WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Elaborate on the merits of specific tournaments or have general theoretical discussion here.
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WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Progcon » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:15 pm

Hello,

Please use this thread to request to see if a specific tossup or bonus from WAO II. You can also discuss a specific question in this thread. Good comments consist of things like "I think the clue about XXX was too early because that clue is usually right before the giveaway" or "that hard part seemed too easy because of YYY". Try to avoid arguments using anecdotes ("I saw this play in school so that was a bad idea for a hard part") and I personally think power marking discussion should be secondary to feedback about clues, clue placement, and most importantly, clue correctness and precision. We welcome any and all feedback from players of different backgrounds and and skill levels.

Packetization questions, errors, and concerns can also probably be discussed here I think.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by CPiGuy » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:38 am

Here are some comments.

First of all, I think the hedgehog and fox thing was mentioned multiple times; I think the first time mentioned the author's name and the second time asked for it, so this could potentially be bad, esp. if those packets are read sequentially.

alright, going through the questions:

the tossup on diagonalizability was excellent, but the first clue was very neg-baity for "primality" -- I made this neg and I know at least one other math person did as well.

the tossup on "transporting to the mitochondrion" was really iffy -- it's not a bad idea, but why not just make it a tossup on the mitochondrion, or at least instruct the moderator to prompt with "to where" when someone buzzes with "protein importation".

The Sartre tossup seemed to have a difficulty cliff on "Estelle" -- I recall a six-way buzzer race on that word.

The pop music tossup on Sweden was also very cliffy: death metal, death metal, literally ABBA's most famous song. Seriously, there wasn't anything you could put in before dropping "Dancing Queen" lyrics?

really enjoyed the tossup on self-flagellation.

the tossup on "transition states" should maybe use a pronoun other than "structures".

the tossup on "contracts" was by far the worst single tossup in the set. It was incredibly transparent (legal "object" -- hey, more questionable pronouns -- that gets "made". What other things get "made" and have lots of case law associated with them?) however, i didn't buzz, because i thought "it can't possibly be contracts", because the whole tossup was that transparent.

As much as I appreciate seeing soccer asked about, Dortmund/Arena/CONCACAF is a free 20 for casual soccer fans, and a not-difficult 30. This is a regular difficulty tournament, we shouldn't be giving free 20's for people who are vaguely interested in something.

For the bonus on reduction / Latimer diagrams / Frost diagrams, it seems like the latter two are things that you either know both of or neither of, and the only way to get just one of them is to initially confuse the two of them and then get the second one by process of elimination (which is, admittedly, what our opponents did).

that bonus on artists from some poet writing about them (Vermeer / Reubens / Breugel the Elder) was bad, and very very hard.

The tossup on "home" in myth was cool -- it's a thing that's actually really important in a lot of myth systems, but I don't think it's come up recently, so that was a lot of fun.

Noguchi is hard, I think.

The Mini Metro bonus was really cool.

Our history player was confused by the tossup on the "Northern Crusades", since all the clues were about the Livonian Crusade. It might have been advisable to say "description acceptable" so that people who know what was going on but didn't know if you wanted a Named Thing would know that you did not in fact want a Named Thing. the content of the tossup was pretty cool though.

"Rudder" is apparently a super hard hard part for that music bonus -- several music players all indicated they'd never heard of it.

The bonus on matrilineality / halakhah / Ashkenazim was, like, a free 20 points for basic Judaism knowledge, and halakhah would be an easy middle part by this tournament's standards. This bonus was egregiously easy.

for the myth tossup on "war", why not just use the pronoun "this domain"? that's the standard, and "phenomenon" is kind of obtuse.

the bonus on vacuum pumps / activated charcoal / Langmuir seems hard; maybe not, though.

The bonus on Indonesia / gum / Nauru felt easy. Maybe I'm just good at geo.

The CE bonus on the Federalist Papers / Hamilton / Coinage Act has two easy parts IIRC.

The Southern Ocean tossup is questionable, since it's a vaguely defined body of water.

The thiosulfate / iodine clock / [illegible in notebook but def the hard part] bonus didn't really have an easy part?

The TU on class actions was pretty transparent.

I really enjoyed the tossup on "2" in music theory.

I was able to get the tossup on the Battle of Berlin from that one meme with Hitler raging about stuff, so you may want to move that clue later?

The tossup on column chromatography should prompt on, not accept, "chromatography".

The Singapore tossup seemed really hard.

The tossup on the '88 election seemed really easy.

The question on Navalny (sp?) was both difficulty-appropriate and new and interesting. I liked it a lot.

The bonus about bronze stuff with an easy part of Boxer at Rest seemed too hard.

The bonus with Vermont / [something] / Champlain seemed very easy compared to most of the American history.

I really enjoyed the Australian ling tossup.

Again, I think the tossup on "anointing the sick" could have used some verbose prompts -- I said "anointing with oil", and I think the moderator should have been told to say "anointing whom?" I may make a discussion post sometime soon about verbose prompts, so this isn't an issue unique to this tournament by any means.



a list of really, really difficult lit answerlines / bonuses, so it's all in one place (disclaimer: maybe some of these aren't hard; I tried to filter out the ones that were just "I don't know lit" and focus on things other people also remarked as being hard, or which I'd never even seen come up before.)
Witness for the Prosecution
Ghosts
Blythedale Romance
Isak Dinesen (since I'm pretty sure the tossup didn't mention Out of Africa).
Orinoco (sp?) -- this seems waaaay hard. (Amusingly, I negged it with "Around the World in 80 Days", but that's just me being bad at fraud.)
Garden Party
Cavalier Poets
Handsomest Drowned Man in the World
Crash -- okaaaaaaaay, what the actual fuck is this?
Soft Machine / Burroughs / cut-up
Mr. Pickwick / Sam Weller / Jingle -- seriously? no points if you don't know a third-tier Dickens work?
Samson Agonistes / some title I don't know / Best of All Worlds -- the easy part is either Candide fraud or Samson Agonistes, which should not be the easy part
Chabon / Hornby / Ginsberg -- was Ginsberg the easy part, and if so, are we expected to get him from his song lyrics and the fact that he's a Buddhist?
Egan / Cloud Atlas / Joyce Carol Oates -- what the fuck? this was three hard parts. we can't possibly be expected to identify Oates from her sassy tweets for an easy part, can we?

seriously, of the 10 hardest answerlines today, at least half, and probably more, were literature. Same goes for bonuses.

That's all I have so far. Hopefully this is helpful.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:14 am

Thanks for your feedback.

I admit mitochondrion transport was a stretch, which I sort of wrote panic mode after realizing the submission on just the mitochondrion I thought was fine was actually really transparent when I read it to Akhil.

Your John Rutter comment is noted. I thought he was fairly well known among choral people.

I appreciate your enjoyment of 2 in theory. I wish I could write more about harmony but there aren't really super fixed rules.

Sorry about the Soccer oversight. Jack on McGill subconciously made it hard/medium/easy for a Canadian. (Unless he forgot to remove the arena = staduim clue...)
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:36 am

CPiGuy wrote:Here are some comments.

The Mini Metro bonus was really cool.

The question on Navalny (sp?) was both difficulty-appropriate and new and interesting. I liked it a lot.
Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked those.
Our history player was confused by the tossup on the "Northern Crusades", since all the clues were about the Livonian Crusade. It might have been advisable to say "description acceptable" so that people who know what was going on but didn't know if you wanted a Named Thing would know that you did not in fact want a Named Thing. the content of the tossup was pretty cool though.
Fair enough. I'll change that.
The Southern Ocean tossup is questionable, since it's a vaguely defined body of water.
I thought that too, but literally everything clued in that tossup is either in Antarctica or very close to it; prompt lines were included for marginal seas.
I was able to get the tossup on the Battle of Berlin from that one meme with Hitler raging about stuff, so you may want to move that clue later?
that's pretty near the end of the tossup. I can move it even later if necessary, but I'm not sure it is.
The tossup on the '88 election seemed really easy.
That's also fair enough; I'll take another look at it.
The bonus with Vermont / [something] / Champlain seemed very easy compared to most of the American history.
Yeah; I should have made some other Vermont politician the hard part instead of trying to clue Vermont vaguely enough that it was hard. That's my bad.
That's all I have so far. Hopefully this is helpful.
It certainly was. Thanks for your detailed criticism! More detailed thoughts on my stuff in general to come probably sometime tomorrow.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Nabonidus » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:54 am

CPiGuy wrote: The bonus about bronze stuff with an easy part of Boxer at Rest seemed too hard.
Chabon / Hornby / Ginsberg -- was Ginsberg the easy part, and if so, are we expected to get him from his song lyrics and the fact that he's a Buddhist?
Egan / Cloud Atlas / Joyce Carol Oates -- what the fuck? this was three hard parts. we can't possibly be expected to identify Oates from her sassy tweets for an easy part, can we?
Ginsberg, Boxer at Rest, and Oates were actually intended to be the hard parts of those bonuses :neutral:. For easy parts, I was under the impression that The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and Cloud Atlas were both among the most read novels of the 21st century. With a couple of exceptions (I wrote that Chabon bonus to cover for one which repeated Vonnegut) literature was not one of the categories completed on the morning of, but I think my lack of familiarity with Quiz Bowl canon vs. stuff that I learn about through other sources hurt a lot in terms of figuring out what answer lines were reasonable and which submissions to accept.

I'll try to get the hardest level of lit fully trimmed by next weekend.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by otsasonr » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:40 am

CPiGuy wrote:Here are some comments.

the tossup on diagonalizability was excellent, but the first clue was very neg-baity for "primality" -- I made this neg and I know at least one other math person did as well.

the tossup on "transition states" should maybe use a pronoun other than "structures".

For the bonus on reduction / Latimer diagrams / Frost diagrams, it seems like the latter two are things that you either know both of or neither of, and the only way to get just one of them is to initially confuse the two of them and then get the second one by process of elimination (which is, admittedly, what our opponents did).

the bonus on vacuum pumps / activated charcoal / Langmuir seems hard; maybe not, though.

The thiosulfate / iodine clock / [illegible in notebook but def the hard part] bonus didn't really have an easy part?

The tossup on column chromatography should prompt on, not accept, "chromatography".

That's all I have so far. Hopefully this is helpful.
Thanks to Rutgers for the excellent submission, which I essentially only edited for phrasing and length. I personally don't see how the first clue would lead you to primality, but if it caused more than one neg I'll make some changes.

The transition state is a structure in some sense, and I can't imagine that this caused gameplay issues.

The intended difficulty of that bonus was easy/hard/medium, with Frost diagrams being medium because they come up a ton, whereas Latimer diagrams don't. Point taken that they may be equally difficult to someone with a chem background, but from a purely in-game perspective I think Frost is easier.

I edited that bonus to be harder, and if anything I still thought it was easy. It was submitted as vacuum pumps/activated charcoal/adsorption, which seemed to me like a free 30 to anyone with basic lab experience. That might just be me though, I'm curious how other people feel about that material (as I am for all the questions, really).

I thought the iodine clock reaction was frequently enough used as a fun demonstration in high school chem labs to be familiar to many people, but maybe not.

