NAQT distributions posted

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NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:51 pm

NAQT is pleased to announce that our distribution is now available on naqt.com.

College distribution
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:40 pm

I want to applaud NAQT for (finally!) doing this. I hope we can discuss relevant issues now without so much baseless conjecture.

For example: I'll open by asking, why is there 2-4 times more (what the circuit would call) trash than (what the circuit would call) fine arts, myth, religion, or philosophy (the latter three may have ratios more like 4-infinity, I guess)? That's not acceptable in an academic tournament. Trash should be massively de-emphasized (~1/1 per round.)
My accounting is that the following are more or less always going to be what I'd call trash: PC/sports, misc. mixed impure, misc. mixed or gk. There are other categories that are probably trash often or even always, but as I consider those are a separate issue (that of mis-categorization as opposed to that of having a trash-heavy distribution even in the case of perfect categorization,) I'll leave them to one side for now.

I'll also claim that it seems like there are issues caused by the form of this distribution or, at least, not helped by it. To go back to an example discussed at some length already, science current events should be written by a science writer, not a current events writer. However, it seems that's not likely to happen while they're "current events: science" rather than "science: current," so we'll have another 2/2 on missions to Mars or whatever it is this week.

MaS
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:18 pm

Captain Sinico wrote: I'll also claim that it seems like there are issues caused by the form of this distribution or, at least, not helped by it. To go back to an example discussed at some length already, science current events should be written by a science writer, not a current events writer. However, it seems that's not likely to happen while they're "current events: science" rather than "science: current," so we'll have another 2/2 on missions to Mars or whatever it is this week.

MaS
NAQT does not assign its writers to specific portions of the distribution, so the exact form of the distribution does not matter for who writes what. As a specific case, the two current events: science tossups in the 2009 SCT were written by noted science writers Susan Ferrari and Seth Teitler.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:44 pm

Chinese_History 1 1 / 1
South_American_Geography 15 2/2

RARGH
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by cornfused » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:21 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
Chinese_History 1 1 / 1
South_American_Geography 15 2/2
RARGH
Clearly, the second one is more academically important*.


*If you're lost in South America.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:31 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:I want to applaud NAQT for (finally!) doing this. I hope we can discuss relevant issues now without so much baseless conjecture.

For example: I'll open by asking, why is there 2-4 times more (what the circuit would call) trash than (what the circuit would call) fine arts, myth, religion, or philosophy (the latter three may have ratios more like 4-infinity, I guess)? That's not acceptable in an academic tournament. Trash should be massively de-emphasized (~1/1 per round.)
My accounting is that the following are more or less always going to be what I'd call trash: PC/sports, misc. mixed impure, misc. mixed or gk. There are other categories that are probably trash often or even always, but as I consider those are a separate issue (that of mis-categorization as opposed to that of having a trash-heavy distribution even in the case of perfect categorization,) I'll leave them to one side for now.

MaS
I have a feeling this thread may reiterate a number of common NAQT discussion tropes, but I'll maybe head off one by saying that NAQT's "misc" and "gk" don't have to be "trash." I've written a lot of these questions for recent versions of SCT/ICT, and I tend to use the distribution slot to write questions on a melange of humanities topics.

For example, here's a "MI" tossup I wrote which was used in last year's ICT:

The Romans held a two-day summer festival in honor of this figure, during which huts were made out of tree branches. Under the name "Equester," he was worshiped as a god of horses. Bronzino painted Andrea Doria as this figure, who was married to a goddess named (*) Salacia. The speaker of "My Last Duchess" owns a statue by Claus of Innsbruck of this god "taming a sea-horse." For 10 points--name this {Roman god} of the sea.

answer: _Neptune_ (do not accept "Poseidon")

Whatever you think of this question itself, it's certainly "academic." Speaking for myself, I like having the chance to write this kind of free-ranging question, mixing clues from (e.g.) religion, myth, art, and lit.

