THE thread for NAQT SCT discussion

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THE thread for NAQT SCT discussion

Post by Rothlover » Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:36 am

This is the thread for sct discussion. Feel free to post about absurd TD decisions smoothly run events and questions good, bad or ugly.
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Post by csrjjsmp » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:19 am

Actually, you're not allowed to talk about specific questions until July 1.
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Post by Chris Frankel » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:21 am

This same disclaimer was present on packets from at least the 2004 and 2005 SCT's, and you can observe how the precedent has gone by looking through the college quizbowl discussion archives on here and on Yahoo Groups.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."

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Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:22 am

csrjjsmp wrote:Actually, you're not allowed to talk about specific questions until July 1.
Well, that's stupid.

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Post by Rothlover » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:24 am

Yes, besides, any set requires a discourse, so that things can be gained from it (both from its good, and from its bad.) Putting a kibosh on discussion for 4.5 months would be a mixture of ass-covering and disregard for the circuit and paying customers, though it has been noted that the questions have been discussed in the past, in spite of the disclaimer, with impunity.
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Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:34 am

This question set was a step back to the bad old days of circa-2003 NAQT, probably because it was written almost entirely by non-players who are completely out of touch with what is appropriately difficult for current quizbowl standards. Also, there were some factual errors and blatant hoses. I love those. I'd like to give specific examples to back up my claims but I'm afraid of being banned from NAQT forever!
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Post by cvdwightw » Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:31 am

Chris Frankel wrote:This same disclaimer was present on packets from at least the 2004 and 2005 SCT's, and you can observe how the precedent has gone by looking through the college quizbowl discussion archives on here and on Yahoo Groups.
I may be wrong about this, but R. cleared the Division I sets for both those years for discussion. I would guess that those sets were cleared for discussion because there was no possibility the questions would be used at a later date. I am therefore confused about the reversion, since there appears to be no upcoming tournaments using the Division I SCT Packet Set.

In addition to the reversion of this policy, I think the set as a whole took a step back from last year's SCT. I think my biggest problem was the seemingly excessive length of the part of the question before the power mark. There were several questions in which the moderator appeared to be surprised that the question was still for power when someone buzzed in. I can only think of one factual error off the top of my head, but given my paltry 43 points per game I'm sure people can think of more.

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Post by Chris Frankel » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:04 am

cvdwightw wrote: I may be wrong about this, but R. cleared the Division I sets for both those years for discussion. I would guess that those sets were cleared for discussion because there was no possibility the questions would be used at a later date. I am therefore confused about the reversion, since there appears to be no upcoming tournaments using the Division I SCT Packet Set.
Has there been an actual reversion put forth? I checked the Yahoo archives, and while you are indeed right about R making posts clearing discussion of specific questions, it seemed to me that they were tacit acknowledgements of the silence rule being more of a formality than anything else, and not determining factors in the course of the post-SCT discussions that followed; after all what would NAQT have to gain by discouraging question discussion indefinitely? In other words, I wouldn't imagine this year being different from the past two, and I haven't seen anything specific from any NAQT members or SCT hosts calling for an exceptional moratorium on question discussion for this season's tournament (csrjjsmp or Dwight, if you have heard something to the contrary from NAQT, beyond the traditional small print on the SCT packets, it would be worth mentioning).

That said, while I didn't attend, I did get to hear about some question specifics from a wide range of attendees (and hopefully will get a change to verify specifics due to the "every club attending SCT gets the packet set rule"), and have my own shortlist of comments to throw on the table. But I'll wait until the question of whether or not there is an official reversion out there is answered before I do so.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."

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Post by NotBhan » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:28 am

A few brief notes:

1. A list of the SCT winners from each region has been posted on the NAQT site.

2. The set used in the CC events will be used for other tournaments, so anyone who played in the CC events should not discuss specific answers on this board. (I'm not saying that on behalf of NAQT; it's just common sense.)

3. The NAQT site does not list the SCT set as being used for anything else, but I'd imagine there could be some questions in the D2 set which would be in some IS set. (Or maybe not; I don't know.) The D1 set usually doesn't have any overlap with anything else.

4. I took the rather obvious step (which some of you may have taken) of e-mailing R and NAQT to ask whether it's OK to discuss the questions. If I hear anything back, I'll post it.

