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2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:05 am
by women, fire and dangerous things
This thread is for the discussion of the 2019 ACF Regionals set. First off, many thanks are due to my fabulous editing team:

Rob Carson: geo/CE/trash/other, visual OFA
Will Holub-Moorman: painting, philosophy, social science
Dylan Minarik: myth, religion (taking over from Matt Bollinger, who wrote the myth and religion for the editors' packets)
Eric Mukherjee: bio, chem
Bruce Lou: history
Graham Reid: physics, other science
Jennie Yang: music, auditory OFA

(I edited the lit, as you can guess from process of elimination.)

Thanks are also due to all the teams who submitted packets, giving us some great material to work with.

I won't list everyone, but thanks to everyone who playtested, and special thanks to Auroni Gupta, Will Alston, JinAh Kim, and Jordan Brownstein for taking a look at the set and offering super helpful comments.

Thanks to Ophir for providing detailed stats (about which more info in another thread soon), and for proofreading.

Finally, thanks to all the schools who hosted mirrors!

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:52 pm
by vinteuil
I liked a lot about this set, and I'm very happy I played it! A lot of fantastic new material to discover and many things I've been waiting to hear about.

A few drive-by thoughts:
  • The set had pretty wildly differing varying philosophies. Will H-M and Eric (and to an extent, Will N.) were writing close to the spirit and at the difficulty of last year's Regionals; Jennie's questions, especially bonuses, were closer to MUT difficulty and tone (this is not a criticism! It was just jarring by comparison).
  • As a corollary, bonus variability between categories (especially hard parts) was pretty striking.
  • There were some bad subdistributional clusters. I don't think any set really needs to have tossups on both Norman Foster and Renzo Piano, nor multiple questions on James II, Charles II, the 1660s etc. etc. (This isn't quite a subdistributional problem, but: the number of Chinese dynasty answerlines led to some teams simply guessing their way to right answers.)
  • A few very transparent questions, not helped by pronoun choice ("this two-word phrase at the end of titles in EDIT: early modern-sounding philosophy" and "this project [things that sound midcentury American]"). I don't want the first example to sound like a criticism of "this phrase" pronouns in general though, and I appreciated this set's conscientious use of "this k-word phrase" to help players mentally check their answers.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:13 pm
by women, fire and dangerous things
I was aiming for this year's Regionals to be similar in spirit to last year's but a tad easier, but I definitely needed to do a better job of coordinating that between categories.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:31 pm
by a bird
I'm curious to hear people's thoughts about physics and other science, in terms of difficulty, subject matter and execution. I tried to strike a balance between important things experts would know about and accessibility/maintaining interest from a non scientific audience.

I'm specifically interested in thoughts about the various subdistributions within my categories. For example, I intended for math to be the largest subcategory category in other science, but to include a lot of applied math in this. Additionally, I decided to include 1/1 engineering in the other science. This probably reduced the amount of earth science compared to more traditional distributions.

I want to thank playtesters: Seth T, Billy B, Cody, and Will A for providing important feedback. Special thanks goes to Cody and Sam B, who workshopped questions with me and helped provide new clues for a few questions.

I tried to use ideas from submitted questions as much as possible, which I think helped the set cover a wide range of topics. If you would like specific feedback on your submitted questions, feel free to get in contact with me (PM for email address).

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:07 pm
by Sima Guang Hater
I'd like to thank the playtesters for their helpful suggestions, Billy Busse for some help with the chem, and Will N. and Graham Reid for stepping in to finish a handful of questions when I was on call at the hospital. Please feel free to make any comments on the bio and chem.

In general, I tried to use people's submissions, but ended up writing about 8/8 of each category on my own. I also tried to ask about easy things in deep ways.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:53 pm
by Guile Island
I'd like to give a special thanks to Matt Bollinger for inviting me onto Regionals when Religion/Mythology needed a new editor, and Will Alston, JinAh Kim, and Jordan Brownstein for providing some invaluable feedback on my questions even when I didn't have time to set up public playtesting. I did my best to keep submissions when I could, but I ended up writing a good amount of religion/myth as editor's questions in order to keep a sane subdistro. I did my best in particular to keep tossup answerlines very accessible, with a few harder ones sprinkled in here and there. This resulted in a lot of common links, especially in Mythology, which I hope people did not mind. If you have comments on the Religion or Mythology, please feel free to post them here or message me!

