ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

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ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by magin » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:36 am

Feel free to discuss this year's ACF Regionals. If anyone wants to give me feedback on the categories I edited (literature, American history, some European history, fine arts, philosophy, sociology, psychology), please email me at jsmagin at yahoo dot com.

We're both contrite about the problems with packet randomization (both the lateness and a few poorly-edited tossups I marked to be cut ending up in packets anyway). Anyway, discuss away.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Ondes Martenot » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:56 pm

Overall, I had a lot of fun playing this tournament. The questions in general were interesting and well written and I appreciated the fact that most of the bonuses could at least be 10'd. In general, this seemed like a very accessible tournament for both new teams like ourselves and more experienced.

Perhaps this was my imagination, but this tournament seemed noticeably easier than ACF winter. Again, I'm probably a bad judge on assessing tournament difficulty but it felt like this was what ACF Winter should have been like while ACF Winter was what this should have been like, if simply that it seemed like the bonuses at ACF Winter were a bit harder than the ones yesterday.

Anyway, some of my favorite tossups were Hartford convention, prostitutes, rampage and Yoda. I also enjoyed the military aircraft bonus. Not a huge fan of the snow tossup.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:57 pm

I may have more comments later, but I just wanted to note that the de Falla tossup was a pretty huge hose for Francois Poulenc, who also wrote a harpsichord concerto for Wanda Landowska.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:28 pm

I very much enjoyed the tournament. There were a lot of very good questions.
The one problem that caught my attention the most was the bonus on equations of state. Sorry if I go on about this too long, but I just learned this stuff in one of my classes.
What I remember
Part 1: Van der Walls EOS. I think this may have been fine; I don't remember feeling completely lost, but I don't remember what clue was given.
Part 2: The clue was something like "this EOS added a cubic term." There are a huge number of cubic equations of state. In the order given in my book, listed by year introduced: van der Waals, Clausius, Berthelot, Redlich-Kwong (answer wanted if I remember right), Soave modification of Redlich Kwong (Part 3, which might be ok but should at least prompt on SRK), Lee-Erbar-Edmister, Peng-Robinson, Patel-Teja. Based on this list, I'm not sure how we were supposed to come up with Redlich-Kwong. Van der Waals might even be the best answer again.

Now, I think this bonus could be fixed to be uniquely identifying on all three parts. Perhaps something like:
1) van der Waals EOS, talking about how it was an early fix to the ideal gas law
2) Soave (the person), saying that he modified the Redlich-Kwong equation of state, including use of the acentric factor.
3) Virial EOS, describing how it looks: (V should be "V bar") PV/RT= 1 + B/V + C/V^2 + ....
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Susan » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:34 pm

Maybe I'll have something more to say when I look over the questions again, since I never really take in very much while reading them, but the tossups on Doctor Faustus and cats both had easy clues very early ("Nepomuk" as the eighth word and something involving the word "neko" in the first sentence, respectively).

I thought both the PCR and helicase questions were very good. How delightful to see RecQ and DnaB come up.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:42 pm

aarcoh wrote:I also enjoyed the military aircraft bonus.
That bonus seemed to lack any canonical answer parts. It seemed like a relatively easy 30 for people intrested in that type of stuff, and a 0 for people not interested in military aircraft.

Overall this tournament was very enjoyable. I appreciated well written tossups on a lot of stuff I read coming up, such as Germinal, Zora Neal Hurston, Kawabata, Darkness at Noon and lots of other stuff.

The tossups on "King Edward" and "Harding" seemed very guessable. As did the tossup on "Ali".

The Kenneth from 30 Rock clue was really weirdly written and also fairly transparent, although I had to wait a few lines to figure out what the hell was going on there.

Dropping the Fridgean Cap (or however you spell it) that early in the Liberty Leading the People tossup seemd ill-conceived, and the bonus on David seemed hyper-easy.

I've never heard of the non-Hopper stuff in that grafiti bonus. Is this just some big hole in my knowledge, or did other people think that was pretty hard?