The tossup on column chromatography does not accept just "chromatography", so that's moderator error.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Emperor Pupienus » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:46 pm

Overall I enjoyed the history in this set. I thought there was a lot of interesting answerlines/ideas, including Philippines in WW2, Angolan Civil War, Bangkok, Iron in British history, Manchester, Washington D.C., Maya. The CE also seemed fine despite the reported lack of editing, with a slight fengshui issue of there being what appeared to be 2 CE tossups back to back in the WUSTL A packet--Colombia and South Sudan. Thanks to the editors for their hard work.

There were a number of rather difficult history tossups, and overall I thought that this category skewed more difficult than regular. Somoza and Tymoshenko were particularly difficult I thought. But the outliers were definitely gettable and were interesting.

Some tossups that I thought had some issues:
Slavs--I was confused about what exactly you wanted here, and I think that other players in my room were also confused. Were any Slavic ethnicities acceptable? Regardless, I think it's confusing to tossup "this people" (was that the correct pronoun?) and then clue, for example, both the Poles and the Russians (I don't know if these were the ones clued in the tossup, but that's just an example).

Crossing North America--This was another tossup where it felt like you had to read the writer's mind to figure out what to answer with. What would you do with answers like "exploring the Americas" and "exploring the Louisiana territory?" I feel like one could buzz in on one of the explorer clues, know many things about what that person did, but fail to successfully arrive at "crossing North America to the Pacific."

Ireland (US history)--It's kinda odd that there were two history questions where the answer was _Ireland_ but it did not affect my gameplay (another amusing odd fengshui thing with repeats were having _Washington DC_ and _March on Washington_ as two history answerlines, but this too did not trip me up, at least). I think that the Orange Riots was dropped too early in this tossup, and the association of Irish immigrants with Tammany Hall is also too famous to belong in that line.

Pennsylvania--Bethlehem was dropped in the second line, which is too early given how well known Bethlehem Steel is. Then the next clue was Gallatin, whose role in the Whiskey Rebellion and origins in Pennsylvania are fairly well known (although this is the 3rd clue by now, so it's not that bad).

Treaty of Waitangi--My dislike of this question is perhaps more stylistic and personal than may be helpful, so feel free to disregard it. I just think that Waitangi is asked about a ton in quizbowl and is a pretty stale answerline, and this questions felt kind of transparent to me.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by shmno » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:05 pm

Some thoughts:

I definitely remember struggling with the mitochondrial membrane TU, as neither I nor Auroni buzzed even after they described and name-dropped the malate-aspartate shuttle. This probably could be improved with a "location and type of action required" player note, or a specific prompt on location as Conor suggested. Appreciated the clue on bongkrekic acid though, as that has been the source of many immature jokes when I took biochem and also an interesting fact about Indonesian tempeh.

Thought Oxitec was an interesting hard part, even though there's no way I would've gotten it. Science current events seem to be getting mentioned more often.

The matrix multiplication TU was cool, even though I didn't pick it up at the end.

The transition state TU was pretty transparent, as there aren't many general "structures" that are related to activation energy. Perhaps a pronoun like "entity," or "thing" could be used instead. On the other hand, frauding it allowed us not to get Grailed by Wang and company. Ecological succession and regression had a similar problem but they were acceptable and not to the same degree.

I hope the carbonyl toss-up anti-prompted for specific ones, because it seemed like writing a TU on the "genre" of "quartets" rather than "string quartets."

After they dropped something like "this organism's two-hybrid model" I was hoping they'd take "yeast" for S. Cerevisiae, but that's just a deficiency of knowledge on my part. Also, clue could say that they're the first organism to be studied with a two-hybrid model as it can be done in other organisms (e.g. bacterial two-hybrid models in E. Coli).

Latimer and Frost diagrams are pretty connected in my mind (and are probably more connected for those with "faker" knowledge), so I think the difficulty comes from identifying they're talking about Latimer and Frost without name dropping either. Hadn't heard of Frost circles before, those are cool.

I supposed we should've gotten "vacuum pump" from "thing that makes a low pressure environment," but we could only pull "vacuum" even though I use one regularly in my bio lab. I'm fine with the rest of the bonus if "vacuum pump" was supposed to be the easy part, although maybe it could be "vacuum" instead.

I think "insertion reaction" is too hard for a TU, as I've taken inorganic chemistry and never heard of it. Other team's non-science player frauded it at the end though, so maybe it is gettable.

The pronoun "process" for "lysogenic cycle" threw me for a loop, even though I knew they were talking about the lambda repressor early on. Fortunately the other team negged, but this seemed like a hard TU, both in difficulty and in finding a pronoun that is accurate but not obvious.

"Bohmian diffusion" (supposed to be Bohm diffusion?) is too easy as a lead-in to the plasma tossup; there was a buzzer race on the first pronoun. It's fine as a middle clue.

Iodine clock and thiosulfate are two medium parts, imo. The iodine clock is occasionally used in intro chem demonstrations, but mostly as a "this is a cool thing you can do with science" and not as a "this is a thing we're going to study and try to understand." I don't think it or its name is well-known or common enough to be an easy part. We thought the easy part was supposed to be thiosulfate.

"Alcohol" should definitely be accepted for the "hydroxyl" tossup and is in fact the more common name for that functional group. "Oxygen-evolving complex" should be acceptable or at the very least anti-promptable for "photosystem II." I think the latter was being edited as it was read so maybe this is fixed by now.

Thought the toss-up on spleen mentioning polysplenia was super interesting.

Having written the original version of the contracts TU, I tried to make it not transparent as there are only so many things in law that you can reasonably write about in quiz bowl. In particular, I used the pronouns "these entities" and "them" until FTP and avoided mention of them being "made" or having "sides" with "power," opting for terms like "in their absence" and "when they exist." I also agree that the class action suits TU had a similar problem.

Both player buzzed in on the "2" music theory tossup trying to identify the amount of semitones in a major third (instead of the difference between a major third and diminished fifth), but I can't tell if this was premature buzzing or the question could be reworded to avoid this. Some of the clues seemed fairly difficult to parse and figure out at game speed (e.g. Phrygian in D), but maybe that was the point.

Agree that "domain" is superior to "phenomenon" as a pronoun for "war."

Thought the religion tossup on drugs was interesting.

I also liked the mini metro bonus, although I'm neither a geo player nor a mini metro player nor did I answer any part of that bonus - it just seemed interesting.

I liked the manufacturing efficiency bonus as well (kanban/Toyota/six sigma).
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by El Salvadoreno » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:30 pm

My list will be less extensive then the others, since they touched on a lot and I do not have the set in front of me, but...

- WTF with the Thomson and Thompson TU. Nobody is going to pull that unless they have like super deep Tintin knowledge.

- In the same packet (Mich B I think) that alt history bonus had "winning the civil war for the CSA" as the last part, even though that was mentioned as part of the first book, which made it really confusing.

- Agree with lit critiques. The one TU on A Long Day's Journey into Night seemed really easy (or I just recall the wedding dress scene being way more famous than it is).

- On a positive note, the Gucci TU was enjoyable.

In general, there was definitely uneven packet difficulty with some packet (the one with Somoza, for example) being harder than others (the one after it, I don't remember whose they were).

EDIT: fixed some spelling
Last edited by El Salvadoreno on Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:42 pm

Thanks for your feedback, Noah

The mitochondria tossup was bad and I realize how I needed to be more specific.

The yeast tossup mentions "technique first applied in this organism".
shmno wrote: Both player buzzed in on the "2" music theory tossup trying to identify the amount of semitones in a major third (instead of the difference between a major third and diminished fifth), but I can't tell if this was premature buzzing or the question could be reworded to avoid this. Some of the clues seemed fairly difficult to parse and figure out at game speed (e.g. Phrygian in D), but maybe that was the point.
The clue was "A major interval is this many semitones (*) higher than a diminished interval of the same numeric size." I don't understand how what you described could have happened. In retrospect, I should have used something more English, like "interval described by the same ordinal number."

The lysogenic cycle was a submission from Adam's pack, which he said ended up being regs+. I've heard of it, but don't know virology so I thought it was OK and left it in.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Emperor Pupienus » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:46 pm

Aaron Manby (ironmaster) wrote:
shmno wrote: Both player buzzed in on the "2" music theory tossup trying to identify the amount of semitones in a major third (instead of the difference between a major third and diminished fifth), but I can't tell if this was premature buzzing or the question could be reworded to avoid this. Some of the clues seemed fairly difficult to parse and figure out at game speed (e.g. Phrygian in D), but maybe that was the point.
The clue was "A major interval is this many semitones (*) higher than a diminished interval of the same numeric size." I don't understand how what you described could have happened. In retrospect, I should have used something more English, like "interval described by the same ordinal number."
Ah ok I was one of the people who negged this and I think I misinterpreted major interval as major fifth (for who knows what reason), and then I tried to count the number of semitones in a major fifth. As written the clue seems fine.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by CPiGuy » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:52 pm

El Salvadoreno wrote:- In the same packet (Mich B I think) that alt history bonus had "winning the civil war for the CSA" as the last part, even though that was mentioned as part of the first book, which made it really confusing.
I wrote the original version of this question, and the easy part was originally "Gettysburg" off of plot clues from Bring the Jubilee and then some easy historical clues. I was not happy to see that this was removed and replaced with a super-confusing last part that rehashed the first part of the bonus.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by halle » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:32 pm

I thought the lit in this set was hard, but don't agree that it was, like, impossible, at least for the most part. One tossup I'd like to see the text of is the 9/11 in lit one. I buzzed in power (iirc) from thinking I recognized some clues and then realizing that the name in the character-mishearing-a-name clue sounded a lot like bin Laden, and I'd like to figure out what works these clues were from.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:56 pm

Yo it's pretty weird to demand carbonyl when you switch between "this functional group" and "this conpounds" especially when you suggest that you're forming carbonyls from a starting material that already has a carbonyl


Also it's kind of I'll advised to have two separate tossups on coordination complex geometries
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:10 pm

