Panasonic

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Post by wd4gdz »

Despite the fact I don't like the PAC format, today's final match was actually really exciting. The top four teams all had a legit shot to win. For example, on one 15-point question, Team Florida buzzed in and said A Member of the Wedding (by Carson McCullers) instead of The Member of the Wedding. This mistake, in all probability, cost Team FL first place. So it goes.

--BB

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Post by kws »

Despite the fact I don't like the PAC format, today's final match was actually really exciting. The top four teams all had a legit shot to win.
Don't most PAC finals end up like this? When each team is only getting a few questions, there has to be a huge variance on the possible outcomes -- much, much moreso than in the other formats anyways.

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Post by quizbowlmike »

A Member of the Wedding (by Carson McCullers) instead of The Member of the Wedding
wow, that sucks for team FL. so that was a 30 point swing for an incorrect article... which probably wouldnt be counted wrong in most normal high school tournaments. Thirty points puts FL at 228 and gives them first place... that really sucks.

And why didnt you tell me you were going to watch, I would have gone and bugged ya. (feel free not to answer here)

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Post by wd4gdz »

Don't most PAC finals end up like this? When each team is only getting a few questions, there has to be a huge variance on the possible outcomes -- much, much moreso than in the other formats anyways.
In my experiences with PAC, surprisingly not. Last year for example, Virginia had a relatively comfortable margain of victory. In most early rounds and quarter/semi finals, there's a clear separation in points between the good teams and the not-so-good teams.

My two cents,
--BB

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Post by kws »

Well, yes, I'm really only talking about the finals, especially now that the semis don't seem to each involve six teams. I've only witnessed two finals (95 & 96), which were decided by (I think) 5 and 15 points, but they both had pretty dramatic changes in the top three all the way until the end.

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Post by Tegan »

The finals were an exciting event for sure, and sadly not without controversey (though the officials did the best job they could under the circumstances.....they were real pros!)

1. On the third question of the five point round, Maryland activated their buzzer after about four words. The team claimed no one touched the buzzer. Even if they had, it would have been clearly inadvertant. The moderator deducted five points, but the TD asked the points to be replaced, and the question was replaced with a question which Illinois then got correct.

2. In the ten point round (question 33 for those who kept a scorecard) there was a three part audio question (identify the type of chord). When the recording was turned on, there was a momentary audible electronic tone (not a buzz, hum, or beep, but a tone like one would hear in a hearng test). After the second piano chord, Illinois fired in and quickly answered, but in the middle of answering a third piano chord was played. Virginia protested (and was correct to do so) that the third chord was played after the buzzer was activated. Illinois' answer was judged correct, but the points were stricken, and a replacement question was read. This replacement question in math was also answered by Illinois, but not correctly (roughly a 20 point swing which would not have occured if the person playing the audio player had stopped the recording). The sad part was that Illinois' buzzer was triggered by a player's elbow reaching across the table for the calculator. I didn't know this until after the ten point match, but I was glad to see that they didn't go whooping and hollering about an accident that, unlike Maryland's, clearly should have cost us the points since the question was already done.

3. Already mentioned here was the A/The Member of the Wedding question that snakebit Florida. Under Illinois format, nothing would have been done, and it was a shame to see something like that swing a match. That was question 43, the third question of the 15 point round. Florida did show guts by coming right back on the next question, and still managed two more, with no more negs in the round. While Florida appeared to play a conservative final period, let it be known that they did not sulk or pout over a decision that would have taken the air out of the sails of 90% of the teams out there.

4. It actually took me four seconds to realize the conequence of Maryland's final neg. I had come to know the Maryland coaches well, as well as the Viriginia coach, and think very highly of both of them, as they were welcoming to me and complimentary to Illinois' team and certainly their teams were the best two there. It still gave me a tight feeling in my stomach to see a match end like that instead of a team answering the last question correctly to and the match with decisive flair.

I congratulate Virginia for pulling off the triple crown of NAQT, PACE, and Panasonic in a single year. Maryland also played very well, and deserved to be ranked among the best at PAC. Florida played very well, and to their credit negged only twice in the final match (one 5 point, one the aforementioned McCullers title). Colorado played very steady, and I will admit that I was shocked to see Wisconsin in the finals, and after seeing that they will be returnig a healthy part of the team, would rather not have to play them in the future.

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Post by quizbowlmike »

Florida probably didnt gripe too much about the A/The switch because they are used to getting shafted by the Panasonic format, it's unfortunately our state format. Also, the lack of buzzing in is generally the accepted best strategy in FL. A neg that takes away the full point value of the question, especially in the 15 points round, is too costly when you have six teams playing. Only buzz in if you are 95% sure or more on a question.

