community question clinic

Elaborate on the merits of specific tournaments or have general theoretical discussion here.

Re: community question clinic

Postby Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen » Fri May 30, 2014 8:17 pm

I've done a similar thing with commas before, but without explicit instructions:

Chicago Open 2011 wrote:This piece was originally conceived as the overture to a choral work called The Four Elements. In this work’s 12/8 “Andante maestoso” sections, the upper woodwinds and trumpets twice play a first-inversion minor arpeggio, whose root is harmonized as the third of a major chord. “The calm serenity of life in the fields” after a storm depicted in this work is described in its program, which was inspired by the Poetic Meditations of Lamartine. In the “Allegro Marziale” section, the melody of an earlier horn solo is transformed into a march-like phrase that goes E-E-D-G, E-C-A-C-D-E. Each of this work’s first two measures consists of a pizzicato C on the third beat, after which this work’s ubiquitous motive C-B-E is first introduced. For 10 points, name this symphonic poem by Liszt, whose title suggests a series of beginnings.
ANSWER: Les Preludes


I don't think I've ever heard anyone comment on whether such a thing has an effect (it would obviously vary from moderator to moderator).
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Re: community question clinic

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:03 am

Hey, I'm waking this thread up! So I wrote almost half of my CO team's 2016 packet, with focus on literature, fine arts, SS, and philosophy. Alas, our packet didn't make the cut, so the field didn't hear it. I have no beef with this, but, like any writer who puts a lot of time into crafting questions, I'd like some feedback on what I produced. I don't do the IRC thing, so I'm not interested in reading the packet there, though one of my teammates might wish to, so for now I'll just put one question I wrote here. Please feel free to offer any criticism. I may throw some more in here if it seems worthwhile.

Legal philosopher Joel Feinberg rebutted one argument against this action with the example of a person who is the president of the US not having the rights of the president prior to assuming that role, disputing the idea of derived rights from the future possibility of having those rights. The potentiality argument Feinberg disputed was later utilized by ethicist Don Marquis, who argued against this action with his “deprivation argument,” which was itself a partial rebuttal of a 1974 essay by Mary Anne Warren in favor of this action that used the “space explorer” thought experiment. Another essay in favor of this action used the hypothetical example of “Henry Fonda’s cool touch” as a kind of gesture one can’t feel entitled to receive; that same essay posed a situation in which a person awakens in a bed with his circulatory system attached to that of a violinist who will die if they’re detached from each other. For 10 points, Judith Jarvis Thomson thus provided a “defense of” what action, arguments about which often revolve around definitions of personhood and viability?
ANSWER: abortion [accept pregnancy termination and equivalents]
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Re: community question clinic

Postby grapesmoker » Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:57 pm

This seems like a pretty good question on first reading; maybe there was some overlap or something? I can't see anything obviously wrong here.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:19 pm

Cool, thanks, Jerry. But it's not like this specific question got cut; our whole packet was one of a handful that didn't make the cut, so presumably it was a decision based on the whole.

Anyway, people have better things to do than read a bunch of my unused toss-ups, but I'll post just one more, since if had been used it clearly would've been the best toss-up of CO 2016, maybe of the whole history of CO:

This artist depicted two stags fornicating with one doe in a painting titled Triple Team, which he exhibited alongside a self-portrait in which the words “I’m Proud of You” are painted across his chest; those works were part of his London show titled “Fat Squirrel.” John Baldessari enhanced a black-and-white self-portrait photo taken by this artist by overlaying a purple blob over his right eye. New York Times critic Roberta Smith castigated this artist’s re-staging of 24 of Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills,” concluding with a wish that “something or someone would make him stop” making art. Douglas Gordon of “24-Hour Psycho” fame collaborated with this artist on “Psycho Nacirema,” a multi-room cinematic installation in which this artist cross dresses as Marion Crane, which the artist’s note suggests is a comment on this artist’s celebrity. MoMA recently archived a print of a film in which this artist plays Alien, a character inspired by the rapper Riff Raff. For 10 points, what star of Spring Breakers also parodied Kanye and Kim on a motorcycle with his friend Seth Rogen?
ANSWER: James Franco

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Re: community question clinic

Postby SpanishSpy » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:03 am

Would posting questions I intend to use for a high school tournament be kosher? Given how strict the community seems to be about leaking questions I'm hesitant.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby TylerV » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:33 am

SpanishSpy wrote:Would posting questions I intend to use for a high school tournament be kosher? Given how strict the community seems to be about leaking questions I'm hesitant.


If a question is going to be used a tournament do not post it in an open forum. There is no way to control who would see it and you would jeopardize the integrity of the event.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby SpanishSpy » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:27 am

TylerV wrote:
SpanishSpy wrote:Would posting questions I intend to use for a high school tournament be kosher? Given how strict the community seems to be about leaking questions I'm hesitant.


If a question is going to be used a tournament do not post it in an open forum. There is no way to control who would see it and you would jeopardize the integrity of the event.

This is what I thought, but I was iffy about my interpretations of comments in this thread. I will refrain from posting them accordingly.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby RexSueciae » Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:46 pm

SpanishSpy wrote:
TylerV wrote:
SpanishSpy wrote:Would posting questions I intend to use for a high school tournament be kosher? Given how strict the community seems to be about leaking questions I'm hesitant.


If a question is going to be used a tournament do not post it in an open forum. There is no way to control who would see it and you would jeopardize the integrity of the event.

This is what I thought, but I was iffy about my interpretations of comments in this thread. I will refrain from posting them accordingly.


If you're planning to write a high school tournament and want feedback, you could A) approach someone trusted and solicit feedback in private, or B) take on somebody as an official editor in exchange for a share of the profits. Writing a high school question set is pretty hard work, even though it's nominally of lower difficulty than college.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Tornrak » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:41 pm

Would it be okay if I post some questions I wrote for our ACF Fall packet? The set hasn't been posted yet, but I'm pretty sure our packet wasn't used since we submitted it really late and there were some content repeats between my questions and things I heard in the set.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Tornrak » Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:33 pm

So apparently I'd forgotten that even if ACF Fall isn't posted on the archive yet, there still totally is public discussion of it and, in fact, a copy of the set. So anyway here are the questions I wrote for the Delaware ACF Fall packet, which were not used due to some combination of being submitted really late and being pretty bad.

One character in this novel provides charity to a man who makes angels out of chewed-up bread. Another character joins the Confederate Army to seek penance for causing the suicide of Duncan Trice. This novel’s protagonist’s enters a “Great Sleep” after he realizes he cannot understand the life of that character, Cass Mastern. The protagonist’s boss cancels a corrupt building contract for a hospital after his son Tom is paralyzed playing football, which eventually causes Tiny Duffy to get Adam Stanton to shoot him. For 10 points, name this novel about Jack Burden in which the political career of Willie Stark mirrors that of Huey Long, which was written by Robert Penn Warren.
ANSWER: _All the King’s Men_

One of this author’s characters claims that that the phrase Peid de mouton is in English. Another character from the same play is prevented from receiving his father’s fortune by the building of an uninsured orphanage, though Osvald still inherits his father’s syphilis. In another of this author’s plays, the main character constantly consumes macaroons, while tuberculosis of the spine afflicts Dr. Rank. In that play by this author of Ghosts, the main character’s forging of her father’s signature causes her to be blackmailed by Krogstad. For 10 points, name this playwright who depicted Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House.
ANSWER: Henrik _Ibsen_

The introduction to one collection by this author begins “Hear the voice of the Bard! / Who Present, Past, and Future sees”, while the speaker of another poem “mark[s] in every face [he] meets[s] / Marks of weakness, marks of woe.” The the title object of one work by this poet is “sunned [...] with smiles / And with soft deceitful wiles” after the speaker says “I was angry with a foe: / I told it not, my wrath did grow.” In another poem, the speaker asks “In what furnace was thy brain?” about a figure who is “burning bright/ In the forest of the night.” For 10 points, name this English poet who included “A Poison Tree” in his Songs of Experience, along with “The Tyger.”
ANSWER: William _Blake_

