EFT Discussion

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Sima Guang Hater
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EFT Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

So lets get the ball rolling.

Thanks to Matt Weiner, Seth Teitler, Dan Passner, Susan Ferrari, Charlie Dees and the NKC folks, Pat Freeburn, Ryan Westbrook, and Jon Magin for playtesting/editing/contributing to the questions. All of your suggestions were very helpful.

I'd be especially interested to hear what new players thought of this set, since it was largely written with them in mind.
Last edited by Sima Guang Hater on Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by cvdwightw »

I'm going to assume that all the mirrors have finished and we can give examples of questions/answers.

Overall I thought this set to be extremely solid, with the exception of a few questions that became transparent early (e.g. nirvana), but I think it's perfectly all right, and in some cases necessary, to have some questions like this when the tournament's aimed at a newer field that doesn't have the same view of what's transparent and what isn't. Questions were certainly interesting and worth listening to, although we had some length complaints at the West Coast edition (I'm not sure how much of this was actual question length, how much was weird unforeseen circumstances like computer crashes and getting locked out of rooms delaying the tournament, and how much was just people complaining). That said, I did find a few things that could be improved for next year:

First, the two packets we heard that were apparently by Jerry were significantly more difficult than the other packets. Some of this is probably attributable to fatigue since we heard them around 6:00, but the bonuses had a marked increase in difficulty and tossups were more difficult than the rest of the packets, and people seemed to enjoy playing on them less. I don't know if these were intended as playoff packets or not, but they seemed inconsistent with the rest of the set.

Second, although I thought the tossup answer selection was by and large accessible, there were a significant number of questions that I felt didn't really belong at a novice-aimed tournament. Legendre, Night Cafe, Tlaloc, and Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, just to name a few, are things I would not reasonably expect at a novice tournament. I understand that it's hard to write a "novice tournament" that can still please older players, so some of this stuff is going to slip in. Overall I didn't find this much of a problem, but I'm significantly more steeped in the canon than 90+% of novices. I'm not sure if the novices felt the same way, though.

Third, there seemed to be a wide variation in bonus difficulty, and except for a few bonuses (mostly trash) that didn't really have a "gimme 10", almost all of this was due to wide variability in the difficulty of the "hard" part of the bonus. There were several questions that I found to be easy thirties. That's to be expected, since I've been playing for a while and I'm usually under the impression that I know stuff. On the other hand, some of the bonuses had hard parts that would be possibly too hard as ACF Nationals tossup answers. I'm not sure that asking novices to identify a second work of Malinowski or Paton is a good idea.

Fourth, many of the questions seemed formulaic and stale, particularly in the literature. Way too many bonuses were something like "Name this work/Name its author/Name a character from the work (if work is middle part) or Name this easier work by author (if work is hard part)". While it's a good format to write literature bonuses in, once you've heard if for what seems like the 20th time (regardless of how many there actually were in the set), it starts to get boring.

Aside from a couple of repeats (nearly a word-for-word repetition of a viscosity bonus part, Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkov limit being mentioned as an equivalent to the Chandrasekhar limit for neutron stars, then saying "Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkov limit applies to stars made of [these particles]" in a later packet) a couple minor factual errors (Ray Bradbury wrote Harrison Bergeron? News to me, although maybe this was a variation on the aforementioned lit bonus formula that just slipped through my concentration), and the aforementioned criticisms, this set was pretty good. Not sure my teammates felt the same way, but I enjoyed it.

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Post by vandyhawk »

I was about to type up something longer than what this will turn out to be, but fortunately just saw Dwight's post, most of which I definitely agree with. On the whole, it was a very good tournament set, and Dennis and Erik should be commended for their effort, not only at writing but for the great length they're going to in tracking exactly what got converted (I assume they'll post about this at some point). With our field, consisting mostly of somewhat inexperienced teams, though with some decent players, people seemed to enjoy themselves and were able to convert questions at a pretty good rate, perhaps not quite at the level of ACF Fall but better than a standard invitational.

For some constructive criticism, I think the biggest issue I had personally was tossup length. For a tournament aimed mostly at newer players, we don't need 7-8 line tossups as the norm. Most of the early clues were just not useful at all to the average team in attendance, and I think there's nothing wrong with a well-written 5-6 line tossup. As an example, I remember the lead-in to the Boaz tossup being something about a work where he wrote about eruption time of incisors or something, where the title isn't even given. There were also some long questions w/early clues like Cass Tamberlane on the first line of a 7 line Sinclair Lewis tossup, or CPI showing up very quick in an inflation tossup. I did notice that Erik's packets tended to be shorter on average than Dennis', but this was not always the case. Even though I was responsible for some long questions at last year's ACF Fall, I'm glad this year it has set a 6 line cap, which would probably be a good target for other such early-year events aimed at newer players.

Dwight pointed out the most egregious factual error - how did Harrison Bergeron being written by Bradbury get through that many people seeing the packets? Also, the Sharpeville massacre apparently happened in the wrong century, and I actually caught an error in looking quickly through the playoff rounds, in that the Old Pretender was not James VI. I was looking through the playoff rounds, though, b/c Dennis warned me that Jerry's rounds (Playoff 1 and Playoff 2) were harder than the rest. This was definitely true, as these rounds really didn't belong in this tournament set, even as "Playoffs." We actually used Playoff 4 as our 11th prelim round, and then Playoff 3 for the final. There were some inordinately hard questions too, like the tossup on battle of Meggido w/out mentioning the WWI battle at all, a bonus on Tiamat/Enuma Elish/Chingu, the logical positivist bonus, the bonus asking to identify two Oe works w/out first telling you that they were Oe works, and some others that are escaping me right now. Along these lines, I agree with Dwight that the "hard" part of the bonuses varied a lot, but given the experience level of Dennis and Erik, that's not completely unexpected, and I think their effort to track each part of every bonus will be a very useful demonstration of this observation.

On a couple minor notes, there were quite a bit of repeats given that only two people wrote most or all of the questions, and there were also a lot of typos or weird grammar things that threw off the reader at times. These things can be easily fixed in the future though.
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Post by NatusRoma »

Thanks to the writers for an enjoyable tournament.

I particularly enjoyed the architecture questions (a tossup on the Seagram Building and bonuses on De Stijl and Le Corbusier come pleasantly to mind), and would have liked to have heard more of them.

The Beloved tossup was an instant buzzer race. A clue dealing with criticism or influences might have been a more appropriate lead-in for such a widely-read book.

Contra Dwight, I was generally quite pleased with the consistency of bonus difficulty within each round, excepting the packet that we heard in round 5, that seemed to trend sharply upward in bonus difficulty at the end. There was some variability between rounds, but that doesn't strike me as especially problematic. Instances of extreme difficulty of hard parts have been amply noted above, I think.

The literature did seem formulaic. In general, the humanities questions felt too canonical, and adherence to a few formulas probably contributed to that perception.

Perhaps it was just fatigue, or perhaps it was momentary lack of fluency on the part of an otherwise effective moderator, but a couple of questions in what we heard as round nine ("Holden Caulfield" and "The Third of May, 1808") failed to keep in order the pronouns referring to the answer, or at least could have done so more clearly.

There was too much anthropology and sociology, and not enough psychology or linguistics.

The Lent tossup was nice, though it's not really accurate to describe it as a "holiday".
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Post by Sima Guang Hater »

More extensive replies to come later, but some things first:

-The Beloved tossup was actually edited between 9/29 and 10/6 to take out the Amy Denver clue in the first line. Andrew is right, of course.

-I actually agree with the complaint about formulaic bonus structure, but I have to wonder about how much can be done about that. There's only a finite number of ways you could do it (work/author/character, work/author/other work, work/work/work, etc). Were there some combinations in particular that could have been used more?

-I suppose Lent isn't really a holiday. It doesn't sound like much fun, either.

