ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

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ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:51 pm

Hello friends,

ACF Nationals 2016 is clear for discussion. The packets will be posted soon, but until they are I or the other editors will be happy to post question text that you'd like to see.

A quick breakdown of who edited what:
Rob: American and British literature, fine arts, myth
Ike: European and world/other literature, other science, religion, philosophy
Ryan: all history, social science, other academic/geography/current events
Billy: chemistry, biology, physics

Ike and freelancers Jonathan Magin and Aaron Rosenberg also wrote a significant portion of the questions in my categories for the editors' packets, though I edited them as I did any other submission. I'd also like to specifically thank Magin, Eric Mukherjee, and Cody Voight for their invaluable assistance with proofreading and editing suggestions.

I think the tournament as a whole did a pretty good job meeting our goals from last year, which were largely focused on toning down some of the wildness (and avoiding dead tossups) a bit while still providing the difficulty and rigor required from ACF Nationals. I was also very pleased with the general quality of submissions--a variety of unforeseeable personal issues left me more crunched on this set than I really wanted to be (Ike deserves massive credit for being this tournament's rock) and the fact that so many submitted questions, at least in my categories, were very solid made my life much easier.

I'll let Jerry speak to the tournament-directing side of things specifically, but I do want to thank everyone who made the tournament possible, especially the yeoman's work done by Cody Voight.

All in all, despite any difficulties I really enjoy editing this tournament and hope to do it again in the future. Thanks to all the teams for coming out and playing, and I hope you enjoyed our work!
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Ike » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:35 pm

Hey guys,

I want to reserve this post to dispel a common set of misconceptions:

- We did not let tossups extend into the 10th and 11th lines outside of the finals. We blew up the font to be BIG this year due to a lot of moderator errors which I thought came from the font size. No tossup in the non-finals packets went over 9 lines I believe, and most were under 8. That being said, if I had more hours to work on the tournament, ensuring that every non-finals tossup was below 8 lines would have been the next thing on my list.

- Some people have pointed out the set to me felt harder than last year's. I think that that is almost a purely subjective assessment. If you look at the round report from Nationals 2014 and Nationals 2015, you'll find that this year's set was definitely easier in terms of ppg and ppb. I encourage future editors to keep with this trend and continue to make the set easier - especially with really dead and really hard tossups. (In my ideal world, some of the packets become a tiny bit easier by one tossup or so per a round.)

I'll post more in a second.

Ike

Edit 1: grammar
Last edited by Ike on Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:37 pm

Ike wrote:- We did not let tossups extend into the 10th and 11th lines outside of the finals. We blew up the font to be BIG this year due to a lot of moderator errors which I thought came from the font size.
The feedback from last year suggested that 10 point font was too small, so I blew it up to 12 points for easier reading (which is also why packets were an average 3-4 pages longer this year than last year).
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Ike » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:20 pm

Okay, so I'll talk a little bit about what I did for this tournament.

- The biggest challenge for me was handling this tournament's religion. I honestly am a pretty terrible religion player and going into editing the set, I was kind of dreading editing it. I knew that I didn't want to produce standard, cookie-cutter questions and wasn't really sure how to make it innovative. But after reading quite a bit and thumbing through books at UIUC's religion and history library, it dawned on me that religion is perhaps the area of quizbowl where we could have the biggest overhaul: the tossups on yugas, the Ladino language, the history of _books_ as regulated by the Catholic church, as well as the bonus on kivas / sacred clowns / sweat lodges and the apologetics bonus were part of that approach. I encourage future editors in all tournaments to not just pick a holiday or heresy and ask about it at will, but to take a bit more time to see if you can ask about something fresh / innovative.

- The (1/1) world literature was reduced down to the following: .66/.66 world literature. .17/.17 genre literature + .17/.17 literary theory and criticism. That's technically within ACF's distribution - though some might argue that genre literature has no place at ACF Nationals - I disagree obviously, partly because there is already no trash at this tournament, and because all of the stuff that I asked about has literary value. Besides how else am I ask about Stuart Moulthrop's ~Victory Garden~?

- Special thanks to the following people in no particular order: Libo for writing the aliasing and groups tossups. Andrew Yaphe for writing 2/2 philosophy - Socrates, Davidson, virtue/Sextus Empiricus/Metaphysics, Paul Ricoeur/hemeneutics/evil bonus, to Jonathan Magin for letting me gchat with him for a long time to bounce off my ideas - he redlined a lot of my bad ones, and proofread a lot of the set, and also wrote the tossup on studying the Torah as well as the bonus on Vilna Gaon, and Eric Mukherjee for letting me run the religion and other science by him.