Great End wrote:Overall I enjoyed the history in this set. I thought there was a lot of interesting answerlines/ideas, including Philippines in WW2, Angolan Civil War, Bangkok, Iron in British history, Manchester, Washington D.C., Maya. The CE also seemed fine despite the reported lack of editing, with a slight fengshui issue of there being what appeared to be 2 CE tossups back to back in the WUSTL A packet--Colombia and South Sudan. Thanks to the editors for their hard work.
South Sudan was Geo; CE clues were only included at the end to make it gettable. All the clues outside of Salva Kiir Mayardit's hat and the referendum were unambiguously geo; I'll rearrange it anyway if it appears this way.
There were a number of rather difficult history tossups, and overall I thought that this category skewed more difficult than regular. Somoza and Tymoshenko were particularly difficult I thought. But the outliers were definitely gettable and were interesting.
Thanks! I tried to push the envelope in terms of answerlines as far as the difficulty would allow and am fairly happy with how that turns out. Unsurprisingly, the above two tossups were submitted by, respectively, Jordan Brownstein and Will Alston.
Slavs--I was confused about what exactly you wanted here, and I think that other players in my room were also confused. Were any Slavic ethnicities acceptable? Regardless, I think it's confusing to tossup "this people" (was that the correct pronoun?) and then clue, for example, both the Poles and the Russians (I don't know if these were the ones clued in the tossup, but that's just an example).
The ethnicities clued in this tossup were Serbs, Croats, Polabians, Czechs, Poles, Rus, and Obotrites. All of these were acceptable as answerlines. I'll probably end up tossing this question or changing it to just "Rus" if it played that badly.
Crossing North America--This was another tossup where it felt like you had to read the writer's mind to figure out what to answer with. What would you do with answers like "exploring the Americas" and "exploring the Louisiana territory?" I feel like one could buzz in on one of the explorer clues, know many things about what that person did, but fail to successfully arrive at "crossing North America to the Pacific."
Yeah, I was afraid of that and thus included a ton of (some very charitable) alternate answers. I'll defend my choice of answerline, however, in that crossing North America (to the pacific or otherwise; crossing North America is all that was underlined) is literally the only thing that anyone in power for that tossup is known for. Moncacht-Ape is only described firsthand in a passage of the French historian Le Page du Pratz; all the secondary sources I could find only referenced him as someone who crossed the American continent. Naukane only served as David Thompson's guide directly from the West Coast to Quebec, and Alexander Mackenzie's journey was pretty unambiguously transcontinental. I'll admit that the Lewis and Clark part, though, may have been kind of sketchy.
Treaty of Waitangi--My dislike of this question is perhaps more stylistic and personal than may be helpful, so feel free to disregard it. I just think that Waitangi is asked about a ton in quizbowl and is a pretty stale answerline, and this questions felt kind of transparent to me.
That's a criticism I got a lot; I'll likely discard the question since so many people feel this way about it.
Thanks for your kind and helpful critique!
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by khannate » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:02 pm

otsasonr wrote:
CPiGuy wrote:Here are some comments.
the tossup on diagonalizability was excellent, but the first clue was very neg-baity for "primality" -- I made this neg and I know at least one other math person did as well.
Thanks to Rutgers for the excellent submission, which I essentially only edited for phrasing and length. I personally don't see how the first clue would lead you to primality, but if it caused more than one neg I'll make some changes.
Personally, I don't think this needs to be changed. I don't remember what the clue is, but I'm pretty sure it's some uniquely-identifying appropriately-hard clue about diagonalizability that happens to use the word "witness," which is used in the context of testing for primality as well. But I think if you buzz on a clue you don't (explicitly) know because it contains a word you've heard in another context you do know, getting negged for that leap of faith is fair.

A few other small things I remember that haven't been mentioned: the lead-in about Homer-Wadsworth-Emmons for the Wittig reaction tossup was probably too easy for its place. In the same packet, the tossup on lightning had clues that referred to plasmas without making it clear what specific instance of a plasma was wanted.

This last point might be better suited for the general discussion thread, but were there any astro tossups in this set?
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Nabonidus » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:17 pm

CPiGuy wrote:
El Salvadoreno wrote:- In the same packet (Mich B I think) that alt history bonus had "winning the civil war for the CSA" as the last part, even though that was mentioned as part of the first book, which made it really confusing.
I wrote the original version of this question, and the easy part was originally "Gettysburg" off of plot clues from Bring the Jubilee and then some easy historical clues. I was not happy to see that this was removed and replaced with a super-confusing last part that rehashed the first part of the bonus.
This was a big mistake which occurred when two different editors worked on the question on Friday night without finishing it. The completed version should have been as follows:

In this novel, Hodge Backmaker travels from the backwater New York City to an academic co-op called Haggershaven. For 10 points each:
[10] Identify this 1953 novel by Ward Moore, a work of alternate history depicting a world in which the combustion engine was never invented and Thomas Dewey was elected president.
Answer: Bring the Jubilee
[10] In Bring the Jubilee, Hodge uses one of these devices designed by Barbara Haggerwells. The Morlocks and Eloi meet the protagonist in an H. G. Wells novel titled for one of these devices.
Answer: a time machine
[10] In his best known novel, The Guns of the South, noted alternate history writer Harry Turtledove wrote about a South African group who use time travel to achieve this result. Hodge Backwater accidentally reverses this result in Bring the Jubilee, giving us our present timeline.
ANSWER: Confederate victory in the US Civil War [accept any clear equivalent]

Please let me know if this looks good to you. The third part was originally removed for being too easy after the Wells/time machine clue.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by CPiGuy » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:36 pm

Nabonidus wrote:
CPiGuy wrote:
El Salvadoreno wrote:- In the same packet (Mich B I think) that alt history bonus had "winning the civil war for the CSA" as the last part, even though that was mentioned as part of the first book, which made it really confusing.
I wrote the original version of this question, and the easy part was originally "Gettysburg" off of plot clues from Bring the Jubilee and then some easy historical clues. I was not happy to see that this was removed and replaced with a super-confusing last part that rehashed the first part of the bonus.
This was a big mistake which occurred when two different editors worked on the question on Friday night without finishing it. The completed version should have been as follows:

In this novel, Hodge Backmaker travels from the backwater New York City to an academic co-op called Haggershaven. For 10 points each:
[10] Identify this 1953 novel by Ward Moore, a work of alternate history depicting a world in which the combustion engine was never invented and Thomas Dewey was elected president.
Answer: Bring the Jubilee
[10] In Bring the Jubilee, Hodge uses one of these devices designed by Barbara Haggerwells. The Morlocks and Eloi meet the protagonist in an H. G. Wells novel titled for one of these devices.
Answer: a time machine
[10] In his best known novel, The Guns of the South, noted alternate history writer Harry Turtledove wrote about a South African group who use time travel to achieve this result. Hodge Backwater accidentally reverses this result in Bring the Jubilee, giving us our present timeline.
ANSWER: Confederate victory in the US Civil War [accept any clear equivalent]

Please let me know if this looks good to you. The third part was originally removed for being too easy after the Wells/time machine clue.
This looks a lot better. Incidentally, I'm really glad you kept this question -- Bring the Jubilee is really good and alternate history in general is a pretty big area that quizbowl hasn't explored much.

You should probably correct the character's name in Part 3, though -- his surname is Backmaker.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by otsasonr » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:14 am

adamsil, in the other thread, wrote: Answerlines, particularly in science, particularly in chemistry, were not extensive enough. Things like hydroxyl/alcohols have been extensively conflated in quizbowl and textbooks for so long that you should at least prompt on one for the other. Contrary Conor, you should absolutely just accept chromatography for the column chromatography tossup (in industry, it is often referred to as such, and I had no idea why I kept getting prompted for saying things like "HPLC", which ought to have been acceptable outright rather than anti-prompted). The migratory insertion tossup did not accept or prompt on "migrations", despite multiple clues referring specifically to that step. "Piston engines" didn't accept things like internal combustion engines, though I don't believe that the prompt made any particular mention of pistons, etc. These would have been easy things to fix with more time, especially if the chemistry was phoned-in, since in my experience editing, most teams do a rather poor job of including acceptable answerlines even in good tossup submissions.
  • Not including "alcohol" as an acceptable answer is just a straight-up mistake on my part. Apologies.
  • My issue with accepting just "chromatography" is that there definitely are kinds of chromatography which are not column chromatography. Many things get referred to by shortened names when there's no risk of confusion; if you're only doing one kind of chromatography, you don't have to be specific. But Quizbowl, in general, necessarily holds itself to different levels of precision. If more people have opinions on this, let me know. I will however change the anti-prompts in the question to accept the particular answers, since I think that's reasonable.
  • As I mentioned in the other thread, since "migratory insertions" seems too hard anyway, I will replace it.
  • "Internal combustion engine" was promptable but not acceptable because there are internal combustion engines which are not piston engines, and the particular clues all refer to piston engines (primary and secondary imbalance are not issues that you have with gas turbine engines, for example). Unfortunately since that was in an editors' pack, we don't have a lot of data for how that affected difficulty. So if people want to chime in, here's the question:
    In Editors 2, I wrote: Primary and secondary imbalances are causes of vibrations in these devices. For 10 points each:
    [10] Identify these devices which commonly power automobiles. They may be fueled by gasoline or diesel fuel.
    ANSWER: piston engine [or reciprocating engine; prompt on “internal combustion engine”]
    [10] Efficiency and power of a piston engine can be improved using one of these devices, which use exhaust gas to drive a compressor. Unfortunately, these devices can cause a namesake type of “lag” between throttle application and change in power output.
    ANSWER: turbocharger
    [10] Secondary imbalance in piston engines is caused by mass not being symmetrically distributed between top and bottom [this position] of a piston’s cycle. Ignition typically begins slightly before top [this position].
    ANSWER: dead centre
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by El Salvadoreno » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:20 am

CPiGuy wrote:
Nabonidus wrote:
CPiGuy wrote:
El Salvadoreno wrote:- In the same packet (Mich B I think) that alt history bonus had "winning the civil war for the CSA" as the last part, even though that was mentioned as part of the first book, which made it really confusing.
I wrote the original version of this question, and the easy part was originally "Gettysburg" off of plot clues from Bring the Jubilee and then some easy historical clues. I was not happy to see that this was removed and replaced with a super-confusing last part that rehashed the first part of the bonus.
This was a big mistake which occurred when two different editors worked on the question on Friday night without finishing it. The completed version should have been as follows:

In this novel, Hodge Backmaker travels from the backwater New York City to an academic co-op called Haggershaven. For 10 points each:
[10] Identify this 1953 novel by Ward Moore, a work of alternate history depicting a world in which the combustion engine was never invented and Thomas Dewey was elected president.
Answer: Bring the Jubilee
[10] In Bring the Jubilee, Hodge uses one of these devices designed by Barbara Haggerwells. The Morlocks and Eloi meet the protagonist in an H. G. Wells novel titled for one of these devices.
Answer: a time machine
[10] In his best known novel, The Guns of the South, noted alternate history writer Harry Turtledove wrote about a South African group who use time travel to achieve this result. Hodge Backwater accidentally reverses this result in Bring the Jubilee, giving us our present timeline.
ANSWER: Confederate victory in the US Civil War [accept any clear equivalent]

Please let me know if this looks good to you. The third part was originally removed for being too easy after the Wells/time machine clue.
This looks a lot better. Incidentally, I'm really glad you kept this question -- Bring the Jubilee is really good and alternate history in general is a pretty big area that quizbowl hasn't explored much.

You should probably correct the character's name in Part 3, though -- his surname is Backmaker.
This is definitely better.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by otsasonr » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:33 am

khannate wrote:
otsasonr wrote:
CPiGuy wrote:Here are some comments.
the tossup on diagonalizability was excellent, but the first clue was very neg-baity for "primality" -- I made this neg and I know at least one other math person did as well.
Thanks to Rutgers for the excellent submission, which I essentially only edited for phrasing and length. I personally don't see how the first clue would lead you to primality, but if it caused more than one neg I'll make some changes.
Personally, I don't think this needs to be changed. I don't remember what the clue is, but I'm pretty sure it's some uniquely-identifying appropriately-hard clue about diagonalizability that happens to use the word "witness," which is used in the context of testing for primality as well. But I think if you buzz on a clue you don't (explicitly) know because it contains a word you've heard in another context you do know, getting negged for that leap of faith is fair.
Yeah, if the only thing making you buzz with "primality" is the word "witness", which is a pretty general term, then I'm not inclined to change anything. I read Connor's comment to be more substantial; hopefully he can clarify what exactly made him and other people buzz.
A few other small things I remember that haven't been mentioned: the lead-in about Homer-Wadsworth-Emmons for the Wittig reaction tossup was probably too easy for its place. In the same packet, the tossup on lightning had clues that referred to plasmas without making it clear what specific instance of a plasma was wanted.

