ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

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ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Gautam » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:10 pm

Good Afternoon,

Since there are no pending mirrors of the tournament, the ACF Fall 2009 set is hereby cleared for discussion. I have posted the set here temporarily. It has been sent to George Berry and Stanford folks on the packet archives they are currently managing.

In the above set, I made minor fixes from yesterday. The weird issue in the Chattahoochee packet with the superconductivity/2nd law of thermo has been fixed, as has the Le Corbusier repeat in the U Washington+South Carolina packet.

I would like to thank Evan Adams, Auroni Gupta, Will Nediger, Mehdi Razvi, and George Stevens for making this set happen. Never for a moment did they let me think that the set wouldn't be finished on time. In addition, I would like to thank (to the millionth power) the inestimable Seth Teitler for helping give the editors feedback on their work. Seth gave the editors truly valuable advice not only on issues such as pyramidality and clue content, but also on topics such as the arrangement of words within a clue, how to avoid sacrificing clarity for pyramidality, etc. I found this advice very valuable, and I hope that the editors also felt the same.

I thought the packet submissions were, in general, better in quality than they were last year. If your packet wasn't used, it really was not because it was a bad packet; we received many submissions, and there were may overlaps, so we had to sacrifice a good number of questions. It was really heartening to see that so many high school teams (Chattahoochee, LASA, St. Anselm's, to name a few) submitted decent packets. What's more, several of the highschoolers also turned in packets very early, which made it easy for us to use a bunch of questions early in the editing process. I would also like to appreciate teams that submitted a packet for the first time in their quizbowl career; it is always a daunting task to write a packet for the first time, and I hope that the first-timers enjoyed the process of writing a packet.

Please feel free to discuss any aspect of the set: question quality, pyramidality, distribution, repeat issues, even-ness in difficulty, etc. I will let the editors handle question-specific issues because they handled 100% of the questions and I only made minor fixes wherever appropriate.

If you would like feedback from your questions, I'd ask that you resend me your original submissions [gautam.acf@gmail.com]. I will forward the questions to the editors and ask them to contact you so that they can tell you what they thought about your submission. If you would like general feedback not specific to any questions (i.e. distribution of topics, difficulty of questions, overall appropriateness of middle/hard parts of bonuses, etc.) I can do that as well.

Discuss away,
Gautam Kandlikar

EDIT: IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION

All issues that arose due to repeats and questions being pasted improperly and any issues which inaccuracies in the questions are to be attributed to me. As head editor, I was responsible for making sure that clues used in this tournament would be factually correct and that the final product (i.e. the packets) would not cause any inconvenience to the various teams playing the tournament. The teams who submitted packets put in a lot of hard work to write those packets and they are not, in any way, to be blamed.
Last edited by Gautam on Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Joe Romersa » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:13 pm

I got screwed by the superconductivity tossup...

+1 for the Meigs bonus though.

*edit* one more not-so-important issue: the Taylor Swift tossup was a bit too easy. Everyone in our room buzzed on "White Horse" in the second line.
Last edited by Joe Romersa on Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by marnold » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:22 pm

From my experience reading the tournament, it seemed overall pretty good in its substance, but I also want to reverse the standard complaint from moderators after tournaments: this set was remarkably well copy-edited. While the bizarre situations with superconductivity and Le Courbousier were annoying and actually affected games, there were no more than a handful of issues where grammar was fucked up or wording was confusing. So good on ya for that.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:26 pm

I almost got screwed by the superconductivity tossup, but luckily it was resolved in my favor, adding another in my unimpressive list of science tossups answered.

This set was very strong, I think, in appealing to novices--the science I thought, at least in my uneducated opinion, seemed to be rewarding knowledge of concepts and processes much more than just "This thing has a name!" Tossup length seemed on the whole quite controlled (I thought some of the bonus parts tended to prattle a bit, but that may be more of a personal preference). There were very few tossups that seemed to be wacky in terms of difficulty (the Jameson Raid, perhaps, was the biggest offender here that I can remember), with the inevitable "too hard" third parts that pop up at any tournament.

As a quasi-veteran who isn't that good, I felt like I was playing "What could be tossed up at ACF Fall?" a little too much (a lot more than last year), but that's independent of the set and is probably more of a reflection of experience and maturity within the game. I don't know what others thought.

There were a few tossups that seemed to be too susceptible to "figure it out-ness": films of Italy dropped a ton of characters with Italian-sounding names, peasant revolts is another example. But on the whole, I was fairly happy with question quality.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:45 pm

Yeah; I had a generally positive impression of this set. One thing I'd have preferred in a few cases--most notably in the tossup on externalities--is for the pronoun that indicates what I'm supposed to say should come before the first clue. I was probably a little slower than Lily in biting on the first word, "Pigovian," because I wasn't yet sure if I was supposed to say what Pigovian taxes tax, name someone who criticized them, whatever. I'm just usually not ready to make first-word buzzes because usually the first words are "this ____" or something that you need later (pronoun-including) context to process, not a buzzword.

