ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Cheynem » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:55 am

A fine set well run by the Chicago people. A few general comments:

-While one of my teammates was like the one-eyed man in the country of the blind with all of that Japanese literature, religion, and history, it seemed a touch excessive to a gaijin like me. The distribution could have been a little more even.

-The only tossup that I absolutely loathed was the American Revolution one that seemed designed to get you to neg if you had deep knowledge of any of the side wars and just confuse you anyway.

-The trash in this tournament seemed super-deep at times, which I have ambivalent feelings about. I've watched Star Trek and know some stuff about it, but I had no idea that you were talking about the Romulans until I heard "warbird." Polaris is also a rather tertiary figure in the X-Men mythos. Sideshow Mel is a relatively minor Simpsons character.

Bad Negs: Invisible Woman for Polaris, Magical Realism for Gaucho. I also recognized Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves right away, buzzed in, and epic failed as the best I could come up with was "that song by Cher."
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:08 am

As someone who read rather than played, I'd like to point out of few issues:
1. Could we please stop putting cute messages to the readers in the answer space? The idea of a Brainbow process is pretty cool, but I don't need to find out about it while I'm reading a packet. Also, referring to the American Revolution as the "War of Washingtonian Aggression" maybe amusing, but only throws the reader off. These sorts of things are really distracting. There were a few others and at one point, I negged a player where I should have prompted, thinking that the text after the given answer was just more irrelevant information, when it was really telling me to prompt his answer. Thankfully, I caught myself and prompted a few words later without going into another clue.

2. This may be a minuscule pet peeve, but it's caused me enough pronunciation grief already: Can we consider a move to a different font or move up in size? The issue is that with all the unique words that come up in the course of the game, very few of the proper nouns are recognized as being in the dictionary of Microsoft Word. As such, that annoying red line comes up, and at least for me, it makes it hard to sometime distinguish between a "y" and a "v." I'm not that great with strange words, so when an unfamiliar one comes up, this has a tendency to throw me off.

3. On that note, the size 10 font rule also leads to problems. I make my point by way of example: Open up word and in standard 12pt Times New Roman, type "Laverne and Shirley." No problems. Easy to Read. Now change it to 10pt and its pretty easy to mistake it for "Laveme and Shirley." This isn't hard to deal with for common words, but quiz bowl does not deal with common words. My own inclination is to consider switching to Calibri, which is my new font of choice.

Like I said, this is pretty unimportant, but it throws me off time and time again. As for the questions themselves, they seemed decent and for the most part pretty accessible barring some absurd bonus parts and the general wackiness of things like "snow," "American Revolution" and "reading the Qu'ran." I have no real complaints on the quality at all, only typographical issues.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:23 am

I mean, I don't know that I sympathize simply because it's very easy to zoom in higher. If you are having problems reading at 100%, then surely 125% or 150% will cover all your problems that slightly changing the font size will also fix.
Last edited by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) on Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:33 am

Point taken. I generally avoid doing this because I want to keep at least 2 tossups and 2 bonuses on the screen at once so I don't have to scroll all the time, which can hard with a small laptop screen. But it is really just a minor airing of grievances.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Alejandro » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:53 am

I enjoyed the set, though there were a few questions that were problematic: the snow tossup seemed like a "curved yellow fruit" question, the Okonkwo tossup was transparent, and the Northern Australia tossup didn't appear to prompt on Australia or the Outback. Also, I might have heard this question wrong, but I thought there was a bonus that mentioned answering questions about Santiago de Compostela in the lead-in but went on to only mention Central Asian locations.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Eärendil » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:08 am

Alejandro wrote:the Northern Australia tossup didn't appear to prompt on Australia or the Outback
The question was about the Northern Territory, which is a specific demarcation of land. The "Outback," on the other hand, is a generic term for the largely inhospitable Australian interior; it covers parts of all the mainland Australian states and the Northern Territory. Why should "Australia" elicit a prompt, or at least have a prompt written into the question? The clues were pretty specific about to the NT--it's second largest city is Alice Springs, for example--which don't apply to Australia as a whole. If I answered "United States of America" after hearing clues for "Mt. Rainier" and "Crater Lake," I suppose I would be prompted, but that would be up to the moderator, not necessarily the writer/editor.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by BuzzerZen » Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:34 am

