Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Mon May 26, 2014 3:39 pm

Yeah there's not a lot left to say about this except it's a HUGE disappointment. Will: you have good ideas and you obviously care about being a productive member of the quizbowl community, so you shouldn't be making unforced errors like this and then profusely and presumably ingenuously apologizing for them. Modern World is a sound concept and you know how to write good, substantive quizbowl questions on interesting subjects. So do that. And don't repeatedly, aggressively, and intentionally piss off the audience or let your editing team do so.

As for the content of this, it's heartening to me that the editorial board of the Dartmouth Review is still gathering late at night to jerk each other off over the same stale grievances as though it's 1981. Now that I'm semi-professionally-involved in liberal politics and policy it's nice to have such good intelligence about the enemy's profound weakness, plus some surprisingly good info about assorted gay internet subcultures for a tournament with a point of view so overtly homophobic and hostile to the whole idea of equal rights.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon May 26, 2014 4:07 pm

I've occasionally complained about writers like Chris Borglum who put left-leaning political commentary/snide remarks into current events or history questions they write, but this was certainly worse than anything Borglum has ever done. I'll note that I did hear some equally offensive/ignorant things being said during this tournament by liberals reacting to the set (including one moderator who openly questioned why an asian would ever be conservative), and there was one room where a Gideon Bible was being used as a doorstop which deeply offended one of my religious teammates. But the blame is really on the question author for needlessly making the tournament into a toxic partisan environment.

Suffice it to say, when I coined the term "modern world" this is not what I had in mind. Even the questions that were not about Japanese gay subcultures or anime struck me as not as interesting as they could have been. There was a lot of "in this country's 1997 elections, this happened, and then in the 2003 elections, this other thing happened" tossups and bonus difficult variability was pretty extreme. A lot of hard parts were hard due to lack of clues, which I'm personally not a fan of. It almost makes me want to volunteer to write for the next iteration of this to show that it can be better done.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Sam » Mon May 26, 2014 4:39 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I've occasionally complained about writers like Chris Borglum who put left-leaning political commentary/snide remarks into current events or history questions they write, but this was certainly worse than anything Borglum has ever done.
Suffice it to say, when I coined the term "modern world" this is not what I had in mind. Even the questions that were not about Japanese gay subcultures or anime struck me as not as interesting as they could have been. There was a lot of "in this country's 1997 elections, this happened, and then in the 2003 elections, this other thing happened" tossups and bonus difficult variability was pretty extreme. A lot of hard parts were hard due to lack of clues, which I'm personally not a fan of. It almost makes me want to volunteer to write for the next iteration of this to show that it can be better done.
I think the main problem with this set was the second thing Bruce discusses, namely, the content. Snide remarks are to some degree in the eye of the beholder, and there were some questions that included conservative commentary but also interesting clues on important topics. However, far too many of the topics were the types of things that are only ever discussed in forwarded emails, and there was at least one bonus I saw a team bungle because they mistook for a normal quiz bowl bonus rather than a wry commentary on the hypocrisy of the American Left. This is of course not even considering the popular culture part of the set, which even as a vanity project was pushing the limits of appropriateness and certainly did not live up to goal of "looking at broad cultural impacts of particular works, groups, genres, or institutions." Bruce's characterization of the set as creating a "toxic partisan environment" is to some degree misleading because partisanship can co-exist with substantial content, and just far too much of the set was insubstantial.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by grapesmoker » Mon May 26, 2014 6:15 pm

Lots of the obvious ground has already been covered, but I guess I'll add my two cents to say that I was pretty disappointed and annoyed with this "tournament." Let me hit the most prominent stupidity first: having 1/3 of every bonus leading reduced to "lol obama" is neither cute nor clever. It's just dumb. Yeah, quizbowl (like college campuses in general) certainly skews liberal, and yeah, I knew some of the questions were going to cover conservative topics; I assumed that would mean answering questions on things like the history, philosophy, and impact of the conservative movement. I certainly didn't think it was going to be "hurf durf liberals hurrrrrrr" all day long. I don't mind a joking aside or two, but I don't appreciate being preached to at a tournament.

