VETO Critique

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VETO Critique

Post by The Time Keeper » Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:23 am

Guys, seriously. Come on.

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Post by Rothlover » Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:26 am

Poutine is not "disco fries," Tom Wolfe's should never be the subject of a "names the same" tu. Take that, multiply by 100 and you have VETO.

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Post by MLafer » Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:05 am

7. Choose one team member to perform this task.

You will now be handed one envelope and one paper plate. Inside the envelope you will find (1) One pair of disposable chopsticks (2) One box of Gobstoppers. Separate the chopsticks, and pour the candy onto the plate. Using only the chopsticks, *pick up* the pieces of candy and deposit the back into the envelope. You will receive 5 points for 7> pieces, 15 for 14> pieces, 20 for 19> and 30 for 24+ pieces put back in the envelope. Points will only be scored for candy that has been picked up by two chopsticks (no rolling over the edge of the plate into the envelope). You have 40 seconds to perform this task.

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Post by STPickrell » Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:59 am

MLafer wrote:
7. Choose one team member to perform this task.

You will now be handed one envelope and one paper plate. Inside the envelope you will find (1) One pair of disposable chopsticks (2) One box of Gobstoppers. Separate the chopsticks, and pour the candy onto the plate. Using only the chopsticks, *pick up* the pieces of candy and deposit the back into the envelope. You will receive 5 points for 7> pieces, 15 for 14> pieces, 20 for 19> and 30 for 24+ pieces put back in the envelope. Points will only be scored for candy that has been picked up by two chopsticks (no rolling over the edge of the plate into the envelope). You have 40 seconds to perform this task.
This is a trash tournament, right?

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Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:05 am

7. To fulfill VETO’s requirement for FUN!!!!11eleven, here is an action bonus. Given the song title, perform the title action for fifteen points. In the unfortunate event that you cannot perform the action, name the artist for five points.
a. Blow Up the Outside World
Answer: SOUNDGARDEN
b. Dig a Pony
Answer: The BEATLES
Yay for 10 point max bonuses.
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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:21 am

Are these all from this year's edition?
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Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:32 am

Mine was from whatever the latest one on Stanford was.
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Post by MLafer » Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:36 pm

StPickrell wrote:
MLafer wrote:
7. Choose one team member to perform this task.

You will now be handed one envelope and one paper plate. Inside the envelope you will find (1) One pair of disposable chopsticks (2) One box of Gobstoppers. Separate the chopsticks, and pour the candy onto the plate. Using only the chopsticks, *pick up* the pieces of candy and deposit the back into the envelope. You will receive 5 points for 7> pieces, 15 for 14> pieces, 20 for 19> and 30 for 24+ pieces put back in the envelope. Points will only be scored for candy that has been picked up by two chopsticks (no rolling over the edge of the plate into the envelope). You have 40 seconds to perform this task.
This is a trash tournament, right?
Only if Roger Martin du Gard is trash

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Post by Rothlover » Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:44 pm

MLafer wrote:
StPickrell wrote:
MLafer wrote:
7. Choose one team member to perform this task.

You will now be handed one envelope and one paper plate. Inside the envelope you will find (1) One pair of disposable chopsticks (2) One box of Gobstoppers. Separate the chopsticks, and pour the candy onto the plate. Using only the chopsticks, *pick up* the pieces of candy and deposit the back into the envelope. You will receive 5 points for 7> pieces, 15 for 14> pieces, 20 for 19> and 30 for 24+ pieces put back in the envelope. Points will only be scored for candy that has been picked up by two chopsticks (no rolling over the edge of the plate into the envelope). You have 40 seconds to perform this task.
This is a trash tournament, right?
Only if Roger Martin du Gard is trash
What packet was du gard in? I love that fucker.

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Post by Interrupt » Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:30 pm

7. Choose one team member to perform this task.

You will now be handed one envelope and one paper plate. Inside the envelope you will find (1) One pair of disposable chopsticks (2) One box of Gobstoppers. Separate the chopsticks, and pour the candy onto the plate. Using only the chopsticks, *pick up* the pieces of candy and deposit the back into the envelope. You will receive 5 points for 7> pieces, 15 for 14> pieces, 20 for 19> and 30 for 24+ pieces put back in the envelope. Points will only be scored for candy that has been picked up by two chopsticks (no rolling over the edge of the plate into the envelope). You have 40 seconds to perform this task.
The first complaint I heard about that bonus was "the scoring system isn't fair".

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Post by Frater Taciturnus » Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:45 pm

VETO= Double Dare 2000 t/f?
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Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:04 pm

MLafer wrote:
7. Choose one team member to perform this task.

