Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

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Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by theMoMA » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:34 pm

Editors' thoughts will probably appear here later. The UMN co-editors would like to thank Charles Meigs, Eric Mukherjee, Evan Nagler, Quentin Roper, and Ryan Westbrook for helping us edit towards the end. Thanks also to our freelancers, including Jeremy Hixson, Chris Borglum, Quentin Roper, and the University of Chicago for their packets.

Fire away.
Last edited by theMoMA on Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by MiltonPlayer47 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:37 pm

There was a problem with repeats. There were also some clues that had giveaways too early. One that I remember was the Thomas Pynchon tossup where "Entropy" was the first work mentioned. There was also the one on Schubert that mentioned the Trout Quintet in either the first or second line.

Overall thoughI enjoyed the set. Thanks to the writers and editors who put it together.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Rayford Smuckles » Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:47 am

I do have one or two points of criticism.

First, the meta. I realize it has a place in quizbowl -- it's fun for some people, and I'm sure it keeps the writers and editors entertained, but I question the extent to which it appeared in this tournament. First of all, this was a tournament ostensibly directed at the people who are NOT the national circuit quiz bowl veterans, and therefore the humor seemed a bit misplaced to begin with. Well over half of the field at UCLA were people who are not actively involved in quiz bowl, and mentions of Chris Ray etc. were met with blank stares or actual confusion. Whether or not meta should appear at all is another question, but seriously, what were the writers and editors thinking wrt to this tournament? Do you not see why a tournament seemingly filled with what are essentially inside jokes might not be enjoyable for people who don't visit this board or keep up to date with the latest quiz bowl gossip (i.e. probably 85% of the MUT field nation-wide?) If someone has a convincing counter-argument that meta is a good thing in general and a better thing at a novice tournament, I'd be glad to hear it. Second, meta should never be an excuse for writing an actual bad question, especially one that comes in the middle of a round. I don't have the set in front of me, but the Chris Ray geography bonus stands out in my memory. I'll leave the answers aside, because I don't remember them. I do remember, however, the fact that it was a 12 (!) line bonus, not counting answer lines, and despite the excess verbiage about wet-t-shirt contests and the like, the question did have more actual clues-per-part than most other bonuses. If you write a meta question, no matter how many clever things you can think of to throw into it, try to make it comparable to other questions in the set in terms of quality, format, and difficulty. I realize that this irritated me more than it normally would have because UCLA played the MUT questions in lieu of the unavailable FICHTE questions, but kept the FICHTE timed rounds, and I do realize that this was definitely not designed to be played as a timed tournament and therefore my rage at a 12 line bonus is partially unjustified etc. etc. But I think the point stands.

Again, I don't have the set in front of me, but there was a bonus to which the answers were: To His Coy Mistress, Marvell, The Mower. It sounded extremely familiar to me, not only the specific bonus parts, but the language used, so much so that I have a suspicion that I've seen that same bonus before. I may be wrong, and a search of the Stanford Archive turns up nothing, but please, please do not reuse questions. Whoever wrote that question, you know whether you did or didn't copy it from somewhere else, if you didn't, I sincerely apologize for even bringing it up, if you did, for shame, and now you know that people notice.

Overall, I did think this was a good set, and I enjoyed playing it, although I was really looking forward to playing the FICHTE questions and didn't much care for UCLA's little bait-and-switch (jk guys, MUT ended up being much more field-appropriate.) I thought the editors did a decent job turning what may have been initially uneven or weak packets into a set of packets of generally equal quality. Hopefully this becomes an annual event.

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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Sun Mar 30, 2008 11:54 am

Again, I don't have the set in front of me, but there was a bonus to which the answers were: To His Coy Mistress, Marvell, The Mower. It sounded extremely familiar to me, not only the specific bonus parts, but the language used, so much so that I have a suspicion that I've seen that same bonus before. I may be wrong, and a search of the Stanford Archive turns up nothing, but please, please do not reuse questions. Whoever wrote that question, you know whether you did or didn't copy it from somewhere else, if you didn't, I sincerely apologize for even bringing it up, if you did, for shame, and now you know that people notice.
I wouldn't put a tremendous amount of stock into this concern - that seems like a pretty reasonable way to go with a Marvell bonus, and there really aren't many ways to do such a thing at a novice tournament. I mean, assuming you do the basic To His Coy Mistress-Marvell sequence, and you want to ask about further Marvell works instead of a connection to another author or something, "Mower" seems a reasonable thing to ask for (or the title of the poem, but I thought the way they asked it was just fine). I consider the odds of someone re-using a question that would honestly take like 2 minutes to write intensely lower than the odds that it just happened to be the way someone wrote a novice Marvell bonus.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by MiltonPlayer47 » Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:07 pm

The meta thing has been discussed already. I don't see the need to bring it up again here.