Not going to lie, this tournament kind of burned me out. For 5-6 weeks or so I put in about a 80-90 hours a week into this tournament and before that it was closer to 20-30 hours a week for like 2-3 months. As Rob hinted at / said, I wrote a whole bunch of questions for him, and in many ways this is the tournament I would have wanted to write if I were the head editor, including sneaking in references to ~The Longest Journey~ in two tournaments this year. As some of you may or may not know, writing nationals is one of those things that consumes your life: even in the shower you're thinking about the next great idea you can have so that you can write about something. So because of those combination of factors, I've decided not to seek editorship of Nationals next year, though I may be back in the future - after all, I still have so much more to know.

The longest journey is the journey inwards.

Ike

Edit 1: Forgot that Jonathan wrote me some Jewish religion bonuses!
Last edited by Ike on Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:21 pm

Snap Wexley wrote:
Ike wrote:- We did not let tossups extend into the 10th and 11th lines outside of the finals. We blew up the font to be BIG this year due to a lot of moderator errors which I thought came from the font size.
The feedback from last year suggested that 10 point font was too small, so I blew it up to 12 points for easier reading (which is also why packets were an average 3-4 pages longer this year than last year).
I could have done without the justified text which did weird things such as automated hyphenation which split words across multiple lines in a way that a professional editor never would have done. This random site also claims that Rag Right is easier to read (something that I think I also heard in some typography book I read): http://www.fonts.com/content/learning/f ... -rag-right
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:30 pm

Ike wrote: - Some people have pointed out the set to me felt harder than last year's. I think that that is almost a purely subjective assessment. If you look at the round report from Nationals 2014 and Nationals 2015, you'll find that this year's set was definitely easier in terms of ppg and ppb. I encourage future editors to keep with this trend and continue to make the set easier - especially with really dead and really hard tossups. (In my ideal world, some of the packets become a tiny bit easier by one tossup or so per a round.
I'll probably post more later, but my biggest comment was going to be that I appreciated the reigning in of difficulty this year—many more gettable hard parts, fewer craaaazy tossups, and a little bit less of "middle part is the new hard part." So I'm not sure where that perception is coming from. Anyways, thanks to the editors for focusing on making the tournament more accessible!

EDIT: Also, the length reduction was noticeable and appreciated.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:01 pm

Two minor corrections:

The lovely TU on Kieslowski mentions in the first line a scene in Bleu where Juliette Binoche's character watches a man play the recorder while stirring sugar into her coffee. A truly lovely scene and an excellent choice for a lead-in. However, she stirs coffee into a bowl of vanilla ice cream during this scene (which is putting sugar into her coffee in a way, I suppose). Loved the film in this set.

The bonus part on Dogs of War (great idea, I assume this was part of the genre lit distro?) mentions it being inspired by Mark Thatcher's coup attempt. The real story is 10 times as hilarious: Forsyth seems to have based the story on an earlier coup attempt that he (Forsyth) was involved in. Thatcher then read the book, loved it, and, along with his South African mercenary friends, decided to plan a coup that mirrored the plot of Dogs of War very closely (and failed quickly, of course).

Ike, I really liked the yuga TU and thought the religion was very decent in this set (though a serious lack of Buddhism, I only counted the Shingon TU in the finals). My dad loved the citation in the nacreous clouds TU, too.

Anthropology was pretty meh, though the Taussig/Spivak bonus was fun. Think Chagnon was the only anthropologist tossed up and the others mentioned in bonuses were usually dead (and male). They were relevant dead ones, though. Big ups for not mentioning Ruth Benedict a single time!
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:56 pm

This was a hard set, but as I told Rob and Ike, I thought it was a very good and fair one. I'm not sure I did the calculations right, but it appears that 1,291 tossups were converted out of the 1,340 tossups read to the top-bracket teams, which is an excellent 96%. Some of the middle parts were perhaps a bit ungenerous, but I thought it was a fairly consistent set of bonuses otherwise. Congrats to the editors for putting together a good set, and to Michigan for navigating through it to the title!

From a typographical perspective, I much prefer ragged right with no line-end hyphenations. The latter were particularly difficult to contend with on the fly.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Mewto55555 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:36 pm

I already mentioned this to Eric, but I've noticed across tournaments that there doesn't seem to be a consistent standard of leniency when it comes to what to accept for questions on pathogens/the disease they cause. In particular, I was quite aggravated at this tournament by the tossup on Toxoplasma that (I think) referred to it exclusively as this genus throughout, but also accepted answers of toxoplasmosis. In game, after realizing it was on the agent that causes toxoplasmosis, I threw out a guess for what the genus name would be -- since I'm a big doofus it was incorrect, but the other team got points for their answer of toxoplasmosis. Obviously my incorrect answer didn't deserve points, but it would be nice when editors decide to generously accept a better-known formulation of the answer that isn't clearly specified in the question, that they include a "WARNING: either genus name or disease name acceptable," or something*. Quizbowl seems to be moving away from the direction of "let's bone players who only kind of know stuff about the answer" in other categories by clearly specifying what the question wants (such as the "description acceptable" warning that's become ubiquitous in history); there's no reason we shouldn't here too.

