2009 NAQT HSNCT

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:34 pm

Ken Jennings wrote:
JelloBiafra wrote:the three mentioned game-deciding errors (Breughels, Brahma/Brahman, waiting too long on a buzz) essentially screwed up the tournament once it was down to the final four.
The moderator-best-guess stuff (Breughels and the stammering on Zardari) aside, I didn't know there was a consensus that the Brahma/Brahman ruling was "screwed up". I edited the question; my understanding is that both answers were ruled acceptable based on a Britannica cite that the concept we call "brahma" is actually called "Brahman" in Sanskrit:
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/77039/brahma

If you disagree, can you explain why? I'd like to get that answer line right (and consistent) in future.
As far as consensus goes, clearly the protest committee agrees with Britannica, but I did not hear one other person agreeing with the protest committee. By contrast, the religious studies majors, practicing Hindu people, and knowledgeable quizbowlers were shocked that the protest was resolved as it was.

For the record, I just consulted a scholarly book, not an encyclopedia, on Hinduism, and the book disagrees with the protest committee. Andy's point that linguistic derivation should not have an impact on acceptable answers is valid.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by etchdulac » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:36 pm

Cheynem wrote:A quick reminder on the 3-2-5 thing and other things would be great, but if people are genuinely unsure if bouncebacks should be applied by Saturday morning, then those Friday night sessions didn't help much.
If NAQT thinks it has volunteers that don't learn NAQT rules, then... it might explain why they talk down to us volunteers. Some people have posted that there were volunteers who were not particularly vigilant, and I have no knowledge one way or another there. But I did see irony that the "3-2-5" we were made to chant during the moderators' meeting was what spoiled the final.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Siverus Snape » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:44 pm

everyday847 wrote:There are two separate concepts, brahma and brahman, that mean very different things; both trace back to the same Sanskrit etymology but they shouldn't be treated as the same concept for quizbowl purposes (i.e. you shouldn't be able to say the same word for both answers, unless we are n thousand years ago and in India).
It gets somewhat confusing. To the best of my knowledge as a practicing Hindu, Brahmā is the creator god, a manifestation of Brahman, the universal soul. Brahmā is on the same level as Shiva and Vishnu; Brahman transcends them all. In Sanksrit, a word that transliterates to English as "brahma" is often used in composition as a grammatical form of "Brahman." If we were in India a thousand years ago, however, there would still be a pronunciation difference between Brahmā the creator god and brahma the grammatical form of Brahman. That difference, in the pronunciation of the final vowel, would be uniquely signifiying. Of course, we can't really expect quiz bowlers and moderators to nail down that pronunciation, but we also can't let people say the same word the same way and have it mean two different things.

The Encyclopedia Britannica entry surprised the hell out of me by referring to Brahman primarily as brahma. No other source I've read has done that out of respect for the confusion of the reader. But even then, you'll notice that the final 'a' in the Britannica's "brahma" lacks the horizontal bar over it (sorry, Guy; I'm not a linguist) that signifies the pronunciation of the creator God, Brahmā. For what it's worth, Dorman's answer was closest to the latter and, therefore, incorrect.

So basically, NAQT really needed to get some people with firsthand knowledge of the subject to arbitrate the protest, and as far as I know, that didn't happen.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by closesesame » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:51 pm

Siva and Andy are absolutely right. Brahma is a deity, but Brahman is nameless, formless, etc. and is essentially a word for consciousness/ultimate reality/Oneness. I can only imagine[*] how this protest would have been resolved if someone said the completely unrelated "brahmin" instead of "Brahma" or "Brahman."

[*]It would probably bafflingly have been ruled correct.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by etchdulac » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:54 pm

Siverus Snape wrote:So basically, NAQT really needed to get some people with firsthand knowledge of the subject to arbitrate the protest, and as far as I know, that didn't happen.
The sad part is that I got the distinct impression during the protest's duration that several people with the aforementioned firsthand knowledge were in that room.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Sir Thopas » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:56 pm

Siverus Snape wrote:The Encyclopedia Britannica entry surprised the hell out of me by referring to Brahman primarily as brahma. No other source I've read has done that out of respect for the confusion of the reader. But even then, you'll notice that the final 'a' in the Britannica's "brahma" lacks the horizontal bar over it (sorry, Guy; I'm not a linguist) that signifies the pronunciation of the creator God, Brahmā. For what it's worth, Dorman's answer was closest to the latter and, therefore, incorrect.
Even if vowels did matter, vowel length never would. But consonants predominate. I agree that the two are definitely distinct, though.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by TheKingInYellow » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:22 pm

Darn.

Even so, we still shouldn't have won that game: Dorman most definitely should have been prompted on Gauss for Gaussian integers, it's obvious they knew what they were talking about
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Siverus Snape » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:26 pm

TheKingInYelliow wrote:Darn.

