SCT Discussion

Old college threads.
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Post by rhentzel »

PaladinQB wrote:One thing I'd like to know with regard to all the distribution questions is if NAQT makes an effort to balance the distribution of the first 20 TU's in each round? We averaged a tad over 23 TU per match and I think our experience was relatively typical.
Yes. NAQT's reorders its packets so that questions from the same top-level subject in our "category tree" (e.g., literature, science, current events, etc.) don't appear close to each other. This has the effect making the packet distribution more uniform than if it were totally random.

NAQT does not, on the other hand, mandate a fixed distribution for the first 20/20 (or any other subset) of the packet.
Leaving 10%+ of each game on the table could really skew the distribution and players perceptions of it. This is particularly true in the case of bonuses, given that even good teams will have several TU's go dead in matches where NAQT's "unique" answer selection takes hold.
It could, but my instincts are that this should balance out over a single tournament, much less a player's career. I'll have to pull out my old statistics textbook to try to figure out the right test for statistical significance in this case.

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Post by theMoMA »

Perhaps this isn't the right place to put this, but has NAQT received all the stats from all the sites so far? If so, could we find out where to access the stats from the California, North, and Canadian regions?

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Post by grapesmoker »

rhentzel wrote:What sort of subdistribution in the sports would you like to see?
I think it's weird for horse racing, track and field, volleyball, and minor sports to have as much weight as soccer. Soccer is actually relatively popular and a lot of people follow it in the States. I'm not sure whether anyone actually follows volleyball. And how come there isn't a tennis sub-distribution, since arguably tennis is more popular than any of those other aforementioned categories?
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Post by rhentzel »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:There were a host of bad question writing principles in this set. For example, one question mentioned the author of a novel still in power. Others were fond of placing stock and trivia clues (i.e. "this guy died doing this amusing thing that has nothing to do with what he's important for") before the real clues in tossups.
NAQT does not accept your principle that "The author of a work is never a power-worthy clue"; for us, the assignment of power marks is purely a statistical question of how well known the clues are. We would like to see approximately 1/6 of the tossups that are answered be answered for power; if giving 15 after the author's name is revealed is compatible with that in a certain case, we wouldn't hesitate to do it.

That said, I think it would be rare for that to be the case; probably it would only come up if the work was better known in another form (a film say, or dramatization).

If you send me question IDs for questions that violated this, I'd be happy to check their frequency-of-power once we've entered the data from our scoresheets to see if, in those particular cases, the number of powers was out of line.

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Post by rhentzel »

grapesmoker wrote:
rhentzel wrote:What sort of subdistribution in the sports would you like to see?
I think it's weird for horse racing, track and field, volleyball, and minor sports to have as much weight as soccer. Soccer is actually relatively popular and a lot of people follow it in the States. I'm not sure whether anyone actually follows volleyball. And how come there isn't a tennis sub-distribution, since arguably tennis is more popular than any of those other aforementioned categories?
Neither boxing, horse-racing, track-and-field, volleyball, nor soccer has a specific "must-have" quota in NAQT. We reserve a subset of the sports questions for non-football, non-baseball, non-basketball, non-hockey sports and make sure that they don't come from the same areas. Tennis is as likely to come up as any of the others, and certainly has in the past.

If there's a groundswell of support for soccer questions, NAQT may well consider creating a specific (required) subquota for them. To date, we haven't really heard that there was and answerability data from our high school events doesn't suggest that they are particularly easy (or, alternately, that we choose good soccer-related things to ask about).

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Post by rhentzel »

theMoMA wrote:Perhaps this isn't the right place to put this, but has NAQT received all the stats from all the sites so far? If so, could we find out where to access the stats from the California, North, and Canadian regions?
This is something of a "zero-information" answer, but I don't know; I'm not in charge of coordinating the reception and posting of statistics. I'll forward your request to the person who is. Certainly our goal is to have everything posted by the end of the day.

I am, of course, responsible for doing so for the North statistics, and those will be up in the next several hours.

