Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

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Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:16 am

Several people deserve thanks for this year's Chicago Open happening: Will Holub-Moorman, Jordan Brownstein, Seth Teitler, Eliza Grames, Joey Goldman, and Jacob Reed (who also served essentially as co-head editor in the final few weeks) for editing with me, Stephen Eltinge, JinAh Kim, Rohith Nagari, Sriram Pendyala, Victor Prieto, Dennis Loo, Jon Suh, and Raynor Kuang for writing questions for us, Matt Jackson for his detailed and plentiful comments on the set's questions, and Wonyoung Jang and Ramapriya Rangaraju for their proofreading. I'm sure I've left people out, so contact me if you helped and I'll slap myself and add you to the acknowledgements.

I want to elaborate on two main goals that I wanted to achieve while editing the tournament. First, I wanted to align CO, an emblem of the very highest level of quizbowl, with the conversations that have been taking place throughout this year about how to make the game more inclusive and welcoming to a larger number of people. Therefore my coeditors and I made a conscious decision to include as many questions and clues about non-cis men, people of color, and non-straight people as possible. Two tangible results of this were every packet having at least one tossup featuring on literature written by women, and a significant chunk of the arts being devoted to art from non-Western countries. I have always seen it as the duty of quizbowl to proactively go forth and reach out to cover neglected but widely held areas of knowledge and experience, and to then direct people to give due consideration to these same knowledges and experiences, and I hope that we were able to delight at least some people by taking this approach.

Secondly, I wanted this tournament to be a celebration of knowledge and quizbowl. Chicago Open, for me, has played several roles apart from being the hardest and most prestigious college tournament. The first couple COs that I played confirmed for me that college quizbowl was where I belonged, and that I could maybe grow to be good at it. The next few COs allowed me to prove that I was a championship contender type player. Now, CO is a chance for me to hang out with good friends and to see how far I can go on my intellectual interests alone. I wanted to edit this set so that people who are at each one of these stages could get something out of it; I wanted it to be fun for people who adore quizbowl but have never played something hard, for people who are about to drop a breakout career performance, for people who have played college quizbowl but could never quite make it out to CO before now, for connoisseurs of quizbowl questions who were curious to see what could come up, and for people who used to be good but haven't studied or prepared in years because for life and career reasons. On Saturday, I saw great buzzes and knowledge and enthusiasm being displayed from people in each one of these categories, which for me made it all worth it.

Lest I get too self-congratulatory, I know there were several issues with the set; had I had a few more weeks I'd have smoothed out some of the harder bonuses and we probably could have balanced out some of the inclusivity with more traditional "core" Western questions. But that's enough from me, I'd like to hear from all of you who played.
Last edited by Auroni on Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:21 am

Hi everyone! Two posts incoming. I’ll put an apology for how the arts played out in a separate thread, because I suspect it’ll generate a lot of responses; moreover, I’ll be away for a family birthday over the next few days and thus won’t be hovering over these threads—that's probably a good thing.

This post is going to be entirely thanks and praise (likely some overlap with Auroni). And it’s going to be long—the set was a "journey" to finish and there are thus a ton of people to thank. Many of them went so far above and beyond what was requested or expected that I just want to gush about their hard work. (This post may also be pretty sentimental.)

First, I owe my biggest personal thanks to Auroni, who took me onboard after I, well, savaged his work in public—multiple times. I was surprised and delighted that we had near-identical priorities for the set (above all "representation"), and he was extremely accommodating of a variety of production changes I suggested. So: thanks, Auroni, for the opportunity, and I’m glad we could come together to produce something to be proud of.

I should equally thank Jordan for taking me on for our third tournament together since 2015 (!); he was wonderfully patient with my late-night pestering and some of my more dubious history ideas, as well as being extremely supportive in general of everyone’s work. You all know that Jordan’s the nicest guy in quizbowl; just remember that that extends to tournament production too.

Thanks also to Auroni and Jordan for being willing to run the actual tournament without most of the editors (in fact, me and everyone I brought on board or suggested) staffing; I know that’s an extra constraint and I appreciate that they didn’t even bring it up.

Will H-M was the MVP of this set. It should be obvious now that he’s the king of Other Academic, Geo/CE and "Social Science" writing; I was excited and intrigued by every single one of his questions (all 150+!). But Will’s work only starts with those categories—he stepped in early on to write an entire (excellent!) subcategory of the Editors’ Packets, helped in a big way to fill out the lit and tiebreakers at the end of production, and pitched in great questions all over the map. Will was a seemingly endless fount of important-but-not-yet-in-quizbowl academic research, can-do attitude, and whimsy from beginning to end.

Working with Joey for the first time was extremely stimulating; I learned heaps on topics ranging from the absolute core of Western philosophy to the whackiest of recent misc. thought. Joey was also very patient as I remodelled his questions. Moreover, he’s probably the best arts playtester I’ve ever had—great buzzes and suggestions on a huge variety of questions.

Seth was a riot to work with, and smoothly manned all of his categories; it very easy to work on the "pure" math within his other science. You can thank him for the Philly Joe Jones content in the "Jones" jazz tossup.

Eliza swooped in to save the day at a moment when it looked like this set wasn't going to come even close to completion. She took over a huge number of thankless logistical tasks and a big chunk of writing, pulling both off brilliantly. It was fantastic to have someone really at the helm for the last week of production (I've had the flu since Tuesday, so I wasn’t able to do quite as much as I might have liked). She was superbly communicative and vigorously productive.

Speaking of swooping in to save the day, there are a ton of "contributors" to thank (listed in the packets—they made this tournament happen!). I’m sure Auroni will thank them separately, but Rohith and Sriram all really stepped up to fill out the biochem. Dennis, Ewan, JinAh, Stephen, and Victor also pitched in direly needed questions in a variety of categories. Rama copyedited the entire set; Wonyoung and Hilda copyedited most of the arts and some thought. Eric gave some extremely helpful suggestions on a number of tossups, and gave some great directions and ideas for bonus answerlines.

Raynor deserves his own paragraph: on Thursday evening, he agreed to write our compsci tossups, doing so promptly and in style.

But the biggest thanks in this crowd has to go to Matt Jackson, who creaked out of retirement to give the set several extremely thorough readovers, providing literally hundreds of excellent suggestions ranging from complete reconceptions of questions, to clue selection, to phrasing, to additional prompts, to packetization, to punctuation. I asked him at first to playtest "some philosophy/thought"; when I later shared the set with him (at a point when playtesting was no longer a good use of time), I certainly wasn’t expecting him to give it such a complete and spectacular overhaul. You also owe Matt several (most?) of the better team names—talk about above and beyond.

