Harvard T-Party Discussion

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Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Okay, it looks like every mirror of this tournament is done. Set available at http://collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com/a ... tparty.zip.

Pillory and praise away!
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by BuzzerZen »

Meta-discussion split off to reduce clutter. Don't be reading this thread if you plan on participating in Matt's event and don't want to get bludgeoned by a vengeful Matt Weiner when it becomes clear that you have cheated.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

I think this set was a big improvement over T-Party 1995.

Though I only read a few rounds at the beginning and end of the tournament, I noticed something I want to comment on that I think comes up in a lot of Andy Watkins TU's (I noticed the same trend in HFT), which is a lack of true giveaways. For instance, at HFT there was a tossup on a Nigerian writer that ended simply with the name of his most famous work. The tossup notably did not even mention the fact that he was Nigerian. It just said "name this author of [work]." If I had written it, it would have ended "name this author of [most famous work], a [playwright or writer] from Nigeria." There exists some set of teams which would not get it off the most famous work, but which would have a 25-50% chance of getting off of "Nigerian author". I think that a generous giveaway like that is required by basic ideals of accessibility.

I can only recall one or two places in T-Party where I thought this was an issue, but I'm concerned by this trend and want to nip it in the bud if possible. I also apologize if I'm mis-attributing it.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Is this an issue in a lot of my tossups, or did it come up only one or two places? Anyway, let's say that this criticism applies to my tossup on the Cope rearrangement--I want to make sure we are discussing the right thing. At the end, I say
For 10 points, identify this pericyclic isomerization between substituted 1,5-dienes, which forms a sigma bond between carbons one and six and breaks one between three and four.
If there is an easier clue for the Cope rearrangement (other than "rhymes with Dope and starts with, for 10 points, the letter C") then I don't know it, and I think it's worse to risk giving the tossup to the team worse in chemistry by having a buzzer race, find-your-ass giveaway than to just have the tossup go dead--it's a potentially bigger swing from the ideal match outcome. Is a tossup on the Cope rearrangement too hard for the playoffs (because of mirrors, not consciously ramped up too much from the other packets; we just selected the harder packets of those blind to everybody) of a regular difficulty tournament? Perhaps, and I accept that. Then that should be the criticism (and it is certainly one you'd find applies to HFT, too). If I also fail to provide academic giveaways to some questions, then that's my bad, but I think they're much closer to having been an issue in "one or two" places than in a lot of my tossups--though I'm curious to find out either way.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

I would like to say thanks to Harvard and everyone who wrote for putting out a decent set that was worth the trip to Appleton to play against Illinois and Lawrence. It was, for the most part, an enjoyable experience.

I would like to point out my objection to three patterns that I sensed within the tossups in this set. First is the lack of specificity and veracity present within some nouns used to refer to tossup answers, but I shall leave that discussion for the far more articulate musings of Jerry. Second, there seemed to be a pattern within the philosophy tossups of not dropping any titles until the giveaway, which I think is a very unhelpful way of constructing such tossups. While I understand the desire to avoid rewarding binary knowledge, the concept of pyramidality within clues is usually effective in rewarding those with greater knowledge first. Not including titles within philosophy tossups can lead to a lack of grounding for the ideas that are being discussed within the tossup. It also could lead to such problems that were present in the Mill tossup when the one buzzable bit of information present in the tossup before the giveaway was Harriet Taylor ("What is Poetry" is not that unique of a title), but I am hoping that was an editing error rather than a deliberate placement. Finally, I am very disturbed by this trend of leaving out pronouns within some of the literature tossups. This is a technique which has no inherent benefits and only leads to confusion.

Other than that, I don't have very many complaints since I did enjoy myself far more than expected. :)

EDIT: Grammar.
Last edited by naturalistic phallacy on Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

I'm pretty sure anyone answering Ben Okri tossups doesn't really need to know that he's Nigerian, and for anyone who can't get Okri off his most famous work isn't going to be helped by "this Nigerian author" anyway (and I'm sure the same holds for Achebe, who also came up).
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

grapesmoker wrote:I'm pretty sure anyone answering Ben Okri tossups doesn't really need to know that he's Nigerian, and for anyone who can't get Okri off his most famous work isn't going to be helped by "this Nigerian author" anyway (and I'm sure the same holds for Achebe, who also came up).
It can also actively encourage relying on list knowledge and playing canon games: once the tournament has asked about all other Irish playwrights, surely they'll drag out Sean O'Casey! Avoiding "this is the trivially-defined small subset of askable people he fits into" is probably not always a good thing, but I bet it often is.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I thought the packets were pretty good. I'd be interested in hearing feedback on Minnesota's packet (which I wrote most of the history and some of the lit) and my freelance work (I think they kept the PLEASE MAKE FUN OF ME BECAUSE I SPEAK NEITHER LATIN NOR ENGLISH on 1812 election, As I Lay Dying, the cattle of Geryon, and a toss-up on Jude).