This speech is followed by its speaker asking “Nymph, in thy orisons be all my sins remembered.” For 10 points each:
[10] Give the common name of this speech whose speaker compares death to an “undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns.”
ANSWER: _To be, or not to be_-that is the question
[10] The “To be, or not to be” soliloquy is from this Shakespearean play about the Prince of Denmark.
ANSWER: The Tragedy of _Hamlet_, Prince of Denmark
[10] Of course, Hamlet does not in fact hold a skull in the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy, but rather while describing this “fellow of infinite jest and most excellent fancy” to Horatio.
ANSWER: _Yorick_

This poem opens with its speaker saying that “The memory of you emerges from the night around me.” For 10 points each:
[10] Name this poem that repeats the phrase “in you, everything sank.” It’s also the last poem of its collection.
ANSWER: The _Song of Despair+ [or La _canción desesperada_; do not accept “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair” or “Viente poemas de amor y una canción desesperada”]
[10] This Chilean poet of Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair also wrote the Elemental Odes and Canto General.
ANSWER: Pablo _Neruda_
[10] The first Love Poem from Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair describes this object, which has “white hills, white thighs” and “look[s] like this world in [its] posture of surrender.”
ANSWER: _Body_ of _Woman_ [or _Cuerpo_ de _Mujer_; accept any answer including both words, such as “A _Woman’s Body_”; prompt on partial answer]


The beliefs of a miller from this modern-day country who believed that the world was made from putrefaction are analyzed in The Cheese and the Worms, which was written by an author from this country. A religious leader from this country regarded Charles VIII as the Scourge of God and supported the destruction of artworks in the “Bonfire of the Vanities”. A church council in this modern-day country reaffirmed the seven sacraments and began the Counter-Reformation. For 10 points, name the modern-day country in which the Council of Trent was convened and Protestants were persecuted by the Roman Inquisition.
ANSWER: _Italy_ [or _Italia_; or _Italian_ Republic; or Repubblica _Italiana_]

One of this man’s works begins with the landing of Aeneas in Italy and ends with the death of Drusus. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this Roman historian who names a set of vertú-exhorting “Discourses” by Machiavelli.
ANSWER: _Livy_ [or Titus _Livius_]
[10] Livy’s only surviving work is titled for this phrase, which also names a dating system that saw its millennium celebrated by Phillip the Arab in 248 AD.
ANSWER: _Ab Urbe Condita_ Libri [or Books _from the Founding of the City_ or similar translations; prompt on “anno urbis” or “a.u.c.”]
[10] A more common Roman dating system named each year after the two men who held it at the beginning of that year. This last office of the cursus honorum was the highest position in the republic.
ANSWER: suffect _consul_

This colony prohibited the use of such offensive terms as Calvinist, Puritan, and Schismatic. For 10 points each,
[10] Name this American colony that was founded as a haven for Catholics and named after the wife of Charles I.
ANSWER _Maryland_
[10] The Barons Baltimore who founded Maryland were from this family, whose coat of arms provides the basis for Maryland’s really cool flag.
ANSWER: _Calvert_
[10] Catholicism was outlawed in Maryland after the Glorious Revolution, which also caused Leisler’s Rebellion in this other colony. It was previously governed by the future James II.
ANSWER: _New York_


This thinker’s works are cited using Bekker numbers. One work by this thinker includes substance, quantity, and location in a list of the ten types of predicates. That book, the Categories, is the first part of this thinker’s Organon. This philosopher questioned if future events are predetermined by using the example of a sea battle, and set forth a theory of logic based on syllogisms. Material, formal, efficient, and final are this philosopher’s four causes. This man described courage as being an intermediary between cowardice and recklessness in his Doctrine of the Golden Mean. For 10 points, name this author of the Physics, Metaphysics, and Nicomachean Ethics who was a student of Plato.
ANSWER: _Aristotle_ of Stagira [or _Aristotle_s]


Anyone who does not believe in this principle is said to commit the sin of shirk. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this Arabic term for the unity or oneness of God.
ANSWER: tawhid [prompt on “monotheism” or any other English translation]
[10] Tawhid is affirmed in the first part of this Muslim confession of faith. Reciting this phrase in front of witnesses is all one has to do to convert to Islam.
ANSWER: _Shahada_ [accept “_lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh_” or English translations such as “_There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet_”]
[10] Shahada is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, along with this pilgrimage to Mecca that all able Muslims are expected to take. Umrah is a lesser version of this event in which people walk around the Kaaba.
ANSWER: _Hajj_


This country is the home of an art movement whose namesake manifesto says that “Artists who don’t paint aren’t artists.” One non-painting artist from this home of the Stuckists made revolutionized the use of negative space in works like Oval Sculpture, while another is most famous for his sculptures of reclining women. This country contains the most visited contemporary art museum in the world. Another artist from this country gave the title The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living to a tiger shark in formaldehyde. For 10 points, name this country, the home of Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Damien Hirst, that contains the Tate Modern and Stonehenge.
ANSWER: The _U_nited _K_ingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland [accept _Great Britain_; accept _England_]

In a page from the Ebbo Gospels, this man is depicted frantically writing in front of a sketch-like background. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this saint who, in the Lindisfarne Gospels, is shown writing with a winged man on his head and another man peeking around a curtain.
ANSWER St. _Matthew_
[10] Matthew was also depicted in a cycle of paintings by this Italian Baroque painter, who showed Christ pointing at him in The Calling of St. Matthew.
ANSWER: _Michelangelo Merisi_ da _Caravaggio_ [accept either underlined part; do not accept just “Michelangelo”]
[10] Caravaggio also depicted this saint writing with a skull on the table. This saint was often depicted to commemorate his Vulgate translation of the bible.
ANSWER: St. _Jerome_

Movements of this musical work include “And He Shall Purify the Sons of Levi” and “Why do the Nations so Furiously Rage Together?” For 10 points each:
[10] Name this oratorio whose most famous movement includes the lyric “And He shall reign forever and ever.”
ANSWER: _Messiah_
[10] Messiah was written by this composer of Water Music, Zadok the Priest, and Music for Royal Fireworks.
ANSWER: Georg Friedrich _Handel_
[10] Messiah includes many examples of this singing style where a single syllable is sung across multiple notes, such as when the word “refiner’s” is stretched across six measures and fifty-seven notes.
ANSWER: _melisma_


This game was the first in its series to feature the phrase “You Died” in large, red letters upon a frequent event. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this notoriously difficult 2011 video game whose player character can reverse “hollowing” by using Humanity at bonfires. Its bosses include the Asylum Demon and Gwyn, Lord of Cinder
ANSWER: _Dark Souls_ [do not accept “Dark Souls 2” or “Dark Souls 3”; do not accept “Demon’s Souls”]
[10] The Dark Souls series, along with Demon’s Souls, Bloodborne, and Metal Wolf Chaos, were made by this company.
ANSWER: _FROM_ Software
[10] This is the job of Michael Wilson, the protagonist of Metal Wolf Chaos, which was also held by Josiah Bartlet in The West Wing.
ANSWER: _President_ of the United States of America [accept _POTUS_; prompt on “politician”]



Many Thanks for any feedback!
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Re: community question clinic

Postby SpanishSpy » Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:36 am

Might as well do what Mr. Wolfsberg did and post my unused questions for ACF Fall at Maryland.

A slogan commending Arthur Harris has been used by the German far-left in support of one of these actions, in reference to the British officer that ordered it. One of these actions in Pforzheim destroyed the city’s inner districts, and another one destroyed Coventry Cathedral. A deliberate pause in these actions was used to target firefighting, rescue, and medical personnel. For ten points, name this action during World War II, of which infamous examples included London, Dresden, and Tokyo.


Answer: Strategic aerial bombing (accept alternatives that maintain reference to their aerial character, such as ‘air raid’; prompt on ‘bombing,’ accept ‘Firebombing’ [of Dresden] before the second sentence)


This individual was the subject of a 2004 book edited by David Horowitz denouncing his political and other views. This individual courted controversy when a piece of his defending free speech was used in a book by Robert Faurisson without his permission. With Edward Herman, this individual wrote Manufacturing Consent, a indictment of the American news media, proposing a “propaganda model” in said book. For ten points, name this philosopher and linguist at MIT who is often called the “founder of Modern Linguistics.”