There were some questions at the tournment that sounded like they could have been lifted from past ACF Falls. As was mentioned though, there is no need to worry about it too much. There is only so much you can ask about at a novice level tournament.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Strongside » Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:49 pm

The Andrew Marvell. "To His Coy Mistress Question" was in my packet, so I will address it.

Here was the bonus as used in the tournament.

7. This poem describes “deserts of vast eternity,” and asks “Had We But World Enough and Time.” For 10 points each:
[10] Name this poem which talks about some "vegetable love" growing if the speaker's love should continue to refuse his advances until the "conversion of the Jews."
ANSWER: “To His Coy Mistress”
[10] Name this British poet of “The Garden,” and “An Horation Ode,” wrote “To His Coy Mistress.”
ANSWER: Andrew Marvell
[10] Marvell wrote four poems with this character as the speaker. This character speaks "against gardens" in one poem, while in another poem titled "[this character] to the Glow-Worms," he exalts "ye living lamps."
ANSWER: The Mower

Here was the bonus as I originally wrote it.

This poem describes “deserts of vast eternity,” and asks “Had We But World Enough and Time.” FTPE-
[10] Name this famous poem published in the 17th century.
ANSWER: “To His Coy Mistress”
[10] This British poet of “The Garden,” and “An Horation Ode,” wrote “To His Coy Mistress.”
ANSWER: Andrew Marvell
[10] This American novelist an poet took the phrase “Had We But World Enough and Time,” and used it to title one of his novels. He is better known for a novel containing the characters of Judge Irwin and Adam Stanton.
ANSWER: Robert Penn Warren

As for potential plagiarism, I wasn't doing it, and I know the Minnesota editors weren't doing it. I agree with what Chris said about the concern.

There are going to be questions similar to questions used at previous tournaments, but usually it is by accident. I don't think it is necessary to start a big discussion about plagiarism, but there is a sort of a gray area in terms of plagiarism.

If you copy a question previously used at a tournament word for word, then it is obviously plagiarism. If you copy it and change a few minor things, I would say that is plagiarism. If you write a question that just so happens to be somewhat similar to a previously written question, I don't think that it is plagiarism.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by theMoMA » Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:39 pm

The meta was mostly inserted by Charles as he went through the packets and helped us edit and repeat-check, and I completely approved of it. Honestly, there was like one meta-referencing bonus every two packets, and I think three throwaway meta lines in tossups, out of 13 packets. I'm sorry you guys were forced to use longish bonuses in an NAQT format...I have no idea why you get the idea that the questions should be written with you in mind, especially since I wasn't contacted about the possible UCLA site until 6:00 PM on Friday night.

Anyway, we've had this conversation before, and I hope we can put this to rest. I consider meta to be a funny thing that keeps people connected to the circuit, and I certainly have no ill will towards Chris Ray, Chris Borglum, or anyone else who may have had a few jokes made at their expense in the MUT set.

As for the charges of "plagiarism," I'd like to quickly dismiss those, and hopefully discourage people from irresponsibly bringing up such things in the future. Thanks to Brendan for posting the submitted and edited bonus there, which pretty much proves that there was no question copying involved. I have all of the submitted packets and all of the finalized questions, so if anyone thinks that they know of a plagiarized question that was submitted or used, please contact me and I can hopefully clear it up.

The idea that there were questions that "sounded like they could have been lifted from past ACF Falls" has everything to do with the fact that there are only a couple thousand things to ask about at a novice tournament, and only so many clues for some of those things.