And here's a bonus I wrote which was used at the 2007 SCT; it was coded "GK" at the time, but would be "misc impure" now:

Its second track, "Momma I'm So Sorry," features repeated apologies for being "so obnoxious" and not fearing "Tubbs and Crockett." For 10 points each--

A. Name this 2006 album by a Virginia-based hip-hop duo.

answer: _Hell Hath No Fury_

B. The members of Clipse, like so many rappers, can be presumed to be fans of Restoration drama, having taken the title ~Hell Hath No Fury~ from this author's tragedy ~The Mourning Bride~.

answer: William _Congreve_

C. The character of Almeria in ~The Mourning Bride~ is a princess of this Spanish city that was ruled by the Nasrids [NAHS-reeds] until Boabdil [boh-ahv-DEEL] was deposed in 1492.

answer: _Granada_

I submit that this is also a good question, even if it is made "impure" by the part on Clipse.

Anyway, my point is that to a certain extent there may be differences between how the distribution looks on paper and how it is actually written.

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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:43 pm

Perhaps NAQT would benefit from relabeling Miscellaneous as "Other Academic."

I will renew my call for Bible and myth to be separated from the literature distribution. To have those together is inane and does not serve any purpose.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:53 pm

tetragrammatology wrote:Perhaps NAQT would benefit from relabeling Miscellaneous as "Other Academic."
This is a fine idea.

I think Mike's objections were directed at those miscellaneous questions that can include trash content; that is, questions like the bonus in Andrew's post above, not like the tossup.
tetragrammatology wrote:I will renew my call for Bible and myth to be separated from the literature distribution. To have those together is inane and does not serve any purpose.
I'll turn this around: what purpose does switching the labels serve, if the quantity of the content is preserved?

Say NAQT were to switch tomorrow to ACF-style labels for these questions. Might look something like this:

existing NAQT label --> new label
L:M --> RMP:M
L:R --> RMP:R:L
H:R --> RMP:R:H
PH --> RMP:PH
TH --> RMP:R:TH

Would players be able to tell the difference? If so, how?
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:58 pm

Perhaps she means that the quantities for lit should also be increased?
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:03 pm

This is a relatively minor point, but I'm still baffled by the presence of the "current events: science" subdistribution. In my experience, these questions end up (as I complained last year) being mostly about random space missions or some such thing. I don't see any compelling reason to have such a distribution; if it's primarily science, simply absorb it into science and use current events clues that are relevant, and if it's more current events (like, I don't know, tossups on aspects of climate change or something), then it seems like it should be straight-up CE.

I'll also echo the neverending call for a reduction in the geography/pop culture distribution and an increase in arts, RMP, and social science.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:05 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Perhaps she means that the quantities for lit should also be increased?
Perhaps, and if so it would be more efficient for everyone to hear it in the form "we would like you to increase the literature distribution in your tournaments" than to spend time on the labels of RMP questions.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:08 pm

grapesmoker wrote:I'll also echo the neverending call for a reduction in the geography/pop culture distribution and an increase in arts, RMP, and social science.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:18 pm

Well, I would presume that the more central point is that mythology/religion should not be counted in the literature distribution, and if you do not count them as such the literature distribution is correspondingly lower than both history and science, in contrast to the pretty much ubiquitous norm of having equal parts of the big three. I suppose I would also like to see these things as their own category and lit-history-science balance in NAQT sets, but this is probably a smaller issue than cutting down a bit of the trash and increasing the philosophy, arts, and myth distributions in general.

My number one suggestion for NAQT's distribution continues to not involve changing it all, but rather just balance the distribution by packet rather than by tournament. There is just no reason not to do this, and it would eliminate very upsetting events such as the hilarious round at HSNCT last year that had 12 questions that were trash, geography, or current events.

Also, this is really minor, but why is there 2/1 Mexican history? I am issuing the Plan of Iguana positing that the extra Mexican history tossup would be better used in any Non-Canadian history subcategory, including but not limited to the History of Iguanas.


I agree that with Mike that it's great NAQT has posted the distribution and appointed Jeff to this position. My first official query is this: What is the exact NAQT definition of some of the category-skirting material that often engenders curiosity and/or respiratory distress, such as Surprise Geography (or any "Surprise" category)? That is, if a geography clue pops up in a history question and constitutes a non-trivial amount of the clue space, how much non-history stuff has to be there for it to be counted as miscellaneous or general knowledge or whatever? Similarly, are those questions on mystery authors counted as literature, or somewhere else? It seems like people (including me) are quick to sigh at these questions, in part because we often presume they're taking the place of legitimate literature/science/whatever. If all of this falls under general knowledge or misc academic, maybe some of those categories should be cut? It also makes it hard to give feedback on a survey about questions like these if you aren't sure what part of the distribution they really are.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:36 pm