A (very) cursory inspection of previous tossups on the Wittig reaction didn't show that clue being particularly common, but I'm terrible at orgo, so I'll take your word on it. As for the tossup on lightning, I'm reading it again and can't see anything that isn't lightning-specific. Here it is if you want to take a look:
In Toronto B et al. I wrote: A very low frequency circularly polarized signal called a whistler is produced by this phenomenon under certain conditions. Schumann resonances are excited by these phenomena, which are initiated by dart leaders. The dramatic increase in the frequency of this phenomenon is used to predict (*) microbursts. Particular types of this phenomenon include blue jets and sprites. The hypothesis that this phenomenon led to the first organic compounds on earth was tested in the Miller-Urey experiment. The unusual “ball” type of this phenomenon is frequently mistaken for UFO activity. For 10 points, name this electrical phenomenon of the atmosphere.
ANSWER: lightning
This last point might be better suited for the general discussion thread, but were there any astro tossups in this set?
"Galaxy mergers" in Alston et al., tiebreaker on Magellanic clouds in Editors 1, and some astro clues in tossups classified as physics.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:36 am

halle wrote:I thought the lit in this set was hard, but don't agree that it was, like, impossible, at least for the most part. One tossup I'd like to see the text of is the 9/11 in lit one. I buzzed in power (iirc) from thinking I recognized some clues and then realizing that the name in the character-mishearing-a-name clue sounded a lot like bin Laden, and I'd like to figure out what works these clues were from.
Sure thing.
Maryland A wrote:A book which portrays this event includes a character who warns Igor about an investment scam, for which he rewards her with ice cream. In that same book which portrays this event, Maxime investigates a security firm headed by Gabriel Ice. As a result of this historical event, Justin steals a pair of binoculars to keep a watch for a man he believes is named “Bill Lawton.” In that book, Keith Neudecker grabs the wrong briefcase during this event and watches a reenactment performed by the title (*) performance artist. Nine year old Oskar Schell must discover what a key unlocks after his father was killed during this event in a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer. For 10 points, name this recent historical event, which has been portrayed in such works as Bleeding Edge, Falling Man, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
ANSWER: 9/11 [or September 11th] <Ed. JO>
The clues were from Bleeding Edge, Falling Man, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by CPiGuy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:52 am

otsasonr wrote:
khannate wrote:
otsasonr wrote:
CPiGuy wrote:Here are some comments.
the tossup on diagonalizability was excellent, but the first clue was very neg-baity for "primality" -- I made this neg and I know at least one other math person did as well.
Thanks to Rutgers for the excellent submission, which I essentially only edited for phrasing and length. I personally don't see how the first clue would lead you to primality, but if it caused more than one neg I'll make some changes.
Personally, I don't think this needs to be changed. I don't remember what the clue is, but I'm pretty sure it's some uniquely-identifying appropriately-hard clue about diagonalizability that happens to use the word "witness," which is used in the context of testing for primality as well. But I think if you buzz on a clue you don't (explicitly) know because it contains a word you've heard in another context you do know, getting negged for that leap of faith is fair.
Yeah, if the only thing making you buzz with "primality" is the word "witness", which is a pretty general term, then I'm not inclined to change anything. I read Connor's comment to be more substantial; hopefully he can clarify what exactly made him and other people buzz.
It was definitely largely based off the word "witness", which was probably an ill-advised buzz, but there had been basically no other info besides "witnesses" at the time, and witnesses are strongly associated with primality tests. I think the clue is fine, but if I were writing it, I would have included an "It's not primality, but" at the beginning.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:57 am

Great End wrote:Ireland (US history)--It's kinda odd that there were two history questions where the answer was _Ireland_ but it did not affect my gameplay (another amusing odd fengshui thing with repeats were having _Washington DC_ and _March on Washington_ as two history answerlines, but this too did not trip me up, at least). I think that the Orange Riots was dropped too early in this tossup, and the association of Irish immigrants with Tammany Hall is also too famous to belong in that line.

Pennsylvania--Bethlehem was dropped in the second line, which is too early given how well known Bethlehem Steel is. Then the next clue was Gallatin, whose role in the Whiskey Rebellion and origins in Pennsylvania are fairly well known (although this is the 3rd clue by now, so it's not that bad).
Thanks for your criticism, Jason. I'll respond to this part, since these were questions I wrote or edited. For the two Washington answerlines, I kept those both in because they were from different periods of US History and didn't repeat clues.

Ireland- I wrote this tossup after trying to think of an answerline for 19th century US History, and remembering a book shortlisted for the Man Booker that was about people fleeing from the Potato Famine (which is how both of my grandfather's families came to America). So most of the clues were things from 19th century/early 20th century Irish organizations. I didn't know about the Orange Riots before writing this question, but I agree, upon rereading the question, that you are correct about the association between Tammany Hall and Irish immigrants needs to be moved down.

Pennsylvania-I didn't even know Bethlehem Steel was famous when I wrote the tossup. I think I've changed it to where it's still accurately describing what the participants of Fries' Rebellion did without mentioning Bethlehem.
Troops were raised under General William McPherson to oppose an event in this state, whose participants sought to free prisoners after marching from Milford. Before a politician became the Secretary of the Treasury, he failed to prevent an event in this state while negotiating during the Redstone meetings. The perpetrators of a rebellion in this state were dismissed as country folks who couldn’t speak English in a pardon John (*) Adams issued to the co-conspirators of Fries’ Rebellion. Albert Gallatin failed to negotiate an end to a rebellion in this state. An army that was sent into this state was derisively nicknamed the “Watermelon Army,” and were led by “Light-Horse Harry” Lee and Alexander Hamilton while putting down a rebellion against a tax on spirits. For 10 points, name this U.S. state where the Whiskey Rebellion took place.
ANSWER: Pennsylvania <JO>
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:06 am

CPiGuy wrote:Here are some comments.

The CE bonus on the Federalist Papers / Hamilton / Coinage Act has two easy parts IIRC.

a list of really, really difficult lit answerlines / bonuses, so it's all in one place (disclaimer: maybe some of these aren't hard; I tried to filter out the ones that were just "I don't know lit" and focus on things other people also remarked as being hard, or which I'd never even seen come up before.)
Blythedale Romance
Soft Machine / Burroughs / cut-up

That's all I have so far. Hopefully this is helpful.
Hello Connor,

First of all, thanks for playing the set and thanks for providing us with your criticisms. I'll handle the US History and US Literature that hasn't already gotten a response.

For the bonus on the Federalist Papers/Hamilton/Coinage Act, I was intending for the Federalist Papers to be the medium part, but I misjudged the how easy that bonus would be. I'll change it to be on a specific Federalist Paper.

For Soft Machine/Burroughs/cut-up, now that I've actually slept, I agree with you on that. I'm gong to change Soft Machine to Naked Lunch.

I was intending for The Blithedale Romance to be the hardest American lit tossup, but I may have misjudged how hard it was. I'll certainly discuss replacing it with Derek and Jonathan.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Nabonidus » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:32 am

CPiGuy wrote:his surname is Backmaker.
I'm pretty sure this was a subliminal thing from the word backwater in the first clue. Thanks again for pointing this out.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:36 pm

El Salvadoreno wrote:- Agree with lit critiques. The one TU on A Long Day's Journey into Night seemed really easy (or I just recall the wedding dress scene being way more famous than it is).
I'm honestly not sure if the wedding dress scene is super famous or not, but I think it's definitely harder than the clues that come after it in the tossup.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by touchpack » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:20 pm

--The whistler mode is something that can occur in ANY plasma, not just the Earth's ionosphere, and thus can be caused, in theory, by many different things, not just lightning. Here are a few sources I found from a cursory Google search describing whistler modes in different contexts.

--Grubbs' first generation catalyst and Wilkinson's catalyst both have triphenylphosphine and chloride ligands--the tossup could use a "It's not rhodium, but..." clause to discourage negs. Of course, I would personally just cut the ruthenium tossup for being too hard, but if you don't have the time for that, just keeping it in the finals and making this change would be a marginal improvement.

--Here's the thing about the chromatography question: virtually every usage of chromatography that isn't pedagogical in nature is column chromatography, (the only exception I can think of is far-Eastern blotting with TLC) so most chemists don't really conceive of it as a separate category of chromatography which requires a separate underline. I didn't think it was too confusing to ride the prompt train, but I personally would write the answerline as "column _chromatography_" rather than "_column chromatography_".

--Can I see the "space propulsion" tossup? I didn't get to hear more than the first sentence of it, but it seemed like a really good idea and I want to see what the rest of it looked like.

I'll add some more comments if I remember them later/after I get the set.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:04 pm

touchpack wrote:--Can I see the "space propulsion" tossup? I didn't get to hear more than the first sentence of it, but it seemed like a really good idea and I want to see what the rest of it looked like.
Sure thing. Here's the tossup.
WUSTL A wrote:Discharge channel erosion is a problem with one technology for this task based on the Hall effect. SNAP-10A and TOPAZ were two ridiculous schemes to provide power for this task. One device being developed for this task uses RF heating of hydrogen in a cavity, and is called VASIMR. One proposed technology for this task consists of a long, thin, charged, rotating wire, which interacts with the (*) solar wind. The IKAROS project uses a nearly 200 square metre polyimide sheet to perform this task. A common performance metric for devices accomplishing this task is specific impulse. One technology for this task is modelled by the Tsiolkovsky equation. For 10 points, what task might be accomplished through ion drives, solar sails, or rockets?
ANSWER: spacecraft propulsion [or equivalent descriptions]
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by otsasonr » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:21 pm

touchpack wrote:--The whistler mode is something that can occur in ANY plasma, not just the Earth's ionosphere, and thus can be caused, in theory, by many different things, not just lightning. Here are a few sources I found from a cursory Google search describing whistler modes in different contexts.
Okay, I had only ever seen "whistler" used to refer to the atmospheric phenomenon, while the same propagation mode in other plasmas and metals is called a "helicon". But also note that the question is referring to the whistler signal, which in its original usage refers to the anomalous radio signal that people eventually figured out was caused by lightning. I do however see how this could be confusing, so I'll tighten it up somehow.

