2008 Penn Bowl Discussion

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2008 Penn Bowl Discussion

Post by Strongside »

Since Matt cleared the question set for discussion, and nobody has started a thread about it, I decided to start one.

I thought this was a very excellent tournament, and I felt the tournament matched the intended difficulty level.

Looking at the results for the tournament, 27 of 37 teams averaged at least ten points per bonus, and 1 team averaged over 20 points per bonus, which seems about right for a normal difficulty level tournament.

Some packets were noticably more difficult than others, but in no way do I feel that this was a problem, it was just something I noticed. I am not sure how many of those packets were intended for any playoff rounds.

I know Matt said he felt Billy Beyer did a good job with the science questions, and I have to agree that the science questions were very well written. Science is one of my weaker areas, but looking back on the tournament, I liked the science questions and distribution.

I'll probably have more to say eventually, but I want to see what other people thought of the set.
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Post by vandyhawk »

I will likely have more specific comments after looking at the questions once they're available, but on the whole, it was very good. Difficulty felt mostly on target, with some exceptions. The Maryland B packet was significantly harder than the rest, and of course there was variation between and within other rounds, where there were some relatively easy 30's and some bonuses lacking an easy part, but nothing ridiculous I thought. It would be nice to have the round report option in the SQBS report to compare the rounds too.
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Post by olsb25 »

For the most part, I thought the difficulty was even, but there seemed to be quite a large number of repeats, as well as similar questions to those that were on the slideshow during registration.
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Post by Lapego1 »

Well, the questions that were shown on the slideshow were just questions from last year's Penn Bowl (which are freely available online), so any similarities to actual questions were just coincidence.
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Post by pray for elves »

There were still issues with repeats not including those from the slideshow. Mostly it was things like Ralph Vaughan Williams, who came up in a tossup in one round and in a bonus in another. If I recall correctly there were a few other examples of this phenomenon.

There were a couple of bad lead-ins, including two in one round, with those two being the Civilization question and the question on the gradient. The Civ clue was such that anyone who had every played any of the games would know it immediately, while the gradient question led with possibly the most used application, the directional derivative.

Also, there were some bonuses that were very easy. I'd put forth my bonus on integration as one that was made very easy; I had Riemann (easy) / Stieltjes (hard) / Lebesgue (medium) as my three answers, but this got turned into integration (easy) / Riemann (medium) / Lebesgue (hard). Perhaps the way I wrote my bonus was too hard, but I thought that the Lebesgue integral is mentioned often enough that people who don't have real knowledge can guess it, making it a very gettable second part, while any math-type would know about the Riemann-Stieltjes integral. I just feel that the end result is an insultingly easy part (integration), an easy part (Riemann, whose name is mentioned in every intro to calculus book I've ever seen), and a medium-difficulty part (Lebesgue). This is my own personal issue, and I'm likely wrong, but there were several other bonuses not written by me suffering from two-easy-part syndrome.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed the set, and the editors did a good job. The set was good, and nobody should ever expect a perfect set.
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Post by wd4gdz »

DeisEvan wrote: Also, there were some bonuses that were very easy. I'd put forth my bonus on integration as one that was made very easy; I had Riemann (easy) / Stieltjes (hard) / Lebesgue (medium) as my three answers, but this got turned into integration (easy) / Riemann (medium) / Lebesgue (hard). Perhaps the way I wrote my bonus was too hard, but I thought that the Lebesgue integral is mentioned often enough that people who don't have real knowledge can guess it, making it a very gettable second part, while any math-type would know about the Riemann-Stieltjes integral. I just feel that the end result is an insultingly easy part (integration), an easy part (Riemann, whose name is mentioned in every intro to calculus book I've ever seen), and a medium-difficulty part (Lebesgue).
This is my thought process during the editing, but keep in mind, I suck at math. I saw the original bonus and thought Riemann (easy) / Stieltjes (hard) / Lebesgue (hard). So, I decided to change one of the hard parts into something easier. I thought I ended up with integration (medium) / Riemann (easy) / Lebesgue (hard). I guess this didn't work though if you thought the integral part was insultingly easy, but I tried to not give a straightforward definition. I'm pretty sure we didn't get to this bonus in the round I read, so hopefully this wasn't a really really easy 20. If so, my bad, I'm sorry.
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Post by SnookerUSF »

