2009 HSNCT question discussion

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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:42 pm

I am partially on your side, Jerry, in that Ancient Mariner was appropriate and Asturias isn't really lateralable unless you're playing VERY aggressively ("bananas" just gives me LA; doesn't give me Guatemala). But a question on Sterne, say, that includes about half a line of clues from his most famous work, just isn't appropriate for this audience. I know Graham and Ben and Guy and Ike know more than one Sterne work, and other top players probably do too, but how far down do you have to get before you only know one Sterne work? It's very likely that for all but twenty teams, that was a one-line tossup.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Ken Jennings » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:49 pm

A.B.C.D E.F. Godthaab wrote:I don't really like either of those tossups, because both seem like easy powers for teams that know what they are (I hear that Guatemalan authors would write about issues for bannana farmers and that Portugal had a King named Sebastian), but not gettable at all for people who don't know what they are. In short, they're both transparent and overly difficult.
In hindsight, I'll agree with you on the "King Sebastian" clue and apologize for any transparency. That wasn't a super-meaningful clue to me; I assumed there were enough historical King Sebastians that this would just sound vaguely European. Well, it turns out only Portugal has had a King Sebastian, so I should have obfuscated that clue a bit. My bad. Somebody's just covered why that Asturias tossup isn't really as fraudable as you claim, so I won't get into that.

Are both too hard for NCT? They're certainly on the hard end. I remembering letting the Asturias tossup in on the grounds that (a) the world-lit answer space gets awfully cramped for high school play, so those answers tend to skew a little difficult in NAQT anyway, and (b) Nobel Prize winners and their works are an easy-to-study list for good quiz bowl teams.

The Sterne tossup is all about Tristram Shandy but for its short first sentence, maybe a third of the tossup. I took choosing "Sterne" rather than "Tristram Shandy" for an answer choice as a sign that the author wanted to stretch HS Sterne knowledge a little by including a short clue on A Political Romance, which I guess is fine by me. It's possible that better clues could have been chosen toward the end of the tossup, to reward whatever it is that good high school players know about Tristram Shandy.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:08 pm

everyday847 wrote:I am partially on your side, Jerry, in that Ancient Mariner was appropriate and Asturias isn't really lateralable unless you're playing VERY aggressively ("bananas" just gives me LA; doesn't give me Guatemala). But a question on Sterne, say, that includes about half a line of clues from his most famous work, just isn't appropriate for this audience. I know Graham and Ben and Guy and Ike know more than one Sterne work, and other top players probably do too, but how far down do you have to get before you only know one Sterne work? It's very likely that for all but twenty teams, that was a one-line tossup.
I'm not going to claim it's a superlative question on Lawrence Sterne. But when you get down to it, most teams won't know the answer to any given question until at least the second half, if not until the giveaway, if at all. If it were otherwise, they'd be challenging for the title. So claiming that Lawrence Sterne is too hard (as opposed to some other thing which isn't being complained about and is likely equally hard) is a little special pleading, I think. On the flip side, it was a pretty poor Sterne question (no clue on A Sentimental Journey, easily his second most famous work?) but that's not to say Sterne can't be asked about at HSNCT.
Last edited by grapesmoker on Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:10 pm

everyday847 wrote:The only argument I can find on why there's actually any difference besides notational gimmickry between the two is that if the integral of a function on [-2, -3] is x, its integral on [-3, -2] is -x. Granted, there was no integration involved, so who knows. The problem would have been as easily stated as "Three answers required: find this function's roots and its sign between them."
Could someone post the original?
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:16 pm

I think this points to the different types of laterability that Seth alludes to; if you know who King Sebastian is, and can get to Portugal and the Lusiads from that, I have no problem giving you the points for having that ability in high school. Surely it's a rare enough bit of knowledge that it distinguishes teams just as well as a pure factual buzz might. Knowing that "purring" is something cats do while "exhaling"...different story.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by master15625 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:16 pm

Packet 22 wrote: Pencil and paper ready. Baldwin wants to know the open interval on which the polynomial ~x~ squared plus 5~x~ plus 6 is less than zero; he knows that he can figure this out by factoring the polynomial and seeing which values of ~x~ make exactly one of those factors negative. He can then express that range of ~x~ values as an interval. (*) For 10 points--on what interval is ~x~ squared plus 5~x~ plus 6 negative?

answer: _(-3, -2)_ ["negative 3 comma negative 2"] or _x greater than -3 and x less than -2_ (accept equivalents, including _between -3 and -2_)
[The polynomial factors as (~x~ + 3)(~x~ + 2); for this to be negative, ~x~ + 2 would have to be negative but ~x~ + 3 positive, and thus ~x~ is between -3 and -2.]
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by master15625 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:18 pm