* I guess in some cases this might make things more transparent, but certainly in this one it felt like most of the clues were on Toxoplasma-as-disease-causing-agent, so it wouldn't have made a difference.


EDIT: To be clear, this post was less a "lol Eric's question sucks", and more a "everyone should be careful about this in the future, and not play fast and loose with acceptability!" I know I've probably made this mistake a dozen times in my own writing.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:48 pm

Mewto55555 wrote:I already mentioned this to Eric, {stuff about Toxo question}
This was in fact my question and my fault. I considered just making it a tossup on "toxoplasmosis" but for some reason I thought the genus might be easier to remember; then I thought adding "toxoplasmosis" to the answerline was just being generous. I apologize if this screwed anyone else over.

I also wrote the tossups on melanoma and the optic nerve and the bonus on mRNA/Q/Variant Calling, in addition to suggesting a bunch of edits elsewhere.
Last edited by Sima Guang Hater on Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:50 pm

The Stately Rhododendron wrote:The lovely TU on Kieslowski mentions in the first line a scene in Bleu where Juliette Binoche's character watches a man play the recorder while stirring sugar into her coffee. A truly lovely scene and an excellent choice for a lead-in. However, she stirs coffee into a bowl of vanilla ice cream during this scene (which is putting sugar into her coffee in a way, I suppose). Loved the film in this set.
This isn't a mistake; she does watch a sugarcube soak up coffee at least once. I think there may have been multiple scenes where she orders coffee.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:11 pm

Ike's not kidding when he says this Nats was his baby. He put in such a massive amount of work all across the set, and was a fantastic editor to work with throughout.

On social science, I'd say the amount of both anthro and econ was probably a bit on the low side - with a slightly heavier focus on psychology, sociology, and linguistics - but I tried my best to use reasonably good submissions.

I'll probably post more later. Thanks for indulging my unpopular insistence on having a bonus part on Vassall Morton.
Last edited by No Rules Westbrook on Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:12 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:
Snap Wexley wrote:
Ike wrote:- We did not let tossups extend into the 10th and 11th lines outside of the finals. We blew up the font to be BIG this year due to a lot of moderator errors which I thought came from the font size.
The feedback from last year suggested that 10 point font was too small, so I blew it up to 12 points for easier reading (which is also why packets were an average 3-4 pages longer this year than last year).
I could have done without the justified text which did weird things such as automated hyphenation which split words across multiple lines in a way that a professional editor never would have done. This random site also claims that Rag Right is easier to read (something that I think I also heard in some typography book I read): http://www.fonts.com/content/learning/f ... -rag-right
I agree that the right justification was needless and annoying from a reader's perspective. However, as I told Rob, the hyphenation in chemistry words was very helpful and greatly appreciated. I hope more tournaments begin doing this, as it's a way to provide a pseudo-pronunciation guide that doesn't throw off someone who actually knows how to say the word.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Cody » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:37 pm

For what it's worth, justified and hyphenated is the default way LaTeX does things so it's not like Jerry went to the trouble of doing it. I personally didn't even notice it when I was reading PADAWAN but many others were annoyed so I changed it for future mirrors.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:04 pm

There must be some sort of prospect theory-like effect where the appearance of greater text length makes it seem to moderators like they're reading questions that are longer than they actually are. I was quite surprised to find out that what seemed like 11-line monster tossups and 3-line bonus parts were actually originally 8 lines and 2 lines respectively in the traditional 10-point TNR! Anyway, that's cool I guess.

I also really like how prompts in this set were merely underlined (in contrast to acceptable answers, which are underlined and bolded); I would like that to become the new standard for all mACF packets from here on out, since the current waffliness between displaying prompts between "quotes" (much like unacceptable answers) or in bold-and-underline (much like acceptable answers) greatly contributes to moderator error.

It definitely seemed while I was reading that the editors did a statistically significant amount to control difficulty compared to last year's set; bonus conversion is up across the board, and far fewer tossups went dead in the upper half of the field. However, I still saw tons of tossups even in top-bracket matches go really really late, with relatively little buzzing on middle clues occurring. Some of this was due to really top-heavy tossups on really hard people or concepts which probably only have one or two notable clues (I'm thinking most about the tossup on Swadesh here; can cite other examples when the set is posted). So while less of the tournament's tossups consisted of "ten line speed checks"/"have you heard of this bowl" as last year, and more people had in fact "heard of" that at 2016 Nats, I still think next year's editing team could be a bit more judicious about which spicy new topics to ask as tossups and which to save for use as bonus parts or clues. In my opinion, the best matches at Nationals are battled out on the middle clues, and that could stand to happen a bit more in future years.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:25 pm