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Post by rhentzel »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:There were a ton of stupid, cross-discipline tossups in this tournament. These questions seem like they ate into the real distribution (read: non-geography, non-trash, non-current events) in many cases. If you're going to write a shares the name tossup, please try to keep it to one category. Going wildly from history to literature to pop culture and back again is very frustrating. This is fine once in a while, but it seems like it was employed a bunch in this tournament.
I am sorry to hear that you find cross-disciplinary questions to be so frustrating; in general, though, NAQT doesn't accept the principle that a question must solely belong to a single top-level category to enjoy legitimacy.

This might be a better topic of discussion for my other thread; I'm more than willing to listen to arguments as to why multi-disciplinary questions aren't fun, fair, or educational, but that subject really transcends the 2008 SCT.

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Post by rhentzel »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:The computer science in this tournament was garbage. In fact, I'd characterize pretty much all of it as "computer literacy" rather than computer science. The things that are important and interesting in computer science have very little to do with the ins and outs of specific languages, etc. I'd have much more to say on this subject if I could talk about specific answers.
I just went back through the computer science questions in the Division I SCT; of the three tossups and four bonuses, one tossup and four bonuses dealt with things that were explicitly covered in computer science courses that I took as an undergraduate. The other two tossups weren't, but they seem (to me) to go beyond "computer literacy" as I typically use that term. We're certainly not asking questions about Microsoft Word or AOL menu elements.

It's true that we didn't have answers like "Kolmogorov complexity" or "static single assignment," but such questions haven't been commonly answered in the past. What sorts of more-theoretical topics would you like to see covered in the future that you think will be converted by 85% of the teams in Division I? Feel free to e-mail me a list privately at [email protected].

On the other hand, we are always looking for people to write science questions, particularly computer science, so if you'd like to try your hand at writing some CS for our invitational series, high school national championship, or our DII collegiate events, we would love to have your input.

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Post by cvdwightw »

grapesmoker wrote:I'm not sure whether anyone actually follows volleyball.
*raises hand*

Seriously, though, as much as I'm incompetent on soccer questions, I think there's a critical mass of people in the college quizbowl community that enjoy and follow soccer to some degree to justify soccer getting more questions than, say, auto racing. I personally would not mind revamping the distribution such that soccer got roughly the same part of the subdistribution as hockey. I like the 1/1 sports per packet, and something like 2/3 and 3/2 baseball and basketball, 2/2 American football, hockey and soccer, 3/3 "minor professional" sports that still have significant fan bases (golf, tennis, auto racing, horse racing, boxing, and maybe MMA), 2/2 "Olympic" sports (volleyball, track, swimming, winter sports that aren't hockey, etc.) might more accurately reflect the tastes of the current college game.

After the Cardinal Classic debacle, though, I was glad to see the complete absence of figure skating questions from the set.

I have nothing against cross-disciplinary questions and usually enjoy them, and I would like to see inter- and multidisciplinary questions become the de facto standard for NAQT's General Knowledge distribution. This would result in the production of more questions that people of various specialties would be able to answer at the expense of a nebulously-defined "general knowledge" category that never seems to be well-received.

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

answerability data from our high school events doesn't suggest that they are particularly easy
Why would you use high school statistics to determine something with your college sets?

Also, only 6/6 in, what, 16 rounds? That’s crazy little. Also, there’s a fair bit of non-Greek myth that is totally answerable by high schoolers, so I can’t imagine that stuff is out of bounds for college.
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Post by yoda4554 »

rhentzel wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:There were a host of bad question writing principles in this set. For example, one question mentioned the author of a novel still in power. Others were fond of placing stock and trivia clues (i.e. "this guy died doing this amusing thing that has nothing to do with what he's important for") before the real clues in tossups.
NAQT does not accept your principle that "The author of a work is never a power-worthy clue"; for us, the assignment of power marks is purely a statistical question of how well known the clues are. We would like to see approximately 1/6 of the tossups that are answered be answered for power; if giving 15 after the author's name is revealed is compatible with that in a certain case, we wouldn't hesitate to do it.

