might happen but I don't think this is one of them. At least give the capital? You know, instead of saying it's famous for being beautiful.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:50 pm

gyre and gimble wrote:(secret?) pass at Thermopylae - I didn't know until I read this thread that you needed to say "secret" to get points, because Dartmouth's answer of "Thermopylae pass" was accepted. Was it not clear in the packet to prompt? This is also probably an idea to be saved for CO or something.
I'm interested to see the answer line here too. I imagine you have to say something other than just Thermopylae or even "pass at Thermopylae" because the site itself (i.e. the non-secret path) is a narrow pass between two cliffs, but I'm curious what was and wasn't accepted here. (After being prompted, I rambled out something descriptive that I don't remember.)

More later.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:53 pm

gyre and gimble wrote: Dominica - This went dead between us and Yale. I'm sure there is a good number of normal regular difficulty things for which that might happen but I don't think this is one of them. At least give the capital? You know, instead of saying it's famous for being beautiful.
Yeah, I've heard the "garden of the Caribbean" thing before, or whatever it is, but I couldn't pull this.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by t-bar » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:55 pm

RyuAqua wrote:
gyre and gimble wrote:(secret?) pass at Thermopylae - I didn't know until I read this thread that you needed to say "secret" to get points, because Dartmouth's answer of "Thermopylae pass" was accepted. Was it not clear in the packet to prompt? This is also probably an idea to be saved for CO or something.
I'm interested to see the answer line here too. I imagine you have to say something other than just Thermopylae or even "pass at Thermopylae" because the site itself (i.e. the non-secret path) is a narrow pass between two cliffs, but I'm curious what was and wasn't accepted here. (After being prompted, I rambled out something descriptive that I don't remember.)

More later.
Round 1 wrote: ANSWER: goat path of Ephialtes at Thermopylae [or Thermopylae goat path; or Anopaia path; or Vardates
route before mention; or descriptive answers such as hidden path of Thermopylae, flanking path at
Thermopylae
, secondary path at Thermopylae, or path secretly taken by Persian forces at Thermopylae;
prompt on goatpath; prompt on Thermopylae path; prompt on Thermopylae pass; prompt on Thermopylae path
taken by Persia
n Immortals; prompt on Malis]
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:32 pm

For example, Myrtilus died because his chariot was sabotaged, and then he fell into the sea.
Just a note that Myrtilus sabotaged somebody else's chariot; he didn't die because his own chariot was sabotaged.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:38 pm

Oh, yeah. Sorry I confused Myrtilus and Oenomaeus so I guess that sentence doesn't matter anymore.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by The Kirk Store Called » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:43 pm

t-bar wrote:
Round 1 wrote: ANSWER: goat path of Ephialtes at Thermopylae [or Thermopylae goat path; or Anopaia path; or Vardates
route before mention; or descriptive answers such as hidden path of Thermopylae, flanking path at
Thermopylae
, secondary path at Thermopylae, or path secretly taken by Persian forces at Thermopylae;
prompt on goatpath; prompt on Thermopylae path; prompt on Thermopylae pass; prompt on Thermopylae path
taken by Persia
n Immortals; prompt on Malis]
This reads like a parody of what answer lines should not be. I was cracking up reading this out loud until I realized it was real and it happened.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Chimango Caracara » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:38 pm

I liked the Adam tossup that used Islamic clues. The Seven Ages of Man speech was also really neat (although I wouldn't have said "Orlando" so early). Caryatids was cool as well. I'm so glad that Piranesi was a bonus part. I think the moderator might have skipped the cheese bonus in our room because I don't remember it, but I wanted to express my appreciation for it.

I thought the E. coli experiment was a fantastic idea. Lysozyme was also a good idea for a tossup. I don't know many of the clues in the skeletal muscle tossup, but I'm all for more histology in quizbowl.

I love Hox genes and I think they should be asked about all the time, but can a tossup on "these genes" that come in "clusters" really have any other askable answerline?

Dolichol should probably include "phosphate" as a non-underlined part of the answerline.

K sub m is also called the Michaelis constant (which I realize is screwy considering Michaelis has been mentioned but that doesn't change the fact that it's an actual alternate answer).

Pedro Camacho is definitely Bolivian in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.

The Mahfouz bonus seemed much harder than most of the world literature bonuses.

I had no problems with the Ganga tossup.

For the extraction tossup, I buzzed on the quaternary ammonium salts clue with something like "transferring from one phase to another" which I guess is pretty much extraction, but I didn't really connect the two since I've only done extraction to purify things. In my mind extraction involves permanently separating something into a particular phase while phase transfer catalysis is a bit different because it goes back and forth between the two phases. Maybe there should be more prompts at least?

Adding any halogen to the alpha carbon of a carboxylic acid strengthens it via the inductive effect. "Significantly" does not strike me as an adequate exclusionary clue.

Do people really use the term "synthon?" I mean maybe they do, but it stuck me as a wacky bonus part.

The Yggdrasil and Shakespeare authorship tossups seemed pretty transparent.

Maybe my perspective on this is skewed due to regularly seeing The Epic of American Civilization in my day-to-day life, but it seems like you can get the murals tossup pretty early without actually knowing that or Man at the Crossroads particularly well. For one thing, skeletons, masks, bayonets and soldiers appear in a lot of Mexican murals. For another, it seems like the majority of generic "these paintings" tossups (as distinct from tossups on "this scene" or "this figure" are about Mexican art. I guess this is a baseless assertion and I might be totally wrong but this just seems transparent to me.

I realize now that Akrotiri the military base is different from Akrotiri the place with Minoan frescoes on Santorini, but maybe other people negged with "Greece" on that too thinking it was the same and maybe that's not good?
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by The Kirk Store Called » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:20 am

I hesitate to comment without the actual set in front of me, but I also got the impression there were a lot of easy-easy/medium-IMPOSSIBLE questions, sometimes because the HARD parts were written to be obfuscatory or confusing on top of the difficulty.

I powered every single East Asian history question in the set, but I found myself 20'ing several bonuses on East Asian history subjects I had studied before because of confusing terminology. For example, the Chinese history bonus that referred to the Two Whatevers as an "ideology" and wanted me to answer "whateverism", which is not a real term or word. The Two Whatevers is perfectly appropriate for a hard part of a bonus - it doesn't need to be further obscured by very oblique references to it.

Another example was the bonus that asked about the Communist Youth but didn't really differentiate between it and the Young Pioneers.

Another example of funky bonus-prompts was the Turkish bonus asking for the Deep State as an "internet conspiracy theory", which is exceedingly confusing because the Deep State is actually real.

An example of an easy-easy-hard bonus was the bonus on the Sino-Japanese War. It awarded you 10 points for having heard of the First Sino-Japanese War before and then awarded 10 more points for naming an East Asian nation that wasn't China or Japan.

The China question that asked about migrant laborers was exceedingly transparent. Worst of all, the first clue on that topic (before it went hyper-transparent with migrant laborers), was NOT actually uniquely identifying. Saying that this nation was the subject of Factory Girls does not help when there are TWO books called Factory Girls, both of whom I have read, because one is them about Japan and the other about Mainland China.