Answer: Noam Chomsky


[INFORMATION OF QUESTIONABLE VERACITY REMOVED]. After this war, insurgencies by other groups, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army, continued. This war saw the intervention of Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Sudan, Chad, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda, the latter two fighting a six day war over the city of Kisangani in 2000. For ten points, name this conflict that lasted from 1998 to 2003, named for the country in which the majority of the fighting took place, also called Africa’s World War.


Answer; Second Congo War (prompt on ‘Congo War’)


A cargo liner from this island runs from it to Cape Town on a regular basis. This island was discovered by Joao da Nova whilst sailing in Portuguese service. This isolated Atlantic island is administratively linked with Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha [pronounced Cun-ya]. For ten points, name this British overseas territory in the Atlantic Ocean to which Napoleon was exiled.


Answer: Saint Helena


For ten points each, answer these questions about the Haymarket affair.


The Haymarket affair occurred in this Midwestern city when a bomb was thrown at police.
Answer: Chicago
The anniversary of the Haymarket Affair is the date of this international worker’s holiday.
Answer: May Day
In 1969, a monument to the police killed in the Affair was bombed by this left wing terrorist group, which also detonated a bomb in a Fort Dix officer’s house in New York.
Answer: Weathermen or Weather Underground


For ten points, answer these questions about Nationalist China.


Nationalist China was ruled by this political party, that fought the Communists during the Chinese Civil War.
Answer: Kuomintang or Guomindang
The Kuomintang was founded by this Chinese statesman who formulated the Three Principles of the People.
Answer Sun Yat-sen (or Zhongsan)
In 1912, Sun resigned the presidency of China after promising the office to this individual who secured Puyi’s abdication.
Answer: Yuan Shikai


For ten points each, answer these questions about different states of Germany.
This alpine state has a stubbornly independent character, and politically is a bastion of conservatism.
Answer: Bavaria or Bayern
This state, bordering the Baltic Sea, has urban districts with names Flensburg, Neumunster [NOY-mun-shter), Lubeck, and Kiel
Answer: Schleswig-Holstein (prompt on either component)
This state with a coat of arms of a red eagle on a white shield surrounds Berlin. Its capital is at Potsdam.
Answer: Brandenburg


Any feedback appreciated.
Last edited by SpanishSpy on Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Aladdin's Problem » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:13 pm

One of this man’s works begins with the landing of Aeneas in Italy and ends with the death of Drusus. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this Roman historian who names a set of vertú-exhorting “Discourses” by Machiavelli.
ANSWER: _Livy_ [or Titus _Livius_]
[10] Livy’s only surviving work is titled for this phrase, which also names a dating system that saw its millennium celebrated by Phillip the Arab in 248 AD.
ANSWER: _Ab Urbe Condita_ Libri [or Books _from the Founding of the City_ or similar translations; prompt on “anno urbis” or “a.u.c.”]
[10] A more common Roman dating system named each year after the two men who held it at the beginning of that year. This last office of the cursus honorum was the highest position in the republic.
ANSWER: suffect _consul_

First of all, the last answerline is just wrong. Consules Suffecti (literally the replacement consuls) notably did not hold the position for an entire year - they were elected as a replacement for a consul who had died or was otherwise unavailable. First clue is fine in my view - I assume you meant it as the middle part? The middle clue just isn't doing much - there are better things to ask about Livy and the AUCL - something from his narrative in the early books would be far more interesting.

This thinker’s works are cited using Bekker numbers. One work by this thinker includes substance, quantity, and location in a list of the ten types of predicates. That book, the Categories, is the first part of this thinker’s Organon. This philosopher questioned if future events are predetermined by using the example of a sea battle, and set forth a theory of logic based on syllogisms. Material, formal, efficient, and final are this philosopher’s four causes. This man described courage as being an intermediary between cowardice and recklessness in his Doctrine of the Golden Mean. For 10 points, name this author of the Physics, Metaphysics, and Nicomachean Ethics who was a student of Plato.
ANSWER: _Aristotle_ of Stagira [or _Aristotle_s]

Bekker number's appears to be well on it's way to being an Aristotelian chestnut. I think it might be better to focus on a single work for drawing clues from, rather than jumping around his corpus - go deeper into the Organon instead for clues . Organon as a title is dropped too early in my view as well. Finally, in Greek his name is Aristoteles, with an epsilon and eta.

A cargo liner from this island runs from it to Cape Town on a regular basis. This island was discovered by Joao da Nova whilst sailing in Portuguese service. This isolated Atlantic island is administratively linked with Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha [pronounced Cun-ya]. For ten points, name this British overseas territory in the Atlantic Ocean to which Napoleon was exiled.

Answer: Saint Helena

The first and third clues are very dull clues in a geography question - I'm not sure anyone cares about the RMS St Helena - unless you clue it as being one of the few ships left in the world to use the prefix RMS. Use a clue about giant earwigs, or Jacob's ladder, or the controversial airport - far more interesting than the other islands it's administered with.


For ten points each, answer these questions about different states of Germany.
This alpine state has a stubbornly independent character, and politically is a bastion of conservatism.
Answer: Bavaria or Bayern
This state, bordering the Baltic Sea, has urban districts with names Flensburg, Neumunster [NOY-mun-shter), Lubeck, and Kiel
Answer: Schleswig-Holstein (prompt on either component)
This state with a coat of arms of a red eagle on a white shield surrounds Berlin. Its capital is at Potsdam.
Answer: Brandenburg


Talk about Bavaria's brand of conservatism, or its major car manufacturing - "stubbornly independent character" is a pretty dull way of describing any particular region. Talk about S-H's historical ports, or its fascinating linguistic history - don't just give a list of towns and cities.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby ProfessorIanDuncan » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:21 pm

One thing I would suggest when writing bonuses is to use the lead in prompt to clue something as opposed to just stating "answer some questions about [insert topic here]". You only have a couple of lines for a bonus part and especially at ACF Fall you want to pack as many clues as possible in there.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Corry » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:19 pm

SpanishSpy wrote:Might as well do what Mr. Wolfsberg did and post my unused questions for ACF Fall at Maryland.


Assuming you're relatively new to question writing, these questions are a pretty good start. In their current state, however, I'm not sure I'd approve any of them to go into a finished packet without some thorough editing.

A slogan commending Arthur Harris has been used by the German far-left in support of one of these actions, in reference to the British officer that ordered it. One of these actions in Pforzheim destroyed the city’s inner districts, and another one destroyed Coventry Cathedral. A deliberate pause in these actions was used to target firefighting, rescue, and medical personnel. For ten points, name this action during World War II, of which infamous examples included London, Dresden, and Tokyo.


Answer: Strategic aerial bombing (accept alternatives that maintain reference to their aerial character, such as ‘air raid’; prompt on ‘bombing,’ accept ‘Firebombing’ [of Dresden] before the second sentence)


I noticed three issues with this question:

First, the answer line is overly specific-- for most people, strategic aerial bombing isn't really a distinct term on its own, and it'd probably create confusing to require "aerial" to be part of the answer. Just requiring "bombing" as an answer line would be preferable.

Second, the question becomes somewhat transparent by the second sentence. What kind of action would destroy the entirety of a city's inner districts, other than bombing? What would destroy a cathedral?

Third, the last line before the FTP ("a deliberate pause in these actions") is somewhat vague; it could theoretically refer to a lot of different events where civilian personnel have been targeted throughout history. I'd recommend adding more specific details (e.g. a year, a name) to tie it to a specific event.

A noted increase in violence, slavery, and land confiscation during this war is correlated with the release of the Playstation 2. After this war, insurgencies by other groups, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army, continued. This war saw the intervention of Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Sudan, Chad, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda, the latter two fighting a six day war over the city of Kisangani in 2000. For ten points, name this conflict that lasted from 1998 to 2003, named for the country in which the majority of the fighting took place, also called Africa’s World War.


Answer; Second Congo War (prompt on ‘Congo War’)


The answer line here is too difficult. Theoretically, a question should be answerable by 70-100% of teams by the end. There's little chance that this question could achieve that rate of conversion. In this case, it would've been prefer to simply tossup the "Democratic Republic of Congo" (this is a useful tip for question writing in general - when in doubt, fall back on the easiest answer line you can think of).

