Question-Specific Discussion

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Question-Specific Discussion

Post by touchpack » Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:02 pm

Post about individual questions you liked-disliked here. The following categories were primarily written by 1-2 people:

British Lit: Ike
American History: Austin
European History: Aaron
World History: Aaron
Biology: me and Andrew
Chemistry: me
Physics: me
Other Science: Ike
Painting: Ike and Chinmay
Music: Aaron
Religion: Ike and Aaron
Mythology: Ike and Andrew
Social Science: Ike
Philosophy: Ike
Geography/Current Events: Aaron
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:31 pm

So I think the Moon tossup may have not been clear about what it wanted with its pronoun. I think I just heard "this," buzzed in when I heard Wadjet, said "eye" and then was negged. Would someone mind explaining the early clues to me to see if what I was thinking was wrong (which is more than possible, since I recognized none of the pre-Wadjet clues)?
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"And here we are as on a darkling plain, Swept by confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night."
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:02 am

Also, round-by-round commentary based on what I can remember from Saturday:

Round 1:
I'm not sure if Ibn Kaldun is too hard for regular difficulty or not (he's probably fine, I just couldn't remember his name).

Round 4:
The Butt Fumble tossup might be the greatest trash tossup I have ever heard. Very well-written, and the baseball-related clue definitely helped me.

Stag Hunt strikes me as a little too hard for regular difficulty (although I could be wrong, of course).

The film tossup on the Soviet Union was a great idea that seems well-executed to me.

Round 5:
I loved the KGB/NKVD/Cheka bonus, since we went over all of those at various points in my classes.

Round 6:
I'm not sure if Mukden Incident is too hard for regular difficulty. This might be better served as a tossup on Nanking (using clues from the Rape of Nanking).

I really liked the Alexander II tossup, since the leadin rewarded me for my senior thesis research.
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"And here we are as on a darkling plain, Swept by confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night."
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by touchpack » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:12 am

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:So I think the Moon tossup may have not been clear about what it wanted with its pronoun. I think I just heard "this," buzzed in when I heard Wadjet, said "eye" and then was negged. Would someone mind explaining the early clues to me to see if what I was thinking was wrong (which is more than possible, since I recognized none of the pre-Wadjet clues)?
According to Andrew, this got edited to fix the English in a way that made the answer factually ambiguous. Here's the version you played:

6. The Book of the Two Ways describes how the souls of the dead would go to the “Mansion” of this. A heart-eating god of this domain appears in the Cannibal Hymn to help the king slay his enemies. An ancient, obscure god with this domain is named Iah. In one tale, an object associated with it was offered to Osiris, who ate it to come (*) back to life. That object, which was restored after being torn out in a fight, was often called Wadjet. This item appears on the headdress of Khonsu, and this entity was the loser of a bet that extended the year to 365 days. For 10 points, name this object which appears on the headdress of Thoth and his Ibis bill as a crescent shape.
ANSWER: _Moon_

It has since been changed to this:

6. The Book of the Two Ways describes how the souls of the dead would go to the “Mansion” of this. A heart-eating god of this domain appears in the Cannibal Hymn to help the king slay his enemies. An ancient, obscure god with this domain is named Iah. In one tale, an object associated with it was offered to Osiris, who ate it to come (*) back to life. That object, which was restored after being torn out in a fight, was represented by the left Wadjet eye. This item appears on the headdress of Khonsu, and this entity was the loser of a bet that extended the year to 365 days. For 10 points, name this object which appears on the headdress of Thoth and his Ibis bill as a crescent shape.
ANSWER: _Moon_ [prompt on the left _eye_ of Horus]
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:39 am

touchpack wrote:
The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:So I think the Moon tossup may have not been clear about what it wanted with its pronoun. I think I just heard "this," buzzed in when I heard Wadjet, said "eye" and then was negged. Would someone mind explaining the early clues to me to see if what I was thinking was wrong (which is more than possible, since I recognized none of the pre-Wadjet clues)?
According to Andrew, this got edited to fix the English in a way that made the answer factually ambiguous. Here's the version you played:

6. The Book of the Two Ways describes how the souls of the dead would go to the “Mansion” of this. A heart-eating god of this domain appears in the Cannibal Hymn to help the king slay his enemies. An ancient, obscure god with this domain is named Iah. In one tale, an object associated with it was offered to Osiris, who ate it to come (*) back to life. That object, which was restored after being torn out in a fight, was often called Wadjet. This item appears on the headdress of Khonsu, and this entity was the loser of a bet that extended the year to 365 days. For 10 points, name this object which appears on the headdress of Thoth and his Ibis bill as a crescent shape.
ANSWER: _Moon_

It has since been changed to this:

6. The Book of the Two Ways describes how the souls of the dead would go to the “Mansion” of this. A heart-eating god of this domain appears in the Cannibal Hymn to help the king slay his enemies. An ancient, obscure god with this domain is named Iah. In one tale, an object associated with it was offered to Osiris, who ate it to come (*) back to life. That object, which was restored after being torn out in a fight, was represented by the left Wadjet eye. This item appears on the headdress of Khonsu, and this entity was the loser of a bet that extended the year to 365 days. For 10 points, name this object which appears on the headdress of Thoth and his Ibis bill as a crescent shape.
ANSWER: _Moon_ [prompt on the left _eye_ of Horus]
Thanks. That prompt definitely would have helped me figure out what was going on while playing this set Saturday.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:40 am

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:I loved the KGB/NKVD/Cheka bonus, since we went over all of those at various points in my classes.
So people have heard of the Cheka. Glad you enjoyed it!
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:51 pm

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote: I'm not sure if Ibn Kaldun is too hard for regular difficulty or not (he's probably fine, I just couldn't remember his name).

Stag Hunt strikes me as a little too hard for regular difficulty (although I could be wrong, of course).
Both of these things were totally fine choices on Illinois's part. In general, Jacob, I think it'd be good for you to take a broader view when you comment on the difficulty of specific things in question sets, rather than basically asserting that things you don't know too well (or clues you don't remember from things you've read) are too hard. I only heard a tossup on Mukden the city, which could mean that tossup was changed somewhat between last week and this week (mentioned the Russo-Japanese War battle, etc.), which is on the tougher edge for this tournament but still a totally doable Asian history tossup answer within the range of doable answers.

More specifics later.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:55 pm

The tossup was always a common link tossup on Mukden.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by pajaro bobo » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:08 pm

Was just "The Picture of Dorian Gray" prompt-able/acceptable for the bonus part on the preface to it? I gave the more specific answer just in case, but I wanted to know if I could have given just the title as my initial answer and save myself some trouble as a result.

I'm glad someone else has played that Great Gatsby mock-NES game.

Can I see the tossups on Gravity's Rainbow and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay?
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:20 pm

Two notes I made during the tournament... I'll refer to questions based on the round in which we played them at UIUC.

Round 1: the game theory bonus part on "mixed strategies" should also have accepted "random" or "randomizing" strategies, which are the same thing.