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:57 pm
by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows
I thought this set was pretty decent overall, but, echoing what Jacob, I felt like there was significant difficulty variance across categories. The history, for example, seemed like it could have played well at MUT or NSC, which isn't necessarily problematic, but was kind of jarring next to some of the other tossups.

I'm also curious about why our protest against JHU was denied.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:31 pm
by women, fire and dangerous things
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:57 pm
I thought this set was pretty decent overall, but, echoing what Jacob, I felt like there was significant difficulty variance across categories. The history, for example, seemed like it could have played well at MUT or NSC, which isn't necessarily problematic, but was kind of jarring next to some of the other tossups.

I'm also curious about why our protest against JHU was denied.
What was your protest on?

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:57 pm
by Here Comes Rusev Day
I read this set at the UCF site and the competitors seemed to mostly enjoy it. The only two things that bothered me was that this year’s regionals set was a little more difficult than last year’s (though that’s just me and maybe this was the goal) and that there were a lot of very easy/hard/very hard bonuses. Neither of those things took a lot away from a good set though.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:58 pm
by alexdz
women, fire and dangerous things wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:31 pm
What was your protest on?
As the person who moderated that game, I remember that Maryland answered "justified true belief" after I read the phrase "truth-tracking theory" about midway through the question on "belief" (Packet F, tossup 14). Seeing no directions to anti-prompt, I trusted the answer line and regarded that answer as incorrect. Rebecca told me that she contacted the editors to resolve the protest.

Something I noticed about the literature in this set is that there seemed to be a very notable number of tossups on countries in the lit. I heard several players remark on how that was sort of frustrating. I'm not confident that it was a problem so much as a preference, but I figured it was worth adding to the discussion.

One major issue that seemed to have slipped through the editing cracks was a notable clue referencing "I Know Where the Caged Bird Sings." :party:

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:04 pm
by women, fire and dangerous things
Yes, Rebecca contacted me about that protest; I ruled against it because though all the clues to that point apply to "beliefs," they don't all apply to "justified true beliefs." The previous clue was:

To attain one status, these states must be linked to their objects by “causal chains,” according to a 1967 paper by Alvin Goldman.

That clue doesn't make sense for "justified true beliefs," since it's a theory of when beliefs simpliciter become justified.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:14 pm
by women, fire and dangerous things
alexdz wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:58 pm
Something I noticed about the literature in this set is that there seemed to be a very notable number of tossups on countries in the lit. I heard several players remark on how that was sort of frustrating. I'm not confident that it was a problem so much as a preference, but I figured it was worth adding to the discussion.

One major issue that seemed to have slipped through the editing cracks was a notable clue referencing "I Know Where the Caged Bird Sings." :party:
I tend to use this strategy a lot when editing world lit at this difficulty level because there are only so many ways you can explore new world lit content while keeping the answerlines and late clues accessible. (There also happened to be a lot of good submissions on countries, whose authors were probably using the same strategy.)

(Thanks for catching that typo, btw! Although I'm sure Maya Angelou also knows where the caged bird sings - in the cage, presumably.)

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:02 pm
by Benin Rebirth Party
a bird wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:31 pm
I'm curious to hear people's thoughts about physics and other science, in terms of difficulty, subject matter and execution. I tried to strike a balance between important things experts would know about and accessibility/maintaining interest from a non scientific audience.
I thought the CS/applied math was very good. My favourite bonus of the set was probably the one on wind tunnels, which is a standard physics thing but then the other two parts were general vector graphics stuff so it was accessible for a wide range of fields that uses those techniques.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:47 pm
by AGoodMan
Can I see the Jacob tossup in full please?

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:50 pm
by women, fire and dangerous things
Packet A wrote: 4. This man became exceedingly wealthy by throwing peeled branches into watering troughs (“troffs”) to make sheep have spotted and striped offspring. This man condemned two of his sons after they murdered all the men of Shechem in retaliation for the rape of their sister. On his deathbed, he condemned his eldest son for defiling his bed by sleeping with his concubine. In Islamic tradition, since this man’s father was a prophet, his blessing was intentional, while in Christian tradition he had to deceive his father by wearing goatskin on his arms. This man sold some red lentil soup to his older brother Esau in exchange for his birthright. Jews refuse to eat meat from the sciatic nerve in honor of an injury that this man acquired while wrestling an angel who then gave him the name Israel. For 10 points, name this son of Isaac and patriarch to the twelve tribes.
ANSWER: Jacob [or Yaqub; accept Israel or Yisrael until it is read]

