CaTO/TaCO Discussion

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CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:06 am

So how did this tournament go?
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by Cheynem » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:14 am

I'll wait until I get the go-ahead to talk more specifically, but a few brief comments:

This tournament was fun. It was fairly well run and there were interesting things. I enjoyed playing it. That said, in my opinion, the distribution was somewhat eccentric--I believe one round featured at least seven literature tossups, and the professed difficulty basically could have been chucked through the window (there were tossups and bonuses on stuff that would probably push it at Chicago Open). In my opinion, calling this tournament like a very hard open somewhat vanity/experimental tournament would have been a better idea.

On a different note, I sincerely disliked the trend in some of the bonuses of this tournament to ask for three works from the same author without mentining who the author was. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but in my opinion, it just further frustrates mid to lower level teams who have to struggle with even less clues.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:19 am

Kamen Rider Punch Hopper wrote:So how did this tournament go?
The team consisting of Evan Adams, Brendan Byrne, and Doug Graebner defeated the team consisting of Will Butler and me in the last game of the playoffs; since we were both undefeated going into that game and the finals were tiebreaker-only, that was effectively the championship game.

Much like with my event the previous day, there were some inevitable effects of writing this tournament in a compressed timeframe, in this case some identical questions being pasted into two separate rounds and noticeable difficulty outliers. However, considering that this event was produced by two high school players and was unquestionably better on final balance than what various 20-year quizbowl veterans sometimes put out there, I was still impressed with the final product.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:55 am

It was a good day. We did pretty terribly but at least we expected it.

I too was confused about the distribution. I understand this was supposed to be kinda experimental, but the distribution was never announced and clearly there were 6-7 lit tossups in pretty much every round (not of 22 or 24, but of just 20). Also, there wasn't a "near absence" of geography, there was a total absence of geography. And there was almost a "near absence" of mythology for some reason as well.

My teammates and i also clearly noticed that the packets for Round 7 and 8 seemed almost actually accessible in terms of the answer selection. This was a welcome change, but odd that we all seemed to notice it, all seemed to get more questions right (well, relatively), and all therefore started enjoying ourselves a little more at the end. In short, the tournament was at least 10-15% harder than i anticipated, but it was kinda fun to see the really awesome teams here just dominate us.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:43 pm

I will post something with more content once I see the set, but here is my take on things:

EDIT: I should add a point zero: I was generally very impressed with the actual structure of the questions. The only category I am really qualified to evaluate on that level is science, of course, and the mechanical problems with the science were no more than what you'd expect out of two writers with their level of training in science, and occasionally they surpassed that level. So while there were only a couple questions that really made me happy, and while there were many that made me sad (science here being a small sample size, of course), that's not much different from par for the course given the writing experience we knew this tournament's writers have. I will note that this tournament's experiments with science history and with writing a tossup on the two Homi Bhabhas (the postcolonial critic and the far-too-obscure physicist) were not very well received by me, but there you are.

1) "compressed timeframe" or no*, it seems sort of surprising to advertise "ACF format with a similar distribution" and "15 packets ready for the tournament" and for the result to be:
a) nine packets, seven of which were played by my team
b) despite the absence of trash and geography, which should have opened up 2/2 for the writers to experiment with extra arts or lit if it struck their fancies, there was a near-absence of myth, and I regularly counted four or five, instead of eight, science questions per round. (Subdistribution was a problem, too; there was no earth/astro that I remember; perhaps there were a bunch of bonuses we never played. And visual arts shaded really heavily towards renaissance painting, etc.)
c) bonus variability greater than I've ever seen: one bonus required you to identify "velocity" for the easy part, and another required knowledge of God's Bits of Wood. HFT had bonus variability problems in that it had several outlier bonuses; this tournament was all over the place.

2) I fully acknowledge that this tournament is an impressive effort for two high schoolers plus Shantanu (who, as I understand, contributed some arts?). Keeping that in mind, I hold my admiration for the nonzero effort associated with producing a tournament independent from the above criticism. What I mean is that I don't think I have to be "impressed with the final product" (I'm not; this tournament, from an objective, age-of-writers-independent perspective, which I think is the right one, was not too great) in order to say that yeah, it's pretty cool that two high schoolers wrote something.

3) Also independent of my admiration for the fact that they bothered to write us a tournament is this: when I talked to Tommy, he claimed that they were most worried about history and focused recruiting extra help from outsiders in that area, and that that explained the lack of science. I don't quite see how your concern that history might not get done would result in many rounds having literature to science tossups in ratio 7:2 instead of 1:1, unless you simply weren't keeping track of how many questions in each category you had written and simply hoped that you would worry about each category equally by the end.

4) In fact, I much preferred how the music tournament was handled. Once something that met people's expectations (based on what was advertised) was impossible, the tournament was cancelled. This tournament was not unenjoyable to play, since I got to talk to people I like and occasionally buzz in on questions, but it completely diverged from my expectations and if I had known that this is what it would be, I would not have signed up.




* I don't buy using a "compressed timeframe" as a bailout for quality; this tournament was announced on 2/26 and surely Cameron and Tommy decided that they would write it on 2/25 or before.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by magin » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:00 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:there was a near-absence of myth
I don't think this is true. There weren't myth tossups in every round, but I don't think this tournament had an unacceptable number of myth tossups or anything.
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:this tournament, from an objective, age-of-writers-independent perspective, which I think is the right one, was not too great
I also disagree with this assertion. I enjoyed the vast majority of questions in this tournament, and thought that it was, in fact, a solid tournament for what it was. Sure, the distribution gave short shrift to the science, but the questions tended to be fairly well-written.
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:This tournament was not unenjoyable to play, since I got to talk to people I like and occasionally buzz in on questions, but it completely diverged from my expectations and if I had known that this is what it would be, I would not have signed up.
Sure, this tournament didn't follow the announced distribution and number of rounds, but it still provided nine packets and pretty good questions. I'm sorry that it was disappointing for you, but I thought it was a fun tournament and would certainly play it again. I don't see the point in berating Cameron and Tommy for the distributional problems, since they acknowledged them at the tournament, and I'm confident that future tournaments they produce will be more consistent. The real problem, to my mind, was the schedule the tournament was written on, and I think Cameron and Tommy would have smoothed out much of the inconsistencies and produced more packets if they gave themselves more time. Since this is not a problem limited to them, I think it would be more productive to discuss the best ways for writers to schedule the production of their tournaments (which, to my mind, would be constructive and allow future editors/writers to avoid common errors).
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:21 pm

