Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

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Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:55 am

Hello,

I believe all the Mirrors are finished. Let me thank all of the writers that allowed me to make this tournament happen: Susan Ferrari, Anurag Kashyap, Auroni Gupta, Chris Kennedy, Jeff Amoros (who had to deal with significant family issues), Sandy Huang, Rob Fernandez and also to Seth Kendall, Chris Borglum and the Minnesota team for producing some rounds to supplement the tournament. All of it flaws must be attributed to me.

I enjoyed writing this tournament, perhaps a little too much, but I don't think I will apologize for that. I can only continue to work and improve, so I will take all your comments seriously and fairly. I hope that all of your responses are also serious and fair (though please don't interpret this as "me telling you how to post", post however you need to). I will be sending the packets to the archive very soon, so you can have them to vet.

Finally, let me thank Minnesota and Maryland for taking another risk, as well as all the teams and players that participated, I hope you consider playing again next year. Really, that is all I can hope.

I look forward to your comments.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Strongside » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:47 pm

I'll start off by saying that I thought this tournament was pretty great, and I enjoyed playing it. I thought it was definitely the best Sun 'n' Fun yet.

There were lots of interesting tossups. I thought the tournament did a good job about asking about difficult stuff, but stuff that was canonical and had come up before. I also like all the questions about urban studies related stuff.

The tournament did have some bonus difficulty variation, but I see this as a minor problem, since pretty much every tournament has this. This is especially hard to control when you write like ten packets. The distribution was obviously tailored to your interests, but it was fun to play a tournament like that.

I thought the tournament was harder than advertised, but I felt this enhanced the tournament.

Thanks for putting this tournament together.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:40 pm

Have you ever been to one of those museums that are housed in some dead eccentric rich guy's old mansion? And the museum's collection is made up entirely of random things that the guy collected? This tournament was exactly like that; it was a display of random things that Ahmad collects inside of his mind.

If you went into the tournament with that mindset, I think you would have been a lot less disappointed than if you came in expecting a normally-distributed, canonical tournament.

I will say that the history was weaker than at many other tournaments, and there seemed to be a lot of sub-optimal clue ordering in history tossups.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Sun Jul 12, 2009 7:33 pm

This was fun and educational, especially the high proportion of criticism and social science. I did notice two problematic tossups. The Rashi tossup was not as good as it could have been because it spent most of the question sounding vaugely like it was about something kabbalistic or mystical then went from that to "tosafot' to "11th century french rabbi", of which he is the only famous one. A clue or two on his Talmud commentary before that would have improved the tossup The New York City draft riots tossup seemed kind of transparent since it made it clear early on that it was looking for something violent in a city that had to do with conscription.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:27 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:Have you ever been to one of those museums that are housed in some dead eccentric rich guy's old mansion? And the museum's collection is made up entirely of random things that the guy collected?
Of which genre I would recommend this one.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:41 pm

This tournament certainly had some enjoyable moments, including tossups on exciting subjects like Robert Christgau, Bob Dylan goes electric, Snowball Earth, and William Whyte.

On the other hand, in the ten-and-a-half rounds I played (I had to leave early), there were a grand total of three classical music tossups. ICT had a better ratio, for crying out loud. And, no, I'm not counting the question on fucking Darth Maul's Theme as classical music, much as I'm sure that's what you intended. Just no.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Susan » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:45 pm

Champa Kalhari wrote:
Whig's Boson wrote:Have you ever been to one of those museums that are housed in some dead eccentric rich guy's old mansion? And the museum's collection is made up entirely of random things that the guy collected?
Of which genre I would recommend this one.
Seconded! And this delicious restaurant is just a short walk away.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:56 pm

I don't want to derail this thread any more, but the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is based on a similar concept and is also quite good. Prehaps we should start a "fun house museums" thread in AHAN, Jr.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:23 am

I'll second most of what Brendan said above. I think most everyone knows what to expect from Sun n Fun at this point, and this tournament delivered that experience in the highest quality yet. I agree with Bruce that the history stood out as perhaps the weakest point of the set. A lot of tossups in the history seemed to give a reasonable lateral-thinking player a good idea of the time and place right off the bat. There were a few weak tossups as well, but for the most part the tossup answers were interesting and the answers were reasonable for a hard tournament.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:13 pm

Verhoeven's Giant Tree Rat wrote:On the other hand, in the ten-and-a-half rounds I played (I had to leave early), there were a grand total of three classical music tossups. ICT had a better ratio, for crying out loud. And, no, I'm not counting the question on fucking Darth Maul's Theme as classical music, much as I'm sure that's what you intended. Just no.
Seconded. The arts subdistribution in general seemed pretty skewed.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by vcuEvan » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:13 pm

The announcement for this tournament said the questions:
they will be a tic easier than this year's Missouri Open, they will be of standard mACF distribution 20/20 un-timed tossups and bonuses
This is way off base. I enjoyed parts of this event but much of it was a death march through the mind of every conceivable critic active in the last thirty years. Combining this with the steady stream of poorly written questions in a bunch of categories turned it into a really frustrating experience. I'll probably keep coming to this if it's in Maryland, but can we at least drop the facade that it's anything but the Ahmad Ragab Fantasy Tournament?
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Ike » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:30 pm

Even though this tournament was advertised as standard ACF distribution, I'm very curious as to what distribution was used. It really felt like geography (not that I care too much) was eschewed for social science. Also, it seemed to me that the arts distribution seemed to veer towards the written side of things. By written, I try to illustrate my point by pointing to the bonuses on "Name these architectural texts" and the tossup on Erwin Panofsky's Studies in Iconology. It really felt as if these categories were veering towards the critical studies of their respective fields, as opposed to asking about the field itself. Combined with the 2/1 or 1/1 literary criticism per round, I really felt that this tournament needed to point this out to new people who haven't played Sun N Fun before (like me or any of the numerous high schoolers around, or just people in general.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Coelacanth » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:55 pm

Just a few observations here from a reader's perspective. These are things I noticed as well as a summary of the players' comments throughout the day:

* Variability in bonus difficulty was an issue. In one round, after four tossups each team had answered 2 and the score was 80-20. This had much more to do with the difference in difficulty than the difference in ability.

* Some of the bonus parts veered into the realm of the absurdly difficult.

