Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

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Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:32 pm

Ashvin in the other thread wrote:"Name these two scientists who showed that anyone, even Chris Ray..."
"Name this physicist who suggested the existence of M-theory and showed how anyone, even Chris Ray..."
"This confection, inscribed with the names of the deceased, is also offered on the Day of the Dead, but is more commonly gobbled up by kids. The nearest candy store might still have some, Chris Ray."
"Anyone, even Chris Ray, can prove the general unsolvability of quintics by showing that..."
"Players of Age of Mythology, show Marshall Steinbaum that heraldic beasts are the new tactics by..."
"Name some places that someone from Chicago went the weekend that he wrote this, for 10 points each. Oh, and even if it isn’t, let’s pretend that that person is Marshall Steinbaum."
"Ike is a foreign trader in the Ashanti Empire."
"Bruce has travelled back in time and became a court jester for the Hapsburgs in the late Renaissance."
"A person, let’s call him Bruce, demands the following responses from you regarding tariff law..."

STOP DOING THIS FOR PETE'S SAKE. This isn't even all of them!


Ashvin beat me to it (thank you Ashvin), but I want to actually elaborate on this. There's a few points here.

I realize this is Minnesota Open, and pretty much the only people playing this tournament is on the High Council or the Cool Kids Club or whatever you want to call it, but there's a difference between cracking a joke and the joke actually interfering with your enjoyment of the game. The bonus about Marnold's law class or whatever was made infinitely harder to parse with the jokes in every bonus part, esp with the moderator stumbling over every other word. This isn't even restricted to bad moderators; everyone gets tired and stumbles when there's packet after packet of long, difficult tossups, and this kind of thing really doesn't help. If you want to do something like "Answer some things about string theory that even Chris Ray knows, FTPE:" and then actually have the body of the bonus devoted to substantial clues, then that's great. I'm ok with a little metahumor, it makes me laugh, but don't let it interfere when points are on the line.

The other thing I'm going to paraphrase as a lesson that a wise old nephrologist gave an idiotic classmate of mine: "That's the thing about jokes, [classmate], they have to be funny". You know how many instances of these things are actually funny? Almost zero. Especially in a game-type situation. So tone it down and make sure you're actually being funny. I'm not really that enthused about imagining Bruce going back in time or Ike going to the Ashanti empire (what? what's the point of this? Did Square Enix relocate its headquarters to Kumasi or something?), and I'm sure other people weren't either.
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Re: Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby Cheynem » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:43 pm

I think for the most part these jokes in a vacuum aren't problematic but combined together, it got a little tiresome. The only one that absolutely perturbed me though was the aforementioned Marnold's law school bonus in which it was very hard (for me) to hear the pronoun being asked for, plus combined with an extra 30 words of joke material, it was easy to lose track anyway. This wasn't even my team's bonus. I'm okay with meta humor to an extent, but a little more restraint (and I'm guilty of this as the next person) would have been nice.

Unlike, Eric, I found some of these jokes funny per se.
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Re: Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby Cody » Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:10 pm

I didn't play this tournament, obviously, but I found the substitution of "anyone, even Chris Ray, can do x" for "one can do x" to be pretty harmless (5 more syllables, c'mon) and also infinitely hilarious [much funnier than your proposed alternative!]. I've also always found the "x quizbowler" traveling back in time bonuses to be quite funny. Maybe it all comes down to different senses of humor. Obviously, if it interferes with understanding the bonus part [as it seems it did in one case], that's not cool, but most of these are harmless and perhaps just overused. I guess one can take comfort in the fact that this seems(?) to be the most pressing complaint.
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Re: Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:21 pm

I got a kick out of the bonus about me.
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Re: Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby Muriel Axon » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:16 am

I'll point out that most instances of these jokes in submitted packets were edited to be like that. Of course, Joe Nutter's bonus about railroad law made no mention of Marnold. I guess this is a fairly obvious point, but I wouldn't want it to get overlooked, and the fact that submitted questions were edited to add these in-jokes makes it a little more egregious.
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Re: Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby Auroni » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:00 am

The sugar skulls Chris Ray joke was me. I put it in without knowing that we had the "anyone, even Chris Ray," jokes in the packets. I'd have taken it out had I known, since this tournament certainly went over the threshold where meta starts to become annoying rather than funny.
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Re: Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby Ringil » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:16 am

I thought these were generally pretty funny. It was especially amusing when Ike was reading about Ike visiting the Ashanti.
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Re: Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby theMoMA » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:03 pm

Sorry if there were too many of these or if some of them detracted from the playing experience. I'm of the mind that questions should be more than just words that facilitate the most efficient extraction of points, and that's why I like including little jokes now and again, especially at events that are tailored for serious players like Minnesota Open. I will keep in mind that these jokes can get a little tedious if they drag on too long.
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Re: Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby Mike Bentley » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:12 pm

I generally liked the jokes, but this tournament (and lots and lots of other tournaments, including several I'm written) could do a better job on being more succinct on bonuses. I feel we've gotten too much into the trap that every bonus part needs to teach us multiple new things about a subject. This may be helpful to the people making flashcards of tournaments after they happen, but for the most part we don't need many bonuses structured like

Interesting anecdote. A quote about this person. For 10 points each:
[10] Identify this person who did X, and then did Y. He also wrote Z, which describes so and so, in addition to writing about a white whale in Moby Dick.
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Re: Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby marnold » Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:08 pm

The Eighth Viscount of Waaaah wrote:Of course, Joe Nutter's bonus about railroad law made no mention of Marnold.


I'm shocked and more than a little hurt.

Anyway, these things were fine and people who don't like them just hate fun. I liked mine and the Bruce Arthur syntax one was inspired.
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Re: Stop Trying to Be Funny. You're Failing at it.

Postby Cheynem » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:11 pm

For the record, I found the jokes pretty funny, I just didn't like missing the actual clue or pronoun as it was buried within jokes. Part of this I think, contra Eric's first point, really comes down to inexperienced moderators. When Andrew was reading (or a bye reader like Rob or Kurtis or presumably even Chris Ray), he knew what to emphasize and what to speed through; when an inexperienced moderator was reading, there was the chance that the crucial pronoun was slurred because the reader couldn't distinguish what was a joke and what was important.

I'm sure everyone involved in this tournament realizes the inappropriate nature of doing this at more general audience focused tournaments.
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