magin wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:there was a near-absence of myth
I don't think this is true. There weren't myth tossups in every round, but I don't think this tournament had an unacceptable number of myth tossups or anything.
Once the packets are up, I will do some counting; I honestly didn't count myself but heard and was depressed by Rob's running tally.
magin wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:this tournament, from an objective, age-of-writers-independent perspective, which I think is the right one, was not too great
I also disagree with this assertion. I enjoyed the vast majority of questions in this tournament, and thought that it was, in fact, a solid tournament for what it was. Sure, the distribution gave short shrift to the science, but the questions tended to be fairly well-written.
I think that "does Jonathan enjoy the vast majority of questions" is distinct from "is the tournament appropriately described as 'not too great'." I think that whether you enjoyed the vast majority of the questions was very much dependent on whether your knowledge is concentrated in an area like science (as mine is) or not. As it was, I did, in fact, enjoy a reasonable proportion of the non-science questions. But I tend to get most of my utility from a tournament out of the science, and since the science was, bluntly, screwed, I lost most of my utility.
magin wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:This tournament was not unenjoyable to play, since I got to talk to people I like and occasionally buzz in on questions, but it completely diverged from my expectations and if I had known that this is what it would be, I would not have signed up.
Sure, this tournament didn't follow the announced distribution and number of rounds, but it still provided nine packets and pretty good questions.
Would you like to play my fifteen-round early American fiction tournament this fall?*

* it will contain nine packets with 10/10 polymer chemistry

I jest, but I don't think "this tournament may not have provided something very much like what it advertised, but it did have some merits" is a valid argument. Editors should feel obligated to give players what they promise, or something very very similar. I agree that the editors clearly did not give themselves enough time to write this tournament, or else they would have written something closer to what they announced. I think it is, in fact, productive to publicly comment on the distributional issue for precisely this reason: to suggest to everyone who might consider writing a tournament that, when you have extra lit but only three and a half rounds worth of science, then everyone should postpone that tournament instead of running it anyway with an unannounced distribution.

I wouldn't comment on the distribution if it weren't an issue of tournament production logistics (because otherwise, it would be fairly silly; I guess I could post after every NAQT tournament that there seem to be some pop culture questions and how 'bout that, but it wouldn't actually accomplish anything).
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:31 pm

And I'll reiterate that Cameron and Tommy have the experience with good quizbowl that I do, and certainly more experience with tournament production (personal experience, I mean: and they've been around more people who have produced more good tournaments more often). Again, there are some factors that should be weighted by age, not experience; there are others that should be weighted by experience, not age. It's awesome that they wrote a tournament, but this is the point where we honestly consider its pluses (many well-written tossups--actually, I'll take this opportunity to call out the tossup on "To an Athlete Dying Young" as my favorite of the tournament) and its minuses (above enumerated) honestly, considering experience and age of writers where relevant.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by magin » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:02 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
magin wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:there was a near-absence of myth
I don't think this is true. There weren't myth tossups in every round, but I don't think this tournament had an unacceptable number of myth tossups or anything.
Once the packets are up, I will do some counting; I honestly didn't count myself but heard and was depressed by Rob's running tally.
magin wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:this tournament, from an objective, age-of-writers-independent perspective, which I think is the right one, was not too great
I also disagree with this assertion. I enjoyed the vast majority of questions in this tournament, and thought that it was, in fact, a solid tournament for what it was. Sure, the distribution gave short shrift to the science, but the questions tended to be fairly well-written.
I think that "does Jonathan enjoy the vast majority of questions" is distinct from "is the tournament appropriately described as 'not too great'." I think that whether you enjoyed the vast majority of the questions was very much dependent on whether your knowledge is concentrated in an area like science (as mine is) or not. As it was, I did, in fact, enjoy a reasonable proportion of the non-science questions. But I tend to get most of my utility from a tournament out of the science, and since the science was, bluntly, screwed, I lost most of my utility.
magin wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:This tournament was not unenjoyable to play, since I got to talk to people I like and occasionally buzz in on questions, but it completely diverged from my expectations and if I had known that this is what it would be, I would not have signed up.
Sure, this tournament didn't follow the announced distribution and number of rounds, but it still provided nine packets and pretty good questions.
Would you like to play my fifteen-round early American fiction tournament this fall?*

* it will contain nine packets with 10/10 polymer chemistry

I jest, but I don't think "this tournament may not have provided something very much like what it advertised, but it did have some merits" is a valid argument. Editors should feel obligated to give players what they promise, or something very very similar. I agree that the editors clearly did not give themselves enough time to write this tournament, or else they would have written something closer to what they announced. I think it is, in fact, productive to publicly comment on the distributional issue for precisely this reason: to suggest to everyone who might consider writing a tournament that, when you have extra lit but only three and a half rounds worth of science, then everyone should postpone that tournament instead of running it anyway with an unannounced distribution.

I wouldn't comment on the distribution if it weren't an issue of tournament production logistics (because otherwise, it would be fairly silly; I guess I could post after every NAQT tournament that there seem to be some pop culture questions and how 'bout that, but it wouldn't actually accomplish anything).
Having actually written down the tossup answers, there were four myth tossups in eight packets. Not an optimal number, sure, but not "a near-absence," as you wrote.

Also, I think your arguments are pretty short-sighted, Andy. Do you think that Cameron and Tommy deliberately set out to give science questions short shrift? I think it's much more likely that they had a time crunch, had a lot of literature and art questions available, and so filled out the tournament with them instead of deliberately slighting science. I also think your argument about postponing tournaments is much less useful than constructive feedback on how to write science questions effectively, say, or how to budget time appropriately. I spoke to Cameron and Tommy at the tournament; they know the distribution had problems. Having spoken to them, I believe that they will make every effort to provide a better distribution for future tournaments; instead of assuming that they did not know the distribution had flaws and posting here about it, perhaps you too could have talked to them?

I'm even less sympathetic to your argument since every round had at least three science tossups (except for rounds with 2, 1, and 1, respectively). By my count, over seven rounds, you heard nineteen science tossups, instead of the twenty-eight most tournaments would have. Did those missing nine tossups really make this tournament anathema to you? It seems like those three rounds are what's incurring your displeasure, not the science for the whole tournament. That demonstrates, in my opinion, that they would have put more science tossups in the tournament if they had written them, which goes back to the time issue, which is the real problem here.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:11 pm

While I was disappointed with the relative scarcity of science in this tournament, I enjoyed the tournament a lot. A couple of things however:
1.Please don't use the "X worked on the Encyclopaedia Britannica article about Y" clue, this is not particularly helpful on tossups about scientists. The fact that two tossups in the same round that were like this was particularly aggravating.
2. Sadly, the fact that Alfred Wallace worked on the Britannica article about "Acclimatization" was not the worst part of the Wallace tossup. The fact that he is the namesake of the Wallace line should be around FTP, not significantly earlier.