* There was some sentiment that some of the early clues in the science tossups were less uniquely-identifying than they should have been. I also got several answers along the lines of "they're looking for (whatever), but that's totally wrong based on the clues you just read"

* The editing was a bit rough. There were lots of sentence fragments, missing words, unexpected punctuation and capitalization and the like. Also: page breaks in the middle of tossups = bad. Just a minor quibble, as it didn't really affect the gameplay much.

* The tossups were ridiculously long. I understand wanting to cram in a lot of clues (especially when writing on pet subjects), but honestly 14 lines is excessive by any standard. I'm probably slightly quicker than the median reader, and I had to really hurry to get rounds done in under 45 minutes. (Running in just 2 rooms, we got through 12 rounds in just under 9 hours of gameplay.)

I learned a lot, and the players seemed to mostly have a good time, which was the goal, right? So, overall, a decent job.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:07 pm

vcuEvan wrote:The announcement for this tournament said the questions:
they will be a tic easier than this year's Missouri Open, they will be of standard mACF distribution 20/20 un-timed tossups and bonuses
This is way off base. I enjoyed parts of this event but much of it was a death march through the mind of every conceivable critic active in the last thirty years. Combining this with the steady stream of poorly written questions in a bunch of categories turned it into a really frustrating experience. I'll probably keep coming to this if it's in Maryland, but can we at least drop the facade that it's anything but the Ahmad Ragab Fantasy Tournament?
Pretty much this.

I went in expecting an event kind of like last year's SNF--an event that followed the distribution and difficulty typical of summer opens with 2 or 3 more questions per round involving literary or social criticism than usual, and 2 or 3 questions per round being surprise guest appearances from the IS-level. While I don't think either of those things are ideal, I think they are both associated with SNF to the point that people who fundamentally object to them should probably not have bothered showing up rather than complaining about them.

Instead, we got a tripling of the already-high criticism distribution, a contraction of all the other categories, and almost all of the history questions being noticeably weak. There were loads of questions that were nigh-impossible to follow because they abused pronouns, ran eight clauses together using comma splices, or just had a poor conception of English grammar. A great deal of tossups went straight from very difficult, new-to-quizbowl leadins to things that every experienced player knows without any concept of middle clues, leading to one buzzer race after another. In what I think was the biggest offender, the difficulty of this tournament spiked tremendously and without warning. This was not "a tic easier than Missouri Open," this was easily as hard or harder than last year's Chicago Open (if you drop the laughably easy history questions from consideration, I'd confidently say the rest of the tournament was harder than CO 08). This packet set was, frankly, bad. Rather than speculate on why it's not being received as such as compared to similar missteps by other experienced writers, I'll just make it clear that it was, especially with regards to the replacement of entire other categories with criticism questions, and the lack of attention given to the selection and ordering of clues in history questions.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:47 pm

I don't really have a problem with the amusing basket of answer goods that Sun n Fun annually unleashes upon the market. Like most of you, I chart my personal intellectual development by early Sun n Fun buzzes, so I was thrilled to get some mileage out of my Steve Biko and Saul Alinsky knowledge. Ahmad, if you're cool with the Bruce museum analogy, then keep on keeping on. If the goal of this tournament really was a fairly balanced distribution just shy of Missouri Open difficulty with some space set aside for Ragabia, then it missed some targets.

Overall, the questions (and particularly what I perceived as Ahmad's questions) were very definitely written better than last year, just as last year was better than the year before. However, the answer selection for the Ahmad categories (I presume people know what I mean here) was probably more out there than it was even in 2007. Scaling this back just a little, perhaps by tweaking tossups on one subject (say, ludicrously hard work by really, really hard critic) could just be on really, really hard critic - it could even use most of the same clues. There were also still a marginally significant amount of poorly-written non-history questions (more on those in a bit), so if there ends up being time to playtest some of the stuff on more canonical answers, it would probably be a good idea.

It sure did not seem like this tournament used a set distribution. No matter what direction you want to go with this (mainstreaming it more or maintaining its unique position on the figurative quizbowl calendar), this is a very easy correction that would really improve the tournament. In the Borglum packet, there were not only two American history tossups, there were two American history tossups on Jacksonian politics. That was not such a good plan (I sure hope Chris didn't submit both of those together as part of a holistic packet, so I assume it was just a mistake). If you want to modify the distribution, go for it - it's a summer event, after all, but keep it consistent. The variable distribution messed with the results in ways that are completely independent of the fact that it was Sun n Fun.

The bonus consistency was also a fairly big issue. There were still a lot of pretty much guaranteed zeros, free 20s, and fairly easy 30s. While I did appreciate some Ragabia bonuses that had a tangentially related easy part, there were at least as many that just didn't. In general the bonus conversion numbers were kind of brutal, so if that's something you want to avoid rather than being an incidental consequence of the tournament, I'd recommend working to make the middle parts a bit more canonical.

Finally, Bruce is right that the history was definitely not as well-written as the other questions (which, while often soul-consuming in the best possible way, were mostly solid). I found myself pretty dismayed that I was unable to use much actual history knowledge - even if you knew something, you weren't really able to buzz any earlier than the contexual figure it out clues. I've been reading incessantly about the supreme court for the last few months and was most dismayed that knowledge about the Jackson dissent and John Dewitt were rewarded later than the ability to name a case from the Frankfurter era that the "legitimacy ... of military precautions" (and to a lesser extent, that Dewitt wasn't even mentioned until the question identified Jackson and Frankfurter as having heard the case). The Four Horsemen question told you that it was a group on the supreme court contemporaneous with Holmes Jr. in the first handful of words, enabling me to buzz independent of actually knowing anything specific at all. I mean, is there even another supreme court faction? Even if the time period wasn't given I probably still would have done this. It's a very cool idea for a tossup, but one that would require quite a bit of nuance to make non-transparent - it's probably the kind of thing that would have benefited from a dedicated history editor, though I'm sure people weren't just lining up.

Yeah, there were issues, and I hope some of them get fixed no matter what the tournament looks like, but I'm all for keeping this tournament as a bit of an annual voyage out of the standard canon. I think that would be better-done on some kind of constant percentage basis within each packet, but hey, then we wouldn't have heard 1/1 Top Gear, so what can you do.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:59 pm

I want to say three things, I think, in terms of general tournament commentary:

1) While the science was not as good as I would have liked for a set produced by a reasonably experienced writer, it was not as bad as I feared and there were several questions that I particularly enjoyed. (I wouldn't be surprised if they intersected substantially with the science Susan contributed, but anyway.) That said, there were a lot of weirdly misplaced clues that caused me to sit and wait on tossups I should have gotten since after tossups on wacky-as-shit criticism that goes dead, you don't expect "it binds to gp120 you fools" to come up so far from the end of a tossup on cd4, for example.

