ACF Fall Discussion

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ACF Fall Discussion

Post by vcuEvan » Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:47 am

NOTE FROM THE FORUMS MANAGEMENT: This thread may contain question specifics. Do not read this thread if you are playing at Oxford on 11/20.

First, thanks to everyone who submitted packets and to Carsten, Guy, Will, Dallas, and John for doing a good job editing. To everyone who attended: I hope you enjoyed the tournament, and if you have any feedback, feel free to post it here. The set is cleared, so you can go ahead and cite specific questions.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:21 am

So, my biggest complaint from this set was no uniform sense of difficulty. There was one bonus of the form amino acid/peptide bond/collagen. I guess collagen was the hard part but seriously how can a bonus like this distinguish between teams of basically any level. At the same time, there was also a John Adams (composer) bonus with a hard part on Harmonium. I'm not the best music player but these two bonuses seem they were meant for two very different tournaments. There were a lot of cases of stuff like this happening which made this set frustrating at times.

If this set was say slightly easier or slightly harder than last year, I guess I wouldn't have a big concern. The problem was that there was no consistency.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:35 am

Ondes Martenot wrote:So, my biggest complaint from this set was no uniform sense of difficulty. There was one bonus of the form amino acid/peptide bond/collagen. I guess collagen was the hard part but seriously how can a bonus like this distinguish between teams of basically any level.
I admit that the science component of the tournament ended up with more variation in difficulty than I had intended and that this bonus was on the easy side of the variation. However I disagree that this bonus can't distinguish between teams. You would be surprised how little science people actually know. In fact when this bonus was play tested at UVA it was only 20ed.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:38 am

Ondes Martenot wrote:So, my biggest complaint from this set was no uniform sense of difficulty. There was one bonus of the form amino acid/peptide bond/collagen. I guess collagen was the hard part but seriously how can a bonus like this distinguish between teams of basically any level. At the same time, there was also a John Adams (composer) bonus with a hard part on Harmonium. I'm not the best music player but these two bonuses seem they were meant for two very different tournaments. There were a lot of cases of stuff like this happening which made this set frustrating at times.

If this set was say slightly easier or slightly harder than last year, I guess I wouldn't have a big concern. The problem was that there was no consistency.
I hilariously couldn't get peptide bond in practice because I've forgotten everything I ever knew about biology.

Anyway, yeah, this set seemed to go: history<RMP<science and lit<<fine arts. I kinda felt like the history bonuses should have been a little harder at times, but, more pressingly, felt that the fine arts should have been significantly easier. Stuff like Tintoretto, Madonna of the Long Neck, that PRB bonus, and the aforementioned Adams bonus just seem too hard for ACF Fall.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:39 am

There's no question that ACF Fall needs to know its identity and select its audience accordingly. I remember Eric playing Fall '08--that was his senior year, right? He did really well, of course, but it's not like he was buzzing on every single leadin. So, at that time, Fall wasn't for the very top college players.

Now--from what some top former high school players are claiming--Fall isn't for the very top college novices. While the best players to come out of high school seem to be better and better every single year, I can't imagine that 2010 Matt Jackson is much better, if at all, than 2008 Eric Mukherjee. Of course, there are second-order effects; Eric's raison d'quizbowl that year was still highly influenced by being on Jerry's team, and so he didn't especially need to hyper-optimize for being an ACF Fall level generalist--better to get a couple clues deeper on nationals level bio and chem, and have deep knowledge of a few other subjects. So while Eric was pretty sick at Fall, he could have been a lot better still if that was his goal.

But particularly with the availability of Early Autumn Collegiate Novice, ACF Fall should figure out its identity and tell the appropriate people that they should (or shouldn't) play. I'd be in favor of a Fall more like '07 or particularly '08--I don't care if the consensus is that it should be easier than this year's, but it's nice to know what to expect.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:00 am

Perhaps this should be in a separate thread, but it appeared that the biggest difference between ACF Novice and ACF Fall was not question difficulty but the eligibility requirements. Last year you had ACF Fall, which in the end was roughly the same difficulty of this set, and then ACF winter which was a nice compromise between Fall and Regionals. This year you'll have Fall and then a huge jump to Regionals. I am still perplexed why Winter was eliminated in favor of ACF novice, especially since last year's Winter set seemed to get overwhelming praise. I'm all in favor of having a bunch of easy tournaments, but even without ACF novice you have ACF Fall, EFT, and MUT.

One possible idea I would be in favor of for next year: Get rid of ACF Novice, bring back ACF Winter, and put the ACF novice eligibility rules for ACF Fall. That way, there'll still be EFT for top teams looking for an early season warm up tournament.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:37 am

I still think Novice was a lot easier than this set, but I guess I'd have to go back and examine both sets.

This seemed like a pretty quality set. Some interesting things were tossed up, it seemed like people who knew things were answering quickly and 30'ing bonuses and that's good. I disagree with Matt Jackson's analysis of the questions as not really rewarding gradations of knowledge. Indeed, probably not between top players, but there's just only so much Fall can do in this regard. At our site, I thought the top two teams were identified and were able to play solid, competitive matches. I agree that there were occasional inconsistencies in the bonuses.

My few complaints:

*Music featured good answer lines, but just seemed a bit top heavy, as if there was a phobia at times to put out titles. I think it is okay to put (easier) titles earlier in these cases.

*The Orioles did not win the 1973 World Series.