Even so, we still shouldn't have won that game: Dorman most definitely should have been prompted on Gauss for Gaussian integers, it's obvious they knew what they were talking about
Was it so obvious? From what I recall, that bonus part asked for the numbers, then mentioned they were named after the developer of some theory. It seemed to me like Dorman knew the developer-of-a-theory clue and said "Gauss" but might not have known the specific term Gaussian integer.

EDIT: In light of Graham's post below, my bad.
Last edited by Siverus Snape on Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by TheKingInYellow » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:30 pm

I mean, I was like six inches away from where Todd and Freddy were conferring, so I'm pretty sure that's not the case, but whatever.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:34 pm

The moderator instructions specifically said that teams do not need to repeat a common noun already given in the question.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by etchdulac » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:38 pm

TheKingInYelliow wrote:Darn.

Even so, we still shouldn't have won that game: Dorman most definitely should have been prompted on Gauss for Gaussian integers, it's obvious they knew what they were talking about
I still don't feel like I understand the logic of not prompting there.

It should be noted that the moderators were told basically not to think for themselves in the moderators' meeting; they were told to trust the answers and underlines on the paper, and if I remember correctly, the moderator said that the text told him not to prompt on Gauss (for whatever reason). While the protest addressed why Gauss can't be accepted for Gaussian, it did not address why the moderator was explicitly advised not to prompt when the player clearly has the correct item in mind.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:40 pm

closesesame wrote:Siva and Andy are absolutely right. Brahma is a deity, but Brahman is nameless, formless, etc. and is essentially a word for consciousness/ultimate reality/Oneness. I can only imagine[*] how this protest would have been resolved if someone said the completely unrelated "brahmin" instead of "Brahma" or "Brahman."

[*]It would probably bafflingly have been ruled correct.
Britannica and other sources (including Gautam Kandlikar) confirm that you can spell brahmin brahman, adding to the delight.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by cdcarter » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:41 pm

No matter what the result was, the protest resolution was insane. The committee was unknown to all of us, whether or not they were blind to the teams (which they should be) was unknown, and whether or not they even knew what the protests were about (which I was not convinced of, based on Matt Bruce's handling of the resolution announcement) was also unclear.

However, apart from this interesting failure, and the questions that could at times elicit actual laughter or shock from the teams and spectators, this tournament (at least the championship flight) was run with remarkable skill and dedication. You cannot say that NAQT isn't working amazingly hard to put on the tournament they want to put on/believe is what quizbowl should be, and that they aren't doing a fine job at it, and at spreading a very close relative to very good quizbowl to less than enlightened teams.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Pilgrim » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:43 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:The moderator instructions specifically said that teams do not need to repeat a common noun already given in the question.
I was under the impression that the question asked for a type of number, not a type of integer - if this is incorrect, Gauss should have just been accepted outright, since a "Gauss integer" is another name for a "Gaussian integer." (either way, Gauss should have been at least worth a prompt)
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by ieppler » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:44 pm

etchdulac wrote:It should be noted that the moderators were told basically not to think for themselves in the moderators' meeting; they were told to trust the answers and underlines on the paper, and if I remember correctly, the moderator said that the text told him not to prompt on Gauss (for whatever reason). While the protest addressed why Gauss can't be accepted for Gaussian, it did not address why the moderator was explicitly advised not to prompt when the player clearly has the correct item in mind.
Strange underlining was apparently common in this set; one moderator told me that my teammate's answer of "Shaka Zulu" for "Shaka" was incorrect according to the packet.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Strongside » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:45 pm

Yeah. The fact that NAQT ran a 192 team tournament that went off smoothly is very impressive. The fact that they have been able to do this year after year is even more remarkable.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Nuclear Densometer Test » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:46 pm

Before i make any comment regarding the Brahma/Brahman argument, can someone please post the exact wording of that question?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Brian Ulrich » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:49 pm

Dasein wrote:Before i make any comment regarding the Brahma/Brahman argument, can someone please post the exact wording of that question?
I'll post it in the question discussion forum only, since that's where people know will have spoilers.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by etchdulac » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:50 pm

cdcarter wrote:The committee was unknown to all of us, whether or not they were blind to the teams (which they should be) was unknown, and whether or not they even knew what the protests were about (which I was not convinced of, based on Matt Bruce's handling of the resolution announcement) was also unclear.
I'm not really sure what you're saying you'd prefer be the membership of the protest committee... but I feel very confident that Matt Bruce was impartial and entirely intends to decide things as correctly and as fairly as possible. I believe that simply based on the effort it appears he and others have put into running these events as well as they can run over a good period of years.