Secondly, and possibly more egregiously, a lot of the questions in this set just straight up sucked. The answer space was cramped and uncreative. The clues were often very useless and full of alphabet-soup abbreviations. Bonuses veered between trivial (that bonus on The Simpsons) and near-impossible (identifying specific obscure Japanese corporations). I confess that I don't know all that much about East Asian politics, so I expected to have a huge blind spot there, but much of the other content was written badly as well. I understand that Will and Nick wrote about 1/3 of the set, which roughly corresponds to my memory of how often I heard a question that didn't make my eyes roll, and there were some decent ones here and there, but nowhere near enough to make up for the hot garbage that about half of this set was. I like the idea of a tournament on modern stuff but if I'd known it was going to be this bad, I'd honestly have just left after the NSC wound up and could have been home last night.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Mon May 26, 2014 9:41 pm

Since I assume stats will never be posted, the Nutter/Coates/Nediger/Puma team is claiming victory.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon May 26, 2014 10:21 pm

Stats will be posted as soon as I have all the files in my possession. Thanks to everybody who helped staff this event.

I have heard from multiple sources that Blake, Bruce Arthur's non-quizbowl playing friend, was threatened during the first round by a member of Matt Weiner's team after that player gave a wrong answer that was not accepted. This is completely unnacceptable and I don't know why people were doing this, especially as (to my understanding) nobody was drunk at the time or otherwise mentally incapacitated. Peoples' first impression of quizbowl should not be violence on account of an incorrect answer not being accepted.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Mon May 26, 2014 11:49 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Stats will be posted as soon as I have all the files in my possession. Thanks to everybody who helped staff this event.

I have heard from multiple sources that Blake, Bruce Arthur's non-quizbowl playing friend, was threatened during the first round by a member of Matt Weiner's team after that player gave a wrong answer that was not accepted. This is completely unnacceptable and I don't know why people were doing this, especially as (to my understanding) nobody was drunk at the time or otherwise mentally incapacitated. Peoples' first impression of quizbowl should not be violence on account of an incorrect answer not being accepted.
Nor should people's first impression include indulgent tossups on Japanese fetish culture of questionable quality.

EDIT: Also, get your story straight before you accuse people of offending the delicate sensibilities of rude asshats.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Ike » Tue May 27, 2014 1:12 am

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Stats will be posted as soon as I have all the files in my possession. Thanks to everybody who helped staff this event.

I have heard from multiple sources that Blake, Bruce Arthur's non-quizbowl playing friend, was threatened during the first round by a member of Matt Weiner's team after that player gave a wrong answer that was not accepted. This is completely unnacceptable and I don't know why people were doing this, especially as (to my understanding) nobody was drunk at the time or otherwise mentally incapacitated. Peoples' first impression of quizbowl should not be violence on account of an incorrect answer not being accepted.
I don't know if this happened, or whatever, but I have no idea why you are bringing that up here - I mean, yeah that's unfortunate, but quizbowl has always featured acts of rage and that really shouldn't be discussed about here.

And speaking of inappropriate behavior - for God's sake Will and Nick, I'm looking at a question that is totally inappropriate for high school and inappropriate for many collegiate tournaments. I would be very uncomfortable reading this question at any tournament run on the Illinois campus, because I would hate having to explain why I'm reading a question on REDACTED to the powers that be. I can't fathom why, you ~Nick and Will~ are so dense, as to not post a disclaimer, or bar high schoolers altogether from playing this event since there was some totally inappropriate material in the question set.

I have only seen select portion of the sets, but a lot of is stupid. There's no way anyone in quizbowl would want to hear questions on some topics, and I can't understand why Nick and Will failed to see that. On the other hand though, there were some questions which I saw, that were entertaining for me to read and I would actually want to play them, but again, consider your audience - most of the people playing the set would not have wanted to play questions on said topics. Can you not see that the tossup on REDACTED2 is actually a semi-decent question only for a certain type of audience? I hope that in the future if you guys work on a set together, you consider your audience, or bring in someone early in the project just to sanity check you are producing a set that people actually want to play.

I don't know what your sway over Kirk Jing was, but obviously you guys put too much faith in him. If he really was responsible for all the cringe worthy material then it's your goal to excise that material from the set - even if you only had 3-4 packets of usable stuff. I don't understand why you guys couldn't do that, or realize early enough that this set was going to be BAD and cancel the event.

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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue May 27, 2014 1:33 am

While I will concede that this tournament was probably not an optimal introduction to quizbowl for the average person (and it wasn't for anybody else, thank goodness), it happened to be about the sort of material that Blake happened to be interested in, and he seems to have been one of the few people who actually enjoyed the question content, so this shouldn't be of particular concern in this one circumstance.