Muriel Axon wrote:
The Stately Rhododendron wrote:The lovely TU on Kieslowski mentions in the first line a scene in Bleu where Juliette Binoche's character watches a man play the recorder while stirring sugar into her coffee. A truly lovely scene and an excellent choice for a lead-in. However, she stirs coffee into a bowl of vanilla ice cream during this scene (which is putting sugar into her coffee in a way, I suppose). Loved the film in this set.
This isn't a mistake; she does watch a sugarcube soak up coffee at least once. I think there may have been multiple scenes where she orders coffee.
Ah! You are right. I was thinking of this one. My bad, Shan.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:32 pm

Adventure Temple Trail wrote:I also really like how prompts in this set were merely underlined (in contrast to acceptable answers, which are underlined and bolded); I would like that to become the new standard for all mACF packets from here on out, since the current waffliness between displaying prompts between "quotes" (much like unacceptable answers) or in bold-and-underline (much like acceptable answers) greatly contributes to moderator error.
Yeah I like this. I'm going to add something like this to QEMS2.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Inifinite Jest » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:08 pm

I really enjoyed this set. The editors did an admirable job of controlling the number of crazy answerlines, and making sure every bonus had a definite easy part. I do think the middle parts could've been a little gentler, and I wasn't a real big fan of the social science and philosophy which seemed to be heavily skewed towards historical figures that aren't super-relevant in their fields nowadays. However, these are pretty minor quibbles. Thanks to all the editors and staffers who made my first ACF Nats a blast.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:32 pm

Yeah, I'm a pretty big fan of asking about crusty old dudes like Lester Ward and Patrick Geddes who have very limited relevance to actual study in the modern sense (or easier examples like Henry George or William Graham Sumner). I realize that's not everybody's cup of tea.

I think the "quizbowl as a reflection of the classroom" movement has always been misguided, pernicious, and boring.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Red Panda Cub » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:54 pm

This tournament was a lot of fun and I can't immediately bring to mind many clunky questions beyond the unfortunate couillarde clue in the Cezanne still life tossup and putting Korsgaard in line one of a Kant tossup.
No Rules Westbrook wrote:Yeah, I'm a pretty big fan of asking about crusty old dudes like Lester Ward and Patrick Geddes who have very limited relevance to actual study in the modern sense (or easier examples like Henry George or William Graham Sumner). I realize that's not everybody's cup of tea.
The Patrick Geddes question was one of the highlights of the tournament (along with, to name a couple other unexpected appearances, Jaako Hintikka and Nell Zink's pen pal) for me, but only because of his special relevance to the contemporary question concerning the use and presentation of architecture in Tel Aviv as a political tool. I can get behind people like him coming up in connection with things like that.
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: I also wrote the tossups on melanoma and the optic nerve and the bonus on mRNA/Q/Variant Calling, in addition to suggesting a bunch of edits elsewhere.
George (a medical student) on my team buzzed early on the optic nerve tossup and said "spinal cord" and maintains that his answer was correct for the clue he buzzed on because the condition described affects the spinal cord, so it might be good to see that question if possible.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Inifinite Jest » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:28 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:I think the "quizbowl as a reflection of the classroom" movement has always been misguided, pernicious, and boring.
Next year I'll be sure to submit a biology tossup on Trofim Lysenko and a chemistry tossup on phlogiston.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:38 pm

Those things routinely come up in the science history part of the distribution; since there really isn't a social science history or philosophy history part of the distro, it's a little harder to figure out where some older, at one time heavily influential, thinkers go. I tend to agree with Ryan's viewpoint for what it's worth.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:44 pm

Short-beaked echidna wrote:
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:I also wrote the tossups on melanoma and the optic nerve and the bonus on mRNA/Q/Variant Calling, in addition to suggesting a bunch of edits elsewhere.
George (a medical student) on my team buzzed early on the optic nerve tossup and said "spinal cord" and maintains that his answer was correct for the clue he buzzed on because the condition described affects the spinal cord, so it might be good to see that question if possible.
The Question wrote:Hypoplasia of this structure can be diagnosed by noting a DD to DM ratio less than 0.35. Because it can cause inflammation of this structure in children under 6, ethambutol is avoided to treat TB in that age group. A disease in which this structure becomes inflamed is caused by autoantibodies to aquaporin-4. An increase in intracranial pressure can be diagnosed by the swelling of the “head” of this nerve, which is also called its namesake “disk”; that swelling is called papilledema. The superior colliculus and lateral geniculate nucleus eventually receive input from this nerve, which decussates at a structure that can be compressed by large tumors in the pituitary gland, its namesake chiasm. A mitochondrial disease named for Leber affects this nerve, which receives axonal projections from retinal ganglion cells. For 10 points, name this cranial nerve that carries visual signals from the eye.
ANSWER: optic nerve [or cranial nerve II or CN II or CN2]

He was probably buzzing on the clue about neuromyelitis optica ("A disease in which this structure becomes inflamed is caused by autoantibodies to aquaporin-4"), which inflames both the spinal cord and the optic nerve. His buzz is ruled out by the previous clues, but I probably should have put a caveat in there. Mea culpa.

