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EFT commentary

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:05 am
by setht
At this point all the mirrors of EFT have finished, so the question set is open for commentary. I think the questions will be posted on the Stanford Packet Archive soon, so that people can go look at the questions if they want.

New players: this tournament was (supposedly) largely aimed at you, so we're especially interested in your opinions. If you have any thoughts on what could be done to improve the question set for your playing enjoyment, please let us know.

Jerry, Ryan and I are the editing team for ACF Regionals, so it would be great to get any constructive criticism anyone has to offer. Frankly, I thought large chunks of this tournament set could have been used for ACF Regionals, but perhaps the playing public disagrees. If you have thoughts on how you think the difficulty of ACF Regionals should compare to this set (or portions of this set), please let us know. We'll also be happy to receive any thoughts you have on any other aspects of the set, individual questions, etc.

Our emails:
Selene Koo (sckoo@uchicago.edu)
Seth Teitler (setht@uchicago.edu)
Jerry Vinokurov (jerry_v@brown.edu)
Ryan Westbrook (cryobristow@aol.com)

In general we're all interested in any thoughts people have, even if they refer specifically to a question that only one of us wrote, so feel free to email all of us with your thoughts.

-Seth

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:20 am
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
I like the tossup where the answer is "the election of 1884".

A few years back, I wrote a series of tossups where the answers were all Presidential elections from certain years. But I never used them, thinking that the quizbowl world was not yet ready for them.

Now, Jerry of all people has opened wide the door.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:44 am
by btressler
On balance, I liked this set. I felt it was "on the money" in that the answer set was accessible and the tossup clues were structured to reward knowledge. The bonuses were structured to have one easy, one medium, and one difficult part in most cases (which made 30's at the Maryland site few and far between, but we 20ed a lot).

As evidence, I had three high school players next to me from a team that finished 25th at HSNCT last year. We ran 280 ppg and it definitely wasn't me doing all the scoring. The stats didn't go up, but I think my 10th grader was 7th individually.

I find it interesting that you think this might have been almost regionals level. On the other hand, PARFAIT billed itself as close to ACF Fall and yet clearly was much more difficult and in my opinion almost (but not quite) regionals difficulty. There does seem to be some disagreement on what "ACF Fall" and "ACF Regionals" is supposed to mean.

Please do this again, it was a good tournament.

- Bill

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:21 am
by Mike Bentley
Stat74 wrote:On balance, I liked this set. I felt it was "on the money" in that the answer set was accessible and the tossup clues were structured to reward knowledge. The bonuses were structured to have one easy, one medium, and one difficult part in most cases (which made 30's at the Maryland site few and far between, but we 20ed a lot).

As evidence, I had three high school players next to me from a team that finished 25th at HSNCT last year. We ran 280 ppg and it definitely wasn't me doing all the scoring. The stats didn't go up, but I think my 10th grader was 7th individually.

I find it interesting that you think this might have been almost regionals level. On the other hand, PARFAIT billed itself as close to ACF Fall and yet clearly was much more difficult and in my opinion almost (but not quite) regionals difficulty. There does seem to be some disagreement on what "ACF Fall" and "ACF Regionals" is supposed to mean.

Please do this again, it was a good tournament.

- Bill
I didn't hear all of the questions in EFT, but in my opinion they in fact were a little more difficult than PARFAIT. The questions seemed well written and well editted, but I think they were perhaps just a notch too difficult for a tournament appealing to new players.

But then again I'm not a new player, so I can't accurately judge what these people thought of the questions.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:11 pm
by grapesmoker
Bruce wrote:I like the tossup where the answer is "the election of 1884".

A few years back, I wrote a series of tossups where the answers were all Presidential elections from certain years. But I never used them, thinking that the quizbowl world was not yet ready for them.

Now, Jerry of all people has opened wide the door.
Thanks, Bruce. I hope that question can serve as a counterexample to Ullsperger's Hypothesis.

Maybe this belongs in the discussion forum (any mod want to move it?) but I think that people who have assessed EFT as being harder than PARFAIT are correct. It wasn't our intention to make it harder, but I know I personally made some mistakes in my estimation of what I thought people would know. For example, I was informed at PARFAIT by some people that they thought the "Social Statics" tossup was potentially too hard for ACF Regionals or even Nationals (although I don't think the latter is the case), nevermind something like EFT. I thought that it had some good giveaways, like the clue about being cited in Lochner v. NY and also being Herbert Spencer's most famous work, but in retrospect, it should probably just have turned into a tossup on Herbert Spencer and everyone would have been happy. One of the reasons why I wrote this question is because I didn't want to turn the social science section into nothing but tossups on people and instead have some questions on works; in that case, and in a couple of others, I made the mistake of thinking the works were better known than they actually are.

Move done. Discuss away. ~T~

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:01 pm
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
EFT was much more difficult than ACF Fall, there's no question about that. This in itself is not a problem; after all, most tournaments are much more difficult than ACF Fall, which is a pathetically easy tournament.

The issue is, this was advertised as being ACF Fall-level, or even easier than ACF Fall. A lot of our first-years went into this tournament being told that it would be as easy as college quizbowl got. I fear that many of them will now never come back, thinking that quizbowl is much harder than it actually is.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:10 pm
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
grapesmoker wrote: Maybe this belongs in the discussion forum (any mod want to move it?) but I think that people who have assessed EFT as being harder than PARFAIT are correct. It wasn't our intention to make it harder, but I know I personally made some mistakes in my estimation of what I thought people would know. For example, I was informed at PARFAIT by some people that they thought the "Social Statics" tossup was potentially too hard for ACF Regionals or even Nationals (although I don't think the latter is the case), nevermind something like EFT. I thought that it had some good giveaways, like the clue about being cited in Lochner v. NY and also being Herbert Spencer's most famous work, but in retrospect, it should probably just have turned into a tossup on Herbert Spencer and everyone would have been happy. One of the reasons why I wrote this question is because I didn't want to turn the social science section into nothing but tossups on people and instead have some questions on works; in that case, and in a couple of others, I made the mistake of thinking the works were better known than they actually are.
The key to improving Social Science, imo, is to expand the cannon horizontally, rather than vertically. That is, spread into other social sciences, not just deeper into already cannonical ones.

The Social Science cannon seems to be entirely made up mainly of economics and psychology, with an occasional helping of anthropology and occasionally, just occasionally, a little linguistics. These are fine, but there are more social sciences than that. More Political Science (especially political science that isn't tied up closely with economics, such as International Relations Theory) and Human Geography (academic geography, not physical) would be nice. These aren't obscure fields, but they are virtually unknown in quizbowl, though there was an IR Theory tossup at EFT (which I negged, embarrassingly enough).

I perscribe a massive regimen of third bonus parts on concepts and people from these fields.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:26 pm
by grapesmoker
Bruce wrote: The key to improving Social Science, imo, is to expand the cannon horizontally, rather than vertically. That is, spread into other social sciences, not just deeper into already cannonical ones.

The Social Science cannon seems to be entirely made up mainly of economics and psychology, with an occasional helping of anthropology and occasionally, just occasionally, a little linguistics. These are fine, but there are more social sciences than that. More Political Science (especially political science that isn't tied up closely with economics, such as International Relations Theory) and Human Geography (academic geography, not physical) would be nice. These aren't obscure fields, but they are virtually unknown in quizbowl, though there was an IR Theory tossup at EFT (which I negged, embarrassingly enough).

I perscribe a massive regimen of third bonus parts on concepts and people from these fields.
I'm totally open to these suggestions. I'd like to know how exactly one might expand by writing in the political science and human geography category. I've always lumped poli-sci into philosophy (so works like "Theory of Justice" tend to go in there if I'm doing the sorting); perhaps this is not right?

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:36 pm
by No Rules Westbrook
I perscribe a massive regimen of third bonus parts on concepts and people from these fields.