Edit:I don't actually remember which article was mentioned in the tossup, according to Wallace's autobio it could have been that or several other ones he wrote.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:22 pm

magin wrote:the time issue, which is the real problem here.
I'd like to hear from Cameron and Tommy what method of organization they were using to ensure tossup completion. Tommy's comments to me (and Andy) made it seem like they weren't quite sure what they had left to write, assuming a lot of history when in fact there was a lot of unwritten science. Were you using a Google spreadsheet or doc to keep track? Assigning segments of the tournament and checking them off on some sort of list when they were completed? Running late is not an excuse for a poor distribution, and running late does not preclude knowing exactly which questions need writing. This was also reflected in the significant number of repeat tossups, bonuses, etc., a problem that also popped up two or three times at CO. (I should note that CO was a longer tournament, so the repeats were proportionally less of the tournament.) And it might have been my frustration doing the thinking, but quite a few of the rounds seemed poorly randomized, another organizational issue.

**EDIT** I'd like to note that ACF Regionals, which was completed verrrry last-minute, was a great tournament, possibly my favorite all semester. The science was excellent, the distribution was correct, I had a great time, and the only thing that was a real problem was the fact that we left Harvard at like 9 p.m. Ergo, it is possible to complete a tournament late while not having to resort to wacky distro funtimes.

As far as questions go... I had a problem with the visual arts. Not only was it mostly painting, but it was mostly Renaissance and generally pre-1850 painting. I realize that people are trying to combat the skew to modern-era arts, but the pendulum should come to rest in the middle. I sympathize with Shantanu if he was recruited very last-minute to write for this, but he's a smart enough dude and a good enough player that he should have been able to write a more balanced set. That being said, the tossups weren't poorly written.

Jonathan: I wasn't keeping track of myth, but as far as the lack of science goes, it wasn't just that three rounds had very little science and the tournament was missing nine science tossups altogether. It was that a large chunk of the science skewed to science history or science biography (Kekule, anyone?) and that the minor science avoided earth science and astronomy altogether.

A personal beef about that Tisha b'Av question: I negged at the outset with Yom Kippur, as did one (or maybe two? I wasn't clear) more player, because those clues apply to Yom Kippur and several more Jewish observances. Not holidays, because Tisha b'Av is not a holiday, and Yom Kippur's status as a holiday is debatable.
Last edited by Not That Kind of Christian!! on Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:28 pm

HKirsch wrote: It was that a large chunk of the science skewed to science history or science biography (Kekule, anyone?) and that the minor science avoided earth science and astronomy altogether.
I forgot about that question. I think there were more clues in that question about Gravity's Rainbow than about the things people actually study about him, which made a great complement to the bonus on characters from Gravity's Rainbow.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by vcuEvan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:34 pm

Thanks to Tommy and Cameron for writing this tournament and to Shantanu for his extensive last minute contributions. I thought the questions were pretty good for the most part with some fairly obvious exceptions. Next time just please remember to do things like starting to write questions at a reasonable time, matching the stated distribution/difficulty, and bringing score sheets. I had a good time and would go to another Cameron and Tommy written event, but I'd like to get to play more than 8 packets.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:00 pm

magin wrote: Having actually written down the tossup answers, there were four myth tossups in eight packets. Not an optimal number, sure, but not "a near-absence," as you wrote.
I heard "Basque" and "Inari", and I was told that there was a common link tossup in round one. Did you count the history tossup on "Phrygians" because of the King Midas giveaway, or did I miss one?

Since the vast majority of questions went way over my head, I won't critique them beyond saying that most of the tossups seemed well-written. I enjoyed playing this and meeting notable players in real life, even if they crushed me soon after. Thanks to Tommy and Cameron for putting their time into writing this and staffing it on very little sleep.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:05 pm

My take on this tournament was similar to Andy's, and I didn't think it was that great. I enjoyed most of the music, with my only big complaint being a factual inaccuracy about Beethoven's 1st symphony that caused me to not convert that bonus part that I already explained to Tommy. My big problems with it were that Tommy, on the morning this tournament was played, informed me that it would be easier than the main VCU open event was, only for me to find out that yet again, something Tommy was judging was extremely out of whack and way harder. I wouldn't care about the difficulty if the tournament editors came out and said that it was going to be harder than anticipated a week or so before the event, or at least didn't tell us it would be a lot easier than it was the morning of. I think editors need to advertise their tournaments responsibly, and I also think editors need to make sure that they don't fall into the obvious fallacy about how if they know something, it's easy. Talking to Tommy, it was very clear that he held that belief, which I shouldn't have to explain is flawed because if you write on something, suddenly you'll probably know it whether it's on Madame Bovary or that one sect of Mahayana Buddhism that wasn't Vajrayana or Hinayana that got tossed up here. Those two topics obviously are not comparable in difficulty, so it's not fair to use that as a significant criteria for judging college difficulty.
My other slighter problem with this event is one that I can see being disagreed on, but that I think we should start considering as a courtesy to players in the future. If your tournament promises something, in particular a number of projected games, and doesn't meet them within reason (as in this case, playing 7 games when we presumably were promised some format with 12 or 13 at first), I think TDs should change their entry fees or something. I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to provide almost half of something and get the same amount of money. For Missouri Open, I decided it was fair to not charge mirror fees and late fees due to my mishandling of getting the packets done on time, and I think in the future if something like CaTo or Missouri Open happens again, I would like other tournament directors to consider knocking $20 bucks or so off the entry.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:08 pm

