ACF Fall discussion

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Postby recfreq » Thu Nov 17, 2005 10:23 pm

The original UCLA parody packet is now on our website:
http://quizbowl.bol.ucla.edu/ParodyPacket.htm

The packet being parodied is here:
link

You have to compare the two packets question-by-question to see what's going on. BTW if you're Willie Chen, Diana Lavery, or Knoi, pls don't vent your steam on me, I have nothing to do with this. The culprits are Steve Kaplan, Dwight Wynne, and Matthew Sherman. While I _do_ find it mildly amusing, I would never condone such behavior. However, I _am_ snickering.

Questions, comments, etc, will not be suppressed.
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Postby AndySaunders » Fri Nov 18, 2005 1:49 am

I almost want to ask those two packets one after the other during practice to see if anyone on my team catches on.
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Postby recfreq » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:11 am

Couple of other things from ACF fall, mostly for Seth, since he asked for it. Again, forgive me for picking nit like a louse-farmer.

1. For someone who knows nothing about these things, redshift was a little confusing, esp when they already said Doppler shift. Just didn't sound like the redshift questions I think I might have heard in the past, but I guess it makes sense at the end.

2. The sun question was very easily buzzer-raced on by a heavy Chinese contingent, of which I made up but one quarter, and hence failed to produce.

3. The Raft of the Medusa question mentioned cadavers in the 1st sentence, I mean what else could it be? Gross Clinic is remotely possible, but I think the cadavers clue is a very stock clue for the Gericault painting, and should probly not be used until much later, but I liked the fact that it was a work.

4. I liked what you did with my Siva question, b/c you actually had stories whereas I only had declarative statements about what his garment or hair looks like. I guess that's the way to write myth questions? To go with provocative stories?

5. The Okazaki question is a bit strange at the beginning. I think it's trying to say that the ribonucleotides at their 5' ends are _removed_ by FEN 1 and RNAse H. It's also a bit of a trivial question after that. A few more clues like its discovery might have helped.

6. Dreams were mentioned fairly early for Daniel.
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Postby setht » Mon Nov 21, 2005 11:56 am

recfreq wrote:Couple of other things from ACF fall, mostly for Seth, since he asked for it. Again, forgive me for picking nit like a louse-farmer.


No problem, and thanks for the commentary--this gives me an excuse to take breaks from working, but more importantly, it will hopefully result in stronger question sets in the future.

recfreq wrote:1. For someone who knows nothing about these things, redshift was a little confusing, esp when they already said Doppler shift. Just didn't sound like the redshift questions I think I might have heard in the past, but I guess it makes sense at the end.


Perhaps the source of confusion is the distinction between redshift and Doppler shift. Redshift is just the change in wavelength (to longer wavelengths), and can happen for a number of reasons. One mechanism for producing redshift is the Doppler shift (source and receiver moving apart); other mechanisms include gravitational redshift and the expansion of space (cosmological redshift). The redshift tossup started off with clues about cosmological redshift, then gravitational redshift, and ended with stuff about Doppler.

This is perhaps a confusing topic that would be better-suited to a question for a higher level tournament. If you have thoughts on how such questions could be made less confusing, let me know.

recfreq wrote:2. The sun question was very easily buzzer-raced on by a heavy Chinese contingent, of which I made up but one quarter, and hence failed to produce.


I'm going to assume that you mean "I failed to win the buzzer race" when you say "failed to produce;" if you mean something else, and it's worth clarifying, please do.

I don't imagine the question was a buzzer race in too many games (in the match I moderated on that packet, one player picked it up off of Shen Yi, but no one else seemed to be buzzing), but perhaps Shen Yi is too widely known to be used as the lead-in to a tossup. I'd never heard him come up before, and I thought the story sounded interesting, so I decided to write the question (note that I decided to write on "sun," since that has many clues I know come up a lot, rather than a tossup on "Shen Yi," since I wasn't confident it would be converted in enough games). If you have any suggestions for improving the question, let me know.

recfreq wrote:4. I liked what you did with my Siva question, b/c you actually had stories whereas I only had declarative statements about what his garment or hair looks like. I guess that's the way to write myth questions? To go with provocative stories?


That's generally my personal preference, especially when there are good stories available--it seems a shame not to use them. They don't necessarily have to be provocative (although there are lots of good, provocative stories available).

-Seth
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Postby setht » Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:02 pm

Looking over the last two posts reminded me of a point I wanted to bring up regarding writing myth questions: I think myth, as a category, has a natural advantage over many other categories that I wish people would take advantage of more often. Myths are frequently inherently hilarious or bizarre, affording many opportunities for questions with memorable and amusing/interesting clues. In fact, if you take pretty much any good subject for a myth tossup, I would bet there's a good chance that there are at least one or two amusing stories that could provide good clues for the tossup. I'm not talking about ridiculously obscure clues, either; many myths have well-known material that is funny (or could be, if it's phrased right), which would make fine middle or giveaway clues. I think this situation is somewhat unique to myth--I certainly don't find it easy to find lots of very amusing/memorably bizarre clues for earth science questions, for example.

Anyway, my approach to the myth portion of ACF Fall was: first, make sure difficulty and length seem reasonable; second, try to make the questions as entertaining/interesting as I could. In some cases, this resulted in my significantly changing the clue content of submitted questions. I would like to think that this was generally acceptable to the people who played the tournament. If you prefer more straightforward myth questions and/or less fiddling with submitted questions, or you thought some of the bonus questions were failed attempts to be cute, please let me know--I don't want to impose my personal preferences on everyone if they're a mismatch from everyone else's preferences.

In the meantime, assuming people prefer myth questions with more amusing or bizarre clues (as I do), I want to urge people to take advantage of the 1/1 myth per round to try to write those more amusing/bizarre questions. I don't think it takes too much work to stumble across some good, funny myth clues, and it's not really an option with most other question categories (e.g., earth science).

-Seth
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Postby cvdwightw » Tue Nov 22, 2005 5:09 am

recfreq wrote: BTW if you're Willie Chen, Diana Lavery, or Knoi, pls don't vent your steam on me, I have nothing to do with this. The culprits are Steve Kaplan, Dwight Wynne, and Matthew Sherman. While I _do_ find it mildly amusing, I would never condone such behavior. However, I _am_ snickering.


As one of the "culprits," I hope that those involved in the packet being parodied (Willie, Diana, Knoi, and anyone at USC who may have helped edit the packet on the Stanford Archive) take the parody packet in good fun. The parody packet should not be taken as an ad hominem attack on any of the authors/editors, all or most of whom I've met and have found to be interesting, likeable people. Was the UCI packet bad? I hope even Willie Chen, in retrospect, can say yes. But much like any modern pop culture "train wreck", its endearing quality is that it's so bad it's good. The parody packet revels in this badness, and once we completed it, we knew we couldn't let an opportunity for others to hear it go to waste.

So yeah, it was written in jest, and hopefully will be accepted with that same spirit.
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Postby recfreq » Thu Nov 24, 2005 12:36 am

I believe Dwight should devote himself to writing a parody of the parody packet which parodied Willie Chen's packet. For example, I'd be interested in how he can come up with a 3rd leg to the bonuses on "teas" and "T's," and be wondering what monocot he would pick after corn and pineapple.
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Postby vandyhawk » Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:35 pm

To the editors, when can we expect feedback from our submissions if we requested it? I remember it took Andrew like two days to give me feedback after Nationals last year, so I was hoping to have had it before writing Regionals questions.
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