### Math Monstrosity - General Discussion

Posted:

**Wed May 31, 2017 12:13 pm**Hello.

This is the place to have discussion about the set as a whole.

This is the place to have discussion about the set as a whole.

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https://hsquizbowl.org/forums/

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Posted: **Wed May 31, 2017 12:13 pm**

Hello.

This is the place to have discussion about the set as a whole.

This is the place to have discussion about the set as a whole.

Posted: **Wed May 31, 2017 12:31 pm**

I did not play Math Monstrosity expecting it to be a sterling set, but I was rather aggrieved that it violated several fundamental tenets of quizbowl that one would expect of a set . To wit: repeats, extremely variable difficulty, and moderator clarity.

From my understanding, the entirety of this set was written by one person. Why, then, were there so many repeats? Clues about the Weierstrass function were used in three different packets I played, including a tossup on it that reused the phrase "monster~~ of real analysis" – a distinctive phrase that no one uses and which served no purpose in repeating! I literally tore apart a notepad in disbelief that you tossed up the Weierstrass function with clues repeated in other tossups ~~*twice*. This was by no means an isolated instance, just the most personally frustrating.

With respect to extremely variable difficulty, the questions ranged from middle-school lead-ins to two tossups on electrical engineering content that I couldn't come close to converting (and I am quizbowl's foremost lover of communications systems!). It's one thing to note that we shouldn't "game" the answerlines and another entirely to have tossups all over the map with clue difficulty.

Lastly, what in the world were you thinking typesetting the set in LaTeX with mathematical formulae when the set was supposed to be read by*people who are not you*? I did this for my electrical engineering tournament, but I was the only one reading it and I knew what everything meant. The lack of clarity in the question text was a real disservice to both the moderators who volunteered their time, and the teams that played.

(Somewhat less prevalent problems were hoses – such as that tossup on periodicity – and that not enough attention was paid to acceptable answers.)

From my understanding, the entirety of this set was written by one person. Why, then, were there so many repeats? Clues about the Weierstrass function were used in three different packets I played, including a tossup on it that reused the phrase "monster

With respect to extremely variable difficulty, the questions ranged from middle-school lead-ins to two tossups on electrical engineering content that I couldn't come close to converting (and I am quizbowl's foremost lover of communications systems!). It's one thing to note that we shouldn't "game" the answerlines and another entirely to have tossups all over the map with clue difficulty.

Lastly, what in the world were you thinking typesetting the set in LaTeX with mathematical formulae when the set was supposed to be read by

(Somewhat less prevalent problems were hoses – such as that tossup on periodicity – and that not enough attention was paid to acceptable answers.)

Posted: **Wed May 31, 2017 1:27 pm**

Yeah, this was a problem. Most of the clue repeats were corrected after I read the set, and I apologize for not checking more thoroughly before the set was first run.Cody wrote:From my understanding, the entirety of this set was written by one person. Why, then, were there so many repeats? Clues about the Weierstrass function were used in three different packets I played, including a tossup on it that reused the phrase "monster~~of real analysis" – a distinctive phrase that no one uses and which served no purpose in repeating! I literally tore apart a notepad in disbelief that you tossed up the Weierstrass function with clues repeated in other tossups~~twice. This was by no means an isolated instance, just the most personally frustrating.

The "middle-school lead-in" was, I assume, the Argand diagrams lead-in? With regard to that one, I had legitimately never seen that term used anywhere by mathematics people or mathematics textbooks, and was unaware that the practice of plotting complex numbers on the plane had an eponymous name. As such, I thought it would make a great lead-in, so you can imagine my surprise when it was mentioned in MSNCT.Cody wrote:With respect to extremely variable difficulty, the questions ranged from middle-school lead-ins to two tossups on electrical engineering content that I couldn't come close to converting (and I am quizbowl's foremost lover of communications systems!). It's one thing to note that we shouldn't "game" the answerlines and another entirely to have tossups all over the map with clue difficulty.

As for the difficulty gradation, I thought I was pretty clear in the forum announcement of the set that there would be extremely variant difficulty -- I believe my only promise was that most of the questions would be harder than Fall, and most of the questions would be easier than CO. I think I fulfilled that promise -- I'm sorry if you didn't enjoy playing a set with variant difficulty, but I don't think it should have been particularly unexpected.

This was a mistake on my part -- I should have at least spelled out all of the formulae that were more complicated than (x^2), and will be doing so before the next time this is run.Cody wrote:Lastly, what in the world were you thinking typesetting the set in LaTeX with mathematical formulae when the set was supposed to be read bypeople who are not you? I did this for my electrical engineering tournament, but I was the only one reading it and I knew what everything meant. The lack of clarity in the question text was a real disservice to both the moderators who volunteered their time, and the teams that played.

What exactly was the tossup on periodicity a hose for? (That's an honest question).Cody wrote:(Somewhat less prevalent problems were hoses – such as that tossup on periodicity – and that not enough attention was paid to acceptable answers.)

As for the "acceptable answers" bit, I thought I did a pretty good job of providing alternate answers (save for that one question in which I forgot to accept "onto" for "surjective"). Can you provide any specific examples so I can fix them if need be?

Posted: **Wed May 31, 2017 3:59 pm**

Alright. Now that I have more time, I'll type up a longer thing.