That said, I think it would be rare for that to be the case; probably it would only come up if the work was better known in another form (a film say, or dramatization).

If you send me question IDs for questions that violated this, I'd be happy to check their frequency-of-power once we've entered the data from our scoresheets to see if, in those particular cases, the number of powers was out of line.
The question that Mike is thinking of, I think, is one where the majority of the question referred to the second-best-known work of a particular title, which mentioned that work's author before the end of power, after which it moved on to discussing the more famous work. It wasn't the best-written tossup in the world (I would've liked more info on the better-known work, for instance), and the author probably should've come after power, but that work is (it seems to me; I'd never heard of it) suitably obscure such that it's not totally unreasonable for it to be power.

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Post by rhentzel »

Deesy Does It wrote:
answerability data from our high school events doesn't suggest that they are particularly easy
Why would you use high school statistics to determine something with your college sets?
We don't have a lot of data for college tournaments; certainly not enough to say anything with certainly. With something like sports that is primarily not learned in an academic setting, I think it's reasonable to try to extrapolate how much college quiz players might know about soccer from how much high school players know about it.
Also, only 6/6 in, what, 16 rounds? That’s crazy little. Also, there’s a fair bit of non-Greek myth that is totally answerable by high schoolers, so I can’t imagine that stuff is out of bounds for college.
NAQT does not consider non-classical myth to be out-of-bounds (for any reason, including difficulty); in fact, 33% of the mythology questions in the Division II set were non-classical.

Out of a typical packet of 24/24, how many do you think should be about mythology?

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

In every recent packet submission tournament I've seen it's been 1/1 mythology (with one being not Greco-Roman). I think out of 24/24 this is a very good distribution, and I think philosophy and religion should also get 1/1 each.
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Post by rhentzel »

Deesy Does It wrote:In every recent packet submission tournament I've seen it's been 1/1 mythology (with one being not Greco-Roman). I think out of 24/24 this is a very good distribution, and I think philosophy and religion should also get 1/1 each.
For comparison purposes, that gives mythology the same quiz bowl prominence as physics, world current events, and the visual fine arts. To me, personally, that seems awfully high.

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Post by ezubaric »

rhentzel wrote:For comparison purposes, that gives mythology the same quiz bowl prominence as physics, world current events, and the visual fine arts. To me, personally, that seems awfully high.
It does to me too. I also felt that Greek myth probably appeared more than it should, but the overall proportion of myth was fine. I do think reserving 3/3 to RMP is a little much, and this is one case where the ACFish distribution goes a little too far.
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Post by The Logic of Scientific Disco »

rhentzel wrote:For comparison purposes, that gives mythology the same quiz bowl prominence as physics, world current events, and the visual fine arts. To me, personally, that seems awfully high.
Just for comparison's sake, let's look at physics--I considerate it a very important subject, and I'd be among the first to clamor for 2/2 physics if there were a wide enough answer space for the circuit to enjoy it. But there isn't--lots of non-sciency people don't want to put in the effort to know facts they don't have the background to appreciate, and even then we would probably end up with tossups on specialized things like Kaluza-Klein (it's cool, but can anyone without a degree actually explain it?). The primary sources are basically unreadable for anyone without a serious background.

On the other hand, mythology has a comparatively humongous answer space even for the 16/16 people sort of expect in a 16-round tournament (much less the 6/6 NAQT used for SCT). I get the feeling that a lot of people really enjoy mythology questions (notably including non-Classical ones), which is why 1/1 per packet is such a standard on the independent and ACF circuit. And the major sources are very easy to grasp--I mean, who hasn't read at least one of the Iliad or the Odyssey?

To me, the importance of physics is balanced by the comparative difficulty of asking good questions about it, while the inverse it true of mythology--its somewhat shaky importance is balanced by how easy it is to write lots of diverse questions.