magin wrote:Having actually written down the tossup answers, there were four myth tossups in eight packets. Not an optimal number, sure, but not "a near-absence," as you wrote.
Having actually written down the tossup answers but lost my notebook, I'll concede that point. I suppose I must be used to rather myth-heavy RMP subdistributions.
Also, I think your arguments are pretty short-sighted, Andy. Do you think that Cameron and Tommy deliberately set out to give science questions short shrift? I think it's much more likely that they had a time crunch, had a lot of literature and art questions available, and so filled out the tournament with them instead of deliberately slighting science.
Have I argued otherwise? No; in fact, that is exactly what I argued. I am saying that this is not an okay solution when you advertise an mACF tournament and expect teams to pay you before the tournament for an mACF tournament when this is not what you give them.
I also think your argument about postponing tournaments is much less useful than constructive feedback on how to write science questions effectively, say, or how to budget time appropriately.
I am quite willing to provide this feedback and am interested in providing it. But simultaneously I do believe that if you fail to budget time appropriately and on the morning of the tournament you have not effectively written a tournament's science, then you should not proceed as though nothing is wrong, collect money, and then let people find out that there are many things wrong with the tournament. Instead, you should say "hey, this tournament will have several subjects slighted in big ways, and here are the ways" so that people don't have to pay to find out what's gone wrong.
I spoke to Cameron and Tommy at the tournament; they know the distribution had problems. Having spoken to them, I believe that they will make every effort to provide a better distribution for future tournaments; instead of assuming that they did not know the distribution had flaws and posting here about it, perhaps you too could have talked to them?
As I have already said upthread, I talked to them too. They sure know the distribution had flaws, and as I said already, I'm not posting here because I think this is the first time they're going to find out that it was flawed. I'm posting here because it reflects what I think is a not-okay solution to a common logistical problem with time management, and I want to say explicitly that it's not okay--in case someone reading this (and, again, and I repeat this because I guess I haven't said it enough, that "someone" is not Cameron or Tommy, who I am confident understand this) believes otherwise--to "complete" a tournament by taking a bunch of extra questions in one subject and using them to finish another subject. I know that that's not what they wanted to do; I'm saying that others should not.
I'm even less sympathetic to your argument since every round had at least three science tossups (except for rounds with 2, 1, and 1, respectively). By my count, over seven rounds, you heard nineteen science tossups, instead of the twenty-eight most tournaments would have. Did those missing nine tossups really make this tournament anathema to you? It seems like those three rounds are what's incurring your displeasure, not the science for the whole tournament.
Let's use your count, since I still can't find my notebook. Yes, actually. This tournament had just over two-thirds of the correct number of science tossups. Several of those tossups had fairly severe quality issues, which weren't disappointing (since that's only to be expected) but did of course decrease my enjoyment of this tournament, since it is very displeasing to feel quite so useless as when you neg a science tossup only to discover that you won't get three more chances (or even one) to help your team by converting tossups in your only strong subject. Mine is a corner case, to be sure, and I certainly am not saying that this tournament was, therefore, unenjoyable to everyone. Indeed, I would have minded much less had expected to be minimally useful. You see.
That demonstrates, in my opinion, that they would have put more science tossups in the tournament if they had written them, which goes back to the time issue, which is the real problem here.
Wait, are you suggesting that given enough time, they would have finished the tournament? My god! Remarkable that I didn't already allude to that very thing upthread. Seriously, though, as I have said before and will say again, I am not objecting to the dearth of science because I think they don't understand that there was not a problem with the dearth of science. I am objecting to the dearth of science to make it clear to future tournament-writers that this does not constitute nine finished rounds of mACF quizbowl. This constitutes approximately six finished rounds of mACF quizbowl, plus some additional literature and arts questions which I will gladly say were very enjoyable.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:13 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:My other slighter problem with this event is one that I can see being disagreed on, but that I think we should start considering as a courtesy to players in the future. If your tournament promises something, in particular a number of projected games, and doesn't meet them within reason (as in this case, playing 7 games when we presumably were promised some format with 12 or 13 at first), I think TDs should change their entry fees or something. I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to provide almost half of something and get the same amount of money. For Missouri Open, I decided it was fair to not charge mirror fees and late fees due to my mishandling of getting the packets done on time, and I think in the future if something like CaTo or Missouri Open happens again, I would like other tournament directors to consider knocking $20 bucks or so off the entry.
Yeah, I think this is an important point. Players agree to pay for tournaments when they're told what they're getting, i.e. the 15 rounds of mACF quizbowl mentioned in the announcement. Once players have paid for a tournament, they should not be surprised to find that they got something different from what they paid for. It's not that this isn't a common business practice in, say, the used car industry, but generally that's looked at as deplorable. That said, I have every confidence that Cameron and Tommy already know all of this and will be sure to do this in the future.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:19 pm

Everyone calm down here!

A large part of the tournament commentary should not be focused on what the editors or writers did wrong. The tournament commentary should be focused on how an editing/writing team in the future (possibly the same team, possibly not) can either emulate what the question production crew did right or avoid what the question production crew did wrong.

In this case, we have the following situation: for some unknown reason, a lot of the lit was finished and a lot of other subjects weren't. Let's stop arguing with each other and figure out (1) why this is a bad thing and (2) how we can deal with this situation when it inevitably comes up again at some future tournament.

One suggestion I have is to write subjects packet-by-packet instead of subject-by-subject. Once you've finished the lit for a few packets, start on a different subject. That way, you don't get stuck with an excess of one or a few subjects when you have to cut a packet or six. This also gives you more flexibility when you're trying to find last-minute volunteers to finish off the set.

Also, teams do not have the right to demand a full or partial refund because they didn't enjoy the tournament, or it didn't meet their expectations, or whatever. However, it does seem reasonable that if the editors know something's wrong with the tournament, they should be able to throw in a miscellaneous discount - at the college/open level, the number of teams that have paid before the morning of the tournament is effectively zero. If you're still going to get a "full" tournament experience (loosely defined as 10+ games that actually mean something), then it probably shouldn't matter. Again, this should be the decision of the question production team, and should not be demanded by the customer.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Sir Thopas » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:27 pm

My overall thoughts for the tournament fall between Magin's and Andy's (I'm not a science player, but the distribution and difficulty swings were wacky); I just wish the tournament had been a bit cheaper. Chicago Open 2008 was about $11 per guaranteed game, at the absolute latest packet deadline. This tournament was over $14, and not as well-written, for various reasons which others are touching on. [EDIT: While writing this post, others got to this point first. Alas.]

I will make a couple of comments on tossups I did particularly enjoy, and which I certainly would not mind seeing start a trend:
The tossup on the Phrygians including Herodotus' anecdote of the feral children was neat, and I think things like that should come up more in questions on classical topics. As I see it, histories written from that time are important for the study of history from then, and are tied up directly with the events they describe, yet they aren't really mentioned in questions that often.
Also, I thought the idea of a tossup on "ne" was a bold risk that was pretty cool. Although I was kind of confused and negged it with "pas" when I figured out the question was describing the semantic shift in "ne pas", but I'm pretty sure that was my fault. I'd have to see the question, though. In any case, questions like these which deal with shifts currently occurring in languages people actually speak are good ideas, since they have clues which are both scholarly and gettable by people who have experienced them and, eventually, those who don't, more accessibly than, say, stuffy early 20th century linguist.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:32 pm

cvdwightw wrote:Also, teams do not have the right to demand a full or partial refund because they didn't enjoy the tournament, or it didn't meet their expectations, or whatever. However, it does seem reasonable that if the editors know something's wrong with the tournament, they should be able to throw in a miscellaneous discount - at the college/open level, the number of teams that have paid before the morning of the tournament is effectively zero. If you're still going to get a "full" tournament experience (loosely defined as 10+ games that actually mean something), then it probably shouldn't matter. Again, this should be the decision of the question production team, and should not be demanded by the customer.
Sure, and I would not make that demand either. What Charlie and I actually said in our posts--perhaps it was unclear--is that teams should not be put in a position to want a refund, and to that end the editors should be forthright about offering something reasonable (and, most importantly, owning up to the problems that exist beforehand so we know what we're buying).