Also, the first clue about the Playstation 2 is too vague. I'm reasonably familiar with coltan mining in the DRC, and yet I was still struggling to figure out exactly what you meant in that first clue. As in the case with the prior tossup, it's often helpful to ground vague clues like this with specific years or names. In this case, you could say something like "Civil conflict in this country's Ituri region has been funded by illegal mining of coltan, whose demand was driven up by the release of the Playstation 2."

For ten points each, answer these questions about different states of Germany.
This alpine state has a stubbornly independent character, and politically is a bastion of conservatism.
Answer: Bavaria or Bayern
This state, bordering the Baltic Sea, has urban districts with names Flensburg, Neumunster [NOY-mun-shter), Lubeck, and Kiel
Answer: Schleswig-Holstein (prompt on either component)
This state with a coat of arms of a red eagle on a white shield surrounds Berlin. Its capital is at Potsdam.
Answer: Brandenburg


Once again, the first bonus here is a bit too vague. "Alpine," "independent," and "conservative" are all adjectives that could describe multiple states of Germany, not just Bavaria. Identifying specific names or events would help a lot.

Also, as Edmund pointed out, the clues for this bonus aren't particularly interesting. Admittedly, this shouldn't be your top priority as a new writer (your main focus should be writing an effective question), but there are certainly more interesting facts about Schleswig-Holstein than the names of random urban districts in the region. For instance, you could talk about the historical disputes over the region between Denmark and Prussia.

Overall, I think these questions are fine first effort, but they could still use a fair bit of polishing, especially when calibrating the specificity and vagueness of clues.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby RexSueciae » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:06 pm

I'm only going to comment on the questions in subjects that I'm deeply familiar with:

I like the Italy in religion tossup, and I think the clue progression is good (Bonfire of the Vanities is probably placed correctly given the intended audience) although I admit that when I think of Trent, I don't think of Italy -- true, it's within Italy's modern-day borders, but given its historical domination by the Holy Roman Empire in general and the Hapsburgs in particular, at least a few people might neg with "Austria." (The rest of Tyrol is currently part of Austria.)

I feel that the Maryland / Calvert / New York bonus could use a few more clues, especially the New York part. Is the bonus supposed to have been easy / hard / med? I don't think you could say that James II "governed" New York at any point, since he was busy doing other things. A lot of places were named after him and his noble titles but maybe you could say something else about New York's colonial history. I'm also not sure if "colony bans hate speech" is distinctive enough in most memory for a bonus lead-in.

The Islam bonus is par for the course, I guess.

Could the bonus part on "President [of the United States]" feature a clue that's from a video game? (Are you a bad enough dude to rescue one of these people?)

The tossup on what I presume is "strategic _bombing_" has potential except for the accept line. Seriously, you want players to specify that it's being conducted by aerial means? And I thought that bombs typically came from underground. In all seriousness, I like the lead-in about "Bomber" Harris, who's got enough lead-in clues floating around his life to fuel questions on everything from war policy to British South Africa. Instead of basically just saying that a guy named Arthur Harris was involved in these things, you could write something about his infamous "reap the whirlwind" quote.

I don't like writing about specific wars, especially if there's a way to ask about, say, the DRC, or child soldiers, or something related that's more accessible. Yeah, the Second Congo War is horrific, historically significant, and its effects are felt today, but I feel that there's more quizbowl mileage for something that sets up a better giveaway clue. You can clue the war in a tossup on any number of things if you use your imagination. With regards to the question itself, I'm not sure if it's altogether useful that we know how this laundry list of countries all intervened in the war; if you were writing a (presumably higher difficulty, greater length) tossup on the Second Congo War, you should probably just describe things about the intervention.

I'm sure cargo liners travel from Cape Town to several different islands. Protip: once you've got a really nice clue, it's useful to do a bit of reverse clue lookup and see if it's applicable to one and only one answerline.

Again bonuses could deal with more clues. You've got at least some space to work with for ACF Fall, so you might as well make the most of it. For example, don't just ask when the Haymarket Square Riot happened or who came after Sun Yat-sen, ask something about the labor influences on May Day or Yuan Shikai's imperial aspirations. And, as I think was mentioned, those bonus intros are prime real estate for at least one more useful clue.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby CPiGuy » Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:33 pm

I'm new to both the game and writing questions -- I didn't write these for a tournament but it would still be great if y'all could take a look:

1 The arms of a statue of the Virgin Mary are severed in this novel in which the titular character steals Hester’s panties at the narrator’s mother’s wedding. John criticises the Vietnam War in this work by the author of The Hotel New Hampshire. John and the titular character regularly practice a certain basketball play in this novel, in which John discovers that his father is Reverend Merrill. Reverend Merrill is also revealed to be in possession of the baseball which killed John’s mother and which the title character hit during a Little League game. This novel’s narrator ends the book by pleading “O God—please bring him back! I shall keep asking You.” For ten points, name this novel by John Irving whose title character believes himself to be God’s instrument and dies in an airport in Arizona.
Answer: A Prayer for Owen Meany

2 This sense is tested for by American police officers conducting field sobriety tests, as intoxication often causes impairment of this sense. Phantom limb sensations in amputees often manifest themselves through this sense. The unconscious aspects of this sense are coordinated by the cerebellum. This sense’s name comes from the Latin word for “one’s own grasp”, and an example of an unconscious reflex driven by this sense is the righting reflex. This sense is necessary for actions such as touch typing, writing without looking at the page, and walking while looking forward. For ten points, name this sense of the relative position of one’s body parts and the strength of one’s muscle movements.
Answer: proprioception

3 The Mythological Cycle, the least well-preserved of the four cycles of this mythology, details ancient gods and supernatural beings who predated this mythology’s people. One such group of supernatural beings were the Fomorians, led by Balor of the Evil Eye. The second of the four cycles tells the tales of heroes living in the northern part of this mythology’s land, including Cú Chulainn. The most famous tale in that cycle is the Táin Bó Cúailnge, and another tale is the The Exile of the Sons of Usnach, also known as the tragedy of Deirdre. Two of the greatest tales in this mythology, Oisín in Tír na nÓg and The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Gráinne form part of the third cycle. That cycle is known as the Fenian Cycle. For ten points, identify this mythology, which features the character Finn MacCool.
Answer: Irish mythology

4 This territory is home to the world’s longest conveyor belt. That conveyor belt transports phosphates from the mines at Bou Craa to the coast. The southern half of this territory was administered as Tiris al-Gharbiyya between 1975 and 1979, when the country administering it withdrew due to pressure from rebel groups. That country is Mauritania, and one of those rebel groups was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro, or the Polisario. For ten points, identify this northwest African territory currently claimed by Morocco.
Answer: Western Sahara [DO NOT ACCEPT: Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic or variants]

5 One of this writer’s speakers declares, “The years to come seemed waste of breath”. Another of this man’s poems discussed the building of a cabin “of clay and wattles made”. One well-known novel by an African author takes its title from one of his poems. That African author is Chinua Achebe. Another of this man’s poems concerned a major historical event in his country and identified “MacDonagh and MacBride / And Connolly and Pearse” as major players in that event. The poem lamented those men’s deaths, and was entitled “Easter, 1916”. This man wrote a poem about “nine-and-fifty swans” that gave its name to a book of his poetry which also contained “Ode to an Irish Airman”. For ten points, identify this Anglo-Irish poet, author, and playwright who penned “The Second Coming”.
Answer: William Butler Yeats

6 Different tellings of this alleged incident are all traceable to Muhammad ibn Ka’b. This incident is said to have occurred during a recitation of Sura an-Najm, or the Star Surah. This incident involved the addition of lines to that recitation. Those lines mentioned Al-Lat, Al-’Uzzá, and Manāt. Those lines also referred to those three entities as gharāniq, which is often translated as “cranes”. The added lines claimed that the intercession of the three entities is hoped for. The addition of the lines is attributed to the temptation of Satan. Al-Lat, Al-’Uzzá, and Manāt are three of the principal goddesses of the pre-Islamic Arabs. This incident involved the recitation of the Star Surah by Mohammed. During this incident, it is alleged that Mohammed mistook the words of Satan for those of the archangel Gabriel, and included them in the Star Surah. For ten points, identify this incident, which lent its name to a controversial best-selling novel by Salman Rushdie.
Answer: the satanic verses incident, the story of the cranes, qissat al-gharaniq. (accept any of the three underlined answers.)