Well, that's fine. Except for the fact, of course, that people don't know hardly anything about those subjects and that will only make the social sci canon that you seem to want to constrict all the harder. I mean, my tu on liberalism had an easy giveaway, which is nice, but I can't think of many legit tus in the fields you're promoting which would be doable.

For example, I was informed at PARFAIT by some people that they thought the "Social Statics" tossup was potentially too hard for ACF Regionals or even Nationals (although I don't think the latter is the case), nevermind something like EFT.
Okay, I just have to laugh at this. There's nothing hard about Social Statics. Perhaps unwise as a tu for EFT, but please, it's almost no harder than Spencer.


EFT was much more difficult than ACF Fall, there's no question about that.
Nah, that's a gross overstatement. Judging from the stats, even very inexperienced teams put up decent points and bonus conversion. The only thing I can think of that one would cite with regard to my questions is my third bonus parts - which, I sort of think of as playgrounds for veteran players.

And I know about the ad as "acf fall or perhaps easier" - note though that my personal feelings are: A. I don't think it's possible to write a legit tourney that's easier than ACF fall (the acf fall of last year), it's simply not possible B. I don't think it's even desirable to try...this entails writing the same 9 tossups we've all seen and trying to phrase them 500 different ways.

I mean, really, the best I can do is have tossups with very giveawayable answers and 20 very accessible points on bonuses. If that's not enough and will result in people thinking qb is too hard, I don't see what we're gaining by goading them into thinking otherwise.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:48 pm
by grapesmoker
I also would like to point out that in my area of expertise, physics, it's quite hard to write on things that people have seen in introductory physics classes or have even heard of if they haven't had a couple of more advanced courses. Typical answer choises in my packets included diodes, electric field, mesons, and Heisenberg uncertainty principle. There's just a very limited set of answer choices that are going to be accessible to first and second year players, nevermind to non-scientists. For a tournament like this or ACF Fall, I just can't see how you could make this particular area easier. That's not intended to be a response to any criticism in particular, but just to point out the difficulties that writers face in trying to put together an easy set. I certainly don't mean to discourage anyone from doing this (in fact, I'd love to see others step up to do another EFT next year) but it's something to be aware of.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:28 pm
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
Ryan Westbrook wrote: Well, that's fine. Except for the fact, of course, that people don't know hardly anything about those subjects and that will only make the social sci canon that you seem to want to constrict all the harder. I mean, my tu on liberalism had an easy giveaway, which is nice, but I can't think of many legit tus in the fields you're promoting which would be doable.
I envision a series of multidisciplinary social science bonuses, such as "name these schools of thought from social science", were parts 1 and 2 would be cannonical and part 3 would be something from IR theory, or "name these laws from social science", where 1 and 2 would be cannonical, and #3 would be like that law from Human Geography about the distribution of different agricultural practices.

Eventually, players would, through the widespread process of writing down the answers to questions, learn the names of schools of IR Theory, or the names of laws from human geography, and what not, and eventually these could start being used in earlier parts of bonuses, as clues in tossups, etc.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:31 pm
by Matt Weiner
Bruce wrote:Eventually, players would, through the widespread process of writing down the answers to questions, learn the names of schools of IR Theory, or the names of laws from human geography, and what not, and eventually these could start being used in earlier parts of bonuses, as clues in tossups, etc.
"It's come up before so you should know it" doesn't apply to the newer and more casual players for whom difficulty constraints are necessary.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:33 pm
by btressler
ikillkenny wrote:I didn't hear all of the questions in EFT, but in my opinion they in fact were a little more difficult than PARFAIT. The questions seemed well written and well editted, but I think they were perhaps just a notch too difficult for a tournament appealing to new players.
This just makes me scratch my head.

In the 10 rounds I played at EFT, the two teams combined on average for 413 points.

In the 11 rounds I played at PARFAIT, the two teams combined on average for 329 points.

Yes there were differences between the two tournaments (my teammates, my opponents, etc.) but on balance I feel these two numbers tell the tale.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:36 pm
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
Matt Weiner wrote:
Bruce wrote:Eventually, players would, through the widespread process of writing down the answers to questions, learn the names of schools of IR Theory, or the names of laws from human geography, and what not, and eventually these could start being used in earlier parts of bonuses, as clues in tossups, etc.
"It's come up before so you should know it" doesn't apply to the newer and more casual players for whom difficulty constraints are necessary.
Who's saying that this should be done at ACF Fall and EFT rather than Illinois Open and Chicago Open? I know this is an EFT thread, but I thought it would be understood without saying that cannon expansion is best left for higher-level tournaments.

Or are you rejecting the idea of a cannon at all?

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:37 pm
by btressler
Actually, let me add one more part to this:

I believe the five rounds Maryland EFT did not use were all from the same author, but I don't have them in front of me to say which one. If that one author was harder than the other two, that would matter.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:45 pm
by grapesmoker
Bruce wrote:Or are you rejecting the idea of a cannon at all?
The use of cannons in quizbowl is prohibited by the Geneva conventions (not that this will deter you, Bruce).
I believe the five rounds Maryland EFT did not use were all from the same author, but I don't have them in front of me to say which one. If that one author was harder than the other two, that would matter.
I was that author, so you may have been spared some of the harder tossups in the tournament. I will look at the Brown stats to see if there was a significant difference between how various teams did on various packets (as we used all of them) but I don't think there was any significant correlation between packet author and team score.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:46 pm
by Matt Weiner
Who's saying that this should be done at ACF Fall and EFT rather than Illinois Open and Chicago Open? I know this is an EFT thread, but I thought it would be understood without saying that cannon expansion is best left for higher-level tournaments.
In general, I think we go down a bad path by building too much on old packets and rewarding people who focus only on what has come up before. Instead, we should be constantly re-evaluating difficulty in light of what the entire playing audience, including newer and less dedicated players, actually will be able to answer. Ideally, a very knowledgeable person with no quizbowl experience should be able to compete in any tournament right off the bat (at least in their strongest subjects).

Chicago Open and perhaps ACF (and NAQT) nationals are the only tournaments where we can completely disregard the interests of new players and assume that everyone is familiar with the "canon" so much as it is. Even at a tournament like Illinois Open I am reluctant to do that, because though tournaments like IO are supposed to draw very competitive fields from a wide area, they are still supposed to be worthwile for the local teams who also go. I would certainly not engage in any kind of "insider" knowledge at ACF Regionals, which is and ought to remain the flagship example of "normal" difficulty.
Or are you rejecting the idea of a cannon at all?
To an extent, yes, I dislike the idea that there is or should be a canon, for the reasons above.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:00 pm
by vig180
As a relatively new college player (actually 7th pyramidal style tournament ever) playing in my first-ever mACF tournament, I'd like to share the thoughts of a "new player" on this set. First, it was more difficult than standard ACF Fall (I've read a good deal of Fall, Regional, and Nationals questions, so I have some idea of how they all stack up), but not by much on average. As far as the TUs go, most TUs in the set would've fit in well with ACF Fall, but there were severally extremely obscure ones that seemed more like ACF Regional level. Some of the geography questions could have been more interestingly written, but I'll take whatever geography I can get. The bonuses were what really got me though- even on areas where I have a very strong knowledge there always seemed to be something so obscure it was deliberately designed to make sure people never would have heard of it. In fact, I recall one bonus actually said something to the effect of "accept either, because nobody's going to get it anyway". Overall though, the questions seemed very fair and balanced. I'll reserve making specific comments until after I've seen the questions again other than I too appreciated the IR theory TU and hope to see an expansion of the Social Sciences canon at future tournaments.

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:58 pm
by vandyhawk
I want to wait to see all the packets too before potentially making further comments, since we only played 10 rounds at Ga Tech, and I'm not sure who wrote which rounds. In general, though, I'd say EFT was only marginally more difficult than ACF Fall. There were some rounds that I think were at the same level, others that were a little harder, and others that were mostly at the same level with just a few exceptions. With a not-quite full strength team, our bonus conversion was a few points below last year's ACF Fall, but even the very inexperienced teams there averaged at least 11 ppb. More importantly, I think, there were several rounds in which all the tossups were answered, and that was encouraging for everyone there. The sometimes ridiculously hard 3rd bonus part turned off some people, and I think was out of place for the tournament's billing, but overall it didn't detract from the experience too much.