Just a few points:

Let me preface my remarks by saying that at the FSU Mirror, a reader snafu resulted in a number of the later packets being read near the beginning of the tournament, so there was a sudden variation in difficulty, which I must admit colors my view of the tournament. I would also like to say that as far as the editing is concerned I thought it was quite good, outside the few mishaps Matt mentions in his post. I don't remember any explicit repeats, and I thought that the six-line tossup was both clue dense and snappy. Also, the science and math were exceptionally consistent. My only qualms here were that the economics questions were step harder than I had envisioned, but perhaps I should start doing some more research on Akerlof and the Heckscher-Ohlin Model. However, I have heard that Market for Lemons clue before so it wasn't out of the realm of impossible.

Also, I thought the philosophy was a bit light, but again that is likely my own bias.

In general, I believe that overall the tournament was slightly more difficult than the advertised level. We took some fairly new players (2nd tournament ever) and they found a lot of the tossups in second half of the tournament almost impenetrable. In other words the tournament started and ended at the right difficulty, but it was a rather steep gradient in parts.

As far as individual tossups are concerned, I specifically remember thinking that the Mayor of Zalamea tossup being a bit out of place in this tournament. Is the second most famous work of Calderon de la Barca now considered graft for invitational collegiate level tournaments? If so, I humbly acquiesce.

The one tossup that I thought really crossed the accessibility threshold, and please understand, I am not placing blame on anyone, one or two out of place tossups in an eighteen packet tournament is absolutely phenomenal, but nevertheless the tossup on "The Poet" by Hermann Hesse. I know, I know "titular writing craft" and all that, but a short story of Hesse once anthologized by the author, Strange News from Another Star, and once again translated into English (Bantam Books, 1995) in a collection of short-stories. Seems a bit much.

It is here below for your purview:
16. The main character in this story imagines himself planting a tree at home, which his children consecrate with wine and milk. The protagonist compares his hatred for the man who teaches him the lute to hating heaving itself. He delays his wedding by two years but, after returning home, climbing a pear tree, and seeing his wife comb her hair, he returns to his teacher, whom he had met during a lantern festival. Taught by the Master of the Perfect Word, the protagonist stays in a bamboo hut until he becomes an old man. For 10 points, name this story in which Han Fook sets out to perfect the titular writing craft, a work by Herman Hesse.
ANSWER: "The Poet"
I cannot stress enough that I thought the tournament overall, even with the reader snafu was quite enjoyable for me. I will say that the introduction of Soseki of I Am A Cat fame was quite refreshing. I also thought that the Fourteen Points tossup deserved some kudos for not being transparent. Also, all the changes made to my packet were right-on, and I have no complaints as far as that goes either.

Again my interest in posting this is not to assess blame or find fault, but really to inventory the level of difficulty people have come to expect from such tournaments, and more to the point, adjust my focus in studying and learning about this game.

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Post by yoda4554 »

My feelings on the set was mixed: it certainly wasn't a bad set (it was certainly better-written overall than, say, TRASH Regionals), but there were more irritating things in it than I would've liked.

The good: I was happy that people wrote a lot on non-program pieces of music, and that they generally did so in ways that were distinct and helpful, though not always (good: the Brahms First tossup; not quite as good: Surprise Symphony, where I think that all of the clues prior to "ploughman" could apply to half-a-dozen Haydn symphonies). I was happy with question length--I felt like most first-line clues were plausibly gettable, and yet not so much that they would provoke buzzer races. I agree that the science was basically accessible: we even managed to pick a few up, despite not having our science person. I can't think of that many humanities tossups that blanked me, excepting ones on which I made stupid negs. And though it came during a pretty frustrating loss, I can't stay mad at any tournament that had a tossup on the nude pictures of Vanessa Hudgens written as if it were an actual painting (I hear there were "Olympia" negs).