Toss-Ups I Liked: Nick Adams, Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Emancipation of slavery, Glengarry Glen Ross

Minor Quibbles: The Lyndon Johnson toss-up dropped "Hubert Humphrey was his VP" very early on. I wasn't a fan of all the common link ones--some were okay, some seemed a little forced. This is also the first time I remember hearing a toss-up on the extremely unmemorable election of 1904.

Oddities: I'm 100% sure I said "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg" and it was accepted anyway. I couldn't remember if it was "who" or "that" until I checked just now. It made no difference in that match. Greg Peterson also apparently thought my quick buzz on "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" was embarrassing. Perhaps it was but in a close match I will take my points.

There are also some things that were not so much bad, just interesting. It's tough, in my opinion, to write a War of the Worlds (radio broadcast) toss-up that is not transparent once you get to a pronoun. This was certainly one of the better attempts, but it was still easily gettable on the pronoun of "broadcast."
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by marnold »

William Afham wrote:Not including titles within philosophy tossups can lead to a lack of grounding for the ideas that are being discussed within the tossup. It also could lead to such problems that were present in the Mill tossup when the one buzzable bit of information present in the tossup before the giveaway was Harriet Taylor ("What is Poetry" is not that unique of a title), but I am hoping that was an editing error rather than a deliberate placement.
For what it's worth, that tossup was unedited from my original submission and I would claim some of those clues are definitely buzzable. Even if you don't like the lead-in and the What is Poetry? stuff, the von Humboldt - Mill connection is something that's definitely "real" and appears to have come up a good number of times before. The System of Logic stuff also seems fairly concrete and even has title clues. I'll concede its hardly a great a Mill tossup though.

Anyway, as long as I'm posting, I'll say the set was fine. I think our packet, Brown's packet and some of the editors' packets felt noticeably harder while some others (Dartmouth comes to mind) were noticeably easier, but it wasn't a big deal. I'm not convinced that quibbling about individual questions is useful, but I'll do it anyway with the only question that actually angered me: the Petey Pablo tossup. The "Blow Your Whistle" clue seems to be begging people to neg with Too $hort (as I did, hoping Andrew Yaphe had successfully introduced Blowjob Betty and Get In Where You Fit In to the canon). I suppose I should have remembered that the Too $hort song is "Blow the Whistle" and was a few years later, but at least that song meets the clue's claim of being a single, unlike the similarly titled Petey Pablo song which isn't on my copies of Mr. Pablo's first two albums. Anyway, yeah, the set seemed in general acceptable.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF »

For 10 points, identify this pericyclic isomerization between substituted 1,5-dienes, which forms a sigma bond between carbons one and six and breaks one between three and four.
I'll take the bait here, not so much as an indictment of the giveaway as it stands, but as an exercise in tossup construction. Now the last clause has clearly implied that you are asking for a rearrangement; I get this, but would it be bad form to add something like:

"a rearrangement reaction whose American discoverer also has an eponymous elimination reaction."
or maybe,
"whose 3-oxa variation is the Claisen rearrangement."
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by aestheteboy »

I'm not sure that Jerry's assertion is correct, although I can only speak for myself. I unfortunately cannot come up with any Okri works off top of my head right now, but I know that he is Nigerian, and I know enough about other Nigerian authors to be able to rule them out and probably come up with Okri. I do agree that Things Fall Apart is probably the easiest clue that any Achebe tossup can have.
I definitely don't agree with Andy. I don't know why list knowledge or grasp of the canon should not be rewarded by the end of the question. Knowing that O'Casey is Irish is no more superficial or unworthy (for the purpose of quizbowl) than knowing that he wrote this work called Juno and the Paycock is.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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everyday847 wrote:If there is an easier clue for the Cope rearrangement (other than "rhymes with Dope and starts with, for 10 points, the letter C") then I don't know it, and I think it's worse to risk giving the tossup to the team worse in chemistry by having a buzzer race, find-your-ass giveaway than to just have the tossup go dead--it's a potentially bigger swing from the ideal match outcome. Is a tossup on the Cope rearrangement too hard for the playoffs (because of mirrors, not consciously ramped up too much from the other packets; we just selected the harder packets of those blind to everybody) of a regular difficulty tournament? Perhaps, and I accept that. Then that should be the criticism (and it is certainly one you'd find applies to HFT, too). If I also fail to provide academic giveaways to some questions, then that's my bad, but I think they're much closer to having been an issue in "one or two" places than in a lot of my tossups--though I'm curious to find out either way.
More later, but half of the clues in that tossup also applied to Diels-Alder. I thought you were trying to be clever and write a hard Diels-Alder tossup (Aza modification, oxo modification, the whole concerted vs synchronous thing), but I was wrong. And the giveaway would have been served better by something that said "name this rearrangement, whose namesake also discovered an alternative to the Hoffman elimination in which an amine oxide leaves in order to create an alkene".
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! »

This tournament was good fun. I enjoyed the Shostakovich 5, Pamuk, Barthes, and ectopic pregnancy tossups. A few criticisms... There was significant difficulty swing both within packets and between packets, and I noticed a few needlessly transparent tossups. LBJ comes to mind, as do "yoga" and "druids." Also, bees? Really?