2) I don't really mind continental philosophy or anything, but given the presence of only that Ryle tossup and a couple of others, it seemed like there was 0.2/0.2 analytic philosophy per round and 3.5/3.5 social science and continental philosophy and literary criticism and... If you say your tournament is going to be a whatever the hell goes, then that's fine, and we come into it and expect Gunpei Yokol instead of Missouri Open. But you didn't, so we didn't, and that was disappointing.

3) Bonus variability was a problem as mentioned above, but tossup variability was a bigger issue: setting aside the issue that several tossups were on criticism and continental stuff that just isn't closely related to the canon at all, there was usually at least one tossup on something like the Boii (!) that create nineteen tossup games.

This can be done better.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Susan » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:16 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: 1) While the science was not as good as I would have liked for a set produced by a reasonably experienced writer, it was not as bad as I feared and there were several questions that I particularly enjoyed. (I wouldn't be surprised if they intersected substantially with the science Susan contributed, but anyway.) That said, there were a lot of weirdly misplaced clues that caused me to sit and wait on tossups I should have gotten since after tossups on wacky-as-shit criticism that goes dead, you don't expect "it binds to gp120 you fools" to come up so far from the end of a tossup on cd4, for example.
As it happens, I wrote the tossup on CD4 (so perhaps you did not like my questions as well as you thought!). Here it is:
I wrote: The disruption of this molecule's interaction with p56 is a key mechanism in its downregulation by Nef. Cells expressing this molecule, which was originally called leu3, undergo a migratory response toward IL-16. One of this molecule's functions can also be undertaken by galactocerebroside or sulfatide; that function is its ability to bind to gp120. Unlike a similar molecule, it does not usually dimerize, and its D1, D2, D3, and D4 extracellular domains are immunoglobulin domains. A "regulatory" cell type expresses this protein along with CD25. Along with CXCR4 and CCR5, this receptor binds to the envelope of HIV; during HIV infection and AIDS, the number of cells expressing this protein drops precipitously. FTP, name this T-cell co-receptor which interacts with MHC Class II to recognize antigens presented to helper T-cells, unlike CD8.
ANSWER: CD4
I don't think gp120 is unreasonably early in this question; it's in the middle of the HIV-related clues (Nef, gp120, the entire fifth sentence). A player with a fairly nuanced understanding of HIV-CD4 interactions will know it at gp120, as you did (and not every player will get it there; getting it there is a good buzz!), and then everyone else can wait for the clues that it's one of the immunoglobulin-like receptors, that it's the receptor most associated with AIDS (stated more explicitly), that it interacts with MHC II, and that it's not CD8. The T-reg clue could have gone before gp120; I don't think that would dramatically have changed the quality of the question.

Unfortunately, I wrote my questions in a vacuum and didn't have any way of measuring how they compared in difficulty or whatever to the rest of the set; in retrospect it might have behooved me to ask Ahmad if I could look over some of his stuff while writing my own questions (the rest of which were JBS Haldane, cetaceans, Marfan's, ATP synthase, aldosterone, and Kupffer cells--for the most part, not things I would ordinarily have thought to write about, so thanks to Ahmad for the topics!)
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:17 pm

Issues with the distribution aside (yes, it would have been nice to have a consistent distribution of Ragabia and consistent difficulty therein), I have a couple comments to make on question-writing style.

1. Some of the science tossups had material in them that was either completely nonspecific, completely unnecessary, or both. When the set is posted, I can make more detailed and specific critiques, but notable nonclues include the mention of a modified Wronksian (which went on to explain exactly what a modified Wronskian was, which was completely useless) and a few organic chemistry clues that boiled down to "this reaction is sped up by a catalyst that speeds up a bunch of reactions!"

2. The comment on the Rashi question is accurate, and it was a problem throughout the tournament: Most famous works or actions were not mentioned in the giveaway or at all. I love seeing Terry Riley come up, because he is awesome and has accordingly awesome facial hair, but the tossup on him was a whole bunch of indistinguishable and obscure minimalist composer description followed by OH AND HE WROTE 'IN C!!' Riley is obscure enough that you don't need to obscure him further by dancing around titles of works. Similarly, there were several tossups that ended up describing a thing related to a thing related to the thing the tossup was about. It led me to what was an admittedly stupid neg at one point, and I saw other people neg or wait on tossups out of confusion throughout the day.

3. I felt like there was a lot of biography in these questions, but that might just be my misperceptions.

4. This is a more minor complaint, but copy editing is important, if only for the sake of the moderators. Every tournament has typos and weird sentence structures that escape the editors, of course, but I had a couple moderators comment on the extensive faulty wording and comma splicing, and the one packet I asked to have a look at after the round was over seemed kinda messy.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by fleurdelivre » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:30 pm

I don't have any real criticism of the answer space or question content - I tend not to process these things very effectively when reading - but with commas in place of other punctuation in unexpected places and the occasional four-line-long sentence, this was the first tournament from which I've ever lost my voice. The round that began with a 14-liner or so on rational choice just made my heart sink opening the file. On the other hand, it was as fun a social event as quiz bowl tournaments usually are, and I was very happy to see Murakami non-fiction make an appearance.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by The Logic of Scientific Disco » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:38 pm

HKirsch wrote:modified Wronksian
Here's how I wrote it:
In 2003, it was shown that the systems related to this are a subclass of the Riesz-spectral systems, and its functions can be transformed by a Prufer substitution. The locations of zeroes for its solutions are given by one of its namesakes’ separation and comparison theorems, while independence of its solutions depends on the modified Wronskian, which is a certain function times the usual Wronskian. The continuous Lagrange identity for functions incorporates this theory’s namesake self-adjoint operator, whose relevant quantities for the regular form of this form a strictly increasing, positive spectrum. For 10 points, name this theory of second-order differential equations whose most famous applications are the heat equation and the Schrodinger equation, which seeks eigenvalues for its namesake equation.
ANSWER: Sturm-Liouville theory (accept Sturm-Liouville equation)
I admit, that tossup didn't turn out as well as I hoped, but in googling the term "modified Wronskian", almost all the results (and in particular the ones about modifying the Wronskian by multiplying by some other function) refer to some aspect of Sturm-Liouville theory.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:42 pm

I'll defer to your greater HIV knowledge; I suppose that my own is biased by the fact that binding events are quite easily visualized (and I think we actually watched a CGI video of gp120-cd4 binding over and over again at one point my freshman year, for some reason), so I thought that that was a relatively easy HIV-related clue.