HKirsch wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:I'll also echo the neverending call for a reduction in the geography/pop culture distribution and an increase in arts, RMP, and social science.
DumbJaques wrote:Well, I would presume that the more central point is that mythology/religion should not be counted in the literature distribution, and if you do not count them as such the literature distribution is correspondingly lower than both history and science, in contrast to the pretty much ubiquitous norm of having equal parts of the big three. I suppose I would also like to see these things as their own category and lit-history-science balance in NAQT sets, but this is probably a smaller issue than cutting down a bit of the trash and increasing the philosophy, arts, and myth distributions in general.
Agreed with both of these. There really is no reason literature should be less than history or science or that myth and part of religion should be taking up those questions. Also, in order to preserve RMP and hopefully increase them, there does need to be a restructuring of trash/GK.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:50 pm

Let's talk numbers. (All examples here from the 2009 SCT.)

Categories people think should be reduced:

Geography 22/22

(Things that might contain pop culture):

Sports 13/12
Pop culture 25/24
Mixed non-academic 9/15 (this is a cap, not floor)
So-called "trash literature" 4/4 (again, a cap; there was only 3/1 of this in the 2009 SCT)



Categories people think should be expanded:

Fine Arts 34/33

Myth 11/11

Social Science 19/19

What kind of numbers would people like to see at the 2010 SCT and ICT?
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:55 pm

DumbJaques wrote:I agree that with Mike that it's great NAQT has posted the distribution and appointed Jeff to this position. My first official query is this: What is the exact NAQT definition of some of the category-skirting material that often engenders curiosity and/or respiratory distress, such as Surprise Geography (or any "Surprise" category)? That is, if a geography clue pops up in a history question and constitutes a non-trivial amount of the clue space, how much non-history stuff has to be there for it to be counted as miscellaneous or general knowledge or whatever? Similarly, are those questions on mystery authors counted as literature, or somewhere else? It seems like people (including me) are quick to sigh at these questions, in part because we often presume they're taking the place of legitimate literature/science/whatever. If all of this falls under general knowledge or misc academic, maybe some of those categories should be cut? It also makes it hard to give feedback on a survey about questions like these if you aren't sure what part of the distribution they really are.
The mystery authors and suchlike are counted as literature, but we plan on capping them at no more than 4/4 per tournament set for 2009-2010.

For "surprise geography" and so forth, our current guideline is this:

"If two-thirds (or more) of a questions clue's and/or answers fit under a given subject, place, or language the question should be given that code even if the rest of the question doesn't. If the most-represented subject is less than two-thirds of the question's content, it should be coded "MI" (miscellaneous/mixed) in that field. An exception to this is made for questions that are more than two-thirds popular culture and/or sports, but not two-thirds of either alone. Such questions should be coded either "PC" or "SP" at the writer's discretion rather than MI."

That is: if geography (or whatever) really is a non-trivial amount of the clue space, it should show up under Miscellaneous rather than a specific subject.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:58 pm

Duly noted that many people would like to see equal distribution among the big three of literature, science, and history.

Not speaking for NAQT for a second:

This is a concern with which I personally sympathize, and in fact I believe that world literature in particular is under-represented in NAQT's sets.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:00 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:The mystery authors and suchlike are counted as literature, but we plan on capping them at no more than 4/4 per tournament set for 2009-2010.
That still seems like quite a bit--more than 1 every other packet, or the same amount that economics or psychology each receive. Given that trash lit is something that makes up only 5% of the distribution (max, often less) even in trash tournaments, an equivalent amount based on NAQT's overall trash quota would be 2/2 or 1/2 in an NAQT set. Also, this should be counted as trash and not literature regardless of amount.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:05 pm

I'd like to see that 2/3 guideline revised. I've moderated 3 high school tournaments on NAQT questions (and directed one of them) where there are a ton of questions that use a few lines of academic clues and then an embarrassing trash giveaway. This certainly will up the count of trash clues in your set far beyond what the stated distribution is, even if the questions have a "trivial" fraction dedicated to trash (or geography) and sets far more people on edge than if simply strict academic (and presumably in-category) giveaways were used. I know this is the college thread, but it's more a propos to this discussion to point out that using these interdisciplinary short clues makes coaches who are coming in expecting the "Academic" in NAQT to be represented well, and especially coaches who aren't sold yet on NAQT or pyramidal quizbowl's product, take you a little less seriously, which is potentially quite damaging. I'd suggest that you look into doing a better job of eliminating these cutesy non-related clues at both levels because I don't really know people who want them there.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by vandyhawk » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:05 pm

