2010 ICT discussion

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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:00 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:I'd like to say this ICT was probably the best so far in the mean, but it had a couple packets (7 and 12) that I found very poor. If my judgment is right there, that's unacceptable at a nationals, since any game is potentially very high leverage.
What did you find problematic about those two particular packets?
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:05 pm

grapesmoker wrote:By the way, will the ICT be available in electronic form? It's a real pain to have to comb through a 2-inch high stack of packets to cite the thing you want to talk about.
And while the system of handing out paper packets helps eliminate the possibility of readers reading the wrong packets, it's environmentally unfriendly, etc. and so forth. A password system works just as well, and I think these days you can depend upon readers to have laptops.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by nobthehobbit » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:39 pm

If my opinion counts for anything in the whole trash discussion, I'd like to add that while I'm in full agreement with Jerry, Mike and others who advocate for no trash (at least, when it comes to higher-level tournaments), I think that if there is going to be trash, it should at least conform to something roughly approximating a trash packet (or some suitable scaling thereof). That is to say, the trash should be distributed roughly 20% each sports, movies, music, TV, and other. Looking at the NAQT distribution, I see that sports gets 33%, while music, movies and TV get 41% split evenly between them, and other gets 26%. So please, NAQT: if you're not going to get rid of trash, at least have it spread evenly across the categories!

(Hannah: while this hasn't been an issue for me--at least, not yet--I personally don't own a laptop and am more than a little wary of taking a borrowed one across the border, and I would be wary even if I did own it.)
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by bmcke » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:39 pm

I really liked what I saw of both tournaments. I am glad that NAQT gives out polls every time.

It's like when a comic book gets adapted into a really good movie, and the comic book fans decide to hate the movie just because it got some costume wrong.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:43 pm

bmcke wrote:It's like when a comic book gets adapted into a really good movie, and the comic book fans decide to hate the movie just because it got some costume wrong.
I believe the Geneva Convention forbids the use of analogies so torturous.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by vandyhawk » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:37 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:I didn't see anything wrong with the biology, though I don't have a whole lot of knowledge in that field; its power-marking did seem weird, though, pretty frequently. (That's not the subject editor's job in NAQT's structure, and that might be a problem; I don't know.)
I did a bunch of the power-marking in this set, so any weirdly placed power marks you saw in science tossups are probably my fault.

Should we have subject editors place power marks? Maybe. The reason we don't do that now is to avoid having power be systematically harder or easier in particular categories; instead we have set editors place power marks in large batches while they are reading over assembled packets.
I understand the argument for having set editors do the power marking, but I think it's time we consider letting subject editors do it. If a set editor isn't equally comfortable with different categories, I think that leads to variations at least as big as having subject editors with perhaps slightly different ideas of what is power-worthy. Plus, set editors could always move the marks if they so choose.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:09 am

bmcke wrote:It's like when a comic book gets adapted into a really good movie, and the comic book fans decide to hate the movie just because it got some costume wrong.
I'm honestly not sure what you're saying here. If it's what it seems to me, i.e. "Trash in NAQT is a minor, unimportant issue only a few top teams care about," I'd say it's actually a pretty major category that has swung more than one national title and that this is nationals, so what the top teams care about should really be about all that matters. This is rather different from the case of a comic book movie, which is almost by definition unimportant and which is meant to appeal to anyone spending entertainment money.

M
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Charbroil » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:12 am

Captain Sinico wrote:
bmcke wrote:It's like when a comic book gets adapted into a really good movie, and the comic book fans decide to hate the movie just because it got some costume wrong.
I'm honestly not sure what you're saying here. If it's what it seems to me, i.e. "Trash in NAQT is a minor, unimportant issue only a few top teams care about," I'd say it's actually a pretty major category that has swung more than one national title and that this is nationals, so what the top teams care about should really be about all that matters, which is not the case in, say, a comic book movie meant to appeal to anyone spending entertainment money.

M
Also, it's worth noting that my Community College teammates, who are probably the polar opposite of the elite players you're allegorizing in your metaphor, also complained about the inordinate frequency of some types of trash as well as about how obscure much of it was.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by nobthehobbit » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:34 am

Captain Sinico wrote:
bmcke wrote:It's like when a comic book gets adapted into a really good movie, and the comic book fans decide to hate the movie just because it got some costume wrong.
I'm honestly not sure what you're saying here. If it's what it seems to me, i.e. "Trash in NAQT is a minor, unimportant issue only a few top teams care about," I'd say it's actually a pretty major category that has swung more than one national title and that this is nationals, so what the top teams care about should really be about all that matters. This is rather different from the case of a comic book movie, which is almost by definition unimportant and which is meant to appeal to anyone spending entertainment money.

M
In fact, going by NAQT's stated collegiate distribution, if you add together the usually-complained-about categories (by my understanding, these are trash, CE, geo, Impure Academic, and GK), these take up 23% of the distribution; even excluding geography on the grounds that it is technically academic and can be written well on occasion, we're still talking around 17.5% of the distribution, with trash taking up about half of that.

By comparison, the Big Three split 58% roughly equally between them. The next largest top-level category after those is trash.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by bmcke » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:37 am

I guess I'm saying that, for a lot of people upset about the trash this weekend, they were probably already expecting not to like the trash this weekend. Tournaments have flaws. Power-marks and the Economist seem like valuable discussion points, but if there was really 3/3 hockey in the set, that's only 2/2 hockey more than there should be, which seems like a pretty small issue. Probably even those hockey questions were good hockey questions.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:50 am

bmcke wrote: Probably even those hockey questions were good hockey questions.
There's a couple of ways I could answer that, but I won't.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by nobthehobbit » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:00 am

bmcke wrote:I guess I'm saying that, for a lot of people upset about the trash this weekend, they were probably already expecting not to like the trash this weekend. Tournaments have flaws. Power-marks and the Economist seem like valuable discussion points, but if there was really 3/3 hockey in the set, that's only 2/2 hockey more than there should be, which seems like a pretty small issue. Probably even those hockey questions were good hockey questions.
Either 1. That's 2/2 that could have been academic questions, or 2. That's 2/2 that could have been about pop culture Americans (and most of the field was American) actually care about--hockey's barely a blip on the average US pop culture radar screen. (Apologies to American hockey fans/those from US hockey hotbeds.) It doesn't matter how good the questions were or were not--having three times as many questions in a subdistribution than your stated distribution gives is unacceptable.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Charbroil » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:08 am

bmcke wrote:...if there was really 3/3 hockey in the set...
Notwithstanding the fact that people aren't complaining about hockey in particular, so much as the large amount of trash in the set in general, no one is saying that there was 3/3 hockey in the set except for you.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:12 am

