2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

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2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:48 am

Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed playing MYSTERIUM—this is the thread for any commentary not related to errata or specific individual questions.

Big thanks to all the writers, especially Jordan (who: wrote 23% of the set, including the lion's share of the literature; edited a big chunk of the history; and helped set the tone in general) and Sriram (13%: wrote all the bio and chem, half of the other science, and some economics). On top of his CS and arts questions, Ophir did spectacular packetizing and proofreading work that really improved the set. And thanks to Eric Mukherjee for looking over things, especially the science and econ/psych. I ended up writing about 35% of the set, including all of the philosophy, psychology, pure math, and "other thought," and most of the arts, "social science," and economics.

On top of the usual "fresh questions" and "going deeper into core topics," I had a few agendas for this set, some of which were probably more transparent than others in the announcement/things I post:
  • more "other thought" (thus the large number of lit, history, and arts questions with "thinkers" in them—"curricular," to quote the announcement),
  • more social science,
  • less mythology,
  • more nonwestern and other neglected arts topics,
  • making neuroscience-style psychology a big part of that distribution, and
  • keeping overall difficulty under control.
It's unlikely that all of those were completely successful (particularly the last bit), but I hope they made the set a more "novel" experience, and that people take up at least some of those ideas in the future. That said, I'd be really interested to hear what people thought about those particular emphases—or about anything else!
Last edited by vinteuil on Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:18 am

Since it's the kind of thing I like to read, I thought I'd post how we distributed topics in some of the "broader" categories:

Other science: 3/3 pure math, 1/1 applied math, 3/3 computer science, 2/2 astronomy, 2/2 earth science, 1/1 medicine, 2/2 misc.

Auditory arts: 11/12 classical, 2/1 jazz, 1/1 world

Other arts: 4/4 film, 1/1 musicals, 3/2 opera, 1/1 "dance," 3/3 architecture, 2/3 misc.

Religion: 2/2 Bible, 2/2 Christianity, 2/2 Judaism, 3/2 Islam, 1/2 Buddhism, 1/2 Hinduism (with some Sikhism), 3/2 other

"Social science": 2/2 each linguistics, sociology, anthropology; 1/1 other

"Other thought": It's really hard to classify some of this stuff, so I'll just post the topics
  • TU: Walter Benjamin, Samuel Johnson, Baroque (art historiography), China (historiography), Johann Gottfried Herder, The Fire Next Time, "education"
  • Bonus: Netherlands in art history, Homo Ludens, Ernst Curtius, Annales school, I.A. Richards, Henry Louis Gates, Bakhtin
If it felt like there was more than 7/7 "other thought," that's because I ended up importing a fair amount of "thought" into my history and arts questions, partly to reward how academics actually engage with those topics (e.g. the tossup based on "Olympia's Choice" or the tossup on the history of the book/printing).
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by Mewto55555 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:34 pm

vinteuil wrote: less mythology
I mean, like, I guess you succeeded in this goal ( :party: :party: ) but don't you think it's a little fucked up that in a tournament which promised to have "strongly curricular" questions, you accomplished it by replacing a subject, which, though sometimes derided as being little more than bedtime stories and fake history, is nonetheless a legitimate topic of academic study, and instead had games LITERALLY DECIDED ON BEDTIME STORIES AND FAKE HISTORY!!!?!!?!!?!!?? (Hunger Games and Crusader Kings, respectively).

I'm curious whether those fell under the current events, other academic, human and physical geography, or the "etc" part of the Other distribution.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:51 pm

Mewto55555 wrote:
vinteuil wrote: less mythology
I mean, like, I guess you succeeded in this goal ( :party: :party: ) but don't you think it's a little fucked up that in a tournament which promised to have "strongly curricular" questions, you accomplished it by replacing a subject, which, though sometimes derided as being little more than bedtime stories and fake history, is nonetheless a legitimate topic of academic study, and instead had games LITERALLY DECIDED ON BEDTIME STORIES AND FAKE HISTORY!!!?!!?!!?!!?? (Hunger Games and Crusader Kings, respectively).

I'm curious whether those fell under the current events, other academic, human and physical geography, or the "etc" part of the Other distribution.
First of all, the way I conceptualized the "reduce mythology" move was not "take away .5/.5 myth and add .5/.5 trash/CE/Geo," but rather "put myth and trash/CE/Geo in the same 1/1 slot." Remember that we had a full 1/1 trash/CE/Geo in STIMPY, which was also reduced to accomodate more social science; it's not like I decided "lol fuck myth let's put this trash in instead."