Had I not read the Factory Girls book about China this summer, I would have buzzed in immediately with Japan, gotten negged, and put forward a very unamused protest.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:48 am

vinteuil wrote:The question on Messiah included a lengthy description of the first section of a generic french overture, which basically just says "this piece is a large baroque piece"—not incredibly helpful (maybe more helpful with the word "Sinfony" or something).
It did, in fact, say that word.

vinteuil wrote:Could I see the Rachmaninoff question? The description of the piano concerto No. 2 included some very strange term instead of "pedal point" or similar for the opening.

I generally remember slight confusions like this being a staple of the auditory arts in the tournament, but otherwise, I liked it.
I'm not sure that "pedal point" is applicable to the beginning of Rach 2, but people can correct me if I'm wrong. The wording I used was "that concerto begins with a repeated anchor note on the lowest F."
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:58 am

gyre and gimble wrote:Here's my round-by-round take on some of the tossups in this tournament. I thought the tossups were really where I had a lot of issues, and the bonuses were all right for the most part. Some of these criticisms are obviously much less important than others.

R2
Canterbury Tales - Is calling this a short story collection confusing, or am I just dumb?
I would call this, The Decameron, and The Arabian Nights short story collections because, even though they have frame stories, they are primarily made up of lots of separate stories.
gyre and gimble wrote:R4
All the world's a stage - Should just be a tossup on As You Like It, because once you figure out what play it is, what other speech could it be?
I'm not sure what this criticism is going for. Are you suggesting that the answer lines are equivalent to each other? I could see a conversion argument being made, but I think asking about things in different ways makes quiz bowl feel new and interesting even when we keep asking about the same stuff over and over.
gyre and gimble wrote:R7
Fuseli - So this was a really tough powermark, because (I think) the writer of this question confused the famous Fuseli Lady Macbeth for another Fuseli Lady Macbeth. Here they are: http://www.backtoclassics.com/images/pi ... aggers.jpg, http://www.cgfaonlineartmuseum.com/f/fuseli1.jpg. I'm guessing the popularity of the Tate's website makes the sketch show up first on the Google image search.
If this question was too hard then I apologize, but it seemed that people knew the title of that painting.
gyre and gimble wrote:R9
Gainsborough - I can't find the reference to Gainsborough and peepholes anywhere, but that clue sounded a lot like this! I can't claim it was a hose without seeing the question again but it definitely felt like one.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gai ... xt-summary <- that website references the effect he was going for in some landscapes, but I do apologize for the confusion. I'll try to fix this for the next mirrors.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:02 am

Chimango Caracara wrote:Pedro Camacho is definitely Bolivian in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.
This is true and has been fixed in the packet
Chimango Caracara wrote:The Mahfouz bonus seemed much harder than most of the world literature bonuses.
I probably overshot the middle part by a little since it required some in depth knowledge of the Cairo Trilogy
Chimango Caracara wrote:Maybe my perspective on this is skewed due to regularly seeing The Epic of American Civilization in my day-to-day life, but it seems like you can get the murals tossup pretty early without actually knowing that or Man at the Crossroads particularly well. For one thing, skeletons, masks, bayonets and soldiers appear in a lot of Mexican murals. For another, it seems like the majority of generic "these paintings" tossups (as distinct from tossups on "this scene" or "this figure" are about Mexican art. I guess this is a baseless assertion and I might be totally wrong but this just seems transparent to me.
I guess I'm ok with people knowing about common themes in Mexican murals and getting 15 points off of that knowledge at a regular tournament
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:30 am

Ras superfamily wrote:
vinteuil wrote:The question on Messiah included a lengthy description of the first section of a generic french overture, which basically just says "this piece is a large baroque piece"—not incredibly helpful (maybe more helpful with the word "Sinfony" or something).
It did, in fact, say that word.
Whoops, guess who needs to work on listening.
Ras superfamily wrote:
vinteuil wrote:Could I see the Rachmaninoff question? The description of the piano concerto No. 2 included some very strange term instead of "pedal point" or similar for the opening.

I generally remember slight confusions like this being a staple of the auditory arts in the tournament, but otherwise, I liked it.
I'm not sure that "pedal point" is applicable to the beginning of Rach 2, but people can correct me if I'm wrong. The wording I used was "that concerto begins with a repeated anchor note on the lowest F."
OK, yeah, I have absolutely no clue what an "anchor note" is. Any note that stays put like that despite becoming a dissonance is definitely a pedal point, especially if it's the lowest pitch like that.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:30 am

vinteuil wrote:OK, yeah, I have absolutely no clue what an "anchor note" is. Any note that stays put like that despite becoming a dissonance is definitely a pedal point, especially if it's the lowest pitch like that.
I thought pedal points need to be held out through the bar, not just played after another chord is already being held out. Is this a misunderstanding on my part?
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by The Kirk Store Called » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:55 pm

Specific tossup commentary. Absence of commentary on history/CE/geography tossups can probably be interpreted as me liking the tossup, since I really did enjoy the vast majority of history questions. Note that my criticism of specific questions doesn't change the fact that I did enjoy the overwhelming majority of tossups because I understand when you write a billion questions, mess-ups are inevitable.

R1: Sun Yatsen - Generally inaccurate and confusing. Supporters of Sun Yatsen didn't carry out the white wolf rebellion, they were bandit leaders who Sun Yatsen endorsed long after the conflict started. The Whampoa clue was confusing because Sun Yat-sen designed the Whampoa Military Academy, but Chiang Kai-shek was the one who ultimately opened and ran it.

Yazoo River Scandal - ...too damn hard.

R2: Gillard - I love this question because "murderous rage" is just a hilarious anecdote.

Curzon - Cool tossup, but really really really damn hard. I suspect I can count the number of people who converted this on my right-hand. Don't think it was appropriate for the difficulty level. This is a kind of guy who comes up in a hard part in a bonus about Poland/USSR.

R4: My favorite packet despite negging a billion times during it.

Qin - Actually a really cool way of asking about the Qin besides the typical THIS DYNASTY DID BLAH BLAH BLAH. I approved of this toss-up a lot.

War - A cool common-link philosophy tossup, which is cool since they're usually done poorly.

Carter-Reagan Debate - Despite the flak it got, I actually really liked this toss-up too. Almost every clue was a notable anecdote that people know about the Carter-Reagan Debate. Hell, I think the second clue came up on Cracked a few weeks ago. And the Carter-Reagan Debate actually is really important, since Carter started sliding in the polls after it. Probably the second best known presidential debate in American history. It's also pretty accessible since well, it's just two presidents.

KGB - I'm shocked someone was able to write a non-transparent KGB question. I approve a lot.

R5: The China tossup had serious problems for reasons I've already mentioned above.

R6: Shakespeare - Exceedingly transparent. I picked this up on 0 real knowledge, because I have 0 knowledge about Shakespeare works.

R7: Austria-Hungary - First clue was very vague. Its troops went south and then went north. Cool tossup besides that though. Naturally, I converted it on the Tianjin clue.

R8: Truman - There was kind of a difficulty cliff between Truman Committee and Adlai Stevenson, but mostly good.