There was only 1/1 hockey in this set.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:46 am

bmcke wrote:I guess I'm saying that, for a lot of people upset about the trash this weekend, they were probably already expecting not to like the trash this weekend. Tournaments have flaws. Power-marks and the Economist seem like valuable discussion points, but if there was really 3/3 hockey in the set, that's only 2/2 hockey more than there should be, which seems like a pretty small issue. Probably even those hockey questions were good hockey questions.
That's a pretty lazy, ill-considered position. I'm not "upset" about trash: I don't think it should be included in the major academic national championships. My position on trash at this level is the result of careful consideration after years of observation and, even in light of that, my view isn't so hidebound that I don't reconsider it in light of what I see in NAQT sets every year. Everything I've seen this year has sustained and reinforced that position.
More importantly, the existence of trash in the set at all is what's at issue here for me, not how much of it was hockey or any other similar asininity. The fact that even players who like trash at this level are seemingly never satisfied with it is one aspect of one argument for getting rid of it, that's all.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, there's no reason I can see for accepting a flaw that can very easily be gotten rid of. The existence of trash in ICT is such an issue because trash's presence must be considered far from fixed. NAQT could decide tomorrow to get rid of it and that would be that (more or less.) If you don't believe me, consider that HSNCT until this year contained calculation tossups, but they're now completely gone. That's a change of the same kind as, of a similar magnitude to, and on the same timescale as what I'm asking for here, in a set much more lucrative for NAQT.
To sum up, the fact that I've long disliked trash in nationals-level academic tournaments does nothing to undermine my position, which is that trash doesn't belong in nationals-level academic tournaments. We are here debating the existence of trash at all in ICT, which is beyond question a very significant issue qua ICT. Finally, if trash's presence is an imperfection, there is no reason to accept it as trash could be removed easily, in both a speculative and pragmatic sense.

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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by kayli » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:10 am

Trash is bad in all levels of competitive play. Each tossup or bonus could determine a game. In the most competitive levels of play (especially at national tournaments), there should be no trash. I've heard the argument that trash is there to coddle new teams. If this is the case, then there should be no reason to coddle teams at nationals-level competition seeing as most nationals-levels teams are not complete newbies to the quizbowl scene. To be succinct: There should be no reason for there to be trash questions at nationals-level competition. Anyone have a good reason? If not, why is it still there?
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Golran » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:31 am

TRASH is still an important part of the general knowledge base. Why should we exclude any type of knowledge from the distribution at all? I like ACF's current model where "Your Choice" makes up a small portion of the distribution, and that pop culture is not over-emphasized, though in 26/26 rounds I wouldn't mind seeing 2/1, 1/2, or even 2/2 Pop Culture/Current Events showing up. What should be done is (in my opinion) make sure pop culture answer choices are somewhat current in order to emphasize the study of current happenings (i.e. baseball players that are still playing, recent/still relevant albums) that could come up in normal conversation around the water cooler at a job.

So I guess my main point here is that TRASH knowledge is still real knowledge and should be rewarded equally. Stuff should be done to ensure that the answerability of TRASH questions is on par with that of the academic portion of the set.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:41 am

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:Trash is bad in all levels of competitive play. Each tossup or bonus could determine a game.
So like, the only way a trash tossup comes anywhere close to actually definitely deciding the game is a) an acf game with 1 dead tossup in which after 19 tossups the score is tied 360-360 and the remaining 1/1 of the game is trash, or b) an NAQT game in which the last tossup on the clock in a game that also has had every possible point scored to that point with no trash so far is tied with the last tossup being trash, right?

The existence of a trash question in a close game, be it at nationals or otherwise, does not mean that a trash question decides the game- even if the difference in score is within the swing of the points on the trash question, there are still almost certainly several other points that also would have made the difference, but because a) trash is slightly different in nature and b) certain board members with the presumed authority to proclaim the evils of trash from their bully pulpits choose to do so, trash gets to be the category that everyone blames before they blame terrible academic questions or geography questions.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by vandyhawk » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:12 am

I've never really minded the presence of trash in NAQT. To me, there has always been a distinction between "academic tournament" trash and "trash tournament" trash, where the former is more mainstream and accessible to people who don't specialize in it (best way to do this IMO is to focus on more recent topics), while the latter is full of stuff that would seem very hard/obscure to a high percentage of people who play academic but not trash tournaments. In my experiences playing NAQT over the years, there were several tournaments that I felt had the appropriate "academic tournament" trash feel; from reading the trash questions at this ICT, I can't say I got that same feeling. Speaking only for myself here, it seems doubtful trash will be removed from ICT; reduced, perhaps (I have some distribution ideas that I'll try to post/circulate internally at some point soon), but it definitely needs to do a better job of picking more mainstream answers, which would hopefully go at least some distance toward alleviating peoples' concerns.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:17 am

Frater Taciturnus wrote:The existence of a trash question in a close game, be it at nationals or otherwise, does not mean that a trash question decides the game- even if the difference in score is within the swing of the points on the trash question, there are still almost certainly several other points that also would have made the difference, but because a) trash is slightly different in nature and b) certain board members with the presumed authority to proclaim the evils of trash from their bully pulpits choose to do so, trash gets to be the category that everyone blames before they blame terrible academic questions or geography questions.
I'm pretty sure none of us attack the presence of trash before (or to the exclusion of) bad academic questions. But look: NAQT can solve the problem of trash--you don't contest that it's valid to construe it as a problem, merely that it's doesn't necessarily decide games--by not writing it. NAQT can solve the problem of bad academic questions by writing better ones. Which sounds easier to beg NAQT to do?
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:00 am