That said... I can't say I felt like the decision was explained very thoroughly.
cdcarter wrote:this tournament (at least the championship flight) was run with remarkable skill and dedication. You cannot say that NAQT isn't working amazingly hard to put on the tournament they want to put on/believe is what quizbowl should be, and that they aren't doing a fine job at it, and at spreading a very close relative to very good quizbowl to less than enlightened teams.
That I agree with you there is what makes such problems so frustrating. The effort, in so many cases, is there in abundance.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:52 pm

ieppler wrote:Strange underlining was apparently common in this set; one moderator told me that my teammate's answer... was incorrect according to the packet.
Yeah: we were ordered by Frank Thomas to blindly trust the underlining present in the packets. Indeed, when he was confronted with an outright inconsistency in packet one (there were two common links; one of them consistently accepted the answers each clue referred too, and the other did not--to take an example from EFT, it would be like accepting "Law's Empire" for "law" during the clue on that work), he simply shushed any objection and told us that the packet is right. To add to this ridiculousness, the packet was sometimes wrong in terribly obvious ways, which I duly corrected anyway. Between that advice and the preschool-like chanting of "5-3-2" or whatever, the moderator's meeting was a waste of time for anyone who has played NAQT and a waste of time for everyone who didn't know the rules coming into it.
etchdulac wrote:I'm not really sure what you're saying you'd prefer be the membership of the protest committee... but I feel very confident that Matt Bruce was impartial and entirely intends to decide things as correctly and as fairly as possible. I believe that simply based on the effort it appears he and others have put into running these events as well as they can run over a good period of years.
Do you imply that Matt Bruce was on that committee? Because before resolving the protest, he had popped his head in the game room, meaning that he knew what two teams were playing, and he even received the information of what team had protested what. If you're resolving a protest, you shouldn't know any of that.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by etchdulac » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:00 pm

everyday847 wrote:
etchdulac wrote:I'm not really sure what you're saying you'd prefer be the membership of the protest committee... but I feel very confident that Matt Bruce was impartial and entirely intends to decide things as correctly and as fairly as possible. I believe that simply based on the effort it appears he and others have put into running these events as well as they can run over a good period of years.
Do you imply that Matt Bruce was on that committee? Because before resolving the protest, he had popped his head in the game room, meaning that he knew what two teams were playing, and he even received the information of what team had protested what. If you're resolving a protest, you shouldn't know any of that.
I should clarify that I can only guess at the membership of any such committee. I'm just going on the fact that Matt Bruce's job at these things is to be in the control room, and that we as moderators were told to take protests to a control room. I would also guess that Matt Bruce was aware of was four teams were left at that point in the tournament, and which game the Nolte/Bell duo was reading, because it is my understanding that he was where pairings were being determined all day Sunday.

I don't know from what you're inferring that he knew what team had protested what; I don't know that either way. His phrasing of the protest explanations seemed to reflect that he didn't know if they were Dorman's, State College's or split.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:04 pm

etchdulac wrote:I don't know from what you're inferring that he knew what team had protested what; I don't know that either way. His phrasing of the protest explanations seemed to reflect that he didn't know if they were Dorman's, State College's or split.
I'm fairly certain that it was to him that I was asked to explain the situation surrounding the protest along with the Dorman and State College coaches.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by cdcarter » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:07 pm

etchdulac wrote:
everyday847 wrote:
etchdulac wrote:I'm not really sure what you're saying you'd prefer be the membership of the protest committee... but I feel very confident that Matt Bruce was impartial and entirely intends to decide things as correctly and as fairly as possible. I believe that simply based on the effort it appears he and others have put into running these events as well as they can run over a good period of years.
Do you imply that Matt Bruce was on that committee? Because before resolving the protest, he had popped his head in the game room, meaning that he knew what two teams were playing, and he even received the information of what team had protested what. If you're resolving a protest, you shouldn't know any of that.
I should clarify that I can only guess at the membership of any such committee. I'm just going on the fact that Matt Bruce's job at these things is to be in the control room, and that we as moderators were told to take protests to a control room. I would also guess that Matt Bruce was aware of was four teams were left at that point in the tournament, and which game the Nolte/Bell duo was reading, because it is my understanding that he was where pairings were being determined all day Sunday.

I don't know from what you're inferring that he knew what team had protested what; I don't know that either way. His phrasing of the protest explanations seemed to reflect that he didn't know if they were Dorman's, State College's or split.
To answer both posts. I was saying we would have liked to know the membership of the committee. Also, sure, they could have inferred what teams might have been playing, but they shouldn't. The committee should be as blind as possible. Also, sure, his phrasing did seem to reflect that he didn't know who was making which protest, because hell, his phrasing did not seem to reflect he even knew what the protests were.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by kayli » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:11 pm

I was disappointed at the lack of socialized food at the tournament. Instead of choosing where I would like to go for lunch and dinner, I would have much preferred having that decided for me.