And yes, I did enjoy your biology, it seems.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:44 pm

HKirsch wrote:I love seeing Terry Riley come up, because he is awesome and has accordingly awesome facial hair, but the tossup on him was a whole bunch of indistinguishable and obscure minimalist composer description followed by OH AND HE WROTE 'IN C!!' Riley is obscure enough that you don't need to obscure him further by dancing around titles of works.
I actually thought the Riley question was pretty good, keeping in mind the inherent limitations of questions on someone who's mainly famous for just one work. I'm pretty sure I remember quite a few titles being dropped early-and-mid question (such as Mescaline Mix which if nothing else is a memorable name), and it seemed to make sure it spent some time describing In C in the pre-giveaway area. The only thing that seemed out of place to me was the bit about working with La Monte Young, which actually does specifically point to Riley, since the two of them basically co-founded minimalism. He probably should have come a line or two later. As it so happened, I was being extra-cautious and didn't buzz until the bit about In C having a 25th anniversary version, but there were good, real clues throughout the question, and if this tournament had powermarks I would've been more aggressive.
DumbJaques wrote:The Four Horsemen question told you that it was a group on the supreme court contemporaneous with Holmes Jr. in the first handful of words, enabling me to buzz independent of actually knowing anything specific at all.
Not just that, but a group on the Supreme Court whom Holmes was opposed to! Like, that's the giveaway right there, in the first line!
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:41 pm

I have some complicated feelings about this tournament. On the one hand, there were lots of interesting answer choices and fun questions; enough so that playing this tournament was a good enough time on balance. On the other hand, this tournament suffered from a number of very bad problems that I think need to be discussed.

Before I get into that, I want to defuse the argument that some people have made upthread about what we should expect from a tournament written by Ahmad. We all have our wheelhouses, so to speak, but I think the amount of indulgence that Ahmad allowed himself in this set is well beyond anything that anyone generally lets into their work. A tossup on Paul Ricoeur may be pretty interesting on its own; when something like 1/4 of the questions in a packet have to do with postmodern French theory, that is a sign that personal preferences are playing havoc with the distribution. If this tournament had been advertised as "things Ahmad loves and damn the rest," that would have been one thing, but it's just not fair to advertise something like an ACF-style tournament and produce something that is so unbalanced. Now, on to the major points about this tournament:

1. The copy-editing was atrocious. We read the last packet in the car on the way back and there were sentence fragments, run-ons, missing punctuation, and grammatical license of all kinds all over the packet. I know that not every set can be thoroughly copy-edited before playing, but please: slow down and read what you are writing. Read it back to yourself. If your sentences don't make sense, or they suddenly shift referents, or they go on for 4 lines without any logical end in sight, rewrite it. I tend to the prolix end of the writing scale, so I understand the seductive lure of one's own ingenious formulation of a clue, but if it doesn't make sense, you're going to make a bunch of people angry.

2. The history distribution was quite bad. Many of the tossups just had very obvious clues in the very first lines of the questions. The various examples have been mentioned already. On top of that, the entire set was heavily weighted towards military history. I'm usually not one to complain about tossups on battles and wars, but it tended to swamp other historical categories.

3. The difficulty, especially in bonuses, tended to be all over the place. The aforementioned history questions were typically at what I would consider a middle level of difficulty, akin to Regionals. On the other hand, the literary criticism/social science/philosophy categories must have been impossible for many people. Sprinkled throughout the tournament were various high school level answers. My favorite example of this is the packet that had as consecutive tossups "The Location of Culture" and The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. These things are not remotely commensurate in difficulty and while there's some truth to the idea that it's the clues that make the difficulty, I didn't find the latter question to be anything I wouldn't have expected in a much easier tournament. In general, many of the harder bonuses were nearly impossible for many teams, or, indeed, for any team not featuring an expert and sometimes for teams that did have experts. There were bonuses that simply did not have easy parts at all and if you were unlucky to get one of these in a close game it could easily mean the difference between a win and a loss.

4. I've already mentioned the problem of loading up some parts of the distribution with things you like, but I found that to be true in other parts as well. For example, there were multiple tossups and bonuses on German theology, some of them in the same packet! Not that these things aren't important, but I'm pretty sure they don't need to take up such a large chunk of the religion distribution. There were a few bonuses about cars for some reason; had it not been for Ian Eppler's deep Top Gear knowledge, we would have ended up with zero points on most of them.

5. A lot of the questions were just confusingly written and featured clues that didn't go anywhere and weren't all that useful. This was true in some of the science questions (e.g. a tossup on RR Lyrae variables, I think, featuring the clue "their metallicity can be used to study their characteristics" or something like that) and it was also true in a lot of other categories. I generally got the feeling that many of these questions were kind of rambly and didn't do a good job of going from hard to medium to easy clues. Again, long questions are fine but you need to fill that space with information that would be helpful to people. I'll see if I can dig up some examples of this.

Those are my general impressions without going through the set in detail. It was fun to play for the most part and had some interesting questions on interesting topics, but I thought it was not as good as last year's Sun-n-Fun. On balance it was a set that I enjoyed playing but it had some glaring deficiencies that really should be corrected for next year's edition.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by lagazzaladra » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:24 pm

Even though I had heard of maybe two answers per packet and the questions were insanely long, I had a lot of fun playing this tournament (despite the lack of real music). If possible, I would like to see that one tossup on the carnival of the animals (one of like two tossups that I got). This might just be me, but I thought glass harmonica + two weird piano parts came up too early.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:50 pm

lagazzaladra wrote:Even though I had heard of maybe two answers per packet and the questions were insanely long, I had a lot of fun playing this tournament (despite the lack of real music). If possible, I would like to see that one tossup on the carnival of the animals (one of like two tossups that I got). This might just be me, but I thought glass harmonica + two weird piano parts came up too early.
Oh, this reminds me. Tossing up "Duel of the Fates" would be entertaining as a trash tossup, but I think it was the music tossup for that round. Way too cute to be a good idea as part of the fine arts distro.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:20 pm

Yeah, I would be interested in Ahmad posting what all the classical music answers were.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Strongside » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:46 pm

As for the difficulty of the tournament, it was originally announced as ACF Nationals level difficulty, and later announced as a tic easier than Missouri Open, so it appears the difficulty wasn't locked down before the tournament.