Austrian ultimatum to Serbia - Pretty much the only "description acceptable" tossup in the entire set that I didn't think blew. Was pretty cool actually, and I understand why it was asked in this way.

Iwo Jima - A lot of trivial information that didn't really matter and a lot of vague stuff that could apply to a lot of pacific war battles. The first convertable clue is Tadamachi Kuribayashi, which is both well-out of power and actually pretty damn hard.

R9: Heian Period - A bad first clue. I do believe it's a reference to the shoen period and the writer wanted us to buzz in on Heian period on it, but that's not possible. For one, they were first established by the Taika reforms, which happened in the Asuka period. Then they were fully established during the Nara Period. And they characterized agriculture in much of the Heian period. But they still existed throughout the Kamakura, Muromachi, and Sengoku periods (while declining in importance). So that clue was basically worthless and probably encourages negging which would naturally lead to legitimate protests.

R10: Trotsky - I really really liked this tossup. An actual tossup in political-philosophical Trotskyism, instead of the generic military clues that always come up.

Easter Rising - Minor complaint, I think Roger Casement is an easier clue that Pearse/Connolly. I like this being tossed up though.

China/USA - Actually a great tossup on something important but that doesn't come up much. Accessible, pyramidal, good clues, etc.

PRI - A political party tossup that relies on substantive, pyramidal clues instead of trivia? A++

R11 CDU - Great for the same reasons as PRI.

Cixi - Just an annoying fact, still no proof that Cixi poisoned the Guangxu Emperor and it's a theory I lean strongly against. The answer-line guidelines also make me laugh and smile.

Deep Play - Should be at least prompted on Notes from a Balinese Cockfight. It's called that just as often as it's called Deep Play in the academic literature.

Firebombing of Tokyo - "The perpetrators of this event were ordered to carry out this event without defensive guns or ammunition." That is so damn vague, it's just a waste of a line.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:05 pm

R9: Heian Period - A bad first clue. I do believe it's a reference to the shoen period and the writer wanted us to buzz in on Heian period on it, but that's not possible. For one, they were first established by the Taika reforms, which happened in the Asuka period. Then they were fully established during the Nara Period. And they characterized agriculture in much of the Heian period. But they still existed throughout the Kamakura, Muromachi, and Sengoku periods (while declining in importance). So that clue was basically worthless and probably encourages negging which would naturally lead to legitimate protests.
I wrote this one from a textbook: http://tinyurl.com/kxukuxw. My intention was to use an economic/administrative history clue instead of just endless rebellion and clan word salad.

I'm glad you liked the PRI tossup.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

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

krojeaueluo wrote:Curzon - Cool tossup, but really really really damn hard. I suspect I can count the number of people who converted this on my right-hand. Don't think it was appropriate for the difficulty level. This is a kind of guy who comes up in a hard part in a bonus about Poland/USSR.
For the actual difficulty of this tournament, I think this was fine. I think he'd have been a medium part of a bonus at this tournament, had they asked for something like "this man names a line" in the context of Poland.
krojeaueluo wrote: Qin - Actually a really cool way of asking about the Qin besides the typical THIS DYNASTY DID BLAH BLAH BLAH. I approved of this toss-up a lot.
Yeah, I made a dumb neg on this one with "Zhou" because of bad quizbowl-related habits, since the concept of "hegemony" ("ba") from my experience is almost always discussed in the context of the Spring and Autumn period. Had I waited, I could have gotten it at "Shang Yang" (which by the way was a well-placed clue, along with the rest of the information in the question).
krojeaueluo wrote:Deep Play - Should be at least prompted on Notes from a Balinese Cockfight. It's called that just as often as it's called Deep Play in the academic literature.
The moderator in our room thankfully had the good sense to prompt when Neil Gurram gave that answer.
Kenneth Widmerpool wrote:I'm glad you liked the PRI tossup.
I did as well, for the same reasons.

A lot of what I meant to say has been adequately elaborated on by Kirk, but here's some other notes:

R1:

-I think this Otto the Great question mentioned Eberhard of Franconia too early, but I think that may just be because I've heard that come up in several questions here. I don't know if other people know this clue as well, though.

R2:

-Are Timoleon of Corinth and the Battle of Himera really medium and hard parts? I'm pretty bad at Ancient Greece but I've usually at least heard of the medium part in these questions, and neither of these rings a bell.

R3:

-This is a cool tossup on Islamic marriage. I only wish I had figured out what was going on earlier, because I might have been able to buzz on the discussion of the mut'ah controversy before the practice was name-dropped.
-Gravelotte is a massive difficulty cliff for Franco-Prussian war
-The power on the serpents question seems fairly generous
-I don't think I've heard the White Sheep Turkomans get mentioned and they're definitely important so that's a plus.

R9:

-I guess a lot of people did stuff in Utica, but I still think it's ill-advised to mention that city early on in a Scipio Africanus tossup
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Banana Stand » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:31 pm

gamegeek2 wrote:-Are Timoleon of Corinth and the Battle of Himera really medium and hard parts? I'm pretty bad at Ancient Greece but I've usually at least heard of the medium part in these questions, and neither of these rings a bell.
I was able to get Timoleon with only a cursory knowledge of Syracuse, so I don't think it was an unfair medium part. I could be wrong, though.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Victor Prieto » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:39 pm

gamegeek2 wrote:
krojeaueluo wrote:Deep Play - Should be at least prompted on Notes from a Balinese Cockfight. It's called that just as often as it's called Deep Play in the academic literature.
The moderator in our room thankfully had the good sense to prompt when Neil Gurram gave that answer.
I negged on this with just "Balinese Cockfight." Should I have been prompted? I didn't think so, but since we're on the topic...
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:44 pm