7 A London war memorial to some of these is inscribed with the words “they had no choice”. A novel in which most of the characters are these sees one character lead his troops to victory after studying the works of Julius Caesar. They’re not vegetables, but Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s “The Admiral” and “The Cook” feature some examples of these arranged to resemble human faces. Therianthropy is the ability of people to turn into one of these, and Laelaps, Arion, and Karkinos are examples of these from Greek mythology. Morgan’s Canon is a psychological standard for interpreting the actions of, for ten points, what group whose rights Jeremy Bentham argued for on the grounds that they can suffer?
Answer: animals

8 This book’s third part begins with a poem that declares “We are the centuries. We are the chin-choppers and the golly-whoppers, and soon we shall discuss the amputation of your head”, and later calls for the sound “AGH! AGH! AGH!” to “be inundated by the choir, chanting Alleluias at ninety decibels.” In this novel, Abbot Arkos denies Brother Francis the ability to take his vows for several years. Hannegan is excommunicated in this novel which sees the bicephalous Rachel administer the Eucharist to Dom Zerchi. Francis discovers holy relics after encountering a pilgrim who is strongly implied to be the Wandering Jew. “Fiat Homo”, “Fiat Lux”, and “Fiat Voluntas Tua” are the three parts in, for ten points, what post-apocalyptic novel about a Catholic monestary, written by Walter M. Miller?
Answer: A Canticle for Leibowitz

9 One of this author’s poems draws inspiration for its first line from the Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer, and contains a number of traditional ubi sunt motifs. In another poem, this author wrote “Now far ahead the Road has gone / And I must follow, if I can / Pursuing it with eager feet”. This author wrote “Tomorrow we may come this way / and take the hidden paths that run / towards the Moon or to the Sun”, in a poem that also includes the lines “mist and twilight, cloud and shade / Away shall fade! Away shall fade!”. In one of his better-known poems, this author asks “where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?” before declaring, later, that “they have passed like rain on the mountain”. “Where now the Horse and the Rider” was written by, for ten points, what author of “The Fall of Gil-Galad” and “A Elbereth Gilthoniel”?
Answer: J. R. R. Tolkien

10 One theory about these groups states that individuals in the Y-DNA haplogroup R belong to one of them. Herbert Armstrong promoted the theory that the Brits comprised one of these groups. The term Nichiyu Dōsoron refers to the theory that some, or all, Japanese people were one of these groups. Thomas Thorowgood published a work in 1650 arguing that the Native Americans are one of these groups. Anthropologist Shalva Weil proposed that the Pashtun tribes are one of these groups, while the Bnei Menashe of India claim to be one of these. Some members of the Beta Israel believe themselves to be one of these groups and not descended from the Queen of Sheba. For ten points, identify these groups, characterized by belief that their ancestors were part of a certain Biblical population.
Answer: people-groups descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel [prompt on partial]

11 In Filipino culture, dead relatives are traditionally held to function as these. In Hinduism, Tarakeshwara serves as one of these. Another of these, Vanth, is commonly depicted in art holding a torch or key. One of these figures carries an ehecailacacozcatl and is killed by Ehecatl to induce the Sun to move. In contemporary culture, the Grim Reaper serves as one of these figures. Another deity is the god of travel and athletics as well as acting as one of these, and these figures are associated with ferryboats in several religious traditions. For ten points, Hermes and Charon are two examples of what mythological figures who guide souls to the afterlife?
Answer: psychopomps [accept psukhopompos or psukhopompoi, do not accept or prompt on “god of the underworld/dead” or equivalent]

and two bonuses:

1 This work has sections entitled “The Man I Killed”, “Night Life”, and “Spin”. For ten points each,
[10] Identify this work, a series of vignettes about the Vietnam War and the power of storytelling, by Tim O’Brien.
Answer: The Things They Carried
[10] The Things They Carried takes place during the Vietnam War. This author’s experiences protesting against that war were part of the inspiration for his book-length poem The Book of Nightmares. Some of his other works include “Blackberry Eating” and “On Frozen Fields”.
Answer: Galway Kinnell
[10] This animal features in the title of one of Kinnell’s poems, with Saint Francis. That poem discusses this animal’s “fourteen teats” and “long, perfect loveliness”.
Answer: sow [prompt on pig].

2 Saint Aphrodisius of Alexandria is usually depicted performing this action. People who perform it are known as cephalophores. For 10 points each:
[10] Saint Denis, the patron saint of Paris, is the most well-known of saints who are depicted performing this action. According to the Golden Legend, he performed this action while walking to his burial place.
Answer: holding one’s own decapitated head in one’s hands [accept any answer which indicates that they are holding their own head, prompt on “holding a head” with “whose head?”, prompt on “being decapitated”]
[10] Hilariously, Saint Denis is invoked to protect worshippers against this ailment, types of which include cluster-type, tension, and migraine.
Answer: headache
[10] Saint Denis is one of this group of saints who are named for their intercession against various diseases and other ailments.
Answer: Fourteen Holy Helpers [accept Nothelfer]

It would also be greatly appreciated if someone could give me an idea of how difficult these questions are.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Corry » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:21 am

CPiGuy wrote:I'm new to both the game and writing questions -- I didn't write these for a tournament but it would still be great if y'all could take a look:


Overall, these questions are quite well-written, especially for a new writer. The only big thing that pops out is that some of the questions are really hard (like, above ACF Regs difficulty). Otherwise, most of the following comments are relatively minor criticisms or nitpicks. I've only touched upon questions in subjects I have a strong familiarity with.

1 The arms of a statue of the Virgin Mary are severed in this novel in which the titular character steals Hester’s panties at the narrator’s mother’s wedding. John criticises the Vietnam War in this work by the author of The Hotel New Hampshire. John and the titular character regularly practice a certain basketball play in this novel, in which John discovers that his father is Reverend Merrill. Reverend Merrill is also revealed to be in possession of the baseball which killed John’s mother and which the title character hit during a Little League game. This novel’s narrator ends the book by pleading “O God—please bring him back! I shall keep asking You.” For ten points, name this novel by John Irving whose title character believes himself to be God’s instrument and dies in an airport in Arizona.
Answer: A Prayer for Owen Meany


Overall, a pretty good tossup. It's be about ACF Regs difficulty, I'd figure. A few comments:
1. The word "titular" has fallen out of a favor in the quiz bowl circuit lately, since it's kind of confusing to new players. I think most questions just say "title character" now. Of course, there's no reason why you would've know this beforehand.
2. It's somewhat suboptimal to put "author of The Hotel New Hampshire" in the middle of the question, as it encourages people to memorize the names of minor Irving novels rather than read the novel (which is pretty good, I like your taste)
3. It's also a bit suboptimal to put the name "John" so early in the question, since that's the name of the narrator.
4. The end of the tossups is still unusually difficult. For instance, the clues about "God's instrument" and "dies in an airport in Arizona" should probably be moved before "For 10 points." Usually, the author is one of the best-known things about a novel, so the name Irving should go after that. You also might want to give some easier clues towards the end, e.g. "this novel's title character is a midget" or something, to throw a bone to the people who haven't actually read the book.

4 This territory is home to the world’s longest conveyor belt. That conveyor belt transports phosphates from the mines at Bou Craa to the coast. The southern half of this territory was administered as Tiris al-Gharbiyya between 1975 and 1979, when the country administering it withdrew due to pressure from rebel groups. That country is Mauritania, and one of those rebel groups was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro, or the Polisario. For ten points, identify this northwest African territory currently claimed by Morocco.
Answer: Western Sahara [DO NOT ACCEPT: Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic or variants]


Another pretty good tossup for ACF Regs-level sets.
1. The first sentence could be better structured as "This territory is home to the world's largest conveyer belt, which transports phosphates..."
2. Although Polisario Front has become a bit of a stock clue, it's still harder than naming Mauritania, a country that's right next to Western Sahara.

