Discussion

Old college threads.
Locked
User avatar
Sima Guang Hater
Auron
Posts: 1850
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:51 pm

I, and my teammates who actually wrote Penn Bowl, would appreciate any and all criticisms of the set. I'd like to point out that this was Dominic's first time head-editing a set, and many of the writers were writing for a collegiate audience for the first time. I understand that the set was far from perfect, but all of them would appreciate any and all advice/criticism/whatever directed our way.

Discuss away.
Eric Mukherjee, MD PhD
Washburn Rural High School, 2005
Brown University, 2009
Medical Scientist Training Program, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 2018
Intern in Internal Medicine, Yale-Waterbury, 2018-9
Dermatology Resident, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2019-

Member Emeritus, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer, NAQT, NHBB, IQBT

"The next generation will always surpass the previous one. It's one of the never-ending cycles in life."

User avatar
Nine-Tenths Ideas
Auron
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:14 pm
Location: MD

Re: Discussion

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:56 pm

I don't know if this was endemic of the whole set or maybe just a localized thing, but some of the stuff I submitted seemed edited to be worse, or at least more poorly worded. For example, a bonus part on Winfield Scott was edited to note that he led a siege of Veracruz at the siege of Veracruz, and some other things I can't think of now. I'm not implying what I submitted was perfect [or even good] but the wording was changed to be significantly less... good.
Anyway, I dunno if this occurred in the whole set or not.
Isaac Hirsch
University of Maryland '14
Never Gonna Play Again

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5686
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:36 am

For a regular difficulty event it was too hard. There were a lot of bonus parts that I thought were extremely difficult and several tossup answers that were out of place at a regular event. Also, lots of long tossups. I noticed a lot of person tossups in lieu of works tossups in the lit, arts, social sciences, philosophy, etc. and I thought that on the whole they weren't particularly well done. A lot of lead-ins in the form of "This dude did minor works X and Y." I'm not a fan of those as they seem to primarily reward rote knowledge of minor works. Aside from those issues, the set seemed to lack the polish that is required in this modern age to make a regular-difficulty tournament truly outstanding. I wouldn't say it was disappointing to play because there were plenty of good ideas and it seems like the editors and submitting writers did a decent job avoiding the "let's write on trendy topics!" problem. But the difficulty overshooting was significant and the lack of polish was readily evident. Overall, a solid tournament that was well worth playing. But I worry that other teams that weren't converting the more difficult stuff might not feel the same way.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

dmac587
Lulu
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:50 pm

Re: Discussion

Post by dmac587 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:10 am

I have some comments about the set. Most importantly, I'd like to thanks my teammates, Medhi, Sid, Eric, Ming and James for all the hard work that they put into the set. Additionally, I'd like to thank Mike Cheyne for contributions to the editor's packets and Chris White for stepping in to help to edit the fine arts. Also a special thanks to my former teammates, Anirudh Jangalapalli, who came down to Philly on Friday night and pretty much solely edited the lit in addition to writing a fair bit of the fine arts, and Randall Maas, who in addition to contributing some of the lit and philosophy, worked throughout Saturday to finalize the tournament. All of these people did an exceptional job, any problems, oversights and errors are my own.

I agree with Andrew, we did overshoot the intended difficulty and it was a poor representation of "regular" difficulty. It took us a lot longer to write this tournament than we had originally thought, leaving some of the areas that the editors were less familiar with until to the end, forcing us to put them together more hastily than I desired. That meant that the lit, fine arts, SS and phil were not as rigorously edited as the other categories.

Here is what everyone edited:
Mehdi: Bio/Chem/Physics, SS, Lit, Phil
James: Judeo-Christian religion and other science
Ming: Parts of Lit and Phil
Eric: Bio/Chem
Sid: Geo/Trash
Mike Cheyne: Lit
Chris White: Fine Arts
AJ: Fine Arts and Lit
Randall: Lit and Phil
Dominic: History and Myth

We appreciate constructive criticism and hope to produce a better set next time out.
Dominic Machado, Dartmouth '09

User avatar
Gautam
Auron
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:28 pm
Location: Zone of Avoidance
Contact:

Re: Discussion

Post by Gautam » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:12 am

The copy editing was sloppy, I thought. In particular, there were a non-trivial number of clues which had phrases and words missing, which left us readers to either interpret the clues or just reconstruct things somehow.

There were clues of the form: "this man wrote a work in which blah blah description of work blah blah, title of work." We have gone over this many times... they're really confusing when questions are being read pretty fast. I think some such questions still crept into the set, and they were annoying. I tried to correct as many of these on the fly, but it's hard to get all of them right.
Gautam - ACF
Currently tending to the 'quizbowl hobo' persuasion.