So that I don't get strawmanned into "Andy Watkins, that fucker, just wants a bunch of tossups on Lucien Levy-Bruhl instead!," let me explicitly say what I am not saying. I am not saying that "externalities" is a bad answer line. I am not even saying that the existence of Pigovian taxes is a bad first clue for externalities (though at this level, really, if you're giving yourself six lines, you can appropriately put a clue before them). I am saying that that is poor internal pyramidality, and a leadin is where poor internal pyramidality hurts the most.

Also, seriously, a lot of these bonuses were too easy. (I'll say, of course, that the bonus conversion distribution doesn't look too bad if you wanted the first ten points to be totally free to teams. So were these too-easy bonuses offset by a few bonuses that were too hard? Probably.) Do we need to award twenty points for "Allah" and "the hajj?" I think that would be a little easy for the high school regular season; I certainly haven't seen a bonus like that since I was in high school.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by MicroEStudent » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:51 pm

I was unable to play this due to a schedule conflict, but I noticed a rather significant error in a bonus:
Chattahoochee Bonus 7 wrote:7. Answer the following about devices that helped shape the modern computer for 10 points each.
[10] At Bell Labs, Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley created the first of these devices used to amplify electric signals. The bipolar junction type contains two pn junctions.
ANSWER: transistors
[10] Bipolar junction transistors are typically made from this type of material, such as gallium arsenide. Metals of this type include silicon and germanium, both of which have properties intermediate to those of conductors and insulators.
ANSWER: semiconductors
[10] Ferdinand Braun invented this type of vacuum tube that contains an electron gun and a fluorescent screen. It are used in older computer monitors, and Lenard’s work on it earned him the 1905 Physics Nobel.
ANSWER: cathode ray tubes
That is a very poorly written description of semiconductors. Silicon and germanium are metalloids, not metals. In general, semiconductors are not types of metals as a semiconductor is physically different than a metal.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:54 pm

Eh, I think the "hajj" is a perfectly fine easy part of a bonus. I wrote a MUT bonus with that as the easy part too. As novice tournaments, I am perfectly happy with giving 10 points to an easy but important piece of academic knowledge. In this case, the hajj certainly qualifies. Now, we may be in agreement about other bonus parts (like the annoying "what country are these people from?" parts, which while I understand their utility, still irritate me), but on the whole, eh, ACF Fall should be pretty easy. The easy parts of bonuses should be easy.

EDIT: I see that you were saying twenty points shouldn't be handed out for "Allah" and the "hajj." I agree that this is true, but I don't remember a bonus that did this. The bonus on the hajj went like hajj/Ka'bah/Zamzam Well. Are you referring to another bonus?
Last edited by Cheynem on Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by The Friar » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:55 pm

marnold wrote: I also want to reverse the standard complaint from moderators after tournaments: this set was remarkably well copy-edited. [...] So good on ya for that.
I found it noticeably better on that front than, say, EFT. Even where there were issues, they were the transparent kind that I could proceed through without being slowed down (even including the couple repeats and the superconductivity tossup issue). Both by making rounds short and by preventing protests, good work in this vein helps tournaments move swiftly and participants get to their dinners, Hallowe'en parties, warm fluffy pillows, &c. in time to enjoy them. Gratitude.

EDIT: copy
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:56 pm

Didn't play this tournament, but I, too, liked the Meigs in central Asia bonus. The Star Wars bonus I would have 30ed, but it still makes me angry that those facts even exist...

There was another repeat: Rutherford B. Hays in both CMU/LASA A and Princeton A/Cornell. There were also a lot of repeating topics: notably (to me) the Wagner bonuses in the first two packets. And I agree with Andy Watkins on the easiness on some of the bonuses; the Allah/hajj one is a good example.

Edit:
OSU + Carleton A wrote:9. This sect originated in the central Arabian Peninsula, and its followers prefer to be called “Unitarians.” For 10 points each:
[10] Name this conservative sect of Sunni Islam which emphasizes tawhid, God’s uniqueness, and has gained notoriety for its followers’ violence against other Muslim sects.
ANSWER: Wahhabism
[10] The first aspect of Tawhid is often termed Rabb, which is one of the ninety-nine names of this supreme deity of Islam, whose only prophet is Muhammad.
ANSWER: Allah
[10] al-Wahhab, the namesake of Wahhabism, expounded the tenets of the sect while in Mecca for this observance, which includes a trip to the Well of Zamzam and the Ka’aba.
ANSWER: hajj
Last edited by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant on Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Gautam » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:58 pm

I had made a fix to the tossup on externalities, but in the last minute confusion, I think the fix didn't get saved. I agree that the construction of the clue was unfortunate, and I apologize for the issues it caused as it was played out.