Unfortunately, many times in the PAC format it comes down to which team can be the most technical, not always which team knows the most. I guess in this instance, Virginia wins in both of those catagories (PACE, NAQT, and PAC). From my experience, and that's only about 6 state tournaments at Disney in that format, problems always seem to come up and they are not always resolved in the best way... in my opinion.

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Post by wd4gdz »

One other interested situation came up in the 15-point round (I believe).
There was a question asking players to fill in the missing word of literary titles. The first one, for example, was The Unbearable _______ of Being by Kundera. The fourth and final one was read as Of Human ______ *buzz*. Maryland (I believe) gave the answer of Bondage, which at the time certainly seemed correct to me, yet, it was ruled incorrect. Shortly thereafter, it was revealed that the moderator mispoke, and meant to say The Human _____. Oops. As a result, that question was thrown out. In theory MD could have won if it wasn't for the moderator's slip o' da tounge.

--BB

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Post by VTBen »

I'm from Team Vermont and this was the first time for everyone competing under the very strange PAC format which none of us liked at all. We did alright, but unfortunately had two tough draws of Missouri in Round 1 and Illinois in Round 2, so we got second both times and didn't qualify for the semis. But I was happy with our team's performance. My biggest complaint is that the judges are too nit-picky. Our team was penalized 15 points in Round 1 when I studdered in the middle of spelling a word so the judge thought I spelled it wrong so I made a huge fuss. The A/The mix-up in the Finals was ridiculous as well, as was the fact that the "correct" answer was actually incorrect for the two of the "China Survivor" questions. I think Maryland got screwed over when answering the "Of Human Bondage" question too. These errors could have easily been prevented making the tournament much more fair.

Also, why have 2 semifinal rounds with 5 teams and one with only 4? Why not invite another team to be in that 3rd semi? (Like Tennessee who lost Round 2 by two points)

But I was very happy and surprised in the end when my teammate was named an All-Star because I felt he deserved it and helped our team win our state championship and get to the PAC. And Virginia is just a powerhouse. Next year I look forward to being on the same team at Swarthmore as Wren who was on the winning team last year.

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Post by Captain Sinico »

wd4gdz wrote:There was a question asking players to fill in the missing word of literary titles... The Human _____...
Man, what did they have as the answer to that, anyway? There are at least two really feasable potential answers to that that I can think of (corresponding to three works, two of which with the same title as it happens), but my assumption would be that they wanted Balzac's The Human Comedy. However, that is odd in itself, since that is not properly the title of a work of literature.

And yes, I know this happens all the time in PAC,
MaS

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Post by jewtemplar »

I believe they asked for Saroyan's. Although I have no right to complain, it was a shame to have won on so many technicalities. The questions that round were simply too easy to distinguish teams on the basis of knowledge. Oddly enough, there were more buzzer races in the 15 pt round than in both others combined. It's also a shame that the moderating at PAC is prone to such errors. There has to be more work put into PAC than any other national, but the multimedia stuff and the scale of the rounds make such game-deciding mixups far too prevalent. In any case, congratulations to Maryland, Illinois, Florida, Colorado and Wisconsin for making it to the final (and running VA to the last) and thanks to the tournament staff (if any of them read this board), for running, at the very least, an unimpeachably fair tournament.

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Post by VTBen »

The real correct answer was The Human Comedy.

Also, another thing I didn't like about PAC was that the matches were 2 hours long. This is a much too long for any one quizbowl match in my opinion. I also didn't like the one buzzer per team aspect or the subject of the questions. The questions were way too centered on math and science, and there were no questions about sports, pop culture, or current events either (all three are subjects our team is good at).

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Post by Matt Weiner »

It seems like we have this thread every year. It's as if the moderators at PAC have a greater say in who wins the tournament than the referees in the NBA Finals.

Would anyone play this tournament if it weren't held at Disney World and fully sponsored for half the teams?