Wasabi wrote: Parthia/Crassus/Surena, where there's no medium part in sight.
That's my fault, that was originally written as a tossup and it had to be hastily converted on the last day since it was actually supposed to be a bonus. It's been fixed for future mirrors.
gyre and gimble wrote:
Edward Teller - Was this science or history? Either way both science and history players got ripped-off on this one.
Edward Teller was actually academic other, since Eric didn't want science history in science and I didn't want it in history.
gyre and gimble wrote: (secret?) pass at Thermopylae - I didn't know until I read this thread that you needed to say "secret" to get points, because Dartmouth's answer of "Thermopylae pass" was accepted. Was it not clear in the packet to prompt? This is also probably an idea to be saved for CO or something.
The Thermopylae goatpath was my attempt to write on something that's very real and important, but which unfortunately is too similar to Thermopylae itself to play well, and the bloated answerline - which was very specific about what should have been prompted - seems to have confused readers at the MIT site. In future mirrors, this will be changed to a tossup on Thermopylae with some of the clues moved around.
gyre and gimble wrote: R6
Fellini - Yeah, I'm just complaining here but it's a pretty tough power mark when buzzing on a description of Satyricon isn't good enough.
I disagree, the powermark was just before Trimalchio, so the entire description of Trimalchio's feast is power.
gyre and gimble wrote: R7
Dallas - Love Field doesn't belong in the second line.
This has been fixed.
kroeajueluo wrote: This reads like a parody of what answer lines should not be. I was cracking up reading this out loud until I realized it was real and it happened.
Yeah, this is a thing that doesn't have a set name and was a "description acceptable" answer, so I tried to provide clear directions. In a hypothetical world where this question played well, it's not an absurd answerline. It didn't play well, so it will be changed for future mirrors.
Chimango Caracara wrote: The...Shakespeare authorship tossups seemed pretty transparent.
Can you expand on this?
Chimango Caracara wrote: I realize now that Akrotiri the military base is different from Akrotiri the place with Minoan frescoes on Santorini, but maybe other people negged with "Greece" on that too thinking it was the same and maybe that's not good?
I was only thinking of the British military base when I wrote the question. I've taken it out entirely.
kroeajueluo wrote: For example, the Chinese history bonus that referred to the Two Whatevers as an "ideology" and wanted me to answer "whateverism", which is not a real term or word. The Two Whatevers is perfectly appropriate for a hard part of a bonus - it doesn't need to be further obscured by very oblique references to it.
Whateverism is a word. Two Whatevers was acceptable. And there were not oblique references: I literally gave exactly what the two whatevers were! I have changed the wording just in case it trips up some one else though.
kroeajueluo wrote: Another example was the bonus that asked about the Communist Youth but didn't really differentiate between it and the Young Pioneers.
What? I don't even think that the Young Pioneers have national level leadership (or at least not one drawn from its own membership) and since its for like kids who aren't even 15, it's kind of hard to rise in the ranks through it. On the other, hand both Li Keqiang and Hu Jintao were both first secretaries of the Communist Youth League, which is a major faction in Chinese politics, unlike the Young Pioneers.
kroeajueluo wrote: Another example of funky bonus-prompts was the Turkish bonus asking for the Deep State as an "internet conspiracy theory", which is exceedingly confusing because the Deep State is actually real.
It never said it wasn't real, it said that it was often used as a scapegoat by conspiracy theorists who blame it for a lot of things.
kroeajueluo wrote: An example of an easy-easy-hard bonus was the bonus on the Sino-Japanese War. It awarded you 10 points for having heard of the First Sino-Japanese War before and then awarded 10 more points for naming an East Asian nation that wasn't China or Japan.
Many people have no idea about the details of the First-Sino Japanese War, but I have made that part less of easy part by removing the name of the Treaty of Shimonoseki.
kroeajueluo wrote:Specific tossup commentary. Absence of commentary on history/CE/geography tossups can probably be interpreted as me liking the tossup, since I really did enjoy the vast majority of history questions.
I'm glad you liked most of my questions then.
kroeajueluo wrote:R1: Sun Yatsen - Generally inaccurate and confusing. Supporters of Sun Yatsen didn't carry out the white wolf rebellion, they were bandit leaders who Sun Yatsen endorsed long after the conflict started. The Whampoa clue was confusing because Sun Yat-sen designed the Whampoa Military Academy, but Chiang Kai-shek was the one who ultimately opened and ran it.
The White Wolf Rebellion clue could definitely be tightened up. Sun Yat-Sen gave the inaugural address at the opening of the Whampoa Military Academy and was the leader of the KMT. Chiang Kai-Shek presided over most of its operations and was its first director, but its opening was definitely under Sun.
kroeajueluo wrote:R2: Gillard - I love this question because "murderous rage" is just a hilarious anecdote.
Gillard has some amazing quotations. :)
kroeajueluo wrote: Qin - Actually a really cool way of asking about the Qin besides the typical THIS DYNASTY DID BLAH BLAH BLAH. I approved of this toss-up a lot.
This was one of my favourite tossups because the first clue is basically an example of the classic bandwagoning (horizontal) vs. balancing (vertical) debate except in the Qin Dynasty.
kroeajueluo wrote: War - A cool common-link philosophy tossup, which is cool since they're usually done poorly.
Ike and Eric can tell you all about how I originally did this quite poorly.
kroeajueluo wrote: R6: Shakespeare - Exceedingly transparent. I picked this up on 0 real knowledge, because I have 0 knowledge about Shakespeare works.
You don't need any real knowledge about Shakespeare's works, just knowledge about what conspiracy theories have formed about him. Could you explain how this was transparent?
kroeajueluo wrote:R7: Austria-Hungary - First clue was very vague. Its troops went south and then went north. Cool tossup besides that though. Naturally, I converted it on the Tianjin clue.
It's a specific reference to the disastrous troop deployments of Conrad von Hotzendorf, Austro-Hungarian chief of staff during the Great War and the poor inter-ally communications between Germany and Austria-Hungary. German wanted Austria-Hungary to deploy most of its troops in Galicia to fight the Russians, but Conrad wanted to take out Serbia and wasn't too worried about Russian mobilization. So at the outbreak of war, he ordered the Austro-Hungarian reserves all south on a single rail line to the Serbian border. While they were in transit, Conrad learned of the Russian declarations of war on the Central Powers and tried to reverse this troop movement, but was told that there was no way to reverse the trains until the troops had reached the Serbian border because Austro-Hungarian infrastructure was that bad. So the Austro-Hungarian troops were forced to immediately take the long train trip to the Russian border after taking the long trip to the Serbian border, and this really messed up the Austro-Hungarian mobilization plans.
kroeajueluo wrote:R8: Truman - There was kind of a difficulty cliff between Truman Committee and Adlai Stevenson, but mostly good.
Truman Committee is really famous and gave Truman the clean reputation that earned him the VP nod. I don't think it's that egregious.
kroeajueluo wrote:Austrian ultimatum to Serbia - Pretty much the only "description acceptable" tossup in the entire set that I didn't think blew. Was pretty cool actually, and I understand why it was asked in this way.
This was my favourite question in the set. At our site it seemed to elicit some negs, so I wonder what people were buzzing in with. This is a thing that's taught in most high school that the First World War.
kroeajueluo wrote:Iwo Jima - A lot of trivial information that didn't really matter and a lot of vague stuff that could apply to a lot of pacific war battles. The first convertable clue is Tadamachi Kuribayashi, which is both well-out of power and actually pretty damn hard.
Baron Nishi is pretty famous and appeared in Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima. Holland "Howling Mad" Smith is probably the most famous (and controversial) Marine general in the war. The defense-in-depth strategy of Kuribayashi is also very famous, because it led to much higher US casualty rates.
kroeajueluo wrote: Easter Rising - Minor complaint, I think Roger Casement is an easier clue that Pearse/Connolly. I like this being tossed up though.
This might be true, but I don't think it's that important, since Pearse/Connolly were two of the ringleaders and have Irish names. I've switched the wording to Roger Casement appears just before Pearse/Connolly, though, instead of before the mention of German arms.
kroeajueluo wrote: Cixi - Just an annoying fact, still no proof that Cixi poisoned the Guangxu Emperor and it's a theory I lean strongly against.
It's not 100% proven, but it's generally accepted that Cixi did it.
kroeajueluo wrote: Firebombing of Tokyo - "The perpetrators of this event were ordered to carry out this event without defensive guns or ammunition." That is so damn vague, it's just a waste of a line.
It was admittedly hard to find clues that were't about types of incendiary bombs or flying tactics to put in power. However, this bombing raid notably ordered its bombers to use the space taken up by defensive guns/ammunition to store more incendiaries, since they new flying tactics were expected to help avoid Japanese AA tactics. It's not a perfect clue and requires a bit of lateral thinking, but it's more useful than most alternatives.
gamegeek2 wrote: R1:
-I think this Otto the Great question mentioned Eberhard of Franconia too early, but I think that may just be because I've heard that come up in several questions here. I don't know if other people know this clue as well, though.
Eric told me to put that clue where it was, but can others comment on this?
gamegeek2 wrote:R2:
-Are Timoleon of Corinth and the Battle of Himera really medium and hard parts? I'm pretty bad at Ancient Greece but I've usually at least heard of the medium part in these questions, and neither of these rings a bell.
Yes. Timoleon is pretty famous (he's in Plutarch's Parallel Lives alongside Lucius Aemilius Paullus).
gamegeek2 wrote: -Gravelotte is a massive difficulty cliff for Franco-Prussian war
Maybe I could've put the Battle of Mars-La-Tour between the Battles of Worth/Spichere and the Battle of Gravelotte to smooth the transition a bit.
gamegeek2 wrote: R9:
-I guess a lot of people did stuff in Utica, but I still think it's ill-advised to mention that city early on in a Scipio Africanus tossup
Many, many people did stuff in Utica, sometimes more notably (e.g. Julius Caesar). I don't think this is a huge issue.
Last edited by Masked Canadian History Bandit on Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:52 pm