This should have been the final version of the tossup:

6. In a two product economy, the output of product of one product affects the production function of a second product in a condition of this type which is named for JE Meade. According to the Coase theorem, market failure is due to transaction costs, not due to these, which Coase describes as a joint product of a victim and a polluter. Pigovian taxes can be used to counterbalance these phenomena. The tragedy of the commons is caused by the negative type of these. Examples of the negative type include a company’s air pollution harming animals. For 10 points, name these phenomena which occur when an economic transaction has an effect on a third party.
ANSWER: externalities [or spillover]
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by fleurdelivre » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:00 pm

marnold wrote:From my experience reading the tournament, it seemed overall pretty good in its substance, but I also want to reverse the standard complaint from moderators after tournaments: this set was remarkably well copy-edited. While the bizarre situations with superconductivity and Le Courbousier were annoying and actually affected games, there were no more than a handful of issues where grammar was fucked up or wording was confusing. So good on ya for that.
Amen. Sentences flowed well, which led me to believe that someone had actually read much of it aloud (or at least had a good sense of how things would sound) in the course of the proofing process. After reading THUNDER last week, this was a more-than-welcome change.
Last edited by fleurdelivre on Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:00 pm

As a moderator, I really appreciated the overall excellent copy editing and clear sentence progression in this set.

I agree that bonuses could skew to the easy (with the exception of that bizarre comics bonus... what was with that?), and in all seriousness I think the set overused the "name the country" motif. It's a good way to fill in an easy third part of a bonus, to be sure, but what with the multiple music and lit tossups on "these people are from what country," it got kind of old.

"Allah" was in another bonus from hajj/Zamzam/Kaabah, but I wanted to point out that there was an earlier bonus part on hajj/Mecca (I think in the same bonus as Allah?) that mentioned the Well of Zamzam and the kaabah as clues. So not only is this two distinct bonuses on pretty standard Islam knowledge, but it repeats clues and answer choices.

Otherwise... yeah. Good job, editors.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:06 pm

Cheynem wrote:Eh, I think the "hajj" is a perfectly fine easy part of a bonus. I wrote a MUT bonus with that as the easy part too. As novice tournaments, I am perfectly happy with giving 10 points to an easy but important piece of academic knowledge. In this case, the hajj certainly qualifies. Now, we may be in agreement about other bonus parts (like the annoying "what country are these people from?" parts, which while I understand their utility, still irritate me), but on the whole, eh, ACF Fall should be pretty easy. The easy parts of bonuses should be easy.

EDIT: I see that you were saying twenty points shouldn't be handed out for "Allah" and the "hajj." I agree that this is true, but I don't remember a bonus that did this. The bonus on the hajj went like hajj/Ka'bah/Zamzam Well. Are you referring to another bonus?
Here's the other bonus, for reference:
packet by OSU and Carleton A wrote:9. This sect originated in the central Arabian Peninsula, and its followers prefer to be called “Unitarians.” For 10 points each:
[10] Name this conservative sect of Sunni Islam which emphasizes tawhid, God’s uniqueness, and has gained notoriety for its followers’ violence against other Muslim sects.
ANSWER: Wahhabism
[10] The first aspect of Tawhid is often termed Rabb, which is one of the ninety-nine names of this supreme deity of Islam, whose only prophet is Muhammad.
ANSWER: Allah
[10] al-Wahhab, the namesake of Wahhabism, expounded the tenets of the sect while in Mecca for this observance, which includes a trip to the Well of Zamzam and the Ka’aba.
ANSWER: hajj
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Ringil » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:18 pm

MicroEStudent wrote:I was unable to play this due to a schedule conflict, but I noticed a rather significant error in a bonus:
Chattahoochee Bonus 7 wrote:7. Answer the following about devices that helped shape the modern computer for 10 points each.
[10] At Bell Labs, Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley created the first of these devices used to amplify electric signals. The bipolar junction type contains two pn junctions.
ANSWER: transistors
[10] Bipolar junction transistors are typically made from this type of material, such as gallium arsenide. Metals of this type include silicon and germanium, both of which have properties intermediate to those of conductors and insulators.
ANSWER: semiconductors
[10] Ferdinand Braun invented this type of vacuum tube that contains an electron gun and a fluorescent screen. It are used in older computer monitors, and Lenard’s work on it earned him the 1905 Physics Nobel.
ANSWER: cathode ray tubes
That is a very poorly written description of semiconductors. Silicon and germanium are metalloids, not metals. In general, semiconductors are not types of metals as a semiconductor is physically different than a metal.
I agree with this. My team said metalloid instead of semiconductor and didn't get that right :sad:

I felt like there were some repeats that were annoying. There were two bonuses that had a part on Samarkand and both talked about how it was the capital of Tamerlane's empire. Also, one packet seemed to have heavy amounts of 30 Year's War stuff as in having a tossup on Peace of Westphalia and a bonus on the Dutch revolution that merged into the 30 Year's War.

In general, I felt for many packets, the history was not distributed in regards to time period. Besides the packet with the tossup/bonus on stuff related to the 30 Year's War, another packet had a tossups on Winter War and Casablanca Conference. That just doesn't seem to be very well distributed to me.

Also, the tossup on Bannockburn seemed pretty hard compared to some of the other stuff.