The irritating: Bonus difficulty did really fluctuate pretty seriously in some places. I recall back-to-back bonuses in one round where one was "Jews in the Civil War" where the hard part was Judah Benjamin, followed by a bonus on Janacek, all of whose works I would say are less well-known than everyone's favorite Confederate cabinet member. CMU played us that round, got two or three tossups more than us, and yet we beat them by virtue of getting much easier bonuses.

The repeats have been mentioned: they also included Beethoven's Pastoral, the Hudson River School (whose qb popularity seems all out of proportion to their actual goodness as painters, IMHO), and Holmes (few clues repeated in the latter, but it seems bad enough that every tournament now seems to have a 0/1 Holmes distribution; we don't need to add to that). There also were, I think, a bunch of Thomas Mann qs.

The playoffs: I found these questions a lot less enjoyable. Again, bonus difficulty really fluctuated: you had a Browning bonus that could've played well at ACF Fall next to a bonus on Bartok works that were not related to Hungarian folk music, not Microkosmos, and not the string quartets. There were also tossups on things that should never ever be tossups. To whom did the little-seen indie film Once seem so mainstream that he needed to make the tossup on the guy who has done nothing known to the public at large except starring in Once? Who thought that Mann's Doctor Faustus was too well-known to make the answer to a playoff tossup, and that it would be a whole lot more fun to make the answer Adrian Leverkuhn? Who underwent the state of delirium that must have been necessary to think that "The Great God Brown" is a major work by Eugene O'Neill worthy of a tossup (I'd be absolutely shocked to learn that anybody playing that packet had ever seen or read this play, and I'm even curious as to whether this got converted in any room at all)? This is also not to mention some other badly-written playoff tossups: beginning a Siegfried tossup with "His adopted father Mime" is a horrible idea; "stigmata" tossups are almost never good, since it's hard to start them in a manner that does not immediately say "these are marks acquired by random people semi-mystically"; I can't imagine that anyone who finally did get Kalidasa didn't immediately get him in mind when the second sentence revealed that he's a really old Hindu author whose name we still know; I know nothing about psychology, but the "cognitive dissonance" tu seemed pretty clear by about halfway in.

Also, regarding the general running of the tournament--I'd really have liked it if this tournament had ended about an hour earlier. I recognize that things come up (and indeed, our school dropping the B team at the last minute didn't help, I'm sure), that some moderators just aren't good at pronouncing organic compounds, and that the 14-round schedule looked like the best idea at the time, but we didn't start playing until about 10:15. I'm sure I would have really enjoyed us winning a playoff game on a second-tiebreaker question and another by 5 points when my teammates' knowledge of "300" bailed my sorry memory out if I didn't have a migraine by then.
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Post by yoda4554 »

wd4gdz wrote:
DeisEvan wrote: Also, there were some bonuses that were very easy. I'd put forth my bonus on integration as one that was made very easy; I had Riemann (easy) / Stieltjes (hard) / Lebesgue (medium) as my three answers, but this got turned into integration (easy) / Riemann (medium) / Lebesgue (hard). Perhaps the way I wrote my bonus was too hard, but I thought that the Lebesgue integral is mentioned often enough that people who don't have real knowledge can guess it, making it a very gettable second part, while any math-type would know about the Riemann-Stieltjes integral. I just feel that the end result is an insultingly easy part (integration), an easy part (Riemann, whose name is mentioned in every intro to calculus book I've ever seen), and a medium-difficulty part (Lebesgue).
This is my thought process during the editing, but keep in mind, I suck at math. I saw the original bonus and thought Riemann (easy) / Stieltjes (hard) / Lebesgue (hard). So, I decided to change one of the hard parts into something easier. I thought I ended up with integration (medium) / Riemann (easy) / Lebesgue (hard). I guess this didn't work though if you thought the integral part was insultingly easy, but I tried to not give a straightforward definition. I'm pretty sure we didn't get to this bonus in the round I read, so hopefully this wasn't a really really easy 20. If so, my bad, I'm sorry.
I didn't come up with integration, incidentally, and I was a math major, though I've not touched it in two years. But this came relatively late in the day, and my brain was too fried to process all the ds and xs.
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Post by Matt Weiner »

Thoughts:

The finals packets were intentionally written at a higher level than I envisioned the rest of the tournament as being. I don't know why a packet labeled "Finals #2" was read to the prelims field at your site, but that's the explanation for The Mayor of Zalamea.