HKirsch wrote:This reminds me: In the semifinals, there was a comp math question asking for the interval over which a function is negative. Both teams (Dorman and State College) gave the answer [-3,-2], and both were counted wrong; the correct answer was said to be [-2,-3]. Could someone who knows more about math than I do explain why for an interval the order matters? Obviously, if it were a point, (-2,-3) and (-3,-2) would be quite different things, but it seems to me like either of the above answers should have been acceptable.
If they said it as, it were a closed interval it would be wrong. It says open interval in the question so they cannot have brackets around the numbers, but rather, parentheses. in other words, [-3,-2] should have been (-3,-2). Unless they said (-3,-2), then that would be weird.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:25 pm

Matt Weiner wrote: Knowing that "purring" is something cats do while "exhaling"...different story.
Sadly, I would have buzzed there.

Really, though, NAQT needs to tune into the argument regarding the target difficulty of tossups and decide what they want HSNCT to be. Is it a team with tossups on the Luciads targeted at differentiating the top teams or is it a tournament with tossups on SeaWorld and bonuses on big cats attempting to create a "nationals experience" for the other 120 or so teams that attend the tournament?
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:36 pm

Personally, I would like to see the elimination of Zoology subcategory. If somebody wants to write a Name That Animal question, then put it in General Knowledge. If somebody wants to write an Anatomy/Physiology/Pathology question that refers to animals, then that could be legitimate Biology. Even when it hasn't led to questions on purring, it has led to questions on penguins, polar bears, and similar topics that I personally find inferior to basic science topics.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:16 pm

master15625 wrote:
Packet 22 wrote: Pencil and paper ready. Baldwin wants to know the open interval on which the polynomial ~x~ squared plus 5~x~ plus 6 is less than zero; he knows that he can figure this out by factoring the polynomial and seeing which values of ~x~ make exactly one of those factors negative. He can then express that range of ~x~ values as an interval. (*) For 10 points--on what interval is ~x~ squared plus 5~x~ plus 6 negative?

answer: _(-3, -2)_ ["negative 3 comma negative 2"] or _x greater than -3 and x less than -2_ (accept equivalents, including _between -3 and -2_)
[The polynomial factors as (~x~ + 3)(~x~ + 2); for this to be negative, ~x~ + 2 would have to be negative but ~x~ + 3 positive, and thus ~x~ is between -3 and -2.]
It seems obvious that either (-3, -2) or (-2, -3) should be acceptable, as they designate the same open interval.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by setht » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:24 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
setht wrote:Chris, I think you've gone overboard in your response here; I guess that fits in with a lot of the other posts in this thread. Anyway, what you've written makes it sound like you disagree with, say, Andrew Yaphe's description of how the game is played. I agree with Andrew's claim that good quizbowlers playing on good questions do often get help figuring out answers (even to the point of buzzing) from clues they don't completely recognize. Do you disagree?

If you want to argue that the clues in the purring tossup and in Andrew's The New Science example are of drastically different quality (e.g. stuff people might learn in classes/from reading books vs. stuff about purring), I think that sort of distinction is a useful one. Suggesting that every clue should either be 100% useful (leads to a buzz) or 0% useful (no buzz, no narrowing down of the answer space, no pointing to certain conclusions) does not seem useful, not to mention impossible to implement.
Seth, no one that I've ever spoken to has taken the position that you seem to think Chris espouses (i.e. that Andrew's method of "figuring things out" is somehow wrong or illegitimate and clues shouldn't enable that), including Chris himself. I'm going to assume that you don't actually intend to defend this indefensible tossup and just point out that these are obviously different situations. Andrew's example of a tossup on The New Science relies on giving you facts that, if you don't recognize the answer from those facts straight away, enable you to successively narrow down the list of possible answers. Obviously the purring tossup doesn't do anything of the sort; it just tells you "this is a noise made by animals" then blathers for a little bit, and ends with "NOISE CATS MAKE." That's awful and dumb and in no way like the example in your link.
Jerry, I agree that the position I set out has not been espoused by anyone (including Chris) in the past, but my reading of Chris's post was that he was, in fact, espousing that point of view as a side-product of his criticism of the purring tossup. If I completely misread Chris's post I apologize, but at best I think he expressed himself in a way that could mislead readers (such as myself) and at worst I think he overshot his actual position on "figure-it-out" clues in that post. It's not a huge deal either way, but in the interests of getting something useful out of this thread (aside from letting various people vent), I thought it might be good to point it out. In fact, I think you do a somewhat similar thing in your next post where you try to point out some places where people may be focusing on less-important targets for criticism.