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:02 am
by kearnm7
Two small errata, both on giveaways. I believe calling "Ezekiel" a "minor prophet" to be wrong, and "Ouranos" is not the husband of Rhea.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:05 am
by AGoodMan
Actually, can I also see the Ezekiel TU in full as well please? The lead in confused me.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:14 am
by AGoodMan
I think the Brubeck tossup’s first clue was something like the fourth clue of the Time Out tossup from Regs 17. Not sure what that means, but just throwing that out there.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:16 am
by women, fire and dangerous things
kearnm7 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:02 am
Two small errata, both on giveaways. I believe calling "Ezekiel" a "minor prophet" to be wrong, and "Ouranos" is not the husband of Rhea.
I've fixed these two errata, thanks for pointing them out!
Packet F wrote: 7. This figure is deemed a watchman for the people of Israel who will be held responsible if a wicked person dies for their sins. A conflict described by this man includes the destruction of a chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. A building described by this man includes a river flowing from its south side and carvings of cherubim on the walls. This Biblical figure cuts his hair into three parts, burning one part and scattering another to the wind. He also envisions the war of Gog and Magog against the people of God. This figure hears the words “I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you” while wandering in the valley of dry bones. Merkabah mysticism was inspired by this man’s account of four animals accompanied by “wheels within wheels.” For 10 points, name this major prophet whose namesake book begins with a vision of the chariot of God.
ANSWER: Ezekiel [or Yehezkel]

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:28 am
by 100% Clean Comedian Dan Nainan
I have some general (mostly positive) thoughts about this set, but I'd like to get some sleep and look at the packets before sharing those.

It hasn't been mentioned yet, but I thought dropping "Two Friends" that early in the Maupassant tossup was pretty egregious. I would have been much more upset about this if it had happened during a close game.

I wanted to say thanks to the editors for some of our questions being used in the set as well. It was pretty encouraging for some of it to be kept since this was our first time writing at this difficulty. I especially liked what was done with my French Revolution historiography tossup, which I thought was way too hard and pretty bad when I submitted it, but a good idea, turned into something much more playable.

Also thanks in general are in order for putting together an enjoyable set

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:46 am
by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows
women, fire and dangerous things wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:04 pm
Yes, Rebecca contacted me about that protest; I ruled against it because though all the clues to that point apply to "beliefs," they don't all apply to "justified true beliefs." The previous clue was:

To attain one status, these states must be linked to their objects by “causal chains,” according to a 1967 paper by Alvin Goldman.

That clue doesn't make sense for "justified true beliefs," since it's a theory of when beliefs simpliciter become justified.
Okay, fair enough, though, if I recall correctly, I actually buzzed on the next clue about Nozick's "truth-tracking" account, not this clue. I don't remember how that clue was worded, though, so my buzz may have been wrong there as well.

EDIT: Actually, I'm dumb, that wouldn't change anything because truth-tracking's whole gimmick is that you don't need justification.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:52 am
by AGoodMan
Can I see the lions myth tossup please? I think it mentioned Balinese myth well into near the middle part of the tossup, which seems pretty difficult.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:55 am
by women, fire and dangerous things
Packet B wrote: 14. The bodhisattva (“boh-dee-SUT-vuh”) Manjushri is most commonly depicted riding one of these creatures. One of these creatures nurses King Gesar (“GEZ-er”) in a Tibetan epic. It’s not a dog, but according to Okinawan legend, one of these animals caused a boulder to fall from heaven and crush a dragon who was attacking the port of Naha. In Balinese mythology, the demon mother Rangda is in a constant struggle with the heroic spirit king Barong, who resembles one of these animals. In East Asian countries, statues of these creatures always appear in opposite-gender pairs, often with the male having an open mouth. An avatar of Vishnu that was half-this animal is often depicted in the process of destroying his nemesis, the demon Hiranyakashipu. The national symbol of Singapore is a combination of this animal and a fish. A popular Chinese dance depicts, for 10 points, what maned felines?
ANSWER: lions [accept shishi or shisa until read; accept lion statues or lion dance; prompt on cat]

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:07 am
by John Ketzkorn
alexdz wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:58 pm


One major issue that seemed to have slipped through the editing cracks was a notable clue referencing "I Know Where the Caged Bird Sings." :party:
My personal favorite of the hexalogy is I Know How the Cage Bird Sings

I enjoyed this set. The prose of the tournament was well done -- save for a few typos that weren't difficult to figure out. Almost all the tossups read more like English than "quizbowlese," and this didn't really seem to be to the sacrifice of pyramidality. The difficulty got brought down enough that you didn't feel like you were trudging through games, but not so far down that it made matches between better and worse teams a coin flip (although I imagine the issues mentioned above did create more variance).

