Minnesota Open discussion

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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Magister Ludi »

Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:I also thought jazz music (another area in which one of my tossups was cut) was underrepresented, as I think I heard one bonus on jazz through the whole day; again, after talking to the editors, they basically told me "none of us knows anything about jazz, so we weren't sure if it was too hard or not."
Was this the rumored Herbie Hancock tossup I heard about?

This was an exemplary tournament. I especially enjoyed the poetry, which was interesting and really well written. My few quibbles, I felt drama was under represented at the tournament, I thought the St. Paul's Suite question should of been cut because I think no one could answer it until the giveaway, and I thought the Allen Tate question in the final was poor. When you're writing on someone like Tate who is known in quizbowl primarily for one poem, you need to devote more time to describing his best known poem. If I remember correctly "fugitive" came before any quote or description of "Ode to the Confederate Dead" allowing someone who has never read the poem but knows Tate is a Fugitive to beat someone to the tossup who has read the poem. Overall though the main event was great.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by pray for elves »

Magister Ludi wrote:Was this the rumored Herbie Hancock tossup I heard about?
Yeah, that's the one.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I would make a spot in my underwear if Herbie Hancock had been tossed up.
Also, that St. Paul's Suite question really was bad, but there were enough good questions that I completely forgot the question existed until Ted brought it up, so that should be saying something.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

I think that tossup on the USA was actually pretty good - I always enjoy buzzing on Caleb Cushing's Wangxia Treaty. Barry, you do realize that the last clue refers to the Root-Takahira Agreement, right? That treaty is really famous - maybe I could see namedropping Elihu Root after that, but if you don't know the US was involved in the Root-Takahira Agreement, I don't think you really deserve anything better than a buzzer race.

And, come on, the answer to that bonus part was Edwin Stanton - it shouldn't take a genius to figure out that the Tenure of Office Act described thusly refers to Andrew Johnson. I'm not saying people shouldn't try to fix errors in sets - I'm just using this error as an example of something that should be easily fixable for even a reader of lesser experience. I'm thrilled that you study questions for information though - keep reading good questions, and you won't be misled by any false info.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by qroper224 »

Hey, so addressed to Gautam: The science was, overall, good. It's hard to write science well, but you've managed to write good tossups on the higher-level canon.

A couple of grievances-- The sifting property in the Dirac Delta tossup came way too early, and there's no way it should be in power. I'd consider it to be easily its most recognizable property to people who have had experience using it in physics. It led to a buzzer race in my room.

Also, unless I'm missing something, the first few clues on the photonic crystals weren't really uniquely identifying.

Anyway, that's all I can find that was really wrong.

Thanks for editing science, Gautam, and congrats to all the editors for a well-produced set.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Matt Weiner »

No Rules Westbrook wrote:And, lastly, I don't think we've sufficiently blasted Carleton on the message board yet, so let me try to rouse the sleeping beast. I'm sympathetic to the idea proposed by Matt Weiner at the tournament that Carleton should be sent a bill for a portion of every team's MO entry fee. Hey, Carleton people - if you don't want to go to an event, don't go, you'll save everyone a headache. Your aborted presence at this tournament effectively forced the editors to cobble together another packet so that a full round robin could be played, for no damn good reason.
I wouldn't want to damage my sterling reputation by failing to jump on this dogpile. Carleton: you're a bunch of fucking assholes. People gave up a lot of time and money and came from all over the country to play this tournament, and you gave them an extra non-game and left the tournament hosts scrambling to staff a room. All because you apparently don't like playing actual collegiate quizbowl and were complaining, literally from Round 1, that your usual diet of high school questions and trash wasn't anywhere to be found. How about you stop being whiny, self-indulgent douchebags and go learn something, so that you don't need to play on questions written for 9th-graders in order to feel competitive? Then maybe you can resist the temptation to fuck over everyone else at a tournament in order to start your arduous 35-minute trip home a few hours earlier.

I know that real tournaments occasionally have questions about important and interesting topics that educated people should make an effort to know, and not the barrage of Harry Potter and state-capital trivia that you prefer. If you don't want to become a well-rounded intellectual, fine--but stop dragging down those of us who actually want to play real tournaments. You are a net detriment to quizbowl. It would have been better for the tournament editors, the other teams, and probably yourselves if you had just stayed home.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Matt Weiner wrote:
No Rules Westbrook wrote:And, lastly, I don't think we've sufficiently blasted Carleton on the message board yet, so let me try to rouse the sleeping beast. I'm sympathetic to the idea proposed by Matt Weiner at the tournament that Carleton should be sent a bill for a portion of every team's MO entry fee. Hey, Carleton people - if you don't want to go to an event, don't go, you'll save everyone a headache. Your aborted presence at this tournament effectively forced the editors to cobble together another packet so that a full round robin could be played, for no damn good reason.
I wouldn't want to damage my sterling reputation by failing to jump on this dogpile. Carleton: you're a bunch of fucking assholes. People gave up a lot of time and money and came from all over the country to play this tournament, and you gave them an extra non-game and left the tournament hosts scrambling to staff a room. All because you apparently don't like playing actual collegiate quizbowl and were complaining, literally from Round 1, that your usual diet of high school questions and trash wasn't anywhere to be found. How about you stop being whiny, self-indulgent douchebags and go learn something, so that you don't need to play on questions written for 9th-graders in order to feel competitive? Then maybe you can resist the temptation to fuck over everyone else at a tournament in order to start your arduous 35-minute trip home a few hours earlier.

