Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Cheynem »

Don't worry, Ben, we'll write an all Sitcoms Set some day and then there will be Nina Van Horn AND Kevin Liotta tossups for all!
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Jamnman23 »

Cheynem wrote:Don't worry, Ben, we'll write an all Sitcoms Set some day and then there will be Nina Van Horn AND Kevin Liotta tossups for all!
That sounds like a great idea, but I can't help thinking that I would be way over my head in some competition like that. Sure, I would smile and get a kick out of every obscure character that came up that I actually knew, but I think for the other ones I would be like, "How can anybody reasonably know that? That is not a fair tossup." Yeah, I am not really sure any character from Just Shoot Me is toss-upable in a regular difficulty tournament. I would say maybe Finch, because of the continued "prominence" of David Spade, but I am not sure about any other character.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by theMoMA »

A lot of problems with trash (especially TRASH) can be resolved by asking these simple two questions:

1) Is this something that people like?

2) Is this something that people know the name of?
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

I can get behind that standard. I think one of the subtler questions asked here is "who are people?" A large camp thinks that "people," for the purposes of that question, are the general public; another camp thinks that "people" are academic circuit players. Obviously the definition of "people" per your standard isn't meant to be some constant, independent of who says they're coming to your tournament, but there's obviously some reference group for which your canon is designed before it's trimmed and broadened based on your audience.

(Otherwise you'd just design the academic game, too, exclusively to what the attendees of your tournament know best, and if no history players come you'd have 1/1 history. And that's obviously not what you do. But if you have middle schoolers, you do need to have less social science (however much I want a sixth grader to shout Schumpeter in triumph) and more geography, for example.)
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

everyday847 wrote: But if you have middle schoolers, you do need to have less social science (however much I want a sixth grader to shout Schumpeter in triumph) and more geography, for example.)
If only I could get my brother to say such things....
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Jamnman23 »

theMoMA wrote:A lot of problems with trash (especially TRASH) can be resolved by asking these simple two questions:

1) Is this something that people like?

2) Is this something that people know the name of?
I agree that these are the two most important factors in deciding the composition of a trash tournament. You have to know who your target audience is, and apparently TRASH has decided that their target audiences are older people who also like "the random crap that nobody likes." The problem with the trash canon is that it is so versatile and so subjective. What may be a major cultural subject for one may be quite insignificant to another. Additionally, the trash canon is naturally constantly evolving with pop culture. You could argue that every day events transpire which could be worthy of a trash question. Because the limits and dimensions of trash are not static, it is so difficult to accurately describe what types of questions are justified and how and when they should be asked. Because academic quiz content really does not change that much nowadays, there has developed an understood standard by which many people realize what types of tossups and bonuses are appropriate for what audiences and ability levels. This allows for general consistency and continuity for content within academic tournaments and makes most academic players generally satisfied with a decent proportion of tournaments they attend. Certainly, there are exceptions to this rule, but the point is that for trash tournaments, we must constantly and perpetually ask the two questions that Andrew mentioned, because the answers are always changing and evolving for various reasons.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Matt Weiner »

For what it's worth: I dunno if you wrote for the Penn trash tournament this year, but I thought it did a very good job of selecting reasonable topics. Even though there was too much hockey, it mostly focused on really answerable hockey that someone like me (who watches Sportscenter but otherwise has no interest in the NHL) could at least guess at. The new-wave trash tournaments like that and the Bentley ones are bringing in both better answer selection and more substantive clues as compared to the "social gathering" stuff run by the old guard.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Jamnman23 »

Matt Weiner wrote:For what it's worth: I dunno if you wrote for the Penn trash tournament this year, but I thought it did a very good job of selecting reasonable topics. Even though there was too much hockey, it mostly focused on really answerable hockey that someone like me (who watches Sportscenter but otherwise has no interest in the NHL) could at least guess at. The new-wave trash tournaments like that and the Bentley ones are bringing in both better answer selection and more substantive clues as compared to the "social gathering" stuff run by the old guard.
I did write for Penn Bowl Trash. I probably wrote about 15% of the tournament, and my focus was definitely on picking accessible topics that would be fun to answer. I definitely think in that regard that the tournament was a success. Of course, a lot of questions had questionable clue order, but I think that was a function of a lot of first time writers, of which I was one. In terms of hockey, I had to be forced into writing a couple of hockey questions, because I don't really follow it. If I had it my way, I wouldn't have included any hockey at all. I certainly do like the new direction and trend that the new trash tournaments are going in, and I think I would include GARBAGE in almost the same class as the Bentley tournaments. I found almost all of the GARBAGE rounds engaging and fun with good answer selection.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by fizzball »

I'm still not seeing why a 4/4 sports distribution gets the free pass it gets. Yes, sports are popular with quizbowl players and college students in general. So what. Knock it down to 3/3 or fewer. I echo Mike Bentley that they're dull to write and they're dull to play. But why continue to struggle with the 4/4?

