GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

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Cheynem
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Cheynem »

I generally support the idea of house-written as opposed to packet-submission trash tournaments, assuming that a variety of editors/writers can be assembled to avoid the dreaded NICHE CAPTURE that results in oodles of questions on album titles, TV character names, and "cute" stuff that shouldn't be tossed up (all of which were mercifully kept to a minimum at GARBAGE, well done).

My reasoning for supporting house-written stuff may seem elitist, but here it is. In my conception of trash, principles of good quiz bowl writing (pyramidal, accessible, interesting clues) do not change when writing trash as opposed to academia. In fact, writing good trash is actually a lot more difficult than writing a solid lit question or a solid history question. I have seen a number of terrific academic packets with sub-optimal trash questions (obviously not that big a deal) because the principles of good quiz bowl writing were ignored. If we don't play the "born in ____, went to ______" game for authors, then don't play it for actors or athletes. If uninteresting clues about number of copies sold or whatever are frowned upon in academic quiz bowl, then don't write stats-filled sports questions or "#5 on the Billboard charts in February of 1973" music questions. If we are told not to write about that one minor character in that one minor work of your favorite author, then don't write about that one minor character in that your favorite TV show. Don't think that ungettable or "stock" lead-ins are okay just because it's trash.

I think it's hard to write good, quality trash questions, and I would rather trust experienced writers, with solid knowledge of writing good quiz bowl in all fields, rather than rely upon packet submission, especially because trash tournaments frequently draw teams with little experience writing questions.

And as someone frequently accused of being 75 years old in what kinds of trash I like, I found nothing abnormally old about Illinois' packet. I agree that it was probably one of the harder packets, but I don't necessarily know if that's bad.
Last edited by Cheynem on Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by theMoMA »

For what it's worth, I agree with Chris about your packet's accessibility, Mike. There were more dead tossups in our round on your packet (played against a good Chicago team) than in any other match.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by WellTraveledSalesman »

Not counting the sports (since I am not qualified to comment on it), I think there was nothing outlandish to ask about in our packet. I think the issue was that it was really hard to gauge what the difficulty of the tournament was supposed to be, or in general any trash tournament. I was trying to use the metric of harder than anything that would be acceptable in an ACF tournament for their 1/1 trash distribution since the people playing should have an interest in trash or they wouldn't be playing. Which in the end, ended up being too hard. But seeing as 2 of the 6 tossups that I both wrote and made it in the packet went dead in the aforementioned Minnesota/Chicago game (For those playing at home, try to guess which ones) I might tone it down a bit in the future. Maybe, it just doesn't help that I was the youngest member of that team by multiple years.

Barring the repeats, this was probably the best set of trash packets I have played on and I don't think had any questions that made me wonder why in the hell anyone would write a question on this.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Dan Greenstein »

Given I was not present at this tournament, I cannot comment on how good the questions were or how well the individual tournaments were run. However, I applaud Fred, Evan, et al for their efforts and for coming up with the idea for this tournament. I did not learn of this tournament until three weeks ago and I already had plans, but I am already considering attending next season's version of this tournament. I am sure the producers will learn from their mistakes and make the second iteration even more of a success.

I disagree with Mike C. on the inherent superiority of central production trash tournaments. I agree that trash writing principles should be just as solid as for academic tournaments. However, packet submission tournaments are a way for inexperienced question writers to practice their writing skills and to learn the tenets of good trash writing. Just because it is hard to write good trash questions does not mean we should just let the experts handle the entire task. Taking an active role in producing the packets that comprise the question sets we play on would be more practical for the learning process and for producing a large group of experienced trash question writers than playing on expert-produced sets all the time.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Cheynem »

That is a good point and certainly packet submission could/should be a part of future trash tournaments. I mean, one of the best ways to get better writing trash is to become better at writing quiz bowl in general, so I encourage all teams interested in producing future trash packets to read/play/write solid quiz bowl packets of all stripes, academic and trash.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Captain Sinico »

Yeah, it was harder than any other packet we heard; I acknowledge that. That's not what I saw Chris saying...