More importantly, why the need to bring up this plagiarism stuff in a public forum? You have my email address, you have Rob's email address, you have Gautam's email address. If you don't have the set and you don't have the source of the supposedly "lifted" question, why on earth would you choose to post? This is an incredibly sensitive issue in the quizbowl community, and one I'd like to distance myself, my teammates, and our tournaments far from.

I have no idea why Mike has decided to use inflammatory and accusatory language towards the editors, over a claim that turned out to be 100% false. If you're going to go about identifying plagiarism, please do it the right way: contact the editors, get the questions, pinpoint the original source, and only then post on the board if necessary. These kind of accusations are damaging, and without some kind of definitive text-to-text comparison, I question why they should be levied at all.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:00 pm

If you copy a question previously used at a tournament word for word, then it is obviously plagiarism. If you copy it and change a few minor things, I would say that is plagiarism. If you write a question that just so happens to be somewhat similar to a previously written question, I don't think that it is plagiarism.
Exactly. I hope you don't feel accused of plagiarism - I'm sure that wasn't anyone's intention here, and it's important to keep in mind that the novice canon is just not so big (relatively). I personally think the bonus is better since introducing more Marvell knowledge (or any accessible answer that's made deeper) is a big part of what novice tournaments are all about.
The meta thing has been discussed already. I don't see the need to bring it up again here.
I actually think it bears a bit more discussion, one which probably shouldn't be tainted by everyone's overwhelming love for me. I've sort of yet to see Andrew or other people responsible for the tossup acknowledge what a terrible decision it was to include a meta tossup in this or any academic set. It doesn't have anything to do with what it was about, it just shouldn't have been done and I really don't see why anyone was putting forth the idea that it was borderline acceptable.

As for the bonuses, I don't see why that's such a big problem. Does anyone really suffer if there's a blank stare or two about knowledge of Mike Sorice or me or Charles or anyone else? If it de-stresses a few editors and doesn't hurt anyone, that's fine. It's important to be careful to never sacrifice question quality to do that, though. I think there was one geography bonus that basically asked for a really obscure city in Iran, which shared its name with Rom's birthplace in Morocco or something. Not a great idea. I think it's fair to accept that whoever wrote that bonus might have thought it was a legitimate hard part (probably owing to incredible knowledge on "that person's" part about middle eastern geographY), but I don't think it met the requirements of the novice set. This is not worth mentioning except that it's possible it was deemed "maybe not acceptable" but kept in for meta reasons - I think that's the point where the line has to be drawn.

Andrew and the MUT people are of course not responsible for anything that happened as a result of clocks as they wrote a mACF style tournament with no idea it would be itmed. Any kind of criticism based on that experience is sort of baseless. However, 15 line bonuses are kind of annoying. Brevity and wit and all that. I thought some of them were kind of funny, though.
More importantly, why the need to bring up this plagiarism stuff in a public forum? You have my email address, you have Rob's email address, you have Gautam's email address. If you don't have the set and you don't have the source of the supposedly "lifted" question, why on earth would you choose to post? This is an incredibly sensitive issue in the quizbowl community, and one I'd like to distance myself, my teammates, and our tournaments far from.

I have no idea why Mike has decided to use inflammatory and accusatory language towards the editors, over a claim that turned out to be 100% false. If you're going to go about identifying plagiarism, please do it the right way: contact the editors, get the questions, pinpoint the original source, and only then post on the board if necessary. These kind of accusations are damaging, and without some kind of definitive text-to-text comparison, I question why they should be levied at all.
While I think it's fair to question whether it was really anyone's intention to make an inflammatory, call out post, I'm pretty sympathetic to Andrew on this one. In this case I think any kind of damage is minimal since nobody here is seriously going to think that the common Marvell bonus was lifted out of a set, but yeah, if you're concerned about plagiarism these are the avenues that need to be followed.

EDIT:
Anyway, we've had this conversation before, and I hope we can put this to rest. I consider meta to be a funny thing that keeps people connected to the circuit, and I certainly have no ill will towards Chris Ray, Chris Borglum, or anyone else who may have had a few jokes made at their expense in the MUT set.
I don't think anyone (certainly not me) is identifying that as the issue. The problem is that when practicality and the integrity of the set as a fair test between two teams is jeopardized, meta needs to be curtailed. I think that happened in one major instance and possibly one or two minor instances (like the one addressed above). I'm curious, do you really still think any part of having that tossup (note that I mean "any meta tossup") was even kind of acceptable?