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:26 am
by QuizbowlPostmodernist
Bruce wrote:
grapesmoker wrote: The key to improving Social Science, imo, is to expand the cannon horizontally, rather than vertically. That is, spread into other social sciences, not just deeper into already cannonical ones.

The Social Science cannon seems to be entirely made up mainly of economics and psychology, with an occasional helping of anthropology and occasionally, just occasionally, a little linguistics. These are fine, but there are more social sciences than that. More Political Science (especially political science that isn't tied up closely with economics, such as International Relations Theory) and Human Geography (academic geography, not physical) would be nice. These aren't obscure fields, but they are virtually unknown in quizbowl, though there was an IR Theory tossup at EFT (which I negged, embarrassingly enough).

I perscribe a massive regimen of third bonus parts on concepts and people from these fields.
The key to improving the quality of social science questions is to have fewer questions on books and authors of books and a better awareness of concepts that straddle multiple fields.

One problem with writing political science concept questions is that you often need to refer to concrete examples taken from history and current affairs. I think that this sort of clue usage strikes some people as contamination when they prefer a more discrete separation of categories when writing questions.

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:40 pm
by No Rules Westbrook
The key to improving the quality of social science questions is to have fewer questions on books and authors of books and a better awareness of concepts that straddle multiple fields.

Nah. People and books are super-duper, they are identifiable things. Questions on interdisciplinary concepts are often confusing, vague, indefinite, and tortured. Sometimes they can be well done, but there need be a lot of discretion. The key, though, is for players to learn more people and books.

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 5:31 pm
by QuizbowlPostmodernist
Ryan Westbrook wrote:
The key to improving the quality of social science questions is to have fewer questions on books and authors of books and a better awareness of concepts that straddle multiple fields.

Nah. People and books are super-duper, they are identifiable things. Questions on interdisciplinary concepts are often confusing, vague, indefinite, and tortured. Sometimes they can be well done, but there need be a lot of discretion. The key, though, is for players to learn more people and books.
The social sciences are inherently cross-disciplinary in some areas. Some topics are going to be covered in both an anthropology and a linguistics class, or in both a sociology and a political science class. These disciplines aren't wholly discrete.

There should be more clues about people and books that lead to concepts as answers and fewer vague clues lifted off of Wikipedia. There shouldn't be tossups on William Whyte or on Robert Bellah's Habits of the Heart (although Bellah is a good clue for a question on "civil religion"), on Dick Fenno or on V.O. Key's Public Opinion and American Democracy (although I think that Key himself is tossup-able at certain levels). For most tournaments, a significant percentage of social science answers should be things that a person may have heard of in an intro-level class, but the clues should draw upon more than just what you find in an intro textbook. That usually isn't "super-duper" people and books.

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 6:23 pm
by cvdwightw
For people keeping count, at the UCLA site we used the following packets:
Jerry 1-3 in rounds 1,4,7; Seth 1-4 in rounds 2,6,9,11; Ryan 1-4 in rounds 3,5,8,10. I enabled Round Report in our statistics so you can see how each packet stacked up (not correcting for byes).

Rounds 4 and 7 were statistically the worst in the tournament, despite teams in the bottom half of the field having byes both rounds; round 1 may be affected by the bye of our novice team that scored only 35 ppg.

Overall, I would say the tossups were mostly at ACF Fall level; I would say most bonuses had 1 part ACF Fall level, 1 part Regionals level, and 1 part Regionals/Nationals level.

Great tournament, well enjoyed by all the West Coast teams that came out.

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 6:39 pm
by Captain Sinico
QuizbowlPostmodernist wrote:The key to improving the quality of social science questions is to have fewer questions on books and authors of books and a better awareness of concepts that straddle multiple fields.
Actually, I've always found that one key to writing good questions is not listening to people who have consistently demonstrated that they have no idea what goes into one.

MaS

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 7:49 pm
by No Rules Westbrook
There shouldn't be tossups on William Whyte or on Robert Bellah's Habits of the Heart (although Bellah is a good clue for a question on "civil religion")

This is a nice example which just proves my argument. A tu on civil religion is bound to be vague unless you can make reference to several well-known sources that feature the exact phrase "Civil Religion", like in their titles or something. It's a very broad concept that, I'm guessing anyway, can be reformulated in several different ways and apply very differently across time periods.

On the other hand, when you say William Whyte (who can be and has been a tu at harder tourneys) - I think "oh, that guy who wrote the Organization Man" - so much cleaner, simpler.

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:32 pm
by Rothlover
ImmaculateDeception wrote:
QuizbowlPostmodernist wrote:The key to improving the quality of social science questions is to have fewer questions on books and authors of books and a better awareness of concepts that straddle multiple fields.
Actually, I've always found that one key to writing good questions is not listening to people who have consistently demonstrated that they have no idea what goes into one.

MaS
Is there a list of people who have, or have not demonstrated the above-mentioned talent?

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:30 pm
by QuizbowlPostmodernist
Ryan Westbrook wrote:
There shouldn't be tossups on William Whyte or on Robert Bellah's Habits of the Heart (although Bellah is a good clue for a question on "civil religion")

This is a nice example which just proves my argument. A tu on civil religion is bound to be vague unless you can make reference to several well-known sources that feature the exact phrase "Civil Religion", like in their titles or something. It's a very broad concept that, I'm guessing anyway, can be reformulated in several different ways and apply very differently across time periods.

On the other hand, when you say William Whyte (who can be and has been a tu at harder tourneys) - I think "oh, that guy who wrote the Organization Man" - so much cleaner, simpler.
Civil religion is not some generic term that sociologists use haphazardly. It has a clear, agreed-upon definition and a context in which it is commonly used. Debate over the concept is generally about whether or not it is valid, not over what it means. So you guessed wrong.

While social science biography isn't quite as bad as science biography, I think that that it has some of the same problems. People write too often on social science authors and books that are outdated and rarely show up in the bibliographies of recent social science works. At times, it strikes me more as literature masquerading as social science than as legitimate social science. I am reminded of Harold Bloom (I think) treating Freud as a literary figure rather than as psychologist.

The distribution of science questions used to resemble greatly the topics covered by books in the science section of your local bookstore as a crypto-overrepresentation of literature. It has since gotten better. I've always wanted social science questions to follow a similar path.

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:53 pm
by Leo Wolpert
cvdwightw wrote:For people keeping count, at the UCLA site we used the following packets:
Jerry 1-3 in rounds 1,4,7; Seth 1-4 in rounds 2,6,9,11; Ryan 1-4 in rounds 3,5,8,10. I enabled Round Report in our statistics so you can see how each packet stacked up (not correcting for byes).
At Maryland (if they ever post the stats or results), the packets went 1-5: Ryan, 6-10: Seth, 11-15: Jerry. Oh wait, we didn't get to play rounds 11-15 because the TD allowed teams to vote on what to do regarding playoffs, and everyone except me voted to cut it short. Oh well.

But yeah, having played Jerry's packets afterwards, there were a few outlier tossups that could have caused those results. I also thought there were too many "auto-20s, impossible 30s" in Ryan's bonuses. That said, I preferred Ryan's tossups to Seth's; while they were both good, Ryan's style (i.e. long tossups) is more agreeable to my tastes. Whatever.

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:23 pm
by Matt Weiner
QuizbowlPostmodernist wrote:Civil religion is not some generic term that sociologists use haphazardly. It has a clear, agreed-upon definition and a context in which it is commonly used.
Let's use this as an example to show the pitfalls in writing tossups on certain concepts.

http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/civilrel.htm
The concept refers to a "transcendent universal religion of the nation" and resonates well with the functional sociology of Émile Durkheim and Bellah's mentor, Talcott Parsons. Indeed, it was Parsons who was originally intended to write the Daedalus article (Bellah 1989).