Overall though, this tournament was pretty fun and well done. Good job.
Last edited by Ringil on Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:19 pm

Thanks, I do not remember that bonus at all and I agree that it is perhaps a bit too easy. I think that was the first round when I was trying to grade and play at the same time before I decided that wasn't working (I'm no MIk Larsen).
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:25 pm

Ringil wrote:Also, one packet seemed to have heavy amounts of 30 Year's War stuff as in having a tossup on Peace of Westphalia and a bonus on the Dutch revolution that merged into the 30 Year's War.
Yes, and the bonus mentioned the Peace of Westphalia. If I recall correctly, the bonus followed the tossup in my room (they were both number nine at any rate).
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:29 pm

Steamboats of the Yukon River wrote:
Ringil wrote:Also, one packet seemed to have heavy amounts of 30 Year's War stuff as in having a tossup on Peace of Westphalia and a bonus on the Dutch revolution that merged into the 30 Year's War.
Yes, and the bonus mentioned the Peace of Westphalia. If I recall correctly, the bonus followed the tossup in my room (they were both number nine at any rate).
That was a result of our packet (with the tossup on Westphalia) being merged with Truman State's packet (with the bonus on the 30 Year's War.)
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:35 pm

This was a really good tournament. Right now, I can only think of two things to complain about that no one else has: there was no need to have 2/0 World War 2 conferences and the Velvet Underground tossup was criminally awful. "Venus In Furs" is probably their second most famous song, which totally means that it shouldn't be the second clue.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Auroni » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:49 pm

I'll go ahead and take responsibility for the hajj bonus(es). First of all, I'm sorry that I didn't catch the repeat, and when I finally did, it was too late to replace it with something else. I strove to make my bonuses as easy as I could, and I probably took that particular one a bit too far.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Mettius Fufetius » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:50 pm

After previously hearing of an opposing plan proposed at the Hanover Meeting, this leader proposed a twenty-five point plan at the Bamberg Conference. This leader decided to abandon both the Madagascar Plan and Nisko Plan in favor of a plan which would better achieve the ideals of not feeding the hungry, not hydrating the thirsty, and not clothing the naked. Hans Ritter von Seisser and Otto von Lossow put down a rebellion led by this leader, and he consolidated power by executing Operation Hummingbird. The Beer Hall Putsch and Night of the Long Knives both occurred during this leader’s reign. For 10 points, name this demonic German leader who published Mein Kampf before executing six million Jews during the Holocaust by the end of World War II.
My 20th century history knowledge isn't the deepest, but I can't think of any reason to describe the Beer Hall Putsch as occurring during Hitler's "reign." He didn't take office until 1933, right? My confusion and comical attempts to remember who was Weimar president in the early 1920s lasted just long enough to cause me to get beat on this TU.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Joe Romersa » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:51 pm

I haven't played many novice college tournaments, so these comment may be pointless, but I noticed a lot of bonuses that went "hard-medium-easy" or "hard-easy-medium", instead of the normal "easy-medium-hard". And is it okay to use something as an answer after it was mentioned in a tossup before ("coriolis" is what I was thinking of).

Otherwise, this was one of the best tournaments I've played (compared to NAQT and a few mACF events). Great Job.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:52 pm

Yeah; it's as wrong as it gets, seeing as even if he'd succeeded in taking power following the Putsch, the Putsch would have been before his reign. It's just a sloppy "please say the person you think of when you think of the Beer Hall Putsch" clue.
I haven't played many novice college tournaments, so these comment may be pointless, but I noticed a lot of bonuses that went "hard-medium-easy" or "hard-easy-medium", instead of the normal "easy-medium-hard".
This is a common idiom in college writing. "easy-medium-hard" isn't necessarily "normal." Work-author-harder work is a common bonus format, for example, and that is usually MEH or HEM. This allows you to modulate difficulty more precisely--if the author is a middle part without the title of his or her most famous work, and you want that work to be the middle part, you make the work the first part and the author the second.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Auroni » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:54 pm

Alex, as long as a bonus has a distinct easy, medium, and hard part in some order, then it is fine. Also, I tried to be mindful of the recent discussion about certain important topics getting more exposure, so I had two overlapping Bach bonuses, tossups on Beethoven and Beethoven's fifth, and several others. As long as the clues or answer choices don't overlap (your tossup on X fails to mention another work by X, which you then toss up separately), then I have no problems with doing that.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Auroni » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:55 pm

Also, I would appreciate feedback on the music, the other arts (jazz, photography, opera, sculpture, art film, ballet), the myth, and the religion. Email me at auronigupta@gmail.com
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Kaisuopai » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:59 pm

As a reader, I just want to thank whoever put in that Mega Man TU, and for the people who made this packet readable enough for a first-time moderator. There were several bugs that we stumbled over, notably the two TU repeats and the bonus which went "this Swedish ______" and then proceeded to ask for his nationality, but overall, none of the teams had any real problems with the questions/distribution, and a good time was had by all.

One more thing; is it just me, or was the Jewish-knowledge distribution in this packet somewhat high?