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Frater Taciturnus wrote:The existence of a trash question in a close game, be it at nationals or otherwise, does not mean that a trash question decides the game- even if the difference in score is within the swing of the points on the trash question, there are still almost certainly several other points that also would have made the difference, but because a) trash is slightly different in nature and b) certain board members with the presumed authority to proclaim the evils of trash from their bully pulpits choose to do so, trash gets to be the category that everyone blames before they blame terrible academic questions or geography questions.
I'm pretty sure none of us attack the presence of trash before (or to the exclusion of) bad academic questions. But look: NAQT can solve the problem of trash--you don't contest that it's valid to construe it as a problem, merely that it's doesn't necessarily decide games--by not writing it. NAQT can solve the problem of bad academic questions by writing better ones. Which sounds easier to beg NAQT to do?
If the "problem of trash" is the mere existence of a trash question somewhere, then yes it is easily fixed by removing the concept of trash. However, I see the biggest problems with trash to be the issues with answer selection and distribution already continually pointed out in this and other discussions, and as really a microcosm of the issues that NAQT questions get criticized for on the whole.

Also, your position seems to suggest that cutting trash is the easier, less effort solution, so where do these extra academic questions come from to replace the elimination of trash, that would come easier than just having writers and editors write good questions?
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:33 am

I would like to refocus this discussion a little, since it seems there has been precious little discussion of the set's qualities and a preponderance of talk about trash's presence in ICT. While I have no doubt the non-academic distribution often colors the experience of the set - in fact, I gave up my right to play NAQT tournaments for more or less this reason - I don't think a discussion of its place in NAQT need be central to a discussion about the ICT set.

I don't think this ICT was the ne plus ultra of academic tournaments, but looking through the questions beforehand I was fairly confident this was a good set. With the qualification that I am obviously biased since I wrote a good number of questions for this tournament, I thought this ICT had the best questions of any thus far. There were admittedly a few clunkers in the literature and miscellaneous distributions, and I certainly think it unfortunate those questions had undue influence on the outcome of important matches, but I think the number of bad questions in the set was fairly limited. Perhaps I've had too much of the NAQT kool-aid or ginseng concoctions or whatever it is they make otherwise staunch ACF partisans like myself imbibe but I generally see a number of rather subpar tossups in ACF tournaments that are otherwise bathed in encomium; if ICT had more than any of those tournaments, I'm not sure it's that many more. I hardly disagree standards should be considerably higher for a national championship set but I think there's some lack of perspective within this discussion.

To shed some light on the production of the set, I ended up writing or editing nearly every math and physics tossup in the set something like four days before the tournament when it became apparent that no one else was doing it. Jerry, I'm sorry if it came off as "lazily" written to you, but I avoided the use of named or stock clues as much as I could given the character limit. I find the character limit to be little barrier for writing good questions in most categories, with the salient exception of science, and math and physics in particular, wherein the description of quantities and relations often has to be truncated or one has to drop a name to ensure a reasonable distribution of buzzes.

That said, I would be very surprised if any but a couple of the tossups rewarded wikipedia reading: does wikipedia really teach you about getting the Boltzmann transport equation from the BBGKY hierarchy? Or about Stringer diagrams? I find that notion highly suspect. I wrote pretty much every question out of a textbook or lecture notes (the number of arched eyebrows and porcine snorts of displeasure I earned from my boss for reading Swanson's Plasma Waves at work will attest to it); if that coincides so thoroughly with wikipedia reading, perhaps it is a too maligned resource for knowledge. Again, I apologize if there were a lot of buzzer races, but in a field featuring yourself, Seth, Mike, Andy, Eric, Dwight, and assuredly some other excellent science players, it seems highly unlikely that each tossup could distinguish effectively amongst you. I hold no delusions that math and physics were particularly well written, and I did not get a chance to work on every tossup, but I don't think they were particularly bad.

The topics of trash and physics aside, it seems like the only other questions inciting ire in this discussion are the social science, philosophy, and literature common links. I had no part in writing any of these, except for editing the "laughter" tossup to spend more time describing Laughter in the Dark. That said, most of them (we'll leave "democracy," "farting," and a couple others aside) seemed like fine questions to me. It is unfortunate that so many of them found their way into packet 7, and I am absolutely in the camp that supports mandating per packet distributions, but I think a number of these tossups actually did a pretty good job of testing extracanonical knowledge. By and large I think this is one of ICT's strengths, but I am susceptible to the argument that ICT should, given the strictures of its format, focus on making questions that are designed for competition and hence should worry somewhat less about "real knowledge" or "learning" than ACF does.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:27 am

Frater Taciturnus wrote:So like, the only way a trash tossup comes anywhere close to actually definitely deciding the game is a) an acf game with 1 dead tossup in which after 19 tossups the score is tied 360-360 and the remaining 1/1 of the game is trash, or b) an NAQT game in which the last tossup on the clock in a game that also has had every possible point scored to that point with no trash so far is tied with the last tossup being trash, right?
Huh? No. Like, even in your weird case one could say, "well, trash didn't decide the game, if you were better at other categories you would have gotten the other tossup and won."