I don't intend to defend the purring tossup; I think it's a terrible idea for a tossup. I gather I wasn't clear enough in my second paragraph: I tried to give a brief version of what I think is the right way to approach criticizing the purring tossup--an approach that makes it clear why "purring" is no good but The New Science is fine, even though both questions feature clues that may not give players immediate access to the answer but can help people narrow things down progressively.

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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:09 pm

Seth is right in that I hastily wrote up a post that is open to misinterpretation; in interpretating my views, Seth is not correct that I (nor anyone else I know of) would take such a silly position. Obviously there is a world of difference between clues which allow knowledgeable players to narrow down answers (based on knowledge, which was the key point of my post) and clues that allow inane lateraling and confound pyramidality. To reference Andrew's post about the New Science tossup, being able to date the work in question by knowing about Bayle is not merely worthwhile and non-trivial knowledge that we should want to reward, it's philosophy knowledge of the same variety a good philosophy question should seek to translate into points. I do think it's an excessive interpretation of what I said to think that I'm saying you can't have things like that happen, just as I think it would be an excessive interpretation of your post to think that you were in any way defending the clues in the purring tossup. I maintain my belief that Matt Bruce's post indicates a belief that all quizbowl clues need to do to be worthwhile is help you lateral some information about the answer - it's not like I'm saying that some level of this is bad (a level, I think we can all agree, that needs to fall well short of "it's something animals can do while exhaling that's a low range sound). I'm saying that as Matt posted, those clues seem justified by the fact that they did that, and clues should never be about doing that. What I'm more centrally saying is, yeah, clues provide the kind of reference frame Andrew elucidates, but that's a secondary (though very important) function of clues - clues first and foremost present knowledge. The clues in the purring tossup do not present buzzable knowledge, and I continue to submit that the belief that presenting buzzable knowledge is not a mandatory requirement for clues is seriously misguided.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Tanay » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:19 pm

Another part of a question that irritated me was in a round against Santa Monica (I forget which one, it was between rounds 5-8) where we ended up losing by 10 (completely our fault, since we didn't know that first half questions should be challenged at halftime).
The question's answer was "Bhagavad Gita", but Santa Monica was prompted on their answer of "Mahabharata", which contains the Bhagavad Gita. This prompts me to ask whether in a question with the words (take this in relevant context, people) "Moses leads his people to freedom from Egypt in...", "Bible" would be prompted, if the answer was "Exodus".

Did anyone else have a problem with this question?

On an unrelated note, as a sports fan, I would like to point out that the questions on individual players weren't overly difficult. Allen Iverson, George Foreman, Tony Romo, and Tony Gwynn should be perfectly acceptable, as at some point in the last few years (or even now), they are relevant icons and not obscure backups. However, questions about teams (especially in their abundance at the HSNCT), such as the Lions and Royals, beginning with names such as Caleb Campbell and Luke Hochevar (who have done nothing of note in the sports world, are unacceptable. For teams that are academic stalwarts but slightly weaker in sports, I think a decrease in teams and a focus on players would be preferable. Even as an ARDENT hockey supporter, the "teams who moved" bonus was ridiculously hard. And throwing in two or three players late in the question doesn't help the issue, either. Therefore, on the issue of questions about sports, I think that the difficulty is fine in some cases, but not all.

On both sports and popular culture, I think they should be used more as toss-ups than bonuses (again, probably a contentious point). Beverly Hills 90210 as a bonus with NO easy questions is unacceptable, but a tossup with an ending like "FTP, what show whose name features a location in LA?" would probably be easier, fairer, and more academic. The bonus about American League Award Winners (that's baseball, FYI) is either a 30 or a zero, because people who care AT ALL about baseball could sweep the bonus off the team name ("Angels", "Rays", "Red Sox"), but otherwise, it's painful to watch people fire off "Johnson" or "Smith" when there has only been one relevant Johnson in baseball for the last 10 years. Therefore, I think the template, instead of decreasing sports substantially, should move sports bonuses to toss-ups.

Regarding the quantity of both sports and pop culture, I would say that the quality and distribution are more important. The template seems fair on focusing on academics, but asking about bands who haven't been in the news much ("Nine Inch Nails" and "Five For Fighting" last year, I don't remember which ones this year) isn't as fair.