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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:00 pm

Terrible Shorts Depot wrote:This was a really good tournament. Right now, I can only think of two things to complain about that no one else has: there was no need to have 2/0 World War 2 conferences and the Velvet Underground tossup was criminally awful. "Venus In Furs" is probably their second most famous song, which totally means that it shouldn't be the second clue.
I wrote that VU tossup, but that was not my leadin. Mine, I realize now, was way too impossible for anyone not sharing my exact musical tastes, but changing the leadin to something about "Venus in Furs" was similarly inappropriate. That question could have been better edited. I apologize for not making it a good question to begin with, but it definitely could have ended up better.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Huang » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:19 pm

Sorry for the Beer Hall Putsch mistake. As Andy said, it was pretty sloppy of me to not notice that.
I also wrote the Mega Man TU, although it was originally on Mega Man X for the SNES.

Edit: If anyone is interested
Original Mega Man TU wrote:Category: Pop Culture
In one stage of this game, after dodging volleys of three simultaneous missiles, a player receives the Homing Torpedo by defeating a boss named Launch Octopus. After avoiding bird-like creatures and intense winds in one stage of this game, a player receives the Storm Tornado weapon by defeating a boss named Storm Eagle. In another stage of this game, a player must avoid being frozen in order to obtain the Shotgun Ice weapon from a boss named Chill Penguin. In the first stage of this game, a player only needs to reach a low enough health level to defeat a boss named Vile. For 10 points, name this Super Nintendo video game featuring a character, created by Dr. Thomas Light, who is saved on the first stage of the game by a robot named Zero.
ANSWER: Mega Man Maverick Hunter X [or Irregular X; prompt on Mega Man]
I think some people negged with Metal Gear Solid at Launch Octopus because they heard Laughing Octopus. Hopefully this wasn't too big of a deal. The edited version of the TU also seemed better than what I had originally written.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by vcuEvan » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:20 pm

Terrible Shorts Depot wrote: the Velvet Underground tossup was criminally awful. "Venus In Furs" is probably their second most famous song, which totally means that it shouldn't be the second clue.
That's on me, I didn't realize that song was famous. I'd like to point out that at least in my questions, readability and lack of typos can be attributed to Seth Teitler, who was enormously helpful throughout this process. I'm interested in any feedback about lit or trash.

Edit: words
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:25 pm

Sorry about that externalities leadin. Another thing which was pointed out to me: I included noted Swiss guy Ferdinand de Saussure in a bonus on "nineteenth and early-twentieth century French philosophers." Apologies if that caused anyone got robbed of points by that.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:26 pm

The trash seemed appropriate for this tournament because I stunk at it, which means it passes the "Young People Approved" test in my opinion.

Regarding the Hitler one, I admit to being unfamiliar with those clues, but it appears to me that it really lacks a lot of middle clues (like a description of the Night of the Long Knives or whatever). I've studied the Third Reich (although not really its rise) and sat there like a moron until I heard buzzwords.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by fluffy4102 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:31 pm

Ringil wrote: In general, I felt for many packets, the history was not distributed in regards to time period. Besides the packet with the tossup/bonus on stuff related to the 30 Year's War, another packet had a tossups on Winter War and Casablanca Conference. That just doesn't seem to be very well distributed to me.
The Casablanca Conference was merged into our packet.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Huang » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:32 pm

Cheynem wrote: Regarding the Hitler one, I admit to being unfamiliar with those clues, but it appears to me that it really lacks a lot of middle clues (like a description of the Night of the Long Knives or whatever). I've studied the Third Reich (although not really its rise) and sat there like a moron until I heard buzzwords.
I meant for the Madagascar and Nisko Plan to be middle clues. Operation Hummingbird was supposed to be the description for the Night of the Long Knives. I didn't want to write something like "he eliminated the SA" before FTP. What do you think would have been an appropriate description?
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:33 pm

In the Le Corbusier packet, there was a second architecture tossup. There were also no music tossups in that packet. (The reverse might also have happened, though – I think there was a packet with two classical music questions, neither of which was opera…but I forget which round it was. It might have been the packet with Vivaldi in it.)

I thought Kol Nidre was a bit of a difficulty-cliff clue, and the thing in the Rosh Hashanah question about predicting your losses for the next year was a funny lateralable clue (when else would you do that?)…like a lot of those question about nationalities, where early clues mentioned names that sounded pretty obvious (not the Hungarian composers one, though; that was good), leading to a situation of "if they're saying that this early, it must be a trick!" but then the answer actually was the obvious thing.