-I'm not sure how much linguistics can be asked about this level. There was a Sassure bonus, with Trubetskoy as the hard part, and I think there was a Sapir-Whorf tossup somewhere. And there was stuff on Erikson, Horney, Freud, Adler, Jung...I thought we hit all of the major psychologists that can be asked about at this level, actually.

-The stuff about Boas' work with deciduous teeth was actually a bit of low-level canon expansion on my part. And I didn't know that the WWI Battle of Megiddo was better known that the ancient one. I'll try to work on keeping the bonus difficulty more constant in the future, though; I'm guessing a few of those came out of pure writers' block.

-The typos, factual errors, and weird grammar things that Matt cites were the result of us assembling the set at the last minute. Like, literally at the last minute. Seriously, I'm never doing that again. Sorry people.

-I am completely, utterly, 100% surprised that no one has yet complained about the Trash sub-distribution.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Yeah, and some of the typos were my fault too, since I looked over 6 of the rounds for it and somehow still missed some (the lucifer eefect, etc.)
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Post by Jeremy Gibbs Lemma »

M Bison .... really ? : - P
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Post by Mike Bentley »

I also enjoyed the questions, but felt that the tossups were probably too long and about 25-30% of the answers too difficult for this tournament.

Some specific question issues:

That Zimbardo tossup was pretty much an instant buzzer race on "The Lucifer Effect".

I guess the last packet we read at the William and Mary mirror was an extra packet or something, since it had a pretty weird distribution (1/1 Aztec Myth, like 2/2 trash, a viscosity repeat, etc.)

The trash stuff in one of Jerry's packet (on the Pink Floyd bassist and Once Upon a Time in the West) was way too hard for this tournament.

It seemed like anthropology came up a whole lot in this tournament. In the first 5 or 6 rounds we played, there was at least 1 tossup or bonus on anthropology, and I'm pretty sure there were at least a few in the later rounds. This isn't the biggest deal ever, but, if possible, it'd be nice to see some more variation in the social science category.

There's probably some other stuff, but I need to run. If I remember, I'll post more later.

Anyways, thanks to everyone who wrote this tournament. Even though, like every tournament, it had its issues, it was still very enjoyable to play.
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Post by pray for elves »

Eric, it's really not worth it to criticize the trash questions in an academic tournament. It was rather "stuff you guys like"-centric, but that's to be expected.

It's been a week since I played the set, so it's a bit hazy in my memory, but mostly the questions were very good, with a few that had difficulty issues. I can't really volunteer anything new or different except that

I can say that I had a fun time playing "guess the author of this packet". In the future, you guys may want to mix up the questions into combined packets rather than having packets by single authors, but that requires finishing a little earlier than you did.
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Post by ValenciaQBowl »

I had three Valencia teams at the UF EFT mirror (FSU whomped everybody pretty good), and I thought the questions were very well written but would echo some of the comments above regarding difficulty and length for novices. I figure the openers of the toss-ups were likely written to make the questions challenging for non-novices who might play, but our tournament was nearly all novices players (including six of mine playing their first qb competition ever), and their attention flagged in the afternoon after hearing some of the long questions. Still, the depth of clues helped them learn a lot, and they all had a good time.

One more error: a bonus part on Ambrose Bierce said he wrote "The Old Gringo," but he's the protagonist of that Fuentes novel. No biggie, as other clues in that part would ensure one could still answer Bierce.
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Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

One quick observation:

...postulates that disconnection from society and the breakdown of social regulations results in fatalistic, egoistic, altruistic, and anomic forms of the title action. For ten points, identify this 1897 work of sociology by Emile Durkheim, whose title refers to the act of offing oneself.
Answer: Suicide: A Study in Sociology

That's from EFT 2006, written by Jerry. This became a bonus part at EFT 2007, but I gotta point out that "whose title refers to the act of offing oneself" was kept word-for-word.

Fun tournament, very well-written, more later if I have the time.
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Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Other than having heard at some point many of the questions in this tourney, I haven't looked at the packets, but looking at the criticism I'd like to point a few things out.

1. If you're going to complain about difficulty of bonus parts, fine, but realize that it's often a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" dilemma for writers. Very often, you don't have that ideal-difficulty part in the bonus you're writing - you have to pick from "part that's probably too easy" and "part that's probably too hard." Heck, even if you do have an ideal part, people may complain about it being boring., i.e. "we've heard that 3-part bonus a bunch of times." So, I'm not saying that often writers couldn't do a better job or that they couldn't here...I'm just saying probably the best you can usually hope for is a reasonable balance between probably-too-hard and probably-too-easy. The same often holds true for lead-ins that you may feel are too deep or too narrow for a given field.

2. Social science and philosophy are particularly knotty topics to write for a novice tourney, especially soc sci. The amount of stuff you can write about is positively asphyxiating-ly narrow. Also, trash in an academic tourney basically should amount to "what amuses the writers" - after all, there's only a handful of questions and those are what the writers can write best, so it's fine, even preferable.

3. People on the whole make way too much out of mistakes that are clearly just mistakes (Bradbury). Like the trash complaints, they just don't matter than much, usually amounting to far less than 1 question per round.

Also, the ancient Battle of Megiddo is certainly as famous as the WW1 battle, and indeed it is quite famous.
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Post by Red-necked Phalarope »

I pretty much agree with the first two responders on my opinion of EFT (good tournament overall, a few too many repeats, Harrison Bergeron?), I would like to make a quick note in response to:
NatusRoma wrote:There was too much anthropology and sociology, and not enough psychology or linguistics.
Maybe I don't get out enough, or maybe I just automatically discount questions where the answer is something like 'Spanish', but I think I heard more linguistics at this tournament than I did in my entire last year of quizbowl. The Chomsky/Syntactic Structures (holy crap, a linguistics question about something after 1950?!) and Prague Circle bonuses were particularly awesome.

As a linguistics major, I was pretty happy with EFT.
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Post by vcuEvan »

I also thought there was a LOT of linguistics and anthropology. Of course I am very new to college tournaments. Other than the noticeable factual errors I thought the tournament was well written with a difficulty that a largely novice field seemed able to handle, though not easily. Playoff round number 2 was a marked increase in difficulty, but that was accentuated by the fact that it was late.
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Post by DumbJaques »

And I didn't know that the WWI Battle of Megiddo was better known that the ancient one
It's not.
I suppose Lent isn't really a holiday. It doesn't sound like much fun, either.
In order, it's not a big deal to refer to it that way, and it's definitely not.


I'm with Ryan in that people should stop complaining about the ~10 tossups and bonuses in this set that were a little too hard or not perfectly written or contained an error or two. I'm all for giving a tournament a due slamming if it sucked but this tournament was excellent. All in all, probably was a bit too hard for the level but not to any kind of an extent that it had a serious consequence for teams. Just because the ideal EFT is probably a little easier (particularly in terms of some science) doesn't mean we shouldn't heap some deserved praise on this tournament. Jerry, Dennis, and Eric - you guys did a great job.

I actually thought this tournament did an excellent job of using appropriate social science and balancing it with about 70% pretty basic, 20% regular season medium-hard stuff, and 10% (bonuses, really) legitimately hard stuff. It struck me as a particularly competently-done category. If I had one thing to note it would be that the science and the literature seemed to be very, very far apart in terms of difficulty - a lot of the science touched on some very difficult things (Ziegler-Natta ending up as the medium part of a bonus in round two of EFT is probably not such a great idea), while a whole lot of the lit seemed very reeled back. I don't have the set though, so I can't go through and check and, regardless, the tournament was still very good.