Round 6: The question on "small world" social networks was a very interesting idea but should have just been "social networks." I am about as knowledgeable about modeling social networks as any economist besides Extremely Famous Economics Professor Matt Jackson and his coauthors (I have a paper that uses his model to predict the geography of international immigration), and I did not know to say "small world" when prompted. In those models, certain key parameters govern the degree distribution of the network, but I've never seen polar cases referred to as "small world" specifically. Yet that seemed to be what the question was implying.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by bag-of-worms » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:38 pm

20. At the spa town of Bad Karma in this novel, the porn star Margherita Erdmann murders a bunch of Jewish kids. It presents the story of Ensign Morituri, a man who survived kamikaze training. This novel’s protagonist dreams of meeting Jack Kennedy and Red Malcolm after being flushed down a toilet; another section tells the story of Byron the light bulb. The protagonist is sent to the Casino (*) Hermann Goering in this novel’s second section. Its character of Captain Blicero eventually sacrifices Gottfried and searches for the 00000 rocket. This novel’s protagonist has his sexual conquests correlated with V-2 rocket strikes. For 10 points, name this novel centering on Tyrone Slothrop, the masterpiece of Thomas Pynchon.
ANSWER: Gravity’s Rainbow
9. One character in this novel is a Vaudeville strongman who is crushed to death by a tractor. That character’s son is forced to give sexual favors to a policeman and falls in love with a radio voice-over actor. Another character in this book saves Salvador Dali from suffocating and sets out to kill a German geologist while serving in the military in (*) Antarctica. That character works for Sheldon Anapol and studied magic under Bernard Kornblum, who helped him escape from Prague with that city’s Golem in tow. In this novel, one of the title characters is inspired by Rosa Saks to create Luna Moth, after creating the Escapist with his cousin. For 10 points, name this novel about the comic book creators Sam and Joe, written by Michael Chabon.
ANSWER: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
[10] In this work of criticism, Wilde argued that the nineteenth century’s dislike for Romanticism is akin to the rage of Caliban not being able to see himself in a looking glass. It asserts “the artist is the creator of beautiful things” and that there is no such thing as an immoral book, before concluding “all art is quite useless.”
ANSWER: the preface to the Picture of Dorian Gray [Accept “introduction” or what else in lieu of preface.]
There were no instructions to prompt on just The Picture of Dorian Gray. I didn't write this question, but an editor may have no sympathy for a person who gives a novel when the pronoun is "this work of criticism."
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by pajaro bobo » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:56 pm

bag-of-worms wrote:There were no instructions to prompt on just The Picture of Dorian Gray. I didn't write this question, but an editor may have no sympathy for a person who gives a novel when the pronoun is "this work of criticism."
Oh right, forgot about "this work of criticism". Thanks!
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:55 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:Round 6: The question on "small world" social networks was a very interesting idea but should have just been "social networks." I am about as knowledgeable about modeling social networks as any economist besides Extremely Famous Economics Professor Matt Jackson and his coauthors (I have a paper that uses his model to predict the geography of international immigration), and I did not know to say "small world" when prompted. In those models, certain key parameters govern the degree distribution of the network, but I've never seen polar cases referred to as "small world" specifically. Yet that seemed to be what the question was implying.
Yeah, it sounded like this question sparked lots of negs and protests (I certainly negged with social networks on it). I'd suggest editing or replacing it if there are any future mirrors.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:04 pm

RyuAqua wrote:
The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote: I'm not sure if Ibn Kaldun is too hard for regular difficulty or not (he's probably fine, I just couldn't remember his name).

Stag Hunt strikes me as a little too hard for regular difficulty (although I could be wrong, of course).
Both of these things were totally fine choices on Illinois's part. In general, Jacob, I think it'd be good for you to take a broader view when you comment on the difficulty of specific things in question sets, rather than basically asserting that things you don't know too well (or clues you don't remember from things you've read) are too hard. I only heard a tossup on Mukden the city, which could mean that tossup was changed somewhat between last week and this week (mentioned the Russo-Japanese War battle, etc.), which is on the tougher edge for this tournament but still a totally doable Asian history tossup answer within the range of doable answers.

More specifics later.
I wasn't trying to assert that clues from things I've read that I don't remember are too hard (and I apologize if I gave off that vibe in my comments). I just thought Stag Hunt and Ibn Kaldun might be outside the range of regular difficulty (Points which I'm more than happy to concede).
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:00 pm

Quick note: I think the fertilization/gastrula/archenteron question referred to a "haploid zygote." I have no idea if such a thing exists, but I suspect the question was meant to read "diploid zygote."
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Ndg » Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:20 pm

Could someone post the tossup on the Cleveland Indians? Thanks.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Conquistador » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:06 pm

The tossup on The History of the Peloponnesian War probably should have been written as one on "Thucydides" instead given the large number of titles under which the book has been published. I was negged for saying "Thucydides" followed by "Thucydides' History" even though "Thucydides" is the title of an edition of a major (Benjamin Jowett's) translation (in fact, that translation has itself appeared under various titles). I thought the content of the tossup itself was interesting, though.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by bag-of-worms » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:16 pm

Ndg wrote:Could someone post the tossup on the Cleveland Indians? Thanks.
12. Before joining Boston, Luis Tiant pitched 4 straight shutouts for this team in 1968, and in 1993, a boat crash killed their pitcher Steve Olin. A catcher for this team debuted as the first Brazilian baseball player, Yan Gomes. The San Francisco Giants traded the first person to win the Cy Young in both leagues to this AL club, Gaylord Perry. A pitcher for this team in the 1940s was the fire-balling “Bullet” (*) Bob Feller. This team won the playoff series that featured the famous “Bug Game.” The Atlanta Braves defeated this team in the 1995 World Series despite the efforts of Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez. Different pitchers for this team won AL Cy Young awards in 2007 and 2008. For 10 points, name this AL Central team that traded both Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia.
ANSWER: Cleveland Indians [accept either]
Edit: The tossup doesn't explicitly state that Yan Gomes's debut was for Cleveland. He debuted for Toronto. The second sentence, however, does not sufficiently disambiguate from "Toronto." The previous clues are specific to Cleveland. The Blue Jays didn't exist in 1968, most notably. You wouldn't win a protest if you buzzed in with Toronto, the question wouldn't be thrown out, but there is no excuse for not explicitly saying "a current player" or "It's not Toronto." Sorry.
Edit again: fixed typos
Last edited by bag-of-worms on Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:34 pm

Conquistador wrote:The tossup on The History of the Peloponnesian War probably should have been written as one on "Thucydides" instead given the large number of titles under which the book has been published. I was negged for saying "Thucydides" followed by "Thucydides' History" even though "Thucydides" is the title of an edition of a major (Benjamin Jowett's) translation .
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:46 pm

--- Round 1 ---
-This historians bonus was a cool idea, was difficulty-appropriate, and I think it played fairly well. Props.
-This hadith question was extremely transparent/obvious and a three-way buzzer-race occured on "ta'if", which I think was in the second line.

--- Round 2 (I think we played packet 15 this round in our room, since our opponents accidentally heard part of packet 2 earlier) ---
-I stupidly did not buzz on this Bulgaria tossup, because for some dumb reason I thought there was a possibility the answer could be "Romania". However, if I recall correctly, this question had a lot of Byzantine names in power and talked about various invasions. I'm interested in hearing how this question played out at other sites, because I feel like it could be easily frauded.

--- Round 3 ---
-I don't know if tossing up the Rig Veda is a good idea at this difficulty level because of the restricted answerspace on non-epic Hindu religious texts (i.e. I don't think the Upanishads or the Atharvaveda would have been good tossup ideas at this level due to low conversion rates). I spent the entire question trying to remember which Veda all the things being described were in.
-I think the Nicaragua question mentioned the Brian-Chamorro treaty in the second line, which was far too early in both my and the reader's opinion.
-I'm not sure how well known Venice owning Crete is, but I didn't feel I deserved 15 for knowing that. Aside from that, the clues seemed well-ordered though and the question on the whole was pretty good.

--- Round 4 ---
-This Visigoths question seemed pretty hard, but I liked it.
-The shield volcanoes question was a cool idea, though I think in practice a lot of teams (ours included) may have spent most of the tossup trying to figure out what kind of volcanoes the question could be asking for. Out of curiosity, was just "volcanoes" acceptable early on?
-I think the Cyprus question mentioned Guy of Lusignan way too early.
-The Willy Brandt environmentalism clue was interesting

--- Round 5 ---
-I thought the Cheka was pretty well-known in quizbowl, so I don't think it should be a hard part, though other folks in this thread seem to disagree with me.