Unless the multiple people who were in that room at the time are all lying to me, I'm curious as to how I've gotten the story wrong. Furthermore, I am surprised that talk of fighting, which could possibly be interpreted as a threat, is considered "offending delicate sensibilities."
Ike wrote:I don't know if this happened, or whatever, but I have no idea why you are bringing that up here - I mean, yeah that's unfortunate, but quizbowl has always featured acts of rage and that really shouldn't be discussed about here.
I really don't see why this shouldn't be discussed. This is not acceptable behavior! If we are going to have high standards for quizbowl questions, we should have high standards about the behavior of tournament participants as well. I get that this was a side event and held rather informally, and that people didn't enjoy participating in it for the most part, but there are still lines we shouldn't be crossing. I won't name names, but I know multiple people at Dartmouth who have been turned off from quizbowl by the behavior of quizbowl players of varying prominence at normal tournaments that people didn't near-universally condemn, so I have some heart in this issue and would rather that this happen a lot less in the future (by no means am I absolving myself of engaging in such behavior in the past, either - I've acted terribly to my teammates and opponents at a number of tournaments in the past and am deeply regretful of it). If this is simply not the appropriate subforum for the discussion of this issue, then I'll shut up, but I personally thought it was worth pointing out that people really shouldn't be doing this/letting it slide.

I accept the fact that I have made some mistaken judgment calls and apologize for wasting people's time, or getting them to play a tournament that they did not want to play. I would appreciate private feedback about what questions people found entertaining and interesting, so I could see what I can learn from and emulate questions like that in the future, because I definitely want to be able to write good "modern world" questions that are enjoyable to play on. If people who haven't seen the set are interested in playing a sort-of compilation of "greatest hits/non-duds" compilation of questions from this tournament, I wouldn't mind assembling those, if I could get some more feedback as to what those questions are since, from my discussions with people, I know that a number of them were actually things Kirk wrote.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Cody » Tue May 27, 2014 4:17 am

Will,

For one, you shouldn't speak of incidents you clearly don't have the full information about. To pretend you have to be mentally incapacitated to "threaten violence" - what are YOU on? Having heard a first-hand account of the incident in question (hopefully the central protagonist will come around to smack you down), you're failing to consider the rather important fact that the ````threat```` (I use the term with extreme prejudice) was justified by Bruce's friend's behavior! Whacky idea, I know. You are really overblowing this incident beyond all proportion

For two, as far as I know, Bruce's friend is not a college student. Judging by the questions he was getting, he's a pretty poor candidate for, you know, actually playing (open) quizbowl tournaments in the future in any scenario. This fauxrage over an inconsequential person's "first quizbowl experience" - as if we could retain him - is extremely amusing, but it's not convincing.

Lastly, the real problem was this fuckwad of a tournament, not any "threats of violence". This piece of utter crap would drive away way more people than this "incident" ever could. Let's not Hines it up here.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Gautam » Tue May 27, 2014 4:41 am

I saw the event transpire, and thought it was just an amusing example of quizbowl spite. At no point did it seem like violence was imminent or whatever. As I recall, at least 5 of the 9 people in the room had a generally cheerful demeanor within 5 seconds of the exchange, notwithstanding the grievances of the set that people have already described at length.

I was really disappointed to not hear a tossup on Martin Solveig's Big in Japan.

^^is joke.

EDIT: formatting.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Mnemosyne » Tue May 27, 2014 7:52 am

This has quickly become the most anticipated set of the year. Will it ever be posted? (I'm not old enough to gamble yet, but I'm willing to risk my innocence on this set)
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue May 27, 2014 9:02 am

Cody wrote:was justified by Bruce's friend's behavior! Whacky idea, I know. You are really overblowing this incident beyond all proportion
I am relaying the impressions that I got from the people who I know were present in the room, who were also able to give first-hand accounts of what transpired. Evidently they seemed to think differently of what happened, and the difference between the impressions of those in the quizbowl "in-crowd" and those who aren't seem substantial. And in no way do I think you have to be mentally incapacitated to threaten violence or anything of the sort.

I'll put the issue aside and encourage others to do this same - carry on with the excoriations as planned.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Chimango Caracara » Tue May 27, 2014 9:44 am

Ike wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Stats will be posted as soon as I have all the files in my possession. Thanks to everybody who helped staff this event.

I have heard from multiple sources that Blake, Bruce Arthur's non-quizbowl playing friend, was threatened during the first round by a member of Matt Weiner's team after that player gave a wrong answer that was not accepted. This is completely unnacceptable and I don't know why people were doing this, especially as (to my understanding) nobody was drunk at the time or otherwise mentally incapacitated. Peoples' first impression of quizbowl should not be violence on account of an incorrect answer not being accepted.
I don't know if this happened, or whatever, but I have no idea why you are bringing that up here - I mean, yeah that's unfortunate, but quizbowl has always featured acts of rage and that really shouldn't be discussed about here.