*The bonus part which asked for "Grendel's mother" after already mentioning Grendel and saying "her son" in the prompt was weird. Linguistic fraud aside, I will also use this bonus as a way of gently pointing out that there are certain topics that one can go "deeper" on--Beowulf is a pretty ubiquitous epic poem, oft studied and read in school. Asking for both Beowulf and Grendel's mother seems pretty easy here.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:48 am

For what it's worth, this set certainly would have had enough clues to differentiate between State College and myself; I'm glad I was reading for them instead of playing. The problems at the Northeast site probably originated from the parity in skill between Yale and MIT.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:49 am

Cernel Joson wrote:
Ondes Martenot wrote:So, my biggest complaint from this set was no uniform sense of difficulty. There was one bonus of the form amino acid/peptide bond/collagen. I guess collagen was the hard part but seriously how can a bonus like this distinguish between teams of basically any level. At the same time, there was also a John Adams (composer) bonus with a hard part on Harmonium. I'm not the best music player but these two bonuses seem they were meant for two very different tournaments. There were a lot of cases of stuff like this happening which made this set frustrating at times.

If this set was say slightly easier or slightly harder than last year, I guess I wouldn't have a big concern. The problem was that there was no consistency.
I hilariously couldn't get peptide bond in practice because I've forgotten everything I ever knew about biology.

Anyway, yeah, this set seemed to go: history<RMP<science and lit<<fine arts. I kinda felt like the history bonuses should have been a little harder at times, but, more pressingly, felt that the fine arts should have been significantly easier. Stuff like Tintoretto, Madonna of the Long Neck, that PRB bonus, and the aforementioned Adams bonus just seem too hard for ACF Fall.
I think people's criticisms of us for lacking one consistent vision of what this tournament should be are well founded, and I agree that my questions probably ended up representing the harder end of the spectrum that resulted. I honestly don't think that the answer lines for my tossups were harder than those in ACF Fall 2008 and 2009 (your two examples, Tintoretto and Madonna of the Long Neck, were tossed up ACF Fall 2009 and 2008 respectively, without complaints as far as I know), but Matt Jackson has told me that my cluing for the music tossups was too difficult, though, and Mike Cheyne's post seems to corroborate that.

Harmonium was the original hard part of the bonus as submitted. I guess I underestimated it's difficulty in choosing to keep it. I had a mental note to change the easy part on the Pre-Raphaelite bonus to just Raphael if we didn't end up doing a Raphael tossup or bonus, but forgot to do it. Sorry about that.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:54 am

Well, the fact that Tintoretto has been asked in previous ACF Falls doesn't justify its placement in this set. It didn't belong in ACF Fall 2008 and it still doesn't belong in ACF Fall 2010. As for Harmonium, it might be a perfectly appropriate hard part for ACF Fall, but I was simply using that to compare to amino acid/peptide bond/collagen which had no hard part (you might even say it had no medium part).
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:58 am

Really, Tintoretto doesn't belong in ACF Fall? When did we come to this conclusion, because I seem to have missed the part of the debate where one of the major figures of Renaissance painting was deemed too hard for this level.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by mc1093alpha » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:01 pm

My general impression of the tossups of the tournament are uniformly positive, except for minor exceptions (see below). But generally I agree with the tone that there was a HUGE discrepancy between bonus parts, with questions far outside of my field that I could very easily single-handedly 30 (assuming Sam wasn't so on top of his stuff to say the answer before me :P), and some of the questions were effectively trivial. A math bonus that goes vector-Gaussian elimination-basis, really doesn't have a hard part! Anybody who graduated a basic algebra II or precalculus class could get the first two without a second thought and the 3rd is only a tiny bit harder.

Also, at least for the math questions there was a significant lack of pyramidal knowledge in the math tossup, with pretty much all math questions being first line buzzer-beats for anyone knowledgeable in the field. Dropping the Weierstrass function for differentiability in the first line, or mobius transformation/Gaussian integers for complex numbers, or "namesake manifold" for Riemann (is Kahler going to come up in quizbowl? :P), really doesn't test knowledge in the field very much. I thought the answers were appropriate difficulty but there should have been more of a lead in with hard stuff. Riemann actually was a good partial example of this, starting off with the Riemann Mapping Theorem (which I didn't catch at first) but dropping far too quickly "his namesake manifold" to make it competitive. This doesn't necessarily mean it should "harder," it should just be more pyramidal.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:05 pm

Ondes Martenot wrote:Well, the fact that Tintoretto has been asked in previous ACF Falls doesn't justify its placement in this set. It didn't belong in ACF Fall 2008 and it still doesn't belong in ACF Fall 2010. As for Harmonium, it might be a perfectly appropriate hard part for ACF Fall, but I was simply using that to compare to amino acid/peptide bond/collagen which had no hard part (you might even say it had no medium part).
Sorry. To correct myself on dates: the previous Tintoretto and Madonna of the Long Neck tossup were both in 2008; neither was in 2009.