A couple quick notes - the "cute" giveaways seem to be pretty well dead in college (at least DI) sets, which is a good thing. I have no role in NAQT high school sets, but getting rid of them for the most part there would presumably be a good thing too. I'm also not the biggest fan of the current events:science category, but I can't decide if I'd rather have it abolished or not. In any case, I'm reasonably comfortable saying there will be at least one "science" person looking at them / writing them as well, given the distribution as it currently stands.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:07 pm

DumbJaques wrote:My number one suggestion for NAQT's distribution continues to not involve changing it all, but rather just balance the distribution by packet rather than by tournament. There is just no reason not to do this, and it would eliminate very upsetting events such as the hilarious round at HSNCT last year that had 12 questions that were trash, geography, or current events.
Here's the packet-by-packet distribution for the 2009 SCT. We would welcome suggestions for how to improve the balance.

I'll check on that HSNCT round, which does seem excessive.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:16 pm

vandyhawk wrote:A couple quick notes - the "cute" giveaways seem to be pretty well dead in college (at least DI) sets, which is a good thing.
This. Before the SCT I wrote up an analysis of "cross-disciplinary giveaways" in that set; since this involves content rather than distribution, I'll post it over on the SCT board just in case.

I haven't yet done a similar analysis of an IS set, but it's likely that cross-disciplinary giveaways are more prevalent there. That being said, NAQT's current policy is that a limited number of such questions will increase conversion among lower-level teams, and never be heard by higher-level teams because someone will have buzzed before the FTP.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:17 pm

Jeff, I'll respond to your "what would people like to see" with the assumption that the NAQT distribution by itself needs little tweaking (no more than, say, 1/1 per packet).

That said, here is what I would change:

Currently, NAQT's "non-academic" (not counting current events) quota appears to be 47/51, or slightly over 3/3 per packet. I would remove a total of 24 questions (roughly 1/4 of the quota) and distribute them as follows: 12 questions to fine arts, to give that just under 3/2 or 2/3 per packet; the remaining 12 split between mythology, philosophy, social science, and academic literature. This would give fine arts a 9.5% in the distribution and "non-academic" 8.9%.

I would like to see a reduction in the "technology" distribution down to perhaps 1/1. From experience, I know these questions are difficult to write well and often (at least at the high school level) boil down to the history of some invention/discovery/process. The extra 2/2 would be replaced by moving "SCIENCE-CE" from CE to Science, which would allow people to write science questions that incorporate current events clues, rather than questions on space-probe-of-the-month. The resulting 2/2 could be recycled into additional US/World current events, non-academic stuff, or any of the academic categories.

I honestly do not understand the inclusion of 5/3 in the following categories: archaeology, physical anthropology, government. Taking 4 questions out of that category and putting them in economics, psychology, and anthropology/sociology would solve the problem of the trash lit quota being higher than the quota for either econ or psych.

I believe that's a total of 32 questions, or 1/1 per packet.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:38 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
bt_green_warbler wrote:The mystery authors and suchlike are counted as literature, but we plan on capping them at no more than 4/4 per tournament set for 2009-2010.
That still seems like quite a bit--more than 1 every other packet, or the same amount that economics or psychology each receive. Given that trash lit is something that makes up only 5% of the distribution (max, often less) even in trash tournaments, an equivalent amount based on NAQT's overall trash quota would be 2/2 or 1/2 in an NAQT set.
This seems entirely reasonable to me, and I have suggested as much to R.