And speaking of inappropriate behavior - for God's sake Will and Nick, I'm looking at a question that is totally inappropriate for high school and inappropriate for many collegiate tournaments. I would be very uncomfortable reading this question at any tournament run on the Illinois campus, because I would hate having to explain why I'm reading a question on REDACTED to the powers that be. I can't fathom why, you ~Nick and Will~ are so dense, as to not post a disclaimer, or bar high schoolers altogether from playing this event since there was some totally inappropriate material in the question set.

I have only seen select portion of the sets, but a lot of is stupid. There's no way anyone in quizbowl would want to hear questions on some topics, and I can't understand why Nick and Will failed to see that. On the other hand though, there were some questions which I saw, that were entertaining for me to read and I would actually want to play them, but again, consider your audience - most of the people playing the set would not have wanted to play questions on said topics. Can you not see that the tossup on REDACTED2 is actually a semi-decent question only for a certain type of audience? I hope that in the future if you guys work on a set together, you consider your audience, or bring in someone early in the project just to sanity check you are producing a set that people actually want to play.

I don't know what your sway over Kirk Jing was, but obviously you guys put too much faith in him. If he really was responsible for all the cringe worthy material then it's your goal to excise that material from the set - even if you only had 3-4 packets of usable stuff. I don't understand why you guys couldn't do that, or realize early enough that this set was going to be BAD and cancel the event.

Ike
I will note that many of the edits and suggestions that I made were subsequently deleted or ignored.

If I'm correct about the first question you're referring to, when it was first read to me I thought it was kind of a cheesy answerline, but one that was actually an important, influential trend in the kind of anime-influenced fan culture that has become fairly pervasive on the internet. Issues of appropriateness didn't really cross my mind. My impression of this tournament was that it was targeted to college-age or older staffers, and I don't think that even high schoolers playing it would encounter anything that they haven't already (except perhaps irritating reactionary rhetoric). I guess in hindsight, that's not really my call to make in the latter case, so I'm sorry for not being more conscious of that kind of problem.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue May 27, 2014 10:19 am

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Cody wrote:was justified by Bruce's friend's behavior! Whacky idea, I know. You are really overblowing this incident beyond all proportion
I am relaying the impressions that I got from the people who I know were present in the room, who were also able to give first-hand accounts of what transpired. Evidently they seemed to think differently of what happened, and the difference between the impressions of those in the quizbowl "in-crowd" and those who aren't seem substantial. And in no way do I think you have to be mentally incapacitated to threaten violence or anything of the sort.

I'll put the issue aside and encourage others to do this same - carry on with the excoriations as planned.
If the version I heard is at all accurate, perhaps Bruce's friend should learn the value of not calling others "bitch(es)." If he can't learn that, then maybe he can learn that calling someone a "bitch" could very easily lead to a response along the lines of "if you call me another name, I'll punch you."

I respect Sorice. I can't say I know him terribly well, but from my limited interactions, he isn't the kind of person that just randomly points at people and threatens them with violence.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue May 27, 2014 10:50 am

I actually enjoyed this tournament (including, to no one's surprise, some nonzero percentage of the East Asian content and that random bonus on iPS cells) but largely because of the experience and not the actual set. Any tournament in which Marshall Steinbaum, Matt Bollinger, Sam Bailey, and I can laugh together while partly inebriated will have something going for it. So, if nothing else, thanks to Will Alston for letting me and some friends have a few laughs.

Everyone has particular aspects of the distribution, whether it be trash or academic, that they feel is neglected, often because it's "their" little corner of the answerspace and they know a lot about it. For Kirk, I'm not surprised that this includes anime, conservatism, and various aspects of internet culture that Matt Weiner hates (these things aren't mutually exclusive from one another). But the degree to which this tournament bludgeoned the audience with questions in those wheelhouses and indulged in ideological axe-grinding was uncomfortable, childish, unfunny, and outright exemplary of some deeper pathological need to troll people. Even noted quizbowl conservatives like Bruce Arthur and Chris Chiego have mentioned the degree to which the snide remarks in the questions was just outright ridiculous. Let's not forget the bonus part on diversity that essentially said "Robert Putnam studied this thing and found its bad, but those coastal lie-berals think it's great. Screw those guys lolololo" with no other clues, or the bonus where Obama was an answer twice, or the number of times "Japan" came up as an answerline, the weird bonus prompting instructions throughout the set, or the explicit and unnecessary anti-feminist remarks made in the bonus on that Australian family leave thing, etc, etc, etc.