You will now be handed one envelope and one paper plate. Inside the envelope you will find (1) One pair of disposable chopsticks (2) One box of Gobstoppers. Separate the chopsticks, and pour the candy onto the plate. Using only the chopsticks, *pick up* the pieces of candy and deposit the back into the envelope. You will receive 5 points for 7> pieces, 15 for 14> pieces, 20 for 19> and 30 for 24+ pieces put back in the envelope. Points will only be scored for candy that has been picked up by two chopsticks (no rolling over the edge of the plate into the envelope). You have 40 seconds to perform this task.
Calling bullshit, simply because I refuse to believe this.
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Post by nobthehobbit » Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:49 pm

leftsaidfred wrote:
MLafer wrote:
7. Choose one team member to perform this task.

You will now be handed one envelope and one paper plate. Inside the envelope you will find (1) One pair of disposable chopsticks (2) One box of Gobstoppers. Separate the chopsticks, and pour the candy onto the plate. Using only the chopsticks, *pick up* the pieces of candy and deposit the back into the envelope. You will receive 5 points for 7> pieces, 15 for 14> pieces, 20 for 19> and 30 for 24+ pieces put back in the envelope. Points will only be scored for candy that has been picked up by two chopsticks (no rolling over the edge of the plate into the envelope). You have 40 seconds to perform this task.
Calling bullshit, simply because I refuse to believe this.
From somebody who actually performed the inane physical task in this bonus, it happened, and it sucked. The least they could have done was allow us to pick the player after hearing the description.

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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:04 pm

I'm somehow not at all suprised that every successive VETO sucks more than the one before it.
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Post by Frater Taciturnus » Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:14 pm

grapesmoker wrote:I'm somehow not at all suprised that every successive VETO sucks more than the one before it.
So, does it eventually (2010) reach a stunning critical mass of quizbowl suckiness? Does it then collapse upon itself and become a black hole?
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Post by The Time Keeper » Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:25 pm

dsfcaptains2005 wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:I'm somehow not at all suprised that every successive VETO sucks more than the one before it.
So, does it eventually (2010) reach a stunning critical mass of quizbowl suckiness? Does it then collapse upon itself and become a black hole?
I think the last VETO will be held on December 21, 2012 and that's what triggers all the crazy shit that goes down.

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Post by Frater Taciturnus » Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:01 pm

Dolemite wrote:
dsfcaptains2005 wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:I'm somehow not at all suprised that every successive VETO sucks more than the one before it.
So, does it eventually (2010) reach a stunning critical mass of quizbowl suckiness? Does it then collapse upon itself and become a black hole?
I think the last VETO will be held on December 21, 2012 and that's what triggers all the crazy shit that goes down.
so, all the answers will be things mentioned in that REM song?
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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:30 pm

dsfcaptains2005 wrote:so, all the answers will be things mentioned in that REM song?
There will be a bonus which will demand that you sing the song and give you 30*(1 - f) points for it, where f = fraction of things in the song that you missed.
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Post by Frater Taciturnus » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:53 am

http://quizbowl.stanford.edu/archive/veto2007/uwo.pdf

tossup #7
"Also known as hydroxyl acid, it is the main component of acid rain. Its gaseous form may cause severe burns, and inhalation, even in small amounts, may cause death. However, among, regular users, withdrawal causes certain death within 168 hours. FTP, name this substance, also known as dihydrogen monoxide."

Edit: whoops, transcription error
Last edited by Frater Taciturnus on Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by wd4gdz » Sun Aug 26, 2007 9:18 am

Bad on so many levels.

"Your search - "hydroyl acid" - did not match any documents. "

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Post by Andy Saunders » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:19 pm

Well, that's what you get when you allow a team with exactly zero quiz bowl question writing experience write an unedited packet for a guerilla tournament.

All I know is that had I been running the Toronto site again, UWO would not have been asked to write a packet.

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Post by No Rules Westbrook » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:22 pm

In addition to being a regrettable question, that tossup has more commas in it than the combined death toll from AIDS, the Holocaust, and VETO ingestion.

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Post by millionwaves » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:29 pm

dsfcaptains2005 wrote:http://quizbowl.stanford.edu/archive/veto2007/uwo.pdf

tossup #7
"Also known as hydroxyl acid, it is the main component of acid rain. Its gaseous form may cause severe burns, and inhalation, even in small amounts, may cause death. However, among, regular users, withdrawal causes certain death within 168 hours. FTP, name this substance, also known as dihydrogen monoxide."