This set was great fun to write, and I hope that everyone playing it enjoyed it. I tried to provide a mix of "typical math answerlines" (see: compactness, cyclic groups, etc.) and more out-there material (see: long line, Erdős number); I suspect the latter was more difficult than the former, both because of the fact that it comes up less often in quizbowl and because of the fact that it is simply more obscure material. I recognize that there are certainly problems with the set, most notably sloppy clue repeats, as Cody correctly pointed out. I've done my best to correct such repeats after each running of the set (for example, I completely overhauled the Weierstrass function tossup before it was run at HSNCT).

Some comments on my approach to specific categories and other things:

-- In general, I tried to include a fairly good number of tossups on properties rather than specific algebraic objects, for example the tossup on "normal" that was able to clue things from linear algebra, functional analysis, and group theory. In general, I find that these kinds of tossups are more accessible, and also give me the opportunity to include very hard subjects as lead-ins to an easier tossup rather than writing loads of impossible tossups (although there were still definitely a few of those).

-- I tried to make the "history of math" category a decent balance between tossups on important mathematicians and tossups on the evolution of various concepts through history (like the tossup on "zero" or "squaring the circle"). I tried to choose interesting topics rather than just "let's have a tossup on things named for Cauchy", and I think I succeeded more in the second category than the first (there were definitely a couple mathematician tossups which were just "here are some things named for a person").

-- As for the "recreational" distribution, I generally tried to toss up things which were not only interesting but also meaningful to real mathematicians; for example, spaceships in Conway's Game of Life, specifically non-glider spaceships which move at various speeds, are important because they allow for the creation of computer-like constructs within Game of Life; likewise, Latin squares are used for experimental design to remove biases. There were, however, a few tossups I included just for being "cool", like the taxicab geometry tossup and the Futurama body-switching tossup. I also tried to include some questions on "mathy" things that would not be considered math in a standard ACF distribution, because they're things that are either a) generally of importance to people who do mathematics, b) show the importance of mathematics in non-mathematical fields, or c) are just cool.

In any event, I know this set has problems, but hopefully there was enough interesting and fun material asked about to outweigh those problems.

This set was great fun to write, and I hope that everyone playing it enjoyed it. I tried to provide a mix of "typical math answerlines" (see: compactness, cyclic groups, etc.) and more out-there material (see: long line, Erdős number); I suspect the latter was more difficult than the former, both because of the fact that it comes up less often in quizbowl and because of the fact that it is simply more obscure material. I recognize that there are certainly problems with the set, most notably sloppy clue repeats, as Cody correctly pointed out. I've done my best to correct such repeats after each running of the set (for example, I completely overhauled the Weierstrass function tossup before it was run at HSNCT).

Some comments on my approach to specific categories and other things:

-- In general, I tried to include a fairly good number of tossups on properties rather than specific algebraic objects, for example the tossup on "normal" that was able to clue things from linear algebra, functional analysis, and group theory. In general, I find that these kinds of tossups are more accessible, and also give me the opportunity to include very hard subjects as lead-ins to an easier tossup rather than writing loads of impossible tossups (although there were still definitely a few of those).

-- I tried to make the "history of math" category a decent balance between tossups on important mathematicians and tossups on the evolution of various concepts through history (like the tossup on "zero" or "squaring the circle"). I tried to choose interesting topics rather than just "let's have a tossup on things named for Cauchy", and I think I succeeded more in the second category than the first (there were definitely a couple mathematician tossups which were just "here are some things named for a person").

-- As for the "recreational" distribution, I generally tried to toss up things which were not only interesting but also meaningful to real mathematicians; for example, spaceships in Conway's Game of Life, specifically non-glider spaceships which move at various speeds, are important because they allow for the creation of computer-like constructs within Game of Life; likewise, Latin squares are used for experimental design to remove biases. There were, however, a few tossups I included just for being "cool", like the taxicab geometry tossup and the Futurama body-switching tossup. I also tried to include some questions on "mathy" things that would not be considered math in a standard ACF distribution, because they're things that are either a) generally of importance to people who do mathematics, b) show the importance of mathematics in non-mathematical fields, or c) are just cool.

In any event, I know this set has problems, but hopefully there was enough interesting and fun material asked about to outweigh those problems.

Posted: **Wed May 31, 2017 9:29 pm**

Also, if anyone would like the packets, they are here. Obviously, please don't share the link with people who haven't played the set.

Posted: **Wed May 31, 2017 11:09 pm**

To be fair, Cody, I hadn't heard the term "Argand diagram" before this weekend either (or at the very least heard that term in a very long time)! I suppose that's because most mathematicians just refer to the complex plane as either the complex plane or C. Naturally, having read MSNCT, I easily first clued that myself but wouldn't have done so if I hadn't read it. Wikipedia states that Argand was an amateur mathematician, so I guess we forget to mention his name when describing the complex plane or something.

Posted: **Wed May 31, 2017 11:23 pm**

Argand diagrams come up plenty at low difficulty levels (whether they should or not); MSNCT was not an aberration. https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=013554591 ... 20plane%22

Posted: **Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:05 am**

My general impression of the set is as follows:

Problems:

1. LaTeX for the set? I mean it looks nice but isn't really necessary.

2. Equations in the questions? Almost certainly not a good idea, especially that Ramanujan one! Write out the stuff you want people to read in English (we all know that language!).

3. You meant well with the "how to read math" page but in the end the person who was reading off the cell phone probably didn't care much to remember all of that anyway and said things like "weird S sign" for integral signs and whatnot. Just follow #2.