Eärendil wrote:If I answered "United States of America" after hearing clues for "Mt. Rainier" and "Crater Lake," I suppose I would be prompted, but that would be up to the moderator, not necessarily the writer/editor.
Contrariwise, it is the duty of the question-writer to write as exhaustive an answer line as makes any sense for every question they write. The fewer judgment calls required of a moderator during a quiz bowl match, the better. It may well be that "Australia" shouldn't be promptable for "Northern Australia", but if you feel that it is, and you anticipate people saying it, put [Prompt on Australia] on the answer line.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:10 pm

Well, but Australia doesn't deserve a prompt there.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:25 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Well, but Australia doesn't deserve a prompt there.
Nope. It does not. The question was also clear that it was looking for a "territory" pretty early, a technical term that does not apply to Australia as a whole. Northern Australia is a not just a random piece of land, but a political entity.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:39 pm

squareroot165 wrote:The one problem that caught my attention the most was the bonus on equations of state.
Yeah, I want to agree with Michael here and maybe add a more general observation. From what I've seen, not only was this question not so hot because it seemingly didn't specify unique answers, but questions on equations of state generally are almost never very good for the same reason. Often clues are things like "This equation of state is third order and contains a temperature-dependent third coefficient." There are probably hundreds of equations that fit those clues; I can compound many further examples upon the ones Michael's already stated, but that seems unnecessary.
In short, I'd say that, if you're going to write a question on equations of state, you must be extraordinarily diligent about having important, unique clues. That may, in fact, entail having advanced knowledge in this particular topic; I'll readily concede that the reason that this is so often done poorly is that it's probably nearly impossible to come up with important, unique clues for most equations of state.

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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by theMoMA » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:11 pm

I apologize for the difficulty cliff in the tossup on snow. I meant to find an easier meteorology clue to go between the penultimate clue and the giveaway, but neglected to do it. The clues in the tossup, and the answer itself, are perfectly fine, though. Firn, nivation, and the like are good clues, it just needed to do a better job distinguishing at the end.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:30 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?
Though I would've 30'd had we gotten it, I thought it was pretty hard (though not egregiously so for this tournament.)

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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Strongside » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:08 pm

I don't have much to say other than to respond to what other people said.

Suprematism Tossup:

I negged with Constructivism on the Suprematism tossup of the Proun clue. The Proun clue referred to El Lissitzky, who I associated with Constructivism, and everything I could find in my question archive associated with the Constructivists. I realize now that he did stuff with Suprematism, and the earlier clues would have ruled Constructivism out.

American Revolution Tossup

13.**One theater in this general war saw forces under Haidar Ali defeated at the Battle of Porto Novo, part of the Second Anglo-Mysore War. The defeat of a fleet commanded by Juan de Langara in Cape St. Vincent became known as the Moonlight Battle and allowed George Rodney to resupply troops at Gibraltar. This more general conflict ended up sparking the 4th Anglo-Dutch War, and the Battle of the Saintes was a turning point in the Caribbean phase, known as the Antilles War. The French entered this conflict via the Treaty of Alliance, while Russia formed the League of Armed Neutrality during it. For 10 points, identify this conflict where a French naval victory at the Battle of the Virginia Capes prevented British troops from reinforcing Cornwallis at Yorktown.
ANSWER: American Revolutionary War [or the War For American Independence or the Northern War of George Washingtonian Aggression; prompt on "Second Anglo-Mysore War" or "Antilles War" or "4th Anglo-Dutch War" before mentioned]

I said Mysore War after the Hyder Ali clue, but before it mentioned the Second Anglo-Mysore War. I can't remember if the Battle of Porto Novo was said before I buzzed in. I got prompted and said the wrong answer. Hyder Ali is one of the Mysore people. The first clue says general war, and the American Revolution was general, but so was the Second Anglo-Mysore War as compared to the Mysore War.

I figure this was probably just a minor mistake/overlook by the editors, as is it had prompts listed, or maybe the Mysore War was not acceptable anywhere in the question. It doesn't matter, but I wanted to bring it up.

Basquiat/ Haring/ Night Hawks:

I think this bonus was on the hard side, but not extremely hard or too hard. Night Hawks is pretty easy, and the other two have come up before (Haring more than Basquiat). The Haring part would have been easier if it had mentioned Radiant Baby, which is what I know him best for. In case anyone is wondering, our team got 20 on the bonus, missing Basquiat.