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Post by Tegan »

quizbowlmike wrote:Florida probably didnt gripe too much about the A/The switch because they are used to getting shafted by the Panasonic format, it's unfortunately our state format. Also, the lack of buzzing in is generally the accepted best strategy in FL. A neg that takes away the full point value of the question, especially in the 15 points round, is too costly when you have six teams playing. Only buzz in if you are 95% sure or more on a question.
It's easy for me to sit here and play analyst, but I can't agree more. At about 5 pm, I sat down to analyze the match for my report, and was looking at the fact at Florida did not answer a question in the last 14 (they got to 176 points, at the time four points off the lead in second place). But then I looked at the plan I had drawn up, and realized that this is almost exactly what I would have told my team to do. When you are in the top few teams, you need to sit on the lead and force the other teams to come to you (likely negging in their stress to climb). I think what hurt here was that (unlike previous years), there was no team leading with a comfortable lead, and it forced Virginia to stay more aggressive than they would have been if the lead would have been bigger.

There is a lot of woulda/couldaing going on.....and its always interesting to speculate:

1. If Maryland had been unfairly assessed the five point penalty on question 3.
2. If the audio player had been stopped on question 33 (giving Illinois 10 more points, and wiping out the neg they got on the replacement)
3. If the judging wasn't as nitpicky on a leading article, allowing Florida 15 points instead of a neg 15
4. If Wisconsin had not come in early on question #56 (an "unscramble the letters to form the musical term"), and that question had been open for VA, MD, FL, or IL. The fact is there are plenty of these throughout the tournament, introducing tremendous chance into predicting outcomes in this format......

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Post by Tegan »

Matt Weiner wrote:It seems like we have this thread every year. It's as if the moderators at PAC have a greater say in who wins the tournament than the referees in the NBA Finals.

Would anyone play this tournament if it weren't held at Disney World and fully sponsored for half the teams?
I am preparing an article comparing and contrasting the three nationals I got to see this year (NAQT, PACE, and Panasonic). I think Panasonic's format is salvagable, though it would not be my first choice of the three, and I will tell you why:

The one thing that NAQT and PACE have in common that I think makes them so embracable by the high school quizbowl community is that they are run by ex- and current players...people who know what the player is looking for, what they like about competing, and what loopholes need to be observed to avoid cheating.....the Panasonic format is run by some very learned people, but I'm not sure how many of them have ever coached/played in quizbowl. I think it makes a big difference when you have that layer of experience as a player and/or coach.

I think the Panasonic people put on one heck of an experience, and I think everyone has a good time, but as for the competition aspect, I would make some changes.

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Post by NotBhan »

One would imagine they'd be able to find plenty of experienced moderators just within the local area (a number of whom read at the PACE NSC recently) if they had an interest in doing so. I e-mailed them and offered to help out last year but never heard back. Oh well.

I do wonder how the Member of the Wedding response would be treated in other formats. All formats I'm familiar with would accept "Member of the Wedding" alone, but I'm not sure about "A Member of the Wedding." Would an answer which gives the wrong opening article be accepted by NAQT, PACE, various invitationals, et cetera? Just curious.

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Post by MLafer »

NotBhan wrote:
I do wonder how the Member of the Wedding response would be treated in other formats. All formats I'm familiar with would accept "Member of the Wedding" alone, but I'm not sure about "A Member of the Wedding." Would an answer which gives the wrong opening article be accepted by NAQT, PACE, various invitationals, et cetera? Just curious.

--Raj Dhuwalia
I'm pretty sure it would result in a neg in ACF. A teammate of mine buzzed in with "The Hunger Artist" instead of "A Hunger Artist" and was negged by an ACF editor.

(Yes, I realize the original is in German, and it would be REALLY FUN to argue about whether it was wrong or right, but the point remains)

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Post by Matt Weiner »

NotBhan wrote:I do wonder how the Member of the Wedding response would be treated in other formats. All formats I'm familiar with would accept "Member of the Wedding" alone, but I'm not sure about "A Member of the Wedding." Would an answer which gives the wrong opening article be accepted by NAQT, PACE, various invitationals, et cetera? Just curious.
Incorrect leading articles render an answer wrong under PACE rules. Players may entirely omit "the" or "a" at the front of a title* but if they include it, then it must be correct.

*Except when this would create ambiguity among two realistically possible answers; "Invisible Man" is never acceptable when the answer is "The Invisible Man" since there is a book called "Invisible Man" that is a reasonably possible answer at PACE NSC.

This is exactly the same as the rule in every college tournament that I've ever seen the rules for.

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Post by jewtemplar »

In NAQT, PACE, and most "mACF" tournaments, leading articles may be omitted, but must be correct if included. I made the protest on the assumption that Panasonic followed similar procedures.

And of course, the money and Disney world are by far the greatest draws.