On the topic of plasmas, following up to your comment in the other thread, is Bohmian diffusion really that well known? When I did a packet search, I only saw it come up a few times, but if it's a stock clue I'll switch it out for something else.
--Grubbs' first generation catalyst and Wilkinson's catalyst both have triphenylphosphine and chloride ligands--the tossup could use a "It's not rhodium, but..." clause to discourage negs. Of course, I would personally just cut the ruthenium tossup for being too hard, but if you don't have the time for that, just keeping it in the finals and making this change would be a marginal improvement.
It was a last minute replacement, we'll probably just make an easier tossup.
--Here's the thing about the chromatography question: virtually every usage of chromatography that isn't pedagogical in nature is column chromatography, (the only exception I can think of is far-Eastern blotting with TLC) so most chemists don't really conceive of it as a separate category of chromatography which requires a separate underline. I didn't think it was too confusing to ride the prompt train, but I personally would write the answerline as "column _chromatography_" rather than "_column chromatography_".
I would say thin-layer chromatography is pretty common outside of just far-Eastern blotting, but I'm not a chemist.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by El Salvadoreno » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:31 pm

1992 in spaceflight wrote:
El Salvadoreno wrote:- Agree with lit critiques. The one TU on A Long Day's Journey into Night seemed really easy (or I just recall the wedding dress scene being way more famous than it is).
I'm honestly not sure if the wedding dress scene is super famous or not, but I think it's definitely harder than the clues that come after it in the tossup.
A quick qdb search shows that it was a middle clue at 2013 regs and a leadin at 2014 BHSAT so I definitely think it is easy for a leadin, though maybe not as much as I thought.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:51 pm

CPiGuy wrote:
a list of really, really difficult lit answerlines / bonuses, so it's all in one place (disclaimer: maybe some of these aren't hard; I tried to filter out the ones that were just "I don't know lit" and focus on things other people also remarked as being hard, or which I'd never even seen come up before.)
Witness for the Prosecution
Ghosts
Blythedale Romance
Isak Dinesen (since I'm pretty sure the tossup didn't mention Out of Africa).
Orinoco (sp?) -- this seems waaaay hard. (Amusingly, I negged it with "Around the World in 80 Days", but that's just me being bad at fraud.)
Garden Party
Cavalier Poets
Handsomest Drowned Man in the World
Crash -- okaaaaaaaay, what the actual fuck is this?
Soft Machine / Burroughs / cut-up
Mr. Pickwick / Sam Weller / Jingle -- seriously? no points if you don't know a third-tier Dickens work?
Samson Agonistes / some title I don't know / Best of All Worlds -- the easy part is either Candide fraud or Samson Agonistes, which should not be the easy part
Chabon / Hornby / Ginsberg -- was Ginsberg the easy part, and if so, are we expected to get him from his song lyrics and the fact that he's a Buddhist?
Egan / Cloud Atlas / Joyce Carol Oates -- what the fuck? this was three hard parts. we can't possibly be expected to identify Oates from her sassy tweets for an easy part, can we?

seriously, of the 10 hardest answerlines today, at least half, and probably more, were literature. Same goes for bonuses.

That's all I have so far. Hopefully this is helpful.
Most of these are not actually that hard. Dinesen is totally fine, though if it lacked a giveaway of her best-known work that's pointless and bad. The Cavalier Poets are incredibly famous. Garden Party is hard content, that would have benefited from some Mansfield clues, but it's not unreasonable or anything. Crash is the best-known work of a fairly major author, though it's certainly a tougher tossup - it has, however, been made into an even better-known David Cronenberg film, so I think it's reasonable to have it as a tossup (assuming it's one the hardest ~5-10% of the set, which I think it was). As the editor mentioned, Ginsberg and Oates were (I think somewhat clearly) meant as the hard parts of those bonuses, and while you're right that the latter lacked a good easy part, expecting someone on most teams may know either Michael Chabon or Nick Hornby doesn't seem particularly egregious to me. Most strikingly in this list, Ghosts has been tossed up loads of times at this difficulty level, as well as MUT and even high school. I was going to write "I would be comfortable making Ghosts a tossup at PACE, but as it turns out, I did make Ghosts a tossup at PACE in 2010! On that note, most of the above could be deduced from a packet search, as incomplete a metric as that is.

It will surprise no one that I on balance quite dislike these sorts of list posts - I don't think they add an awful lot to the discourse and occasionally do some active harm, and see their main value as suggestions for future-site revisions, something that can be communicated to editors directly. (I'm also distressed that the Michigan School of making them seems to be undergoing a partial revival, though it would give me a chance to break out some exciting new bestiality-themed compound adjectives).

But in this case, I'm chiming in more because I've noticed a bit of a trend in these threads where people who demonstrably do not know a category very well will declare whether things were too easy or too hard. I don't want to only single Conor out here, but I think parts of the post typifies why this is not good. To be clear, it isn't just that the assessment may be wrong, but that it's delivered in a manner that is both perfunctory and dismissive. And because most people don't like, really care to make the effort to tell you that obviously Ibsen's Ghosts is not too hard, the comment just sort of stands. And since the majority of readers are not experts in the college quizbowl lit canon, that's often not a great thing.

Again: I'm not saying people who aren't super well-versed in a category should be reluctant to chime in; I'm not saying that at all. I'm just suggesting that when they do, they should perhaps (a) consider doing some packet-searches to make sure they aren't obviously and significantly off-base, or (b) refrain from deploying frames like "what the fuck" quite so liberally (and note that I say this as an avowed aficionado of the genre!). More generally, substantive points (which some of these above where) are probably more likely be helpful.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Progcon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:22 pm

DumbJaques wrote:[

Most of these are not actually that hard. Dinesen is totally fine, though if it lacked a giveaway of her best-known work that's pointless and bad. The Cavalier Poets are incredibly famous. Garden Party is hard content, that would have benefited from some Mansfield clues, but it's not unreasonable or anything. Crash is the best-known work of a fairly major author, though it's certainly a tougher tossup - it has, however, been made into an even better-known David Cronenberg film, so I think it's reasonable to have it as a tossup (assuming it's one the hardest ~5-10% of the set, which I think it was). As the editor mentioned, Ginsberg and Oates were (I think somewhat clearly) meant as the hard parts of those bonuses, and while you're right that the latter lacked a good easy part, expecting someone on most teams may know either Michael Chabon or Nick Hornby doesn't seem particularly egregious to me. Most strikingly in this list, Ghosts has been tossed up loads of times at this difficulty level, as well as MUT and even high school. I was going to write "I would be comfortable making Ghosts a tossup at PACE, but as it turns out, I did make Ghosts a tossup at PACE in 2010! On that note, most of the above could be deduced from a packet search, as incomplete a metric as that is.

It will surprise no one that I on balance quite dislike these sorts of list posts - I don't think they add an awful lot to the discourse and occasionally do some active harm, and see their main value as suggestions for future-site revisions, something that can be communicated to editors directly. (I'm also distressed that the Michigan School of making them seems to be undergoing a partial revival, though it would give me a chance to break out some exciting new bestiality-themed compound adjectives).

But in this case, I'm chiming in more because I've noticed a bit of a trend in these threads where people who demonstrably do not know a category very well will declare whether things were too easy or too hard. I don't want to only single Conor out here, but I think parts of the post typifies why this is not good. To be clear, it isn't just that the assessment may be wrong, but that it's delivered in a manner that is both perfunctory and dismissive. And because most people don't like, really care to make the effort to tell you that obviously Ibsen's Ghosts is not too hard, the comment just sort of stands. And since the majority of readers are not experts in the college quizbowl lit canon, that's often not a great thing.

Again: I'm not saying people who aren't super well-versed in a category should be reluctant to chime in; I'm not saying that at all. I'm just suggesting that when they do, they should perhaps (a) consider doing some packet-searches to make sure they aren't obviously and significantly off-base, or (b) refrain from deploying frames like "what the fuck" quite so liberally (and note that I say this as an avowed aficionado of the genre!). More generally, substantive points (which some of these above where) are probably more likely be helpful.
Thank you Chris. I was trying to communicate something like this in the OP, but I guess I didn't do a good job of it. I'm very happy with the critiques we have gotten from people like Noah, Adam, Billy, etc. who stay stuff like "I don't think phenomenon is a good pronoun for _War_" and I agree even as the person who wrote that tossup. I thought domain sounded weird, but I will change it. I also appreciate the comment about the _Socrates_ answerline because it wasn't clear who I wanted there.

What I don't find to be helpful is stuff, like you said, when people just magnanimously declare Chabon to be a too hard easy part. It's probably harder than the average ACF Regionals easy part, but this tournament had a different audience, and I think experienced college lit players should know Chabon enough to get him there. I'll have more to say about difficulty in the other thread, but this tournament definitely was harder than we wanted originally but I think that's probably better with an Open audience than too easy. As was said, submissions also probably were harder than regular difficulty but we got some great ideas like the "Home" myth tossup I edited from a submission.

I would like to apologize for the Contract and Class Action tossups. They were both submissions, and I do not have enough real knowledge (i.e. not an attorney) to edit those to the level I would for something like an econ submission (of which 0 were used I think). Law questions unless they are more SCOTUS or history based tend to have strange pronouns like "this party" or "this legal term". I will change the contract tossup a lot to make it less transparent, but if that is not possible, I will cut it and add a legal bonus somewhere else to the set. If you have a legal background, and you'd like to help with this, please contact me.

I have not heard many complaints or comments about some of my stranger SS or Phil tossups like "Italy", "the thing in itself", "work places" from I/O Psych, or "Sachs". How did these play out? I don't think those answerlines were that common as opposed to some of the boring tossups I wrote on Adorno, Deep Play, etc.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:52 pm

Progcon wrote: but this tournament had a different audience, and I think experienced college lit players should know Chabon enough to get him there. I'll have more to say about difficulty in the other thread, but this tournament definitely was harder than we wanted originally but I think that's probably better with an Open audience than too easy. As was said, submissions also probably were harder than regular difficulty but we got some great ideas like the "Home" myth tossup I edited from a submission.
Er, well, actually I think there are some problems with this too. This tournament was marketed as regular difficulty, but you are speaking of it as if you meant it to be open all along. If this was in fact your intention, things were seriously misframed in the announcement. If not, then it seems you just decided to to make your questions harder than the set was intended to be, which is... not good.

To be clear, I don't think there's anything wrong with having ~10% of tossups in a regular-difficulty set that might be a bit outside the bounds of normal difficulty. That's ok, as long as they're distributed evenly across categories and within packets (bell curve difficulty models!). But like, deciding to just jettison the canon and ask about "relevant" stuff (a problem I emphatically dispute quizbowl social science has to begin with) probably isn't the best move for a first-time editor, nor is it likely best done at a regular-difficulty event.

Honestly, it sounds like most of these issues could have been solved by the presence of a head editor - to set clear difficulty guidelines, to get the set in order, and to control the rampant variation in difficulty. Unless you have a small group who really knows what they're doing, it's really never a good idea not to have a head editor.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by CPiGuy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:06 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
CPiGuy wrote:a list of really, really difficult lit answerlines / bonuses
Most of these are not actually that hard. Dinesen is totally fine, though if it lacked a giveaway of her best-known work that's pointless and bad. The Cavalier Poets are incredibly famous. Garden Party is hard content, that would have benefited from some Mansfield clues, but it's not unreasonable or anything. Crash is the best-known work of a fairly major author, though it's certainly a tougher tossup - it has, however, been made into an even better-known David Cronenberg film, so I think it's reasonable to have it as a tossup (assuming it's one the hardest ~5-10% of the set, which I think it was). As the editor mentioned, Ginsberg and Oates were (I think somewhat clearly) meant as the hard parts of those bonuses, and while you're right that the latter lacked a good easy part, expecting someone on most teams may know either Michael Chabon or Nick Hornby doesn't seem particularly egregious to me. Most strikingly in this list, Ghosts has been tossed up loads of times at this difficulty level, as well as MUT and even high school. I was going to write "I would be comfortable making Ghosts a tossup at PACE, but as it turns out, I did make Ghosts a tossup at PACE in 2010! On that note, most of the above could be deduced from a packet search, as incomplete a metric as that is.