Also, I am an Urban Studies major and I didn't know anything about Haring and Basquiat outside of coming up in quiz bowl, and it is worth noting there was a similar bonus at VCU Open. I know Chris White is working on a masters in Urban Planning, so he probably knows a lot more about urban issues than I do. Haring and Basquiat did stuff in New York City, so maybe they are better known the East Coast, but regardless they seem pretty cool.

Font:

I agree with Nolan on this. I think size 10 times new roman is too small and ugly. When I read packets, I change the font and/or make it larger. When I write questions I sometimes debate whether I write the questions in 10 times new roman so I know how many lines they are in relation to what the editors want, or do I write in another font that is more aesthetically pleasing? For reference, I like verdana, but this is a very minor issue.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:22 pm

I always read packets at 150% or 200%. Wouldn't changing the font to be bigger also result in fewer tossups per page, as Nolan fears?
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:24 pm

tetragrammatology wrote:...it was looking for a "territory" pretty early, a technical term that does not apply to Australia as a whole.
I don't think this line of argument is valid. Territory is a plenty generic term that can (and probably sometimes does!) validly refer to Australia as a whole. I'm not sure if Australia is prompt-worthy (since I can't see the question.)

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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:25 pm

I have no expertise in urban planning at all, but I think it's not really the place where you get to hear about Basquiat and Haring. My knowledge of Keith Haring comes from wandering around San Francisco, where his art can be seen in the streets; also, the tunnel which leads to the train station from Chicago's Midway Airport features some Haring murals (clue coming to a tournament near you). I honestly don't know all that much about Basquiat outside of his status as a graffiti artist in New York, but my impression was that he was fairly famous. In any case, I think you're much more likely to encounter them in modern art courses than urban planning courses.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:34 pm

grapesmoker wrote:I have no expertise in urban planning at all, but I think it's not really the place where you get to hear about Basquiat and Haring. My knowledge of Keith Haring comes from wandering around San Francisco, where his art can be seen in the streets; also, the tunnel which leads to the train station from Chicago's Midway Airport features some Haring murals (clue coming to a tournament near you). I honestly don't know all that much about Basquiat outside of his status as a graffiti artist in New York, but my impression was that he was fairly famous. In any case, I think you're much more likely to encounter them in modern art courses than urban planning courses.
Yeah, they really don't have anything to do with urban planning- Basqiat and Haring are pretty much just art (and apparently growing up in the NYC area made me think they were much easier than they actually were). The "Oregon" tossup I wrote for Terrapin would be a much better example of a question that involved actual planning knowledge.
Last edited by Theory Of The Leisure Flask on Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:35 pm

Captain Scipio wrote:
tetragrammatology wrote:...it was looking for a "territory" pretty early, a technical term that does not apply to Australia as a whole.
I don't think this line of argument is valid. Territory is a plenty generic term that can (and probably sometimes does!) validly refer to Australia as a whole. I'm not sure if Australia is prompt-worthy (since I can't see the question.)

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Actually, I thought the ubiquitous "polity" was used several times in that tossup; I confess to having buzzed with Australia hoping to be prompted and then fraud my way into the right answer, but it turns out I know nothing of Australian states.

As long as I'm at it, let me emphasize how much I hated the geography at this tournament. I hate geography questions in general and I've yet to see any convincing argument for why memorizing which river flows into what lake is somehow at all meaningful without a broader context, but at this tournament the questions were especially annoying. The majority of them were very clearly on Charles Meigs' pet topics (Identify this Croatian city which smells bad! Now tell me about this city in Turkmenistan you've never heard of! Nagorno-Karabakh!) and many featured pointless digressions into attempts at cuteness. I think some humor is fine if question length is not an issue, but if you're limiting the question length to 6 lines or so, maybe you should use that space to tell me something relevant instead of writing about how Nagorno-Karabakh is only accessible by illegal taxi.

