double standard?

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double standard?

Post by AuguryMarch » Sat Nov 19, 2005 1:14 pm

hey, I just wanted to point out something..

So I was looking at stats from the Northwest ACF/TRASH combo...

Interesting how the top team at ACF there puts up 354 points a game or whatever, (with close to 17 ppb), while the top TRASH team puts up only 208 points a game with 14 ppb or so.

So seriously, why doesn't anyone complain that TRASH is too hard? No one ever seems to complain about TRASH. (its like Roger Clemens having a great work ethic versus Barry Bonds taking steroids).

Allow me to be the first to start the complaining (note I didn't play this TRASH regionals, but I have played several in the past, and more than a few TRASH packets at practices and such).

TRASH is tooo hard!!! Not only is it too hard, its really idiotic. Not because I don't like pop culture. I read entertinament weekly, follow sports, listen to music, like movies, read comic books, play video games, etc etc etc. Its not like I sit around masturbating to Benet's (tends to ruin the binding). And yet I have nothing but complete antipathy towards TRASH.

For one thing, the questions aren't pyramidal (I can tell that from 2 questions a game that come up on things I actually care about). For another thing, the topics they choose to write about.... I thought TRASH should ask about popular culture, but it seems like theres too much of a focus on random 80s one hit wonders' second albums, etc. People complain about ACF, but its really TRASH that is all about the pointless obscurata. People complain about ACF dinosaurs terrorizing the circuit, when its TRASH that is full of 35 year old geriatrics chortling about the albums of Garnfunkel and Oates. ACF's editors are players who play. TRASH editors are completely removed from the circuit, not to mention the fact that most of them are completely out of touch with what a typical 18-22 year old listens to or cares about pop culture wise. I mean, I guess you can fake it (sort of), and with sports its not as much an issue, but really it seems to me that a format concerned with what is popular should have more writers and members who are actually in the target age group. This doesn't even matter as much for ACF since most of the things asked about are timeless classics.

Finally, let me note that TRASH can be done right. I submit to you that the TRASH tournament following the Chicago Open was the best pop culture tournament ever written in terms of pyramidality, choice of answers, and question quality. ACF writers are simply the best question writers period, and they can write pop culture better than any TRASH writer (scrooge mcduck, need I say more?)

So why the double standards? Why don't people complain that bonus conversion is too low? Or that TRASH is elitist? I don't know. Perhaps someone can explain it to me.
Last edited by AuguryMarch on Sat Nov 19, 2005 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:16 pm

I agree 100 percent.

This is exactly why my old team stopped attending TRASH events, despite the fact that lowercase-t trash questions were consistently among their favorite material.
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Post by AuguryMarch » Sat Nov 19, 2005 8:39 pm

and another thing!

those smug people at TRASH don't even ask for feedback! ACF editors answer every little question, complaint and rant (Seth Teitler sure has a lot of patience). NAQT solicits feedback. Did anyone from TRASH post asking people what they think? No. So self satisfied. They could care less! (In someone else's words, they are too busy crafting tossups on NBC shows that were cancelled after 6 episodes in 1978).

And I know what's going to happen now, they are going to post within hours of seeing this, asking for feedback. Too little too late, as far as I'm concerned.

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Post by Rothlover » Sat Nov 19, 2005 8:58 pm

AuguryMarch wrote: They could care less! (In someone else's words, they are too busy crafting tossups on NBC shows that were cancelled after 6 episodes in 1978).
I don't recall them having asked about noted Richard Benjamin vehicle "Quark."

But yeah, in the past I've noted specific questions and stuff with problems, like in the TRASHionals set, having a Dungeons & Dragons tossup starting with "The Israeli Defense Force recently...," when that was all over the news and I was able to get it from that without having ever played the damn thing. Then there was the Tom Wolfe/Charlotte Simmons tossup that mentioned the second most important character in the first three words (not that Wolfe has ever made an "important" character,) as well as the question on unassisted Triple plays that basically went in chronological order, as such not making it uniquely seperate from the more likely selection triple crown off the lead-in of Paul Hines in 1878. When I mentioned things like that to anyone other than one TRASH writer who actually, you know, listened, I was pretty much met with indifference. I would think people would actually want to take a modicum of pride in a product they put out as a "national" non-CBI organization.


Some caveats: no offense is intended to any individual TRASH writers, many of whom I know, yada yada yada. Also, this isn't meant to impune several trash editors, like those behind ABD, who put out solid product and listen to/help out those with questions. I would also agree that CO trash was a very solid event, though I'd probably say its distribution needed some tweaking (too high a trashy/real movie ratio for one).
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Post by First Chairman » Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:52 am

AuguryMarch wrote:and another thing!

those smug people at TRASH don't even ask for feedback! ACF editors answer every little question, complaint and rant (Seth Teitler sure has a lot of patience). NAQT solicits feedback. Did anyone from TRASH post asking people what they think? No. So self satisfied. They could care less! (In someone else's words, they are too busy crafting tossups on NBC shows that were cancelled after 6 episodes in 1978).

And I know what's going to happen now, they are going to post within hours of seeing this, asking for feedback. Too little too late, as far as I'm concerned.
I hope part of this thread has been tongue-in-cheek. It's been amusing to see comparisons but I'd have to stop the bus for this point.

I don't know about what this year's TRASH group has done but I don't agree with your perception. The TRASH folks have always asked for feedback, and they welcome any unsolicited feedback about their questions. Maybe they don't ask people to fill out forms or something.

Granted, I think there is also an element where playing trash is a lot more fun than playing academic comps too. There is no curriculum or packet distribution, and that's how most of the players like it (and probably it's much easier for packet editors, much to some of our chagrins). If you want more structured trash comps, go to Ann B Davis or one of the other trash competitions. At least with TRASH, the impression I have is that they enjoy holding these comps and all the players love to attend.
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Post by AuguryMarch » Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:58 pm

Dr. Chuck,

Is your retort some kind of joke? I think its time for you to get back on the bus.

"Maybe they don't ask people to fill out forms or something?" My point is just that ACF writers spend hours upon hours sending detailed explanations, pouring over every word of questions, responding to the most vocal criticisms with calm and patience. I see no such impetus on the part of any a TRASH writer. But they aren't the only ones to blame. what troubles me is that the "consumers" of ACF questions are ready to dissect every last minutia to a fault, whereas there is no analogous skepticism for TRASH, despite the fact that many of the same criticisms could be leveled on them. Now, this might be due to the fact that ACF players are a more discerning and critical lot, but the overlap between ACF and TRASH players makes me hesitate to make such a claim.

As for the notion that TRASH lacks a "curriculum", this is again another abusrd claim. Just to bring this point home, prior to CMU attending TRASH regionals, Dwight Kidder handed out a long list of current event type things that he was certain would come up at the upcoming tournament. Just like in any format, there are regularities and proclivities of writers, and subjects repeat.

To the idea that TRASH somehow lacks distribution, that might be true in principle, but totally false in practice. If TRASh wrote packets that were 20/20 film or 20/20 baseball, people would be up in arms. Just because they don't publish what their distribution is (like another organization that shall go nameless), does not mean that they don't have one.

Truthfully, it would be easier to debunk some of your claims more directly, but unfortunately, I don't have any TRASH rounds at my disposal. Unlike other organizations, TRASH does not distribute their rounds freely after the tournament. Perhaps someone with copies of questions would be willing to give examples of my claims more directly?

Perhaps, as you say, people just have more fun playing TRASH. Do you realize how insulting that is? As has been discussed ad naseum in the ACF Fall thread, people who are ACF players do it out of fun just the same as TRASH players. The notion that one format is somehow more fun then the other in any kind of objective way is ridiculous. I'm sure there are plenty of people that prefer academic to TRASH questions (there are people even at CMU, other than me, who will leave practice when TRASH questions are read, for example).

All I'm saying is that we should be more fair minded in our crticality across all formats, and TRASH should not escape reproach.

But maybe you are right, everyone who plays TRASH regularly loves it. So what? Everyone who plays ACF regularly loves it too. I would argue that the teams that attend TRASH are an even more self selecting lot than those that attend ACF tournaments. From the words of Chris Borglum, ACF is still managing to drive customers away. It could be that TRASH already drove all their on the fence potential customers away long ago.

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Post by Kilby » Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:01 pm

All quotes below are from AuguryMarch:

"Allow me to be the first to start the complaining (note I didn't play this TRASH regionals, but I have played several in the past, and more than a few TRASH packets at practices and such)."

As someone who did play in both and ACF Fall and TRASH Regionals, I would think I have a right to comment.

"Interesting how the top team at ACF there puts up 354 points a game or whatever, (with close to 17 ppb), while the top TRASH team puts up only 208 points a game with 14 ppb or so."

I don't have the stats for the ACF Fall I played in (at UTK), so I can't compare my region's ACF Fall and TRASH Regionals, but I can tell you that at the TRASH midsouth regionals the first place team averaged 394.5 PPG over 11 rounds, much higher than either tournament you mentioned. The second through fourth place teams averaged 223.6, 245, and 215 PPG respectively, which are all higher than the quoted 208 PPG. I don't really think any decent statistical comparison could be made without having the results from every ACF Fall and TRASH Regionals.

"For one thing, the questions aren't pyramidal (I can tell that from 2 questions a game that come up on things I actually care about)."

While the toss-ups are for the most part pyramidal, I do admit (as Rothlover points out) that there are a lot of current events used as opening clues followed by the rest of the question. I'd much prefer these current events clues to come up further on in the question. ACF does a better job of sticking to the pyramid, but I can only count maybe 3 or 4 toss-ups from this year's TRASH Regionals set that made me feel like I was robbed by an incorrectly placed clue. The overwhelming majority of the questions were fine.