Sports questions are notoriously hard to write well. I think even the excellent Yaphe packets fall into the same biography/transaction-bowl traps found in less well-received tournaments.

If trash should heed principles of good quizbowl --- that is, rewarding real knowledge that is best attained through some real experience -- then a 4/4 emphasis on sports runs counter to those principles. Questions on "current" sports are essentially current-event and business questions. And "classic" sports...even if you want to brush up on sports knowledge of 5 years ago, your best options for doing so would be considered fraudulent if we were talking about a traditional QB subject such as, say, lit. Want to compete with PROFESSIONAL TRASH PLAYERS and get good at older movies? Rent some. Music? Pick up some CDs or downloads. I can play classic video games from the 2600 on through emulation, and thanks to DVD and the Internet, old TV shows deemed too obscure for today's student (*coughAirwolfcough*) are at least researchable firsthand.

But how do you get good at older sports? Here's how:
1. Study sports almanacs and the like
2. Be old

Enough people have voiced legitimate concerns about the topic, and the same concerns come up again and again. It'd be better IMO to cut that subdistribution and try to focus on 6 good sports questions per round than 8 so-so questions. Hell, 6 so-so questions are still better than 8.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Cheynem »

There are plenty of good sports questions out there that do not rely on crappy stats stuff. For instance, there are plenty of terrific anecdotes and incidents in baseball, basketball, and football histories. It's just like studying American history or British history--you don't go to archaeological sites or famous landmarks (I guess you could), you read history. Read stuff like The Bill James Historical Abstract for baseball or Baseball's Great Experiment about Jackie Robinson or whatever. Watch ESPN Classic documentaries on The Greatest Game Ever Played, etc. Sports is just a legitimate a topic to write about it as other stuff.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by theMoMA »

Whatever, sports questions can be problematic but sports are still the number one category of trash that people like. Also, there are very few people who try to find good blog/internet/anecdote clues about modern athletes. I can assure you that these clues are out there, and that people should use them.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Mike Bentley »

theMoMA wrote:Whatever, sports questions can be problematic but sports are still the number one category of trash that people like.
No they're not.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Mike Bentley »

Cheynem wrote:There are plenty of good sports questions out there that do not rely on crappy stats stuff. For instance, there are plenty of terrific anecdotes and incidents in baseball, basketball, and football histories. It's just like studying American history or British history--you don't go to archaeological sites or famous landmarks (I guess you could), you read history. Read stuff like The Bill James Historical Abstract for baseball or Baseball's Great Experiment about Jackie Robinson or whatever. Watch ESPN Classic documentaries on The Greatest Game Ever Played, etc. Sports is just a legitimate a topic to write about it as other stuff.
Also, I've found most so-called "good" sports questions in this mold are pretty much collections of stupid shit this person did on the Internet and/or said in interviews (Ron Artest worked at Best Buy!). I certainly prefer questions like that to pure stats based crap, but even still these questions seem to disproportionately emphasize controversy and off the field antics.

I'd also appreciate if people could post examples what they find "good" sports questions to be like.

Mostly I see sports questions as the analog of science questions in the academic distribution. They often strike non-specialists as very boring due to the nature of the clues that can be used and are by far the hardest type of questions to write well, but are nevertheless an important part of the canon that probably should come up even if it doesn't make the world's greatest quizbowl.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by BMHight »

I am old, but I do like sports questions, so here goes:

The blogosphere is a gold mine for colorful anecdotes about current players, although you'll need to dig a little deeper for the older athletes worth asking about. That being said, don't feel like you have to throw in every Hall of Famer who ever appeared in a beer commercial 20 years ago either.

What may be worth a try as far as sourcing "quality" sports questions is to look for good sports writing and work from there. Mike C. already brought up some good sources, but I might also recommend checking out some of the Sports Illustrated compliations for older sports, maybe a Shirley Povich or Grantland Rice story or two, or even watch some old NFL Films programming for inspiration.

Regarding the 3/3 vs 4/4, I can see the case for reducing the sports content if a tournament director feels that it would make for a better competition. I would also offer up the alternative of trying 22 question rounds if the editorial/production staff is willing to put in the extra work to make room for more video game questions and/or other subjects without reducing other subjects.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