Just my two cents.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Tanay » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:24 pm

One more note:

"Carat" shouldn't have been acceptable for "circumflex". Especially not at HSNCT, and definitely not if the question was being characterized as linguistics. I'm not blaming the linguistics guy (I thought his questions were fine), but accepting "carat" would be akin to accepting "the hood" for "ghetto", "Big Papi" for "David Ortiz", or "The Jesus Book" for "The Bible".
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by jagluski » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:39 pm

tk447 wrote: However, questions about teams (especially in their abundance at the HSNCT), such as the Lions and Royals, beginning with names such as Caleb Campbell and Luke Hochevar (who have done nothing of note in the sports world, are unacceptable. For teams that are academic stalwarts but slightly weaker in sports, I think a decrease in teams and a focus on players would be preferable. Even as an ARDENT hockey supporter, the "teams who moved" bonus was ridiculously hard. And throwing in two or three players late in the question doesn't help the issue, either. Therefore, on the issue of questions about sports, I think that the difficulty is fine in some cases, but not all.
I disagree with the first part of this argument. I remember the whole controversy about Caleb Campbell at the NFL Draft and how the Army (I forget which) changed its policies after he was drafted to prevent him from playing in the NFL. Luke Hochevar pitched in the majors for the Royals this season. Are these clues hard? Yes, but I don't find them to be unacceptable, especially when they were each in the first sentence of their respective tossups.

As for the hockey teams who moved bonus, I completely agree with you. I made this exact point in internal emails after reading through packets in the week prior to the tournament (even suggesting that I would be stunned if anyone did better than 0-10 points on it, with a majority of 0s), but I obviously didn't succeed in getting this question tossed from the set. I will try harder to do so next year if I find something to be this difficult.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:42 pm

"the hood" for "ghetto", "Big Papi" for "David Ortiz"
Both of these are acceptable as they are other valid ways of referring to the answer (well, maybe the first one is sort of debatable, but whatever). I don't know anything about linguistics though.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:53 pm

If one of the clues is Shift 6, then Caret is an acceptable answer. Also, I disagree that the team questions were too difficult, that the NHL bonus was difficult (since the clues provided a lot more information than where they moved from), and that pop culture should all be moved to all tossups.

I do agree that the AL Award Winners did not have an obvious easy or difficult part and that some of the music questions you refer to (like the Foo Fighters question mentioned upthread) were not very good. However, I'll return to the fact that the best thing that could be done about all of these questions is to have fewer of them.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:57 pm

I disagree that switching to players would help non-sports loving teams. For instance, a good chunk of people even if they are not sports fans could identify the Lions, especially from the giveaway (historically bad football team from Michigan). But would non-sports fans still be able to identify Barry Sanders or Adrien Peterson regardless of their importance and fame? I'm not a big fan of teams tossups at times because they tend to be rather records or personnel heavy, but the Lions tossup was pretty good, as it referenced lots of well known incidents (Caleb Campell and the Army, Dan Orlovsky running out of the end zone). Of course, I'm a Lions fan and maybe I was the only person in the country watching Lions games this year.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Tanay » Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:31 pm

jagluski wrote:
tk447 wrote: However, questions about teams (especially in their abundance at the HSNCT), such as the Lions and Royals, beginning with names such as Caleb Campbell and Luke Hochevar (who have done nothing of note in the sports world, are unacceptable. For teams that are academic stalwarts but slightly weaker in sports, I think a decrease in teams and a focus on players would be preferable. Even as an ARDENT hockey supporter, the "teams who moved" bonus was ridiculously hard. And throwing in two or three players late in the question doesn't help the issue, either. Therefore, on the issue of questions about sports, I think that the difficulty is fine in some cases, but not all.
I disagree with the first part of this argument. I remember the whole controversy about Caleb Campbell at the NFL Draft and how the Army (I forget which) changed its policies after he was drafted to prevent him from playing in the NFL. Luke Hochevar pitched in the majors for the Royals this season. Are these clues hard? Yes, but I don't find them to be unacceptable, especially when they were each in the first sentence of their respective tossups.

As for the hockey teams who moved bonus, I completely agree with you. I made this exact point in internal emails after reading through packets in the week prior to the tournament (even suggesting that I would be stunned if anyone did better than 0-10 points on it, with a majority of 0s), but I obviously didn't succeed in getting this question tossed from the set. I will try harder to do so next year if I find something to be this difficult.
I guess I agree with your assertions about Campbell and Hochevar, but there was a similar toss-up about the New York Jets which had Chad Pennington in the second sentence. I think this is too much of a dead giveaway for power, especially when other "team-themed" questions have Hochevar or Campbell, who require you to follow either the draft or the ESPN Rookie Rankings.

