I'll start things off with my thoughts on two sub-distributions I care about: myth and physics.
Based on my predilections as a player, I would enjoy this distribution. Based on my experiences writing myth questions, I don't think it will work well for a group that's producing two high-level collegiate sets per year: there are some categories here that are going to run out of well-known topics within a year or two. NAQT will then either start recycling answers from a limited pool, or we'll start seeing significant variability in tossup answer difficulty between different mythologies. I don't think either of these is a good situation.msaifutaa wrote:
2/1 Mesopotamian (the 2/1 and 1/2 are interchangable here and below)
2/1 Celtic (the 2/1 and 1/2 are interchangable here and below)
1/2 East Asian
1/1 American (Aztec, Mayan, Incan, Native American, etc)
1/1 Eastern Europe + Finland (there's some great stuff in here that hasn't been mined yet, but if you prefer, it could be folded up into Other or sent away to Classical)
2/2 Other (of which at least 1/0 or 0/1 should be African)
A couple years ago I wrote a myth singles tournament. I had a distribution in mind when I started, but after a while I realized I wasn't going to be able to come up with enough answers in certain categories without going harder than I wanted. Here's a summary of the total distribution I used:
For a one-time event like the myth singles, I figured it was fine if I had tossups on, for instance, Isis, Osiris, Horus and Set, but I don't think people would be so happy about getting clustering like this within a single SCT/ICT set. I also had to really dig (and probably wound up going too hard) to come up with enough questions in certain areas--I would say this happened primarily in the Celtic and Norse sections. So, I came up with 20 Egyptian answers, but perhaps some of those are over-the-top for tossups/easy bonus parts; also, there are several answers in there that knock others out by being too closely associated. There's certainly enough material to yield 3 well-known answers for tossups and easy bonus parts (and that's assuming that the medium and hard bonus parts don't use up other easy answers, but with hard clues), but I really don't think there's enough to do this twice a year without having the pool of answers grow stale quickly.setht wrote: 91 Greek
11 Near/Middle Eastern
For those of you keeping score at home, this means that every round had 7 Greek, 3 European, 2 Norse, 1 or 2 Egyptian, 2 or 1 Indian, 1 Mixed, and 1 American. Most rounds also had 1 Roman, 1 Asian, and 1 Near/Middle Eastern; occasionally, Polynesian or African subbed in for one of those last 3.
The numbers in some other areas seem even more problematic than Egyptian myth. I came up with a grand total of 2 African myth answers (and one of them was Legba, which might be more religion than myth) I felt comfortable using as tossup answers; asking for 1/0 or 0/1 per tournament means finding at least 2 such answers every year (again, I'm treating the easy part of a bonus as another tossup-worthy answer that needs to be found). I'm willing to believe there are more than 2 African myth answers that are tossup-worthy, but I don't think there are enough to do 2 per year and keep things fresh. There used to be an issue with certain answers showing up frequently in SCT/ICT sets because writers would submit multiple questions on the same topic [see: Cryptonomicon, L'Africaine]; I think asking for 1 African myth question per tournament will produce a similar situation with, e.g., Anansi--not that writers will write 10 Anansi tossups in one go, but they'll be sent back to Anansi time and again as one of the very few accessible African myth topics they can use for that required African myth question. Alternatively, they'll start asking about Gu.
Anyway, here's a counter-proposal with a total of 15/15:
1/1 European (including Celtic/Arthurian, Eastern, etc.)
1/0 or 0/1 Mesopotamian
1/0 or 0/1 East Asian
1/0 or 0/1 American
3/4 or 4/3 whatever, including mixed-pantheon stuff
If space is made for a full 1/1 per round, I'd add 1/1 to Classical and 2/2 to whatever. I think it's good to have some minimum coverage in various traditions, but past that it's probably safest to leave a decent buffer of "whatever" questions.
Moving on from myth to physics... based on what I've seen of typical physics curricula, I would say that the core of the physics distribution should look something like:
20% quantum mechanics
20% electricity and magnetism
20% classical mechanics (including some continuum/fluid mechanics)
15% statistical mechanics and thermal physics
The remaining 25% can be on relativity, particle physics, optics, electronics, solid state, plasmas, nuclear/atomic physics, or more of the core stuff.
Again, please feel free to post with comments on the myth and physics distributions I've proposed, or with proposals for distributions in other topics. This isn't meant to generate ideas for questions on the survey so much as give people a chance to argue for a particular distribution before the survey goes up.