4. Yes, the difficulty did have a lot of unfortunate swings. At the same time I think you gave a really good effort to include as much material from as many different areas as possible. As this was your first major writing exercise, you were never really going to get this right. In particular the comp seemed to be easier than pretty much everything else.

5. Problematic lead-ins. I feel like this was an issue on fewer than an eighth of the questions, however it was definitely enough to cause a bit of confusion. That's just an offhanded estimate - I have yet to go back and read through the set. There were several times where I could have just first clued something but decided to wait a bit because I thought the lead-ins were a little too good to be true (the convergence tossup was a major offender here) and then proceeded to wait for more, which caused me to lose out on quite a few buzzes.

6. Comp math. Boo. Our strategy for these was for me to pretend to forget how to add, subtract, integrate, etc and just let Harrison deal with them. I have no further comment. :)

7. Clue repeats from time to time.

With that being said:

1. This is your first major writing assignment and writing 252 math tossups for a single event is not an easy task. Indeed, it's a task literally no one in the history of quizbowl besides yourself has actually even attempted (and probably a task no one outside of NAQT writers and maybe a couple of other people has ever done in their career before), so we should definitely thank you for your effort. Yes, there were many many fuckups but at the end of the day...

2. ...there was a lot of excellent creative content in this tournament. In particular I like that you explored topics that quizbowl hadn't even attempted to explore before you wrote this tournament. I think these tossups were the strongest part of the tournament. My impression was that the questions on harder topics were written a lot better than the ones on easier topics. For instance, that tossup on differential equations was a special little angel.

3. The set was still really fun to play, at least from my point of view. A lot of things that you messed up on are definitely easily correctable. This is not something that's particularly easy to get right the first time, especially for a freshman. With more classroom exposure and writing experience your habits will improve significantly.

Thanks for writing the set!

Problems:

1. LaTeX for the set? I mean it looks nice but isn't really necessary.

2. Equations in the questions? Almost certainly not a good idea, especially that Ramanujan one! Write out the stuff you want people to read in English (we all know that language!).

3. You meant well with the "how to read math" page but in the end the person who was reading off the cell phone probably didn't care much to remember all of that anyway and said things like "weird S sign" for integral signs and whatnot. Just follow #2.

4. Yes, the difficulty did have a lot of unfortunate swings. At the same time I think you gave a really good effort to include as much material from as many different areas as possible. As this was your first major writing exercise, you were never really going to get this right. In particular the comp seemed to be easier than pretty much everything else.

5. Problematic lead-ins. I feel like this was an issue on fewer than an eighth of the questions, however it was definitely enough to cause a bit of confusion. That's just an offhanded estimate - I have yet to go back and read through the set. There were several times where I could have just first clued something but decided to wait a bit because I thought the lead-ins were a little too good to be true (the convergence tossup was a major offender here) and then proceeded to wait for more, which caused me to lose out on quite a few buzzes.

6. Comp math. Boo. Our strategy for these was for me to pretend to forget how to add, subtract, integrate, etc and just let Harrison deal with them. I have no further comment. :)

7. Clue repeats from time to time.

With that being said:

1. This is your first major writing assignment and writing 252 math tossups for a single event is not an easy task. Indeed, it's a task literally no one in the history of quizbowl besides yourself has actually even attempted (and probably a task no one outside of NAQT writers and maybe a couple of other people has ever done in their career before), so we should definitely thank you for your effort. Yes, there were many many fuckups but at the end of the day...

2. ...there was a lot of excellent creative content in this tournament. In particular I like that you explored topics that quizbowl hadn't even attempted to explore before you wrote this tournament. I think these tossups were the strongest part of the tournament. My impression was that the questions on harder topics were written a lot better than the ones on easier topics. For instance, that tossup on differential equations was a special little angel.

3. The set was still really fun to play, at least from my point of view. A lot of things that you messed up on are definitely easily correctable. This is not something that's particularly easy to get right the first time, especially for a freshman. With more classroom exposure and writing experience your habits will improve significantly.

Thanks for writing the set!

Posted: **Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:14 am**

I agree with Jake. My biggest problems with the set were the inconsistent power-marking and occasional transparency (Konigsberg comes to mind). I also thought the comp math was a bit too easy, and not particularly enjoyable either. However, none of these errors come close to overshadowing the fact that **there now exists a 252-tossup math tournament**. Like Jake said, most of the errors are easily correctable, and this set was incredibly fun to play. Nice work!

Posted: **Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:10 pm**

Jake pretty much hit the nail on the head. I do think that a lot of the issues in the tournament with transparency, consistency and difficulty simply resulted from there being only one writer. I had a lot of fun playing the set and negging myself to high hell (well, I had fun when I deserved to be negged at least *looks at the homotopy group tossup*). If a math side event like this runs again (which I think it should, because as evidenced by this set there's a huge amount of math content that never sees the light of day otherwise) I'd be happy to help write/edit for that.

Posted: **Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:38 pm**

I would as well.The Real Master of Flémalle wrote:If a math side event like this runs again (which I think it should, because as evidenced by this set there's a huge amount of math content that never sees the light of day otherwise) I'd be happy to help write/edit for that.

Posted: **Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:23 pm**

I'll add my voice to the chorus supporting Jake's post, and repeat the part about this set being a lot of fun to play.

Posted: **Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:44 pm**

There were a lot of things in this set I was happy to see come up, and I'm glad I got to play it. That being said, I had a few systematic issues with the set (some of which have already been mentioned in one form or another):

1. Several things weren't repeats per se, but occupy the same small slice of the answer space as each other and so probably shouldn't have both come up. The best example of this I can remember is the tossup on curl: I figured out it was some vector calc operation, and gradient had already come up, so I took the 50-50.