And in addition to the hockey bonus being painful, I think I recall a bonus about the Olympics where the last clue was "Czech two-time long jump champion" or something to that effect. Although this follows the pyramid format for being harder than the other two, I almost yelled an expletive in the middle of my round, since nobody on my team (and most of us watch sports) as well as the moderators had heard of this person. Maybe it's our own ignorance, but I'm sure others can relate with this next time they need to answer something about a Czech woman who did long jump five years ago.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Tanay » Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:34 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
"the hood" for "ghetto", "Big Papi" for "David Ortiz"
Both of these are acceptable as they are other valid ways of referring to the answer (well, maybe the first one is sort of debatable, but whatever). I don't know anything about linguistics though.
Well yeah, but the "ghetto" question was talking specifically about the names of Jewish quarters, so I don't see "hood" as acceptable.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by ihavenoidea » Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:49 pm

tk447 wrote: The question's answer was "Bhagavad Gita", but Santa Monica was prompted on their answer of "Mahabharata"
Hey, Anurag did not get a prompt on Mahabharata. Could someone post the original answer line?
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by fleurdelivre » Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:58 pm

tk447 wrote:One more note:

"Carat" shouldn't have been acceptable for "circumflex". Especially not at HSNCT, and definitely not if the question was being characterized as linguistics. I'm not blaming the linguistics guy (I thought his questions were fine), but accepting "carat" would be akin to accepting "the hood" for "ghetto", "Big Papi" for "David Ortiz", or "The Jesus Book" for "The Bible".
Shcool wrote:If one of the clues is Shift 6, then Caret is an acceptable answer.
Yeah, but you can't actually type shift-6 and GET an accent circumflex - you get a caret. These were decidedly distinct things until they got somewhat conflated by computer naming conventions, I think. If you want to type a letter with the accent over it, you still need a different key combination (alt-0226 for an â, for example, or alt-i followed by the letter on a mac), so the problem is less with the answer line than in offering such a clue that would require that two distinct answers be allowed.

My real problem with this question simply remains that accents are not good academic tossups; discussion of details beyond this seems superfluous - and I say this as someone who would earn points playing on them.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by dxdtdemon » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:15 pm

The other thing is that there are things considered circumflexes in other languages that use other symbols. For example, in romanized Uzbek, they use the apostrophe symbol.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Tanay » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:22 pm

By the way, I think it'd be fair to acknowledge some people here.
History questions were great.
Myth questions (the few that existed) were challenging but appropriate.
And current events questions were nice and relevant (Somalian pirates, etc).
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by InspectorHound » Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:02 pm

Hey, Anurag did not get a prompt on Mahabharata. Could someone post the original answer line?
Bhagavad Gita (prompt on "Mahabarata")
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:33 pm

I'm too lazy to dig it up, but after the New Trier Varsity tournament, a similar issue came up relating to the Mahabharata/Bhagavad Gita.

If there are clues read before the buzz that relate to the structure of the work in question (i.e. chapter/verse clues in Bible questions), then a prompt would be wrong. If the clues merely relate to what takes place within the work, then a prompt is warranted, in my opinion. As has been frequently stated, full text please.

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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:34 pm

Well yeah, but the "ghetto" question was talking specifically about the names of Jewish quarters, so I don't see "hood" as acceptable.
In that sense, no, it wouldn't be - you didn't really make that clear in your initial post (and Dwight Wynne SS tossups on "the ghetto" are oh so fresh in my mind. If this thing about the circumflex breaks down as "circumflex often looks like a caret, but it's not really a caret in the functional sense," then your analogy is pretty correct and the tossups is a clear case of someone realizing they wrote an ass-hard question and trying to force the giveaway into something else that people knew. The Big Papi thing is still not a good analogy, as that's just the guy's nickname and it's thus an acceptable way to refer to him.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Beekeeper » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:10 pm

JelloBiafra wrote:The clues in the purring question were virtually unbuzzable until "vocal cords" and the like were mentioned, at which point teams would have to get a lucky guess until the very end of the tossup.
Well actually that question was powered by at least one player. That player was me. I think the idea behind question like purring etc is twofold: reward lateral thinking and random knowledge. Whether these are things actually worth rewarding is a whole 'nother discussion.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by jagluski » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:19 pm

tk447 wrote:And in addition to the hockey bonus being painful, I think I recall a bonus about the Olympics where the last clue was "Czech two-time long jump champion" or something to that effect. Although this follows the pyramid format for being harder than the other two, I almost yelled an expletive in the middle of my round, since nobody on my team (and most of us watch sports) as well as the moderators had heard of this person. Maybe it's our own ignorance, but I'm sure others can relate with this next time they need to answer something about a Czech woman who did long jump five years ago.