I do wish I had given myself, say, 12 hours more time in finishing the set, so I could clean up the typos, catch the repeats, and replace stuff like The Poet (in a packet that came in 36 hours before the tournament began). I probably should have just stuck one of the extra lit questions from the finals into that round in place of that question.

You can see from http://hsquizbowl.org/pennbowl2008/penn ... ounds.html that suspicions about the Maryland B packet were well-founded. That took me by surprise when it happened.

Of the 29 teams in the Penn and Truman fields, here is how bonus conversion breaks down percentage-wise:
0-5: 0%
5-10: 24%
10-15: 48%
15-20: 24%
20-25: 3%
25-20: 0%

Mean bonus conversion was 12.51, median was 11.49.

So, perhaps the tournament should have been about 20% easier.

I'm going to have some thoughts about how the packet submission process worked as an aid to future writers/editors, in the next post.
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Post by Matt Weiner »

I want to thank all the teams for writing what were largely great submissions and letting me focus my efforts on the packets that really needed attention. Particularly, I want to commend two packets, MIT's and Missouri S&Ts. It's been a very long time, perhaps forever, since I edited rounds by either of those teams, and I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to receive great packets from both of them. A lot of other schools who are already known as good writers likewise made my job easier--Maryland A&B, Temple, both Minnesotas, and of course Vanderbilt are just some that come to mind.

I thought that most people put forth a very helpful effort at obeying the packet guidelines. Most packets had some minor issues that I will address below, but I think that using very detailed guidelines and making it clear that they are to be taken seriously led to good results. Only 1 packet of the 16 submitted was wildly off course with formatting, but a few more displayed some occasional content issues that I also want to address.

Here are some tips for writers on making life easier for all future tournament editors, many of which will be incorporated into my next set of guidelines, and which I hope everyone pays attention to as they finish up their Regionals packets:

-I don't know what purpose little category notes like "lit:american" are supposed to serve. I am aware of what countries authors are from. This is just more stuff for me to remember to delete lest my randomization algorithm get screwed up. Please delete your internal assignment notes from the rounds before you submit them, especially if the guidelines lay out exactly what a round should look like and do not include them.

-Pay attention to parallel structure and the antecedents of pronouns. Some rules of grammar can and should be ignored in order to make your questions pyramidal and concise, but those two are actually very helpful in making your tossups understandable. When you start a sentence with "The king won victories at Battle A, Battle B, and...", you need to conclude it with "Battle C," not "and promoted his foreign secretary to vizier." You also need to make sure to avoid stray "this" and "it"s in your questions--if you want to refer back to a previous sentence, use a form of "that" instead to avoid confusing people about the answer.

-On a similar note, make sure every sentence in your tossup describes the answer. I received a lot of questions that seemed to forget their subject and just start riffing on something mentioned in the tossup, or include three sentences of a plot summary without dropping in a "this novel" to keep the players on track.

-Please, please, please stop with the crazy Word templates and the conversion from other file formats. If you paste something in, use the "paste as unformatted text" option so it doesn't bring a minefield of crazy style tags with it. Nothing sucks more than trying to delete one letter from a question and having its font or spacing change randomly because you accidentally left a "right-justify 14-point latvian web style italic bulleted list" trap hidden behind a comma. Fixing this stuff is difficult enough, especially for those trying to figure out how to do it for the first time, and even for people like me who have dealt with it before, it wastes a great deal of time that should be used to work on content instead. There should not be any point in your document where that little template box in Word says anything besides "Normal."

-Manual line breaks, tabs, that little thing that looks like a degree sign: why would you do this? It just makes it impossible to run any sort of automatic sorting or searching on the packets. There should be nothing in your document besides letters, numbers, standard punctuation, italics, bold, underlining, spaces, and paragraph returns. Many packets had these and I can't figure out why.