It felt harder than nationals the first few rounds we played, but after that my team started doing a lot better on the bonuses. I would need to look at the questions, and the stats from the Maryland site to better figure out how hard it was.

I didn't play the previous two Sun 'N' Funs, but I looked them over, and thought that this tournament was a vast improvement on the two previous incarnations. When I looked over last year's tournament, I remember thinking I would not have enjoyed last year's tournament, but as I said earlier, I had a lot of fun with this tournament.

Although this tournament did have some difficult social science and philosophy tossups, most of them were stuff that had come up before, which is great because it tests one's ability to remember questions from prior tournaments. Also, it was a great idea to write a tossup on Saul Alinsky.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:53 pm

In the Borglum packet, there were not only two American history tossups, there were two American history tossups on Jacksonian politics. That was not such a good plan (I sure hope Chris didn't submit both of those together as part of a holistic packet, so I assume it was just a mistake)
Your hope is misplaced, Chris; indeed, this perfidy is mine alone. "1824" and "Second Reply to Hayne" are pretty close in era, and I just plain didn't think about it too much. My apologies to all, especially to Ahmad for not shooting him that packet till Wednesday night. But I'm confused about the "not only two American history" bit--isn't there supposed to be 2/2 American history?

I played the questions and have shared my thoughts on the packets with Ahmad at length. Here I'll say that some pretty intense difficulty was on display, as was the expected skew toward SS and philosophy and criticism. Though the last two (particularly criticism) are among my favorite things, I couldn't do much with some of the questions. Still, I enjoy hearing hard stuff, so I had a good time.

As Matt suggested above, Ahmad should've declared that he would be deviating from the standard expectations of distro, and I imagine he will do so in future iterations; however, as some here have also stated, that skew probably shouldn't have come as too much of a surprise. And I didn't read the questions, but in listening to them, this grammar prig didn't notice much wrong. I would certainly be interested in hearing of any grammatical/punctuation issues in my packet, and of course I'm always open to reports about content suckage there (of course, I wrote no science toss-ups).

Overall, any tournament that includes Paul Ricouer, Julia Kristeva, and Dylan going electric, not to mention providing a chance to hang out with noted raconteur Seth Kendall, is okay with me.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by ... and the chaos of Mexican modernity » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:54 pm

grapesmoker wrote: the entire set was heavily weighted towards military history.
If this was the case, then I would like the set to be posted soon, so I can narrow down the answer choices for the military history tournament
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:18 am

SunnFun Classical Music wrote: This composer’s pun associated with a cantata, the text of which was written by Gustave Chouquet, relates the title character to a cracked casserole. That cantata David Rizzio won this composer the Prix de Rome in 1863. A prolific operatic composer, the 257-page orchestration for his opera set during the Carlist War about a girl Anita who falls in love with the soldier Araquil, titled La Navarisse was completed in just nine days. “The Last Sleep of the Virgin” is the popular prelude to “The Assumption” the final scene in one of this man’s legende sacree, and along with Lalo and Delibes set the poems of Armand Silvestre to music in the Poeme d’ Avril. In addition to an opera about Count Almaviva’s page, Cherubin, the coloratura soprano title role of one of this man’s operas requires range from middle C to top G and it tells of a Byzantine sorceress’ nightly rendezvous with Roland whom she warns of Saracens in Esclarmonde. A violin solo, titled “The Meditation,” symbolizes the awakening of the title character of one of this composer’s operas who is dreamt about by Athanael. That opera is based on a novel by Anatole France, Thais. For 10 points, name this French composer of the operas Le Cid and Manon.
ANSWER: Jules Massenet

His song “Journey from the Death of Friend,” appears on the soundtrack to Joel Santoni’s film Les Yeux Fermes. The first movement of a composition, “Anthem of the Trinity,” experiments with an ametrical alap, a raga form in Indian classical music. The four movements of one his compositions utilizes a C-Dorian scale, and using just intonation on a modified Yamaha organ, produces sudden rises in dissonances via the clash of the natural sixth and flat-sevenths in Shri Camel. This composer along with La Monte Young provided the sonic backdrop for Ann Halprin’s experimental work, which often involved the scraping of metal cans across glass, The Three-Legged Stool, some of the material of which was shared with his composition, Mescalin Mix. Utilizing a technique involving the stretching of a tape across both player and recorder heads, this composer along with Ken Dewey using a “time-lag accumulator” re-recorded Chet Baker’s rendition of Miles Davis’ So What as a part of Dewey’s theatrical work, The Gift. The 25th anniversary of one of this composer’s most celebrated pieces, plays module 22-6 at double speed, an orchestration that is not a mistake as any of the 53 modules of that piece all in the same key can be played at any speed for “any number of instruments.” In addition to A Rainbow in Curved Air and Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band, for 10 points, name this minimalist composer of In C.
ANSWER: Terry Riley

An early use of VP(R) structure can be found in the second motive in perhaps the most famous section in this composition, which there is exists an F-sharp to B leap followed by a mildly surprising reversal to the half-note A. The melody of one section, which features a glass armonica, is played by the flute, backed by the strings, on top of glissando-like runs in the piano. The first piano plays a descending ten-on-one ostinato, while the second plays a six-on-one. Another section in this piece marked Allegro Pomposo utilizes a quotation from the Incidental Music of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while a double-bass plays a theme from “Dance of the Slyphs.” Yet another one instructs performers to “imitate the gaucheries of a novice,” and thus suggests the fumbling tyro of scales by slowing down during tricky parts and speeding up at the end. The next movement borrows heavily from various sources including one of the composer’s own works, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Forbidding this piece’s performance during his lifetime, and including movements called “the Pianists,” “Fossils” and “The Swan,” for 10 points, name this “grand zoological fantasy” composed by Camille Saint-Saens.
ANSWER: Carnival of the Animals

