Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

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Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

With mirrors at Penn (HS) and Bevill State (CC) finished, this set is now open for keen, reasoned analysis. Or whatever people want to say about it.

My great thanks to all those who helped write questions: primarily Billy Beyer for much of the science and lots of other stuff, Andy Watkins, Ahmad Ragab, Sean Platzer, Lyndsay Harvey, Luke Rego, Alex Rego, Ian Mackenzie, Mehdi Razvi and others at Penn, and Charles Hang and others at WUSTL. My apologies if I've left anyone out.

My apologies also for the problem with repeats at the WUSTL mirror. I hope that my frequent messages throughout the morning of the tournament helped Charles catch most of those. Those at Penn and Bevill should have had pretty clean sets, however, I hope.

I'll write more later about my own reaction to seeing the set played at the main site at Valencia, but I do think the set was too hard for the CC fields. A brief look at stats from Penn suggests that they played better there, though a few posts in the QuAC discussion show that at least some folks think that some toss-ups were particularly hard; I absolutely look forward to hearing about that.

I very much wanted to actually reduce difficulty from last year, but I may have failed in this. I think I've allowed my own vision of what Delta Burke has traditionally been--a tournament that introduces CC players, the vast majority of whom have NO QB experience at all--to become obscured by my concern in making it acceptable to the more-experienced fields at mirror sites. Next year, I'm going to make a greater effort to make easier middle and "hard" parts in bonuses, though my initial thoughts on the TUs is that the answer field was not considerably harder than previous years (at least not in the areas I primarily write, which is everything but science, really). If this makes the packet too "easy" for some mirrors, so be it. I'd like to see next year's set be more similar to the 2007 and 2008 iterations, which can be seen on the archives.

One last note going forward: as interest in DB mirrors has grown in the last four years, I've always endeavored to offer the sets in exchange for questions rather than money. I'd like to continue this. However, next year and in the future I will be setting a hard deadline of something like three weeks' prior to the tournament for submission of a team's full packet (which will be a 25/25 packet), and then have a standard mirror fee kick in after that. This will give programs the ability to mirror for nothing by submitting in a timely fashion, or the option of not writing and sharing a small amount of their entry fee. And it will save me from the anxiety of awaiting packets. Meantime, I will go forward with the expectation of writing the entire tournament with Billy (and whomever else is interested), as if no mirror packets are coming.

I look forward to comments!
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann »

Like Chrz said in the QuAC thread, sometimes things were tossed-up that just seemed to be unnecessarily difficult and could have been easily changed. For example, instead of writing on the Prairie School, write on FLW. Instead of Time Transfixed, toss up Magritte. Instead of Louis the Pious(!!), just do Charlemagne. There are probably other examples I'm forgetting.

Copying over from the QuAC thread:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:I think this set could have been vastly improved with relatively simple steps such as "making sure you give a pronoun in the first few words of the question" and "don't word questions to punish people with knowledge." Most of the answer selection today was fine; it was just extraordinarily frustrating to play on at times.
Listening to a full sentence of clues without any idea of what was being asked for was pretty frustrating. It became even more so when some of QuAC's staff didn't understand the blitzes I resorted to using in these situations.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Thanks for the feedback, Aidan.

I wrote the "Prairie Style" and "Time Transfixed" TUs. I've got the scoresheets and will check conversion for our site, as now you have me curious. The latter answer is a work that seems to come up frequently in our CC circuit, and I personally don't think it's that bad as a named work by Magritte for our field. I thought "Prairie Style" would be a more interesting way of approaching Wright, who must come up in some form in every DB, as our architecture answer space is limited. I guess I'm of the mind that if one knows enough to answer a Wright toss-up, one probably also knows Prairie Style, but I may be dead wrong. I'll be curious what others think.

As to your second point, do I understand you to be saying that toss-up lead-ins lacking a clear pronoun were chronic in the set? I understand you probably don't have the questions in front of you, and I'll be sending them to George first thing tomorrow morning (they're on my work computer, unfortunately), but I'd be grateful to have some examples pointed out. I certainly think Billy and I would've caught egregious examples of lack of clear answer-pronoun presentation early on. If nothing else, I hope you'll understand that never would we (or, uh, anyone at our level, I hope?) specifically word questions to "punish" people who know things; if there was a lack of clarity in pronouns, it certainly was inadvertent, not part of an attempt to disenfranchise good players.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann »

Time Transfixed is what, Magritte's fourth most famous work? I guess if CC quizbowl has some sort of special affinity for it, that's fine, but I don't know if it was appropriate for our audience, at least. Prairie School was less egregious, but I still feel it would have been better as just on FLW.
ValenciaQBowl wrote:As to your second point, do I understand you to be saying that toss-up lead-ins lacking a clear pronoun were chronic in the set?
It's not that they were missing. The issue is that they often weren't given until the very end of the first sentence of the question. The beginning of many questions seemed to take the form "Character with attributes does thing in work by this author." For example, the tossup on Tolstoy that began something like "Pozdnyshev talks to a violinist about a Beethoven piece," at which point I buzzed with "Tolstoy's Kreutzer Sonata." If this tossup had began as "In one story by this author, Pozdnyshev talks to a violinist about a Beethoven piece," there would have been no ambiguity.

I believe the tossup on Blanch Dubois began "The Varsouviana polka is heard..." At this point, Sam from RM buzzed with "A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams" but got negged anyway for not being able to read the mind of the writer, despite her knowledge. This did seem to be a chronic issue, and I don't think it was confined to literature.

As to punishing people with knowledge, I mean wording questions in such a way that people who knew what was being described could be thrown off by poor wording. The most egregious example I can remember was the tossup on "neutralization" that said something like "this process is performed until the equivalence point (buzz: "titration" - "sorry, neg 5") in titration." Simply saying "In titration, this process is performed until the equivalence point" would have completely fixed the issue.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Gautam »

Prof.Whoopie wrote:Time Transfixed is what, Magritte's fourth most famous work?
WRONG. What are you, Andy Watkins learning chemistry differently?

Try "first " or "second" most famous works and we'd be talking.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann »

gkandlikar wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:Time Transfixed is what, Magritte's fourth most famous work?
WRONG. What are you, Andy Watkins learning chemistry differently?

Try "first " or "second" most famous works and we'd be talking.
Just from talking to various people (not necessarily quizbowlers) and reading articles and stuff, I was always under the impression that The Son of Man, The Treachery of Images, and Golconda were his three most famous paintings. I guess I could be wrong.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Edward Elric »

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
gkandlikar wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:Time Transfixed is what, Magritte's fourth most famous work?
WRONG. What are you, Andy Watkins learning chemistry differently?

