2015 ICT: general discussion

Old college threads.
Locked
User avatar
Important Bird Area
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5499
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:33 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Contact:

2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:56 pm

This is your discussion thread for big-picture issues about the 2015 NAQT ICT (either division). If you'd like to discuss the specific text of a particular question, please use the two threads available for that purpose.
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

"I wish to make some kind of joke about Jeff's love of birds, but I always fear he'll turn them on me Hitchcock-style." -Fred

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5686
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by theMoMA » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:23 am

In addition to the usual thanks to the usual folks--Andrew, Jeff, Jonah, Seth, and several others--big thanks to Ike Jose, Matt Jackson, Aaron Rosenberg, and Billy Busse for chipping in lots of questions and helping look over some parts of the set. Seth will have more to say about this, but I would love to see other recently retired collegiate players working on SCT and ICT as well!
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

User avatar
Wynaut
Wakka
Posts: 156
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:34 am
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by Wynaut » Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:00 pm

I really enjoyed this set. I appreciated reducing the amount of mixed academic questions on adjectives (a la the "standard" tossup from this year's SCT), and the geography questions weren't just context-less lists of place names (with the exception of the Zagros Mountains bonus part). I did notice that there weren't very many jazz questions in the set, though -- I don't think I heard a jazz question in the rounds I played.
Kenji Shimizu
University of Michigan '18
Summit Academy North High School '13
Writer, NAQT
"...the best Seychelles player in quizbowl" -Auroni Gupta

peachykeen
Kimahri
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:57 pm

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by peachykeen » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:57 pm

I can't be sure, but it felt like there were a fair number of questions with a significant lack of middle clues. The one that stuck in my mind was the current events Mormon tossup, which ended on a buzzer race on "Mitt Romney" at the end of the question.
Last edited by peachykeen on Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kailyn LaPorte
University of Georgia '17
Chamblee Charter '13
Chamblee Middle '09
Kittredge Magnet '07

User avatar
setht
Auron
Posts: 1176
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:41 pm
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by setht » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:27 am

theMoMA wrote:In addition to the usual thanks to the usual folks--Andrew, Jeff, Jonah, Seth, and several others--big thanks to Ike Jose, Matt Jackson, Aaron Rosenberg, and Billy Busse for chipping in lots of questions and helping look over some parts of the set. Seth will have more to say about this, but I would love to see other recently retired collegiate players working on SCT and ICT as well!
I'd like to thank all the writers and my fellow editors for the DI set for making my job very easy and fun this year. Much of the set was written by the usual suspects, headed up by Andrew Y., but there was also a large influx of excellent questions from newcomers like Matt Jackson, Ike Jose, Billy Busse, and Aaron Rosenberg (although Ike isn't truly a newcomer, having written some questions last year).

I would be thrilled to have even more of the recently retired crop of excellent writers join in on SCT and ICT production next year.

-Seth
Seth Teitler
Formerly UC Berkeley and U. Chicago
President and Chief Editor, NAQT
Emeritus member, ACF

User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
Posts: 15261
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:49 am

apropos of nothing, but i love your avatar, seth
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

User avatar
dxdtdemon
Rikku
Posts: 387
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:46 pm
Location: Beavercreek, OH

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by dxdtdemon » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:21 pm

Was it just me, or when I was hearing the questions while keeping score, were there a lot more references to :bees: then there has been in any tournament for the past few years?
Jonathan Graham
Beavercreek HS 1999-2003, Ohio State 2003-2007, Wright State (possibly playing)2012-2015
moderator/scorekeeper at some tournaments in Ohio, and sometimes elsewhere
"Ohio has a somewhat fractured quizbowl circuit, with a few small pockets of intense competition (like in Mahoning County) and with the rest scattered around the state."-Chris Chiego

Adventure Temple Trail
Auron
Posts: 2613
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:52 pm

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:09 pm

So I did end up making good on my promise from last year's thread. In the end, I wrote 227 questions that ended up in the 2015 Division I ICT, or about 27.8% of the set, then did a full read-through of the set with Ike Jose to help smooth out difficulty, catch errors, etc. (About 140 of my questions were downconverted to Division II, for which I did not do any explicit just-for-DII writing or oversight work; I earnestly have no idea what questions by me ended up looking like in DII.) They ran the full category gamut except for science and auditory art. It was quite an experience watching teams rise to the challenge of these questions, and I look forward to hearing more about what worked and what didn't work in my attempts to adjust my writing style to a new format.