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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by AKKOLADE »

I'd be happy to discuss or receive comments on anything that can't be discussed publicly til next week.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by DumbJaques »

The more difficult of the packet was partially due to the relative ease in questions of the tossups in other packets. I noticed in the packet I had written that some of my more difficult tossups (which were very gettable by the end) were replaced by tossups that had giveaways too early, obviously I can not mention any specific examples. It just seems this tournament was written for amateur trash players, which is fine, but both sides of the spectrum should be catered to. Generally, it was a good tournament with some well written questions. Some of the bonuses were out there and clumped together with a couple sports bonuses coming forth one after another. But again, it was a good tournament, albeit with its' own errors. But, I await the next time this tournament is held. kudos!
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Captain Sinico »

gregpweinstein wrote:...this tournament was written for amateur trash players...
As opposed to...?

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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Cheynem »

gregpweinstein wrote:It just seems this tournament was written for amateur trash players, which is fine, but both sides of the spectrum should be catered to.
Aside from a few clunky bonuses that shot free points at you, I can't disagree with this more. If you were suggesting that almost all of the questions were written about accessible topics and not the 20th most famous character on Family Guy, then yeah, I guess I agree.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by gregpweinstein »

uh obviously people who are not amateur players, hence the more experienced players. I know trash tournaments are trying to attract newbies, which is great and I am all for (considering I am a relative newbie myself), but (and again I can not go into examples here) as a 21 year old trash player who has been to probably 6 or 7 trash tournaments (most of those this year) I would expect not to have even heard about some of them (or have heard of them, but never would have gotten them), especially the older ones, which I have at some of the past tournaments. For instance, this tournament was striving to be on par with the difficulty of TRASH regionals, and I, personally, do not believe it matched it. But, like I said and told Fred, I thought it was a very good tournament overall and I am glad it happened and I hope it happens again.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by pray for elves »

the dictionary wrote:am·a·teur
n.
1. A person who engages in an art, science, study, or athletic activity as a pastime rather than as a profession.
Unless there's some secret shadow trash circuit where players make enough money to support themselves playing tournaments, I'd say that every player is an amateur.

I agree that we fell short of TRASH Regionals' difficulty; we chose to err on the side of having people be able to get points rather than having people know nothing. However, TRASH Regionals' difficulty comes partially from having lots of niche questions which are entirely unanswerable to people without intimate knowledge. In any case, quizbowl has lacked trash tournaments with easy difficulty lately; the last deliberate attempt that I know of was BU's Junior Bird from fall 2006. If there's a next time, I would make things a little bit harder, but not very much so.
jhn31 wrote:OFFENSIVE
This is patently ridiculous, and I don't think I need to defend this allegation.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Cheynem »

I would expect not to have even heard about some of them (or have heard of them, but never would have gotten them), especially the older ones, which I have at some of the past tournaments.
I'm having trouble following your post, but it sounds like you are complaining that you had heard about everything being asked in this set. However, that really is the goal of most regular difficulty academic tournaments, to write about accessible, "gettable" things, so I see no problem at all with a regular difficulty trash tournament doing the same thing. This was never billed as the ACF Nats of trash. Personally, I don't see what the attraction is to write stuff that people have never heard about unless they've played a billion trash packets.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by answerguy »

Dan Greenstein wrote:I disagree with Mike C. on the inherent superiority of central production trash tournaments. I agree that trash writing principles should be just as solid as for academic tournaments. However, packet submission tournaments are a way for inexperienced question writers to practice their writing skills and to learn the tenets of good trash writing. Just because it is hard to write good trash questions does not mean we should just let the experts handle the entire task. Taking an active role in producing the packets that comprise the question sets we play on would be more practical for the learning process and for producing a large group of experienced trash question writers than playing on expert-produced sets all the time.
Not to mention that if it weren't for all these submission tournaments, people wouldn't be writing new trash packets and y'all would be stuck with my 35-year old rear end determining what's in the trash canon, to the extent that anything can be said to be in it. And no one wants that. I don't want that either - for one thing, I have a demanding and (reasonably) well-paying job to hold down that doesn't involve writing trash/TRASH questions.