I liked the tossup on "ne" as well, though it was certainly pretty hard unless you have someone deeply into linguistics or with a cursory understanding of French (or someone in the middle, certainly). I don't remember it well--it was in our bye--but I think I do remember a place where I would have negged with "pas" myself, so it's possible that we should take a look at the question text.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:37 pm

I agree with Dwight to some extent, and should probably make it clear that my opinions about refunds have pretty much everything to do with number of packets. If there are 15 packets promised, and there are 13 produced or something like that, and you play a full tournament's worth legitimately, then I don't think people have any right to demand a refund. I similarly don't think that if you didn't like the questions or the distribution wasn't what was announced that you should have any right to money back - you are still playing questions that the writers wrote, and to a certain extent, you have to just say "it's quizbowl" and calm down if it's poorly edited or if you just happen to have a bad day. I simply think that TDs should consider changing costs if something extreme happens such as announcing there will be 15 packets, then only producing enough for teams to play 7 games like this weekend.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:41 pm

Evan Adams expressed most of what I had to say, so I'll just say that I enjoyed a lot of the questions in this set except for a few already mentioned as having issues. As a fan of myth and of learning more about myth, I was kind of disappointed with only hearing 4 myth TUs, but I'll stay out of the distribution discussion since I think those already discussing it have that covered. The inclusion of the clue from the boxing match in Book 5 of the Aeneid in the gloves TU made me very happy, since that is by far the best part of Book 5. One thing I'd like to add to what Evan said, as a learning experience type comment that might be of use to people besides Tommy and Cameron, is that if you recruit staff from your field partway through the tournament, you should probably give them some of their money back, since they now have even less quizbowl for their money.

Edit: fixed book number mistake made for too little sleep...
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:53 pm

I too was intrigued by the "ne" tossup, and would like to see it. I don't even pretend to speak French well (or at all, really), but I've taken enough French classes to know what "ne" does and how it works. I was a little confused for a while, but I had it figured out down to "ne" or "pas" at the end, and then just waited. I think there was a part in the middle to which I should have payed more attention, which contained what sounded like a clue that would have clearly indicated the "ne" half of a negation in my mind, so if someone could post the tossup, that'd be cool.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:06 pm

MLWGS-Gir wrote:Evan Adams expressed most of what I had to say, so I'll just say that I enjoyed a lot of the questions in this set except for a few already mentioned as having issues. As a fan of myth and of learning more about myth, I was kind of disappointed with only hearing 4 myth TUs, but I'll stay out of the distribution discussion since I think those already discussing it have that covered. The inclusion of the clue from the boxing match in Book 3 of the Aeneid in the gloves TU made me very happy, since that is by far the best part of Book 3. One thing I'd like to add to what Evan said, as a learning experience type comment that might be of use to people besides Tommy and Cameron, is that if you recruit staff from your field partway through the tournament, you should probably give them some of their money back, since they now have even less quizbowl for their money.
Aren't the funeral games in book 5? And now I really wish I hadn't missed round 1.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:11 pm

Journey to the Planets wrote:
MLWGS-Gir wrote:Evan Adams expressed most of what I had to say, so I'll just say that I enjoyed a lot of the questions in this set except for a few already mentioned as having issues. As a fan of myth and of learning more about myth, I was kind of disappointed with only hearing 4 myth TUs, but I'll stay out of the distribution discussion since I think those already discussing it have that covered. The inclusion of the clue from the boxing match in Book 3 of the Aeneid in the gloves TU made me very happy, since that is by far the best part of Book 3. One thing I'd like to add to what Evan said, as a learning experience type comment that might be of use to people besides Tommy and Cameron, is that if you recruit staff from your field partway through the tournament, you should probably give them some of their money back, since they now have even less quizbowl for their money.
Aren't the funeral games in book 5? And now I really wish I hadn't missed round 1.
You are 100% correct, sir. Book 3 is the trip from Troy until the storm. Not sure how I managed to convince myself otherwise...
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by felgon123 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:32 pm

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who played this tournament and put up with the somewhat wacky organization and limited number of games. A tremendous amount of thanks is owed to Shantanu Jha, who graciously contributed the majority of the visual arts distribution to the set and many philosophy questions as well, and to Jeff Hoppes, who wrote three rounds-worth of history questions for the set. I'd also like to thank those who played the tournament who wrote some questions for their bye-rounds, namely Matt Weiner, Ike Jose, and Brendan Byrne.

I'll start by commenting on the very small size of the tournament. First, there was very justified misunderstanding about the number of rounds. I believe the original post stated a goal of twelve rounds, and though I don't recall when it was altered to state a goal of fifteen rounds, the goal was always twelve rounds, and until I read this thread, I thought that we had produced three less than expected, not six. That said, the tournament was not very well-edited, not a reasonable number of packets, and contained some difficulty swings between bonuses. I will say that I don't believe the difficulty swings were as great as some people are implying - the complaints I heard yesterday were more like "that easy part was too easy, you just got 10 free points" and not "that bonus is a free 30". That is, I thought the swings were between hard and very-hard, which isn't the worst type. But, back on the number of questions produced, I won't name names, but some people who committed to writing large numbers of questions for us at least a week before the tournament ended up contributing nothing or almost nothing. Of course, this does not exonerate me or Cameron of our failure to produce a completed set, but it is worth considering. When we recognized the critical condition of the tournament, I solicited help from roughly twenty people and received three replies, and though the tournament was offered for free to anyone who wrote a few questions for their bye round, only three people did so. I'm not blaming anyone other than ourselves for the tournament not being completed. I'm just saying that we did recognize that the tournament was in trouble and received less aid than might be expected from such a large outreach.

Though I won't combat most of the criticisms offered in this thread, distribution-wise, I believe the bonuses were fairly balanced, and the main distribution problem was in the tossups. On the spreadsheet where we tracked the written questions and categories that needed to be written, we discovered that a pretty large number of literature tossups had not been entered after much of the literature had been written, explaining part of that problem. I certainly hope that no one believes it was at all our intention to have this unbalanced distribution, and I find the suggestion that this should have been labeled a vanity tournament to be somewhat offensive. As for the actual questions, I would like to believe that most of them were well-written, with of course the handful of outliars that every tournament suffers, though few people said that, so maybe I'm wrong. It is unfortunate that no tournament format was possible that would ensure the use of the finals packet to decide the tournament, as it was the best-written overall and had a balanced distribution. It's not much of an excuse, but the repeats and tossups with misplaced clues can mostly be attributed to lack of time to polish off the set. Also, Cameron and I intentionally did not include any trash or geography in this tournament in an attempt to increase the concentration of academic topics, adding a substantial amount of time required to write the tournament. If we hadn't, 10% of the questions could have been written very quickly.