I know that real tournaments occasionally have questions about important and interesting topics that educated people should make an effort to know, and not the barrage of Harry Potter and state-capital trivia that you prefer. If you don't want to become a well-rounded intellectual, fine--but stop dragging down those of us who actually want to play real tournaments. You are a net detriment to quizbowl. It would have been better for the tournament editors, the other teams, and probably yourselves if you had just stayed home.
Also, I would like to add that we had to create an extra packet in order to make the round robin possible, an action that was made superfluous by your lack of consideration. Thanks a lot.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by AKKOLADE »

At what point are groups like this just blacklisted from the circuit?
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Fred Morlan wrote:At what point are groups like this just blacklisted from the circuit?
I would feel bad for Carsten though. Maybe you should just allow him to come and not anyone else.

edit: I understand that sometimes teams will have to leave because they have a long way to drive. Given that Carleton's commute is like, half an hour, there's just no excuse for doing so. There have been similar issues in the past with Boston teams leaving Boston-area tournaments early, and this also is not kosher. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to be happening as of late, but still, be considerate of the efforts of others when you plan your tournament day.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by AKKOLADE »

grapesmoker wrote:
Fred Morlan wrote:At what point are groups like this just blacklisted from the circuit?
I would feel bad for Carsten though. Maybe you should just allow him to come and not anyone else.

edit: I understand that sometimes teams will have to leave because they have a long way to drive. Given that Carleton's commute is like, half an hour, there's just no excuse for doing so. There have been similar issues in the past with Boston teams leaving Boston-area tournaments early, and this also is not kosher. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to be happening as of late, but still, be considerate of the efforts of others when you plan your tournament day.
Yeah, I definitely would not want Carsten to get screwed over due to the actions of others.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Generally, I think anyone who publicly disowns their club's awful behavior and clearly can't do anything to change it save leading by example is all right in my book.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Susan »

I don't think that blacklisting teams who leave early is a great solution to the problem. Setting aside teams who have to cut out early for transportation issues, like the Boston teams, the teams that leave tournaments early tend to be ones without strong ties to the circuit, and I fear that blacklisting them for leaving a tournament early, or even several tournaments early, could cause the team to collapse.

What can we be doing to minimize the problem of people leaving tournaments early?
-communicate with teams and make sure they know that they are expected to stay the whole time (perhaps they're used to single-elim formats or whatever from high school where it's more common for people to cut out early?).
-make sure they know that leaving early causes large logistical problems for the host and the other teams, which they may not be aware of if they haven't run a tournament or attended many other tournaments.
-make it as clear as possible to them when the tournament will begin and end, and do everything you can to make sure the tournament runs on time (actually making people forfeit games for being late, providing lunch--charging teams for it, of course--so that you can cut the lunch break down if need be, not trying to run tournaments/packets/meetings over lunch, making sure your staff is adequate, etc.).
-make it as clear as possible to teams what level of difficulty your tournament will be, so that they don't feel blindsided when they end up with a bunch of inexperienced players at a very difficult tournament that they expected to be easier.
-talk to the teams who do this a lot and try to find out why they do it. I can understand being unhappy about a tournament running later than one expected or being much harder than advertised (though I certainly don't condone leaving in either case); I can also envision people getting upset because they're losing or otherwise playing badly (though I take an even dimmer view of leaving in this case!). Are there other reasons why teams leave tournaments early? If these teams are legitimately unhappy about something (treatment by other teams? unhappiness about how their questions were edited?), it's worth trying to figure out what their concerns are and address them.
-maybe collect a deposit for repeat offenders, to be repaid at the end of the tournament? I don't think that would actually work, unfortunately.

I might suggest that someone on Minnesota get in touch with Carleton and politely ask them what was up with their leaving early this weekend (since, given the tenor of this thread, I rather doubt they'll be posting in it). Maybe we can use this incident to help us figure out how to solve the annoying problem of people bailing on tournaments.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

Yeah this tournament was good stuff; people have already largely addressed the questions that I found poor. The difficulty of this tournament was largely laid bare in the first two questions we heard at the MIT site, the first of which went dead, and the second of which was powered; the occasional dead tossup was actually really welcome, and taught me a lot, while the rest of the set kept my competitive interest.
No Rules Westbrook wrote:On the matter of Gautam's new science topics, I think all of those tossups are great, with the probable exception of Mobius aromaticity - if only because it's just too easy to neg with aromaticity or anti-aromaticity (which I did, of course). The other topics (Dean-Stark, Trouton-Noble, Meselson-Stahl, Monsanto) are reasonably hard answers, but I had no problem getting any of them (I didn't actually answer Meselson, because I negged stupidly, but I would have gotten it after a few more words).
I also think Mobius was kind of poor (thought bubble: "GAUTAM ARE YOU @#$#@ HIGH?!"), and Monsanto would have been fine as a post-power clue for a tossup on acetic acid. I appreciate the surge of industrial chemistry recently (inasmuch as it encourages me to branch out), but keep in mind its not something that is hit hard in old packets or classes; introducing it as 3rd parts of bonuses may be preferable.