I remember this one as well (I think it was actually a skier) and making the same comment on readthroughs. Thanks for making me aware that I need to be more forceful next year in getting stuff removed that is way too difficult.
Last edited by jagluski on Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:25 pm

Well actually that question was powered by at least one player. That player was me. I think the idea behind question like purring etc is twofold: reward lateral thinking and random knowledge. Whether these are things actually worth rewarding is a whole 'nother discussion.
No, that's pretty much this discussion, wherein we keep saying that those things are horrible things to reward. When Auroni calls the question virtually unbuzzable, I think he means that you weren't given any real knowledge with which you could buzz, aside from maybe knowing that some big cats can only purr while exhaling (I have been several feet away from purring big cats on occasions many and numerous, but I never managed to pick up this all-important fact - if only the question had been about how not to get eaten). I think the more likely scenario for people powering that question is "hey, what's a sound that some animals can make while exhaling" and just going for it. Whether this situation - or lateralable clues without any meaningful knowledge in them in general - are things that should have a place in quizbowl, well, I guess you could have a discussion about that, but I think the answer is pretty generally accepted.

EDIT: Also you need a signature dude.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:45 pm

Beekeeper wrote: Well actually that question was powered by at least one player. That player was me. I think the idea behind question like purring etc is twofold: reward lateral thinking and random knowledge. Whether these are things actually worth rewarding is a whole 'nother discussion.
Please tell me this is just a joke made by a proxy. Please. Please.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Wall of Ham » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:55 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote: Please tell me this is just a joke made by a proxy. Please. Please.
Beekeeper wrote:
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:13 pm

I have been several feet away from purring big cats on occasions many and numerous, but I never managed to pick up this all-important fact - if only the question had been about how not to get eaten
I hate to go off on a random tangent, but this is too intriuging to ignore.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:51 pm

tk447 wrote:
DumbJaques wrote:
"the hood" for "ghetto", "Big Papi" for "David Ortiz"
Both of these are acceptable as they are other valid ways of referring to the answer (well, maybe the first one is sort of debatable, but whatever). I don't know anything about linguistics though.
Well yeah, but the "ghetto" question was talking specifically about the names of Jewish quarters, so I don't see "hood" as acceptable.
I dunno, those Jewish boyz n the hood will CUT YOU.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Brian Ulrich » Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:02 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Paradox wrote:
tk447 wrote:
DumbJaques wrote:
"the hood" for "ghetto", "Big Papi" for "David Ortiz"
Both of these are acceptable as they are other valid ways of referring to the answer (well, maybe the first one is sort of debatable, but whatever). I don't know anything about linguistics though.
Well yeah, but the "ghetto" question was talking specifically about the names of Jewish quarters, so I don't see "hood" as acceptable.
I dunno, those Jewish boyz n the hood will CUT YOU.
I feel a Hebrew Hammer reference coming on.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Kechara » Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:22 pm

DumbJaques wrote: (I have been several feet away from purring big cats on occasions many and numerous, but I never managed to pick up this all-important fact - if only the question had been about how not to get eaten).
Yeah, but that's practical knowledge, so it has no place in quizbowl, whether it can be asked in a pyramidal form or not. :roll:

(edited once before posting due to my cat trying to delete Chris' quote while purring on both the inhaling and the exhaling. I guess 20.5 pounds isn't that big after all.)
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Beekeeper » Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:13 am

BuzzerZen wrote:Hey, I don't want to derail, and I'm hardly defending egregious trash stuff like "Tenderloin" or "Butthead", but this constant refrain that close games can be "decided" by trash questions, whether by their mere existence in a packet or by their ordinal placement in the packet, continues to strike me as silly. If you lose a game by 5 points, then you should've earned 10 more points, from whatever source. Trash questions aren't worth tons more points than other questions, and questions at the end of a packet aren't worth more than questions at the beginning of a packet.* If you want to say something like "trash questions [in NAQT or in general] have a tendency to be either markedly easier than the academic questions in a packet and thereby give easier points to whichever teams get them or markedly stupid and thereby give points essentially randomly" or "it is aesthetically bad to have trash questions fall in the latter 25% of a packet" then fine, but it seems to me to be simply wrong to say "our game was decided by a trash question" when your game was decided, as all quiz bowl matches are, by every question.

* I suppose that tossups earned towards the end of a match are necessarily more likely to secure a victory for a team than questions at the beginning of a match, and perhaps this is why the "[X] deciding a match" meme arises. I still don't think it makes much sense, rigorously speaking.
You can't actually say each question decides the game. The better lit team ought to get more lit questions, the better history team ought to get more history questions. But there is simply no way to study for random, non-academic junk, so those questions go to whatever team is lucky enough to happen to know the answer, which isn't really the object of quizbowl. So in that sense, matches do 'get decided' by random trash.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:01 am