--- Round 6 ---
-I made a dumb neg on the Tibetan Buddhism question, but I liked the question overall and think it was well-clued.
-I don't know if this is just me, but I feel like most questions that ask for German electorates or regions at below-hard difficulty have "Saxony" or "Bavaria" as the answer.
-The Mukden tossup was kind of cool, but I feel like the writer compensated for the answer being somewhat difficulty by making the question rather easy. Nurhaci, the famous Manchu warlord, was mentioned in the second line. However, my perspective is probably skewed by being around Kirk, whose family is from Shenyang/Mukden, a lot.

--- Round 7 ---
-The Diaz tossup leading in with a translation of "pan o palo" was an interesting idea. I'm not sure how well known that is, was anyone else able to buzz off of that?
-The myth bonus mentioning the Jade Emperor seemed very easy. I assume that nagas was meant to be the hard part, but I think Kaliya is well known due to Krishna.

--- Round 8 ---
-I liked the Spain tossup, since it didn't drop names early and had important clues about 19th century politics. Out of curiosity, was buzzing on the clue about alternating turns in power worth 15? I think I buzzed shortly afterward once I figured that out and got 10.
-I don't like the clues used in the fossils question, since the clue about superposition gives away that it's something you find buried in the earth pretty early.

--- Round 9 ---
-The Lisbon earthquake question was a cool idea, as was the Back to Africa question (though I didn't recognize any of the clues in the latter).
-This Japanese invasions of Korea question seemed really obvious and at least in our room it produced a buzzer-race on the flooding clue. In general, questions asking for types of military campaigns that give Japanese names seem like a bad idea to me, since the reasonable answerspace for these seems fairly restricted. To me at least, in practice these questions seem to almost always be on Mongol invasions of Japan or Japanese invasions of Korea.

--- Round 10 ---
-Despite my awful neg on the Ceaucescu question, I think it was pretty solid and well-clued overall.
-The bonus part on the Sanada family seems awfully hard in comparison to some of the other history bonuses.
-The Zoot Suit Riots question seemed rather obvious (as do most questions with that answerline), though I can't pinpoint exactly why. I did not know any of the clues but was pretty sure that was the answer the whole time, and I think Stephen Liu said something to the same effect.

--- Round 11---
-The clue about the Academy at Jundishapur was very confusing to me. I buzzed with "academy" (or "university", not sure which I said first) on that clue, knowing that Jundishapur was a school of letters and theology as well as medicine, and was very confused when I got prompted. I remember there being a clue referring to a specific family, but asking for knowledge of which part of the academy that specific Sassanian-era family ran seems like an awfully high knowledge standard. I get that the previous clues were [probably] uniquely identifying, but I feel like I got punished for having knowledge of the subject matter on this question.

--- Round 12 ---
-Not only did this Ashikaga question mention the Northern and Southern courts period really early, which (it seemed to me) resulted in a three-way buzzer race, but it's the third question on pre-modern Japanese history in the tournament, which seems a tad excessive. I feel that modern Japan, China, and Southeast Asia got shafted in comparison, though this may have to do with me not having seen all of the packets yet.
-The Synod of Whitby tossup has the same problem as the Mukden tossup - it compensates for its answerline with very easy cluing. Once you realize it's a non-military event in Anglo-Saxon England, the reasonable answerspace becomes very small, especially if you know that Iona is notable for its monks.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:56 pm

gamegeek2 wrote:-I think the Cyprus question mentioned Guy of Lusignan way too early.
Agreed, we fixed that for the Sunday mirror.
gamegeek2 wrote:-I don't know if tossing up the Rig Veda is a good idea at this difficulty level because of the restricted answerspace on non-epic Hindu religious texts (i.e. I don't think the Upanishads or the Atharvaveda would have been good tossup ideas at this level due to low conversion rates). I spent the entire question trying to remember which Veda all the things being described were in.
I'd wager the two hymns described in that tossup are more widely read than any from the other three Vedas (I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I read the creation hymn as a freshman in high school). And that the Rig Veda is itself more famous than the other three. And why couldn't the Upanishads be tossed up at this level? In the other thread, you said you were disappointed that this tournament didn't have 'cool' answerlines or the occasional difficulty outlier. Well, here's one right now.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Ndg » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:19 pm

bag-of-worms wrote:
Edit: The tossup doesn't explicitly state that Yan Gomes's debut was for Cleveland. He debuted for Toronto.The second sentence, however, does not sufficiently disambiguate from "Toronto." The previous clues are specific to Cleveland. The Blue Jays didn't exist in 1968, most notably. You wouldn't win a protest if you buzzed in with Toronto, the question wouldn't be thrown out, but there is no excuse for not explicitly saying "a current play" or "It's not Toronto." Sorry.

Thanks. Yeah, I would definitely add "in 2013" or something like that (although I do acknowledge that it is technically correct). I did end up getting it (because I was pretty sure Tiant never played for the Blue Jays); I was just pretty confused until I heard Bob Feller.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:22 pm

I guess I sound like I'm contradicting myself. I should say that I wasn't really disappointed by answer selection being fairly canonical, but rather by the way some questions seemed to allow you to logically pick out the answer based on answerspace or what's come up before. I guess these problems are inevitably related, though.
The Superfluous Man wrote:I'd wager the two hymns described in that tossup are more widely read than any from the other three Veda
I wouldn't disagree with this statement. My knowledge of the Vedas is mostly quizbowl-related, so I'm a pretty poor judge of what's important about them in the real world - though I did hear of the Rig Veda a while before I heard of the others.
The Superfluous Man wrote:And why couldn't the Upanishads be tossed up at this level?
I have no clue how widespread knowledge of the Upanishads is.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Ndg » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:36 pm

The Superfluous Man wrote:
(I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I read the creation hymn as a freshman in high school)
I actually read that hymn in high school as well. It's the only part of the Rig Veda I have read.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:01 am

gamegeek2 wrote:--- Round 1 ---
-This historians bonus was a cool idea, was difficulty-appropriate, and I think it played fairly well. Props.
-This hadith question was extremely transparent/obvious and a three-way buzzer-race occured on "ta'if", which I think was in the second line.

--- Round 2 (I think we played packet 15 this round in our room, since our opponents accidentally heard part of packet 2 earlier) ---
-I stupidly did not buzz on this Bulgaria tossup, because for some dumb reason I thought there was a possibility the answer could be "Romania". However, if I recall correctly, this question had a lot of Byzantine names in power and talked about various invasions. I'm interested in hearing how this question played out at other sites, because I feel like it could be easily frauded.

--- Round 3 ---
-I don't know if tossing up the Rig Veda is a good idea at this difficulty level because of the restricted answerspace on non-epic Hindu religious texts (i.e. I don't think the Upanishads or the Atharvaveda would have been good tossup ideas at this level due to low conversion rates). I spent the entire question trying to remember which Veda all the things being described were in.
-I think the Nicaragua question mentioned the Brian-Chamorro treaty in the second line, which was far too early in both my and the reader's opinion.
-I'm not sure how well known Venice owning Crete is, but I didn't feel I deserved 15 for knowing that. Aside from that, the clues seemed well-ordered though and the question on the whole was pretty good.

--- Round 4 ---
-This Visigoths question seemed pretty hard, but I liked it.
-The shield volcanoes question was a cool idea, though I think in practice a lot of teams (ours included) may have spent most of the tossup trying to figure out what kind of volcanoes the question could be asking for. Out of curiosity, was just "volcanoes" acceptable early on?
-I think the Cyprus question mentioned Guy of Lusignan way too early.
-The Willy Brandt environmentalism clue was interesting

--- Round 5 ---
-I thought the Cheka was pretty well-known in quizbowl, so I don't think it should be a hard part, though other folks in this thread seem to disagree with me.

