Peaceful Resolution Discussion

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby rylltraka » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:46 pm

For whatever my opinion's worth, I don't think the Corinthian War or Hellenistic Cyprus (or ancient Cyprus, for that matter) are worthwhile enough to devote a tossup to. Fine bonus part material, but not more.

Also, despite my near-absence from quizbowl outlets, I am willing to dispense free advice on ancient history or literature questions for anyone writing tournaments in the future.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:53 pm

Is there any consensus on getting the questions for commentary purposes? I mean, I have a lot of things to say about this set that I think would be useful, but I can't do that if I don't have clearance to obtain the set and post questions here. I'm hoping that as a non-competitor and someone who's already paid his money for the tournament, I don't represent any kind of comparative disadvantage or cost to Chicago, so it would be cool if at least those of us in a similar situation could get the set.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:01 pm

Thanks to Marshall for making the questions available to me. I don't have a lot of time for a full-blown analysis of a lot of questions right now, but I do want to point towards a sort of problematic writing trend that I saw throughout this tournament; fortunately the two questions I had in mind actually follow one another.

Packet 9, tossup 9 wrote:Four years before the destruction of the Savoy Palace, the “Bad Parliament” enacted a regressive version of this policy at the rate of four pence. The 1379 legislation of this policy was progressive, with a ten mark levy on the Duke of Lancaster, this policy’s chief proponent. But the 1381 legislation reverted to the regressive structure typical of this policy and tripled the rate. That triggered one violent episode whose climax occurred at Smithfield when Wat Tyler was cut down by one of Richard II’s companions, thus preserving his rule but damaging the political circle around John of Gaunt. Another violent episode--this policy’s namesake riot--occurred in Trafalgar Square in 1990; that also did not end well for the minister associated with this policy since it led directly to Margaret Thatcher’s downfall. For 10 points, name this usually-constant lump-sum tax that, despite its name, has nothing to do with voting.
ANSWER: Poll Tax (accept “head tax” or “capitation tax”)


I don't have any problem with the answer line or with the clues as such. The real issue here is that the entire bolded part is about one example of poll taxes. So basically, once I hear "Bad Parliament," I know that this has something to do with John of Gaunt, and so I can probably logic my way to "whatever this is, this is the thing that caused the Wat Tyler rebellion." Ok, that's not a trivial thought process, but the question continues talking about instances of the policy that relate to the Wat Tyler rebellion, with successive clues that reveal that... we're talking about the Wat Tyler rebellion. I think this can all be done much, much more compactly; as it is, one incident is effectively something like 6 lines of an 8 line tossup. The problem here is that the additional words don't really confer any additional information that you probably haven't already figured out.

I think a much better way to have written this questions would have been to find other instances of poll taxes, make a middle/late clue refer to and then explicitly mention Wat Tyler, and then move on to the Thatcher clue.

Packet 9, tossup 10 wrote:According to one text, Rabbi Isaac claimed that this entity transited from one end of the world to the other, until God decided to hide it. But that text, the Zohar, claims if it were truly hidden, the world would have ceased to exist and that this thing interacts with the world like a sown seed and roots. According to Rashi, God removed this thing from the world so the wicked would not use it. Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism, argued that this thing was hidden by God in the Torah, which could be found by having revelations while reading it. More typically, it was said that the Ten Commandments were created in this thing’s presence. Philo believed that this entity’s intensity is greater than that of the thing produced with the firmament. This thing first appears in the third verse of the bible, and after it appears, God saw that it was good. For 10 points, identify this entity that was created on Day One, according to Genesis.
ANSWER: primordial light (do not accept light from the sun)


This question has the same problem. So from the first, I know that this is something from Jewish theology, but I don't know what. And the vast majority of the question doesn't really help me if I don't know the first clues, because deep knowledge of Jewish theology is probably possessed by two people in quizbowl neither of whom played this tournament. As far as most players are concerned, this is going to be five, six lines of words that don't add any useful information to someone trying to answer the question. The giveaway is especially kind of weird; I freely admit that my Bible knowledge is pretty weak, but would it have been so horrible to actually quote the verse in question a little more extensively?

The problem with both of these questions is that they dwell on a single aspect of the answer and then successively talk about different manifestations of that aspect. But for most people this is highly non-useful, because they don't possess gradations of knowledge about the causes of the Wat Tyler rebellion or light in Jewish theology; they just know (or don't know) the answer, and that's that. If you keep giving people more clues of the same kind, chances are those clues won't mean much to them. What I would strongly suggest is to vary the clues in such a way that they provide increasing amounts of information to people, not just within a very narrow area but in a wider scope.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Ukonvasara » Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:46 pm