Obviously, you're right Aaron, if Tintoretto was a bad idea for Fall then, it's a bad idea now. I had no reason to think it was a bad idea then, though. As far as I know, no one complained about that question (which is what I would have expected were that question a difficulty outlier from that year). And I was under the impression that he was one of the most important and famous painters of the Renaissance.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:10 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:As far as I know, no one complained about that question (which is what I would have expected were that question a difficulty outlier from that year).
It is quite normal for difficulty outliers to pass without comment from anyone (perhaps especially if they are genuinely important in their fields but too hard for the tournament's intended audience).
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Sir Thopas » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:14 pm

Cheynem wrote:*The Orioles did not win the 1973 World Series.
Awful mistake on my part, conflated it with 1969. My apologies.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:18 pm

I thought the tournament was fine. A few clunkers here and there and a few too many repeats, but it was decent overall. I'll leave the identity stuff to the higher-ups, but good teams/players did good but seemed sufficiently challenged and the event was

This is a minor point, but since it no doubt impacted matches, it's worth bringing up. The sports seemed really skewed towards minor/international sports. Besides the Orioles tossup, no other sports question read at our mirror had to do with football, basketball, or baseball. There was a common-link tossup on South African sports, a Federer tossup, a soccer bonus on Portugal, a soccer bonus on the World Cup, and a soccer bonus on American players. I'm fine with some questions on minor/international sports. I especially liked the Federer one. But those sports shouldn't be asked 5:1 over the most popular sports in the U.S. The soccer questions especially had accessibility issues that could have been easily remedied with a bonus or two on one of the three major U.S. sports.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:47 pm

mc1093alpha wrote: math bonus that goes vector-Gaussian elimination-basis, really doesn't have a hard part! Anybody who graduated a basic algebra II or precalculus class could get the first two without a second thought and the 3rd is only a tiny bit harder.
Not true. I personally know many people who took and excelled in Algebra II who have no idea what Gaussian elimination is. Unless you have taken linear algebra or have lots of quizbowl experience, you probably don't know what a basis is. If you have taken linear algebra or been playing a lot of quizbowl, you will get 30, which is the point!
mc1093alpha wrote: Also, at least for the math questions there was a significant lack of pyramidal knowledge in the math tossup, with pretty much all math questions being first line buzzer-beats for anyone knowledgeable in the field. Dropping the Weierstrass function for differentiability in the first line, or mobius transformation/Gaussian integers for complex numbers, or "namesake manifold" for Riemann (is Kahler going to come up in quizbowl? :P), really doesn't test knowledge in the field very much. I thought the answers were appropriate difficulty but there should have been more of a lead in with hard stuff. Riemann actually was a good partial example of this, starting off with the Riemann Mapping Theorem (which I didn't catch at first) but dropping far too quickly "his namesake manifold" to make it competitive. This doesn't necessarily mean it should "harder," it should just be more pyramidal.
In retrospect, the fact that Riemann manifolds exist should have come later in the question. But honestly the binary association between "namesake manifold" and Riemann is a foolish one as noted really important mathematicians Hilbert, Poincaré, and Banach have namesake manifolds among others. Note: I'm not trying to imply that there should be a ACF Fall tossup on Banach. Also if you know what the domain for a Mobius transformation is, good for you. Most quizbowlers don't.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by pray for elves » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:54 pm

mc1093alpha wrote:stuff about math being easy
Don't fall for the Freshman Fallacy.

I don't know what your Algebra II and Precalculus classes were like in high school, but mine didn't talk about Gauss-Jordan elimination; the first time I was taught about it was in linear algebra. Complaining about the Weierstrass function being early in an ACF Fall tossup is a bit silly, honestly. Most people don't know it. You clearly are not most people; be glad and take your points. I haven't seen the set, but if the clues that came after Weierstrass were easier, then it was fine in construction and I doubt the question was too easy for the field.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:59 pm

Despite the criticisms I've been making about this set (some of which may be entirely unjustified), I want to say that in the end I thought this was a good set. A step down from last year's ACF Fall, but still successful in achieving its intended purpose. My frustration has a lot more to do with the fact that I only got to play 7 rounds in 10 hours yesterday.

As for Tintoretto, he is definitely an important artist, but I was under the impression that when in doubt for ACF Fall, trend on the easy side. So if you have to choose between Tintoretto and School of Athens, choose School of Athens even if you aren't in the mood to write the 10 millionth question on that painting (its possible something on the school of athens was in the many, many rounds I did not play on yesterday).

Also, I have yet to hear anyone give their opinion on what I said earlier
One possible idea I would be in favor of for next year: Get rid of ACF Novice, bring back ACF Winter, and put the ACF novice eligibility rules for ACF Fall. That way, there'll still be EFT for top teams looking for an early season warm up tournament.
I know I have no position within ACF but I'm curious as to what people think of this.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:13 pm

Ondes Martenot wrote:Also, I have yet to hear anyone give their opinion on what I said earlier
This is a pet peeve of mine and not like, an official board reprimand or anything, but I still think it's worth saying: you made that statement two hours ago. There's no way ACF's going to have an official position on anything that was proposed two hours ago.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Sir Thopas » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:24 pm

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote:This is a minor point, but since it no doubt impacted matches, it's worth bringing up. The sports seemed really skewed towards minor/international sports. Besides the Orioles tossup, no other sports question read at our mirror had to do with football, basketball, or baseball. There was a common-link tossup on South African sports, a Federer tossup, a soccer bonus on Portugal, a soccer bonus on the World Cup, and a soccer bonus on American players. I'm fine with some questions on minor/international sports. I especially liked the Federer one. But those sports shouldn't be asked 5:1 over the most popular sports in the U.S. The soccer questions especially had accessibility issues that could have been easily remedied with a bonus or two on one of the three major U.S. sports.
I worried a bit about this when I was editing the trash. I didn't get any stuff on major sports except, I believe, a tossup on the Lakers (I wrote the Orioles tossup and a bonus on the Titans for the editors' packet), and I got a ton of soccer. In general, my philosophy was to keep the answers unless they were way too hard, even if it was stuff I personally found a bit odious (does anyone actually like Cats?). I tried not to make the trash too much towards my personal preferences; perhaps I erred too far in this direction and should have replaced a soccer bonus or two with the other football.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:24 pm

I also have to show my chagrin at arguments like "everyone knows Gaussian eliminations, there's no hard part here!" and "speaking as someone who might have been the best high school quiz bowl player last year and who scored 147 ppg at a high school national tournament that is about as difficult as ACF Fall, if not more so, I have to say that ACF Fall is far too easy."