Max Shatan and Wonyoung playtested a lot of the arts (look out for these guys!); Saul Hankin and Dennis Loo were also kind enough to take a careful look at the Judaism and math, respectively, really helping polish those questions up. I also need to thank my father for giving extremely detailed critiques in both categories (he literally rewrote the Galois groups TU for me at one point, although all mistakes in the final version are certainly my own). And my brother (an ethnomusicologist) similarly helped me get the "world music" (and food, and postcolonial theory) right, again down to the level of delicate phrasing issues. You also owe him the subtitle of the tournament.

Finally, of course, thanks to all of YOU for some really phenomenal questions and for making this tournament happen. I love that, especially in this iteration, we can really bring together a wide swath of the quizbowl community, from current high school students to the most grizzled of veterans. I hope that the set was enjoyable and stimulating despite the frustrations.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:30 am

While I can't really speak to stuff outside my categories, the history and non-Western content in this set was a lot of fun. In terms of representation, this set laid out a fairly clear vision of where quiz bowl needs to go in the future. Solving the puzzle of how to translate that ethos to regular difficulty and below, I think, is a problem well worth grappling with going forward.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:45 am

This was an enjoyable set. I particularly enjoyed the history. I felt as if the literature and art were trying for more experimental things than the history--I don't necessarily know if that's a problem or not.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:54 am

A thing I particularly liked about this set was the way that literary criticism clues were incorporated into the bonuses. A lot of the bonuses on core topics like The Turn of the Screw were made more interesting and educational by those clues (and similarly for other sorts of clues in many cases, like the bonus on Emily Dickinson's envelope poems).
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by heterodyne » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:16 pm

An Economic Ignoramus wrote:While I can't really speak to stuff outside my categories, the history and non-Western content in this set was a lot of fun. In terms of representation, this set laid out a fairly clear vision of where quiz bowl needs to go in the future. Solving the puzzle of how to translate that ethos to regular difficulty and below, I think, is a problem well worth grappling with going forward.
While I thought this set was well made in several ways and provided a lot of food for thought, both about the world and about quizbowl, I don't necessarily think it is "clear" that all of the moves this set made are "where quiz bowl needs to go in the future." It seems to me that much more discussion of those moves would be necessary to even approach such a bold conclusion.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:23 pm

Thanks to the editors for all the hard work on this set. It was by far the most enjoyable Chicago Open I've ever played. I think a lot of this had to do with difficulty control (at least on tossups) which was much appreciated as a player. I could see that reflected in the changes made to the handful of questions I wrote that made it into our packet--in retrospect a question on Damascus (which made it in) rather than the Damascus Affair (my submission) played much better. I'm sure lots of similar editing happened.

After many Chicago Opens, I leave with a feeling that there's been 16 packets of literature asked about and I've read maybe 1 of the books. The more accessible difficulty of this year's tournament didn't leave me with that feeling.

This tournament seemed to have fewer questions in categories I personally find less interesting as a player: relatively standard classical mythology; music questions with lines of score clues; lots of boring to me "thought". I'm sure there will be people out there who are disappointed that one or some of those types of questions were pared back, but I support more hard quizbowl tournaments continuing this trend.

A couple of the tossups I found particularly neat: old people in Greek plays, the Land of Cockaigne, Merry England, Native American schools.

Our team ended up involved in 5 separate protests (although only across 3 games). I think some of these could be reduced (and players given a better experience) thanks to the rising trend of giving more specific questions to ask when prompting. I guess the downside of this is that it rewards more aggressive play. In a world where pronouns or other information is withheld to reduce transparency, it could be problematic if an overly generous prompt question points you to the right answer when you weren't going to get there organically. But I think it's at least worth experimenting with a hard tournament that has more copious prompt questions. Of course this all can also be helped by writing slightly less clever answer lines.

Also, I'd like to throw my vote in on Evanston being a more convenient location to get to than Hyde Park. The disadvantage was mainly that the rooms in the summer aren't very good for quizbowl. In most of the rooms where the A/C was functioning, it was too loud to be able to clearly hear the moderator (especially later when everyone was tired). And some of the rooms had really bad acoustics so there was a ton of echo. But it was nice having a wider array of options for food and being able to find affordable AirBnbs nearby (although I haven't searched Hyde Park in a couple of years, so maybe that's changed). If we could get more rooms in Fisk next year I think it could be a good repeat venue.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:42 pm

I'd like to make a few comments on the decision to include more art questions from outside of the traditional Western art canon. I personally would have favored a more gradualistic approach to introducing such questions, but it was nonetheless exciting to see a number of such questions - both because I find them personally interesting and because I tend to do quite well on such questions. However, I think I speak for a number of people when I say that the construction of these questions prevented many people who actually do possess some knowledge of these, or who have interacted with art outside of the traditional Western art canon in multiple ways, from being able to buzz on them before other people who "figured it out."

