ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by cvdwightw »

Science Non-Strosity: There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom, will be a side tournament affiliated with Cardinal Classic. As of right now it will take place sometime on Sunday. It will definitely feature 10 rounds of 15 tossups and no bonuses; the existence of additional rounds is dependent upon how quickly questions get written. As the subtitle indicates, even if you suck at science, you should come and play this tournament.

What is the format?
As with Science Monstrosity, this tournament will be primarily a doubles tournament; Division II players and players who (claim to) suck at science will be allowed to play on three-person teams. The "doubles" and "triples" divisions will combine to play a full round robin, or bracketed round robins should there be more than 10 teams. I am currently leaning towards pick-your-own-teammate(s) with free agent/unaffiliated players in a draft to form remaining teams, but if people would prefer a full draft or some kind of eHarmony-style matching (bio player seeking physics player to complement knowledge), I am also open to that.

What is the distribution?
The per-round distribution consists of 15/0, to be distributed among the following:
3/0 Biology
3/0 Chemistry
3/0 Physics
1/0 Additional Biology, Chemistry, or Physics
1/0 Mathematics
1/0 Computer Science
1/0 Astronomy
1/0 Earth Science
1/0 Additional minor science or other science-related topics

Tossups that clearly straddle the line between two categories will be marked as "additional biology, chemistry, or physics" even if they overlap with minor science; tossups on things like thermodynamics will be put in whichever distribution makes the most sense given the clues in the tossup.

Because I think powers are cool, powers will be added when the packets are compiled. There will probably not be superpowers or negs.

Do I have to write a packet and/or pay money to play?
Questions will be centrally produced by myself and whoever I can get to help me. As of this announcement that includes Ray Anderson, Bruce Arthur, Darwin Fu, Brandon Hensley, Colin McNamara, Evan Silberman, and Andrew Ullsperger; additional people may still be signing on to this project.

In keeping with the spirit of Science Monstrosity, this tournament will be completely free. Yes, that's right, you pay absolutely nothing.

What is the difficulty?
This tournament will use Magin's Tossup Difficulty Scale. There will be questions ranging from things you learned in high school to things where old-packet knowledge will not help you. The target average difficulty will be somewhere around ACF Regionals, though this is not guaranteed to hold within subjects (some subcategories may skew slightly harder, some may skew slightly easier).

Can I mirror this tournament?
This tournament will be mirrored at MIT. Any other tournament that is mirroring Cardinal Classic is encouraged to mirror this tournament as well. Hoosier Open and any of its mirrors are also encouraged to mirror this tournament. Informal mirrors in people's houses or something are also encouraged.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Auroni »

hey i guess i'll play this
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by cvdwightw »

This is a spot for me to keep track of players and moderators.

Playing:
Ian
Tirth
Brian
Ray Luo
Billy
Arnav
Mike
Seth (tentative)
Selene (tentative)
Steven and other Berkeley people
presumably lots of other people?

Moderating:
Dwight
Ray Anderson
Marcus (likely)
Auroni
Last edited by cvdwightw on Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:41 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Golran »

If UCLA is still there at this time I will play.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by tkpatel »

As will I.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by DumbJaques »

As I hope to play this at the CC mirror at UMBC (get announcement up pls), I'll take up Dwight's suggestion to transplant the fifteen tossup discussion from the MO lit thread here. Seriously, I just think 15 tossup sets are a bad idea. If you absolutely can't get an extra 50 tossups from anywhere, I'd rather, say, cannibalize two packets and try to write an extra 20 or something (or even cannibalize three). While it may be true that nobody really goes to side events with a blindly rabid, victory-or-death need to emerge statistically victorious, it's still quizbowl and quizbowl is a competitive activity. My point is, the justification that "it's ok to have 15 because even though it throws off the ability of the round to measure teams, it's a side tournament and that's not as important" is a really bad one because if you believe that, then why have rounds or teams at all? Just plop everyone in a central room a la Science Failstrosity at CO 07 and read tossups (hint: don't do this).

