GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by The Laughing Man »

Hunters in the Snow is really quiz bowl famous by virtue of the fact that there are so many things to describe in it. I think I've read at least 3 tossups on it in college packets.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by ClemsonQB »

The Laughing Man wrote:I think that the Breughel giveaway Landscape with the Fall of Icarus is perfectly reasonable, it's probably his most famous work. Maybe Breughel wouldn't be converted in as many rooms as it should be, but I think that toss up conversion is overrated. Obviously, the point of pyramidal questions is that everyone can play on them, but if you can't even toss up any answer as obscure as Breughel in the preliminaries, the answer space consists of 10 artists or something. My view is that for the less experienced teams, the most important thing is not who wins (because really, does it matter if a team comes in 27th or 29th) but whether the teams are learning. I do not think that expanding the preliminary canon a bit would really impede this learning. I definitely understand why people want to have heard answers; I love college questions, but reading say C.O. science questions would not be so interesting. Still, in general the high school preliminaries canon is ridiculously small, especially if the tournament is running a card system where two top teams can meet.
Okay, but both you and Sarah come from great schools that probably actually teach you things that come up in quizbowl. 99% of the quizbowl information I know comes from reading quizbowl questions or doing quizbowl related studying. My knowledge of Brueghel comes directly from the dozen(s) of questions I have heard on him and the two works I mentioned were always the giveaways, I've even heard tossups on both works. Maybe Landscape is more famous in academics and the art classes of State College and Maggie Walker, but not in the tens of thousands of quizbowl questions I've heard.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by The Laughing Man »

Okay, but both you and Sarah come from great schools that probably actually teach you things that come up in quizbowl. 99% of the quizbowl information I know comes from reading quizbowl questions or doing quizbowl related studying.
No, I chose not to take art history because our art history teacher is a flower child whose mind was ravaged by drugs. I also learned I know about art from quizbowl questions. I guess this just shows that two people could have heard/ read a dozen questions on the same artist and still have a totally different conception of what's famous.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by ClemsonQB »

MLWGS-Gir wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:"Growing up" outside the DC region, The Peasant Wedding and Hunters in the Snow were definitely the most famous Brueghel works.
I have never heard of Hunters in the Snow. I agree that Peasant Wedding probably should have been in there, but Netherlandish Proverbs was. How many Netherlandish Renaissance artists do you know, honestly?
Bosch, van Eyck, Campin (or whoever the Master of Flemalle was), van der Goes, van der Weyden, Memling and the Limbourg brothers. I don't know what the point of this exchange is, though.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

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ClemsonQB wrote:
MLWGS-Gir wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:
MLWGS-Gir wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:That's exactly my complaint, there is no mention of "Ethiopia" in the tossup.
Whoa, seriously? Which round was that in, so that I may go look? Evidently we never got to peer-edit that one; I wasn't aware that there was history we didn't get to.
5th round.
Well, Meroe and stelae are taught in school, at least around here, and saying that it's an African civilization on the Red Sea puts it in that general Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia area, and it clearly wasn't Egypt. I actually don't see too much of a problem with that. If people know that Axum was in Ethiopia, I think they should probably know that that general area is on the Red Sea.
Doesn't Kush apply to that as well, at least the geography.
OK, so I suppose it does, but really, if you know anything about either of them besides exactly where they were, you should be able to clearly distinguish them through this TU. Ezana attacking Meroe, which was the capital of Kush at the time, comes fairly early in the question, making it clearly not Kush IMO. Everything that's taught in school about Axum is in this TU except Ethiopia; I see that as distinctly a minor quibble.

Also, Naren, I guess I've always just gotten Brueghel before Hunters in the Snow, because it continues to not ring a bell. And George, the art I learned in school mostly consists of learning about the Mona Lisa in the terrible elementary school I attended. Like I said, the only Brueghel works I've heard in TUs as answers are Triumph of Death and Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. Can we accept that we've had different qb experiences and move on without attacking my level of education? I'm not arguing about this question anymore. I give up. Also, isn't van Eyck Flemish, and isn't Belgium somewhere not in the Netherlands? I'm notably terrible at geo.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by ClemsonQB »

MLWGS-Gir wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:
MLWGS-Gir wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:
MLWGS-Gir wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:That's exactly my complaint, there is no mention of "Ethiopia" in the tossup.
Whoa, seriously? Which round was that in, so that I may go look? Evidently we never got to peer-edit that one; I wasn't aware that there was history we didn't get to.
5th round.
Well, Meroe and stelae are taught in school, at least around here, and saying that it's an African civilization on the Red Sea puts it in that general Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia area, and it clearly wasn't Egypt. I actually don't see too much of a problem with that. If people know that Axum was in Ethiopia, I think they should probably know that that general area is on the Red Sea.
Doesn't Kush apply to that as well, at least the geography.
OK, so I suppose it does, but really, if you know anything about either of them besides exactly where they were, you should be able to clearly distinguish them through this TU. Ezana attacking Meroe, which was the capital of Kush at the time, comes fairly early in the question, making it clearly not Kush IMO. Everything that's taught in school about Axum is in this TU except Ethiopia; I see that as distinctly a minor quibble.