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Post by First Chairman »

NotBhan wrote:I do wonder how the Member of the Wedding response would be treated in other formats. All formats I'm familiar with would accept "Member of the Wedding" alone, but I'm not sure about "A Member of the Wedding." Would an answer which gives the wrong opening article be accepted by NAQT, PACE, various invitationals, et cetera? Just curious.

--Raj Dhuwalia
Hey Raj: PACE NSC 2005 rules on Correct Answers...
Section I. 6.
Titles. For titles in English, all titles must be correct answer given in full except:
6.1. Leading articles may be omitted (e.g., Scarlet Letter). Incorrect leading articles however will result in the entire answer being considered and ruled wrong (A Scarlet Letter).
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
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Post by Tegan »

I think we might want to start a different thread for doing this type of comparison...but I agree that the PAC should do something to address this. The easy way is to require exact titles, thugh this is not always the fairest, best, or most logical approach.

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Post by Romero »

One approach is to coach players to avoid unecessary information. There is no need to give leading articles or first names unless prompted. Whoever gave an incorrect leading article SHOULD have been negged.

Romero

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Post by prewitt81 »

The Kentucky Assoc. for Academic Competetion wrote:Articles such as "a," "the," and "an" are optional when they are the first word in the title of books, songs, works of art, etc.; students may not, however, add those articles if they do not exist in the work's title
This was changed in the last few years. Before then, "Grapes of Wrath" would've been called incorrect by most moderators because the leading article was left out.
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

And Illinois just changed the rule before this year...both wrong and forgotten leading articles are now accepted here.

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Post by NoahMinkCHS »

I'm gonna go out on a limb here (right...) and concur with NAQT, PACE, and every college tournament Matt Weiner's been to -- leading articles, like first names, should be optional, but if included, must be right. How hard is that? It's logical, it tests for unambiguous knowledge of the correct answer, and doesn't penalize players unfairly. Plus, in translation situations, you save at least a little grief.

On a related note, kind of: Is Panasonic even quiz bowl? It's only similarity to quiz bowl played anywhere else -- even bizarre regional formats -- is that there's A buzzer involved, and that many states -- lacking anything at all resembling this activity -- send a team composed mostly of quiz bowlers, since, to the untrained eye, it's... kinda the same, I guess?

It's no less quiz bowl than KMO, but certainly it's far afield. But if we DO call it quiz bowl, it seems to me that it's received much less criticism than NAC and ASCN and (on the college side) CBI. All these formats have their shortcomings, and we're correct to point those out. But I can't figure out why -- discussing a tournament that includes calculators, 6-team matches, 1 buzzer per team, essay answers (right?), and one buzz max per question -- the faults that we've been discussing center on the validity of individual answers and outcome, where the discussion of the other "not-quite-real tournaments" focuses on the validity of the tournament/format's very existence.

Sure, "PAC will never change". Neither, most likely, will NAC, ASCN, or CBI. But PAC has something no other quiz bowl group I know of has -- a MAJOR corporate sponsor. Many of the criticisms of the other formats focus on how they take money away from "real" quiz bowl, a legitimate concern. But not only does PAC take lots of money away from real qb, it's not even FAKE quiz bowl. And money that goes there, both from sponsors and from schools*, could be better spent sending teams and support to PACE and NAQT.

*I realize many PAC teams are all-star teams, many from schools that DO go to real stuff. But that's still money that could be used for other quiz bowl purposes -- holding/attending more invitationals or better state tournaments for example.

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Post by Stained Diviner »

You are correct that PAC takes money away from other quiz bowl endeavors, and you are correct that the format is bizarre.

However, to me the most important thing that makes some tournaments good and others bad is that the good ones ask questions from an academic canon, while the bad ones ask a lot of junk. On this level, I would say that PAC is pretty good quiz bowl, though it is far from perfect.

I don't think it is right to downgrade a tournament because they use calculators and periodic tables--maybe somebody can tell me why that is a bad thing, but I don't think it is. PAC certainly has more math and science than NAQT and PACE, but that doesn't bother me personally, probably because I'm a math teacher.

Having up to six teams in a room is pretty strange, but they sort of make up for it by having longer matches. If it were up to me, they would have more matches--each team should play twice a day for the first two days--but it's not up to me. Having everybody share a buzzer is a bad thing in my mind, but it doesn't ruin the tournament.

I also think that some of the questions are a little weak. When you have five state champions/all-star teams in a room, then there should never be any buzzer fodder questions. Fortunately, most of the questions are not buzzer fodder--many of them are appropriate for the competition. Unfortunately, some of them are. I also could do without matching and multiple choice. Many of their matching and multiple choice questions, however, are good questions. Some of them--not so much.