I was surprised that the Winter War was considered to be the right difficulty level, but I'm glad it was there. :grin:
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by jonah » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:37 pm

I'm going to comment on the Judaism-related questions in the set, which are the only ones I know a whole lot about. Here goes:
Packet by Brandeis and UCLA A wrote:18. The Zohar cites Job 1:6 and Job 2:1 to establish a two-day framework for celebration of this holiday. The Talmud states that the prediction of one’s losses during the next year occurs on this holiday, whose first afternoon includes the tashlikh, or recitation of prayer near flowing water. The “days of awe” precede this holiday, which is followed by the fast day of Gedalia. If this holiday lies on the Shabbat, the Shofar is not played, but gefilte fish, apples, and honey are served regardless. Occurring during Tishrei, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, for 10 points, name this Jewish celebration of the New Year.
ANSWER: Rosh Hashanah [prompt on “Jewish New Year” prior to mention]
The "two-day framework" clue is perhaps uniquely identifying because of what the Zohar cited, but it's only helpful if you know those citations: Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot are also all celebrated for two days in the diaspora. The "days of awe" clue borders on being incorrect; the phrase very occasionally refers to the month of Elul (the month preceding Rosh HaShanah), but usually refers to the High Holy Days themselves, i.e., Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, plus the aseret y'mei t'shuvah (the days between those two). Also, the answer line should've prompted on or maybe even just accepted Yom HaZikaron, which is how Rosh HaShanah is referred to in many relevant prayers, and the same for Yom T'ruah and Yom Ha-Din. (Yes, I know the Wikipedia article on Yom HaZikaron talks about it being something else entirely; that's a separate and correct thing, but irrelevant.)

Packet by Furman, Claremont, Illinois, and ULL wrote:16. According to religious literature, the official service during this holiday was prefaced by a seven-day sequestering in the Parhedrin Chamber. In orthodox circles, this holiday still includes the removal of the incense from the Holy of Holies and the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. The Al Cheit, Ashamnu, and closing Ne’ilah prayers are unique to this holiday, which sees the recitation of the Kol Nidre prayer on its eve, the reading of the Book of Jonah, and Vidui, or the public confession of sins. Occurring eight days after Rosh Hashanah, for 10 points, name this Jewish Day of Atonement.
ANSWER: Yom Kippur
Firstly, having tossups on both Rosh and Yom in the same set is kind of a questionable idea. The second sentence is 100% false. Kol Nidrei is probably an easier clue than the rest of the clues in that sentence except maybe N'ilah. The vidui is actually the same as Al Cheit and Ashamnu (it's just the name for that group of prayers), although the term more commonly refers to the deathbed confession. Also, it's nine days after [the first day of] Rosh HaShanah. Finally, the full name of the holiday is Yom Ha-Kipurim, so that should've been acceptable, as should've been "day of atonement" before mentioned.
Packet by Maryland A and Case Western wrote:19. The Al ha-Nissim addition is made to the hoda’ah benediction in the prayer service for this holiday, which includes the reading of Zechariah 2:14-4:7. The final moments of this holiday include the reading of the verse “This was the dedication of the altar” on its final day, which is known as Zot. The medieval German hymn Ma’oz Tzur is sung during this holiday, which sees the wide consumption of latkes. This holiday was borne from a struggle against Antiochus and included an incident in which a container of oil kept a menorah burning for eight days. Gelt is distributed and dreidel is played on, for 10 points, what winter Jewish holiday?
ANSWER: Hanukkah [or Chanukah; prompt on Festival of Lights]
"Al Ha-Nisim" is a pretty easy clue for anyone Jewish; it's a popular Chanukah song in addition to being an added paragraph in the Amidah, and as someone once wisely pointed out, there are so many Jews in quizbowl that we need to accurately distinguish between knowledgeable Jews and less-knowledgeable ones. The fact that the haftarah for Chanukah is the Zechariah reading is definitely harder than any other clue in this question, followed by Zot, "This was the dedication of the altar", Al Ha-Nisim, Ma'oz Tzur, Antiochus, Ma'oz Tzur, gelt/latkes, menorah, winter Jewish holiday. The answer line should probably accept "dedication", which is the literal translation of the word "Chanukah", or at least prompt on it; and I'm not sure why "Festival of Lights" only merits a prompt rather than acceptance.
Packet by St. Anselm's and Truman State A wrote:2. The Jews, chronically at the wrong place at the wrong time, have holidays to commemorate such mishaps. Name some, for 10 points each.
[10] This festival, on which leavened bread may not be eaten, celebrates Moses and the Israelites’ escape from their years of Egyptian slavery.
ANSWER: Passover [or Pesach]
[10] On this holiday, Jews feast and read the Book of Esther, recalling the failure of a plot to kill their people by Haman, an advisor to the Persian King Ahasuerus.
ANSWER: Purim [or Festival of Lots; accept equivalents]
[10] Usually occurring in late July or early August, this fast day commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples, as well as many other tragedies.
ANSWER: Tisha B’Av [or The Ninth of Av]
This seems like easy-easy-medium to me, but maybe I'm wrong. The content is fine.