I kind of regret bringing this up again and maybe this should be broken off into a separate thread.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:21 am

Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe wrote:I don't think this ICT was the ne plus ultra of academic tournaments, but looking through the questions beforehand I was fairly confident this was a good set. With the qualification that I am obviously biased since I wrote a good number of questions for this tournament, I thought this ICT had the best questions of any thus far.
I think I would agree with this assessment. From a technical perspective, there was much to like about these questions on an individual basis. I was glad that most of the silly tropes that have plagued NAQT sets in the past have disappeared although a few have remained. I'm thinking of things like the TV science bonus and some other dubious things that I'm trying to track down right now.
There were admittedly a few clunkers in the literature and miscellaneous distributions, and I certainly think it unfortunate those questions had undue influence on the outcome of important matches, but I think the number of bad questions in the set was fairly limited. Perhaps I've had too much of the NAQT kool-aid or ginseng concoctions or whatever it is they make otherwise staunch ACF partisans like myself imbibe but I generally see a number of rather subpar tossups in ACF tournaments that are otherwise bathed in encomium; if ICT had more than any of those tournaments, I'm not sure it's that many more. I hardly disagree standards should be considerably higher for a national championship set but I think there's some lack of perspective within this discussion.
I don't think there are too many questions I could point to that I would say are just downright bad. My problem with the literature, philosophy, and social science questions was that a very, very large fraction of them (I don't know how large, I'd have to look that up) were basically questions of the form of "have you heard of this title?" I'm usually pretty firm in my defense of common links, but this felt like an overwhelming amount, to the exclusion of questions on works and authors. In addition, a lot of questions had really steep difficulty cliffs; the tossup on Yeats from round 1 comes to mind. There were some poems listed that I'd never heard of, which is ok since I don't have insanely deep Yeats knowledge, but from there it went straight to "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," without any intermediate clues. Of course, you're limited by space here, but if so, why not cut back on the very hard clues and have a finer gradation? Seemed like a lot of tossups went this way.
To shed some light on the production of the set, I ended up writing or editing nearly every math and physics tossup in the set something like four days before the tournament when it became apparent that no one else was doing it. Jerry, I'm sorry if it came off as "lazily" written to you, but I avoided the use of named or stock clues as much as I could given the character limit. I find the character limit to be little barrier for writing good questions in most categories, with the salient exception of science, and math and physics in particular, wherein the description of quantities and relations often has to be truncated or one has to drop a name to ensure a reasonable distribution of buzzes.
That's really unfortunate that you had to write like this. I guess I don't mean that you were literally lazy in writing questions, but to me it felt like a lot of the early clues especially were recycled from earlier questions. Of course, I don't actually mean that you purposefully lifted clues from older packets; what I mean is that I saw a large recurrence of clues that had come up a whole bunch of times before. Two instances which come to my mind are the tossup on the Ising model, which led off with the clue about Istrail showing the computational intractability of its 3D form, and the precession tossup which led with the BMT equation. There's nothing wrong with those questions as such, but those clues have been used multiple times before (and I should know since to the best of my knowledge I introduced those clues to the canon). I ended up losing a third-word buzzer race to Eric on that Ising model question and that's frustrating because my entire physics background is being rendered worthless by one clue. Likewise, I'm sure that I would have lost a buzzer race on that precession tossup as well if I'd been playing Eric or someone with slightly faster reflexes. That's frustrating to me because questions like that basically reduce to "do you remember this thing from earlier packets?" instead of "do you know something meaningful about the topic at hand?"

I do want to point out an awesome bonus on angular momentum in packet 9. That's the kind of thing we should have more of.
That said, I would be very surprised if any but a couple of the tossups rewarded wikipedia reading: does wikipedia really teach you about getting the Boltzmann transport equation from the BBGKY hierarchy? Or about Stringer diagrams? I find that notion highly suspect. I wrote pretty much every question out of a textbook or lecture notes (the number of arched eyebrows and porcine snorts of displeasure I earned from my boss for reading Swanson's Plasma Waves at work will attest to it); if that coincides so thoroughly with wikipedia reading, perhaps it is a too maligned resource for knowledge. Again, I apologize if there were a lot of buzzer races, but in a field featuring yourself, Seth, Mike, Andy, Eric, Dwight, and assuredly some other excellent science players, it seems highly unlikely that each tossup could distinguish effectively amongst you. I hold no delusions that math and physics were particularly well written, and I did not get a chance to work on every tossup, but I don't think they were particularly bad.
Again, I don't think they were objectively bad. I just don't think they did a very good job of distinguishing between good players at this field. I think part of that has to do with the fact that most of the answer choices were not particularly adventurous. There are only so many things you can say about the Lorentz transformations, and of course as soon as "Poincare" was dropped Seth and I buzzer-raced and he won. There's just not a whole lot of room at ICT to include multiple intermediate clues about Lorentz transforms, so if I were writing for ICT I would probably make the question on something harder, at least for the playoff rounds.
The topics of trash and physics aside, it seems like the only other questions inciting ire in this discussion are the social science, philosophy, and literature common links. I had no part in writing any of these, except for editing the "laughter" tossup to spend more time describing Laughter in the Dark. That said, most of them (we'll leave "democracy," "farting," and a couple others aside) seemed like fine questions to me. It is unfortunate that so many of them found their way into packet 7, and I am absolutely in the camp that supports mandating per packet distributions, but I think a number of these tossups actually did a pretty good job of testing extracanonical knowledge. By and large I think this is one of ICT's strengths, but I am susceptible to the argument that ICT should, given the strictures of its format, focus on making questions that are designed for competition and hence should worry somewhat less about "real knowledge" or "learning" than ACF does.
I'm not sure how questions that are designed for competition are somehow at variance with real knowledge. Again, in isolation I don't think anything is wrong with any of these questions individually, but taken as a whole, they basically reward knowledge of the existence of titles. As for testing extracanonical knowledge, I don't see why you can't do that with answer selection, especially in the playoff rounds.

Just as an exercise here are the tossup answers from packet 9:
Sixtus IV, Virginia, Robert Smithson, the third law of thermodynamics, net neutrality, gag rule, Risk, Patroclus, A Treatise of Human Nature, Boltzmann, van Ruisdael, Richelieu, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman, dams, Getulio Vargas, Lou Pinella, lichens, South Sea bubble, Kazakhstan, Huffman coding, Mallarme, habeas corpus, analytic, Flint strike, The Napoleon of Notting Hill.
There really doesn't seem like a particularly adventurous answer set. Most of these questions would not be out of place at any regular difficulty tournament. I'm sympathetic to the argument that clues dictate the question difficulty, but the clues weren't particularly exciting either. Not that there was anything wrong with any of these questions, but I don't think any of them really ventured into exciting extracanonical territory either in answer selection or in clue selection.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:18 am

My point about extracanonical clues was exclusively in reference to the common links and not to the set broadly. I think extracanonical clues did come up in, say, the "democracy" tossup, which mentioned Robert Dahl and Charles Lindblom. They were a little too inclined towards "fill in the blank" variety but I recall a tossup on chess leading in with a description of Zweig's Royal Game; that seems pretty exciting to me, and certainly the best way to ask about new material given NAQT's limits on difficulty and characters.