No one is saying that this tournament was well-run or well-put-together. However, it did have nine packets of questions, and criticism of those would be great if anyone would care to offer it. For instance, I'm a pretty inexperienced science writer, so Andy, if you could comment on some of the science questions you played, as opposed to those that were never written, I could derive some useful information from your comments and apppreciate it greatly. To everyone who played the tournament, please know that Cameron and I are both aware of what questions were not in the set and please offer criticism of those that were. I think I've covered most of what I have to say, but I would also like to comment on one very specific type of criticism I heard yesterday. I would prefer that people stop trying to tell me that some early clue I placed in literature tossup X on a work I've read is "very famous", because I know it's not. Maybe this should be discussed in another thread, but I think it's another example of the "stuff that's been in a quizbowl question before is famous and easy" fallacy. Anyway, that just really annoyed me and I wanted to bring it up, but I really would appreciate criticism of the questions.

I am very sorry that people did not get the tournament they expected or that we promised, but I sincerely hope that everyone managed to derive whatever enjoyment they could from playing.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:40 pm

felgon123 wrote:For instance, I'm a pretty inexperienced science writer, so Andy, if you could comment on some of the science questions you played, as opposed to those that were never written, I could derive some useful information from your comments and apppreciate it greatly.
Sure. Email me the set whenever you email it to Chris (or earlier; I understand if you want to fix some typos before sending to Chris and don't care about them myself) and I'll send you some feedback. And if there's anything that seems particularly representative, I'll post it here, too.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:51 pm

I'm not the best person to criticize the contents of the tournament and I think that people who know more than I have said things better than I ever could. In the small bit of difficulty I can comment on, this was worlds harder than VCU Open. I had heard of a good number of answers at VCUO, while I rarely recognized more than a couple of answer lines at CaTO/TaCO.

On a personal note, the idea of paying $25 to play seven rounds of questions is a bit too much. Paying $25 to play five rounds, moderate for two rounds when someone no-shows and have my laptop used for the entire day is really dumb.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:02 pm

felgon123 wrote:When we recognized the critical condition of the tournament, I solicited help from roughly twenty people and received three replies, and though the tournament was offered for free to anyone who wrote a few questions for their bye round, only three people did so. I'm not blaming anyone other than ourselves for the tournament not being completed. I'm just saying that we did recognize that the tournament was in trouble and received less aid than might be expected from such a large outreach.
I don't think sending those emails while many people are already on the way to the tournament is a good way to expect people to do that. Most of the criticism I have from this tournament was many bonuses (ie the dead horse that was the God's Bits of Wood bonus and the one asking for OTHER symphonies of Beethoven) quite simply did not seem to be written in a way that would give a player of marginal ability/knowledge a chance to get any points. For future reference, easy parts are your friend both as a question writer and as a player. I may give a deeper commentary after I read through the set again.

I do think however the questions are getting a bit of a hard break because of all the non-question issues with the actual handling and execution of the tournament. Most of the questions were, per my recollection after sleeping on it, pretty good.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:08 pm

It is unfortunate that no tournament format was possible that would ensure the use of the finals packet to decide the tournament, as it was the best-written overall and had a balanced distribution.
Actually, as I pointed out the morning of the tournament to you, you could have quite easily condensed the field to 9 teams since there were multiple with only 2 or 3 players on them, and then had everyone play a round robin on all the packets. There wouldn't have been an official final, but I think people wouldn't have had major problems with that because there hits a certain point when you have few enough packets that people would rather just hear them than play the fairest possible format.
Another thing I guess I am scared of is this new practice of realizing a tournament isn't going to be done and farming out questions to players in the field. One obvious thing that is frustrating about it is that if you had instead farmed those questions out to people not in the field, we would have been able to play an extra game. Instead, everyone was forced into a bye on a set that already was too short. I also am concerned about questions ending up in the wrong packets - this happened at Chicago Open Literature because Cameron wrote questions that got put all over the rest of the set. But obviously this is something that can be fixed, whereas unless your problem is that you have 10 packets all done and want to go to 12 so you can run a real final or something, you should not force byes onto your field when the packet count is tiny as is. My biggest concern though about this practice is that it may gain traction in the community. We already have had disasters stemming from tournaments being done too late as it is, imagine if some editor decides "well, if I don't have the set done on time, I can just turn it into a last minute packet submission event" and get your attending teams to write you questions on Friday night. I can only expect bad things coming from this. Instead, email people not in your field to help bail you out if you must - also, don't email them in the evening on Thursday like I was just informed was what happened to this tournament, otherwise people will be already committed or away from their computer or whatnot. If you email a bunch of people a week before your tournament and ask them for some questions, I bet you'll get plenty of help.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:14 pm

Just to get to useful criticism of a set that I enjoyed, did a lot of rooms have mass buzzer races on the "loses faith after bonking his nose" clue in the Midnight's Children tossup? Also, I would like to see the Matisse bonus, since it may have incorrectly said that the cut-outs contained blue figures. On the plus side, it was nice to hear the tossups on the Bellinis, Chartes Cathedral, and Tiepolo.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:43 pm

Anti-Climacus wrote:Just to get to useful criticism of a set that I enjoyed, did a lot of rooms have mass buzzer races on the "loses faith after bonking his nose" clue in the Midnight's Children tossup?
I buzzed (it was the leadin this year at Fall, and I think Dallas said, when he got it on that clue then, that it'd come up before?) and enjoyed the sinking feeling as I blanked on the title.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:46 pm

felgon123 wrote:When we recognized the critical condition of the tournament, I solicited help from roughly twenty people and received three replies, and though the tournament was offered for free to anyone who wrote a few questions for their bye round, only three people did so.
Huh; I wasn't lying when I said that I didn't think I could help you out because there were family commitments and stuff, but I could have sacrificed a few hours of sleep to write a few questions for my bye if I knew it would have saved me $25. The email you sent me and Hannah instead said nothing of the sort.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:48 pm

I don't think I ever got that email. Did you send it to Brendan?
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Re: CaTO/TaCO at VCU August 9

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:17 am

HKirsch wrote: As far as questions go... I had a problem with the visual arts. Not only was it mostly painting, but it was mostly Renaissance and generally pre-1850 painting. I realize that people are trying to combat the skew to modern-era arts, but the pendulum should come to rest in the middle. I sympathize with Shantanu if he was recruited very last-minute to write for this, but he's a smart enough dude and a good enough player that he should have been able to write a more balanced set. That being said, the tossups weren't poorly written.
When I offered to help, Tommy told me that all of the visual arts were unwritten, so I wrote in accordance with that assumption. Subsequently Cameron revealed that most of his visual arts questions were pre-1850, which culminated in the excessive skew you saw.

That said, here are the questions I wrote; I don't think I let my biases infiltrate my question writing overmuch.