Thanks, Harvard, for a smoothly run tournament.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by ClemsonQB »

HKirsch wrote:I noticed a few needlessly transparent tossups. LBJ comes to mind
Looking back on it, I definitely should have done a better job of editing the LBJ question. Apologies.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

aestheteboy wrote:I'm not sure that Jerry's assertion is correct, although I can only speak for myself. I unfortunately cannot come up with any Okri works off top of my head right now, but I know that he is Nigerian, and I know enough about other Nigerian authors to be able to rule them out and probably come up with Okri. I do agree that Things Fall Apart is probably the easiest clue that any Achebe tossup can have.
I definitely don't agree with Andy. I don't know why list knowledge or grasp of the canon should not be rewarded by the end of the question. Knowing that O'Casey is Irish is no more superficial or unworthy (for the purpose of quizbowl) than knowing that he wrote this work called Juno and the Paycock is.
Mentioning that the Cope rearrangement is a rearrangement (using that specific word) would increase my chance of getting the tossup as a non-science player. Mentioning that Achebe is a Nigerian author actually would help some players - I remember that in high school, I knew that Achebe was Nigerian before I knew that he wrote Things Fall Apart.

I'm also pro-list knowledge - real knowledge is obviously better, but after FTP, I think that listy, canonish guesses like "Well, it said Irish and Wilde has already come up" should be rewarded. I think that at the end of the question, it may in fact be reasonable to use every means possible to keep the tossup dead as long as the clues stay within the rest of the clues' category - that is, yes "Russian poet and author" but no "rhymes with Pushpin."
Cheynem wrote:Minor Quibbles: The Lyndon Johnson toss-up dropped "Hubert Humphrey was his VP" very early on.
That was definitely too early.
Cheynem wrote:I'm 100% sure I said "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg" and it was accepted anyway.
This was moderator error by an unexperienced moderator, not an answer line error. However, the answer line just said "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg," and in this case, a do-not-accept would've been great.

Also while I'm on the topic of answer lines, foreign-language titles were very rarely given in the original as an alternate answer. One notable exception to that was "In the Steppes of Central Asia," which was given as  ñðåäíåé Àçèè, which I'm assuming is В Средней Азии with a formatting error... but anyway, I would've liked the original for some of the Spanish and French titles. German was usually given in English and German, though, which was nice.
Cheynem wrote:Greg Peterson also apparently thought my quick buzz on "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" was embarrassing. Perhaps it was but in a close match I will take my points.
Here is the text of the question up until your buzz. I'll let readers of this thread decide that for themselves:
"After a lookalike of this program’s title character streaked at a Halloween party, the title -BUZZ-"
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

aestheteboy wrote:I'm not sure that Jerry's assertion is correct, although I can only speak for myself. I unfortunately cannot come up with any Okri works off top of my head right now, but I know that he is Nigerian, and I know enough about other Nigerian authors to be able to rule them out and probably come up with Okri. I do agree that Things Fall Apart is probably the easiest clue that any Achebe tossup can have.
I definitely don't agree with Andy. I don't know why list knowledge or grasp of the canon should not be rewarded by the end of the question. Knowing that O'Casey is Irish is no more superficial or unworthy (for the purpose of quizbowl) than knowing that he wrote this work called Juno and the Paycock is.
My point is that if you don't know that Okri wrote The Famished Road, it seems unlikely that you're going to hear, "For ten points, identify this author of The Famished Road, a Nigerian writer," and go, "Oh, of course, that's Ben Okri!" It's simply not all that useful since there are several Nigerian writers who could all be tossup answers in this tournament (Okri, by the way, is probably one of the harder ones) so the very best that this clue allows you to do is to guess from some set of 4 or 5 writers and hope you get it right. Not entirely useless, but the next worst thing.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Here is the text of the question up until your buzz. I'll let readers of this thread decide that for themselves:
"After a lookalike of this program’s title character streaked at a Halloween party, the title -BUZZ-"
Sweet buzz, dude. She totally does get cloned and streak in that ep, good thing it gets blamed on that bitch Libby.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

No Rules Westbrook wrote:
Here is the text of the question up until your buzz. I'll let readers of this thread decide that for themselves:
"After a lookalike of this program’s title character streaked at a Halloween party, the title -BUZZ-"
Sweet buzz, dude. She totally does get cloned and streak in that ep, good thing it gets blamed on that bitch Libby.
Eric Mukherjee buzzed in the same place, winning us the rematch against Chicago.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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grapesmoker wrote:My point is that if you don't know that Okri wrote The Famished Road, it seems unlikely that you're going to hear, "For ten points, identify this author of The Famished Road, a Nigerian writer," and go, "Oh, of course, that's Ben Okri!" It's simply not all that useful since there are several Nigerian writers who could all be tossup answers in this tournament (Okri, by the way, is probably one of the harder ones) so the very best that this clue allows you to do is to guess from some set of 4 or 5 writers and hope you get it right. Not entirely useless, but the next worst thing.
In my opinion, the correct way to do this is to do, "For 10 points, identify this Nigerian author of The Famished Road." Chances are that someone hasn't already gotten this before the FTP, so the "easy information" is coming soon. Putting "Nigerian" before the work allows (1) someone who recognized a clue earlier in the question but is deliberating between Okri and one or two other (non-Nigerian) writers to buzz and (2) someone who is either clueless up to this point in the question or is off on some non-Nigerian train of thought to be "primed" for when the actual work shows up.