5. If you know of factual errors in the set, I reckon NAQT would like to hear about them so the errors can be corrected for anyone who acquires or purchases the set later on. Their general contact e-mail address is naqt@naqt.com , to which you may presumably mail any syllabi of errors if you so desire. Comments could go to the same address unless they've set up another one for this purpose.

--Raj Dhuwalia, who is not a member of NAQT and is not speaking/typing on NAQT's behalf in any way
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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:40 am

Since I've used up all my negative superlatives on Penn Bowl, I'll just skip the harrangue and cut to the chase.

I was disappointed in this latest installment of SCT. It was, as Matt points out, a step backwards toward 2002-2003 rather than an emulation of more succesful SCTs, like that of 2005. It wasn't awful; just poor. Many of the questions were full of retarded anecdotes or uninformative leadins quickly followed by giveaways. Some questions had what I would consider giveaways in the first clue. There were clear factual inaccuracies in several questions, and many of them were just plain sloppy. I'll refrain from posting examples because I don't have the set in hand and because I want to wait until we get the go-ahead to discuss, but the upshot is that this was a definite step backwards for NAQT. I'm not sure why they abandoned their succesful model of writing good questions for the much-maligned model of writing bad ones.
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Post by miamiqb » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:44 am

As a first-year qber and a guy who doesn't really practice I have to say that the set was pretty easy for Div2. Some of the tossups gave give-away clues fairly early in the question and the power marks seemed as if they were overly generous (some glaring examples come to mind).
IMHO, I also felt that there was WAY to much trash. In fact I lost two rounds solely because of trash (and perhaps my negging ;-) ) When three tossups are written about one station's hit shows I think we have a problem.

Overall, I felt that it was a factually correct and (for the most part) good gettable packet for D2ers. It isn't easy to put together 16 packets for Div2 and appeal to all new players and I think that NAQT pulled it off. Congrats.
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Post by csrjjsmp » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:00 pm

No, I have not heard any official pronouncement regarding question security, my warning was based solely on the notices at the beginning of the packets themselves. If the standard procedure is different, I apologize for the confusion.

The D2 questions seemed fairly easy to me as well, but I didn't go to SCT last year, so I don't have much basis for comparison.

Edit: For reference, in D2 at SCT West, both top teams scored over 400 ppg with 60+ powers in 12 rounds. In D1, UCLA averaged 410 ppg with 60 powers in 15 rounds. None of that seemed excessively high to me.
Last edited by csrjjsmp on Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by AndySaunders » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:00 pm

I also was of the impression that there were some very generous powers, especially in Division 2...as will almost certainly be shown when the Division 2 stats come out and show me as having 22 powers in 14 games.

Other than that, I had no real qualms with the packet set...

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Post by First Chairman » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:05 pm

I don't know if any of the changes you all attribute to NAQT's writing style is a response to statistical trends that they want to see occur. If anyone has that much free time (I feel like I'm throwing meat to lions placed on a vegetarian diet), is there a way to link "good style" with statistical performance on NAQT SCT questions? Otherwise, I know we're all then going to be discussing subjective preferences in question-style, clues, and so on. (Not that such a discussion wouldn't be important either.)
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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:08 pm

E.T. Chuck wrote:I don't know if any of the changes you all attribute to NAQT's writing style is a response to statistical trends that they want to see occur. If anyone has that much free time (I feel like I'm throwing meat to lions placed on a vegetarian diet), is there a way to link "good style" with statistical performance on NAQT SCT questions? Otherwise, I know we're all then going to be discussing subjective preferences in question-style, clues, and so on. (Not that such a discussion wouldn't be important either.)
Sorry, I'm confused. What does this mean, exactly?
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Post by vsirin » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:12 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
E.T. Chuck wrote:I don't know if any of the changes you all attribute to NAQT's writing style is a response to statistical trends that they want to see occur. If anyone has that much free time (I feel like I'm throwing meat to lions placed on a vegetarian diet), is there a way to link "good style" with statistical performance on NAQT SCT questions? Otherwise, I know we're all then going to be discussing subjective preferences in question-style, clues, and so on. (Not that such a discussion wouldn't be important either.)
Sorry, I'm confused. What does this mean, exactly?
I too have no idea what this chunk of Chuckian prose actually means. But it seems everyone is forgetting something. "NAQT" didn't edit last year's SCT; unless I'm mistaken, Subash Maddipoti did. I'm guessing he didn't edit this year's set. I'm also guessing that a lot of the perceived change -- whether improvement or decline -- could be attributed to the fact that the set had a different editor.