Overall, the tournament was run well with nice down times.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by etchdulac » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:16 pm

cdcarter wrote:I was saying we would have liked to know the membership of the committee. Also, sure, they could have inferred what teams might have been playing, but they shouldn't. The committee should be as blind as possible. Also, sure, his phrasing did seem to reflect that he didn't know who was making which protest, because hell, his phrasing did not seem to reflect he even knew what the protests were.
I think all of your points are fair; knowing who makes these decisions seems reasonable, and all I have are guesses of varying reliability, so I refrain from setting those out besides noting that Matt Bruce communicated (to whatever degree of effectiveness) the ruling.

The only thing I really want to assert, I guess, is that any failures of the system were not a result of a bias between the teams. If the coaches were explaining the protest directly to someone who was part of making a decision, blindless obviously goes out the window. It appears to me that NAQT wants such decisions made at the top, and the people at the top know who's playing in the two remaining games at that point. Maybe that's a flaw in itself in the opinions of some; I don't know.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Charbroil » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:25 pm

ieppler wrote:Strange underlining was apparently common in this set; one moderator told me that my teammate's answer of "Shaka Zulu" for "Shaka" was incorrect according to the packet.
Oddly enough, my answer of Shaka Zulu was accepted, though I don't know if that was on a moderator's own initiative.
kldaace wrote:I was disappointed at the lack of socialized food at the tournament. Instead of choosing where I would like to go for lunch and dinner, I would have much preferred having that decided for me.
Umm...the absurdity of saying "I want [my food choices] decided for me" notwithstanding, there wasn't really anywhere that could have accommodated anywhere near the number of people involved at the HSNCT for your suggestion.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:27 pm

etchdulac wrote:
cdcarter wrote:I was saying we would have liked to know the membership of the committee. Also, sure, they could have inferred what teams might have been playing, but they shouldn't. The committee should be as blind as possible. Also, sure, his phrasing did seem to reflect that he didn't know who was making which protest, because hell, his phrasing did not seem to reflect he even knew what the protests were.
I think all of your points are fair; knowing who makes these decisions seems reasonable, and all I have are guesses of varying reliability, so I refrain from setting those out besides noting that Matt Bruce communicated (to whatever degree of effectiveness) the ruling.

The only thing I really want to assert, I guess, is that any failures of the system were not a result of a bias between the teams. If the coaches were explaining the protest directly to someone who was part of making a decision, blindless obviously goes out the window. It appears to me that NAQT wants such decisions made at the top, and the people at the top know who's playing in the two remaining games at that point. Maybe that's a flaw in itself in the opinions of some; I don't know.
Right; I'm not saying that the protest was fixed or anything ridiculous like that. It's just not professional. And while NAQT sure knows who's playing those games, they don't have to know what side makes which protest.
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ieppler wrote:Strange underlining was apparently common in this set; one moderator told me that my teammate's answer of "Shaka Zulu" for "Shaka" was incorrect according to the packet.
Oddly enough, my answer of Shaka Zulu was accepted, though I don't know if that was on a moderator's own initiative.
Of course it was the moderator's initiative. This is why the "blindly trust the paper to be right" instructions sort of fail when the paper we're given isn't.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:33 pm

Instead of choosing where I would like to go for lunch and dinner, I would have much preferred having that decided for me.
Hahaha what?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:27 pm

A couple of quick (well, I suppose quick for me is like ~500 words, but anyway) things:

1. Repeating the "3-2-5" mantra at the moderator's meeting was, apparently, useless. To wit - perhaps Naren can expand upon this a little bit, but I had a very exciting TJA-Chaska match in my room in Round 12. Before I begin reading games, I like to remind teams about the 3-2-5 rule, explain that my timing decisions are nonprotestable, and inform teams of which of those I'm typically running a little longer on and which ones I'm typically more strict on that day. So I'm doing my spiel in front of the two teams, and Naren expresses incredulity that the timing after a buzz had been reduced from 3 seconds to 2 seconds. I am thus wondering whether (a) this was never brought up in the players/coaches rules meeting, or (b) it was brought up at the rules meeting, Naren and/or TJA did not hear it or were not present, and not one of their first seven moderators reminded them of it. I suppose that it's mostly TJ's fault for not being up on their NAQT rules, but I am quite surprised that timing - after answer acceptability, the second-most-important thing in the NAQT Rulebook - was either not brought up at the players meeting or not brought up by moderators of early matches to remind teams.