I'll also point out my original answer set for physics was somewhat more stimulating: tossups on the stress-energy tensor, Poisson brackets, the Boltzmann transport equation, the variational principle, fundamental groups, etc. Most of these were rejected as being too difficult so I rewrote them on easier topics. As a set editor I probably could have placed the harder counterparts in, but I'm not sure it would have made for a better set overall.

The Ising model question was one of the tossups I had no chance to touch. I too thought the Istrail clue being so early was unfortunate but at the time my predominant worry was finishing the set: hence the equally complaint worthy tossup on precession. I honestly didn't know that the BMT equation was so well known or that it had come up before, and I think that probably was the case with a number of the clues in the physics tossups. It's also worth pointing out that the Lorentz transformation tossup was sent to difficulty check for possibly being too hard, and a number of editors suggested it needed some easier clues mentioning "contraction." It may not seem adventurous to you (or me, for that matter), but it's certainly adventurous to the editors at NAQT. I also think it's probably pretty difficult to construct an accessible question on relativity related topics that finely delineates between you and Seth yet remains accessible to the field.

I agree ICT isn't particularly adventurous; I would know, since I had an awful lot of questions returned for being too hard. But I think that's merely one of the ways that ICT distinguishes itself from ACF Nationals. On the spectrum of activities where one end is "competitive game for broad field of players" and the other is "activity about learning and distinguishing levels of knowledge of relativity among people with doctorates in astrophysics," I think ICT leans towards the former and ACF Nationals leans towards the latter.

Your point about the playoff rounds is well taken and impossible to implement with the current system. Since the questions are distributed and assigned to packets without any substantial intervention by human hands, you do end up with a situation wherein the playoff rounds and preliminary rounds are of the same difficulty. This also contributes to the problem of packets with an unfortunate concatenation of subject matter or question type, as in Packet 7.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:35 am

Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe wrote:I'll also point out my original answer set for physics was somewhat more stimulating: tossups on the stress-energy tensor, Poisson brackets, the Boltzmann transport equation, the variational principle, fundamental groups, etc. Most of these were rejected as being too difficult so I rewrote them on easier topics. As a set editor I probably could have placed the harder counterparts in, but I'm not sure it would have made for a better set overall.
I really don't understand why these set off the "difficulty flags" that I was told about at the tournament. These are perfectly cromulent answer choices for a field which features some really good players in those areas.
It's also worth pointing out that the Lorentz transformation tossup was sent to difficulty check for possibly being too hard, and a number of editors suggested it needed some easier clues mentioning "contraction." It may not seem adventurous to you (or me, for that matter), but it's certainly adventurous to the editors at NAQT. I also think it's probably pretty difficult to construct an accessible question on relativity related topics that finely delineates between you and Seth yet remains accessible to the field.
This suggests to me that there's a substantial disconnect between what the NAQT editors think is "adventurous" and what actually represents a departure from rather standard material to the best players. I'll also say that, personally, I think distinguishing between two good players in any field on the top teams is more important than conversion rates at the bottom (although, having said that, I also think that the two can be compatible; I'm just not sure if they are compatible within the character-limited framework of NAQT). It seems to me that a lot of these teams are being helped out by the expanded trash/geography distributions, so I'm not sure why academic content should be compromised as well.
I agree ICT isn't particularly adventurous; I would know, since I had an awful lot of questions returned for being too hard. But I think that's merely one of the ways that ICT distinguishes itself from ACF Nationals. On the spectrum of activities where one end is "competitive game for broad field of players" and the other is "activity about learning and distinguishing levels of knowledge of relativity among people with doctorates in astrophysics," I think ICT leans towards the former and ACF Nationals leans towards the latter.
I don't think it's just about distinguishing between me and Seth on a relativity question. It's about being able to tell between substantively different levels of knowledge in all categories.
Your point about the playoff rounds is well taken and impossible to implement with the current system. Since the questions are distributed and assigned to packets without any substantial intervention by human hands, you do end up with a situation wherein the playoff rounds and preliminary rounds are of the same difficulty. This also contributes to the problem of packets with an unfortunate concatenation of subject matter or question type, as in Packet 7.
That's pretty unfortunate. There's something about the distribution algorithm that keeps producing packets like these, and I wish that this would stop happening. It's incredibly frustrating to go an entire round without hearing a tossup in some category and then having three of that category come up in the next one. It also makes more sense to me that more difficult questions should appear predominantly in the latter stages of the tournament, where they can be used to effectively distinguish among top-bracket teams.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:42 am

Golran wrote:TRASH is...
TRASH is a company that writes pop culture tournaments and has nothing to do with NAQT. What we're talking about here is unacademic questions.
Golran wrote:Why should we exclude any type of knowledge from the distribution at all?
For a wide variety of reasons. First and foremost, because it's unacademic and we want an academic game. I suspect you haven't really thought through the answer to this question, though, and just expect it to stand as a rhetorical point. I'll inform you, then, that is drastically fails to do so.