Jeff
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:18 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I'd like to see that 2/3 guideline revised. I've moderated 3 high school tournaments on NAQT questions (and directed one of them) where there are a ton of questions that use a few lines of academic clues and then an embarrassing trash giveaway. This certainly will up the count of trash clues in your set far beyond what the stated distribution is, even if the questions have a "trivial" fraction dedicated to trash (or geography) and sets far more people on edge than if simply strict academic (and presumably in-category) giveaways were used. I know this is the college thread, but it's more a propos to this discussion to point out that using these interdisciplinary short clues makes coaches who are coming in expecting the "Academic" in NAQT to be represented well, and especially coaches who aren't sold yet on NAQT or pyramidal quizbowl's product, take you a little less seriously, which is potentially quite damaging. I'd suggest that you look into doing a better job of eliminating these cutesy non-related clues at both levels because I don't really know people who want them there.
R. wrote:To the best of my knowledge, we've never actually received this particular complaint.

Some coaches have told us that they don't like having popular culture(/sports) in quiz bowl, but I've never gotten the impression that they opted not to use NAQT (or pyramidal questions) on account of that. And, even if they did, that wouldn't be fixed by just removing popular culture giveaways, but only by completely removing it.
It's reasonably obvious, by the way, who benefits from cute giveaways: teams near the bottom of the tournament field, which get the chance to both earn some points and learn something by answering a bonus following a "cute" tossup. Giveaways that cross disciplines are there to make it more likely that a game between Random County HS B and Local Academy C ends 150-90 rather than 50-30.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:32 pm

Have you never heard of JR Barry?
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:35 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Have you never heard of JR Barry?
Of course I've heard of Mr. Barry, but apparently he has never expressed this concern in feedback to R. I'll check the board archives.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:42 pm

I'm in the middle of something else, but rest assured I can find you TONS of posts on this board where he says he doesn't think NAQT or any other high school quizbowl should include trash, and I'm wholly convinced Hentzel's argument is not representative of if every coach in quizbowl were asked. As I said, I have read at 3 tournaments on NAQT sets this year and the trash content was definitely noticed.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:44 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I'm in the middle of something else, but rest assured I can find you TONS of posts on this board where he says he doesn't think NAQT or any other high school quizbowl should include trash, and I'm wholly convinced Hentzel's argument is not representative of if every coach in quizbowl were asked. As I said, I have read at 3 tournaments on NAQT sets this year and the trash content was definitely noticed.
An excellent example is this thread.
jrbarry wrote:Any academic question that ends up with a lame video game or pop culture clue/giveaway drives me to consider the sanity of the writer.
I've passed your concern on to R.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Brian Ulrich » Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:13 pm

CE:Science can also include diseases or breakthroughs like sheep cloning or issues in the news like stem cell research. I've pushed to reduce it, but wouldn't want to see it dropped entirely. Whether it should be coded as CE Science is one of those categorization issues I don't think matters much given the way NAQT produces questions.

I'd also agree that NAQT could use a bit more World Lit, and that some of the history subdivisions could be folded together, especially at the high school level.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:12 am

DumbJaques wrote:very upsetting events such as the hilarious round at HSNCT last year that had 12 questions that were trash, geography, or current events.
Chris, do you remember the round number (or could you post a couple of the answers)? I just tried to check up on this and couldn't find anything that matched.

Round-by-round distributions include the following:
Geography: 2 per round
Current events: 1 or 2 per round
Pop culture: 1 or 2 per round
Sports: 0 or 1 per round
General Knowledge: up to 3 per round

That hypothetically maxes out at 10; except it's less than that because the only round with three GK was round 15, which had zero sports and only one pop culture. So let's say nine. I tried looking for "trash literature" that might have caused a problem like this, but there are only three such tossups in the whole tournament (rounds 3, 12, and 21), not enough to explain the reported magnitude.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:27 am

Chris, do you remember the round number (or could you post a couple of the answers)? I just tried to check up on this and couldn't find anything that matched
Hey, sorry, I actually meant the 2007 HSNCT rather than the 2008 tournament. I don't even think I've seen the 2008 set. I think it was somewhere between rounds 6-11, but I'm not sure.

EDIT:
So let's say nine
Er, I guess that's not really significantly better than 12, to me. Obviously not many NAQT rounds will look like this, but even 6-7 is pushing past 25% of the packet, which I just don't think is a great plan. I think the proposals to expand the fine arts, RMP, and SS categories and contract some of the other stuff would probably go a long way in reducing those.

It does look like stuff was roughly balanced at the 2009 SCT (and I noticed that balance well enough while playing). Was anything different done to balance by packet, or was it the same completely random sort that I believe NAQT usually does? That kind of balance doesn't seem overly characteristic of some IS sets I've seen over the years.