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Post by First Chairman » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:17 pm

Okay... the example I'm going to throw is PACE NSC. There is a clear delineation of questions written before Matt (and everyone else) took over as chief editor. Some of the changes we installed involved a lot of discussion, but after they were implemented, scoring dramatically increased overall for the FIELD. At the same time, individual scoring was a bit more evenly distributed. I know Matt and the rest of you guys involved with writing questions for PACE NSC are further pushing the envelope when writing quality questions, but I know that you're not going so overboard with difficulty that it makes the tournament that much harder for teams.

Now hypothetically, if I want the tournament to be more of a challenge than the statistics indicate, I could ask that everyone go back to pre-Matt when it comes to writing and editing questions to get the kind of scoring behavior I would expect. (I wouldn't do it without major discussion of course, especially since I don't consider myself on the pioneering edge or involved so much with the college circuit.) But suppose I did do that, and scoring dropped. ...

I don't expect there to be a real "ultimatum" when it comes to editing the packet set, though I'm sure if there were a change in editorship, we'd figure that out too. I'm just wondering is there a way to link the tournament outcomes seen in the big picture of all the SCT's (since the stats should all be up) and your perceptions that the tournament style has reverted. Of course, compare apples to apples (CC does not compare to D1).

EDIT: Subash editing last year's set?... well, that could be a good reason for what you're seeing. :)
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Post by AndySaunders » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:35 pm

E.T. Chuck wrote:I don't know if any of the changes you all attribute to NAQT's writing style is a response to statistical trends that they want to see occur. If anyone has that much free time (I feel like I'm throwing meat to lions placed on a vegetarian diet), is there a way to link "good style" with statistical performance on NAQT SCT questions? Otherwise, I know we're all then going to be discussing subjective preferences in question-style, clues, and so on. (Not that such a discussion wouldn't be important either.)
I agree with you; I think that it is a definite possibility that NAQT wants to make the power more a part of the game, and that this was their way of doing it.

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Post by yoda4554 » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:49 pm

As I believe Subash mentioned last year when people were singling him out for praise on SCT, NAQT has a hierarchy of editors for every set. Last year, the buck did stop at Subash for SCT and ICT, I think, and it didn't this year. So while I do suspect that Subash's presence may have improved certain aspects of the set, a number of different people within NAQT worked on the editing last year, and the same is true this year; as far as I know, much of the editing team is unchanged.

I agree with what everyone here's been saying about the questions. I was disappointed as well. To add to the discussion, I'd like to note the repeats-- there was one instance of one answer that occurred for two tossups, a couple concepts that appeared in multiple questions, etc. I don't know how these weren't caught. There was also at least one question that didn't have a power marking. Furthermore, the favorite topics of certain NAQT writers seem to pop up too frequently, as I can think of a couple topics that, while perhaps worthy of a tossup now and then, have appeared at multiple SCTs and ICTs over the past couple years. While I certainly don't mind lots of pop culture, the pop culture skewed heavily towards trashy/nostalgia (though a number of these were decently well-written). And of course, there was the one particularly bad hose which I know screwed up a couple games in our region; I don't know if it did so elsewhere too.

It's a shame too, because there were certainly questions here and there I thought were structured exceptionally well.

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Post by cdbarker » Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:12 pm

Cross-posted on behalf of R.

Players and Coaches --

People may now discuss questions (and anything else) from the Division I SCT sets that were played this past weekend as those questions will not be used for future events.

If teams can determine, by comparing packets, that questions in the Division II set were either identical to, or clearly "toned down" from, questions in the DI set, then those may also be discussed.

Teams may NOT discuss the Community College SCT questions (that is, Invitational Series #58) nor may they discuss questions in the DII set that were "upped in difficulty" from IS #58. If you're not sure whether a question in the DII set is clear for discussion, feel free to contact NAQT at naqt-at-naqt.com and we'll let you know.

NAQT's writers and members read the popular quiz bowl forums and will probably see any and all feedback posted there. If you want to be certain that something gets read, or if you definitely want a response, please don't hesitate to e-mail us directly at feedback-at-naqt.com.

We thank you for your attendance at the SCT and look forward to seeing the top teams in Maryland in April!