For the most part, I attempt to comply with the same principles for writing trash/TRASH as I do with academic question material. It's a little trickier in so far as there seem to be a lot more potential ways to approach a particular answer, meaning that one man's "lead-in" clue is often another man's "giveaway" clue.

In any event, I'm trying to get to a trash tournament at some point before TRASHionals to get some idea of what people are writing these days on the circuit. I'd prefer not to write from a perspective of isolation when I try to figure out what is reasonable to ask about and what isn't, which is always tricky with pop culture stuff due to mass market segmentation and large differences in knowledge bases between different types of players.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Demonic Leftovers »

I want to thank everyone who played this and apologize for some of the issues that we had namely the repeats. On the issues that currently are being discussed our goal in writing this tournament was to be accessible to most everyone playing while still determining who the best teams were. The fact that most people knew the answers by the end of questions tells me that we were successful in this. Admittedly we had some tossups that were transparent from the beginning, (some of which were my fault) and bonuses were probably a little too easy at times but I'm glad this skewed too easy rather than too hard. It is a problem for trash that when we think that we have to write about things that are fairly obscure for tossups. I'd be happy writing tossups on minor Bruce Springsteen songs and Washington Redskins but that would result in everyone who doesn't care about those things hating Trash. It's important to keep Trash accessible to everyone playing except for Trashionals level tournaments or your only going to have Trashionals level players enjoy it. As for the n-word issue I don't see an issue.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Matt Weiner »

dseal wrote: It's important to keep Trash accessible to everyone playing except for Trashionals level tournaments or your only going to have Trashionals level players enjoy it.
I think you mean "professional trash players"!
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by marnold »

Maybe all the racism/red-headed women nonsense can be moved into a separate thread. Not, of course, merely to salvage discussion of GARBAGE itself, but to guarantee that the resulting thread can continue to rumble on its way to a dominating sweep of the String Ray Awards without being hindered by anything even vaguely constructive.

EDIT: Oh hey look, it happened while I was posting!
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Susan »

marnold wrote:Maybe all the racism/red-headed women nonsense can be moved into a separate thread. Not, of course, merely to salvage discussion of GARBAGE itself, but to guarantee that the resulting thread can continue to rumble on its way to a dominating sweep of the String Ray Awards without being hindered by anything even vaguely constructive.
Done* and done**.

*racism

**arguments involving people with idiotic .sigs that cause me to hate them on sight
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

marnold wrote:...red-headed women nonsense ...
OFFENSIVE. *faints of the vapors*

But, getting back to the real discussion. There were a few tossups that were rather weak, consisting of vague statements without titles or clues about these titles, but overall, this tournament was enjoyable to read and watch being played.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by marnold »

Now that this can be a more normal (though sadly less hilarious) thread, I will echo the general praise for this tournament. I enjoyed it more than the MO and Penn Bowl trash tournaments. The repeats (in both answers, clues, and kinds of clues) were ungodly annoying and there of course some terrible clunkers, but I thought this tournament had generally good answer selection and acceptable clue-ordering. For whatever reason, I really like the idea of playing trash before it happens, like the idea of having just played trash, and yet rarely actually enjoy the experience itself, but this seemed pretty good.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by Cheynem »

marnold wrote: For whatever reason, I really like the idea of playing trash before it happens, like the idea of having just played trash, and yet rarely actually enjoy the experience itself, but this seemed pretty good.
Playing trash sounds like grad school.
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Re: GARBAGE Packet Submission - 2/28/09 & 3/1/09

Post by answerguy »

Cheynem wrote:
marnold wrote: For whatever reason, I really like the idea of playing trash before it happens, like the idea of having just played trash, and yet rarely actually enjoy the experience itself, but this seemed pretty good.
Playing trash sounds like grad school.
Except that you don't need to take out a non-dischargeable loan to play in a trash tournament. :smile:
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