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fizzball wrote:I'm still not seeing why a 4/4 sports distribution gets the free pass it gets. Yes, sports are popular with quizbowl players and college students in general. So what. Knock it down to 3/3 or fewer. I echo Mike Bentley that they're dull to write and they're dull to play. But why continue to struggle with the 4/4?
Although I like sports, I don't think that 3/3 sports would be an absolute travesty. I would worry a little with the reduction about balance in the sub-distribution and the opportunity to include minor sports, but I think one could write an effective and enjoyable trash tournament with 3/3 sports. However, where is the 1/1 that used to be in sports going to go? Will it be used for another core trash subject or for one of the minor subjects? If that 1/1 were to go towards one of the smaller categories, I would also worry about appropriate ratios between the subjects. When you had your 4/4 sports distribution, what was the rest of the distribution? I think it is important that we know the context around which someone is subtracting and replacing 1/1 sports. There are many situations where I think this could work, I just want to know what people think the new ideal distribution would be within the 3/3 sports framework. Additionally, I think lowering sports anymore than 3/3 devalues the category far too much and would make ratios between the subjects inconsistent with their relative popularity.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Dan Greenstein »

For the following sports, write either one or two questions. If the two question option is taken, then one question must be a tossup and one question must be a bonus.

Baseball: One question must be major league baseball. A second question can be another type of baseball, but it is fine if it is MLB.

Football: If the two question option is taken, then one and only one question must be NFL. If the one question option is taken, the question must be either NFL or NCAA.

Basketball: If the two question option is taken, then one question must be either NBA or NCAA. If the one question option is taken, the question must be either NBA or NCAA.

For the following sports, write no more than one question for each topic. At least one and no more than two questions may be written about these topics. If two questions are written, then one question must be a tossup and one question must be a bonus.

Hockey
Soccer
Auto racing
Golf
Tennis
Swimming
Track
Boxing
Winter Olympic sports
More obscure team sports
Cycling

Do not write questions on sports categories 95% of people know nothing about. If you hold that knowledge about a particular volleyball (ex beach) player or A-league baseball team, then chances are no one else knows about it.

When asking questions about short-term events like the Olympics, NCAA Tournament, or individual football games, consider whether people will remember the people or events asked about in three years. In that vein, questions about Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, or Bode Miller are fine. Questions about Nastia Lukin, Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers, or Sammy Sanchez are not, unless they are the hard part of a bonus.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by fizzball »

Jamnman23 wrote:... I think one could write an effective and enjoyable trash tournament with 3/3 sports. However, where is the 1/1 that used to be in sports going to go? Will it be used for another core trash subject or for one of the minor subjects?

I think you reverse the 4/4 sports, 3/3 movies you had in your original post, and you have a pretty solid distribution.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Captain Sinico »

One of the things I dislike about trash distributions is that I feel that 8/8 (or 7/7, even) TV/movies is far too much. Those areas share a lot of information in common and that information is consequently overemphasized. This is especially grating to me when there are 4+ actor/actress biography questions in a round (as happens from time to time.) I'd say if anything, there ought to be 3/3 of each of those, tops.
I also don't think that any of the points being made against sports hold. The current popularity of a given sport doesn't dictate what people know about it; I'd wager a good deal that the median level of baseball knowledge is much higher than that for football (baseball's history, for example, is incomparably more popular - who doesn't know several anecdotes from the life of Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson, much less the mere fact of those dudes' existence?) Also, there exist any number of legitimate, accessible sources of legitimate, important knowledge about old sports (reading sports books, discussing sports with people, watching old games, ...) that are accessed regularly by both trash players and the populace at large.

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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Everyone in this thread who rails against sports questions should watch Ken Burns's documentary Baseball right the hell now.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by AKKOLADE »

Here are a couple GARBAGE sports TUs I enjoyed.
Bentley packet wrote:This school's women's team has been propelled into the Top 10 this year thanks to the play of Angel McCoughtry and coaching of Jeff Walz. One of its earliest stars was the MVP of the 1956 NIT and would later play for the Knicks, Charlie Tyra. In the '70s, this school was home to future Nets coach Butch Beard, as well as Darrell "Dr. Dunkenstein" Griffith, who led them to a 1980 NCAA Championship. This season, they beat their in-state rival thanks to a Edgar Sosa three-pointer. With Taquan Dean, they were led to the final four in 2005 thanks to Francisco Garcia. Playing its home games in Freedom Hall, it is currently coached by Rick Pitino. For 10 points, name this traditionally dominant Big East school based in Kentucky.
ANSWER: University of Louisville Cardinals
Nathan Bragg wrote:He was known as a poor fielder, and in one game as catcher for the New York Highlanders, the opposing team stole thirteen bases, a feat that remains unmatched. He had more success as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1919-1925, including pioneering the farm system, but the team didn’t win a World Series until the year after he left. He notoriously attempted to damage Ralph Kiner’s image to make it easier to trade him. As a general manager, he drafted Roberto Clemente for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but is best known for a groundbreaking and controversial 1945 signing. For ten points, identify this former executive for the Brooklyn Dodgers who is credited with breaking baseball’s color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson.
ANSWER: Wesley Branch Rickey
Geography and Love wrote:Two adversaries during this play would later be traded with one another to Portland for the injury-torn shell of Bill Walton. One party to this play was traded along with Don Chaney for Charlie Scott in a deal that also saw the Celtics acquire the pick it used to select Larry Bird. It is the subject of a book about “One night, Two lives,” written by John Feinstein. This play occurred after a Norm Nixon miss that saw Kevin Kunnert throw an elbow at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It resulted in “the loudest silence you have ever heard,” and prompted its victim to wonder if the scoreboard fell on him. For 10 points, name this action during a Rockets-Lakers game that saw Rudy Tomjanovich collapse in a pool of blood after being clocked by Kermit Washington.
ANSWER: “The Punch” [or anything that indicates Rudy Tomjanovich being punched by Kermit Washington]
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Coelacanth »