2. I find it somewhat strange that, given that NAQT always has to bring in boatloads of staff and at least 80-90% of these people are or were competent college players, there were people that did not know whether NAQT had bouncebacks, nor did they understand what the procedure for proper protest resolution was (not to mention that the information given was sometimes-but-not-always correct, followed by Katy Peters getting shouted down with a "use your best instinct" instruction when she tried to explain proper protest resolution protocols - perhaps this is what you're talking about, Katy?). Regardless of whether Sorice should have phrased his question the way he did, the general gist of his question was something that certainly needed to be answered (On most NAQT common link tossups, things are acceptable as long as they contain the magic common link word and are relevant to the question, e.g., accepting "The Three Musketeers" if it's a common link tossup on the number 3 and the question says something like, "It's the number of Musketeers in the title of an Alexandre Dumas novel." On a minority of such questions, directions in the question turn it into a relative of Wordwang! e.g. "It's the last color mentioned in the title of a novel about Julian Sorel" with only "black" being acceptable and not "The Red and the Black." Given that NAQT generally doesn't like Wordwang!, should we use moderator discretion on such questions and use the general common-link protocol?), and not with a "trust that the answer on the page is right" dismissal. I get that NAQT doesn't want moderators flying off the hook and accepting wildly incorrect answers for no apparent reason, but moderators were by and large overwhelmingly competent people who can make quick judgments about things (I probably made a few judgment mistakes, but I always tell teams that if it's something other than a clearly missed pronunciation or a timing issue, they're welcome to challenge it) and frankly, those that weren't competent shouldn't have been reading.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by BuzzerZen » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:34 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
Instead of choosing where I would like to go for lunch and dinner, I would have much preferred having that decided for me.
Hahaha what?
I sympathize with this position. Decisions are hard and annoying.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:40 pm

I think the confusion about the time to answer after buzzing being reduced from 3 to 2 seconds (it was always 2 seconds) was due to confusion over the NAQT rule updates posted last summer or whatever. Almost everyone I talked to thought the time change from 2 to 3 seconds was for buzzing in (which was much called for) compared to until the question went dead (which was a pretty minor concern). I would like to see NAQT make this change as well (or better yet make it 5 seconds), as the other changes in timing rules make the clock-killing neg (which was probably one of the main reasons for this strict timing rule) no longer relevant.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by JackGlerum » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:49 pm

Does a SQBS page, or something like it, exist? I see top individuals and final team ranks but nothing more at NAQT.com

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by pblessman » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:53 pm

Brahma(n)- Fascinating protest- I just spent an hour digging through my Enc Brit, Dictionary of World Religions, and looking at a bunch of internet sites. I think this comes down to one critical point: Are we expecting a player to answer in English or can he/she give the original language name?

If English (i.e. the angliziced version) is required, then it is definitely true that Brahma is wrong, as in English
closesesame wrote:Brahma is a deity, but Brahman is nameless, formless, etc. and is essentially a word for consciousness/ultimate reality/Oneness.
However, it is a very different story in Sanskrit, as was alluded to above. Wikipedia in its article on "Brahman" lays it out like this:

"Brahma (ब्रह्म) (nominative singular), brahman (stem) (neuter[11] gender) means the concept of the transcendent and immanent ultimate reality ... It is called "the Brahman" in English.

Brahmā (ब्रह्मा) (nominative singlular), Brahman (ब्रह्मन्) (stem) (masculine gender), means the deity or deva Prajāpati Brahmā..."

Now there is a difference in the last a in these words, but otherwise they are exactly the same, and in a quizbowl match certainly a variety of pronunciations of "Brahma" would have to be accpetable for EITHER (if the player is giving the answer in Sanskrit). This is a big problem, so I would suggest that in the future :kenj: and any other people asking questions on the English terms "Brahma," "Brahman," or "Brahmin" SPECIFY that they are looking for an angleziced name. (maybe awkward, but otherwise this could be a problem again in the future...). As things stand, I would have to agree with the protest resolution, but it is sucky, as most likely the player answering wasn't giving his answer in Sanskrit...
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:09 am

The situation is very simple. We are playing quizbowl in English, and no one speaks Sanskrit, so players answer questions in English. Since the Dorman player was not reading a sentence in Sanskrit that used the word "brahma" in context, such that it would be declined without the n, the Dorman player was wrong not to say "brahman." It's true that the situation is more complicated in Sanskrit, and if I ever travel back in time I will be sure to leave behind some potsherds for you to discover about how I implemented quizbowl then.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Charbroil » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:24 am

JackGlerum wrote:Does a SQBS page, or something like it, exist? I see top individuals and final team ranks but nothing more at NAQT.com
Where are you seeing that? Do you mean on the blog? On the NAQT stats website (http://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament-te ... nt_id=2750), I'm not seeing anything...
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by kayli » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:29 am

Charbroil wrote:[
kldaace wrote:I was disappointed at the lack of socialized food at the tournament. Instead of choosing where I would like to go for lunch and dinner, I would have much preferred having that decided for me.
Umm...the absurdity of saying "I want [my food choices] decided for me" notwithstanding, there wasn't really anywhere that could have accommodated anywhere near the number of people involved at the HSNCT for your suggestion.
I was half-joking there.

It would have been nice if they would've provided food though. Walking x distance to McDonald's wasn't that fun (having to wait in line for 20 minutes isn't a hoot either) and $9.50 for a buffet of not-so-great pizza with the alternative of paying out lots of money for an entree ain't that great (though the pasta that one day was decent).