2. The "pyramidal" comp math was frustrating, since it's hard to decide at game speed when the computation is easy enough that you think you can finish it before the other team finishes either that computation or any of the easier ones following it. (I see now that your moderator instructions say to wait 2-3 seconds between clues, but this wasn't really done, and even if it was, doesn't fully resolve this problem.)

3. There were a lot of transparency issues. Examples that come to mind are OEIS, GEB, Bernoulli (as pointed out above), Elements, Klein bottle. This is not counting questions that rapidly narrowed the answer space to the point where guessing seemed optimal, like squaring the circle, Japan, and chess.

4. This might just be me, since no one else has mentioned this (although I am surprised by that), but I thought this tournament could have afforded to cut back a bit on name dropping. Take the tossup on outliers for example:

Again, I enjoyed playing a math tournament as much as the next person, but I think I could have enjoyed it a lot more if not for issues like these.

1. Several things weren't repeats per se, but occupy the same small slice of the answer space as each other and so probably shouldn't have both come up. The best example of this I can remember is the tossup on curl: I figured out it was some vector calc operation, and gradient had already come up, so I took the 50-50.

2. The "pyramidal" comp math was frustrating, since it's hard to decide at game speed when the computation is easy enough that you think you can finish it before the other team finishes either that computation or any of the easier ones following it. (I see now that your moderator instructions say to wait 2-3 seconds between clues, but this wasn't really done, and even if it was, doesn't fully resolve this problem.)

3. There were a lot of transparency issues. Examples that come to mind are OEIS, GEB, Bernoulli (as pointed out above), Elements, Klein bottle. This is not counting questions that rapidly narrowed the answer space to the point where guessing seemed optimal, like squaring the circle, Japan, and chess.

4. This might just be me, since no one else has mentioned this (although I am surprised by that), but I thought this tournament could have afforded to cut back a bit on name dropping. Take the tossup on outliers for example:

I like this answer line and the things being clued are interesting. But this is essentially just a list of words associated with outliers until the penultimate sentence. It would have been nice to have some of these tests described instead of having their names thrown out in rapid succession. There were several other tossups I can recall in this vein, including Diophantine equations, space-filling curves, and primality tests, all of which you could answer just as well from having read a Wikipedia article as having taken a class.MM Packet 7, Tossup 7 wrote: Dixon names a test for identifying these things which he says should not be used more than once. These things, which come in point, collective, and contextual varieties, can be detected by Grubb's test. Chauvenet names a criterion for determining whether these things should be taken into account, and an earlier criterion for that is named for Peirce. Two methods for dealing with these things are trimming and Winsorising. The median is preferred to the mean for determining central tendencies because it is less affected by these. For ten points, identify these data points which are far away from the rest of the data in a data set.

ANSWER:outliers

Again, I enjoyed playing a math tournament as much as the next person, but I think I could have enjoyed it a lot more if not for issues like these.

Posted: **Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:36 pm**

There was quite a bit of name dropping, but I didn't mention that in my critique because attempting to change all of those things would have amounted to Conor having to rewrite quite a bit of the set. Yes, it does feel a bit better to buzz on descriptions of things you learned in class as opposed to buzzwords. The more experience Conor gets, the easier it will be for him to do this sort of thing.

Side note #1: Conor, I think you should, for the sake of the non-math people in the quizbowl community, go back and assign a difficulty level to these answerlines before you post the set. I think this could give quizbowlers a general idea of what they should and shouldn't write about when they're submitting packets, etc. At least let them know which ones of these are beyond the scope of quizbowl and which ones could conceivably come up at things higher than regular difficulty on occasion. That way kiddos don't get the weird idea of tossing up things like idempotence in their Regs submissions and whatnot.

Side note #2: The challenge of future math monstrosities will be finding ways to introduce new material without becoming impossibly inaccessible for those outside of the inner circle of quizbowl mathematics. We only have a certain number of easy tossupable answerlines to work with, so for the next version we will probably have to move some of the answerline space (at least quite a bit of the easy answerline space) over towards statistics, applied math, and related fields. Otherwise, we will have repeated topic after repeated topic. Or who knows, maybe this sort of event would benefit from an increase in difficulty in the latter rounds? I know I wouldn't be opposed to that.

Side note #3: You mean I'm actually going to have to study for the next math monstrosity? Geez, I was enjoying my slow decay into worthlessness...

Side note #1: Conor, I think you should, for the sake of the non-math people in the quizbowl community, go back and assign a difficulty level to these answerlines before you post the set. I think this could give quizbowlers a general idea of what they should and shouldn't write about when they're submitting packets, etc. At least let them know which ones of these are beyond the scope of quizbowl and which ones could conceivably come up at things higher than regular difficulty on occasion. That way kiddos don't get the weird idea of tossing up things like idempotence in their Regs submissions and whatnot.

Side note #2: The challenge of future math monstrosities will be finding ways to introduce new material without becoming impossibly inaccessible for those outside of the inner circle of quizbowl mathematics. We only have a certain number of easy tossupable answerlines to work with, so for the next version we will probably have to move some of the answerline space (at least quite a bit of the easy answerline space) over towards statistics, applied math, and related fields. Otherwise, we will have repeated topic after repeated topic. Or who knows, maybe this sort of event would benefit from an increase in difficulty in the latter rounds? I know I wouldn't be opposed to that.

