Country questions, particularly in 2010 ICT

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Siverus Snape
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Country questions, particularly in 2010 ICT

Post by Siverus Snape » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:40 pm

I wish I could be more helpful and give you the exact round in which this occurred, but one of the DII packets had four TUs with answers being the names of countries (Poland, Norway, and two others). If I recall, two of those were consecutive, and most of them had political and/or geography clues. That was a little disappointing.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Sir Thopas » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:44 pm

Siverus Snape wrote:I wish I could be more helpful and give you the exact round in which this occurred, but one of the DII packets had four TUs with answers being the names of countries (Poland, Norway, and two others). If I recall, two of those were consecutive, and most of them had political and/or geography clues. That was a little disappointing.
Yeah, a bunch of packets seemed to have at least 2 or 3 nation tossups.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:49 pm

Do people not like tossups to which the answer is a country? During the process of editing T-Party, one of my fellow editors kept complaining that I put a history tossup on "Austria" in the same packet as a history tossup on "Cuba". In fact, this editor later moved those tossups to different packets without getting my consent or without even informing me. These were both legit academic history tossups.

It seems absurd to me to make the complaint "there were two tossups whose answers were people" or "two tossups whose answers were events", so why do people do it with countries? And not even just in the controversial CE/geo categories.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:06 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:In fact, this editor later moved those tossups to different packets without getting my consent or without even informing me.
How horrifying!

I don't know, I think it doesn't necessarily affect the playability or fairness or the set; it has to do with its... umami, I guess. I probably wouldn't want a tournament to contain five tossups on subatomic particles or three questions on different reductions, either.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:19 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:I don't know, I think it doesn't necessarily affect the playability or fairness or the set; it has to do with its... umami, I guess.
I demand more glutamate in NAQT packets
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:13 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Whig's Boson wrote:In fact, this editor later moved those tossups to different packets without getting my consent or without even informing me.
How horrifying!

I don't know, I think it doesn't necessarily affect the playability or fairness or the set; it has to do with its... umami, I guess. I probably wouldn't want a tournament to contain five tossups on subatomic particles or three questions on different reductions, either.
But are you really advocating for, say, a 4/4 history distribution to contain one tossup on a person, one tossup on a polity, one tossup on an event, and one tossup on something...else?

Nobody ever complains about two tossups on people in the same round; why do they complain about two tossups about countries in the same round? What justifies this distinction.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:35 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:But are you really advocating for, say, a 4/4 history distribution to contain one tossup on a person, one tossup on a polity, one tossup on an event, and one tossup on something...else?
Legislation, treaties, decrees, speeches.

When I write literature for a packet, besides the geographical distinction, I try to diversify between poetry, short stories, novels, and drama.

Tossups on countries in history are fine, but I think they, like any one specific "type" of question, should be done in moderation.

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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:06 am

dtaylor4 wrote: Tossups on countries in history are fine, but I think they, like any one specific "type" of question, should be done in moderation.
Where is the outrage over multiple tossups on people in a single round? I don't see it. Countries are being singled out for some reason and I see no rational explanation for this.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:54 am

Whig's Boson wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote: Tossups on countries in history are fine, but I think they, like any one specific "type" of question, should be done in moderation.
Where is the outrage over multiple tossups on people in a single round? I don't see it. Countries are being singled out for some reason and I see no rational explanation for this.
Because when people hear country answer lines, they think, "icky, geography! Place names sure have the cooties!" Even if it's nothing like the stereotypical crappy geography question (which in all fairness did plague this ICT, c.f. St. Kitts and Freaking Nevis).
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:00 am

Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:
Whig's Boson wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote: Tossups on countries in history are fine, but I think they, like any one specific "type" of question, should be done in moderation.
Where is the outrage over multiple tossups on people in a single round? I don't see it. Countries are being singled out for some reason and I see no rational explanation for this.
Because when people hear country answer lines, they think, "icky, geography! Place names sure have the cooties!" Even if it's nothing like the stereotypical crappy geography question (which in all fairness did plague this ICT, c.f. St. Kitts and Freaking Nevis).
I think this has great explanatory power but it's certainly not rational.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:06 am

Whig's Boson wrote:
Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:
Whig's Boson wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote: Tossups on countries in history are fine, but I think they, like any one specific "type" of question, should be done in moderation.
Where is the outrage over multiple tossups on people in a single round? I don't see it. Countries are being singled out for some reason and I see no rational explanation for this.
Because when people hear country answer lines, they think, "icky, geography! Place names sure have the cooties!" Even if it's nothing like the stereotypical crappy geography question (which in all fairness did plague this ICT, c.f. St. Kitts and Freaking Nevis).
I think this has great explanatory power but it's certainly not rational.
People are almost always less rational then they fancy themselves to be.
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Re: Country questions, particularly in 2010 ICT