Priming is an important function of otherwise non-uniquely-identifying clues, such as a country of origin or a year in which the person did something. Each of these clues eliminates potential wrong answers from the "reasonable" answer space (for instance, if the question has implied/stated that this writer is American, that's not at all useful until Bus Stop comes up, and then you'd be an idiot to reflex buzz with Gao instead of Inge even though that clue could potentially apply to either of them). Furthermore, they make it much easier to associate clues with each other. For instance, this might be my thought process if the word "Nigerian" showed up, and I was playing a team that didn't have solid enough knowledge of Ben Okri to buzz immediately on or before The Famished Road:

"This is a non-major Nigerian writer. Okigbo? No, his most famous work is something else. They used "he", so it's not Emechata. Okri? Yeah, I think he did write that book. Maybe I should buzz now."

I can't guarantee that without the "Nigerian" clue to prime my memory, I would be able to pull Okri in five seconds, but I'd probably have a decent chance with the "Nigerian" clue.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

One of the reasons that Sabrina episode stood out in my mind is the complex ethical lesson it seemed to be teaching children. Sabrina irresponsibly creates a magical duplicate of herself, which gets into trouble by streaking. Rather than owning up to her mistake and taking the penalty (embarrassment?), she blames it on Libby. Yes, Libby is a bitch who encouraged the streaking in the first place, but the ethicality of this seemed dubious to me.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

Cheynem wrote:One of the reasons that Sabrina episode stood out in my mind is the complex ethical lesson it seemed to be teaching children. Sabrina irresponsibly creates a magical duplicate of herself, which gets into trouble by streaking. Rather than owning up to her mistake and taking the penalty (embarrassment?), she blames it on Libby. Yes, Libby is a bitch who encouraged the streaking in the first place, but the ethicality of this seemed dubious to me.
It just stood out in my mind due to nudity.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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Cheynem wrote:One of the reasons that Sabrina episode stood out in my mind is the complex ethical lesson it seemed to be teaching children. Sabrina irresponsibly creates a magical duplicate of herself, which gets into trouble by streaking. Rather than owning up to her mistake and taking the penalty (embarrassment?), she blames it on Libby. Yes, Libby is a bitch who encouraged the streaking in the first place, but the ethicality of this seemed dubious to me.
See, at some level, the explanation for Sabrina's action must be reducible to the form that the preconditions for its manifestations must have tended to enhance the reproduction of her ancestors.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

And the Halloween party was just a big circle jerk! It all makes sense now!
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Cheynem wrote:Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
I negged with "the burning of the Reichstag."
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

I'm just happy I can use Sabrina clues to lead in my next categorical imperative tossup.

Oh dear, the T-party discussion has taken a wrong turn at Albequerque.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Captain Sinico »

grapesmoker wrote:
Cheynem wrote:Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
I negged with "the burning of the Reichstag."
I was strongly considering this neg, too, though I eventually did get the right answer. I forget what led me to that.

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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by ClemsonQB »

In the aftermath of this event, Rhinelander Waldo received a promotion before his dismissal by Ardolph Kline and trial lawyer Max Steur won an acquittal for some participants. During it, William Bernstein unsuccessfully attempted to stop it and some of its participants had earlier been part of the Uprising of Twenty-Thousand while later it was denounced by Josephine Goldmark and Rose Schneiderman. Charles Hamilton and Frances Perkins, in addition to Robert Wagner led the investigation of this event, which occurred in the John Woosley designed Asch building owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris. Although it began on the eighth floor, many workers were not able to escape because of locked doors in, for 10 points, which 1911 industrial fire in which 146 female workers were killed in New York City?

I guess I can see how the first couple names sound German.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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ClemsonQB wrote:In the aftermath of this event, Rhinelander Waldo received a promotion before his dismissal by Ardolph Kline and trial lawyer Max Steur won an acquittal for some participants. During it, William Bernstein unsuccessfully attempted to stop it and some of its participants had earlier been part of the Uprising of Twenty-Thousand while later it was denounced by Josephine Goldmark and Rose Schneiderman. Charles Hamilton and Frances Perkins, in addition to Robert Wagner led the investigation of this event, which occurred in the John Woosley designed Asch building owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris. Although it began on the eighth floor, many workers were not able to escape because of locked doors in, for 10 points, which 1911 industrial fire in which 146 female workers were killed in New York City?