A few years ago, their corporate funding dropped and their entry fees went up. If you look at the history of the tournament, you can see that one year had a dropoff in the number of teams entered. The Illinois Coaches' Association used to cover all the fees, but we now have the students pay part of the fees in order to save some money for the rest of our budget.

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Post by kws »

I think we might want to start a different thread for doing this type of comparison...but I agree that the PAC should do something to address this. The easy way is to require exact titles, thugh this is not always the fairest, best, or most logical approach.
Aren't exact answers already required? Or is this just for the multiple choice/matching questions? Also, there doesn't seem to be a way to get around the one buzz/tossup when you have these sorts of questions. We tried this in practice once and, not surprisingly, discovered that multiple choice questions weren't so good if more than one team was allowed to answer.

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Post by jewtemplar »

NoahMinkCHS wrote:
On a related note, kind of: Is Panasonic even quiz bowl?
Panasonic qualifies as weird quiz bowl, I'd say, but it's only because of the buzzer. It would be wonderful if some of the money panasonic donates to have teams stay at an overpriced hotel and go play around in overpriced, overrated theme parks could be spent to make the "real" nationals more accessible. However, if that could ever happen, it would have to be after both Ms. Harrod (TD) and Mr. Rooney (the main Panasonic contact for the tournament) retire. Further, Panasonic makes more overt efforts to appear legitimate than any other national. Witness the dress code, the large panels of judges, etc. Corporate sponsors probably prefer that formality to the more laid back approach of PACE and NAQT.
The one thing about Panasonic that makes it less worthy of bashing than NAC is that few teams have delusions about its validity. The noncompetitive teams, by and large, are there for the trip, the competitive teams, by and large, for the money. I'm not sure to what extent it diverts money from real quizbowl, considering this fact. I know VA has payed all fees out of team members' pockets the last three years. I would never have the TJ team subsidizing something with such dubious quiz bowl value.
Not sure what the point of this post is.

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Post by quizbowlmike »

the large panels of judges
What's the point to this? I understand why there could be a need of a judge for language questions and possibly math... but if they have protest of the actual academic information, almost every single time, they take a break, someone leaves the room and finds a computer to look it up. Why not just bring a laptop into the room and get rid of 6-8 of the judges.
the Panasonic format is run by some very learned people, but I'm not sure how many of them have ever coached/played in quizbowl.
When I was there for the FL state tournament (notice I'm not calling it the state championship because there is now an Official NAQT State Championship) myself and another quizbowl player expressed interest in helping out/judging or whatever they needed for PAC. We must of have four or five different people involved come up to us and talk to us about it and take our emails. They all acted really exciting about us wanting to help out... and then we never heard from them. The help is out there and it's being offered. They just dont want it.
A few years ago, their corporate funding dropped
This year, for their state tournament in FL, they lost some of their funding. So instead of raising the entry fees, they got rid of the scholarships for the winning teams. Luckily, someone stepped in at the last minute and donated the money, although i believe it was reduced from prior years.
Aren't exact answers already required? Or is this just for the multiple choice/matching questions? Also, there doesn't seem to be a way to get around the one buzz/tossup when you have these sorts of questions. We tried this in practice once and, not surprisingly, discovered that multiple choice questions weren't so good if more than one team was allowed to answer.
Exact answers are already required. i.e. if it's part of the matching and the works are 1. The Grapes of Wrath, 2. ... and the authors are A... B. John Steinbeck... and you said The Grapes of Wrath - Steinbeck, you'd be wrong. But, 1 - B would be right. I can remember rounds where people were taken off for giving middle names when matching because we rang in early before the names had been read off and gave all correct answers, but were marked wrong because we didnt use the exact names that were on the list they have.
The one question, one buzz rule is the only way it can be done with you use multiple choice questions, matching questions, and have 6 teams playing. I dont think the buzzer would handle it if 5 teams were holding down their buzzers because the first team is negging.
Having up to six teams in a room is pretty strange, but they sort of make up for it by having longer matches.
How does that make up for it? By prolonging the agony? Actually the matches really wouldnt be any longer than say, a PACE match if they didnt give an entire minute to answer every question. The majority of the questions are one liners so reading doesnt take that long at all. The extra time is spent on worksheets (5 minutes or so each and then 20 minutes grading them) and on there little tv things for the language questions which are inherently unfair because they talk about different things in the different languages.
If it were up to me, they would have more matches--each team should play twice a day for the first two days
Now that would require a lot more work for them, so they definately wouldnt want to do that. I agree with you here. Playing more matches should help sort out which teams are the best and which arent instead of the double elminination??? tournament that it works out to be.