--- Round 6 ---
-I made a dumb neg on the Tibetan Buddhism question, but I liked the question overall and think it was well-clued.
-I don't know if this is just me, but I feel like most questions that ask for German electorates or regions at below-hard difficulty have "Saxony" or "Bavaria" as the answer.
-The Mukden tossup was kind of cool, but I feel like the writer compensated for the answer being somewhat difficulty by making the question rather easy. Nurhaci, the famous Manchu warlord, was mentioned in the second line. However, my perspective is probably skewed by being around Kirk, whose family is from Shenyang/Mukden, a lot.

--- Round 7 ---
-The Diaz tossup leading in with a translation of "pan o palo" was an interesting idea. I'm not sure how well known that is, was anyone else able to buzz off of that?
-The myth bonus mentioning the Jade Emperor seemed very easy. I assume that nagas was meant to be the hard part, but I think Kaliya is well known due to Krishna.

--- Round 8 ---
-I liked the Spain tossup, since it didn't drop names early and had important clues about 19th century politics. Out of curiosity, was buzzing on the clue about alternating turns in power worth 15? I think I buzzed shortly afterward once I figured that out and got 10.
-I don't like the clues used in the fossils question, since the clue about superposition gives away that it's something you find buried in the earth pretty early.

--- Round 9 ---
-The Lisbon earthquake question was a cool idea, as was the Back to Africa question (though I didn't recognize any of the clues in the latter).
-This Japanese invasions of Korea question seemed really obvious and at least in our room it produced a buzzer-race on the flooding clue. In general, questions asking for types of military campaigns that give Japanese names seem like a bad idea to me, since the reasonable answerspace for these seems fairly restricted. To me at least, in practice these questions seem to almost always be on Mongol invasions of Japan or Japanese invasions of Korea.

--- Round 10 ---
-Despite my awful neg on the Ceaucescu question, I think it was pretty solid and well-clued overall.
-The bonus part on the Sanada family seems awfully hard.
-The Zoot Suit Riots question seemed rather obvious (as do most questions with that answerline), though I can't pinpoint exactly why. I did not know any of the clues but was pretty sure that was the answer the whole time, and I think Stephen Liu said something to the same effect.

--- Round 11---
-The clue about the Academy at Jundishapur was very confusing to me. I buzzed with "academy" (or "university", not sure which I said first) on that clue, knowing that Jundishapur was a school of letters and theology as well as medicine, and was very confused when I got prompted. I remember there being a clue referring to a specific family, but asking for knowledge of which part of the academy that specific Sassanian-era family ran seems like an awfully high knowledge standard. I get that the previous clues were [probably] uniquely identifying, but I feel like I got punished for having knowledge of the subject matter on this question.

--- Round 12 ---
-Not only did this Ashikaga question mention the Northern and Southern courts period really early, which (it seemed to me) resulted in a three-way buzzer race, but it's the third question on pre-modern Japanese history in the tournament, which seems a tad excessive. I feel that modern Japan, China, and Southeast Asia got shafted in comparison, though this may have to do with me not having seen all of the packets yet.
-The Synod of Whitby tossup has the same problem as the Mukden tossup - it compensates for its answerline with very easy cluing. Once you realize it's a non-military event in Anglo-Saxon England, the reasonable answerspace becomes very small, especially if you know that Iona is notable for its monks.
The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:Also, round-by-round commentary based on what I can remember from Saturday:

Round 1:
I'm not sure if Ibn Kaldun is too hard for regular difficulty or not (he's probably fine, I just couldn't remember his name).

Round 4:
The Butt Fumble tossup might be the greatest trash tossup I have ever heard. Very well-written, and the baseball-related clue definitely helped me.

Stag Hunt strikes me as a little too hard for regular difficulty (although I could be wrong, of course).

The film tossup on the Soviet Union was a great idea that seems well-executed to me.

Round 5:
I loved the KGB/NKVD/Cheka bonus, since we went over all of those at various points in my classes.

Round 6:
I'm not sure if Mukden Incident is too hard for regular difficulty. This might be better served as a tossup on Nanking (using clues from the Rape of Nanking).

I really liked the Alexander II tossup, since the leadin rewarded me for my senior thesis research.
Boring useless nonsense posts like these do more to drive away interested users from attempting to productively engage with hsquizbowl than Matt Weiner ever will.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:18 am

Horned Screamer wrote:Boring useless nonsense posts like these do more to drive away interested users from attempting to productively engage with hsquizbowl than Matt Weiner ever will.
OP wrote:Post about individual questions you liked-disliked here.
I did as the thread title instructed, though I guess had some other commentary as well, and I suppose I could have been more specific with some of my commentary. I apologize for making an honest effort to offer my opinions on a number of questions in the set. Since you've clearly been enlightened as to what a productive post is, would you care to make one?
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:03 am

gamegeek2 wrote:I did as the thread title instructed, though I guess had some other commentary as well, and I suppose I could have been more specific with some of my commentary. I apologize for making an honest effort to offer my opinions on a number of questions in the set. Since you've clearly been enlightened as to what a productive post is, would you care to make one?
Don't apologize to lying piece of shit Charlie Dees. Since he has nothing better to do with his life, he might as well spend it taking snide potshots. Just ignore them.

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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:15 am

The internet seems to have muffled my sarcasm.

I am in fact legitimately sorry if the authors of this tournament don't appreciate my posts, and will attempt to correct my commentary in the future accordingly.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:23 am

All right, folks.

Post about the tournament questions and not about how other people are posting. I too think that question by question, packet by packet ooga booga dooga posts are a bit tedious, but that can be discussed elsewhere. I warned Marshall for specifically attacking Charlie and would suggest Charlie stay on focus or at least explain more of the types of posts he would be looking for.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by touchpack » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:30 am

gamegeek2 wrote:
Horned Screamer wrote:Boring useless nonsense posts like these do more to drive away interested users from attempting to productively engage with hsquizbowl than Matt Weiner ever will.
OP wrote:Post about individual questions you liked-disliked here.
I did as the thread title instructed, though I guess had some other commentary as well, and I suppose I could have been more specific with some of my commentary. I apologize for making an honest effort to offer my opinions on a number of questions in the set. Since you've clearly been enlightened as to what a productive post is, would you care to make one?
Here's why a lot of your post (but not all of it!) is useless.
gamegeek2 wrote:-This hadith question was extremely transparent/obvious and a three-way buzzer-race occured on "ta'if", which I think was in the second line.
How was it transparent/obvious? Here is the question text before the point where you buzzed:

20. A number of these documents state that eclipses are not caused by the death of someone and that whenever they occur, men should continuously pray. Unreliable ones are often classified as ‘Daif,’ or ‘weak.’

All I get from the leadin is it that the answer is some sort of religious text. If you think there's something in these words that makes it transparent, EXPLAIN.
gamegeek2 wrote:-I stupidly did not buzz on this Bulgaria tossup, because for some dumb reason I thought there was a possibility the answer could be "Romania". However, if I recall correctly, this question had a lot of Byzantine names in power and talked about various invasions. I'm interested in hearing how this question played out at other sites, because I feel like it could be easily frauded.
Forgive my lack of history knowledge, but how exactly does Byzantine name + invasion = Bulgaria? Doing some quick googling, it seems the the Byzantines invaded a multitude of places.
gamegeek2 wrote:I don't know if tossing up the Rig Veda is a good idea at this difficulty level because of the restricted answerspace on non-epic Hindu religious texts (i.e. I don't think the Upanishads or the Atharvaveda would have been good tossup ideas at this level due to low conversion rates). I spent the entire question trying to remember which Veda all the things being described were in.
In my room, this question was negged with the Upanishads, and then went dead. I don't think the Upanishads are as hard as you think they are. In addition, I don't see how you can be 100% sure it's a non-epic Hindu text until Indian names are dropped out of power (although I will concede that the leadin sounds very Indian) Also, why can't it be a Sutra?
gamegeek2 wrote:-The Zoot Suit Riots question seemed rather obvious (as do most questions with that answerline), though I can't pinpoint exactly why. I did not know any of the clues but was pretty sure that was the answer the whole time, and I think Stephen Liu said something to the same effect.
I'll just let this speak for itself. I think you can see why this is bad.
gamegeek2 wrote:-Not only did this Ashikaga question mention the Northern and Southern courts period really early, which (it seemed to me) resulted in a three-way buzzer race, but it's the third question on pre-modern Japanese history in the tournament, which seems a tad excessive. I feel that modern Japan, China, and Southeast Asia got shafted in comparison, though this may have to do with me not having seen all of the packets yet.
What do you define as "pre-modern" ? Is Mukden not modern enough for you? Keep in mind Asian history only has a certain amount of room in the entire distribution! This is something that can easily spin off into a productive discussion about how tournament editors should approach subdistributions of world history.
gamegeek2 wrote:-The myth bonus mentioning the Jade Emperor seemed very easy. I assume that nagas was meant to be the hard part, but I think Kaliya is well known due to Krishna.

