CMST: General Discussion

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CMST: General Discussion

Post by aseem.keyal » Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:02 pm

I'd like to begin by thanking all the editors and writers who helped create the set:

Writers: Bruce Lou, Cibi Pari, Eric Chen, James Malouf, Jayanth Sundaresan, John Xiang, Jonchee Kao, Justin Nghiem, Michael Coates, Pranav Sivakumar, Rahul Keyal, Rohin Devanathan, Ryan Humphrey, Weijia Cheng, Will Nediger, Eddie Kim, Ike Jose, and myself

Editors:
Will Nediger: Literature, Thought, and Film
Ryan Humphrey: Biology, Chemistry, and Physics
Bruce Lou: History
Jennie Yang (plus some help from Eddie Kim): Classical Music and Opera
Michael Coates: Geography, Current Events, and Other Academic
Weijia Cheng: Religion
Me: Painting/Sculpture, Other Visual and Auditory (besides Film), Math and Other Science, and Legends (Mythology)

I'd also like to thank various members of the community who made this set what it was. Ike Jose in particular freelanced around forty History questions and then some Math on short notice, spent countless hours with me and my brother going over the Visual Art, Mythology, Science, and Literature (and several other areas), and was really patient and consistently encouraging in our first efforts as writers and editors. Adam Silverman playtested the Chemistry and Biology and helped provide a lot of feedback on adjusting difficulty and finding replacement clues. Ophir Lifshitz spent several hours with me in the two weeks leading up to the tournament putting up with my incessant questions regarding how to use his system, and is the reason that we have detailed stats for several mirrors. The combined efforts of Jonchee Kao, Eric Chen, and Will Nediger ensured that the set was copy edited and that pronunciation guides were where they needed to be. Finally, I'd like to thank everyone I reached out to for feedback after the initial mirrors of the set, I appreciate how thorough and encouraging your feedback was.

Discuss away.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Sam » Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:32 pm

Thanks to Berkeley and friends for writing this. I've been thinking lately about how much average collegiate quiz bowl quality has improved since I began playing in 2009, which wasn't even really the Dark Ages of good quiz bowl. It's encouraging to see house sets produced by a group of relatively new editors be as good as this one was.

This has been brought up before, but when doing common links on things like "hope" or "scientists (in theories of historical development)" or "Atlantic (from Atlantic history clues)," it's even more important than it normally is to make sure you have enough middle clues. Basically any player will be able to answer by the "For 10 points." If zero players are able to answer before then, the outcome is going to be a coin flip.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by ErikC » Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:47 pm

I thought the tournament had some great ideas for some areas. The thought questions were great and varied, and felt quite fresh. I also appreciated the environmental science questions I heard, its an undermined subject and the questions I heard were great. This tournament seemed to really reflect some of what I've learn in class.

However, in the nine (an unfortunately low number) packets I played, I noticed that the history questions were a bit odd. The tossup on John Dillinger sticks out, but it felt like there was a focus on biographical details one what I perceived as an unusually high amount of tossups on people. While the choice of answerlines is a bit of preference, it seemed this tournament favoured a particular way of learning history compared to others. Also, bonuses like the Cuban Missile Crisis bonus were drastically easier than the majority of the tournament.

The packetizing was bit off in terms of back-to-back subjects or a clustering of things from a certain place coming up in multiple categories, but these were pretty minor.

Overall this seemed much more accessible for the spring open hard tournament then those in the past. I'm surprised this was a (relatively) new team of editors.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:53 am

I thought this was overall a very good set, if too difficult for its intended purpose. I don't remember hearing any lies, the prose was good, topics and clues were chosen well, and there was some pretty exciting stuff (e.g. the tossup on "harps").

In other words, most of my complaints are pretty minor. Still, I might as well put them out here (I've already communicated this stuff to Aseem and Rahul, at their request):
  • Some weird subdistributional problems (esp. noticeable in a housewrite). Both a TU on (post) abstract expressionism and a bonus on Frankenthaler/Louis. Bonuses on both Alvin Lucier and Harry Partch. So much ballet.
  • A few hard parts verging on obscurata rather than "deep knowledge." Milorad Pavic's other novel. The Kanem Bornu king list. The hard part of that Harry Partch bonus.
  • As Erik said, a fair number of history questions on peripheral topics like pirates, gangs, criminals etc. This is writing history like the mythology questions that give that category a bad name (basically "pop" version of an "academic" subject).
  • A "core" almost verging on "hollow." Topics I was missing (from the first 11 packets): Italian Renaissance painting; 18th century music; classroom analytic philosophy; classics; British history before the 19th century. But this wasn't a huge problem.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by cwasims » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:31 am

Overall I very much enjoyed this tournament--thanks to the editors and writers. I particularly enjoyed the thought questions, and very much appreciated the prominence given to modern theorists, although I will note that at times the tossups could seem a bit too much like lists of academics and their works. That being said, I think the tournament could have used a few more technical economics questions, although to be fair I haven't read several of the packets and there might be a few of those questions there.