The only specific errata I can think to mention at the moment: the Kagera region was mentioned in the lead-in to the bonus part on Idi Amin and was the answer to the third part. There was a loose "this" in front of Vittorio Orlando on the Versailles bonus. This probably just happened as a result of changing the clues / parts around.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:30 pm
by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
The set was very good, and even when taking into account the above criticisms about difficulty mismatches it served its purpose as a regional championship fantastically.

The closer I get to 30 the more willing I am to straight up admit that I dislike many questions I dislike not because there is something structurally unsound in the question, but because I don't think they are fun to play on. I think quizbowl is a fun game that people play for selfish pleasure and sometimes answer ideas may produce accurate questions, but if a writer comes up with a question that may be technically correct but which causes players who have taken classes in relevant disciplines to sit there confused and unable to parse what is happening for most or all of the question, then that je ne sais quoi of enjoyable quizbowl has been lost. I think "beliefs," "jobs," and more than any question I can remember in recent memory, whatever that nonsense about making mistakes when you speak and saying the wrong word was, were extremely not fun quizbowl questions to play.

Again, thanks for writing and editing everybody. I had a very fun Saturday.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:30 pm
by gettysburg11
AGoodMan wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:05 am
Actually, can I also see the Ezekiel TU in full as well please? The lead in confused me.
For what it’s worth, I wrote this tossup and most of it is the same as my submission, and I took the lead-in from the opening verses of Ezekiel 33. Apologies for the somewhat confusing wording though.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:59 pm
by Duckk
I thought the CS in this set was much better than what I’ve seen in recent sets. I appreciated the focus on important concepts and people rather than on, e.g., various uses of [certain keyboard characters] in a few programming languages. The latter kind of question feels like a vocab quiz in that it rewards players for using and remembering the specific syntax of certain programming languages rather than knowing fundamental computer science. I don’t come away from that kind of question having learned anything or having anything substantial to go learn about. The questions in this set, in contrast, discussed things I’ve learned in CS classes and encouraged me to learn more about important CS concepts.

I liked the spirit of the speech errors tossup, even if the execution made it a bit confusing. There has been a trend in linguistics tossups to focus on phonetics—especially the phonetics of single letters—so a move away from that (no matter how small) was a nice surprise. There didn’t seem to be too much other linguistics in the set other than my tossup on Brazilian languages (maybe “names” was linguistics, but it was probably philosophy), which was disappointing. There’s a wealth of knowledge in syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, and I’d like to see these subfields represented more in future sets.

Please don't use examples from sets that are not clear. mgmt

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:08 pm
by hydrocephalitic listlessness
there was also a corpus linguistics bonus—maybe you didn't hear that?

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:40 pm
by Muriel Axon
It sounded like the bonus part on "phylogenies" said that they're most commonly created through maximum parsimony, which probably hasn't been true among published phylogenies since the 1990s. (An infamous editorial in the journal Cladistics -- published by the Willi Hennig Society, which is committed to parsimony on philosophical grounds -- was roundly mocked for insisting that all submissions use parsimony.) I wouldn't bring this up, except that it seems like quiz bowl questions on methods in systematics tend to emphasize parsimony in ways that don't represent that state of the field.

EDIT: correct spelling of "Willi Hennig"

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:45 pm
by Sam
There was something odd going on with the Uranus tossup. Rob Carson took down a note so maybe it's been fixed already.
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:30 pm
I think "beliefs," "jobs," and more than any question I can remember in recent memory, whatever that nonsense about making mistakes when you speak and saying the wrong word was, were extremely not fun quizbowl questions to play.
I agree with this. Another question that springs to mind was "shortage," which may have had the added disadvantage of not being 100% correct. (I don't remember exactly.) I'm also not sure what the best solution is. On one hand, these answer lines do have a sort of unity in the real world: I could easily see a class on, I don't know, sociology of work, assigning both Ehrenreich and Hochschild, and I can see those authors recognizing their respective objects of study as being the same, in a way. Same goes for speech errors. On the other hand, they don't seem to lead to good gameplay, as Charlie said. It's not clear to me whether this was due to shortcomings in these specific questions or if those kinds of questions in general should only show up in bonus form.