Also Ryan's completely wrong about the classroom thing, but I'll note I did ask him to put the "conurbation" clue in that Patrick Geddes question because I think urban planner Chris White told me about it.
Last edited by Sima Guang Hater on Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:48 pm

I wouldn't necessarily go as far as Ryan, but I think quizbowl absolutely has a place for both the hot new academic thing and its somewhat musty historical counterpart.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Ike » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:53 pm

I don't know what Caleb is referring to in SS/P but if it's my questions on stuff like John Locke's Essay or Alcibiades from Plato's Symposium, those are not "super relevant in their fields" or whatever. People actually do read parts of the Theory of Moral Sentiments and Emile for undergraduate classes, old or not.

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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Inifinite Jest » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:15 pm

Ike wrote:IJohn Locke's Essay
This was an excellent tossup and I actually just read the Essay like two weeks ago for a class.
Alcibiades from Plato's Symposium
I seriously doubt that you would ever read the Symposium in a philosophy class because it's not even really a work of philosophy! Certainly, if you take a class on the history of ancient philosophy you would probably read Timaeus or Parminedes, both which are central to understanding Plato's weird metaphysics, but I have no idea why on earth you would ever read Symposium.

Essentially, I think quizbowl needs to ask more things about people like Crispin Wright and William Lycan (that bonus part on Jaako Hintikka was pretty dope btw) and fewer questions on Thomas Bradwardine or John Sallis or whatever other random person someone finds while skimming through Wikipedia, though others will probably disagree with this opinion and that's fine.
Last edited by Inifinite Jest on Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:21 pm

Inifinite Jest wrote:
Alcibiades from Plato's Symposium
I seriously doubt that you would ever read the Symposium in a philosophy class because it's not even really a work of philosophy! Certainly, if you take a class on the history of ancient philosophy you would probably read Timaeus or Parminedes...I have no idea why on earth you would ever read Symposium
I dunno, man.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Inifinite Jest » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:36 pm

Adventure Temple Trail wrote:
Inifinite Jest wrote:
Alcibiades from Plato's Symposium
I seriously doubt that you would ever read the Symposium in a philosophy class because it's not even really a work of philosophy! Certainly, if you take a class on the history of ancient philosophy you would probably read Timaeus or Parminedes...I have no idea why on earth you would ever read Symposium
I dunno, man.
I mean I would argue that Yale has a really weird continental-based philosophy curriculum that is probably not reflective of what you're average undergraduate at a normal analytical-focused department is exposed to
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:38 pm

I mean, I love me some abstruse analytical philosophy, but I don't think claiming that the Symposium is not a work of philosophy is going to advance this discussion very much. Also, the assumption that the analytic tradition is the default of what counts as philosophy is unjustified.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:40 pm

Inifinite Jest wrote:I seriously doubt that you would ever read the Symposium in a philosophy class because it's not even really a work of philosophy! Certainly, if you take a class on the history of ancient philosophy you would probably read Timaeus or Parminedes, both which are central to understanding Plato's weird metaphysics, but I have no idea why on earth you would ever read Symposium.

Essentially, I think quizbowl needs more to ask more things about people like Crispin Wright and William Lycan (that bonus part on Jaako Hintikka was pretty dope btw) and fewer questions on Thomas Bradwardine or John Sallis or whatever other random person someone finds while skimming through Wikipedia, though others will probably disagree with this opinion and that's fine.
This post is pretty misguided, I think. The assertion that Plato's Symposium isn't "really a work of philosophy" is just silly--even something as simple as the wikipedia article can shed some light on its current relevance. The idea that you'd never read it in a philosophy class is even sillier--googling "syllabus plato symposium" brings up all kinds of relevant results, and if that doesn't do it for you, a quick hour's jaunt to the other side of Oklahoma City will give you the opportunity to see an ancient philosophy class doing the unthinkable. Now, I don't want to be too harsh on you specifically, Caleb--this is just a general reminder that one's own personal experience is not necessarily universalizable.

Just because a person is old or not in current academic fashion, let alone because you didn't specifically cover them in a class, doesn't make them irrelevant or unaskable, nor does it mean that someone just found them trawling Wikipedia. One of the great joys of quizbowl is that it covers not just the academic hot topics but the full breadth of intellectual history and human accomplishment. It shouldn't be all dead discredited white men, of course, but neither is it beholden to exclusively cover the cutting edge of academia. There's ample room for both.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Ike » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:41 pm

Inifinite Jest wrote:
Adventure Temple Trail wrote:
Inifinite Jest wrote:
Alcibiades from Plato's Symposium
I seriously doubt that you would ever read the Symposium in a philosophy class because it's not even really a work of philosophy! Certainly, if you take a class on the history of ancient philosophy you would probably read Timaeus or Parminedes...I have no idea why on earth you would ever read Symposium
I dunno, man.
I mean I would argue that Yale has a really weird continental-based philosophy curriculum that is probably not reflective of what you're average undergraduate at a normal analytical-focused department is exposed to
I guess "cognitive nihilism strikes ACF Nationals" as well.