"Gaussian eliminations" is not an easy answer.

I doubt that ACF Fall was too easy just because Matt Jackson answered lots of questions at it.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:26 pm

One possible idea I would be in favor of for next year: Get rid of ACF Novice, bring back ACF Winter, and put the ACF novice eligibility rules for ACF Fall. That way, there'll still be EFT for top teams looking for an early season warm up tournament.
I think this is an awful idea. ACF Novice was a great tournament that did good things for getting players never involved in quizbowl before. It was significantly easier than ACF Fall and I don't think can be easily replaced by just strapping eligibility restrictions on ACF Fall.

We don't need to do more things to cater to experienced players--there are already enough tournaments on the calendar for that (e.g. everything from January-onwards that isn't MUT and DII SCT). I don't know the specifics of it, but I think there were pretty much regular season difficulty tournaments every weekend from mid-January until March last year, which made ACF Winter pretty superfluous. Is it really going to kill us to have one less of these tournaments (and even then I'm not sure this is the case, as TIT is now in the Winter) so that some extra resources can be expended to get more novices into the field and offer more stuff for less experienced circuits to play?
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:35 pm

If that is indeed the reason ACF winter was dropped (that is, already a lot of regular difficulty tournaments) then I take back what I said in terms of bringing Winter back. I still don't quite see the reasoning for having both ACF Fall and Novice. ACF Novice seemed like it was a true novice event whereas ACF Fall had the feeling of very good teams playing pretty easy questions simply because there were no eligibility rules to stop them. AT UVA, it seems like ACF Fall was essentially an event where very good high school teams could play each other on questions somewhat harder than a regular high school set.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:14 pm

Ondes Martenot wrote:If that is indeed the reason ACF winter was dropped (that is, already a lot of regular difficulty tournaments) then I take back what I said in terms of bringing Winter back. I still don't quite see the reasoning for having both ACF Fall and Novice. ACF Novice seemed like it was a true novice event whereas ACF Fall had the feeling of very good teams playing pretty easy questions simply because there were no eligibility rules to stop them. AT UVA, it seems like ACF Fall was essentially an event where very good high school teams could play each other on questions somewhat harder than a regular high school set.
You're using one site to extrapolate to every single mirror? Come on, dude. Not every circuit has half a dozen high school teams lining up to play this, and beat down on college teams in the process.

Not all college players come in at the same level of experience/skill. Some have never played, some have played a local format or some circuit qb, some played a lot of circuit qb but aren't that good, and then at the top you have guys like Matt Jackson.

I'm not saying we should baby people, far from it. All I'm saying is that we shouldn't try to favor one over the other, which you seem to want to do.

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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:24 pm

Not all college players come in at the same level of experience/skill. Some have never played, some have played a local format or some circuit qb, some played a lot of circuit qb but aren't that good,
Isn't this the intended audience for ACF Novice though? I said a couple of posts back that ACF Novice should be dropped and eligibility rules should be placed in ACF Fall. Rethinking, it would be much more appropriate to keep ACF Novice and drop Fall and leave EFT as the "easy tournament for good teams". I realize the chance of ACF Fall realistically getting dropped is extremely slim, so this is probably me just thinking aloud.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by kayli » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:25 pm

Sir Thopas wrote:(does anyone actually like Cats?)
Yes.

A pet peeve I had was that in one of the packets there were 6 or so tossups or bonuses about people or things related to Russia. It might be alright for quizbowl purposes, but it just seemed weird to me. Another complaint I had was that bonus difficulty seemed to fluctuate quite a lot. Mainly it seemed like a lot of bonuses lacked middle parts, but that's always hard to do. I was pretty happy overall with the tossups. It seemed to fluctuate in difficulty sometimes, but overall they seemed well written for the level of competition. Overall, however, this was probably the best set I've ever played on. It was a really fun and rewarding experience.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:34 pm

I'll echo some of the sentiments expressed here. A lot of the bonuses were an easy, automatic 20 for anyone who was experienced with quizbowl. The tossups seemed to do a good job of differentiating knowledge. At least at our site, there didn't seem to be that many bad buzzer races.

My biggest complaint was the amount of repeats. Just off the top of my head, Sartre and Gibbs Free Energy were repeated, both in the same round.

But overall, I fairly enjoyed playing this site. The trash was pretty awful, though. Pokemon? Monsters Inc? Common link on Hippos? And of course there was a lack of popular American Sports.

But that's trash, so no big deal.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:36 pm

Inkana7 wrote:I'll echo some of the sentiments expressed here. A lot of the bonuses were an easy, automatic 20 for anyone who was experienced with quizbowl. The tossups seemed to do a good job of differentiating knowledge. At least at our site, there didn't seem to be that many bad buzzer races.