In general, though, I thought this was an excellent set, and would like to applaud the editors for their heroic defense of maximum parsimony. Sometimes new and exciting topics in a set seem to come at the expense of the more meat-and-potatoes questions that make up the bulk of questions, but I thought this tournament did both very well.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:00 pm
by Guile Island
The Uranus tu has been fixed, I apparently was on autopilot when writing that and wrote like 2 clues on the basis that Rhea, not Gaea, was his wife. Really sorry about that- hopefully it was easy enough to figure out in protests.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:01 pm
by hydrocephalitic listlessness
Sam wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:45 pm
I'm also not sure what the best solution is. On one hand, these answer lines do have a sort of unity in the real world: I could easily see a class on, I don't know, sociology of work, assigning both Ehrenreich and Hochschild, and I can see those authors recognizing their respective objects of study as being the same, in a way. Same goes for speech errors. On the other hand, they don't seem to lead to good gameplay, as Charlie said. It's not clear to me whether this was due to shortcomings in these specific questions or if those kinds of questions in general should only show up in bonus form.
As the person who wrote both of these questions, I think Charlie and Sam's perspective is a totally valid one! In general, I'm partial to common-link social science tossups because they offer the opportunity for people to buzz on their knowledge of frequently-taught scholarship and the chance to incorporate topics/people that have been underrepresented in past approaches to the category (e.g. the tossups on "disability" and "sexual harassment"), while also allowing for good conversion by a wide range of teams toward the end of the question. The challenge—made more difficult by the fact that these topics often lack totally neat definition—is to find good middle clues and to word the question in a way that doesn't produce too much confusion (of course, I'll definitely take the blame for any inaccuracies/ambiguities/excessive difficulty that cropped up in the category). But, I do think an approach that de-emphasizes tossups on individual thinkers better reflects how people engage with social science outside of quiz bowl.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:52 pm
by AGoodMan
I just read my submission on the Nine Years' War, which was changed to say:
The Dutch military engineer Menno van Coehoorn (“fon KOO-horn”) defended the Belgian town of Namur (“nah-MOOR”) twice during this war
This is incorrect. There were two sieges of Namur, and Van Coehoorn defended against Vauban in the first siege, but besieged it the second time.

edit: Ophir worked it out, but still worth mentioning.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:41 am
by UlyssesInvictus
hydrocephalitic listlessness wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:01 pm
they offer the opportunity for people to buzz on their knowledge of frequently-taught scholarship and the chance to incorporate topics/people that have been underrepresented in past approaches to the category [...] The challenge [...] is to find good middle clues and to word the question in a way that doesn't produce too much confusion [...] But, I do think an approach that de-emphasizes tossups on individual thinkers better reflects how people engage with social science outside of quiz bowl.
I agree with everything Will said a lot, and though, it's not nearly as satisfying, this is why I just like putting these kinds of common subject questions in bonuses instead, since it's way less frustrating to parse them that way. Actually, one of my favorite things to ask about in TUs is individuals, but actually make the question about other people/studies/works ping-ponging off that individual so that you're just making the answerline a metonym for something else. I guess that's much harder to do neatly in some situations, especially for topics of interest like "disability," but IMO it' s pretty fun when that works out.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:08 pm
by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
Thank you for your gracious reaction to my post Will, because I do admire the willingness to try something creative. I'm totally not opposed to asking about things in a unique way - when it clicks, those are the most memorable questions (for me, the question about "this deity" that ended up being the god of Sikhism was my favorite tossup of the day because it was simultaneously a super legit concrete topic which me, a person who has read a book on Sikhism, had no problem answering, but which also stylistically felt like a polytheistic Hinduism question). I just got my hands on the actual speech errors question, which I think I can pick apart a little more to explain what I didn't enjoy about it--
5. Description acceptable. UCLA houses a database of examples of this phenomenon named for a linguist who wrote an article titled for their “non-anomalous nature.” One work argues that the formation of “solutions” via this phenomenon is similar to dreaming in that it involves a process of “condensation.” Victoria Fromkin is best-known for studying this phenomenon, specific forms of which include “anticipation” and “blends.” Another form of this phenomenon often treated through practice with “minimal pairs” is classified as “residual” when it persists beyond childhood. The English translation of Freud’s The Psychopathology of Everyday Life introduced the term parapraxis to describe instances of this phenomenon caused by the unconscious. For 10 points, name this phenomenon, one example of which is uttering “she shanty” rather than “sea shanty.”