The only other thing I had an issue with was the leadin to the actin question, which started "gelsolin binds to its..." or something, at which point I buzzed in with sarcomeres. I'm sure if it was an issue I would have lodged a protest.
No Rules Westbrook wrote:And, I'd like to take this opportunity to again mention that I haven't taken a single one of these "classes" you guys keep talking about...I know all of those things simply because they've appeared in packets at some point or another (as clues or bonus parts or whatever), and I memorized crap about them. So has the Berry Phase, for that matter. So, it's not like you really need to take graduate classes to know what's going on with this stuff - you probably do if you want to understand those concepts in an in-depth scientific way, but you can get answers in quizbowl without doing that.
The only one of the above answers that I learned in a class was Meselson-Stahl, and that was in a footnote in high school. And classes/independent reading will usually trump straight quizbowl knowledge if the questions are edited well.

In other words, stop corrupting the youth, Westbrook!
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

No Rules Westbrook wrote:And, I'd like to take this opportunity to again mention that I haven't taken a single one of these "classes" you guys keep talking about...I know all of those things simply because they've appeared in packets at some point or another (as clues or bonus parts or whatever), and I memorized crap about them. So has the Berry Phase, for that matter. So, it's not like you really need to take graduate classes to know what's going on with this stuff - you probably do if you want to understand those concepts in an in-depth scientific way, but you can get answers in quizbowl without doing that.
I learned about the Berry phase in an undergrad QM class. Anyway, if you're inclined toward's memorizing clues about things, you can probably learn what the Berry phase is, but studying the material in some non-quizbowl context is almost always going to help you more than just straight up memorization.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Cheynem »

In regards to teams leaving early, the only other thing I would add is impress upon teams that leaving early has repercussions far beyond "oh, we just forfeit our matches." It screws up either round-robin format or seeding and in MO's case, screws up the tourney in general, because a bye team member also had to work as a reader. I can see how some teams might think "What's the big deal? It only hurts our win-loss record," but that's not the case and this should be stressed strenously.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by cvdwightw »

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:The only one of the above answers that I learned in a class was Meselson-Stahl, and that was in a footnote in high school. And classes/independent reading will usually trump straight quizbowl knowledge if the questions are edited well.
Of the four tossupable experiments having anything to do with DNA, I'm pretty sure Meselson-Stahl is the only one mentioned in Lodish (the others being Griffith/Griffiths (for some reason I'm not sure whether his name has an S at the end or not, and an Internet search didn't help), Avery et al, and Hershey-Chase), and I'm pretty sure that it was mentioned in the lower division biology class I took that used Lodish as a textbook if not my AP Bio class as well. Not that I'm advocating that it should be ACF Fall level, but regardless of whether it's shown up before, it's certainly not a way-the-heck-out-there-what-was-the-writer-thinking answer choice, especially at this level.

Regarding teams leaving early: if you have a transportation issue, tell the TD when exactly you expect to leave - the TDs are usually good about working the tournament schedule around your schedule. If you've got non-circuit teams coming in, make sure they know exactly what to expect. We invited a couple of CBI-only schools in an attempt to fill out a field for Aztlan Cup II; Davis showed up, then left halfway through because the questions were too long, the questions were too hard, a single student was staffing each tournament room (to be fair, I'm not sure whether the issue was that there was only one staffer per room or whether it was that the single staffer was a student), one of the geography bonuses facetiously mentioned "Asian Street Hookers", non-students (e.g. Steve, Richard and Maribeth) were playing against them, and a myriad of other reasons they were not having fun; basically, they had expected an ACUI-sponsored CBI tournament when it was in fact not. After the tournament, we received a scathing e-mail from a person that appeared to be their CBI coordinator that pretty much denounced the UCLA club, and Charles in particular, as "unprofessional". Due to a computer crash I no longer have a copy of this email, though if Jerry or Charles have e-mail archives going back to March 2006 they might still have a copy of the conversation. We never billed this tournament as a CBI tournament, or using CBI rules, and as far as I know the other people came in expecting a standard mACF tournament and were okay with it; I just didn't make it explicitly clear that it was an mACF tournament with 6-8 line tossups on mostly academic subjects that were written at a level of difficulty comparable to other non-CBI tournaments. These team need to be told exactly what to expect when they show up; otherwise, they will feel like they're justified in leaving the tournament, regardless of how much it screws everyone else over.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Matt Weiner »