Logistically speaking, "too many people" isn't much of an excuse because plenty of competitions that are same size and larger than HSNCT do provide at least one meal. They have lines to buy a $4 bagel. Can't we pay a little more in registration to have a decent line of chips, sandwiches, and Capri Sun?

I know that this isn't a big issue but, being a small person, I though I could add a small suggestion.

Vote Brian Moore.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by pblessman » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:31 am

everyday847 wrote:The situation is very simple.
This is not true- that's why intelligent people are disagreeing about this.
everyday847 wrote:We are playing quizbowl in English, and no one speaks Sanskrit, so players answer questions in English.
This mingles two arguments together:

1. Playing in English is irrelevant. Certainly "München" is acceptable for Munich, no?
2. Sanskrit being a dead language is also irrelevant. Nobody speaks Latin either, and Latin answers are acceptable all the time.
everyday847 wrote:...such that it would be declined without the n...
Brahma is nominative, so it would not have to be declined to be spelled "Brahma." The point is that "Brahma" is the nominative for BOTH in Sanskrit.
everyday847 wrote:I will be sure to leave behind some potsherds for you to discover about how I implemented quizbowl then.
Why? I just want to ask why? Why is it necessary to be offensive? I'm not an idiot- I have obviously thought carefully about what I wrote, spent a lot of time on it, and have not offended anybody else.

(And I don't even want to hear the whole litany of responses "if you can't take it, stay off the board!!!!" or "I've seen much more offensive stuff!!!!!" )
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:54 am

Oh yeah, someone asked about the podcasts earlier. The stuff I have (which doesn't include the finals) will be edited and sent to NAQT by next week probably.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Wall of Ham » Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:16 am

Anyway....

If "Brahma" is the spoken sanskrit version of the concept of "Brahman", then it should be acceptable per the translation rule, dead language or not.

The problem is the clue "similar to" which is basically "sounds like", allowing the answer to be frauded with "Brahma" or "Brahmin", which are acceptable versions of the answer per the translation or vowel/consonant rule. Thusly, people with no idea of the concept can still get the answer, which is not what we want, right? If the goal was to make the question (a lot) easier, it would have been better to directly ask the bonus part on the "priestly class" or "Hindu creator god".

EDIT: Looked over the question for actual wording.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by harpersferry » Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:34 am

I think the protest with Brahman/Brahma showed a few things: 1) it's a difficult case to rule on 2) the protest procedure at NAQT did not give a fully due treatment to it, given the gravity of the situation, and that knowledgeable people (who were present, if not on the committee) were shocked by the answer line and original ruling 3) we need a better plan for the future, because it's an answer that certainly should come up again, and we don't want writers to avoid it because they are unsure of the answer line.

My plan for the future:
This might be one of those cases where we all just need to decide on a standard answer line. (I'm thinking of something akin to the "(The) Invisible Man" caveat of the leading pronoun rule.) This might need to become an exception to the translation rule where we just decide we're going with the English convention. I think Phil did a good job of elucidating why limiting it to English is a good solution. As I see it, it is primarily because we can't (and don't want to) distinguish the final vowel and we ultimately do want a way to distinguish the two concepts (which are, I think everyone agrees, different).
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:48 am

Irving Alva Edison Hobophone Inventor wrote:My plan for the future:
This might be one of those cases where we all just need to decide on a standard answer line. (I'm thinking of something akin to the "(The) Invisible Man" caveat of the leading pronoun rule.) This might need to become an exception to the translation rule where we just decide we're going with the English convention. I think Phil did a good job of elucidating why limiting it to English is a good solution. As I see it, it is primarily because we can't (and don't want to) distinguish the final vowel and we ultimately do want a way to distinguish the two concepts (which are, I think everyone agrees, different).
Yeah, apparently the post I tried to make to this effect made phpbb throw up, so here's my argument: if I have the opportunity to say (brahma), which means -brahma- in English and -brahma- and -brahman- in Sanskrit, or (brahman), which means -brahman- in English and -brahman- in Sanskrit, then it's obviously enormously to my advantage to utter (a), since it has the effect of giving two answers if I just say "well, I was answering in Sanskrit, obviously, dudes!" afterwards. Therefore, we need a convention where the meaning of (brahma) is taken to be -brahma- alone since there's an alternative way of expressing -brahman- that does not express anything else.