Bellah's article claimed that most Americans share common religious characteristics expressed through civil religious beliefs, symbols, and rituals that provide a religious dimension to the entirety of American life. Later, he adds that civil religious principles transcend the nation and represent a "higher standard" by which the nation should be judged (Bellah 1970:168, 1974:255). Therefore, civil religiosity is posited to be a common, if not socially integrative, set of beliefs in transcendent principles and reality against which the historical experience and actions of the nation should be evaluated.

Bellah's definition of American civil religion is that it is "an institutionalized collection of sacred beliefs about the American nation," which he sees symbolically expressed in America's founding documents and presidential inaugural addresses. It includes a belief in the existence of a transcendent being called "God," an idea that the American nation is subject to God's laws, and an assurance that God will guide and protect the United States. Bellah sees these beliefs in the values of liberty, justice, charity, and personal virtue and concretized in, for example, the words In God We Trust on both national emblems and on the currency used in daily economic transactions. Although American civil religion shares much with the religion of Judeo-Christian denominations, Bellah claims that it is distinct from denominational religion. Crucial to Bellah's Durkheimian emphasis is the claim that civil religion is definitionally an "objective social fact."

Although other American scholars had articulated civil religion types of ideas (for example, Martin Marty's "religion-in-general" [1959] and Sidney Mead's "religion of the republic" [1963]), the publication of Bellah's essay at the height of national soul-searching during the Vietnam War occasioned Bellah's place as a major interpreter of American religion in the second half of the twentieth century and caused an enormous and prolonged outpouring of scholarly activity. The nature and extent of this work may be examined best through the Russell Richey and Donald Jones anthology American Civil Religion (Harper 1974), a bibliographic essay by Phillip Hammond (1976), Gail Gehrig's monograph American Civil Religion: An Assessment (Society for the Scientific Study of Religion 1981), and James Mathisen's 20-year review essay (1989).
Concepts which make for good tossup answers will have the following characteristics:
--There are a number of unique, easily interpreted examples of the concept, which can be used early in the tossup to reward analytical thinking by people who have a full understanding of the concept. There are no such examples for "civil religion" as any possible example will, in the structure of a tossup, not be specific enough. You can't just say 'the reference to a creator in the Declaration of Independence is an example of this' or 'the phrase In God We Trust is an example of this' because those are not unique clues.
--The concept has several unique attributes and is not formed merely by the convergence of traits which are each also found elsewhere. You do not have the luxury of listing all the constituent traits of "civil religion" in a tossup and then saying "now name the one thing that shares ALL those attributes." People will neg with god knows what other concepts that share any individual attribute.
--Both harder and more fundamental clues about the concept can be explained clearly without resorting to verbal trickery. In this case, since most of the verbiage used to define "civil religion" is devoted to distinguishing it from ordinary religion, you have to talk at length about how this is something that is like religion but not religion, without using the word religion. The only thing less appealing to me than writing such a question is playing on one.

Now, once you are within the strictures of a bonus and can avoid worrying about leading people into negs or finding good early clues, I can see a place for this question. The reference to beloved ACF figure Talcott Parsons in the above article suggests that you can write a bonus for a Chicago Open level tournament to which the answers are Talcott Parsons, structural functionalism, and civil religion, with Parsons's role in introducing the latter concept being mentioned in the clue to link the question together, and the straightforward definition offered instead of a circuitous game of deceit that a tossup would require.

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:26 am
by setht
Hi all,

the 2006 EFT set is now freely available here.

I hope you all download and enjoy the questions, or better yet download the questions and tell us what we should do better next time (where "next time" can refer to ACF Regionals 2007 or some EFT-like tournament next fall).

If you don't feel like posting your comments publicly for whatever reason, you can send them to us privately at the following emails:
Seth (setht AT uchicago DOT edu)
Ryan (cryobristow AT aol DOT com)
Jerry (jerry_v AT brown DOT edu)
Selene (sckoo AT uchicago DOT edu)

-Seth

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:11 am
by setht
Some quick thoughts on the set: I think most of the tossups were at about the right level, although several of them could have used less lead-in and more middle. I think decent fraction of the bonuses were at about the right level, but I think we also had plenty of bonuses that were too hard. In fact, I think we had some bonus parts that were just too hard for ACF Regionals or almost any tournament (e.g., my bonus on E M Forster/Adella Quested/The Road from Colonus, or my bonus on Pantaloon in Black/A Rose for Emily/Snopes). Looking back on these questions, I think the parts on The Road from Colonus or Pantaloon in Black are ridiculous for an ACF Fall level tournament, and I think they're probably too hard for an ACF Regionals level tournament.

One of the reasons I'm particularly interested in soliciting feedback is that I think the packets differ fairly markedly from one author to the next, so people can tell us things like, "Seth's literature sucks, Ryan's is much better," or, "Seth's tossups are too short," and that can help Jerry, Ryan and me decide how we split things up, or what kinds of length and difficulty goals we set for ACF Regionals. Obviously we're going to have a different approach to ACF Regionals than we did to this tournament, but feel free to tell us what you would want to see changed between EFT and ACF Regionals--I can't guarantee we'll adopt your suggestion, but we will consider it. Looking over the packet set, it seems clear that the 3 of us had somewhat different approaches to writing for EFT; it would be nice to get some community input so we can have a more unified approach for ACF Regionals.

-Seth

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:13 pm
by Steve Kaplan
I'd like to echo some earlier comments about the set. The tossups were, for the most part of a reasonable difficulty. I believe my team's matches often featured twenty converted tossups, or would have if not for negs. I thought the bonuses were tolerable, but the near impossible third part in many of them seemed unneccesary and counterproductive to the stated goals of the tournament. With that said, there were some specific questions that fall within my limited expertise that I think I can constructively critique.

From Ryan Packet 1
5. Name some losing American presidential candidates, FTPE.
A. When he wasn’t supporting Free Silver and making his “Cross of Gold” speech, he was a losing machine for the Democrats in 1896, 1900, and 1908.
Answer: William Jennings Bryan
B. When he wasn’t in jail, for example in violation of the Espionage Act in 1918, he was the usual candidate for the Socialist Party from 1904-1920.
Answer: Eugene Victor Debs
C. This sadly underappreciated figure from Tennessee apparently helped pass a bill to remove Indians west of Mississippi and darn nearly defeated Martin Van Buren running as a Whig in 1836.
Answer: Hugh Lawson White
This bonus is a good example of the extreme difficulty swings featured in many of the bonuses. Bryan is probably the easiest losing major party candidate of the 19th century (barring losing incumbents such as Cleveland in 1888). Debs is probably the easiest third party candidate to ask about with the possible exception of Ross Perot or Ralph Nader, who are only easier due to their recentness. Hugh White, which I answered correctly so I think I have some notion of his level of obscurity, is in my opinion the single most obscure "second party" candidate in the history of the United States (Alton Parker is the only other candidate in my mind for that title). I don't know what was gained by choosing White as an answer over a myriad of other somewhat well known presidential losers other than ramping up the difficulty from ACF Fall to ACF Nationals level within a single bonus. Also, the clues in part C are odd. He "apparently helped pass"? I would think he did or he didn't, why the ambiguity? Also, he lost 170 electoral votes to 26, so its odd that he is classified as darn nearly winning.

From Ryan Packet 1
B. Name the author of The Naked and the Dead, a one-time husband of Marilyn Monroe.
Answer: Norman Mailer
While it shouldn't have prevented anyone from answering the question correctly, this part contains two clues, one of which is patently false.