Anyway, the set was overall an excellent example of what makes a great undergrad-level tournament and deserves to be praised significantly from that angle, lest we overlook it in favor of the stuff talked about above. This tournament was really, really good.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:08 pm

Yeah, sorry I made this clear on the IRC and not the forum. Had I known the meta tossup was going to be in regulation, rather than like tossup 21 or 22 or something, I would've spoken out. Tossups on meta-quizbowl have no place in academic tournaments for all kinds of exciting reasons, and I for one apologize that it was included in the way it was. I also apologize for a few of the meta-containing bonuses being rather wordy and circumlocutious.

Also, jesus why the hell did UCLA host a timed tournament on questions not written for a timed tournament
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by theMoMA » Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:18 pm

The meta tossup wasn't a great idea, obviously. I do think pure meta has its place in the game (certain trash tournaments and masters events come to mind) but MUT clearly isn't one of those places. I should have put instructions to read it, not to count the points, and to go to the alternate, or something like that; that was how I envisioned it would be included. It was only intended to be a joke, and I apologize if it affected any matches. Obviously it was edited out for this weekend's tournament (it's now #22 in packet 7 if anyone is interested).
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:39 pm

Also, jesus why the hell did UCLA host a timed tournament on questions not written for a timed tournament
I really hate using just "QFT," but yeah, what? This is about as good an idea as meta tossups in undergrad sets and double-rebracketing during a 12-round tournament.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:40 pm

UCLA played the MUT questions in lieu of the unavailable FICHTE questions
UCLA told me they didn't want to play the FICHTE questions because the more experienced players who like harder questions weren't able to come on March 29, and turned down the set which was in fact "available," in that it was sent to UTC and played there, in order to play the MUT questions.

I realize I got the FICHTE set out very late, but let's not pretend it was completely non-existent like the Chicago trash thing. The tournament happened in Tennessee yesterday and will happen in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Maryland this weekend.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:45 pm

By the way, meta quibbles and the two poorly ordered tossups that have already been mentioned aside, the MUT was a very good set, especially in terms of properly structuring tossups on easy things with hard, middle, and easy clues in a way that a lot of us don't always have the patience to do. It went over very well at VCU and the editors put in a lot of work, which is appreciated.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Rayford Smuckles » Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:26 pm

I apologize for any outrage or offense my post may have caused, that was not my intention at all. I may have been thoughtless, but I certainly didn't intend to be accusatory or inflammatory. As I said, I thought it was a very good set. Regarding the plagiarism charge, I am sorry. I remembered a bonus with those parts and a few of the same quoted phrases from another set, which at the time seemed more than coincidental, but evidently was not; and in any case it was completely wrong of me to even make the suggestion without proof. Regarding the meta, if people like it and think it's valuable to the community, I don't think it's my place to criticize... but, on the other hand, there is a portion of the community of people who play quiz bowl who are not, so to speak, part of the "quiz bowl community," and are unlikely to speak up in this forum. In-jokes are great when you're in on them, but almost by definition I would think a fair amount of the people at a novice tournament won't be. So I do stand by the criticism "consider your audience," your audience being, one hopes, the majority of people who are actually competing on the questions, not the more select body of people who, in a tournament like this, are more likely to be moderating or tournament directing. And second, I DEFINITELY stand by the criticism that meta should not be an excuse or an opportunity to write bad questions, "bad," in this case, meaning questions that either vary in quality from the rest of the set and/or give an unfair advantage to people who have been hanging around longer... especially at a novice tournament. I don't have an actual problem with it if it's unobtrusive or takes the form of a relatively harmless lead-in, in fact, I don't have a problem with most of it as it appeared in this tourney. In general, though, it's good to be especially judicious with your meta.