* I'm obviously playing fast and loose with what "means" means, here roughly "(utterance) means -meaning- if a quizbowl question looking for -meaning- would accept a player saying (utterance);" we obviously need to make utterances one-to-one with meanings.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by fleurdelivre » Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:02 am

cvdwightw wrote: I find it somewhat strange that, given that NAQT always has to bring in boatloads of staff and at least 80-90% of these people are or were competent college players, there were people that did not know whether NAQT had bouncebacks, nor did they understand what the procedure for proper protest resolution was (not to mention that the information given was sometimes-but-not-always correct, followed by Katy Peters getting shouted down with a "use your best instinct" instruction when she tried to explain proper protest resolution protocols - perhaps this is what you're talking about, Katy?). Regardless of whether Sorice should have phrased his question the way he did, the general gist of his question was something that certainly needed to be answered (On most NAQT common link tossups, things are acceptable as long as they contain the magic common link word and are relevant to the question, e.g., accepting "The Three Musketeers" if it's a common link tossup on the number 3 and the question says something like, "It's the number of Musketeers in the title of an Alexandre Dumas novel." I get that NAQT doesn't want moderators flying off the hook and accepting wildly incorrect answers for no apparent reason, but moderators were by and large overwhelmingly competent people who can make quick judgments about things (I probably made a few judgment mistakes, but I always tell teams that if it's something other than a clearly missed pronunciation or a timing issue, they're welcome to challenge it) and frankly, those that weren't competent shouldn't have been reading.
Yeah, the general tone of that meeting is what I had in mind; I've had an email exchange with Joel about it, though, so I don't feel any real need to list my grievances with it again here.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Ken Jennings » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:41 pm

everyday847 wrote: Yeah, apparently the post I tried to make to this effect made phpbb throw up, so here's my argument: if I have the opportunity to say (brahma), which means -brahma- in English and -brahma- and -brahman- in Sanskrit, or (brahman), which means -brahman- in English and -brahman- in Sanskrit, then it's obviously enormously to my advantage to utter (a), since it has the effect of giving two answers if I just say "well, I was answering in Sanskrit, obviously, dudes!" afterwards. Therefore, we need a convention where the meaning of (brahma) is taken to be -brahma- alone since there's an alternative way of expressing -brahman- that does not express anything else.

* I'm obviously playing fast and loose with what "means" means, here roughly "(utterance) means -meaning- if a quizbowl question looking for -meaning- would accept a player saying (utterance);" we obviously need to make utterances one-to-one with meanings.
Yeah, I was thinking about this point earlier. Should we enforce some distinction in quiz bowl answer lines that isn't technically correct, for ease of adjudication? I guess you could argue that something similar is often done in mythology. English-language retellings of classical myth have often mingled Greek and Roman names indiscriminately, but quiz bowl answer lines are often more clear-cut, for sake of convenience. Something like: "answer: _Zeus_ (accept 'Jupiter' until 'Cronus')."

I think the "I was just answering in ancient Sanskrit!" argument is a little disingenuous, since it sounds much more plausible when replaced by "I was just giving the answer under which this concept is listed in some definitive English reference works!" I doubt the player involved said "brahma" off clear knowledge, but rather off of a vague idea that "this is some Hindu word I know that sounds like brahmin." But if I'm not sure of their reasoning--and I never will be--I don't see how I can rule against them when I know there are good reference works that agree with their answer.

I can't speak to the "Gaussian integers" question, but I think I was there for all of the resolution of the "Brahman" protest, since I edited the bonus. That the controversy wasn't given due consideration is untrue (and possibly unknowable, to the person who posted that). If the decision, and our long wrangling behind the scenes of it, wasn't explained as fully as necessary to the teams in question, that's something for NAQT to work on. I know nothing about Matt Bruce's grasp of Hindu theology, but he had nothing to do with the discussion. Once R. told us about the Britannica cite (I believe he wrote the question and used, among other sources, that very entry) and we verified it, we felt there was no way in good conscience we could reject that answer.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:56 pm

In quizbowl, we've already adopted a similar convention, if tacitly (at least for this case). That is, you don't take another case of the noun when that would make it overlap with another quizbowl answer (were that response interpreted in English). In quizbowl, when you mean to say "brahman," you say "brahman."

People have always done this in quizbowl (note the answer lines that come up when you search brahman) and so the quizbowl meaning of saying "brahma" is, in fact, unique. Therefore, one ought only to accept "brahman" because unless this person had never played quizbowl before (and this is not the case) they know of this convention, and moreover, unless they read essentially a single Britannica article, they weren't confused as to whether they should put this noun in nominative and create ambiguity for no reason.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:03 pm

I certainly understand and agree with Andy's point, but I would be very hard pressed to rule against Dorman in this situation. The idea of "being familiar with quiz bowl conventions," while sensible, should probably not be used in judging the applicability of protests (in this case, if a quiz bowl naif who was indeed only familiar with the Britannica article gave the answer, would that make him correct?). As irrational as it may be, an argument can be formed to justify the answer with a respected, authoritative source supporting it. Andy Watkins is correct--this answer is for all accounts and purposes, wrong, but there are enough technicalities lurking within this situation that I can sympathize with and understand where the decision from the protest committee came from.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:14 pm