From Ryan Packet 2
12. This concept was somewhat expanded in the unique case of Summers v. Tice, and the res ipsa loquitur doctrine may be used to imply the existence of this cause of action. Its existence was defined in algebraic terms by suggesting that it is present when B is less than P times L, by Learned Hand in US v. Carroll Towing. Benjamin Cardozo notably refused to extend it in the famous Palsgraf case. Prior to the mid-twentieth century, almost all states recognized the contributory type of it, but now most have moved to some sort of comparative regime. Sometimes spoken of as a violation of the standard of care, FTP, name this tort which might also be described as “gross.”
Answer: negligence (accept cause, proximate cause, or cause-in-fact before “cause of action”)
I'm not really sure if its possible to write a good question on this topic. The existence of negligence as both a cause of action and a standard of care makes it difficult to write a lead in without being highly specific as to which of the two you are referring to in the question. Here, the res ipsa clue refers to the violation of the standard of care, not the existence of the cause of action (since it does not speak to duty, causation or damages). Likewise, Carroll Towing is about the existence of the breach of standard of care, not the cause of action in toto. Palsgraf, as I recall, is not about breach, but about the scope of the duty. That's a long way of saying, this question is confusing because its about a concept and doesn't really commit to whether it wants to be about the cause of action or the standard of care. I think the list of acceptable answers at the bottom demonstrates that the lead in wasn't really specific enough.

From Ryan Packet 4
6. Name these Supreme Court cases important in civil and criminal procedure, FTPE.
A. This 1966 case established that suspects in custody must be informed of their right to remain silent and some other stuff.
Answer: Miranda v. Arizona
B. This 1961 case established that evidence obtained from illegal searches and seizures is inadmissible in state court. It concerned the invasion by police of a woman’s home in Cleveland, which happened to turn up some obscene material.
Answer: Mapp v. Ohio
C. This landmark 1938 case overruled Swift v. Tyson and held that federal courts may apply their own rules to procedural matters in suits arising under diversity jurisdiction.
Answer: Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins
Miranda and Mapp are perfectly legitimate answer choices, much like Bryan and Debs discussed above. Erie, I would guess, would be answered reflexively by 90% of players with legal training and virtually no players without legal training. Thus, I think this part displays the twin vices of being simultaneously too hard and too easy. Since Erie has nothing in common with the other two parts other than both come from an area of law with "procedure" in the name, I would suggest that a third gettable criminal procedure case would have been a far better choice.

From Ryan Packet 5
B. The image created from gravitational lensing may be a cross or a ring named after this really famous guy, who said something about e equaling mc squared.
Answer: Alfred Einstein
This was a joke, right?

From Seth Packet 2
10. One of the claimants in this case was represented by a former member of the United Irishmen, while the other side was represented by the future presidential nominee of the Anti-Masonic party. Cornelius Vanderbilt had taken the action that instigated the dispute over a contract made with the negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase, Robert Livingston, and the designer of the Clermont, Robert Fulton. Centering on the interpretation of Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution, FTP identify this Supreme Court case in which a dispute over steamboat operation along the Hudson River resulted in John Marshall defining his interpretation of the commerce clause.
ANSWER: Gibbons v. Ogden
I don't really have much substantive criticism of this question. I note it only because its a good example of a question that may have been classified as social science or law but is merely a history question. The legal content in the question is very light and very superficial. If people want to write questions like this they should feel free, but they should definitely count towards the history distribution.

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:11 pm
by barnacles
Seriously, Juice Newton?

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:23 pm
by No Rules Westbrook
Heh, this has turned most entertaining.

On Hugh White: Yeah, I know exactly how hard this is, and I regret being quite so hard on those third parts. I was just kind of offering it as "candy" for a handful of people. For what it's worth, the book source I had said he nearly won said election.

On Marilyn Monroe and Alfred Einstein: Yeah, I tend to do things like this. For what it's worth, I'm largely oblivious and confused while I'm playing qb too.

On negligence and Erie: I'm going to make a concerted effort to write "real" law questions at upcoming tourneys; I think there are a lot of very gettable answers in that area and I see it as sort of between history and soc science. They never really seem to come up, despite the fact that real medicine q's come up, etc. People settle for Sup Ct. cases, and even when writing them, they don't typically write them in ways that are significant within a law school context, more like a history survey context. My tu on Brown v. Board is a good example of me writing on a case. As for the negligence complaint, I understand the objection, but I don't think it's terribly confusing (at least once you figure out it's a cause of action). I mean, if you were to buzz and say "breach of the standard of care", I'd give you points...but I think negligence is easily the most logical thing to say even after "res ipsa." As for Erie, I wrote that bonus like I did specifically because I wanted to ask about Erie - and I can't think of three legit "civil pro" cases that would work - so I made it work. Erie is so ridiculously important, within a real law context (as you say), that I felt it really deserves to be asked about.
Seriously, Juice Newton?
Sure seriously. She's the best. I think I'll listen to her now.

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:30 pm
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
It's sad that people who ran for minor third parties in the late 19th century, won no electoral votes whatsoever, and had no effect on the outcome of the election, are considered more "famous" for the purposes of quizbowl than Hugh White.

The cult of the Greenback, Prohibition, and Populist Parties in quizbowl confuses me.

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:22 pm
by Steve Kaplan
I support the presence of "real law" but given the relative obscurity of Erie outside of law circles I didn't think this was the right place to introduce it to the canon.

I stand by my comments on the negligence question, but I'll agree that anyone with good law knowledge would not be sufficiently confused to be beaten to the question by someone without law knowledge.

Posted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:47 pm
by Rayford Smuckles
I guess I'm the sort of person who this tournament was aimed at, a fairly new player both to the college game and to quizbowl in general (this was my 4th tournament, and I did not play in high school.)

First, I thought the questions were, in general, very good. In terms of quality, the tossups were as well-written as those at any tournament I have been to. So good work on that.

Second, since I think giving specific praise is as valuable as giving specific criticism, I'd like to point out that I think Jerry does an excellent job of writing interesting and worthwhile trash/pop culture questions. I think trash questions are often thrown in as an afterthought, poorly written, way too obscure or way too easy (which is, of course, part of the reason why a lot of good players hate trash.) Jerry, however, does a great job. I guess I'll single out as being especially good the tossups on "the man with no name" and "Boondock Saints." The tossup on Neil Gaiman, (arguably a "trashy-lit" question,) was also great (and I'm not just saying that because I really like Gaiman,) IMO a perfectly pyramidal question on an important figure who is somewhat outside the mainstream -- in my mind the perfect sort of trashish-person to be asked about at academic tournaments.

A lot of people have criticized the bonuses already, so I won't say much about that. The one thing I will say is that I was playing on a very inexperienced team (I was the most experienced player, and I'm a sophmore,) and our bonus conversion was dismal. I'm not saying that's a particularly bad thing, since this tournament WAS meant to introduce new players to college level quizbowl, and a good place to show people they aren't in kansas anymore is on the third part of the bonus. I personally think it's a good thing to have some questions where you think "Jesus, I've never heard of that before," and then you write it down, and you've learned something. That's fine. But I think, if you're going to do bonuses where the third part is meant to be a stumper, you have to make damn sure that you do that all the way through your packet, otherwise it's unfair. I only feel qualified to comment on lit, since I'm a pretty one-dimensional player, so I'll just look at two bonuses from Seth Teitler's Packet 1
7. In one of his novels Felix Maldonado becomes an agent for the spy master Timon. FTPE:
[10] Name this author of The Hydra Head whose other novels include Where the Air Is Clear and Terra Nostra.
ANSWER: Carlos Fuentes
[10] This Carlos Fuentes novel focuses on an expiring tycoon, who recalls in flashbacks how he became rich through treachery and corruption, losing his youthful ideal.
ANSWER: The Death of Artemio Cruz or La muerte de Artemio Cruz
[10] Fuentes’s novel The Old Gringo is a fictionalization of the last days of this American author of The Devil’s Dictionary.
ANSWER: Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce
11. Answer the following on T. S. Eliot poems, FTPE.
[10] The title creatures of this poem are said to sing near the Convent of the Sacred Heart, and also sang in the wood when Agamemnon was murdered.
ANSWER: “Sweeney Among the Nightingalesâ€

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:41 am
by yoda4554
Rayford, while the trend you bring up may be true for other examples, I don't think it is for these two questions. "Jacobean dramatist" limits you to a few major askable people, of whom Webster is probably the most famous. And a lot of stuff has been said about Eliot's love of Webster's plays in general (I believe it was one of the last clues in the Webster tu at NAQT Nats last year). Now, if it were the case that Webster were only famous for being in that poem, that'd be another thing entirely, but as it is, "Sweeney Among the Nightingales" looks like the hardest part of this bonus, and roughly in-line with the difficulty of the middle part to the Fuentes bonus.