I'll illustrate with a few examples:
Packet 3 wrote:17. A beam in this city is decorated with a motif of small circles inside excised diamonds that references the pattern of a nearby chikuva. Peter Garlake’s taxonomy of a set of objects from this city places them into different groups depending on whether they depict their subjects with straight or squatting legs. According to one interpretation, those objects from this city are depictions of the shiri ye denga believed to use lightning to “stitch together heaven and earth.” Thomas Huffman has argued that the double (*) chevron and the crocodile image that appear on an object from this city reflect its use for divining the presence of witches with the help of royal ancestors. In the 1880s, six sculptures that sit atop monoliths were moved from their original location in this city’s Eastern Enclosure, which lies within its Hill Complex. Willi Posselt hacked off the base of an artwork he found in this city and sold it to Cecil Rhodes. A national emblem was inspired by the design of eight soapstone birds found in—for 10 points—what medieval African city?
ANSWER: Great Zimbabwe [prompt on partial answer]
This tossup is problematic because it is extremely transparent in a way that is mis-calibrated for CO difficulty. The clues I've highlighted in red are context clues that help many knowledgeable people zero in quickly on the fact that, to paraphrase Alston Boyd, "this is a city, probably in Africa, likely in East Africa. We don't know much about it, but it is clearly important!" Writing a question this way (perhaps with fewer clues / cutting to the chase a bit) is fine for regular difficulty, but in our game against Chris Ray's team this tossup quickly became an extremely frustrating eight way staring contest. Effectively, it immediately became a bad history tossup, rather than an inspired art question. I think this could have been done better if it asked for a specific material, or maybe if it didn't tip its hand linguistically.
Packet 6 wrote:4. A bronze statue from this dynasty in the Met includes hand-like tendrils of flame on its outer circle, which is connected to the main figure’s head by thick, wire-like hairs. A building from this dynasty includes 81 out of a projected 108 sculptures intended to sequentially depict every poses described in an ancient performing arts treatise. The main tower of that building from this dynasty is topped by an 80-ton, cupola-shaped capstone, and was built without mortar in a series of 13 progressively smaller granite squares on 100-foot-square base. A temple built by a member of this dynasty was the first to have a monumental multi-story (*) gopuram, or gateway, which is dominated by its 208-foot vimana tower. This dynasty built three “Great Living Temples,” one of which was by far the largest in India when it was built around the year 1000. The Briha·dish·vara Temple in Thanjavur was built by Rajaraja I of—for 10 points—what medieval dynasty of South India?
ANSWER: Chola dynasty
<Other Fine Arts>
I think this question does a pretty decent job with its first two clues - the clue about a performing arts treatise seems like something that's not just unique but memorable, and pretty much anything in the Met seems like a fine first clue for CO. However, the next two clues (highlighted in red) seem very non-memorable (particularly if you're familiar with broader South/Southeast Asian architecture trends) and read like something that was ripped directly out of a textbook. All four members of my team were slamming their buzzers on Rajaraja I. I'd have to think seriously about how this could be improved, but having a few more evocative clues like the early ones would have helped.
Editors 3 wrote:15. An “intercultural history” of these artworks was co-edited by longtime curator Aldona Jonaitis. These artworks seem to have been fairly rare before the 19th century, and new production had mostly stopped by the death of Albert Edenshaw in 1894. These are the largest artworks made in what Bill Holm dubbed the “formline” style. Scholars like Hilary Stewart typically classify these objects as “memorial,” “mortuary,” or “frontal.” Another type of these artworks includes caricatures of their subjects and is thus called “shame.” Along with (*) Chilkat weaving, these sculptures are the most famous artistic productions of the Haida and Tlingit peoples. The crests of these objects often depict Raven, but they usually put the most important figure on the bottom. A cedarwood trunk is used to make—for 10 points—what sculptures made by Native Americans of the Northwest Coast?
ANSWER: totem poles [prompt on partial answer; prompt on wood carvings or similar]
<Visual Arts>
So, this question was personally very frustrating for me because, several years ago in Alaska, I attended a workshop in which a Tlingit artist explained how he made totem poles and a guide walked the audience through the symbology of totem poles. Perhaps that's just bad luck that nothing I learned during this personal experience was rewarded in this question - the "shame" clue is vaguely familiar, but I had no idea what was going on when playing this question, and without any context that clue was impossible to buzz on. Indeed, the fact that the tossup implies that people stopped making totem poles in 1894 (or at least until a revival of the art form, though that's not mentioned explicitly) ruled that answer out for me, because I had watched living Native American artists carve totem poles, presumably making a naive person such as myself think that people actually still made totem poles to this day, regardless of whether they carry the same weight of social meaning as they once did.

Instead, what this question presents is a litany of secondary source analyses completely robbed of context. If the number of people in the CO audience who were familiar with these clues were greater than the number of editors who were, I would be extremely surprised. I sympathize with the writer's decision to do this, given that it can be hard to find contextual clues that point people strongly in the direction of Native American art. However, the way this question practically played out was as an eight way buzzer race at the first mention of a famous Pacific Northwest people, the Haida. Having a game between two title-contending teams decided in part by such a question was immensely frustrating. Practically, this question on "non-Western art" rewards either (1) familiarity with Western scholarship, highlighted in red, or (2) knowing the names of Pacific Northwest peoples.

The above illustrates I problem which I think the visual arts in particular suffered from in general. To analogize with Korzybski, I think the visual art questions overall suffered from a problem in which they asked too much about "maps" (representations of objects - or in this case, in a loose analogy, secondary literature and analyses) and not enough about "territories" (the works themselves). Beyond this, clues about how works of art were made were heavily favored over clues about what can be gleaned by interacting with their pure visual elements. I appreciate that quizbowl is an "academic competition" and that art history, art history terminology, and reconstructing the artist's methods and milieu may be topics of primary concern to art historians, as well as topics that can be learned by visiting a museum. Past art questions focused myopically on visual details, often minor ones, at the expanse of the wide range of topics mentioned in the artworld. These questions did the opposite - I haven't done an exact count, but I'm pretty positive that there were at least twice as many clues (particularly early and middle clues) that rewarded knowledge of making art as those that rewarded knowledge of visually appreciating it. Fortunately or unfortunately, quizbowl is not a community of artists and art historians, and many of us poor amateur appreciators were left completely out to dry.

I won't comment on similar issues with the auditory arts or other areas - I'll leave someone else to do that, or return to them at a later time. But I think, in a way, these illustrate the problem of the set at large - it was a victim of its own ambition, though not necessarily in a way that was uniform across the vast areas that Jacob, Auroni, Jordan, and their collaborators poured their heart and soul into over the past several months. This contributed to a difficulty problem which was extremely striking, considering that the editors promised at the outset to reduce difficulty from the ramp-up of the past two sets. It seems like stats were up a bit overall, but definitely lower than in the (very hard) 2016 edition of this tournament.

I hope that the editors of next year's CO continue a number of this tournament's positive trends while also moderating their ambitions. At the risk of improperly using my soap box, after the past three years I think many of us are collectively exhausted at being promised a reasonable challenge and then getting pounded into submission by the end product. Like always, though, I walk away from Chicago Open with a fervent desire to learn more.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Amiable Vitriol » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:05 pm

As a high schooler with 4 PPG, this was an engaging set to play. I know CO is often seen as one of the less inclusive tournaments in quizbowl, but as a learning experience it's unparalleled and I really do think this set had something for everyone. To anyone considering playing CO (EO??) in the future who's worried it won't be fun because they're not legit enough/in the cool kid club/don't have any national titles, play! If future years are anything like the tournament this year's editors put out, I promise it will be a blast for anyone open to learning a lot, regardless of how many tossups you convert.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by John Ketzkorn » Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:01 pm

I enjoyed this set as a whole. My one feedback for literature would be an attempt to confine 'canon-busting" tossups to 1/1. I'm suspicious that the number was higher than that this year, but I could just not know things. I won't strictly define "canon-busting" but something along the lines of "authors who've seldom come up at any level" where "seldom" is some #/ x years.