Try "first " or "second" most famous works and we'd be talking.
Just from talking to various people (not necessarily quizbowlers) and reading articles and stuff, I was always under the impression that The Son of Man, The Treachery of Images, and Golconda were his three most famous paintings. I guess I could be wrong.
Most of my non-quiz bowl friends who view art tend to recollect Time Transfixed (How can someone forget a train coming out of a fireplace!) more commonly than The treachery of Images and Golconda. Obviously the Son of Man is the most popular.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

This is the opener of the "Blanche DuBois" TU:

A polka titled “Varsouviana,” the song to which this character danced with her husband in the moments before he shot himself, plays in her presence periodically.

I'm very sorry that this lead-in penalized the RM player; upon reflection, it would be better opened, "This character danced to a polka titled 'Varsouviana' with her husband soon before he shot himself, and that tune plays periodically in her presence throughout the play in which she appears." (Or something a little trimmer). That Mitch shoots himself after dancing with Blanche seems to me more likely to be known by someone familiar with the play (or especially the movie, which I figure would be the most likely avenue of experiencing this work for most people) than the title of the motif music, so it might be a tad out of order in this revision, but at least the lack of clarity would be fixed. I shouldn't have assumed that no one would buzz off of "Varsouviana."

I'll post the Tolstoy question when I've got the full set in front of me tomorrow.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

There is no excuse to not have pronouns be in the first 5 words of every tossup. If you have written a tossup that does not fit that description, you need to change it. This is just how it is, and it drives me nuts that so many people do not do that.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Well, I reckon the above comes on the ninth word. Hope you can come back from being nuts.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Not much of a chance, because it makes tossups demonstrably worse and is so easy to fix every single time.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Papa's in the House »

Rather than have this thread become some pet peeve discussion thread, I'll use this post to discuss the real matter at hand: the discussion of this year's DB. This set had some problems, including copy-editing related ones, clue ordering ones, and answer choice ones. Of these three general problem areas, the copy-editing ones are the most annoying IMO, as they make it harder to parse what the question is asking for when moderators have to continuously revise what they're saying. Based on what I can remember about the comments made by the freshman from UIUC that played with a WUSTL player, I would take those comments to mean that this tournament was slightly harder than it was made out to be.

I like the ideas you proposed in your first post and I think that by applying them to next year's set you'll avoid many of the problems that occurred in this year's iteration.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Dude, it's not a pet peeve. It's a real problem in tons of sets that leads to players having a harder time answering questions. In a tournament written for community college and high school teams, it is paramount to do everything you can to make questions as clear to teams as possible.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

The WUSTL site, like my own, worked from packets that definitely had some literal repeat issues--that is, the same science bonus showing up three rounds later and such. These came about due to some problems with my own (probably naive) expectation that promised packets would actually arrive, and the resultant spasm of last-second writing and rearrangement to cover gaps. However, as the set's editor, I absolutely should've written extra packets for this contingency, and I can assure you that my anger at how this played out at my site ensures that I will not make that mistake again. In my first dozen years writing this tournament, I didn't have mirrors or expect packets from others, so I always had my 14 rounds done well before the tournament, but now I've learned concretely that when mirroring and expecting packets, one needs to wish in one hand and, uh, write in the other, and see which one fills up first.

However, I'm concerned to hear that there may be copy editing issues. Outside of needing to italicize some titles and underline some question parts, I don't recall seeing many copy-editing errors, even in the original sets used at WUSTL. As a sniffy grammarian, I'd absolutely love to see the errors you noted; I'm sure there were a couple, but I don't recall editing being a consistent problem. But if I'm wrong, I definitely need to know.

Same goes for the clue ordering concerns: I hope that when the sets get posted you'll get back to me with those, so I can consider them when writing next year's set. Thanks!
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by kayli »

Edward Elric wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
gkandlikar wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:Time Transfixed is what, Magritte's fourth most famous work?
WRONG. What are you, Andy Watkins learning chemistry differently?

Try "first " or "second" most famous works and we'd be talking.
Just from talking to various people (not necessarily quizbowlers) and reading articles and stuff, I was always under the impression that The Son of Man, The Treachery of Images, and Golconda were his three most famous paintings. I guess I could be wrong.
Most of my non-quiz bowl friends who view art tend to recollect Time Transfixed (How can someone forget a train coming out of a fireplace!) more commonly than The treachery of Images and Golconda. Obviously the Son of Man is the most popular.
I'd say The Treachery of Images is the most popular (the "Ceci n'est pas une ______" thing is a semi-common joke) followed by Time Transfixed.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

The most egregious example I can remember was the tossup on "neutralization" that said something like "this process is performed until the equivalence point (buzz: "titration" - "sorry, neg 5") in titration." Simply saying "In titration, this process is performed until the equivalence point" would have completely fixed the issue.
Here's the toss-up mentioned above (from Round 3):

In environmental chemistry, this type of reaction is performed on the fish poison retonone by adding potassium permanganate. Reactions of this type that employ a strongly reducing metal often evolve hydrogen gas. This type of reaction is carried out precisely to the equivalence point to determine an unknown concentration in a titration. For 10 points, name this class of reactions, which typically see an acid and a base react to form water and a salt.
ANSWER: neutralization [prompt on "titration" before mention, I guess?]

This was Andy's question, and it's his prompt recommendation in the brackets. The phrase "this type of reaction" appears three times before the words "equivalence point" show up. I am sadly ignorant of even basic QB science, but titration is more of a procedure, not a reaction, right? That added to Andy's prompt suggestion seem to make this sound okay to me, but I'd be happy to hear from people who actually know science.

From what you described above, Aidan, it appears that the moderator in your case didn't follow the instructions to prompt you, which is unfortunate; would it be reasonable to expect one to pull "neutralization" if thus prompted?
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann »

ValenciaQBowl wrote:
The most egregious example I can remember was the tossup on "neutralization" that said something like "this process is performed until the equivalence point (buzz: "titration" - "sorry, neg 5") in titration." Simply saying "In titration, this process is performed until the equivalence point" would have completely fixed the issue.
Here's the toss-up mentioned above (from Round 3):

In environmental chemistry, this type of reaction is performed on the fish poison retonone by adding potassium permanganate. Reactions of this type that employ a strongly reducing metal often evolve hydrogen gas. This type of reaction is carried out precisely to the equivalence point to determine an unknown concentration in a titration. For 10 points, name this class of reactions, which typically see an acid and a base react to form water and a salt.
ANSWER: neutralization [prompt on "titration" before mention, I guess?]