While I appreciate tossups on Fire Emblem, that tossup fell into the trap of writing videogame elements exclusively on plot. I've played about five Fire Emblem games but didn't get it to after the FTP because, for me, plot is a very unimportant part of these games. The reason that they're popular is the gameplay systems, and the tossup could have done a much better job describing those systems. For instance, clues about the sword, axe, lance hierarchy, the ability of units to "rescue" other units and its unique system of buying weapons on the map would be appreciated. In general, I feel a lot of videogames questions fall into this "plot trap" where they neglect most of what makes the actual game successful and entertaining and instead write about the often obscure or unimportant back story.

Speaking of videogames, that Megaman bonus seemed way easy for ACF Regionals. Is Dr. Wily really hard enough to give out 20 points?
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:46 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I've never heard of the non-Hopper stuff in that grafiti bonus. Is this just some big hole in my knowledge, or did other people think that was pretty hard?
Basquiat and Haring are definitely the big two of graffiti/non-traditional urban art that get covered in classes/textbooks/quizbowl from time to time (I'm assuming this is the bonus you're referring to). I don't know that I would make both of them bonus parts in the same question at this level, but they are definitely important.
While I appreciate tossups on Fire Emblem, that tossup fell into the trap of writing videogame elements exclusively on plot. I've played about five Fire Emblem games but didn't get it to after the FTP because, for me, plot is a very unimportant part of these games.
Agreed on the principle here, and also noting that Ike Jose couldn't buzz on that tossup until the very end...
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by JackGlerum » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:56 pm

Niemeyer, 99 Problems, Diocletian, and Joseph K were all pretty cool tossups.

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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:10 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote: I've never heard of the non-Hopper stuff in that grafiti bonus. Is this just some big hole in my knowledge, or did other people think that was pretty hard?
I wrote the graffiti bonus, with the original parts being Basquiat/Haring/Shepard Fairey (the guy who did the Obama "Hope" poster). I actually included a note to the editor that I was worried the bonus was too easy- now that I think about it, Basquiat is pretty hard, but I've known about Haring since like elementary school, and he does come up.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:14 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote: I've never heard of the non-Hopper stuff in that grafiti bonus. Is this just some big hole in my knowledge, or did other people think that was pretty hard?
Keith Haring's art is all over the place in many cities; I actually hesitated because I thought he was from San Francisco rather than New York, but the descriptions were right so we went with it. I think that bonus was fine.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:34 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote: I've never heard of the non-Hopper stuff in that grafiti bonus. Is this just some big hole in my knowledge, or did other people think that was pretty hard?
Keith Haring's art is all over the place in many cities; I actually hesitated because I thought he was from San Francisco rather than New York, but the descriptions were right so we went with it. I think that bonus was fine.
Ok, I'll put this one down as being just a hole in my knowledge.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Sir Thopas » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:35 pm

myamphigory wrote:Maybe I'll have something more to say when I look over the questions again, since I never really take in very much while reading them, but the tossups on Doctor Faustus and cats both had easy clues very early ("Nepomuk" as the eighth word and something involving the word "neko" in the first sentence, respectively).
Where was that cats tossup? I don't remember hearing it, and my search brings up nothing.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:43 pm

squareroot165 wrote: Part 2: The clue was something like "this EOS added a cubic term." There are a huge number of cubic equations of state. In the order given in my book, listed by year introduced: van der Waals, Clausius, Berthelot, Redlich-Kwong (answer wanted if I remember right), Soave modification of Redlich Kwong (Part 3, which might be ok but should at least prompt on SRK), Lee-Erbar-Edmister, Peng-Robinson, Patel-Teja. Based on this list, I'm not sure how we were supposed to come up with Redlich-Kwong. Van der Waals might even be the best answer again.
I've never been sure whether I should be happy about equations of state bonuses because I can thirty them, or angry at them because clues aren't often uniquely identifying. This falls into the trap where if you said "it's famous for being cubic, and a middle part, and not vdW again," then many people would immediately know "I should say Redlich-Kwong, because that comes up." But quizbowl fame is not itself a clue, obviously; saying "the most quizbowl-famous condensation" might, in fact, be uniquely identifying for aldol or Claisen or something, but using it blows.
Now, I think this bonus could be fixed to be uniquely identifying on all three parts. Perhaps something like:
1) van der Waals EOS, talking about how it was an early fix to the ideal gas law
2) Soave (the person), saying that he modified the Redlich-Kwong equation of state, including use of the acentric factor.
3) Virial EOS, describing how it looks: (V should be "V bar") PV/RT= 1 + B/V + C/V^2 + ....
This would be very much an improvement.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by JackGlerum » Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:03 pm