John Lawrence did something like this with the 2016 CO, and I think it worked well on mixing in contemporary / less well known authors into the set without overwhelming players. My team (who I believe could hold our own on a wide portion of the literature canon) saw several literature tossups go dead.

This is just my personal opinion predicated on a suspicion that I haven't checked yet (and will do so once the set is posted). It's possible I'm completely wrong on this. Regardless, I still appreciate the introduction to many new authors / ideas at this tournament even though it may have hindered my ability to play the game.
Last edited by John Ketzkorn on Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows » Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:39 pm

heterodyne wrote:
An Economic Ignoramus wrote:While I can't really speak to stuff outside my categories, the history and non-Western content in this set was a lot of fun. In terms of representation, this set laid out a fairly clear vision of where quiz bowl needs to go in the future. Solving the puzzle of how to translate that ethos to regular difficulty and below, I think, is a problem well worth grappling with going forward.
While I thought this set was well made in several ways and provided a lot of food for thought, both about the world and about quizbowl, I don't necessarily think it is "clear" that all of the moves this set made are "where quiz bowl needs to go in the future." It seems to me that much more discussion of those moves would be necessary to even approach such a bold conclusion.
Yeah, while this set included lots of fun stuff and was well written, I'd go a step farther and say that this set emphatically isn't the direction where quizbowl needs to go in the future. The distribution was skewed heavily towards nonwestern art and post-WWII literature which I think is problematic as lots of people study pre-WWII literature while relatively few people study nonwestern art. Furthermore, a lot of the questions drew heavily from secondary sources (many of which I suspect few people in quizbowl have ever heard of much less engaged with) to the point that those clues became kind of grating by the end of the day. While all of those editorial decisions are perfectly valid for an experimental tournament like CO, I doubt that they should universalized.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:44 pm

Just wanted to say that it was a blast to work on this set—I learned a ton from reading the submissions and the other editors' questions. Thanks to everyone who helped out with it, and who came out to play!
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:07 pm

I want to elaborate on two main goals that I wanted to achieve while editing the tournament. First, I wanted to align CO, an emblem of the very highest level of quizbowl, with the conversations that have been taking place throughout this year about how to make the game more inclusive and welcoming to a larger number of people.
I'd like to make a longer and more balanced post (because many things about this tournament were enjoyable and good, and critical posts always overrate the bad and underrepresent the good). However, I don't have much time right now and feel that there is an incredibly important point that needs to be addressed here.

If we seriously believe that the majority of experimental directions taken by this year's CO are going to do something to make the game more welcoming to larger numbers of people, we are fantastically deluding ourselves. This tournament was exceptionally difficult, with some of the best players in quizbowl struggling to cobble points together at the end of 14-line tossups on things that maybe 25 people in quizbowl had heard of and even fewer had a chance to realistically answer question on. I absolutely support efforts to, say, ask about more significant works by women (which all in all I think this tournament DID succeed at), but I don't know how people can really believe that long-ass tossups on Young Jean Lee (did anyone convert this?) are going to expand the number of people who can enjoy CO/quizbowl in general.

Again, I am not suggesting that this content is unworthy of quizbowl, or even that it isn't a great idea to include. But there are many tools in the editor's toolbox to ask about an author like Young Jean Lee, and only the crudest of them is to make that person the answer to a tossup. CO 2018 had numerous examples of this, where the whole room could only wonder aloud why a question could not have been only slight tweaked to drastically raise the conversion rates. Similarly, the stated goal of expanding the game to larger numbers of people is completely incompatible with this tournament's frequent skimping on meaningful giveaways (countries where the capital was not provided, questions on Hume where you just got "Of the Standard of Taste", etc).

This point is even more amplified when considering the tournament's content at the clue level. Look at how few powers occurred in this field (when you consider that one of the thing's this tournament did WELL was be a bit more generous with the power-marking, this looks even worse). Buzzes were hyper-concentrated later in the tossup, often at the end of the tossup, and yet so many questions spent the lion's share of their effort on the first 50% of material, with difficulty cliffing harshly basically out of necessity because the damn questions had already eaten up 8-10 lines.

Again, I don't want this to come off as more critical than it's intended; the tournament had plenty of very good things about it. But I think we need a reality check if we've really convinced ourselves that the innovations at this year's CO (or any of the CO's in the past 3 years, honestly) are having some sort of wonderful expansionary effect on the game. They're not. And it's starting to seem to me that they're allowing us to unconsciously get lazier in some major areas - good buzzpoint distribution, decent giveaway construction, creative writing on core topics, etc - that ARE actively crucial in promoting that goal.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:14 pm

Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:Yeah, while this set included lots of fun stuff and was well written, I'd go a step farther and say that this set emphatically isn't the direction where quizbowl needs to go in the future. The distribution was skewed heavily towards nonwestern art and post-WWII literature which I think is problematic as lots of people study pre-WWII literature while relatively few people study nonwestern art. Furthermore, a lot of the questions drew heavily from secondary sources (many of which I suspect few people in quizbowl have ever heard of much less engaged with) to the point that those clues became kind of grating by the end of the day. While all of those editorial decisions are perfectly valid for an experimental tournament like CO, I doubt that they should universalized.
Especially on nonwestern art, I emphatically disagree. The "heavy skew" you criticize consisted of 1/3 of the art being nonwestern, thus allotting western art a central, rather than a dominant, place in the distribution, as Jacob put it in the art thread. Given that the current standard at regular difficulty is almost zero inclusion of nonwestern art, a move at least in the direction of this tournament is long overdue. (To be clear, I'm not advocating for a full 1/3 here; as is, the canon couldn't bear that.)