Painting - Annunciation; Giambattista Tiepolo; The Descent from the Cross; Redon/Les Nabis/Gauguin; Hockney/Pop Art/Rauschenberg; Le Bonheur de Vivre/Henri Matisse/Blue Nudes; Pierre-Auguste Renoir/Bal du moulin de la Galette/Alfred Sisley; The Love Letter/Vermeer/The Allegory of Painting; Quentin Massys/Mannerism/Bronzino; Jacob von Ruisdael/Cemeteries/Meyndert Hobbema; The Opening of the Fifth Seal of the Apocalypse/El Greco/El Expolio; Antonello da Messina/Crucifixion/Tintoretto; Vision of St. Bernard/St. Catherine of Alexandria/Botticelli; Gerard David/Hans Memling/Charon.

Sculpture - Francois Rude; Apollo and Daphne/Bernini/Beata Ludovica Albertoni; Hugo Rheinhold/Auguste Rodin/The Age of Bronze;

Photography - Richard Avedon; Cindy Sherman/Robert Mapplethorpe/Patti Smith

Architecture - Chartres Cathedral

Film - Luchino Visconti; Decalogue/Kieslowski/Kubrick

So four of my painting bonuses were on primarily post-1900 things, as was one of my sculpture bonuses, and more trivially, my film and photography. On its own, I don't think that's too terrible a ratio of modern to pre-1850 stuff, but when combined with Cameron's questions, it may have become a problem.

I think the bonus on Decalogue may have run too hard and the latter parts of Antonello da Messina/Crucifixion/Tintoretto may have shaded easy.

I also cannibalized some of my philosophy questions from RMPfest, most of which were quite difficult:

Laugh of the Medusa; The Concept of Mind; Martin Heidegger; Emmanuel Levinas; Yogacara; Paul de Man; Revolt of the Masses.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:46 am

latter parts of Antonello da Messina/Crucifixion/Tintoretto may have shaded easy.
The issue with that bonus I had was that you had a super-easy easy part, a fairly famous middle part, and then the exceptionally difficult(albeit demostrably important) Antonello Da Messina. Also, I forget- which Descent from the Cross was the tossup on?
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:04 am

Anti-Climacus wrote:
latter parts of Antonello da Messina/Crucifixion/Tintoretto may have shaded easy.
The issue with that bonus I had was that you had a super-easy easy part, a fairly famous middle part, and then the exceptionally difficult(albeit demostrably important) Antonello Da Messina. Also, I forget- which Descent from the Cross was the tossup on?
Descent from the Cross was entirely about the Rubens altarpiece at Antwerp.

My original intention was to use slightly harder clues on Tintoretto, but I let Miracle of the Slave slip in there.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:15 am

felgon123 wrote:First, there was very justified misunderstanding about the number of rounds. I believe the original post stated a goal of twelve rounds, and though I don't recall when it was altered to state a goal of fifteen rounds, the goal was always twelve rounds, and until I read this thread, I thought that we had produced three less than expected, not six.
That's not true, since the first round of your tournament was apparently the packet that Auroni and I had written, which was decidedly not written for use with that event. Not that I particularly begrudge you the use of those questions, but if we're being honest, you only wrote 8 of the promised rounds, not 9. Also, would it have killed you to at least ask me whether this was ok? Again, not that I have any problems with it, but usually it's considered good form to ask people before you recycle their packet into a completely different tournament.
But, back on the number of questions produced, I won't name names, but some people who committed to writing large numbers of questions for us at least a week before the tournament ended up contributing nothing or almost nothing. Of course, this does not exonerate me or Cameron of our failure to produce a completed set, but it is worth considering.
That's unfortunate; the lesson you should take from that is that you shouldn't trust people who are flakes.
When we recognized the critical condition of the tournament, I solicited help from roughly twenty people and received three replies, and though the tournament was offered for free to anyone who wrote a few questions for their bye round, only three people did so. I'm not blaming anyone other than ourselves for the tournament not being completed. I'm just saying that we did recognize that the tournament was in trouble and received less aid than might be expected from such a large outreach.
I'm not sure on what basis you're making the assumption about expected aid. Knowing that I need to write questions for something a month from now and being asked to do it for something that is two days from now are different things. I'm usually happy to do the former but not the latter.
I think I've covered most of what I have to say, but I would also like to comment on one very specific type of criticism I heard yesterday. I would prefer that people stop trying to tell me that some early clue I placed in literature tossup X on a work I've read is "very famous", because I know it's not. Maybe this should be discussed in another thread, but I think it's another example of the "stuff that's been in a quizbowl question before is famous and easy" fallacy. Anyway, that just really annoyed me and I wanted to bring it up, but I really would appreciate criticism of the questions.
I don't particularly appreciate the preemptive attempts to limit discussion to certain aspects of the questions. I would suggest that if several people are approaching you about a given question and telling you the same thing about it, then your knowledge of that topic might not be as good as you think it is.
I am very sorry that people did not get the tournament they expected or that we promised, but I sincerely hope that everyone managed to derive whatever enjoyment they could from playing.
I only got to play 2 rounds of this tournament, but my impression was mixed. Some of the questions were basically competent; some had really bizarre answer choices; and a fair portion was not particularly well-written. I didn't play enough of this set to get any insight into the distribution problems, so I'll pass on that, but my sense was that the history and physics/other science questions were generally poor. The literature and arts seemed ok and everything else seemed not particularly memorable.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:58 am

grapesmoker wrote:
felgon123 wrote:First, there was very justified misunderstanding about the number of rounds. I believe the original post stated a goal of twelve rounds, and though I don't recall when it was altered to state a goal of fifteen rounds, the goal was always twelve rounds, and until I read this thread, I thought that we had produced three less than expected, not six.
That's not true, since the first round of your tournament was apparently the packet that Auroni and I had written, which was decidedly not written for use with that event. Not that I particularly begrudge you the use of those questions, but if we're being honest, you only wrote 8 of the promised rounds, not 9.
Not only this, but that first round contained five of the science and one of the three or four (depending on who you ask) myth tossups of the tournament.

Shantanu, you're mostly right; while the three tossups are all early art, the bonuses you wrote contain most of the contemporary art that there was. I haven't gone through the answers I wrote down yet, but I still feel like the tossups overall skewed to Renaissance.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:53 am

I suppose someone will be proven either right or wrong once the packets are released and we can get an objective count, but I think the "lack of myth" at this tournament is a weird self-perpetuating meme (that is, at about the fifth time that I heard somebody scream "FINALLY A MYTH QUESTION!" on Sunday, I wondered if perhaps the point had disproven itself). If this tournament used a 2/2 RMP distribution per round, and gave religion, mythology, and philosophy equal weights--both of which are fairly common practices that, even if you don't agree with, you can't claim are wild aberrations from other good tournaments--then you should have expected to hear 6/6 myth over the course of the 9 packets. I suspect the actual amount was somewhere in that ballpark.