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Post by vandyhawk » Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:16 pm

I like Jerry's sentiment of not terrible, but not what we would've expected based on recent trends. The repeats were inexcusable - besides Henry Adams and The Education of Henry Adams, the Pennines came up twice with the same info, and Cook and Theseus both came up twice as well. I remember some others occuring but can't remember what they actually were. The distribution bothered me more than usual too. Of course there will be a lot of geography, current events, and trash, so may as well just prepare for that, but there still was not nearly enough philosophy or "real" social science (as opposed to TWO name the country where these archaelogical digs were), and how do you have entire packets of 26 questions without a visual arts tossup, esp. in more than one instance? We also heard a total of one non-Greco-Roman myth question all day, at least I think - that being an Egyptian one. In looking through the last few unread questions of the rounds where they existed, I've spotted one more so far, but that's still pretty bad. As someone else noted, the trash seemed to skew a bit to an older crowd (a baseball player from the '70's who had one good season??), though maybe it was better in DII. Power marks were indeed pretty generous, though we didn't take full advantage there. After a great start (8 in the first two rounds), I know my sleep-deprived brain started processing things slower, and we actually got a little less aggressive except when we needed to step it back up. Overall, I still enjoyed the tournament, but it definitely could've been better.

EDIT - some specifics included now that I saw the message from R.

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Post by AuguryMarch » Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:45 pm

I agree that this year's set was disappointing. One point I want to touch on is that of the "NAQT favorite topics." I think this is a serious problem that should be addressed specifically. To give one example, there was a question in this year's SCT set on Meyerbeer's L'Africaine. This is a pretty obscure work, probably ACF Nationals difficulty. And yet this is something that's come up at more than a few NAQT tournaments (ICT's, mostly I believe) which has now migrated down to SCT. Another example is a tossup on the "papers of transit" from Casablanca that came up at a few ICTs. I know that Subash has tried to weed out this kind of crossset repeat, but I don't think other NAQT people are as attuned to this being a major problem. When NAQT writers write questions in batches on the same topic, this leads to such problems. The result is that people who engage in a very surface kind of list memorization of old NAQT packets have enormous advantages over people who don't. This seems to be precisely people's complaints about ACF, but it seems like this is a problem far more endemic to NAQT sets.

Just to add two better examples from this SCT set.. two such tossups were the "Cryptonomicon" tossup and the Our Town/Grover's Corners tossup. Those have come up in almost the exact same form in past NAQT tournaments.
Last edited by AuguryMarch on Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Chris Frankel » Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:52 pm

As I mentioned earlier, I didn't attend, but one particular tossup I was told about from several different sources really stuck in my craw.

There was a tossup on the University of Michigan (based on the affirmative action Supreme Court cases), whose leadin began to the effect of "This university's president Lee Bollinger." Now, I would have buzzed right away and said "Columbia" (which I hear Paul Litvak and one of our D2 players did, and really anyone who keeps up with news in the academic world would be wont to do), given that Lee Bollinger is, in fact, the current president of Columbia University, and with that clue as the only piece of information, there is no defensible way for that buzz to be anything but correct and worthy of 15 points and a bonus. I was really upset to hear in both cases those players were negged for demonstrating correct knowledge (Columbia is even more correct than Michigan at that point, because Bollinger is no longer the president of the latter), and that the offending leadin was not caught and removed. Even adding "former" or "was" to the leadin would have, while not fixing the undeservedly early power issue created by putting the defendent's name in a tossup on famous Supreme Court cases, fixed the ambiguity issue that caused players with knowledge to be punished rather than rewarded for it.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."

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Post by jagluski » Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:58 pm

Chris Frankel wrote:As I mentioned earlier, I didn't attend, but one particular tossup I was told about from several different sources really stuck in my craw.

There was a tossup on the University of Michigan (based on the affirmative action Supreme Court cases), whose leadin began to the effect of "This university's president Lee Bollinger." Now, I would have buzzed right away and said "Columbia" (which I hear Paul Litvak and one of our D2 players did, and really anyone who keeps up with news in the academic world would be wont to do), given that Lee Bollinger is, in fact, the current president of Columbia University, and with that clue as the only piece of information, there is no defensible way for that buzz to be anything but correct and worthy of 15 points and a bonus. I was really upset to hear in both cases those players were negged for demonstrating correct knowledge (Columbia is even more correct than Michigan at that point, because Bollinger is no longer the president of the latter), and that the offending leadin was not caught and removed. Even adding "former" or "was" to the leadin would have, while not fixing the undeservedly early power issue created by putting the defendent's name in a tossup on famous Supreme Court cases, fixed the ambiguity issue that caused players with knowledge to be punished rather than rewarded for it.