"I thought TRASH should ask about popular culture, but it seems like theres too much of a focus on random 80s one hit wonders' second albums, etc."

I'll have to disagree there. If you know an 80's one-hit wonder's second album that didn't contain their big hit, then by golly, you should get the toss-up on that group. And I love questions on 80's music and one-hit wonders, so this sounds more like you just don't like a certain category (which is fine... I grimace when I hear certain categories as well).

"TRASH editors are completely removed from the circuit, not to mention the fact that most of them are completely out of touch with what a typical 18-22 year old listens to or cares about pop culture wise."

As for saying that TRASH editors are completely removed from the circuit, that is incorrect. I know that James Quintong is a regular at UTC trash tournaments and that I have played against James Dinan at Trashmasters several times. I don't think they have people in the 18-22 age range working for them, but there are two reasons for this. First, there aren't many people this age who are willing to do it (I know when TRASH called for additional writers a year or two ago, I decided not to apply because I still want to play in their tournaments). Second, the tournaments aren't really aimed at the 18-22 age range. That's why they are open tournaments and not limited to college teams.

"The notion that one format is somehow more fun then the other in any kind of objective way is ridiculous."

I think there is a misunderstanding here. Hopefully, having fun is the reason anyone plays any sort of quizbowl. The difference is that trash is supposed to be more lighthearted than academic. Sure, there can be the occasional clue in academic trivia that makes you chuckle (I'm thinking of the second clue of the much-discussed Quetzalcoatl toss-up from ACF Fall), but I can say I have laughed and enjoyed myself more watching the finals at TRASHionals than at any of the national championship matches in academic trivia (I'm thinking in particular of TRASHionals 2003 where there was a "play DDR" bonus). I think the best way to explain the difference in attitude is that academic competitions (usually) give away trophies as prizes while trash competitions usually give away trashy books and music as prizes.

I agree that just because TRASH does trash trivia doesn't leave them immune from criticism. The lightheartedness mentioned above is why that most TRASH teams don't complain too much. All this being said, I enjoyed playing at TRASH regionals as well as ACF Fall and had only minor criticisms of the questions at both events.
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Post by csrjjsmp » Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:34 pm

Kilby wrote: I think the best way to explain the difference in attitude is that academic competitions (usually) give away trophies as prizes while trash competitions usually give away trashy books and music as prizes.
I have never seen trophies given away as prizes at an academic quiz bowl tournament, only used books. Probably different areas have different traditions.

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Post by First Chairman » Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:24 pm

I'll admit it's been a while since I've gone to TRASH tournaments or in general most tournaments (job thing, you know). I'm just giving my personal perspective from a few years ago when I hosted TRASHionals in Cleveland and my familiarity with some of the people involved with whom I am friendly. But the Duke team doesn't do TRASH like my Case team used to, so I cannot really comment on the current situation. (On the other hand, the Duke team is much more ACF-friendly because the questions are much more to our liking than NAQT's. Just the way it is.)
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Post by insaneindian » Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:42 pm

I've been to one TRASH tournament and although we were high school kids, we were fairly deep in sports knowledge (three of our members follow sports like a religion) and music but some of the questions left us saying "wha?"
There were too many country music and pop lit questions, and not enough rap/R&B.

another complaint, but il stop since it was only one tournament: there wasnt enough sports. In NAQT, there might be 1 question a round and sometimes 2 (including bonuses). I was upset that there wasnt an amazing amount of sports questions at TRASH mid atlantic...oh well.
Last edited by insaneindian on Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by grapesmoker » Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:50 pm

insaneindian wrote: another complaint, but il stop since it was only one tournament: there wasnt enough sports. In NAQT, there might be 1 question a round and sometimes 2 (including bonuses). I was upset that there wasnt an amazing amount of sports questions...oh well.
Anything more than one sports question in a tournament that purports to be academic (you know, what the "A" stands for) is too much.
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Post by insaneindian » Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:54 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Anything more than one sports question in a tournament that purports to be academic (you know, what the "A" stands for) is too much.
i know, but were talking bout TRASH. i was just using it as a comparison. Any sports in NAQT just sweetens the pot for us. :razz:
i edited my previous post so it makes sense
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Re: double standard?

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:38 am

AuguryMarch wrote:hey, I just wanted to point out something..

So I was looking at stats from the Northwest ACF/TRASH combo...

Interesting how the top team at ACF there puts up 354 points a game or whatever, (with close to 17 ppb), while the top TRASH team puts up only 208 points a game with 14 ppb or so.
Am I the only one that thinks it's worth nothing that you are comparing a FALL TOURNAMENT which is intentionally designed by mandate of the editors to gain new teams to the format v. A QUALIFIER FOR A NATIONAL TOURNAMENT? Does anyone else not see a clear apples & oranges argument? And the Northwest? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

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Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:53 am

I calculated these numbers from all the thusfar available stats (8 of 10 ACF Fall sites, 5 of 10 TRASH sites). These numbers are for ALL games that were played.

Average points scored by two teams per game: ACF 440 (55%), TRASH 366 (46%)
Total tossup conversion: ACF 85%, TRASH 74%
Total bonus conversion out of 30: ACF 15.1, TRASH 14.6

It seems that both tournaments were fairly accessible judging by these numbers. What I think Paul is getting at is, it's very odd when 100% of the difficulty-related complaints are about the tournament that was objectively easier. TRASH is not too hard, but it is harder than ACF Fall, and that makes the imbalance of difficulty concerns pretty puzzling.
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Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:11 am

Matt Weiner wrote:I calculated these numbers from all the thusfar available stats (8 of 10 ACF Fall sites, 5 of 10 TRASH sites). These numbers are for ALL games that were played.

Average points scored by two teams per game: ACF 440 (55%), TRASH 366 (46%)
Total tossup conversion: ACF 85%, TRASH 74%
Total bonus conversion out of 30: ACF 15.1, TRASH 14.6

It seems that both tournaments were fairly accessible judging by these numbers. What I think Paul is getting at is, it's very odd when 100% of the difficulty-related complaints are about the tournament that was objectively easier. TRASH is not too hard, but it is harder than ACF Fall, and that makes the imbalance of difficulty concerns pretty puzzling.
Maybe those people complaining are not qualified to complain on such matters?

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Post by recfreq » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:30 am

allythin wrote:Maybe those people complaining are not qualified to complain on such matters?
What are you saying? So people should just accept what ever they hear as standardized QB? Forgive me for generalizing, but I think trash players tend to just go about their business after tournies, having been rewarded while they play, and pay very little attention to actual questions posed, whereas academic players actually want to learn something afterwards, and so we pound the questions to death. May be the personalities of these two groups of players just preclude them from simple comparisons.

E.g. I don't know if the stats comparisons do much to tease out the two categories other than the apparent result that trash reg this year had a lower sort of envisaged scoring level than ACF fall. I don't think it's really difficulty. People who play the two are so diff and take such a diff knowledge base around, it's hard to say what is harder. Also, it doesn't seem inherently bad that the scoring level is set lower if the audience is more specialized. Since ACF fall is trying to reach more or less everybody this year, the expected scoring level ought to be set higher.

But yeah, Paul, I'm totally down with your sentiments. Not being a trash player myself (or shall I say, being a non-trash player myself), I feel funny when stuff in trash packets come up that only one or two very specialized people in the room would have remotely any clue what's going on. In the end, I'd just attribute it to the level of specialization, since trash has in some sense, a more restricted set of things it can ask about.
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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:33 am

Incidentally, TRASH Regionals averaged 5.6 tossup answers that I'd never heard of per round.

MaS

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Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:07 am

ImmaculateDeception wrote:Incidentally, TRASH Regionals averaged 5.6 tossup answers that I'd never heard of per round.

MaS
Dear Mr. Tsouris,

Yes I know, you counted them out loud for all of us to hear. Your behavior at TRASH regionals was grossly des-pic-able (damn you Ray Sun). I have never in my life seen anyone enter a tournament under such bad faith for the pure purpose of bitching about it afterward (as well as during). And I know you and have played against you. Still to force one of your team members to perform a fairly close imitation of Sacheen Littlefeather was beyond DEPLORABLE. This proves what I thought when I heard ACF wanted to work w/ TRASH on combining the regs and the fall tourneys. It had nothing to do w/ broadening the base so much as propping up dying ACF Fall tourneys. The high up ACF players like Mr. Tsouris never had any respect for TRASH (and if you even try to say anything otherwise I'll call a whole roster of witnesses to the contrary that heard your ass say such doozies as "That answer isn't as dumb as having a trash tournament") and implicitly acted as though they did and were thereby perpetuating a fraud on the community. Kindly consider my offer to help at your SCT withdrawn.

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Post by vsirin » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:48 am

allythin wrote:
Dear Mr. Tsouris,

Yes I know, you counted them out loud for all of us to hear. Your behavior at TRASH regionals was grossly des-pic-able (damn you Ray Sun). I have never in my life seen anyone enter a tournament under such bad faith for the pure purpose of bitching about it afterward (as well as during). And I know you and have played against you. Still to force one of your team members to perform a fairly close imitation of Sacheen Littlefeather was beyond DEPLORABLE. This proves what I thought when I heard ACF wanted to work w/ TRASH on combining the regs and the fall tourneys. It had nothing to do w/ broadening the base so much as propping up dying ACF Fall tourneys. The high up ACF players like Mr. Tsouris never had any respect for TRASH (and if you even try to say anything otherwise I'll call a whole roster of witnesses to the contrary that heard your ass say such doozies as "That answer isn't as dumb as having a trash tournament") and implicitly acted as though they did and were thereby perpetuating a fraud on the community. Kindly consider my offer to help at your SCT withdrawn.