MaS

PS: Please stop arguing about what "deciding the game" means. This is at least the third instance of this pointless semantic argument and it never goes anywhere! The fact is that trash is a large part of ostensibly academic tournament ICT and I don't think that's right. You can say whether you think that means it decides games or not, but nobody cares.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:44 am

grapesmoker wrote:
Your point about the playoff rounds is well taken and impossible to implement with the current system. Since the questions are distributed and assigned to packets without any substantial intervention by human hands, you do end up with a situation wherein the playoff rounds and preliminary rounds are of the same difficulty. This also contributes to the problem of packets with an unfortunate concatenation of subject matter or question type, as in Packet 7.
That's pretty unfortunate. There's something about the distribution algorithm that keeps producing packets like these, and I wish that this would stop happening. It's incredibly frustrating to go an entire round without hearing a tossup in some category and then having three of that category come up in the next one. It also makes more sense to me that more difficult questions should appear predominantly in the latter stages of the tournament, where they can be used to effectively distinguish among top-bracket teams.
There's actually nothing technically impossible about making the playoff rounds harder. It's just existing NAQT policy that the entire tournament is of the same difficulty, and that the best teams will demonstrate their skill in the playoffs with more powers and thirties. It would be (relatively) straightforward for R. to implement "playoff rounds are harder than prelims" (at least for ICT and HSNCT where we can guarantee which rounds are which).
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:53 am

Frater Taciturnus wrote:The existence of a trash question in a close game, be it at nationals or otherwise, does not mean that a trash question decides the game- even if the difference in score is within the swing of the points on the trash question, there are still almost certainly several other points that also would have made the difference, but because a) trash is slightly different in nature and b) certain board members with the presumed authority to proclaim the evils of trash from their bully pulpits choose to do so, trash gets to be the category that everyone blames before they blame terrible academic questions or geography questions.
How about if you talk straight? My name is Mike, not "certain board members" and I'm posting the same as everyone else, not on a "bully pulpit."
Frankly, though, you'd probably be better off not talking at all given what you're saying. I don't see anyone blaming anything on anything. In fact, I repeatedly said and continue to say that my team benefits relative to other good teams from trash. I'll elaborate by saying that's largely because I'm pretty good at it and like much of it. In fact, I've written somewhat less than a quarter of a pretty well received trash tournament and finished in the top bracket at nationals. This isn't about me or anyone else simply disliking trash or blaming trash for anything.
The fact remains this: NAQT is supposed to be an academic national tournament, but has a large amount of trash. It seems like the trash does nothing but fuel yearly internecine feuds about sub-distribution and make people feel bad for getting it. It's certainly not necessary and it's certainly not impossible that it vanish. In fact, it's an issue independent from others, like geography or the existence of bad questions, because NAQT can change this tomorrow with a simply policy and no further work. Let's stop trying to change the subject.

MaS
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:04 pm

vandyhawk wrote:I've never really minded the presence of trash in NAQT. To me, there has always been a distinction between "academic tournament" trash and "trash tournament" trash, where the former is more mainstream and accessible to people who don't specialize in it (best way to do this IMO is to focus on more recent topics), while the latter is full of stuff that would seem very hard/obscure to a high percentage of people who play academic but not trash tournaments. In my experiences playing NAQT over the years, there were several tournaments that I felt had the appropriate "academic tournament" trash feel; from reading the trash questions at this ICT, I can't say I got that same feeling. Speaking only for myself here, it seems doubtful trash will be removed from ICT; reduced, perhaps (I have some distribution ideas that I'll try to post/circulate internally at some point soon), but it definitely needs to do a better job of picking more mainstream answers, which would hopefully go at least some distance toward alleviating peoples' concerns.
I get what you're saying here and I agree with you that that is one issue with the trash at ICT. Supposing NAQT will continue to ignore what I'm saying and keep its trash, it would be better to have better trash, certainly. I do want to point out, thought, that ICT isn't the same as any other academic tournament - it's one of only two major academic nationals and I feel absolutely comfortable holding it to a higher standard of academic character. The fact that it meets a drastically lower standard by having double-digit percentages of trash will be a perpetual black mark against it.
Actually, here's a proposal way out of left field that I'm posting because I just made it up. NAQT should consider doing a trash set and maybe having an open-enrollment trash nationals, since it's obvious that NAQT has a lot of capacity to produce such questions and it's equally obvious that people enjoy playing them in the right setting.

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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:09 pm

I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on the history in this set. I think a decent amount of it was written by non-traditional NAQT writers like Shantanu and myself, although I can't figure out a way to easily determine the overall percentage of history written by us compared to some of the longer serving NAQT writers and editors.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:10 pm

Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe wrote:Since the questions are distributed and assigned to packets without any substantial intervention by human hands, you do end up with a situation wherein the playoff rounds and preliminary rounds are of the same difficulty. This also contributes to the problem of packets with an unfortunate concatenation of subject matter or question type, as in Packet 7.
Worth noting, by the way, that we always have at least two human editors read over the packets to break up "unfortunate concatenations." I'm not 100% clear on what the problems were with round 7, but insofar as it featured more common-links than usual, several of those were added to that round after I read it on Tuesday and Matt Bruce read it early Wednesday. (And as for: should we finish the ICT far enough in advance that we can conduct readthroughs after the entire set is written? Then have a third, fourth, etc readthrough of the finished product until the packet-balance is flawless? Absolutely we should, but we didn't come close to meeting that kind of schedule this year.)
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:17 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on the history in this set. I think a decent amount of it was written by non-traditional NAQT writers like Shantanu and myself, although I can't figure out a way to easily determine the overall percentage of history written by us compared to some of the longer serving NAQT writers and editors.
From what I remember of the history I thought it was very solid and generally covered interesting topics very well. One gripe I had was the James G. Blaine tossup, which seemed like if you didn't know about that one cartoon of him, you couldn't buzz until "Ingersoll" even if you knew a lot about Blaine's achievements, which was annoying. But that's the only problematic one that I remember.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:29 pm

That's a really cool cartoon by the way, and it deserved to be a clue, although I agree that it can probably lead to buzzer races due to the length limits.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:34 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:Actually, here's a proposal way out of left field that I'm posting because I just made it up. NAQT should consider doing a trash set and maybe having an open-enrollment trash nationals, since it's obvious that NAQT has a lot of capacity to produce such questions and it's equally obvious that people enjoy playing them in the right setting.
I'm quite confident that this won't happen. "NAQT currently produces more trash questions than ACF does" is still a very long way from "NAQT could produce enough trash questions to fill an entire tournament, then spend a weekend running a national trash tournament." (Note that a bunch of the trash questions were written in March and early April; it's decidedly not the case that we finished the trash months and months ago, then scrambled to complete the academic categories.)
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:39 pm