This should more be a complaint on the tournament host's protest committee/policy, if it would have affected the outcome of a match. The same thing happened at the site I volunteered at(Yale) and in both cases affected the match(ironically, in one of the rooms it was Columbia who would have negged on the question). In both rooms, the answer of Columbia University was ruled correct and given 15 points for a power because at that point of the question, it was a correct answer.

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Post by Chris Frankel » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:06 pm

jagluski wrote:This should more be a complaint on the tournament host's protest committee/policy, if it would have affected the outcome of a match. The same thing happened at the site I volunteered at(Yale) and in both cases affected the match(ironically, in one of the rooms it was Columbia who would have negged on the question). In both rooms, the answer of Columbia University was ruled correct and given 15 points for a power because at that point of the question, it was a correct answer.

Joel Gluskin, speaking for himself
Thanks for the info; I'd be interested to see if this question were the subject of any other match-affecting protests at other SCT's. From what I gleaned, the instances from Maryland's SCT told to me ended up not being match-deciding, though I don't know whether I'd be above protesting in principle had I been in that situation.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear it was handled properly at your SCT, and I hope it was done similarly at any other SCT in which it determined a game's outcome. Of course, the obvious complaint was that it was able to get past editing and put hosts in that position, but that's already been put on the table now.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."

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Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:21 pm

the obvious complaint was that it was able to get past editing and put hosts in that position, but that's already been put on the table now.
At Berkeley this question was specifically brought up during the moderators' meeting; all staff were instructed to read "this university's then president..." So someone in authority at NAQT fixed it within three hours.

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Post by Susan » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:23 pm

I remember the Michigan team telling us they negged on this question and protested it, but I don't think it affected the outcome of their match.

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Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:00 pm

The other situation liked that was in tossup 20 of packet 6, which started:

[quote]She received the epithet “Triviaâ€
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Post by cvdwightw » Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:57 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:tossups on people, works, or anything else where quotations about the answer are passed off as clues.
I may be in the minority here, but I think these questions are fine as long as the quotation is supported with a reasonable clue regarding what the quotation is about, or if the quotation is reasonably well-known enough that it uniquely identifies the item in question. To illustrate, I would not mind if the clue, "Described as 'an explosion in a shingle factory'" appeared just before the FTP in any format, because the quote is sufficiently well known. I believe this is consistent with, though less restrictive than, Matt's argument against quotation tossups. The problem I have is more with questions that consist mostly of quotations that don't give any real disambiguation because they're all obscure quotes describing nothing of importance.

The one blatant factual error I found (given, we were in the room with the "hot edit" on the Bollinger/Michigan question) was that Purkinje neurons are found in the cerebellum, not the cerebral cortex.

Two excitingly late power marks I remember off the top of my head were on Midnight's Children (is there any other noteworthy novel with a main character Saleem?) and lactic acid (cheese + 3 lines later, breakdown of glucose). I'm sure there were others that were still power well after they should have been.

Let's not forget the precious Laplace Transform question. I was waiting for it to show up and jumped all over it. I will continue to jump all over this any time it starts "For some function f(t), it is some function f(s)."

Still, there were a few good questions in terms of "where to place power marks". The power marking on the Rudy Tomjanovich question was much more in line with what I expected from NAQT, as was the coral reefs question.

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Post by Susan » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:18 pm

Matt wrote:Certainly don't construct whole tossups out of several quotations about the answer; there were 2 of these that I recall.
I remember the tossup on Dream of Gerontius that was like, "Pius XIII thought it was super. Delius thought it blew." What was the other one?

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Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:27 pm

myamphigory wrote:I remember the tossup on Dream of Gerontius that was like, "Pius XIII thought it was super. Delius thought it blew." What was the other one?
Arthur Honneger.
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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:32 pm

cvdwightw wrote:Still, there were a few good questions in terms of "where to place power marks". The power marking on the Rudy Tomjanovich question was much more in line with what I expected from NAQT, as was the coral reefs question.
What was interesting about that question was when the giveaway was the second clue (and the leadin was some throwaway about draft order that was probably converted in one room in the nation.) I guess I shouldn't complain, since it did have more than one clue (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, anyone?)