Beekeeper wrote:
BuzzerZen wrote:Hey, I don't want to derail, and I'm hardly defending egregious trash stuff like "Tenderloin" or "Butthead", but this constant refrain that close games can be "decided" by trash questions, whether by their mere existence in a packet or by their ordinal placement in the packet, continues to strike me as silly. If you lose a game by 5 points, then you should've earned 10 more points, from whatever source. Trash questions aren't worth tons more points than other questions, and questions at the end of a packet aren't worth more than questions at the beginning of a packet.* If you want to say something like "trash questions [in NAQT or in general] have a tendency to be either markedly easier than the academic questions in a packet and thereby give easier points to whichever teams get them or markedly stupid and thereby give points essentially randomly" or "it is aesthetically bad to have trash questions fall in the latter 25% of a packet" then fine, but it seems to me to be simply wrong to say "our game was decided by a trash question" when your game was decided, as all quiz bowl matches are, by every question.

* I suppose that tossups earned towards the end of a match are necessarily more likely to secure a victory for a team than questions at the beginning of a match, and perhaps this is why the "[X] deciding a match" meme arises. I still don't think it makes much sense, rigorously speaking.
You can't actually say each question decides the game. The better lit team ought to get more lit questions, the better history team ought to get more history questions. But there is simply no way to study for random, non-academic junk, so those questions go to whatever team is lucky enough to happen to know the answer, which isn't really the object of quizbowl. So in that sense, matches do 'get decided' by random trash.
I posit that you're both wrong in different ways.

You're wrong because of course each question decides the game: every question is in play to both teams, and in a one-question game swinging any one of them would win you the game. The last question being last doesn't mean it's the only one that would have given you the win.

Evan's wrong because of course trash questions aren't worth more or systematically easier, so it's not that they're more likely to be the marginal n points; no one makes that argument (I hope). Rather, the correct argument against trash questions deciding the game is that under no circumstances should trash be the marginal n points at all; the fact that a trash question is as likely as any other category to decide the game is the problem because it's not zero.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Tanay » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:33 am

jagluski wrote:
tk447 wrote:And in addition to the hockey bonus being painful, I think I recall a bonus about the Olympics where the last clue was "Czech two-time long jump champion" or something to that effect. Although this follows the pyramid format for being harder than the other two, I almost yelled an expletive in the middle of my round, since nobody on my team (and most of us watch sports) as well as the moderators had heard of this person. Maybe it's our own ignorance, but I'm sure others can relate with this next time they need to answer something about a Czech woman who did long jump five years ago.

I remember this one as well (I think it was actually a skier) and making the same comment on readthroughs. Thanks for making me aware that I need to be more forceful next year in getting stuff removed that is way too difficult.
Thanks. By the way, another change that should've been made (again, most of the sports questions were fine in terms of difficulty so I hope I don't come across as too critical) was the tennis bonus. The three answers were "Federer, Nadal, Djokovic". I mean, asking the names of those three for a national-level tournament? When compared to the bonus which asked for the repeat winners of NBA titles in the last 15 years (which quite literally requires an encyclopedic knowledge of basketball history since 1993), the discrepancy in difficulties is too great. In fact, I recall specifically telling a guy on our B team (not the strongest at sports) the names of 5 tennis players, and those three were first. The point is that the discrepancies need to be managed more carefully. Nevertheless, I found every question to be interesting, well-phrased, and solid quiz bowl fun! So thanks for that...
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:45 am

I had forgotten about that one; really, listing the three best players in men's tennis isn't hard at all. This was the easiest gimme thirty of the tournament, unless I'm missing one.

Also, the compass math bonus where you had to give the degrees between [vocabulary test goes here] whose answers were 22.5, 12.25, and 90 was laughable. I'm only comforted by the fact that it probably fit the 0/1 orienteering distribution and didn't crowd out science.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:59 am

tk447 wrote:When compared to the bonus which asked for the repeat winners of NBA titles in the last 15 years (which quite literally requires an encyclopedic knowledge of basketball history since 1993), the discrepancy in difficulties is too great.
Really? Fifteen years takes you back all the way to 1994, and as a casual NBA fan I have no trouble pointing out that the Spurs, Lakers, and Bulls are the three obvious repeating teams from those years (the Rockets count too if 1994 is inclusive). The Bulls had that one guy Michael somethingorother who was pretty good at the basketball, or so I hear, and if you've watched the NBA regularly this season I don't think you could have missed mentions of either the Lakers' or the Spurs' repeated titles. This question really isn't hard at all.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Tanay » Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:34 am