I really like the idea of using legit military history clues on military history questions, but the problem is that these clues often aren't uniquely identifying (with some exceptions, like the very famous double envelopment at Cannae). Consider the following:
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:The defense-in-depth strategy of Kuribayashi is also very famous
Defense-in-depth was an important component of Japanese military strategy in the Pacific War in general, from my understanding.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Chimango Caracara » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:10 pm

Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:
Chimango Caracara wrote: The...Shakespeare authorship tossups seemed pretty transparent.
Can you expand on this?
Well, it's a debate that seems to hinge on reading texts and seems to concern somebody's identity. I didn't notice the honorificabilitudinitatibus clue when I played it though (maybe the moderator had trouble pronouncing it); that's a cool clue. But I still think it's transparent.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:11 pm

gamegeek2 wrote:I really like the idea of using legit military history clues on military history questions, but the problem is that these clues often aren't uniquely identifying (with some exceptions, like the very famous double envelopment at Cannae). Consider the following:
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:The defense-in-depth strategy of Kuribayashi is also very famous
Defense-in-depth was an important component of Japanese military strategy in the Pacific War in general, from my understanding.
No, Japanese attrition strategy of inflicting enough damage so that US morale fails isn't really a defense-in-depth. What happened on most islands was that the Japanese garrison would take a lot of damage actually contesting the landing, then make a loud, suicidal banzai charge on the first night that inevitably failed and left to few defenders to effectively resist for the rest of the battle. None of this happened at Iwo Jima (though I should've done a better job of differentiating it from Peleliu).

Besides Iwo Jima and the firebombing of Tokyo are there any other ambiguous military history clues in this set?
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Edmund » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:16 pm

I hate to write this after every tournament but - the Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz (GHK) equation is NOT a generalisation of the Nernst equation. Stop using this clue.

The Nernst equation is a quite general and powerful statement about the nature of electrochemical equilibria. The GHK equation is an approximate method for estimating the potential at a membrane, typically not at true equilibrium due to the presence of mass transport. Both equations are interesting and important but if anything, GHK is derived as a simplification or approximate use of the Nernst equation, rather than vice versa. I don't know how this non-fact crept into the collective consciousness of quizbowl science writers, but it's time it left.

In the same bonus set I thought the appearance of _cyclic voltammetry_ as an answer line was great.

I think that although other acids can be used to cleave t-Boc, trifluoroacetic is certainly the one most associated with it and the "standard" method as taught in class. I liked this clue and this tossup in general, in the sense that it rewarded knowing chemistry above knowing a set of facts in chemistry.

It may please those griping about the _Curzon_ tossup to know that this was powered on the first clue by my (British, Indian history expert) teammate. We appreciated it.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:36 pm

No, I don't recall other ambiguous military clues in the set. Using ambiguous clues is just a trend I've seen in various questions. For example, at MFT the second Punic War leadin had a vague description of Hannibal's tactics, I think, but it was kind of hard to buzz on. As much as I'm in favor of actual military history things being used, unless things are named (Pancho Villa's golpe terrifico) discussing specific tactics can be very difficult unless you name the specific troops involved, which can get rather boring in the context of modern battles (X corp moved to Y hill) and be rather vague in ancient ones, especially when people don't know what they're talking about. Trying things like this with bonuses would be an interesting idea, though; for example, it'd be cool to see defense in depth as a hard part.

Also, from my understanding, banzai charges were not used at Peleliu (as you mentioned) or Okinawa, and one was only made at the end of the battle at Tarawa.

EDIT: I just played the pike/caracole/Scotland bonus, which was exactly what I was talking about. Props for that.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by The Kirk Store Called » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:59 pm

Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote: The Thermopylae goatpath was my attempt to write on something that's very real and important, but which unfortunately is too similar to Thermopylae itself to play well, and the bloated answerline - which was very specific about what should have been prompted - seems to have confused readers at the MIT site. In future mirrors, this will be changed to a tossup on Thermopylae with some of the clues moved around.

Yeah, this is a thing that doesn't have a set name and was a "description acceptable" answer, so I tried to provide clear directions. In a hypothetical world where this question played well, it's not an absurd answerline. It didn't play well, so it will be changed for future mirrors.
That's good. It's still a really cool idea and a cool tossup, just the answer line was a little awkward.
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:Whateverism is a word. Two Whatevers was acceptable. And there were not oblique references: I literally gave exactly what the two whatevers were! I have changed the wording just in case it trips up some one else though.
Fair enough. I was probably just bitter for missing something I knew really well because I was stupid and sleepy.
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:It never said it wasn't real, it said that it was often used as a scapegoat by conspiracy theorists who blame it for a lot of things.
Fair enough. It's still a little confusing, though if you hear "sketchy-ass shit" and "turkish military", you could reasonably guess Deep State.
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:The White Wolf Rebellion clue could definitely be tightened up. Sun Yat-Sen gave the inaugural address at the opening of the Whampoa Military Academy and was the leader of the KMT. Chiang Kai-Shek presided over most of its operations and was its first director, but its opening was definitely under Sun.
White Wolf at least tells you what time period/country it is. The Whampoa clue is still something that would cause people to wait. I still don't think it's a very good clue.
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:You don't need any real knowledge about Shakespeare's works, just knowledge about what conspiracy theories have formed about him. Could you explain how this was transparent?
Hard to explain. I had vaguely heard of some dispute over Shakespeare identity dispute from high-school English and I just buzzed on lateral knowledge. In all fairness, I'm not sure if you can make it non-transparent, and it is a cool answer-line.
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:It's a specific reference to the disastrous troop deployments of Conrad von Hotzendorf, Austro-Hungarian chief of staff during the Great War and the poor inter-ally communications between Germany and Austria-Hungary. German wanted Austria-Hungary to deploy most of its troops in Galicia to fight the Russians, but Conrad wanted to take out Serbia and wasn't too worried about Russian mobilization. So at the outbreak of war, he ordered the Austro-Hungarian reserves all south on a single rail line to the Serbian border. While they were in transit, Conrad learned of the Russian declarations of war on the Central Powers and tried to reverse this troop movement, but was told that there was no way to reverse the trains until the troops had reached the Serbian border because Austro-Hungarian infrastructure was that bad. So the Austro-Hungarian troops were forced to immediately take the long train trip to the Russian border after taking the long trip to the Serbian border, and this really messed up the Austro-Hungarian mobilization plans.
That's actually pretty awesome and tossupable. The problem is that it's still kind of vague. I know one quizbowler who negged with Israel on that clue because it also sort of applies to Israel in the Yom Kippur War (which is their most recent real war).
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote: Truman Committee is really famous and gave Truman the clean reputation that earned him the VP nod. I don't think it's that egregious.
Fair enough, I stand corrected.
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:Baron Nishi is pretty famous and appeared in Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima. Holland "Howling Mad" Smith is probably the most famous (and controversial) Marine general in the war. The defense-in-depth strategy of Kuribayashi is also very famous, because it led to much higher US casualty rates.
Stand corrected again. I know who Baron Nishi is, but I didn't know he died at Iwo Jima. That's my failing.
Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote:This might be true, but I don't think it's that important, since Pearse/Connolly were two of the ringleaders and have Irish names. I've switched the wording to Roger Casement appears just before Pearse/Connolly, though, instead of before the mention of German arms.
Sounds solid.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:22 pm