Edit: whoops, transcription error
[quote="Wikipedia entry for "dihydroxen monoxide hoax""]

The dangers of dihydrogen monoxide include:

* Also called "hydroxyl acid", the substance is the major component of acid rain;
* Contributes to the greenhouse effect;
* Contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape;
* Accelerates corrosion and breakdown of electrical equipment;
* Excessive ingestion may cause various unpleasant effects, including death;
* Prolonged contact with its solid form results in severe tissue damage;
* Inhalation, even in small quantities, may cause death;
* Its gaseous form may cause severe burns;
* It has been found in the tumors of terminal cancer patients;
* Withdrawal by those addicted to the substance causes certain death within 168 hours;

[/quote]

Look at all the important information the irresponsible question writer left out! I, for one, would have benefited by knowing that it is found in the tumors of terminal cancer patients.
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Post by Frater Taciturnus » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:42 pm

writing questions on iffy topics is one thing. writing iffy questions straight from wikipedia is just trying to give anyone who writes halfway decent questions aneurysms
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Post by grapesmoker » Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:35 pm

I know this happens every VETO, but I seriously would like an answer to this question: is there anyone who actually enjoys VETO's questions non-ironically? I mean, if it's just an excuse to hang out in Vancouver with friends or whatever, that's cool, but I am genuinely curious as to whether any of the people playing VETO actually consider these questions even remotely acceptable or recognizable as quizbowl.
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Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Aug 26, 2007 4:03 pm

grapesmoker wrote:I know this happens every VETO, but I seriously would like an answer to this question: is there anyone who actually enjoys VETO's questions non-ironically? I mean, if it's just an excuse to hang out in Vancouver with friends or whatever, that's cool, but I am genuinely curious as to whether any of the people playing VETO actually consider these questions even remotely acceptable or recognizable as quizbowl.
There are the occasional not-bad questions at the tournament. If I had the option of playing in the tournament or not playing quizbowl at all that weekend (and it wasn't financially ridiculous to go to the tournament), I'd probably show up.

All joking aside, these questions are still improvement over shit like College Bowl or Honda (name a sport kids at your school play!) I'd characterize them as at least attempting to be pyramidal, usually choosing reasonable subjects, and trying to achieve some semblance of balance in bonuses.

Hell, four or five years ago the non-idiotic Canadian and FUNN! components of the tournament would probably be considered okay quizbowl.

But maybe it's just that I have a higher tolerance for lower quality questions because I grew up playing crap much worse than this in high school. I dunno.
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Post by grapesmoker » Sun Aug 26, 2007 4:35 pm

Awesome...
A graduate of Overkbrook High School, he received a perfect score on my verbal SATs. Although offered a full scholarship to MIT he turned it down to pursue a career in rap music. FTP, during the 90s, he starred in a popular TV show, whose theme song begins, \In West Philadelphia born and raised..."

Answer: Will Smith
SCIENCE! I mean... GRAMMAR!
They were picked as a convenient combination of keys that would not be pressed by accident. Chosen by IBM PC pioneer David Bradley they are seen on every Windows "Blue Screen of Death." FTP, these three keys are a convenient way to reboot a PC computer.

Answer: Control, Alt, and Delete
Actually, I know for a fact that there are BSODs that don't display that combination.
I am a showcase for Canadian bands. I am owned by Dave, although I chronicle the lives of Sam, Stephanie, and Morley, along with their neighbours. I am located in Toronto. I am also a nationally syndicated radio show, broadcast Saturdays at 2 and Sundays at Brunch, and hosted by Stuart McLean.

VINYL CAFE
I am a series of declarative sentences.
The story’s main theme seems to be grief and its transformation into acceptance, as represented by the sale of a once-dear possession in the opening sentence. The framing narrative of the text is possibly a newspaper classified ad, and the type of footwear mentioned indicates that the implied death is that of a stillborn infant. In creative writing classes, it is an oft-cited example of the power of a reader’s imagination to animate a skeletal narrative, since the opening sentence is also the only sentence. For ten points, recite the entirety of this Hemingway very short story, which consists of only six words.

ANSWER: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.â€
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Post by Deviant Insider » Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:10 pm

You overviewed it as relentlessly as a crab. Will you confirm or deny whether your post was written by a dog? Impressionistic minds want to know.
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Post by grapesmoker » Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:23 pm

ReinsteinD wrote:You overviewed it as relentlessly as a crab. Will you confirm or deny whether your post was written by a dog? Impressionistic minds want to know.
confirm
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Post by No Rules Westbrook » Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:51 pm

Regardless of whether it's a legit concept, of course there are plenty of other terms which mean pretty much the same thing. For example, "Tall Poppy Syndrome" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_poppy_syndrome - as famously used by Chris Lewis (tennis player who lost to McEnroe at Wimbledon in the 80s) in his lesser known capacity as libertarian/objectivist philosopher. Or perhaps they mean...

Crab Mentality: Mindset possessed by the vast majority of ACF players, who emulate party-pooping crabs when they fail to appreciate the value of having FUNN tournaments.

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Post by grapesmoker » Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:01 pm

Ryan Westbrook wrote:objectivist philosopher
Oxymoron found.
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Post by Rothlover » Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:35 pm

When is peter mcquorcdale (sp?) getting to this party?