-The Mukden tossup was kind of cool, but I feel like the writer compensated for the answer being somewhat difficulty by making the question rather easy. Nurhaci, the famous Manchu warlord, was mentioned in the second line. However, my perspective is probably skewed by being around Kirk, whose family is from Shenyang/Mukden, a lot.

-The Synod of Whitby tossup has the same problem as the Mukden tossup - it compensates for its answerline with very easy cluing. Once you realize it's a non-military event in Anglo-Saxon England, the reasonable answerspace becomes very small, especially if you know that Iona is notable for its monks.

-The bonus part on the Sanada family seems awfully hard.
All I get out of this is "if Will and his Dartmouth teammates know something, it's easy. If they don't, it's hard!"


I made a filler post on the top of the thread since I figured that people in general should know that just saying "I didn't like X!" and saying nothing else is annoying, pointless and stupid. I especially figured that after Ike's post in the Penn Bowl 2013 discussion that this would be clear. To make things more clear, here are some GOOD examples of tournament criticism upthread:
Round 6: The question on "small world" social networks was a very interesting idea but should have just been "social networks." I am about as knowledgeable about modeling social networks as any economist besides Extremely Famous Economics Professor Matt Jackson and his coauthors (I have a paper that uses his model to predict the geography of international immigration), and I did not know to say "small world" when prompted. In those models, certain key parameters govern the degree distribution of the network, but I've never seen polar cases referred to as "small world" specifically. Yet that seemed to be what the question was implying.
This comment explains what the problem is (the clues in the question were too vague to adequately specify "small world," which isn't even a codified thing anyways) and proposes a solution (change the answerline to just "social networks")
Quick note: I think the fertilization/gastrula/archenteron question referred to a "haploid zygote." I have no idea if such a thing exists, but I suspect the question was meant to read "diploid zygote."
This comment points out a factual error that is NOT simply semantics.
-The clue about the Academy at Jundishapur was very confusing to me. I buzzed with "academy" (or "university", not sure which I said first) on that clue, knowing that Jundishapur was a school of letters and theology as well as medicine, and was very confused when I got prompted. I remember there being a clue referring to a specific family, but asking for knowledge of which part of the academy that specific Sassanian-era family ran seems like an awfully high knowledge standard. I get that the previous clues were [probably] uniquely identifying, but I feel like I got punished for having knowledge of the subject matter on this question.
This comment is in principle a fine critique. I don't know enough about this type of stuff at all to know if you're right or not specifically. (for example, if Jundishapur is way way way way way more well known for medicine than for anything else, I don't really have much sympathy for you, but if that's not the case, then this could be a fair complaint)
gamegeek2 wrote:-I don't like the clues used in the fossils question, since the clue about superposition gives away that it's something you find buried in the earth pretty early.
This type of critique is better than most of the rest of your post, since you actually explained why you dislike something (particular clue X considerably narrows the answer space, with the implicit statement that clue X is also quite well-known). However, I fail to see how the word superposition is particuarly transparent at all. I didn't write this question, but I believe the entire point of that clue was to reward the knowledge of the set of people who know what the principle of superposition is, which I would wager is a smaller group than the amount of people that have ever discussed waves in a basic high school (or intro collegiate) physics class. I could buy the argument that dropping "strata" makes it too easy though--I was concerned about that but decided to let it slide, since I have no idea where to even begin to find better science clues for this answerline.

Also, if you think something is too easy or too hard, that's ok, but realize that it makes it REALLY REALLY hard to take your judgments on difficulty very seriously given most of the content of your criticisms. Stuff like "I thought this was easy, but I admit my perspective is skewed by my stellar amazing teammate" doesn't accomplish anything other than bragging to hsqb about how amazing your teammate is, which is the whole reason why people are making fun of you by suggesting a "quizbowl brat playground."

The editors really, really DO appreciate constructive criticism--but it has to actually be constructive! I'm sure Aaron will look into the hospitals thing, as well as the other more constructive parts of your post.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:47 am

Tees-Exe Line wrote:
gamegeek2 wrote:I did as the thread title instructed, though I guess had some other commentary as well, and I suppose I could have been more specific with some of my commentary. I apologize for making an honest effort to offer my opinions on a number of questions in the set. Since you've clearly been enlightened as to what a productive post is, would you care to make one?
Don't apologize to lying piece of shit Charlie Dees. Since he has nothing better to do with his life, he might as well spend it taking snide potshots. Just ignore them.

user was warned for personal attacks--management
Dude, get over yourself and stop projecting your personal inability to separate personal attacks from legitimate criticisms. Charlie was making a good point, going packet by packet and listing questions that you liked or didn't like is completely useless to the editors or to people who are reading the thread looking to improve themselves as writers/editors.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Cody » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:54 am

touchpack wrote:This type of critique is better than most of the rest of your post, since you actually explained why you dislike something (particular clue X considerably narrows the answer space, with the implicit statement that clue X is also quite well-known). However, I fail to see how the word superposition is particuarly transparent at all. I didn't write this question, but I believe the entire point of that clue was to reward the knowledge of the set of people who know what the principle of superposition is, which I would wager is a smaller group than the amount of people that have ever discussed waves in a basic high school (or intro collegiate) physics class. I could buy the argument that dropping "strata" makes it too easy though--I was concerned about that but decided to let it slide, since I have no idea where to even begin to find better science clues for this answerline.
So, the fossils tossup is what I consider an "obviously bad" question, a number of which appeared across this set. I don't think there was any unifying trend, but any competent person should've told you it was a bad idea (Wasteland) or that all your clues are way too easy or figure-out-able (fossils, affirmative action, quite a few others). The tossup on fossils was extremely bad because it told you right away it was something buried in the earth used to date things, and only got worse from there (culminating with like index fossils still in power). It was extremely frustrating to play a majority of good questions a round with some really-quite-bad questions thrown in.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:56 am

I mentioned this to Billy and am surprised no people have mentioned it yet (edit: argh Cody), but the myth tossup on The Waste Land really needs to go. It's too hard, it uses a category-changing right turn to boost conversion, and it appears to have been written from Wikipedia.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:00 am

I tend to hear more about the Academy of Gundishapur as a more general academy/proto-university as well, and buzzed in because and made the same neg. But that may be a function of the contexts I've read about it in. Checking the Cambridge History of Iran turns up essays that both mention a medical school and mention a university, so it seems like a reasonable clue but one in need of clarification. At any rate, this would easily be fixed by saying something like "this faculty/school within the Academy of Gundishapur". Also, could someone post the fossils tossup?
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:17 am

Thanks for the feedback, Billy. I'm really sorry if my posts significantly frustrated the editors of this tournament, and I'll try to be better about this sort of thing in the future.