Generally, I think that "strict" physical geography questions are about as dumb as periodic table chess, and they only seem to proliferate because a bunch of quizbowlers apparently did geography bee in middle school. I think the geography category should just incorporate more art/literature/history clues and also include questions on more theoretical topics (Mackinder comes to mind here). In fact, for ROBOT, I've decided to throw out the geography category entirely and simply use that extra space to expand the social science/other intellectual history distribution.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Susan » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:40 pm

I'm not as convinced of the pointlessness of strict geography questions as Jerry is, but I wanted to echo his complaints about the idiotic "cute" geography questions in this tournament. My impression was that it was obnoxious and unhelpful for the players; it was certainly obnoxious to read, and after the first such question I started skipping the "cute" clues in the interests of not doing myself grave injury by rolling my eyes clean out of my head.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:49 pm

grapesmoker wrote:In fact, for ROBOT, I've decided to throw out the geography category entirely and simply use that extra space to expand the social science/other intellectual history distribution.
I approve; social science needs more than 1/1 in the college distro. Personally, I'd nibble a bit from lit and history (make them each 3.5/3.5), but getting rid of pure atlas questions is probably the most generally acceptable way to expand SS.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by millionwaves » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:30 pm

theMoMA wrote:I apologize for the difficulty cliff in the tossup on snow. I meant to find an easier meteorology clue to go between the penultimate clue and the giveaway, but neglected to do it. The clues in the tossup, and the answer itself, are perfectly fine, though. Firn, nivation, and the like are good clues, it just needed to do a better job distinguishing at the end.
I don't think that "neve" and "nivation" are good clues for "snow" in the middle of the tossup. In Spanish, snow is "nieve", in French, it's "niege", and in Italian, it's precisely "neve." I think that really leaves it open to linguistic fraud by people who speak even a little bit of Romance languages, especially coupled with the tendency (that at least I associate with you) to write earth science questions on hyperaccessible topics like snow and lakes. If the question hadn't already been negged by that point, I probably would have buzzed at neve or nivation and had a sensation of sort of illicitly getting points based on my knowledge of languages, rather than science.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by theMoMA » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:38 pm

If I recall right, my original submission had neve and nivation right before the FTP, so I think that got switched around (or maybe I just sent the wrong version of that question in, since I thought I remembered putting an easier meteorology clue between that and the FTP). I agree that it should have been later.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:47 pm

Speaking of linguistic fraud, there was also the question that said something like "name the country where some people named Zoltan something and Ferenc something are from" – if I remember correctly, that was before FTP. And speaking of linguistics, the linguistics bonus that ended up in the Cornell packet had a part asking for "tense" and the clue said something like "the time over which the action takes place", which I guess was referring to past, present, &c, but when I first heard it I thought the "time over which" meant "was it a period of time during which, or a single action?" rather than "when was it?" as distinguishing between verbs with respect to the thing it was asking for, and if I'd been playing that question I probably would have said "aspect", which is what the team we watched playing that packet also said. I could be wrong about what the wording was – I'd have to see the question again – but there was something that made it sound (at least to me, on a first hearing, while not playing) like it was asking for the type of time rather than the actual time.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:53 pm

And speaking of linguistics, the linguistics bonus that ended up in the Cornell packet had a part asking for "tense" and the clue said something like "the time over which the action takes place", which I guess was referring to past, present, &c, but when I first heard it I thought the "time over which" meant "was it a period of time during which, or a single action?" rather than "when was it?" as distinguishing between verbs with respect to the thing it was asking for, and if I'd been playing that question I probably would have said "aspect", which is what the team we watched playing that packet also said. I could be wrong about what the wording was – I'd have to see the question again – but there was something that made it sound (at least to me, on a first hearing, while not playing) like it was asking for the type of time rather than the actual time.
Noted Bulgarian linguistics enthusiast/"Urban Planning major" Phil Durkos was most incensed at this question, for the same reason. Perhaps this could have been solved by making aspect the first answer rather than the third?
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:39 pm

Sweet, let's talk earth science and geography.