I can also express the views of a lot of newer (some prior to now CBI-only temaas teams) that I talked with at EFT. They were not only fairly pleased with the set (obviously some stuff was just way too hard), but they stayed for consolation brackets well towards 8 or 9 pm, despite many of them having spent the day getting slammed. Clearly nobody hated the questions and in our line of work, that's in and of itself a big acheivement. Great work on this tournament.
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Post by Frater Taciturnus »

ToStrikeInfinitely wrote: -I am completely, utterly, 100% surprised that no one has yet complained about the Trash sub-distribution.
This was overall a good set, and had a good time even though I think I had a bonus conversion around 7. I really would have liked to have had a bit more trash, and as someone whose education does not include particle physics, advanced chemistry, or socialogy, I found quite a bit of my time waiting for the "FTP." Yes part of that is my fault for not taking the initiative to master those subjects on my own, I felt like almost every other question dealt directly along those lines. Again, massive kudos to Brown et al. for a good tournament.
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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

I'm not convinced that "the answers were too canonical" or "the tossups were too formulaic" are bad things when it comes to a tournament whose stated purpose is to introduce new people to college quizbowl. Rather, they seem like things that such a tournament should be praised for.
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Post by magin »

I thought the answer selection was pretty appropriate for a tournament geared towards novices. Since everyone's nit-picking about the questions, naming Joshua Chamberlain in the first line of a tossup on Gettysburg seems less than ideal to me, and many of the leadins probably could have been cut without immensely detracting from the quality of the tournament. Even so, it was very well written.

I think that for future novice tournaments, bonuses that describe a hard part and then go on to ask for its creator/one of his or her better known works would be better served to make the hard work the final part instead. To illustrate:

7. Of the two main figures in this painting, one of them has her coat hanging behind her, while the other figure sits in front of her. A pink teapot also resides on the table. FTPE:
[10] Name this 1929 painting where the two main women are seated at a restaurant, presumably to wait for the arrival of the title food.
ANSWER: Chop Suey
[10] This painting features two men wearing hats and dark suits sitting at a counter with a woman in a diner that bears a Phillie’s cigar advertisement on top. A diner worker, clad in white, joins the other three as the only people in this painting.
ANSWER: Nighthawks
[10] Both Chop Suey and Nighthawks were painted by this American realist painter who also painted Gas, Automat, and Office in a Small City.
ANSWER: Edward Hopper

10. At the end of this work, Sabrina, the river nymph, frees the Lady, after which the Attendant Spirit leads her to Neptune’s house. FTPE:
[10] Name this 1634 masque where The Lady, The Elder Brother, and the Second Brother go into the woods to find their father, who is the title character, and the son of Bacchus and Circe.
ANSWER: Comus: A Masque Presented at Ludlow Castle
[10] Comus is among the works of this English author who argued against censorship in his Areopagitica and wrote such poems as "Lycidas" and "On His Blindness" and the drama Samson Agonistes.
ANSWER: John Milton
[10] Milton is perhaps best remembered for this blank verse epic poem about the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
ANSWER: Paradise Lost

18. The aria “You rascal you! I never knew you had a soulâ€
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Post by Mike Bentley »

Again, just because whenever I edit a tournament I like people discussing specific questions:

The semi-conductors question seemed like a real big hose for transistors. It might be due to my chronic not paying attention to key parts of the the question syndrome (see: Nude Descending a Gas Chamber), but it seemed like the questions went off on a tangent for at least a line and half describing transistors "blah blah blah which can be either n-doped or p-doped...". I imagine there were a few number of people who were not keeping track of the pronouns as well as they should have in that question who buzzed on transistors at that point (I would have, but because I always mix up transistors and diodes, I said diodes).

Edit: Disregard the above criticism. A quick run over to Wikipedia tells me I guess I just learned this wrong.
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Post by theMoMA »

I guess I'll probably look through the packets to remember some specific things on specific questions, but for now I think I'll just stick to covering some discussion points that have come up so far.

I disagree with the length criticism. The tossups were mostly perfect in length. The premise that people weren't buzzing on the leadins couldn't be further from the truth. In every game I played, our team had several leadin buzzes, and as we played the field of generally first- and second-year players I was constantly impressed by the consistent early knowledge. The leadins at this tournament (with the exception of the Idi Amin question and the Night Cafe question) were excellent and one of the strongest points of the set.

While it's true that a select few questions had transparency issues (notably the nirvana question, which lasted to the end out of sheer disbelief between us and one of the stronger teams in the field), the set did a great job of concealing the answers and requiring actual knowledge to buzz. I'm sure I'll find a couple more counterexamples as I peruse the packets, but good job on this aspect, guys.

I think the lit bonus thing is overstated. What I care about with lit bonuses is that they have appropriate answers, interesting clues, and are written with the field in mind. For the most part, this set's lit bonuses were excellent in terms of having an easy, middle, and hard part, for being works-based, and for rewarding knowledge of plots vs. title/author binary pairs. Formulaic or not, I enjoyed this set's lit bonuses more than any similar difficulty tournament set I've played on.

I only played one of Jerry's packets, and it was indeed harder than the rest of the packets used at the tournament. But it wasn't ridiculously so, and given that they were intended as playoff packets I find them entirely appropriate. I enjoyed the Jerry packet I played more than any other.

In terms of answer selection, I thought the tossups did a very good job keeping to things that are well-known without resorting only to the most well-known things. There were very few questions that were process-of-elimination (like Maui...hey, Polynesian-sounding things + male + this tournament = him!) but for the most part the questions kept players from doing this sort of buzzing. Some of the things that Dwight mentioned are certainly in the upper division of difficulty, but they're not out of the canon of an introductory set.

There was a little bit more of a problem with the third parts of bonuses, but this is always a tricky part to get right. There were a couple parts that are just too hard because of long titles (Sex and Repression in Three Primitive Societies is an example...how about just ask for "Sex and Repression" while giving 3 primitive societies in the prompt?) and still others that were way too far down the "most famous" list of their authors (Comus with Milton, whatever that Paton short story collection was...there were quite a few of these I thought). I didn't really have an issue with what Magin is describing, but I don't think putting Vanessa, Chop Suey, etc. at the end of the bonus would have been a horrible thing in a novice tournament.

Only a couple of questions were blatantly anti-pyramidal, with all the major offenders (Sinclair Lewis, Beloved, CPI/inflation) mentioned. And though the Bradbury/Vonnegut screwup was probably the most egregious, one that might have effected conversion of a particular bonus a lot more was labeling the Sharpeville massacre as taking place in the 1860s. Obviously these aren't consistent problems with the set and so aren't too important in the criticism.

I absolutely don't understand the criticism of the social science subcategory splits. It seemed like most of the major linguists and psychologists came up. I thought it was unfortunate that the Interpretation of Dreams bonus prompt was sparse and didn't really give it away (despite knowing things from it, I still questioned our answer before we gave it). I feel like something like wish fulfillment or Irma's Injection should have been mentioned. I was also disappointed with the third part of the Saussure bonus, which really didn't reward in-depth knowledge of Saussure.

That's all I've got for now. I might chime in with some specific comments on questions when I look over the set. Good job and thanks for the great questions.

Andrew
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Post by ecks »

Casanova Frankenstein wrote:I pretty much agree with the first two responders on my opinion of EFT (good tournament overall, a few too many repeats, Harrison Bergeron?), I would like to make a quick note in response to:
NatusRoma wrote:There was too much anthropology and sociology, and not enough psychology or linguistics.
Maybe I don't get out enough, or maybe I just automatically discount questions where the answer is something like 'Spanish', but I think I heard more linguistics at this tournament than I did in my entire last year of quizbowl. The Chomsky/Syntactic Structures (holy crap, a linguistics question about something after 1950?!) and Prague Circle bonuses were particularly awesome.