I understand that it was part of the TTC distribution last year, but I am very much opposed to giving American history more than 1/1 of the distribution, which I already find slightly excessive. I think it's bizarre for a tournament trying to focus on unexplored areas of history to give even more space to what is almost certainly the best-explored history sub-distribution. It was nice to have a few more world history questions than normal, though, since world history is definitely under-represented in the standard distribution in my opinion.

Our team also found pack 6 quite a bit more difficult than any of the other packets - I'm wondering if any other teams found the same. Overall, though, the difficult questions seemed pretty well spaced out across the tournament. Thanks again!
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by CPiGuy » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:44 am

This tournament was a lot of fun to play. I'm not nearly experienced enough to judge what level of "super hard" it achieved, but as a not-amazing player it certainly felt a lot less oppressive than, say, ACF Nationals. Maybe some of that is tournament vs. practice environment. Thanks to the editors for a great set!
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:28 am

The editors of this set should be commended for demonstrating that by tightly adhering to a set of just a few first principles, such as tossup answerline accessibility, a desire to explore familiar concepts from new angles, and erring on the side of simplicity, it's possible to create a very good tournament, even at a high level, even with several first time writers. Though there were a few shaky corners of the set and some of the questions could have been a bit shorter and have contained a few more middle clues, I think this tournament was the ideal "pre-nats" event.

The only systematic issue that I noticed came in the sciences, where there seemed to be an excess of questions requiring the player to solve equations or state expressions in terms of variables. While I admire the impulse to correlate firsthand classroom experience with depth of knowledge, in practice it is extremely difficult for even the best scientists to do a whole bunch of these without pen and paper and within five seconds, and it felt like a device that had been novel and creative in the past was sort of driven into the ground.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Mnemosyne » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:23 am

I had a lot of fun playing this set. Thanks to everyone for writing it.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Sam » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:29 am

vinteuil wrote: [*] As Erik said, a fair number of history questions on peripheral topics like pirates, gangs, criminals etc. This is writing history like the mythology questions that give that category a bad name (basically "pop" version of an "academic" subject).
[*] A "core" almost verging on "hollow." Topics I was missing (from the first 11 packets): Italian Renaissance painting; 18th century music; classroom analytic philosophy; classics; British history before the 19th century. But this wasn't a huge problem.[/list]
cwasims wrote:That being said, I think the tournament could have used a few more technical economics questions, although to be fair I haven't read several of the packets and there might be a few of those questions there.
I agree with these remarks, and not just because one of the people who made them is one of the most important econometricians of the past fifty years. The one time I wrote for a tournament being edited by John Lawrence, he laid out subdistributions, sub-subdistributions, and sub-sub-subdistributions with the level of detail that one would expect from John Lawrence. I don't know if it made the questions I wrote any better but it did make me realize I would have completely skipped pretty large chunks of the field had there not been a spreadsheet explicitly saying "there should be at least X questions from this subfield of philosophy during this time period." I think more tournaments, especially housewrites, could benefit from such a strategy.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:51 am

There's 2/2 economics in the set, with only one tossup really being "technical economics" (in packet 12). There were generally 2/3 or 3/2 of most major SS subfields (depending on how some interdisciplinary questions are counted), so in an ideal world there would have been at least one more econ question, probably a technical one.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Fucitol » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:52 pm

I don't think anyone has brought this up yet, but the bonus leadins were oppressively long in many cases. This caused my team to question at several points to wonder if the moderator was accidentally reading a tossup. The exhausting effect of this was only compounded by the fact that the bonuses usually led off with their hard part.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Fucitol » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:55 pm