I think this tournament should really call for some self-reflection on the part of the authors. It's worth asking why Dartmouth QB, and Kirk in particular, have this deeply ingrained need to completely ignore what few social cues there are in quizbowl, from leaving ACF nationals early to filling CRR with completely unanswerable bullshit in the science distribution to having the almost sociopathic compulsion to ram your particular [unpopular and poorly-informed] political ideology down the throats of your audience in a way calculated to make them hate you. I'm honestly curious what Kirk hoped to accomplish with this set; what do you get out of using all of that time to intentionally write a set that's terrible in that particular way, when you're clearly capable of doing better?

Also,
If the version I heard is at all accurate, perhaps Bruce's friend should learn the value of not calling others "bitch(es)." If he can't learn that, then maybe he can learn that calling someone a "bitch" could very easily lead to a response along the lines of "if you call me another name, I'll punch you."

I respect Sorice. I can't say I know him terribly well, but from my limited interactions, he isn't the kind of person that just randomly points at people and threatens them with violence.
I agree with this 100%. Bruce's friend sounds pretty terrible and in the wrong to me.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Cheynem » Tue May 27, 2014 11:33 am

Was it intentional that almost (all?) of the 1/1 tiebreakers were on Republican politicians?
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Gautam » Tue May 27, 2014 11:51 am

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:to filling CRR with completely unanswerable bullshit in the science distribution
I hate to derail this thread with non modern-world chatter, but can we leave this out, please? It is not like the other social cues you mention.It was Nick's first time writing for a hard tournament and he did an admirable job. He listened to and incorporated feedback, and defended his decisions well in private conversations. I made a whole bunch of stupid mistakes during not only my first hard tournament, MO '08, but also CO '09 ...

It's hard enough to write for topics like bio, chem [and music] these days because it seems like every single damn question has to pass the "Eric's line-by-line critique of every single science question in the set" [or "the music mafia's desire for evocative tossups"] or whatever, rather than being a serviceable tossup executed to the best of the writer/editor's ability.

I also remember very well the last time someone working on the science was asked to take some time to introspect or whatever:
Also, I was logged on to the IRC chat room for a little bit the night after this tournament, and evidently there was some consensus that I should keep away from editing science for a while. As it happens, I will be working on MUT 2013 and probably not much after that. So, the first comment doesn't really help me much. If anyone who shared that sentiment would care to let me know what I should work on between now and MUT, I'd appreciate it (I'm getting this from Eric in the other thread, but if anyone else wants to chime in that'd be great too).
It's not pretty, and it discourages hard-working, well-meaning, genuinely interested science writers away from the game. And it's quite clear to me that there aren't that many of those to go around.
I actually enjoyed this tournament (including, to no one's surprise, some nonzero percentage of the East Asian content and that random bonus on iPS cells) but largely because of the experience and not the actual set. Any tournament in which Marshall Steinbaum, Matt Bollinger, Sam Bailey, and I can laugh together while partly inebriated will have something going for it. So, if nothing else, thanks to Will Alston for letting me and some friends have a few laughs.
This other part though, I agree with; minus the East Asia, plus the random questions which had clues right up my alley. There were some which I thought were weirdly executed, but I'll refrain from commenting until I can read through them.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by theMoMA » Tue May 27, 2014 12:23 pm

Board administration popping in to remind everyone to try to keep this discussion productive.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Ike » Tue May 27, 2014 1:50 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:I actually enjoyed this tournament (including, to no one's surprise, some nonzero percentage of the East Asian content and that random bonus on iPS cells) but largely because of the experience and not the actual set. Any tournament in which Marshall Steinbaum, Matt Bollinger, Sam Bailey, and I can laugh together while partly inebriated will have something going for it. So, if nothing else, thanks to Will Alston for letting me and some friends have a few laughs.

Everyone has particular aspects of the distribution, whether it be trash or academic, that they feel is neglected, often because it's "their" little corner of the answerspace and they know a lot about it. For Kirk, I'm not surprised that this includes anime, conservatism, and various aspects of internet culture that Matt Weiner hates (these things aren't mutually exclusive from one another). But the degree to which this tournament bludgeoned the audience with questions in those wheelhouses and indulged in ideological axe-grinding was uncomfortable, childish, unfunny, and outright exemplary of some deeper pathological need to troll people. Even noted quizbowl conservatives like Bruce Arthur and Chris Chiego have mentioned the degree to which the snide remarks in the questions was just outright ridiculous. Let's not forget the bonus part on diversity that essentially said "Robert Putnam studied this thing and found its bad, but those coastal lie-berals think it's great. Screw those guys lolololo" with no other clues, or the bonus where Obama was an answer twice, or the number of times "Japan" came up as an answerline, the weird bonus prompting instructions throughout the set, or the explicit and unnecessary anti-feminist remarks made in the bonus on that Australian family leave thing, etc, etc, etc.