I guess I'll also toss out the idea of the "final 6" distribution, that the final 6 tossups in a packet should be relatively balanced, etc., to avoid huge swathes of the distribution going unheard. Not sure if this is done or has been considered by NAQT before.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:27 pm

DumbJaques wrote:It does look like stuff was roughly balanced at the 2009 SCT (and I noticed that balance well enough while playing). Was anything different done to balance by packet, or was it the same completely random sort that I believe NAQT usually does? That kind of balance doesn't seem overly characteristic of some IS sets I've seen over the years.
The point of posting that distribution was to indicate that the 2009 SCT, like other recent NAQT tournaments, *does not* use a completely random sort. Yes, we do make the best effort we can to balance each individual packet. Note that in the other thread I posted part of the breakdown for IS #76; each packet of that set contained either 7 or 8 literature questions (excluding myth and religion).
DumbJaques wrote:I guess I'll also toss out the idea of the "final 6" distribution, that the final 6 tossups in a packet should be relatively balanced, etc., to avoid huge swathes of the distribution going unheard. Not sure if this is done or has been considered by NAQT before.
I asked R. about this last fall; we ran some tests and found that there is no significant difference between the distribution of questions before and after tossup #20 in our sets. Our existing process will separate questions by subject area, so it's not possible for our packets to contain, say, three consecutive science tossups buried at 22-24.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:55 pm

The point of posting that distribution was to indicate that the 2009 SCT, like other recent NAQT tournaments, *does not* use a completely random sort. Yes, we do make the best effort we can to balance each individual packet.
Oh, cool. Yeah, that's a very good thing to do (and it's much appreciated). Thanks for the info.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:41 pm

I'm wondering if Jeff could give both some examples of questions from recent NAQT collegiate and high school sets that filled the 10/9 quota for "US Social History," and a general statement as to what that category encompasses as opposed to "US Government History." That seems like a very large amount, both for selecting answers out of what I was taught that "social history" is, and as compared to the amount of social history by my definition that I've actually seen in NAQT (or non-NAQT) tournaments.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:07 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:I'm wondering if Jeff could give both some examples of questions from recent NAQT collegiate and high school sets that filled the 10/9 quota for "US Social History," and a general statement as to what that category encompasses as opposed to "US Government History." That seems like a very large amount, both for selecting answers out of what I was taught that "social history" is, and as compared to the amount of social history by my definition that I've actually seen in NAQT (or non-NAQT) tournaments.
Fun, an opportunity to combine two of my favorite things, NAQT feedback and historiography.

"Social history" as it is defined by NAQT is indeed broader than the definition of "social history" used by most recent historians. The best short version of what this means to NAQT is that used by G. M. Trevelyan: "Social history might be defined negatively as the history of a people with the politics left out." (English Social History (1944), vii)

For quizbowl purposes, the social history is an effort to ensure that our US history questions show some internal diversity and are not dominated by presidents, tariffs, Supreme Court decisions, and battles.

Here's a list of the US social history tossup answers in the 2008 HSNCT:

abortion, Charles Guiteau, Donner party, Haymarket Square, Margaret Sanger, Montgomery bus boycott, Salem witch trials, Selma, Shawnee, Shays' Rebellion, Sitting Bull, Standard Oil, Watts riots, William Lloyd Garrison

And from the 2008 Division I SCT:

Allan Pinkerton, Charles Guiteau*, Cochise, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Father Coughlin, Industrial Workers of the World, Muller v. Oregon**, polygamy, Sally Hemings

*Again? We should probably stop for a couple of years.
**This is in fact odd, but at least it's a case involving labor.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:25 pm

How are Pinkerton, Guiteau, and Hemmings anything like "social history?" I kind of get the others, but these are clearly not "social history" in any sense that I understand the term.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:38 pm

Frankly, this category is difficult to fill and we often accept into it questions that would be better off in one of the other US history categories.