I should also note that while Aseem claims that the balance of the other science was due to some form of mistake, I think the balance of the other science was better than any tournament I've played in a while. Math doesn't really deserve to have one or even more than one question per packet and I don't like the trend towards that.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by aseem.keyal » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:15 pm

vinteuil wrote:
  • A "core" almost verging on "hollow." Topics I was missing (from the first 11 packets): Italian Renaissance painting
Yeah, my bad for this one. The way I chose to distribute the visual art was basically ensuring that I had at least one question for the main chapters of introductory art history textbooks (Gardner, Stokstad, Jansons), and for the Renaissance I counted my bonuses on Donatello and Michelangelo's architecture without realizing I hadn't asked about Italian Renaissance painting. Two other issues I noticed the visual art distributing had late in the game was that there were only 2 nonwestern art questions (red and prehistoric sites, with red not even being entirely nonwestern) and that I neglected to ask about a female artist as a tossup or bonus answer. I'll definitely think more about distribution for future things I work on.

EDIT: just realized there was an Italian question (Veronese bonus), but it was bonus 20 in round 3. It's been moved up in the packet for future mirrors.
Auroni wrote: The only systematic issue that I noticed came in the sciences, where there seemed to be an excess of questions requiring the player to solve equations or state expressions in terms of variables. While I admire the impulse to correlate firsthand classroom experience with depth of knowledge, in practice it is extremely difficult for even the best scientists to do a whole bunch of these without pen and paper and within five seconds, and it felt like a device that had been novel and creative in the past was sort of driven into the ground.
Yeah we realized late into the process that we had been relying on this device for the hard parts of several bonuses. I'm unsure if we'll be able to fix this entirely, but we'll go back and add instructions to have moderators give players 10 seconds to have enough time to do this.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by aseem.keyal » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:41 pm

Edited the main post to include Jonchee, Eric, and Will's help with copy editing and pronunciation guides. Their effort in making this set readable should not go unnoticed.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Knickerbocker glory » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:32 pm

British history before the 19th century.
There was the tossup on the Second Barons' War.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:21 pm

Overall I enjoyed the set, but I guess I'll use this space to note a broader issue. Namely, whenever distros are based on genre rather than region, non-Western regions get screwed. Art has had such a distro for years, with the result that world art is nearly nonexistent in the QB canon. This set used a genre-based distribution for literature, with the result that there were only (based on a reading of the detailed stats that could well be incorrect) 7 world literature tossups in this set, maximum. At regs-plus, finding 16 lit answerlines for a region as large as "everywhere that's not Europe or America" shouldn't be an issue, especially when what world lit there was in this set (the Arabic poetry tossup being a standout) was pretty enjoyable. This is an overlooked con of a shift in how lit distros are conducted that seems to be in its beginning stages, and which, in my opinion, should not take place in tournaments where editors aren't extremely committed to ensuring regional balance, since most writers will find it easier to write about Europe and the US. In proportion to the importance of non-Western regions to the world we live in, quiz bowl already underrepresents those regions. Let's not make the problem worse.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:22 pm

Sit Room Guy wrote:Overall I enjoyed the set, but I guess I'll use this space to note a broader issue. Namely, whenever distros are based on genre rather than region, non-Western regions get screwed. Art has had such a distro for years, with the result that world art is nearly nonexistent in the QB canon. This set used a genre-based distribution for literature, with the result that there were only (based on a reading of the detailed stats that could well be incorrect) 7 world literature tossups in this set, maximum. At regs-plus, finding 16 lit answerlines for a region as large as "everywhere that's not Europe or America" shouldn't be an issue, especially when what world lit there was in this set (the Arabic poetry tossup being a standout) was pretty enjoyable. This is an overlooked con of a shift in how lit distros are conducted that seems to be in its beginning stages, and which, in my opinion, should not take place in tournaments where editors aren't extremely committed to ensuring regional balance, since most writers will find it easier to write about Europe and the US. In proportion to the importance of non-Western regions to the world we live in, quiz bowl already underrepresents those regions. Let's not make the problem worse.
I agree and think that non-packet-sub tournaments (and maybe even some packet-sub tournaments!) should explicitly mandate cross-subdistributions.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:37 pm

vinteuil wrote:I agree and think that non-packet-sub tournaments (and maybe even some packet-sub tournaments!) should explicitly mandate cross-subdistributions.
This seems like a fine solution to the problem I brought up; the question is how many categories regional cross-distributions should apply to. I'd favor them for History (if the main distribution were by time period), Literature, Art, and Geo/CE but not elsewhere (Belief/Legends are too small and the askable material for these categories too concentrated in Eurasia for that to work and most of the practitioners of (the QB definition of) modern Thought are concentrated at Western universities. I hope regional cross-distros for science can be dismissed out of hand).
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:51 pm