Hey, Carleton has had a mainstream circuit team for well over a decade, and their Minnesota Open team included a senior who has been to like a million tournaments (as per http://orgs.carleton.edu/QuizTeam/Topfour.html). Sure, sometimes new teams don't know what they are getting into with some tournaments. Stuff happens, and it's hard to get angry at UC-Davis when they were that uninformed. But the programs who are notorious for bailing early all the time--Princeton and Duke, for the most part--as well as this Carleton team, are not the UC-Davis squad you're talking about. Focusing on problems endemic to new/College Bowl-only teams isn't going to address the empirical reality of who does tend to fuck over tournaments.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Wall of Ham »

No Rules Westbrook wrote:I think that tossup on the USA was actually pretty good - I always enjoy buzzing on Caleb Cushing's Wangxia Treaty. Barry, you do realize that the last clue refers to the Root-Takahira Agreement, right? That treaty is really famous - maybe I could see namedropping Elihu Root after that, but if you don't know the US was involved in the Root-Takahira Agreement, I don't think you really deserve anything better than a buzzer race.

And, come on, the answer to that bonus part was Edwin Stanton - it shouldn't take a genius to figure out that the Tenure of Office Act described thusly refers to Andrew Johnson. I'm not saying people shouldn't try to fix errors in sets - I'm just using this error as an example of something that should be easily fixable for even a reader of lesser experience. I'm thrilled that you study questions for information though - keep reading good questions, and you won't be misled by any false info.
I've never heard of Root-Takahira in my APUS history class or textbook or five years of quizbowl. Granted, I haven't taken any college level history classes in Asian or US history, but I think I am an okay history player. However, the next concrete clue in that question was "name this country that shares its northern and southern borders with canada and Mexico." I consider that a huge difficulty cliff, as any third grader can answer that.

I am also arguing that one should not really expect a reader to be able to correct questions on the fly, even if there is a blatant error. I know that I wouldn't, especially after a long day of reading questions. Even three different copy-edits didn't catch it. Also, an error is still an error, and I don't think it can be excused by moderator modification. I'm not calling out the MO editors here, they did a good job, and three copy-edits show how devoted they were to this set. But I think Ryan's argument is wrong.

These are really minor issues, and did not affect my experience of MO at all.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Susan »

Matt Weiner wrote:Hey, Carleton has had a mainstream circuit team for well over a decade, and their Minnesota Open team included a senior who has been to like a million tournaments (as per http://orgs.carleton.edu/QuizTeam/Topfour.html). Sure, sometimes new teams don't know what they are getting into with some tournaments. Stuff happens, and it's hard to get angry at UC-Davis when they were that uninformed. But the programs who are notorious for bailing early all the time--Princeton and Duke, for the most part--as well as this Carleton team, are not the UC-Davis squad you're talking about. Focusing on problems endemic to new/College Bowl-only teams isn't going to address the empirical reality of who does tend to fuck over tournaments.
I'm not trying to excuse Carleton (or other experienced circuit teams) bailing on tournaments, but I think there were some elements of MO where they probably didn't know what they were getting into. For example, it's pretty clear that they could not have anticipated the difficulty of this tournament. Also, I think it's likely that they did not anticipate how long the day would be; in a quick glance over the topic I didn't find anything that indicated that MO was going to be a monster round robin (to be fair, it's entirely possible that I missed it or that it was emailed to teams and didn't make it to the boards). To a lot of teams, 9:30 is a pretty late time to end a tournament; I think it's good to give people some advance notice of how late they should expect the tournament to run. (I'm also not trying to pillory Minnesota for underestimating the difficulty of their tournament or for not posting an estimated schedule--if indeed they didn't--as these are general issues.)

I do think that people have reasons for leaving tournaments early other than being jerks. While some of these aren't worth addressing (like being upset about not winning or silly things like that), I think it's worth talking to the offending teams and seeing if there's anything we can fix (like giving them a clearer idea of what to expect from the tournament, and making it clear to them how much their leaving the tournament negatively affects everyone's experience) instead of just posting about how they're all huge jerks and we hate them.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

The only one of the above answers that I learned in a class was Meselson-Stahl, and that was in a footnote in high school. And classes/independent reading will usually trump straight quizbowl knowledge if the questions are edited well.
Yeah, there's no doubt that you'll be a better player if you have knowledge based on actual scientific understanding/taking high-level classes/etc. I'm just trying to show that, in opposition to everyone talking about how things are really hard because of what classes they do or don't appear in - you don't really have to care about that. You can be reasonably competent at those tossups by just doggedly memorizing a bunch of gobbledy-gook you don't particularly understand, like me!

I suppose this idea constitutes "corrupting the youth," but you know, this game is about buzzing on things that have names - you can spend 8 years taking classes to learn just how complex the notion of bremmstrahlung is, or if you're not so inclined, you can just treat it as another named thing and memorize some clues for it.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by theMoMA »

Actually Susan, we had informed all teams that the tournament would be a full round robin, and to expect to get done around 9 PM. For what it's worth, the round robin was concluded around 9:15.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Susan, I read their very first round and they were fully aware of the fact that they were 'playing ACF' (their words). And they complained about it.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by cvdwightw »

William Afham wrote:Susan, I read their very first round and they were fully aware of the fact that they were 'playing ACF' (their words). And they complained about it.
But this tournament had powers! It's ACF with powers! Isn't that like 50% better than ACF?