This tournament is in no way a high school national championship because most teams there arent specifically a high school. At least half the teams there are all-star teams. I suppose the only thing this tournament show is which state can put together a team of 4 to 6 people that can fight over a buzzer in an efficient manner and manage not to negate themselves on technicalities while still getting about 3 questions a round. Three questions around with no negs and good worksheet scores will get you 15 + 30 + 45 + 100 + 8 + 17 + 25 = 240, which with six teams playing will win most of the time. If you really pay attention, there are 4? questions on each subject each round. So, if your team has the best math person in the room, they can just get all the math questions each round and nothing else and quite easily go on to win.

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Post by kws »

To clarify, was the A/The Member of the Wedding question part of a multiple choice/matching question or a free response one?

In regards to the comparatively high percentage of math questions, has anyone recently tried sending, for example, a few of the state's ARML representation? It's quite possible they might neg themselves to death, but I seem to recall a team winning the finals very early on in the history of PAC answering nothing but the computational questions.

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Post by First Chairman »

I can try to address the corporate sponsor bit in general because Academic Decathlon is even more ludicrous with its corporate sponsorship package than Panasonic. In essence, Polk County has the advantage of having relationships with corporate sponsors in the area to underwrite many of the costs because they want the program to be "big". In the beginning they had Herff Jones create championship rings for the members of the top 3 teams as well as the All-American team (I don't know if that's still the case).

As for the tournament format, I think it's the only way that they can construct it. If you assume that there are 50 teams in the field, all teams are guaranteed two games. Ten initial pairings of 5 teams 50) with 8 repechage pairings of 5 teams (40) among the non-winners gets you to 18 teams that have earned their way into the semifinal round by winning at least one game. I agree that an "It's Academic" system is warranted where points are deducted if the initial team answers incorrectly on buzzer q's. And worksheet rounds fulfill the general educational desire that everyone get a chance to earn points against the clock rather than against each other (and yes, some quiz bowl areas love handout rounds).

To improve things, I guess I would like an initial seeding round where all the teams work on a 100-question worksheet in 30 minutes rather than the complete random draw. I'd say do it while the coaches are having their meeting on Friday night. Certainly the questions need some improvement. Cutting down the answer period for the non-calculation questions probably would help tremendously.

Calculators are now allowed in the major standardized college admission tests and math contests, and they're even allowed in Academic Decathlon (much to my "in the old days" begrudging). That said, I think the dynamic of "pure" quiz bowl is the aspect of speed, and calculated questions don't really encourage that. On the other hand (and DReinstein can help with insight here), you can ask more insightful math questions with calculators than not (where students have to recognize the "tricks" to solve the problem quickly).

I always wonder if each of the judges on the panel have little cards and post scores like they would in gymnastics or figure skating. On the other hand, I think they do it because it would provide the appearance of credibility. But I cannot answer that question: you'd have to ask Terry Boehm (the first PAC director) and Peggy.
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Post by First Chairman »

jewtemplar wrote:The one thing about Panasonic that makes it less worthy of bashing than NAC is that few teams have delusions about its validity. The noncompetitive teams, by and large, are there for the trip, the competitive teams, by and large, for the money. I'm not sure to what extent it diverts money from real quizbowl, considering this fact. I know VA has payed all fees out of team members' pockets the last three years. I would never have the TJ team subsidizing something with such dubious quiz bowl value.

Not sure what the point of this post is.
Well, the PAC does allow for those of us who are junkies to gloat on how our state's circuit is better than another's. In Decathlon where we send state champions, we have state coaches and association rivalries galore (specifically Texas vs. California). Of course in that case, most of the teams there have absolutely no shot at the title (maybe a maximum of 4 teams over the 20+ years of its history), so they decided to award divisional titles by size of school (no set number, just to split the field evenly). Only once has a school not in the "Large school" division won the overall national title. Of course, these guys are good: the championship teams in the past have visited the White House and even gone on the old Johnny Carson Tonight Show. If anyone knows who we should contact for a similar White House visit for our quiz bowl champs, I'm sure a lot of us would like to know.

Otherwise, it has as much validity to quiz bowl as an All-Star game does to professional sports. Baseball notwithstanding, who really cares about the Pro Bowl, the ASG in the NBA, or US vs. the World in the National Hockey Lockout? It's fun, it's for pride, but it's not important.