When we played that last question informally, we all were amazed that the event had any other name besides "Kermit Washington punching Rudy T". None of us had ever heard of it as "The Punch", which aspires to have the gravitas of much better-known events like "The Drive" and "The Catch".

Maybe we're just ignorant of basketball fight naming conventions.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by AKKOLADE »

The Punch is pretty much the closest thing to a formal title for that event. I'd say it's deserving of it, despite the tragedy that the occasion bears, due to its importance for the NBA's history (possibly the most important thing outside of the stardom of Magic, Bird and Jordan).

Edit: That being said, it'd be folly to only accept "The Punch" and not purely accept a clear description of what happened.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by swwFCqb »

I'd never heard of the term "The Punch" either, but I don't have any problems with it being referred to as such, especially since it accepts clear knowledge equivalents.

With that said, I thought tossing up that incident was a bad idea. I mean, the incident itself is well known amongst basketball fans for sure, but I can't imagine too many people, even hardcore basketball fans, got that question too far before "FTP," but maybe I underestimate people's knowledge of that incident. Personally I thought it might have been better served as a middle part of a basketball bonus.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Dan Greenstein »

I did google searches for The Punch, The Play, The Catch, The Drive, and The Shot. For the latter four, the intended event is in the top three and dominates the list of results. For The Punch, there is only one positive ID in the first 30 results, that being the Amazon page for the Feinstein book. It was a decently written question, but it fails because very few people outside of those who have read the Feinstein book would know this event as The Punch, and the vast majority of people would be screwed by having to come up with that esoteric name after the giveaway, since it would be very Khonerific to accept Kermit Washington punching Rudy T after essentially the same phrase was given in the last sentence.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Jamnman23 »

I was certainly a fan of both the Louisville question and the Branch Rickey one as well. I think they are proof that it is possible to write good sports questions. The Branch Rickey one in particular is note-worthy, because biographical sports questions are often the most mundane and one-dimensional, but this one was different. It followed somewhat of a chronology, but it was simultaneously fun and anecdotal. I think people should definitely use it as an example to follow in the future.
Captain Sinico wrote:One of the things I dislike about trash distributions is that I feel that 8/8 (or 7/7, even) TV/movies is far too much. Those areas share a lot of information in common and that information is consequently overemphasized. This is especially grating to me when there are 4+ actor/actress biography questions in a round (as happens from time to time.) I'd say if anything, there ought to be 3/3 of each of those, tops.
I don't necessarily think 7/7 or 8/8 TV/movies is unreasonable. I agree that I think the two should be distinguishable and that you should be able to tell a TV tossup from a Movie tossup, but if they do not share information with each other, I do not see the problem with 8/8. TV and Movies are very significant parts of pop culture, so I think 35-40% of the distribution is warranted. I think we can keep the current level of TV/Movies and cut down on the biography questions. They often get excessive and numerous. I think a total of 3/3 actor/actress biography is fine. I would suggest 2/2 for movies and 1/1 for TV. The rest of the distribution can consist of Titles and character names or anything else that seems reasonable.

This is another thing I would like to know people's opinions on. Because of the sheer number of movies and the obvious repeated exposure to TV shows, the canon for TV characters is naturally much larger than that for movie characters. There are just not many movie characters that are tossupable. At GARBAGE, the Hannibal Lecter tossup was good, but he is a very famous character. I feel like anybody much more obscure than that may not be legitimate as a tossup.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Mike Bentley »

I am a supporter of reducing the number of actor/actress questions as much as possible. I hate these questions and feel that they are usually much harder than questions on shows, movies, characters, etc. That said, I still think TV/Movies should each be in the 3/3-4/4 range depending on the tournament, probably more towards the 4/4 range.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird »

I did write for Penn Bowl Trash. I probably wrote about 15% of the tournament, and my focus was definitely on picking accessible topics that would be fun to answer. I definitely think in that regard that the tournament was a success. Of course, a lot of questions had questionable clue order, but I think that was a function of a lot of first time writers, of which I was one. In terms of hockey, I had to be forced into writing a couple of hockey questions, because I don't really follow it. If I had it my way, I wouldn't have included any hockey at all. I certainly do like the new direction and trend that the new trash tournaments are going in, and I think I would include GARBAGE in almost the same class as the Bentley tournaments. I found almost all of the GARBAGE rounds engaging and fun with good answer selection.
Well if I had it my way I wouldn't include particle physics as part of the science canon (just cause I'm not familiar with it). Deal with it. It's quiz bowl, learn if you don't know or just choose not answer it. Omitting hockey from the trash cannon is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Jamnman23 »

nalin wrote:
I did write for Penn Bowl Trash. I probably wrote about 15% of the tournament, and my focus was definitely on picking accessible topics that would be fun to answer. I definitely think in that regard that the tournament was a success. Of course, a lot of questions had questionable clue order, but I think that was a function of a lot of first time writers, of which I was one. In terms of hockey, I had to be forced into writing a couple of hockey questions, because I don't really follow it. If I had it my way, I wouldn't have included any hockey at all. I certainly do like the new direction and trend that the new trash tournaments are going in, and I think I would include GARBAGE in almost the same class as the Bentley tournaments. I found almost all of the GARBAGE rounds engaging and fun with good answer selection.
Well if I had it my way I wouldn't include particle physics as part of the science canon (just cause I'm not familiar with it). Deal with it. It's quiz bowl, learn if you don't know or just choose not answer it. Omitting hockey from the trash cannon is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.
I hope you could tell from the context of my comments that in no way was I suggesting eliminating hockey completely from the trash canon. I was merely commenting on Matt's observation that there was too much hockey at Penn Bowl trash. I was making the point that I was not the one who put such a high volume of hockey in the tournament. Of course I wish I knew more about hockey, but I deal with the fact that it's not one of my strong areas knowledge. Just as you did with your example of "particle physics", I was simply musing about a hypothetical situation that would be advantageous to myself, not suggesting a legitimate change in the trash distribution. You can be assured that hockey will not be omitted from trash tournaments anytime soon.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Whiter Hydra »

nalin wrote:cannon
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

nalin wrote:Well if I had it my way I wouldn't include particle physics as part of the science canon (just cause I'm not familiar with it). Deal with it. It's quiz bowl, learn if you don't know or just choose not answer it. Omitting hockey from the trash cannon is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.
Er: this also doesn't make too much sense. Like, you need to have some inclusion rules, not just rules for how frequently something comes up--surely some things should come up with zero frequency. I don't happen to think (and apparently Ben doesn't, either) that hockey is such a thing, but I don't think that I'm alone in saying that "it's quizbowl, and things come up, so anything goes" is not a good argument.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird »

everyday847 wrote:
nalin wrote:Well if I had it my way I wouldn't include particle physics as part of the science canon (just cause I'm not familiar with it). Deal with it. It's quiz bowl, learn if you don't know or just choose not answer it. Omitting hockey from the trash cannon is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.
Er: this also doesn't make too much sense. Like, you need to have some inclusion rules, not just rules for how frequently something comes up--surely some things should come up with zero frequency. I don't happen to think (and apparently Ben doesn't, either) that hockey is such a thing, but I don't think that I'm alone in saying that "it's quizbowl, and things come up, so anything goes" is not a good argument.

It's a good argument when someone wants to remove something that is established in canon, just because they know nothing about it.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

nalin wrote:
everyday847 wrote:
nalin wrote:Well if I had it my way I wouldn't include particle physics as part of the science canon (just cause I'm not familiar with it). Deal with it. It's quiz bowl, learn if you don't know or just choose not answer it. Omitting hockey from the trash cannon is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.
Er: this also doesn't make too much sense. Like, you need to have some inclusion rules, not just rules for how frequently something comes up--surely some things should come up with zero frequency. I don't happen to think (and apparently Ben doesn't, either) that hockey is such a thing, but I don't think that I'm alone in saying that "it's quizbowl, and things come up, so anything goes" is not a good argument.
It's a good argument when someone wants to remove something that is established in canon, just because they know nothing about it.
Well, what he actually said was that he had to be forced to write it because he knows little about it, and he'd rather not write things he doesn't know. But in any event, who cares? Nothing is "established in canon" by anything more than fiat, and if lots of people in a trash tournament's target audience know little about a thing (like hockey) then it should be included at a low frequency or not at all.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Mike Bentley »

nalin wrote:
everyday847 wrote:
nalin wrote:Well if I had it my way I wouldn't include particle physics as part of the science canon (just cause I'm not familiar with it). Deal with it. It's quiz bowl, learn if you don't know or just choose not answer it. Omitting hockey from the trash cannon is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of.
Er: this also doesn't make too much sense. Like, you need to have some inclusion rules, not just rules for how frequently something comes up--surely some things should come up with zero frequency. I don't happen to think (and apparently Ben doesn't, either) that hockey is such a thing, but I don't think that I'm alone in saying that "it's quizbowl, and things come up, so anything goes" is not a good argument.