This was Andy's question, and it's his prompt recommendation in the brackets. The phrase "this type of reaction" appears three times before the words "equivalence point" show up. I am sadly ignorant of even basic QB science, but titration is more of a procedure, not a reaction, right? That added to Andy's prompt suggestion seem to make this sound okay to me, but I'd be happy to hear from people who actually know science.

From what you described above, Aidan, it appears that the moderator in your case didn't follow the instructions to prompt you, which is unfortunate; would it be reasonable to expect one to pull "neutralization" if thus prompted?
Yeah, I guess I should have paid closer attention when it was saying "reaction" instead of "procedure." I'm not sure if I would be able to pull neutralization, but I guess that point is moot because I wasn't prompted in the first place. Oh well.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by jonpin »

As another QUAC moderator who negged "titration", I don't recall seeing any such note in the questions as they were given to me on Saturday.

Other notes that I had:
Some really terrible sub-distribution problems. Someone said (and I don't specifically recall for certain) a round had both a T and a B on Norse myth. A round had both a T and a B on pro basketball (the latter had a part that was substantially "did you watch the Sportscenter highlights of game X last Thursday?"); round 5 had both physics questions on particles and both biology questions on immunology; I noticed at least three of the (presumably 13) trash bonuses were cable TV; finally, in round 11 tossup 3 on electromagnetism led to bonus 3 on electromagnetism.
Attempts to be funny/clever. Giving non-facts in line with facts is not good. Examples include the reference to Strom Thurmond dying "at the age of 173", saying that some Florida quizbowler (presumably someone you don't like) has all the symptoms of Klinefelter's syndrome including small testicles, and (IMHO most egregiously) referring to a politician as (and I don't have the packet in front of me, so this isn't exact) having pure evil radiate from his bald head, like Lex Luthor. How does that help anyone?
I was kinda shocked that, even with a week of "fixing any errors" caught last week, there was still a bonus where part one asked for Nero's predecessor Claudius and part two asked for Claudius's successor Nero.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

If you are going to be writing a set for high school consumption you have to remove all of those jokes like that. It hurts the perception of the tournament that most coaches leave with because it is so unprofessional.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Charbroil »

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:If you are going to be writing a set for high school consumption you have to remove all of those jokes like that. It hurts the perception of the tournament that most coaches leave with because it is so unprofessional.
Along those lines, I would argue that multiple questions on defecation are suboptimal (not to mention a ridiculous thing to repeat).
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Kwang the Ninja »

jonpin wrote:saying that some Florida quizbowler (presumably someone you don't like) has all the symptoms of Klinefelter's syndrome including small testicles
I think you're referring to the jab at Billy Beyer, someone who Borglum does in fact like, which was probably meant as more of a fun prod. Me, Ethan (scorekeeper) and Ahmad (moderator) all cracked up when that bonus part was read in my room (if we are, in fact, thinking of the same bonus).
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Papa's in the House »

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:
Edward Elric wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
gkandlikar wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:Time Transfixed is what, Magritte's fourth most famous work?
WRONG. What are you, Andy Watkins learning chemistry differently?

Try "first " or "second" most famous works and we'd be talking.
Just from talking to various people (not necessarily quizbowlers) and reading articles and stuff, I was always under the impression that The Son of Man, The Treachery of Images, and Golconda were his three most famous paintings. I guess I could be wrong.
Most of my non-quiz bowl friends who view art tend to recollect Time Transfixed (How can someone forget a train coming out of a fireplace!) more commonly than The treachery of Images and Golconda. Obviously the Son of Man is the most popular.
I'd say The Treachery of Images is the most popular (the "Ceci n'est pas une ______" thing is a semi-common joke) followed by Time Transfixed.
Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:Dude, it's not a pet peeve. It's a real problem in tons of sets that leads to players having a harder time answering questions. In a tournament written for community college and high school teams, it is paramount to do everything you can to make questions as clear to teams as possible.
I agree that not identifying what you're looking for early is a major problem (and I include it the set of copy-editing errors I mentioned in my first post), but the first set of quotes is what I consider a "pet peeve." Others might consider this as discussion on niche subjects (which I'm given to understand not everyone wants to hear about when there are other, larger problems with a set).
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by jonpin »

Kwang the Ninja wrote:
jonpin wrote:saying that some Florida quizbowler (presumably someone you don't like) has all the symptoms of Klinefelter's syndrome including small testicles
I think you're referring to the jab at Billy Beyer, someone who Borglum does in fact like, which was probably meant as more of a fun prod. Me, Ethan (scorekeeper) and Ahmad (moderator) all cracked up when that bonus part was read in my room (if we are, in fact, thinking of the same bonus).
In other news, inside jokes are funny to people who know the characters involved. To the typical northeast HS player, lead-ins like "Name these places [Florida person X] and [Florida person Y] saw while on vacation in Arizona FTPE" are so much blah blah blah.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Ah, yeah.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I guess if you are going to be a little slow to put in pronouns, the least you could do is accept multiple answers until the pronoun is given.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by theMoMA »

Cheynem wrote:I guess if you are going to be a little slow to put in pronouns, the least you could do is accept multiple answers until the pronoun is given.
I've never seen a question that started out with an extended pronounless phrase that couldn't easily be rewritten to include a pronoun before any substantive clues.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

jonpin wrote:
Kwang the Ninja wrote:
jonpin wrote:saying that some Florida quizbowler (presumably someone you don't like) has all the symptoms of Klinefelter's syndrome including small testicles
I think you're referring to the jab at Billy Beyer, someone who Borglum does in fact like, which was probably meant as more of a fun prod. Me, Ethan (scorekeeper) and Ahmad (moderator) all cracked up when that bonus part was read in my room (if we are, in fact, thinking of the same bonus).
In other news, inside jokes are funny to people who know the characters involved. To the typical northeast HS player, lead-ins like "Name these places [Florida person X] and [Florida person Y] saw while on vacation in Arizona FTPE" are so much blah blah blah.
This "Florida" thing happened about 5 out of the first 6 rounds.

It made me realize after lunch that i had forgotten to tell me kids "hey this set was written by a guy in Florida and there are always way too many Florida things in it... start thinking of stuff about that state that could come up." Sure enough, there were clues/answers about Florida geography, politicians, history, sports, and more i'm sure.