As an NAQT editor, I would be happy to see a reduction in US social history.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:05 pm

DumbJaques wrote:Hey, sorry, I actually meant the 2007 HSNCT rather than the 2008 tournament. I don't even think I've seen the 2008 set. I think it was somewhere between rounds 6-11, but I'm not sure.
Round:

6
GK 0
CE 2
G 2
PC 1
SP 1

7
GK 3
CE 2
G 2
PC 1
SP 0

8
GK 0
CE 2
G 2
PC 1
SP 1

9
GK 0
CE 2
G 2
PC 1
SP 1

10
GK 1
CE 2
G 2
PC 2
SP 0

11
GK 1
CE 2
G 2
PC 2
SP 0

So the max over that stretch is 8, in round 7. And that round did not contain any "trash literature."

I suspect that these questions were probably the much-discussed "cross-disciplinary giveaways."
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:06 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:Frankly, this category is difficult to fill and we often accept into it questions that would be better off in one of the other US history categories.

As an NAQT editor, I would be happy to see a reduction in US social history.
I would agree to this, as long as there is no move to decrease history overall because of this.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:09 pm

tetragrammatology wrote:
bt_green_warbler wrote:Frankly, this category is difficult to fill and we often accept into it questions that would be better off in one of the other US history categories.

As an NAQT editor, I would be happy to see a reduction in US social history.
I would agree to this, as long as there is no move to decrease history overall because of this.
I'd stop that myself, Bernadette! Of course any such reduction would be accomplished by increasing the quota for "miscellaneous US history," so that those needs could be filled by military or government history.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Awehrman » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:11 pm

Frankly, this category is difficult to fill and we often accept into it questions that would be better off in one of the other US history categories.

As an NAQT editor, I would be happy to see a reduction in US social history.
Oh, I sure hope not! Those answer choices don't show the variety of possible questions in social history. While I think your definition of social history is broad enough (perhaps too broad), those answers don't really reflect what the questions as a whole are like. As I'm sure you know, it's not necessarily the answer that makes a question social history but often how the question is written. You could write a question for instance on the social impact of say the Trail of Tears without making much mention of Martin Van Buren, Congress, or the courts. You could write a bonus on the home front during World War II without mentioning any battles or generals. When I wrote the Junior Wildcat middle school tournament, I leaned heavily on the side of social and cultural history (lots of potential for questions there), and the resulting scores and responses from players and coaches were quite good. I wrote a tossups on Longhouses, the Boston Massacre, the Pony Express, and the underground railroad to name a few. Bonuses have a lot of potential too. I wrote some on medieval Africa, the history of revenge, and Madame C.J. Walker. I think I only had 2 tossups on presidents (a too frequent topic of middle school questions). I think it's certainly important for question writers to keep generating fresh clues and answers for history, and it's even easier to do that at higher levels of quizbowl. I don't think it should be that difficult to fill 10/10 per tournament or more. I'd be willing to send people ideas about this.

I don't really get why Guiteau is social history either (although you might be able to write a social history bonus about his life and times or something), but Pinkerton and Hemings could certainly be written as social history.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:31 pm

Awehrman wrote: ...variety of useful social history answers...
We don't have enough questions like this right now; hence our difficulties in filling the category.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:41 pm

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:I have a feeling this thread may reiterate a number of common NAQT discussion tropes, but I'll maybe head off one by saying that NAQT's "misc" and "gk" don't have to be "trash." I've written a lot of these questions for recent versions of SCT/ICT, and I tend to use the distribution slot to write questions on a melange of humanities topics.
Without trying to reiterate tropes, I'll say that I'm confident that you, Andrew Yaphe, would use those slots for non-trash questions (as would I.) I am equally confident that they have been and will be used as trash questions a very large fraction of the time and will probably continue to be given NAQT's distribution and stable of writers. If I'm wrong there, I hope someone will say so.
I guess my point is this: there's a lot of leeway in this distribution such that even a packet following it to the letter and cleaving to a very rigorously conventional idea of what the terms mean could contain an absolute ton of trash. I feel like that has happened in the past and will probably continue to happen as long as that leeway exists, since not every writer is Andrew Yaphe (to my chagrin.) So, one of three things should happen, then: someone should tell me I'm wrong there and how, NAQT should change its distribution to be more rigorous and academic, or NAQT should tell me "People love (at least the potentiality of) a ton of trash, so we're keeping it."
Actually, to evaluate the possibility that I am wrong there, one thing I'd really like is if NAQT posted a packet or two with the questions' distribution marked. It seems that possibly some of my difficulties may stem from incompatible terms or assumptions about what question was meant to be what (for example, I'd never have guessed that a tossup from last year on Gone with the Wind with a Vivian Leigh giveaway was meant as academic literature, which apparently was in fact the case.)