Sean Phillips
Dude, are you even trying to make sense? What do you know about "high up ACF players" or their motives for anything? How do the alleged comments of one Mr. Sorice "prove" anything you claim to have "thought" about ACF as an organization? You shouldn't throw out a strong word like "fraud" unless you have evidence to back it up, which you clearly don't, so maybe you should shut the fuck up.

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Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:58 am

vsirin wrote:
allythin wrote:
Dear Mr. Tsouris,

Yes I know, you counted them out loud for all of us to hear. Your behavior at TRASH regionals was grossly des-pic-able (damn you Ray Sun). I have never in my life seen anyone enter a tournament under such bad faith for the pure purpose of bitching about it afterward (as well as during). And I know you and have played against you. Still to force one of your team members to perform a fairly close imitation of Sacheen Littlefeather was beyond DEPLORABLE. This proves what I thought when I heard ACF wanted to work w/ TRASH on combining the regs and the fall tourneys. It had nothing to do w/ broadening the base so much as propping up dying ACF Fall tourneys. The high up ACF players like Mr. Tsouris never had any respect for TRASH (and if you even try to say anything otherwise I'll call a whole roster of witnesses to the contrary that heard your ass say such doozies as "That answer isn't as dumb as having a trash tournament") and implicitly acted as though they did and were thereby perpetuating a fraud on the community. Kindly consider my offer to help at your SCT withdrawn.

Sean Phillips
Dude, are you even trying to make sense? What do you know about "high up ACF players" or their motives for anything? How do the alleged comments of one Mr. Sorice "prove" anything you claim to have "thought" about ACF as an organization? You shouldn't throw out a strong word like "fraud" unless you have evidence to back it up, which you clearly don't, so maybe you should shut the fuck up.
Seeing as I was the director of this tournament and got a front row seat to this gross display all weekend, I'd say I have a very well-informed opinion. And since I'm in contact with and have read statements on this topic from past and present ACF editors and would-be editors, I can venture an opinion on that too. And if anyone thinks ACF entered into the idea of combining the two events together (ACF Fall & TRASH regs) for anything but their own selfish interests since Mr. Weiner himself said: pie and atheism (1:15:20 AM): when in fact it has been clear all along that we do not have any respect for the questions produced by the TRASH organization and I don't think there has been any attempt made to hide that

I don't think I need to say anything more and I do not think I need to as you so deftly put it "shut the f*ck up" my dear.

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Post by trphilli » Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:01 am

allythin wrote:
Yes I know, you counted them out loud for all of us to hear. Your behavior at TRASH regionals was grossly des-pic-able (damn you Ray Sun). I have never in my life seen anyone enter a tournament under such bad faith for the pure purpose of bitching about it afterward (as well as during).
This count was simply part of a friendly wager between UIUC members concerning the large TRASH answer-set.
Still to force one of your team members to perform a fairly close imitation of Sacheen Littlefeather was beyond DEPLORABLE.
As the alluded to team member, I was not forced into anything. Mike was farther down the hallway and sitting. I was standing two feet away from the prize. As my team's driver, I wanted to get on the road as soon as possible. No disrespect was meant via my acceptance. It was simply a matter of convienence on my part.
This proves what I thought when I heard ACF wanted to work w/ TRASH on combining the regs and the fall tourneys. It had nothing to do w/ broadening the base so much as propping up dying ACF Fall tourneys.
A simple factual obervation from my personal experience:
ACF Fall Chicago (11/12/05)- 14 Teams
TRASH Regionals St. Louis(11/20/05) - 6 Teams
Kindly consider my offer to help at your SCT withdrawn.
Your withdrawal is acknowledged.

Tom Phillips
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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:07 am

Well, I\'m certainly sorry you feel like that and for whatever part I had in creating your response (which, I don\'t deny, may be sizable given that my incessant sarcasm when I\'m losing is easily misunderstood... but I thought you knew me better than that.) However, I take issue with a lot of what you said, and that\'s because it just isn\'t the true; in fact, I resent your presumption in claiming to know my motives (it looks like I’m not the only one.) This is more than a little because all of your claims about my motivations for various things are patently and entirely false.
The considerable sum of money my team just spent attending your tournament, which we were under absolutely no obligation to do (which we were, in fact, discouraged from doing by several persons and by practical concerns, all of which we ignored), was money that we made by running Illinois Open, a tournament we edited and ran using our own time and labor at a rate of perhaps $1 per hour (probably less than that.) Every dollar that we just gave you represents a significant amount of largely thankless work that we had to do. Spending that on a tournament that we knew going in we wouldn\'t like (which is not the case) so I could complain about it afterwards (which, the astute observer will note, I have not even done, actually) seems like a pretty damn inefficient and retarded way to prove whatever point you think I have to make.
My teammates and I played that tournament because we just wanted to try and have a good time and maybe answer some questions on stuff we\'d heard of. In that, we largely failed for various reasons. I’m also going to note that, for a tournament that, it has been claimed, is all about having a good time, some people sure do get offended pretty quickly (apparently) by some pretty damn innocuous jokes. If my brand of humor isn\'t welcome at TRASH tournaments (maybe I should throw-in some more “YEAH!”’s or jokes about lesser works of The Gap Band?), that\'s fine. Just tell me so, and I\'ll just stay home and be sad, or whatever it is high up ACF players like me do.
The issue you allude to with the scoring award was merely that I didn\'t notice the ceremony had started until long after it had (I was down the hall listening to some music, if you\'ll recall), didn\'t expect to win anything, and didn\'t want to hold-up the proceedings. Incidentally, Tom took those awards of his own accord: I never asked him to do that and would gladly have come over and taken them myself, if you\'d asked. I apologize for any disrespect that can be inferred in that but, given that TRASH awards ceremonies are positively notorious as intentionally hamhanded farces, I didn\'t think that should mean so much to you. Anyway, I don\'t think any of my other actions require explanation, but I do wish that, if you wanted to talk to me about something, you would have just done so at the time. Also, unlike Brando, I did not refuse the award; I will cherish [i:64da2f859c]10,000 Answers: The Ultimate Trivia Encyclopedia[/i:64da2f859c] forever and ever.
Also, while attacking the person making a statement is fun for the whole family I\'m sure, please do look at what I said. I made a single-sentence, declarative statement that it a matter of fact. Furthermore, that statement is completely true in point of actual fact (though not demonstrable fact, I suppose; it is open to the charge that I\'m lying.) The point is this: the implications of that statement are unacceptable to me and, if you truly care about TRASH, should be to you, too.
If you don’t want to come to or help with our SCT, I’m sorry to hear that, too; we could use your help and would certainly value it. I also hope you won’t let a problem you have with me entirely determine your conduct towards our organization (which has any number of persons who aren’t me, but better), but I cannot stop you from doing as you like, of course.
Finally, I\'ll say again and hopefully for the last time that if you or anyone else has some personal stuff to say to me, that\'s fine and I\'ll listen to you, but I wish you\'d do it while I\'m right there in front of you, not wait until several hours and hundreds of miles later and post to the internet about it. I don\'t know what this arguing on the internet can accomplish, but if this is how we talk now, then so be it; I just think that talking about your problem with the person you have it with while they’re literally feet away from you might solve this kind of thing a little better.


MaS

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Post by Mr. Kwalter » Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:07 am

Now, I sincerely hope Sean's post was in jest, but I cannot speak to our friend's behavior at TRASH regionals and thus won't address that issue. I can, however, address ACF's motives in regard to the combination with TRASH regionals. Regardless of whether Sean's little bottle of vitriol was actually serious, it should be said that ACF's motives were, in fact, to attempt to reach a market that in the past might have been more reluctant to try what we do. While the partnership was initially offered by ACF, TRASH accepted the arrangement for similar reasons and should be similarly lauded for their efforts to promote buzzer-style competition. The idea that ACF partnered itself with TRASH to make itself look better is ridiculous. As to the outcome: having been in charge of accepting submissions I can definitely say that more teams submitted this year than ever, and while I'm not sure of this (feel free to correct me with numbers) I imagine the number of teams that played went up as well. I cannot say whether this is due to the partnership with TRASH or to some other circumstance, but I can say that our arrangement with TRASH was neither strained nor ultimately detrimental, and I hope that TRASH will agree that if nothing else, it was worth a try. Whatever differences in philosophy we may have, in the end we really are all in it for fun. Don't forget that.

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Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:29 am

Mike you made moderators and competitors visibly uncomfortable when you were winning and were audibly counting tu's you had no idea about from round 1 to 10. Do not act innocent.

You were a pain in the ass. You put your teammates in the untennable position of having to keep me from screaming at you during the awards when you could not be bothered to accept the neg prize or the individual prize you won. Truth be told I almost considered not giving the neg prize to you bc of the fact that every time the moderator came back from your room they were using words that made sailors blush.

Further my dear Mr. Tsouris, you act as though you were only complaining when you were losing, I heard you complaining when you were winning. Let's stop trying to kid ourselves OK? You acted like a little douche. You acted like it at TRASH, you acted like it during the GIT. Since you are running a tourney on NAQT q's (ie SCT) and are an editor for ACF, this was a dumb thing to do. You really think that kind of conduct doesn't reflect back on the fact that we now have to decide whether we want to put up w/ you in Feb? Or whether the opinion of most TRASH players has changed since a few of us were already leery of ACF's sudden interest since numerous ACF editors past & present indicated (hence my quote from Matt Weiner) that they did not have nor did they ever have any respect for TRASH? I mean hell when a team of almost all freshmen says to Rolla "I wish we could play you all the time bc we have had more fun w/ you than that last team" and they were talking about YOU and your toxic attitude that says something doesn't it? I mean it's just one of those out the mouths of babes situations.

I'm done with this; I'm only committed to play one more tourney; Just everyone take an honest look at who's saying what here and realize what a crock it all is.