As a linguistics major, I was pretty happy with EFT.
I'll agree and disagree with Casanova - yes, this tournament had a ton of linguistics, but seriously people... THERE IS MORE TO LINGUISTICS THAN CHOMSKY AND SAPIR-WHORF. I must say I did enjoy the fact that Saussure and the Prague Circle came up.
Clearly nobody hated the questions and in our line of work, that's in and of itself a big acheivement. Great work on this tournament.
Also quoting this for emphasis.
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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

ecks wrote:THERE IS MORE TO LINGUISTICS THAN CHOMSKY AND SAPIR-WHORF.
I miss bonuses of the format "Given a word, identify the place of articulation of the initial consonant".
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Post by Red-necked Phalarope »

ecks wrote:I'll agree and disagree with Casanova - yes, this tournament had a ton of linguistics, but seriously people... THERE IS MORE TO LINGUISTICS THAN CHOMSKY AND SAPIR-WHORF. I must say I did enjoy the fact that Saussure and the Prague Circle came up.
I was actually talking on the ride up to EFT about how sick I was of seeing nothing, ever, ever in QB linguistics aside from Saussure, Chomsky, Sapir-Whorf and Grimm's law. I'd love to see bonuses like, say, structuralism/Bloomfield/Hockett in QB more often (in fact, I remember writing at least one of those last year)--or, heaven forbid, something with actual linguistic terminology. Conversely, the EFT was supposed to be geared toward novices and I doubt that cramming X-bar theory and cascade diffusion down their throats would be very appropriate.

I also can't tell if Bruce is being serious or not, but I would actually enjoy a bonus like that too. Phonetics, canon-wise, is probably a reasonable analogy to questions on something like organic chemistry.
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Post by Sima Guang Hater »

Casanova Frankenstein wrote:
ecks wrote:I'll agree and disagree with Casanova - yes, this tournament had a ton of linguistics, but seriously people... THERE IS MORE TO LINGUISTICS THAN CHOMSKY AND SAPIR-WHORF. I must say I did enjoy the fact that Saussure and the Prague Circle came up.
I was actually talking on the ride up to EFT about how sick I was of seeing nothing, ever, ever in QB linguistics aside from Saussure, Chomsky, Sapir-Whorf and Grimm's law. I'd love to see bonuses like, say, structuralism/Bloomfield/Hockett in QB more often (in fact, I remember writing at least one of those last year)--or, heaven forbid, something with actual linguistic terminology. Conversely, the EFT was supposed to be geared toward novices and I doubt that cramming X-bar theory and cascade diffusion down their throats would be very appropriate.

I also can't tell if Bruce is being serious or not, but I would actually enjoy a bonus like that too. Phonetics, canon-wise, is probably a reasonable analogy to questions on something like organic chemistry.
I hope you start putting these things into the thirty parts of bonuses at normal difficulty tournaments. And I have to disagree with the parallel between phonetics and organic chemistry; the bonuses that Bruce talks about (I'm guessing he's being sarcastic, btw) would probably be the equivalent for asking what the Williamson ether synthesis products of compounds x and y are, or identifying amino acids based on IUPAC names (This actually happened at ICT. Its NAQTarded!).
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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

I was being both sarcastic and non-sarcastic; non-sarcastic because I miss the 30 free points that those bonuses meant for me, sarcastic because I realize that they are terrible from any objective point of view. The issue is that anyone who has ever taken even one day of phonetics will get a 30, and everyone else will be left scratching their heads.

Good linguistics bonuses that are not related to Sapir-Worf, Noam Chomsky, or the Prague Circle (which are all way over-represented) might include:

-- stuff about the Neo-Grammarians
-- given a description of a manner of articulation, name it
-- given the language(s), name the family
-- given the characteristics, name the family
-- given a description, name the type of sound change
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Post by mcalmvp »

As I am pretty much a novice when it comes to ACF/ACF style questions I'll say that I found the tournament overall to be pretty good. The questions were great overall (my craptastic performance due to sitting on things I really shouldn't have as well as having one of the two best players on my mirror in my team). I will echo Dwight's complaint about the formulaic repetitiveness of the lit bonuses..though in overall easy/med/hard distribution of those bonuses they were great.

One bonus that I felt really had poor difficulty distribution was the Honduras geography one. (Tegucigalpa/San Pedro Sula/Caribbean Sea) Now I don't mind San Pedro Sula as the hard part..but the Tegucigalpa part and Caribbean Sea part I found were amazingly easy (though the Caribbean Sea part could have been made harder with the exclusion of "Antilles" in the clue)

As for the Trash part, I felt it was a mixed bag. It was good in the variety of Trash (as opposed to what I feel are the NFL/MLB/NBA (sometimes NHL) and movie-centric Trash distribution of most tournaments). However, I felt some of the Trash was quite bizarre (re: Starcraft...and to an extent, Transformers). I do commend the tennis bonus though (albeit I think some of the clues could have been tougher).
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Post by grapesmoker »

I'm glad people seem to have enjoyed this tournament. I thought I'd address a couple of the points brought up so far:

I'm at fault for a couple of the gaffes mentioned above, including the James III mistake and the TVO limit information repeat. I also had no idea Zimbardo's new book was so well known; I didn't think anyone would be following his publications that closely, but apparently I was wrong. In general, we should have caught the overlaps and factual errors after our own tournament ran, and I'm sorry about the things that slipped through the cracks. That sucks and shouldn't have happened.

I question some of the difficulty assessments, though, especially the claim that my packets were too hard to even be in this tournament. They were certainly more difficult than the preceding packets, mostly in terms of their bonuses (a 30 was hard to come by in that packet) but I don't think that they were that hard. Also, much of what people seem to be saying is very difficult (Megiddo, Tlaloc, Fundamental Orders) does not seem out of place to me at all, being subjects I definitely learned about in high school. Personal mileage may vary of course. I wonder how many of the other sites kept score on the modified scoresheet that Dennis made; this would allow us to put together a master list of the conversion statistics for each bonus part.

The evenness, or lack thereof, of bonus questions is another issue that we worked on consistently during the writing of this tournament. Again, statistics will help us determine whether the bonuses fell within the desired parameters of easy-medium-hard parts, but I didn't feel like the difficulty varied all that much within packets, and only a little across the whole set (with the exception of my two packets).

The "formulaic" nature of some of the bonuses has been mentioned repeatedly, and while I understand that sometimes this can seem repetitive, I want to defend the use of this structure. First, let's note that bonuses are by their nature pretty formulaic. Given that we're not going to veer into wacky bonus territory, I thought there were about two directions any decent bonus could go. We could either go the "Identify things having to do with X" route, or we could do "Clue in the leadin, followed by answers connected by theme Y." I prefer the second structure, especially as it pertains to lit bonuses, because I feel that I can work more interesting clues into such a question. For example. consider the difference between a bonus that goes "Name these Thomas Hardy novels" and one that opens with a clue about one Hardy novel, then has Hardy as a second part, and then maybe either one of his other novels or a famous poem for the third part. The neat thing about this is that in the second part, I could say something like "This English author wrote 'Jude the Obscure', as well as the epic poem 'The Dynasts.'" At a tournament such as EFT, I don't expect anyone to answer a question on "The Dynasts" but it's a good extra bit of information to toss into a question for free.

The social science distribution stuck mainly to things we thought could be gotten at this level. None of us are linguists, so that didn't get a lot of representation (I think there were two bonuses on linguistics?) but we did try to represent psychology, economics, general sociology, and anthropology, and I thought we covered as much ground as we could given the intended audience.

Those are my thoughts for now. Thanks again to all of you who are providing feedback, and to Matt, Seth, Susan, Jon, Ryan, and some others who helped us out by offering their comments on questions before they were used.
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Post by wd4gdz »

Could someone please send me the questions?

Thanks,
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EDIT: I don't know my own email address
EDIT2: Thanks Dennis for sending the questions.
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Post by QB-dinosaur »

I had several problems with EFT (the UCLA version), including the endless delays and unexpected room lockouts. But the most blatant blunder is the editing, considering the set we heard wasn't being played for the first time. What were the editors doing after last weekend's EFT?