A side event can be quite a rewarding competitive experience and I see no reason it's different from quizbowl in general - I enjoy the learning and competition aspects of side events as much as any other tournament, and I would be utterly surprised if most other people didn't as well (in fact, some of my most enjoyable competitive experiences have come playing side events with Matt and Eric). As long as you're writing a quizbowl tournament, you should strive to meet both goals.

If the argument is, on the other hand, that 15 tossups is as suitable for accurately measuring two teams as is 20 tossups, that seems a logically defensible position, but I wholeheartedly disagree with it. Particularly if you want to devote a decent chunk of the distribution to the regionals plus, nationals, post nationals, and THE BEYOND area of the spectrum (as this, and all side tournaments I've seen, seem intent on), then it simply becomes annoying when rounds can boil down to around 10 answered tossups. That means that in some games, you've got maybe 150 points available total (realistically, it will be much closer to 100 since powers at side tournaments probably aren't going to be that plentiful). That means that one neg and bounceback, potentially a 35 point swing, can constitute over a quarter of the available points in a fair amount of games. I'd say that's objectively bad, but in a non-statistical sense, 15 tossups games just feel way too short to me and, personally, have a tangibly negative impact on my experience. I know several other players mentioned this at MO lit (and Ryan brought it up in the other thread), so hopefully they'll echo the sentiment.

On the flip side, clear awarding of awesome points for putting in powers. The revolution is coming.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by cvdwightw »

While I disagree with the idea that side tournaments should be a complete reflection of a standard quizbowl tournament (for instance, a standard quizbowl tournament needs to have much more tightly controlled difficulty, while a subject tournament should be free to explore everywhere from the very easy to the very hard), I do see the merit in your argument about having 20 tossup rather than 15 tossup games. However, I wasn't sure how many questions would be feasibly written.

Now that I have something like 8-10 collaborators, I think it's reasonable to pull off a 200 tossup tournament. How do people feel about the following per-round distribution:
3/0 biology
3/0 chemistry
3/0 physics
2/0 additional bio/chem/physics
1/0 astro
1/0 earth science
1/0 additional astro/earth science
1/0 math
1/0 CS
1/0 additional math/CS
1/0 clearly interdisciplinary science (clues from more than 2 disciplines) or additional bio/chem/physics
2/0 other science-related topics
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by grapesmoker »

Well, I'll play this regardless of where I am.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Schweizerkas »

I'll certainly play this, provided I'm not needed to moderate. The 20-tossup distribution sounds fine to me.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

grapesmoker wrote:Well, I'll play this regardless of where I am.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Jeaton1 »

UMBC! Please, please please please mirror this. kthx.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by unnecessarily hot »

I'm in on this, and I'm sure there will be a few other Berkeley players who'd want to come.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by cvdwightw »

UPDATE!

Barring some kind of miraculous question-writing binge, this tournament will have either 8 or 9 rounds of 20 tossups each. The distribution is slightly modified:

3/0 bio
3/0 chem
3/0 physics
2/0 additional big three
1/0 interdisciplinary
1/0 math
1/0 CS
1/0 more math or CS
1/0 astronomy
1/0 earth science
1/0 additional minor science, hopefully from astronomy or earth science
1/0 additional academic science-related topics (e.g. history of science, philosophy of science, engineering and technology)
1/0 SCIENCE! and other non-academic science-related topics

Currently we are slightly harder than our goal of "regionals" difficulty but we're easier than "nationals" difficulty on average; some subcategories are currently skewing harder towards "nationals" and I will be trying to bring those categories down a little. Regardless, every packet should have some high school and fall level answers, so no game should be ending like 10-0. Also a reminder that these questions have powers and no negs.

I will really, really try to have this stuff out to the mirrors on Friday morning before I leave for Cardinal Classic. Contact people for Science Non-Strosity mirrors, please let me know who you are and what e-mail address I should be sending packets to.