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Post by Birdofredum Sawin »

ezubaric wrote:
rhentzel wrote:For comparison purposes, that gives mythology the same quiz bowl prominence as physics, world current events, and the visual fine arts. To me, personally, that seems awfully high.
It does to me too. I also felt that Greek myth probably appeared more than it should, but the overall proportion of myth was fine. I do think reserving 3/3 to RMP is a little much, and this is one case where the ACFish distribution goes a little too far.
I know that in the past, RMP was supposed to count for 2/2 of any ACF packet, so in any given round you would not be guaranteed to hear a myth question. I think that's changed a bit over the last couple of years; in particular, I think the myth subdistribution has taken off (i.e. has become much more in-depth, especially in world myth) while the religion subdistribution has atrophied (e.g., there hasn't been a surge in in-depth questions on Sikhism comparable to the surge of in-depth questions on, say, Japanese myth).

My own feeling is that NAQT underemphasizes myth a bit, but the circuit is currently overemphasizing it (perhaps because it's more fun to learn about swords of Susanowo than about Jain theology).

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Post by Pilgrim »

rhentzel wrote:
Pilgrim wrote:In Division II, I can recall a total of one tossup on non-Grecco-Roman myth, and that tossup was one of the worst in the tournament. There weren't that many bonuses, either. I don't know if NAQT thinks other myth systems are too difficult for some reason, but I'd have to think that at least Norse myth is completely reasonable for this level difficulty and should have gotten more coverage.
According to a quick database query, the DII set had 4/4 Greek/Roman mythology questions, 1/1 Egyptian, 1/0 Norse, and 0/1 Mesoamerican.

If you have time, please e-mail us about the issues with the specific tossup that was so bad so we can correct it before the set is used for high school tournaments.

To answer your more general question; NAQT doesn't think non-classical myth is categorically too hard for Division II, but we do think it is harder and should be a comparatively small portion of a set.

What sort of distribution do you think would be appropriate?
Thanks for the reply, Robert.

I didn't get to hear the Egyptian tossup, which isn't terribly surprising considering we didn't use four of the packets. I also didn't realize how little Greek/Roman myth and thus myth in general there was.I have to agree with others that I think 6/6 in 16 packets is a lower myth total that I would like, though I do also think that the ACF distribution overemphasizes it - I would think something like .75/.75 per packet would be a reasonable compromise.

As for what subdistribution was used, I certainly don't think its terrible, and with that few myth questions, its hard to find the room to explore less prominent mythos, but I would have liked to see more Norse and at least one question each on Celtic and Mesopotamian.
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Re: NAQT Discussion Policy

Post by vandyhawk »

rhentzel wrote:However, NAQT believes that rapid (and concrete!) discussion is valuable for the the SCTs; players should feel free to include information that "ruins" questions if it is important that it be discussed openly on this forum. NAQT will track such questions and provide a list to hosts using the set in the future so that those questions can be removed. On the other hand, if you don't feel that an issue is big enough (or sufficiently discussion-worthy) to require the use of the forum, please send us your feedback privately at [email protected].

In other words, except for possibly grotesque revelations of content, NAQT is fine with players using their own judgment as to what should be posted.
R., thanks for coming on here to ask for feedback. I don't have much time to spend on this stuff for now, but I figured I would point out some of the biggest offenders that I think are safe for discussion or need to be addressed anyway.

Two tossups in Round 5 had no clear question until after the power mark. For Port Arthur, it wasn't even a figure-it-out type thing, it was just statements w/out defining what the question was going for. Paul knew exactly what those statements were about, but without defining the answer (battle/base, war, etc.), he couldn't get power. Hilbert's problems suffered from the same kind of thing, though maybe that was a figure-it-out question? Either way, it didn't really work out too well.

In science, it's clearly established that Stokes cannot be mentioned until toward the end of a tossup on Raman, so Raman definitely should not be mentioned (with some minor inaccuracies to boot) at the beginning of a Stokes tossup, which I think was in Round 4. The tossup beginning by mentioning the Kerr effect invited a neg with "birefringence" since that is what the Kerr effect induces - it should be more clear that that wasn't what it was going for. Also, asking for 3 genera of mosquitos in a single bonus is just not cool.