Earth sci is tough to write, so I know why people do stuff like tus on snow, even if they rarely turn out super awesome. Geography, oh geography, how I used to stand by your side - now even I find myself tending to put in slightly less than 1/0 or 0/1 geography per packet -my once-stolid defense of geography has waned in favor of generally preferring to write on other things (like social science). Not really an argument, just offering an opinion. Also, Charles Meigs writes like Charles Meigs...news at 11.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Sir Thopas » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:50 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
And speaking of linguistics, the linguistics bonus that ended up in the Cornell packet had a part asking for "tense" and the clue said something like "the time over which the action takes place", which I guess was referring to past, present, &c, but when I first heard it I thought the "time over which" meant "was it a period of time during which, or a single action?" rather than "when was it?" as distinguishing between verbs with respect to the thing it was asking for, and if I'd been playing that question I probably would have said "aspect", which is what the team we watched playing that packet also said. I could be wrong about what the wording was – I'd have to see the question again – but there was something that made it sound (at least to me, on a first hearing, while not playing) like it was asking for the type of time rather than the actual time.
Noted Bulgarian linguistics enthusiast/"Urban Planning major" Phil Durkos was most incensed at this question, for the same reason. Perhaps this could have been solved by making aspect the first answer rather than the third?
Yeah, Phil and I were steaming about it the next round. I would've said aspect as well.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Kyle » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:39 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Generally, I think that "strict" physical geography questions are about as dumb as periodic table chess, and they only seem to proliferate because a bunch of quizbowlers apparently did geography bee in middle school. I think the geography category should just incorporate more art/literature/history clues and also include questions on more theoretical topics.
Incidentally, both Dallas Simons and I have advocated this opinion before. In general, most people who participated in the National Geographic Bee strongly support including more substantive contextual clues in geography questions. We get even more frustrated than you, Jerry, at being given a list of mountains we haven't heard of along with their corresponding heights.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:48 pm

I didn't play in the tournament, nor have I seen the now much-discussed Basquiat/Haring/Night Hawks bonus, but the discussion has been interesting to me. If I were writing for what I think is now ACF Regionals difficulty, I would've thought that bonus might be considered too easy by editors/players. Basquiat, I thought, would be very well known as a superstar of the crazy '80s art market and because of the biopic about him directed by Julian Schnabel. Haring's work hit major pop culture saturation in the late 80s and early 90s, seen in MTV ads and coffee mugs and such.

Not having seen the questions, I guess one thing that would be hard about Basquiat and Haring is that they're not known for named works, so maybe that affected the bonus's difficulty. That and the fact that those guys are better known to old people who were in college in the 80s.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:52 pm

Generally, I think that "strict" physical geography questions are about as dumb as periodic table chess, and they only seem to proliferate because a bunch of quizbowlers apparently did geography bee in middle school. I think the geography category should just incorporate more art/literature/history clues and also include questions on more theoretical topics.
I would be interested in seeing an example of one of these questions. I'm quite intrigued by the idea, though I'm having trouble figuring out what exactly it would really look like.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by OctagonJoe » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:33 pm

Hopefully I won't be giving too much away by saying this, but one tossup at this tournament used a leadin that I think was used as a leadin at Tartan Tussle, which uses an IS-A set. While this leadin was definitely a bit more clue dense, I'm almost certain it was the exact same as from a set intended for novice high school players. I can try to be more precise in a less public venue.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:41 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
Generally, I think that "strict" physical geography questions are about as dumb as periodic table chess, and they only seem to proliferate because a bunch of quizbowlers apparently did geography bee in middle school. I think the geography category should just incorporate more art/literature/history clues and also include questions on more theoretical topics.
I would be interested in seeing an example of one of these questions. I'm quite intrigued by the idea, though I'm having trouble figuring out what exactly it would really look like.
I don't have an example readily written for you, but to give a simple popular example, Jared Diamond is a professor at UCLA's geography department. It seems entirely appropriate to me that a tossup on him would be about geography in some meaningful sense. Mackinder is another example I mentioned above (clearly a geography theorist). Surely there are other similar things that can be thought of. For example, I think that actually current events clues would be great for geography answers, since that's the kind of thing that rewards paying attention to relevant news rather than memorizing atlases. In general, I support the use of any information which maximizes the human relevance of what's being asked about and minimizes memorizing maps.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:50 pm