ANSWER: speech errors [accept misspeaking, speech impediment, slip of the tongue, lapsus linguae, Freudian slip, as well as more descriptive answers such as saying the wrong word; accept parapraxis until read; anti-prompt on specific speech impediments, such as lisps]
I've taken a single linguistics class which only cursorily addressed specific speech errors. I buzzed in at the clue about residual stutters with "stuttering" because it was the first point in the question where I'd been given something that seemed like a concrete phenomenon. I got anti-prompted, said something wrong because I was so confused, and then sat there until the end of the question at which point I still couldn't have strung together the answer you wanted based on the giveaway clue. I understand how individual clues in the question are "speech errors," but other than VIctoria Fromkin's work (which is rightly early in the question due to obscurity) I don't see the question making a compelling front-to-back case that "speech errors" are a single unified phenomenon, rather than disparate problems studied by disparate figures that happen to involve speaking. To me this is laid bare by the fact that the giveaway still forces you to figure out the riddle and guess the right description, rather than allowing you to KNOW that this is "speech errors." Hence, my dissatisfaction, as giveaways like that always leave me skeptical that the answer is a good tossup idea.

Hopefully that makes sense, and I'm glad your reaction is to hear me out rather than rehash the meltdown that happened when that "Roman women" question got asked at VCU Open and everyone hated it but couldn't convince its author that it was an unplayably bad idea despite its technical accuracy.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:50 pm
by hydrocephalitic listlessness
Those points make sense—I can see how it could be difficult to make the jump from buzzing with a specific speech impediment (even though the clue was describing the category of "residual speech errors" more generally) to a broader categorical answer that itself isn't incredibly well-defined.
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:08 pm
I don't see the question making a compelling front-to-back case that "speech errors" are a single unified phenomenon, rather than disparate problems studied by disparate figures that happen to involve speaking.
I would push back on this a little bit, though, because I do think that both Fromkin and Freud are trying to advance a psycholinguistic claim that the phenomenon of "saying the wrong thing"—broadly conceived, although probably not extending to impediments—can be the subject of systematic study and theory. (The Fromkin article on "The Non-Anomalous Nature of Anomalous Utterances" that the tossup clues is a really interesting read along these lines). That being said, this has no bearing on whether the question played well as a tossup in live competition! One of the reasons detailed stats are great is that they can provide pretty good data on what types of clues and topics proved to be confusing and/or difficult to convert.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:21 pm
by Saltasassi
I just wanted to thank everyone who playtested my questions: Ophir, Sameer Apte, Chris Sims, Alex Dame, Jasper Lee (sorry if I'm forgetting anyone!). The auditory stuff became definitely at least 150% better thanks to their feedback and suggestions. There hasn't been a ton of buzz about the music in the Discord discussion, which I suppose a positive thing.

For the classical music, I tried to make my questions and answerlines really accessible - perhaps I went overboard with that, but I hope they were still enjoyable for all. I also tried particularly hard to choose good score clues that were actually buzzable for anyone familiar with the pieces in questions. (Please let me know if I succeeded on this front!)

For the other auditory arts, I wanted to explore more topics that were less common in quizbowl (that's the whole point of any "other" distribution, right?), but let me know what you thought of it as a whole. OFA (particularly jazz and jazz-adjacent stuff) is not my forte, but hopefully it still turned out okay.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:56 pm
by everdiso
I liked this tournament a lot. I agree with Joe Su, who said at my site that it wasn't quite as good as last year's because, in aiming to be easier, it wound up with less consistent difficulty, resulting in occasional drops of easy clues suspiciously early that people weren't sure if they should buzz on. But that was definitely a minor issue, and on the whole this was both a fun and a rewarding set to play, so well done, editors and writers.

That being said, there was one particular trend that I wanted to comment on. It seemed like, in many non-geo tossups, place names would get dropped that suddenly made the tossup extremely easy to get from geography knowledge. For example, in pack E's classical music tossup on Poland, the clue "A composer from this country included Silesian folk songs" sort of tells you "this is the country where Silesia is" two and a half to three lines before the end! I may be wrong, but that seems far too early for this difficulty - and certainly is no test of classical music knowledge.

Another example, very ironically, came in a history tossup on Silesia in pack H. Breslau/Wrocław was mentioned three lines before the end, in a way that isn't really tied to history, because it just tells you that it's the region's main city. Perhaps you can argue that pure geography clues are fine in history tossups (I'm not a fan), but regardless, I think this is again much too early for a clue like this, and people in my room (I had negged the tossup earlier, so it wasn't buzzed on) commented on it being too early afterwards.