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Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:19 am

Peter was severely burned by gaseous water and then tragically eaten by giant crabs while picking up gobstoppers that had fallen to the floor in the wake of the above physical challenge. Quizbowl will mourn his loss, but his name will live on in the form of an annual memorial tournament, co-written by Andy Saunders and Charlie Steinhice. A fitting tribute to a fitting Canadian.

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Post by setht » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:29 am

Steroid McBlooddoper wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:I know this happens every VETO, but I seriously would like an answer to this question: is there anyone who actually enjoys VETO's questions non-ironically? I mean, if it's just an excuse to hang out in Vancouver with friends or whatever, that's cool, but I am genuinely curious as to whether any of the people playing VETO actually consider these questions even remotely acceptable or recognizable as quizbowl.
There are the occasional not-bad questions at the tournament. If I had the option of playing in the tournament or not playing quizbowl at all that weekend (and it wasn't financially ridiculous to go to the tournament), I'd probably show up.

All joking aside, these questions are still improvement over shit like College Bowl or Honda (name a sport kids at your school play!) I'd characterize them as at least attempting to be pyramidal, usually choosing reasonable subjects, and trying to achieve some semblance of balance in bonuses.

Hell, four or five years ago the non-idiotic Canadian and FUNN! components of the tournament would probably be considered okay quizbowl.

But maybe it's just that I have a higher tolerance for lower quality questions because I grew up playing crap much worse than this in high school. I dunno.
I think Mike's pretty much right on, and I'm surprised Jerry asked his question in the first place.

Jerry started playing collegiate quizbowl at Cal in 2000-2001. If you go back and look at tournament sets from WIT, Technophobia and Cardinal Classic from that year and the next couple years, I don't think you'll find that they are significantly better than VETO sets of the past couple years. Jerry and I and many other players in California somehow managed to play these question sets and have a good time doing it. At the time, I don't think it almost ever occurred to us to complain about question quality at any length--certainly not online, at least.

I don't think new players generally come in to the game with highly-developed tastes regarding question quality. Instead, I think that faculty (and the attendant complaining behavior) usually arise only after a player has played several quality tournaments. Sadly, it looks like we're entering a brave new era in which this "whiny bitch syndrome" can also appear in very young players that have spent lots of time on this forum. When Jerry and I started playing, this forum didn't exist, and the majority of California's quizbowl tournaments did not feature great questions. As a result, I would say that I didn't develop more than a rudimentary sense of question quality until my third year of playing. I don't know how long it took Jerry, but I don't think he came in with an immediate, infallible sense of question quality.

I don't know what the quizbowl situation looks like for most Canadian teams. When you're playing several quality tournaments each year at the level of Illinois Open/MLK/ACF Regionals/ACF Nationals/Chicago Open it's easy to turn your nose up at a guerilla tournament with lower question quality. I would guess that Canadian teams have even fewer tournament opportunities today than we did in California 7 years ago, and I think it's reasonable to infer that many Canadian teams do enjoy VETO non-ironically.

Having said all that, I want to ask: why are we critiquing this tournament at all? Are we trying to provide positive feedback for the writers? If so, we should probably start in on that, and give the snarkiness a rest. We should also probably check how many of the writers actually look at this board, and see if any of them are interested in getting feedback. Failing that, we could all take some time off from writing silly and mostly useless posts and, say, put that time to writing some good questions for use in our beloved high-quality tournaments.

-Seth

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Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:40 pm

How dare you trivialize the memory of the late peter mcquorcodale, Seth Teitler.

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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:42 pm