Here are other problems (I don't have the set in front of me, so I can't get too specific):

1) Wordiness--Most tossups felt long. Thankfully my teammate got a lot of them early so we didn't have to sit through the verbiage. What was especially painful was when we negged early and had to sit through the rest of the tossup, which had 4 additional lines.

2) The easy part of the bonus--It's fine to have an easy part of the bonus, but please don't make it so easy that 5th grade students can answer them. And please don't stuff the easy bonus part to make it sound like an educational experience. We had to interrupt many bonus parts because the question would go on to list additional works when the answer was already obvious by the first clue. The question on Tchaikovsky is an example of this problem.

3) Packet #3--What's up with this packet? Why are there so many science questions? And why are there so many science bonus questions within the first ten? Who edited this? DISTRIBUTE!

4) Over-emphasis on works--Too many quesitons asked for published works and/or their creators. This may cause some people to complain that the questions felt "stale." What about questions on locations? Concrete objects? Ideas and concepts?

5) History questions--It seemed like every history question is about a ruler, a dynasty, a ruling house, a battle, a war, a general, a treaty, an act of Congress, a court case, a person who ran for presidency in a certain year, a pope, a council, etc. etc. etc.. Aren't there more interesting things to ask about? What about women? What about people who did things to improve others' lives? What about historical projects, locations, and artifacts? This might be a good way to explore the forbidden zone of "history of science," or, for that matter, "history of authors." Has anyone considered writing questions on the history of a name? An interesting town? A food item (e.g., chocolate and coffee)? Or a human activity? History can be a fascinating subject, but in quiz bowl (and in this edition of EFT) it's lethally boring.

6) Overall difficulty--If I were completely new to quiz bowl, and I had to play on this set, I probably would never come back. From the looks of the faces of the newer players, I don't think they had a particularly good time, even if they are on winning teams.

------------------------------------

I don't want to sound all negative, but there were aspects of EFT that were exceptionally good. I actually liked the tossup on _Beloved_ and most of the lit tossups (a bit awkward with the use of "protagonist"). The classical music questions were pretty good if it didn't try to describe how the music sounds like. That method doesn't work in quiz bowl, unless the writer actually performed the work and knows what he is talking about. The overall answer selection in the area of fine arts is excellent. Although the hard bonus parts in the lit bonuses were usually horrible, the two easy parts were well chosen and written for the target audience. The mythology questions were spot-on.

For future EFT, please consider shortening the questions (tossups and bonus parts), making the hard bonus part less difficult, and perhaps lowering the overall difficulty of the set. More importantly, make the questions more engaging by picking more interesting things to ask about.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

QB-dinosaur wrote:Willie Chen talking about EFT yet again
Huh?
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Post by The Time Keeper »

History can be a fascinating subject, but in quiz bowl (and in this edition of EFT) it's lethally boring.
Over-emphasis on works--Too many quesitons asked for published works and/or their creators. This may cause some people to complain that the questions felt "stale."
More importantly, make the questions more engaging by picking more interesting things to ask about.
If I were completely new to quiz bowl, and I had to play on this set, I probably would never come back.
Did we see completely different sets or do you just find good quizbowl to be a horribly boring ordeal?

Edit: History questions shouldn't be about history and (presumably) literature and fine arts questions shouldn't revolve around works and those who created them? Seriously? What the fuck?
Has anyone considered writing questions on the history of a name? An interesting town? A food item (e.g., chocolate and coffee)? Or a human activity?


Okay, you've actually swayed me here so my contribution to my team's MLK/TIT packet is going to be 1/1 my last name, 1/1 Appleton, Wisconsin (hey isn't this what geography is for?), 1/1 candy bars, and 1/1 napping.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Everybody needs to keep in mind -
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
Also, I love how people who ARE novices are saying that they liked this tournament and then you insist that it would drive you away. Give me a break.
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Post by Sima Guang Hater »

QB-dinosaur wrote:I had several problems with EFT (the UCLA version), including the endless delays and unexpected room lockouts. But the most blatant blunder is the editing, considering the set we heard wasn't being played for the first time. What were the editors doing after last weekend's EFT?
Essay, midterms, lab, trying to get my fruit flies to mate with each other; the usual crap (goddamn flies). We did edit the set, too, to take into account people's complaints from our site. I apologize if it didn't meet your standards, but then again, I'm really unsure as to what those standards are or even if they're worth adhering to.
QB-dinosaur wrote:Wordiness--Most tossups felt long. Thankfully my teammate got a lot of them early so we didn't have to sit through the verbiage. What was especially painful was when we negged early and had to sit through the rest of the tossup, which had 4 additional lines.
Four lines of my writing is enough to bore you? I was under the impression that dinosaurs had more patience than that. And four-line tossups are out of fashion, from what little I've gathered.
QB-dinosaur wrote:The easy part of the bonus--It's fine to have an easy part of the bonus, but please don't make it so easy that 5th grade students can answer them.
None were that easy. And the point of easy parts of bonuses is for about 90% of teams to convert them; we erred on the side of ease. Plenty of people haven't touched a buzzer before this tournament and from what I understand, people appreciated the easy parts of the bonuses.
QB-dinosaur wrote: And please don't stuff the easy bonus part to make it sound like an educational experience. We had to interrupt many bonus parts because the question would go on to list additional works when the answer was already obvious by the first clue. The question on Tchaikovsky is an example of this problem.
Plenty of my more obscure knowledge comes from hearing leadins, and bonus leadins are no exception. Where else will I be able to mention things like "Spider's Thread" and "Hell Screen"? In no case did the bonus length get out of control. Isn't the point of quizbowl to learn facts? Plenty of people will be studying this set in the future and memorizing the hell out of it (including myself), and those little extras always come in handy.
QB-dinosaur wrote:Packet #3--What's up with this packet? Why are there so many science questions? And why are there so many science bonus questions within the first ten? Who edited this? DISTRIBUTE!
There were four science tossups in this packet, two in the first half (aldehyde, torque), and two in the second half (tree, X chromosome). And the bonuses don't have the problems you describe.

Both of us edited this packet, and we did DISTRIBUTE. I think you're just a science hater; I'm sure if there were tossups on Li Po, Basho, and Maxine Hong Kingston within the first 10 tossups, you wouldn't complain.
QB-dinosaur wrote:Over-emphasis on works--Too many quesitons asked for published works and/or their creators. This may cause some people to complain that the questions felt "stale." What about questions on locations? Concrete objects? Ideas and concepts?

History questions--It seemed like every history question is about a ruler, a dynasty, a ruling house, a battle, a war, a general, a treaty, an act of Congress, a court case, a person who ran for presidency in a certain year, a pope, a council, etc. etc. etc.. Aren't there more interesting things to ask about? What about women? What about people who did things to improve others' lives? What about historical projects, locations, and artifacts? This might be a good way to explore the forbidden zone of "history of science," or, for that matter, "history of authors." Has anyone considered writing questions on the history of a name? An interesting town? A food item (e.g., chocolate and coffee)? Or a human activity? History can be a fascinating subject, but in quiz bowl (and in this edition of EFT) it's lethally boring.
We asked about characters too. And seriously, literature tossups shouldn't be about literature and history shouldn't be about history? There was a tossup on Verdun; that's a location. And that's quite an expansive list of things that we wrote about - seems like enough variety to me. And what do you expect, history tossups on ball lightning?
QB-dinosaur wrote:Overall difficulty--If I were completely new to quiz bowl, and I had to play on this set, I probably would never come back. From the looks of the faces of the newer players, I don't think they had a particularly good time, even if they are on winning teams.
New players at our site have walked up to me and told me that they enjoyed the set. According to people I've talked to from the other sites, new teams enjoyed the set, and were willing to stay quite late to play them.


I don't [yet] have the clout to spout a bunch of vitriol, so I won't do it. I'll leave it to the others on this board who are good at that sort of thing. But seriously consider what you're saying before you start unduly criticizing someone's hard work and how they spend their time.