We'll probably just all meet at 10:00, pick captains, and run a draft. Doubles/Triples/Quads dependent on how many people show up and what makes sense given the number of rounds. Right now between the Irvine club and Mik I should have whatever moderators I need, so anyone at the Stanford site who wants to play, we'll make room for you. Are there people other than me that are going to provide laptops to read off of (please yes?)? Should I bring some blank paper to keep score on, or are the Stanford folks going to provide scoresheets?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Golran »

I'll bring my laptop, so that can be up for read off of, assuming we are still there when this goes down. Confirm/deny Ray?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Eärendil »

I'll donate my laptop if need be. We'll have plenty of scoresheets.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Auroni »

Okay, so I fucked up. I was down to play this, but saw some of the playtested questions mistakenly. My only course now is to moderate, are there still spots for that left?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by cvdwightw »

JelloBiafra wrote:Okay, so I fucked up. I was down to play this, but saw some of the playtested questions mistakenly. My only course now is to moderate, are there still spots for that left?
Wait what? There are questions that have been playtested already?

Anyway, shoot me an e-mail with whatever you can remember about the questions you saw (author and any answer choices best), and if it's not like 20-30 questions I'll try to throw all of those questions into as few rounds as possible so you can just moderate on a few rounds and play the rest of the time.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Auroni »

cvdwightw wrote:
JelloBiafra wrote:Okay, so I fucked up. I was down to play this, but saw some of the playtested questions mistakenly. My only course now is to moderate, are there still spots for that left?
Wait what? There are questions that have been playtested already?

Anyway, shoot me an e-mail with whatever you can remember about the questions you saw (author and any answer choices best), and if it's not like 20-30 questions I'll try to throw all of those questions into as few rounds as possible so you can just moderate on a few rounds and play the rest of the time.
Bruce was playtesting some of his questions in the chatroom earlier, and I thought that I had already signed up to moderate, so I heard a few of his tossups. At this point, I think I'd have more fun moderating anyway, so can I do that?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by cvdwightw »

dinoian wrote:I'll bring my laptop, so that can be up for read off of, assuming we are still there when this goes down. Confirm/deny Ray?
I think that we're giving you guys a ride, so if we're there, you're there.
JelloBiafra wrote:Bruce was playtesting some of his questions in the chatroom earlier, and I thought that I had already signed up to moderate, so I heard a few of his tossups. At this point, I think I'd have more fun moderating anyway, so can I do that?
Sure, that's fine.

I'm assuming that more people will be showing up to play than have actually registered in this thread. I also do not have any indication from the mirror sites as to where I should be sending these packets. Assuming there aren't major repeat problems in the questions I haven't seen, I should have a "full" set of 9 packets sent out Thursday night or Friday morning, so I'd like contact information before then.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by wd4gdz »

Sign me up, please.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by setht »

cvdwightw wrote:I'm assuming that more people will be showing up to play than have actually registered in this thread.
Selene and I want to play this, but we're still waiting to see if we can play without messing up the logistics of getting the other Chicago people off to Oakland airport.

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Eärendil »

Oh hey I can't believe I haven't signed up for this yet. I'm playing!
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Mike Bentley »

I'm there, I might as well stick it out for the CS. Sign me up.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by cvdwightw »

Ray Luo has expressed a preference to start play as soon as we are able to get into the building. In light of this, would players and staff be okay with meeting outside the building around 9:45 to run a draft and put the questions on people's laptops, so we can start immediately?

Also, MIT mirror is definitely a go.

EDIT: Format
The format will definitely be teams of 2 and 3, picked by team captains. If you are interested in being a captain, post here; if I need more captains I will just appoint them the day of the tournament. If I have too many captains, we'll do like random number picking or something.

If we have 16-24 people, we will run an 8 team full round robin, followed by ACF-style finals (and/or exhibition play on the final two packets).

If we have 12-16 people, we will run a 6 team full round robin, followed by bracketing into 3/3 (with "exhibition" games on the bye round), followed by a one-game final if two teams are tied (I hope a circle of death situation does not occur).