A token attempt at correction:
touchpack wrote:How was it transparent/obvious? Here is the question text before the point where you buzzed:

20. A number of these documents state that eclipses are not caused by the death of someone and that whenever they occur, men should continuously pray. Unreliable ones are often classified as ‘Daif,’ or ‘weak.’
"Unreliable" tells me that the question is asking for some sort of set of documents that:
1. Is notable for its compilation process/sourcing
2. Is some kind of compilation of sayings, prophecies, or the like (especially given the clue about eclipses)

This sort of thing applies to a lot of religious texts, but at least in my mind it's one of the things most notable about the hadith, because there is an isnad saying how the information got to the hadith's author associated with each one. Soon after this clue comes an Arabic word (which generally implies Islamic subject matter in the context of religion) which triggered several people in the room to instantly buzz. At the very least, my thinking was "this is some kind of Islamic compilation of sayings", which in almost all likelihood would be the hadith.

I would say that this clue should probably be moved later, because in this context it allows people to get a question very early based on lateral thinking/process of elimination.
touchpack wrote:This type of critique is better than most of the rest of your post, since you actually explained why you dislike something (particular clue X considerably narrows the answer space, with the implicit statement that clue X is also quite well-known). However, I fail to see how the word superposition is particuarly transparent at all. I didn't write this question, but I believe the entire point of that clue was to reward the knowledge of the set of people who know what the principle of superposition is, which I would wager is a smaller group than the amount of people that have ever discussed waves in a basic high school (or intro collegiate) physics class. I could buy the argument that dropping "strata" makes it too easy though--I was concerned about that but decided to let it slide, since I have no idea where to even begin to find better science clues for this answerline.
I am well aware that superposition is a term used in many different contexts in science. I should have clarified - mentioning "superposition" and "strata" seemed to give away that "this is something you find buried in the layers of the earth".

As for my commentary on the Synod of Whitby using very easy clues, let me offer the following:
First Sentence of the Wikipedia Article on the Synod of Whitby wrote:The Synod of Whitby was a seventh-century Northumbrian synod where King Oswiu of Northumbria ruled that his kingdom would calculate Easter and observe the monastic tonsure according to the customs of Rome, rather than the customs practised by Iona and its satellite institutions.
Both the monasteries at Iona and "how to calculate Easter" were in power for this question.

Now for something else: The Ashikaga shogunate question is factually innacurate. The Sengoku-jidai did not end the Ashikaga period at all: Oda Nobunaga deposed the last Ashikaga shogun in 1573, well into the Sengoku-jidai.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:14 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by MorganV » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:51 am

I may have an unedited copy of the packets, but the Everything that Rises tossup in packet 1 claims O'Connor wrote a short story "Parker's Case"; the story is "Parker's Back".
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:17 am

One last comment, and I only bring this up because it is actually something I see recur somewhat regularly(and I apologize if I repeat myself a lot on this point): Geanaeology, "name means X" and a good many "God of ___" clues are terribly unhelpful in most cases for Mesopotamian mythology because those sorts of things often vary from text to text and period to period and tend to be entirely as un-memorable as "This parent of Migdone" is for Greek myth.It is usually better to try to link these sorts of clues to specific mythological episodes or texts. For example "This consort of Enki and mother goddess" is not great because there are multiple attested consorts of Enki(in fact, his consort seems to be Damkina or Damgalnuna in most texts) and the category of mother goddess is large and somewhat elastic depending on time period, but saying "This is the goddess Enki cheats on with Uttu" makes it clearer just what text is being referred to-and makes your questions more interesting, since stories about things like gods getting drunk or hymns about all the things Inanna and Dumuzi say to each other are more entertaining to look up and hear clues on. This principle also seems to apply to other myth systems judging from the umpteen discussions of why you can't say "This member of the Ennead" in Egyptian myth tossups, but it seems to happen anyways.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:54 am

I see my standard critiquing style has been skewered. I'll try to post more thoughts later, but while I'm reading these packets I wanted t point out one error. The bonus part on "dynamic instability" isn't quite right
[10] This term refers to the sudden switching between polymerization and depolymerization in a microtubule due to GTP and GDP bound tubulin having different affinities for it. It was discovered by Mitchison and Kirchner
I interpreted that bonus as talking about the actual switch from polymerization TO depolymerization, so I answered "catastrophe". There's a better way to phrase this part to get the answer you're looking for.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Ndg » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:10 am

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:The bonus part on "dynamic instability" isn't quite right
[10] This term refers to the sudden switching between polymerization and depolymerization in a microtubule due to GTP and GDP bound tubulin having different affinities for it. It was discovered by Mitchison and Kirchner
I interpreted that bonus as talking about the actual switch from polymerization TO depolymerization, so I answered "catastrophe". There's a better way to phrase this part to get the answer you're looking for.
I answered "catastrophe" as well. Ideally, I think the question needs to more explicitly describe an ongoing cycling (or something else more suggestive of a repetitive process) between the two, not just a single event.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:50 am

Kenneth Widmerpool wrote:Dude, get over yourself and stop projecting your personal inability to separate personal attacks from legitimate criticisms. Charlie was making a good point, going packet by packet and listing questions that you liked or didn't like is completely useless to the editors or to people who are reading the thread looking to improve themselves as writers/editors.
Um, no he wasn't: responding to a substantive post with a meta-critique of the post's quality (after the editors specifically asked for such criticism!) is exactly what sends a thread cascading toward bitterness, and doing so in the service of some larger and otherwise irrelevant agenda ("this post is much worse than anything Matt Weiner has ever done!") is what creates a climate of alienation and factiousness.

Furthermore, the idea that the correct response to Will's post is to debate whether it is or is not worthwhile is yet more second-order nonsense that ultimately leads to thread destruction.

The fact that Charlie's nonsense is repeatedly received as though he's some kind of fearless and unvarnished but perhaps unruly truth-teller is a big part of the problem with this board and, frankly, a problem for Charlie, since it's obviously given him a warped and self-destructive view of his role in the world.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Susan » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:12 am

The metaposting in this thread needs to stop. I am in complete agreement with the anti-big-lists-of-posters'-comments-on-specific-questions crowd, as I find those posts mind-numbingly boring to read and they tend to say more about the poster than about the set. Mike Cheyne has made a totally awesome post about ways to provide effective commentary on tournaments; I strongly suggest that everyone go check it out. In the future, when someone makes a post all "I liked the question on Ethan Frome because it reminded me of my beloved pickle dish", let's suggest that they check out Mike's post instead of yelling at each other.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:35 am

For the little that it's worth, I'm inclined to agree with Will about the hadith tossup. What I get from these lines:
A number of these documents state that eclipses are not caused by the death of someone and that whenever they occur, men should continuously pray. Unreliable ones are often classified as ‘Daif,’ or ‘weak.’
is that
1. we're talking about a series of documents
2. that probably have something to do with religion ("continuously pray"),
3. and probably Islam ("Daif" sounds Arabic),
4. which can be weak (and so are probably at some remove from their purported original source).

So, like Will, I suggest just moving the "unreliable" clue later in the tossup, since it gives the all-important hints 3 and 4. No doubt that if someone knows that hadiths are Islamic documents which can be weak or unreliable, they have some legitimate knowledge of what hadiths are which ought to be rewarded. But I think this knowledge is perhaps more mundane than that in the succeeding clues.

EDIT: The Internet tells me that Dan Flavin's work referenced in the tossup on light is called "greens crossing greens," and "to Piet Mondrian, who lacked green" is a parenthetical/subtitle.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:34 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:Furthermore, the idea that the correct response to Will's post is to debate whether it is or is not worthwhile is yet more second-order nonsense that ultimately leads to thread destruction.
For what it's worth, I have little problem with people debating whether my posts are worthwhile or not, because 1) I would like to not be wasting my time and 2) I've become rather desensitized to the rather harsh tone of the discussion in this particular arena. Now, of course I appreciate being told exactly why my posts are useless, pointless, unhelpful, or not worth anybody's time (similar to how the editors of a tournament would appreciate knowing exactly why a question is transparent, bad, played poorly, etc.) because I like giving people feedback about their writing for a game that I obviously like to play and would definitely like to do a better job at this. Hence, I greatly appreciated Billy's post explaining exactly what I was doing wrong and why.