Also, I would like to make it VERY clear that I in no way meant to suggest that any of my criticism of the set was at all based upon my personal experience with UCLA's rather idiosyncratic format; moreover, I never suggested ANYTHING along the lines of "the questions should be written with you['re format/mirror] in mind." That would have been both unfair and completely stupid. It was very gracious of you guys to provide questions, and I was simply explaining that, although the clock was what brought anomalously long bonuses to my attention, once I actually looked at them, other problems appeared. Is anyone suggesting that 4-5 lines for a bonus SEGMENT is ever really needed? Considering the enormous amount of discussion over keeping bonuses consistent both within packets and across the tournament, I don't think it's out of line to make the point that it doesn't seem right for some bonuses to have 4-5 separate clues while many others in the same packet only have 1-2. (I suppose if the difficulty balances out in the end, it doesn't matter so much, but whatever.)

Also, just to get this thread back to discussing specific questions, there was a bonus of the format 10/5, 10/5, 10/5 to which the answers were things from Lost, trash clue for 10, academic clue for 5. (i.e. 10: clues about Lost character Locke, 5: clues about philosopher Locke, etc. If someone would like to post it, that would be great.) As far as I can tell, a bonus is supposed to require you to come up with information about related information, but the way this question worked out, it ended up being a hybrid reasonable trash 30/somewhat softball academic 15 question. Is this cool? Ordinarily, wouldn't you want to avoid writing something like this little example I made up, that clearly tests different areas of knowledge in the same bonus?
For 10, this misanthropic, limping physician, supervised by Dr. Cuddy, works at a teaching hospital in New Jersey.
For 5, he shares his last name with the first words of these literary works: ______ of Fame, ______ of Bernarda Alba.
Answer: House
Admittedly, Lost characters wantonly invite such gimmicks, but, as is the case 90% of the time, this could have been turned into a reasonable 10/10/10. And it hardly seems right for some trash bonuses to carry the possibility of a partial bail-out on academic knowledge, or (god forbid) vice-versa, when most others do not. This is not meant as a definitive criticism, since I don't know the answer, so I put it to the board: how acceptable is stuff like this is in general? Genre mixing seems to come up occasionally even in the best tournaments in bonuses or with tossup giveaways like "he shares his name with the discoverer of Machu Picchu," etc.

Regarding the availability of FICHTE, my post was made based on the information provided to us by the TDs. If the questions were ready, that sucks, because I wanted to play them, and I hereby shift any blame from Matt and Jerry to Ray and the west coasters whose absence forced his decision.

Again, apologies for comments rashly posted in the heat of the night, and, once again, no criticism is intended to detract from a fine set and a great editorial effort.

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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:45 pm

I haven't seen the set; the only comment I wanted to make was that Brendan's Marvell bonus had almost the same three parts as one I wrote for EFT (To His coy.../Marvell/Mower vs. THCM/Marvell/Mower to the Glowworm), but the wording was much different and indeed wasn't plagiarism.

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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:54 pm

I wrote that 10/5 Lost bonus. The reason I did it in that format was to allow for answers about more in-depth parts of the show without penalizing people have who never watched it too much. Lost, like indie music, is a subject where people tend to have either extremely strong knowledge or pretty much none at all.

It may of ended up a bit too easy, as the hard part (Faraday) was probably too easy at the 5 points level, but I still think it was a decent enough bonus. In my opinion it distinguished between people who are various levels of Lost fans while not completely screwing people who don't watch the show. Yeah, it's definitely possible to construct a 10/10/10 bonus in this format, but one of the parts is essentially wasted because the easy part for a tournament like this pretty much has to be "Lost" itself with easy clues.

The 10/5 format is obviously something that should be used very sparingly, and I probably wouldn't use it in an academic question. However, the trash distribution is often paired with "your choice and general knowledge", so splitting a bonus every once in a while between trash and academc your choice doesn't seem like bad form to me.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:26 pm

I watched the first 2 seasons of Lost and was able to ID Locke for 10. I don't remember the second part, but we were happy to take the 5 points for Faraday from actual academic clues. I've never seen a bonus done like that before, but I thought it was a neat way to fill out the trash distribution without screwing people over like a lot of trash bonuses do. Without the 5 point clues, we'd have 10'd the bonus. With them, I'm pretty sure we 20'd it. I'll take an extra 10 points any time. I can understand complaints if people would have preferred an actual academic bonus, but if you're going to have a trash bonus, this seems like a decent way to go.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by eldermaas » Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:00 pm

As one who was at the UTC mirror of MUT, I wanted to throw in my thoughts.