It will surprise no one that I on balance quite dislike these sorts of list posts - I don't think they add an awful lot to the discourse and occasionally do some active harm, and see their main value as suggestions for future-site revisions, something that can be communicated to editors directly. (I'm also distressed that the Michigan School of making them seems to be undergoing a partial revival, though it would give me a chance to break out some exciting new bestiality-themed compound adjectives).

But in this case, I'm chiming in more because I've noticed a bit of a trend in these threads where people who demonstrably do not know a category very well will declare whether things were too easy or too hard. I don't want to only single Conor out here, but I think parts of the post typifies why this is not good. To be clear, it isn't just that the assessment may be wrong, but that it's delivered in a manner that is both perfunctory and dismissive. And because most people don't like, really care to make the effort to tell you that obviously Ibsen's Ghosts is not too hard, the comment just sort of stands. And since the majority of readers are not experts in the college quizbowl lit canon, that's often not a great thing.

Again: I'm not saying people who aren't super well-versed in a category should be reluctant to chime in; I'm not saying that at all. I'm just suggesting that when they do, they should perhaps (a) consider doing some packet-searches to make sure they aren't obviously and significantly off-base, or (b) refrain from deploying frames like "what the fuck" quite so liberally (and note that I say this as an avowed aficionado of the genre!). More generally, substantive points (which some of these above where) are probably more likely be helpful.
This is a fair point. I agree that a blind list of things is a bad idea, especially when it comes from someone like me who is bad at literature. I tried to include specific notes on the ones that gave me more pause than just "oh, that was really hard". The reason I did it as a list is because I wanted to back up my assertion that the lit was harder than the other categories with some concrete evidence, and I didn't want it to be scattered throughout my feedback post. I also made sure to include the disclaimer that I don't actually know lit very well. Despite this, I understand how it could be seen as "perfunctory and dismissive", so I'll try to avoid being so brief.

You make a good point about packet-searches -- I'll try to be sure to do that next time before offering my opinion on categories that I'm not so familiar with.

Hopefully the remainder of my feedback post (which followed the same model as others') was more helpful, in particular the stuff relating to categories I know better.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Progcon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:35 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
Progcon wrote: but this tournament had a different audience, and I think experienced college lit players should know Chabon enough to get him there. I'll have more to say about difficulty in the other thread, but this tournament definitely was harder than we wanted originally but I think that's probably better with an Open audience than too easy. As was said, submissions also probably were harder than regular difficulty but we got some great ideas like the "Home" myth tossup I edited from a submission.
Er, well, actually I think there are some problems with this too. This tournament was marketed as regular difficulty, but you are speaking of it as if you meant it to be open all along. If this was in fact your intention, things were seriously misframed in the announcement. If not, then it seems you just decided to to make your questions harder than the set was intended to be, which is... not good.

To be clear, I don't think there's anything wrong with having ~10% of tossups in a regular-difficulty set that might be a bit outside the bounds of normal difficulty. That's ok, as long as they're distributed evenly across categories and within packets (bell curve difficulty models!). But like, deciding to just jettison the canon and ask about "relevant" stuff (a problem I emphatically dispute quizbowl social science has to begin with) probably isn't the best move for a first-time editor, nor is it likely best done at a regular-difficulty event.

Honestly, it sounds like most of these issues could have been solved by the presence of a head editor - to set clear difficulty guidelines, to get the set in order, and to control the rampant variation in difficulty. Unless you have a small group who really knows what they're doing, it's really never a good idea not to have a head editor.
I first of all vehemently agree with you that we should have had a head editor, but the fact is we didn't have one. For the categories I did the most work for: Social Science, Philosophy, Current Events, Mythology, and Trash (but by no means all of the work in these categories), I don't think we had too many answerlines outside of regular. When I mean to say is that after we got some interesting submissions on answerlines like Rama from Hinduism religion clues, I chose to edit that for the actual set when these answerlines aren't exactly common place. My "workplace" tossup from I/O pysch clues was perhaps a little too different for a regular difficulty set. I'm not sure if the set actually was regular+ rather than regular, and people are welcome to state their opinion on that in the general discussion thread, but I don't think a hard part at ACF Regionals could be "Phillip Mainlander" when I chose him as my Schopenhauer hard part. It's these small little canonical tricks and hard parts that made my part of the set harder and a little bit different than people were expecting. Perhaps I should have said ahead of time that I was planning on making social science and philosophy a little different than they are normally done, but were they really done that differently? What I am trying to say in so many words is that I felt the open field allowed us to be a little more adventurous but I didn't flippantly think I was going to try to make it open or regular+ difficulty. I agree with those that say that literature was difficult and that created some difficulty swings, but I have yet to hear that any of the tossups I wrote were stupidly hard which I am happy about.

This is probably veering a little too far into general discussion here, but I wanted to make the social science regular in difficulty while also emphasizing modern topics as they are studied in academia. The two econ tossups I wrote, "Sachs" and "Equilibrium", were almost exclusively from stuff I have learned from class but I think they were very gettable if you only had QB cannon knowledge. Sachs isn't an easy answerline but he is one of the most famous development economists.

On the two mentions of "The Headhog and the Fox": the tossup on Berlin was an edited submission and I added the bonus part on Tetlock to a submitted bonus that referenced him in another bonus part. The thing I have actually read from Tetlock referenced "The Hedgehog and the Fox" and criticized forecasting, expert opinions, human knowledge, etc. so I wanted to write on what I knew. He was a hard part anyway but I really think his work is interesting. If the packet with the Berlin tossup and the Schelling bonus were back to back, that is unfortunate. (Aside: two teams wrote a bonus that referenced Schelling and we combined those packets without even realizing that ha ha.)
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by touchpack » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:48 am

otsasonr wrote:
On the topic of plasmas, following up to your comment in the other thread, is Bohmian diffusion really that well known? When I did a packet search, I only saw it come up a few times, but if it's a stock clue I'll switch it out for something else.
It comes up quite frequently. It's absolutely a fine clue (I wouldn't call it *too* fake), but it's probably better on like, the 3rd or 4th line, not the 1st one.
otsasonr wrote:
I would say thin-layer chromatography is pretty common outside of just far-Eastern blotting, but I'm not a chemist.
I'm certainly exaggerating somewhat due to my engineering bias (TLC isn't quantitative so its applications are more limited), and i think the underlining choice here is mostly stylistic--just offering another perspective as to why some chemists/engineers might conceive of "column chromatography" as just "chromatography."
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by ryanrosenberg » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:22 pm

Progcon wrote:I have not heard many complaints or comments about some of my stranger SS or Phil tossups like "Italy", "the thing in itself", "work places" from I/O Psych, or "Sachs". How did these play out? I don't think those answerlines were that common as opposed to some of the boring tossups I wrote on Adorno, Deep Play, etc.
The social science and political philosophy in this tournament was, on the whole, not well executed. Tossups suffered from extreme transparency or difficulty cliffs, and there were several bonus parts that were almost completely divorced from how people would learn about a topic. I've highlighted some of the worst offenders below.
Packet 4 wrote:This thinker’s insistence on using expert inventions to solve problems was criticized by the author of The White Man’s Burden, William Easterly, who says that this thinker’s top-down policies are ineffective. Hugo Banzer invited this thinker to help him get his country to a low inflation atmosphere during its change from a dictatorship to democracy. In one book, this thinker argued for a (*) Ladder of Development and stated that economic development must be jump started using “clinical economics”, referencing his own research in Poland, Russia, and India. In his most famous book, this economist claimed that dollar-a-day poverty could be eliminated through careful deployment of development aid. For 10 points, identify this economist who wrote The End of Poverty.
ANSWER: Jeffrey Sachs <HB>
The lead-in of this tossup is interesting and a real thing, but adding more context to the cluing would let people buzz off of something other than "Easterly doesn't like this guy." Mentioning "using expert inventions to solve problems" and "top-down policies" doesn't really help because these are pretty generic ideas in political economy; I guess this tells you he's probably a development economist, but not with anything that would uniquely point to Sachs. The second sentence is very transparent, to the point that I didn't buzz on it because I didn't think it would be that obvious. Sachs is most famous academically for implementing policies that control inflation in post-authoritarian countries: don't say "this guy was invited to control inflation in a post-authoritarian country" in the second sentence of a tossup on Sachs! The tossup also doesn't mention "shock therapy" anywhere, which is extremely important.
Packet 10 wrote:One thinker associated with this school of thought said that power is about controlling the minds of the defeated and that legitimate power is “likely more effective”. A thinker associated with the a “Christian” branch of this school of thought argued against the idea that the authority of government is given by rational consent of the governed. A book advocating this theory used the international system as its (*) “third image”. The “classical version” of this theory is based on the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr and Hans Morgenthau, while the “neo” version of this theory was advocated by Kenneth Waltz. For 10 points, what theory of International Relations starts with the assumption that nation-states are entirely motivated by their interests and is contrasted with liberalism?
ANSWER: political realism <HB>
Speaking of transparency, the first sentence of this tossup sounds a whole lot like something realists would say! Saying that "classical realism" is based on Niebuhr and Morgenthau is kinda weird -- they're classical realists, sure, but they're writing about Hobbes and Machiavelli. This is more of a personal opinion, but I don't much like the clues about Christian realism; it's much more of a chestnut-y religious history clue than an IR clue.
Editors 1 wrote:A critique of Marx’s economic determinism was given by a thinker born in this country who said that the October Revolution showed a socialist revolution didn’t have to come after the development of the capitalist forces of production. One thinker born in this country created a namesake form of “left communism” which argued that socialism was an abolition of property so workers would then not control their workplaces. That thinker was also the founder of this country’s (*) Communist Party. Another leftist thinker from this country said that ideas of the ruling class control human behavior in his concept of cultural hegemony. For 10 points, name this European country that was the birthplace of Amadeo Bordiga and the author of Prison Notebooks, Antonio Gramsci.
ANSWER: Italy [or Italia]
Having the entirety of the in-power clues of at a regular-difficulty tournament be about Amadeo Bordiga is too hard. There's also a significant difficulty cliff when you move from clues about someone who's not at all widely studied and has only come up before as a clue on Gramsci at hard tournaments (CO History and VCU Open 2008) to a summary of the most famous idea of the Prison Notebooks. This penalizes players with deep knowledge of the Prison Notebooks and makes it much more likely that a player with less knowledge gets the tossup.
Packet 5 wrote:For 10 points each, identify some personality disorders based partially on a description of symptoms and partially on the DSM-5.
[10] People with this disorder have grandiose self-images and tend to ignore the feelings of others unless they are relevant to themselves. Freud said this disorder and loving oneself was related to the self-preservation drive. ANSWER: Narcissistic Personality Disorder [accept just Narcissism]
[10] This other personality disorder is marked by an impairment in self functioning and an impairment in either empathy or intimacy. People who suffer from this personality disorder tend to be prone to heavy changes in emotions and often exhibit a fear of abandonment.
ANSWER: Borderline Personality Disorder [accept BPD]
[10] In the DSM-5, this cluster of personality disorders is known as the anxious or fearful cluster. Avoidant and OCD personality disorders are found within this cluster that is characterized by social inhibition.
ANSWER: Cluster C
Writing psych bonuses from the DSM-5 is something that I thought had gone out of style in the late 2000s, but whatever, they're not terrible if they focus on things people do learn about. The first two parts are a fine easy and medium part, but the third is down right ungettable and just a "fuck you" to players. So you're a fourth-year psych major who's played quizbowl for forever but you didn't memorize the index of the DSM-5? No points for you! I read this bonus part to my mother, who's a professional psychologist and works with plenty of patients with anxiety disorders; she didn't know that the heading for anxiety disorders is called Cluster C. I'm all for asking about things that are under-asked in quizbowl, but you really have to make sure that they're things people with experience in the field will actually know.
Packet 6 wrote:One model of this process that was popular in the 1950s came from the so-called Michigan School. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this process. Arrow’s impossibility theorem says that no system of this process can exist that satisfies the three fairness criteria, one of which says that there is no dictator.
ANSWER: voting [accept elections]
[10] This other criterion for Arrow's impossibility theorem states that if a voting system prefers A to B, adding in additional candidates does not change the ranking of A relative to B.
ANSWER: independence of irrelevant alternatives [or IIA]
[10] This classic model of voting suggests that since voters would choose a candidate that is most similar to their linearly modeled political ideology, candidates would then try to appeal the median voter’s ideology.
ANSWER: Hotelling model [prompt on Downs model] <Ed. HB>
I really like the second part here; it's important and clearly clued. The third part, though, is incorrect and frustrating. First of all, Downs model or Hotelling-Downs model should both be accepted. Secondly, this is not a "classic" model of voting; it's barely mentioned in political science literature and is really just something Hotelling threw into an econ paper about how a model of business competition could be applied to politics. Thirdly, the name of the model is not the important result here, it's the median voter theorem, which does get taught a lot and doesn't depend on the Hotelling model. Asking about the median voter theorem would have been a great third part here, but instead the question asks about an eponymous model that is only really gettable if you can connect it to when it comes up in another quizbowl sub-category.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Progcon » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:50 pm