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:52 am
by setht
My intention with the Carlos Fuentes bonus was that the first part (Fuentes) would be the hard part, the middle part (Artemio Cruz) would be the medium part, and the last part would be the easy part (Bierce). My impression was that the titles I gave as clues towards Fuentes (Hydra Head, Where the Air Is Clear, Terra Nostra) are hard but not impossible and that Artemio Cruz is a fairly well-known title that seems to come up a lot in quizbowl. Perhaps the first part is easier than I thought and the second part is harder, or perhaps the whole bonus is pretty easy. Actually, looking back on this bonus I would have thought it's a rather hard bonus, and not a good idea for a tournament that was supposed to be aimed at newer players--I imagine most new players would not be able to answer either Fuentes or Artemio Cruz.

My intention with the Eliot bonus was, again, that the first part (Sweeney Among the Nightingales) would be the hard part, the second part (Webster) would be the medium part, and the last part (Prufrock) would be the easy part. As I wrote the bonus it didn't occur to me that I should put in a bit more in the Webster clue; if I had it to do over again, I'd probably put in some names of characters in some of his plays, or something like that. I agree that getting Webster just off the quote is hard, and I think that Sweeney Among the Nightingales is rather hard (but hopefully not impossible) for a tournament that was supposed to be ACF Fall level.

Thanks for the comments guys, and keep them coming.

-Seth

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:09 am
by Rayford Smuckles
yoda, you are probably right. There are better examples of this in these packets, the main point I was trying to make is that it's ok to thrown in stuff to make it fun for advanced players, but that you should do it evenly.

I'm not going to argue difficulty of these specific bonuses with you, because I'm probably just ignorant, but I would argue that the "Webster" part tests knowledge a little more deeply than the other parts of the bonuses, all of which are quite gettable by people who have only a shallow (i.e. list-memorized) knowledge of the subjects. For "Webster," you either have to have memorized that line of the poem, or you have to be able to choose a random Jacobian dramatist without knowing any works (which is not easy for novice players to do,) or you have to know that Eliot liked Webster in particular over other Jacobians, (which honestly is probably not THAT well known to most people, even literature people, who don't happen to be quizbowlers or hardcore Eliot experts.) I might be wrong here about the difficulty of Webster, and I'm not going to make the stupid argument that just because I didn't know something it's not well known. But I hope you would at least agree that getting "Webster" from the clue given requires you to make some connections that are on a higher level than the other parts of these bonuses. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that, or that there shouldn't be questions that reward deep knowledge. The main point was that random "very hard" clues shouldn't be scattered among bonuses unevenly. Even if everyone agrees my example was bad, I think the main point still stands. :)

(BTW, I believe I guessed "Chapman" for the clue. Wrong, obviously, but it scanned, and I knew Eliot liked Chapman ok, because I had read something about it fairly recently. From this article, at least, it seems like Eliot was pretty into Chapman. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of ... thews.html

Of course Chapman is wrong, because it's not what the poem says, but I think your stance that "Jacobian that Eliot liked? Duh, Webster," is a bit much, since IMO it could be several people. Anyway, don't want to get into a huge argument about it, I just think the bonus could have been brought down to a very reasonable level of difficulty with the addition of one or two works or biographical details about Webster.)

seth, your thinking for the bonuses seems reasonable. I didn't want to make this a nitpicky thing about these particular questions, I just wanted to make a general point.

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 11:29 am
by No Rules Westbrook
Perhaps one obvious thing to be taken from Smuckles citing of questions is that it's awfully tough to write "world lit" questions at this difficulty level. Seth's assumption that the Fuentes part is "hard" is not unreasonable, even though a whole bunch of experienced players would find it very easy. World lit just has a big disconnect between what players know once they're somewhat familiar with the canon and what they know otherwise. You're basically reduced to asking about dudes like Borges and Neruda repeatedly. Even really well-known people like Tagore and Mishima are pushing it. I mean, I wrote my tu on "Bend in the River" thinking "this is probably too hard for new players, but crap, I want to write on some work of world lit."


Jerry does an excellent job of writing interesting and worthwhile trash/pop culture questions.
There's a comment I did not expect to see.

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:59 pm
by grapesmoker
Rayford Smuckles wrote:Second, since I think giving specific praise is as valuable as giving specific criticism, I'd like to point out that I think Jerry does an excellent job of writing interesting and worthwhile trash/pop culture questions. I think trash questions are often thrown in as an afterthought, poorly written, way too obscure or way too easy (which is, of course, part of the reason why a lot of good players hate trash.) Jerry, however, does a great job. I guess I'll single out as being especially good the tossups on "the man with no name" and "Boondock Saints." The tossup on Neil Gaiman, (arguably a "trashy-lit" question,) was also great (and I'm not just saying that because I really like Gaiman,) IMO a perfectly pyramidal question on an important figure who is somewhat outside the mainstream -- in my mind the perfect sort of trashish-person to be asked about at academic tournaments.
I will second Ryan's remark that this is a comment that I totally did not expect to come up in relation to this tournament, although now that it has, I must say I'm extremely flattered by it. Out of curiosity, Rayford (props on the Achewood-inspired user name), where do you go to school? Your location is listed as "California" but that could be anywhere.

I guess for people who don't know me, I should point out that, barring Seth Teitler, I'm probably the worst trash player on the regular academic circuit (and even Seth has been known to beat me occasionally). Having said that, there are some marginal areas of pop-culture that I know relatively well and like quite a bit, so when I have to write trash, I write from those areas. If you look back at my packets, the trash tossups were Gaiman, the man with no name, Soundgarden, Boondock Saints, and Sabotage (the Beastie Boys song). So a lot of it is 90s music/movies, which is stuff from my formative years; "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" is probably one of my favorite films; and Gaiman was chosen because I couldn't recall a recent tossup about him. We had some debate when I was writing my packets about whether Boondock Saints would be gettable; Seth made the reasonable point that most of the players at EFT would have been in middle school when this R-rated film came out, to which I replied that it was a sort of "cult classic" and people would have a good chance of knowing it. I'm glad that I was at least partially right; when I read this packet in my room, it was answered on the first clue.

I'll also second Ryan's comment about world lit. For example, that "Gitanjali" tossup might have been better as a "Tagore" tossup; it didn't become that because I was trying to avoid more than 1 literature biography tossup per packet, and I figured that with "Tagore" more people would know his only famous work. I may have been wrong about that, as the question went dead in my room, but if more people got it, that's good to know. Mishima, I think, is certainly accessible to even new players, if only from the suicide clue, and hopefully that opens up an avenue for people to learn about him. I thought "A Bend in the River" was probably too hard, even though it's a quite well-known Naipaul work and would have been fine in a slightly harder tournament, but when you're starting to run out of options for world lit, sometimes you end up writing on things harder than the level of the tournament.

As for doing this again next year, I'm certainly open to it, although I'm contemplating reducing my writing involvement significantly after I finish editing ACF Regionals. I've found that, with both this set and the work I'm doing now on the Illinois Open singles, that I tend to burn out after several straight weeks of nothing but writing, and I don't want that to happen. I'd like to be able to contribute more individual freelance packets to random tournaments rather than have to write a ton for one of them, so while I wouldn't rule myself out of contributing a couple packets to another edition of EFT, I don't think I'm going to take on quite so much work. Basically, it ends up eating up all my time, and I'm getting to the point where my other commitments are catching up with me and I can't ignore them anymore quite the way I used to be able to do.