Sir Thopas wrote:Where was that cats tossup? I don't remember hearing it, and my search brings up nothing.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:33 pm

I wrote the cats tossup, though I didn't realize that the Japanese word for cat was that well-known, not knowing about Maneki Neko or Kami Neko or, indeed, any neko other than Neko Case.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Auroni » Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:23 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I've never heard of the non-Hopper stuff in that grafiti bonus. Is this just some big hole in my knowledge, or did other people think that was pretty hard?
Basquiat and Haring are definitely the big two of graffiti/non-traditional urban art that get covered in classes/textbooks/quizbowl from time to time (I'm assuming this is the bonus you're referring to). I don't know that I would make both of them bonus parts in the same question at this level, but they are definitely important.
While I appreciate tossups on Fire Emblem, that tossup fell into the trap of writing videogame elements exclusively on plot. I've played about five Fire Emblem games but didn't get it to after the FTP because, for me, plot is a very unimportant part of these games.
Agreed on the principle here, and also noting that Ike Jose couldn't buzz on that tossup until the very end...
I disagree here. There is a limitation on how one can write a Fire Emblem tossup, and people that have played the game should remember the names of prinicipal characters, class names (like Knight Lord), and central plot details.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:40 pm

I find it extremely egregious that there were so many video game tossups. In our last two games against Brown (the games that DECIDED THE TOURNAMENT), the trash TU in each packet was about video games. Thankfully, us and Brown split those TUs, but in an alternative universe where video game knowledge between our teams was less equal, this would have been a horrible way for a tournament to be decided.

We get it: certain writers love video games and love to write TUs on them. That's fine. I love baseball and 90's rap, and when I write trash I write mostly those two categories. But if I were to edit an entire distribution, I would not allow those preferences to dominate it, because I have a sense of fairness.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:04 pm

Before this thread completely derails into a discussion of "how many video game tossups are appropriate in a set?" (though I agree with Bruce that this particular sub-category was overrepresented), I wanted to see if we could nudge things back to a general assessment of the tournament.

My own take: I thought this was a pretty mediocre set. There were tossups with vague and/or unbuzzable lead-ins. (As I recall, the tossups on Dewey or "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" would fall into this category.) There were tossups that were glaringly transparent and/or fraudable. (I'm thinking here of things like "gaucho literature" and "Time of Troubles.") There were enormous swings in bonus difficulty within packets.

I should note that this is the only official ACF event I've played in the last two years (I just dropped in because it was at Stanford, and I was helping to fill out a house team). So I don't know how it compares with last year's regs, or with ACF Winter, or whatever; but I thought it was no better than the (justly critiqued) Cardinal Classic set I played on a few weeks ago, and in fact may have been worse than CC.

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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by magin » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:20 pm

I agree that the gaucho literature tossup was bad. It was submitted as a tossup on Martin Fierro, which I thought was too difficult for this tournament, so I turned it into a gaucho literature tossup. It should probably have been a tossup on Argentina or something less obviously fraudable. My apologies.

I don't know if I agree with the assertion about vague and unbuzzable leadins, though. I spent several hours reading essays about Dewey to try to find a specific leadin that people with knowledge could buzz on; if it was just too difficult, I apologize.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:41 pm

Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:I agree that the gaucho literature tossup was bad. It was submitted as a tossup on Martin Fierro, which I thought was too difficult for this tournament, so I turned it into a gaucho literature tossup. It should probably have been a tossup on Argentina or something less obviously fraudable. My apologies.