Also, Naren, I guess I've always just gotten Brueghel before Hunters in the Snow, because it continues to not ring a bell. And George, the art I learned in school mostly consists of learning about the Mona Lisa in the terrible elementary school I attended. Like I said, the only Brueghel works I've heard in TUs as answers are Triumph of Death and Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. Can we accept that we've had different qb experiences and move on without attacking my level of education? I'm not arguing about this question anymore. I give up. Also, isn't van Eyck Flemish, and isn't Belgium somewhere not in the Netherlands? I'm notably terrible at geo.
I'm not attacking anyone's education, I'm pointing out that you got a BETTER education than I did, but the main point is that this is a quizbowl fame vs. academics fame conflict. Also, you said "Netherlandish Renaissance" and the term Netherlandish applies to all of the Low Countries, which notably include Belgium and the Netherlands. Flanders is a historical region of the Low Countries, mainly in Belgium, which includes parts of the present day nations of France and the Netherlands.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Blackboard Monitor Vimes »

ClemsonQB wrote:
MLWGS-Gir wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:
MLWGS-Gir wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:
MLWGS-Gir wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:That's exactly my complaint, there is no mention of "Ethiopia" in the tossup.
Whoa, seriously? Which round was that in, so that I may go look? Evidently we never got to peer-edit that one; I wasn't aware that there was history we didn't get to.
5th round.
Well, Meroe and stelae are taught in school, at least around here, and saying that it's an African civilization on the Red Sea puts it in that general Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia area, and it clearly wasn't Egypt. I actually don't see too much of a problem with that. If people know that Axum was in Ethiopia, I think they should probably know that that general area is on the Red Sea.
Doesn't Kush apply to that as well, at least the geography.
OK, so I suppose it does, but really, if you know anything about either of them besides exactly where they were, you should be able to clearly distinguish them through this TU. Ezana attacking Meroe, which was the capital of Kush at the time, comes fairly early in the question, making it clearly not Kush IMO. Everything that's taught in school about Axum is in this TU except Ethiopia; I see that as distinctly a minor quibble.

Also, Naren, I guess I've always just gotten Brueghel before Hunters in the Snow, because it continues to not ring a bell. And George, the art I learned in school mostly consists of learning about the Mona Lisa in the terrible elementary school I attended. Like I said, the only Brueghel works I've heard in TUs as answers are Triumph of Death and Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. Can we accept that we've had different qb experiences and move on without attacking my level of education? I'm not arguing about this question anymore. I give up. Also, isn't van Eyck Flemish, and isn't Belgium somewhere not in the Netherlands? I'm notably terrible at geo.
I'm not attacking anyone's education, I'm pointing out that you got a BETTER education than I did, but the main point is that this is a quizbowl fame vs. academics fame conflict. Also, you said "Netherlandish Renaissance" and the term Netherlandish applies to all of the Low Countries, which notably include Belgium and the Netherlands. Flanders is a historical region of the Low Countries, mainly in Belgium, which includes parts of the present day nations of France and the Netherlands.
I meant "attacking" in terms of you assuming that I've gotten a much better education than I actually have. I tend to get defensive when people who don't know anything about me try to make assumptions about me; I apologize for that. My education in history has been lacking my entire life. Thank you for clarifying the geographical bit. The point remains, though, that my knowledge of Brueghel is also qb-only, and we've merely been exposed to different questions on him. When I got this TU originally it was terrible. It left my hands much better than it came, and as an editor in some cases that's the best I can do. I have nothing else to say in terms of this TU, so now that I've clarified my point, I'm through discussing it.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by TheKingInYellow »

This is starting to get a little ridiculous. Obviously different people know different things, which is why these toss ups are written, isn't it? To see what people know?
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by at your pleasure »

Belgium was invented in 1814 as a buffer state between part of France and part of Germany. Flanders is the northern bit of Belgium, specifically the dutch speaking area that did not become part of the Dutch Republic after the Peace of Munster. "Netherlandish", if memory serves, refers to the low countries in general. The modern boundaries of the Low countries postdate the artists we're talking about here.
Feel free to correct me if I'm mangling anything.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Blackboard Monitor Vimes »

Thank you, Graham, for your extraordinarily valid point. And thanks to Douglas for further clarifying the geo. I'm much more interested in hearing about any serious problems that may have occurred than arguing about giveaways, which isn't going to benefit anyone (although I have managed to learn where Belgium is now).
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by aestheteboy »