It's a good argument when someone wants to remove something that is established in canon, just because they know nothing about it.
I personally like hockey questions (at least compared to most other sports), but this isn't the world's best defense. I don't think that anyone is calling for the removal of hockey questions entirely from the canon, but many people do question why at many trash tournaments hockey approaches 1/1 per packet. Even accepting the metric that trash should target the interests of the people playing it rather than the population in general, I don't think that there is enough interest to justify such a high distribution. Something like 0.25/0.25-0.5/0.5 which is between 1/2 and 1 question per packet seems more reasonable to me.

Also, when a vast majority of people "know nothing about it", especially in something so esoteric as the trash distribution, are calling for a reduction or removal of a subject from the canon, it's probably a good idea to address why they're saying this instead of just saying, "No, fuck you."
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by answerguy »

It's a tricky question for sure, something I think about a lot when I write for TRASH.

Submission trash tournaments involve at some level more of a democratic, bottom-up approach to what gets asked and what doesn't. If lots of people write hockey or NASCAR questions, the tournament is going to have hockey or NASCAR questions in most packets. If not, then they don't - unless the TD and staff insert them into packets. This used to be more of a regional thing, but with of the mirrored submission tournaments, there's more cross-regional trash tournaments then there used to be.

With central-source tournaments, well, at some level the writers decide more or less by fiat what gets written, although neither the writers nor the players really think of it in those terms. For my own part I try to follow what's going on in circuit events, note what the reaction is to certain kinds of questions at the TRASH regionals I attend, and try to figure out what the best mix of questions in the categories I contribute to or edit might be.

One major limiting factor is that it's easier to write good questions (both in terms of conformance with best question-writing practices and in terms of, well, fun) about something you know than something you don't. Another is that the further one gets away from the college quiz circuit the less idea one has about what they should be expected to know about some broad or narrow potential question topic.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Matt Weiner »

nalin wrote:It's a good argument when someone wants to remove something that is established in canon, just because they know nothing about it.
There are, at least, 20 sports more popular in the USA than hockey. I will accept that hockey is probably somewhere closer to the Top 10 in quizbowl--there's a far lower percentage of fans of the various motorsports in qb than in the population at large, for example, which probably drops those down. But you have to admit that 1/1 hockey, putting it on the same level as baseball, football, and basketball, is just too much when hockey isn't even one third as popular as women's NCAA basketball (which is in turn far less popular than men's NCAA, the NBA, college football, the NFL, and MLB, among other things.) Sharing the 15/15 minor sports distro with everything else and getting somewhere between 2 and 6 questions per tournament is the right amount for hockey--no one is calling for 0.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by AKKOLADE »

To support what Matt's saying, he made this excellent post with a variety of Nielsen ratings for major sports events.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by TheCzarMan »

I will refute and say that those ratings have more to due with the recent strike and the Finals and Playoffs being mostly broadcast on Versus TV than with it's actual popularity in the United States.

Last year's Game Six of the Finals had a 4.4 overnight rating and 7 share, effectively doubling the totals Matt had in his post. This would put it right below the Final Four on Matt's list. Taking out sports Matt says are not really sports, it is then 7th overall. Not to mention if you go geographically, that popularity is much higher once you get north of the Mason-Dixon.

Also we can go back to pre-strike years which show the ratings even higher.

1995 5.21 FOX New Jersey Devils vs. Detroit Red Wings
1996 5.09 FOX Colorado Avalanche vs. Florida Panthers
1997 6.37 FOX Detroit Red Wings vs. Philadelphia Flyers
1998 4.83 FOX Detroit Red Wings vs. Washington Capitals
1999 4.87 FOX Dallas Stars vs. Buffalo Sabres
2000 5.51 ABC New Jersey Devils vs. Dallas Stars
2001 5.06 ABC Colorado Avalanche vs. New Jersey Devils
2002 5.77 ABC Detroit Red Wings vs. Carolina Hurricanes
2003 3.63 *ABC/ESPN New Jersey Devils vs. Anaheim Ducks
2004 3.29 *ABC/ESPN Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Calgary Flames
2005 Strike, no season
2006 2.83 **NBC/OLN Carolina vs, Edmonton
2007 1.76 NBC/VS Ottawa vs. Anaheim

Notice how the fragmented network coverage negatively impacts those ratings. While the other major sports events listed above it have the luxury of one network broadcasting.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by pray for elves »

FredMorlan wrote:To support what Matt's saying, he made this excellent post with a variety of Nielsen ratings for major sports events.
As I have pointed out, though, that was the season after the return from a lockout in a year when the Stanley Cup finals featured the two teams with the least following in the US, so that number should be taken with several grains of salt. That statistic is an aberration that shows close to the minimum possible number of people who would care about the cup finals. This isn't to say I support 1/1 hockey, though; I think 3/3 or 4/4 hockey in a 12-round trash tournament is about the right amount (that is to say, 0.5 or 0.67 hockey questions total per round, 25% or 33% of what 1/1 would give you).
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Matt Weiner »