I guess I can see how the first couple names sound German.
I think the bit about "its participants" caused me to think of the Reichstag fire. I guess this ties into the points I make in the other thread: even though all the facts are right, it's confusing to refer to the people who perished in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire as "participants" in that event. I understand that you can't say "victims" that early, but you can just say something like "people affected by this event."
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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Holy crap, on paper, that looks like a neg for Reichstag waiting to happen. I think I benefited from being totally confused until I heard Frances Perkins.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

SnookerUSF wrote:"whose 3-oxa variation is the Claisen rearrangement."
For what it's worth, that had come earlier. I assumed "best known modification" is not as easy to buzz on as a precise description of what it does, though I guess that assumes that people aren't just buzzing off names.
aestheteboy wrote:I definitely don't agree with Andy. I don't know why list knowledge or grasp of the canon should not be rewarded by the end of the question. Knowing that O'Casey is Irish is no more superficial or unworthy (for the purpose of quizbowl) than knowing that he wrote this work called Juno and the Paycock is.
I guess I have a problem with giving a tossup to someone who knows nothing except that Saramago is both canonical and Portuguese (and that this isn't some difficulty level where lots of Portuguese authors are canonical, obviously). To me, that's fraud. Perhaps people disagree, but I don't think I deserve points when I know absolutely nothing out of an author's body of work but I get a tossup because I know his nationality.
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:More later, but half of the clues in that tossup also applied to Diels-Alder. I thought you were trying to be clever and write a hard Diels-Alder tossup (Aza modification, oxo modification, the whole concerted vs synchronous thing), but I was wrong. And the giveaway would have been served better by something that said "name this rearrangement, whose namesake also discovered an alternative to the Hoffman elimination in which an amine oxide leaves in order to create an alkene".
Upon rereading, yeah, you're absolutely right. I didn't look at that question at all--it was one of the first extra questions I wrote, late last summer--and I was pressed for time. That was stupid of me. That said--I'm sure that I only learned about the Cope elimination in passing, so I thought it wouldn't make a great giveaway.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

everyday847 wrote:To me, that's fraud.
Is fraud after the FTP still bad?
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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grapesmoker wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:In the aftermath of this event, Rhinelander Waldo received a promotion before his dismissal by Ardolph Kline and trial lawyer Max Steur won an acquittal for some participants. During it, William Bernstein unsuccessfully attempted to stop it and some of its participants had earlier been part of the Uprising of Twenty-Thousand while later it was denounced by Josephine Goldmark and Rose Schneiderman. Charles Hamilton and Frances Perkins, in addition to Robert Wagner led the investigation of this event, which occurred in the John Woosley designed Asch building owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris. Although it began on the eighth floor, many workers were not able to escape because of locked doors in, for 10 points, which 1911 industrial fire in which 146 female workers were killed in New York City?

I guess I can see how the first couple names sound German.
I think the bit about "its participants" caused me to think of the Reichstag fire. I guess this ties into the points I make in the other thread: even though all the facts are right, it's confusing to refer to the people who perished in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire as "participants" in that event. I understand that you can't say "victims" that early, but you can just say something like "people affected by this event."
Max Steuer didn't win an acquittal for some of its victims — he won an acquittal for Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, the owners of the company who had locked the doors so the women couldn't get out. I think that's much more difficult to word.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I wonder if Jerry was referring to the tossup part that said "participants had earlier been part of the Uprising of Twenty-Thousand." In this instance, the word "participants" refers to "victims."
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

everyday847 wrote:I guess I have a problem with giving a tossup to someone who knows nothing except that Saramago is both canonical and Portuguese (and that this isn't some difficulty level where lots of Portuguese authors are canonical, obviously). To me, that's fraud. Perhaps people disagree, but I don't think I deserve points when I know absolutely nothing out of an author's body of work but I get a tossup because I know his nationality.
For many folks in world lit, their notability is at least as much a function of their nationality as any specific work, especially if they started a national literary tradition, or wrote specifically about their home country, or created the national epic, or anything like that. This is not necessarily the case for all writers, but if their national identity is part of their literary identity, then it ought to be fair game without a second thought. To riff on your Saramago example, would you think it's a good idea to end a Camoes tossup without a reference to Portugal?
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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everyday847 wrote:I guess I have a problem with giving a tossup to someone who knows nothing except that Saramago is both canonical and Portuguese (and that this isn't some difficulty level where lots of Portuguese authors are canonical, obviously). To me, that's fraud. Perhaps people disagree, but I don't think I deserve points when I know absolutely nothing out of an author's body of work but I get a tossup because I know his nationality.
If one team knows a single Portuguese author and the other team doesn't, then we shouldn't make both of them miss the tossup. Writing, "FTP Name this author of The Stone Raft and Blindness, a Nobel Laureate from Portugal" will ensure that everyone familiar with (at least titles of) Saramago's work will answer the question before someone who only knows that he's from Portugal, but people who have heard of a single Portuguese writer will still be able to get 10 points on a team that hasn't heard of any. The giveaway should be the most basic piece(s) of information known about the answer, and in this case, "from Portugal" is a more well-known clue than the title of any work. Still, it's an (arguably, I guess, since you're apparently arguing that it isn't) academic clue that people can demonstrate knowledge on; it's not at the same level of fraud that "FTP name this author whose last name anagrams to 'A. A. Orgasm'" would be.
everyday847 wrote:I'm sure that I only learned about the Cope elimination in passing, so I thought it wouldn't make a great giveaway.
Cope elimination is "important" as it's the "other" elimination reaction that doesn't follow Zaitsev's rule. Noted terrible judge of difficulty me wrote a rightly-cut tossup on it for an ACF Regionals a few years back.
Kyle wrote:Max Steuer didn't win an acquittal for some of its victims — he won an acquittal for Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, the owners of the company who had locked the doors so the women couldn't get out. I think that's much more difficult to word.
Perhaps "two of the people responsible for this event" for "some participants" in the first sentence and "some of the people involved in this event" for "some of its participants" in the second sentence? To me, that pretty much narrows it down to either a strike or something where a lot of people died. I think the union of those two sets is a large enough answer space to keep from transparency.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by ClemsonQB »