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Post by dtaylor4 » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:47 pm

The clue was how he was drafted ahead of Pete Maravich in 1970. I knew it was down to two after that since the top three in order were Bob Lanier, Rudy, and Pete. I'm surprised that the Kermit Washington clue was that early, even for Div 2.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:50 pm

DaGeneral wrote:The clue was how he was drafted ahead of Pete Maravich in 1970. I knew it was down to two after that since the top three in order were Bob Lanier, Rudy, and Pete. I'm surprised that the Kermit Washington clue was that early, even for Div 2.
Yeah, you'll note that I said that was the clue. You'll further note that, like probably 99% of players, you didn't convert that clue, which I also said.

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Post by NotBhan » Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:07 pm

ImmaculateDeception wrote:
DaGeneral wrote:The clue was how he was drafted ahead of Pete Maravich in 1970. I knew it was down to two after that since the top three in order were Bob Lanier, Rudy, and Pete. I'm surprised that the Kermit Washington clue was that early, even for Div 2.
Yeah, you'll note that I said that was the clue. You'll further note that, like probably 99% of players, you didn't convert that clue, which I also said.

MaS
I think I wrote that one. I didn't think Kermit Washington would be anything close to a giveaway, especially for players born post-1980 -- my apologies if it was too easy for a second clue. [Edit: I have no idea where they put the power mark on the question.]

--RD

P.S. As notable NBA drafts go, 1970 is pretty high on the list -- not as high as 1984, but still notable. The opening draft clue isn't a throwaway.
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Post by NoahMinkCHS » Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:16 pm

Personally, I thought "punch in the face" was kind of late to still be power, but not indefensible; the percentage of people who know that might be really low.

Otherwise, though, it seemed to me that a lot of the D2 powers were overly generous. I see there's a similar sentiment in D1. I'm all for powers being "a bigger part of the game", but they either need to be uniformly generous or stingy -- consistency is the key to fairness, I think.

Overall, I thought the D2 set was pretty good. Maybe a little on the easy side -- with a couple questions (especially on bonus) that I would've pegged as too easy for even the HSNCT, and a lot of misplaced (early) giveaways to TUs. Without being too specific, because I'm not sure if it's in D1 or not, there was a bonus on one of the most well-known court cases in US history that I felt was far, far too easy for this level of play. But that tended to be the exception rather than the rule, so I was satisfied with the way the set read.

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Post by cvdwightw » Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:16 pm

Perhaps the most interesting repeat was in one packet, a heat capacity question ended with the clue "Law of Dulong and Petit" (I negged on it, allowing the entirety of the question to be heard; matches with better science players may not have gotten that far). Later in the same match, a bonus part appeared saying essentially "Name this dude that did some important work with Petit."

Raj: The power mark was evidently between Kermit and Washington.

A mildly amusing anecdote from last Saturday: In a match against UCI, one of their players emphatically gave the answer "The [ESS-sta-see] of St. Teresa." Needless to say, everyone else in the room was quite confused by this. She proceded to explain at halftime that a professor had counted her wrong for "The [EK-sta-see] of St. Teresa" because ESS-sta-see is religious and EK-sta-see is erotic. The general consensus was that her professor was an idiot.

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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:16 pm

Matt Weiner wrote: Arthur Honneger.
I hated that question so much because I had recently written a bonus on Honneger for ACF Regionals and I would expect to get it on some clue on his less-major works, not "blah blah musical work impersonating a train."
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Post by DanTheClam » Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:55 pm

This year's SCT was the worst academic tournament I've been to since Penn Bowl 2004. My main complaint is that this year's SCT rewarded fraud knowledge to such a high degree; witness my ppg, which is significantly higher than it ought to be, especially considering that NAQT virtually excises any real questions from my best areas from all packets.

With that, on to the second complaint: how about a real philosophy question? Just one? Was there a single one in the entire day? I certainly didn't hear it, if it did occur. Instead, we got "name the Element given random-ass clues about pre-Socratic philosophers." This is just disrepect for the subject of Philosophy. Nobody who has ever studied the subject at any level gives a damn about Air. Really. I feel like I can safely say there's not a quizbowl player in the world who would miss the entire removal of Greek philosophy questions (barring Aristotle, Plato, and the other rare ones who actually had something interesting to say) from tournaments. It's often argued, at least for questions in academic disciplines, that questions reflect college-level courses. These philosophy questions clearly did not.

How about Mythology? The questions were lousy (the first clue for Theseus: his father drowned himself after seeing ships with black sails; the previously mentioned hose with "crossroads" for Diana; other examples are readily available to anyone with a copy of the packets), and they were almost entirely on Greco-Roman myth. A little variety goes a long way.