My biggest complaint was the amount of repeats. Just off the top of my head, Sartre and Gibbs Free Energy were repeated, both in the same round.

But overall, I fairly enjoyed playing this site. The trash was pretty awful, though. Pokemon? Monsters Inc? Common link on Hippos? And of course there was a lack of popular American Sports.

But that's trash, so no big deal.
This set's trash was my favorite in over a year, and those questions in particular were among my favorites in the set.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:39 pm

But overall, I fairly enjoyed playing this site. The trash was pretty awful, though. Pokemon? Monsters Inc? Common link on Hippos? And of course there was a lack of popular American Sports.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:45 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
But overall, I fairly enjoyed playing this site. The trash was pretty awful, though. Pokemon? Monsters Inc? Common link on Hippos? And of course there was a lack of popular American Sports.
Things people know about in popular culture? Why I never!
Hey, I'm a trash fan. I enjoy playing it. I meant awful more in a "argh kiddie/weird trash" rather than "argh I hate trash" manner.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Cody » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:46 pm

Inkana7 wrote:Just off the top of my head, Sartre and Gibbs Free Energy were repeated, both in the same round.
Was Sartre really a repeat? At the point the question was gotten in my room, it was all about his philosophy stuff, and the earlier bonus was about his literature. Personality was definitely a repeat in that round though (with clue overlap), but that and gibbs free energy are the only ones I can really recall.

Edit - Just want to add that I enjoyed this tournament and didn't think it was too easy at all.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:48 pm

I agree with some of what's been said here [a little variant difficulty, a little bit of repeats, a little seltzer down your pants] but disagree with a lot of it. While I'm glad a lot of people have deemed themselves just too good for this tournament, and people should be ashamed for writing it, I found that really wasn't the case. I'll use my team as an example-- Maryland B was composed of 4 reasonably good quizbowl players, two captains of teams that did alright at NSC last year and two people who have been playing college quizbowl for a while now, and I don't think any of us would claim the set was too easy for us. Plenty of bonuses were not "automatic 20s or 30s," lots of questions were not too easy for players of our caliber, etc.
But if people want to continue their macho quizbowl posturing because this set was just too easy for them, then, by all means, continue.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:52 pm

Inkana7 wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
But overall, I fairly enjoyed playing this site. The trash was pretty awful, though. Pokemon? Monsters Inc? Common link on Hippos? And of course there was a lack of popular American Sports.
Things people know about in popular culture? Why I never!
Hey, I'm a trash fan. I enjoy playing it. I meant awful more in a "argh kiddie/weird trash" rather than "argh I hate trash" manner.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:54 pm

Having written for ACF Novice and seen the packets, I can assure everyone involved that it was intended to be, and was, much easier than this set. I am of the opinion that drawing an equivalency between ACF Novice and ACF Fall is pointless and wrong; they have different target audiences, different objectives, and different difficulties, and both should absolutely exist.

I agree with all the following: Yeah, ACF Fall is meant to be easy, and it's an incredible positive good that it is. Yeah, Neil, Stephen, and I are going to do incredibly well on a set designated "easy" no matter what. This isn't wrong, and I wouldn't want my performance to imply that future ACF Falls should be harder in a way that would harm 90+ percent of the field. I am certainly not a "macho quizbowl posturer" as Isaac seems to imply.

I just haven't gotten a clear answer yet as to this question: Should I have just stayed home or not played at all? If the set were going to be easy enough at the beginnings of tossups and ends of bonuses that gradations between me, Stephen, and Neil ended up not mattering (and to some extent between all of the above, Sam Spaulding, Aaron Cohen, and the Ben Cohen/Rebecca Maxfield duo as well), then there wasn't a real point in us being there, it'd just be frustrating, and we should have let other teams duke it out for the top spot. In that case, the top spot would be, by design, irrelevant enough for the best incoming players (who'd buzzer race and 30 about half the time) that other teams could take home some books, we could staff, and everyone could call it a day.
If the set were going to still be easy as it should, but be differentiable enough for non-champion "good players" in the beginnings of tossups and third parts of bonuses (i.e. more HSNCT/NSC/MUT/EFT 3rd part material, more often), it would make more sense for people such as Stephen, Neil, Aaron Cohen, or me to go to the tournament, accept a little bit of easy-tournament wonkiness, determine a winner despite some of that wonkiness, and then call it a day in addition to the rest of the field. This road wouldn't have made things much different for teams that generally got 20ppb or lower on this set, and would have the effect of making the cluster of 20+ ppb teams at Fall split more fairly according to their knowledge/skill.
My uncertainty: which of these Falls did the editors intend to make? My view is that they produced the former situation which wasn't ideal, though I'll admit the tossups were on the whole much, much better about this than the bonuses. It'd only take a bit of tweaking of beginnings and ends to make a Fall a lot better at distinguishing high school champions and good college teams missing their championship players - that, or on the other hand it can stay largely as it was with a more clear advisory to (the relatively new phenomenon of) high school champions and (older phenomenon of) good non-championship college teams that their games might not mean much. Though I advocate the latter, either seems like an acceptable course of action to me - after all, I personally am not going to play Fall '11, simply because at that stage in my development it won't make sense to.