In general I think that some of the recent discussion about tournaments has gone off course of what's productive, with people articulating their non-data-based gut feelings about subdistributions being one example of something that doesn't serve any particular purpose. I'll probably have more to say about this in another thread.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by MLafer » Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:14 am

I think the bonus on Decalogue may have run too hard
Those answers don't seem very hard, but I think people seem to overestimate the difficulty of film questions in general (like the Rossellini/Open City/neo-realism bonus at CO that seemed by far the biggest gimme in the set).
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:53 am

BTW, I must give some props to the Visconti tossup which was my favorite buzz of the day, even if, yes, perhaps tossing up like the fifth or sixth most famous important Italian film director is a touch eccentric. Even if it wasn't written for this tournament and I didn't get it, Tokyo Story was also cool.

I almost instantly buzzed in on that Midnight's Children tossup, but it would have complete fraud because I remember someone mentioning that clue in the Fall tossup. I then chickened out because I couldn't remember if it was "bonking his nose" or "blowing his nose." I also chickened out on Wallace because I'm afraid to buzz on science and the line is the only thing I know Wallace for.

Tommy, when I suggested that this tournament be labeled "vanity/experimental," I wasn't trying to be offensive at all. It was a very impressive accomplishment from mostly high school writers and I would have played it regardless and I don't regret playing it. By "vanity," I didn't mean in a perjorative sense and I regret using the word. "Very hard/Experimental level" is probably what I should have used. I mean, there were obviously distributional issues but I understand there were problems.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:12 am

Other thoughts i have:

~It was good to meet people at this tournament. I also very much liked that after every game, people shook hands without being asked and with smiles on their faces wishing one another good luck, etc.. Possibly a lame point, but this rarely happens with consistency at high school tournaments we attend and i'm now going to make a concerted effort to see that it does.

~The moderators were great, courteous, and friendly all day. This especially was nice to the worst team at the tournament, since i have been to tournaments in the past where it was not un-obvious that a moderator really thought one of the teams in his room sucked and couldn't help from making it apparent.

Maybe the above comments are due solely to the fact that this was a "college/open" tournament, and if so, okay, but it was nice for a change of pace from what i'm used to seeing. It makes me/us want to do this sort of thing again, which we've never done before.

But, also:

~Timeliness. Why a tournament, where i was told that we should be meeting at 8:30am, should basically end up starting somewhere between 60-90 minutes after that, i will never understand. Maybe this isn't a big issue for most of the people there, but i needed to wake up at 3:45am Sunday morning in order to pick up 3 people on the way to Richmond. Had someone told me "oh, hey, Andrew, this is a college/open tournament, nobody really ever shows up on time for these so just push your arrival time back a while," this would have been really helpful. As it was, half of our party was also kinda late to be picked up anyway, so if everything was on my original schedule, we would have arrived around 8am!! Perhaps this is just my inherent ability to be prompt from being a teacher/professional/adult (the latter is debatable), but, like, why was it hard for people to just show up on time? Most of you were in town that morning... not 200 miles away like myself. Nevertheless, thanks to those who were there at that time. Matt did say to arrive by 8:30, and he was one of the few who we saw, working, when we arrived around 8:25.

~Number of rounds. Considering the four players on my team were not poor college students (i do remember being strapped for cash for most of 2001-2005), we didn't have an issues paying our $90 for the tournament, and yeah we had a long ass drive back home so we were partially glad we left at a reasonable enough time not to speed home and order takeout and eat in the car... but... we expected more. Maybe if we were better players, we would have been more disappointed at the smaller number of rounds, but playing just 7 games in a day is reminiscent of the bad Delaware high school tournaments that we attend a couple times a year. In other words, it doesn't happen anywhere else. I think both tournament writers/directors really needed to check this thread much more often and update us on that sort of news, or offer a smaller fee per team at the start of the tournament, should a similar situation arise at another time.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:40 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:In general I think that some of the recent discussion about tournaments has gone off course of what's productive, with people articulating their non-data-based gut feelings about subdistributions being one example of something that doesn't serve any particular purpose. I'll probably have more to say about this in another thread.
I think that people are trying to say something right now before the packets are out, at which point we will be able to recant our non-data-based gut feelings if they are not borne out by the data.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by jbarnes112358 » Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:31 pm

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew wrote: ~Number of rounds. Considering the four players on my team were not poor college students (i do remember being strapped for cash for most of 2001-2005), we didn't have an issues paying our $90 for the tournament, and yeah we had a long ass drive back home so we were partially glad we left at a reasonable enough time not to speed home and order takeout and eat in the car... but... we expected more. Maybe if we were better players, we would have been more disappointed at the smaller number of rounds, but playing just 7 games in a day is reminiscent of the bad Delaware high school tournaments that we attend a couple times a year. In other words, it doesn't happen anywhere else. I think both tournament writers/directors really needed to check this thread much more often and update us on that sort of news, or offer a smaller fee per team at the start of the tournament, should a similar situation arise at another time.
It sounds like people are due a partial refund. Perhaps the TDs could offer a prorated refund for the fewer than advertised rounds.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:45 pm

I would hope no one is sincerely wishing that Cameron and Tommy refund a portion of their money back (besides being unfeasible, it opens up a difficult can of worms because how do you quantify a round's cost?). I just think people are expressing their desires that in the future, editors might consider that factor when announcing their final price.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by jbarnes112358 » Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:56 pm

Cheynem wrote:I would hope no one is sincerely wishing that Cameron and Tommy refund a portion of their money back (besides being unfeasible, it opens up a difficult can of worms because how do you quantify a round's cost?). I just think people are expressing their desires that in the future, editors might consider that factor when announcing their final price.
You are probably right regarding the infeasibility of refunds. Perhaps a discount voucher for the next CoTO/TaCO would be an easier option.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:23 pm

jbarnes112358 wrote:
Cheynem wrote:I would hope no one is sincerely wishing that Cameron and Tommy refund a portion of their money back (besides being unfeasible, it opens up a difficult can of worms because how do you quantify a round's cost?). I just think people are expressing their desires that in the future, editors might consider that factor when announcing their final price.
You are probably right regarding the infeasibility of refunds. Perhaps a discount voucher for the next CoTO/TaCO would be an easier option.
Yeah, i definitely wasn't asking for a refund, it was just one of those "okay, next time, do this" sorts of posts. I'm not upset. But others may be.

Like it has been already pointed out, the point of this thread is not to criticize for the sake of criticizing, it's so these guys (and everyone!) gets better at writing and managing good quizbowl tournaments when there are a couple little problems.
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:17 pm

Will the set/stats be posted soon?
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Re: CaTO/TaCO Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sun Aug 23, 2009 12:49 pm

Journey to the Planets wrote:Will the set/stats be posted soon?
It's been two weeks boys. There were only 8-9 rounds played. This could have helped the image of the tournament a little better, getting these stats up quickly... or the actual set.

Is either one going to happen?
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