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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:52 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:I'm confident that you, Andrew Yaphe, would use those slots for non-trash questions (as would I.) I am equally confident that they have been and will be used as trash questions a very large fraction of the time and will probably continue to be given NAQT's distribution and stable of writers. If I'm wrong there, I hope someone will say so.
OK, I'll say so. On the distribution page, you'll see a split between "Mixed, Pure Academic" and "Mixed, Impure Academic." Only the latter can contain trash clues. We set this division up precisely so that the miscellaneous questions in future tournaments would have a fixed proportion of academic content, no matter what the personal preference of future editors may be.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:12 pm

Yeah, I mean, I didn't count the "Misc. impure academic" questions as trash (c.f. my first post.) You still get the ratios I mention there.

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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:15 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:one thing I'd really like is if NAQT posted a packet or two with the questions' distribution marked.
Very well. Packet 1 of the 2008 HSNCT is the most recent available on our samples page.

Here's the distribution:

Topic Category

Code: Select all

Gay-Lussac's law			chemistry
Leander				myth
Golden Bough			soc sci/anthro
Niels Bohr			physics
Mount Hood			geography
Puyi				history
Claude Monet			visual art
Google				ce/business
wasabi				pop culture/food and drink
blood transfusion			biology/medicine
Mark Penn			ce/politics
Y				foreign language
12 inches and 16 inches		math/computation
Lake Chad			geography
Plautus				literature
Salmon P. Chase			history
Thales				math
Invisible Man			literature
Balfour Declaration			history
45 percent			math/computation
Ernest Hemingway			literature
USS Pueblo			history
weekend				pop culture/music
taiga				earth science
Vitus Bering			history
Samuel Pepys			literature


Namibia/Rwanda/Sudan		history
NRA/AIPAC/NARAL			ce/social
1/8/4				physics
Vasari/da Vinci/Palazzo Vecchio	visual art
Murasaki/Basho/Kawabata		literature
Sequoia/Joshua Tree/Muir Woods	geography
Malcolm X/Emperor Jones/Philip Randolph history
imam/muezzin/caliph		theology
zygote/blastula/morula		biology
Plague/Camus/Stranger		literature
Lyons/Paris/Marseilles		geography
deflation/stagflation/biflation		soc sci/econ
nanometer/centimeter/centimeter	physics
Bernstein/Copland/Thomson		music
Pinchot/Roosevelt/Progressive Party	history
Sedley/Vanity Fair/Sharp		literature
Crystal cathedral/Houston Rockets/Oral Roberts miscellaneous
yoke/rudder/throttle		science/technology
PAN/PRI/PRD			ce/politics
Padres/Diamondbacks/Indians	sports/baseball
Aesir/Njord/Frigg			myth
mass/electric charge/no hair theorem	astronomy
Leningrad/Stalingrad/Kursk		history
Junger/Perfect Storm/Boston	literature/popular genres (ie, what many on this board believe should be reclassified as part of pop culture)
alkene/ketone/carboxylic		chemistry
Delphi/Thebes/Argos		history
That's not great, but it's legible.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:20 pm

One thing that seems suboptimal here is that two of the four literature tossups in this packet are at 21 and 26. I'll ask R. what kind of fixes might be available for things like this.
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:28 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:One thing that seems suboptimal here is that two of the four literature tossups in this packet are at 21 and 26. I'll ask R. what kind of fixes might be available for things like this.
Give this man a raise. This is the type of feedback we've been wanting. Thank you for everything you've been doing/discussing in the recent days. This is immensely helpful for your company and quizbowl as a whole. Keep this up.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

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Captain Sinico
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Re: NAQT distributions posted

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:34 pm

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:
bt_green_warbler wrote:One thing that seems suboptimal here is that two of the four literature tossups in this packet are at 21 and 26. I'll ask R. what kind of fixes might be available for things like this.
Give this man a raise. This is the type of feedback we've been wanting. Thank you for everything you've been doing/discussing in the recent days. This is immensely helpful for your company and quizbowl as a whole. Keep this up.
Yeah, I want to echo this, too. I wish NAQT had been doing this all along.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

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