I don't know if I agree with the assertion about vague and unbuzzable leadins, though. I spent several hours reading essays about Dewey to try to find a specific leadin that people with knowledge could buzz on; if it was just too difficult, I apologize.
Not having the questions to look at, I can't really do more than repeat my impressions from the tournament itself. As I recall, the Dewey tossup began with a vague first sentence (about "being opposed to metaphysics as reification") which could have described James, or Dewey, or Rorty, or a number of other philosophers. (I doubt anyone playing this set had more "Dewey knowledge" than I do, and I found the first sentence unbuzzable, for whatever that's worth -- maybe I was just tired or mishearing things, but I thought it was poor.)

Also, while I'm sidetracking my own post, is "Martin Fierro" really too hard for a set which had, e.g., "The Princess of Cleves" as a tossup answer? The "gaucho literature" tossup especially stands out as being part of one of the worst packets of the tournament -- my team came from behind to beat Stanford B in that round thanks to me buzzing and saying "this must be gaucho literature," "this must be Ali," and "this must be Moliere," all of which were basically "fraudulent" buzzes, as I understand the current use of that term.

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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by magin » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:46 pm

The Princesse of Cleves was too hard; I overestimated the number of people who knew it. I should have replaced that tossup. Still, Martin Fierro is too difficult for this level, I believe.

From my research when editing the Dewey tossup, his description of the "philosophical fallacy" seemed unique to him. If it wasn't, I apologize.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by JackGlerum » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:46 pm

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:Not having the questions to look at, I can't really do more than repeat my impressions from the tournament itself. As I recall, the Dewey tossup began with a vague first sentence (about "being opposed to metaphysics as reification") which could have described James, or Dewey, or Rorty, or a number of other philosophers. (I doubt anyone playing this set had more "Dewey knowledge" than I do, and I found the first sentence unbuzzable, for whatever that's worth -- maybe I was just tired or mishearing things, but I thought it was poor.)
Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:I don't know if I agree with the assertion about vague and unbuzzable leadins, though. I spent several hours reading essays about Dewey to try to find a specific leadin that people with knowledge could buzz on; if it was just too difficult, I apologize.
Darthmouth A & Alabama B wrote:8.This thinker argued that metaphysicians who reify their biases for stable processes into principles that exist “outside of experience” commit the “philosophical fallacy.” This philosopher distinguished between existential and ideational propositions in Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, and responded to Walter Lippmann’s claim that the public could not successfully participate in democracy in The Public and Its Problems. Another of this thinker's works examines the pedagogical theories of Rousseau and Plato, and argues for in favor of experiential, progressive education. For 10 points, name this American pragmatist, the author of Experience and Nature and Democracy and Education.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:07 pm

JelloBiafra wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I've never heard of the non-Hopper stuff in that grafiti bonus. Is this just some big hole in my knowledge, or did other people think that was pretty hard?
Basquiat and Haring are definitely the big two of graffiti/non-traditional urban art that get covered in classes/textbooks/quizbowl from time to time (I'm assuming this is the bonus you're referring to). I don't know that I would make both of them bonus parts in the same question at this level, but they are definitely important.
While I appreciate tossups on Fire Emblem, that tossup fell into the trap of writing videogame elements exclusively on plot. I've played about five Fire Emblem games but didn't get it to after the FTP because, for me, plot is a very unimportant part of these games.
Agreed on the principle here, and also noting that Ike Jose couldn't buzz on that tossup until the very end...
I disagree here. There is a limitation on how one can write a Fire Emblem tossup, and people that have played the game should remember the names of prinicipal characters, class names (like Knight Lord), and central plot details.
I'm not saying that characters and plot aren't important at all, but this question was pretty much exclusively on plot, which is only one facet of the game and which I feel shouldn't be 90% of a tossup's content.

"Knight Lords" doesn't strike me as something at all distinctive about Fire Emblem. I'd wager there are probably "Knight Lords" in a dozen fantasy games. I think better gameplay related clues would have focused on things like Hector's Mode, the Secret Card or whatever it's called that you can get to access secret shops, Marth's moves in Smash Bros., etc.

Also, the fact remains that I don't believe anyone who played on this tossup got this before the FTP (correct me if I'm wrong).