I will have specific comments on questions soon (i have copies but it's late right now), but i just wanted to mention this before i forgot: having TU 20 in the Finals with an answer line of "short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald" was really really dumb... since the question only once, in the opening line, made it clear exactly what it was looking for. There was a buzz in my room (the fifth place game) of "Fitzgerald?" after the question, i prompted, the player stared at me, i called time, the other team buzzed in and sat there, and then everyone in the room went "whaaaaa" when i revealed the answer. It didn't matter in my game, but it was a close one, i hope that didn't matter in another room.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

jonpin wrote:As another QUAC moderator who negged "titration", I don't recall seeing any such note in the questions as they were given to me on Saturday.
It was in the version I wrote (though I'd kind of hoped Billy would have decided to make it just straight up "prompt" or not; I didn't mean for a flippant note to make it in the final questions, but that's on me, ultimately) and so unless it was deleted by someone on the QUAC end and then reinstated elsewhere, it was on the paper.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

I'll be able to address the comments above more fully after teaching this morning, but I did run through the packets just now looking for Florida-specific stuff. What I saw was a toss-up on Everglades National Park, and a bonus on Rick Scott/HCA/something (which also was the one with the "evil radiating from his bald pate" bit--mine!, and which was fine for our site but probably not for the others--sorry!), and then a bonus on Seminoles/Osceola/Zach Taylor. That doesn't strike me as a crazy amount of Florida-specific material; if anything, I've tried to reduce the amount of such material in the last three years as people have begun to mirror. As Mr. C suggests, take a look at 2003-2006 to see lots of Florida-related questions, as that's the audience I was addressing.

As to the inside joks, sure, they're annoying and boring to those who don't get them. I figure there were four such references: the Rick Scott bit, saying in a third bonus part that clearly identified Strom Thurmond that he was 179, a bonus part about the rapture saying Billy Beyer would be left behind, and the bit about Klinefelter's which actually referenced one of Valencia's all-time favorite players, who always comes back and staffs, our boy Jamie. So that's four bonus parts out of 780 bonus parts total, which, again, doesn't seem like too much to me. I apologize to those who were offended or annoyed, but I imagine we will have 4-5 such parts again in the future, as when I'm churning out so much stuff I enjoy having a little stupid fun and will continue to do so. Caveat emptor!

Edit: Oops, I suppose we could say five bonus parts, as there was the lead-in mentioned by Jon above which read, "Identify these sites in Arizona visited by Amy Harvey and Ahmad Ragab this summer" (written as a last-second Friday replacement, btw, if that matters), which, indeed, could have been rewritten to say "Identify these sites in Arizona," if that would have eliminated the bother for some. Still, that's five words, and nothing there should be offensive to anyone, I'd hope.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Okay, let's continue the discussion of the thread focusing on the "why did you ask about X when Y is more askable and gettable by teams?"

"The Weary Blues" - it's certainly not Hughes' most famous poem, and was i'm sure not converted well
Prairie School - stated again, Frank Lloyd Wright makes so much more sense to toss up
Philip Zambardo - just ask about the Stanford Prison Experiment, nobody really knows a lot else about this guy
Louis the Pious - really? Charlemagne would have been converted so so much more
ahimsa - like, important, i guess, but not a term many people know, even though who know what Jainism is (i had somebody buzz in and say "like, uber-pacificity?" when no one in the room knew the term)
Las Pampas - this was hard, very few HS or CC players would be able to give any geographic regions of South America but you toss up Las Pampas? just ask for a country or something
psycholanalysis - just toss up Freud, it would have been converted all over but i bet lots of kids couldn't come up with what you asked for
short stories by Fitzgerald - i already discussed this one

I'm now going to look at each tossup and tell you when the phrase "this X" was first stated in each question. I'm just going to go in order in each packet and each tossup.

Packet 1 - fifth word, thirteenth word, ninth word, fourth word, fifth word, second word, seventh word, second word, eighth word, sixth word, second word, fifth word, second word, tenth word, fifth word, fifth word, second word, second word, second word (nice streak going here), fifth word
Packet 2 - fifth word, fifth word, sixteenth word, second word, twelfth word, second word, second word, fifteenth word, eleventh word, fourteenth word, sixth word, second word, ninth word, sixth word, third word, sixth word, second word, tenth word, twelfth word, second word
Packet 3 - second word, fifth word, tenth word, seventeenth word, second word, sixteenth word, twenty-first word, fourth word, thirteenth word, eighth word, fifth word, sixth word, second word, sixth word, sixth word, sixth word, seventh word, fifth word, fourth word, twelfth word
Packet 4 - tenth word, second word, second word, fifth word, second word, third word, nineteenth word, fourth word, sixth word, second word, seventh word, seventh word, second word, third word, fourth word, sixth word, eighteenth word, fifth word, eleventh word, sixth word
Packet 5 - fifth word, seventh word, fifth word, seventeenth word, third word, second word, second word, twentieth word, thirteenth word, sixth word, fifteenth word, seventeenth word (i'm not counting "their" mentioned earlier), third word, second word, fifteenth word, seventh word, eighth word, second word, seventh word, second word
Packet 6 - fifth word, thirteenth word, third word, fifth word, tenth word, fifth word, eighth word, tenth word (i'm not counting "her" mentioned earlier), sixth word, ninth word, fifth word, fifth word, sixth word, sixth word, fifth word, second word, fifth word, twelfth word, eighth word, twelfth word

Nevermind, i kind of got tired of this. But you can see in the first 6 rounds, a full 30 out of their 120 tossups (that's 25%!!) did not mention "what the question was looking for" until the tenth word or later, many after word fifteen, and a few crazy examples of waiting til around word number twenty! This led to some very frustrating play for the top 10% of the audience since they can often buzz on the first clue, or at least start thinking of what the answer might be, instead of having to think laterally like in :chip: questions about "okay what is this asking for?"
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