I have no problem with writing "participants" because the reason for having lead-in clues is not to award guessing but rather knowledge.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:For many folks in world lit, their notability is at least as much a function of their nationality as any specific work, especially if they started a national literary tradition, or wrote specifically about their home country, or created the national epic, or anything like that. This is not necessarily the case for all writers, but if their national identity is part of their literary identity, then it ought to be fair game without a second thought. To riff on your Saramago example, would you think it's a good idea to end a Camoes tossup without a reference to Portugal?
Right, but the point of adding a nationality giveaway clue is precisely to increase conversion to some ideal level, whereas it hadn't been before, right? If you need to tell your field that Strindberg was from Sweden to get 85% conversion, since otherwise you'll only get 50% conversion, then obviously they're buzzing not because they think "oh yes, I recall being moved by his deep significance in the Swedish literary tradition"--they're buzzing because they heard a buzzword. And moreover, if you can increase conversion by 35% just by providing nationality, then you must be at a point where knowing nationality does, in fact, narrow the answer space a whole lot.

Perhaps--I don't know one way or another--there are thirty Swedish playwrights tossupable at, say, ROBOT level. Then I have nothing against including a nationality clue--but it also serves as a poor giveaway, so there'd be no point to including it there.
it's an (arguably, I guess, since you're apparently arguing that it isn't) academic clue that people can demonstrate knowledge on; it's not at the same level of fraud that "FTP name this author whose last name anagrams to 'A. A. Orgasm'" would be.
Sure, not all fraud is created equal; you are certainly relying on knowledge of a fact rather than anagramming skill. But I always understood almanac clues to be things that quizbowl doesn't like. I say that if one team knows a Portuguese author but can't name a single thing he wrote, that team should not get points. Besides, if that author were incidentally not Portuguese, then that kind of giveaway would not exist at all; the only reason it works is that not many of its authors are canonical. If I know zero Shakespeare works and the tossup gets to the end, I can't expect the tossup to go on (past "name this English author" to what, various facts about his life? his birthday?) just so that someone can get it because they know that Shakespeare was baptized on April 26th.
Cope elimination is "important" as it's the "other" elimination reaction that doesn't follow Zaitsev's rule. Noted terrible judge of difficulty me wrote a rightly-cut tossup on it for an ACF Regionals a few years back.
Yeah, I'm familiar with it; I just assumed that said "other" elimination is probably a kind of hard giveaway, seeing as bonus parts on Hoffman elimination regularly go unanswered.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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marnold wrote: Anyway, as long as I'm posting, I'll say the set was fine. I think our packet, Brown's packet and some of the editors' packets felt noticeably harder while some others (Dartmouth comes to mind) were noticeably easier, but it wasn't a big deal. I'm not convinced that quibbling about individual questions is useful, but I'll do it anyway with the only question that actually angered me: the Petey Pablo tossup. The "Blow Your Whistle" clue seems to be begging people to neg with Too $hort (as I did, hoping Andrew Yaphe had successfully introduced Blowjob Betty and Get In Where You Fit In to the canon). I suppose I should have remembered that the Too $hort song is "Blow the Whistle" and was a few years later, but at least that song meets the clue's claim of being a single, unlike the similarly titled Petey Pablo song which isn't on my copies of Mr. Pablo's first two albums. Anyway, yeah, the set seemed in general acceptable.
Why would Too $hort appear in Drumline? Once that clue came in (and it was before "Blow Your Whistle"), its quite clear that we're talking about a southern rapper who is fairly recent.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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ClemsonQB wrote:I have no problem with writing "participants" because the reason for having lead-in clues is not to award guessing but rather knowledge.
While I doubt that anyone here disagrees with your sentiment, I think that the reason some people had a problem with that particular noun usage is because it sort of throws people off as to what type of event it is. As has been stated earlier, I don't think that the use of the word "victims" narrows down the answer space enough that a random guess has a high percentage (or any significant percentage) of being correct.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by ClemsonQB »

swwFCqb wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:I have no problem with writing "participants" because the reason for having lead-in clues is not to award guessing but rather knowledge.
While I doubt that anyone here disagrees with your sentiment, I think that the reason some people had a problem with that particular noun usage is because it sort of throws people off as to what type of event it is. As has been stated earlier, I don't think that the use of the word "victims" narrows down the answer space enough that a random guess has a high percentage (or any significant percentage) of being correct.
I don't really see how it does throw people off, Isaac and Max certainly participated in the event as much as the 146+ women involved.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