Anyways, I agree that, in general, there are too many videogame questions at academic tournaments. I'm certainly guilty of contributing to this--I had a Rampage question lying around so I inserted this into my packet. But 1/1 really should be the limit on the number of videogame questions--or any other subdistribution like baseball, Internet trash, rock music--at an academic tournament.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:08 pm

Yeah, for what it's worth "the philosophical fallacy" is not, to my knowledge, a bona fide piece of Deweyan jargon. And since you can't peg anything to that phrase, the first sentence could just as well be describing Whitehead, or Bergson, or a bunch of other early 20th-century philosophers. (I was playing someone who was able to buzz on "existential v. ideational propositions" before "Logic: The Theory of Inquiry" was said.)

With luck this will be the end of this particular sidetrack, and we can get back to a discussion of the overall quality of the set.

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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by cornfused » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:50 pm

Amonasro came up way too early in the Aida tossup.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:56 pm

Too bad you weren't there to hear it in person...
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:58 pm

cornfused wrote:Amonasro came up way too early in the Aida tossup.
The Aida tossup (if maybe not that clue; I can't remember) caused a really early buzzer race and a lot of invective from Ted, and Ted knows things about Aida, so I'm going to agree.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by magin » Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:02 pm

Oh yeah, I apologize about the Aida tossup, which was by leaps and bounds the worst arts tossup in the tournament. Amonasro should have been much later in the question. I take responsibility for that.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:17 pm

everyday847 wrote:
cornfused wrote:Amonasro came up way too early in the Aida tossup.
The Aida tossup (if maybe not that clue; I can't remember) caused a really early buzzer race and a lot of invective from Ted, and Ted knows things about Aida, so I'm going to agree.
There were quite a few questions of this sort, in which a name or some such was dropped early enough to cause a buzzer race or make a tossup transparent. I thought that in general, transparency was this tournament's main problem, with tossups like the one on "prostitutes." Similarly, editors with well-known tastes should keep in mind not to rely too heavily on those tastes when choosing answers. It definitely increases the transparency factor.

I very much enjoyed playing this tournament; we had a good field, and the majority of packets were quite good besides. "Quartet for the End of Time" and "Germinal" were fun answer choices; I loved seeing "Temple of the Golden Pavilion" come up, even if I did make a horrible mistake in answering it in our match against Doug Yetman. Thank you, editors!

*EDIT* Forgot to mention that while 1/1 Sonic the Hedgehog was a little odd, that Sonic gene tossup was also wonderful.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:56 pm

Oh yeah, so I was the author of the fighter planes bonus, which, as many of you noticed, had a glaring mistake in the second part. For some reason, I meant to write "A-10" as the answer, but instead wrote "A-2". I can only take solace in the fact that this mistake was so obvious that anywhere it would have mattered, a person saying A-10 would have easily won the protest, making it a non-issue.

This was my first attempt to include a "Modern World" question as part of the "Your Choice" distro.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by geekjohnson » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:40 pm

So what was the problem involving late packets? From what I read this caused a decent amount of trouble for some sites, like GT one. I half expected someone to be hung by now, at the normal rate at which people go about addressing these issues with other tournaments.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:43 pm

The packets took too long to randomize so a lot of sites didn't get them until 9:30 central time (so obviously that means things didn't start for at least an hour, and on the east coast even more). I think everyone knows they are pissed and don't see any need to continue expressing something that is just so implicit, but perhaps I'm wrong and people really are ignoring it.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:28 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote: Also, the fact remains that I don't believe anyone who played on this tossup got this before the FTP (correct me if I'm wrong).
I did-- fairly quickly in fact. Although I am a nerd who actually paid attention to the plot. Amusingly, I thought that it was a literature question at first.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Golran » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:30 pm

Are the packets available anywhere?
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:32 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:The packets took too long to randomize so a lot of sites didn't get them until 9:30 central time (so obviously that means things didn't start for at least an hour, and on the east coast even more). I think everyone knows they are pissed and don't see any need to continue expressing something that is just so implicit, but perhaps I'm wrong and people really are ignoring it.
FYI, I'm pretty confident the updated version of the Question Mixer (http://doc-ent.com/qbwiki/index.php?tit ... tion_Mixer) does a pretty good job of speedily randomizing questions when you're in a pinch. The problems that T-Party or whoever had when using it were due to using the older version.