-Remember that using parsimony in non-essential words keeps players from being bored and makes it easier for me to get tossups down to six lines and bonus parts down to two. E.g., "name" instead of "answer questions regarding" in bonus leadins.

-A lot of packets had a lack of alternate answers. I'm not asking you to be as obsessive about this as I am and put in stuff like "La República Oriental del Uruguay" that is unlikely to come up. But, as a rule of thumb, you ALWAYS need to put in the original-language title for a work of literature, and the appropriate prompt note for a numbered royal name.

-Use some common sense on the subdistributions. I got a packet where both religion questions were about Islam, another with both a myth question and a music question on Siegried, and another with two history questions on the American Civil War. You can't do stuff like that.

-I actually got an art tossup which used this clue, verbatim: "His work was inspired by realism and emphasised color and shape." Come on!

-Use one inch margins in your packets. This makes it possible for standardized length requirements to be meaningful.

-Do not use the subjunctive when the simple past is suitable. "He would always hit students on the head for misinterpreting T.S. Eliot" --> "He always hit students on the head for misinterpreting T.S. Eliot." It just sounds better, places the clue more concretely in time, and usually saves words.

-I don't particularly care for dropping "for 10 points" into the middle of a sentence, rather than using it exclusively at the start of the final sentence. Do others have a preference here?

-"Given a line from a poem, name the poem" with no other clues still counts as a binary matching bonus and should not be written.

Thanks for bearing with me on all this--again, the packets largely complied with my very specific guidelines, so I understand that most people are trying to be helpful here, but I want to see if everyone can get up to 100% standardized rounds so I can devote all my editing time to content-related matters in the future.

My main point here is more of a positive one: there were no MAJOR formatting issues outside of a solitary packet, so I think my use of very detailed guidelines was productive, and I encourage other TDs to try it in order to save some time on the cosmetic end.
Last edited by Matt Weiner on Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by theMoMA »

Overall, I had a good time. There were lots of avant garde lit tossups that I was very happy with, and led to some fun buzzes.

However, it seemed like the bonuses were leading to some weird results. In our first game against Harding and Drube, we nearly won despite being out-tossuped 10 to 7 because we managed to get mostly easy bonuses.

In the next game (played on finals #2), it seemed like the bonuses were much more even. Both teams were getting 10s on every bonus with the occasional 20. However, the match was really swung to Harding by them getting bonuses like the restoration comedies [Man of Mode/Beaux' Strategem/New Way to Pay Old Debts], psychologists [Tolman/W. James/Koffka] and [Gitanjali/Tagore/Red Oleander], which were much easier to 20 than the rest of the bonuses. In addition, they received the [Devonian/Silurian/Paleozoic] bonus that wouldn't have been out of place in a high school set, and despite the fact that we had out-tossuped them 9-7 through 18, the game was nearly tied due to uneven bonus difficulty. They wound up winning by 45 points, despite scoring the same number of tossups and having an additional neg.

This seemed like a common theme all day, and it was certainly worse in the submission packets than it was in the finals packets. There seemed to be 3 or 4 bonuses per packet that were high school level, automatic 30s for any team with a grasp of the canon. There also seemed to be 1 to 2 bonuses per packet that had no easy part. The swing between getting the automatic 30 or the almost-certain 0 in some of these packets was drastic, and was the most frustrating thing about the tournament.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

I'll start by saying I enjoyed this tournament. The comparatively short tossups made things fast paced, although I don't think that every tournament should necessarily adhere to this six line limit.

I'll echo the sentiment that the bonuses were more variable than they should have been. We lost a few games where we got more tossups than the other team (and 2 of them where we did this by a wide margin), but a lot of that can be blamed on my complete lack of knowledge in some areas. I will note that it seemed like the fluctuating difficulty of the easy part seemed to be a big issue. Some bonuses had stuff like "Who wrote the Sun Also Rises?", while other bonuses had stuff

I get the feeling that the seemingly random distribution (rather than hand picked) was a product of running out of time at the end. Some packets, particularly the VCU packet, had big clumps of tossups on the same subject which was a bit annoying. I'm going to try to finish up a program I started that randomizes questions by categories so as to avoid clumps which will hopefully help fix this situation in the future. If such a program already exists, please tell me so I can not waste my time doing this.