setht wrote:Jerry started playing collegiate quizbowl at Cal in 2000-2001. If you go back and look at tournament sets from WIT, Technophobia and Cardinal Classic from that year and the next couple years, I don't think you'll find that they are significantly better than VETO sets of the past couple years. Jerry and I and many other players in California somehow managed to play these question sets and have a good time doing it. At the time, I don't think it almost ever occurred to us to complain about question quality at any length--certainly not online, at least.
Except the obvious difference is that it's now 7 years later than when I first started playing. Obviously, I did not begin with a well-formed sense of quizbowl aesthetics, but I distinctly remember that the Berkeley club placed an emphasis on pyramidal writing and attending tournaments featuring those kinds of questions. I also remember many long discussions on trips to and from events of what the problems were with various bad questions. And I don't think it's fair to say that there was no online discussion of question quality; I credit in particular Raj Bhan with persistently pointing out the problems of bad questions and providing examples of good ones. It's what made me realize how to write good questions.
I don't think new players generally come in to the game with highly-developed tastes regarding question quality. Instead, I think that faculty (and the attendant complaining behavior) usually arise only after a player has played several quality tournaments. Sadly, it looks like we're entering a brave new era in which this "whiny bitch syndrome" can also appear in very young players that have spent lots of time on this forum.
It arises because those players have access to quality tournaments that didn't even exist when I was starting out. If you have seen the good stuff, there's no need to accept inferior substitutes.
I don't know what the quizbowl situation looks like for most Canadian teams. When you're playing several quality tournaments each year at the level of Illinois Open/MLK/ACF Regionals/ACF Nationals/Chicago Open it's easy to turn your nose up at a guerilla tournament with lower question quality. I would guess that Canadian teams have even fewer tournament opportunities today than we did in California 7 years ago, and I think it's reasonable to infer that many Canadian teams do enjoy VETO non-ironically.
Yeah, but the difference is that today all those tournaments are available online. You might not get to play MLK, but you can easily get the questions from that tournament and practice on them. You can get almost any quality set off the archives from the last 4 years, so there's no excuse for not knowing the basics of question writing. I'm not even going to be critical at the VETO writers for using outdated clues like Nabokov's lepidoptery, since to get a sense of what is or is not "stock" you would have to peruse many sets, and not everyone has the time for it. However, there is no excuse for violating rudimentary question writing guidelines by doing things like copying from Wikipedia or using totally nondescript and non-identifying sentences like "this author's style was very vivid" or whatever the VETO equivalent was.

This isn't rocket science, it's logic 101. It's literally the bedrock of writing a question that contains uniquely identifiable clues not directly plagiarized from the most ubiquitous online source in existence. Not to mention that the Ottawa packet contained questions that were not even complete sentences. Unless the entire team comprises people for whom English is not their first language, I can't even begin to comprehend how that got written the way it did.
Having said all that, I want to ask: why are we critiquing this tournament at all? Are we trying to provide positive feedback for the writers? If so, we should probably start in on that, and give the snarkiness a rest. We should also probably check how many of the writers actually look at this board, and see if any of them are interested in getting feedback. Failing that, we could all take some time off from writing silly and mostly useless posts and, say, put that time to writing some good questions for use in our beloved high-quality tournaments.
I think it's pretty obvious that the whole thread is a parody of last year's VETO critique, which began with Peter McCorquodale's invitation to give an appraisal of VETO. People pointed out the problems, whereupon Peter proceeded to defend virtually every hallmark of bad question writing in the face of all criticism. That whole affair suggested to me that the entire enterprise was a lost cause, because no one on the receiving side of the criticism was all that interested in change. Hence the snark; how does one expect to make a constructive argument out of all of this given that it's been done once and been thoroughly rejected by the very person inviting the critique in the first place?

Just so this isn't a totally lost cause, here's some constructive points for anyone who happens to be reading this thread, particularly anyone who wrote questions for VETO: read the question writing guidelines on the ACF website, peruse a couple of older quality sets to see what good questions look like, and for Zurvan's sake, stop copying junk out of Wikipedia. Also, write in complete sentences, please. Do those basic things and you get rid of 80% (rough estimate) of the problems of any bad tournament.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:39 pm

setht wrote:it looks like we're entering a brave new era in which this "whiny bitch syndrome" can also appear in very young players that have spent lots of time on this forum.
lol I wonder who.
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Post by bsmith » Mon Aug 27, 2007 8:35 pm

Interrupt wrote:
You will receive 5 points for 7> pieces, 15 for 14> pieces, 20 for 19> and 30 for 24+ pieces put back in the envelope.
The first complaint I heard about that bonus was "the scoring system isn't fair".
The complaint of badness was tacitly understood. The scoring system wasn't fair because (as an observer of an opponent struggling on this): a) there were 22 candies in the box and b) the opponent got 11 or 12 - more than half - but earned 5 points.
grapesmoker wrote:I am a series of declarative sentences.
Uppercase answers + use of "I" for inanimate objects = someone copying Reach style. When I tell people that tossups are "who-am-I" questions phrased as a paragraph, some take it too literally.
grapesmoker wrote:Also it's a question about a politician's dog.
Kyoto would be fair in a tournament with a Canadian audience. While the dog itself is not important, the politicking associated with it and its name is (ie: more Not-A-Leader and "green", less stuff about its breed and family).
setht wrote:see if any of them are interested in getting feedback
They probably aren't. At the past OHT, I had more complaints from writers about me changing/deleting their questions than from players about questions being lousy or unfair.
grapesmoker wrote:Not to mention that the Ottawa packet contained questions that were not even complete sentences.
What?

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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Aug 27, 2007 8:57 pm

bsmith wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:Not to mention that the Ottawa packet contained questions that were not even complete sentences.
What?
Perhaps I should have said not so much that they were not complete sentences as that they were complete but grammatically incorrect. For your reading pleasure:
FTP, during the 90s, he starred in a popular TV show, whose theme song begins, “In West Philadelphia born and raised...â€
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Post by Andy Saunders » Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:53 pm

I am disappointed to see a distinct lack of criticism concerning the finals packet.