7 A London war memorial to some of these is inscribed with the words “they had no choice”. A novel in which most of the characters are these sees one character lead his troops to victory after studying the works of Julius Caesar. They’re not vegetables, but Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s “The Admiral” and “The Cook” feature some examples of these arranged to resemble human faces. Therianthropy is the ability of people to turn into one of these, and Laelaps, Arion, and Karkinos are examples of these from Greek mythology. Morgan’s Canon is a psychological standard for interpreting the actions of, for ten points, what group whose rights Jeremy Bentham argued for on the grounds that they can suffer?
Answer: animals


I like a lot of the clues, but this question is somewhat problematic because it doesn't seem to have a clear "theme." It's generally considered best practice to ensure that all clues are thematically linked when a tossup has a relatively vague answer line, such as "animals." For instance, a tossup on dogs based solely off clues from Greek mythology. Or whatever.

In this case, the question is also a bit problematic because it doesn't account for answers of specific animals, such as "dogs," etc.

8 This book’s third part begins with a poem that declares “We are the centuries. We are the chin-choppers and the golly-whoppers, and soon we shall discuss the amputation of your head”, and later calls for the sound “AGH! AGH! AGH!” to “be inundated by the choir, chanting Alleluias at ninety decibels.” In this novel, Abbot Arkos denies Brother Francis the ability to take his vows for several years. Hannegan is excommunicated in this novel which sees the bicephalous Rachel administer the Eucharist to Dom Zerchi. Francis discovers holy relics after encountering a pilgrim who is strongly implied to be the Wandering Jew. “Fiat Homo”, “Fiat Lux”, and “Fiat Voluntas Tua” are the three parts in, for ten points, what post-apocalyptic novel about a Catholic monestary, written by Walter M. Miller?
Answer: A Canticle for Leibowitz


I can't really comment on the content of this question (never read the book), but just so you know, this is a really, really hard question. Maybe appropriate for ACF Nationals?

9 One of this author’s poems draws inspiration for its first line from the Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer, and contains a number of traditional ubi sunt motifs. In another poem, this author wrote “Now far ahead the Road has gone / And I must follow, if I can / Pursuing it with eager feet”. This author wrote “Tomorrow we may come this way / and take the hidden paths that run / towards the Moon or to the Sun”, in a poem that also includes the lines “mist and twilight, cloud and shade / Away shall fade! Away shall fade!”. In one of his better-known poems, this author asks “where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?” before declaring, later, that “they have passed like rain on the mountain”. “Where now the Horse and the Rider” was written by, for ten points, what author of “The Fall of Gil-Galad” and “A Elbereth Gilthoniel”?
Answer: J. R. R. Tolkien


Again, someone more well-versed in this area would know better than I, but this tossup seems incredibly difficult.

10 One theory about these groups states that individuals in the Y-DNA haplogroup R belong to one of them. Herbert Armstrong promoted the theory that the Brits comprised one of these groups. The term Nichiyu Dōsoron refers to the theory that some, or all, Japanese people were one of these groups. Thomas Thorowgood published a work in 1650 arguing that the Native Americans are one of these groups. Anthropologist Shalva Weil proposed that the Pashtun tribes are one of these groups, while the Bnei Menashe of India claim to be one of these. Some members of the Beta Israel believe themselves to be one of these groups and not descended from the Queen of Sheba. For ten points, identify these groups, characterized by belief that their ancestors were part of a certain Biblical population.
Answer: people-groups descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel [prompt on partial]


Hah, I like the premise of this question. I wish I could say more about it, but this isn't really my area of specialty either.
Last edited by Corry on Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby RexSueciae » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:22 am

Okay, so for these questions the number-one thing is, "does [clue] apply to only one reasonable answerline?"

For example, I have no doubt that the police are testing proprioception when they make you touch your nose, and that this is to identify [alcohol] intoxication in humans, but police officers conduct more than one test on motorists, and alcohol notably affects pretty much every sense. Similarly, while one of the four cycles in Irish myth is generally referred to in English as the Mythological Cycle, that name is bland enough to confuse players, especially when they realize that "ancient gods and supernatural beings" appear in virtually every myth system.

A good way to write interesting clues is to describe (in detail) instead of dropping chapter titles or distinctions only made because Wikipedia likes to have articles on Named Things. I myself have never read A Canticle for Leibowitz though I've often meant to do so; while I can't comment on the veracity of the clues, I think that the structure of the question, at least, is very good. It is always nice to ask about the plot of a literary work, or about suitably significant clues in other subjects, rather than firing off this title or that.

Learning which clues go where and in what order is something that you'll pick up eventually after playing questions, or reading questions, for an extended period of time. "Easter, 1916," for example, is a fairly well-known poem by Yeats, and one whose title could wait until the giveaway (for that matter, I prefer to leave titles in general to the giveaway when writing literature, so that players who know the plot are rewarded above players who memorize titles).

Difficulty-wise, these questions look like they'd be fit for regular difficulty (or maybe regular-minus like EFT or MUT). The exception would be those topics which don't generally come up in quizbowl, and to which the ordinary scale doesn't really apply. Tolkien is notable enough in literature to be tossed up at the college level, though I haven't ever seen someone clue him exclusively with his poetry. Usually there's mention of his Beowulf stuff and then Lord of the Rings as the giveaway. Amazingly enough, it looks like A Canticle for Leibowitz has never been tossed up in serious quizbowl for...basically forever. I was actually a bit surprised by that because it's pretty well acclaimed as a classic of popular-ish literature, but quizbowl doesn't like genre fiction because it's not real literature or something, and A Canticle for Leibowitz is science fiction. Then again, I submitted a question on Horatio Hornblower for ACF Nationals and the absolute madmen on the editing team kept it in the final product (making this the first time he'd come up in quizbowl in like a decade) (to the annoyance of many lit players, and to my eternal amusement), so good luck with canon-busting answerlines, it's possible sometimes.

Keep it up! Writing is a fun thing which people should do more frequently. Also, it's a great way of internalizing quizbowl information and less painful than most alternative study strategies, which I've never really liked.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Negger Extraordinaire » Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:25 pm

CPiGuy wrote:9 One of this author’s poems draws inspiration for its first line from the Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer, and contains a number of traditional ubi sunt motifs. In another poem, this author wrote “Now far ahead the Road has gone / And I must follow, if I can / Pursuing it with eager feet”. This author wrote “Tomorrow we may come this way / and take the hidden paths that run / towards the Moon or to the Sun”, in a poem that also includes the lines “mist and twilight, cloud and shade / Away shall fade! Away shall fade!”. In one of his better-known poems, this author asks “where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?” before declaring, later, that “they have passed like rain on the mountain”. “Where now the Horse and the Rider” was written by, for ten points, what author of “The Fall of Gil-Galad” and “A Elbereth Gilthoniel”?
Answer: J. R. R. Tolkien


I love this question, but it has a few minor issues. The lead in is quite nice, although given Tolkien's work on Beowulf, people are likely to know that he's interested in old english literature, so whilst people might not know it directly. In addition, I would consider wording it along the lines of: " Containing many ubi sunt motifs, one poem by this author was influenced by the Anglo Saxon poem The Wanderer." as I think that will take a bit more time to process before saying the title of something that he was influenced by.

The next couple of lines have no difficulty change really, as the walking songs (do they have a proper name?) are kind of samey in how well they're know, so I would cut some of these clues down and replace them with something like part of the Aragorn prophecy instead of the last line (or actually part of the two poems you name at the end tbh).

The Where now the bit is good, although it leads to an easy giveaway compared to name this guy off of some things that sound like they're him but haven't been mentioned in the question. e.g. For Ten Points, name this author whose poem "Where now the horse and the rider" also known as the "Lament of the Rohirrim" is spoken by Aragorn in "The Two Towers"? This is probably due to my thoughts that as few tossups as possible should go dead, but I guess if this was for Nats (as it probably would need to be given the poems you're looking at, despite it veering dangerously towards trash) you might get away without the last 8 words or so.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Ike » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:37 pm

Hey, so the community question clinic seems to have fired back up and I think that's great. One thing I'd like to point out is that writers should take some of the advice here with a grain of salt. Indeed, most of the advice is quite good and are things that writers, old and new, should be mindful of. But some of the advice here is of the "your mileage may vary" caliber - there are big picture things you should be focusing on if you're relatively new, and more minor details that you can worry about later. One example that comes to mind is the fact that a poster here "loves" the Tolkien question - I think it's great that the question writer warmed the cockles of someone's heart, but unfortunately a question that draws almost entirely from Tolkien's poetic works is beyond the pale in difficulty of every non-novelty tournament, even Chicago Open*. So I would make sure to produce a solid question first, and then if you can work in some material that will blow someone's mind, come back to that later.