Kyle wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:Generally, I think that "strict" physical geography questions are about as dumb as periodic table chess, and they only seem to proliferate because a bunch of quizbowlers apparently did geography bee in middle school. I think the geography category should just incorporate more art/literature/history clues and also include questions on more theoretical topics.
Incidentally, both Dallas Simons and I have advocated this opinion before. In general, most people who participated in the National Geographic Bee strongly support including more substantive contextual clues in geography questions. We get even more frustrated than you, Jerry, at being given a list of mountains we haven't heard of along with their corresponding heights.
I will register slight dissent from both Jerry and Kyle; while of course I support substantive contextual clues in geography questions, I don't think there's anything wrong with using physical features as geography leadins. The heights of mountains are never good clues, because they sort neatly into two groups of "really, really famous and likely to cause a buzzer race" and "sufficiently obscure that only memorizing a list of mountain heights will distinguish one from another." That being said, I'm always interested in learning about mountains I haven't heard of, if there are interesting clues to be written about them.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:52 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:I will register slight dissent from both Jerry and Kyle; while of course I support substantive contextual clues in geography questions, I don't think there's anything wrong with using physical features as geography leadins. The heights of mountains are never good clues, because they sort neatly into two groups of "really, really famous and likely to cause a buzzer race" and "sufficiently obscure that only memorizing a list of mountain heights will distinguish one from another." That being said, I'm always interested in learning about mountains I haven't heard of, if there are interesting clues to be written about them.
Give me a good reason for why I should care what the highest mountain in the Falklands is, other than that you apparently find this interesting.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:05 pm

There's an AP Human Geography exam. I remember taking this in high school (after a week or so of self-study) and there were all sorts of interesting things on there that I have never really seen come up in QB. Perhaps we should find an AP Human Geography syllabus somewhere and work from there?
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by alkrav112 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:06 pm

Haven't seen the set yet, but just wanted to comment that Basquiat was covered in my art history survey course (Renaissance to present). Certainly not a generalizable statement, but he's important enough to be mentioned at an introductory level. Same with Haring.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:06 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Give me a good reason for why I should care what the highest mountain in the Falklands is, other than that you apparently find this interesting.
Well, ok, there probably isn't one. I had to go look this up myself; it's Mount Usborne, which has actually come up surprisingly often. (There's one reference in NAQT's database, in the 2007 DII SCT.) Wikipedia claims that it's named after the master's assistant on HMS Beagle. That's probably not really interesting, but I guess it's better than "it's 2,312 feet high!" which is completely useless.

Anyway: people should stop using that as a leadin, because Usborne is just not important. If you want to write clues about mountains on the Falklands, write about Mount Longdon or Mount Tumbledown or Wireless Ridge, which were important to the Falklands War in a way that Mount Usborne was not.

What do people think about this tossup? (It's one I wrote for the 2008 HSNCT.)

"This peak, originally created as a resting place for Mogai, the Divider of the Universe, was first climbed by Halford Mackinder in 1899. The Lewis and Tyndall Glaciers surround its highest summit, Batian, which is over 2,000 feet shorter than Mount (*) Kilimanjaro 200 miles to the south. For 10 points--what volcano sacred to the Kikuyu shares its name with the nation whose capital is Nairobi?"

So, yeah, there are physical features here, but I also attempted to introduce Mackinder and some Kikuyu myth into the high school canon.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:14 pm

I talked to Jerry about this law I learned in my AP Human Geography studies, whose name I was unable to recall. Now I know that it is Von Thunen's law:

http://geography.about.com/od/urbanecon ... thunen.htm

Stuff like Von Thunen's law (which predicts what kind of agriculture will be practiced at a particular location based on its distance from a city) seem to be what academic geographers study.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:18 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:Anyway: people should stop using that as a leadin, because Usborne is just not important. If you want to write clues about mountains on the Falklands, write about Mount Longdon or Mount Tumbledown or Wireless Ridge, which were important to the Falklands War in a way that Mount Usborne was not.
Sure, but this is exactly what I mean. Once you start using clues that are relevant to a historical context, you produce questions that are a lot more interesting than "these islands contain such and such a mountain."
What do people think about this tossup? (It's one I wrote for the 2008 HSNCT.)

"This peak, originally created as a resting place for Mogai, the Divider of the Universe, was first climbed by Halford Mackinder in 1899. The Lewis and Tyndall Glaciers surround its highest summit, Batian, which is over 2,000 feet shorter than Mount (*) Kilimanjaro 200 miles to the south. For 10 points--what volcano sacred to the Kikuyu shares its name with the nation whose capital is Nairobi?"