There was also a bonus part on Shavuot, and a bonus on Gideon/Ba'al/Deborah. Content-wise they were fine (though Deborah should've accepted D'vorah), but I would agree with statements that this tournament had a bit too much Judaism content.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by ieppler » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:42 pm

The Battle of Princeton seemed to be a slightly strange answer choice; I negged it with the (in my mind) much more notable Battle of Trenton after thinking "it's a winter Revolutionary War battle, they're saying words (Nassau, Mercer) that I associate with New Jersey, it's Fall." Dallas' reaction at the end seemed to suggest that he wouldn't have converted the tossup without the lame "Ivy League college town" giveaway. Other than the Princeton tossup and the aforementioned externalities tossup, everything seemed pretty good. Thanks to the editors for an enjoyable tournament.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:45 pm

In regards to the externalities lead-in, and all other questions in the set that had similar problems:
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH MAKING THE FIRST THING IN THE TOSSUP THE PRONOUN INDICATING WHAT IS WANTED!
I've been yelling on and off about this for over a year now and I still see this retarded question construction all over the place. Here's the deal: making the pronoun one of the very first things a player hears makes the question much clearer, allows people who have knowledge to confidently buzz, and makes the question more pyramidal. In the externalities tossup Gautam posted, can anybody tell me what is wrong with this revision that makes it inferior by nature than what he has posted there?

When this condition occurs in a two-product economy, the output of product of one product affects the production function of a second product. That example of this condition is named for JE Meade.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:54 pm

Regarding the Hitler tossup:

I guess I feel that Operation Hummingbird only works as a description of the Night of the Long Knives if you know it was called that. I admit I didn't. I think by that late point in the question you can say stuff like "He eliminated rival Ernst Rohm in..." Also, what was the deal with the clues about "not feeding the hungry or hydrating the thirsty"? Is this some reference to a speech or a passage of Mein Kampf or was it just a weird way of saying "THIS WAS A BAD DUDE." If it was the latter, it totally went over my head.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Alejandro » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:55 pm

I enjoyed playing this set. There was a slight issue with clues showing up multiple times (such as Dali's Hallucinogenic Torreador), though.
Also, the bonus on pointers/linked lists/priority queues has a mistake:
ACF Fall Dunbar + UMN A wrote:[10] Linked lists are often used to implement this type of first-in first-out data structure that is often used in discrete event simulation. One of these is used in the A-star search algorithm to keep track of alternate paths.
ANSWER: _priority queue_
Priority queues cannot be implemented efficiently with linked lists, so they use trees. Regular queues are often implemented using linked lists, however.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:02 pm

Alejandro wrote:
ACF Fall Dunbar + UMN A wrote:[10] Linked lists are often used to implement this type of first-in first-out data structure that is often used in discrete event simulation. One of these is used in the A-star search algorithm to keep track of alternate paths.
ANSWER: _priority queue_
Priority queues cannot be implemented efficiently with linked lists, so they use trees. Regular queues are often implemented using linked lists, however.
Also, a priority queue isn't first-in-first-out. Whatever has the highest priority comes out first.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by t-bar » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:03 pm

Alejandro wrote:I enjoyed playing this set. There was a slight issue with clues showing up multiple times (such as Dali's Hallucinogenic Torreador), though.
Also, the bonus on pointers/linked lists/priority queues has a mistake:
ACF Fall Dunbar + UMN A wrote:[10] Linked lists are often used to implement this type of first-in first-out data structure that is often used in discrete event simulation. One of these is used in the A-star search algorithm to keep track of alternate paths.
ANSWER: _priority queue_
Priority queues cannot be implemented efficiently with linked lists, so they use trees. Regular queues are often implemented using linked lists, however.
Priority queues are also not necessarily first-in first-out. They only happen to behave as such if you insert the elements in decreasing order of priority. A-star is uniquely identifying for priority queue but I could see someone thinking "well, the last sentence is referring to a priority queue, but the others refer to a general queue, so they must want the more general term."

EDIT: beaten to it
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:05 pm

Has anyone else noticed that computer science bonuses are just too hard for tournaments like this? The overwhelming majority of the true novice teams I've seen have been completely helpless to get even ten points on those bonuses. Tossups on things like shortest-path algorithms seem like a really poor idea as well. We really shouldn't be writing on things that a decent high school quizbowler, well-educated individual, or any other typical novice has never even heard of.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by dxdtdemon » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:05 pm

In addition to what Jonah said about the various Judaism questions, Al-Hanisim is added to the hoda'ah for other holidays, so this is not a uniquely identifying clue. Being a leadin, it would probably make people think, "In what other holidays than Chanukkah is Al-Hanisim recited?".
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:06 pm

theMoMA wrote:Has anyone else noticed that computer science bonuses are just too hard for tournaments like this? The overwhelming majority of the true novice teams I've seen have been completely helpless to get even ten points on those bonuses. Tossups on things like shortest-path algorithms seem like a really poor idea as well. We really shouldn't be writing on things that a decent high school quizbowler, well-educated individual, or any other typical novice has never even heard of.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Huang » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:07 pm