This set's use of secondary sources is an editorial decision I'll advocate for more cautiously as something that lower-difficulty writing needs more of, but not much more. Only critical sources that, as you say, are commonly engaged with by a set's audience should make their way down to lower difficulties, but rewarding people who've engaged with academic literature on things that get tossed up should be a (secondary) goal of quiz bowl writing at regular difficulty and above. (Again, to be clear, I'm not advocating for the "first result on Nature/JSTOR" school of leadin writing; the greater frequency I'm arguing for should be applied judiciously)
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:45 pm

An Economic Ignoramus wrote:
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:Yeah, while this set included lots of fun stuff and was well written, I'd go a step farther and say that this set emphatically isn't the direction where quizbowl needs to go in the future. The distribution was skewed heavily towards nonwestern art and post-WWII literature which I think is problematic as lots of people study pre-WWII literature while relatively few people study nonwestern art. Furthermore, a lot of the questions drew heavily from secondary sources (many of which I suspect few people in quizbowl have ever heard of much less engaged with) to the point that those clues became kind of grating by the end of the day. While all of those editorial decisions are perfectly valid for an experimental tournament like CO, I doubt that they should universalized.
Especially on nonwestern art, I emphatically disagree. The "heavy skew" you criticize consisted of 1/3 of the art being nonwestern, thus allotting western art a central, rather than a dominant, place in the distribution, as Jacob put it in the art thread. Given that the current standard at regular difficulty is almost zero inclusion of nonwestern art, a move at least in the direction of this tournament is long overdue. (To be clear, I'm not advocating for a full 1/3 here; as is, the canon couldn't bear that.)
Yeah, I completely disagree about this (I think we're actually largely on the same page about secondary sources). First off, I'm not sure that there's "almost zero inclusion of nonwestern art." I think most college+ sets have about 1/1 or maybe 2/2 nonwestern art. Secondly, I think 1/1 or 2/2 that is the perfect amount because few people actually study nonwestern art in the real world. For example, this semester at OU there are 25 art history classes offered, only one of which is a nonwestern art class. As someone who believes that quizbowl ought to roughly track the academy, I think that this drastic increase in nonwestern art is a pretty terrible idea.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:49 pm

Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:
An Economic Ignoramus wrote:
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:Yeah, while this set included lots of fun stuff and was well written, I'd go a step farther and say that this set emphatically isn't the direction where quizbowl needs to go in the future. The distribution was skewed heavily towards nonwestern art and post-WWII literature which I think is problematic as lots of people study pre-WWII literature while relatively few people study nonwestern art. Furthermore, a lot of the questions drew heavily from secondary sources (many of which I suspect few people in quizbowl have ever heard of much less engaged with) to the point that those clues became kind of grating by the end of the day. While all of those editorial decisions are perfectly valid for an experimental tournament like CO, I doubt that they should universalized.
Especially on nonwestern art, I emphatically disagree. The "heavy skew" you criticize consisted of 1/3 of the art being nonwestern, thus allotting western art a central, rather than a dominant, place in the distribution, as Jacob put it in the art thread. Given that the current standard at regular difficulty is almost zero inclusion of nonwestern art, a move at least in the direction of this tournament is long overdue. (To be clear, I'm not advocating for a full 1/3 here; as is, the canon couldn't bear that.)
Yeah, I completely disagree about this (I think we're actually largely on the same page about secondary sources). First off, I'm not sure that there's "almost zero inclusion of nonwestern art." I think most college+ sets have about 1/1 or maybe 2/2 nonwestern art. Secondly, I think 1/1 or 2/2 that is the perfect amount because few people actually study nonwestern art in the real world. For example, this semester at OU there are 25 art history classes offered, only one of which is a nonwestern art class. As someone who believes that quizbowl ought to roughly track the academy, I think that this drastic increase in nonwestern art is a pretty terrible idea.
Yeah I agree that 1/3 non-western art seems awfully high given the prominence of it in the academy and among the general art-going public. It should certainly be non-zero but I'm not yet convinced there exists a wide trove of quizbowl-ready non-western topics at lower difficulty levels.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by csheep » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:51 pm

Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote: As someone who believes that quizbowl ought to roughly track the academy, I think that this drastic increase in nonwestern art is a pretty terrible idea.
This statement seems at odds with "Furthermore, a lot of the questions drew heavily from secondary sources (many of which I suspect few people in quizbowl have ever heard of much less engaged with) to the point that those clues became kind of grating by the end of the day.", since secondary sources represents a very significant/majority of how the academy engages with literature at the least, and other disciplines as well. I welcome the (recent?) trend of a large influx of secondary source clues/content for lit, because I think it's far more interesting than "plot summary bowl," and lends itself more naturally to contextualizing how people engage with works, and focusing on aspects that have resonated with others.

Note: I did not play CO/have yet to see the set, so this is speaking in generalities.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Red Panda Cub » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:07 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
I want to elaborate on two main goals that I wanted to achieve while editing the tournament. First, I wanted to align CO, an emblem of the very highest level of quizbowl, with the conversations that have been taking place throughout this year about how to make the game more inclusive and welcoming to a larger number of people.
(...questions on Hume where you just got "Of the Standard of Taste", etc).
For the sake of accuracy, the giveaway actually concludes "a Scottish skeptic." That seems a pretty fair giveaway for Hume at this level, since he's pretty famously both of those things, and the most famous person who is both of those things.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:11 pm

DumbJaques wrote:I absolutely support efforts to, say, ask about more significant works by women (which all in all I think this tournament DID succeed at), but I don't know how people can really believe that long-ass tossups on Young Jean Lee (did anyone convert this?) are going to expand the number of people who can enjoy CO/quizbowl in general.

Again, I am not suggesting that this content is unworthy of quizbowl, or even that it isn't a great idea to include. But there are many tools in the editor's toolbox to ask about an author like Young Jean Lee, and only the crudest of them is to make that person the answer to a tossup.
I agree with Chris that this was a difficult tournament that could have been tweaked in several places to be less oppressive (something that, again, I'd like to think I could have done given some more editing time). But I would like to talk a little more about Young Jean Lee, as I believe she is an illustrative example of our philosophical approach.