I wouldn't say 1 world literature tossup per round should be mandated even at this level, though you're right that the literature could have been better subdistributed. (In particular, there was more Russian lit than there needed to be, and a couple of those questions could have been replaced with world lit.)
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:05 am

Sit Room Guy wrote:
vinteuil wrote:I agree and think that non-packet-sub tournaments (and maybe even some packet-sub tournaments!) should explicitly mandate cross-subdistributions.
This seems like a fine solution to the problem I brought up; the question is how many categories regional cross-distributions should apply to. I'd favor them for History (if the main distribution were by time period), Literature, Art, and Geo/CE but not elsewhere (Belief/Legends are too small and the askable material for these categories too concentrated in Eurasia for that to work and most of the practitioners of (the QB definition of) modern Thought are concentrated at Western universities. I hope regional cross-distros for science can be dismissed out of hand).
Sure, but cross-distros don't have to be regional.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by everdiso » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:05 am

This isn't entirely specific to this tournament, but in the vein of the previous comments, I'll echo what Chris said earlier and say that I don't think there's any reason for a tournament at this level to have only 1.25/1.25 non-Western history per pack. The idea that the entirety of China, India, the Middle East, the rest of Asia, Africa and Latin America should get equal coverage to one country whose national history started 400 years ago just doesn't make any sense - especially by this difficulty. Nats-minus no longer needs to worry about catering to all the American history in American high schools, and for a tournament (and general difficulty level) otherwise admirably committed to finding new, under-asked important topics, the refusal to finally give non-Western history its due is quite disappointing.

(Lest this be taken as a general critiscism of this tournament, I enjoyed C.S.M.T., and it is also, of course, entirely in the norm in doing this.)

EDIT: Spelling.
Last edited by everdiso on Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by touchpack » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:52 am

I thought the science in this tournament was very good, especially considering the relative inexperience of the writers/editors. There was a bit of a lack of polish at times, but the core topics the writers selected tended to be very important, the execution was generally pretty good, and there were a number of creative ideas in tossups and bonuses. The only general criticism I would make that has not yet been said is that the questions were, on average, 1-2 lines longer than they needed to be, which probably made things less fun for the weaker teams.
Sit Room Guy wrote:
vinteuil wrote:I agree and think that non-packet-sub tournaments (and maybe even some packet-sub tournaments!) should explicitly mandate cross-subdistributions.
I hope regional cross-distros for science can be dismissed out of hand
That's true, but topical cross-distros for science are very important! (For example, people have rightfully complained before that some of the top biology writers neglect ecology in favor of more molecular bio / cell bio / biochemistry questions) But I think most tournaments these days are reasonably good at getting a decent topic distribution in the sciences, so I see no reason to make explicit and rigid rules.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by rahulkeyal » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:47 pm

Sit Room Guy wrote:Overall I enjoyed the set, but I guess I'll use this space to note a broader issue. Namely, whenever distros are based on genre rather than region, non-Western regions get screwed. Art has had such a distro for years, with the result that world art is nearly nonexistent in the QB canon. This set used a genre-based distribution for literature, with the result that there were only (based on a reading of the detailed stats that could well be incorrect) 7 world literature tossups in this set, maximum. At regs-plus, finding 16 lit answerlines for a region as large as "everywhere that's not Europe or America" shouldn't be an issue, especially when what world lit there was in this set (the Arabic poetry tossup being a standout) was pretty enjoyable. This is an overlooked con of a shift in how lit distros are conducted that seems to be in its beginning stages, and which, in my opinion, should not take place in tournaments where editors aren't extremely committed to ensuring regional balance, since most writers will find it easier to write about Europe and the US. In proportion to the importance of non-Western regions to the world we live in, quiz bowl already underrepresents those regions. Let's not make the problem worse.
This is a really good point. Funny enough, I actually had created a spreadsheet to keep track of literature counts, both by genre and by region, as well as make sure that time-period representation wasn't too lopsided. Here's a list of all the literature tossups and bonuses that were considered within the world distribution:

Tossups:

Australia (originally a tossup on Aborigines, cluing from both Aboriginal literature and Aborigines in other Australian literature)
The English Patient
flowers (in Chinese literature)
Arabic
"The Heights of Macchu Picchu"
Beowulf
The Suppliants

Kālidāsa
Yukio Mishima

Bonuses:

Giannina Braschi / Oscar Wao / Cuba
the Yacoubian Building / Cairo / dentists
Our Sister Killjoy / Season of Migration to the North / Chinua Achebe
Angola / elephant (also using José Saramago) / A General Theory of Oblivion
Crisóstomo Ibarra / José Rizal / the writing on the wall
Li Bai / Cathay / bowmen
Mexico City / First Dream / nun
"Elegy for Alto"/ Nigeria / "The Wreck of the Deutschland"
Wole Soyinka / blue and orange / A Season in the Congo
papyrus / Dyskolos / Martin Bodmer
Bharati Mukherjee / Jhumpa Lahiri / power outages
Algeria / Albert Camus / "The Guest"
Stories of Love, Madness, and Death/ jungle (including Kipling) / chicken
Theocritus / Virgil / singing

According to this list, there's a total of 9 tossups and 14 world literature bonuses, which is definitely a bit low, given that equal distributions for American, British, European, and World would give a total of 15/15. I've bolded all the questions/bonus parts that included some sort of Western content in them. I think the main reasons for the lack of world literature in the set are as such:

1) We grouped in classical / older literature (Beowulf, The Suppliants, etc.) into world literature, which might not have been the best idea.
2) There was a fair amount of world literature grouped into questions included in other areas (Japan in my Gothic Tales bonus, Borges in my travel literature bonus, etc.)
3) I struggled to find good, interesting ideas for world literature (hence why most of the interesting world literature questions were written by Justin Nghiem).

I didn't post this to justify the lack of world content in CMST's literature or suggest it was adequate. I do think there are definitely advantages to the genre-based distribution that allow writers to explore underasked areas and draw from broader themes / styles / topics that exist across regions. But it's definitely clear that careful thought /planning must be given to maintaining determined cross-distributions (such as region and time-period in literature). I'm not sure if it's exactly necessary for writers to explicitly state cross-distributions, but it likely would help in ensuring that issues like this would be avoided.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:26 pm

I liked this tournament a lot. Thanks to the writers and editors for the hard work put in. I think this tournament is particularly commendable for keeping the tossup answer lines easy.

I agree with other commentators that bonus parts were awfully long. I don't think this is a problem isolated to this tournament. I think that there needs to be a real quizbowl-wide focus on trimming out the fat in these. I'd much rather sacrifice the ability of people to make an extra flashcard for something in the second sentence of a bonus's easy part to keep things running at a fast pace.

I do agree with the sentiment in the other thread that there was a bit too much in the thought area on common links that were hard to buzz on. I'd personally prefer a distribution that gives more weight to interesting current events questions over these ones, but it wasn't a huge deal.

I'm also of the opinion that all science in quizbowl is slightly too hard, but I haven't gone through the Ophir stats to prove this.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by a bird » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:36 pm

I'm a bit late, but I want to thank the editors for a very enjoyable set and post some thoughts about difficulty. In particular, I'm going to focus on the science. First of all, I want to commend Ryan and Aseem for producing a solid science distribution! My comments/suggestions are relatively minor corrections to a well put together set.
Mike Bentley wrote:I liked this tournament a lot. Thanks to the writers and editors for the hard work put in. I think this tournament is particularly commendable for keeping the tossup answer lines easy.

...

I'm also of the opinion that all science in quizbowl is slightly too hard, but I haven't gone through the Ophir stats to prove this.
I agree with Mike that the tournament did an admirable job keeping answer lines accessible in general, but I felt the toss up answer line in science, especially biology, were not easy. The science was well written and as far as I could tell explored interesting and important topics but had some pretty hard tossup answers.

Biology
A large chunk of the tossup answer lines (Ras, portal vein, superoxide dismutase, dinoflagellates, basophil and possibly SDS PAGE come to mind) seem to require pretty specific knowledge, either from taking upper division courses or studying for this level of quizbowl. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but since people seemed to appreciate easier answer lines in other areas, we should really think about writing a larger fraction of bio (and science in general) tossups on easier answerlines. This is especially true if we want to make (or continue making) tournaments at this difficulty level more accessible. Having few answer lines like this is definitely fine, but the fraction should probably be reduced.

Chemistry
I think the chem tossup answer lines were as a whole easier than the bio but were still a bit out of reach for many players. You could argue that partition coefficient, DSC, Swern oxidation, and possibly epoxides, require either upper level course knowledge or packet studying. Again, a few of these could have been switched for more accessible answers.