Other stuff:
Yeah, my comments in science were basically that it had a protein/peptide/collagen bonus on one hand and a tossup on oxidation that did a bunch of organic chemistry and then dropped "loses electrons" at the bitter end on the other and just generally should have been more consistent.

And re: Kay Li: No. No one likes Cats. Not that it or any other trash was by nature a bad answer choice, it's just awful.
Last edited by Adventure Temple Trail on Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by tiwonge » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:00 pm

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:
Sir Thopas wrote:(does anyone actually like Cats?)
Yes.

A pet peeve I had was that in one of the packets there were 6 or so tossups or bonuses about people or things related to Russia. It might be alright for quizbowl purposes, but it just seemed weird to me. Another complaint I had was that bonus difficulty seemed to fluctuate quite a lot. Mainly it seemed like a lot of bonuses lacked middle parts, but that's always hard to do. I was pretty happy overall with the tossups. It seemed to fluctuate in difficulty sometimes, but overall they seemed well written for the level of competition. Overall, however, this was probably the best set I've ever played on. It was a really fun and rewarding experience.
Something similar happened on a packet I was reading. The UW team had an Iranian player, and there were 3-4 questions relating to Iran in that packet (as well as a geography question about Iran in the next packet).

I'm not complaining about it, because I know stuff like this happens (and none of the questions were bad, or anything). I just thought it was an interesting anomaly.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by nadph » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:01 pm

mc1093alpha wrote:A math bonus that goes vector-Gaussian elimination-basis, really doesn't have a hard part!
If this bonus appears where I think it does, I believe it as submitted was vector/linear transformation/Markov chain (the theme was "stuff that can be done with matrices", with the tie-in to Markov chains being transition matrices); would you say this is also too easy (or easier)?

Also, should we expect packets to be posted soon, or will that only happen after the Oxford mirror?
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:03 pm

nadph wrote:
mc1093alpha wrote:A math bonus that goes vector-Gaussian elimination-basis, really doesn't have a hard part!
If this bonus appears where I think it does, I believe it as submitted was vector/linear transformation/Markov chain (the theme was "stuff that can be done with matrices", with the tie-in to Markov chains being transition matrices); would you say this is also too easy (or easier)?

Also, should we expect packets to be posted soon, or will that only happen after the Oxford mirror?
Yours was a separate bonus which remained relatively intact.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by CaptainSwing » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:04 pm

I think what is being lost here is that on the whole it was a well written tournament. The humanities area questions (history, lit, FA) were especially all well written. Whatever issues people may have with difficulty, etc. the questions were not plagued by poor structure. Especially on tossups, I thought buzzer races were avoided very nicely.

My complaint lies with some of the science questions. I remember several questions, all science, which were like a pure regurgitation of Wikipedia information. Science questions do not need to be a laundry list of "blue link" information with a definition as the giveaway. Plus, there were a few moments of total absurdity: what galaxy is Earth in? For real?
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by QuizbowlTribune » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:17 pm

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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by marnold » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:19 pm

I just haven't gotten a clear answer yet as to this question: Should I have just stayed home or not played at all?
If it means we can avoid the seemingly annual ritual of "I'm good and this didn't cater to how good I am so this suxx," then yes - ten thousands times yes, please stay home. I know high schoolers and young college players worship the ground Shantanu walks on, so maybe this little parable will help you: his first year, Shantanu knew ACF Fall was going to be easy for him. He played, he predictably blew the set out of the water, and he even lost games because he and another good opponent were both buzzing on most of the lead-ins and 30-ing most of the bonuses. Yet, he didn't feel compelled to complain about that, either in person or on the forums. Lesson: if you're good, either learn the appropriate way to act about being good at quizbowl, or STAY HOME FROM EASY TOURNAMENTS.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:23 pm

RyuAqua wrote:Having written for ACF Novice and seen the packets, I can assure everyone involved that it was intended to be, and was, much easier than this set. I am of the opinion that drawing an equivalency between ACF Novice and ACF Fall is pointless and wrong; they have different target audiences, different objectives, and different difficulties, and both should absolutely exist.

But my main concern is this. I agree with the following: Yeah, ACF Fall is meant to be easy. Yeah, Neil, Stephen, and I are going to do incredibly well on a set designated "easy" no matter what. This isn't wrong, and I wouldn't want my performance to imply that future ACF Falls should be harder in a way that would harm 90+ percent of the field. I am certainly not a "macho quizbowl posturer" as Isaac seems to imply.

I just haven't gotten a clear answer yet as to this question: Should I have just stayed home or not played at all? If the set were going to be easy enough at the beginnings of tossups and ends of bonuses that gradations between me, Stephen, and Neil ended up not mattering (and to some extent between all of the above, Sam Spaulding, Aaron Cohen, and the Ben Cohen/Rebecca Maxfield duo as well), then there wasn't a real point in us being there, it'd just be frustrating, and we should have let other teams duke it out for the top spot. In that case, the top spot would be, by design, irrelevant enough for the best incoming players (who'd buzzer race and 30 about half the time) that other teams could take home some books, we could staff, and everyone could call it a day.
If the set were going to still be easy as it should, but be differentiable enough for non-champion "good players" in the beginnings of tossups and third parts of bonuses (i.e. more HSNCT/NSC/MUT/EFT 3rd part material, more often), it would make more sense for people such as Stephen, Neil, Aaron Cohen, or me to go to the tournament, accept a little bit of easy-tournament wonkiness, determine a winner despite some of that wonkiness, and then call it a day in addition to the rest of the field. This road wouldn't have made things much different for teams that generally got 20ppb or lower on this set, and would have the effect of making the cluster of 20+ ppb teams at Fall split more fairly according to their knowledge/skill.
My uncertainty: which of these Falls did the editors intend to make? My view is that they produced the former situation which wasn't ideal, though I'll admit the tossups were on the whole much, much better about this than the bonuses. It'd only take a bit of tweaking of beginnings and ends to make a Fall a lot better at distinguishing high school champions and good college teams missing their championship players - that, or on the other hand it can stay largely as it was with a more clear advisory to (the relatively new phenomenon of) high school champions and (older phenomenon of) good non-championship college teams that their games might not mean much. Though I advocate the latter, either seems like an acceptable course of action to me - after all, I personally am not going to play Fall '11.