Side note #3: You mean I'm actually going to have to study for the next math monstrosity? Geez, I was enjoying my slow decay into worthlessness...

Posted: **Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:11 pm**

This is a pretty good idea, but I don't know very much about what comes up when where how. Perhaps this could be a collaborative effort. (Also, are you saying people *shouldn't* write about the long line for Regionals?)The Ununtiable Twine wrote:Side note #1: Conor, I think you should, for the sake of the non-math people in the quizbowl community, go back and assign a difficulty level to these answerlines before you post the set. I think this could give quizbowlers a general idea of what they should and shouldn't write about when they're submitting packets, etc. At least let them know which ones of these are beyond the scope of quizbowl and which ones could conceivably come up at things higher than regular difficulty on occasion. That way kiddos don't get the weird idea of tossing up things like idempotence in their Regs submissions and whatnot.

I disagree. I think it would be perfectly fine for 2019 Math Monstrosity to have tossups on the same answerlines as this tournament -- even the easier answerlines have lots of different clues that you could use for them, especially early clues; besides, it's not really a problem if two tossups have the same giveaway / pre-FTP clue. Additionally, if said hypothetical future math monstrosity were written and/or edited by multiple people, that would probably also help generate some variety of answerlines -- so I don't think we need to make all the easy tossups stats in order to have another math tournament.The Ununtiable Twine wrote:Side note #2: The challenge of future math monstrosities will be finding ways to introduce new material without becoming impossibly inaccessible for those outside of the inner circle of quizbowl mathematics. We only have a certain number of easy tossupable answerlines to work with, so for the next version we will probably have to move some of the answerline space (at least quite a bit of the easy answerline space) over towards statistics, applied math, and related fields. Otherwise, we will have repeated topic after repeated topic. Or who knows, maybe this sort of event would benefit from an increase in difficulty in the latter rounds? I know I wouldn't be opposed to that.

In any event, I would really like for there to be a second Math Monstrosity / similarly themed side event, and if it's a packet-sub, I'd definitely write a packet for it.

Posted: **Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:21 pm**

Everyone seems to be echoing Jake's post, so...

Yeah, but it's not a bad thing, is it?The Ununtiable Twine wrote:1. LaTeX for the set? I mean it looks nice but isn't really necessary.

I fixed most of this.The Ununtiable Twine wrote:2. Equations in the questions? Almost certainly not a good idea, especially that Ramanujan one! Write out the stuff you want people to read in English (we all know that language!).

3. You meant well with the "how to read math" page but in the end the person who was reading off the cell phone probably didn't care much to remember all of that anyway and said things like "weird S sign" for integral signs and whatnot. Just follow #2.

Ayup. I knew the difficulty was going to be all over the place and so I decided just to be upfront about that rather than trying to control it more closely. (On a related note, this tournament had bonuses once -- I think I wrote about 50-60 before realizing it was a terrible idea. Perhaps I'll post them sometime (at least the ones I didn't reuse for other things) so you can all laugh at the bullet we all dodged.The Ununtiable Twine wrote:4. Yes, the difficulty did have a lot of unfortunate swings. At the same time I think you gave a really good effort to include as much material from as many different areas as possible. As this was your first major writing exercise, you were never really going to get this right. In particular the comp seemed to be easier than pretty much everything else.

This is probably mostly true, but also partially a result of people being good at math. In any event, the weakest part of my writing, besides the name-dropping that's been mentioned, was the fact that I don't know very much about what comes up in quizbowl, so my sense of relative difficulty can be waaay off (Argand diagrams in the first line being the best example).The Ununtiable Twine wrote:5. Problematic lead-ins. I feel like this was an issue on fewer than an eighth of the questions, however it was definitely enough to cause a bit of confusion. That's just an offhanded estimate - I have yet to go back and read through the set. There were several times where I could have just first clued something but decided to wait a bit because I thought the lead-ins were a little too good to be true (the convergence tossup was a major offender here) and then proceeded to wait for more, which caused me to lose out on quite a few buzzes.

Yeah, I didn't include very much of this, and I'm sure it could be done better.The Ununtiable Twine wrote:6. Comp math. Boo. Our strategy for these was for me to pretend to forget how to add, subtract, integrate, etc and just let Harrison deal with them. I have no further comment. :)

I did my best to excise these so there shouldn't be many in the final set. This was mostly a product of my writing all the questions one after another and often forgetting that I'd used the same clue in a different tossup that I'd written a month ago.The Ununtiable Twine wrote:7. Clue repeats from time to time.

Thanks for playing it, all! I'm glad to see people enjoyed playing the set, and I look forward to losing to all of you at Math Monstrosity 2.0!The Ununtiable Twine wrote:With that being said:

1. This is your first major writing assignment and writing 252 math tossups for a single event is not an easy task. Indeed, it's a task literally no one in the history of quizbowl besides yourself has actually even attempted (and probably a task no one outside of NAQT writers and maybe a couple of other people has ever done in their career before), so we should definitely thank you for your effort. Yes, there were many many fuckups but at the end of the day...

2. ...there was a lot of excellent creative content in this tournament. In particular I like that you explored topics that quizbowl hadn't even attempted to explore before you wrote this tournament. I think these tossups were the strongest part of the tournament. My impression was that the questions on harder topics were written a lot better than the ones on easier topics. For instance, that tossup on differential equations was a special little angel.