Back on topic, I wasn't a big fan of name dropping "Victory Over the Sun" in the Suprematism tossup and then having it not be on Futurism. A quick Google search reveals a ton of hits for Futurism when you search for "Victory Over the Sun", and while the Suprematism Wikipedia page tells me that "Malevich also ascribed the birth of Suprematism to Victory Over the Sun, Kruchenykh's Futurist opera production for which he designed the sets and costumes in 1913", this still seems like a bad idea to do without some sort of "It's not Futurism, but ..." clue.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Ike » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:44 pm

I did-- fairly quickly in fact. Although I am a nerd who actually paid attention to the plot.
I really pay attention to the plots, but I mean, I just hadn't played that particular game, which is unfortunate for me.

In general, I think QB is geared towards the more "plot-oriented," visual element of words, which is why literature, history, RMP, and Visual Arts are sooo much fun to listen to: its like listening to a story in itself.
I wasn't a big fan of name dropping "Victory Over the Sun" in the Suprematism tossup and then having it not be on Futurism.
I remember nearly getting this wrong because of this, had it not been for Ian already negging previously, so I decided to wait for the end.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:49 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:The packets took too long to randomize so a lot of sites didn't get them until 9:30 central time (so obviously that means things didn't start for at least an hour, and on the east coast even more). I think everyone knows they are pissed and don't see any need to continue expressing something that is just so implicit, but perhaps I'm wrong and people really are ignoring it.
FYI, I'm pretty confident the updated version of the Question Mixer (http://doc-ent.com/qbwiki/index.php?tit ... tion_Mixer) does a pretty good job of speedily randomizing questions when you're in a pinch. The problems that T-Party or whoever had when using it were due to using the older version.
Since I wasn't in the room where they were randomizing, since I was playing, I don't know to what extent it got used, just that it didn't work on Eric's computer but worked on Brian's. One major issue probably arises from the fact that, since Eric couldn't get it to work, the lion's share of the randomization began once Eric got to Harvard, i.e. at about 9:15 Eastern or so.

This is actually probably a good time to thank Brian Young for doing a huge part of the randomization, which he somehow managed to do as he ran an impeccable stat room. Good job all around.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:49 pm

EDIT: Whoops I must really be making shit up in my head, I wasn't even playing for that suprematism packet.
Last edited by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) on Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:50 pm

Back on topic, I wasn't a big fan of name dropping "Victory Over the Sun" in the Suprematism tossup and then having it not be on Futurism.
I did, in fact, neg on this with Futurism. A stupid mistake, but still.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Pilgrim » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:06 pm

HKirsch wrote:
Back on topic, I wasn't a big fan of name dropping "Victory Over the Sun" in the Suprematism tossup and then having it not be on Futurism.
I did, in fact, neg on this with Futurism. A stupid mistake, but still.
I also negged this, but I'm not really convinced there was anything wrong with the question. I think it's pretty clear that anyone who negged did so due to lack of knowledge (not knowing that Malevich did the set designs).

It might have been better to say something like "the futurist opera Victory Over the Sun," but then you're establishing that this is an art movement that grew out of futurism, which just seems like an easier clue than the one about Victory.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:11 pm

From a technical standpoint, I thought this tournament was ok. There didn't seem to be many overlap issues, which was good, and the science was uniformly good (weird things like tossups on "snow" aside). At the tossup level, I thought there were a few problems of the kind Andrew refers to above; mainly, transparency issues and vague verbiage, as well as frequent difficulty cliffs (the "lying" tossup comes to mind as being particularly egregious).