Is it just me, or can other people not see some of the packets too? I can't open docx files so I'd appreciate it if you could post the set with just doc files.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by closesesame »

Yeah, Microsoft Office 2007 has to be the stupidest program ever created :-/ Microsoft's attempt to adopt open-source standards FTL.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Blackboard Monitor Vimes »

aestheteboy wrote:
Is it just me, or can other people not see some of the packets too? I can't open docx files so I'd appreciate it if you could post the set with just doc files.
Daichi, I'm really tired and need to get some Latin hw done before I can sleep, but tomorrow I'll save the ones that are currently in .docx as .doc and send them to Chris, if he can't do it himself (don't know what OS and associated programs you're running, Chris). Sorry about that, Daichi. I always save things in .doc, but some of the people we had packetizing didn't change the default on our school's computers. I'll take care of it tomorrow... And Word 2007 may be the most frustrating program I've ever tried to use. It fails.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Magister Ludi »

Having scanned a few rounds I think this tournament was a big improvement over last year, but I think it would benefit from adding more specifics to the humanities tossups. For example here is a tossup from the tournament on Virginia Woolf:

This author’s final novel deals with Bartholomew Oliver and the performance of an English pageant, Between the Acts. One of her novels consists of intertwined monologues given by six primary characters. Her non-fiction works include On Being Ill and Three Guineas. She subtitled three of her books “A Biography”: Roger Fry, Flush, and Orlando. FTP, name this author of Jacob’s Room, The Waves, Mrs. Dalloway, and To the Lighthouse.

This is a decent tossup, but would be vastly improved by fleshing it out more. For example, the second line would be improved by mentioning a few characters. When I was reading that line I was thinking to myself, "This is almost certainly The Waves, but I can't really buzz because there are probably lots of novels with six connected characters." Similarly, the question would be better if it mentioned some plot clues from Mrs. Dalloway or To the Lighthouse right before FTP. Below is a Virginia Woolf question that I wrote for HFT this year that I think shows some of the writing tendencies I advocate:

This author created William Rodney, who is convinced to court Cassandra Otway by his fiancée Katherine Hilbery in Night and Day, while Rhoda jumps to her death and Neville waits to hear his beloved’s footsteps on the stairs in a novel about six friends connected through Percival. In another of this author's works, Sally Seton talks with Peter Walsh and the title character learns that Septimus Smith has committed suicide, while another of her novels ends when Lily Bristow completes her portrait of Mrs. Ramsey. FTP, name this author of The Waves, To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway.
ANSWER: Virginia Woolf

Overall I thought this was a good tournament from the three or four rounds I read, and I intentionally picked one of the weakest tossups to illustrate my point. However, I think this tournament could go from good to great next year with greater clue density.

I don't really want to become embroiled in this Brueghel issue, but I think the fact that Sarah plays and reads a lot of hard college tournaments may have skewed her judgement. Hunters in the Snow and Peasant Wedding are his best known works and Landscape with the Fall of Icarus is his third best known painting. As far as I can remember Triumph of Death has only come up as a tossup in Chicago Open and ACF Nationals, so I think that would be better before FTP.

Also I want to re-iterate what Mike said, the fact that Arnolfini Wedding came up is not problematic. It is only a problem if the tossup has too many stock clues and is unpyramidal. In fact I thought that the Arnolfini Wedding tossup from this tournament was excellent and is probably the best AW tossup I've seen at the high school level.

EDIT: Grammar
Last edited by Magister Ludi on Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Stat Boy »

Anti-Climacus wrote:As for the Six-Day-War tossup, the giveaway could also describe the Yom Kippur war, which Nasser also fought in
A giveaway clue with Nasser in it couldn't be describing the Yom Kippur War. Nasser died in 1970, so that seems like a reasonable clue.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Tower Monarch »

While Adam did beat me to that little Nassar fact I had been double-checking, I would just like to second Ted's comments on the Woolf question as probably true of a decent portion of questions on creators (I find the same to be true with artist and philosopher TUs as well) I have heard in the past year. As may be seen with my possibly-too-hard Zola TU, I do not like naming a single work early in an author question, and while that may be a little extreme, I strongly prefer a detailed plot description to the type of list knowledge possibly rewarded in other questions. (I would like to stress that this generalization actually applies more generally than to this GSAC, but I hoped that while list knowledge was almost absent in TUs like Arnolfini, somebody's list may have Between the Acts [mine, for example]).
On the other hand, I invite specific comments on "bonus fluctuation" and anything related to difficulty and am happy to respond if they fall in my fifth of the product; I stand by my earlier comments and find most if not all bonuses at a good level for the field and the TUs with accessible second halfs for the "average" (as opposed to Top 20 Nationals) teams. This brings me to a notion with which I have toyed for the past month or so: instead of separate packets (which have the obvious problems of double writing and editing time) for different sections of the field, would it be acceptable to teams not actively seeking Nationals qualification to play on questions with line limits (say 5.5 in the Gov template @ 12 TNR?), thereby eliminating the first 1-2 lines that literally (as my experience watching Cosby play teams that did not reach the top 15 or so) 99% of rooms would not convert (percentage among these non-National level teams)?
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by BuzzerZen »

