Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS wrote:I think that each question (tossup or bonus) should ask about one solid topic... history, geography, economics, biology, etc.
Well, why? That doesn't conform to the way that people learn about most of these subjects, or to their real-world significance, or to anything except some ancient doctrine of over-specialization that someone once decided, probably incorrectly, was the best way to win at quizbowl -- and which certainly isn't the way to get the most out of it! Admittedly, even academia has become a lot more specialized in the last century or two than it used to be (and you'll find no shortage of thinkers complaining about it), but lots of interdisciplinary projects and departments exist, and most good professors I've had make a serious effort to link their subject with others. History and geography is a pretty blatant example -- you'd be hard pressed to find a college history major who hasn't been map-quizzed to death.
I like interdisciplinary clues a lot, so long as they're pretty well balanced in terms of the distribution. The problem that's happened in the past is that people have used cross-category clues to reduce the number of, e.g. science clues, and increase the number of, e.g. trash and geography clues, from what the distribution would otherwise be. That sort of subterfuge is not a good idea. But interdisciplinary clues do not necessarily reduce to this, I suspect, in the hands of a competent editor.
In the specific case of this tournament, I think asking about the capitals of countries where authors hail from (preferably using Dees' method) is probably a good idea once or twice, and can probably be balanced out by, e.g. using lit clues in geography or history bonuses.) Doing it five times in a tournament, though -- or whatever the precise number is -- is a bad idea, and is difficult to make up for in the distribution. In addition, it's rather boring, which even easy quizbowl does not have to be.