As my team went 1-10, it might be easy for me to suggest that the questions difficulty was uneven, but the reality is that I found the questions, for the most part, to be appropriate for a late season undergraduate field. Even if we didn't answer the questions, other teams did, and the pyramidality seemed appropriate.

My only concern was the editing. Having written tournaments before myself, I understand the difficulty of making questions clear, but many questions in the early rounds seemed even to be missing words, causing some difficulty for the readers. A missing verb or article makes a world of difference. Having not bought the questions, I cannot point to exact examples, but those who did might be able to confirm my impressions.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Gautam » Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:03 pm

eldermaas wrote:Having not bought the questions, I cannot point to exact examples, but those who did might be able to confirm my impressions.
You shouldn't have paid for the set. Anybody who wants the set can download it HERE at least temporarily.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by theMoMA » Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:49 pm

Having read plenty of tournaments before, including MUT yesterday, it was my impression that there were only a handful of copy editing errors, and only one or two that were really egregious. I know I read through each packet at least once to try to catch such errors, and though a few got through (a few in part because I accidentally compiled this week's set from an old zip file that had a few mistakes in it, such as not having the answer to one third part of a bonus), I don't think it was to the extent of many recent tournaments.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by cornfused » Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:43 am

Were four of the first five tossups in the tournament really all common-link?
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:54 am

Even better! Four of the first four tossups happened to be common link.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by cornfused » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:11 am

Well, true dat. For some reason I was counting Heidegger but not worms.

But the packet makes up for its common linkage by used the phrase "kick some drunken Hessian ass" in tossup 14.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by millionwaves » Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:46 am

I really enjoyed playing this set, and I was really pleased with the quality of the questions. It was certainly worth the long drive, and I'd like to thank the editors for what I'm sure was a lot of hard work put into the set.

One thing in particular that I want to praise is the quality of the common link tossups. I don't normally enjoy these as much as I do questions on specific people or works, but I definitely did in this set. I also thought the bonus difficulty was remarkably even for a low-difficulty set.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:52 am

gkandlikar wrote:
eldermaas wrote:Having not bought the questions, I cannot point to exact examples, but those who did might be able to confirm my impressions.
You shouldn't have paid for the set. Anybody who wants the set can download it HERE at least temporarily.
Hmm, I'm clicking the link and my school district hilariously seems to have blocked the website you're hosting from.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Gautam » Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:21 pm

All right,

Here is a better link: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~kand0028/quiz_bo ... 202008.zip

Both this one and the previous link should work though, unless they're being censored, in which case just email me (the address is up there in the first few posts).
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by cornfused » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:04 pm

3. The sculptures Wave and The Age of Maturity were produced by this man’s student and lover Camille Claudel. Other works by him include one in which a wounded soldier slumps against the shrieking winged spirit of war, The Call To Arms, and a highly criticized one which depicted an author wrapped in a robe, Honore de Balzac. Another work, inspired by Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, drew accusations that this man cast it from a living model. In addition to The Age of Bronze, he memorialized a siege of the Hundred Years’ War in The Burghers of Calais. For 10 points, identify this sculptor, whose never-used Gates of Hell were to have contained The Kiss and The Thinker.
ANSWER: Auguste Rodin [accept Camille Claudel before “this man”]

Is Camille Claudel really leadin material? I don't mean her works. I mean, the fact that she was involved with Rodin. That's something that my school district taught me in 6th-grade French... I may be wrong, but in my mental-scale-of-difficulty, it's right between "Taft was a fatass" and "it's Juno/Sword/Gold/Omaha/Utah."