3. The set was still really fun to play, at least from my point of view. A lot of things that you messed up on are definitely easily correctable. This is not something that's particularly easy to get right the first time, especially for a freshman. With more classroom exposure and writing experience your habits will improve significantly.

Thanks for writing the set!

Posted: **Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:14 pm**

[EDIT] Some of this is probably in the wrong forum. I did not realize there was more than one. I apologize if this is the case.

[EDIT] I tried to remove a lot of the stuff that does not belong here.

First, this tournament was by far the most enjoyable one I have ever played in my quiz bowl career. I am a high school student who has taken linear algebra, algebra (using Dummit and Foote), complex analysis, measure theory (mostly with the goal of discussing Lebesgue integration), and convex geometry classes (which I think followed Brøndsted's Intro to Convex Polytopes) and I have read a non-trivial amount of Baby Rudin. This means everything I have played before now has been mostly comprised of first clues that seem trivial and hasn't even touched much on my knowledge base. Because of this tournament I now see that there are levels of quiz bowl that actually reward math knowledge, so I thank you for that.

1. I was very happy that at least the algebra questions seemed to do a fairly good job of rewarding real knowledge. I would say I got the majority of group theory questions (Klein Four, Lagrange's Theorem, cyclic groups, alternating groups, etc) I heard, even during the shootout, during which I was beat on most other questions (I sadly lost a buzzer-race on Sylow Theorems, but was able to fraud the Monster Group). Since the only major part of the distribution I have learned in a class setting in is group theory, I would say this is indicative of questions that reward knowledge. Concerning other "real knowledge": Sadly, I did not remember that we called a convex basis that, so I never got points from my convex geometry knowledge, but I did however get the Cauchy question from the complex analysis clues. I'm kind of rambling, but Main Point: I thank you for finally allowing me to play questions that rewarded the math knowledge I have.

2. This is just a question about college quiz bowl (This stems from me not knowing about the college math canon): Is group theory given a lot more emphasis than other parts of algebra? There seemed to be many more questions related to groups than rings, fields, etc. As someone who has taken algebra classes and read a fair portion of Dummit and Foote, many of the group theory questions seemed pretty difficult to power, but the question on rings that began "Modules are like vector spaces except that their coefficients are taken from these and not fields" seems trivial to first-clue for anyone who's taken an algebra class.

I apologize for the long, rambling response. This is all that came to mind when reflecting on the set. Thank you again for writing what was the most enjoyable tournament I've ever played.

[EDIT] I tried to remove a lot of the stuff that does not belong here.

First, this tournament was by far the most enjoyable one I have ever played in my quiz bowl career. I am a high school student who has taken linear algebra, algebra (using Dummit and Foote), complex analysis, measure theory (mostly with the goal of discussing Lebesgue integration), and convex geometry classes (which I think followed Brøndsted's Intro to Convex Polytopes) and I have read a non-trivial amount of Baby Rudin. This means everything I have played before now has been mostly comprised of first clues that seem trivial and hasn't even touched much on my knowledge base. Because of this tournament I now see that there are levels of quiz bowl that actually reward math knowledge, so I thank you for that.

1. I was very happy that at least the algebra questions seemed to do a fairly good job of rewarding real knowledge. I would say I got the majority of group theory questions (Klein Four, Lagrange's Theorem, cyclic groups, alternating groups, etc) I heard, even during the shootout, during which I was beat on most other questions (I sadly lost a buzzer-race on Sylow Theorems, but was able to fraud the Monster Group). Since the only major part of the distribution I have learned in a class setting in is group theory, I would say this is indicative of questions that reward knowledge. Concerning other "real knowledge": Sadly, I did not remember that we called a convex basis that, so I never got points from my convex geometry knowledge, but I did however get the Cauchy question from the complex analysis clues. I'm kind of rambling, but Main Point: I thank you for finally allowing me to play questions that rewarded the math knowledge I have.

2. This is just a question about college quiz bowl (This stems from me not knowing about the college math canon): Is group theory given a lot more emphasis than other parts of algebra? There seemed to be many more questions related to groups than rings, fields, etc. As someone who has taken algebra classes and read a fair portion of Dummit and Foote, many of the group theory questions seemed pretty difficult to power, but the question on rings that began "Modules are like vector spaces except that their coefficients are taken from these and not fields" seems trivial to first-clue for anyone who's taken an algebra class.

I apologize for the long, rambling response. This is all that came to mind when reflecting on the set. Thank you again for writing what was the most enjoyable tournament I've ever played.

Posted: **Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:49 pm**

In general algebra is sparse in the college canon, so I would say no part of algebra gets emphasis. The bias towards group theory in this set is probably more indicative of the bias of the writer more than the bias of the canon.This is just a question about college quiz bowl (This stems from me not knowing about the college math canon): Is group theory given a lot more emphasis than other parts of algebra? There seemed to be many more questions related to groups than rings, fields, etc. As someone who has taken algebra classes and read a fair portion of Dummit and Foote, many of the group theory questions seemed pretty difficult to power, but the question on rings that began "Modules are like vector spaces except that their coefficients are taken from these and not fields" seems trivial to first-clue for anyone who's taken an algebra class.

Posted: **Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:52 pm**

scholarhillery wrote:2. This is just a question about college quiz bowl (This stems from me not knowing about the college math canon): Is group theory given a lot more emphasis than other parts of algebra? There seemed to be many more questions related to groups than rings, fields, etc. As someone who has taken algebra classes and read a fair portion of Dummit and Foote, many of the group theory questions seemed pretty difficult to power, but the question on rings that began "Modules are like vector spaces except that their coefficients are taken from these and not fields" seems trivial to first-clue for anyone who's taken an algebra class.