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Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:00 am

Yes I know, you counted them out loud for all of us to hear. Your behavior at TRASH regionals was grossly des-pic-able (damn you Ray Sun). I have never in my life seen anyone enter a tournament under such bad faith for the pure purpose of bitching about it afterward (as well as during).
trphilli wrote: This count was simply part of a friendly wager between UIUC members concerning the large TRASH answer-set.
Sometimes it's not what you mean; it's how you come off. That came off as condescending.
Still to force one of your team members to perform a fairly close imitation of Sacheen Littlefeather was beyond DEPLORABLE.
As the alluded to team member, I was not forced into anything. Mike was farther down the hallway and sitting. I was standing two feet away from the prize. As my team's driver, I wanted to get on the road as soon as possible. No disrespect was meant via my acceptance. It was simply a matter of convienence on my part.
Maybe not forced physically but since Mr. Tsouris couldn't get off his ass like everyone else despite my calling to him, it still felt rude as hell. And really your motives are immaterial.
This proves what I thought when I heard ACF wanted to work w/ TRASH on combining the regs and the fall tourneys. It had nothing to do w/ broadening the base so much as propping up dying ACF Fall tourneys.
A simple factual obervation from my personal experience:
ACF Fall Chicago (11/12/05)- 14 Teams
TRASH Regionals St. Louis(11/20/05) - 6 Teams

I stand by not pairing the two. 16 GIT teams v. 14 ACF. Plus we continued our GIT tradition rather than capitulated to a mandate that ACF didn't actually have from TRASH to force the pairings. I had the TRASH bid BEFORE ACF had clearance to pair the two.

Kindly consider my offer to help at your SCT withdrawn.
[/quote]

Your withdrawal is acknowledged.

Tom Phillips
Treasurer
UIUC Academic Buzzer Team
*No known relation to allythin[/quote]

Thank God
Last edited by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox on Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:03 am

That\'s fine; as you and I said, you don\'t like what I did or said and neither did other people. This is hardly unique: I talk too much, so lots of people hate me and/or things I\'ve done for various reasons. To you and to some others, I apologize; I merely act how it occurs to me. When I hear a question that I can justifiably call terrible, I\'m going to say something. When a significant fraction of the tossup answers are on stuff I\'ve never heard of, I\'m going to do something (incidentally, some people found that count pretty funny, in the same way that some people find, say, consecutive tossups on Ubisoft and Ubi funny. If I didn\'t know better, I\'d almost say humor\'s a pretty subjective thing...) If you don\'t want the truth as I see it, then don\'t have me at your tournaments; that\'s your prerogative. However, if the things I said or did were somehow so very wrong as to merit this whole production, I don\'t see how. To put this is other terms, I\'m far more critical at, say, CBI: they put up with me well enough.
Moreover, I\'ll say this one last time: if you or someone else had a problem with me, you or they should have just said so to me right there. Calling me names on the internet and acting like there\'s some hidden agenda is fine and all, but, as I said, I\'m just a dude who wanted to play in some quizbowl tournaments. I\'m, incidentally, the same dude I was when you were completely cordial with me at registration (after having heard a whole day of lurid reports of my \"act[ing] like a little douche,\" apparently.) Also, by “losing,” I didn’t mean “at that very second, my score was less than that of my opponent in that particular round.” I mean something more like “I was just beaten by 400 in a round where I hadn’t heard of the answers to fully half of the tossups, though they were all in areas that I have knowledge of, and my team scored literally braces of points per bonus.” Who’s being disingenuous here is for others to judge.
Incidentally, [i:6645e65cd7]I[/i:6645e65cd7] am not hosting any tournaments (I\'m probably not even TD\'ing our SCT.) Again, please stop acting like I\'m the Illinois program: that\'s not the case, I’m just some guy who’s on it. If people want to judge what my team is like or what the questions I produce will be like from their impressions of me on a bad day, they can certainly do that... but I think it might profit them more to just, say, talk to my teammates or look at some of the questions I’ve produced in the past. Also, I don\'t know what you and Matt Weiner talk about on AIM late at night and I don\'t care to, either. That has nothing to do with me.

MaS

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Post by jonpin » Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:12 am

trphilli wrote:This count was simply part of a friendly wager between UIUC members concerning the large TRASH answer-set.
I'm sure that could've been done with less disdain, and silently via tally marks.
A simple factual obervation from my personal experience:
ACF Fall Chicago (11/12/05)- 14 Teams
TRASH Regionals St. Louis(11/20/05) - 6 Teams
I'm going to go on a limb and say that it likely didn't help matters that we were a week later than other regionals. Last year, the "lower midwest" ACF Fall at UIUC had 10 teams, and the "southwest" at Tulsa had just 8. Meanwhile, the TRASH Regionals that we hosted had 14 teams, coming the day after our 19-team Gateway. There were at least two other teams that were planning to attend this year; Northwestern cancelled at the very last minute, and Rhodes expressed interest but did not realize until a few days ago that we were running the same questions as other tournaments a week earlier, one of which they had gone to.

To use an example from somewhere unaffected by the scheduling issues, which have been well-discussed previously, last year's Western tournaments, ACF Fall and TRASH Reg each had 8, though at least one of the teams at the ACF was "ineligible" for reasons which I am too sleepy to research in any way. This year, ACF got 8 teams and TRASH 6.

My point in these last two paragraphs, I guess, is that numbers can prove anything in cases like these.

And as co-TD for Saturday's Gateway tournament, I can attest that there were frequent complaints from moderators of frequent b!tching from Mike there as well, though I was holed up in headquarters the whole time. Scorekeeping on Sunday, I finally got a first-hand experience, and can only ask why he came to either tournament. Whether it was (a) saying a Kerrigan/Harding-inspired opera was "almost as bad an idea as having a TRASH tournament... almost."; (b) telling his teammate "Don't fucking protest, it's trash."; (c) disparaging his teammates with such lines as "What you are is the guy who won that buzzer race."; (d) the previously-documented verbal count of obscure answers*; (e) any of the rest of his frequent whining about the questions and/or answers which occured in the other two rooms; I can only imagine that this weekend did not meet his stated goal that he play(s) to have fun.

(Speaking solely for myself, as always in any thread with the slightest tint of controversy)[/url]
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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:17 am

Dude, you yourself laughed at at least half those jokes. Now, what the hell? Even if you're going to say you didn't, you'd be completely lying if you said you didn't observe, with your own eyes and years, other people doing so. I shall never know why I have to say this to someone helping run a god damn TRASH tournament, but lighten-up!

MaS

PS: Moreover, I'd defend having made almost all these statements: they contained, at least, a kernel of truth. For example, that Billy Goat Tavern tossup, which spawned what you called my disparagement of my teammate and friend Tom, was an inverse-pyramidal piece of crap and anyone with any sense of what a quizbowl question is at all knows it. I've frequently eaten at that tavern and studied other stuff about it and I do not suck at quizbowl. Why, then, did I not buzz-in? Because the first (and, so far as I heard, only) substantive clue was "its owner cursed the Cubs," i.e. the one and only thing the Billy Goat is actually famous for (unless one counts its patronage by Terry Boers.) That's what's known as a terrible question and the person who gets it is by definition the person who won the buzzer race (incidentally, even in a good question with the same answer, the person who gets it off that clue won the buzzer race: that clue is going to cause anyone who's going to know the answer ever to buzz there.) That is not a disparagement of that person, but of the question: Tom knows that and you should know it, too.
For further example, if I am so serious and really want to win and that's why I play, then why would I not just protest anything borderline? (Hint: it rhymes with "thus we have derived a bontradiction.") Anyway, it was evident that we didn't have much chance to win that tournament (what, with the 5.6 tossups having answers I'd never heard of per round and all), so we just did our best and tried to have a good time; that does not, to me, include litigating protests. Incidentally, there was no protest to be had there (moderator discression pronunciation issue, if I recall correctly.) So, I decided to dispell my teammate's frustration with a small joke. If that's wrong, I can't see how.

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Post by UFeng » Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:02 pm

Incidentally, TRASH Regionals averaged 5.6 tossup answers that I'd never heard of per round.



Why do I get the feeling that someone who posted this with "ACF ____" instead of TRASH Regionals would be told to study more, write more questions, read Benet's, etc?

what troubles me is that the "consumers" of ACF questions are ready to dissect every last minutia to a fault, whereas there is no analogous skepticism for TRASH
So it's a problem that TRASH players are happy? The format's satisfaction is too high?

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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:31 pm

I think Paul has brought up a good point here. There is indeed a double standard that is applied to ACF/mACF and TRASH questions, but I think the issue goes deeper than just question structure.

First, here's the thing: some of the ACF editors enjoy playing TRASH. Some of us, like myself for example, are a liability to any team competing on pop-culture questions (an empty chair can't score, but it can't neg either). But that doesn't mean that we view playing TRASH as somehow wrong (whatever we may say in jest to our teammates) or that we have some sort of undying hatred towards TRASH people, as Sean Phillips seems to imply. For the most part, we just don't care.

But I think criticisms pertaining to question pyramidality are valid no matter what the format. Why does it matter if the answer is "Moby Dick" or "The Big Lebowski?" The choice of topic does not dictate the question structure, and pyramidality is required in either case. I think if TRASH questions are indeed not as pyramidal as they ought to be, then that is a fair thing to say. After all, we have spent over 100 posts picking apart the smallest nuances of the ACF Fall set, which people liked for the most part. Why shouldn't TRASH be subject to the same scrutiny? I for one find it a little odd that the same amount of discussion devoted to ACF has not been devoted to TRASH.