Chris, your team submitted a tossup not on Young Jean Lee, but a secondary Young Jean Lee play. I decided that that was obviously too hard, but then read more about her and found that she was breaking barriers on Broadway and was making a splash in the current theater scene. This made me decide that she should be included in the tournament in some capacity. Having written a lot of contemporary drama questions, I was also cognizant of how difficult it is to tie a lot of plays in, thematically, to earlier traditions, how bonus parts and early clues of common links don't "stick" out as being memorable, and I expected a lot of "theater people" (or people plugged into this world) would be playing the set, and so I decided that she should be a tossup. And now, a tossup on her (but not, for instance, an equally extracanonical tossup connected to the work of an author who does already come up) is being singled out for public consternation by one of the game's most established figures. This is a level of backlash I am willing to suffer to guarantee that players or people reading the set who pay attention to contemporary drama and/or Asian-American literature feel like quizbowl has something for them.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:12 pm

Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:Yeah, I completely disagree about this (I think we're actually largely on the same page about secondary sources). First off, I'm not sure that there's "almost zero inclusion of nonwestern art." I think most college+ sets have about 1/1 or maybe 2/2 nonwestern art. Secondly, I think 1/1 or 2/2 that is the perfect amount because few people actually study nonwestern art in the real world. For example, this semester at OU there are 25 art history classes offered, only one of which is a nonwestern art class. As someone who believes that quizbowl ought to roughly track the academy, I think that this drastic increase in nonwestern art is a pretty terrible idea.
OU's course offerings aren't necessarily universal; my own university's nonwestern art history course offerings are, for the next two semesters, roughly 1/3 of the total (there's no reason why this should be the standard any more than an Oklahoma-based level of representation should, but this should at least be a small bit of evidence that CO's distribution didn't come out of nowhere). Looking at floor plans of major museums (the other major way people engage with art), too, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Met both seem to allocate roughly 1/4 of their floor space to entirely nonwestern displays.

This does seem significantly out of proportion with how non-western art is represented at regular difficulty. I'm sorry to pick on this year's ACF regionals (especially since I'm sure I could find worse examples), but detailed stats made it convenient to comb through its answerlines. 2-3 out of 49 (depending on what you count as non-Western) of its art tossups were non-Western. That's a figure of 4-6%. I don't think that bringing that up to at least 10% is an unreasonable target for lower-difficulty sets.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by everdiso » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:17 pm

I wanted to align CO, an emblem of the very highest level of quizbowl, with the conversations that have been taking place throughout this year about how to make the game more inclusive
a significant chunk of the arts being devoted to art from non-Western countries
I don't know enough about literature or art to comment on either this idea or its execution, so I'll leave that conversation to those who do. But given that these were stated goals of the tournament, I find it very strange that it stuck to quizbowl's traditional 75% Western, 25% non-Western history distribution. Of all the areas in the distribution, I would've thought that history would be the most natural place to make this change. This may not be true, but I'll hazard a guess that more people in North America either study or casually read about, say, Chinese history than Chinese visual art. I would guess that most teenagers/students/people in their 20s who have an avid interest in history are interested in the history of many different parts of the world. Caleb writes that " For example, this semester at OU there are 25 art history classes offered, only one of which is a nonwestern art class.". Here at U of T, non-Western history courses make up far more than 4% of those offered, and I imagine that's similar across North America.

Given that non-Western history is, of course, very important, it doesn't make much sense to me that the continent of Europe on its own gets half of the entire history distribution, or that the entire non-West gets as much as just one Western country. I don't think it's debatable that the historical importance of places like China, India and the Middle East, not to mention usually neglected areas like Africa and Latin America, is not given its due by this distribution. And if the argument is that American history should be emphasised because quizbowl is an "American" game, and that European history should be emphasised due to Europe's cultural connection to America, I think this runs directly counter to the stated goals of being more inclusive to a wider audience.

Auroni has said that the Chicago Open is the ideal place to begin pushing for changes in quizbowl's approach, and I agree with this. I would be delighted to see future iterations of this tournament step outside the constraints of quizbowl's traditional history distribution in the way that this one did with the arts.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:23 pm

csheep wrote:
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote: As someone who believes that quizbowl ought to roughly track the academy, I think that this drastic increase in nonwestern art is a pretty terrible idea.
This statement seems at odds with "Furthermore, a lot of the questions drew heavily from secondary sources (many of which I suspect few people in quizbowl have ever heard of much less engaged with) to the point that those clues became kind of grating by the end of the day.", since secondary sources represents a very significant/majority of how the academy engages with literature at the least, and other disciplines as well. I welcome the (recent?) trend of a large influx of secondary source clues/content for lit, because I think it's far more interesting than "plot summary bowl," and lends itself more naturally to contextualizing how people engage with works, and focusing on aspects that have resonated with others.

Note: I did not play CO/have yet to see the set, so this is speaking in generalities.
Yeah, just to clarify, I'm not anti-secondary sources by any means. I just think that they should be used sparingly because if you're not a specialist in some subject you probably haven't engaged with the relevant secondary literature. In other words, I think that the academic salience of a clue should also be balanced against its playability.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by setht » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:24 pm

I worked on the physics, astronomy, earth science, and applied math/statistics. Stephen Eltinge contributed some excellent questions (all the more welcome for helping cover solid state topics that I'm not particularly knowledgeable about), and helped me with editing advice on a couple more questions. Jacob, Auroni, Eliza, Matt J., and Sriram also gave helpful feedback on various questions. (And possibly other people did too—I apologize if I missed anyone!)

I didn't have any big-picture plans for my categories. On the editing side, I mostly took the lazy route of picking questions that I thought would be relatively easy to work on. On the writing side, I mostly tried to balance out subdistributions a bit. There were a number of submitted questions in my categories that seemed pretty good but were cut because we paired packets up. There were some questions that were cut because they were repeats. And there were some questions that were cut because I thought they were too hard or otherwise problematic (and I didn't think I could easily convert them into good, non-problematic questions).

If anyone has any comments about my categories, or is wondering why a particular question didn't make it in, feel free to shoot me an email (satelite at gmail) or post here.

I hope those of you who enjoy such things had a good time playing the questions I worked on.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:04 pm

I enjoyed the tournament a lot, I enjoyed playing the nonwestern art in the set, I think increasing the representation of literature by women and people of color is good and the Young Jean Lee tossup was fine for a hard tossup at Chicago Open. Still, I am skeptical of the idea that questions like that one, or even questions on easier writers from underrepresented groups, are going to be an important part of attracting more players from underrepresented groups to the game. It seems like that task overwhelmingly has to do with our culture, our recruitment practices, and our outreach. The way we write our questions is definitely important as well, but it's not like Asian-American players automatically know contemporary Asian-American theater - if your goal is to bring in more players from marginalized groups you also have to consider what's accessible, especially since newer players need easier questions.

Just to reiterate, I enjoyed the set and thought the questions on literature and art by creators who were not white men were good.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by ErikC » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:25 pm

I could be wrong about this, but it seemed there was very little military history in the set. Is this true, and if so, was it a conscious decision the editors made? I'm aware of the criticism of the previous criticism of high levels of military history of past tournaments but this might have been too little. In general, I thought the history had some good variety and avoided overloading biographical clues. The edits made to our history questions made them much better, and in areas I'm familiar with the questions were easy to process.