At the end of the day, though, I'll reiterate that this was an excellent tournament, and I honestly enjoyed it more than I'd enjoyed a day of quizbowl in quite a while.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:20 am
by Muriel Axon
[10] If you practice ahimsa and are a good enough Jain, your soul obtains true knowledge of the Universe. This Sanskrit word is used to indicate such omniscient souls, including those of the Tirthankaras.
ANSWER: arihant [or jina]
"Kevali" should be accepted here -- the state of omniscience is called "kevaljnana" and the term "kevali" is the word that most clearly matches the description here (and the answer I gave). Jina and arihant / arhat are fine; I think "siddha" should also be acceptable, as "arihant" and "siddha" both describe specific subsets of those who have attained kevaljnana (respectively, those who still have a corporeal body and those who don't).

Lest I be (correctly) perceived as being invested mainly in picking out small flaws concerning my hobbyhorses, I thought this tournament was pretty good and I have no large-scale complaints.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:28 am
by Benin Rebirth Party
I found the music to be excellent. I don’t have much more to say about specific questions because it wasn’t my personal preferences. The one score clue I wanna comment on was the leadin to the messiah, which mentions an ascending scale from C to A without any indication of tempo or rhythm. (You say 12/8 but that doesn’t really mean much because the notes could just be dotted quarter notes) I would have added descriptions of how it’s slow and swingy (or more technical terms).

I think a lot of people negged English born with oboe (and deservedly so) because the clued stuff was majority from actually listening to music and not studying old packets, so the sounds could easily have been mixed up while answering the question. This isn’t by any means a sign of a bad question but I hope that full detailed stats can show how and where this happened.

I did notice there was a lack of major composers, including zero mentions of Brahms, only one bonus part on J.S. Bach, 1 and 1/3 bonuses on Beethoven and 1 bonus on Mozart. One of the China/Spain/Russia/Poland tossups could have been axed, I think. Not a major problem though.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:12 am
by adamsil
I enjoyed this tournament and think that it did a particularly good job, especially relative to last year, of sticking with answerlines that were accessible to new-ish teams. Our B team was answering most of the tossups by the end. The science had a lot of good clean tossups on solid answerlines (except that linear diatomic molecule question, which frankly didn't make any sense to me. I will confess that maybe I just wasn't parsing clues at game speed very effectively).
a bird wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:31 pm
I'm curious to hear people's thoughts about physics and other science, in terms of difficulty, subject matter and execution. I tried to strike a balance between important things experts would know about and accessibility/maintaining interest from a non scientific audience.

I'm specifically interested in thoughts about the various subdistributions within my categories. For example, I intended for math to be the largest subcategory category in other science, but to include a lot of applied math in this. Additionally, I decided to include 1/1 engineering in the other science. This probably reduced the amount of earth science compared to more traditional distributions.
I think this is worth talking about, because it was a good decision and I think we should push it more. I recognize this is a can of worms, and from my academic background I am biased, but I'd like to propose that engineering is a more worthwhile thing to ask about than earth science. More people study it academically, it's much broader in scope, and there are an infinitude of unmined clues across engineering disciplines that we could use rather than rehashing the same old glacier and feldspar questions that come up in every tournament. (Lest I sound too biased, I do think that chemical engineering already pops up enough in the chemistry distribution already. But surely mechanical, civil, industrial, and electrical engineering are of more academic importance, combined, than, say, the 1/1 we earmark for geology that nobody has studied since 6th grade?)

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:53 am
by JKHtay
adamsil wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:12 am
a bird wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:31 pm
I'm curious to hear people's thoughts about physics and other science, in terms of difficulty, subject matter and execution. I tried to strike a balance between important things experts would know about and accessibility/maintaining interest from a non scientific audience.