Other stuff:
Yeah, my comments in science were basically that it had a protein/peptide/collagen bonus on one hand and a tossup on oxidation that did a bunch of organic chemistry and then dropped "loses electrons" at the bitter end on the other and just generally should have been more consistent.

And re: Kay Li: No. No one likes Cats. Not that it or any other trash was by nature a bad answer choice, it's just awful.
Really, you were buzzing on the first clue of every tossup? Because when I was practicing on these, I definitely didn't; looking at this packet I have open from yesterday, I got 3 tossups on the first line and 3 in the first few words of the second line. In other words, there were clues I didn't know in 17 out of the 20 tossups in this packet. Granted, if two teams really did know every lead-in to every tossup, then the set would be too easy for them...other than the questions you got late. Those were impossible.

Having seen State College play, I'll say this: if you really were decisively better than MIT, you'd have beaten them decisively on this set. However, since by all accounts you were at roughly the same level of skill, this set wasn't optimal for the subtle job of differentiating between you.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:27 pm

There seems to be a bit of selective memory going on when people are thinking about bonuses. There were a number of bonuses which featured pretty darn hard bonus parts--Convergence of the Twain WITHOUT Hardy? The maid from Long Day's Journey Into Night? Remembering Jack's name from The Importance of Being Earnest without knowing the play or author? Harmonium? Kamehameha off good, solid clues and not just Hawaiian king? I could probably go on for a few more examples, but these seem like a number of fine HSNCT/NSC/MUT hard parts, perhaps even too hard (Convergence of the Twain especially). Perhaps the New England site featured more fantastical teams, but I didn't see these inability-to-gradate-differences-between-good-teams situation at our site.

I'm not denying that there was a bit of inconsistency at times in some of the distribution areas (something that's common to many tournaments), but I also disagree with this general assessment of Fall as like some tournament in an identity crisis. The last few years Fall has been pushed as primarily for new players/novices. The increased merging of the high school/college circuits have ensured that even many freshmen are not new players or novices.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Dan-Don » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:31 pm

RyuAqua wrote:And re: Kay Li: No. No one likes Cats. Not that it or any other trash was by nature a bad answer choice, it's just awful.
This is quite possibly the most sensible thing said so far. I love Broadway, and it so infrequently comes up, I don't wanna be subjected to crap when it does. That said, thank you Kay Li for writing about a musical.

I'm sorry my hippos tossup wasn't well-received.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by kayli » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:37 pm

Oh, I didn't write that; but I did like the musical Cats way back in my youth when I saw it (maybe that's why I liked it).
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:44 pm

I thought this tournament was actually pretty solid. The difficulty seemed to be controlled even if it was almost skewed a little too easy. I think the thing I appreciated most about this tournament was that it stuck to the standard of what good, established quiz bowl questions should be like. Except for "Urban Planning" and "Personality" (the latter of which was described as a "phenomenon"), there seemed to be no attempt to insert wacky or even remotely experimental answer lines. The number of repeats was a little confounding, as were several factual errors (British Columbia was referred to as a "territory" leading me to wonder how the hell wine was grown in the Yukon and saying Miguel Tejada was part of the Orioles was probably wrong when the question was written). My biggest issue with the tournament was the form of many of the lit bonuses. All too often it seemed that the order of a given lit bonus seemed to be:

1. Name a character or work.
2. Name another work or the author of aforementioned work.
3. Name the author or another work.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to give explicit examples of this until I look at the set, but this did seem to happen fairly frequently. My problem with this sort of ordering, especially in an ostensibly easier tournament, is that the bonus intro and first clue forces a team to search their brains for a character or work with no contextual clues to place it in. For example, I've never gotten around to reading Nausea, but I certainly know it's by Sartre. As I recall, Nausea was the first part neither I nor my teammates had any clue as to what sort of work was being asked about. Had one been given Satre or even that is was by the author of The Respectful Prostitute, I have a feeling that the conversion would be much much higher. I don't if this was an attempt to play with the difficulty order, but it seems to me that a "hard" part of a bonus should actually be on something hard rather than asking about something a team most likely knows about but lacks a context to place it in. I don't know if I'm getting my point across very well here, but that was my main issue.