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:21 pm
by Rayford Smuckles
I'm at stanford. ("Mike" from stanford B, wrt this tournament.)

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 3:16 am
by NatusRoma
Let me start by saying that I very much enjoyed the EFT questions. They were in large part pyramidal and interesting.

The trash was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the "Arrested Development", "Boondock Saints", "40-Year Old Virgin", and Pink Floyd questions.

There was a surprising amount of economics. There is often far too little, though this tournament may have gone a little too far in the other direction. As often, I was disappointed by the lack of linguistics, though the "linguistics" tossup was pretty successful (the "sociology" tossup perhaps more so).

I appreciated the inclusion of Sulpicia, who wrote good poems in addition to being the only extant female Roman poet, though she was too hard--even as a bonus answer--for the stated difficulty level of this tournament.

The middle part of the Riemann bonus was should have referred to open sets rather than to the complex plane:
[10] The Cauchy-Riemann equations give a necessary but not sufficient condition for a function to have this property, which translates into being partial-differentiable at every point in the complex plane.
Answer: analytic or holomorphic property (accept word forms)
A function that is differential at every point in the complex plane is entire. A function is holomorphic if it satisfies the Cauchy-Riemann equations at every point in an open set.

In the same packet, the mention of the Irish potato famine in the first line of the "Giffen good" tossup was out-of-place. I mentioned this to Jerry, who correctly noted--to my surprise--that it was not really mentioned in other questions available in online archives. Perhaps it is more common in economics courses than in quizbowl questions, but it is the classic example of the concept, and as such probably shouldn't be in the first line of a tossup.

Those quibbles aside, this was a very nice set. Thank you, writers.

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 2:17 pm
by Captain Sinico
NatusRoma wrote:...The middle part of the Riemann bonus was should have referred to open sets rather than to the complex plane:
[10] The Cauchy-Riemann equations give a necessary but not sufficient condition for a function to have this property, which translates into being partial-differentiable at every point in the complex plane.
Answer: analytic or holomorphic property (accept word forms)
A function that is differential at every point in the complex plane is entire. A function is holomorphic if it satisfies the Cauchy-Riemann equations at every point in an open set.
You're actually noting a dropped alternative answer rather than a correction. A function that is holomorphic on the whole complex plane is entire, but it's also holomorphic (by definition, see?) You can note this is true even by your definiton by noting that the complex plane is itself an open set. Thus, entire is a more specific answer, but not a more correct one.

MaS

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 2:33 pm
by Matt Weiner
I want to address a comment I've seen in a few posts about the difficulty of individual bonus answers. It is my contention that there is no such thing as an "ACF Fall level" bonus part, or "ACF Nationals level" bonus part, or even a hard or easy bonus part. I will put forth two contentions:

1) The bonus can only be considered as a whole to evaluate difficulty. The relevant question: Who will get 0, 10, 20, or 30 points on it?

2) Proper difficulty of any tossup or bonus is always relative to the teams who are actually playing in the tournament. Were these hard third parts necessary to distinguish between the top few teams at this tournament? If they were easier, would every bonus have been an automatic 30 for the top 20% of teams? You want to avoid that scenario.

The advantage of the three-part increasing-difficulty bonus structure is similar to the advantage of the pyramidal tossup: You can use the same set of questions for a wide variety of team levels and provide a meaningful separation between any two teams, whether they be the two best teams in the tournament, the two worst, or any combination in between. Ideally, a game between the top team and the second-best team should have nearly every bonus scored 20+, and several scored 30 based on which areas the teams are strongest in. At the same time, the bottom teams should score 10+ most of the time, while trying to avoid the occasional 0 and sometimes scoring 20 (or 30 if they are very strong in a particular subject despite being the bottom teams).

So, I wouldn't expect a new player who is using this tournament as his introduction to quizbowl to be able to 30 bonuses regularly. If that were the case, then this set would be of no value to the more experienced players who were also permitted to play on it. This was supposed to be an overall easy tournament which new players could enjoy, but not a juniorbird tournament or a set of high school questions which experienced players should be barred from playing (or ashamed to play on).

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:51 pm
by QB-dinosaur
Ryan Westbrook wrote:Perhaps one obvious thing to be taken from Smuckles citing of questions is that it's awfully tough to write "world lit" questions at this difficulty level.
Ryan's observation is, unfortunately, quite true. I've worked in the California public school system for the last four years, and the reading lists that I'm seeing continue to be heavy on works of white anglo-saxon male authors.

There are a few exceptions, though, and I hope this small list will generate more "world lit" writing in the future of QB:

The poetry of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (I've never heard of her until I started teaching, and then she's suddenly everywhere.)
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Journey to the West
The poetry of Tu Fu and Li Po
The haikus of Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa
"The Book of Sand" by Borges
"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Garcia-Marquez
"A Devoted Son" by Anita Desai
"By Any Other Name" by Santha Rama Rau
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya

Other names that have surfaced more frequently: V.S. Naipaul, Nadine Gordimer, Derek Walcott, Julio Cortazar, Isabel Allende, Doris Lessing, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Sandra Cisneros, Le Ly Hayslip, and Joy Kogawa.

And the usual suspects: Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Ibsen, Brecht, Achebe, Neruda, and Garcia-Marquez

Willie

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:53 pm
by QB-dinosaur
Oops...left out Kafka's "The Metamorphosis"

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:58 pm
by grapesmoker
Ok, I'm an old man and I was going to take a nap before I get back to what I should be doing, which is writing questions, but then I saw some crazy crap in the last couple of threads that needed addressing.
noted expert on quizbowl Willie Chen wrote:Having witnessed the evolution of QB since 1997, I see more and more "relevant" science questions being written. That's good. I'm very happy to see "science biography" questions being replaced. However, I cannot say the same about literature and classical music questions. It seemed like the English and Music majors in QB have yet to assert what they really read and learn in classes into the QB canon.
Yeah, those English and music majors are totally being left out. After all, it's completely unprecedented for quizbowl to contain questions on things that are actually learned in English class or music that people know or whatever. That fine arts distribution is just for show! Literature, who needs it?! You're totally right, dude, we science majors have conspired to completely remove all relevant humanities subjects from quizbowl; as we speak, Mike Sorice is surely carrying out a purge of the Illinois Open packets.

What the hell are you talking about?!
In fact, most literature questions currently being written are based on "what have come up before in QB" rather than "what do people currently study and read in their classes."
Neg 5, but thanks for playing. Clearly you have absolutely no idea what criteria are actually used to write questions. For things like EFT, the overwhelming criterion was "have people heard of this thing?" not "has it come up before in quizbowl." Coincidentally, there is a high overlap between those two categories. Now, why could that be, I wonder? Could it be because people write about things that they know? What a shocking idea! My monocle!
As I indicated in my private e-mail to you, a great concern of mine is that "literature" as a QB subject does not truly reflect what English or Comp Lit majors actually study. For example, works by women authors (e.g., Aphra Behn, the Bronte sisters, and numerous 20th century authors) are grossly overlooked in QB. And this year--whatever happened to Shakespeare?
Oh, I forgot to mention that neither Aphra Behn nor the Bronte sisters have ever, ever come up in any qb packet ever. Are you retarded? Have you read any packets from the last 3 years before posting this? What does "underrepresented" mean? How many times do they need to come up in a tournament ot satisfy your irrational demands for works by women authors? As though the simple fact that a work is written by a woman author has some sort of correlation with its quality. Also, there were like 4 Shakespeare questions at EFT. What more do you want? My suspicion is that you just weren't paying any attention; you have an axe to grind and you're going to come in here and do it without bothering to do the slightest bit of research.
Two sub-fields of English that are overlooked in QB are literary genres/terms and works of criticism. When was the last time you heard a bonus on "forms of poetry"? Or a TU on "intentional fallacy"? And there is a list of post-colonial criticism/literature coming out of Africa, Asia, and the Carribean. Again, I don't find them in QB.
Because good question writing is all about dead white males! Oh wait, ACF and ACF-type tournaments have a higher representation of quality non-Western literature than any other kinds of tournaments. Oh wait, EFT featured questions on noted non-Western (and sometimes even post-colonial; gasp!) authors and works Yukio Mishima, V.S. Naipaul, Gitanjali, Wole Soyinka, and others. But hey, why let a simple little thing like FACTS distract you from your sweepingly idiotic claims!
My other gripe is on classical music. I squirm whenever an opera/ballet plot TU is being read because it is really quizzing people on the libretto, which should be categorized as literature [this happened several times at EFT]. This is probably the worst offender of "let's write questions on something we've heard before in QB" since the majority of the question writers 1) are not music majors, 2) hate classical music, or 3) both 1) and 2). Take the Bartok TU from EFT for example. Well-written, factually accurate, and very pyramidal. But there are TONS of important composers out there--why Bartok? He is over-asked.
Oh, hey, can I mention the fact that I'm pretty much tone deaf? I can't write music the way I'd like to write it, which would be closer to descriptions of works, so I do the next best thing and try to write about composers and operas and things I can write about without having to listen to them.