Overall comments reading the sets:
a) Good answer selection
b) Bonuses seem a little easy, but good easy/medium/hard structure
c) Solid tossups. I mean, my main feeling reading this set was "Damn, I wish I could've played this."
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:33 pm

cornfused wrote:Is Camille Claudel really leadin material? I don't mean her works. I mean, the fact that she was involved with Rodin.
It certainly didn't seem to be quizbowl-famous when I wrote the question, as her name appeared in exactly one packet in my archive, and her relationship with Rodin wasn't mentioned. Looks like you just have good outside knowledge.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by vandyhawk » Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:00 pm

Ukonvasara wrote:
cornfused wrote:Is Camille Claudel really leadin material? I don't mean her works. I mean, the fact that she was involved with Rodin.
It certainly didn't seem to be quizbowl-famous when I wrote the question, as her name appeared in exactly one packet in my archive, and her relationship with Rodin wasn't mentioned. Looks like you just have good outside knowledge.
This fact has definitely come up in quizbowl several times, but maybe it's just in packets not in your own archive or something. Not to say it's overused, and it may be ok as a lead-in for a really novice tournament. For something like MUT, I wouldn't want it as the first sentence, but somewhere early on in the middle area perhaps, and even later for a higher level tournament.

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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Awehrman » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:52 pm

I've only looked at the first packet, but the questions in this set seem pretty good. This question, however, is a clunker:
14. Fighting at this battle along Assunpink Creek saw the Knyphausen regiment surrounded, while the two major avenues in the town where this battle took place were King and Queen Streets. One commander in this battle wasn’t awoken until the other side had captured an important redoubt; his name was Johann Rall. The highly trained professional soldiers on one side were hung over from Christmas partying and thus ineffectual. For 10 points, name this Revolutionary War battle that saw Washington cross the Delaware and kick some drunken Hessian ass.
ANSWER: Battle of Trenton
For starters the question does not even hint at the significance of the battle. The opening clue is fine, but Knyphausen should probably be possessive for clarity. The question falls apart from there. King and Queen Streets were the major avenues of pretty much every town in colonial America, so that clue is not uniquely identifying. It's sort of like saying the two main streets were Main Street and Broadway. Much of the fighting did take place at the intersection of those streets, but the question does not make that clear. The fundamental problem is that the end of the question is completely inaccurate. It's similar to a question on George Washington ending "Name this man who was so strong that he once threw a coin across the Potomac."

The drunken Hessian theory has been disproved over and over again by historians. Recent books by David McCullough (1776) and David Hackett Fischer (Washington's Crossing) also debunk the myth. Even wikipedia says nothing about the soldiers drunkenness before or during the battle. It's as if the question writer stopped researching midway through the question and then relied on 5th grade knowledge of the battle. Just to clear this up for everyone, I'll say that Hessians were highly trained professional soldiers. The heavy storm prevented the usual patrol from going out. They were alert and responded quickly to the attack, but it was too late. Washington's planning, tactical maneuvers, and especially the cover of the storm won the day. If that fails to convince, there are also first hand accounts from soldiers such as Jeremiah Greenwood who recounted that "I did not see even a solitary drunken soldier belonging to the enemy, — and you will find, as I shall show, that I had an opportunity to be as good a judge as any person there." In addition to this German tradition would have Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve and not Christmas day. Well, I suppose it's this type of myth that keeps us historians in business.
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(formerly of Arkansas and Northwestern)

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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Eärendil » Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:35 am

vandyhawk wrote:
Ukonvasara wrote:
cornfused wrote:Is Camille Claudel really leadin material? I don't mean her works. I mean, the fact that she was involved with Rodin.
It certainly didn't seem to be quizbowl-famous when I wrote the question, as her name appeared in exactly one packet in my archive, and her relationship with Rodin wasn't mentioned. Looks like you just have good outside knowledge.
This fact has definitely come up in quizbowl several times, but maybe it's just in packets not in your own archive or something. Not to say it's overused, and it may be ok as a lead-in for a really novice tournament. For something like MUT, I wouldn't want it as the first sentence, but somewhere early on in the middle area perhaps, and even later for a higher level tournament.
I searched my archive and found 11 instances of Camille Claudel:

1996 New Hampshire Anti-Primary/nhap-mit-b.txt
1999 Cal Classic IV/Good.rtf
1999 T-Party/tparty.rtf
1999 Technophobia IV/asu2boni.html
1999 Terrapin/Round14.doc
2003 MLK/Iowa State Packet Final.rtf
2005 Illinois Earlybird/Round 6.doc
2006 ACF Nationals/Princeton.doc
2006 Illinois Earlybird/UIUC Earlybird 2006 Round 6.pdf
2008 Cardinal Classic XVII/Daniel Orifice.doc
2008 MUT/2008 MUT - Packet 7 - Minnesota + Westbrook.doc