As to the inside joks, sure, they're annoying and boring to those who don't get them. I figure there were four such references: the Rick Scott bit, saying in a third bonus part that clearly identified Strom Thurmond that he was 179, a bonus part about the rapture saying Billy Beyer would be left behind, and the bit about Klinefelter's which actually referenced one of Valencia's all-time favorite players, who always comes back and staffs, our boy Jamie. So that's four bonus parts out of 780 bonus parts total, which, again, doesn't seem like too much to me. I apologize to those who were offended or annoyed, but I imagine we will have 4-5 such parts again in the future, as when I'm churning out so much stuff I enjoy having a little stupid fun and will continue to do so. Caveat emptor!
You either can include the inside jokes and not let high school tournaments run this or you can choose to let high school sets mirror it and can cut the jokes out. There are no two ways around this. Some tournament directors such as myself would not be inherently bothered by the jokes, but high school coaches can and will hate them and will use things like jokes about small testes as a pretext to say they hate pyramidal quizbowl and will stop going to tournaments. They don't care who you are and whether you are having fun doing it. The idea that something like that would drive off coaches may seem absurd to you (it is to me as well) but that doesn't change that this is a very real phenomenon, and you indulging in these jokes when you're writing this for high school will always run a high risk of hurting the reputation of any high school event that mirrors your tournament. Tournament hosts can't always be relied on to think about this, so it is in fact your responsibility in choosing to allow mirrors whether or not you change the set for their consumption.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I think nobody in their right mind would ever be insulted by an "inside joke" that went something like "Name some places Ahmad Ragab went to on his vacation" or something like that, and within reason, I would not hesitate to write a bonus prompt like that for a high school tournament. I agree that the other "inside jokes," like the faux insults and jibes at politicians should have been removed for wider audiences.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

I'm now going to look at each tossup and tell you when the phrase "this X" was first stated in each question. I'm just going to go in order in each packet and each tossup.

Packet 1 - fifth word, thirteenth word, ninth word, fourth word, fifth word, second word, seventh word, second word, eighth word, sixth word, second word, fifth word, second word, tenth word, fifth word, fifth word, second word, second word, second word (nice streak going here), fifth word
I am very happy to be more cognizant as a writer and editor in looking to ensure that the answer pronoun is provided very soon as I go forward. I can see that we made some mistakes in this area this time. However, at risk of appearing defensive, I feel that arbitrarily stating that such a pronoun must arrive within five words (or three or six or whatever) might overly limit the way some questions can be approached. I'm not disputing the principlet that the pronoun must be given as soon as possible, just to make sure all are aware of that.

As one example, cited above is that in Packet 1, question two, it's the 13th word before a person can know what is being asked for. Here's the question:

With a name derived from the Greek for “satchel” or “pack,” this mythological figure survived early abandonment after being suckled by a she-bear for five days before being adopted by the shepherd Agelaus. His first wife was the river nymph Oenone, but after leaving her he eventually met Menelaus in combat and was saved from certain death when Aphrodite rescued him by hiding him in a cloud of dust. Eventually killed by a poison arrow shot by Philoctetes, he himself shot the arrow into the heel that killed Achilles. FTP name this Trojan whose selection of Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess started the Trojan War and earned him Helen as a wife.
ANSWER: Paris

In this example, there is an adjectival phrase in advance of the pronoun. I suppose I could move that phrase after a beginning "This mythological figure" [insert opening clue above] "survived." I'll try to ensure I do that in the future. Still, I might argue that a player who is 100% certain of the derivation of Paris's name could confidently buzz in here and say "Paris." The question doesn't veer off by using "Paris" immediately after the phrase, so I doubt it hurt anyone. Further, those 13 words go by pretty fast; when I saw that it was 13 words in, I blanched, but looking at the question, and considering my own experiences as a player, I wouldn't think of that as a long way into the question. Still, I see that the pronoun could go earlier.

Now here's the one that is 16 words in from Round 2, question three:

A crucifix is partially obscured by a green curtain in the upper left of this painting. Stephen Greenblatt has argued that the fact that three different times are indicated by a polyhedral sundial in it, a physical impossibility which suggests the artist’s attempt to “unsettle reality.” A small silver skull appears on a brooch on the slanted cap of Jean de Dinteville, the figure on the left of this painting, perhaps mirroring the memento mori of the anamorphic image of a skull appearing at its bottom.. Depicting Dinteville and Georges de Selve in front of a collection of items showing their worldliness is, FTP, what painting by Hans Holbein the Younger?
ANSWER: The Ambassadors

My analysis here is the same as above. Next time I'll begin it "In this painting," but am I wrong to think that really no one would be misled by this opener? By the time the moderator is 5-6 words in (which is, I'd imagine, less than 1.5 seconds for most mods), players know this is a painting. And again, the question doesn't veer off in some unfair, Chip Beall-like manner (I assume from the hate at that guy, knowing nothing about him).

I could go on, but let's just leave it at this for me on this issue: I hear you all and will endeavor to get those pronouns out there. But when one simply says "That pronoun didn't come till SIXTEEN WORDS so there was no way I could answer, I think that may overstate the case for most of these questions. Please note that I'm not saying that I shouldn't have put pronouns in earlier, but I do think that as such errors go, these are not egregious, as was the case with my misplaced use of the "Varsouviana" clue which did penalize a player, for which I am indeed sorry.

I hope that when one goes back and looks at the examples pointed out by Andrew in his post above (and I definitely appreciate that work, Andrew--thanks!), it will be clear that most examples at least didn't hose people. Meantime, as I've said, I will be more careful about this in the future.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Carangoides ciliarius wrote:Okay, let's continue the discussion of the thread focusing on the "why did you ask about X when Y is more askable and gettable by teams?"
Let's not. This is almost always not a productive approach to tournament criticism. Most of your examples don't hold up particularly well.
"The Weary Blues" - it's certainly not Hughes' most famous poem, and was i'm sure not converted well
Prairie School - stated again, Frank Lloyd Wright makes so much more sense to toss up
Philip Zambardo - just ask about the Stanford Prison Experiment, nobody really knows a lot else about this guy
Louis the Pious - really? Charlemagne would have been converted so so much more
ahimsa - like, important, i guess, but not a term many people know, even though who know what Jainism is (i had somebody buzz in and say "like, uber-pacificity?" when no one in the room knew the term)
Las Pampas - this was hard, very few HS or CC players would be able to give any geographic regions of South America but you toss up Las Pampas? just ask for a country or something
psycholanalysis - just toss up Freud, it would have been converted all over but i bet lots of kids couldn't come up with what you asked for
short stories by Fitzgerald - i already discussed this one
I don't find any of these points convincing. If you can answer a tossup on "Freud" but not one on "psychoanalysis" (keeping in mind I am not speaking of any particular instantiation of either question) then you don't know anything about Freud except titles, and I'm not sure why you should get points for that. I think some things like Louis the Pious probably are too hard for the high school/CC/novice set, but most of this stuff is not particularly inaccessible.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Charbroil »