To back up Paul's point about western vs nonwestern, compare the scope of the tossup on Brownsville and the Han dynasty tossup - there is always enough American history to fill a set, but in the interest of finding new answerlines, did this CO really need to tossup Brownsville? In comparison, I'd be there is plenty of more women-in-Chinese-history questions that could be written and should be written.


Overall I really liked the set, particularly the commitment to the particular art distro, even if the results were not the best, and the variety of thought. I'm especially pleased that film was not thrown to the back seat like it has been in a few sets this year. While I'm not sure if the actual example Chris has used to make his point is a good one, I do agree that it seemed the answerlines could have been reasonably changed to increase conversion rates. I'm not sure on how many.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:48 pm

I wrote the Brownsville tossup...I'm not sure what the problem with that is. It's hard, but it also intersected various topics (including military) and also is of importance to African-American history.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:55 pm

An Economic Ignoramus wrote:OU's course offerings aren't necessarily universal; my own university's nonwestern art history course offerings are, for the next two semesters, roughly 1/3 of the total (there's no reason why this should be the standard any more than an Oklahoma-based level of representation should, but this should at least be a small bit of evidence that CO's distribution didn't come out of nowhere). Looking at floor plans of major museums (the other major way people engage with art), too, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Met both seem to allocate roughly 1/4 of their floor space to entirely nonwestern displays.

This does seem significantly out of proportion with how non-western art is represented at regular difficulty. I'm sorry to pick on this year's ACF regionals (especially since I'm sure I could find worse examples), but detailed stats made it convenient to comb through its answerlines. 2-3 out of 49 (depending on what you count as non-Western) of its art tossups were non-Western. That's a figure of 4-6%. I don't think that bringing that up to at least 10% is an unreasonable target for lower-difficulty sets.
Rather than comparing OU’s and MSU’s art departments, the better metric would be to compare enrollment in western art classes versus non-western ones. Anecdotally, I can’t think of a single time I talked to someone in college about a non-western art course they were taking, whereas I’ve had plenty of coversations about western art courses. Maybe that’s just down to who I knew at the time, and I don’t doubt that some people are taking any given course. But the plain number of courses offered doesn’t seem illuminating.

The same goes for floor space at museums. Having been to many, many art museums I can say with confidence that the concentration of museumgoers gravitates heavily toward western art. It doesn’t mean much for a museum to have half its floor space devoted to Asian or African art if that floor space is largely empty of visitors.

I realize that what I’m saying here is very hand-waivy and that plenty of quizbowlers do in fact take courses in non-western art or spend significant time in non-western museum wings. But let’s not inflate the numbers with metrics that have little intuitive value.

All that said, I think 10% is a fine number to aim for at any level Regionals and above. 33%, no way.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by ErikC » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:42 am

I don't see why we can't have mixed questions with western and non-western art - people do learn about both separately, but I think integrating world art into more standard tossups could be a good compromise between the current movement and playability. For example, the violin in Indian music tossup could have become a tossup more on non-standard violin usage, with clues from other cultures that use it outside of the Western classical tradition. I'm sure even at a fairly easy tournament you could combine Chinese painting clues of landscapes with Western ones. Connecting themes across cultures would also make learning about unfamiliar non-western art easier to start.

Perhaps to implement this in a distro you could require half of a question to include non-western clues, instead of requiring an entire tossup.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:32 am

gyre and gimble wrote: Rather than comparing OU’s and MSU’s art departments, the better metric would be to compare enrollment in western art classes versus non-western ones. Anecdotally, I can’t think of a single time I talked to someone in college about a non-western art course they were taking, whereas I’ve had plenty of coversations about western art courses. Maybe that’s just down to who I knew at the time, and I don’t doubt that some people are taking any given course. But the plain number of courses offered doesn’t seem illuminating.

The same goes for floor space at museums. Having been to many, many art museums I can say with confidence that the concentration of museumgoers gravitates heavily toward western art. It doesn’t mean much for a museum to have half its floor space devoted to Asian or African art if that floor space is largely empty of visitors.

I realize that what I’m saying here is very hand-wavy and that plenty of quizbowlers do in fact take courses in non-western art or spend significant time in non-western museum wings. But let’s not inflate the numbers with metrics that have little intuitive value.

All that said, I think 10% is a fine number to aim for at any level Regionals and above. 33%, no way.
Those are fair points; I acknowledge that the metrics I used were very rough ones (although I'll note that next year I will be both taking a non-Western art course and probably happy to have conversations about it should anyone so desire). Jacob's post in the art thread, however, demonstrates pretty well to me that even with the roughness of those metrics I was not entirely off base. It seems like we agree on 10% being a reasonable target for regular difficulty; given that that's far in excess of what (to my knowledge) regular difficulty sets do as is, this set deserves at least some degree of praise for starting a conversation about underrepresentation of non-Western art.
EDIT: I'll acknowledge, as I should have done above, that this is a convenience sample, but given that I have no reason to believe MSU is out of the ordinary among large universities in this respect, I went through the Fall 2018 enrollment numbers for its Art History course offerings and (excluding a 101 course required for all Art History majors), those stand at 61 in non-Western art courses vs 115 in Western ones (and that's classifying as Western a course whose focus is on "North, Central, and South America"). Enrollment seems, at least in this case, to track quite closely with the number of courses on offer.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by vinteuil » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:25 am

ErikC wrote:I don't see why we can't have mixed questions with western and non-western art - people do learn about both separately, but I think integrating world art into more standard tossups could be a good compromise between the current movement and playability. For example, the violin in Indian music tossup could have become a tossup more on non-standard violin usage, with clues from other cultures that use it outside of the Western classical tradition. I'm sure even at a fairly easy tournament you could combine Chinese painting clues of landscapes with Western ones. Connecting themes across cultures would also make learning about unfamiliar non-western art easier to start.

Perhaps to implement this in a distro you could require half of a question to include non-western clues, instead of requiring an entire tossup.
I mean, I did this several times in this tournament* and strongly approve of it in general (although again I don’t know what it would achieve to mix in more cultures in the violin TU when South Indian music is already one of the best-known and most-studied non-Western cultures in the US). I think the TU in Scotland mixing classical and folk clues (some of which overlap because, well, that’s what happened) is probably a good example of what you’re asking for.