grapesmoker wrote:
tk447 wrote:When compared to the bonus which asked for the repeat winners of NBA titles in the last 15 years (which quite literally requires an encyclopedic knowledge of basketball history since 1993), the discrepancy in difficulties is too great.
Really? Fifteen years takes you back all the way to 1994, and as a casual NBA fan I have no trouble pointing out that the Spurs, Lakers, and Bulls are the three obvious repeating teams from those years (the Rockets count too if 1994 is inclusive). The Bulls had that one guy Michael somethingorother who was pretty good at the basketball, or so I hear, and if you've watched the NBA regularly this season I don't think you could have missed mentions of either the Lakers' or the Spurs' repeated titles. This question really isn't hard at all.
Yes, but that's only 15-20 points MAX, and the fact that you profess to being a "casual NBA fan" puts you ahead of much of the community. The question actually goes back to the mid-1980's (poor memory on my part), and the other two answers are the Celtics and the Pistons. The point here isn't that the question is impossible (certainly not), but remembering most or all of these in the 10-15 seconds provided is far more difficult than getting Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic given nationalities and commonly known facts.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Pilgrim » Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:55 am

everyday847 wrote:I had forgotten about that one; really, listing the three best players in men's tennis isn't hard at all. This was the easiest gimme thirty of the tournament, unless I'm missing one.
The cats bonus where Sabertooth Tiger was the hard part pretty easily takes that crown.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:58 am

tk447 wrote:Yes, but that's only 15-20 points MAX, and the fact that you profess to being a "casual NBA fan" puts you ahead of much of the community. The question actually goes back to the mid-1980's (poor memory on my part), and the other two answers are the Celtics and the Pistons. The point here isn't that the question is impossible (certainly not), but remembering most or all of these in the 10-15 seconds provided is far more difficult than getting Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic given nationalities and commonly known facts.
I mean, being a tennis fan would put one ahead of the community as well (by the way, I would say that far more people follow the NBA than follow pro tennis, but whatever). I would probably not get very many points on a tennis bonus since I don't follow tennis, though I would know Federer and Nadal. I'll concede the point you raise here that asking for stuff from the mid-80s is actually a bad idea; the current crop of high school players was born after the end of that decade, so asking them about sports events from the mid-80s sounds like a bad idea (unless there were clues given from the current rosters or something like that). This is actually a problem that's plagued numerous NAQT events in the past, with a lot of stuff that the generally older roster of NAQT members like coming up in the pop-culture distribution.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot » Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:48 am

That tennis bonus was actively really, really easy. If you want an absurdly hard trash bonus, take a look at Days Go By/INXS/702. That was nuts! Did anyone actually get 702 from anything other than knowing what Las Vegas's area code is? The Madden curse bonus seemed pretty easy, too, or is Shaun Alexander more obscure these days than I give him credit for?
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Cheynem » Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:17 am

Both the tennis and NBA bonuses seemed sort of easy, although the NBA one was just that dreaded "list" bonus. I mean, it didn't require encyclopedic knowledge--that would be like naming the Finals MVP or something. It was just repeat winners of the Finals, all of which are pretty well known franchises with star players. I mean you might not get 30 or anything, but if Jerry, a casual NBA viewer, can pretty easily get 15 or 20, that seems fine to me. The tennis bonus seemed easy to me because I have never watched tennis and would have gotten Nadal and Federer anyway, so in this case, a non tennis follower easily gets 20.

The 90210 bonus was both hard and poorly written--I swear one part literally just asked who played such and such part without any additional clues. While better written in that it used additional clues and asked about modern day personalities, the China Beach bonus may also have been a bad idea (it should have at least asked about Dr. Dick anyway).
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Jun 04, 2009 11:40 am

Is 90210 being run again or something? Because, again, I can't imagine that today's high school students have a great amount of interest in a show that was popular when they were between 2 and 10 or however long that was.
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by sabine01 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 11:44 am

grapesmoker wrote:Is 90210 being run again or something? Because, again, I can't imagine that today's high school students have a great amount of interest in a show that was popular when they were between 2 and 10 or however long that was.
There is a new version of it on the CW. No... I don't watch it...

Returning you now to your regularly scheduled discussion...
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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:55 pm

Sir Thopas wrote:Tetralogy of Fallot? Cri du chat? Whoever decided to make these answer choices is so out of touch with quizbowl in general, especially in high school, that I would advise for them not to write ever again.
To echo what's already been said, these aren't that bad, actually; for example, I've written on both of them and know vastly more about quizbowl than you do. They would be fine hard parts of bonuses (which, I think, is what they were.) Of course, however, this tournament was riddled with terrible, terrible questions that failed in the way everyone familiar with NAQT would have predicted. I really hope NAQT will strive to do better.

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Re: 2009 HSNCT question discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:10 pm

Sir Thopas wrote:In case you haven't noticed, I tend to make stupid, blustery posts...
Just FYI, this is against forum rules and you will be banned next time you do it.

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