Because I am well aware that it was clearly not the best piece of quiz bowl writing in the modern era, I invite those that still do care to critique it.

(Yes, I am seeking to improve. No, I don't plan on defending bad quizbowl to the death.)

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Post by The Time Keeper » Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:45 pm

I like a lot of Seth's points (How can one not, really?). It's important to distinguish between the packets written by people new to the game and people who should know better. For the sake of the former, the criticism should have a bit of a softer tone, and it should be made clear that there's no mockery or ill-will directed at them (gobstopper bonus aside), but that their work could bear some improvement.

I started this thread because people were talking about the VETO packets and wanted to criticize them but didn't want to make a thread about it. Apparently the people who wrote/played the set didn't want to either. I think talking about the set and its problems would be the best way to work towards improving future VETOs and tournaments in general.

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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:05 pm

Andy Saunders wrote:I am disappointed to see a distinct lack of criticism concerning the finals packet.

Because I am well aware that it was clearly not the best piece of quiz bowl writing in the modern era, I invite those that still do care to critique it.

(Yes, I am seeking to improve. No, I don't plan on defending bad quizbowl to the death.)
Ok, well, I'll try to make a couple of constructive points regarding that packet.
It is home to the longest runway in Canada, runway 16/34, as its altitude means that more takeoff distance is required. Concourse A is mostly Air Canada's, while B and C can be configured to handle US-bound flights. Concourse D is used by Westjet as its home and hub. For 10 points, name this Canadian airport, the third-busiest in Canada, with IATA airport code YYC.

Answer: Calgary International Airport
Regardless of whether this is a well-written question on Calgary International Airport, is this really the kind of thing worth writing about? I'm pretty sure that I've never seen a tossup on an American airport. Perhaps there is something significant about it other than that it a) has planes and b) is in Canada (Saarinen's TWA Terminal at JFK comes to mind) but this question gives no indication of this. Why would anyone know any of the middle clues, which for all I know might not even be uniquely identifying?
"The Family", the fountain in St. George's Square in downtown Guelph, Ontario. Michaelangelo's David. Manneken Pis. Eadweard Muybridge's "Woman Walking Downstairs". Goya's La Maja Desnuda, but not Goya's La Maja Vestida. For 10 points, the subjects of these works of art all have what in common?

Answer: Nudity (accept equivalents)
I sure hope that "statues" was acceptable until the Muybridge clue. This is why list tossups don't work. Also, you say "nude" in the question itself; even my meager Spanish is sufficient to realize this.
$1.06 on August 20, 1957. $1.04 on April 25, 1974. 61.92 cents on January 21, 2002. 92.5 cents between 1962 and 1970. 94.64 cents on June 4, 2007. For 10 points, those were historical prices, in US funds, of what unit of currency?

Answer: Canadian dollar
This question is both really transparent (what sort of thing might a Canadian write about that's worth somewhere in the vicinity of $1 US?) and full of really pointless information. It's not like anyone has actually committed these numbers to memory, it's just a "who can figure out the silly answer first" race.
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Post by bsmith » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:23 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
bsmith wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:Not to mention that the Ottawa packet contained questions that were not even complete sentences.
What?
Perhaps I should have said not so much that they were not complete sentences as that they were complete but grammatically incorrect.
Aha. I see you have mistaken "UWO" for "U of O". I was taken aback, partly because there wasn't actually an "Ottawa" team at the tournament.
Andy Saunders wrote:I am disappointed to see a distinct lack of criticism concerning the finals packet.
It was miles ahead of some of the other stuff which has been torn to pieces here. All 20 tossups got answered (ie: the answers were reasonable) and there was a good spread of 10s, 20s, and 30s on the bonuses (separating the knowledge levels).

The tossup that stood out was the one on the Canadian dollar:
$1.06 on August 20, 1957. $1.04 on April 25, 1974. 61.92 cents on January 21, 2002. 92.5 cents between 1962 and 1970. 94.64 cents on June 4, 2007. For 10 points, those were historical prices, in US funds, of what unit of currency?
Besides being a list and shorter than other tossups, the use of a number near $1 at the beginning pretty much triggered the choice between either CDN or USD - the 61 cents confirmed the Canadian dollar. The answer of "value of the Canadian dollar" could still be used, but in a more "interesting" historical context with clues such as "it was separated from the US counterpart during the Civil War (I think?)" or "went off the gold standard in blah blah blah year".

The "mass spectroscopy" tossup used "mass" and "spectrum" in the final sentence. That is how I undeservedly got the points.