Leaving that aside for the moment, I'd like to make the following claim: regardless of any changes in pyramidality or question quality, there is almost no chance whatsoever that those of us (by which I mean primarily academic players) who don't play TRASH already would be enticed to play it. Why is that? Because we suck at it and we wouldn't have fun.

But wait, you say! Aren't you one of the "read stuff to improve your game" guys? Why, yes, yes I am. And this is where I think the biggest problem with TRASH lies.

There is no canon. There is, essentially, no efficient way for me to become a better TRASH player even were I inclined to do so. Consider this in contrast with academic formats. ACF openly tells everyone that, for example, there will be 4/4 history required in each packet (meaning that almost always there will be 4/4 history in a packet). You also know that about half that history will be American and European. So if you just crack open a general book on American history, you are guaranteed to encounter material that will come up in any ACF/mACF tournament. The same holds for NAQT, which we know has a distribution even if they don't publish it. But the same is manifestly not true for TRASH. I have no guarantee upon delving into any particular area of TRASH knowledge that I will ever encounter any information there which will help me become a better player. Given the vast amounts of sports history in most TRASH tournaments, I would have to commit to memory endless statistics to have a hope of answering these questions. Granted, I've met people who have done that, but in all cases that I am aware of, their knowledge preceded their playing in TRASH. The same is true for almost any subdivision of TRASH knowledge, including movies, music, and so on. Failed 1970s sitcoms? How the hell is anyone going to learn about that?

My point is that TRASH rewards knowledge one already posesses by virtue of having interest in the first place. It offers nothing to someone who might want to get better because there's no guarantee that anything you learn will come up in a tournament. So the introduction of a canon would be pretty much the only thing that would make me interested in playing a TRASH tournament.

Maybe that's not feasible. After all, pop-culture is adamantly anti-hierarchical. And in any case, people like me are not the main constituency that TRASH tournaments aim to please, so there's no reason why they should change what they do in order to lure me to their format. But I still think that the attempt to introduce some sort of canon, even a very loose one, would be beneficial. And I think that academic players are not at all unjustified in criticizing TRASH tournaments for some of the very same things that we criticize academic tournaments.
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Post by setht » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:02 pm

UFeng wrote:
Incidentally, TRASH Regionals averaged 5.6 tossup answers that I'd never heard of per round.



Why do I get the feeling that someone who posted this with "ACF ____" instead of TRASH Regionals would be told to study more, write more questions, read Benet's, etc?

If someone posted this with "ACF Fall" in place of "TRASH Regionals," I would feel that the ACF Fall set had not met the goals of the editors. I think that one of the goals of the ACF Fall set was to provide tossup answers that the vast majority of players will have heard of by the time they graduate from high school. Of course this isn't true of every single tossup answer, but I think the goal is for it to be true for more than 14.4 tossups per round, and I'd like to think this year's set hit that goal.

If someone posted this with "ACF Regionals" or "ACF Nationals" in place of "TRASH Regionals," I probably would suggest that they study/work more, if they felt like reducing the number of unknown tossup answers per round. I would do this because, as Jerry has noted, it is very possible to pursue such studies with visible effects. I think ACF Regionals and ACF Nationals sets generally have fairly well-defined levels of difficulty (the tossup difficulty is fairly uniform), and if you're not recognizing 5+ tossup answer per round, you probably haven't built up the sort of knowledge base those tournaments assume; if you're bothering to note how many tossup answers you are not recognizing, the numbers are probably bothering you, and so I'd try to help you out with what I consider to be a constructive suggestion. UFeng, I take it you feel this suggestion is simply dismissive. Perhaps some people do make that suggestion dismissively; I do not.

Perhaps the assumptions for ACF Regionals and/or ACF Nationals have been set too high recently; I think that's a separate issue. I'll also note that at higher-level tournaments like ACF Regionals and ACF Nationals, players can put up good stats and be very valuable as teammates without having very broad knowledge bases--specialists who can nail questions in a few categories may well not recognize the answers to some significant fraction of the tossups, but they can still put up good numbers and make valuable contributions to their teams.

Having said all that, I'll also say that I feel similarly about TRASH Regionals or TRASHionals. It seems entirely possible to me that Mike Sorice does not have a broad base of trash knowledge at the level that TRASH Regionals wants to test. One possibility is that the TRASH Regionals set was harder than it ought to be, considering the constituency; another possibility is that Mike should consider working/studying some more if he wants to be competitive at the level of TRASH Regionals (or at least, recognize more of the tossup answers). I'm guessing that TRASHionals, like ACF Nationals, also sees a number of specialist players with deep knowledge in a few areas, who don't recognize the answers to many tossups, but still put up good numbers and make valuable contributions to their teams.

I don't think there's as much of a discrepancy between being able to study effectively for ACF vs. TRASH as people have stated. I think ACF does make studying easier by publishing its distribution and posting lots of old question sets, but I think the basic principles of studying for ACF apply just as well to TRASH. I could be wrong about this, but I believe that TRASH packets always have some music, movies, sports, and TV questions. Let's take sports; pick a major sport, such as baseball. If you read through a large book or several small books (say, the equivalent of an American history textbook) on baseball trivia or history or whatever, I am fairly confident you will regularly hear questions come up on topics you have read on (at least, you will regularly hear tossups with answers you recognize from your reading). This seems fairly equivalent to Jerry's example of picking up an American history textbook and reading through it for ACF: not every single topic in the book comes up in any given tournament, not every round has a question that was covered in your book (but most rounds do), it's unlikely that any round has a ton of questions covered in your book, etc.

Finally, I don't think it is fair to compare ACF Fall and TRASH Regionals. The two tournaments have different audiences and different goals. For similar reasons, I doubt it would be fair to compare ACF Regionals and TRASH Regionals--the two have closer goals than ACF Fall and TRASH Regionals, but I think there are still enough differences to make the comparison a poor idea.

If part of the audience for a tournament wants to question its goals, or wants to point out a perceived discrepancy between the goals and the execution, that's fine. I'm not sure I see much point in non-audience members questioning the goals or execution of a tournament.

-Seth

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Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:27 pm

Read what I said before taking it as evidence of anything. I do not have any "respect" for the questions at TRASH. I think they are, on the whole, poorly written. That doesn't mean I dislike the people involved in TRASH, or dislike all the people who play it, or think the problem with the questions is difficulty. And "we" only refers to people who I have discussed this with; neither I nor, due to the current nature of the organization, anyone has the authority to speak on behalf of ACF as a whole. In fact, since my only involvement with ACF was as an editor on the Fall set, you can consider my opinions just as relevant, to the "official" ACF position on anything, as Sean's opinions or Ray's opinions or the opinion of anyone else who has never been involved with ACF at all, at least until next year's fall tournament rolls around.

As far as I know, the purpose of the ACF-TRASH partnership was to serve the mutual interests of the two tournaments by get more teams to both events, as well as to free up an additional week in the crowded fall calendar by not taking up two consecutive weekends for national events when they could easily be done in one. This purpose was accomplished with gusto in many regions, with, just from a quick scan of the boards, college tournaments in New Jersey and Florida and a high school tournament in Oklahoma hosted by a college team all taking place on dates that would have formerly been occupied by either ACF or TRASH. Unfortunately, one of the extra days in the Midwest was already occupied by a college tournament run on high school questions, but at least that demonstrates the idea of putting additional events in November.

Now, even if we exclude the benefit that everyone got by saving on travel costs, having extra staff available, and having the option of hosting an additional event, what are we left with? ACF and TRASH getting together for mutual benefit and nobody's loss. If you think something is to be gained by tautologically nothing that two entities seeking to work together in order to improve their positions is "selfish," go ahead. Just don't act like you're exposing some sort of horrific conspiracy in doing so, and don't act like my not-so-private feelings about TRASH questions (hey everyone: questions written by the TRASH organization are pretty bad, as are 80% of questions written for trash tournaments in general. I've been saying this for six years and I don't know why anyone is acting shocked to hear that I believe it) somehow sully the motives of that arrangement or prove anything about different people involved in ACF of late, who, unlike people attending WUSTL's TRASH regional, are indeed allowed to express their own opinions without fear of rebuke, and should be encouraged to do so instead of being pre-emptively assumed to agree with me or anyone else.
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Post by insaneindian » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:33 pm

Matt, since I have never seen you, were you the taller guy on "We Ruin Your Show Every Week" ?
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Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:41 pm

insaneindian wrote:Matt, since I have never seen you, were you the taller guy on "We Ruin Your Show Every Week" ?
I think Leo is taller than I am, I was the guy with the red hair.
UFeng wrote:Why do I get the feeling that someone who posted this with "ACF ____" instead of TRASH Regionals would be told to study more, write more questions, read Benet's, etc?
Probably because you didn't read the ACF thread, where all complaints about difficulty were met with consent and apologies.

As always, let's not let the actual facts (the statistics showing the ACF is the easiest tournament of the year, the actual responses to actual complaints rather than your fantasy answers) get in the way of a good "ACF is impossible" tangent. Objective, empirical facts are only one way of looking at the world, after all. People who want to make up fictitious ACF editor responses or evaluate tournaments based on their subjective impressions instead of hard data have every right to do so. We can't ever judge such people, because it's impossible to judge, and all opinions are equally valid and beautiful. Looking at facts to compare two tournaments, instead of judging the two based on dismissive responses from the editors which only exist in your head, is not a superior way of making the comparison, it's just a DIFFERENT way, and as we know, difference is to be celebrated at all times.
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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:52 pm

UFeng wrote: Why do I get the feeling that someone who posted this with "ACF ____" instead of TRASH Regionals would be told to study more, write more questions, read Benet's, etc?
Can we please all shut up about Benet's? The recommendation to read it is either always in jest or apocryphal. I recommend reading, you know, actual books. Books of literature, even. I hear they come up in quizbowl sometimes, but that may be just a wild rumor.
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Regarding the NAQT SCT at the University of Illinois

Post by sngreen » Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:10 pm

Hey all,

Before the sky crashes in on our SCT, I'd like to make a couple of points and let everybody decide for themselves what they'd like to do.