ValenciaQBowl wrote:
In this example, there is an adjectival phrase in advance of the pronoun. I suppose I could move that phrase after a beginning "This mythological figure" [insert opening clue above] "survived."
I'd like to note you can still keep all of the original clues by saying "This figure, whose name was..., survived"
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

You either can include the inside jokes and not let high school tournaments run this or you can choose to let high school sets mirror it and can cut the jokes out. There are no two ways around this. Some tournament directors such as myself would not be inherently bothered by the jokes, but high school coaches can and will hate them and will use things like jokes about small testes as a pretext to say they hate pyramidal quizbowl and will stop going to tournaments. They don't care who you are and whether you are having fun doing it.
None of these references were remotely inappropriate, save I suppose for the reference to an actual named artwork by Piero Manzoni, "Merde d'Artiste" (this may have been an unfortunate selection as regards difficulty, though I figured it could be reasonably guessed at; fwiw, I discuss this work in my literature classes when discussing the function of the avant garde). Florida CCs are widely populated by Christians of an evangelical bent, something probably less common on other circuits, including Missouri, and I've never heard a complaint from any of my coaching friends (many who fit the above description) or their players. Accepting the word "shit" or "poop" or "feces" for a third bonus part in a playoff round on a question asking for the substance used by Manzoni is, to me, acceptable. Somewhere above Charles seemed to indicate that there was another fecal reference in the set, but I don't remember what that was, so he'll have to remind me, but it's not like this set was rife with scatology or inappropriate references.

Again, the other three involved the following: there was a rapture question that only added "Billy Beyer will be left behind." The bit about Rick Scott will likely anger some people, but, well, it's not profane, and I don't mind angering people with political hyperbole once out of 720 parts. The bit about Thurmond is just plain silly, which is perhaps why I like it; if I've unfairly made some HS player believe that Thurmond died at 179 years old, well, so it goes. I can't find the Klinefelter's one right now, and I probably didn't write it, but if it involves something about small testes, well, there's your winner--I suppose we shouldn't have done that if it's going to drive numerous teams away from quizbowl forever.

The three mirrors were requested by Andy Watkins, Mehdi Razvi, and Charles Hang, all active members of this board and the QB community, and all likely familiar with what DB looks like. I don't feel obligated to warn such folks about content, nor do I feel that what's been included in this set will in some small way help kill HS quizbowl as an activity.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Charbroil »

ValenciaQBowl wrote: Somewhere above Charles seemed to indicate that there was another fecal reference in the set, but I don't remember what that was, so he'll have to remind me, but it's not like this set was rife with scatology or inappropriate references.
I only heard one packet, so my comment is only based on the multiple people who incredulously asked afterward why there were three questions on that answer line.
ValenciaQBowl wrote: The three mirrors were requested by Andy Watkins, Mehdi Razvi, and Charles Hang, all active members of this board and the QB community, and all likely familiar with what DB looks like. I don't feel obligated to warn such folks about content, nor do I feel that what's been included in this set will in some small way help kill HS quizbowl as an activity.
At least for me, I don't feel that I was deceived about the content or anything. I do feel that these in-jokes are kind of silly and have a slight negative effect without bringing any notable benefit to Quiz Bowl (kind of like pseudonyms, as discussed in the other thread). Overall, I think this tournament wasn't that bad, and thank you very much for putting it together (and our apologies again for not doing our part--it won't happen again).
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

I agree with Aidan, who first brought it up, and Andrew and Jerry that Louis the Pious was too hard, and I should've replaced it (it was submitted). I checked that one out this morning, and it was only converted in 5 of 15 rooms here in Orlando. So that one was too hard, my bad.

Interestingly, "Prairie Style" was answered in 10 of 15 rooms--perhaps better than I would've expected, considering that we have some truly newbie teams here. So I think that one was okay. I struggle with answer space with this tournament, as I've noted, since I want it to be interesting and somewhat challenging for the Dallin Kelsons and Valencia Reds of the world, but also to be somewhat accessible to the C team from a CC. As a general principle, I don't mind DB being a bit of a tournament about learning for the least-experienced players. They don't convert that toss-up now, but next time they can get Wright off of a clue about it.

Oh, and "Time Transfixed": it came up in Round 10, which was the first playoff round here (16 teams). It was converted in 6 of 8 rooms. Still, it was playoffs, so maybe that's to be expected.

If I have some time later, I'll try to look at conversion numbers for some of the other potentially too difficult answers Andrew noted. Still, as a general principle, as much as I insist on this being a truly novice tournament, my own philosophy is that there's nothing wrong with a few outliers that will work for the top few teams and stump many of the others. The key is not to have too many, and I hope we didn't.

EDIT: They may not have the time or inclination, but if Andy or Mehdi or Charles want to check on any conversions for any of the answers being discussed as too hard, that would be swell. Better to have actual data than people's perceptions.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region »

grapesmoker wrote:
Carangoides ciliarius wrote:Okay, let's continue the discussion of the thread focusing on the "why did you ask about X when Y is more askable and gettable by teams?"
Let's not. This is almost always not a productive approach to tournament criticism. Most of your examples don't hold up particularly well.
"The Weary Blues" - it's certainly not Hughes' most famous poem, and was i'm sure not converted well
Prairie School - stated again, Frank Lloyd Wright makes so much more sense to toss up
Philip Zambardo - just ask about the Stanford Prison Experiment, nobody really knows a lot else about this guy
Louis the Pious - really? Charlemagne would have been converted so so much more
ahimsa - like, important, i guess, but not a term many people know, even though who know what Jainism is (i had somebody buzz in and say "like, uber-pacificity?" when no one in the room knew the term)
Las Pampas - this was hard, very few HS or CC players would be able to give any geographic regions of South America but you toss up Las Pampas? just ask for a country or something
psycholanalysis - just toss up Freud, it would have been converted all over but i bet lots of kids couldn't come up with what you asked for
short stories by Fitzgerald - i already discussed this one
I don't find any of these points convincing. If you can answer a tossup on "Freud" but not one on "psychoanalysis" (keeping in mind I am not speaking of any particular instantiation of either question) then you don't know anything about Freud except titles, and I'm not sure why you should get points for that. I think some things like Louis the Pious probably are too hard for the high school/CC/novice set, but most of this stuff is not particularly inaccessible.
I actually find this sort of thinking to be sometimes helpful. If people aren't converting questions at very high rates at the high school/CC level, fun is not being had (not that fun was not being had at DB; I'm speaking generally here). I think it's helpful when writing novice questions to think in terms of "Why ask X when I can ask Y?" in order to boost the conversion rates. I agree with Chris in that I don't think a few outliers here and there are bad, but high conversion rates are key.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann »

ValenciaQBowl wrote: Now here's the one that is 16 words in from Round 2, question three:

A crucifix is partially obscured by a green curtain in the upper left of this painting. Stephen Greenblatt has argued that the fact that three different times are indicated by a polyhedral sundial in it, a physical impossibility which suggests the artist’s attempt to “unsettle reality.” A small silver skull appears on a brooch on the slanted cap of Jean de Dinteville, the figure on the left of this painting, perhaps mirroring the memento mori of the anamorphic image of a skull appearing at its bottom.. Depicting Dinteville and Georges de Selve in front of a collection of items showing their worldliness is, FTP, what painting by Hans Holbein the Younger?
ANSWER: The Ambassadors

My analysis here is the same as above. Next time I'll begin it "In this painting," but am I wrong to think that really no one would be misled by this opener? By the time the moderator is 5-6 words in (which is, I'd imagine, less than 1.5 seconds for most mods), players know this is a painting. And again, the question doesn't veer off in some unfair, Chip Beall-like manner (I assume from the hate at that guy, knowing nothing about him).
Players can and do buzz on "Ambassadors" tossups on the clue about the partially obscured crucifix. I did. It's not that the clue is misleading in any way; the issue is that, with no pronoun to work with, I had to construct a blitz, as with a good number of other questions on Saturday. For all I knew, this could have been a Holbein tossup beginning with a obscure-ish description of a famous work. Those kind of questions happen. Not constructing a blitz during a fast-paced game of quizbowl is always infinitely preferable to having to construct one. Luckily, in the room that this round was played in, the mod knew how to handle it, but that wasn't always true. It would make life easier for both the players and the mods if this question had began with "This painting." That's really all there is to it.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Okey-doke. Message received, as noted above.

Call me emotionally needy, but I am curious if any of the questions were particularly liked or if the overall experience of hearing the set was better than not playing quizbowl that day for anyone. It's understandable that our discussions in this forum tend to focus on the areas where tournaments could be better, but as an instructor who assesses essays, I value the learning benefit of pointing out what went well, too. If there's nothing good, so be it, but I might as well know!
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Okay, god knows I should let it go, but at risk of seeming as if I'm advocating for purposely obscuring questions by holding back on identifying pronoun phrases (I'm not! I recognize it's important to be clear, as the 3/4 of our questions that put the phrase in the first five word shows! And I'm a gonna work harder at editing for this, I swearrrrr!!!), I wanted to try to make a point about how it could be misleading to simply count words to the appearance of the "this x" phrase and then maintain that too many questions were keeping players in the dark as to their possible.

As I was reading to my team yesterday from a smattering of different packets, I found myself hyper aware of when the "this x" phrase appeared due to my reading of this thread that morning, and so this morning I looked at some packets we read yesterday to do the kind of analysis Andrew Chrz presented above on the first six rounds of Delta Burke. Here's the result from two packets we read yesterday (note that the number presented is the count for the appearance of the identifying noun after the use of "this" in the opener, with caps for questions seeming to be outside the range suggested upstream in this thread):

3, 2, 1 (it!), 5, 6, 5, 7, 6, 2, 6, TENTH, 3, NINTH, 5, NINTH, 6, NINETEENTH, TWELFTH, 2, FIFTEENTH

7, 7, 2, 5, 2, 7, 4, 3, THIRTY-FIRST, 7, 2, 7, 2, 5, 2, 2, TWENTY-FIRST, ELEVENTH, 6, 2

That's nine out of 40, the same percentage Andrew, understandably, decried in his counts of the first six rounds of DB. The two rounds in question are an editors' round from ACF Regionals 2010 and the Stanford packet for ACF Regionals 2010.

Now I don't mean in any way to impugn the authors/editors of these packets--far from it. I thought the packets were excellent, and I don't even have a beef with the outliers here, but that's what I'd like to discuss; though I AGREE it's absoultely ideal to name the "this x" phrase ASAP, is it possible that there are situations in which there is a legitimate reason to provide other information, or at least is it possible that not having the "this x" phrase till later sometimes doesn't hurt or "punish" the players?

Here's the question from the ACF Editors' packet, #17, which doesn't present the completed "this x" phrase till the 19th word:

From 1995 to 2000, the Kellogg Commission examined the future of institutions created as a result of this act. The Nelson Amendment to this act established a permanent source of funding to achieve its goals. Lyman Trumbull was initially asked to be the sponsor for this bill by the man sometimes given credit for its introduction, Jonathan Turner, but he instead supported a Vermont Representative as this bill's sponsor. The 1887 Hatch Act provided funding for "agricultural experiment stations" associated with institutions funded by this bill. For 10 points, name this 1862 act that set aside public lands for the establishment of colleges devoted to agriculture and engineering.
ANSWER: Morrill Land Grant Act

I think this question is fine, and I'm not sure that rewriting it to say something like "This institutions created by this act were examined from 1995-2000 by the Kellog Commission." But I'm assuming that having an absolute principle that the phrase must appear within five (or seven, or whatever) words would suggest the rewrite is better.

Here are the two from Stanford's ACF Regionals packet in which the phrase actually appears at 31 and 21 words, respectively:

The Gniezno incarnation resulted from Boleslaw III's acceptance of the suzerainty of the Holy Roman Empire, and led to the de-facto independence of the Polish church. A 1242 instance of this saw Hungarian king Bela IV grant city rights to present-day Zagreb, though the most famous example of one of these confirmed the role of the city of Frankfurt and explicitly specified the role of the archbishop of Mainz. Emperor Frederic II was identified as the source of the 1218 one of Berne, considered a forgery, but definitely did issue one dealing with the holdings of Teutonic knights in Prussia named for the town of Rimini. The best-known of these documents was issued in 1356 by Charles IV and codified the Diet of Nuremberg's rulings regarding Holy Roman Emperor election. For 10 points, identify these decrees named for the precious metal used on their seals.
ANSWER: Golden Bull [accept chrysobull after the Byzantine name; accept Papal Bull until Byzantine empire is mentioned]

After reading an article about a woman who saw a "white fountain" during a near death experience, the narrator of this work visits Mrs. Z only to discover it was a typo as she actually saw a "white mountain". The line "I was the shadow of the waxwing slain" is repeated in this poem in which the speaker asserts he sat "like a king, and like Marat bled" while describing shaving in the bathtub. The second canto ends when the speaker's daughter Hazel drowns herself after she is ditched by her blind date. Many lines in this poem are identified as images of the impending arrival of assassin Jacob Grey to New Wye in a commentary written by the exiled king of Zembla, Charles Kinbote. For 10 points, name this poem by John Shade that titles a novel by Vladimir Nabokov.
ANSWER: "Pale Fire"

In the first example, the phrse "The Gniezno incarnation" isn't followed by a clear "of this type of decree" or something, but as player I'd be thinking, "Okay, it has a Gniezno incarnation, so it's some kind of thing, not a person" or something, but I'd be okay in following along; I wouldn't feel frustrated or confused, and if I knew that the Golden Bull had such an incarnation, I'd be able to buzz, pronoun or not. As to the latter example, I've read "Pale Fire" but don't remember that opening clue, but though it's 21 words (!!!) till it appears, I think the details would go by quickly enough that by the time "this novel" is mentioned, I'd already have a decent idea that this was a literary work.