Here were the "other" tossup answerlines
  • "Borderline history": eight (cryptography/history), creating the OED
  • "Other other arts": type, perfume, Elvis
  • Trash: the two tossups you cited.
The bonuses were all current events, geography, or "other other arts" (food).

If you ask most people "why do we have trash in quizbowl," I don't think the usual answer is "to let in borderline history/arts" topics. I decided to keep the two "trash trash" tossups people wanted to write because I thought people might enjoy playing them, and because, just as in formats with 1/1 trash/CE/Geo (like STIMPY), people generally agree that the other 19/19 also decides the game.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:16 pm

I think the authors did a good job creating a "curricular" set, as they called it and hit their difficulty goals for the most part outside of some bonuses that were randomly insanely hard. I don't know if a pure "curricular" focus is always best if it ends up disadvantaging amateur modes of engagement, but I'm not the best judge, this certainly affected different categories differently, and the tossup stats from across sites seem fine in any case. It's what the authors wanted and they definitely pulled it off, and the novelty of the experience was fun.

I found the world history and painting questions particularly enjoyable, and I think the latter in particular were a model for regular sets going forward. I'd like to commend their authors highly.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:38 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:some bonuses that were randomly insanely hard.
I'll be fixing a few examples of this that I noticed or were pointed out to me (e.g. Ficino middle part), but if anyone has examples in mind, I'd love to hear about them in the other thread.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:40 pm

How did people like the Buddhism in this set? I was using answerlines that (to my knowledge) haven't came up in quizbowl before (but come up in Buddhist Art History/Religious Studies classes). It's a small part (1/2) of the set, but I was curious to see how it played out.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by wcheng » Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:46 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:I found the world history and painting questions particularly enjoyable, and I think the latter in particular were a model for regular sets going forward. I'd like to commend their authors highly.
As the author of most of the world history TUs, I'm really glad to hear that you enjoyed that part of the distribution! This was the first regular-difficulty set that I've written for, so working on this set was a learning experience for me.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:08 pm

I thought this set was excellent—the history was especially superb, and aside from the aforementioned issues with the econ questions, the social science/thought was great. Thanks for writing it!
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by gerbilownage » Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:45 pm

This is my first time writing for a major college tournament, and I am soliciting feedback for the questions I wrote. I mostly wrote History, especially American, with a bit of Lit/trash/arts. I tried to control for difficulty, but looking at the conversion stats, some of the questions came out harder than I would have liked.
Questions by round:

Round 3: Mystic/Pequot War/Plymouth
Round 4: Artaud bonus, Battle of Franklin/Johnston/Vicksburg, Second Reform Act/Hyde Park/Disraeli
Round 5: Romania
Round 6: Rurik Dynasty, sondheim bonus
Round 7: Creek
Round 8: Indiana, Adolf Loos/Sullivan/Chicago
Round 10: Jacob Wrestling the Angel, Margaret Fuller/New York Tribune/Horace Greeley
Round 11: Beecher, The Music Man, The Hunger Games, Major Barbara bonus, people involved in Teapot Dome bonus
Round 12: Strindberg, Restoration, Stalwarts, Wendell Willkie bonus, Parables of Jesus bonus
Round 13: IWW, Julius Ceasar/Cassius/Lepidus
Round 14: The Iceman Cometh, Argentina, Phillip II, Frederich Muhlenberg/Pennsylvania/Paxton Boys
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:51 am

the inorganic chemistry in this set was excellent. The biochem tended to skew a bit easy.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by hftf » Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:20 am

Thanks to my fellow authors for putting together a solid set; Stephen, Jacob, Jordan, Eric, and my friends KK and Scott for helping with playtesting; and everyone else here for playing. Apologies for the large variability in question length.

This was also my first time writing for a major college tournament. I welcome feedback on the 24 questions listed below (though the music ones were amended extensively) and hope you enjoyed them. Tossup conversion data are from the 4-room Maryland site on March 26, where only the first 10 packets were played.