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:29 pm

I took a look at a few packets and while I didn't read the tossups too carefully (although I will note in passing that the Gadamer tossup was atrocious), many bonus parts jumped out at me as being ludicrously hard. Characters from Crabwalk? The Battle of Najera? Quiroga? I mean, for a hard tournament, sure (although even I would balk at asking for a Crabwalk character); for something that's ostensibly "regular difficulty," I think these are way, way off the mark. Lots of derivative material in this tournament, which I think is unfortunate as well.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2999
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Discussion

Post by Auroni » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:56 pm

There seemed to be a few hard modern music bonuses as well (both Corigliano AND Ades?! Xenakis AND Varese?!*), along with some tough tossups in the editors packets, such as the ones on Samuel Huntington, The Maids*, Sentences*, Treaty of Pressburg*, and private language argument. Overall, I think this was a solid tournament. There were a few easy clues early in the question, but this was not particularly pervasive as a phenomenon and isn't really the hugest deal, since I support more people getting chances at powers. (Although putting a major word in the opening line for "Ode on Melancholy" in the second sentence, behind several not as famous lines, is not the best idea). The set could have used some more copyediting and less lenient power placement, but the latter is again not a major issue.

I loved the tossups on "creep" (we just learned this in class)! and "Ash Wednesday."

* = possibly not as egregious
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

User avatar
Important Bird Area
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5499
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:33 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:00 pm

every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:Treaty of Pressburg*

* = possibly not as egregious
Haven't seen the set, but for the record this is in fact egregious for regular difficulty.
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

"I wish to make some kind of joke about Jeff's love of birds, but I always fear he'll turn them on me Hitchcock-style." -Fred

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2999
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Discussion

Post by Auroni » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:06 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:
every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:Treaty of Pressburg*

* = possibly not as egregious
Haven't seen the set, but for the record this is in fact egregious for regular difficulty.
That was my first inclination, but I thought that maybe the cool kids are familiar with more Napoleonic Wars treaties than ever before.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

User avatar
Theory Of The Leisure Flask
Yuna
Posts: 843
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:04 am
Location: Brooklyn
Contact:

Re: Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:13 am

every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:(both Corigliano AND Ades?! Xenakis AND Varese?!*)
Not sure how Corigliano and Ades happened- I definitely changed the original question from Ades to Penderecki in the interest of making it easier, as Ades was way, way too hard. Guess the unedited version somehow made it in instead.

As for Xenakis and Varese... well, I thought Varese was famous enough to be a middle part. He's certainly important enough!
Chris White
Bloomfield HS (New Jersey) '01, Swarthmore College '05, University of Pennsylvania '10. Still writes questions occasionally.

User avatar
DumbJaques
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 3078
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:16 am

As for Xenakis and Varese... well, I thought Varese was famous enough to be a middle part. He's certainly important enough!
WINDMILLS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE

User avatar
Gautam
Auron
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:28 pm
Location: Zone of Avoidance
Contact:

Re: Discussion

Post by Gautam » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:07 am

DumbJaques wrote:
As for Xenakis and Varese... well, I thought Varese was famous enough to be a middle part. He's certainly important enough!
WINDMILLS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!
Surely you mean nullSampos and not windmills
Gautam - ACF
Currently tending to the 'quizbowl hobo' persuasion.

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:03 pm

There was a thing I noticed in, I think, the Illinois B/Harvard packet. The tossup on polarization drops Clausius-Mosotti in the middle; however, the rest of the tossup is about polarization in a completely different sense. Polarization as it relates to light from the CMB or the Faraday effect is the orientation of the electric field vector relative to the propagation direction of the wave. Polarization in the context in which it's used in the Clausius-Mosotti equation is separation of charges in a bulk dielectric. This may seem like an abstruse technical point but it's really the physics equivalent of having a clue about J. Q. Adams in a tossup about J. Adams without distinguishing that these are two different people. Yes, the same word is employed in both situations, but it means different things, and it's misleading to write a question which suggests that it means the same thing in each case. Please try to avoid those kinds of situations in your writing.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

Ringil
Rikku
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:46 am

Re: Discussion

Post by Ringil » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:25 pm

I felt like this was one of the more poorly written tournaments this year. Although I was fairly pleased at the first few packets read at our site, I felt like the tournament quickly diverged.

One huge thing was bonus variability. For example, in Editors 1, there as a bonus on Secret HIstory/Procopius/Eusebius of Caeserea, which in my opinion has no real easy part, and then there's a bonus on galvanic cells/Gibbs Free Energy/permeability, which was much much easier.

Another thing was some strange tossup clues/answer lines. Like the tossup on Coulomb's law has the first clue about Jefimenko's equations, which give the retarded E and B field, not just E field, making it entirely not unique. Also, that tossup on the Queens of Egypt had some very poor answer line choices as it didn't even prompt on rulers of Egypt.