Similarly, I did not appreciate Charlie's post, because it told me nothing other than that I was doing something that he didn't like - and because I don't really know much about what Charlie's opinions on quizbowl-related things are, since I haven't been around here that long, I couldn't really take anything helpful away from that. What I did take was offense at the insinuation that what I was doing was more destructive than the various character attacks and the like that I've seen fly on these forums. I do not understand how long posts giving vague or unhelpful feedback are significantly more destructive than that sort of thing, unless you really think that outsiders are more turned off by confusing discussion about rather difficult subject matter (at least for most outsiders and new players) than harsh discussion tones, meta-commentary, and other things that reflect strongly of an insular and potentially unwelcoming community. At least that's the impression when I started browsing these forums - I wonder what other people's first impressions were.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:41 pm

Not surprisingly, I didn't hear much of the question on Oxford, but I noticed in the other thread it's given away by the description that its university was founded "around the same time" as Cambridge. Well sure, both happened in the Holocene, but Oxford has existed since the eleventh century at least whereas Cambridge was founded in the thirteenth century by some rejects who got sent down.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:45 pm

Well, just as everyone's lambasting specific-question discussion megaposts, here comes another one! In keeping with current sentiment, I'll try and keep it to things that are either factual errors, issues which make specific questions play worse in ways that are fixable for future sites, or things which generalize out to help other people write better. I'm going to try to avoid the pitfalls of sharing what I thought was easy, asking for clue rearrangements, or complaining about the umpteenth dinosaur question.

-Packet 1-
The etic/emic distinction does not point specifically to "culture," or even to ways of analyzing "culture" alone. The dichotomy refers to ways in which anthropologists study and/or report on, well, anything - from the insider perspective or a more impartial outside stance - and while I suppose anything which could be studied in an etic or emic fashion is technically a "cultural" phenomenon of some kind, I don't foresee people making that judgment in such a way that they'll come to the answer the question wants (as opposed to saying something like "anthropology/anthropological study," "ethnography," or "fieldwork"). Is this salvageable in some way?
-Anti-critique: If I were to resuscitate just one of Will's comments, I'd say the hadith tossup drops an Arabic-sounding word really early and makes it clear it's a set of texts which have to be reliable to adherents that use them. That said, I'm not sure there's much worth doing to this question - if you can figure out that much on the fly you probably deserve 15. yeah other people said this already

-Packet 3-
The pronouns are pretty confusing in the gold tossup ("this prize," italicized "this"). More on that later.

-Packet 4-
-The team I was playing against claimed that the topology bonus was incorrect and/or incoherent in its last two parts; can you post it so the math piranhas can bite at it?

-Packet 5-
-"Thucydides' History/ies" is probably outright acceptable for this tossup; academics often just say "we're reading Thucydides" too, since it's his only work (i.e. I would just accept his name as a tag referring to the work when talking to someone in real life). I'd be a little more lenient on this answer.
-van Dyck was Flemish and notably NOT an Englishman, though he spent a lot of time there.
-Catholics: Does this part on "real presence" do enough to disambiguate it well enough from "transubstantiation"? I'll readily admit to being uninformed if it does. If someone posts it, I'd be glad to be schooled in some Catholic doctrine.

-Packet 6-
At the risk of sounding merely like I'm saying "I liked this bonus," I wanted to draw positive attention to the Victorian social history bonus for continuing (what I think of as) a good trend of asking notable social and cultural history things without being overly hard, trashy, or hyper-specific.

-Packet 7-
Seven Against Thebes tossup: Just say "This group's arrival" instead of italicizing Their. The general writing tip here is that "These" is not a good word to use on its own in place of a two-word phrase such as "This group" or "These people" - it's awfully confusing and needlessly coy. Also, it's probably iffy form to conclude this tossup with the words "against Thebes."

-Mutations tossup: Same deal with Them and their. I'm not sure what the best word is here - "occurrences", maybe? "Phenomena"?

-This part on "critical theory" was pretty hard to figure out, in part because the label is rather nebulous and not everyone who uses it is concerned with the "relation between" social SCIENCES and society. Many of the Frankfurt School critical theorists and their successors USED a lot of social science and things which used to count as social science (such as Marxist social anlysis) in the methods that got grouped under "critical theory", to analyze, among other things, the objects of knowledge among people in society, and society itself. But I don't know what it means for "objects of knowledge" to "emerge" "between" social science and society, as this bonus part claimed, or what source that formulation came from. Is there a more exact formula that you attempted to paraphrase? At any rate, a more salient feature of "critical theory" as opposed to other philosophy/theory, if I can venture to draw on Academic Work that I'm doing in Real Life literally right now, is that it uses a blend of social science and German philosophy to try and assess the intellectual tensions or crises of the present, and more uniquely the potential for big "transformative" or "emancipatory" changes in the immediate future.

-Packet 8-
Yeah this "waste land" tossup sucked for lots of enumerated reasons, but there's yet another critique needed about WHY it sucked. The pronouns here are extremely -- and needlessly -- confusing. "Entity" could be anything. I suppose you could use the word "motif" to describe a mythical archetype across many tellings, regardless of whether it's a person, a symbol, or a location, but that opens people up to a confusing number of alternate answers (is the Fisher King himself a motif? Is his wound a motif? Is the healing of said wound a motif? Is Balin or the Dolorous Stroke a motif? Slicing people with weapons in general?) And *then* it becomes a "term" that "generally describes" a "belief." I suppose all sorts of gods and heroes and mythical locales are technically nothing but "beliefs," in the analytic philosophy sense, but when this gets read at tossup speed it suddenly sounds like the question is asking for some kind of Arthurio-Celtic /doctrine/ rather than a concrete place or object. My constructive suggestions:
  • If you insist on keeping this question, I would shift to using the phrase "this location" exclusiely throughout.
  • Relatedly, I'm curious if "the Fisher King's kingdom" is acceptable or promptable here, or if there are any "Description acceptable" style answers that are valid. Paging Stephen Liu...
  • I am curious if enough people know what this place is by its name without the giveaway style which Auroni lambasted in the other thread. If not, you may want to cut your losses and just write a question on the Fisher King himself.

Packet 10
-Oxford was definitely founded about two centuries earlier than Cambridge, which both makes the giveaway more accurate and makes it less of the sort of slap-on giveaway that Auroni mentions in the other thread.
-Is there a better word to use for light than "medium," which does less to imply that the answer is physical? I know "substance" would be a worse choice - it's a pet peeve of mine when questions call light or fire a "substance" - are we left only with "this thing" or "this entity"?
-The "castles" bonus part also has a weird "these," which makes it a bit incoherent is a bit incoherent and has a weird 'these'

Packet 11
-Eric seemed to have reason to believe "mesons" should be prompted for the "pions" tossup last Saturday; maybe posting it would help clear that up?

-Finals 1-
-'Seven deadly sins' should figure out how to prompt on 'sins' or 'vices', since a character encountering vices is also a trope of medieval morality plays. Also, it straight up says "their opposites, the virtues"
-The Synod of Whitby is just pretty hard for a regular tossup.
- How many layperson's terms for negative emotions ought to be promptable for the yeah-i-know-it's-scientifically-specific term "aggression"? If someone answers with "anger" or "rage" or "frustration" before it's mentioned, is it the right call to neg them outright for not knowing the term that psychologists use, and would it help if the first line said "This psychology term"?
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:21 pm

RyuAqua wrote:-van Dyck was Flemish and notably NOT an Englishman, though he spent a lot of time there.
Yeah, I made that edit to one of our docs in Google Drive but it didn't make it to the final packet; sorry about that.