More concerning to me was the wild inconsistency in bonus difficulty, and the worst part of that was the impossible 30. I mean, ok, you want to challenge top teams, but "Identify this Uruguayan-born poet who wrote in French and is not Lautreamont" is completely absurd and is in no way appropriate for a tournament that is ostensibly supposed to be "regular difficulty." There were plenty of bonuses that were a guaranteed 20 for a decent team and were impossible to get 30 on, and many other bonuses were just a very easy 30. I've noticed this trend popping up in tournaments like Penn Bowl and now Regionals; while I have nothing against accessibility, I think that writing bonuses in which two parts require being able to find your ass (and for one of the parts you even get a map) and then making the third part something no one's heard of is not the way to write accessible bonuses that also challenge good teams.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:19 pm

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:Also, while I'm sidetracking my own post, is "Martin Fierro" really too hard for a set which had, e.g., "The Princess of Cleves" as a tossup answer?
Is The Princess of Cleves really that obscure? My judgment might be wrong here, but it's an extremely influential novel, and an important part of literary history. We read it, for example, in a survey course in Comparative Literature and Culture I took as a freshman, along with such works as Madame Bovary, the Aeneid, Six Characters in Search of an Author, the Divine Comedy, etc.

I understand that it doesn't come up frequently in Quizbowl, but I think this is a case where its Quizbowl commonality is at odds with its academic importance, and I believe that in such cases we should try to bring the two closer together. Perhaps tossing it up at Regionals isn't the best way to do that, though.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by cornfused » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:32 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Too bad you weren't there to hear it in person...
Do you have a point?
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:49 pm

women, fire and dangerous things wrote:I understand that it doesn't come up frequently in Quizbowl, but I think this is a case where its Quizbowl commonality is at odds with its academic importance, and I believe that in such cases we should try to bring the two closer together. Perhaps tossing it up at Regionals isn't the best way to do that, though.
Lots of things are academically important and yet are not askable at mid-level tournaments because not enough people read them. The other works you listed are much more frequently read than the Princess of Cleves.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:59 pm

everyday847 wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:The packets took too long to randomize so a lot of sites didn't get them until 9:30 central time (so obviously that means things didn't start for at least an hour, and on the east coast even more). I think everyone knows they are pissed and don't see any need to continue expressing something that is just so implicit, but perhaps I'm wrong and people really are ignoring it.
FYI, I'm pretty confident the updated version of the Question Mixer (http://doc-ent.com/qbwiki/index.php?tit ... tion_Mixer) does a pretty good job of speedily randomizing questions when you're in a pinch. The problems that T-Party or whoever had when using it were due to using the older version.
Since I wasn't in the room where they were randomizing, since I was playing, I don't know to what extent it got used, just that it didn't work on Eric's computer but worked on Brian's. One major issue probably arises from the fact that, since Eric couldn't get it to work, the lion's share of the randomization began once Eric got to Harvard, i.e. at about 9:15 Eastern or so.
Eric, if you could give me some details of the problems you were having that would be most helpful.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by byoung » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:24 pm

Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:a few poorly-edited tossups I marked to be cut ending up in packets anyway
A lot of this was due to my frenzied and indiscriminate copy-and-pasting; I'm sorry, but even so I'm glad to have done what I could to help. And I would have been mostly useless without Mike Bentley's aforementioned Question Mixer; thanks, Mike!

I can report that it worked well and quickly, but only after an interminable (nearly 20-minute, I think) wait for the .NET framework to download properly. (I gather this is the point where Eric et al. gave up and decided to randomize by hand.) Mike can e-mail me if he wants feedback, but most of the problems, as far as I can tell, arose from what I'll term operator error.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by DumbJaques » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:29 pm

I wrote the Suprematism tossup below, which I believe was used verbatim:
Several members of this artistic school were lured away from Tramway V, while the move toward cubism by one member seen in The Violin created tension surrounding the 0.10 exhibition. One member of this school, which grew in part out of the Donkey's Tail, advocated a so-called fusion of painting and architecture he dubbed “Pround” and rambled insanely in the Judaism-inspired text Four Billy Goats. The cultural influence of the “beautiful corner” on this movement was discussed by its founder in The Non-Objective World, while another member created the politically-driven Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge. Including Popova and El Lissitzky, its founder worked on the set design for Victory over the Sun and works like a giant black dot and a “self-portrait” of red rectangles. FTP, identify this artistic school responsible for White on White, a blank canvas by Russian founder Kazimir Malevich.
ANSWER: Suprematism
I had thought that the phrasing "its founder worked on the set design. . ." eliminated Futurism in a strictly factual sense, but I apologize if this caused bumpy playability issues. I agree that dropping Futurism there would be antipyramidal, but could perhaps have been overcome with more creative phrasing. Still, I'm not convinced its really a hose for anything other than a reflex buzz, and this comes from the only person who's propensity for reflex buzzes has ever been the subject of multiple hsqb threads.