Yeah, there are tons of important composers; the idea was to write about someone people would know. Sorry if we didn't fulfill your 1/1 Buxtehude/postcolonial distribution.
I'm probably one of the few defenders of the ACF format, mostly because there are few English/Music majors out here in the west coast so I always did reasonably well on ACF packets. But it has appeared to me that I've been getting pretty much the same questions right from tournament to tournament. There's not much canon-expansion here.
This may trump Bruce's defense of the imperial system as the most absurd thing I've ever read on these forums. When, exactly, have you defended the ACF format, and on what grounds do you take yourself to be one of its few defenders? It must be on the same grounds that you claim ACF doesn't represent non-Western lit or whatever. Also, if you're claiming there's been no canon expansion within the last 5 years, you should either get yourself checked for memory problems or READ SOME GODDAMN PACKETS.

Incidentally, your "feedback" on EFT was a defense of bad PARFAIT questions over good EFT questions. Let me expand on that: after you ackowledged their relative merits, you went on to prefer bad questions written for PARFAIT to good questions written for EFT. I'm not sure ACF needs a defender like you, frankly. (A brief aside: I want to make it clear that not all of PARFAIT is at issue here, as most of it was good. Only the bad questions are being discussed).
QB-dinosaur wrote: Ryan's observation is, unfortunately, quite true. I've worked in the California public school system for the last four years, and the reading lists that I'm seeing continue to be heavy on works of white anglo-saxon male authors.
Waah, I'm so oppressed. It totally couldn't be because, like, those white Anglo-Saxons might have written things worth reading, or that they might, you know, be somewhat representative of some aspects of our cultural heritage. Yeah, it's the man keeping you down, and all of us good quizbowl writers are doing his dirty work. Oh wait (I love saying "oh wait" because it's the key phrase that tips you off to a forthcoming rebuttal to the preceding nonsense), all good tournaments require at least 1/1 non-western literature per packet, sometimes more.

Oh hey, further evidence you haven't read a single decent packet since you were in school.
The poetry of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (I've never heard of her until I started teaching, and then she's suddenly everywhere.)
Came up repeatedly within the last couple of years at harder tournaments.
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Yeah, that shit is so obscure it never comes up. Oh wait...
Journey to the West
YOU GODDAMN IDIOT THIS WAS A TOSSUP AT EFT IF YOU HAD BOTHERED LOOKING YOU WOULD KNOW THIS.
The poetry of Tu Fu and Li Po
They come up roughly once every two tournaments or so.
The haikus of Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa
BASHO CAME UP AT EFT WHY DO I EVEN TRYAaSDFASDFagajagkgjk!@??!@?!
"The Book of Sand" by Borges
This is clearly the most well known work by Borges and should come up all the damn time. Much better known, than say, Ficciones or some obscure shit like that. Also: BONUS AT EFT IN ONE OF MY PACKETSASDF
"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Garcia-Marquez
I am shocked and appalled that this doesn't come up all the time too. After all, this is way more famous than anything Garcia-Marquez has ever written, including One Hundred Years of Solitude (note: EFT!) or Autumn of the Patriarch or Love in the Time of Cholera or....
"A Devoted Son" by Anita Desai
"By Any Other Name" by Santha Rama Rau
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya
Those didn't get written because they are hard and people don't know them, and contrary to the idiocy you spewed above, we SPECIFICALLY TRIED TO WRITE THE TOURNAMENT IN SUCH A WAY AS TO BE ACCESSIBLE. Now, you can argue that we didn't do that as well as we might have, and that would be a shortcoming of EFT that I will readily concede, especially on my part.

But of course everything you posted above is horseshit. Not only did half the authors you list come up in ONE tournament that was intended for novices but the other half would have probably gone dead in most rooms at ACF Nationals. Hey, that would have been a great way of achieving our aims! Oh wait... (you know what goes here)
Other names that have surfaced more frequently: V.S. Naipaul, Nadine Gordimer, Derek Walcott, Julio Cortazar, Isabel Allende, Doris Lessing, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Sandra Cisneros, Le Ly Hayslip, and Joy Kogawa.
Right, those dudes (and dudettes) never come up in quizbowl at all. EXCEPT IN HALF THE DAMN TOURNAMENTS EVER.

In conclusion, shut up because you don't know what you're talking about.

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:31 pm
by Mr. Kwalter
Willie,

Jerry is angry. You made him so. And much of what he has said has merit hidden somewhere within the folds of vitriol. But there are several things you clearly just don't understand about writing/editing tournaments because despite having witnessed the evolution of qb since 1997, you have no concept of how it's done. You know why "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" never comes up? Because it would take a really skilled writer to write a non-transparent tossup on that, and there aren't that many really skilled writers. Hey, it's a really short work of magical realism involving trees and a MAN WITH WINGS. Also, like Jerry said, it's no One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Your criticism of opera questions is also flawed in a way Jerry neglected to point out. Basically, opera questions that are just plot/libretto crap are bad opera questions. Any opera question worth its salt has original-language aria clues, at least one or two of which will have some relation to "music" as you seem to define it. Nonetheless, there's a reason opera is generally classified as "other arts." Because it's not pure "classical music." You should look at some recent good tournaments and discover this for yourself.

Also, there was a tossup on Nectar in a Sieve at Manu Ginobili. That doesn't make it right, though. Personally, I agree that people like Anita Desai are overlooked. But I won't just start writing tossups on her. Maybe you'll start seeing third parts of bonuses on her at harder tournaments. But guess what, her works are not fair game. Hell, you didn't even name the best-known of them.

Let's move on to the Brontes. 1) I personally wrote a Wuthering Heights tossup (with a criticism leadin) for ACF Regionals 2006, 2) The thing about the brontes is that their works are highly dichotomous. Personally I think Anne Bronte could come up more, at hard tournaments. But Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are easy, and barring pyramidality tricks should really only come up at relatively easy tournaments. So basically, Jane Eyre/WH are too easy for most mid-level tournaments while Anne Bronte and her works are too hard for most mid-level tournaments. This highlights one of the central fallacies of your argument: you should write on things no matter whether they're appropriate in difficulty and even if you write a totally transparent tossup because you're inept.

As for types of poetry, if someone wants to write a bonus on poetic structures that'd be fine with me. Pure literary criticism, however, is much tougher to write on on its own. However, I personally have tried to include clues on criticism in many of my traditional lit tossups. I'm just not sure the circuit's ready for a tossup on Cleanth Brooks.

All this being said, please continue supporting ACF and its format in your own way, or maybe even in a more rational way. Despite Jerry's assertions, we need all the help we can get.

Mr. Kwalter