Culture of Improvement discussion

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Mike Bentley
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Culture of Improvement discussion

Post by Mike Bentley »

Use this thread to discuss A Culture of Improvement.

Overall I was pretty happy with how the tournament ended up. Power numbers were a bit less than I expected given that I tried to make them pretty generous.

In retrospect, the computer distribution ended up being a bit too much on the pre-2000s side of things. I find this area very interesting and there are generally lots of good clues on these things, but I suspect that the field knows less about this stuff than other areas.

The history questions also skewed a bit more 19th century US and British than maybe they should have, although these two countries and times are always going to have a large space in a distribution like this.

Given that I still have a giant OneNote of ideas, I suspect that I'll write another one of these at some point.
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Re: Culture of Improvement discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I actually liked this set better than the first one although that may have just been a quirk in this set hitting the articles I've read more (it felt like the tech stuff was less over my head).

I thought I remembered one question being very similar to one of your CO questions--maybe I'm wrong.
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Re: Culture of Improvement discussion

Post by Cody »

Mike Bentley wrote:In retrospect, the computer distribution ended up being a bit too much on the pre-2000s side of things. I find this area very interesting and there are generally lots of good clues on these things, but I suspect that the field knows less about this stuff than other areas.
What were some of the answers you thought people were less likely to know? I greatly enjoyed the computer distribution.
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Re: Culture of Improvement discussion

Post by 15.366 »

Mike Bentley wrote:Use this thread to discuss A Culture of Improvement.

Overall I was pretty happy with how the tournament ended up. Power numbers were a bit less than I expected given that I tried to make them pretty generous.

In retrospect, the computer distribution ended up being a bit too much on the pre-2000s side of things. I find this area very interesting and there are generally lots of good clues on these things, but I suspect that the field knows less about this stuff than other areas.
I believe the "aviation industry" (and its use of computers) question was one of these? I got it on Sabre, and that was still in power, but I'm really glad it came up because the endurance of Sabre is fascinating. Also, WordPerfect, Napster and the screensavers question would fit into that category --- I got the sense I was showing my age when those questions came up.
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Re: Culture of Improvement discussion

Post by Mike Bentley »

15.366 wrote:
Mike Bentley wrote:Use this thread to discuss A Culture of Improvement.

Overall I was pretty happy with how the tournament ended up. Power numbers were a bit less than I expected given that I tried to make them pretty generous.

In retrospect, the computer distribution ended up being a bit too much on the pre-2000s side of things. I find this area very interesting and there are generally lots of good clues on these things, but I suspect that the field knows less about this stuff than other areas.
I believe the "aviation industry" (and its use of computers) question was one of these? I got it on Sabre, and that was still in power, but I'm really glad it came up because the endurance of Sabre is fascinating. Also, WordPerfect, Napster and the screensavers question would fit into that category --- I got the sense I was showing my age when those questions came up.
Yeah in retrospect it was more that the clues on these things were pretty difficult rather than the answer lines. Prodigy is probably the most difficult answer of this type which I let into the set. There were a few in a similar vein which were cut.
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Re: Culture of Improvement discussion

Post by 15.366 »

Well, I would not have called Reveal Codes on WordPerfect a power-worthy clue --- but then I've actually used WordPerfect 7 and 8, so I guess it rewarded "true knowledge." Everyone I know who had lived through the era of WordPerfect names Reveal Codes as the thing that was its hallmark and the thing they miss most about it.
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Re: Culture of Improvement discussion

Post by Mike Bentley »

I think this tournament ends up having a higher proportion of biography questions than most events. In particular, I try to fit in a question on "here's someone or something famous in one realm, but present it in the context of the Culture of Improvement distribution". One example of this type of question was the question on Pierre Beaumarchais. This guys is obviously most famous for his plays, but he also had an interesting career as an inventor, businessman and spy. Another of this type of question, although maybe to a lesser degree, was the Claude Shannon question.

I wonder if there's an appetite in the future for a tournament that is even more heavily weighted towards biography questions. Artists and authors often have interesting lives that are a bit removed from the works they created and thus don't get asked about much in the literature and art distributions.

(There's also the danger that it would just get a bit tiring to here amusing anecdotes over and over again.)

Another type of question that showed up a bit in this tournament (and We Have Never Been Modern) is the videogame question viewed from a technical angle. How games are made, limitations of videogame platforms, interesting quirks about games, etc. are all very appealing for me to write about. One day I'll probably at least write a packet on these types of questions.
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Re: Culture of Improvement discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Actually if I have any complaints about this tournament (which I enjoyed immensely), it's the preponderance of biography and to a lesser extent, consumer products. I feel like an event of this sort has the potential to explore a lot of territory that is normally under-explored in quizbowl, and the formulaic nature of biography questions annoys me. I thought your first tournament did better on this front.
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Re: Culture of Improvement discussion

Post by Cheynem »

(There's also the danger that it would just get a bit tiring to here amusing anecdotes over and over again.)
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Re: Culture of Improvement discussion

Post by Mike Bentley »

Snap Wexley wrote:Actually if I have any complaints about this tournament (which I enjoyed immensely), it's the preponderance of biography and to a lesser extent, consumer products. I feel like an event of this sort has the potential to explore a lot of territory that is normally under-explored in quizbowl, and the formulaic nature of biography questions annoys me. I thought your first tournament did better on this front.
In retrospect there were probably a few more tossups on people this year than last year, although I think the topics asked about were reasonably similar. I could see the argument for tilting a bit more towards more rigorous history of technology in a few of the questions, but at the same time I think most of these biography questions were fun to write and play.
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