I think this tournament should really call for some self-reflection on the part of the authors. It's worth asking why Dartmouth QB, and Kirk in particular, have this deeply ingrained need to completely ignore what few social cues there are in quizbowl, from leaving ACF nationals early to filling CRR with completely unanswerable bullshit in the science distribution to having the almost sociopathic compulsion to ram your particular [unpopular and poorly-informed] political ideology down the throats of your audience in a way calculated to make them hate you. I'm honestly curious what Kirk hoped to accomplish with this set; what do you get out of using all of that time to intentionally write a set that's terrible in that particular way, when you're clearly capable of doing better?
On the good side: I want to emphasize, like Eric, there were parts of the tournament that I too would have enjoyed. If I were playing the tournament next to a partially inebriated, Eric M, Marshall Steinbaum, (drunk) Sam Bailey, or MattBo, I would have had a good time. In fact, I think that I would have made a post saying this tournament would have been a pretty enjoyable experience in a relaxed setting - but then again, I rarely strongly dislike tournaments and I like a lot of off the beaten path kind of quizbowl tournaments - (Sun N Fun, KABO, Tech tournament, etc.)

For example, a lot of the content I would have enjoyed is in line with that JRPG tournament I'm working on, and I would have been surprisingly thrilled to answer some questions about them. What I can't fathom though, is why you think those topics and the anime ones are good things to ask about in modern culture rather than "niche culture" (insert your own dis/euphemism here) and didn't just repackage those questions as a Japan-tournament that I would have gladly played.

To be honest, I actually enjoy some of the Dartmouth's team writing - even some of (what I presume are) Kirk's trash questions. I remember at CRR that there was at least 3-4 separate instances of me telling John L. "that was a good idea for a lit question" to which he would respond "oh, Nick Jensen wrote that." From what others said above, they too, enjoyed, some amount of the this tournament. I hope this negative feedback doesn't produce a "fuck off forever" response in you, but rather a serious contemplation on your parts what you need to fix in the future.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Cody » Tue May 27, 2014 2:28 pm

Ike wrote:In fact, I think that I would have made a post saying this tournament would have been a pretty enjoyable experience in a relaxed setting - but then again, I rarely strongly dislike tournaments and I like a lot of off the beaten path kind of quizbowl tournaments - (Sun N Fun, KABO, Tech tournament, etc.)
I agree that you're a bit freewheeling in your tournament-taste, but The Questions Concerning Technology is august company with whom Sun'n'Fun and KABO do not belong. QCT is the best side event of all time by orders of magnitude – pure Will Butler-whimsy distilled into the most perfect question set that will ever be created. It is impossible to equal and pretty much the opposite of Modern World in every imaginable way. Tournament and side event writers would do well to take their cues from QCT.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by DumbJaques » Tue May 27, 2014 6:09 pm

Firstly, why in the hell are we redacting material from this tournament? Are you people really planning to foist this abomination on future unsuspecting assholes? Come on. The question Ike was discussing was almost certainly on Japanese gay fanfic porn, or however you say that in IWishIWereJapanese. It, like Modern World generally, was terrible.

Now, to business:

This was legitimately the worst tournament I've ever played. I actually left this trainwreck before it was finished, something I don't think I've ever done before. Yeah,sure, standard disclaimer about how there were some good tossups, etc. etc. I guess I might be interested in playing the 4 packets of Will/Nick stuff (or like 7ish packets of Will/Nick/non-horrible Kirk Jing stuff, even). And Matt's even right that some questions should be a model for how future CE questions should be written. Unfortunately that matters far less than the fact that this tournament sucked. A lot.

This was allegedly supposed to be a tournament about "things that have been important since 1989." Since that covers a good deal of what I professionally study (and because I really do believe Will and Nick are dedicated and well-meaning writers), I was actually looking forward to it. WHOOPS.

Of course, this tournament wasn't about "important things since 1989" at all. Indeed, during a telling conversation with Kirk at this tournament, he expressed shock that I could have possibly thought the tournament was about that (I wonder where I could have gotten that idea from?).
This exchange represented the root of the problem: This was not a Modern World tournament. It was a harrowing and labyrinthine slog through the stygian depths of Kirk Jing's depraved mind.