Particular things I explicitly attempted to accomplish, and would most like to hear back about, include:
  • pushing most of the non-Econ Social Science, Geography, and Current Events far further towards "new"/"interesting" principles than past NAQT fare. I wrote about 20 questions in each of these categories. I won't list it all out here, but some questions that I hope most to have worked well include the vowel merger bonus, the tourism-focused Dubrovnik tossup, the mangrove forests/Ecuador/shrimp farming bonus that kicked off the tournament, and the "publishing industry" and "Delaware as corporate haven" CE: bonuses.
  • including the trash I wish I'd been able to play when eligible, including both Broadway questions, a bunch of the Popular_Music distribution, and two off-the-wall misc trash tossups (the ones on "Osama bin Laden" and "platinum"). I also looked over some of the other "geek" trash such as the tossup on "ice" in video games.
  • I wrote 20 of the set's 24 Philosophy questions and worked with Ike and Andrew Y. on ensuring that there were few to no "fill in the blank" clues or contentless title/name drops in the category.
  • particularly in my Lit contributions, some "deep Core Works" questions intended to reward close primary-source readings of texts that most of the field has some familiarity with, e.g. Father Mapple, the Second Circle of Hell, the Magistrate, Raskolnikov['s dream], Hiawatha, the SS tossup on the dramaturgical model
  • Taking a cue from ACF Nationals 2014: some "wild outlier" tossups to see who can roll with the punches and balance out the "deep Core Works" stuff I was doing elsewhere. This happened both on the level of weird non-proper-noun answer lines that might only have 5 lines of clues, e.g. the "dying in an avalanche [in Ibsen plays]" tossup, and on the level of very difficult answer lines such as Nagarjuna, the Stephenson family of Rocket fame, bardo states, and Lucian of Samosata. I'm pretty sure Ike had this impulse as well, hence the tossup on The Atheist's Tragedy. My hope is that these didn't overwhelm the set or make close games more frustrating.
Seth and Yaphe were absolutely great head-editors to work with. Over a nine month time span they were almost always incredibly timely, instructive, and insightful, even when (especially when) we disagreed or our viewpoints diverged. I'm very grateful to have learned a lot from hearing their suggestions and accumulated wisdom, and I feel like I'm a much better question writer now than I was before embarking on this project.

I will heartily second Seth Teitler's recommendation -- if you're eligible to write for ICT next year (i.e. are Temporarily_Retired or Permanently_Retired), do it! Even if you can only pitch in a few questions here or there, it is so much fun -- this was probably the most raw fun I've had doing any single writing project. Rarely do you get as much near-total freedom to drop your out-there intellectual interests on quizbowl as you do in selecting clues for ICT, whose somewhat fluid categories and express support for a pluralism of question focuses/styles provide very wide latitude. I almost certainly won't be able to do nearly as much writing for this set next year, and I'm glad to talk to/evangelize at any folks who are graduating this year and might be interested. I can't speak for NAQT, but I'm certain that they absolutely do want more "recent" people to help ensure their product is the best it can be, and are glad to let you use the writing style which feels most natural to you within the character cap.
cwRsync wrote:Was it just me, or when I was hearing the questions while keeping score, were there a lot more references to :bees: then there has been in any tournament for the past few years?
There are exactly four mentions of "bees" in the DI ICT set, from what I can tell (leadin to the Magistrate tossup, clue in the "beer" part of the Kalevala bonus, clue in the Hittite myth bonus, Fable of the Bees philosophy part). I wrote all four (so it's not like "NAQT members got all lazy" or anything), and I don't believe that four mentions of bees in wildly different contexts across 816 questions is a gross exaggeration of their importance to natural and intellectual history.
Matt J.
ex-Georgetown Day HS, ex-Yale
member emeritus, ACF

Sailing away on my copper boat

User avatar
Corry
Rikku
Posts: 330
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:54 pm

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by Corry » Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:38 pm

Matthew J wrote:
  • pushing most of the non-Econ Social Science, Geography, and Current Events far further towards "new"/"interesting" principles than past NAQT fare. I wrote about 20 questions in each of these categories. I won't list it all out here, but some questions that I hope most to have worked well include the vowel merger bonus, the tourism-focused Dubrovnik tossup, the mangrove forests/Ecuador/shrimp farming bonus that kicked off the tournament, and the "publishing industry" and "Delaware as corporate haven" CE: bonuses.
I didn't play DI, but based on my perusals of the NAQT database, I liked your geography a lot. While some of the "interesting" questions seemed to skew a bit hard, overall, this is definitely something I'd like to try replicating when I'm editing geography for this year's HSNCT.