I don't mean to use these examples as a "tu quoque" retort; I just wanted to suggest two things: first, showing a list of numbers at which the "this x" phrase appears and declaring that a packet was punishing players may not be an accurate rendering of the actual feel of play of questions in a set; and second, it may be possible that sometimes (only sometimes!), there may be a good question-writing reason to hold off. Now the question I'm curious to discuss is whether people agree with the second point. Should the above examples have been rewritten to fit the principle enunciated frequently in this thread, that questions must put forward the "this x" phrase ASAP?

PS--I'm going to try to have the "this x" earlier all the time when possible next year!!!
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

There was some awesome stuff asked about at this tournament.

St. Francis of Assisi almost never comes up and the tossup about him was great. I would like to see, in Christianity questions, more tossups and bonuses about "more recent" (kinda) saints and religious figures. The same goes for more recent popes, though i do understand that many of them are forgettable. The tossup on Karol Wojtyla was also well done.

I like questions that ask for non-traditional answers sometimes, like the myth one about "turning into stone." Neat idea.

The history question on Antarctica was interesting. I also liked the tossup on Tom Sawyer, using him in different works; that certainly rewarded real knowledge. Any tossup written well on George Washington is always great in my book since there are SO many good tough clues about him; that question was very clue dense and executed nicely.

I liked seeing a tossup on Gwendolyn Brooks, a poet i really like who doesn't come up very often.

The repeats were kind of a problem though. Thomas Mann was a bonus answer in the first round then a tossup answer in round 6. Vietnam was an answer in round 7, then the Vietnam War (granted, using literature clues) was an answer the next round. There was a Qing Dynasty tossup, then a trash China tossup, then a Chinese mythology tossup... all in successive rounds.

Also, just generally i thought, East and Southeast Asia in geography and history questions were pretty well over-represented, while there were very few if any geography questions on Europe and Africa.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

I, too, noticed an overrepresentation of Asian stuff as I was reading--sadly too late to do too much about it.

The Mann repeat was bad, as was my not catching the bonus mentioned upthread with the Claudius-Nero clue repeats immediately following each other. Bad editing on my part. I should've also spaced apart the Vietnam questions and the China questions, though they were different.

Thanks for the feedback on what you liked!
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF »

Hello,

It seems to me that the appeal to hypocrisy is one of the most enduring techniques of argument on this board, one need not apologize for a minor instance, Chris.

Second, I imagine in order to reclaim the validity of the proposed argument that should the identifying pronoun phrase in the tossup comes after some arbitrary number of words (I guess between 5-9) that the tossup basically fails as such, and suggesting otherwise is a plainly manifest and totally obvious lack of understanding about real quizbowl, some might suggest that at the High School/CC/Novice level that the ability to parse a tossup while being read is at a distinctly less developed level, therefore the comparison to a Regionals or "Regular Difficulty" tourney is moribund.

I think this line of questioning in general is a bit disingenuous, and speaks to the nature of qb criticism as it stands. I mean, I would bet if one went back and examined a whole myriad of otherwise well received tournaments at the Novice level, one would find, in not insignificant percentages, tossups where the pronoun appeared after word ten and where no accusation of obfuscation was levied for that reason. But to read this thread one would gather that early pronoun mention is the sine qua non of tossup clarity. Of course, I agree that it should be mentioned at the first possible convenient moment, but to set some universal value for when that should be regardless of content or subject matter and then to reduce the analysis to "FOURTEENTH WORD!!! YOU FOOL" is suspect.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Actually that "Golden Bull" question is bad precisely because it lacks an identifying pronoun phrase. I too reject the notion that such a phrase must come after X words, but it needs to be there, and in the first sentence, no less.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Placing the identifying phrase within the first sentence seems to me an absolute limit to which we can all agree.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Blahhunter »

The most annoying thing I found with this set was how badly the sub-distributions were skewed, especially in some rounds. There seemed to be a general over-abundance of American history and a general lack of British Hist. American history ended up being the majority of the history distribution, in one instance i think being 3/2 or greater. In addition mythology and in particular Norse came up with a rather higher frequency than expected. In our room the mod gave a prompt on "titration", and while it resulted in points for our team I thought that it would've been negged. As for pronouns coming in too late, my teammates and I had a problem with that for a small portion of the tournament, but did not turn out to be as major of a problem as some people in the thread above are saying. While alternate answers acceptable until a certain point would have been nice, the mirror my team attended was blessed with many more experienced mods who made up for lack of direct instructions. Otherwise the set overall was not bad and fulfilled our rough expectations for it.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by Charbroil »

Blahhunter wrote:The most annoying thing I found with this set was how badly the sub-distributions were skewed, especially in some rounds. There seemed to be a general over-abundance of American history and a general lack of British Hist. American history ended up being the majority of the history distribution, in one instance i think being 3/2 or greater.
This tournament isn't in ACF distribution, though Am. History was not (at least intended) to be 3/2 or greater. I'll let Borglum post the distribution.
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Re: Delta Burke 2010 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

There were 2/2 American history and 2/2 world history in each packet. I don't see any packet where this is not the case; however, the good news is that the packets are available at the collegiate archive, so I encourage anyone who thinks this is not so to point out actual instances.

However, I'm sure it's true that in a packet or three we may have had a Norse TU with a Norse bonus (or Greek/Roman with Greek/Roman), as I don't worry myself too much with that. I endeavor to mix things up, but I don't systematically quantify exactly how many Norse/Greek/Egyptian/etc. we have but rather write (or receive) questions I think are appropriate for my field. Over the course of the set I figure the sub-distro will even out.
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