I tried to look for the distribution of this tournament, but couldn't find it. So, I reconstructed a distribution based on the first seven packets:
Modern World wrote: 2/2 Democrats doing bad things, Republicans doing good things
2/2 question on actual CE topics, but using only clues from niche video game/anime/4chan (the bad website)/internet fantasy subculture shit.
1/1 Just fucking straight-up anime
1/1 Unremarkable trash
2/2 POLITICAL PARTIES
1/1 Creepy Kirk Jing fetishes, mostly non-consensual sex and bodybuilding
1/1 Countries using boring clues
3/3 China/Japan
1/1 Right-wing politicians
1/1 Man, those women/minorities, amirite guys???
5/5 (MAYBE) legitimate current events
Midway through, Matt Jackson and I tried to explain to Kirk the near-universal consensus that this tournament was bad, offensive, bizarre, and just generally creeped people the fuck out. He just couldn't fucking get it. He was deeply puzzled why anyone would object to his use of male rape as a tool to jokingly (and dishonestly) mock marginal left-wing politicians. He could not understand why his use of "Democrat and Afro-American" and "feminist" felt like pejoratives to people playing this tournament (in fact he responded to this with a kind of puzzled look, then affirmed his sincere belief that African-American lobbying at American universities was no joking matter at all. Matt asked Kirk to predict how favorably (on a 1-10 scale) he thought players would on average respond to this tournament (I told him he could exclude Marshall Steinbaum - though after experiencing drunk Marshall for myself I hope nobody does that ever in any context). I think he said like 6 or 7. 6 or fucking 7!

It became pretty clear to me during the course of this event that Kirk Jing just does not understand that the world could be any different than he sees it (and that anyone who does see it differently is crazy/brainwashed/stupid). This is a bad trait to have in life generally, worse in a quizbowl writer, and particularly consequential when your worldview is as heinous and warped as Kirk Jing's. I've heard Kirk is abandoning quizbowl in an appropriate cloud of shame and mind-numbingly ignorant self-righteousness. That's good news, because anyone working with Kirk on a set again after this would raise serious doubts about them.

As, to be frank, this whole episode does about Will and Nick's judgment. Guys, I really do believe you mean well, but how in the world could you let this happen? How could you not see how bad this set was, just in terms of question quality? Why did it not seem like a problem when Kirk ignored your concerns and deleted your edits? How could you put your names on something so reprehensible as PEOPLE, let alone quizbowl editors? It seems like this should be a serious moment for introspection, rather than half-hearted defenses of horrible questions, observations that not every tossup sucked, or whatever the hell that "threatening" bullshit was about. I certainly hope and trust that you will.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by DumbJaques » Tue May 27, 2014 6:13 pm

Chimango Caracara wrote:
I will note that many of the edits and suggestions that I made were subsequently deleted or ignored.

If I'm correct about the first question you're referring to, when it was first read to me I thought it was kind of a cheesy answerline, but one that was actually an important, influential trend in the kind of anime-influenced fan culture that has become fairly pervasive on the internet. Issues of appropriateness didn't really cross my mind. My impression of this tournament was that it was targeted to college-age or older staffers, and I don't think that even high schoolers playing it would encounter anything that they haven't already (except perhaps irritating reactionary rhetoric). I guess in hindsight, that's not really my call to make in the latter case, so I'm sorry for not being more conscious of that kind of problem.
So, to you, Japanese gay fan-fic porn seems like an "important, influential trend" that is representative enough of important world developments since 1989 to deserve a tossup at this tournament. Really? This seems like one of the important representations of human development in the past 25 years to you?

If you actually mean this, I think you might have to accept that you're experiencing a very narrow and niche sliver of reality. Note that there's nothing inherently wrong with that; we sort of all are. But you probably need to pair that with an awareness that your experience is vastly different than THE experience. You seem to be taking Ike's (which is in fact basically everyone's) concerns here as if the problem is that this tournament tossed up R-rated subject matter. THAT IS NOT WHY TOSSING UP GAY JAPANESE FAN-FIC PORN IS BAD! If you can't understand that, you've probably found the root of the problem.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue May 27, 2014 6:18 pm

Midway through, Matt Jackson and I tried to explain to Kirk the near-universal consensus that this tournament was bad, offensive, bizarre, and just generally creeped people the fuck out. He just couldn't fucking get it. He was deeply puzzled why anyone would object to his use of male rape as a tool to jokingly (and dishonestly) mock marginal left-wing politicians. He could not understand why his use of "Democrat and Afro-American" and "feminist" felt like pejoratives to people playing this tournament (in fact he responded to this with a kind of puzzled look, then affirmed his sincere belief that African-American lobbying at American universities was no joking matter at all. Matt asked Kirk to predict how favorably (on a 1-10 scale) he thought players would on average respond to this tournament (I told him he could exclude Marshall Steinbaum - though after experiencing drunk Marshall for myself I hope nobody does that ever in any context). I think he said like 6 or 7. 6 or fucking 7!
I'm almost positive that he said 4.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Tue May 27, 2014 6:35 pm