Edit: I've also asked about Crispin Wright before as well - twice!
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Inifinite Jest » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:58 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote: one's own personal experience is not necessarily universalizable.
This is a fair criticism. Also I think I've come off in thread as snarkier/angrier than I actually am. That said I look forward to writing a tournament's worth of philosophy someday very soon.

EDIT:
Auks Ran Ova wrote: a quick hour's jaunt to the other side of Oklahoma City will give you the opportunity to see an ancient philosophy class doing the unthinkable.
BTW, the Symposium listed on the syllabus, according to UCO student Tracey Hickman, is actually referring UCO's Liberal Arts Symposium, a conference where students present the papers they've written. UCO, in fact, doesn't even teach Plato's Symposium.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:00 pm

Inifinite Jest wrote:
Auks Ran Ova wrote: one's own personal experience is not necessarily universalizable.
This is a fair criticism. Also I think I've come off in thread as snarkier/angrier than I actually am. That said I look forward to writing a tournament's worth of philosophy someday very soon.
That sounds exciting and you should definitely do that. I would enjoy playing such a thing very much.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Cody » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:02 pm

I am a strong supporter of the back-to-the-classroom method, but Caleb's post here and Isaac's in the ICT thread are not only wrong about what is actually taught in the classroom, but dangerously proscriptive. By God, faced with such views - I'd have to agree more with Westbrook, who is in polar opposition to my beliefs!

Believing quizbowl should be informed by the classroom curricula is a sound attitude (more so in science than any other subject). But that does not mean that you can't venture outside the classroom, which should be encouraged (after all, no one ever got all their knowledge from the classroom). If you want to see more questions informed by the classroom, yelling at people on the Internet for writing on extremely famous and gettable things is definitely counterproductive to your viewpoint (also, crazy!).
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:06 pm

Unrelatedly, I thought Ike's forays into new conceptual ground with his "literary theory" questions, especially the tossups on "endings" and "genre," were excellent and I'd be happy to see more questions like that from regular difficulty on up.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:19 pm

I'm sorry, I rather purposely derailed this thread by making a pointed ideological comment. I've always felt that quizbowl at its best is something sui generis - and that it doesn't need to rely upon, or have continual reference to, a concept of an academic curriculum in order to maintain a reasonable set of standards about what is important or interesting or askable (though a typical curriculum can be one guidepost to look to, it doesn't need to be any sort of anchor).

Fear not, though - I will lose that battle handily, and quizbowl in 2025 will certainly demand that all tossups contain citations to major university syllabi. The lamps are going out all over the Canon, and we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:26 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:I'm sorry, I rather purposely derailed this thread by making a pointed ideological comment. I've always felt that quizbowl at its best is something sui generis - and that it doesn't need to rely upon, or have continual reference to, a concept of an academic curriculum in order to maintain a reasonable set of standards about what is important or interesting or askable (though a typical curriculum can be one guidepost to look to, it doesn't need to be any sort of anchor).

Fear not, though - I will lose that battle handily, and quizbowl in 2025 will certainly demand that all tossups contain citations to major university syllabi. The lamps are going out all over the Canon, and we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.
As someone who's fairly recently promoted a "curricular" approach to question writing, I'll say that I enjoyed many of the "unfashionable" clues that Ryan is promoting (e.g. the history clues from people like Bemis and Parkman). On the other hand, it's obviously a false dichotomy to oppose clues about "history of ___" to "back to the classroom" questions, since academics also study stuff that is interesting, even if it isn't in vogue.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:29 pm

Cody wrote:I am a strong supporter of the back-to-the-classroom method, but Caleb's post here and Isaac's in the ICT thread are not only wrong about what is actually taught in the classroom, but dangerously proscriptive. By God, faced with such views - I'd have to agree more with Westbrook, who is in polar opposition to my beliefs!