Here are the questions on topology and pions:
DRAGOON Packet 4 wrote:12. One of the most celebrated results of this field is the Whitney Embedding Theorem, which states that any object with n dimensions can be embedded in a space with 2n + 1 dimensions. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this discipline of mathematics whose branches include geometry. It is loosely defined as the study of spaces, and objects studied in this discipline include Klein bottles and Möbius strips.
ANSWER: topology
[10] A set theory definition of topology defines a set of points X and a subset of X with this property. Those subsets of X with this property must also retain it under finite intersection and finite union.
ANSWER: openness
[10] A topological space has this property if for any infinite sequence of points within the set, it will converge to a point within the set. The product of two topological spaces will have it if its individual components also possess it according to Tychonoff’s theorem.
ANSWER: compactness
DRAGOON Packet 11 wrote:This is the lightest particle to be an eigenstate of the G-parity operator but not the charge conjugation operator. The decay of the phi meson into three of these particles is suppressed since the Feynman diagram can be cut in two while cutting only internal gluon lines according to the OZI rule. Since the kaon can decay into either two or three of these particles, the kaon was originally thought to be two particles: the tau and the theta. The primary decay mode for the (*) neutral version of this particle is into two photons, while charged versions will decay into a muon and a muon neutrino. The exchange of one of these particles between two nucleons was predicted by Hideki Yukawa to mediate the strong force. For 10 points, and up or down quark and an up or down antiquark compose what lightest meson?
ANSWER: pion [or pi meson, accept more specific answers like pi+ or pi- or pi0]
RyuAqua wrote:At the risk of sounding merely like I'm saying "I liked this bonus," I wanted to draw positive attention to the Victorian social history bonus for continuing (what I think of as) a good trend of asking notable social and cultural history things without being overly hard, trashy, or hyper-specific.
I'm very glad to hear that.
RyuAqua wrote:-The Synod of Whitby is just pretty hard for a regular tossup.
Yes, but after discussing this we thought it would be ok in the finals.

Also, not to be a backseat moderator, but could people take the meta-posting discussion to that other thread? We're really much more interested in hearing feedback about the actual questions here.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:12 pm

RyuAqua wrote:Well, just as everyone's lambasting specific-question discussion megaposts, here comes another one! In keeping with current sentiment, I'll try and keep it to things that are either factual errors, issues which make specific questions play worse in ways that are fixable for future sites, or things which generalize out to help other people write better. I'm going to try to avoid the pitfalls of sharing what I thought was easy, asking for clue rearrangements, or complaining about the umpteenth dinosaur question.
Oh good, boiler plate. I'll edit this post over time.

PACKET 1:
-This keratin tossup suffers from a few too obscure leadins, in my opinion. Despite searching and searching I can't figure out what IRS cells are, and the leadin about keratinocytes isn't unique (any protein produced by keratinocytes could be the answer; I had to wait till later to figure out which protein you mean)
-"whose aims would be revisited in the Suffolk Resolves" should mention that this body actually endorsed the Suffolk resolves.
-This reduction potential tossup is the first of several in the chemistry distribution (including catalysts, fluorescence, etc) that took a very simple answerline and elegantly wrote a deep, rewarding tossup on it. This set did that with the science better than any other in recent memory and should be commended for it.
-Looks like this Hadith question has been beaten to death, but I would gently point out to it's critics that the hadith about the eclipse is actually incredibly important and a well-chosen leadin. I'd put a little bit more leadin in this question and move the stuff about actual hadith sciences later. There's some fun ones too, like one that says that if a fly lands in your drink, one of its wings has poison and the other one has the cure.
-To me, this nebula bonus has two hard parts (dark nebula and pillars of creation). This was not a systemic problem with th set, though it did occur occasionally
-In the Poisson equation, isn't it the Laplacian of the [scalar] potential, not the voltage (which is a difference of scalar potentials)?

PACKET 2:
-This tossup on Wittgenstein illustrates the need to put the pronoun first. If this were a round between one of the Matts and I, there would be a game of Samurai Kirby as soon as we heard the words "quus function".
-People still use gold salts to treat rheumatoid arthritis. There's no need for this kind of "Throwaway McDouchenozzle et al did this thing in 1927" type clue.
-Cameron Orth did something very nice while reading this bonus part on cis-acting elements - he emphasized the word "same". Italicizing that word would be immensely helpful for comprehension, because otherwise all you're hearing is that this is a category of things involved in post-transcriptional gene regulation.

PACKET 3:
-Utada Hikaru, not Utadu.
-This bonus part on difference equations seems poorly chosen. Not only are the terms "recurrence relation" and "difference equation" often outright interchangeable, you don't really describe what a difference equation in the strict sense is.

PACKET 4:
-This morpholinos bonus part is insufficiently clear. The only thing distinguishing them from siRNAs is the name of the guy who invented them. The whole point of using morpholinos (which are incidentally overasked) is that you get steric hindrance and blocked translation instead of straight-up degradation of the product. Tldr this is accomplished because they have a phosphorodiamidate linkage instead of the standard phosphate linkage /Tldr. Either of these things would have made that bonus part gettable.
-This is mostly an aesthetic choice, but I think writing a bonus whose design is essentially "guess Seveners or Twelvers" is kind of poor form
Last edited by Sima Guang Hater on Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Galadedrid Damodred » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:27 pm

Packet 6 Tossup 20 wrote:At one point, the narrator speculates on a creation of Alain de Lille, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.
Hi, I would like to point out that the tossup on "The Aleph" does not include a demonstrative pronoun in the first sentence. I would advise adding the phrase "in this work" before the first comma to make the lead-in truly unambiguous. I agree with the previously mentioned complaints about bizarre pronoun usage, such as in the Seven Against Thebes and Wasteland mythology tossups. However, I don't think that "The Wasteland" is a bad answerline - it just needs to be specified as a location.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by t-bar » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:32 pm

DRAGOON Packet 4 wrote:12. One of the most celebrated results of this field is the Whitney Embedding Theorem, which states that any object with n dimensions can be embedded in a space with 2n + 1 dimensions. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this discipline of mathematics whose branches include geometry. It is loosely defined as the study of spaces, and objects studied in this discipline include Klein bottles and Möbius strips.
ANSWER: topology
[10] A set theory definition of topology defines a set of points X and a subset of X with this property. Those subsets of X with this property must also retain it under finite intersection and finite union.
ANSWER: openness
[10] A topological space has this property if for any infinite sequence of points within the set, it will converge to a point within the set. The product of two topological spaces will have it if its individual components also possess it according to Tychonoff’s theorem.
ANSWER: compactness
To be That Guy: yeah, the last two bonus parts are incorrect. Openness is retained under finite intersection and arbitrary union (finite, countably infinite, or uncountably infinite). Similarly, Tychonoff's theorem states that any product of compact topological spaces is compact, whether a finite product, countably infinite product, or uncountably infinite product. I doubt either of those errors would confuse someone who knew what the prompts meant, but they should probably be changed for accuracy's sake.
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Re: Question-Specific Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:40 pm

-Catholics: Does this part on "real presence" do enough to disambiguate it well enough from "transubstantiation"? I'll readily admit to being uninformed if it does. If someone posts it, I'd be glad to be schooled in some Catholic doctrine.
While we're at it, let me point out the other issue with this bonus, which is the first part on Bahai that called it a "syncretic religion." It's empirically not that (google Bahai + syncretic to get a bunch of sources saying that it's not a syncretic religion), and this part illustrates the necessity of being super careful with the technical meaning of terms in some categories. Most likely, the writer was working with the prior knowledge that Bahai was tolerant or accepting of a number of different major world religions, and then incorrectly used the word "syncretic," which has a more specific meaning, without thinking to check if that's appropriate or not. I know this seems nitpicky, but this description confused a couple of teams at our site who would have otherwise answered the part with no issue whatsoever, and this phenomenon in general has the potential to harm a bunch of new teams who don't have a lot of quizbowl-playing experience, but know some things from the real world, who might be misled on basic stuff like this.
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