If we have less than 12 people, we will run a 4 team double round robin, followed ACF-style finals (and/or exhibition play on the final three packets).
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by DumbJaques »

Dwight, since it seems like Maryland will be assuming responsibility for doing something with this at some point over the weekend, could you email the questions when the time comes to SCIENCE "TD" Jeff Amoros at [email protected]?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Eärendil »

cvdwightw wrote: ... meeting outside the building around 9:45 ...
The building will be open at 8 AM, so we can start earlier than 9:45 this year.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by jonpin »

cvdwightw wrote:If we have 12-16 people, we will run a 6 team full round robin, followed by bracketing into 3/3 (with "exhibition" games on the bye round), followed by a one-game final if two teams are tied (I hope a circle of death situation does not occur).
Especially since this is just tossups with no negs and small teams, if a circle of death happens, could you just throw all three teams on one set of buzzers as a worst-case scenario?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Mike Bentley »

Eärendil wrote:
cvdwightw wrote: ... meeting outside the building around 9:45 ...
The building will be open at 8 AM, so we can start earlier than 9:45 this year.
Great idea. The earlier this gets done, the more likely it is that I can play at least some frisbee later in the day.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by cvdwightw »

Eärendil wrote:
cvdwightw wrote: ... meeting outside the building around 9:45 ...
The building will be open at 8 AM, so we can start earlier than 9:45 this year.
Sweet. What time do people want to shoot for? I'm suggesting starting the draft at 8:30 and play no later than 9, does that work for people?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Eärendil »

(cross-posted from the CC thread):
Cardinal Classic (and all side events, for that matter) will take place in the Nitery, which is part of the Old Union complex. Here it is on the map. If you're driving, I'd recommend parking in the Tresidder parking lot off Mayfield Avenue. The building is a short walk away from there.

As for time, playing by 9 AM sounds good to me.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by unnecessarily hot »

As it stands, Berkeley is sending 4 people to Science Non-Strosity. The odds of me being able to play are slim, since I have to work on a project that day (I'll see if I can weasel my way out of it.) The only hitch is that I might be their only ride? We'll figure it out by Sunday.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by cvdwightw »

Science Non-Strosity packets were sent to all mirror sites about 6 hours ago. If you did not get them, you need to contact me in the next 2 hours or so, as I have no idea what my Internet access is going to be like the rest of the day. Final average difficulty was between 3 and 3.1 on the Magin scale for Rounds 1-7 and 3.25 for Rounds 8 and 9, so there should be plenty of questions answerable by players of all levels in addition to the "canon-busting flavor" people come to know and love at these kinds of tournaments.

All of my co-authors should also have a copy of the packets, so if you can't reach me, you can try one of them if you have their e-mail. In alphabetical order, I'd like to thank the following people for helping me with this project:

Ray Anderson
Bruce Arthur
Matthew Feldman
Darwin Fu
Brandon Hensley
Colin McNamara
Evan Silberman
Andrew Ullsperger

Again, thanks to everyone who collaborated, thanks to everyone that's gone through the trouble of getting this mirrored at other sites, and I really hope everyone has a good time with it.

I'll start a discussion thread on Sunday night with more specific details, unless Jeff informs me that the Maryland site is doing something on Monday instead (any later, and I'll just ask the mid-Atlantic folks interested in playing to avoid that thread).
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry
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Mike Bentley
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by Mike Bentley »

The team of Seth and Selene went undefeated to win this tournament. Other top bracket teams were Ray / Paul and Stanford.
Mike Bentley
VP of Editing, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence
Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008
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cvdwightw
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Science Non-Strosity (2/15/2009)

Post by cvdwightw »

Five teams of two and a team of three played Science Non-Strosity.

Stats for the tournament are now up.

Thanks to all players that came to all mirror sites, and we'll have a full discussion once I figure out what's going on in the mid-Atlantic.

Without revealing too much about the set, I'll just say that I was probably much too stingy with the placement of powers, there were a few questions that I probably should have looked over one more time, and as befits a subject tournament, there were a few questions in the great expanse beyond the canon; overall, I thought it was a pretty solid set and had fun writing my near-half of it.

Anyone who wants a copy of the set can e-mail me at dpwynne at gmail dot com. Specify whether you would like it as a Word 2003 or 2007 file. Each answer line also contains the initials of the original question writer and the Magin difficulty I judged the question at, which is probably slightly off where it should probably be. The set will be sent to the Stanford and QBPacket archives in two weeks, or sooner if the mid-Atlantic mirror falls through again.
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry
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