Yeah, that's the case. I know more about groups than rings and that probably made its way into the set. (The rings tossup was also super easy; that's not indicative of the greater canon.)The Real Master of Flémalle wrote:In general algebra is sparse in the college canon, so I would say no part of algebra gets emphasis. The bias towards group theory in this set is probably more indicative of the bias of the writer more than the bias of the canon.

Posted: **Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:57 pm**

Unfortunately I think the difficulty of the rings tossup actually is kind of reflective of the canon (I once had a tossup that started a tossup about matrices by namedropping representation theory). Part of my hope is that this side event and more like it in the future may help bring the math canon more up to par in difficulty with the rest of the categories.CPiGuy wrote:scholarhillery wrote:2. This is just a question about college quiz bowl (This stems from me not knowing about the college math canon): Is group theory given a lot more emphasis than other parts of algebra? There seemed to be many more questions related to groups than rings, fields, etc. As someone who has taken algebra classes and read a fair portion of Dummit and Foote, many of the group theory questions seemed pretty difficult to power, but the question on rings that began "Modules are like vector spaces except that their coefficients are taken from these and not fields" seems trivial to first-clue for anyone who's taken an algebra class.Yeah, that's the case. I know more about groups than rings and that probably made its way into the set. (The rings tossup was also super easy; that's not indicative of the greater canon.)The Real Master of Flémalle wrote:In general algebra is sparse in the college canon, so I would say no part of algebra gets emphasis. The bias towards group theory in this set is probably more indicative of the bias of the writer more than the bias of the canon.

Posted: **Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:28 pm**

Is this happening again?

Posted: **Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:55 pm**

I was discussing a potential sequel with Conor at Fall this past weekend. I'm probably going to try my hand at writing it, though work on it probably won't start until I'm done applying to grad school. Also consider this post an open call for writers, I'll need all the help I can get. No LaTeX necessary.scholarhillery wrote:Is this happening again?

Posted: **Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:58 pm**

booooooooThe Real Master of Flémalle wrote:No LaTeX necessary.

but seriously, I really hope this happens.

Posted: **Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:08 pm**

Just wait until you hear my policy on questions about integrals.CPiGuy wrote:booooooooThe Real Master of Flémalle wrote:No LaTeX necessary.

Posted: **Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:27 pm**

Time permitting, I'd be willing to help write this.

Posted: **Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:21 pm**

matt2718 wrote:Time permitting, I'd be willing to help write this.

Posted: **Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:43 pm**

I'm happy to see that I won't be alone in writing this! I recommend everyone who is interested in writing post here, and at some point soon I will add everyone to a facebook group chat and we can get this hashed out.

Posted: **Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:10 pm**

I suffer from the "I'd be happy to write for this tournament, but I'd much rather play it" issue. I had been considering suggesting some sort of guerilla packet-sub sequel to math monstrosity, which seems like it would largely deal with this (although at least one editor would still be desirable). I'll bring it up as a possibility now. I suppose if you end up going with a packet-sub model, it would largely be the same thing, but you could take a heavier hand in editing. However, if you feel up to writing a tournament, that's great.The Real Master of Flémalle wrote: I was discussing a potential sequel with Conor at Fall this past weekend. I'm probably going to try my hand at writing it, though work on it probably won't start until I'm done applying to grad school. Also consider this post an open call for writers, I'll need all the help I can get. No LaTeX necessary.

You may also want to make a preliminary announcement in one of the main forums, since there may be interested people who don't have access to this thread or aren't checking it.

Posted: **Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:25 am**

Yeah, I enjoyed playing these packets so much (even in a super-informal reading over discord) that I'd be loathe to miss MM2 if we were able to hold a proper UK mirror, but if necessary, I should be able to write some stuff.sbraunfeld wrote: I suffer from the "I'd be happy to write for this tournament, but I'd much rather play it" issue.

Posted: **Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:02 am**

I'd totally submit a packet to such a tournament, and I think this is probably true for most of the people who played this set and who are not in middle school, or at least most of the experienced players. If you solicited packets soon enough, you could probably easily assemble ~12 packets.sbraunfeld wrote:I suffer from the "I'd be happy to write for this tournament, but I'd much rather play it" issue. I had been considering suggesting some sort of guerilla packet-sub sequel to math monstrosity, which seems like it would largely deal with this (although at least one editor would still be desirable). I'll bring it up as a possibility now. I suppose if you end up going with a packet-sub model, it would largely be the same thing, but you could take a heavier hand in editing. However, if you feel up to writing a tournament, that's great.The Real Master of Flémalle wrote: I was discussing a potential sequel with Conor at Fall this past weekend. I'm probably going to try my hand at writing it, though work on it probably won't start until I'm done applying to grad school. Also consider this post an open call for writers, I'll need all the help I can get. No LaTeX necessary.

You may also want to make a preliminary announcement in one of the main forums, since there may be interested people who don't have access to this thread or aren't checking it.

If you were to do that, and you were going off the distro I used, I'd probably suggest refining it a little, though: "4 algebra" is very vague, and "4 recreational/mixed/other" is even more vague.

Posted: **Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:54 pm**

The packet submission idea seems pretty popular, so I definitely think I'll do a WAO style optional packet submission.

Posted: **Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:40 pm**

Thanks to Conor for the titanic effort of writing a 12 packet math tournament. I had a lot of fun when I played it at home this past summer.

