Two TRASH Reminders

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mcoen
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Two TRASH Reminders

Post by mcoen »

Good morning all,

Just a quick reminder that we do have one tournament taking place tomorrow, the West Coast regional, so please do not discuss question content until the tournament has ended.

Also, TRASH is still taking bids to host TRASHionals, so if you're interested please email me at mcoen_bu at yahoo dot com.

Good luck to everyone playing this weekend!

Mark

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bsmith
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Post by bsmith »

mrmaguda wrote:There were way too many 5-10-20-30 bonuses. Either make every bonus that way or get rid of them. Each bonus should be formatted the same way to ensure fairness.
Are you referring to the "5 points for one, 10 for two, 20 for three, 30 for four" style of awarding points for bonus questions? I was under the impression that this is the fairest way to distribute points across four bonus parts (as opposed to 5-5-10-10 or 5-5-5-15). How is having four parts in a bonus rather than three unfair?

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Mike Bentley
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Post by Mike Bentley »

The Positive:

Round 11 seemed much more friendly to younger players than the other rounds. There were some weird things with the distribution in that round (it's not a great idea to have two different tossups on videogame news outlets, for example), but it seemed like it the tossups were geared more towards things that are relevant today.

I thought that the videogame questions were pretty good overall. That Katamari question got easy too fast, and the GDI maybe was too hard for this tournament, but besides that they seemed well written. I would like to see some more love for handheld games, though. The only thing I remember coming up was the much too hard bonus on handheld systems.

The Negative:

First, let's address the subject of difficulty. Hands down, this tournament is too hard. Just look at the PPGs. The top team at the Minnesota regional got 265 PPG! None of the teams at the Mid Atlantic regional got more than 400 PPG! Only one team at that regional got more than 20 PPB! Tossups were going dead all over the place in this tournament when they shouldn't have.

The aforementioned 5-10-20-30 bonuses were terrible. They were essentially a big "fuck you" to whoever got them, because the ceiling was almost always 20 points, and more likely 10 points. I don't have a problem with varying the bonus format up a bit in a trash tournament. 40-30-20-10-1s can be entertaining when used in moderation, as can the occasional (but no more than once per packet) FFPE.

Overall, these bonuses lacked well defined easy, middle, and hard parts. Please stop writing bonuses like the Doonesbury character bonus that requires in-depth knowledge of the subject to score any points. Instead, how about making that bonus make you name Gary Truduae or something people who have limited knowledge of the comic can actually get. Another example of this was the ridiculously hard Vampire: The Masquerade bonus. Where was the accessible part there?

The trash lit was terrible. Can we please kill this distribution or at least ask for things that will be answered by more than 10% of the teams at the tournament? Why the hell would you ask about Brian Herbert at this level rather than Frank Herbert? Are you just trying to not get people to answer questions? Why would you ask about Vernor Vinge at all at this level?

A recurring theme at this tournament was to take a relatively interesting subject to ask about, like the show Weeds, and take them at least a step harder so that virtually no one would answer them. Seriously, who converted Milf Weed? Why not make that a clue in the tossup? The whole point of pyramidal tossups is that you can reward different levels of knowledge, so you don't have to make it a binary choice between knowing in-depth things from Weeds and not getting the tossup.

I'm not a big music player, but I found the music extremely boring and extremely rooted in the 1980s. Maybe TRASH has cut down a little bit from the ridiculous level it's been in the past, but just because you all grew up in the 1980s doesn't mean that it was the second coming of popular music. I don't think I heard a Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or Simon and Garfunkle tossup all day. But I did hear lots of shit about far less important or influential stuff from the '80s that came up. I also felt that alternative music at this tournament was really lacking. But I've found this to be a recurring problem at most trash tournaments, so I'm not really going to complain too much on this. But I would much rather see tossups on songs mention, say, actual lyrics rather than who did covers. I felt there was a severe lack of lyrics mentioned overall at the tournament.

The "cute giveaways" at the end of questions were another problem. If you're going to add clues that have nothing to do with what you're asking for at the end of a question, at least make them pyramidal. For example, rather than encouraging random guessing by saying "shares its name with a Nirvana" song at the end of the Heart Shaped Box tossup, why not at least give some lyrics or crap from that Nirvana song to reward people with actual knowledge of it.

I'm sure there's more, but we can all ruminate on that for a while.
Mike Bentley
VP of Editing, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence
Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008

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cvdwightw
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Post by cvdwightw »

Disclaimer: 1. I was a mod. 2. I suck at trash.

I had issues with the set. Yes, there were still a lot of verbosity for verbosity's sake and pyramidality issues, but I think there were less than in 2004, the only year I played. I'm talking about length issues. There was a 10 line tossup on Redbook followed by like a 4-5 line tossup. There were 10-10-10 given X, name Y bonuses (with X being like 2-6 words) followed by four-part bonuses with 3-4 lines of text per bonus part. Packets were 14-15 pages with huge margins, every question was boxed, and questions ran on to the next page almost every time. At no point did I feel like I could get in a decent moderating rhythm, and as a player I like some indication-by-feel that the FTP is coming up and even if I have no idea where the question's going I should be ready for a clue I might recognize.

There was also a complete lack of 40-30-20-10-1 bonuses and audio/visual/physical bonuses. I don't know if that's normal for TRASH or whether it was something that they just didn't have this year, but it seemed odd to me not to have any questions in either category.
bsmith wrote:Are you referring to the "5 points for one, 10 for two, 20 for three, 30 for four" style of awarding points for bonus questions? I was under the impression that this is the fairest way to distribute points across four bonus parts (as opposed to 5-5-10-10 or 5-5-5-15). How is having four parts in a bonus rather than three unfair?
By a basic unwritten rule (that TRASH may or may not subscribe to), teams that have some superficial knowledge about the subject in question should get 10 points on the bonus. Here, a team gets 5 points for knowing something extremely basic and 10 points for slightly more knowledge; meanwhile, a team who gets a second bonus 10-10-10 with an equivalent knowledge level in their bonus topic gets 10 points and 20 for slightly more knowledge (except the bonus part difficulty varied so widely that you could have decent but not in-depth knowledge of the topic and still zero bonuses). This is where the perceived unfairness comes in.

Maybe I'm just bitter due to a slew of complications culminating in the fire alarm going off in the middle of the tournament, but outside of the improvement from 2004, there really isn't very much I could say positively about this tournament.

Also, even though most of the tossups Mike cited were converted by teams in my room, I agree with everything he said in "The Negative".

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Post by creed_of_hubris »

We have a lot of new writers and editors and weren't working to a standardized length, which is what produced a lot of the discrepancies in question length that have been remarked on.

Interestingly, I haven't seen player complaints about question length, just moderator complaints.

Nevertheless, it is something we've been discussing internally since the tournament, and things will be more uniform come TRASHionals.

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cvdwightw
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Post by cvdwightw »

Yeah, as I said, this is probably a lot harder on moderators because being a good moderator requires establishing a decent cadence, and it's near-impossible to do that with tossups and bonus parts that vary significantly in length. While it's annoying for me as a player to have that sort of non-uniformity in length, most players can deal with it and it's more of a burden on the moderator. Good luck establishing more uniformity for TRASHionals.

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Post by Kilby »

For the sake of organization, discussion about this year's regionals has moved to this thread:

http://www.hsquizbowl.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=4659

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