Eric

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Post by mcalmvp »

QB-dinosaur wrote: 5) History questions--It seemed like every history question is about a ruler, a dynasty, a ruling house, a battle, a war, a general, a treaty, an act of Congress, a court case, a person who ran for presidency in a certain year, a pope, a council, etc. etc. etc.. Aren't there more interesting things to ask about? What about women? What about people who did things to improve others' lives? What about historical projects, locations, and artifacts? This might be a good way to explore the forbidden zone of "history of science," or, for that matter, "history of authors." Has anyone considered writing questions on the history of a name? An interesting town? A food item (e.g., chocolate and coffee)? Or a human activity? History can be a fascinating subject, but in quiz bowl (and in this edition of EFT) it's lethally boring.
I actually thought the history distribution was very well thought out. Now I did have my gripes on the amount of British history and Roman history (granted my main gripe about Roman history is probably the fact that it is a major weakness in my history knowledge base)...but to say that the entire history distribution was boring is a bit idiotic, in my opinion. For instance, I found the Battles of Trenton/Kings Mountain/Yorktown bonus to be very good even if a tad wordy. (Although I'd strongly advise quizbowl writers to more evenly distribute American history questions instead of basing most of it between 1763-1898)

As for more "interesting" history questions, I'd find most of those suggestions to be pretty insulting (as a History minor myself). History of food items, if it ever came up, would clearly be more Trash than more history. I do, however, wish to have more questions on the History of Women or LGBT(insert rest of the alphabet soup here) History questions [*grumbles at my Harvey Milk question being edited out at last year's TTGT11*], but it's more of a minor desire than a real need for any change.
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Post by DumbJaques »

I had several problems with EFT (the UCLA version), including the endless delays and unexpected room lockouts. But the most blatant blunder is the editing, considering the set we heard wasn't being played for the first time. What were the editors doing after last weekend's EFT?
The short answer is, they were editing the set to fix some minor problems. Anyone who bothered to talk to them would know that (I know that William and Mary didn't receive the questions until Friday since work was being put in on them to make them even better). I guess the long answer could be your mind-blowing stupidity reached back and time and infected their progress. Allow me to expand:

Here are other problems (I don't have the set in front of me, so I can't get too specific):
I don't suppose it occurred to you, when you decided to launch this baseless, poorly constructed, and embarrassing (for you, of course) post in a thread full of well-explained but praise-heavy critique, that you maybe should have looked the fucking packets over? Perhaps there's a correlation between that oversight and the density of factually incorrect crap you've posted.
1) Wordiness--Most tossups felt long. Thankfully my teammate got a lot of them early so we didn't have to sit through the verbiage. What was especially painful was when we negged early and had to sit through the rest of the tossup, which had 4 additional lines.
OH NOES 5 LINE TOSSUPS RUN. Seriously, how long have you been playing college quizbowl? There are a couple things amusing about someone whose handle is qb dinosaur playing at EFT and then complaining it was too long and too hard to start with, but are you really going to sit there and complain about how "painful" a 5-7 line tossup was to listen to after you negged? Not only were these questions appropriate length, they weren't nearly as long as the tournaments you're supposed to be playing in. If it's so painful for you, maybe you could have used your (perhaps 7+) years of college quizbowl experience to learn enough to buzz in early on this intro-level set's tame answer selection.

Also, I played at a site that had about 10 teams with no non-CBI prior experience made up mostly of first or second year players (and a few high school teams). Nobody complained about length. . . except you! I'm not insinuating anything of course, aside from the fact that you're an incredible pansy who's attendance at this tournament is laughable enough to start with before your garbage post.
2) The easy part of the bonus--It's fine to have an easy part of the bonus, but please don't make it so easy that 5th grade students can answer them. And please don't stuff the easy bonus part to make it sound like an educational experience. We had to interrupt many bonus parts because the question would go on to list additional works when the answer was already obvious by the first clue. The question on Tchaikovsky is an example of this problem.
Maybe if you wouldn't have had to wait for your teammate to get an early buzz, maybe you could have gotten a few early buzzes of your own, maybe you wouldn't have felt compelled to attend EFT as a grad student and complain about how hard it was, IF YOU WOULD TAKE THE TIME TO ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW, LISTEN TO THOSE OTHER CLUES AND NOT INTERRUPT THEM EVERY TIME. Why do you think they're written like that? I can only assume your somewhat evident distaste for academic knowledge has something to do with your ignorance on this point.
3) Packet #3--What's up with this packet? Why are there so many science questions? And why are there so many science bonus questions within the first ten? Who edited this? DISTRIBUTE!
Packet 3 had 4/4 science. Each half of packet 3 had 2/2 science. You are an idiot.
4) Over-emphasis on works--Too many quesitons asked for published works and/or their creators. This may cause some people to complain that the questions felt "stale." What about questions on locations? Concrete objects? Ideas and concepts?
The only categories where "works and their creators" were represented in a non-minuscule way were fine arts, literature, and philosophy. A tournament with tons of lit/fine arts/philosophy questions not related to works and their creators would be pretty fucking stupid. There were an adequate number of tossups on characters and whatnot, but really, what do you mean? Your phrasing here is particularly odd. . . which "people" are complaining about this supposed "stale" quality? I am willing to bet that it is, in fact, pretty much just you. Your post has at this point started to become a big contradiction - if one follows your logic in asking for questions on locations or ideas and concepts in arts and literature, you are essentially calling for tossups on things like Wessex or the objective correlative. Obviously this tournament (and its field) is much better served by tossups on Hardy or one of his works, or on Eliot or one of his works. That complaint is unfounded on several levels.
5) History questions--It seemed like every history question is about a ruler, a dynasty, a ruling house, a battle, a war, a general, a treaty, an act of Congress, a court case, a person who ran for presidency in a certain year, a pope, a council, etc. etc. etc.. Aren't there more interesting things to ask about?
Yeah, all those rulers, dynasties, ruling houses, battles, wars, generals, treaties, acts of Congress, court cases, people who ran for presidency in a certain year, popes, councils and the like were totally not that historically relevant. Bring on the obviously transparent, impossible-to-make-concrete, and knowledge-punishing tossups on "chocolate" for the history distribution.
What about women? What about people who did things to improve others' lives?
Wow. We can discuss the need for gender/race/whatever quotas in quizbowl, but it would be pointless because this tournament didn't leave any of them out. There were plenty of tossups on social history or things like "specie circular" or "redshirts" at this tournament, which makes me wonder what the fuck you're talking about. There was also a tossup on Dorothea Lange, who I believe was woman who did things to improve others' lives. Owned.


What about historical projects, locations, and artifacts?
There's a pretty limited answer space at a tournament of this level for tossups on historical projects, and there's a pretty limited answer space at any tournament for historical artifacts. Tossups on the Maine Penny would strike me as pretty inappropriate for EFT. As for "locations," most historical locations blend a little too much with geography but a few good historical location tossups were present, such as the very excellent "Paris" tossup.
This might be a good way to explore the forbidden zone of "history of science," or, for that matter, "history of authors." Has anyone considered writing questions on the history of a name? An interesting town? A food item (e.g., chocolate and coffee)? Or a human activity? History can be a fascinating subject, but in quiz bowl (and in this edition of EFT) it's lethally boring.
History of science, in my opinion, is roughly synonymous with every science question. I mean, pretty much every science topic that becomes an answer has been changed or commented on a number of ways by a number of scientists - and tossups on those things reflect that. The hardness tossup, for example, talked about various scales that measure hardness and problems that arise when you do that - something I recognized from reading an article on why the mohs is the most familiar scale. I guess maybe you mean "fake history of science such as biographical or other trivial facts about scientists that have no place in tossups on any subject, but are appealing to me because they don't require me to have real knowledge in order to buzz in early and save my self from four more torturous lines." Same thing with your "history of authors" crap. Last time I checked an author's body of work, and the important, direct inspirations for that body of work, were "history of authors". . . the most important part.