Edmund wrote:I hate to write this after every tournament but - the Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz (GHK) equation is NOT a generalisation of the Nernst equation. Stop using this clue.

The Nernst equation is a quite general and powerful statement about the nature of electrochemical equilibria. The GHK equation is an approximate method for estimating the potential at a membrane, typically not at true equilibrium due to the presence of mass transport. Both equations are interesting and important but if anything, GHK is derived as a simplification or approximate use of the Nernst equation, rather than vice versa. I don't know how this non-fact crept into the collective consciousness of quizbowl science writers, but it's time it left.
Alright, so as an ex-neuroscientist I'll have this fight with you. We actually learned GHK as a generalization of Nernst applied to each ion and taking permeability into account. There's more than one textbook that calls it that. Also, GHK reduces to Nernst when you only have one ion and set the permeability to 1 - this is why it's called a generalization in many places. It has nothing to do with its derivation.
In the same bonus set I thought the appearance of _cyclic voltammetry_ as an answer line was great.

I think that although other acids can be used to cleave t-Boc, trifluoroacetic is certainly the one most associated with it and the "standard" method as taught in class. I liked this clue and this tossup in general, in the sense that it rewarded knowing chemistry above knowing a set of facts in chemistry.
I'm glad you enjoyed these.
It may please those griping about the _Curzon_ tossup to know that this was powered on the first clue by my (British, Indian history expert) teammate. We appreciated it.
This in fact pleases me greatly.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ike » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:27 pm

Warning this post is a little venty, but only if you're an idiot: There's a lot of really bad posts in this thread. As an example, if you're going to say that a tossup on the Shakespeare authorship question is transparent, say why. If you're going to say that a tossup on the KGB is non-transparent, say why. If you're going to say that a tossup is good because you knew an early clue, then Matt Jackson should really like that one round he got like 10 tossups, while Evan Adams should like significantly less than that.

Generally, when you are making these types of posts, there should be an overarching theme from which question writers can learn. Honestly, I was hoping Patrick Liao would gain some insight into why I didn't like some of his questions from this topic, but I actually feel bad for him now that he had to read through this nonsense. Granted, there are times when you want to dive into the specifics of the question: for example I have no problem with Edmund's post as he was talking about (what he perceived as) a factual error in the GHK equation. On the other hand, making a post that essentially says "I like this Gillard question because I know this trivia about this phrase she once used" and then following it up in the same post with a praise of the PRI question for non-trivia clues is incredibly contradictory and a waste of everyone's time. How on earth is one supposed to learn how to write good questions from that post?

For DRAGOON, what I'm going to have Billy do is make a "General Discussion," a "Question Specific Discussion" and a "Quizbowl Brat Playground" subforum. All posts where you talk about your feelings / how smart you are will go into that forum.

Oh, and
Deep Play - Should be at least prompted on Notes from a Balinese Cockfight. It's called that just as often as it's called Deep Play in the academic literature.
What on earth? It's called Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight. You don't deserve a prompt if you said that.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by The Kirk Store Called » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:41 pm

Ike wrote:What on earth? It's called Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight. You don't deserve a prompt if you said that.
It's often referred to in the academic literature SOLELY as Notes on the Balinese Cockfight. It's definitely promptable.

"Murderous Rage" was used a lot as a hit on Julia Gillard, so it's actually relevant. Being hilarious doesn't make it irrelevant trivia.

Most of my toss-ups I mentioned I approved of were toss-ups I wasn't even close to getting, like KGB, PRI, Qin, Carter-Reagan. I did disproportionately comment on tossups I got, but mostly to point out things I dislike about them, especially in cases where I felt I got them but didn't really deserve to get it. I did this because I don't feel comfortable pontificating on tossups about things I don't know particularly well, unlike a certain other poster here.

Edit: I just remembered how badly I failed on the Qin tossup, which was cool because it punished me for BS lateral thinking and bad play. So I did worse on the East Asian history than I had first thought.

Edit #2: Admittedly, some of the commentary on certain questions isn't particularly helpful, but I felt that it's good for writers to know that at least some people appreciated certain tossups, especially ones that have already been criticized (such as the Carter-Reagan debate or War or Austrian ultimatum).

I also think my commentary on the Sun Yatsen, Austria-Hungary, Heian Period, China (economic history), and what not were perfectly justified.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:45 pm

If you're going to say that a tossup is good because you knew an early clue, then Matt Jackson should really like that one round he got like 10 tossups, while Evan Adams should like significantly less than that.
The hell?
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Cody » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:11 am

Kirk: Ike is completely right about your posts, which are incredibly unhelpful. Nobody cares to see you masturbating over how awesome you are at East Asian history or your various other antics. Any sane person would be pretty upset at receiving such useless, contradictory, and flat-out wrong feedback.

Also, you claimed you said "Notes from a Balinese Cockfight". Once again, Ike is correct.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by The Kirk Store Called » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:20 am

Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:Kirk: Ike is completely right about your posts, which are incredibly unhelpful. Nobody cares to see you masturbating over how awesome you are at East Asian history or your various other antics. Any sane person would be pretty upset at receiving such useless, contradictory, and flat-out wrong feedback.

Also, you claimed you said "Notes from a Balinese Cockfight". Once again, Ike is correct.
I don't see why you're assuming those motives. It's simply not true. Most of the questions I complimented were questions I horribly failed at. I did not get most of the questions I mentioned. I did get most of the questions I had long criticisms about, but that's a side-effect of me being hesitant to criticize a question at length unless it's in a subject that I know well. Which I think everyone here does.