I was under the impression that yaoi fanfiction was a reasonably popular trend among lonely teenage girls and boys on the internet
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Amizda Calyx » Tue May 27, 2014 6:37 pm

So as a moderator, some of the questions I had to read out made me pretty uncomfortable (like the ones referencing rape jokes [like, fucking REALLY? Did know one think that might be offensive?], and that one bonus set that began with "do you like boobs?", and all the racist/sexist content, and the awkward moderator directions). This was essentially my first time really interacting with like 95% of the people playing the tournament, so maybe those questions would've felt less awkward and disagreeable if I had known everyone else better beforehand. Regardless, a non-trivial proportion of this tournament was exceedingly inappropriate for high schoolers and probably most college students.

There were also a lot of grammar/spelling mistakes that sometimes interrupted the flow of reading and should have been caught earlier.

On the whole though, this tournament wasn't too bad to read for me; the appalled reactions players had to some questions were pretty entertaining, and once people started drinking things got a little more relaxed.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Tue May 27, 2014 7:07 pm

If one removed all of the objectionable, perpetually weird fetish stuff and the similarly tasteless misogyny/racism from the set, about how many questions in terms of packets would be playable (with the obvious conservatism and then without)? If there's a decent number of quality tossups on the "Modern World" that can be played, would it be possible if those can stay blind on here so it could be played later?
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue May 27, 2014 10:22 pm

Gautam wrote:
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:to filling CRR with completely unanswerable bullshit in the science distribution
I hate to derail this thread with non modern-world chatter, but can we leave this out, please? It is not like the other social cues you mention.It was Nick's first time writing for a hard tournament and he did an admirable job. He listened to and incorporated feedback, and defended his decisions well in private conversations. I made a whole bunch of stupid mistakes during not only my first hard tournament, MO '08, but also CO '09 ...
I apologize for making this remark; writing very stacked, well-researched, too-hard questions on your particular niche of a distribution (which is what Nick did) isn't the same thing as poking your audience in the eye with a stick repeatedly. But the point stands that there's a fundamental lack of consideration for the audience in both of these cases, the latter of which is far more egregious.

And for the record:
I, in that MO thread, wrote:I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I thought Gaurav did a very good job with the science in this set, and that my only quibbles with the bio and chem are the occasional misplaced clue and/or inadequately expanded answerline.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Muriel Axon » Tue May 27, 2014 10:54 pm

DumbJaques wrote:almost certainly on Japanese gay fanfic porn, or however you say that in IWishIWereJapanese
DumbJaques wrote:So, to you, Japanese gay fan-fic porn seems like an "important, influential trend" that is representative enough of important world developments since 1989 to deserve a tossup at this tournament.
HMS Audacious wrote:I was under the impression that yaoi fanfiction was a reasonably popular trend among lonely teenage girls and boys on the internet
Wait, is all this about a question on "yaoi"? We've already established that there was an overabundance of anime in this tournament, but if you're going to write about anime, yaoi seems like a reasonable topic (and is of much more academic importance than 99% of other anime questions). I clearly didn't hear the question itself, so no comment on the quality. [/illadvisedpost]

(feel free to redact answer lines, though I've got the impression that nobody cares anymore)
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue May 27, 2014 10:58 pm

it was a bad question.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Mike Bentley » Thu May 29, 2014 12:32 am

For what it's worth, we played the last packet in practice today and it seemed notably better than what I heard on Saturday night.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by vetovian » Thu May 29, 2014 4:10 am

I know this may sound like a punchline to a joke, but I really want this set for the post-VETO party (July 12). How can we get it?
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Thu May 29, 2014 6:21 am

vetovian wrote:I know this may sound like a punchline to a joke, but I really want this set for the post-VETO party (July 12). How can we get it?
I'll send it to you in exchange for any and all pre-2002 VETO sets you have, to be used for similar purposes.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:29 am

I gave Will shit about this on Facebook (and God knows he's already received plenty regarding this tournament), but: this tournament contains a smear against Senator Robert Menendez that was planted there by Cuban intelligence. So that's a quizbowl first (I hope).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ ... story.html
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:35 am

Granted, I had nothing to do with the production of that particular question, but regardless I shall promise to not to use Cuban-planted lies in my future writing endeavors.
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Re: Modern World Tournament - Post-NSC Mirror

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:07 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Granted, I had nothing to do with the production of that particular question, but regardless I shall promise to not to use Cuban-planted lies in my future writing endeavors.
Fair game for everyone else, then
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