So, yeah, there are physical features here, but I also attempted to introduce Mackinder and some Kikuyu myth into the high school canon.
I like the first clue, but I don't know why the fact that Mackinder climbed it first is particularly interesting (this is actually a clue that I think is overused, namely the "John Q. Englishman climbed this peak in whenever" type of clue, which are typically pretty dull). I'm also not sure how useful those glacier clues are to people, but I guess it's an ok tossup for HSNCT.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:23 pm

I would imagine that a substantiative geography question would be more akin to the sort of polities tossups NAQT likes to use. For instance, one might write a tossup on Virginia with clues about how specific aspects of its geography affected Civil War battles(I am assuming that this can be done well, of course). I also would imagine that "geography theory" of the sort described by Jerry would work well.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:25 pm

Well if you start using history and RMP clues in geography tossups, you run the risk that players with history and rmp knowledge will start beating players with geography knowledge to TUs. And it will mess with the distribution.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:27 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Sure, but this is exactly what I mean. Once you start using clues that are relevant to a historical context, you produce questions that are a lot more interesting than "these islands contain such and such a mountain."
I absolutely agree (and would note that it's not necessarily possible to predict from "let's drop the names of a bunch of mountains" how relevant those mountains are to any kind of context.)

I'm also in favor of writing more questions about stuff that academic geographers study, like the above mentioned Mackinder and Von Thunen's law. Right now I think the canon of these things is small enough to be restricted to a handful of nationals-level tossups and third bonus parts. Expanding this kind of thing is one reason I wrote "4 your choice" into the geography monstrosity distribution, so I hope people produce interesting questions.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:29 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:Well if you start using history and RMP clues in geography tossups, you run the risk that players with history and rmp knowledge will start beating players with geography knowledge to TUs. And it will mess with the distribution.
I think that "history knowledge" and "geography knowledge" substantively overlap such that this doesn't bother me. And I'd rather see a geography distribution that includes clues from other disciplines than a geography distribution that vanishes entirely because people hate questions about physical features.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:36 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:Well if you start using history and RMP clues in geography tossups, you run the risk that players with history and rmp knowledge will start beating players with geography knowledge to TUs. And it will mess with the distribution.
Well, since I'm arguing for a modification of the distribution (or at least, a modification of the understanding of one part of it) I can't say that I am particularly bothered by it. We don't necessarily have to tailor the questions to history or myth experts, but some relevance to human affairs is necessary to prevent these questions from being atlas-bowl.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:43 pm

Well, since I'm arguing for a modification of the distribution (or at least, a modification of the understanding of one part of it) I can't say that I am particularly bothered by it. We don't necessarily have to tailor the questions to history or myth experts, but some relevance to human affairs is necessary to prevent these questions from being atlas-bowl.
I'd be interested enough to see how this would turn out - perhaps instead of cutting the geography out of ROBOT and adding 1/1 social science, you could make an attempt to include 2/2 social science and "human geography," putting in 0/1-1/0 or 1/1 of the latter? I think the tournament would be a prime opportunity to put these ideas to the test, actually. I'm similarly not convinced that you need to ask about Von Thunen's law to add the kind of proposed substance to geography questions.

I think there's a caveat or two that should be applied to these attempts, though. If we're going to try to start finding material from anthropology, current events, human affairs, etc (I am very much not opposed to this), its important that the questions be on geographic entities that are relatively important and well-known. There's no reason to ignore the reality that you can't ask about human affairs related to Lake Albert and expect people to be answering the question. I'd posit it's also important not to neglect geographical clues (deliberately avoiding things like tributary rivers or bordering bodies of note, etc.) when those clues are notable, because that will lead to difficulty cliffs. Rather, I think these things should be integrated with their respective "substantive" clues (ie recent political unrest among the Vinokurov people has plagued this desert's Brucian Lowlands). In truth I really can't visualize what these questions would look like yet, but I'd like to be able to come ROBOT.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Kyle » Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:08 pm

DumbJaques wrote:Recent political unrest among the Vinokurov people has plagued this desert's Brucian Lowlands.
Civil strife, relationships among ethnic groups, conflicts over resources, patterns of settlement, migration patterns, and urbanization issues are both inherently geographic and really important things to understand in an abstract, outside-of-quizbowl sense. You can work these themes into a question about a place — and, if you do it well, Jerry will probably find your tossup meaningful.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:08 pm

Kyle wrote:Civil strife, relationships among ethnic groups, conflicts over resources, patterns of settlement, migration patterns, and urbanization issues are both inherently geographic and really important things to understand in an abstract, outside-of-quizbowl sense. You can work these themes into a question about a place — and, if you do it well, Jerry will probably find your tossup meaningful.
Yeah, I think these are all great ideas for clues about geographic locations.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Awehrman » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:19 pm