One last thing for now - the painter tossup in round 1 was actually better in DII than DI b/c the DII version actually took out the name of the state from the opening sentence. Did that just get missed in the DI version?

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Post by grapesmoker »

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:I know that in the past, RMP was supposed to count for 2/2 of any ACF packet, so in any given round you would not be guaranteed to hear a myth question. I think that's changed a bit over the last couple of years; in particular, I think the myth subdistribution has taken off (i.e. has become much more in-depth, especially in world myth) while the religion subdistribution has atrophied (e.g., there hasn't been a surge in in-depth questions on Sikhism comparable to the surge of in-depth questions on, say, Japanese myth).

My own feeling is that NAQT underemphasizes myth a bit, but the circuit is currently overemphasizing it (perhaps because it's more fun to learn about swords of Susanowo than about Jain theology).
I believe the current distribution calls for 3/3 RMP with 1/1 from each category. Of course, that's not a guarantee that any one particular subject from that category will be heard during a given round, but typically 2/2 from that category will make it in. I think asking for 3/3 and 1/1 of each is better than asking for 2/2 because if you ask for 2/2, you're likely to get the situation you describe, where the religion category kind of falls off.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Yeah, I guess something to bear in mind is that almost every packet submission tournament is 20/20 that you'll probably hear, whereas NAQT has to distribute for 24 to 26 questions. If every game in 20/20 had 1/1 myth that would probbaly be somewhat overboard, but I think Jerry's 2/2 of RMP idea in 20/20 is about right. When you have 6 more things to choose from that are currently taken up by extra geography, pop-culture, or whatever then I see no reason not to add a little more RMP in there, especially compared to 6/6 over a tournament set.
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Post by wasprsilds »

rhentzel wrote:
According to a database query, this was the sports breakdown for the DI SCT:

Baseball 3/2
Basketball 2/3
Boxing 1/0
Football 2/2
Golf 1/1
Hockey 2/2
Horseracing 1/0
Other minor sports 1/0
Olympics 0/1
Soccer 0/1
Track-and-field 0/1
Volleyball 0/1
I am 99% sure that there were two NASCAR questions, one on a person, and another on a race-track....

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Post by swwFCqb »

wasprsilds wrote:
rhentzel wrote:
According to a database query, this was the sports breakdown for the DI SCT:

Baseball 3/2
Basketball 2/3
Boxing 1/0
Football 2/2
Golf 1/1
Hockey 2/2
Horseracing 1/0
Other minor sports 1/0
Olympics 0/1
Soccer 0/1
Track-and-field 0/1
Volleyball 0/1
I am 99% sure that there were two NASCAR questions, one on a person, and another on a race-track....
Confirmed...I remember those two toss-ups, as I got them both.
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Post by No Rules Westbrook »

I mean, whatever, some packets will have 2/2 RMP and some will have 3/3 at circuit events...you just take the best, most interesting questions and stick them in. Religion needs to be de-emphasized though because, outside of questions on the Bible, there really isn't a whole lot of exciting answer space there. I like the trend toward saying "write 3/3 RMP but you don't have to write 1/1 religion unless you want to"

I mean, to use Yaphe's example, writing on Jain theology is (apart from whether people want to learn it) pretty annoying and frustrating...ooh, what's it gonna be, another tossup on ahimsa? How about a Bahai tossup, noone's done that before. Myth, by contrast, just has all kinds of answer space - when you're done with one tier of named dudes, you just go to the next tier of named dudes and there's a whole new stack of colorful stories about those dudes. I think 1/1 myth is very fair if you base it upon how much stuff you have to learn...there's a lot of myth out there.