Physics
It's harder for me to judge if physics answer lines are too hard since that's what I study, but I didn't find as much of an accessibility issue here. I have some other thoughts about answer line choice/sub distributions. The category was competently executed, but it seemed to lack questions that reward deep engagement with core subjects like electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and classical mechanics. My two favorite types of physic questions are questions on deep aspects of core courses (i.e. things you learn from core classes) and questions on newer or more advanced topics (i.e. things you might learn from research talks/seminars or your own research). The ion trapping and graviton tossups are good examples of the latter type of question, but the set was mostly lacking the former. I can elaborate on this if anyone wants to hear more.

I hope these comments will be somewhat useful for future writers. I'm not saying that future tournament at this difficulty level need to have easier science answer lines, but it seems that science has lagged behind other subjects in terms of tossup answer accessibility.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:17 pm

I played the Auburn mirror of this tournament yesterday. I enjoyed the tournament, and thanks to the writers and editors. Probably most of the issues have been discussed at this point. Some of the bonus leadins were overly long, which is something I'd like writers to control in future tournaments. I'm pretty far removed from the contemporary game to offer much substantive criticism otherwise.

There was a some discussion early in this thread from Jacob and Erik that I'd like to expand on if anyone wants to bite. There were complaints on some of the history questions, with the John Dillinger question being an exemplar of something to avoid. The complaints suggest that it, and some of the other history questions, were "weird" or maybe trashy.

I understand wanting to avoid making history questions a "scandal bowl" category that focuses on colorful anecdotes, biography bowl, pure pop culture, and events of relatively minor importance. And I'm not saying Jacob and Erik are wrong on the whole (they very well might be correct regarding this tournament on the whole. I can't really remember). But it's important to recognize that questions that might seem trashy can be on things that are important.

Dillinger's story is legitimate. He's very important in how crime in America is covered by the media and was key in the history of the FBI. I suppose I can see objections to that tossup in that it focused on his personal story and maybe didn't outright bludgeon the player with, "This is important because...." But I dunno. Sometimes it's good to throw in some color into academic questions, in my opinion. And things like "Crime Does Not Pay," Melvin Purvis, the Little Bohemia Raid, and whatnot seem like legit, academic fare that touch on why Dillinger is important in an academic context. Check out Melvin Purvis' relation with Hoover. Very interesting stuff.

Anyway, maybe the tournament veered too much into weird history. I haven't really reviewed the questions yet, so I can't really comment on the questions globally (though, yeah, it seemed like pirates came up a lot!). But I do think there's a place for weird history in academic quizbowl, and I'm for the writing of such questions within moderation.

Unrelatedly, I really liked was the divorce tossup. Very good idea for a question. Was it social science?
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:32 pm

I thought the Dillinger tossup was fine. I sometimes feel like American history is held to a higher standard of "social importance" than other periods, which is both fair and not fair (and I also have unleashed more dumb questions on American history than anyone onto the world).
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by nycaqb1999 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:47 pm

Will this set be posted on the archive?
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by Kevin » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:27 am

Overall I thought the set was really well done. My obvious comparison point is with This Tournament is a Crime, which I played at Rice last year. I think CMST did a better job of having gettable powers, and even first lines that were buzzable. I also thought that 30s on bonuses were more attainable, as opposed to some tournaments of this difficulty level or higher where the hard part is almost impossible. I felt like most of the time when our team had a bonus part that played to our strengths (classics, modern literature, sumo wrestling!), we had a reasonable chance of getting 30. On the flip side, we got some zeroes on bonuses, but our team wasn't terribly well-rounded, so I can't complain too much. I would much rather play a tournament where I get 30s on categories my team is good at and 0s on things we're not, than the flip side of getting at least a 10 on absolutely everything and never getting a 30.

My biggest overall complaint is bonus length. While some of the blame is on the Auburn site, and part is probably due to the fact that teams were getting fewer powers than some other sites, we were averaging close to an hour a round. I'd have loved to have played another round or two (we played 10 games), but since it was about 7:45 when we finished, that obviously wasn't going to happen. Learning things in bonus parts is cool (I can't believe I'd never learned about Cocoliztli before), but the tournament dragged on and I think tightening up the bonus parts would've been the easiest way to deal with this.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by ericlgame » Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:44 pm

The divorce tossup was in other history.
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Re: CMST: General Discussion

Post by aseem.keyal » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:46 pm

nycaqb1999 wrote:Will this set be posted on the archive?
There is going to be a final mirror of this set on 4/13 run by Chris Romero in Texas and will be posted shortly after.
Aseem Keyal
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