One character in this work sings “Al tuo sen divino late,” to his love, which either refers to the whiteness of her breasts, or the milk that they produce, possibly made more ambiguous by Valetto’s request for Damigella to “bite” him. Before a failed attempt on the main character’s life is made, Arnalta sings a lullaby “Oblivion soave,” in Act II of this opera. After one character is made aware of her condemnation, she stutters unable to process, by singing the first syllable as an open A fifteen times in eight bars before being resigned to her fate with a final “A Dio.” The lines “Oh my life, Oh my treasure,” come from the final duet, which shares the same ABBA structure as the first duet between Virtu and Fortuna, “Human non e.” That love duet “Pur ti miro,” is thought to have been composed by someone else, possibly Benedetto Ferrari. With libretto by Busenello, this opera’s title character’s husband, stationed in Lithuania returns home and is grieved at his wife’s infidelity; however, while disguised as Drusilla, Ottone’s attempt to seek revenge are thwarted by Cupid. Resulting in the banishment of Ottavia, and the suicide of Seneca, for 10 points, name this 1643 opera in which the title figure is made Nero’s Empress.
ANSWER: Coronation of Poppea
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:19 am

The role of the solo aria is significantly reduced in this opera and often used to advance the plot as in Alice’s catavina in act I, and musically much of the work is linked to the key of B-minor, which represents the father’s constant influence on the plot. In one scene a character sings “I have involved you my friend, in my fateful destiny,” after being tempted to gamble away all his possessions. The main character’s love interest’s pleading in Act IV “toi que j’aime” and the title character’s father’s evocation “Nonnes qui reposez,” are two of the significant arias in this work. In the original story on which this opera is based the title character, disguised as knight, defeats a Saracen army, and is revealed to the denigrated fool of the court, after which is he is told to marry the emperor’s daughter. Liszt in his Reminiscences to this opera, transcribed as a separate piece the Valse Infernale, which appears in act 3. In this opera, the title character attains a magic branch during a midnight orgy with some ethereal nuns, which Isabella convinces him to break despite the devilish influence of Bertram. For 10 points, name this opera whose title character is of demonic origin by Giacomo Meyerbeer
ANSWER: Robert the Devil [or Robert le diable]

Concerned with the theoretical demonstration of chromatic and enharmonic relationships, this composer divided the octave into 55 commas, with six whole tones representing 9 commas, and did not contemplate developing a new keyboard temperament in his only finished work of music theory unconnected to his compositions, the Neues Musicalisches System. In addition to programmatic works like La Bourse on the Parisian stock market crash and Hamburger Ebb und Fluht, one of this composer’s most successful comic operas tells of a domineering chambermaid named “Vespetta,” whose name means “little wasp,” and convinces her former employer, the title character, to marry her in Pimpinone. In one publication, the ‘Advertissement’ for his piece, Nouveaux quatuors introduces a new bass figure for the diminished triad, a figure which this composer’s godson, C.P.E Bach called “[this composer’s] sheet.” In one fifteen-piece collection of “dinner music” he blurs the concerto-suite genre distinctions and affirms his mixed French and German influences. In addition to publishing with J.V. Gorner, Der getreuer Musikmeister, the first music periodical, for 10 points, name this 18th century German baroque composer of the opera, The Wonderful Constancy of Love and the collection Musique de Table.
ANSWER: George Philip Telemann

In this piece, a five-note ostinato is handed from the low strings to the middle brasses to the high woodwinds, with the main theme weaving in-between the instrumental sections. The choral accompaniment is a repeating chorus of "Under the tongue root a fight most dread, and another raging, behind, in the head." The words used in this piece were lifted from a Celtic poem Cad Goddeau, or “Battle of the Trees,” and a second underscoring was also created that used the same lyrics, in which they were whispered over high strings. The words for this piece were directly transcribed into Sanskrit to provide an alienating effect. In the Lars Homestead and Search Montage scene, the composer parallels the scene in A New Hope using the same orchestration but instead of resolving the theme, he shifts into a minor mode of this piece. This piece’s associated music video was only video featuring a classical group, the London Symphony Orchestra, to ever debut on Total Request Live. First appearing on the Phantom Menace soundtrack, for 10 points, name this composition by John Williams, used during the climactic battle of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn with the dual-lightsabre wielding Darth Maul.
ANSWER: Duel of the Fates [accept Darth Maul’s theme until mentioned]
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:59 am

SnookerUSF wrote:
SunnFun Classical Music wrote:
Well, a typical ACF distribution has 1/1 classical music per round, and in addition includes opera separately as "other arts", sharing space with jazz and other such things. (There are several reasons for this, most of which boil down to the fact that opera questions play very differently than other forms of music.) And while Duel of the Fates was admittedly a creative idea, it's still basically just a Star Wars question, and therefore shouldn't be the only music question in a round. So yeah, that leaves three real music tossups- Riley, Carnival, and Telemann. Actually, make that two-and-a-half, given all the opera material in the Telemann question. This is quite literally a mere quarter of what there "should" have been.

A couple other notes:
* I appreciated the idea of writing a Telemann tossup, since he's a figure who's fairly well known, but gets asked about almost never. However, IMO the reason he gets asked about almost never is that he's not actually known for any specific named thing. My sense is that he's instead mainly famous for being obscenely prolific, writing almost a thousand pieces that all basically sound the same and are generally easy enough to be popular student-concert fodder. Perhaps Musique de Table is quizbowl-stock or something, but even so, the giveaway could have given a little more.
* Similarly, I'm not sure why you withheld Monteverdi's name in the Poppea tossup.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:39 pm

So, I just want to point out that it's kind of outrageous to think that the soundtrack to Star Wars is fair game for classical music questions. Not even talking about the fact that John William's basically admits to being a plagiarist in his movie scores, all of those works are popular music. Thinking that, in a tournament where there were already only 4 classical music tossups (because, as has been an established precedent for years now, opera is a separate category), it is acceptable to take even more of that distribution away by writing on something that is only famous because it's part of a popular film score as opposed to writing on something, well, worthwhile on its own in the history of music, is at best severely misguided. Never do this again Ahmad, or anybody else, because I think anyone who is a decent music player has a right to feel insulted by that question being part of the fine arts distribution.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:50 pm