1. Mike Sorice is a strong personality and, in my opinion, a love-him-or-hate-him kind of guy. That is true of a lot of players, especially good players, in quiz bowl, not an unreasonable thing in an activity dominated by very smart people and their egos.

2. Mike Sorice is not the University of Illinois Quiz Bowl team and by boycotting our SCT, you're not sticking a dagger in his heart. You're instead punishing punishing everybody else on the team for Mike's actions. Despite being our best player, he is not even on our executive board.

3. Mike Sorice is not running our SCT.

I regret that the incident this weekend has caused some bad blood. It is not my place to tell anybody how to feel about what you may have perceived as some inappropriate actions, but I ask people to keep their judgements from infecting individuals who were not involved.

- Scott Green
President, U of Illinois ABT
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Post by RyanJacobson » Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:31 pm

Hello all---

My name is Ryan Jacobson and I am the President of WashU's team. I've never posted on any of the quiz bowl forums, and I'm not even part of the yahoo group. I registered just for this post.

I felt that as the president of our group, a tournament director of our Gateway Invitational tournament last saturday, and as someone involved in the planning of our TRASH tournament, I had to weigh in on this discussion.

First off, Wash U will still be attending the SCT at the University of Illinois. We've had a surge of interest in our club this year, so we really need to go someplace convenient. Most importantly, no member of our team is harboring negative feelings toward any other team that will be present.

Last weekend my goal was to put together tournaments that would let people have fun. Jon Pinyan, Sean and I did our best to make sure that they ran smoothly and that we were respectful to all participants. And we were certainly successful in that vein.

There were, however, players present who didn't seem to be in the right mindset to have fun. One player in particular seemed to be especially spiteful, and seemed poised to spread his attitude of disdain to other players.

This player's behavior boiled to an ugly head during Sunday's TRASH tournament. Apparently he was upset about finishing 7th in scoring (which I feel is a pretty strong finish) and finishing first in negs. When he was called for these awards, he instead sat in the corner, shaking his head glumly and sulking.

This player's behavior was clearly inappropriate. Ultimately I cannot control how much people enjoy my tournaments or how much they prefer one format to some other. Therefore, I don't really give a flying crap what issues someone takes with the questions, their obscurity, or their difficulty. I do, however, take offense when someone is blatantly disrespectul toward someone else while at a Wash.U. tournament. And specifically, Mike Sorice was pretty disrespectul in his behavior at the end of the TRASH tournament. Sean has worked very hard over the past few years to put together fun and efficient tournaments. I know firsthand that he worked very hard to find the right prizes, recruit teams, and get questions together for Regs. It's really a shame that not all the participants in that tournament could appreciate the hard work that went into it.

So I just wanted to make this post to give my view of went on at our tournaments this weekend. Please, I hope that everyone goes into future tournaments in the spirit of good fun, or at least good sportsmanship.

I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving.

-Ryan

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Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Mon Nov 21, 2005 11:11 pm

RyanJacobson wrote:Hello all---

There were, however, players present who didn't seem to be in the right mindset to have fun. One player in particular seemed to be especially spiteful, and seemed poised to spread his attitude of disdain to other players.

This player's behavior boiled to an ugly head during Sunday's TRASH tournament. Apparently he was upset about finishing 7th in scoring (which I feel is a pretty strong finish) and finishing first in negs. When he was called for these awards, he instead sat in the corner, shaking his head glumly and sulking.

This player's behavior was clearly inappropriate.

-Ryan
What is this, high school? Come on, people. We're all adults here. If someone wants to be "glum" or "sulky," he has every right to be. It's one thing to come to a tournament while sick and spread germs to other players, but as far as I know nobody has ever been harmed by an outbreak of "disdain." I really don't understand this whole "fun police" mentality.

And by the way, Mike Sorice (why not name names? We all know who you're talking about) was equally glum and sulky a week earlier at ACF Fall. He was miserable and furious whenever his team lost or he started negging, and even in victory he looked pretty unhappy. He gets worked up about tournaments. So what? That's his business, and as long as he isn't slapping his teammates around or launching projectiles at moderators I fail to see where you get off pillorying him in this manner. If anything is "clearly inappropriate," it's pretending that you have a right to tell people what "attitude" they have to take toward the game.

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Post by QuizBowlRonin » Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:34 am

What is this, high school? Come on, people. We're all adults here. If someone wants to be "glum" or "sulky," he has every right to be. It's one thing to come to a tournament while sick and spread germs to other players, but as far as I know nobody has ever been harmed by an outbreak of "disdain." I really don't understand this whole "fun police" mentality.

And by the way, Mike Sorice (why not name names? We all know who you're talking about) was equally glum and sulky a week earlier at ACF Fall. He was miserable and furious whenever his team lost or he started negging, and even in victory he looked pretty unhappy. He gets worked up about tournaments. So what? That's his business, and as long as he isn't slapping his teammates around or launching projectiles at moderators I fail to see where you get off pillorying him in this manner. If anything is "clearly inappropriate," it's pretending that you have a right to tell people what "attitude" they have to take toward the game.

Andrew
With all due respect, I don't think I can agree.

One can act in a manner consistent with civility, and a measure of minimum civility is necessary in any competitive event. Your supposition that suggests that merely being taciturn during an event does not have an effect on other partcipants is simply false. It can be argued that it shouldn't be that way, but it is obvious that such behavior dampens the value of the event on other players.

If you want me to make that obviously clear -

- Mike - "That last question was such a buzzerrace."
- Mike's Opponents: "Why am I so dumb to not know it then?"

- Mike - "Don't fucking protest, it's trash" & "..opera is just as bad as having a TRASH tournament"
- Mike's Opponents: "If the questions suck so much, then why am I spending the time to be here playing? This tournament is such a waste of time"
- The Tournament Hosts: "Well if he thinks the tournament is waste of time, then he must think we're also wasting our time as well, and that we ourselves are also a waste of time."

Such statements are thinly veiled putdowns. And yes, such reactions require a thin skin. But I think that most people would have the wherewithal to have a bit of self control to be a little accomodative. Personally, I could care very little about what other people are saying about the questions. But if you're the tournament director or moderator, it implies that you do at least have duties towards maintaining a minimal level of sportsmanship.

In addition, such behavior is simply unnecessary and a distraction to the game. To be fair, I lump things like being overly celebratory and being talkative including talking during other teams bonuses (I'm talking to you, Illinois). I would rather teams shut up and let the moderator finish the round in an expedient manner than have teams chatter about how early they buzzed in or how the previous question sucked. We go to tournaments to play quizbowl, not to act as a commentator on questions - there is another time and place for that.

Finally, this whole thing should have been handled in a more appropriate manner rather than airing it in public. There are better ways than this.

Jason Paik
(not speaking for WashU or ACF in any capacity)
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Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:49 am

QuizBowlRonin wrote:
With all due respect, I don't think I can agree.

One can act in a manner consistent with civility, and a measure of minimum civility is necessary in any competitive event. Your supposition that suggests that merely being taciturn during an event does not have an effect on other partcipants is simply false. It can be argued that it shouldn't be that way, but it is obvious that such behavior dampens the value of the event on other players.

In addition, such behavior is simply unnecessary and a distraction to the game. To be fair, I lump things like being overly celebratory and being talkative including talking during other teams bonuses (I'm talking to you, Illinois). I would rather teams shut up and let the moderator finish the round in an expedient manner than have teams chatter about how early they buzzed in or how the previous question sucked.
My point isn't that being "taciturn" (or, with all due respect to Mike, being a jerk) has no "effect on other participants." My point, rather, is that unless someone actively harms another person during a tournament nobody has the right to raise this kind of fuss about "behavior." Frankly, I've never been to a tournament at which one or more other teams didn't "dampen the value of the event" for me through their antics. There's always at least one team that is really loud and annoying; or which is constantly chortling over their own idiotic jokes; or which is full of murderous self-directed rage (I'm looking at you, Rochester). Guess what? I deal with it. I don't jump on the message boards and act as if people should be prohibited from behaving in ways I personally find irritating. Obviously, I wish everyone approached the game with the cool savoir faire of a Paul Litvak or the dapper aplomb of a Seth Teitler, but since that's not going to happen I suggest we learn to live and let live and not cry about how so-and-so "spoiled the fun for everyone."

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Post by QuizBowlRonin » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:55 am

My point isn't that being "taciturn" (or, with all due respect to Mike, being a jerk) has no "effect on other participants." My point, rather, is that unless someone actively harms another person during a tournament nobody has the right to raise this kind of fuss about "behavior." Frankly, I've never been to a tournament at which one or more other teams didn't "dampen the value of the event" for me through their antics. There's always at least one team that is really loud and annoying; or which is constantly chortling over their own idiotic jokes; or which is full of murderous self-directed rage (I'm looking at you, Rochester). Guess what? I deal with it. I don't jump on the message boards and act as if people should be prohibited from behaving in ways I personally find irritating. Obviously, I wish everyone approached the game with the cool savoir faire of a Paul Litvak or the dapper aplomb of a Seth Teitler, but since that's not going to happen I suggest we learn to live and let live and not cry about how so-and-so "spoiled the fun for everyone."
So your point is that people need to grow thicker skins. Does it make the other teams' behaviors any less appropriate? And having provided some examples of "actively harming" the event through needless chatter and making veiled putdowns with regards to opponents and the tournament hosts not itself a reason for concern?