I can't promise that I'll be as gung-ho about it, but I think it's always a good thing to see more cultural/historical/mixed category/"interesting" clues in geo tossups (as opposed to, say, lists of random minor tributaries that nobody cares about).
Corry Wang
Arcadia High School 2013
Amherst College 2017
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor

User avatar
Birdofredum Sawin
Rikku
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 11:25 pm
Location: Mountain View

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:52 pm

Just to offer some further perspective on how this year's set was pieced together:

This year, three writers--Matt Jackson, myself, and Ike--wrote at least 100 questions for D1 ICT. The three of us ended up writing 63% of the set. After us, the next largest contributor was Selene, who wrote 31 questions, followed by five people who wrote between 20 and 30 questions.

By contrast, last year only two writers--myself and Seth--wrote at least 100 questions for D1 ICT; the two of us wrote 47% of last year's set.

I can testify that this year's set was significantly easier to produce--and, I strongly suspect, was significantly better--due to the influx of good questions from new writers, and in particular thanks to the high volume of high-quality questions pumped in by Ike and Matt. As Seth said, we would be thrilled to have other people follow in the footsteps of Ike and Matt and become significant contributors to these sets.
Andrew

Ex-Virginia, Ex-Chicago, Ex-Stanford

Lightinfa
Wakka
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:21 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by Lightinfa » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:55 pm

I really enjoyed the historiography/historian questions and clues that came up at this tournament- it'd be great to keep seeing more of that.
JR Roach
Maggie Walker, 2011

User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1347
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by vinteuil » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:34 pm

Now that I'm not playing it, I agree that this set was, overall, probably better than last year's, especially in the categories that Matt Jackson worked on (also loved those geography questions). I also really liked the chemistry questions, although I'm not really qualified to make the most informed judgment on them.

My single biggest complain is that this set's bonuses were, overall, just too hard—see most teams' (including our) bonus conversion on round 14 for the most egregious example. The physics in particular had many very hard questions, but there were near-impossible third parts all over the set. I promise not to derail this thread too much, but the music was ridiculous in difficulty sometimes, usually because of insufficient cluing (I can PM or email whoever wrote most of the music questions, if they'd really like to hear specifics), e.g. the Mendelssohn bonus that John and I 10d (I've actually played three of the organ sonatas, including the sixth sonata, and I had no idea what was happening—whatever hymn the piece quotes, it's by far more famous for being based on the chorale Vater unser in Himmelreich). On the other hand, I really liked the music questions at last year's ICT, so I'm not sure what to attribute this to.

On the other hand, I think most of the more "out-there" tossups were reasonable, and that it's not a bad thing to have a few of those per round.
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

User avatar
Gautam
Auron
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:28 pm
Location: Zone of Avoidance
Contact:

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by Gautam » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:45 am

I had been helping out Andrew with some feedback on the Econ for several NAQT tournaments. But this year I decided to write some last minute questions for DI after a long hiatus. I felt very rusty coming back to writing questions for NAQT, but I ended up enjoying the experience. Much more than I have done in the past.

I think it was most rewarding to start off with a ~600 character TU, cut out the fat, find words that directly convey what you want to convey, etc., and end up with a serviceable tossup that fit the prescribed character bounds. I'm sure it will take a fair amount of practice to get good at it. I'm looking forward to writing some questions for the HS nationals again, and contribute to SCT and ICT next year.
Gautam - ACF
Currently tending to the 'quizbowl hobo' persuasion.

User avatar
Cherrybell Miramonte
Lulu
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:43 pm
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by Cherrybell Miramonte » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:17 pm

I enjoyed the vowel merger bonus a lot (we had predicted it before play even started!), as well as the tossup on Basque (which I negged because I was being dumb, still a good tossup though), and I think it would be great to see more questions on linguistics topics in the future.
Sam Rombro
Arizona '20
Maryland '18
Writer, NAQT (inactive)

User avatar
Jem Casey
Wakka
Posts: 120
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:15 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by Jem Casey » Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:43 pm

I also thought that the set was, mostly, quite good and a step up from last year's. In particular, I appreciated how the writers took advantage of NAQT's format to execute clever, thematically-focused concepts which would be difficult to write as longer tossups. Tossups like "dying in an avalanche," "skull cups," "Ivan IV [with England clues]", "Kievan Rus [with women's history clues]" were fantastic and are, in my opinion, the sort of thing that can make ICT a unique and exciting experience.
Jordan Brownstein, University of Maryland '17, Plymouth Regional '13, New Hampshire

"Calm is the one thing that will never let us down"--2666

User avatar
Corry
Rikku
Posts: 330
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:54 pm

Re: 2015 ICT: general discussion

Post by Corry » Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:48 pm

Jem Casey wrote:"Ivan IV [with England clues]"
I wrote this question, and yay. I was super unsure about submitting it to NAQT initially, so I'm glad it was well received by at least one person.
Corry Wang
Arcadia High School 2013
Amherst College 2017
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor

Locked