I also didn't buzz in on the Deep Play question. It was just a common complaint I saw.

Your point in asking for more in-depth commentary is taken and appreciated, but your petty attempts to ascribe false motives isn't.

Edit: Whoops. I meant to type Notes On The Balinese Cockfight. I just mistyped and then misread your post. That was a mistake. We probably weren't arguing about the same thing. Anyways, my point was that there was no instruction to prompt on Notes On The Balinese Cockfight, and I believe there should have been one.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by sbraunfeld » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:33 pm

I would have to see the question to be sure, but I believe the leadin to the "grammars" tossup applied equally to "pushdown automata", since they are equivalent to context-free grammars in expressive power.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Edmund » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:52 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:Alright, so as an ex-neuroscientist I'll have this fight with you. We actually learned GHK as a generalization of Nernst applied to each ion and taking permeability into account. There's more than one textbook that calls it that. Also, GHK reduces to Nernst when you only have one ion and set the permeability to 1 - this is why it's called a generalization in many places. It has nothing to do with its derivation.
I will bring my ex-physical chemist hat to this fight. Let me set out my opinion on this matter. Apologies to everyone besides Eric for the length of this post.

My concern with the term "generalisation" is that it implies the GHK somehow is more complete, or goes deeper, than Nernst. Like we could say that general relativity is a "generalisation" of Newtonian mechanics or that Planck's law is a "generalisation" of the Rayleigh-Jeans law in the sense that the simpler concepts in these cases are not universally applicable, but are contained as special cases applying in simpler situations (certain limits of the constituent physical quantities) of the more general physical laws. As I will show, this is not at all the way that Nernst and GHK relate.

Our first issue is that what constitutes the Nernst equation is not all that well defined, and the term is used more widely in academic electrochemistry than the practical expression taught in school. In its most general form, the Nernst equation states that:

"If two states of an electrochemical system are at equilibrium, the difference in the total electrochemical potential of the system between the two states is zero. The electrochemical potential of the system is the sum of the electrochemical potential of its components; for each component this potential is the sum of an electrical term given as the multiple of electrical potential (in volts) by the component charge (in C/mol) and a chemical term given by the chemical potential (in J/mol)."

or for components i and states 1 and 2, at equilibrium:

sum_i U(z_i,c_{i,1},phi_1) = sum_i U(z_i,c_{i,2},phi_2)

where U() are the mathematical expressions for electrochemical potential given above.

This general statement can be applied to any arbitrary electrochemical system. The most common one, as we learn in school, is the electrode-electrolyte interface. At zero current (equilibrium / equal and opposite rates of both directions of the redox reaction), the potential difference across this interface is given as:

E = E0 + RT/F ln Q

which is the Nernst equation for this system. Note that the chemical potential of a component can be written generally as u_i = u_{i,0} + RT/F ln a_i where u_i is the potential of i, a_i is the activity of i, and u_{i,0} is the chemical potential of i at unit activity (standard state).

But here's another electrochemical system: I choose to state that two points in solution are at equilibrium, and at one point we have a concentration c_1 of an ion with charge +1 at electrical potential phi_1, and c_2, phi_2 at the other, then:

delta phi = RT/F ln (c_2/c_1)

which is the Nernst equation for this system (taking concentration and activity as interchangeable, as at infinite dilution).

The GHK equation describes a specific electrochemical system: the voltage at a permeable membrane. It does not describe an equilibrium condition because it assumes a net flux for each constituent ion. We must assume that the concentration either side of the membrane is instantaneously replenished or exhausted to bulk, because otherwise this flux would change the concentrations at the membrane surfaces - this is not a steady state. Note that as the flux is taken to zero in the GHK equation, so it goes over to the Nernst equation (this is clearest by taking the limit jA -> 0 in the expression for jA as a function of mu given in the Wikipedia derivation). Obviously this is the case because any electrochemical system will obey the Nernst equation at equilibrium - but this is not the transition from the general case of an equation to a special case. Rather it is the transition of our description of the membrane to a regime where the Nernst equation holds, from one where it does not.

There is no "special case" of the GHK equation that can be used to describe the potential difference for electrolysis at the electrode-electrolyte interface, which is the most familiar (high school) form of the Nernst equation. There is no "special case" of the GHK equation to describe a Donnan potential at a partially permeable membrane, whereas the incorporation of the different chemical potentials of a component in two phases into the functions U() above will yield a valid Nernst equation incorporating a partition coefficient. Therefore GHK is not a generalisation of the Nernst equation and the Nernst equation is not a special case of the GHK equation.

This is a scientifically motivated argument due to the years I spent writing professionally about charge transfer in solutions. I want quizbowl to get this right. But if you want a much shorter, non-scientific argument, I would note that "biological application of the Nernst equation" is a prevalent topic on the popular Internet; nobody writes about the "application of the Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz equation to electrolysis", or whatever.

edit: two typos, despite proof-reading
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Cody » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:12 pm

Edmund wrote:My concern with the term "generalisation" is that it implies the GHK somehow is more complete, or goes deeper, than Nernst.
Quizbowl isn't about sussing out minute nuances in wording where both choices are correct and don't confuse anyone. There are sources that refer to GHK as a generalization of Nernst and "generalization" is often used colloquially in a freer manner. Even were this not the case, it was a bonus lead-in at this tournament - I realize you're trying to instruct all of quizbowl here, but seriously dude.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:25 pm

sbraunfeld wrote:I would have to see the question to be sure, but I believe the leadin to the "grammars" tossup applied equally to "pushdown automata", since they are equivalent to context-free grammars in expressive power.
Penn Bowl wrote:The “proper” distinction can be applied to one type of these systems if it has no cycles or epsilon productions, in addition to two other requirements;


I've never heard of a "proper" pushdown automaton and I don't think that this clue makes sense for a pushdown automaton but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Edmund » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:39 pm

Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:
Edmund wrote:My concern with the term "generalisation" is that it implies the GHK somehow is more complete, or goes deeper, than Nernst.
Quizbowl isn't about sussing out minute nuances in wording where both choices are correct and don't confuse anyone. There are sources that refer to GHK as a generalization of Nernst and "generalization" is often used colloquially in a freer manner. Even were this not the case, it was a bonus lead-in at this tournament - I realize you're trying to instruct all of quizbowl here, but seriously dude.
First, I totally accept that this issue is pretty ephemeral to Penn Bowl 2013 so if there is a better place for this argument I will have it there.

I cite it because it's a repeated mistake I have noticed several times now, and I hope that if point out this specific mistake out enough times, writers will stop making it.

I hope I am clear that it is not a case of two choices which are correct. If there are texts that say "GHK is a generalisation of the Nernst equation", they are wrong, for the short and simple reason that the Nernst equation applies in many cases where the GHK equation does not. The specific intention of this lead-in is to invite the quizbowler to know this 'fact' ("Nernst = special case of GHK") and give a right answer in response; we should not reward incorrect knowledge, however pervasive. I don't demand exact scientific precision of language in every question - I realise this is unwieldy - but this statement is just valueless as a clue for _Nernst equation_.