Without playing it, I believe the "refractive index" tossup would be answered too quickly for those with only general science knowledge: a reference to light followed by a number for diamond usually refers to refraction. Admittedly, the clues still decrease in difficulty, so I would suggest a harder clue to start and you can hold on to the rest.

Oh, and too many references to Southern Ontario :wink:

Edit: grapesmoker beat me to critique

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Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:57 pm

Nah, Seth's wrong, Jerry's right. I really hate to see this thread turn into a reasonable and patient critique of this set, when snark is so much funnier and we already know critique is pointless. We've all discussed the basics of question writing umpteen times; it's no use pulling out the conciliatory language for those who clearly don't have the time or desire to care.

As Jerry said, we're fast approaching the Golden Age of Democracy in quizbowl - all kinds of quality packet sets are appearing online...emulate them, read posts about writing, etc. No longer are the standards of good quizbowl shrouded in mist, behold them shimmering in the brilliant daylight!

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Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:59 pm

setht wrote:...why are we critiquing this tournament at all? Are we trying to provide positive feedback for the writers? If so, we should probably start in on that, and give the snarkiness a rest. We should also probably check how many of the writers actually look at this board, and see if any of them are interested in getting feedback. Failing that, we could all take some time off from writing silly and mostly useless posts and, say, put that time to writing some good questions for use in our beloved high-quality tournaments.
Yes.

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Post by vetovian » Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:33 am

I haven't been checking this website recently, and nobody told me about this discussion. I see that some people here have asked about me. I'm sorry I didn't find this discussion earlier.

In answer to one of Jerry's questions, yes, some of us do enjoy VETO's questions, or some of them, "non-ironically". And yes, it's also an excuse to hang out in Vancouver (or in Toronto) with friends, and share our creativity and knowledge about stuff. For some of the regulars, it's their only quizbowl tournament of the year. Some people even tell me that VETO is one of the highlights of their summer.

About the questions this year: it did seem to me, during the tournament, that the questions were worse than last year. I'm not sure if this was because I might have been in a worse mood or if I might have had higher expectations this year or if the questions really were worse. Last year, some people even sort of apologized for writing packets that they didn't think were very good, but those packets didn't bother me as much as some of this year's did. I think most VETO players in Vancouver would agree that the UWO packet was unfortunately the worst example, and also that the worst question was the one that has become Jerry's signature.

I agree with most of Jerry's criticisms of specific questions. As Ben said, the "I am" construction comes from Reach for the Top, the Canadian high-school quiz game. We keep telling people not to use it for VETO, but every year, someone does anyway. If you want to see what Reach questions are like, there are some examples on its website. Short and snappy. I think virtually all of the regulars on this forum would prefer playing on College Bowl or Honda questions over Reach. In any case, and you can laugh at me if you want, but I don't have the contempt for CBI's questions that most people here do, and I take Mike's statement that the VETO questions are an improvement over CBI as a compliment.

So anyway, Andy was kind enough to offer to edit the whole VETO question set this year, and I'm sure that if he did, we wouldn't get some of the obvious atrocities that have been cited here. So why didn't we (the Toronto coordinator and I) take him up on his offer? Tradition, mostly. And it seemed to me that the general sentiment among Vancouver players was that it wasn't really necessary, although I've been getting hints that Toronto players might be more inclined to think that it would be desirable. We did ask that teams (other than those that had won a previous VETO) send in a couple of old packets they'd written so that a committee would look them over and decide whether they should write questions, but this rule didn't apply to teams that asked to join after the deadline -- which was every team this year. I didn't know that the UWO team(s) had no question-writing experience at all.

There was a serious problem in Vancouver in that only two of the five teams contributed packets. The other teams had all written packets for VETO before, but this time they said something along the lines of "we don't think we could write a good packet". We let them play anyway, because it was much more fun than to have just me and UBC playing each other on packets from Toronto. But if people don't think that writing questions is part of the fun (or FUNN?) of quizbowl anymore, I don't know what we can do.

After this rambling, I'll get into the discussion of some of the specific questions later.

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Post by Interrupt » Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:16 pm

I know this happens every VETO, but I seriously would like an answer to this question: is there anyone who actually enjoys VETO's questions non-ironically? I mean, if it's just an excuse to hang out in Vancouver with friends or whatever, that's cool, but I am genuinely curious as to whether any of the people playing VETO actually consider these questions even remotely acceptable or recognizable as quizbowl.

All right, I'm going to step out, as a player at the last two VETO events, and just say it.

From a question-writing perspective, I'm ashamed of this tournament. I've written my fair share of stupid questions for VETO, so maybe I shouldn't talk, but I would never hold this tournament up as anything remotely resembling a quizbowl exemplar.

That having been said, for me, camaraderie is more of a priority than bitching about the questions at the tournament.