I refer you to the Paris tossup for your "history of an interesting town." I guess maybe you think writing tossups on a minor (but "interesting," per the Willie Chen definition) town for the EFT is a good way to encourage people to come back for more quizbowl? Your other ideas are retarded. Tossups on "history of a name" already exist in the "names the same" kind of way, but maybe you want more VETOesque tossups where it just lists the various translations of "Smith." If you can write a good, pyramidal tossup with concrete and unambiguous clues about the name Smith that isn't just some name's the same tossup, go right ahead and prove me wrong. Similarly I would love to see these wonderful Willie Chen tossups on "walking" or "cheesecake." Bottom line, quizbowl history isn't boring - it covers a huge range of historical occurrences, finds original and interesting things to ask about, but has to be rooted in a basic quiz format. That is, each clue points to a specific answer in a useful way. If you are "lethally" bored by tossups that you can't even seem to get until the end on historical events/people/entities that have loads of interesting and clue-worthy facts about them, maybe you should find yourself another activity to take up your time. If you're eager for harder questions on less standard answers, maybe you shouldn't have showed up at this INTRODUCTORY LEVEL tournament just to somehow complain about it being too hard and not hard and broad enough at the same time.


6) Overall difficulty--If I were completely new to quiz bowl, and I had to play on this set, I probably would never come back. From the looks of the faces of the newer players, I don't think they had a particularly good time, even if they are on winning teams.
See the rest of my post for why this contradicts much of what you've said. I wish you had played a set like this when you were new to quizbowl so we could have avoided this bullshit. I will say that, again, my site featured a bunch of first-year players, a bunch of CBI-only players, and a few high school teams. Nobody was intimidated by this set. Nobody was pushed away from quizbowl. Teams that were faring terribly (record wise) and faced long rides home stayed to finish consolation brackets even though the tournament ran very late. Maggie Walker's 10th graders enjoyed this tournament and performed well. You're the only one making these asinine complaints about the set. Even though I agree with the argument that the set was a bit too hard for its target audience, I can't agree with your argument to that effect, because it makes about as much sense as your call for the history distribution to feature tossups on food. Dude, FTP name this curved yellow fruit and shut the hell up with this ridiculous argument.


EDIT:
I don't [yet] have the clout to spout a bunch of vitriol, so I won't do it. I'll leave it to the others on this board who are good at that sort of thing.
I am a model of community altruism, motherfuckers.

EDIT 2: Added some bonus profanity.
Last edited by DumbJaques on Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Sima Guang Hater »

DumbJaques wrote:I am a model of community altruism, motherfuckers.
You're an inspiration to us all, Chris.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

This made it worth staying up until 5 AM on a school night. This and the porn.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

mcalmvp wrote:History of food items, if it ever came up, would clearly be more Trash than more history.
This is true if you asked about something like Baby Ruths or Twinkies, but there is legitimate and important history attached to stuff like wheat, coffee, spices, maize, tobacco, etc.

I've in fact taken three different history courses where "food" has served as a particuarily important part of the curriculum, since, you know, "food" is a pretty important part of human concerns.

The problem is, I don't know if someone would be able to write uniquely identifying, non-transparent tossups on food products. The same goes for many other things that are important in at least more "postmodern" history courses that exist today.

But we pretty much already had this debate over the History Doubles tournament at the Chicago Open, and didn't really resolve anything there.
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Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

Dolemite wrote:1/1 Appleton, Wisconsin (hey isn't this what geography is for?)
The delegation for Appleton, Wisconsin objects. Though Sorice DID explain to me why this is funny.
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Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

wd4gdz wrote:Could someone please send me the questions?
Me too. To [email protected], please.
Last edited by Maxwell Sniffingwell on Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat »

I would also like to say that I was very happy with my first tournament on college-level questions (I am not counting the one in Rochester). There were a few minor issues I had with questions that were stated above, but this was certainly one of the best sets I have played.
The only possible problem I noticed that has not been pointed out already is: Is Yangon/Rangoon still a capital of Myanmar? I know that at least some of the government has moved to Naypyidaw/Nay Pyi Taw.
Also, could someone send me the questions at hamichae at umich dot edu?
Thanks to all for a very good tournament.
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Post by MLafer »

I think we need to remember that we're arguing with not only a Chip sycophant and official lightswitch-flicker, but also the person that allowed this packet into an academic tournament:

http://quizbowl.stanford.edu/archive/uci99/ASU_B.html
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Post by grapesmoker »

QB-dinosaur wrote:are you fucking kidding me
Haha, ok, whatever dude. It's pretty clear that you know nothing at all about anything and I won't even bother responding to your ill-conceived bullshit, partly because Chris and Eric already handled it for me, but mostly because I know better than to argue with someone whose mind can't be changed by objective evidence. There is only one legitimate point in your whole screed and that's the repeats/factual mistakes issue, which we've acknowledged and apologized for, and which, altogether, accounts for less than 10 questions throughout the set. Not to de-emphasize our responsibility for that, but that is a tiny part of the overall tournament.

The only other thing I want to respond to is this:
oh no willie chen posting wrote:The easy part of the bonus--It's fine to have an easy part of the bonus, but please don't make it so easy that 5th grade students can answer them. And please don't stuff the easy bonus part to make it sound like an educational experience. We had to interrupt many bonus parts because the question would go on to list additional works when the answer was already obvious by the first clue. The question on Tchaikovsky is an example of this problem.
You are a retard. I explained why I do this in a post I made above, which you clearly hadn't even bothered to read. It's a bonus answer, you're not racing the clock, take a fucking second to learn something new that you might not have known before.

Goddamn but you're stupid Willie. You've managed to hang around for, like, forever, and you still have no clue what good quizbowl looks like. You've always been bad at quizbowl and now it looks like you're determined to be bad for quizbowl too. Do everyone a favor and never write or communicate in any other way (except perhaps through Aldiss lamp) about quizbowl ever again. I have no doubt that everyone who read your little essay became just a little dumber as a result; I shudder to think what effect your idiocy has on people who actually have to be around you all the time.
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Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

QB-dinosaur wrote:6) Overall difficulty--If I were completely new to quiz bowl, and I had to play on this set, I probably would never come back.
Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
that same idiot again wrote:I actually liked the tossup on _Beloved_
With all due respect to Jerry et al, you just complimented what is possibly one of the worst tossups in the set. I, like many others, didn't hear much of anything past "Ohio River" - with all the great questions in the set, you choose to single out one of the rare mistakes as a high point of the tournament?

Assignment for all you non-newcomers: Explain to me who this guy is in a complete sentence of five words or less.
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Post by Red-necked Phalarope »

Bruce wrote:Good linguistics bonuses that are not related to Sapir-Worf, Noam Chomsky, or the Prague Circle (which are all way over-represented) might include:
-- given a description of a manner of articulation, name it
This is more what I was shooting for. I'm not advocating a return to "given the hydrocarbon name, give the number of hydrogen atoms"-type bonuses on the college level; I just want people to be less afraid to ask about these sorts of things in general.
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Post by grapesmoker »

MLafer wrote:I think we need to remember that we're arguing with not only a Chip sycophant and official lightswitch-flicker, but also the person that allowed this packet into an academic tournament:

http://quizbowl.stanford.edu/archive/uci99/ASU_B.html
Hahaha, hey Willie, how are you not too stupid to breathe? That's horrible even by 1999 standards.
cornfused wrote:With all due respect to Jerry et al, you just complimented what is possibly one of the worst tossups in the set. I, like many others, didn't hear much of anything past "Ohio River" - with all the great questions in the set, you choose to single out one of the rare mistakes as a high point of the tournament?
I didn't write that tossup but I did look over it and didn't really know what to do with it. Unfortunately, I had not read Beloved, so it didn't strike me as that obvious, but clearly I was wrong. My bad.
Assignment for all you non-newcomers: Explain to me who this guy is in a complete sentence of five words or less.
Ignorant Southern California quizbowl artifact.