*In addition to the 3 mixed music TUs, there were e.g. a few “nonwestern” clues in the TUs on concrete and plaster
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Auroni » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:37 am

The King's Flight to the Scots wrote: Still, I am skeptical of the idea that questions like that one, or even questions on easier writers from underrepresented groups, are going to be an important part of attracting more players from underrepresented groups to the game. It seems like that task overwhelmingly has to do with our culture, our recruitment practices, and our outreach. The way we write our questions is definitely important as well, but it's not like Asian-American players automatically know contemporary Asian-American theater - if your goal is to bring in more players from marginalized groups you also have to consider what's accessible, especially since newer players need easier questions.
I completely agree with all of this, but that's not the function that I had in mind for these questions. If we want to retain more players from marginalized groups, we must absolutely counter the prevalent perception that this is a game by and about, well, Straight (Dead) White Men. And it makes sense to do that most radically at tournaments that simultaneously have the greatest latitude for creative exploration and are metonymous with the elite of quizbowl, and to make subtler changes as the difficulty goes down.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Sam » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:58 am

This was a great tournament. It was also quite long. I'm not sure if questions were longer or maybe just more were answered near the end, but the recent CO goal of finishing before 9 seems a worthwhile one.

Logistically, everything ran pretty smoothly. Thank you to everyone who staffed, especially those who were reading for twelve hours in damp closet rooms with no air conditioning.
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:10 am

Yeah, I was trying to evaluate why this tournament was much longer than the last few years. I think the game rooms were spread out more (up stairs and in an adjoining building), which didn't help. I liked Evanston as a location--if they could get rooms that were sufficiently cooler that would be nice (the major offenders appeared to be the upstairs rooms).
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Mike Bentley
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:35 am

Cheynem wrote:Yeah, I was trying to evaluate why this tournament was much longer than the last few years. I think the game rooms were spread out more (up stairs and in an adjoining building), which didn't help. I liked Evanston as a location--if they could get rooms that were sufficiently cooler that would be nice (the major offenders appeared to be the upstairs rooms).
I haven't looked at questions in recent years but these ones seemed inordinately long. I'd often feel like we were about to get to the for 10 points and then there were 2 more sentences worth of questions. Given how few people were buzzing early I think there was a lot of room to cut one or two sentences off the top of questions.

Also, at a tournament like CO I think you especially don't need to load up easy parts to bonuses with a bunch of harder clues if you're going to drop an easy one. Just say the easy title and save everyone 20 seconds of reading.
Mike Bentley
VP of Editing, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence
Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008

Olivia.K
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Olivia.K » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:16 pm

So, my perspective might be a little different, having only read and not played, but on the whole I really enjoyed this set. I’ll stay out of any conversation about difficulty or the appropriateness of canon expansion, or whatever, and just say that I really appreciated the efforts to include more non straight dude content. It was nice to be able to read questions about lesbian poetry and trans stuff, I guess is all I’m trying to say.
Olivia Kiser
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Glasgow High School, 2015
University of Chicago, 2019

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Ike
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Ike » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:39 pm

I had fun at this tournament. Thanks to everyone for their efforts.

I appreciated the "inclusionary" aspects of the questions in this tournament, but I must confess, I didn't really think much of it. I think a lot of tournaments these days have been asking about a lot of marginalized groups and this didn't really seem much different. I also don't know if there was a hard 1/1 quota for non-DWEMs, but I'd like to add that writing a tossup to just fill a quota is IMO a bad thing. As an example, I think the tossup on the Countess of Pembroke is a fine idea for this level, I'm just hoping that the editors didn't think--even if subtly--"oh we don't have a woman answerline yet for this packet's lit, let's change this from Philip Sidney to the Countess of Pembroke." On the other hand, I do appreciate the approach taken to questions like Rachel Cusk and Roxane Gay, which do reflect the fact that contemporary literature is more inclusive than the past.

And I am somewhat skeptical that changes in this kind of content will make the game feel more welcoming. Perhaps it will, but I think there are other (non-question writing changes) that are more conducive to this goal.
Ike
UIUC 13

adamsil
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by adamsil » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:11 pm

Cheynem wrote:Yeah, I was trying to evaluate why this tournament was much longer than the last few years. I think the game rooms were spread out more (up stairs and in an adjoining building), which didn't help. I liked Evanston as a location--if they could get rooms that were sufficiently cooler that would be nice (the major offenders appeared to be the upstairs rooms).
If this is something that people are legitimately interested in, then I'm sure we could do a better job hosting. I booked rooms in mid-June after UChicago's room reservation system fell to pieces, and I'm sure we could have had the entire tournament in Kresge if planned far enough in advance--those rooms were not apparently being used for anything on Saturday and are far nicer.

I thought this year's CO was good in the very small subsets of the distribution I am capable of judging, even if I am still furious about negging the wildly-difficulty-inappropriate question about David Liu. My only complaint was that the ecology/organismal biology, though exciting, was extremely clustered in the first few packets. I only heard one molecular/cell biology/physiology tossup before lunch, yet there were two different tossups on animals, plus one on foraging. Contrary to my actual performance on these questions, I think they are generally fine topics to ask about (okay, the Neanderthal one was a bit rough), but they should not make up >50% of any reasonable distribution-- ordering packets for packet sub is very difficult to make work, but these tossups ought to have been further apart. Thanks to Auroni, Eliza, Eric, Seth, etc. as well as the non-science editors for all your hard work--writing CO is a massively difficult task and anyone who takes it on should be commended.

One general comment, which I'm putting here since the Trash thread is private and this should be said publicly:

I was disheartened to get back to Locy at 10 pm on Sunday night after having moderated Imaginary Landscapes for hours to find the place an utter disaster, with food and trash strewn everywhere, particularly in tournament HQ and in the room that people were playing the extra trash packets. I did not direct CO Trash; I don't think it's incumbent upon me to have to clean up all the rooms so that the NU Quizbowl team doesn't get fined by the administration for not abiding by the constraints of the room reservation. We're all reasonably responsible adults; if you're in somebody else's space, take 10 minutes to clean it up if you're the last person to leave and don't just leave half-eaten Chinese food all over the game rooms. C'mon, folks.
Adam Silverman
Georgia Tech 2012-2016
Northwestern 2016-

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Cheynem
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Re: Chicago Open 2018 Thanks and Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:22 pm

Yeah, the Kreske rooms seemed good and nice.

While I think the room we were playing the extra packets in was reasonably clean when we left, I want to apologize to Adam about that--all of us should have made sure that all of the rooms were cleaned up once the tournament was over.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

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