Thanks for the feedback Ryan.

I wrote another line or two for Sachs but they got cut during a time I didn't have internet so I couldn't find better clues. I have some stuff to add there now. I would have liked to just tossup up Easterly, because he is a guy I actually read (and like), but I feel quizbowlers are more likely to know about Sachs. The fact that Easterly and Sachs have a rivalry is super famous but perhaps I could give an actual quote from Easterly or something. I am not sure how to write a Sachs tossup that doesn't at least have some "cliffy" elements just because of the nature of his research, but I will certainly try to make it less transparent there.

For realism, I will change that lead-in. I don't personally see an issue including Christian realist thinkers there in the context of IR but I understand how it is not the most kosher tossup. I will evaluate those clues as well, but it's just hard to find gettable clues for some of these answerlines without just buying their books, reading them, or finding summaries, etc. I think I can get some IR materials to clue from though.

I will defend the Italy tossup a bit. Bordiga is famous and is someone that is studied in communist philosophy. I may just scrap this tossup in any case, but I wanted to find a way to clue this guy because I think his ideas are novel and important. This was I think the only tossup where I incorporated new thinkers and I didn't want it to be too boring. Having 1 tossup in the set that requires outside QB cannon knowledge is okay to me, but I will try to reward some deep Prison Notebooks knowledge earlier as you mentioned.

Yeah that's a sub optimal hard part for the DSM 5 bonus. A few years ago, I spent a lot of time looking at abnormal psychology stuff and I remember encountering these clusters. Apparently, it was naive to generalize my experience here. I will go back to the actual DSM 5 and see if I can clue something that is a bit more gettable there. I'll maybe pick a psychologist who studied personality disorders or something, but maybe this bonus was just ill-conceived. Again, I wanted to avoid boring early 20th century psychologists who aren't studied much anymore. I heard a couple presentations and a podcast recently about childhood psychological development in terms of perception of other people, so I may write on that instead.

As someone who first heard about Hotelling in a game theory class, I tried rewarding that specific knowledge there. I don't have the paper by Hotelling in front of me, and I haven't looked at in a year, but I believe he wrote it by himself. I would certainly maintain that "median voter theory" seems kinda easy there, and I also don't really like mentioning those types of theories that aren't very empirical as a general principle. Not to get too far into the weeds, but when we ask a lot about kinda weakly supported ideas like Horshoe theory of political parties, median voter theory, the existence of liquidity traps in the context of negative interest rates (like I live in a country that had negative interest rates for its central bank deposit and the economy didn't crash), the canon becomes built on these shaky ideas. Then again, I'm the guy who thinks that econometrics is the most important part of economics, so I'm probably not the best person to make these decisions. This is why I was so happy someone submitted a bonus critical of priming literature in psychology.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Emperor Pupienus » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:33 pm

Granny Soberer wrote:
Packet 4 wrote:This thinker’s insistence on using expert inventions to solve problems was criticized by the author of The White Man’s Burden, William Easterly, who says that this thinker’s top-down policies are ineffective. Hugo Banzer invited this thinker to help him get his country to a low inflation atmosphere during its change from a dictatorship to democracy. In one book, this thinker argued for a (*) Ladder of Development and stated that economic development must be jump started using “clinical economics”, referencing his own research in Poland, Russia, and India. In his most famous book, this economist claimed that dollar-a-day poverty could be eliminated through careful deployment of development aid. For 10 points, identify this economist who wrote The End of Poverty.
ANSWER: Jeffrey Sachs <HB>
The lead-in of this tossup is interesting and a real thing, but adding more context to the cluing would let people buzz off of something other than "Easterly doesn't like this guy." Mentioning "using expert inventions to solve problems" and "top-down policies" doesn't really help because these are pretty generic ideas in political economy; I guess this tells you he's probably a development economist, but not with anything that would uniquely point to Sachs. The second sentence is very transparent, to the point that I didn't buzz on it because I didn't think it would be that obvious. Sachs is most famous academically for implementing policies that control inflation in post-authoritarian countries: don't say "this guy was invited to control inflation in a post-authoritarian country" in the second sentence of a tossup on Sachs! The tossup also doesn't mention "shock therapy" anywhere, which is extremely important.
I also thought that Sachs was most famous for "shock therapy" so even though the tossup was describing things that sounded like shock therapy, I would not have buzzed in the end with Sachs because I thought that a tossup on Sachs would have to drop "shock therapy." That might help make it easier at the end.
Granny Soberer wrote:
Packet 10 wrote:One thinker associated with this school of thought said that power is about controlling the minds of the defeated and that legitimate power is “likely more effective”. A thinker associated with the a “Christian” branch of this school of thought argued against the idea that the authority of government is given by rational consent of the governed. A book advocating this theory used the international system as its (*) “third image”. The “classical version” of this theory is based on the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr and Hans Morgenthau, while the “neo” version of this theory was advocated by Kenneth Waltz. For 10 points, what theory of International Relations starts with the assumption that nation-states are entirely motivated by their interests and is contrasted with liberalism?
ANSWER: political realism <HB>
Speaking of transparency, the first sentence of this tossup sounds a whole lot like something realists would say! Saying that "classical realism" is based on Niebuhr and Morgenthau is kinda weird -- they're classical realists, sure, but they're writing about Hobbes and Machiavelli. This is more of a personal opinion, but I don't much like the clues about Christian realism; it's much more of a chestnut-y religious history clue than an IR clue.
I also thought that the leadin was kinda transparent, so I'm glad you're replacing it. (I buzzed on the second line with "Christian Realism is a thing, and it sounds plausible based on the first line") I don't know how qb famous Christian Realism is, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to include it in this tossup, since it does have important policy relevance--Obama has said that Niebuhr was a huge influence on how he thinks about the world. In general, this tossup has more of a feel of political "thought" than social science, mainly due to it cluing mainly from classic realists (what was the first line clue, btw? From Morgenthau?). My impression is that classic realists aren't studied as much in active research, and people like Kenneth Waltz and John Mearsheimer are much more important to the current study of IR. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but do be cognizant of what types of knowledge you are rewarding. I also think it's fine to call Morgenthau a "classical realist," since that's how I think many intro IR classes (or at least, several IR classes that I have taken) refer to him as.
Granny Soberer wrote:
Packet 6 wrote:One model of this process that was popular in the 1950s came from the so-called Michigan School. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this process. Arrow’s impossibility theorem says that no system of this process can exist that satisfies the three fairness criteria, one of which says that there is no dictator.
ANSWER: voting [accept elections]
[10] This other criterion for Arrow's impossibility theorem states that if a voting system prefers A to B, adding in additional candidates does not change the ranking of A relative to B.
ANSWER: independence of irrelevant alternatives [or IIA]
[10] This classic model of voting suggests that since voters would choose a candidate that is most similar to their linearly modeled political ideology, candidates would then try to appeal the median voter’s ideology.
ANSWER: Hotelling model [prompt on Downs model] <Ed. HB>
I really like the second part here; it's important and clearly clued. The third part, though, is incorrect and frustrating. First of all, Downs model or Hotelling-Downs model should both be accepted. Secondly, this is not a "classic" model of voting; it's barely mentioned in political science literature and is really just something Hotelling threw into an econ paper about how a model of business competition could be applied to politics. Thirdly, the name of the model is not the important result here, it's the median voter theorem, which does get taught a lot and doesn't depend on the Hotelling model. Asking about the median voter theorem would have been a great third part here, but instead the question asks about an eponymous model that is only really gettable if you can connect it to when it comes up in another quizbowl sub-category.
I was also confused by the last part, since it sounds like you just want the median voter theorem. I too had understood the Hotelling's law as an economic concept that can be applied to voting. I agree with you that MVT might be too easy unless you withhold some of the information, so if you want to keep it as Hotelling I think you should make it clear that this is an economic law that can be applied to derive the MVT.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Kasper Kaijanen » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:23 am

A couple of packetization/feng shui/prompting issues that were present in the set from my view:
Packet 8 had two African history tossups (Kenyatta, Smuts)
Packets 6 and 9 both had history tossups whose answers were Ireland, and although one was actually an American history tossup I think they could be at least more spread out
Packet 8 the tossup on poets named Li should probably explicitly say to accept the full names of the poets if given
Packet 10, the tossup on Tagore clued solely from his short stories seems ill suited for any difficulty below Nats/Nats+
Packet 9, the class action lawsuit tossup still felt pretty transparent, as did the Packet 1 tossup on contracts

Overall, the set felt pretty inconsistent, difficulty-wise, which was probably due to the lack of a head editor to ensure consistency across categories. This is not to say I didn't like the tournament; as a whole, I really enjoyed the mythology, literature, and fine arts questions in this set, and the other subdistributions were pretty good too, just with some more notable outliers.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Pablo Picasso 2 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:23 am

On the first line of the election of 1988 tossup, there was a mention of "hymietown" and Jesse Jackson, which happened during the 1984 election and lead to an unnecessary neg.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Red Panda Cub » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:09 am

The string TU's answer line should probably have something to say about how to deal with someone buzzing and saying "bracelet".