I don't know where you get the idea that opera is a separate category from classical music. That sounds entirely crazy an in fact has never been "established" by any quizbowl convention anywhere.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:00 pm

grapesmoker wrote:I don't know where you get the idea that opera is a separate category from classical music. That sounds entirely crazy an in fact has never been "established" by any quizbowl convention anywhere.
Opera generally goes in "other fine arts", right?
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:00 pm

grapesmoker wrote:I don't know where you get the idea that opera is a separate category from classical music. That sounds entirely crazy an in fact has never been "established" by any quizbowl convention anywhere.
The ACF guidelines suggest 1/1 classical music excluding opera be submitted in every packet and places opera in the 1/1 other. While the to-be-played part of a packet isn't guaranteed 1/1 classical music, any distro that has about 5/5 combined RMP and arts should have a lot more than three tossups!
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:04 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:I don't know where you get the idea that opera is a separate category from classical music. That sounds entirely crazy an in fact has never been "established" by any quizbowl convention anywhere.
The ACF guidelines suggest 1/1 classical music excluding opera be submitted in every packet and places opera in the 1/1 other. While the to-be-played part of a packet isn't guaranteed 1/1 classical music, any distro that has about 5/5 combined RMP and arts should have a lot more than three tossups!
I guess this is a reaction to people writing opera tossups that are essentially lit tossups rather than music ones. In my view, it's misguided; opera is clearly a subcategory of classical music. Anyway, that discussion should probably happen in the ACF Distribution thread, since I agree with Charlie's other point, i.e. that this tournament needed a lot more classical music to meet its claimed quota.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:39 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:I don't know where you get the idea that opera is a separate category from classical music. That sounds entirely crazy an in fact has never been "established" by any quizbowl convention anywhere.
The ACF guidelines suggest 1/1 classical music excluding opera be submitted in every packet and places opera in the 1/1 other. While the to-be-played part of a packet isn't guaranteed 1/1 classical music, any distro that has about 5/5 combined RMP and arts should have a lot more than three tossups!
I guess this is a reaction to people writing opera tossups that are essentially lit tossups rather than music ones. In my view, it's misguided; opera is clearly a subcategory of classical music. Anyway, that discussion should probably happen in the ACF Distribution thread, since I agree with Charlie's other point, i.e. that this tournament needed a lot more classical music to meet its claimed quota.
Opera's presence in "other arts" is justified by the fact that most operas cannot be written on like, for instance, a symphony can be written on. With the exception of operas like Tristan und Isolde in which there are compositionally notable moments (tritone, anyone?), most great operas are important not for innovative chord progressions or orchestrations, but for grand arias or plots or some such. Like, the "Flower Duet" is beautiful, but it's not musically innovative in the way that the Eroica symphony was. Of course, writing a tossup on a primarily opera composer is roughly equivalent to writing one on a primarily instrumental composer, so Jerry's got a point there.

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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:48 pm

Another reason to put opera in "other arts" is that 1/1 non-opera music and 1 question on "other music" (almost always opera or jazz) ensures that opera gets a place at the table, but doesn't swamp all the other forms of classical music, as it occasionally used to do back in the day. The current distro basically ensures that roughly 20 percent of classical music questions will be opera-related, which strikes me as an equitable ratio.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:29 pm

Sigh. Against my better judgement, I'm going to do this.
Never do this again Ahmad, or anybody else, because I think anyone who is a decent music player has a right to feel insulted by that question being part of the fine arts distribution.
See, this kind of tone is what bothers me about discussions here. I have no problem with your point, Charlie, or your right to express it forcefully, and I can understand why you might absolutely despise that question. But I'm not sure that the inclusion of a question that one hates, even one that everyone agrees is bad (and I don't know if such consensus has been reached, btw), in any way implies a "right to feel insulted." Ahmad is not attacking the idea of the classical music canon or quizbowl aesthetics by writing such a question. I think he may have been trying to utilize some conventions of current classical music writing conventions to cleverly approach a trashy topic; he may have figured that the description at the beginning would create a recognizable idea of the tune to the point of allowing someone to get the question before the trashy clues came in. I don't want to speak for him, but even if this is a failed question, that's what it is: a failed attempt at trying something. At worst I think one would say it's misguided, but not any type of personal attack.

Like the hard work that you and Auroni (et al) put in on the Missouri Open, Ahmad put in a lot of time writing a set, and we should all, as paying "customers" and interested participants in this community, critique the questions actively and vociferously, but I don't think we need to scold or impute insult where none was intended.
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Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:40 pm

Whether or not it was intended as such, it is still a rather insulting thing to write a "classical music" tossup on.
Also, Jerry, the reason it is good to exclude classical music from opera is in fact that they are 2 completely different kinds of questions. I have no problem with an opera question that focuses a lot of space to plot, famous lyrics, etc. because those are the things that set opera apart from regular music. You don't have to know the same kinds of things to do well at an opera question, and I'm fine with that, as long as they are counted separately.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:02 am

Tournament set available here...
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:58 am

I don't really think it's fair to feel insulted by this tournament. I mean, I guess if Ahmad set out to draw a bunch of music players in with promises of 1/1 per round all the while maliciously planning on pulling the rug out from under them, and you traveled somewhere and spent money to play it, then that would be kind of insulting. But synthesizing my knowledge that Ahmad is not an asshole with the impression that you don't actually think that, I'm not sure where that's coming from. The point about the classical music distribution is entirely legitimate, though - looking back on the questions, the distribution problems are even more problematic than I initially thought. I don't remember noticing this in previous sun n funs; Ahmad, was this just an oversight, or were you trying to do something differently in terms of the per-round distribution (aside from the lit theory/ss distribution spike)?
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:10 pm

This might have been a ignorant oversight on my part but I really did not know that opera was a separate distribution from "classical music"
proper, so I guess I am totally to blame for that.

But after having some time to reflect, while I was after an increase in the SS/Lit Crit sub-distributions (something I can promise that will be there next year), at the end of the day, I would rather write a good question on something I know about, then a bad question on something I don't (of course, I do anticipate the jeering and snickering that will be engendered by this sentiment, but there it is).

My primary concern in writing this tournament was to determine, on a question by question basis, who was the most knowledgeable for a given answer, and in the areas of history, science, and classical music; it seems that I am not quite capable of writing such questions...yet, or maybe ever. But I am optimistic.