Finally, there were no tossup on East Asia besides like Joseon, which was in our packet :(

Edit: I also concur that the tossup on Pressberg was fairly difficult, and would say that the confusion with polarization happens all the time (I think it happened in THUNDER II too).
Libo
Washington '14, Michigan '13, Troy High School '09

dmac587
Lulu
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:50 pm

Re: Discussion

Post by dmac587 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:49 pm

My fault on the Queens of Egypt tossup. In fact, I actually prompted Chris in the room I was reading in when he answered rulers of Egypt and but I should have made that clear in the answer line.
Dominic Machado, Dartmouth '09

User avatar
DumbJaques
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 3078
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:13 pm

My fault on the Queens of Egypt tossup. In fact, I actually prompted Chris in the room I was reading in when he answered rulers of Egypt and but I should have made that clear in the answer line.
I'd have to see the question to know for sure, but in retrospect I don't think this was a poor answer line choice or whatever - certainly not inherently. The clues, as with pretty much all the history tossups in this set, were legit, specific, and actually interesting. The one problem I could see is that Hatshepsut was also Pharaoh, which I actually think was something I mentioned in my answer blitz before "who were also chicks." That being the case, you essentially have to prompt on "Pharaohs," which theoretically let's someone buzz in with Pharaohs, get prompted, and just figure out what the question is really on. To that I say, whatever. The risk of that happening is low, much lower than the risk of people with knowledge being punished, and regardless this is sort of "guilty go free/innocent sent to jail" scenario. It's no secret that question quality has suffered before because some writers are more concerned with being named by the intolerable "chronicle transparent leadins" posts than they are with appropriately rewarding knowledge.*

*Not a reference to anyone who wrote for Penn Bowl.

Obviously a lack of prompting instruction is an issue, and in this case was just an oversight by an editor who already knows what I'm about to say. So, this is mainly for all you writers out there, watching at home: When you're trying to pull of questions like this one (by which I mean, certain common links or unusually-structured questions that defy some element of convention), err on the side of gross overprompting. Do not merely do this for the question as a whole; go line by line, clue by clue, and try to think of plausible buzzes that someone could make without being strictly incorrect. Then write out instructions for prompting on those answers. Really, you should do that for all your questions, but it's most crucially important on stuff like this. I'll take it a step further and say that in various cases you should absolutely not hesitate to use instructions more detailed than simply "prompt" (an example would be "can you be LESS specific," AKA The Antiprompt). I've actually given answers that were MORE correct than the actual answer line for questions like these, and been negged because there was no prompt instruction at all. Preventing stuff like that from happening is important, because when done well these tossups really add a lot to the game (freshness not in the form of NEW URUGUAYAN AUTHOR TIME is a valuable commodity in quizbowl).

EDIT:

I'll have more to say about this tournament when I look over the set (hey, can someone send it to me?), but I didn't think it was nearly as poor as other folks apparently did. Waaaaay too hard, sure, but crappy? One of the worst all year? I don't think so. Incidentally, I highly suspect that the Gadamer tossup was one of those situations where the original gets spliced into the final edited packet due to copy-editing error or whatever. I mean, that tossup basically went "this dude was born in Marburg, went to Freiburg to chill with the Dig, hermeneutics yeeeeeah." It's not like it remotely resembled anything else in the set.
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE

User avatar
Auks Ran Ova
Forums Staff: Chief Administrator
Posts: 4043
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:24 pm

DumbJaques wrote:NEW URUGUAYAN AUTHOR TIME
I didn't really understand what the big fuss about this was--Quiroga's been cropping up on occasion since at least 2001, and he's not unimportant.

I'll have more to say about this tournament later, probably. In short: it wasn't all bad, but it wasn't very good either. I remain thankful that there was no cause to play the finals packets at our site; we played them on the drive back, and I was horrified at their excessive difficulty. As much as I love 30ing bonuses on Conlon Nancarrow...what the fuck were the editors thinking?!
Rob Carson
University of Minnesota '11, MCTC '??
Member, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer and Editor, NAQT

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6574
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:39 pm

I admit to only reading works in English, but Quiroga still strikes me as too hard for regular difficulty, although perhaps as one of the hardest bonus parts in a set, maybe.

I don't think this set was ghastly, but it wasn't very good. The sad part was that it was actually pretty close to being good--a lot of the bonuses simply suffered from "this is not a good hard part" syndrome (like the Flaubert one) which could have been easily fixed. I would probably attribute a lot of the problems to this set to time crunches/inexperience, which are not that uncommon, especially among relatively new editors (this also is reflected in the fact I thought packet quality differed from packet to packet quite extremely at times). The biggest problem with the set on the whole was that it was too hard, something I hope regular difficulty editors take into account.

In short, this wasn't a good set in my opinion, but it's something I think the editors can easily build off on to produce a better set next year, perhaps with some better time management. The worst thing about it was the difficulty, which, like many other sets, needs to be dialed down.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2999
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Discussion

Post by Auroni » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:09 pm

Additional thing: that bonus part on _Hurrian_ mythology was really hard. I made Teshub the hard part in a CO packet once, and even then I mentioned that he shows up in both the Hittite and Hurrian pantheons. This bonus part dropped the name of three gods total, used a transliteration of Teshub that is not commonly used, and punished you for knowing that he appears in more than one pantheon, on top of picking a particularly tough deity to make a hard part.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:04 am

Ukonvasara wrote:
DumbJaques wrote:NEW URUGUAYAN AUTHOR TIME
I didn't really understand what the big fuss about this was--Quiroga's been cropping up on occasion since at least 2001, and he's not unimportant.
He's not unimportant but he's just too hard for this level. I think having him be a part in this tournament plays into the unfortunate trend of normalizing downward the apparent difficult of things that are actually really hard.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

Locked