I can agree that such behavior is not reason enough to publically lambast somebody - but I would at least be motivated to privately make my concerns clear. As a partcipant in an event, perhaps, one should not have the right to make whiney complaints. But as the tournament directors and hosts, one would surely have a responsibility towards ensuring a minimal level of sportsmanship and civility.
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Post by BigFlax » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:16 am

I certainly can't say I'm surprised by the reaction coming out of St. Louis - let's face it, Mike has never had a great reputation around much of the Midwestern circuit and he certainly does little to counteract the perception that a lot of people have of him as an asshole, if not actively encourages it. That said, with the exception of his general "I really don't want to be here" demeanor and statements - which demean people who did want to be there whether or not that was the intention - I have certainly seen far worse.

Why Illinois simply didn't just drive home after Gateway is one of the universe's great mysteries, but their presence, outwardly resentful though it may have been, was hardly completely intolerable.

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Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:56 am

RyanJacobson wrote:This player's behavior boiled to an ugly head during Sunday's TRASH tournament. Apparently he was upset about finishing 7th in scoring (which I feel is a pretty strong finish) and finishing first in negs. When he was called for these awards, he instead sat in the corner, shaking his head glumly and sulking.
So was he upset about scoring, announced at the end of the day, or was he entering the tournament under the mysterious auspices of "bad faith" and complaining from Round 1, as Sean has alleged? I think it's extremely unfair of you to allege that Mike's disdain for the event was produced by some sour-grapes reaction to his individual placement, rather than his honest and valid problems with the content of the questions. In fact, going by what I know of Mike and by what Sean and Jon said, I'm going to cut to the chase and call you a liar on this point.
Ultimately I cannot control how much people enjoy my tournaments
That is quite a unique point of view.
or how much they prefer one format to some other.
TRASH is not a format, it is one organization writing questions, in a subpar fashion, within a certain format.
Therefore, I don't really give a flying crap what issues someone takes with the questions, their obscurity, or their difficulty.
I will note this policy on feedback at WUSTL tournaments for the future.
I do, however, take offense when someone is blatantly disrespectul toward someone else while at a Wash.U. tournament. And specifically, Mike Sorice was pretty disrespectul in his behavior at the end of the TRASH tournament.
Says you. Frankly I don't see what went on that was any worse than expected at a normal event, and I suspect that this whole controversy is a poor attempt by Sean to sublimate his pointless anger at ACF over a perceived attempt to affect the scheduling of WUSTL's college-tournament-on-high-school-questions, a change which didn't even end up happening.
Sean has worked very hard over the past few years to put together fun and efficient tournaments. I know firsthand that he worked very hard to find the right prizes, recruit teams, and get questions together for Regs.
If Sean has become a writer for TRASH of late, than this occurred without me hearing anything of it. I'll not only take your word that he worked hard for prizes and recruitment regarding this particular event, but I'll volunteer my appreciation for the admirable way which Sean and WUSTL have done such things for as long as I've been paying attention. You may have noted that nobody is objecting to the way Sean or anyone at WUSTL organizes events; the only issue at hand is the content of TRASH questions.
It's really a shame that not all the participants in that tournament could appreciate the hard work that went into it.
That's just the issue: there was no hard work on the content of the TRASH questions, by the TRASH writers, a group which, to my knowledge, is mutually exclusive of the WUSTL team and its alumni, and whose faults should not reflect on the WUSTL team, which is why no one is saying that the WUSTL team is at fault for anything except creating a controversy where there ought be none after the tournament was over. The questions were, to get to the heart of things, lazy. Filler clues like birthdays, non-pyramidal tossups, and the stench of Wikipedia predominated; these are the hallmarks of questions written in minutes from the quickest source, without regard to the quality of either source or question.

I think you should be just as piqued at TRASH as Mike was for their lack of effort, given how much effort you put into your side of the bargain. I would not want to do my best to get a tournament together, only to be handed bad questions by an outside organization and have that produce a justifiable reaction of disdain in players.
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Post by QuizBowlRonin » Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:21 am

Matt Weiner wrote:stench of Wikipedia
I just wanted to point out that ACF Fall is guilty of the same as well, if there is anything guilty about that.

EDIT: also after reading your message completely, I don't think it is justifiable to level possibly correct criticism during a tournament. During a match is not the time and place to express excessive exasperation.

ANOTHER EDIT: I can only speculate that some of the criticism leveled at the questions also has implied criticisms against the tournament hosts and other teams (see above). But it's obvious a bunch of somebodies thought the same way, regardless of your points.
Last edited by QuizBowlRonin on Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by jonpin » Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:34 am

Matt Weiner wrote:
RyanJacobson wrote:Apparently he was upset about finishing 7th in scoring (which I feel is a pretty strong finish) and finishing first in negs. When he was called for these awards, he instead sat in the corner, shaking his head glumly and sulking.
I think it's extremely unfair of you to allege that Mike's disdain for the event was produced by some sour-grapes reaction to his individual placement, rather than his honest and valid problems with the content of the questions. In fact, going by what I know of Mike and by what Sean and Jon said, I'm going to cut to the chase and call you a liar on this point.
Incorrect, yes. Liar, not quite. It's my opinion that his reaction probably wasn't based on poor performance, probably was based on being pissed off at the entire tournament, and certainly seemed petulant either way.
Ultimately I cannot control how much people enjoy my tournaments
That is quite a unique point of view.
If someone is dead-set on hating a tournament, there's not much anyone can do to change that. Again, poorly worded on Ryan's part. Fucking up definitely affects someone's enjoyment of a tournament, as I can tell first hand from Penn Bowl '04, which I hated due in part to poor coordination on their part.[/quote]
I suspect that this whole controversy is a poor attempt by Sean to sublimate his pointless anger at ACF over a perceived attempt to affect the scheduling of WUSTL's college-tournament-on-high-school-questions, a change which didn't even end up happening.
OK, this is where I call bullshit. (1) It wasn't a "perceived attempt", it was an attempt. (2) It didn't happen, but it wasn't for your lack of trying. I don't recall whether such proof resides elsewhere in this forum, on Yahoo, or in chat logs on my computer, but don't try to tell me that you didn't specifically demand that we host ACF Regionals in order to host TRASH Regionals, and that you did it without TRASH's permission.
I know firsthand that he worked very hard to find the right prizes, recruit teams, and get questions together for Regs.
If Sean has become a writer for TRASH of late, than this occurred without me hearing anything of it. [...]
the TRASH writers, a group which, to my knowledge, is mutually exclusive of the WUSTL team and its alumni
On this point, you are correct. Ryan just meant that Sean helped print and copy the questions for both tournaments. The ambiguity is apologized for.
The questions were, to get to the heart of things, lazy. Filler clues like birthdays, non-pyramidal tossups, and the stench of Wikipedia predominated; these are the hallmarks of questions written in minutes from the quickest source, without regard to the quality of either source or question.
I think you should be just as piqued at TRASH as Mike was for their lack of effort, given how much effort you put into your side of the bargain. I would not want to do my best to get a tournament together, only to be handed bad questions by an outside organization and have that produce a justifiable reaction of disdain in players.
Dear god, we've returned to the actual fucking point of the discussion. That's not allowed! We have to keep up on this eternal tangent, which 95% of players don't give a flying fuck about, on whether Sorice was an asshole or just misunderstood. As to us starting this argument, what we said was that Sorice was a dick at our tournament (in response to his post) and we didn't appreciate it.
Now, at least at our tournament, this "justifiable reaction of disdain in players" was, to my recollection (limited though it may be) not vocalized by "players" in the plural. As to whether the questions were bad, some of them were. Some of them weren't. Some were quite enjoyable.
At our tournaments, lots of people had fun. People were smiling for the most part. On Sunday, I read the last round between two teams that had gotten beaten all day, and there was still laughter and jokes. Allegedly at least, fun is the reason any of us play this game of quiz bowl. But it's dumbass arguments like this that remind me why a friend of mine quit playing for good after this past year, because there was "too much stupid drama".
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Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:57 am

jonpin wrote:OK, this is where I call bullshit. (1) It wasn't a "perceived attempt", it was an attempt. (2) It didn't happen, but it wasn't for your lack of trying. I don't recall whether such proof resides elsewhere in this forum, on Yahoo, or in chat logs on my computer, but don't try to tell me that you didn't specifically demand that we host ACF Regionals in order to host TRASH Regionals, and that you did it without TRASH's permission.
You act as if ACF was specifically targeting your particular high-school-question event. The fact is that it just didn't enter anyone's minds when discussing the arrangement, partly due to genuine oversight on our part, and partly because the idea that your high-school-question event is inexorably wed to the weekend of TRASH Regionals existed only in Sean's head and is something that neither TRASH nor anyone else outside of the WUSTL team was made aware of until after the ACF/TRASH date-sharing arrangement was publicized. We did, in fact, discuss this with TRASH beforehand. When agreeing to share the weekend, TRASH neglected to inform their ACF contact that they had already promised TRASH regionals to certain sites, including one which was apparently already hosting a high-school-question event on Saturday. This was probably because the high-school-question event hadn't been announced to TRASH or anyone else, and was only presumed to be occuring on that date due to some mystical union between your high-school-question event and TRASH which, again, neither TRASH nor any other non-WUSTL people had ever actually been informed of. Apparently not only TRASH's schedule markers but also ACF's schedule makrers, potential attendees at the high-school-question event, and the quizbowl community at large were expected to divine, in some psychic fashion, the fact that the high-school-question event would be on that Saturday and could not possibly occur on any other day due to the aforementioned supernatural mandate preventing it from being at any time besides the weekend of TRASH regionals.
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Post by cvdwightw » Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:36 am

I had a lengthier post lined up, but I think this is the only relevant part of it now:

For those of you who weren't on this board in April, or haven't checked the archives in a while, there's a very good set of posts near the bottom of last year's ACF Nationals discussion thread (http://www.hsquizbowl.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=21587). For those of you who are too lazy to click the link and scroll down to the bottom, I've quoted the relevant parts of the posts below:
vsirin wrote:It made me wish the ACF people would produce their own ACF/pop culture tournament, which would be much less lame than real trash tournaments.
Chris Frankel wrote:It seems to me that most of the contempt held by academic partisans towards the local trash tournaments and the trash in NAQT packets is an issue with the quality of the writing, and not the subject itself. I, too, would strongly consider attending a trash tournament if the packets were held to the same standards that the ACF editors use.
Ryan Westbrook wrote:Even given the fact that I am a terrible trash player, I would absolutely love to see trash get an ACF makeover. There is no reason that a tossup on Howard the Duck shouldn't be as pyramidal and well-written as a tossup on Ortega y Gasset. Trash doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) the goofy, semi-retarded cousin of academic trivia. Pop culture is just as "serious" and legitimate as academic stuff; it's knowledge...and it shouldn't be relegated to the just-for-fun kiddy table of quiz bowl (which is, I think, the stigmatic reputation that it often has). Of course, I also think that it has earned this reputation for itself, so what better remedy than to ACF-ize trash. My only question would be - is there a realistic audience for this? I sense that we have a group of "grown-ups" who want to get as far away from the kiddy table as possible, and a group of kiddies who are quite happy eating play-doh...is there really an in-between?
It seems that, in general, people like trash tournaments (collective gasp). It also seems that, in general, people like tournaments with well-written, pyramidal questions on things people have heard of and may actually care about. Now, I think every tournament, whether locally or nationally run, wants feedback on their tournament so they know what to do better next time; the issue of question quality should be especially important for businesses whose main commodity is questions for regional and national quiz bowl tournaments. So let's look at the main players in the question-writing business.

NAQT has responded to criticisms about its question quality at its Sectional and National levels and produced higher-quality sets as a result of it. CBI repeatedly requests feedback at both the Regional and National levels, but it seems like they just read, then ignore, anything that might imply that their questions aren't the best in the world. I don't know what TRASH does with their feedback, but from the looks of these posts, it appears that their approach is much more like CBI and much less like NAQT.

--Dwight, who sucks at trash but enjoys it anyway

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Post by jazzerpoet » Tue Nov 22, 2005 6:25 am

Greetings, everyone! I would like to start out my post by stating that I thoroughly enjoyed the pairing of ACF Fall and TRASH Regionals. And I would even go as far as to say that ACF and TRASH should attempt this union of events again next year. As an enthusiast of both academic and trash competitions, I see the conjunction of these two tournaments into one weekend of quiz bowl competitions as simply brilliant. Moreover, by pairing these two events together, it allows freshmen and other newcomers to the game to experience alternative forms of quiz bowl, i.e. non-NAQT tournaments (which I also thoroughly enjoy).

For example, a freshman on my team (Tulsa) competed at both ACF Fall and TRASH Regionals in Dallas. He was really eager to compete at ACF Fall and even contributed a few questions for our packet. However, he is not very good at trash questions, but since he was present for the tournament anyway, he decided to play TRASH Regionals. He actually wound up answering six tossups and had a fun time. I think the gist of the anecdote is that had the two tournaments not been paired together during one weekend, he probably would have never played in a TRASH/Trash tournament, which (given the amount of fun he had at TRASH) he would have ultimately regretted.

Lastly, I would like to suggest something, and you can all feel free to mock me or whatever, but would it be totally inconceivable to run a packet-submission national trash tournament? Basically, an ACF version of Trash? I mean, I am sure that there are enough people out there who enjoy trash questions but who have a problem with TRASH's pyramidality, who would also be willing to organize a nationwide packet-submission tournament. All that there needs to be is a small number of centralized editors who would be willing to spend the time editing the questions and host sites, the latter of which is easy enough to come by. Furthermore, this could achieve one of two goals: 1. A new organization springs up that could challenge TRASH, much like NAQT did with ACF; 2. TRASH feels enough pressure to adapt its business practices and produce a more universally-lauded product. And more than that, it would be nice for a college-only trash tournament; for, the one problem that I have with TRASH is that their tournaments are open to anyone, thus there are so many times where I have to play against players who are not only old enough to be my father but also my grandfather. Playing against grad students is one thing, but playing against middle-aged people is totally unfair; I mean it's one thing to know a lot about Woodstock, for example, but it's a whole other thing to have actually been present for it.

Anyway... I have rambled on long enough.

Cheers!
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Post by answerguy » Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:39 am

cvdwightw wrote:There's a very good set of posts near the bottom of last year's ACF Nationals discussion thread (http://www.hsquizbowl.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=21587). For those of you who are too lazy to click the link and scroll down to the bottom, I've quoted the relevant parts of the posts below:
vsirin wrote:It made me wish the ACF people would produce their own ACF/pop culture tournament, which would be much less lame than real trash tournaments.
Chris Frankel wrote:It seems to me that most of the contempt held by academic partisans towards the local trash tournaments and the trash in NAQT packets is an issue with the quality of the writing, and not the subject itself. I, too, would strongly consider attending a trash tournament if the packets were held to the same standards that the ACF editors use.
Ryan Westbrook wrote:Even given the fact that I am a terrible trash player, I would absolutely love to see trash get an ACF makeover. There is no reason that a tossup on Howard the Duck shouldn't be as pyramidal and well-written as a tossup on Ortega y Gasset. Trash doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) the goofy, semi-retarded cousin of academic trivia...
It seems that, in general, people like trash tournaments (collective gasp). It also seems that, in general, people like tournaments with well-written, pyramidal questions on things people have heard of and may actually care about. Now, I think every tournament, whether locally or nationally run, wants feedback on their tournament so they know what to do better next time; the issue of question quality should be especially important for businesses whose main commodity is questions for regional and national quiz bowl tournaments. So let's look at the main players in the question-writing business.

NAQT has responded to criticisms about its question quality at its Sectional and National levels and produced higher-quality sets as a result of it. CBI repeatedly requests feedback at both the Regional and National levels, but it seems like they just read, then ignore, anything that might imply that their questions aren't the best in the world. I don't know what TRASH does with their feedback, but from the looks of these posts, it appears that their approach is much more like CBI and much less like NAQT.
As someone who's been responsible for my share of trash questions, trash packets, and trash tournaments, but has no affiliation with TRASH, I figure I should weigh in.

Part of the problem of a 1-to-1 compare and contrast between trash and academic is that there really is no real pop culture canon, and the body of well-known popular cutlure facts is somewhat more problematic to discern than in academic subjects. The practical upshot of this when it comes to writing trash questions is as follows:

1. There is no one alive who is going to be interested in the subjects of all 20 tossups in any given set of trash questions unless they actively wrote the set to their own tastes, which would be unique. That fact is not due to any failure on anyone's part. I'm a pretty good trash player, and it's an unusual event if there aren't at least 5 questions out of 20 that I'd have no prayer of getting against seven empty chairs. So a question whose answer you haven't heard of is less likely to be an ipso facto bad question than in at academic field.

2. Even within a subject, it's not always obvious what order clues should go in in order to effect a pyrimidial structure. Now something like the "Aristocrats" tossup probably shouldn't have happened, but different people may come about the same piece of knowledge from different sources, especially in the pop culture world.
That said, there are some rules that should probably be noted...
* Current events angles usually belong later in the tossup.
* As with ACF, efforts should be made to keep easily memorizable stuff out of lead-ins. Birth names for celebrities are bad lead-ins. Corporate founders (e.g. Arthur Blank for Home Depot) are not good lead-ins. First lines of songs are lousy lead-ins.

3. This is why the "LAME!" is now a standard feature of pop culture tournaments. It's hard to keep difficulty within and across packets level when people come in with so many different knowledge bases. So inevitably there are going to be bonuses about a TV show or movie where you're guaranteed a zero if you've never watched the show or movie. (Ideally, the bonuses would be structured differently from that, but unless you're going to write an entire tournament on your own from scratch, you should find a way to deal with it.)

There are defnitely some valid critiques of trash and TRASH and this year's regionals set in particular hidden amongst the sniping and personal invective. But I don't think they're elitist, not any more so than quizbowl in general. I don't think they're impervious to criticism either.

AndySaunders
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Post by AndySaunders » Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:08 pm

Here are some stats from my regional:

TRASH Regionals Great Lakes: 14 teams
ACF Fall Great Lakes: 4

TRASH Regionals top team: 372.5 PPG, 19.84PPB
ACF Fall top team: 185 PPG, 11.38 PPB.

However, you need to look at more than just the numbers here. In my region, we have a number of very strong TRASH teams (Keenans, Michigan alums, Rochester, etc.) and not much interest in ACF. This skews TRASH upwards.

The same can be said about Northwest. A little more background about Northwest, which I'm surprised has not been brought up. The Northwest Region circuit currently consists of two British Columbia schools: UBC and Simon Fraser. It is well known, in Canada at least, that Simon Fraser is the TRASH power and UBC is the academic one. UBC tends to disdain TRASH a little bit because they prefer academic questions (namely Luka and Fred, but we won't talk about those two).

Also, Simon Fraser tends to split themselves up at TRASH Regionals in order to ensure that there are 4 teams at that Regional, as UBC traditionally only plays a single team at TRASH Regionals. If you noticed, Carlos Hernandez Fisher played solo. Of course when a team splits itself three ways, it will score lower! On the other side, UBC doesn't split its top players for the most part in ACF, and will walk away with very high scores.

Simply looking at the numbers in this case and making baseless comparisons about TRASH's difficulty without knowing any sort of story behind them is completely immature and completely wrong, in my opinion.

Andy Saunders
President, Brock Trivia

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