I hope that an error being common knowledge does not justify its place in a question. Writers may know better than to clue Christopher Columbus with "this man's voyages proved the Earth is not flat", but may not avoid similar errors when they're writing science questions at an advanced level and outside their own fields. I expect I am one of very few people on these forums with an extensive academic background in the science of potential differences at membranes, so if I spot an error on the topic, I'll raise it.

If the error did not impact on the playability of the question in this case, because much easier clues came in the bonus part itself, all the better. But I still wish to point the error out - and explain my reasoning where required - because today's lead-ins are tomorrow's clues, and one less error in a tournament is a tournament that is one iota better.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by sbraunfeld » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:32 pm

Ras superfamily wrote:
sbraunfeld wrote:I would have to see the question to be sure, but I believe the leadin to the "grammars" tossup applied equally to "pushdown automata", since they are equivalent to context-free grammars in expressive power.
Penn Bowl wrote:The “proper” distinction can be applied to one type of these systems if it has no cycles or epsilon productions, in addition to two other requirements;


I've never heard of a "proper" pushdown automaton and I don't think that this clue makes sense for a pushdown automaton but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong
I guess it was the next line, which I recall being something like "a canonical one of these describes the language of matching parentheses". This would apply to pushdown automata for the reason mentioned before, although I may be missing some distinguishing detail from the clue.

Also, I haven't heard of proper pushdown automata either, but cycles and epsilon transitions certainly are certainly things a pushdown automaton can have.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ike » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:49 am

Ras superfamily wrote:
sbraunfeld wrote:I would have to see the question to be sure, but I believe the leadin to the "grammars" tossup applied equally to "pushdown automata", since they are equivalent to context-free grammars in expressive power.
Penn Bowl wrote:The “proper” distinction can be applied to one type of these systems if it has no cycles or epsilon productions, in addition to two other requirements;


I've never heard of a "proper" pushdown automaton and I don't think that this clue makes sense for a pushdown automaton but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong
I'll tackle the above posts in a second, but I'm going to take issue with Saajid's response.

I, too, have never heard of a proper pushdown automaton, but that doesn't mean one doesn't exist. I think this is an instance where a writer has to be aware that a player can't have complete knowledge of everything, i.e. - no one in quizbowl knows every single type of pushdown automata. Quizbowl should be about rewarding positive knowledge (e.g. - I know some of the properties of a PDA are) as opposed to negative knowledge (e.g. - I know that there are four (or however many) and only four types of PDA's) - expecting a player to know the second type of facts is unrealistic. The most common thing that players who have knowledge of the subject and can parse your wording are going to do is assume that proper pushdown automata refers to most normal automata, much like how a "proper function" probably would refer to most mathematical functions, outside of something whacky like the Delta Function.

Also, How are we supposed to know that you want a "proper" distinction instead of "proper distinction?" There's no way that we, as players, can infer that you are talking about "proper" types of grammars, since we don't hear the quotes. Furthermore, the actual clues themselves are vague and ambiguous at best. I would not be able to parse what you mean by "has no cycles or epsilon productions, in addition to two other requirements;" the phrasing is so awkward. Also, doesn't this also apply to context-sensitive grammars, because you can't produce the empty string (epsilon) nor can context-sensitive grammars produce the same output repeatedly? Even if hypertechnically one of the properties doesn't apply to CSG's, you can't expect players to parse through those clues and somehow infer what the "two other properties" are to really understand what is going on in the question.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ike » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:10 am

I would call this, The Decameron, and The Arabian Nights short story collections because, even though they have frame stories, they are primarily made up of lots of separate stories.
When I was reading through most of the categories in the week before the tournament, I found a recurring problem of writers using wonky pronouns for whatever reason. The tossup on Circe before I commented on it, used the phrase "this goddess" through out the entire tossup, which is not cool, especially for the lower level teams.

In this case here, you are just being misleading. I took an entire class on The Canterbury Tales and it most certainly isn't a short story collection. The concept of a short story did not even begin to take form until the 18th century, along with the rise of the novel. Furthermore, more than 1/3 of the text of the Canterbury Tales is about the pilgrim's lives and beliefs, only 2/3 of the text is actually about what you are calling "stories," it is not a short story collection even by modern standards. Furthermore, the entire thing is written in verse, what other short story collection is written in - or let alone, verse?. Less-misleading pronouns to use include "This book," "This collection," "This work," or even "This tome" if you're feeling playful, so that anyone who knows about the Canterbury Tales is not even remotely confused.

~Corollary: Pronouns should never be used to mislead the player. It is defensible to conceal transparent information using a phrasing like "this figure" if you're writing on Empress Wu or w/e to hide the fact the answer is referring to a she. The problem arises when your pronoun is not correct, and you're expecting someone to just know the content of your sentences and not use the pronoun to infer the answer. Saying "In one part of this short story collection, Theseus does some heinous shit" is dumb if you're referring to The Knight's Tale, because astute quizbowlers will use both the content of your sentence and the pronoun to correctly arrive at the answer.
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Re: Question Specific Discussion

Post by Ras superfamily » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:17 am

Ike wrote:
Ras superfamily wrote:
sbraunfeld wrote:I would have to see the question to be sure, but I believe the leadin to the "grammars" tossup applied equally to "pushdown automata", since they are equivalent to context-free grammars in expressive power.
Penn Bowl wrote:The “proper” distinction can be applied to one type of these systems if it has no cycles or epsilon productions, in addition to two other requirements;


I've never heard of a "proper" pushdown automaton and I don't think that this clue makes sense for a pushdown automaton but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong
Quizbowl should be about rewarding positive knowledge (e.g. - I know some of the properties of a PDA are) as opposed to negative knowledge (e.g. - I know that there are four (or however many) and only four types of PDA's) - expecting a player to know the second type of facts is unrealistic. The most common thing that players who have knowledge of the subject and can parse your wording are going to do is assume that proper pushdown automata refers to most normal automata, much like how a "proper function" probably would refer to most mathematical functions, outside of something whacky like the Delta Function.

Also, How are we supposed to know that you want a "proper" distinction instead of "proper distinction?" There's no way that we, as players, can infer that you are talking about "proper" types of grammars, since we don't hear the quotes. Furthermore, the actual clues themselves are vague and ambiguous at best. I would not be able to parse what you mean by "has no cycles or epsilon productions, in addition to two other requirements;" the phrasing is so awkward. Also, doesn't this also apply to context-sensitive grammars, because you can't produce the empty string (epsilon) nor can context-sensitive grammars produce the same output repeatedly? Even if hypertechnically one of the properties doesn't apply to CSG's, you can't expect players to parse through those clues and somehow infer what the "two other properties" are to really understand what is going on in the question.
I'm sorry my semantics weren't perfect. I should have said, "I've never heard of a "proper" pushdown automaton despite looking for such a thing to make sure that my clue is not mistakenly pointing to two answers." By the way, context-free grammars with no epsilon productions are a subset context sensitive grammars, but that's not really misleading since you could still buzz and say grammar. Also, a cycle is a series of values that, when passed into the production rules of a grammar, get you back to one of the already seen arguments to the production rules of that grammar, not a production that pumps a string. However, if the wording is too ambiguous to be parseable then perhaps there is an issue here.
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