American Revolution Tossup

13.**One theater in this general war saw forces under Haidar Ali defeated at the Battle of Porto Novo, part of the Second Anglo-Mysore War. The defeat of a fleet commanded by Juan de Langara in Cape St. Vincent became known as the Moonlight Battle and allowed George Rodney to resupply troops at Gibraltar. This more general conflict ended up sparking the 4th Anglo-Dutch War, and the Battle of the Saintes was a turning point in the Caribbean phase, known as the Antilles War. The French entered this conflict via the Treaty of Alliance, while Russia formed the League of Armed Neutrality during it. For 10 points, identify this conflict where a French naval victory at the Battle of the Virginia Capes prevented British troops from reinforcing Cornwallis at Yorktown.
ANSWER: American Revolutionary War [or the War For American Independence or the Northern War of George Washingtonian Aggression; prompt on "Second Anglo-Mysore War" or "Antilles War" or "4th Anglo-Dutch War" before mentioned]

I said Mysore War after the Hyder Ali clue, but before it mentioned the Second Anglo-Mysore War. I can't remember if the Battle of Porto Novo was said before I buzzed in. I got prompted and said the wrong answer. Hyder Ali is one of the Mysore people. The first clue says general war, and the American Revolution was general, but so was the Second Anglo-Mysore War as compared to the Mysore War.
I'm a bit late to this discussion and did not participate in ACF Regionals, but I wanted to comment briefly on this question, since it's directly related to my field. In general, I really like what this question tried to do in setting the Revolution in a transnational context. Unfortunately most scholars of the American Revolution consider these events (usually with the exception of the Caribbean stuff) contemporary to but outside of the Revolution. I wouldn't have gotten it until the Battle of the Saintes, but I may have negged off the first clue with the Seven Years' War, because it is more well-known as a global conflict (Hyder Ali rose to power during it). Global historians and imperial historians often treat the American Revolution as a side event of the more global conflict of the "First British Empire," and probably would not consider those events (especially the Mysore stuff) a part of the American Revolution nor would they necessarily label it the "general war". Overall I think global history questions like this one that really stretch historical labels would be better served as bonuses. As a bonus it would reveal all of the interesting global connections with a bit of canon expansion and avoid the more head-scratching "what are they looking for?" elements of the tossup. As a side question, was this question counted as American, European, or world history?
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:25 pm

Yeah, that was not a great question; I wanted to do what Brendan did and buzz with "Mysore" as soon as I heard Haydar Ali, but restrained myself. I think the problem was that middle clues were scarce and unless you knew some pretty obscure Revolutionary War battles, it was hard to buzz before "Virginia Capes" (even then, De Grasse is probably better known than the name of the battle itself).
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by Gautam » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:02 pm

The Mysore Wars came up a lot in high school history courses in India, and I don't think it was ever described as a part of a broader "American Revolutionary War." I buzzed in at the same time Brendan did, and would have also diffidently said "7 years war" when prompted, because 1760s-1770s is when that stuff happened.

Overall, I thought this tournament was fine. It had its share of oddities, but they are to be built into expectations. I especially enjoyed the science at this tournament. I haven't been through the whole discussion, so I will comment on packet compiling issues later. However, I thought that some of the games would have been better if the tossups which were destined to be cut were indeed cut. It was really unfortunate to hear the Aida tossup in the final round at the Chi site, and a better tossup could have possibly produced a different outcome for that game.
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Re: ACF Regionals Discussion Thread

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:28 pm

I think that American Revolution tossup is just plain terrible. Brendan was perfectly justified in buzzing on Hyder Ali and saying Mysore Wars, it's what I would expect people to do - the Mysore Wars come up in qb fairly often and that's a prime clue - and you don't have time (especially in a match against a good team) to start pondering what the question means by "general war" or whether the editors would allow a tossup like Mysore Wars into Regionals - you just buzz on the clue, and it turns out to be awful negbait.

Also, all hard tourneys should have 2/2 social science, is my belief. If you want to throw in some geography (no matter what type), you can do that separately - stick one in now and then in place of having a third fine arts tossup or in place of a silly religion tossup that you don't really want to write anyway.
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