Nearly all of them mention her romantic involvements with Rodin. I agree with Matt that it probably shouldn't be in the first line of a Rodin tossup. With a little rewording, I think it would have been a fine middle clue.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:38 pm

Eärendil wrote:I searched my archive and found 11 instances of Camille Claudel:

1996 New Hampshire Anti-Primary/nhap-mit-b.txt
1999 Cal Classic IV/Good.rtf
1999 T-Party/tparty.rtf
1999 Technophobia IV/asu2boni.html
1999 Terrapin/Round14.doc
2003 MLK/Iowa State Packet Final.rtf
2005 Illinois Earlybird/Round 6.doc
2006 ACF Nationals/Princeton.doc
2006 Illinois Earlybird/UIUC Earlybird 2006 Round 6.pdf
2008 Cardinal Classic XVII/Daniel Orifice.doc
2008 MUT/2008 MUT - Packet 7 - Minnesota + Westbrook.doc

Nearly all of them mention her romantic involvements with Rodin. I agree with Matt that it probably shouldn't be in the first line of a Rodin tossup. With a little rewording, I think it would have been a fine middle clue.
Aha, that explains it. When I search my entire archive, instead of the post-2000 section, I get most of those too. Not only that, for some reason the only post-2000 mention of Claudel I have is in the ACF Nats 2006 packet, which doesn't mention Rodin. So it's clearly more famous than I thought. I learned something today!
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Gautam » Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:20 pm

What did all players think of the science? I was not the only person who looked at them, but I put most of my efforts into the science questions. I think a couple of clunkers did get through; I will be on the lookout for those in the future. I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of answers from the original submissions.

My thoughts:
The chem was probably more organic-heavy than people might have liked, although I tried my best to put in some non-organic stuff. I guess there were more O-Chem related submissions than I thought there would be, so we ended up keeping them.
The bio was probably the most difficult. I thought people were buzzing more at the later clues than the middle clues compared to all other science tossups.
The physics, I wasn't really sure of. I did the best I could, but when there were things I didn't know about, I consulted Quentin Roper (thanks to him) or I just assumed the Qs were all right.
The "other science"(except the math) was mostly taken care of not by me.

Thoughts/Comments?
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Lapego1 » Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:20 pm

I thought the science was pretty good especially the bio and physics. The O-chem was alright, though was guessable at times (at least for people taking O-chem), which is okay I guess for a novice-type tournament. There were only a small number of clunkers--catalysts and blackholes with a lead-in mentioning ergospheres come to mind, but on the whole, as a science player, I enjoyed it.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Pilgrim » Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:45 am

Lapego1 wrote:blackholes with a lead-in mentioning ergospheres
Yeah, that was a bad one. Also, the Echinodermata question seemed to have a ridiculous difficulty drop-off at Asterozoa. And while I'm too lazy to actually look it up and check, the Aufbau Principle question seemed like a hose for Hund's Rule at the time.

Overall, I enjoyed the science (and the rest of the tournament), and I definitely appreciated how the entire answer space was novice level (except for Poisson distribution... that seems like a bit of a stretch)
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by Saiem » Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:28 am

All I know is that I didn't get any science questions. The math questions were pretty solid though.

EDIT: Apparently Chris Borglum doesn't know what science is appropriate? His words, not mine.
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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:52 pm

I'm pretty confident I know what types of science answers to write about, but being bereft of any depth in that area, I'm not confident in my clue ordering. I was told that the cyclohexane toss-up I wrote had an easy lead-in, for example. And I think that was my echinodermata question mentioned above, too. That's why I usually pay/trade people to do science for me, but that Billy Beyer was playing on this set and I didn't have time to get my other usual contributors to rescue me.

But that Walt Whitman question kicked ass, dammit.

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Re: Minnesota Undergrad Tournament discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:01 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote:I was told that the cyclohexane toss-up I wrote had an easy lead-in, for example.
Cyclohexane is one of those topics that's impossible to write a good question on because every clue falls into one of three categories: ridiculously obscure stuff no one is going to get, stuff that people who have written a cyclohexane people will get, and "boat/chair conformation". Like, that's it. There aren't any good middle clues to adequately differentiate levels of knowledge.

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