Believing quizbowl should be informed by the classroom curricula is a sound attitude (more so in science than any other subject). But that does not mean that you can't venture outside the classroom, which should be encouraged (after all, no one ever got all their knowledge from the classroom). If you want to see more questions informed by the classroom, yelling at people on the Internet for writing on extremely famous and gettable things is definitely counterproductive to your viewpoint (also, crazy!).
Maybe the reason why people like me and Caleb get upset is that SS is not only a small part of the distro (which is totally reasonable by itself), but when it is asked about, the answerlines usually have no relation to what we actually learn about in school! I am definitely not alone in thinking that the state anthropology (my major, if you didn't know) in quizbowl, for example, is some real shit. It results in people like me and Caleb writing (no offense Caleb) angry and unreasonable posts because hearing questions that subscribe to an outdated view of what our discipline is (in a high stress tournament setting) make us feel angry and unreasonable. Obviously, these are kind of counter-productive, but I wouldn't call them "crazy."
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Cody » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:40 pm

When it results in someone saying we should replace an extremely easy (and presumably well-executed) answerline at what most would agree is a too-hard tournament -- yes, I'd say that's crazy. When it results in you and Caleb arguing that the things asked about are never taught in class (when they are) -- yes, I'd say that's crazy.

Ultimately, nearly everyone has their tiny slice of the quizbowl distribution that they feel isn't representative of the things they learn or are important in their field. But one of the great things about quizbowl is that such questions can and should still be engaging -- and that quizbowl is fluid and ripe for change (see Ike's post about his tact for religion, for example; see also Jake Sundberg's post about math in the CO thread).
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:47 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote: Fear not, though - I will lose that battle handily, and quizbowl in 2025 will certainly demand that all tossups contain citations to major university syllabi. The lamps are going out all over the Canon, and we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.
And yet even in this dystopia, Plato will be asked about.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:47 pm

Not to beat a dead horse, but Thomas Bradwardine is great, and contemporary logicians like Greg Restall and Catarina Dutilh Novaes still look to him as a source of fresh ideas for solving philosophical problems.

This brings me to a more serious point, which is that in philosophy, old ideas are always returning in new guise. Timaeus may be pretty kooky, but those ideas got recycled into Plotinus, and the Italian humanists, and hey, some philosophers may find it profitable to look to them today, too. (I have no problem whatsoever with the fact that, for example, Ike allowed three Plato TUs into ACF Nationals 2015, just because he's so core to the philosophy canon.) I suspect, but can't prove, that this becomes less true in more scientific fields -- anthropologists might give an obligatory nod to Benedict or Turner in their ethnographies, but tend to move on quickly, while biologists and chemists almost never even read primary sources for 100+ year old ideas. Which is why we ask questions about Aquinas but not Lysenko (or even, say, Thomas Hunt Morgan, who was actually right). Philosophers have a lot more to gain from reading to former than we scientists do from reading the latter, and what's more, our training just doesn't include that kind of attention to primary sources, even if it is valuable.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:58 pm

chem was great as usual. Lots of anal. chem. that wouldn't come up elsewhere
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Ike » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:03 am

Adventure Temple Trail wrote:I also really like how prompts in this set were merely underlined (in contrast to acceptable answers, which are underlined and bolded); I would like that to become the new standard for all mACF packets from here on out, since the current waffliness between displaying prompts between "quotes" (much like unacceptable answers) or in bold-and-underline (much like acceptable answers) greatly contributes to moderator error.
Oh yeah, my idea and innovation! I'm going to take credit for this as well. The problem that I've noticed is that some moderators either don't read answerlines specifically enough, especially when they are monstrosities or just assume that bold and underlined means "acceptable answer." Anything that makes moderators able to do simple pattern matching so that they know immediately whether to prompt, neg or accept is something I support.

I guess I'll note some of the quesetions in nationals didn't do this since it's still a habit that the editors were all getting used to, but I too suggest that all mACF tournaments adopt this for the future.

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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Charbroil » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:17 am

Inifinite Jest wrote:
Auks Ran Ova wrote:
EDIT:
Auks Ran Ova wrote: a quick hour's jaunt to the other side of Oklahoma City will give you the opportunity to see an ancient philosophy class doing the unthinkable.
BTW, the Symposium listed on the syllabus, according to UCO student Tracey Hickman, is actually referring UCO's Liberal Arts Symposium, a conference where students present the papers they've written. UCO, in fact, doesn't even teach Plato's Symposium.
Not that it matters, but the Symposium (the work) is in that syllabus right below the "LA Symposium" (the conference).
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:20 am

Charbroil wrote:
Inifinite Jest wrote:
Auks Ran Ova wrote:
EDIT:
Auks Ran Ova wrote: a quick hour's jaunt to the other side of Oklahoma City will give you the opportunity to see an ancient philosophy class doing the unthinkable.
BTW, the Symposium listed on the syllabus, according to UCO student Tracey Hickman, is actually referring UCO's Liberal Arts Symposium, a conference where students present the papers they've written. UCO, in fact, doesn't even teach Plato's Symposium.
Not that it matters, but the Symposium (the work) is in that syllabus right below the "LA Symposium" (the conference).
yeah, "Week 9: Plato, Symposium"
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Picasso's Middle Name » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:28 am

Auks Ran Ova wrote:
Charbroil wrote:
Inifinite Jest wrote:
Auks Ran Ova wrote:
EDIT:
Auks Ran Ova wrote: a quick hour's jaunt to the other side of Oklahoma City will give you the opportunity to see an ancient philosophy class doing the unthinkable.
BTW, the Symposium listed on the syllabus, according to UCO student Tracey Hickman, is actually referring UCO's Liberal Arts Symposium, a conference where students present the papers they've written. UCO, in fact, doesn't even teach Plato's Symposium.
Not that it matters, but the Symposium (the work) is in that syllabus right below the "LA Symposium" (the conference).