I actually googled this hoping that it was the Fred Sheppard I know and hate, but sadly, it was only someone with the same name. Oh, and this question sucks.

It was most likely just written so that people would have a giggle. I do admit that when the lead-in was read, the moderator had to stop because every single player was laughing so hard.

I don't know what the quizbowl situation looks like for most Canadian teams. When you're playing several quality tournaments each year at the level of Illinois Open/MLK/ACF Regionals/ACF Nationals/Chicago Open it's easy to turn your nose up at a guerilla tournament with lower question quality. I would guess that Canadian teams have even fewer tournament opportunities today than we did in California 7 years ago, and I think it's reasonable to infer that many Canadian teams do enjoy VETO non-ironically.

Last year we basically had five tournaments from September to September - three of which had some form of packet submission. While the British Columbia region isn't really subject to the problem as the two mostly-active universities are so close together, Eastern Canada's teams are spread out across a wide area, so they won't even attend all of these tournaments; further diluting the opportunities to write and improve. Add in the fact that players coming in have almost non-existent writing schools coming from Reach for the Top (an academic competition full of one-line questions that aren't exactly the epitome of pyramidality)... well, perhaps you can see why Canadian quizbowl is seen as suck.

Having said all that, I want to ask: why are we critiquing this tournament at all? Are we trying to provide positive feedback for the writers? If so, we should probably start in on that, and give the snarkiness a rest. We should also probably check how many of the writers actually look at this board, and see if any of them are interested in getting feedback.

I'm willing to accept feedback if people are willing to provide it.

ConsPrize.doc
Tossups 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 16, 18, 22.
Bonuses 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22.

Critique away. And yes, I know Bonus 16 sucks.

Though I haven't seen any of those questions savaged in this thread yet, which I consider a good thing.

So anyway, Andy was kind enough to offer to edit the whole VETO question set this year, and I'm sure that if he did, we wouldn't get some of the obvious atrocities that have been cited here. So why didn't we (the Toronto coordinator and I) take him up on his offer? Tradition, mostly. And it seemed to me that the general sentiment among Vancouver players was that it wasn't really necessary...

Frankly, though, I think the result of the tournament more than justifies having a tournament editor in future years, tradition be damned.

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Post by Mr. Kwalter » Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:29 am

Interrupt wrote: Last year we basically had five tournaments from September to September - three of which had some form of packet submission. While the British Columbia region isn't really subject to the problem as the two mostly-active universities are so close together, Eastern Canada's teams are spread out across a wide area, so they won't even attend all of these tournaments; further diluting the opportunities to write and improve. Add in the fact that players coming in have almost non-existent writing schools coming from Reach for the Top (an academic competition full of one-line questions that aren't exactly the epitome of pyramidality)... well, perhaps you can see why Canadian quizbowl is seen as suck.
How bout someone in Canada host an ACF Fall site? I think we had one in the West last year. Maybe this year even one in the East and one in the West? Thoughts? Obviously we'd love to have sites there. Let me know.

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Post by Interrupt » Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:47 am

Kit Cloudkicker wrote:How bout someone in Canada host an ACF Fall site? I think we had one in the West last year. Maybe this year even one in the East and one in the West? Thoughts? Obviously we'd love to have sites there. Let me know.
West players may be more inclined to answer this question, but I heard nothing about an ACF event anywhere in Canada this past season. The 2005-2006 season had ACF Fall in both regions, in addition to Regionals in the west.

I wouldn't mind getting involved in another Fall tournament in the East, though I'm not sure how lucrative it would be for potential hosts. The last ACF tournament in Eastern Canada attracted all of four teams (two of which were Canadian; one of which was a house team), and for a number of other reasons wasn't exactly a raving success.

Though I won't claim to know exactly WHY Canadian teams eschew ACF...

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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:21 pm

Interrupt wrote:
Kit Cloudkicker wrote:How bout someone in Canada host an ACF Fall site? I think we had one in the West last year. Maybe this year even one in the East and one in the West? Thoughts? Obviously we'd love to have sites there. Let me know.
West players may be more inclined to answer this question, but I heard nothing about an ACF event anywhere in Canada this past season. The 2005-2006 season had ACF Fall in both regions, in addition to Regionals in the west.

I wouldn't mind getting involved in another Fall tournament in the East, though I'm not sure how lucrative it would be for potential hosts. The last ACF tournament in Eastern Canada attracted all of four teams (two of which were Canadian; one of which was a house team), and for a number of other reasons wasn't exactly a raving success.

Though I won't claim to know exactly WHY Canadian teams eschew ACF...
You're also more than welcome to mirror Brown's Early Fall Tournament. Contact myself (jerry_v@brown.edu) or Dennis Jang (Dennis_Jang@brown.edu) for details if you're interested.
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