Longer version: a dude who's been associated with UC Irvine quizbowl since approximately the dawn of time. That association is coterminous with his fervent hatred of anything that makes for good questions, and he loves offering up novel critiques of tournaments such as thinly veiled versions of "quizbowl is sexist," "quizbowl is racist," "quizbowl does not ask about things I deem to be important despite the fact that these things would make for awful questions." Probably has never had a single worthwhile idea about quizbowl, so feel free to ignore him.

edit: Oh, I didn't realize Willie had actually played EFT, I just thought he accompanied UCI as a coach. That makes this whole thing that much more entertaining.
Last edited by grapesmoker on Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by The Logic of Scientific Disco »

This is a bit off topic from the previous n posts, but I wanted to say something about the difficulty of this tournament, which I actually thought was pretty spot-on. The Northeast circuit, for whatever reason, tends to have pretty strong novices, so I don't think it's inappropriate for a tournament written primarily for the Northeast to be a little on the hard side for a novice set. It seemed like our freshmen really enjoyed the tournament, and most wanted to stay past our eventual departure (sorry for this, by the way--being bound by Commuter Rail is no fun).

I'd like to go out of my way to praise the science questions, too--most of them contained some very good early clues that I'll be happy to learn and use in the future. The one exception I can think of was the tossup beginning "Roger Penrose discussed extracting information from...", which invited a very early buzz of "black holes". Just a little too transparent. Other than that, though, there was a lot to be enjoyed (gluons, torque, various functional groups and organic chemistry). I especially liked (or perhaps, was impressed by) questions like "electronegativity" and "aromaticity", which began with fresh clues and finished with the more standard lead-ins (as opposed to the all-to-usual reuse of the same 5 clues for each of these). Good job, guys.
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Post by waspman23 »

DumbJaques wrote:
...maybe you wouldn't have felt compelled to attend EFT as a grad student ...
Just so you're all aware, this person is not a grad student and has been known to insult doctoral students, as well as anyone who actually reads books.
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Post by cvdwightw »

QB-dinosaur wrote:I had several problems with EFT (the UCLA version), including the endless delays and unexpected room lockouts.
Give me a tournament where teams show up half an hour late, multiple computer crashes occur in one of the rooms, the rooms get locked an hour before the room reservations end, and it takes fifteen minutes to decide on an appropriate playoff schedule and I'll give you a tournament that runs two hours past the expected time. Also, time delays: yeah, that was covered last year. It's not a new problem.
QB-dinosaur wrote:Wordiness--Most tossups felt long. Thankfully my teammate got a lot of them early so we didn't have to sit through the verbiage...
Some of this probably had to do with the fact that half the UCLA moderating staff hadn't moderated on anything but NAQT questions (or if they had, it had been a while). I think the moderators were as fatigued as we were by the end of the tournament. And as the aforementioned teammate, I don't think I got that many of them "early". I got most of them a clue or two before the FTP, which is where I think a good, experienced player should be getting those questions.
QB-dinosaur wrote:2) The easy part of the bonus--It's fine to have an easy part of the bonus, but please don't make it so easy that 5th grade students can answer them. And please don't stuff the easy bonus part to make it sound like an educational experience. We had to interrupt many bonus parts...
Frankly, I'm not sure what Willie's referring to here. I tried to listen to the "educational experience" so I'd have a reasonable chance of frauding the hard part; it wouldn't make any sense to guess something that had already appeared in the second part. The only game I remember throwing out answers in the middle of the bonus part more than maybe once or twice was the last game, in which we were the last room to finish because our moderator was the one calling Facilities Management to solve the locked rooms crisis.
QB-dinosaur wrote:3) Packet #3--What's up with this packet? Why are there so many science questions? And why are there so many science bonus questions within the first ten?
I'm not sure why Willie's mad at this packet, other than that he didn't score any points on it. For what it's worth, that was the UCI "grudge match" and all 20 tossups were answered.
QB-dinosaur wrote:4) Over-emphasis on works--Too many quesitons asked for published works and/or their creators...What about questions on locations? Concrete objects? Ideas and concepts?
Characters are good. Settings are good. I'm not sure either of these are particularly good at a novice tournament, though. I had more of a problem with the overly formulaic lit/arts bonuses, but that's already been discussed at length.
QB-dinosaur wrote:5) History questions...
I think this has been beaten to death before. By its very nature quiz bowl does not translate well into questions about social history. The attempts that were made to include non-political and non-military history were well done; it's just hard to write that kind of stuff without being either too vague or too transparent.
QB-dinosaur wrote:6) Overall difficulty--If I were completely new to quiz bowl, and I had to play on this set, I probably would never come back. From the looks of the faces of the newer players, I don't think they had a particularly good time, even if they are on winning teams.
Let me review the teams: UCI A had Dwight, UCI B had Ray Anderson, UCLA A had Cliff, UCLA B had Ray Luo, UCLA C had Steve, USC A had Mark, USC B had Mik, Berkeley had Brett (easily their best undergrad player). If you had to run through that gauntlet of decent-to-good players as a novice, would you be having fun? If you were a freshman on a team where someone's getting 7+ questions a game, wouldn't you feel afraid to buzz? I have a feeling the "not having fun" was more the result of getting beat down game after game or feeling like they weren't contributing anything to their team.
QB-dinosaur wrote:For future EFT, please consider shortening the questions (tossups and bonus parts), making the hard bonus part less difficult, and perhaps lowering the overall difficulty of the set. More importantly, make the questions more engaging by picking more interesting things to ask about.
I'm not sure really how they can pick "more interesting" things to ask about. There were at least two packets we didn't hear, so maybe the "interesting things" showed up there.

I'd just like to add a couple of things.
1) Aside from a little bit of griping about length and difficulty and some discussion of the lit feeling formulaic, I heard none of this either at the tournament or on the car ride back. The only other thing I heard during the tournament was that the hard parts of bonuses didn't have giveaways or information from which you could fraud the answer, so I was pretty surprised when I woke up and found this. Then again, given some of Willie's other tournament critiques, I probably shouldn't have been.

2) However inconsistent with the rest of the non-Southeast circuit Willie's views are on question writing (I should know, as one of the UCI parody packet authors), keep in mind that over the past 10 years or so he has done a good job of keeping the UCI club afloat and helped spread high school quizbowl in the region. "Willie should shut up about good question writing" is valid. "Willie should never be allowed to comment on anything quizbowl-related, ever" and "Willie probably never had a worthwhile idea about quizbowl in his life" are probably too harsh. Ad hominem attacks on someone who has not ad hominem attacked anyone are unacceptable; I just want to get that out before this thread devolves into a world-vs-Willie ad hominem smackdown.
Last edited by cvdwightw on Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by evilmonkey »

Now that the set has been attacked, followed by a series of awesome pwnage of the attacker, I feel like throwing in my comments as a newcomer (before I get banned for a day when my Yankees lose this series).

1) There were questions that scared me. However, every time a question ended where I said "What the fuck just happened?", the next question would be at the very least accessible. I never felt utterly hopeless. I could not think of a better way to kick off my college career.

2) Bonuses... Ugh. I think my team averaged <10 PPB. I thought that the vast majority of the bonuses were well written - I just didn't know them.

3) It seemed like there were a few grammatical mistakes (judging from the question-reader's reactions), but overall the packets seemed good.

4) As previously noted, there were two packets that seemed inordinately hard. But we wrote that off to being playoff rounds.

I would give better feedback... but I only got 2 hours of sleep before the tourney, and wasn't fully conscious for most of it. I thought it was a great set of questions.
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