Yeah, that's a good point about the ratings. My argument is not necessarily one against hockey as it is one for baseball, basketball, and football; those three sports are so clearly the major ones, both in America and among quizbowl players, that any 4/4 sports distribution has to have 1/1 each on them. You are then left with around 15/15 total per tournament to cover hockey, tennis, golf, motorsports, soccer, and whatever third-tier stuff like poker or bike racing or whatever that you choose to sprinkle in. There's no way to do more than 4/4 hockey for a whole tournament without excluding something else, and actually doing like 2/2 or 3/3 seems even more appropriate. Also, while Penn managed to have 1/1 hockey per round and not pick answers that were impossible for non-hockey fanatics, I definitely don't trust TRASH or UTC to be able to do that, based on past performance. So, by requiring hockey in every round, you can easily run into difficulty problems on top of the distributional balance issues.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

Matt Weiner wrote:Yeah, that's a good point about the ratings. My argument is not necessarily one against hockey as it is one for baseball, basketball, and football; those three sports are so clearly the major ones, both in America and among quizbowl players, that any 4/4 sports distribution has to have 1/1 each on them. You are then left with around 15/15 total per tournament to cover hockey, tennis, golf, motorsports, soccer, and whatever third-tier stuff like poker or bike racing or whatever that you choose to sprinkle in. There's no way to do more than 4/4 hockey for a whole tournament without excluding something else, and actually doing like 2/2 or 3/3 seems even more appropriate. Also, while Penn managed to have 1/1 hockey per round and not pick answers that were impossible for non-hockey fanatics, I definitely don't trust TRASH or UTC to be able to do that, based on past performance. So, by requiring hockey in every round, you can easily run into difficulty problems on top of the distributional balance issues.
Here's the thing, though: calling them the "big three" implies that the popularity of football, baseball, and basketball are equal, which is demonstrably not true. Football gets higher ratings than baseball, which gets higher ratings than basketball. While I'll gladly accept 3/3 major and 1/1 minor as the right distribution, I fail to see the justification for only 1/1 football and as much as 1/1 basketball. While 3 football, 2 baseball, and 1 basketball might be a little extreme in football's favor, having 2 football, 2 baseball, 1 basketball, and 1 football or basketball (perhaps make this the designated college sports question?) is much more reasonable then having all three be equal.

Also, I'm pretty sure we didn't have 1/1 hockey per round.
ETA: I counted a total of 6/2 hockey, with two more tossups that were sort-of hockeyish. So yeah, nowhere near 1/1 per round, but definitely too many hockey tossups.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Cheynem »

Well, college basketball is really popular and NBA lore and the "human interest" factor among current NBA personalities to me justifies its inclusion on at least the same basis as baseball and football. Maybe more people watch NFL than NBA, but I think individual NBA players are actually far easier to ask about sometimes than individual NFL players.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by theMoMA »

As Mike says, the NBA's character-based nature makes it a lot better for asking tossups on players than the NFL's coach- and team-based image. Basketball has a huge canon of college stuff to ask about too.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Coelacanth »

This seems to be a long conversation with not much by way of difference of opinion. There seems to be consensus that 1/1 hockey is too much, that zero hockey is too little, and there is room in between for regional variation.

I tend to look at sports like this:

Major Sports (1/1 per round each, but if one is missing so you end up with 2/3 or 3/2 total in a round that's ok)
Football - NFL and college
Baseball - MLB
Basketball - NBA and college

"Major" Minor Sports (1-3 questions per tournament for each)
Hockey
Soccer
Golf
Auto Racing
Tennis
Major Olympic sports (track and field, swimming, gymnastics, figure skating)

In, say, a 12-round tournament, 3 soccer or hockey questions would be OK; 3 tennis questions would probably be too many

"Minor" Minor Sports (no more than one question per tournament of each; need not have all of these represented)
Bowling
Minor Olympic sports (boxing, wrestling, skiing, team handball, whatever)
"Extreme" sports
Horse Racing
Niche team sports (cricket, rugby, lacrosse, polo, hurling, whatever)

There's probably some obvious sport I've left out of the above.