Yeah, that's actually one of the strongest reasons why I support the elimination of the categories that are almost uniformly disliked, like S:T:. They're always the last to be finished, the last, nagging needs! I don't know if no one wants to write them; that could be it. It could even be that we don't like them because they're all written the night before as editors pick the first piece of technology they see in their homes or the first magazine on their coffee tables, I guess... but I don't see why editors would affirmatively choose to keep in categories that are obviously tough and unfun to finish, if those categories are also kind of disliked a lot.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Ringil » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:48 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on the history in this set. I think a decent amount of it was written by non-traditional NAQT writers like Shantanu and myself, although I can't figure out a way to easily determine the overall percentage of history written by us compared to some of the longer serving NAQT writers and editors.
I also liked the history of this set and didn't see many problems. Overall, I felt like this set was pretty good given NAQT's distribution and was generally fair and stuff. However, I do agree with some of the above that NAQT's distribution should probably change, especially regarding GK, MI, and Trash.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by matt979 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:20 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:Yeah, that's actually one of the strongest reasons why I support the elimination of the categories that are almost uniformly disliked, like S:T:. They're always the last to be finished, the last, nagging needs! I don't know if no one wants to write them; that could be it. It could even be that we don't like them because they're all written the night before as editors pick the first piece of technology they see in their homes or the first magazine on their coffee tables, I guess... but I don't see why editors would affirmatively choose to keep in categories that are obviously tough and unfun to finish, if those categories are also kind of disliked a lot.
Quoted for truth. (Maybe not literally the "first magazine on their coffee tables" part, but the rest...)

I made one attempt to write a Science:Technology ICT tossup, seeing a nagging unfilled need. It came out so blatantly History of Technology that I'm relieved it wasn't used. (It may be used in a future, easier set, hence the lack of specificity here, though I hope it would be recoded to a more appropriate category first.)
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:41 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:I'm posting the same as everyone else, not on a "bully pulpit."
C'mon, don't sell yourself short, Mike.

A) Your long history as one of the top quizbowl players and writers in the nation gives your words a (well-deserved) gravitas and authority which not many people enjoy. People will look up to you and respect your ideas in a way they never would for J. Random First-Time Freshman Poster.
B) You're a board administrator, which is even beyond point A an explicit position of authority.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:46 pm

I see that the discussion has simmered down from "this tournament was an abomination that made Dwight cry" to "perhaps the tossup answers could have been more 'adventurous.'" That being the case, I thought I'd wade in.

First, on this recent point about "adventurous" tossup subjects. I don't know what the baseline for adventuresomeness is, but I'm looking at the sample packet Jerry cites and it doesn't seem lamentably tame either. For instance, I wrote the tossups on "Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," "Napoleon of Notting Hill," and Mallarme. I get that none of these is super-obscure, but then, they're tossups: if they were super-obscure, only a handful of teams would get them at all. As it happens, I deliberately picked all those answers on the principle that they were interesting and important, but don't come up as much as they might. If I'm wrong and one or more of them has been coming up with Danticatian frequency in the last year or so, mea culpa, but that wasn't the intention.

Second: I very much appreciate the excellent and life-saving contributions my colleague Shantanu made to the set. He's a fantastic writer and his work on the set was invaluable. But, I also sent back some of his questions on the assumption that they were just too hard for ICT. If by doing so I denied you the tossup on Ernst Barlach that Shantanu so badly wanted to appear in the tournament, again, I apologize. As an editor, I tried to adhere to the same principles I would use in assessing any tossup answer (e.g. asking "have I ever heard of X?" and "when I look at Jerry's question archive, do I see any mentions of X?"). If something like Barlach came up negative, I sent it back suggesting that it should be eased into the canon as a hard bonus answer. When I was doing that, I thought I was being a responsible editor, working in accordance with community norms. If that's not the case, feel free to correct me.

Third: pop culture. If this is another installment of "trash delenda est [at ICT]," then whatever, I've said my say. But if we're bad-mouthing the actual trash questions in this year's set -- as seems to be going on -- I want to jump in. As it happens, I wrote a lot of these questions in an attempt to preemptively defuse the usual "god, why did NAQT ask about THAT!" criticisms. Obviously, I failed in that endeavor; but I'm not sure why the questions are receiving such obloquy.

Case in point: the film tossups. The answers were: Pedro Almodovar; "wolf" in film (starting with Haneke's Time of the Wolf); "Sherlock Holmes" (depictions of him in film, ending with the 2009 Guy Ritchie disaster); Akira Kurosawa; Anthony Minghella; "Texas" in film (on films set in the state by Jean Renoir, Wim Wenders, Peter Bogdanovich). Half of these are on directors, which is perhaps a mild skew. But I don't accept that "answer selection" is a problem here, or that these are on trivial or inane subjects. Nor do I think that these tossups were intrinsically badly written, though if any of them elicited tears of rage, feel free to lambaste away (I wrote all but the Almodovar and Minghella, and I rewrote the latter).

Anyway, that's enough replying to ICT's cultured despisers for one lunch break.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:04 pm

I thought all of those film tossups were excellent and many of them were basically academic anyway (the Texas one used directors that are pretty academic-y, Almodovar and Kurosawa I would ask about in an academic tournament, and even the trashier ones rewarded some deep knowledge).
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:05 pm

The film questions were actually pretty great. I don't remember anyone complaining about that.

edit: I actually thought that Kurosawa and Almodovar were "other arts," but I guess not.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by millionwaves » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:12 pm

Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:B) You're a board administrator, which is even beyond point A an explicit position of authority.
No board administrator is allowed to use their authority as a staffer as a plank in their argument at any time, and if anyone were ever to use do so, they'd face consequences for it. Let's all remember that you're free to disagree with any staffer (so long as you do so with respect to the rules that apply to everyone). In this case, I don't think Mike has tried to use his explicit authority as a board staffer to impede disagreement.