[/quote/]yeah, "Week 9: Plato, Symposium"

This is my bad. I told Caleb wrong. Not that it really matters what is taught at UCO. I did take that class for the hell of it last Spring, however, and we did not read that work, so I just assumed it was still left off the syllabus. When I just glanced and saw "LA Symposium", I assumed that's what was seen by everyone. That class was a joke, BTW.
Last edited by Picasso's Middle Name on Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by touchpack » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:29 am

I'd like to extend special thanks to Eric Mukherjee for writing questions, finding extra clues, and generally providing valuable commentary on my stuff. (especially the biology!) It was immensely helpful during a time where I was very busy with real life obligations, ICT, and nationals all at the same time, and the set would have been much worse if not for his help. I'd also like to re-emphasize that Ike put an ENORMOUS amount of work into coordinating production, writing, editing, and proofreading for the set, and the set was much better off because of it.

I don't think my stuff had the same level of polish as it did last year, (I especially apologize for the misplaced clue in the mice tossup, the factually incorrect giveaway on the atomic number tossup, and the ambiguous early clues in the phase tossup) but I still think I did a reasonably good job of finding interesting topics to ask about and I hope people enjoyed playing it!
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by touchpack » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:35 am

Muriel Axon wrote:Not to beat a dead horse, but Thomas Bradwardine is great, and contemporary logicians like Greg Restall and Catarina Dutilh Novaes still look to him as a source of fresh ideas for solving philosophical problems.

This brings me to a more serious point, which is that in philosophy, old ideas are always returning in new guise. Timaeus may be pretty kooky, but those ideas got recycled into Plotinus, and the Italian humanists, and hey, some philosophers may find it profitable to look to them today, too. (I have no problem whatsoever with the fact that, for example, Ike allowed three Plato TUs into ACF Nationals 2015, just because he's so core to the philosophy canon.) I suspect, but can't prove, that this becomes less true in more scientific fields -- anthropologists might give an obligatory nod to Benedict or Turner in their ethnographies, but tend to move on quickly, while biologists and chemists almost never even read primary sources for 100+ year old ideas. Which is why we ask questions about Aquinas but not Lysenko (or even, say, Thomas Hunt Morgan, who was actually right). Philosophers have a lot more to gain from reading to former than we scientists do from reading the latter, and what's more, our training just doesn't include that kind of attention to primary sources, even if it is valuable.
I think this post gets a lot of things right re: classroom study of science vs social science vs philosophy. I'd also like to emphasize that when you go far back in science, you get a lot of stuff that doesn't have ANY standards of rigor with regards to coming up with testable hypotheses, robust experimentation, etc. Stuff like Lysenko and phlogiston would make for terrible science questions, since, well, by any modern definition, they are not science! However, science history can still be a valid topic to write about when written well--see, for example, my tossup on vitamin B12 for this tournament (chemistry distribution) and Ike's bonus on astatine / IUPAC / Segre (other academic distribution).

I can't speak for SS/phil since I know very little about them, but I'd wager that 1) the SS/phil "classroom canon" is MUCH more heterogeneous among different universities than the science canon is and 2) the ss/phil "classroom canon" incorporates many more historically important ideas than the science "classroom canon."

Also, to Caleb/Issac, if there are things coming up in your classes that you think are important that quizbowl is neglecting, just write about them yourselves! Eventually, they'll worm their way into the canon, and maybe you'll get to hear them in ACF nationals 2020 or whatever. I've certainly introduced tons of things into the canon in my relatively short writing career.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:10 am

Ike wrote:
Adventure Temple Trail wrote:I also really like how prompts in this set were merely underlined (in contrast to acceptable answers, which are underlined and bolded); I would like that to become the new standard for all mACF packets from here on out, since the current waffliness between displaying prompts between "quotes" (much like unacceptable answers) or in bold-and-underline (much like acceptable answers) greatly contributes to moderator error.
Oh yeah, my idea and innovation! I'm going to take credit for this as well.
Then you're going to have to go back in time and stop me from doing it in RILKE first, last summer.
Last edited by ThisIsMyUsername on Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2016 Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:51 am

Inifinite Jest wrote:
No Rules Westbrook wrote:I think the "quizbowl as a reflection of the classroom" movement has always been misguided, pernicious, and boring.
Next year I'll be sure to submit a biology tossup on Trofim Lysenko and a chemistry tossup on phlogiston.
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