Code: Select all

#   TU   Category   Answer                  15s 10s –5s
2   13   Astro      green                   1   3   0
2   17   Other      type                    0   4   0
2   20   Music      harp                    3   1   0
3   6    Arts       Cuba                    0   4   0
3   7    CS         randomized algorithm    0   3   1
7   1    CS         composition             1   3   1
7   17   Music      trumpet                 1   3   1
9   2    Ling       Japanese                0   3   0 *
9   6    Astro      Hubble parameter        0   4   2
11  3    CS         anonymity               
11  18   Music      left hand               
12  8    Other      eight                   

#   B    Category   Answer
3   18   Music      Beethoven / piano trio / Australia
4   9    Astro      pulsars / P P-dot diagram / age
5   4    Music      Russia / eight / sax
5   12   CS         trees / xor / regularization
7   6    Music      Moonlight Sonata / nocturne / Barber
9   3    Music      Chopin / Gaspard de la nuit / Mompou
9   7    CS         files / standard input / Plan 9 from Bell Labs
11  1    Music      Pétrouchka / dominant seventh / keys
11  11   Astro      comets / radiation pressure / contact binary
12  19   Music      L’apprenti sorcier / piano sonata / Debussy
13  4    CS         databases / quadtree / collision detection
14  3    Music      Hanslick / Meistersinger / symphony

* Replaced due to moderator error in one room. 
Complete conversion data from the Maryland site exists, broken down by category, author, team, player, etc. However, it was decided not to post them. PM me if you have any inquiries, I guess.

If you have scoresheets from another site and either mail them to me or hand them to me at ICT/ACF/HSNCT, I will exchange them for prizes. PM me for info.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by yeah viv talk nah » Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:51 am

I wrote the tossup on Hindu/Sikh gurus and these two bonuses:
Ravana / live in his stomach / Surya ; Samaveda / Rigveda / Purusha.
I would appreciate any feedback on these questions if anyone has any!
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:26 am

What's the intended middle part of the Samaveda bonus?
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by yeah viv talk nah » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:48 am

Samaveda was intended to be the middle part and Purusha the hard part.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by jonah » Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:03 pm

hftf wrote:If you have scoresheets from another site and either mail them to me or hand them to me at ICT/ACF/HSNCT, I will exchange them for prizes. PM me for info.
Track me down at the ICT and I'll have the Northwestern site's scoresheets for you. I'll probably be at the end of the team check-in table.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by Brian McPeak » Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:09 am

Thanks for writing this set-- it was my favorite that I played all year, mostly due to the excellent physics questions. Stephen did a great job asking about important things that come up in quantum, E&M, classical, and stat mech courses, and the bonuses parts were well-selected in general and frequently super cool.

The social science was fun too-- especially the neuroscience. It's not a subject I know a lot about but those questions were interesting enough that they made me wish I did, and they were often on things that players at our site had come across in real life, so I think that this set was a successful experiment in that sense.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by t-bar » Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:46 pm

Brian McPeak wrote:Thanks for writing this set-- it was my favorite that I played all year, mostly due to the excellent physics questions. Stephen did a great job asking about important things that come up in quantum, E&M, classical, and stat mech courses, and the bonuses parts were well-selected in general and frequently super cool.
I'm glad you enjoyed them! I tried to keep the focus on curricular topics, while also including a judicious number of ultra-contemporary questions on things that the physics world is excited about (the gravitational waves tossup was written entirely from this paper, the bonus on Shor's algorithm was based on this paper, and I couldn't resist cluing this pair of papers in the bosons tossup).

I suppose I'll join the chorus of people soliciting feedback. I wrote all the physics for this set, as well as the tossup on language acquisition and the truth/king of France/cancellable bonus. I'd appreciate any comments, either in this forum or via email.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:51 am

The language acquisition TU and truth bonus were both great; the latter should accept "defeasible" as an alternate answer for the part on "cancelable."
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by Fucitol » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:35 am

t-bar wrote:
Brian McPeak wrote:Thanks for writing this set-- it was my favorite that I played all year, mostly due to the excellent physics questions. Stephen did a great job asking about important things that come up in quantum, E&M, classical, and stat mech courses, and the bonuses parts were well-selected in general and frequently super cool.
I'm glad you enjoyed them! I tried to keep the focus on curricular topics, while also including a judicious number of ultra-contemporary questions on things that the physics world is excited about (the gravitational waves tossup was written entirely from this paper, the bonus on Shor's algorithm was based on this paper, and I couldn't resist cluing this pair of papers in the bosons tossup).

I suppose I'll join the chorus of people soliciting feedback. I wrote all the physics for this set, as well as the tossup on language acquisition and the truth/king of France/cancellable bonus. I'd appreciate any comments, either in this forum or via email.
I'd like to echo the Physics praise. Some very exciting things came up in this set and it would be great if future sets used this sort of approach which rewards both physics students and people who are interested in physics current events. The gravitational waves tossup was especially good, unfortunately we didn't get to play it at our site.
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Re: 2016 MYSTERIUM General Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Tue May 24, 2016 10:36 pm

Set is clear, set is uploaded.
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