NB and points to Romero: Yes, I love the Texas Acadec slogan: It ain't braggin if it's true.
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Post by Stained Diviner »

To further some of the arguments started in this thread...
More teams mean longer matches: When there are more teams, each one buzzes in fewer times. So, if you want there to be a chance of a team separating itself from the field, then you need more tossups. PAC matches have more tossups than other matches, which is a good thing. The worksheets add to this and are helpful in this type of match, but their low point value (especially when most teams get roughly the same score), mean that they actually don't accomplish too much.

Illinois has some ARML members there. So do some other teams. Having a great math person who can beat all the other math people on every question would be great, but it is easier said than done.

More matches could be done. If I was in charge, I would have every team play four matches. The first three would be preselected, making sure that nobody plays the same team twice (preferably using a seeding as Dr. Chuck describes, but it could be random). The fourth would have the the teams who had won at least one match facing off in some of the rooms, with those rooms evenly distributed based on third round results and trying to avoid rematches. The teams that won none of their first three matches would play the fourth match against each other in a few rooms for kicks. The Championship match would then have the top six teams. Anybody who won at least three out of four would be in, and some tiebreaker could be devised to get the number of teams up to six.

I like the use of calculators. They can, and sometimes do, make for better questions.

The All-Star problem is not a major problem. You cannot compare this to sports All-Star games, which are not games because nobody plays defense or because the coach tries to play everybody in the dugout. PAC has All-Star teams who are playing to win. It may be unfair to some students from unorganized states that send one school who have to play against organized states that have All-Star Teams, but so it goes. Allowing only one team per state hurts states like Virginia that have a ton of talent, but so it goes.

The panel of judges is a good thing, and there are several types of questions that get challenged. Please don't suggest that the proper way to handle units in a science question is something that should be Googled. The Human ____________ could have been discussed by the panel if a problem arose.

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Post by Matt Weiner »

ReinsteinD wrote: PAC certainly has more math and science than NAQT and PACE, but that doesn't bother me personally, probably because I'm a math teacher.
PACE science is 12 questions out of each 58 question match or 20.7 percent. Does Panasonic really have more? Because we've gotten complaints about the abundance of science at the NSC in the past (although we've received more compliments about it so we're keeping it at the current level for the forseeable future). And is Panasonic's science as deep within each concept asked and as broad in terms of subdisciplines covered as that of the NSC or even NAQT? The questions from Panasonic that I've seen suggest that their science, while it can be difficult, is not deep due to the one-liner format, and can play to the biases of the writers in terms of which fields get asked. I also don't think that it really is more than 1/5 of their questions, but if someone can figure out what their distribution is and post I'd like to know.

As far as the judges go, it seems like asking for trouble. A properly written match ideally should not have any protests; realistically, the most protests you will see in a match at NAQT or NSC* is maybe 2 and there will still be a lot of matches with none at all. When you have even one full-time "judge" who is looking for something to do, there will be a lot of answer protests and rules questions created for him. When you have 8 of them, especially when the questions and rules are rather poorly constructed and nearly every match turns on a single question due to the weird format, you are signing the outcome of the tournament over to the judges in order to justify their existence.

*The entirety of the NSC had exactly ONE protest this year, and I imagine NAQT also had a lot fewer than in the past.

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Post by quizbowlmike »

PACE science is 12 questions out of each 58 question match or 20.7 percent. Does Panasonic really have more?
I believe their distribution is 4 science and 4 math questions per round (20 questions). They are treated as seperate catagories which is why it may seem like there is an abundance of math/science. I believe there are also 4 social studies/history, 5 literature/grammar, 1 foreign language, 1 art, and 1 music.
The entirety of the NSC had exactly ONE protest this year
This is not entirely true... maybe you mean to say "one protest that made a difference at the end of the match which had to be ruled on." I can think of two protests off the top of my head without putting much thought into it.
you can ask more insightful math questions with calculators than not
Actually, most of the questions where one would need a calculator are the science questions. They come in handy when working with atomic masses and chemistry constants... which are all provided for you. The majority of the math questions can be done without the use of a calculator.

As far as judges go... isnt 12+ judges a little extra?
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Post by Matt Weiner »

Yes, one protest that came out of the room level. Things that were disregarded as moot or because the other team agreed, I may not know about. But certainly we had few enough protests that a full time "judge" in any room would have been quite bored.

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Post by Stained Diviner »

Does anybody know who writes the Panasonic questions? NAQT and PACE get great questions by having a fairly large number of good past and present college bowl players write, and then edit and censor, their questions.