Of course, I invite anyone to contact me if they feel that someone has done just that. I'm happy to carefully consider any claim.

I'd also like to make it quite clear that this thread isn't to turn into a discussion of this policy - it will remain focused on the ICT.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:25 pm

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:I see that the discussion has simmered down from "this tournament was an abomination that made Dwight cry"
I hope I didn't insinuate that this was in any way an "abomination." There were large parts of this tournament I enjoyed, and significant parts I did not. When you've lost like eleven straight buzzer races, lost a game on a backfiring clock strategy decision, and played the "it's clearly not X, so I'm going to buzz in and say X" neg like 5 times, there's only so much you can take when you're tired, down 250 points, hoping for a favorable bonus and get handed TV Physics.

One of the major criticisms of Harvard International was that it didn't look like there was a coherent vision for this tournament. I felt that way about ICT most of the time. Like, taken individually, most of the questions were good, but taken as a whole, something just seemed to be missing. Bonus difficulty was all over the place in just about every subject, and I'm not talking about the "three answers loosely connected by a single word;" I'm talking giving Mossbauer effect as the hard part of one bonus and having things I've never heard of show up as middle parts of other bonuses. I don't know, maybe that's quizbowl karma for me having put Kranz Anatomy as the hard part of what ended up being a finals bonus at last year's ACF Nats. I actually felt bad about buzzing with real knowledge on the splicing tossup because I realized any non-scientist could have buzzed there thinking, "What's something that could logically be done at 5' and 3' ends of an RNA sequence?".

I think I thought this last year too, but sometimes ICT seems like NAQT takes a bunch of ACF Nationals questions, chops them down to length requirements, and fills in the rest with HSNCT questions. I don't know if that's a disconnect between some of the older NAQT people and some of the newer ones on what ICT should look like, if it's caused by completing a large chunk of the tournament in two weeks, or what.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by vandyhawk » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:13 am

cvdwightw wrote:I actually felt bad about buzzing with real knowledge on the splicing tossup because I realized any non-scientist could have buzzed there thinking, "What's something that could logically be done at 5' and 3' ends of an RNA sequence?"
Oh man, I screwed up that question more than I thought then. For some reason, it never crossed my mind that saying 5' GU was so obviously referring only to RNA at that point, cuz you know, uracil is in DNA and all... I also hosed Eric for his NMD (nonsense-mediated decay) knowledge by not thinking about the fairly obvious fact that NMD would also kick in for transcription in making the initial mRNA strand. Sorry about that question; I'm almost positive that was the last bio question to go into the set, so I guess I rushed through it.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by fleurdelivre » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:48 pm

Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe wrote: I think extracanonical clues did come up in, say, the "democracy" tossup, which mentioned Robert Dahl and Charles Lindblom.
that's exciting - could someone post the tossup?
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:05 pm

fleurdelivre wrote:
Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe wrote: I think extracanonical clues did come up in, say, the "democracy" tossup, which mentioned Robert Dahl and Charles Lindblom.
that's exciting - could someone post the tossup?
Charles Lindblom wrote a book on the "intelligence" of this in which he advanced his theory of "disjointed incrementalism." "Thin" and "strong" forms of this concept are discussed in a 1984 book which makes an "argument against liberalism" and was written by Benjamin Barber. In a 1989 book on this "and its (*) critics," Robert Dahl elaborated his theory of "polyarchy." For 10 points--name this concept from political science, whose variant "in America" was discussed by Alexis de Tocqueville.

answer: _democracy_ (accept The _Intelligence of Democracy_ before "Barber")

I actually think this tossup has some problems, in that I suspect there would be an awful lot of buzzer races at "polyarchy." I also think that if one is cognizant of Dahl's contributions it would be difficult to not be similarly aware of those of Lindblom and Barber. I would like to know if others perceive a similarly precipitous cliff.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:48 pm

Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe wrote:
fleurdelivre wrote:
Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe wrote: I think extracanonical clues did come up in, say, the "democracy" tossup, which mentioned Robert Dahl and Charles Lindblom.
that's exciting - could someone post the tossup?
Charles Lindblom wrote a book on the "intelligence" of this in which he advanced his theory of "disjointed incrementalism." "Thin" and "strong" forms of this concept are discussed in a 1984 book which makes an "argument against liberalism" and was written by Benjamin Barber. In a 1989 book on this "and its (*) critics," Robert Dahl elaborated his theory of "polyarchy." For 10 points--name this concept from political science, whose variant "in America" was discussed by Alexis de Tocqueville.

answer: _democracy_ (accept The _Intelligence of Democracy_ before "Barber")

I actually think this tossup has some problems, in that I suspect there would be an awful lot of buzzer races at "polyarchy." I also think that if one is cognizant of Dahl's contributions it would be difficult to not be similarly aware of those of Lindblom and Barber. I would like to know if others perceive a similarly precipitous cliff.
I did feel that this was the case for many of these tossups that appeared in ICT. Either you're aware of most things that the tossups brings up right away or you're stuck waiting for the difficulty cliff and buzzing on giveaways. The length limit doesn't really afford room to offer a sufficient gradation of clues to avoid that.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:06 pm

That particular question doesn't seem like a particularly steep cliff to me. People gots to get the question somewhere.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Sun Devil Student » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:04 am

Is it just me, or was the 2010 ICT set *much* harder than the 2006 and 2007 ICT sets?

My team practiced on the 2007 and 2006 sets, and the night before the tournament we were interrupting a lot of tossups before "for 10 points" and getting 1-3 powers per packet, then we got to the tournament and were getting the questions a lot later (a lot more after "for 10 points" and especially a lot more that we couldn't answer until the last word, and noticeably more dead tossups). My D1 team (me included) unanimously felt that this ICT was considerably harder than what we practiced on.

Did NAQT actually increase the average clue difficulty throughout the tossups, or are we the only four quizbowlers in the world to perceive this? I'm just curious.

In any case, thanks very much to NAQT and everyone who helped write the questions. Both of my teams had a great time last weekend, and we hope to continue attending this tournament in future years.
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