*At least on this side of the Atlantic.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Cheynem » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:46 pm

I think a slightly more organized format might help this clinic. For example, I think a panel of experienced, non-judgmental people should get to look at the questions first through submission (perhaps the questions could be turned in anonymously). They'd produce some feedback that gets posted here and then people respond to that feedback. Otherwise, I feel like this is going to get kind of jumbled and suffer from an unrestricted marketplace of ideas.

I'd be happy to organize this at some point.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Negger Extraordinaire » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:17 pm

Yeah, my liking that question was almost entirely because I really like Tolkien, and even then, I almost certainly wouldn't have buzzed on that question until the mention of the helm and hauberk. It is objectively too hard for any tournament below Chicago Open appropriate without branching out from that into naming the characters or circumstances in which they appear in the books, e.g. mentioning journey to Edoras at Where now, or amon sul/weathertop at one of the walking songs (IIRC), basically it would need some other cluing not just from the actual poetry, as people are not going to buzz on lines from poems within LotR.

(Ike - If there was a Nats level tournament in the UK, it still wouldn't be appropriate, tbh, CO maybe, but I don't really have a grasp on how hard that's meant to be)
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Ike » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:50 am

I think the entire point of the community question clinic was to make it so that editors didn't have to give a lot of feedback systematically, and to let the members of the community who really feel up to it give some helpful tips to new / budding writers. The truth of the matter is it takes a lot of time to investigate a question and give solid feedback -- and there's no guarantee that a writer will listen (assuming the feedback is good) or is seriously considering trying to improve. Editors for NAQT even get paid for sending questions back as rewrites with feedback these days, so it's pretty tough to expect people to produce great feedback pro bono.

Stuff about Tolkien: Chicago Open is indeed intended to be a nosebleed-difficulty tournament, but I think it doesn't work since most of Tolkien's poetry doesn't really have much gradation -- that is, knowing about Tolkien's poetry is pretty much an "all or nothing" affair for American audiences. So, I think it's much more suited as a bonus part theme - in fact this is almost certainly a fine idea for a Nats level hard part (again, in the States).
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Cheynem » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:55 am

Maybe we could apply for a PACE grant or something.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:15 pm

I've received some requests for WAO feedback. If I can get author permission, I will post their questions here (once the set is clear) and give some critiques/advice.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby women, fire and dangerous things » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:47 pm

FWIW, I learned the clue about Tolkien and "The Wanderer" in an Old English class, and I don't know anything about Tolkien's poetry, so it's not entirely all-or-nothing.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby CPiGuy » Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:01 pm

Thanks for the feedback -- I appreciate it, and I'll be trying to incorporate it into my future question-writing.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby serasuna » Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:22 am

Cheynem wrote:Maybe we could apply for a PACE grant or something.

You're welcome to; such an application would need to demonstrate how the community question clinic supports high school quizbowl.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby ObsidianFoot » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:20 am

I wanted to make a minor comment on Alex Wallace's Nationalist China bonus above. "Nationalist" China usually refers only to the KMT government that was founded in Guangzhou, launched the Northern Expedition, and ruled the ROC from then on. Even Sun Yat-sen is not considered part of this government - he died shortly before its founding - and Yuan Shikai definitely is not. I doubt that the word "Nationalist" would have confused anyone as to what the answers were on this bonus, but it could have if included in a tossup, on, say, Yuan Shikai - also, there was, as I recall, quite some confusion over the ROC tossup that did appear at ACF Fall for failing to include "Nationalist China" as an answer.

Also, I do think that writers should have a chance to receive feedback on their questions before they are formally submitted - this was an advantage of the old writer feedback program.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby SpanishSpy » Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:53 pm

ObsidianFoot wrote:I wanted to make a minor comment on Alex Wallace's Nationalist China bonus above. "Nationalist" China usually refers only to the KMT government that was founded in Guangzhou, launched the Northern Expedition, and ruled the ROC from then on. Even Sun Yat-sen is not considered part of this government - he died shortly before its founding - and Yuan Shikai definitely is not. I doubt that the word "Nationalist" would have confused anyone as to what the answers were on this bonus, but it could have if included in a tossup, on, say, Yuan Shikai - also, there was, as I recall, quite some confusion over the ROC tossup that did appear at ACF Fall for failing to include "Nationalist China" as an answer.

Also, I do think that writers should have a chance to receive feedback on their questions before they are formally submitted - this was an advantage of the old writer feedback program.


So perhaps "Republic of China" would be considered more appropriate?

Just wanted to say thanks to all of you for critiquing. I understand the need to be more 'interesting' and clearer in my question writing.

One bit about the bombing question; my rationale for requiring the 'aerial' component was to differentiate from other types of bombing e.g. car bombings. I can see how this would be too niche for most players.
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Re: community question clinic

Postby ObsidianFoot » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:55 am

I am not entirely sure why I am posting some of my submissions for ACF Fall 2013, as I am unlikely to write any submissions in the foreseeable future, with the exception of, say, a CO History that requires them, and even more unlikely to write submissions for, or play, another ACF Fall. Perhaps it is because catching potential problems at an easy difficulty level may prevent them from appearing at higher levels? Considering that a good number of the submissions I have written over the course of my quizbowl career have been used, I doubt that there is anything seriously wrong with my writing, but I do not claim to be an expert either; the other thing is that my notions of difficulty may be skewed, as I developed into an extreme history and geography specialist, and as I was probably influenced to some degree by my teammate, Marshall Steinbaum. If the questions below were not used due to overlap or repeats, that is one thing, but if they suffer from quality or difficulty issues, please point them out. More specifically, I also hope that my bonuses have clear easy, middle, and hard parts; if they do not, please let me know.

This man stated “Yesterday I said to you: war to the death to Bonaparte. Today I say to you: rescue the French Republic by every means” after the Battle of Sedan. After Abraham Lincoln refused to initially declare the abolition of slavery as the objective of the Civil War, he refused William Seward’s offer of service in the Union Army. This man married Ana Ribeiro da Silva shortly before he fought to defend Montevideo from the forces of Manuel Oribe and Juan Manuel de Rosas, which earned him the nickname “Hero of Two Worlds.” He created an army that dressed in uniforms obtained from slaughterhouses, which he led to a landing at Marsala and a decisive victory at the Volturno River. This man therefore conquered the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies on behalf of Victor Emmanuel II. For 10 points, name this Italian nationalist who led the Redshirts during the Expedition of the Thousand.
ANSWER: Giuseppe Garibaldi

Early clashes during this conflict included the Battles of Carpi and Chiari. One naval engagement in this conflict saw George Rooke defeat the Marquis de Château-Renault and destroy a treasure fleet anchored in Vigo Bay. This conflict was preceded by the signing of agreements in the Hague and London, collectively known as the Partition Treaties, which addressed a dispute between Philip of Anjou and Archduke Charles of Austria. Two generals who distinguished themselves during this war were Eugene of Savoy and the Duke of Marlborough, who won victories at Oudenarde and Blenheim. At the end of this conflict, one losing nation was required to cede the asiento and Gibraltar in the Treaty of Utrecht. For 10 points, name this war that was fought to determine who would replace Charles II as the king of a certain Iberian nation.
ANSWER: War of the Spanish Succession [generously anti-prompt on Queen Anne’s War]

This politician won his first Parliamentary seat as an MP for the constituency of Maidstone. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the so-called “Who? Who? Ministry” of the Earl of Derby. This politician’s foreign policy led him to order the successful expedition of Robert Napier to Ethiopia, but he was later attacked during the Midlothian Campaign for refusing to oppose the “Bulgarian Horrors.” He engineered the passage of a law that eliminated “rotten boroughs,” the 1867 Reform Act. This politician took a loan from Lionel de Rothschild to purchase 44% of the shares of the Suez Canal Company, and he used the Royal Titles Act 1867 to make Queen Victoria the Empress of India. For 10 points, name this two-time British Prime Minister, a Conservative rival of William Gladstone and noted Jew.
ANSWER: Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield [accept either underlined portion; accept Viscount Hughenden]

Looking back, I know the rotten boroughs clue is incorrect; those were eliminated in 1832, not 1867.