How is this any different from the Invisible Man/The Invisible Man situation that is specifically addressed in the NAQT correctness guidelines (and the rules of every other credible quizbowl group)? Normal benefit of the doubt does not apply when the answer given creates ambiguity with another plausible answer. Players are not entitled to get away with things by effectively giving two answers, as Andy posted. Why let people give an "if this is either the god Brahma or the concept Brahman, I'm right!" answer, and not let them give an "if this is either the Wells novel or the Ellison novel, I'm right!" answer? This has been the NAQT/other quizbowl rule forever, which is why most tournaments have a "do not accept" note when they ask about the Hindu concepts.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:18 pm

Yeah; I suppose the fact that an otherwise reputable reference source uses a highly unusual and ambiguity-creating (since we can't really tell between a and macron-a) convention muddies the waters a tiny bit, but this merely means that it's a good idea to look at other packets to see what has been done since forever to deal with this problem. (This should really become NAQT-wide policy, so that writers start writing good questions.)
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:25 pm

Yeah, I would say in this instance, a better arrangement might have been to "NOT" accept Brahma and then if the team was genuinely befuddled and under the Britannica-inspired idea that Brahma was the same as Brahman, let them protest it into being accepted. More likely, the team who said "Brahma" and hearing the correct answer would realize, "Hey, that's actually what we were thinking of" and not indeed protest. I agree with Andy that since almost every other quiz bowl packet written follows this convention, it would be the better route and not opening the door in the first place might have avoided this problem.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Ken Jennings » Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:31 pm

Cheynem wrote:Yeah, I would say in this instance, a better arrangement might have been to "NOT" accept Brahma and then if the team was genuinely befuddled and under the Britannica-inspired idea that Brahma was the same as Brahman, let them protest it into being accepted. More likely, the team who said "Brahma" and hearing the correct answer would realize, "Hey, that's actually what we were thinking of" and not indeed protest. I agree with Andy that since almost every other quiz bowl packet written follows this convention, it would be the better route and not opening the door in the first place might have avoided this problem.
I think the protest ruling was correct, but I agree with the points being made about the answer line. This will probably (since I'm not speaking for NAQT here, but do edit most of the questions in this area) be our convention going forward.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by pblessman » Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:46 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:How is this any different from the Invisible Man/The Invisible Man situation that is specifically addressed in the NAQT correctness guidelines (and the rules of every other credible quizbowl group)? Normal benefit of the doubt does not apply when the answer given creates ambiguity with another plausible answer. Players are not entitled to get away with things by effectively giving two answers, as Andy posted. Why let people give an "if this is either the god Brahma or the concept Brahman, I'm right!" answer, and not let them give an "if this is either the Wells novel or the Ellison novel, I'm right!" answer? This has been the NAQT/other quizbowl rule forever, which is why most tournaments have a "do not accept" note when they ask about the Hindu concepts.
The big difference is that, as you point out, (The) Invisible Man is specifically listed in the NAQT Correctness Guidelines. If the rules did NOT specify that you need to exclude or include the "The" in the title of the correct book, then according to the rule regarding allowing additions or deletions of leading articles both answers would have to be acceptable for both. I would argue that is exactly the situation we find ourselves in here as "Brahma" should be an acceptable answer for both the god and the concept according to the way the rules are written in regard to accepting original language answers.
Matt Weiner wrote:Normal benefit of the doubt does not apply when the answer given creates ambiguity with another plausible answer.
Unless we force the player to clarify, we do have to apply benefit of the doubt. Especially as "Brahma" the god surely couldn't be a plausible answer... the question clearly asked for a concept, not a deity. So we need to clarify this in the rules by specifycing that only angliziced names are acceptable for Brahma/Brahman/Brahmin OR in the question by asking for the angliziced/English name.
Matt Weiner wrote:Players are not entitled to get away with things by effectively giving two answers, as Andy posted. Why let people give an "if this is either the god Brahma or the concept Brahman, I'm right!" answer, and not let them give an "if this is either the Wells novel or the Ellison novel, I'm right!" answer?
Agreed, but to make that happen we had put the rule in place for the Wells/Ellison question, and we have to do the same here.
Matt Weiner wrote:This has been the NAQT/other quizbowl rule forever, which is why most tournaments have a "do not accept" note when they ask about the Hindu concepts.
The "do not accept" note does not resolve the protest. I would argue that in this case EVEN if there was such a note (i.e. insert "Do NOT" in front of "accept") a potential protest, in this case by Dorman, should have been resolved by awarding Dorman the points. Acceptability of correct answers is always protestable if the answer can be shown to be correct according to the rules the tournament is run under, and according to NAQT rules (and as the question was written) "Brahma" was a correct answer (as silly as that is, and even though most of us had not realized that before now).

Let me also clarify that I agree with everybody else on this board that Brahma SHOULD not be acceptable in this situation, so we need to fix this for the future, especially considering that now a precedent has been set.

On a somewhat unrelated point- I had made a post earlier this morning to which Tom Egan responded, asking that that part of the discussion be moved into a separate thread. The posts are out of this thread, but I can't find the separate thread. Can somebody point me to where it is? Thanks!
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