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Post by First Chairman »

I thought there was a bit more to religion than just Judeo-Christian rituals and history in the Bible. Not that I would know anything about the different items that separate each denomination from each other, but I would think there is more than just quoting Bible verses...
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Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Will Run PACE for Reese's wrote:I thought there was a bit more to religion than just Judeo-Christian rituals and history in the Bible. Not that I would know anything about the different items that separate each denomination from each other, but I would think there is more than just quoting Bible verses...
I would agree with you, simply because that's true. I am one of the few who look forward to the potential of at least one religion tossup or bonus per round, and it disappoints me that so many end up being "name these minor prophets" or about Christian or Jewish holidays. I would agree with Yaphe and say that Jain theology is so minor and obscure that anything askable has become so repeated that it is annoying. Nobody wants to hear another question about sky-clad Jains. Still, that doesn't mean that we should limit the scope of religion questions to the same few bits of Judeo-Christian religion when there is so much more out there to be asked about in those traditions and others (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam).

I also am a fan of religion/social science/history crossovers like the "white people" tossup at MLK/TIT. That's a perfectly askable topic, and I wish that more writers would explore avenues like that to fulfill the religion distribution.
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Post by NoahMinkCHS »

Weekend at Bernadette's wrote:...it disappoints me that so many end up being "name these minor prophets"...
I'm not a religion specialist by any means, but man do I hate those questions.

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Post by grapesmoker »

The religion answer space is plenty large. There's no shortage of named things, doctrines, people, whatever.
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Post by cvdwightw »

Religion as a category tends to overlap with a lot of stuff. Religion questions often overlap with literature, history, mythology/philosophy (that's why it's RMP and not separate categories), social science, and if anyone ever uses the Papool distribution for a tournament, trash categories. I can see where NAQT refuses to use a religion distribution and distributes this overlap among various categories, but I'm not sure there's "enough" religion or mythology in the packets.

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Post by naturalistic phallacy »

cvdwightw wrote:Religion as a category tends to overlap with a lot of stuff. Religion questions often overlap with literature, history, mythology/philosophy (that's why it's RMP and not separate categories), social science, and if anyone ever uses the Papool distribution for a tournament, trash categories. I can see where NAQT refuses to use a religion distribution and distributes this overlap among various categories, but I'm not sure there's "enough" religion or mythology in the packets.
Still, like Jerry said, there are plenty of things to ask about that are clearly religion that make it merit some sort of distribution. I do agree that NAQT seems to undervalue both religion and myth though. It seems that their policy, especially regarding the latter, is to skew towards the easy side of things, as shown in many of the myth tossups and bonuses in SCT.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

rhentzel wrote:
Deesy Does It wrote:In every recent packet submission tournament I've seen it's been 1/1 mythology (with one being not Greco-Roman). I think out of 24/24 this is a very good distribution, and I think philosophy and religion should also get 1/1 each.
For comparison purposes, that gives mythology the same quiz bowl prominence as physics, world current events, and the visual fine arts. To me, personally, that seems awfully high.
For comparison purposes, geography has 2.5 to 3 times the prominence of physics and visual fine arts which I find downright nutty.
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Post by grapesmoker »

I'm retarded and posted in the wrong thread.
Last edited by grapesmoker on Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by STPickrell »

grapesmoker wrote:Abandon the SCT as an ICT qualifier.
Hmm. If (1) this applies to hosts only and (2) we use some other tournament (maybe ACF fall) as the de facto qualifier for SCT hosts, this might work.

Or, for wild card bids as you propose, require those teams to bring a staffer or full-time equivalent.

However, we have to remember the NAQT Fall tournament fell apart- not sure if it was NAQT issues or teams just not wanting to go anymore.

But your point of hosts being split between wanting to be the best hosts possible and wanting to qualify 1-2 additional teams is very true.

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Post by Scipio »

Moderators can split this off if they need to, but I had a question involving religion and the papacy. Do popes count more as historical figures or religous ones? I mean, obviously certain doctrines clearly are religion, but what about something like the Investiture Controversy, with its strong religious element? How about powerful popes like Julius II?

Moreover, I assume heresies are religion, but what about movements started by heresies, like the Albigensian crusade?

I'd be interested in the circuit's input.
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Post by grapesmoker »

Scipio wrote:Moderators can split this off if they need to, but I had a question involving religion and the papacy. Do popes count more as historical figures or religous ones? I mean, obviously certain doctrines clearly are religion, but what about something like the Investiture Controversy, with its strong religious element? How about powerful popes like Julius II?