EDIT: Oh, by the way, didn't this tournament also have a tossup on Malevich? I believe I was able to get the tossup specifically off of a clue that also appears in my Suprematism question, which is not so great.

I am kind of puzzled that there has not been a more expansive discussion (or, more to the point, an explanation) for the packet issues. I do not accept that "stuff happened, people are sorry, go talk about Fire Emblem questions" is acceptable in the slightest. This is ACF Regionals, and as I understand it this tournament was meant to represent what ACF wanted to establish as "regular difficulty" in particular and be emblematic in general of its recent expansionary boom. Two years ago the Mid-Atlantic ACF regionals, despite being at noted central location Maryland, was so poorly attended that the event collapsed; this year, it featured almost 20 teams, many of whom had never attended ACF regionals before. This is beyond wonderful, but these teams were treated to the longest quizbowl delay I've ever experienced, received information minimal in the extreme on what was going/why it was happening (despite the set's chief editor being on site), and then come here to find a post BARELY acknowledging the problems. Jonathan, by reading your post one might assume the tournament was delayed by a few minutes and that there were a few minor sorting issues, rather than the reality of the situation (2 hours+ of delay at our site, packets being missorted so badly that people heard up to 3 extra tossups in a round instead of the actual distributed questions and the entire swath of the unedited packet fragments littering the files).

I think I know what basically happened because I've talked to people, but what you're essentially saying (with the silence on the issue) to the majority of the participants is that hey, sorry the tournament was 2 hours late and the packets were jumbled - shit happens. I talked to multiple "new-ish" teams at Swarthmore who had no reason to think this was not the norm for ACF tournaments, and had no reason to believe that it wasn't simply a result of people not giving a shit. Considering the immense untruth of both of those statements, I do not understand why Jonathan didn't feel it necessary to make a statement explaining to everyone why it went wrong, apologizing specifically, and yeah, acknowledging where the blame falls. While I care about the first two of those as a player affected by these problems, I care about the latter as someone who wants to see ACF and all it represents continue to expand even further, and right now, because of the whole brush-under-rug tac being taken in regards to this issue (whether deliberately or just out of indifference/unawareness), ACF as a whole is essentially shouldering full culpability for the *significant* problems, at least for anyone who doesn't personally talk to the people involved. That's not good.
Last edited by DumbJaques on Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by lasercats » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:34 pm

Maybe this is my inexperience speaking, but it seemed like there was a Japanese Literature question in every packet that we used. It would have been nice to see a little more variety among non-English literature.

On a more positive note, I was very happy with the music questions, especially the tossup about Lakme.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by yoda4554 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:28 am

grapesmoker wrote:
women, fire and dangerous things wrote:I understand that it doesn't come up frequently in Quizbowl, but I think this is a case where its Quizbowl commonality is at odds with its academic importance, and I believe that in such cases we should try to bring the two closer together. Perhaps tossing it up at Regionals isn't the best way to do that, though.
Lots of things are academically important and yet are not askable at mid-level tournaments because not enough people read them. The other works you listed are much more frequently read than the Princess of Cleves.
All of these things are true, IMHO--that is, Princess of Cleves should be canonical and come up more, but it shouldn't be a Regionals tossup.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:36 am

lasercats wrote:Maybe this is my inexperience speaking, but it seemed like there was a Japanese Literature question in every packet that we used. It would have been nice to see a little more variety among non-English literature.
There did appear to be a gaggle of Japanese questions in this tournament, which perhaps detracted from other areas of World History/Lit/Myth.

Overall, I enjoyed playing on this set, but I do have to echo previous comments regarding impossible thirties and some difficult tossup answers. I am glad that the editors worked as hard as they have and are acknowledging their shortcomings.

I will have more comments when I finally break my awake streak.
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