The variability in overall packet difficulty was a bit annoying (and clearly our Maryland B packet was one of the worst offenders), but there didn't seem to be huge cases of packets having different sections or subjects of variable difficulty, at least in the tossups.

I thought the history was probably one of the weaker sections of the tournament. Some packets seemed to lack a 4th history tossup, which was also a bit annoying. I can't remember hearing any tossups on Chinese history, which seemed a bit strange, but it is possible that there were some and I am just forgetting.

I also didn't hear any CS bonuses, but I guess that could be due to us not hearing all that many bonuses.

Some specific questions that I thought were not so great:

Cuban Missile Crisis - It mentioned Jupiter missiles in Turkey really early, but seemed a bit ambiguous as to what it was asking about.

14 Points - At least when I heard it, this tossup was extremely confusing. It seemed to be saying that this was a domestic US agenda at one point or something, and had other issues that I can't remember without seeing the question.

Civilization - Evan already mentioned this. Its first line essentially narrowed it down to a historical videogame, and contained lots of other things that made it anti-pyramidal.

There are some others, but I'll have to look through my notes to remember.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

By the way, there were some novel things done by Penn that I liked a lot. The powerpoint presentation of tossups during registration was entertaining. I also liked the idea of locking each packet in an individual zip file, which seemed like a good way to deter any potential cheating issues with having teams on a bye reading rounds.
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Post by Matt Weiner »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I also liked the idea of locking each packet in an individual zip file, which seemed like a good way to deter any potential cheating issues with having teams on a bye reading rounds.
Oh, I forgot to mention this.

I've now done this at two tournaments and I think it's a suitable way to deal with what I consider the biggest drawback of reading rounds off laptops, which is the increased likelihood of someone reading the wrong packet. I hadn't thought about the cheating aspect, as most teams wouldn't be tempted to do that, but I guess it pre-emptively prevents that problem from arising.

I tried it at ACF Fall, but ran into some problems such as the need to write the password down on the scoresheets before every game, and the fact that, apparently, the standard program for opening .zips on a Mac doesn't give you a password prompt on a protected file, but just tells you it can't be opened.

Here is my solution:
1) Make custom scoresheets for each round beforehand. Print them out with the round number, the name of the packet to be read, and the password for that packet, and make copies of each round's individual sheet. That way, you only have to remember to hand out the right sheet for each game, and everything else is taken care of.
2) There is an alternative archive program for Macs that is free and solves the interface problem. One of the Penn moderators helpfully pointed it out to all the people using Macs on Saturday. I don't know what it is, but if someone can track her down and ask, that would be very helpful.

If you can do the above two things (and can remember to type the password in correctly when creating the zip files, which I failed to do at least once) then you have a difficult-to-break safeguard against reading a round out of order.
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Post by magin »

Barring some outliers, I thought this tournament was pretty good. I remember not liking the leadins to the tossups on the Corn Laws (which mentioned Richard Cobden) and the Frankfurt School (which mentioned the culture industry), but most tossups were appropriately pyramidal. I also appreciated the many creative tossups such as the one on paintings of annunciations, the letter e in science, Brahms' first symphony, the Lisbon earthquake, and bowler hats in art. Additionally, I enjoyed the tossup on The Great God Brown, but it's definitely too hard for a tournament of this difficulty level.
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Post by Strongside »

I have to agree that there was some fluctuation in bonus, but I feel that this part of quiz bowl. I can only assume as I have never edited a tournament, but making every bonus the same difficulty or very similar difficulties is a lot of work. It seems that in a match between two evenly matched teams bonus difficulty will usually even out if enough bonuses are heard. I felt that in some rounds I was the beneficiary of some of the bonus difficulty, so maybe I am a little biased.