Also, once upon a time Carleton had a team that showed up to mainstream events and at least tolerated them, played and beat good teams at those events while presumably not complaining about how long and how hard the questions were, and even finished in the top bracket at ACF Nationals. "Once upon a time" was 2007. That's right. It's kind of sad to see a team go from a top-bracket ACF Nationals team to a team that complains about "playing ACF" in 2 years.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

No Rules Westbrook wrote:
The only one of the above answers that I learned in a class was Meselson-Stahl, and that was in a footnote in high school. And classes/independent reading will usually trump straight quizbowl knowledge if the questions are edited well.
Yeah, there's no doubt that you'll be a better player if you have knowledge based on actual scientific understanding/taking high-level classes/etc. I'm just trying to show that, in opposition to everyone talking about how things are really hard because of what classes they do or don't appear in - you don't really have to care about that. You can be reasonably competent at those tossups by just doggedly memorizing a bunch of gobbledy-gook you don't particularly understand, like me!

I suppose this idea constitutes "corrupting the youth," but you know, this game is about buzzing on things that have names - you can spend 8 years taking classes to learn just how complex the notion of bremmstrahlung is, or if you're not so inclined, you can just treat it as another named thing and memorize some clues for it.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Captain Sinico »

Wall of Ham wrote:...the next concrete clue in that question was "name this country that shares its northern and southern borders with canada and Mexico." I consider that a huge difficulty cliff, as any third grader can answer that.
I agree with you completely there. I don't know whom could disagree, actually; that's a very simple, important point.
Wall of Ham wrote:I am also arguing that one should not really expect a reader to be able to correct questions on the fly, even if there is a blatant error. I know that I wouldn't, especially after a long day of reading questions. Even three different copy-edits didn't catch it. Also, an error is still an error, and I don't think it can be excused by moderator modification. I'm not calling out the MO editors here, they did a good job, and three copy-edits show how devoted they were to this set. But I think Ryan's argument is wrong.
There's a very simple provision for this issue in the rules. If erroneous information affected your performance and that had a meaningful effect on the result of the game, the question should be overturned on protest. If it didn't change the performance enough to change the match outcome, well, then it's too bad that sets aren't perfect. Some moderators can read though errors; that basically buries problems, but it's not fair to expect all moderators to.

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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Jeaton1 »

So....I'm the one who wrote that apparently 'atrocious' St. Paul's Suite tossup and I'm wondering if I can get some constructive criticism on why it was so bad. Was it the fact that it was poorly written or was it the fact that it was too difficult of a tossup answer for this tournament (or some abominable hybrid of both!)? The work in question has come up as a middle-to-hard part of a Holst bonus many times and usually mentions either the Ostinato (one of the more famous ones) or more likely the Dargason (where I assumed most people would be buzzing). Perhaps its due to the fact that I have played St. Paul's Suite dozens of times that I felt it would be a unique and reasonably-within-canon answer, but it seems my bias was wrong. Any constructive criticism would be great so that I don't become a repeat offender of writing 'that awful music tossup that keeps showing up in Maryland packets'.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! »

I didn't play that packet, but on reading the question I think that unless you've played it multiple times (which I have, too... it's pretty fun.), it's hard to buzz until the mention of Greensleeves or Dargason. The piece is known as a bonus part from information mostly contained in the question's giveaway. I don't think it's well-listened enough, or well-studied enough, maybe, in quizbowl to buzz on descriptions of the Allegro violin solo. Certainly that Stravinsky clue is seriously obscure.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Today's Dinosaur Comics is relevant to one of the more controversial TUs at this tournament:

http://qwantz.com/archive/001332.html
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by magin »

I really enjoyed the tossup on "the author," and thought it was well-written. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't say that MO was well worth the expensive flight to Minnesota; the editors poured an incredible amount of work into the packets, and it showed.

On a separate note, I thought this tournament was harder than last year's ACF Nationals, instead of being closer to Regionals difficulty. The editors have persuasively explained why the difficulty increased, but I would caution future editing teams from announcing a tournament as one difficulty level, only to have the final tournament be much harder or easier. Two or three years ago, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed MO very much, especially if I expected it to be the same difficulty as IO or Cardinal Classic. Expectations matter; giving a realistic assessment of the difficulty of a tournament can only improve players' reactions to it.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by DumbJaques »

I didn't play that packet, but on reading the question I think that unless you've played it multiple times (which I have, too... it's pretty fun.), it's hard to buzz until the mention of Greensleeves or Dargason.
Well, for those tossups which spend 35-50% of the clues talking about theory stuff and what piano hero buttons you have to beat it on hard or how many allegro con stupidos it has, are there really people out there getting those clues without having played it or appropriately analyzed it in some way? I mean, I speak from avowedly ZERO expertise on this issue, but that kind of stuff seems unbuzzable even if you know what those words mean (but, I mean, I don't, so who knows), unless you're familiar with the piece. If we say that's fine, no sweat, but I'm curious as to how one would construct theory clues that would be gettable but not too easy early to people who haven't played the piece.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by theMoMA »