ClemsonQB wrote:I have no problem with writing "participants" because the reason for having lead-in clues is not to award guessing but rather knowledge.
Agreed. A neg like the one that people are complaining about is part of the risk you take when you buzz on lateral clues rather than real knowledge.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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ClemsonQB wrote:
swwFCqb wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:I have no problem with writing "participants" because the reason for having lead-in clues is not to award guessing but rather knowledge.
While I doubt that anyone here disagrees with your sentiment, I think that the reason some people had a problem with that particular noun usage is because it sort of throws people off as to what type of event it is. As has been stated earlier, I don't think that the use of the word "victims" narrows down the answer space enough that a random guess has a high percentage (or any significant percentage) of being correct.
I don't really see how it does throw people off, Isaac and Max certainly participated in the event as much as the 146+ women involved.
Well, all I'm trying to say is that "participants" and "victims" are not entirely synonymous and have different connotations; thus, some confusion may result.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

swwFCqb wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:
swwFCqb wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:I have no problem with writing "participants" because the reason for having lead-in clues is not to award guessing but rather knowledge.
While I doubt that anyone here disagrees with your sentiment, I think that the reason some people had a problem with that particular noun usage is because it sort of throws people off as to what type of event it is. As has been stated earlier, I don't think that the use of the word "victims" narrows down the answer space enough that a random guess has a high percentage (or any significant percentage) of being correct.
I don't really see how it does throw people off, Isaac and Max certainly participated in the event as much as the 146+ women involved.
Well, all I'm trying to say is that "participants" and "victims" are not entirely synonymous and have different connotations; thus, some confusion may result.
Only if you are going to buzz off a lateral guess, rather than off real knowledge. If you know who these people are, then I think you can figure out what the TU is trying to say. If not, again, your fault for buzzing off a guess.

Lateral guessing is a talent and most top quizbowl players do it all the time, but I don't think questions should be written so as to specifically reward it.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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Whig's Boson wrote:I don't think questions should be written so as to specifically reward it.
I totally agree with this, but I do think that words should be used carefully so as not to lead players in the wrong direction, whether it be purposefully or unpurposefully.

Either way, while there may or may not be better words that could have been used, it's not as if the wording of the question was unsatisfactory, so any complaints or objections would be minor quibbles. FWIW, I agree with the two of you that there really isn't any problem with the use of the word "participants" in that question, but I can also see why some people would have rather seen a different word used.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Birdofredum Sawin »

everyday847 wrote: Sure, not all fraud is created equal; you are certainly relying on knowledge of a fact rather than anagramming skill. But I always understood almanac clues to be things that quizbowl doesn't like. I say that if one team knows a Portuguese author but can't name a single thing he wrote, that team should not get points. Besides, if that author were incidentally not Portuguese, then that kind of giveaway would not exist at all; the only reason it works is that not many of its authors are canonical. If I know zero Shakespeare works and the tossup gets to the end, I can't expect the tossup to go on (past "name this English author" to what, various facts about his life? his birthday?) just so that someone can get it because they know that Shakespeare was baptized on April 26th.
I've noticed a trend of refusing to provide basic clues in tossup giveaways at a couple of tournaments this year. I guess exaggerated anxiety about "fraud" is as good an explanation for this trend as anything, but to my mind it really doesn't make much sense.

To see why such giveaways aren't really objectionable, consider the following. Imagine a solidly pyramidal, 5-sentence-long tossup on Saramago whose last words are "a Nobel Laureate from Portugal." When does this giveaway clue matter?

1. If two good teams are playing each other, this clue will never be heard (or it'll be heard after a neg, but a good team will know Saramago before that anyway, so it's immaterial).

In this case, it doesn't matter at all whether the Portugal clue is in the tossup.

2. If two bad teams are playing each other, and nobody in the room knows much about Saramago, there is a chance that someone will buzz on the "Portugal" clue who wouldn't buzz without it. When two bad teams play on real academic questions, tossups tend to be answered infrequently at best, which means the results are usually pretty random: e.g., one team wins the game 35-20 because somebody on that team happened to know something like "there is an author from Portugal whose name is Saramago."

In this case, it matters whether the Portugal clue is in the tossup, but I would argue that having the clue in there is a good thing. It's not as if a game like the one I'm describing is going to matter in the standings, and someone who would otherwise have been utterly defeated by the packet manages to get a question (and maybe even feels that his rudimentary studying is starting to pay off, which prompts him to get even more interested in the game, etc.).

3. If one good team is playing a bad team, the good team will either a) get the question before this clue or b) neg. In the first case, the clue is again immaterial. I think (b) here is the only case in which you can really make any kind of argument against this kind of giveaway, on the grounds that "if the team didn't know more than that about Saramago, it didn't deserve to get those points against this opponent."