Also: If you're going to bring buzzers to a tournament, you better goddamn well make sure that they work. More on this later.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by lasercats » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:50 pm

Sir Thopas wrote:
Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote:This is a minor point, but since it no doubt impacted matches, it's worth bringing up. The sports seemed really skewed towards minor/international sports. Besides the Orioles tossup, no other sports question read at our mirror had to do with football, basketball, or baseball. There was a common-link tossup on South African sports, a Federer tossup, a soccer bonus on Portugal, a soccer bonus on the World Cup, and a soccer bonus on American players. I'm fine with some questions on minor/international sports. I especially liked the Federer one. But those sports shouldn't be asked 5:1 over the most popular sports in the U.S. The soccer questions especially had accessibility issues that could have been easily remedied with a bonus or two on one of the three major U.S. sports.
I worried a bit about this when I was editing the trash. I didn't get any stuff on major sports except, I believe, a tossup on the Lakers (I wrote the Orioles tossup and a bonus on the Titans for the editors' packet), and I got a ton of soccer. In general, my philosophy was to keep the answers unless they were way too hard, even if it was stuff I personally found a bit odious (does anyone actually like Cats?). I tried not to make the trash too much towards my personal preferences; perhaps I erred too far in this direction and should have replaced a soccer bonus or two with the other football.

I agree. We heard quite a bit of European football, the Orioles question, and an 80s basketball question. If this is supposed to be an entry-level tournament, that means the freshmen playing it were born in...1993?

I noticed at our site (4 teams, mind you) that there were very few 30s on the bonus. In fact, there were more 10s than anything. At the same time, very few tossups went dead in my room, maybe 9 in as many rounds. I think that's pretty good, especially since one of our teams was completely new to quizbowl.

The Queensland bonus was very awkward, because it said something about it being a state in its given country, but never gave the country. Neither of the following questions has "Australia" for an answer, so why not say "the third largest state in Australia"?

As a moderator, I appreciated whoever broke up the Aztec words by the syllables. That presentation would be nice for other really large words, especially for those of us who have not had a lot of science, or perhaps this is something that I will do in advance next time.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:56 pm

Oh man, the urban planning one was absolutely awesome. I agree the answer line was a bit odd (maybe write it on "cities" instead?), but so much goodness coming in that tossup.

Any thoughts as to the tossup on the Brothers Grimm that called the two "this author"? I know it's trying to avoid transparency, but it's a bit odd.

I wasn't listening too carefully to it, but the lead-in to the Isaac tossup said something about him lying about his wife being his sister to Abimelech. This is true for Isaac, but it is also true for his father Abraham (maybe the tossup mentioned him copying his father, I don't know).

I agree with your assessment on lit, Nolan. My other general concern about some of the lit questions was that they tended to be a bit lead-in heavy by playing title bowl. For instance, off the top of my head, I am thinking of the Thornton Wilder tossup. The lead-in mentioned Theophilus North, a work I doubt many people have read. The description of it was pretty vague and the title came right after it. So in effect, that tossup was playing Title Bowl. While I don't want to sound like a grump and say "RAAAAAR TITLES," I will suggest that in cases where the author has produced works more likely to be read, wouldn't it be better to reward knowledge of those?

EDIT: Again, I want to emphasize to the editors and everyone that this was an excellent set. My questions here are genuine attempts to offer feedback on both specific and general aspects of this set and I'm sorry I don't have more examples about why I really liked about this set because the players from our teams and I certainly liked it.
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Sir Thopas » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:00 pm

SirT wrote:
Inkana7 wrote:Just off the top of my head, Sartre and Gibbs Free Energy were repeated, both in the same round.
Was Sartre really a repeat? At the point the question was gotten in my room, it was all about his philosophy stuff, and the earlier bonus was about his literature. Personality was definitely a repeat in that round though (with clue overlap), but that and gibbs free energy are the only ones I can really recall.

Edit - Just want to add that I enjoyed this tournament and didn't think it was too easy at all.
There was a Sartre philosophy question and a Sartre lit question; as the editor of the former, I made sure to not touch on his literary career at all. It's a pity they were both in the same round, though.
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Rufous-capped Thornbill
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Re: ACF Fall Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:03 pm

Cheynem wrote:Oh man, the urban planning one was absolutely awesome. I agree the answer line was a bit odd (maybe write it on "cities" instead?), but so much goodness coming in that tossup.

Any thoughts as to the tossup on the Brothers Grimm that called the two "this author"? I know it's trying to avoid transparency, but it's a bit odd.

I wasn't listening too carefully to it, but the lead-in to the Isaac tossup said something about him lying about his wife being his sister to Abimelech. This is true for Isaac, but it is also true for his father Abraham (maybe the tossup mentioned him copying his father, I don't know).

I agree with your assessment on lit, Nolan. My other general concern about some of the lit questions was that they tended to be a bit lead-in heavy by playing title bowl. For instance, off the top of my head, I am thinking of the Thornton Wilder tossup. The lead-in mentioned Theophilus North, a work I doubt many people have read. The description of it was pretty vague and the title came right after it. So in effect, that tossup was playing Title Bowl. While I don't want to sound like a grump and say "RAAAAAR TITLES," I will suggest that in cases where the author has produced works more likely to be read, wouldn't it be better to reward knowledge of those?


EDIT: Again, I want to emphasize to the editors and everyone that this was an excellent set. My questions here are genuine attempts to offer feedback on both specific and general aspects of this set and I'm sorry I don't have more examples about why I really liked about this set because the players from our teams and I certainly liked it.
To be fair, directly after that clue there was a plot description of The Skin of our Teeth, which fits into the "description of important works" category.

EDIT: Substance
Last edited by Rufous-capped Thornbill on Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Jarret Greene
South Range '10 / Ohio State '13 / Vermont '17

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