Cheynem wrote:what was the deal with the clues about "not feeding the hungry or hydrating the thirsty"? Is this some reference to a speech or a passage of Mein Kampf or was it just a weird way of saying "THIS WAS A BAD DUDE." If it was the latter, it totally went over my head.
I'm not quite sure but I remember it being in quotes somewhere and I just paraphrased it. Can't really remember.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by jonah » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:10 pm

quantumfootball wrote:In addition to what Jonah said about the various Judaism questions, Al-Hanisim is added to the hoda'ah for other holidays, so this is not a uniquely identifying clue. Being a leadin, it would probably make people think, "In what other holidays than Chanukkah is Al-Hanisim recited?".
Good point; I totally missed that. Purim is the only other one, though, right?
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by dxdtdemon » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:13 pm

jonah wrote:
quantumfootball wrote:In addition to what Jonah said about the various Judaism questions, Al-Hanisim is added to the hoda'ah for other holidays, so this is not a uniquely identifying clue. Being a leadin, it would probably make people think, "In what other holidays than Chanukkah is Al-Hanisim recited?".
Good point; I totally missed that. Purim is the only other one, though, right?
I think so.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:13 pm

Apparently the thing about "feeding the hungry" is a reference to a Goebbels speech in 1938 where he outlines Nazi principles of having a healthy Master Race. As it stands, I do not think it was a helpful clue at all unless a more experienced quizbowler can educate me as to the clue's importance.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:18 pm

Cheynem wrote:Also, what was the deal with the clues about "not feeding the hungry or hydrating the thirsty"? Is this some reference to a speech or a passage of Mein Kampf or was it just a weird way of saying "THIS WAS A BAD DUDE." If it was the latter, it totally went over my head.
Well, Wikipedia (yeah) tells me that the Madagascar and Nisko Plans were devised as potential solutions to the Jewish Question, which really didn't have to do with helping hungry/thirsty/unclothed people, unless I'm missing something.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Kwang the Ninja » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:29 pm

theMoMA wrote:Has anyone else noticed that computer science bonuses are just too hard for tournaments like this? The overwhelming majority of the true novice teams I've seen have been completely helpless to get even ten points on those bonuses. Tossups on things like shortest-path algorithms seem like a really poor idea as well. We really shouldn't be writing on things that a decent high school quizbowler, well-educated individual, or any other typical novice has never even heard of.
This, man. We played Valencia A in the final match of the day for 2nd place, and Andrew Levin (who I consider a very good, if somewhat neg-prone, player) beat me to the final tossup, which put them behind by ten points going into their final bonus. He told the reader (paraphrasing) to basically just go ahead and skip the bonus if it was computer science. I know I personally roll my eyes and pencil my team in for a zero whenever I hear "this algorithm" or "this data structure". I guess I just don't understand how such a niche subject got adapted into the canon in the first place.
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Re: ACF Fall 2009 Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:31 pm

I would like to come out against the sentiment that the bonuses in this set were too easy. Every other tournament on the college circuit has harder bonuses. ACF Fall does not need to be any harder than it currently is and I'd argue that it could probably stand to even be easier.

Unless I'm mistaken, this is a tournament that's trying to appeal teams like Penn State or North Carolina Wesleyan A, rather than Andy Watkins. Those teams were getting around 10 PPB. I don't think this is atrocious, but I do think this should be the lower limit for new teams at ACF Fall. If we're collectively saying "ACF Fall is as easy as it's going to get for collegiate quizbowl" and you're still getting the sense as a new team that you are often not getting any points on a bonus, then I think this is very off-putting. Maybe if the bonuses are too easy for you, this isn't the tournament for you? I think we need to recognize that there is an every-widening gap between the best and worst players in quizbowl, and that I don't think that we can continue to write tournaments intended to cater to those on the low end of the spectrum while still making it overly meaningful for elite players.

Another comment: 17 packets were produced for this tournament. Is this really necessary? VCU, one of the more capable programs hosting ACF Fall, only got through 14 rounds and that went to 8 PM. From what I understand there were some delays, but there are often delays at many well run tournaments. I think that producing 17 rounds for a regular season tournament (especially a novice tournament) is overkill and results in the set overall being of lesser quality. Why not drop that number by 2 or 3 and devote more time to fixing errors and editing? Furthermore, with fewer packets, that means you're stretching less for accessible answers. I'm sure the editors were often searching for "what could possibly be asked about at this level that hasn't come up yet in category X?" which I imagine in at least a few circumstances led to harder answers being chosen.

Also, why is the ACF rule that teams must play 12 rounds? I can tell you from much experience in running tournaments at schools without a cadre of highly-trained moderators that a 12 round tournament where games start at 9:30 is going to take until at least 7 PM. This isn't 2004 anymore where tossups for many events rarely pushed 6 lines or bonus parts usually had short lead-ins. My main observation from reading at ACF Fall in Boise is that the newer players generally liked the tournament, but found the later rounds significantly less enjoyable, probably to the point of enjoying the tournament *less* because they played those rounds. Expecting new teams to be able to play quizbowl from 9:30 until even 5:00 or 6:00 I think is asking too much. It's the type of thing that makes marginal teams not want to come back ("quizbowl takes forever!"), and it's something I've personally seen happen on the college and high school level recently.
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