Moreover, I assume heresies are religion, but what about movements started by heresies, like the Albigensian crusade?

I'd be interested in the circuit's input.
I tend to put these questions in the history category and try to reserve the religion distribution to actual religious texts or doctrines or what have you. But you could also write a question on any of these topics that focused on the religious aspects rather than the historical ones. My personal feeling is that it doesn't really matter as long as the question is a good one.
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Post by naturalistic phallacy »

grapesmoker wrote:
Scipio wrote:Moderators can split this off if they need to, but I had a question involving religion and the papacy. Do popes count more as historical figures or religous ones? I mean, obviously certain doctrines clearly are religion, but what about something like the Investiture Controversy, with its strong religious element? How about powerful popes like Julius II?

Moreover, I assume heresies are religion, but what about movements started by heresies, like the Albigensian crusade?

I'd be interested in the circuit's input.
I tend to put these questions in the history category and try to reserve the religion distribution to actual religious texts or doctrines or what have you. But you could also write a question on any of these topics that focused on the religious aspects rather than the historical ones. My personal feeling is that it doesn't really matter as long as the question is a good one.
If you're writing about a pope or some such, I feel that the content of the question determines if it is religion or not. If you're writing about a Pope's political actions, that's more history. But if you're talking about John XXIII's doctrinal revisions with Vatican II, that's religion. But, mostly, I agree with Jerry. I would much rather have a doctrinal question apply to the religion distribution than a historical one.
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Post by alkrav112 »

I know this will sound incredibly vague without any details, but in Div I Round 14, there was a question about a character with an alternate name. The first word of the tossup was that character's real name, at which point I buzzed and said the name of the work. I just don't see (a) why you would give the name of the thing you're asking about as the first word - it's either a power if you've read the novel or anything about the novel, or you're waiting for the giveaway; (b) why you would choose that answer instead of the novel, or prompt on the novel, or some such alternative.

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Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Yeah, okay, if you're gonna support crossover questions, there's a decent amount of religion answer space there and I fully support using it. And if you count Hindu or Shinto gods, for example, as religion...then sure, there's some space there too. Further, if we start talking about "religious philosophy," theologians, religious-themed works of literature, etc...there's lots of stuff.

But, if you're looking internally within the doctrine of a given religion like, say, Islam (which is what people often do when writing religion) - your choices are really pretty slim. What usually ends up happening is one of two things: 1. people write transparent stuff on things that have come up a million times like the hadith or 2. people write possibly confusing/possibly transparent/possibly pointless common link tossups on objects or ideas which span different religions (these can be good, I'm not saying they're always bad).

Also, I often prefer not to include what looks like a straight religion tossup in packets on the theory that religion seeps into the packet in many other ways, which people have talked about here. For example, writing a "history" tossup on the Oneida Community or a philosophy one on The Essence of Christianity, etc.

If we're talking ACF, which we're not in this thread, but nonetheless - you only have 20/20 - and basically for good reason you're stuck with at least 4 lit, 4 science, and 4 history...I'd usually rather see a third fine arts tossup or a second social science tossup in those extra slots than a forced religion tossup. But, whatever, like I said...usually you just pick the best questions and making sure distribution is absolutely perfect is a silly goal in the end.

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Post by Captain Sinico »

As a general principle, I wish NAQT's questions (and really all questions) would directly state what they're asking for; that is, pose a question and not provide a bunch of information before posing a question. It seemed that SCT had a few questions that didn't do this (already mentioned were the Port Arthur question, the Hilbert's problems question, and Andy's novel/character question.) I feel like these questions screw over knowledge and offer no advantage over more direct questions. What's NAQT's stance on these? Can we get them to go away?

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Post by alkrav112 »

Not to undermine Mike's point, as it is good and valid, but upon reviewing the set I found my complaint slightly invalid, as the question begins with a uniquely identifying pronoun. Still, it's odd answer selection.

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