I feel pretty strongly that poker and professional wrestling/ultimate fighting are not sports. Actually you can argue whether they are sports, but what I feel strongly about is that they shouldn't take up part of the sports distribution. If one of your 4/4 sports questions is a poker bonus, then what you have is 4/3 sports.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Cheynem »

I actually wouldn't be opposed to seeing the boxing/wrestling canon expanded a little for trash. There's certainly no shortage of well-known, important, interesting boxing figures to discuss and if the entire history of wrestling were included, some fine questions could be had as well.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

Cheynem wrote:I actually wouldn't be opposed to seeing the boxing/wrestling canon expanded a little for trash. There's certainly no shortage of well-known, important, interesting boxing figures to discuss and if the entire history of wrestling were included, some fine questions could be had as well.
Boxing is somewhat atypical in that people are generally going to know more about historical boxers than anything current.
theMoMA wrote:As Mike says, the NBA's character-based nature makes it a lot better for asking tossups on players than the NFL's coach- and team-based image. Basketball has a huge canon of college stuff to ask about too.
What? The NFL has 53-man rosters while the NBA has 12-man rosters, which means the potential answer space is that much larger, and while sure, most of those names are going to be obscure, every team has a few players that are well-known and interesting enough to come up; it's simply not true that there isn't "human interest" with NFL players, especially since the rise of fantasy football. I just simply don't see any difficulty in writing about NFL players, and when it comes to talking about individual games, or coaches, or miscellaneous points of strategy etc., the answer space is tipped even further in football's favor.
Last edited by Theory Of The Leisure Flask on Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Cheynem »

I agree that you can write good stuff about NFL players. The challenge is:

1. A lot of positions are just tough to write about. Try finding notable free safeties or offensive tackles to write about. Sure, there are some, but there aren't a lot.

2. The NFL has stricter position definitions than the NBA. For example, if I want to tossup a kicker, it becomes very obvious that I am describing a kicker and since there are only so many notable kickers, the answer selection becomes very limited quickly. In the NBA, just saying that a player "scored ___ points" or "blocked a shot," while it might help narrow down some aspects of what the player's skill set is, you really can't eliminate huge chunks of players from consideration with a few clues, as you do in football. Similarly, in the NBA, any player from any position can be responsible for a huge basket. In the NFL, 90% of the time, the huge touchdown involves a quarterback, a running back, or a wideout.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

Cheynem wrote:I agree that you can write good stuff about NFL players. The challenge is:

1. A lot of positions are just tough to write about. Try finding notable free safeties or offensive tackles to write about. Sure, there are some, but there aren't a lot.
I should probably ask Mehdi if PB trash is actually cleared for discussion, but one of my few contributions was a bonus on minor NFL positions, a question I'm actually quite fond of.
Cheynem wrote:2. The NFL has stricter position definitions than the NBA. For example, if I want to tossup a kicker, it becomes very obvious that I am describing a kicker and since there are only so many notable kickers, the answer selection becomes very limited quickly. In the NBA, just saying that a player "scored ___ points" or "blocked a shot," while it might help narrow down some aspects of what the player's skill set is, you really can't eliminate huge chunks of players from consideration with a few clues, as you do in football. Similarly, in the NBA, any player from any position can be responsible for a huge basket. In the NFL, 90% of the time, the huge touchdown involves a quarterback, a running back, or a wideout.
Okay, so there are three or four positions that do all the scoring in both sports. Sure, you can narrow things down in percentage terms, but when it comes to absolute numbers, there are (for example) about as many NFL quarterbacks as there are NBA centers, and you can get into more depth on the quarterbacks.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by dxdtdemon »

I don't know if what sports questions get answered at academic tournaments is a good representation of what gets answered at trash tournaments, but it seems like a lot more of the soccer questions are getting converted than the other non-"big three" sports, and most of the rest of them being converted are the hockey ones. I think that if other people have been seeing the same trend in trash tournaments/academic tournaments with a trash distribution, that 0/1 or 1/0 soccer in 3/4 of the rounds, and having 1/0 or 0/1 hockey in about 2/3 of the rounds sounds somewhat reasonable.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

quantumfootball wrote:I don't know if what sports questions get answered at academic tournaments is a good representation of what gets answered at trash tournaments, but it seems like a lot more of the soccer questions are getting converted than the other non-"big three" sports, and most of the rest of them being converted are the hockey ones. I think that if other people have been seeing the same trend in trash tournaments/academic tournaments with a trash distribution, that 0/1 or 1/0 soccer in 3/4 of the rounds, and having 1/0 or 0/1 hockey in about 2/3 of the rounds sounds somewhat reasonable.
As long as you're careful to choose accessible answers, golf, tennis, and major Olympic sports (as a group) can also be converted at decent rates, and definitely deserve at least 1/1 each per tournament. I agree that hockey and soccer are the only other team sports worth talking about in any depth.
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Re: Proposed trash/TRASH guidelines

Post by theMoMA »

What I mean is that the NBA is player-centric and the NFL is team-centered. People care a lot more about the players in the NBA than the NFL.

Honestly, I'd say that you should be able to go with 2/1 or 1/2 of either football or baseball, and have the difference reflected in the number of "other sports" in the packet.
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