A lot of people died while Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union. For 10 points each:
[10] This was the name of the government agency that oversaw the Soviet Union’s brutal labor camps, but its name was more famously applied to the camps themselves in a novel by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
ANSWER: Gulag
[10] Stalin rewarded this man’s loyalty by appointing him as head of the Leningrad branch of the Communist Party in 1926, but then ordered this man’s 1934 assassination while he was at his office in the Smolny Institute.
ANSWER: Sergei Mironovich Kirov or Sergei Mironovich Kostrikov
[10] A series of show trials in 1953 supposedly exposed this fictitious conspiracy. It was alleged that prominent Moscow Jews of a certain profession had conspired to assassinate several top Soviet officials.
ANSWER: Doctors’ plot

Answer the following questions about battles in which the Roman Republic was defeated, for 10 points each.
[10] This action in 321 BC was a largely bloodless surrender of a Roman force led by Titus Veturius Calvinus and Spurius Postumius Albinus. In its aftermath, the Samnite army of Gaius Pontius famously humiliated the Romans by forcing them to pass under a yoke.
ANSWER: Battle of the Caudine Forks
[/u][/b][/u][/b][10] This military genius famously commanded the Carthaginian army during the Second Punic War, winning victories at the Battles of the River Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and Cannae, but losing to Scipio Africanus at Zama.
ANSWER: Hannibal Barca [prompt on Barca]
[10] In 53 BC, the legendary cavalry of the Parthian Empire defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at this battle, after which the Parthians poured molten gold down Crassus’ throat.
ANSWER: Battle of Carrhae

This politician’s grandfather led the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this longest-serving Prime Minister of Canada, who led that country during World War II.
ANSWER: William Lyon Mackenzie King [his surname is just King, but he was commonly known as Mackenzie King, so accept that too]
[10] Like FDR’s US, King’s Canada was led by the attack on Pearl Harbor to move people of this ethnicity to internment camps far from the west coast. King ignored reports that these people were not a security threat.
ANSWER: Japanese-Canadians
[10] Earlier, during King’s 1st term in office, Canada saw a constitutional crisis in 1926 when this Governor General refused King’s request to dissolve Parliament and hold new elections. Britain refrained from interfering in Canadian internal affairs after that.
ANSWER: Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy

This conflict saw particularly fierce battles at Mount Hermon and the so-called “Chinese Farm.” For 10 points each:
[10] Name this conflict that began when Israel suffered a surprise attack on the Day of Atonement.
ANSWER: Yom Kippur War [accept Ramadan War; or October War; or 1973 Arab-Israeli War; or Fourth Arab-Israeli War]
[10] This Egyptian President’s popularity surged due to the war, as he gained the nickname “Hero of the Crossing,” but he later lost that popularity due to an economic crisis and the Camp David Accords, leading to his assassination.
ANSWER: Anwar El Sadat
[/u][/b][10] During the war, Israeli losses led the United States to initiate this airlift, which provided Israel with additional weapons.
ANSWER: Operation Nickel Grass

[/u][/b]This country’s city of Multan is known for having some of the highest temperature records in the nation. Floods in this nation are controlled by the Tarbela and Mangla Dams. The Khojak and Broghol Passes connect this nation with its northwestern neighbor, whose border with this nation also contains the Sulaiman Mountains. This nation’s Sistan Basin and Balochistan province are especially prone to earthquakes. Two of this nation’s administrative divisions, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, share a single capital in the city of Peshawar. This nation’s highest point is located in the Karakoram Mountains and is named Mt. Godwin-Austen, or K2. Notably disputing control of Jammu and Kashmir with India, for 10 points, name this South Asian nation containing cities such as Karachi and Islamabad.
ANSWER: Islamic Republic of Pakistan [or Islāmī Jumhūrī-ye Pākistān]

So, it seems that the Sistan Basin does not, in fact, lie within Pakistan. Also, I was wondering whether the Sistan and Balochistan clue could be considered uniquely identifying, since Iran contains a province spelled "Sistan and Baluchestan." Finally, I have seen "Jammu and Kashmir" used to denote the entire disputed area, but, more often, only the state in India. Is it better simply to refer to the entire region as Kashmir?

Answer the following questions about Brazilian cities, for 10 points each.
[10] Santos is the seaport of this largest city in Brazil.
ANSWER: São Paulo
[/b][10] Belo Horizonte is the capital of this second most populous state in Brazil, which produces most of the nation’s coffee and milk.
ANSWER: Minas Gerais
[/b][10] This satellite city of Rio de Janeiro is located just to its north. It is named for the noble title of Luís Alves de Lima e Silva, who served as the supreme commander of Brazilian forces during the War of the Triple Alliance.
ANSWER: Duque de Caxias

For reference, I have posted below the edited versions of the questions that were included in my team's packet.

Floods in this country are controlled by the Tarbela and Mangla Dams. The Khojak and Broghol Passes connect this country with its northwestern neighbor, whose border with this country also contains the Sulaiman Mountains. This country, which is demarcated from its northwestern neighbor by the Durand Line, contains the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, which share a capital at Peshawar. Its highest point is located in the Karakoram Mountains and is named Mount Godwin-Austen, or K2. For 10 points, name this South Asian country that disputes control of Kashmir with India and contains the cities of Karachi and Islamabad.
ANSWER: Islamic Republic of Pakistan [or Islami Jumhuri-ye Pakistan]

This man served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the so-called “Who? Who? Ministry” of the Earl of Derby. This politician ordered the successful expedition of Robert Napier to Ethiopia, but he was later attacked during the Midlothian Campaign for refusing to oppose the Bulgarian Horrors. This politician took a loan from Lionel de Rothschild to purchase 44% of the shares of the Suez Canal Company, and he expanded the franchise in overseeing the passage of the 1867 Reform Act. He also used the Royal Titles Act of 1867 to make Queen Victoria the Empress of India. For 10 points, name this Jewish British Prime Minister, a Conservative rival of William Gladstone.
ANSWER: Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield [accept either underlined portion; accept Viscount Hughenden]

After Abraham Lincoln initially refused to declare the abolition of slavery as the objective of the Civil War, this man refused William Seward’s offer of service in the Union Army. This man married Ana Ribeiro da Silva shortly before he fought to defend Montevideo from the forces of Manuel Oribe and Juan Manuel de Rosas, which earned him the nickname “Hero of Two Worlds.” This man created an army which he led to a landing at Marsala and a decisive victory at the Volturno River, part of a campaign that conquered the Two Sicilies on behalf of Victor Emmanuel II. For 10 points, name this Italian nationalist who led the Redshirts in the Expedition of the Thousand.
ANSWER: Giuseppe Garibaldi

This politician’s grandfather led the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this longest-serving Prime Minister of Canada, who led that country through World War II.
ANSWER: William Lyon Mackenzie King [accept Mackenzie King]
[10] Like FDR’s US, King’s Canada was driven by the attack on Pearl Harbor to move people of this ethnicity to internment camps far from the west coast. King ignored reports that these people were not a security threat.
ANSWER: Japanese
[10] Under King, Canada saw a 1926 constitutional crisis when Julian Byng, who held this office, refused King’s request to dissolve Parliament and hold new elections. This office represents the English monarchy in Canada.
ANSWER: Governor General of Canada

A lot of people died while Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union. For 10 points each:
[10] This was the name of the government agency that oversaw the Soviet Union’s brutal labor camps, but its name was more famously applied to the camps themselves.
ANSWER: Gulag [accept gulags]
[10] Nikita Khruschev, Stalin's successor as premier, delivered this 1956 invective speech condemning the numerous Stalinist purges, including the wholesale deportation of Mingrelians.
ANSWER: On the Personality Cult and its Consequences [or Secret Speech; prompt on Khruschev Report and equivalents]
[10] A series of show trials in 1953 supposedly exposed a fake conspiracy by Jewish members of this profession to assassinate top Soviet officials, presumably by poisoning them instead of treating their illnesses.
ANSWER: doctors [accept obvious equivalents, like “physicians”; accept Doctors’ Plot]
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