Packet 9, tossup 9 wrote:Four years before the destruction of the Savoy Palace, the “Bad Parliament” enacted a regressive version of this policy at the rate of four pence. The 1379 legislation of this policy was progressive, with a ten mark levy on the Duke of Lancaster, this policy’s chief proponent. But the 1381 legislation reverted to the regressive structure typical of this policy and tripled the rate. That triggered one violent episode whose climax occurred at Smithfield when Wat Tyler was cut down by one of Richard II’s companions, thus preserving his rule but damaging the political circle around John of Gaunt. Another violent episode--this policy’s namesake riot--occurred in Trafalgar Square in 1990; that also did not end well for the minister associated with this policy since it led directly to Margaret Thatcher’s downfall. For 10 points, name this usually-constant lump-sum tax that, despite its name, has nothing to do with voting.
ANSWER: Poll Tax (accept “head tax” or “capitation tax”)

This question is also somewhat problematic in that it makes it very explicitly clear almost immediately that the answer sought is a historically contentious tax. A little more coyness about the answer couldn't hurt.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:46 pm

"whatever this is, this is the thing that caused the Wat Tyler rebellion."


This question is also somewhat problematic in that it makes it very explicitly clear almost immediately that the answer sought is a historically contentious tax.


Okay, fair enough--the answer 1. has a great deal to do with the Peasants' Revolt and 2. is a historically-contentious tax. Now, honestly, what proportion of rooms will then witness a buzz with "Poll Tax?"

I'm not saying this question is perfectly constructed, but it seemed to me that as written, a correct answer at that stage would reward deep historical knowledge, even if the sort of thing that comprises a correct answer is obvious very early.

FWIW, I believe there is only one other instance of a poll tax in English history--from some time in the 17th century. The idea behind this question is "here's a monstrously regressive policy that has invariably proven wildly unpopular and caused the downfall of the politician associated with it." There's a reason that's only happened twice (or three times).
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:25 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:Okay, fair enough--the answer 1. has a great deal to do with the Peasants' Revolt and 2. is a historically-contentious tax. Now, honestly, what proportion of rooms will then witness a buzz with "Poll Tax?"


I have no idea, but that isn't really german to my point (I negged this question very quickly with "wage ceilings").

I'm not saying this question is perfectly constructed, but it seemed to me that as written, a correct answer at that stage would reward deep historical knowledge, even if the sort of thing that comprises a correct answer is obvious very early.


All of this is true, but therein lies the problem: if you can't provide any level of gradation within the question, it's not going to do a good job of distinguishing people with varying amounts of knowledge.

FWIW, I believe there is only one other instance of a poll tax in English history--from some time in the 17th century. The idea behind this question is "here's a monstrously regressive policy that has invariably proven wildly unpopular and caused the downfall of the politician associated with it." There's a reason that's only happened twice (or three times).


Sure, I'm no expert on poll taxes in English history. But if this is the case, this might have just done better as a bonus.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Papa's in the House » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:48 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:Just to clarify what ISN'T going on, contra Charles' post: this is not about gambling with the depositors money and whether the depositor will be made whole. That's what the insurance is for. The issue is that once the institution is insured, its managers have an incentive to take more risk than is socially optimal since they do not face the consequences of loss. That's moral hazard.

Thank you for explaining this. I want to apologize for how I acted when I was last on these boards and say that I feel like an idiot now.

A couple of minor quibbles:

Tees-Exe Line wrote:Proprietary trading means that a bank's assets are held in securities that can fluctuate widely in value, which makes a bank run (essentially triggered by the fear that a bank's asset value exceeds its total liabilities) more likely.

I'd certainly hope a bank's (or really, any company's) assets > liabilities, else the basic accounting equation (assets = liabilities + owners' equity) would only hold if the company had negative or zero equity. I'm guessing you meant to say "a bank's asset value [does not] exceed its total liabilities."

Tees-Exe Line wrote:The major complication to all this is that since the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (or whenever that was), the distinction between investment and commercial banks has disappeared and what we have are large financial institutions that are both exposed to systemic risk and whose failure presents a systemic risk.

Differences between commercial and investment banks still exist after the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act (or Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999) was passed. However, these differences are essentially eroded because the FSMA allows for the existence of bank holding companies (BHCs), which tend to own many different financial services companies (including commercial and investment banks, insurance companies, etc.). As an example, Chase Bank is a commercial (or retail) bank, but JP Morgan Chase & Co. (their parent BHC) is a blend of commercial banks, an investment bank, and other financial service companies. The non-bolded part of this quote is definitely true.

Granted, the distinction between commercial banks and investment banks may disappear entirely in the next few decades since Goldman Sachs, which was once one of the largest independent investment banks, and another investment bank whose name escapes me right now were allowed to start taking deposits following the economic collapse of 2008.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:51 pm

I'd certainly hope a bank's (or really, any company's) assets > liabilities, else the basic accounting equation (assets = liabilities + owners' equity) would only hold if the company had negative or zero equity.


That's exactly the point. A bank run is triggered by the fear that the bank has zero or negative equity. Then it's just a matter of whose deposits get paid out of the assets and whose don't; that's why there's a fire sale of the bank's liabilities.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby MLafer » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:46 am

Is this set going to be posted?
Last edited by MLafer on Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:49 am

Uh, yes. Soon.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby The Toad to Wigan Pier » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:22 am

This is now available for all: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/80759358/2012Peace.zip
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