As for repeats, I really don't think having a few repeats is a big deal. There is only so much that can realistically be asked about at certain tournaments, and I am guessing it can be difficult to keep track of everything with so many packets.
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Post by No Rules Westbrook »

I just want to note in passing one thing that bothers me when people critique sets. Inevitably, people complain about 3 or 4 or 5 tossups in the whole set that seemed too hard to them, like Great God Brown. Eh, big deal, I don't see why a very occasional tossup going dead is a bad thing, especially a 6-line tossup. I'm not making any of my usual pro-difficulty arguments, I'm just saying who cares whether a paltry few questions were unexpectedly difficult. If anything, it adds some variety to the rounds and keeps you a little off guard...keeps the set from devolving into the usual parade of predictable answers (which isn't easy to do).
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Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region »

Matt Weiner wrote: -I don't particularly care for dropping "for 10 points" into the middle of a sentence, rather than using it exclusively at the start of the final sentence. Do others have a preference here?
I don't ever remember this issue coming up in any discussion ever, but it's an interesting point. I personally don't have a preference one way or the other; is there a reason in particular you don't care for dropping?
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SnookerUSF
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Post by SnookerUSF »

Matt Weiner wrote:-I don't particularly care for dropping "for 10 points" into the middle of a sentence, rather than using it exclusively at the start of the final sentence. Do others have a preference here?
I like the occasional change-up it allows some flexibility in how the giveaway is structured from tossup to tossup. Though I think generally it is easier to edit if the FTP starts every sentence.
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Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen
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Post by Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen »

Lapego1 wrote:Well, the questions that were shown on the slideshow were just questions from last year's Penn Bowl (which are freely available online), so any similarities to actual questions were just coincidence.
It was pretty funny to hear a tossup start with a clue about Tyro, and then buzz in with no actual Sisyphus knowledge aside from reading last year's question on the slide show and the packet it had come from while practising the night before.
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Post by Auks Ran Ova »

magin wrote:I also appreciated the many creative tossups such as [...] bowler hats in art.
I'm glad you liked this one; I enjoyed writing it and was pretty proud of it.
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fleurdelivre
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Post by fleurdelivre »

There is an alternative archive program for Macs that is free and solves the interface problem. One of the Penn moderators helpfully pointed it out to all the people using Macs on Saturday. I don't know what it is, but if someone can track her down and ask, that would be very helpful.
For future reference, that Mac program was called the Unarchiver. Let's also rejoice in the faster, greener preparation and distribution of non-printed packets while singing the virtues of this method...
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Post by walter12 »

Overall, I was very happy with the question set. The 6-line tossup requirement in particular seemed to work great, and only a couple of questions had overly-transparent opening clues (Culture industry in Frankfurt school, "For Madmen Only" in 'Steppenwolf', Zhoukoudian in Homo erectus).
However, it seemed like the bonuses were leading to some weird results. In our first game against Harding and Drube, we nearly won despite being out-tossuped 10 to 7 because we managed to get mostly easy bonuses.

In the next game (played on finals #2), it seemed like the bonuses were much more even. Both teams were getting 10s on every bonus with the occasional 20. However, the match was really swung to Harding by them getting bonuses like the restoration comedies [Man of Mode/Beaux' Strategem/New Way to Pay Old Debts], psychologists [Tolman/W. James/Koffka] and [Gitanjali/Tagore/Red Oleander], which were much easier to 20 than the rest of the bonuses. In addition, they received the [Devonian/Silurian/Paleozoic] bonus that wouldn't have been out of place in a high school set, and despite the fact that we had out-tossuped them 9-7 through 18, the game was nearly tied due to uneven bonus difficulty. They wound up winning by 45 points, despite scoring the same number of tossups and having an additional neg.
Yeah, varying bonus difficultly in a few of the rounds (especially the playoff rounds) was the only significant problem I had with the set, and bonus selection did seem to be the deciding factor in both of our final two matches. The Paleozoic bonus in particular was definitely out of place, and I do remember you guys getting a couple of super tough ones, including one where the easy part was Lecompton Constitution.
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