I'm really not sure I buy that this tournament was much harder than Cardinal Classic or Illinois Open. If you look at the teams that played CC, and the overlap for the teams that played MO, well, I think the bonus conversions show that the tournament were similar.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Coelacanth »

theMoMA wrote:I'm really not sure I buy that this tournament was much harder than Cardinal Classic or Illinois Open. If you look at the teams that played CC, and the overlap for the teams that played MO, well, I think the bonus conversions show that the tournament were similar.
I think you did a great job on the bonuses for this tournament, ensuring (with a few exceptions) that they all had gettable/challinging/deep-knowledge-required parts.

I don't know how to measure this using stats or other empirical evidence, but my sense was that the tossups were slightly harder than the bonuses.

There's not a lot of value in trying to pinpoint a set on the difficulty continuum; I thought MO was certainly closer to Nationals than Regionals level, but your mileage may vary.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

theMoMA wrote:I'm really not sure I buy that this tournament was much harder than Cardinal Classic or Illinois Open. If you look at the teams that played CC, and the overlap for the teams that played MO, well, I think the bonus conversions show that the tournament were similar.
I'm not sure you can rely solely on bonus conversion to gauge difficulty; number of dead tossups is also an issue. MO certainly had a lot more tossups and 3rd bonus parts on off-the-wall topics that would only be converted by people-in-the-quizbowl-know (that tossup on the guy who wrote Krik? Krak! for example). Also, the difficulty varied slightly from subject-to-subject: I wouldn't hesitate classifying the science at this tournament as post-nationals difficulty
HKirsch wrote:The piece is known as a bonus part from information mostly contained in the question's giveaway. I don't think it's well-listened enough, or well-studied enough, maybe, in quizbowl to buzz on descriptions of the Allegro violin solo.
Is this really a fair criterion, though? As an analogy, If I didn't know what the hell the Barf Reaction or the Crazy Effect was and they kept coming up, I'd develop the impetus to go home and learn about it since I have enough background to do so. It seems like the St. Paul's suite is something that comes up as a bonus part and middle-to-end clue quite a bit; to me, that mean a person with a background in music theory and a desire to have deeper buzzing knowledge can go home and learn about it, and makes it fair game.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by vcuEvan »

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:(that tossup on the guy who wrote Krik? Krak! for example).
Not a guy.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Gautam »

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: I wouldn't hesitate classifying the science at this tournament as post-nationals difficulty
:monocle:

Yeah, I really do tend to overshoot difficulty targets... I'll try to tone it down in future tournaments I work on.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Adamantium Claws wrote:
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:(that tossup on the guy who wrote Krik? Krak! for example).
Not a guy.
Danticat actually did a recent reading at Brown (which I did not go to, though I read her story in the New Yorker which was published last spring, I think) and she's come up before in quizbowl. She's easily the most well-known contemporary Haitian writer, which may not say all that much, but people do read her.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

grapesmoker wrote: She's easily the most well-known contemporary Haitian writer, which may not say all that much, but people do read her.
The only reason I know about her is because 1. You wrote a tossup on her at some point, 2. Matt Weiner talked about purchasing a copy of it, and 3. It has a funny title. Your mileage may vary.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
grapesmoker wrote: She's easily the most well-known contemporary Haitian writer, which may not say all that much, but people do read her.
The only reason I know about her is because 1. You wrote a tossup on her at some point, 2. Matt Weiner talked about purchasing a copy of it, and 3. It has a funny title. Your mileage may vary.
I didn't write any Danticat tossups...
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

grapesmoker wrote:I didn't write any Danticat tossups...
...I have to talk to dennis about not lying to me
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by fleurdelivre »

grapesmoker wrote:
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:(that tossup on the guy who wrote Krik? Krak! for example).
Danticat actually did a recent reading at Brown (which I did not go to, though I read her story in the New Yorker which was published last spring, I think) and she's come up before in quizbowl. She's easily the most well-known contemporary Haitian writer, which may not say all that much, but people do read her.
I'm never the one to ask about difficulty within the realm of quiz bowl knowledge, but I was sad to see Danticat go dead in my room - I'm a fan, and I wouldn't have thought of it as an unreasonable question.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by vcuEvan »

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
grapesmoker wrote: She's easily the most well-known contemporary Haitian writer, which may not say all that much, but people do read her.
The only reason I know about her is because 1. You wrote a tossup on her at some point, 2. Matt Weiner talked about purchasing a copy of it, and 3. It has a funny title. Your mileage may vary.
VCU freshman read her novel/short story collection The Dew Breaker in our mandatory English for dummies class.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by theMoMA »

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
grapesmoker wrote: She's easily the most well-known contemporary Haitian writer, which may not say all that much, but people do read her.
The only reason I know about her is because 1. You wrote a tossup on her at some point, 2. Matt Weiner talked about purchasing a copy of it, and 3. It has a funny title. Your mileage may vary.
There was a tossup on Krik? Krak! at the TAMU lit singles from 2005, as well as bonus parts about her at several medium-to-hard difficulty tournaments. That's how I know about Danticat. Also, the Danticat question was a submission that we considered dropping, but in the end the consensus was that it was a well-written tossup on a subject that would distinguish knowledge between teams at the tournament, so we left it in.