I'm specifically interested in thoughts about the various subdistributions within my categories. For example, I intended for math to be the largest subcategory category in other science, but to include a lot of applied math in this. Additionally, I decided to include 1/1 engineering in the other science. This probably reduced the amount of earth science compared to more traditional distributions.
I think this is worth talking about, because it was a good decision and I think we should push it more. I recognize this is a can of worms, and from my academic background I am biased, but I'd like to propose that engineering is a more worthwhile thing to ask about than earth science. More people study it academically, it's much broader in scope, and there are an infinitude of unmined clues across engineering disciplines that we could use rather than rehashing the same old glacier and feldspar questions that come up in every tournament. (Lest I sound too biased, I do think that chemical engineering already pops up enough in the chemistry distribution already. But surely mechanical, civil, industrial, and electrical engineering are of more academic importance, combined, than, say, the 1/1 we earmark for geology that nobody has studied since 6th grade?)
With some of the same biases as Adam, I completely agree. I found that my favorite questions to read were the 1/1 engineering, as well as when when engineering clues were used in physics/math questions (e.g inductors, the Fourier series bonus), and especially the two "mixed" science bonuses on filters and information theory, which actually taught me what a Chebyshev filter is based on. I know that there were a bunch of engineering majors at the GT site, not just from GT, that enjoyed these questions as well.

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:23 am
by ivanilyich
An entirely frivolous comment:

I thought the literature distro was great (though that 'darkling' tossup sounded dubious, particularly since it was begging you to neg with 'Dover' in the first line which mentioned 'Dover Beach'). I have but one frivolous gripe:

Basically, it is a slight running joke that I hate geographical literature (as in, literature tossed up by country or city), because I don't think it rewards the right things about literary knowledge. However, I do think that the worldlit country TUs at Regs were uniformly very cool and meant you could toss up some awesome less-well-known content, so I have no real qualms there (if more than half of worldlit was countries then that would have been dubious, because I don't want to feel like QB only really values particular novels for being an 'Iranian novel' or 'Brazilian novel', but it wasn't, so that's fine.) Whoever wrote the country worldlit TUs really did their job well.

However: if this 'state literature' trend does not die a very swift death, I will break out in hives.

I understand that you need different ways to toss up stuff. I could have dealt with the Massachusetts TU on its own, because Massachusetts was pretty integral to the whole Emerson/Thoreau deal, even though it still pissed me off bc I knew it was Emerson from line 2 and I didn't know where Emerson was from - but the whole point about geographical literature tossups is that they're a way to integrate literature which is more obscure in Western curricula into tossups. But there's no need to do that if the stuff you're tossing up isn't obscure!

If you read a Turkish novel and you live in the UK or the US, the Turkishness of the novel will likely be at the forefront of the marketing and presentation because that stuff is marginal to Western curricula, so, okay, fine. But the state a particular novel is set in - or worse, the state a particular author is from - is the least interesting thing about a literary work, and you can know an author super well without knowing where they're from. I'd prefer if we minimise those kinds of tossups, except in cases where the geography of the literature is actually super important and central. People read books and create their own mental landscape of the book, but that's rarely concretely connected to the nominal location of the book's events. The exception is in cases like - random example - Indra Sinha's Animal's People, where the book's connection to the real-life Bhopal gas tragedy means that you're always conscious of its location.

[Also I am a salty Brit, so it may be that the states particular books are set in are more significant to you guys. Just trying to staunch the flow here before we get 'In this ceremonial county...']

Re: 2019 ACF Regionals Thanks and General Discussion

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:36 pm
by women, fire and dangerous things
I agree with the theory behind your post, that we shouldn't ask about states in literature when it tests trivial knowledge that isn't important to the context of the works. But I don't think that's the case for the questions in this set. There were three "states in lit" tossups, one of which was a tiebreaker: a lot for one set for sure, but they were all good submissions that I wanted to keep.

Texas: The leadin is about Steinbeck's visit to Texas in Travels with Charley, where he talks about Texas as a distinct place and practically a nation unto itself. The fact that this scene takes place in Texas is clearly not incidental. The rest of the clues are about Larry McMurtry and certain Cormac McCarthy novels, and in both cases I think that their Texas setting (in the latter case, near the Mexican border specifically) is highly relevant.

Massachusetts: The leadin is about Anne Sexton, and I'll admit that you could easily have read a lot of Sexton without knowing she was from Massachusetts (though her association with Robert Lowell is pretty notable). The rest of the clues are about Emerson, Robert Lowell, and "Paul Revere's Ride," and again I think the Massachusetts connection is very famous in all of those cases (at least for Americans).

New York: The clues are all about "Paul's Case" and Washington Irving's two most famous stories. Again, the fact that Paul runs off to New York is pretty important and memorable - it's constantly contrasted to Pittsburgh in the story, he stays at the Waldorf Astoria, etc. The centrality of the New York setting for Irving's stories seems pretty self-explanatory.

Maybe the issue here is more in how well America-centric questions translate to a UK audience, so Briticizing the set might have been useful.