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:11 am

right but generally arguments to "behavioral quizbowl studies" are not accepted as valid in theoretical discussions on HSQB
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Re: Country questions, particularly in 2010 ICT

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:12 am

Whig's Boson wrote:right but generally arguments to "behavioral quizbowl studies" are not accepted as valid in theoretical discussions on HSQB
And that's a big problem with theoretical discussions here!
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Re: Country questions, particularly in 2010 ICT

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:24 am

well great, we're now engaged in metadiscussion
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Re: Country questions, particularly in 2010 ICT

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:25 am

Though, now that I think about it more, people do sometimes complain when people are tossed up too much (with of course the subtext of "icky biography bowl"). Countries are far from the only suspect class here; I suspect in fact that titles of books (and other works I guess) may in fact be the only non-suspect class.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:37 am

Whig's Boson wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote: Tossups on countries in history are fine, but I think they, like any one specific "type" of question, should be done in moderation.
Where is the outrage over multiple tossups on people in a single round? I don't see it. Countries are being singled out for some reason and I see no rational explanation for this.
I didn't count that many "country" questions in a given round, but several rounds had questions in different categories where the answer was a geographical entity. By entity, I mean cities, states, countries, etc. Several rounds had at least three, and two had four.

If the questions that fit this distinction were spaced out more, I don't think there would be much of an issue.

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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:58 am

dtaylor4 wrote:
Whig's Boson wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote: Tossups on countries in history are fine, but I think they, like any one specific "type" of question, should be done in moderation.
Where is the outrage over multiple tossups on people in a single round? I don't see it. Countries are being singled out for some reason and I see no rational explanation for this.
I didn't count that many "country" questions in a given round, but several rounds had questions in different categories where the answer was a geographical entity. By entity, I mean cities, states, countries, etc. Several rounds had at least three, and two had four.

If the questions that fit this distinction were spaced out more, I don't think there would be much of an issue.
Would you complain if there were consecutive tossups on a text? Say, a tossup on a novel, followed by a tossup on a treaty, followed by a tossup on a religious holy book?

No, you probably wouldn't. You wouldn't even count this as something notable enough to be posted about. So why treat countries differently?
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Pilgrim » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:27 am

Fake Bruce Arthur wrote:Nobody ever complains about two tossups on people in the same round; why do they complain about two tossups about Eastern European battles in the same round? What justifies this distinction.
In all seriousness, I think there are a couple of possible distinctions. First, country tossups are generally by construction common link tossups - whereas all of the clues in a person tossup relate directly to that person and their life, country tossups can often cover some pretty disparate ground. Thus, if you believe that the number of common link tossups in a packet should be limited (which I think is fairly well-accepted), you have to grant some limit on country tossups. Granted, this doesn't really apply if you, say, write a tossup that focuses entirely on the deeds of Nicephorus Phocas but uses "Byzantine Empire" as the answer line because you don't hate people and want decent conversion.

Second, I think that tossups on modern countries are often used to write on twentieth century political history, and thus you can argue against having multiple of these in a round because they upset the sub-distribution. I don't know if this was the case in the incident you site, but given that your answers were Cuba and Austria, it doesn't seem too unlikely.
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Re: Country questions, particularly in 2010 ICT

Post by Cheynem » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:10 am

What irritates me about country tossups is that if both teams sometimes have trouble recognizing the historical or political facts behind the question, it turns into linguistic/geographic fraud, which I am pretty poor at.

On a more rational note, was there some reason why even literary tossups felt the need to have answer lines on cities or countries at ICT? I understand the need at certain tournaments for certain questions to have tossups on _Argentina_ for literature, but the tossup on _Buenos Aires_ I think would have been better served as a question on an Argentinean author or something.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:55 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:Where is the outrage over multiple tossups on people in a single round? I don't see it. Countries are being singled out for some reason and I see no rational explanation for this.
This statement shows a stunning lack of historical perspective. The expression of precisely such outrage is the reason we don't have rounds of tossups all of whose answers are people anymore, for example. The fact is that players are interested and know about different things and consequently a balance has to be struck among different kinds of questions. Therefore, to say "I know of nobody currently complaining about one type of question, so arbitrary levels of any other type of question must be born without complaint" is absurd.
I find that tossups whose answers are countries are non-cohesive and shallow as a tendency. In NAQT, they also serve to add more geography to what is already the most geography-laden tournament of the college year. I read the original post as saying the same thing: the issue is not so much "Countries were answers" but "A certain kind of tossup kept showing up, one characteristic of which was that it had a country for an answer." I thought this ICT suffered from this particular problem somewhat less than previous sets, but it was still there.

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