I had privately been considering writing my own all-math side event, and have already written a few tossups, so I'm glad to see that there are already plans for MM2. I read this with a math grad student friend after it was posted, so I'd probably quite like the opportunity to play a sequel in competitive environment (rather than help edit/write), though I also have a lot of opinions on mathematics writing. I would more than happily submit a packet for a sequel, though.

On the distribution front I thought there was too much "trash math" in these packets for my liking, where I consider the history of math and the recreational/other categories as being basically trash. I'll grant that it's possible that other people don't feel this way, though, but for me I'd prefer this stuff be 0-1 questions per round instead of 4-5. I also think comp math should be nixed.

I would suggest a math distribution with the following categories:

Algebra

Analysis (Real/Complex/Functional)

Number Theory (Algebraic/Analytic/Classical)

Geometry (Algebraic/Differential/Euclidean)

Topology (Algebraic/Differential/Point-set)

Discrete Math / Combinatorics

Foundations (Logic/Set theory/Category theory/Model theory)

Probability and Statistics

Differential Equations / Applied math

Theoretical CS

although it's easy to make a case for some tweaks here, of course. With ten broad categories, each with a bunch of subcategories, I think there's more than enough interesting material here to fill a packet/tournament.

I had privately been considering writing my own all-math side event, and have already written a few tossups, so I'm glad to see that there are already plans for MM2. I read this with a math grad student friend after it was posted, so I'd probably quite like the opportunity to play a sequel in competitive environment (rather than help edit/write), though I also have a lot of opinions on mathematics writing. I would more than happily submit a packet for a sequel, though.

On the distribution front I thought there was too much "trash math" in these packets for my liking, where I consider the history of math and the recreational/other categories as being basically trash. I'll grant that it's possible that other people don't feel this way, though, but for me I'd prefer this stuff be 0-1 questions per round instead of 4-5. I also think comp math should be nixed.

I would suggest a math distribution with the following categories:

Algebra

Analysis (Real/Complex/Functional)

Number Theory (Algebraic/Analytic/Classical)

Geometry (Algebraic/Differential/Euclidean)

Topology (Algebraic/Differential/Point-set)

Discrete Math / Combinatorics

Foundations (Logic/Set theory/Category theory/Model theory)

Probability and Statistics

Differential Equations / Applied math

Theoretical CS

although it's easy to make a case for some tweaks here, of course. With ten broad categories, each with a bunch of subcategories, I think there's more than enough interesting material here to fill a packet/tournament.

Posted: **Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:43 pm**

Just curious, is an announcement for this going to go up soon? If you're doing packet-sub it would probably make sense to get it up as early as possible.The Real Master of Flémalle wrote:The packet submission idea seems pretty popular, so I definitely think I'll do a WAO style optional packet submission.

Also, do you think you'll make any significant changes to the distribution I used?

Lastly, when would you plan on having this ready by? I think that HSNCT (and MSNCT, etc, if you'll be there) is a good target, since the audience for this is sufficiently niche that it might not be feasible to run it at very many summer side event weekends.

Posted: **Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:57 am**

I'm thinking the announcement will go up in mid-to-late December/early January, and like you said HSNCT or MSNCT is going to be the target. I was considering changing the distribution to make it more egalitarian to various fields of math, however I wanted to defer hard decisions on the distribution until I got together everyone who wants to edit for the packet so that we all agree on what the vision of the packet should be.CPiGuy wrote:Just curious, is an announcement for this going to go up soon? If you're doing packet-sub it would probably make sense to get it up as early as possible.The Real Master of Flémalle wrote:The packet submission idea seems pretty popular, so I definitely think I'll do a WAO style optional packet submission.

Also, do you think you'll make any significant changes to the distribution I used?

Lastly, when would you plan on having this ready by? I think that HSNCT (and MSNCT, etc, if you'll be there) is a good target, since the audience for this is sufficiently niche that it might not be feasible to run it at very many summer side event weekends.

Posted: **Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:10 am**

I'd love to help write some of the algebra and maybe some CS-leaning stuff for this.

Posted: **Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:46 am**

I will soon be sending gathering everyone who's expressed interest in editing for this in a group chat (probably on facebook, but if anyone has a preference or ideas I'm open to suggestions), an announcement will follow a couple days after that. We'll have optional packet submission, so you have that to look forward to.

Posted: **Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:01 pm**

This will be the highlight of my year.

(Please don't shrink the algebra distro )

(Please don't shrink the algebra distro )

Posted: **Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:13 pm**

Algebra has now been killed to make way for more questions whose answer line involves integrals.scholarhillery wrote:This will be the highlight of my year.

(Please don't shrink the algebra distro )

Posted: **Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:24 pm**

Obviously this set would be perfect if it were only integral computation tossups.The Real Master of Flémalle wrote:Algebra has now been killed to make way for more questions whose answer line involves integrals.scholarhillery wrote:This will be the highlight of my year.

(Please don't shrink the algebra distro )

Posted: **Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:05 pm**

Has this happened?The Real Master of Flémalle wrote:I will soon be sending gathering everyone who's expressed interest in editing for this in a group chat (probably on facebook, but if anyone has a preference or ideas I'm open to suggestions), an announcement will follow a couple days after that. We'll have optional packet submission, so you have that to look forward to.

Posted: **Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:25 pm**

A preliminary announcement is currently in the collegiate announcements forum, modulo debate about pricing structure and distribution.