Tower Monarch wrote:This brings me to a notion with which I have toyed for the past month or so: instead of separate packets (which have the obvious problems of double writing and editing time) for different sections of the field, would it be acceptable to teams not actively seeking Nationals qualification to play on questions with line limits (say 5.5 in the Gov template @ 12 TNR?), thereby eliminating the first 1-2 lines that literally (as my experience watching Cosby play teams that did not reach the top 15 or so) 99% of rooms would not convert (percentage among these non-National level teams)?
This is not a particularly good idea, I don't think. Clues that people aren't buzzing on give them an opportunity to learn, and thus the ability to get better. The reductive form of this is reading two-line tossups to the worst teams in the field, which is clearly not what anyone wants to be doing. If your field is converting a majority of tossups by the end from the top end of the field to the bottom, you're doing your job as far as difficulty control goes. Don't try to get fancy.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Tower Monarch »

The Laughing Man wrote:Maybe Breughel wouldn't be converted in as many rooms as it should be, but I think that toss up conversion is overrated. Obviously, the point of pyramidal questions is that everyone can play on them, but if you can't even toss up any answer as obscure as Breughel in the preliminaries, the answer space consists of 10 artists or something.
I agree with most of the points in this post and I don't want to continue the Breughel debate, but the day before the tournament I gave a study guide (which I may clean up and post someday) of all painters in the high school canon (I notably did not highlight or give works for Breugel as I had completely forgotten/never realized he was a likely TU answer) and came up with 83, 45 of which are undebatable as TU answers and that is not including the tier that includes Breugel and Escher (despite my having authored a TU on the latter). I guess my point is the answer choice is just that, a choice: yes, there were around 15 artists that are obviously appropriate for tossups and would not have repeated, but would probably been less interesting for writer and player alike. My memory is fuzzy, but examples of easier non-overlapping TU answers may include Velazquez, Rubens, Gainsborough, JMW Turner, etc.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Tower Monarch »

BuzzerZen wrote: Clues that people aren't buzzing on give them an opportunity to learn, and thus the ability to get better. The reductive form of this is reading two-line tossups to the worst teams in the field, which is clearly not what anyone wants to be doing.
Sorry, I didn't see your response before I started that last message. I think all the way until last month I would have had the same response, but I worry this is some form of "practiced and played with the top in the Nation" bias that, for me, came crashing down as I began working with the Cosby team. For them, and likely for the other 10+ teams who could not reach 10 PPB on these questions while top-10 teams approached and broke 20. The bottom line is a third of the field could not average more than three TUs per game even when playing similar level teams: the scoreboard shows like seven rooms with combined scores under 120 in the fifth round alone.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Blackboard Monitor Vimes »

Just want to say thanks to Ted for his insightful comments. That Woolf question was thrown in at the last minute and unfortunately never edited...it had to be used when someone unexpectedly failed to complete his assignment. I hope that the fact that I would have done something similar to what you suggested given world enough and time and the fact that that's one of the worst you could find means I may now have some idea what I'm doing. :smile:

I also do agree that my judgment has been a bit skewed (though far less so than at least one of my teammates) by my experience and as such I'm planning to do my best on getting a lot of our younger players at peer-editing next year (and of course for HAVOC, if it occurs).
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Tower Monarch »

MLWGS-Gir wrote: I'm planning to do my best on getting a lot of our younger players at peer-editing next year (and of course for HAVOC, if it occurs).
Even if I have to write 4 packets worth, I would really like to see this happen.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Blackboard Monitor Vimes »

Tower Monarch wrote:
MLWGS-Gir wrote: I'm planning to do my best on getting a lot of our younger players at peer-editing next year (and of course for HAVOC, if it occurs).
Even if I have to write 4 packets worth, I would really like to see this happen.
I'm of a very similar opinion. After winter break, I'm going to teach the frosh and the one sophomore and junior who have slipped through the cracks how to write questions. I think good, pyramidal but easier questions can do a lot of good for quizbowl around here in terms of getting people used to the format and the basics of the canon, and I really want HAVOC to happen again. Thanks for your support, Cameron. An announcement for this will follow when I confirm that we definitely can get it written and edited.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by Blackboard Monitor Vimes »

Questions from this tournament have now been re-emailed to Chris Carter so that all of them are .docs. Hopefully everyone will be able to view them soon.
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Re: GSAC XVI: December 6, 2008

Post by cdcarter »

I reposted the packets, now all .docs. Thanks!
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