Having talked with Charlie on-line, I can understand his frustration and annoyance. Though, I am not disposed to being insulted in this way, and I think Charlie understands that it was not malicious or even intentional - people did have different expectations regarding this tournament, and that is my fault.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:41 pm

SnookerUSF wrote:My primary concern in writing this tournament was to determine, on a question by question basis, who was the most knowledgeable for a given answer, and in the areas of history, science, and classical music; it seems that I am not quite capable of writing such questions...yet, or maybe ever. But I am optimistic.
Well, that's the primary concern of anyone trying to produce a good tournament. I don't think anyone believes you were operating in bad faith. Rather, the substantive criticism here is that the tournament neglected a particularly significant aspect of the distribution that is normally present, and people were upset about that.

As for the history questions, they just seemed full of clues that were very easy to figure out ("this group of Supreme Court justices") or had very obvious clues very early on ("this problematic thing that happened in Quebec"). And then out of nowhere you get a tossup on the Battle of Roncagua dropped on you (which is like the 5th or 6th most notable engagement of the South American wars of independence) or a tossup on the Boii (huh?). It just made the whole tournament seem pretty arbitrary.

Also, there is a factual error (or at least an ambiguity) in at least one question: the tossup on "rational choice" theory contained a clue that listed Buchanan and Tullock's The Calculus of Consent as an influential text in this theory; I buzzed and gave "public choice" as an answer at that point, which is entirely correct. You might make the argument that rational choice is a broader category than public choice, but Buchanan and Tullock's book is repeatedly cited as a seminal public choice text.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:29 pm

I didn't play this, but one thing I would like to comment on when reading the set is that the tossups are just too long. When they are from the lit crit genre, it's sort of excessive because a lot of times I get the feeling you're either going to know this or not to begin with. When they're from the history genre, it has the effect of turning a lot of tossups into buzzer chicken because "Hmm, there's this tossup that's clearly about some British military venture in the Dardanelles region" or "There's this tossup that's clearly about some Roman battle in Africa," etcetera, but when these clues appear so "early" (relatively speaking, as in there's still like five lines of clues left), the player is left with the impression "Well, it must be something more obscure than Gallipoli or Zama." A little more judicious editing could have been applied here.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Huang » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:17 pm

Cheynem wrote:"Hmm, there's this tossup that's clearly about some British military venture in the Dardanelles region"
I wrote that atrocious transparent TU on the Gallipoli Campaign
Editors04 wrote:3. Eight floating piers containing four thousand tins of fresh water were built, but later lost at sea, by Joly de Lotbiniere for this operation. After William Throsby Bridges was killed during this operation, he was replaced by fellow countryman William Birdwood. Aylmer Hunter-Weston lost all three separate Battles of Krithia and Frederick Stopford was defeated at the Battle of Suvla Bay by Otto Liman von Sander. Sir Charles Monro replaced the chief commander and Lord Fisher resigned after the failure of this operation. The replacement occurred after the Battle of Sari Bair, where Ian Hamilton was severely outmatched by Ataturk. For 10 points, name this operation planned by Kitchener and Churchill intended to occupy Constantinople during World War I.
ANSWER: Gallipoli Campaign [or Dardanelles Campaign]
In retrospect, that lead-in was less than optimal. I don't think anything until the Battles of Krithia mentioned any geographic parts of the Dardanelles region. Besides the "lost at sea" clue, what other things could I have done to improve this tossup?
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:37 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Also, there is a factual error (or at least an ambiguity) in at least one question: the tossup on "rational choice" theory contained a clue that listed Buchanan and Tullock's The Calculus of Consent as an influential text in this theory; I buzzed and gave "public choice" as an answer at that point, which is entirely correct. You might make the argument that rational choice is a broader category than public choice, but Buchanan and Tullock's book is repeatedly cited as a seminal public choice text.
No, you are right- that is a legitimate ambiguity, and you should have been given credit at that point. I should have included it in the list of acceptable answers.
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"Can 40,000 redacted topic Tossups be wrong?"

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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:04 pm

Aylmer Hunter-Weston lost all three separate Battles of Krithia and Frederick Stopford was defeated at the Battle of Suvla Bay by Otto Liman von Sander.
There's no pronoun or demonstrative adjective in this sentence. It's a statement of fact that gives no indication of what it has to do with the answer.

Yes, the prior sentences did contain "this operation" a couple of times, though given the circumstances of this tournament (in which many questions changed what they were asking for halfway through, tangents about things that are not the answer were common, and some of the moderators we had were difficult to follow) that's not nearly enough. I'm not looking to pick on high school people who graciously volunteer to write surprisingly decent questions for college events, because this has been a problem lately with all writers at all levels. Every sentence in your tossup needs to make clear what it's looking for, not be a declarative factoid dropped into the middle of the question.
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Re: Sun 'n' Fun 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:28 pm

Mea culpa. I had conflated in my mind the Galipoli tossup (which is in no way atrocious and really only suffers from a poor lead-in) with the Suez Crisis tossup. The Galipoli tossup is much shorter than I recalled and overall pretty solid. Back to the Suez Crisis:
17. After the 202nd Paratroop division crossed the Mitla pass during this event, Gur’s commandos sought refuge at the “Saucer” before a proper raid on a set of positions known as the “Hedgehog” could commence. One part of this event included a military operation codenamed Musketeer, which saw the Newfoundland sink the corvette Damietta and the Ibrahim Al-Awal captured. Indirect factors that precipitated this event included the dismissal of Sir John Glubb from head of the Jordanian army, as well as the signing of an agreement between Turkey and Iraq that created the predecessor organization to CENTO signed in Baghdad. As a result of this event, Eisenhower instructed Humphrey to prepare the sale of British Sterling Bonds and PM Eden burned all of the British copies of the proceedings of a meeting to plan this event, which were conducted in a Paris suburb, called the Protocol of Sevres. Initiated under Operation Kadesh by Israel, and though it was less polarizing for Mollet’s cabinet it eventually led to Eden’s resignation. Finally ended by a U.S.-led UN Resolution for a cease fire, for 10 points, name this crisis prompted by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s nationalization of the eponymous waterway.
When I open it in Word in 11 Calibri, it's twelve lines. We figure out pretty early it's some modern military event (due to the terms used like "Paratroop") in the Middle East (the names) that the British were irate about. With at least five more lines of clues to go, we even are told it is in the Eisenhower administration. None of the clues in here are like "bad" clues per se, but the question doesn't really need all of them. The result is an excessively lengthed question on a very famous historical event which basically spells out the time period and location pretty quickly. This is what I was referring to with some of the history tossups and I apologize again for choosing poor examples to illustrate my point.
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