My sense is that PAC relies more on college professors or similar types, but I'm not sure. This may explain why the question quality is more inconsistent--the writers are knowledgeable but may not be as aware of what the top teams are capable of or what exactly makes for a good question. There also may be less editing of the questions.

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Post by quizbowlmike »

I'm not entirely sure if this is how PAC does it, but for the state tournaments in FL, teachers from a number of different counties that send teams have to write questions. I would assume PAC is doing it the same way. So, the questions are written by high school teachers. Most of the judges are also high school teachers in FL.
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Post by First Chairman »

In North Carolina's Public Libraries QB, the librarians do it, and all the q's go into a centralized database from which someone generates the question sets. The quality of these questions is on the other hand quite... well...

I don't know who the person is who writes the questions but it used to be single-sourced I thought. The link is not longer there, but there was a set of example questions that one could access from their website. I have a suspicion that unless there is a set committee that writes all the questions, the question quality itself appears to be too consistent to attribute it to random high school teachers (retired or whatnot) submitting questions. Of course, if there is an editor involved that is really strict on format, that would be another question entirely, but one would think you'd get credit for that. Besides, someone has to coordinate all the multimedia questions.
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Post by Tegan »

ReinsteinD wrote:Does anybody know who writes the Panasonic questions?
At the banquet, the question writers sat at a single table, and while not introduced individually, I would guess from appearances that most of them were too old to have either played or coached at a time when quizbowl was anything like it is today.

In addition to the few questions that are just plain wrong, there are a few that are poorly worded. In my evaluation, I stated that rules enforcement was inconsistent from room to room, and suggested that ipart of the problem is that there are very few rules in writing to deal with problems...too many "at the moderator's discretion" rules. I suggested putting more into writing, nd making sure all of the moderators were on the same page in terms of interpretation (which is inherently near impossible to do). In addition, I recommended that the judges and readers pre-read the question to determine potential alternative answers (NAQT and PACE are great at this...likely because they are run by former players. PAC needs to improve this).

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Post by kws »

In addition, I recommended that the judges and readers pre-read the question to determine potential alternative answers
I can just see whatever group of people decides this talking about potential alternative answers and coming up with the solution of making more questions multiple choice and 3-way matching...

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Post by NoahMinkCHS »

In my humble opinion and experience, the only questions worth playing have been written by current and (recent) former players and coaches. Even some of those suck. But when you let professors, librarians, and non-quiz bowl types (including high school teachers without qb experience) write, the suck percentage approaches 100. Even if the writers mean well, they just don't have the knowledge (of qb procedures, canon, etc.) and technical skill that are needed.

It seems self-evident as to WHY this would be, but I'm interested to see if anyone has had different experience -- i.e., played on questions written by someone who wasn't a coach or player that weren't awful.

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Post by jewtemplar »

The thing about Panasonic is that it really doesn't want to be quiz bowl. The questions are modeled on typical high school exams, not quiz bowl of any type. While they want to run a haphazardly buzz-based high school knowledge competition, they have the best question writers out there. If they want competitors to enjoy themselves or place any stock in their performance, then they are in dire need of an overhaul.

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Post by Tegan »

NoahMinkCHS wrote:It seems self-evident as to WHY this would be, but I'm interested to see if anyone has had different experience -- i.e., played on questions written by someone who wasn't a coach or player that weren't awful.
I tend to agree for the most part, though I have seen a vast minority of non-quiz bowl people write some good questions with some coaching (that is, shown examples of good and bad, and even then subjected to editing for content and style). As a matter of fact, these questions far outshine the questions written by some of the older coaches whose idea of good quizbowl question writing hasn't changed in 20 years...like a five line stem that has nothing to do with the question, and isn't even humerous. I think the key is coaching and editing....a single person bringing a voice to the questions.
Last edited by Tegan on Sat Jun 25, 2005 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by jrbarry »

Many of us in the Southeast were writing pyramid-style toss-up questions in the mid-1980s. Been doing that for 20+ years it seems. We Georgians, Tennesseans, South Carolinians, and Floridians never could get Alabama to go along with that in those early days. We all wrote our own questions because we wanted good, 100% academic, pyramid-style tossups.

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Post by steven-lamp »

And please keep trying to get Alabama to do that, because the state format isn't that bad, but the questions are.

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Post by quizbowllee »

God knows I'm doing all I can... You will ALWAYS get good pyramidal questions at Brindlee Mountain, I promise!
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