I'm horrible at religion, or I suspect I'd have complaints there, too. NAQT just seems to have it out for the RMP category. Try writing some good questions, with a little variety. Many people like hearing questions on Norse, Aztec, Celtic, Sumerian, and other non-Greek mythologies; at least two or three questions on that would be nice in the course of the day.

Finally, since it hasn't been brought up much yet, I'd really like to take issue with the bonus writing. The bonuses at this year's SCT really demonstrated just how lazy NAQT writers can be. All too frequently, a typical question would have two easy parts, which one team would answer, only to hear the moderator respond 30. When was the last time you saw a 15-15 bonus at a legitimate tournament? I certainly don't recall seeing one in the course of my college career, although there might have been some at Penn Bowl 2004. It wasn't as if the questions were any harder than two normal parts of a bonus; they were always, without exception, indistinguishable from other bonuses in difficulty. They were just missing a part. Somebody just got lazy. Further, this didn't just happen one time. It happened repeatedly throughout the day. NAQT really needs to be t called to task for writing crap like this.

Honestly, if the upcoming ICT turns out as bad as this past weekend's SCT, then I think NAQT should rethink their strategy. The IS questions we bought from them to use at our high school tournament weren't great, but they were pretty good. NAQT seems to be doing a booming high school business, and they honestly do a decent job with it. But their product for college teams has clearly taken a huge step down, and it might be time for them to hang up the hat. Their writers are out of touch with reasonable college distributions, question lengths, question difficulties, and simple guidelines like how to write a bonus. They don't want to be the next CBI.

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Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:59 pm

[/quote](is there any other noteworthy novel with a main character Saleem?) [quote]

The protagonist of Naipaul's 'A Bend in the River' is also a Salim. But, having not seen the question, a toss-up on MC ought not to provide Saleem Sinai too soon.

Edit: as a tech 'tard, I'm still working on getting this quoting stuff right.

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Post by Susan » Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:10 pm

Since Dan brought up CBI, I thought I'd go off on a tangent:

When did NAQT packets get so short? This was the first SCT I have played since 2001 (and here I date myself), when I recall packets having 28 tossups. If my notes and memory are to be trusted, the D1 packets I played this weekend had 26 tossups each, while the D2 packets I read had only 24 each. In nearly every round read by a decent moderator, we finished the packet before time was up. I think that this is really dumb, and it's a situation CBI addresses better than NAQT does (!), since at CBI, the moderators continue to read questions until time runs out. I don't especially care for timed rounds, but I really do not see the point of having a clock if it's only relevant for the first half of the game.

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Post by vig180 » Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:32 pm

The questions overall did seem to be easier than I thought they'd be for a college tournament. A few especially were so obvious both teams were taken aback by the answer. I noticed the set was lacking in military history- I don't remember any toss-ups and very few bonuses. The Trash was varied, but some of it seemed a bit too easy; there seemed to be a lot of powers on Trash questions, which was a little annoying.

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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:46 pm

vig180 wrote:I noticed the set was lacking in military history- I don't remember any toss-ups and very few bonuses.
There was a (very short-lived) Austerlitz tossup. It contained "Pratzen Heights" within the power mark, I believe.
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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:06 pm

Bruce wrote:
vig180 wrote:I noticed the set was lacking in military history- I don't remember any toss-ups and very few bonuses.
There was a (very short-lived) Austerlitz tossup. It contained "Pratzen Heights" within the power mark, I believe.
Actually, it started with a relatively straighforward clue about Nicholas Soult; it made me hesitate but then I remembered what I was playing.

I second the "no serious philosophy" complaint. That was pretty galling to me, and I'm not even a philosopher. I remember driving home and saying to my teammates, "I don't remember very much philosophy or economics or social science or mythology... what was there at this tournament anyway?" Oh yeah, a lot of bonuses about the geography of New Zealand. What the hell is so great about New Zealand anyway?

Also, particularly memorable was a tossup on muons that began with a clue about how their lifetime was longer in the lab frame due to time dilation. Newsflash: the lifetime of every particle moving near the speed of light will be longer in the lab frame due to time dilation. What a useless clue.

Also seconding the "impossible trash" complaint. I'll admit, my team is terrible at trash, but when it came to other categories, most teams that were visibly terrible at them could at least convert 10. Most trash bonuses for us ended in bagels. Also, power marks were ridiculously early in many of the questions.