I think there was also a bonus on Caribbean authors at some point (Michelle Cliff, Jamaica Kincaid, and Claude McKay).
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Cheynem »

The Caribbean bonus did not require you to know "Jamaica Kincaid," though, just "Jamaica" (Cliff's home country)--it included a Kincaid clue, but you could lateral it by either knowing a Caribbean island that is a plausible first name or knowing where fellow Jamaican musician Jimmy Cliff is from. I really liked that bonus--I would have either 10ed or 0ed it if I was playing, but it's very gettable and interesting.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Whig's Boson wrote:Today's Dinosaur Comics is relevant to one of the more controversial TUs at this tournament:

http://qwantz.com/archive/001332.html
http://www.qwantz.com/archive/001330.html

I'm pretty sure you people just use DC the way everyone else uses, like, Masterplots.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Matt Weiner »

DumbJaques wrote:Well, for those tossups which spend 35-50% of the clues talking about theory stuff and what piano hero buttons you have to beat it on hard or how many allegro con stupidos it has, are there really people out there getting those clues without having played it or appropriately analyzed it in some way?
Empirical evidence suggests that people do in fact get those clues, whether from non-quizbowl familiarity with the piece or other reasons.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! »

Matt Weiner wrote:
DumbJaques wrote:Well, for those tossups which spend 35-50% of the clues talking about theory stuff and what piano hero buttons you have to beat it on hard or how many allegro con stupidos it has, are there really people out there getting those clues without having played it or appropriately analyzed it in some way?
Empirical evidence suggests that people do in fact get those clues, whether from non-quizbowl familiarity with the piece or other reasons.
I agree with Matt. For example, that bassoon solo that opens Rite of Spring is quite buzzable, either through brute quizbowl memorization or through listening to one of the more famous opening segments in music.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by theMoMA »

Maybe I could ask for some critiquing of the musical clues that I used. I played an instrument through tenth grade, so I am reasonably familiar with terminology and stuff, but I don't know what's buzzable. If you ask me, that St. Paul's Suite tossup had fine musical clues, but may be too hard to be a tossup answer just yet.

Here is a music tossup I wrote from scratch, based on clues taken directly from the piano scores, and some from Grove Music. I'd like to hear what people think about these clues.

20. All of these works have piano or pianissimo quarter notes in the treble clef beginning in measure five, which rapidly crescendo and descrescendo. Aldo Ciccolini plays these pieces on a record conducted by their composer. The first of these pieces, which are all in 3/4 time, opens with a disjunct chord pair in the bass clef consisting of a G-major seventh followed by a b-minor. All of these pieces are marked “Lent,” and they are alternately labeled “mournfully,” “sad,” and “grave.” These pieces are notably not among their composer’s “furniture music,” and they were initially orchestrated by Claude Debussy. Taking their name from a poem by Contamine de Latour, for 10 points, name these three ambient-music-like piano pieces, composed by Erik Satie.
ANSWER: the Trois Gymnopedies
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Jeaton1 »

In my experience the useless clues for music tossups tend to be the ones that start out with things like "This work employs three b-flat chords in the 8th measure followed by a harmonic minor 6th blah blah blah...". These are the things that depend on hearing specific notes and unless they are extremely famous (something like Beethoven's 5th), they don't even help people who are trained in music unless you have perfect pitch or have extremely rigorously studied that piece -- no one will buzz. It'd be analogous to writing a painting tossup and giving a clue about "In this work, the artist employed Crayola Razzmattazz colored tempura in the upper left hand corner...".

Giving music clues about how the piece actually sounds rhythmically, melodically or instrumentally is a much more helpful clue -- so I would say that clues on unique time signatures, melodies from a purely qualitative viewpoint (i.e. no chords), and what instruments use are perfectly fine 'early clues' for music pieces as they would indeed allow people who have at least heard/played/studied the piece without pinpointing out specific notes. Using the art analogy again, describing how the music sounds is akin to describing portions of a painting without delving into historical and personal contexts.
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by cvdwightw »

Jeaton1 wrote:In my experience the useless clues for music tossups tend to be the ones that start out with things like "This work employs three b-flat chords in the 8th measure followed by a harmonic minor 6th blah blah blah...". These are the things that depend on hearing specific notes and unless they are extremely famous (something like Beethoven's 5th), they don't even help people who are trained in music unless you have perfect pitch or have extremely rigorously studied that piece -- no one will buzz. It'd be analogous to writing a painting tossup and giving a clue about "In this work, the artist employed Crayola Razzmattazz colored tempura in the upper left hand corner...".