So, one point I want to make is that it is only in this (very particular) kind of circumstance that the question of "deserving to get points on an allegedly fraudulent giveaway" really comes up, and it isn't clear that the possible harm of the giveaway in 3(b) outweighs the possible benefit of it in case 2.

A second point would be: Why is this kind of knowledge deemed "not worthy of points" in the first place? Sure, "name this author whose surname rhymes with Paramago" is insulting and silly, but it isn't at all clear why non-contrived clues like "name this author from Portugal" should merit the same dismissal.

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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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Birdofredum Sawin wrote:A second point would be: Why is this kind of knowledge deemed "not worthy of points" in the first place? Sure, "name this author whose surname rhymes with Paramago" is insulting and silly, but it isn't at all clear why non-contrived clues like "name this author from Portugal" should merit the same dismissal.
I think your argument is the correct one, and you've certainly convinced me. To clarify why I believed that "name this author from Portugal" is little better than an explicitly contrived clue--I suppose my reasoning ran parallel to my opposition to science history.

Since science history is so far removed from the academic study of science, it's possible that it belongs somewhere in a quizbowl distribution ("other academic thought?" who knows), but it cannot belong in a science distribution. For similar reasons I try, when i can afford it, to avoid history of science clues in my questions. I don't write a bonus part on urea with the clue that it's the first organic compound synthesized from inorganic materials--it's important for other reasons, and I highlight those (and if it's too hard to be an easy part at tournament x or a middle part at tournament y because I don't use the history clues, then so be it). Similarly, I think it'd be a bad idea to include a clue in a literature tossup that isn't related to the study of literature (and of course memorizing plot details isn't either, but memorizing authors' countries of origin is even less so).

That said, your argument is convincing that in the long view this probably encourages more good quizbowl than in the short term it promotes bad.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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everyday847 wrote:and of course memorizing plot details isn't either, but memorizing authors' countries of origin is even less so).
I dispute that point. Knowing that Aline Solness worries about her breast milk is less important - from a "study of literature" perspective - than knowing that Ibsen is Norwegian. Knowing that Oscar Wilde is Irish is more important than any detail from any of his plays.

What makes you think that country of origin clues are unrelated to the study of literature? Literature doesn't exist in a vaccuum - books come from authors and authors come from places. As an English major, I have yet to study a single work without hearing a brief lecture on its author - and the author's familial (and geographic) background is always mentioned.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

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Perhaps my perspective is thirty years out of date (it almost inevitably is, since my mom got her masters nearly thirty years ago, and most of my opinion about literature are influenced by her), but I still believe in close reading, the principle that a text should exist independent of its author, and I don't like speculative arguments about crap like the author's "intentions." But this is far afield of the discussion at hand. If prevailing scholarship nowadays holds that it's important to know where the author of a text is from, I will mourn prevailing scholarship but concede the point re: quizbowl.
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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Birdofredum Sawin »

This discussion continues to be more interesting than studying for a tax exam.

I think it's a bad idea to get hung up on the specifics of this Saramago example. For one thing, being "from Portugal" is pretty obviously a salient fact about the author of "Journey to Portugal." For another thing, it isn't obvious that "Nobelist from Portugal = Jose Saramago" is actually an easier (more insulting? more jejune?) giveaway than, e.g., "author of Hamlet = Shakespeare." Is "For 10 points, name the author of Hamlet" also objectionable as the final clue of a dense, pyramidal tossup on Shakespeare? If so, why? (Surely not because it is irrelevant.)

In general, I'd want to argue that the giveaway for a tossup should comprise clues which will be as widely known as possible, even to people who only have very superficial knowledge of the answer. The problem with "NAQTies" was that they were clearly written to nudge people who lacked even superficial knowledge of the answer. The thinking behind those giveaways always seemed to be "nothing we could say would possibly lead you to identify this author, whose surname is X; but surely you have heard of this actor, whose surname is also X, so why don't you do that now instead." That, to me, is clearly insulting and out of place in "good quizbowl." But it isn't the same as a giveaway which is extremely easy or banal, but which also happens to pertain to the actual answer.

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Re: Harvard T-Party Discussion

Post by Captain Sinico »

Yeah, I agree with Andrew and Greg here. Some level of biographical detail, especially of writers, is generally extremely important in an academic sense.
I'd also like to make a separate but perhaps related point. I don't think there's necessarily an imperative to put the easiest real clue about something as its giveaway. In fact, I think doing so is a bad idea, unless one can select a set of answers with easiest real clues of about the same level of notability (which I'll contend is impossible.) It seems to me that always putting the easiest real clue last is going to lead to some questions having either correspondingly easier leadins, significantly greater length, or much more precipitous drop-offs in difficulty. Therefore, I think, as a writer or editor, one should be sure to include a giveaway, but a giveaway tuned to hit the conversion rates for your field, which is not always or generally going to be the easiest real clue.

MaS

PS: I meant that I agree with Andrew's earlier post, of course; we manifestly have some differences regarding his most recent post.
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
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