I was delighted to hear Harry Frankfurt's super excellent book on Descartes clued in the 'Meditations' tossup, but that clue, because of the title, really lends itself to fraud. It's titled in reference to the 'Meditations' use of madmen and dreamers in its most famous section, so someone who doesn't know the Frankfurt clue but who has some gamewise reason to make a guess there (e.g. they are playing a philosophy player) has a good shot of being right while only knowing the most famous thing about the book.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:16 am

I won't post critique of hard part difficulty, but I'd like to use this post to question some answerline selections at this tournament that were frustrating to people who had knowledge of the topic but were not able to answer questions correctly.

The first of these is the tossup on control systems theory. I understand that this is a Reified Thing and have heard of it discussed as such by knowledgeable people, but the issue is that it is (to my understanding) multidisciplinary and incorporates a lot of techniques that can be used elsewhere. So from a player's perspective, it's not as easy to see the conceit of the tossup, because players typically only know the clue they're buzzing on and not the ones before - and if there's not an exclusionary clue, then they may not know what to say.

Similar was the tossup on socialization, which is a freaking terrible answer. Most of the clues in that tossup appeared to apply to many things. I gave an answer of "education...acculturation?" when buzzing in, got negged (probably correctly) and Jordan buzzed with "acculturation" at the end and couldn't get there - even though the definition literally mentioned adapting to a new culture! Again, from a player's perspective, there are lots of English-language words that fit the definition of what these social science thinkers are describing.

The fact that both of these questions came in our rounds against Jordan's team made them the most salient examples, but I think this could be extended to a number of tossups. Realism, for example, kind of sucks as an answer because 1) there's not many political science "schools" you can toss up in the first place and 2) for the most part it seems the only way you can make it not transparent is mostly turning the tossup into a list of thinkers and their books (and maybe some quotes).

Beyond this, I'd like to criticize the middle part on phenomenology which gave you the names of three thinkers, the most well-known of whom was Paul Ricoeur. That also sucks because he's much better known for his work in hermeneutics - no idea about those other guys but some of them might have studied other philosophy fields as well. This could probably be re-written to have some Husserl clues.

The tossup on contracts was ridiculously transparent still, and the tossup on class action suits wasn't any better. I don't have further commentary other than that all four members of our team thought those were the answers from the first line.

The tossup on war was annoying, because the first clue said something to like "Svetovid, the local god on Rugen in the 12th century, was a god of ferility, (something), and this domain, and was similar to the god Radogast." Huh, where did the writer get that from?
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Svetovid
God of war, fertility and abundance, supreme deity
Casting, relief of Svantovit, exh. Benedictines NG Prague,.jpg
A copy of the original granite plate depicting Svetovid with horn of plenty, eventually pagan priest of Arkona, around 1150 to 1200, situated to the island of Rügen and latery placed in the church wall in Altenkirchen.
Abode temple at Arkona, Rügen island
Symbol four heads or faces, white stallion, horn of plenty, sword
Mount white stallion

Svetovid, Svantovit[1][2][3] or Sventovit[4] is a Slavic deity of war, fertility and abundance primarily venerated on the island of Rügen into the 12th century.

(...)

Some interpretations claim that Svetovit was another name for Radegast


So huh, this tossup's first sentence is right off Wikipedia. Saying Svetovit is a god that belongs to a particular "domain" is seems a bit silly because he mostly appears to just be a local deity of the Slavic tribes on Rugen - it's not like he would be venerated only for a particular few purposes and not others. I had no idea what this lead-in was trying to say about Radegast (didn't even explain what the connection was besides a similarity) but Radegast is almost always known as a god of hospitality - so it really seemed like this tossup was trying to bait you into negging with "hospitality." It really struck me as a piece of lazy piece of writing where the editor didn't do their research - how exactly is Svetovit similar to Radegast in this respect?
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Progcon » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:16 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote: Similar was the tossup on socialization, which is a freaking terrible answer. Most of the clues in that tossup appeared to apply to many things. I gave an answer of "education...acculturation?" when buzzing in, got negged (probably correctly) and Jordan buzzed with "acculturation" at the end and couldn't get there - even though the definition literally mentioned adapting to a new culture! Again, from a player's perspective, there are lots of English-language words that fit the definition of what these social science thinkers are describing.

The fact that both of these questions came in our rounds against Jordan's team made them the most salient examples, but I think this could be extended to a number of tossups. Realism, for example, kind of sucks as an answer because 1) there's not many political science "schools" you can toss up in the first place and 2) for the most part it seems the only way you can make it not transparent is mostly turning the tossup into a list of thinkers and their books (and maybe some quotes).

Beyond this, I'd like to criticize the middle part on phenomenology which gave you the names of three thinkers, the most well-known of whom was Paul Ricoeur. That also sucks because he's much better known for his work in hermeneutics - no idea about those other guys but some of them might have studied other philosophy fields as well. This could probably be re-written to have some Husserl clues.

The tossup on contracts was ridiculously transparent still, and the tossup on class action suits wasn't any better. I don't have further commentary other than that all four members of our team thought those were the answers from the first line.
Yeah sorry about the socialization tossup. That was a new idea I had based on a bunch of stuff I read but the answerline isn't super great. I had a prompt on "enculturation" but it maybe should just be an accept. There were lots of things I felt were worth asking about there, so I will change the answerline to something more foregiving. This is something I'm sure we could have found in play testing had there been a playtest so, again, I apologize.

I think more IR should show up in quizbowl, so the realism tossup I wrote served that purpose. I felt it was more or less a boring list of summaries, quotes, and thinkers, so I'm not sure how it can be improved on there unless you have some ideas which you are more than welcome to share. Was the realism question powered at a very high rate or were people playing conservative and just waiting to buzz on a realist thinker they knew?

The phenomenology middle part was from a submission I had to edit a ton to avoid having overlap with other questions that mentioned phenomenological thinkers. I edited that bonus far before I wrote a tossup on hermeneutics in Editor's 3 that heavily clues from Ricouer actually. I'll just make _phenomenology_ easier and I don't really care if like Husserl is referenced twice or whatever.

I'm going to cut the contracts tossup and possibly turn the class action tossup into a bonus. It's unfortunate that these were still transparent. As mentioned earlier, they were both submissions and one was submitted by a team with a player in law school so I figured, and I think correctly here, that the player had more legal knowledge than I did so I left it in. Are there any legal answerlines that aren't super transparent? I have no legal training so it'd be difficult for me to write a law tossup that has both quality clues and wasn't transparent and wasn't just a SCOTUS case or something. Again, it's unfortunate how transparent these were and at least one--probably both-- will be cut.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:58 pm

Tibetan literature wrote:A couple of packetization/feng shui/prompting issues that were present in the set from my view:
Packet 8 had two African history tossups (Kenyatta, Smuts)
I classified Smuts as Anglosphere due to the nature of the South African state as similar in status to Australia, New Zealand, and Canada during his tenure of office. I apologize if this seemed like bad packetization.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:59 pm

geremy wrote:On the first line of the election of 1988 tossup, there was a mention of "hymietown" and Jesse Jackson, which happened during the 1984 election and lead to an unnecessary neg.
Yeah that's my mistake. I'll fix it. Apologies.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Red Panda Cub » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:38 pm

CPiGuy wrote: that bonus on artists from some poet writing about them (Vermeer / Reubens / Breugel the Elder) was bad, and very very hard.
Contrary to this I thought this bonus was a lot of fun and a nice way to ask the questions, and wasn't at all out of place difficulty wise. The Vermeer part included a full description of 'The Milkmaid' which is super duper famous. The Rubens part all but said "fleshy female nudes". With those you have two fairly straightforward parts, and the Breughel too was fine as I recall.

Also, it wasn't lines from "some poet", they were from Wisława Szymborska, who won the Nobel Prize and who is very widely read.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by Amizda Calyx » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:55 pm

I am curious to see the tossup on the mitochondrial inner membrane, since I don't think my submitted evo-bio tossup on mitochondria contained explicit membrane stuff.

I really liked the DSCAM clue for Down syndrome and the Jablonski clue for PS2. Overall I thought the bio was quite good, although the answerline for lysogeny needs to be expanded to include a prompt for "viral latency". I also got a bit tripped up by the combination of hearing what sounded like "tenocytes" (I think this was actually "tanycytes") and then later hypogonadism + anosmia for the hypothalamus tossup and answered with cilia, although I'm sure the clues made it obvious that the structure was much larger.

The answerline for the Southern ocean needs to include Antarctic ocean -- that was a really frustrating neg that I'm surprised didn't affect the earlier mirror.

Edit: I apologize for the transparency of the mitochondrion tossup; for some reason I thought the difficulty target was a lot lower so I included way more easy clues than necessary.
This structure in the jakobid flagellate Reclinomonas americana contains its own non-phage-type RNAP. This structure is totally absent in Monocercomonoides, which instead uses a laterally-transferred SUF system. The interlocking mini- and maxicircles of a kinetoplast are contained in a large, singular one of this organelle. Some organisms use a derivative of this structure called a hydrogenosome to produce Fe-S clusters. Its sequence similarity to R. prowazekii bacteria suggests this structure arose following engulfment of an alpha proteobacterium through primary endosymbiosis. Its acquisition produced the first eukaryotes, which swept to fixation due to the advantages of oxidative phosphorylation. For 10 points, name this maternally-transmitted organelle whose DNA encodes proteins used in ATP synthesis.
For example, going off my impression of bio difficulty from the rest of the tournament I would have reworked the RNAP clue to not say RNAP (which I had assumed wouldn't be as obvious when read out loud as "arnap"); inserted a clue or two before maxicircles; substantially condensed the next two clues and removed Fe-S clusters (or put at the end before endosymbiosis); and gotten rid of the pre-FTP clue, which I now think was unnecessary. I'd really like to know what else was transparent, too.
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Re: WAO II Specific Question Discussion

Post by otsasonr » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:03 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote: The first of these is the tossup on control systems theory. I understand that this is a Reified Thing and have heard of it discussed as such by knowledgeable people, but the issue is that it is (to my understanding) multidisciplinary and incorporates a lot of techniques that can be used elsewhere. So from a player's perspective, it's not as easy to see the conceit of the tossup, because players typically only know the clue they're buzzing on and not the ones before - and if there's not an exclusionary clue, then they may not know what to say.
It's certainly a multidisciplinary field, and it's certainly used in many different ways, but I don't see anyone who is somewhat knowledgeable about the field buzzing in and saying anything but "control systems" for any of the clues in this tossup. All of the clues in the tossup are specifically techniques and tools in use in control theory, and the fact that control theory is itself used in many other fields doesn't change what field those techniques belong to. Moreover, I don't think that anyone familiar with the more difficult clues in this tossup would ever be led astray by them, since control theory is treated as a separate, contained body of knowledge in all of the other fields that use it. For example, basically every student in electrical, mechanical, or chemical engineering is going to take a dedicated class in control systems, and not just be exposed to these techniques out of context.
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