Giving music clues about how the piece actually sounds rhythmically, melodically or instrumentally is a much more helpful clue -- so I would say that clues on unique time signatures, melodies from a purely qualitative viewpoint (i.e. no chords), and what instruments use are perfectly fine 'early clues' for music pieces as they would indeed allow people who have at least heard/played/studied the piece without pinpointing out specific notes. Using the art analogy again, describing how the music sounds is akin to describing portions of a painting without delving into historical and personal contexts.
I disagree with a lot of what is being said here; though, one should keep in mind that of all the people on the circuit with perfect pitch, I'm probably the least likely to get a music tossup.

People have pointed out that music is like science - there's a jargon that one needs to learn to get the questions early, but it's not necessary to know/understand that jargon to get the question later. A single chord by itself means absolutely nothing, this is true; however, giving the chord structure of a work, or a famous part of the work (e.g., I don't know, the transition from a tonic of B minor to D major in the first phrase, and from D major to F sharp major in the second phrase, of Ride of the Valkyries) isn't completely useless. I'm guessing you still need some musical ability to figure out where the chords are in relationship to each other, but it's not like you can't figure out up a third/up a third even if you can't tell B from F. There is some information being contained in those clues, maybe it doesn't help a lot of people, but that's why it's the leadin.

There really aren't a lot of "unique time signatures" - off the top of my head I can think of the 5/4 waltz in Symphonie Pathetique and the ridiculous five-different-time-signatures-in-eight-measures or similar mess in Rite of Spring, and that's it (someone like Chris White or Eric Kwartler could probably add about 10-12 more to this list, but the canon of "unique time signatures" clues is even more constricted than that of "askable math calculation concepts"). Instrumentation really isn't too unique; I can't think of any "unique" instrumentation other than the cannons in 1812 Overture, anvils in the Anvil Chorus, and some relatively contemporary composers who use all sorts of weird instrumentation. Directions directly in the score might be okay too - I know I've used the fortississimo passage in Dream of Gerontius as a clue, and it looks like it works in Andrew's Gymnopedies question (although the wording is a bit confusing, are the quarter notes crescendoing from pianissimo to piano and decrescendoing back, or doing something else?).

I'm not sure what exactly you want with "qualitative" melodic clues - is that like "the second, fourth and sixth notes of its first phrase are the exact same as the first, third, and fifth notes, respectively; the melody goes up a perfect fifth from the second to third note and up a major second from the fourth to fifth note" (you have my permission to use this exact clue in the worst question ever written on "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star") - or is that like "Critic John Blow described the melody of this symphony's second movement as being played by elephants with colds" - or is that like "the flutes quote the opening passage of the second movement, originally played in the horns and bassoons, while accompanying a cello ostinato near the end of the third movement" - or is that something completely different than anything I've proposed?

Like, here's an 8+ line tossup that I would consider as containing every type of "useful" musical non-history clue:

This work begins with a call-and-response between the French horns and the tubas, followed by a thirty-two-bar phrase in the upper strings that ends with the transposition of the tonic from F minor to C major. In this work’s second movement, a Largo in D flat minor, the clarinet and oboe introduce a countermelody that is used as the theme of its scherzo. Sixteenth note runs in the trumpet and flute overlay dotted whole notes in the low strings and male voices in the opening of this symphony’s final movement, “BEEEEEEEEEES,” which switches between 11/4 and 7/4 time signatures before settling into the traditional 4/4. Another notable choral part in that final movement takes its text from the 2008 Chicago Open, and the end of its first movement contains a shofar part. For 10 points, give the popular nickname of this symphony, the first by a composer who also wrote the song cycle Tossups on Pieces of Fake Music.
ANSWER: Quizbowl Symphony (accept Nonexistent Symphony; prompt on anything mentioning Dwight Wynne, since I guess he’s the person that came up with all these crazy ideas)

You can imagine how many music tossups can actually be written like this.

I guess my point is that music questions are really hard to write without getting transparent/easy too quickly or including those kind of clues that you claim are "useless" (I suppose one could write a "music history" music question completely devoid of musical content, but we'd probably have the music players up in arms if that happened for a whole tournament).
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Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Susan »

Dwight wrote:Instrumentation really isn't too unique; I can't think of any "unique" instrumentation other than the cannons in 1812 Overture, anvils in the Anvil Chorus, and some relatively contemporary composers who use all sorts of weird instrumentation.
Instrumentation covers more than just what instruments are used in the piece; for example, in the St. Matthew Passion, Jesus's solos (save his final words) are always accompanied by sustained strings (his "halo", if you will). Other composers have riffed on that; in Arvo Part's totally awesome "Tribute to Caesar", all of Jesus's words are sung by the basses over piano sustained chords sung by sopranos and altos. Another example: in the Bach Magnificat, the "Et misericordia" movement is an alto/tenor duet, while in John Rutter's Magnificat it is sung by the soprano and the choir.
Susan
UChicago alum (AB 2003, PhD 2009)
Member emerita, ACF

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