I guess what bugs me the most, though, is that NAQT has never really made any public responses to criticisms directed against them. Posts from R. claim that they read the boards, but I almost never see a response to complaints. The only way you might be able to guess whether they have been listening is if the next year's set is better than this year's. But then there are these regressions, and I just wonder whether their memory is short or something. I think the least the writers could do is respond to totally legitimate criticism.

To end on a positive note, I really liked the tossup on the zeroes of the zeta function. I thought it was quite clever.
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Post by jonpin » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:22 pm

myamphigory wrote:When did NAQT packets get so short? This was the first SCT I have played since 2001 (and here I date myself), when I recall packets having 28 tossups. If my notes and memory are to be trusted, the D1 packets I played this weekend had 26 tossups each, while the D2 packets I read had only 24 each.
Yeah, I thought packets had 28 tossups as well, and was surprised when one of our rounds ended after #26, but I guess that was just poor memory on my part. D1's had 26 and D2's had 24. My D1 team got through 24-25 on just about every single round, with one or two only going 23 and a couple exhausting the packet, so it didn't mame too much of a difference. The packet also didn't run out on either of our D2 teams. Examining the stats, they frequently heard 18-21 tossups, though they did have some incidents of 13 or 15 (and I see another game in D2 which only got to 12).
While on the subject of other things I noted about the UIUC sectionals, there was a D2 house team despite the fact that this left them asking people to staff on byes, and from what I can tell there was not a tiebreaker to determine whether Truman B or Wash U B, both 3-4, advanced to the upper bracket.
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Post by AndySaunders » Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:43 am

jonpin wrote:The packet also didn't run out on either of our D2 teams. Examining the stats, they frequently heard 18-21 tossups, though they did have some incidents of 13 or 15 (and I see another game in D2 which only got to 12).
How on earth is it humanly possible to get through only 12 cycles in 18 minutes? If I was involved in a game like that, I'd have some pretty choice comments for the moderator (to the effect of "show some semblance of hustle, please and thank you. We're supposed to get 10 tossups done a half, not 6.").

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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:00 am

Another interesting point: many teams, consisting of the same players as last year, doubled their number of powers since the 2005 SCT.
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Post by Rothlover » Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:05 am

examples, Jerry? I mean, thusfar, I personally count 10 D1 individuals with more powers than any TEAM in the south sct (just based on whats in or known), but I don't know if that is par or above or below par.
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Post by orangecrayon » Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:39 am

AndySaunders wrote: How on earth is it humanly possible to get through only 12 cycles in 18 minutes? If I was involved in a game like that, I'd have some pretty choice comments for the moderator (to the effect of "show some semblance of hustle, please and thank you. We're supposed to get 10 tossups done a half, not 6.").
Consider yourself lucky then. We had such a reader for three of the four games we played against the other top three D2 teams at our sectional. Only one of those matches saw either team break 200 and we made it through about 15 or 16 tossups in each of those games.

(To be fair, that was my only beef with our site. The rest of the tournament was pretty well run.)

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Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:49 am

grapesmoker wrote:
I second the "no serious philosophy" complaint. That was pretty galling to me, and I'm not even a philosopher. I remember driving home and saying to my teammates, "I don't remember very much philosophy or economics or social science or mythology... what was there at this tournament anyway?" Oh yeah, a lot of bonuses about the geography of New Zealand. What the hell is so great about New Zealand anyway?
As an NAQT editor myself, I come neither to defend nor attack last weekend's tournament, but to point out that criticizing the NAQT distribution and the SCT set simultaneously may tend to confuse matters. Love it or hate it, the NAQT question distribution -- which happens to devote less space to such categories as philosophy and mythology than does ACF -- has been fixed for some years now. Last year's SCT was, I believe, better received than this year's, but it featured exactly the same distribution. My point, I guess, is that inasmuch as this discussion is meant to be constructive criticism rather than post-tournament spleen venting, saying "I dislike the distribution" is unlikely to have any effect. (Again, I'm not defending the NAQT distribution, but trying to steer the discussion in useful directions.) On the other hand, saying things like "question X was poor, for the following reasons" might actually be helpful, since NAQT writers and editors who read this forum might be led, through a reasoned and non-inflammatory analysis of questions which are widely perceived as flawed, to reconsider certain question-writing habits which they might not have thought were objectionable.

Working as always to bring sweetness and light to the forum,

Andrew

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